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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Imagination, creativity, and playfulness are at the forefront of this series, with the focus on what players make and how and why they've made their creative choices, rather than focusing on personalities and conflicts. Female players often mention their love of playing powerful women. Players and judges are gender-balanced and show ethnic/racial diversity.
Positive Role Models
Players hold professional jobs and cosplay is a hobby they enjoy -- young viewers may come away with the impression that even responsible adults can have playful pastimes. Judges treat players and their efforts with respect, and criticism is gentle, rather than blunt or hurtful.
Violence & Scariness
Players often make weapons/defensive gear for their characters -- no fights occur on the show, but costumed characters are clearly ready for battle. Players use dangerous tools like knives and noxious chemicals in their costumes and are shown wearing protective safety gear.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Costumes may be -- but aren't always -- revealing and sexualized, with bare skin and cleavage.
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Infrequent cursing: "bad-ass," "s--t" (bleeped).
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Products & Purchases
Many movies and TV shows are mentioned and their characters/costumes discussed; some may be more suitable for young viewers than others.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cosplay Melee is a reality competition featuring contestants who compete to make costumed characters within a limited time frame. This series is similar to the special-effects series Face Off, but gentler, with judges offering sincere praise and sympathetic criticism. The focus is on how players make their costumes, not on personalities or conflicts as on other reality competitions. Costumes may have violent elements -- competitors frequently make weapons and shields -- and they may be revealing/skimpy or have elements that play up body parts (i.e. a buxom "breastplate"). They may also be connected to movies/characters that are too violent or mature for young viewers. Infrequent cursing: "bad-ass," "s--t" (bleeped).
Is It Any Good?
If you can't get enough of Face Off, this creative and playful series should be on your watchlist. Like Syfy's other hit character-creation show, Cosplay Melee is firmly focused on its artists and their fantastic creations. Most of the show's running time is eaten up by the costume-creation phase of the competition, with players explaining in fascinating detail how they turn dollar-store art supplies and accessories into incredibly realistic gear. However, unlike on Face Off, where the competitors are often professionals and the judges rather blunt in their criticisms, judges are gentle with competing hobbyists and their creations. "Woooooooow!" Brown frequently utters when seeing a character come to life onstage, assuring players "You did a great job, honey!"
Her fellow judges may point out when a creation is lacking, but they do it with inordinate kindness, pulling their punches, suggesting how something could be made better instead of pointing out all the imperfections. Watching may inspire viewers to make their own costumes -- and it certainly will increase their appreciation for the costumed characters in their favorite movies and shows as well as the people who made what they wear.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.