Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge TV Poster Image
Design contest wows with talents, friendly competition.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Contestants must collaborate creatively to complete a common task, and they're judged not only on their artistic abilities but also on how well they work together to reach a goal. Egos and looming deadlines sometimes lead to heated disagreements and tears, which is mined for entertainment. On the other hand, cooperation often brings out the best of the contestants' talents and inspires even greater creativity among teammates. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The contestants are of different ages, abilities, and levels of experience, but they're all very motivated to succeed. To that end, they work hard to improve their skill sets and to prove they're good team players, and they take criticism well. Pressure and creative differences sometimes cause strife, but overall each participant shows strong work ethic, a positive attitude about challenges, and an eagerness to learn. 


No violence, but some of the creature creations look a little scary when puppeteers put them into action.


"F--k" is bleeped -- and rare.  


Naturally the Jim Henson Company and its many works receive plenty of recognition, but the show's intent is less about promoting the pros' existing achievements and more about cultivating new talent in the contestants.   

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge pits aspiring creature creators against each other for the chance to land a job in the renowned Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Even though it's a competition, the contestants' ability to share ideas and work within a team setting are factors in eliminations as well, so the environment is more cordial than cutthroat. Watching the creative process through the contest's many challenges is an education in the specialty of special effects and creature creation, and the participants' artistic vision is inspiring. Expect to hear some language ("f--k" is muted) and to see some designs that might be scary to younger kids, but, for older kids and their families, this absorbing series is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how TV and movie creatures come to life.

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What's the story?

When Jim Henson's Creature Shop sponsors a competition, hopeful designers clamor for a chance to bring their talents to the table. Such is the case in JIM HENSON'S CREATURE SHOP CHALLENGE, sponsored by the renowned effects studio, whose chairman, Brian Henson, serves as the show's head judge. Hosted by Gigi Edgley, the competition poses a series of design challenges to 10 contestants, who must create their way to a coveted spot on the Creature Shop team. Working with a variety of mediums and under tight deadlines, these aspiring designers must impress a panel of judges whose works include Jurassic Park, Return of the Jedi, and E.T. if they're to land their dream job in Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Is it any good?

For creature creators, a competition like this is kind of like facing down nine other basketball players for the chance at a roster spot on an NBA championship team. It's a dream opportunity to work in Jim Henson's Creature Shop, and these eager contestants aren’t shy about sharing how much it means to them and to their careers. Their genuine excitement over their work makes it fun to watch their design process, and, in so doing, you're treated to a fascinating glimpse of how these amazing effects are done by talented artists for TV shows and movies.

What's most appealing about this show is the genial way in which it presents competition. Sure, tempers flare when time is short or artistic vision isn't being realized, and you'll hear some insults or blame-laying because of it, but that's more a product of human nature than it is of cultivated controversy for the show's shock value. Instead, these challenges encourage collaboration and creative problem-solving, and these traits are rewarded by the judges alongside accolades for artistic vision and design skills. It's a good reminder that success requires a well-rounded skill set, regardless of the discipline. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the benefits of competition. How does pitting your skills against a competitor's make you sharper? What can be learned in losing? In winning? 

  • Tweens: Do you enjoy the process of working as a team? When does doing so complicate matters? What are the benefits of working with others who bring their own ideas to the floor?  

  • What is your kid's dream job? How does it reflect his or her special talents? Is there a competitive edge to this kind of work? Are there jobs in which competition is a detriment to the work process?

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