‘Craft Wars’ advance review: TLC, Tori Spelling team up for artsy fun

The series premieres Tuesday, June 26.

Over the past several years, we have seen competition series based on all sorts of art forms — whether it be cooking (“Top Chef”), fashion designing (“Project Runway”), tattoos (“Ink Master“), or even songwriting (the short-lived “Platinum Hit”). Now, the world of arts and crafts is getting its own opportunity to shine in “Craft Wars.”

When we first heard of a show featuring competitions involving paint, glue guns, sewing, and various other products that you would find at Michaels, we were a little bit skeptical — mostly because we weren’t quite sure how TLC was going to make these projects big or entertaining enough to work on TV. After watching the series premiere, though, we can wholeheartedly say that they have found a way to make it happen. The show is in many ways a creator’s dream, and it’s almost inspiring to see how much these contestants accomplish in a short amount of time.

Rather than being similar to many of the competition series listed above in that there are a group of contestants who face off over an entire season, the show is actually more reminiscent to “Ultimate Cake-Off” in that there are three different contestants an episode who work to impress a panel of judges. Outside of the obvious difference to the aforementioned baking show when it comes to subject matter, these contestants are given two tasks an episode to execute. First, the craft-lovers have to create a useful everyday object using some supplies provided — and after the judges review their creations, one contestant is eliminated. The two people who remain are then given a longer period of time to create something rather spectacular. In the episode that we had the opportunity to watch, contestants had to design a playhouse using everyday school supplies. We won’t spoil the results, but the two artists who remained during this final challenge managed to do more in five hours than what we could have done in a month.

Tori Spelling also gives “Craft Wars” a bit of an elevated presence as its host — she’s not only a household name, but she is someone who is invested as a lover of arts and crafts herself. The judges are new faces from a viewing perspective, but they at least are not robots who choose to either agree or disagree on every little thing presented to them.

At the end of the day, this is the fun sort of summer show that you can pick up and watch anytime, and for those who love watching creativity blossom it’s especially engaging. It should play well to TLC’s already-established audience, who have already embraced many other series of a similar tone.

Check out “Craft Wars” when it premieres Tuesday, June 26 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Photo: TLC

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