Syfy's show Heroes of Cosplay was the first reality TV show to tackle the often drama-laden world of cosplay, but any cosplayer will tell you that it missed the mark. This is probably why it quietly disappeared after two abortive half seasons -- though apparently Syfy hasn't given up on cosplay altogether. Over the weekend a new show called Cosplay Melee was announced and it looks like it will take far more from the channel's wildly successful show Face Off than it will from Heroes.
First, a little background for the curious. Back in 2013 Heroes of Cosplay was conceived at a time when Syfy's competitive prosthetic makeup show Face Off was at its most popular. The new cosplay-themed show was a direct attempt to cash in on the costume-mad Face Off fans, which was why Heroes was aired in the timeslot directly after it.
Heroes was more Big Brother to Face Off's Project Runway, however, showing the day to day lives of a group of cosplayers in the lead up to various conventions and (more importantly in the world the show portrayed) major cosplay competitions. It all came with a heaping of obviously manufactured drama that the audience quickly became tired of, and the cosplay community openly denounced.
With Cosplay Melee, Syfy are doing what many always suggested and using Face Off's tried-and-true 'weekly challenge' format with a cosplay theme. The new show will be hosted by Community actress and self-described 'super-fangirl' Yvette Nicole Miller, with the rest of the panel comprising of cosplayer LeeAnna Vamp and Christian Beckman, a costume creator with credits on The Hunger Games and TRON: Legacy.
Unlike Face Off, it looks like Cosplay Melee will feature a different set of four cosplayers every episode, competing for a weekly prize of $10,000. Each week will feature two rounds -- in the first, each competitor will make an 'accessory' of some kind, and if they progress to the second round then they will have to create the full costume that goes with it.
Interestingly, it looks like the competitors on Cosplay Melee will be required to design their own original characters -- rather than dealing with the legal nightmare that would no doubt come of having a reality show based around other people's copyrighted characters (although LeeAnne seems to be wearing some kind of Fallout costume in the show's main promo image). It seems like the 'cosplay' aspect will instead come from the range of skills needed, and the fact that the competitors will be making costumes for themselves rather than for a model or actor.
It'll be interesting to see what kind of special guest talent the show recruits, if anything -- and even more interesting to see if being a Cosplay Melee winner will open up any opportunities for its alumni. At this point, only time will tell.
Do you think Cosplay Melee has what it takes to succeed? Would you watch it? Let us know in the comments!