The Syfy channel has always been ready to embrace all aspects of geek culture. The network previously showcased elements of geekdom with such reality shows as Fangasm and Heroes of Cosplay, in addition to engaging with the fandom surrounding them frequently. Given this, Syfy may be the network most familiar with and friendly towards fandom culture.
Now, Syfy is looking to expand its lineup of fandom-geared programming with a new cosplay-centric competition series.
The network announced a new reality TV series called Cosplay Melee. Hosted by self-described "super fan girl" Yvette Nicole Brown, the series will showcase four master cosplayers each week. The four will compete to see not only who can craft the best costume, but who can bring their character to life the best. The winner will walk away with $10,000. Heather Olander, Senior Vice President, Alternative Development and Production at USA/Syfy said of the series:
“Cosplay is passion, artistry, engineering and theater all rolled into one. At the intersection of the maker world and fandom, the incredible artists of Cosplay Melee will blow your minds with their transformational creations.”
Brown is joined by world-class cosplayer LeeAnn Vamp and costumer designer Christian Beckman. Beckman has worked on numerous films such as Tron: Legacy and The Hunger Games. Vamp and Beckman will also guide and mentor the participants throughout their process. Brown said:
"As a huge fan of the creativity cosplayers bring to their craft, nothing makes me happier than having a front row seat for the amazing creations set to hit the Cosplay Melee runway. These talented artists are going to shine!"
Brown is no stranger to the world of fandom. She starred for five seasons on the cult hit Community, and has made frequent guest appearances on AMC's hit talk show The Talking Dead. Her background makes her the perfect host for a series examining a segment of fan culture in depth.
This series is not the first show to tackle cosplay, but it might be the first to treat it as a genuine art form. Say what you will about geek culture but cosplay takes a great deal of artistic skill and passion. Between Brown's hosting duties and the respect all involved seem to have for cosplay, it's likely that this show won't devolve into a mockery of those participating. Instead, it looks to be an honest celebration of geeks and the passion that drives them to create their own costumes.
Cosplay Melee will premiere on Tuesday, March 21 at 10pm on Syfy.