August 25 2017

An AFOL’s review of LEGO Masters on Channel 4 [spoilers]

LEGO Masters on Channel 4 - TV show review

You wait years for LEGO-themed TV shows to come along, and then within the space of a few years we’ve had a handful of documentaries on LEGO… and now, thanks to Channel 4 again, a LEGO themed gameshow!

Channel Four’s obsession with our favourite interlocking plastic blocks continues this LEGO theme with the launch of their LEGO Masters show. Here’s my AFOL review of the first episode LEGO Masters on Channel 4, which aired on Thursday, August 24th 2017, at 8pm. The episode is also available on 4OD (4 On Demand) online.

<Spoiler alert – don’t read if you don’t want to know about the show. Obviously!>

LEGO Masters format

The format of the LEGO Masters was about what I’d expected: a series of team-based challenges around a specific theme. The running time is around 50 minutes, with ample space for adverts.

The concept is pretty simple: 48 teams of two AFOLs start the competition; by the end of the first episode, only 8 pairs remain; who will be crowned “master builder”? There’s the overly-enthusiastic presenter I’d expected – Melvin Odoom – who does a great job as compere for the challenges. There’s also a bit of a LEGO history primer – I hope there’s a little bit of this in each future episode!

Last night’s main challenge was a banquet themed build (this one was heavily publicised in promotion about the show before it ran, so no real surprises here!), including a chair capable of taking a human’s weight, and an impressively sized dish built in LEGO.

One part of the format I really love is the guest appearances by famous AFOLs, with Bill Bailey appearing in episode one. More famous faces are set to appear, according to the press release. The range of teams involved is also brilliant – including some familiar faces from the UK AFOL community (I’m looking at you, Nate, with your fabulous LEGO suit!), two 9 year old schoolfriends, an uncle and nephew pair.

Judges

A competition like this wouldn’t be complete without suitably experienced judges, and LEGO Masters delivers strongly on this front.

The judging panel includes Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design for the LEGO Group (and a massive fellow Unikitty fan!), and a rotation of judges relevant to the challenge itself. Episode one’s judge is Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer famous for her work on The Shard.

My verdict on LEGO Masters

I really liked LEGO Masters. I suppose that’s not much of a surprise to anyone who knows me and how much I love LEGO, but I wasn’t actually expecting to enjoy the show as much as I did. It’s a lot of fun, which is what LEGO is all about; the challenges are creative and varied, and I think the format works well.

Have they hooked me in enough to watch the next episode? Yep. Will it demand my full attention and tear me away from building LEGO as I watch? No; but then, nothing else does either!