Let’s start off this Ink Master: Angels premiere review discussing some of what the new Spike show does well. For one, this is a show that does do a great job referencing the overall franchise at large. It makes it seem as though the show is a big family and they are all supportive of one another. Just in the first episode alone there were appearances from DJ Tambe, Joey Hamilton, and even a brief cameo from Cleen Rock One. You obviously have the Angels in Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Kelly Doty, Gia Rose, and Nikki Simpson, but there are some other people turning up here and there. Since the premiere episode was in Las Vegas (thoughts still go out to all of the people there) it was nice to see the show have good representation especially from people like Cleen and Joey who have shops there. (Given that Joey’s shop is also run by Sausage, where was he?)
Beyond the franchise representation the focus on just three artists was also smart. We got to know Tone Chingon, Carrie Cameron, and Infamous Jones in the episode and there was enough time to get to know all of them. We did think for most of the episode that the edit was setting up for a Carrie win, so kudos on the production team for throwing us off the scent as to what was going to happen.
Where things may need a little bit more retooling is with the format. How the show works is that the three artists compete against each other, and one of them goes home. The remaining two them battle for the right to compete against one of the Angels. If they beat the Angel, they get to compete on Ink Master season 10. If they lose, they don’t get anything. The audience at the final Angel Face-Off gets a vote, the remaining Angels not competing get a vote, and the previous two artists get a vote. Isn’t it possible that the audience is always going to support the local artist, and that the eliminated contestants could be salty and vote against the person who just beat them? Ultimately we’d like to see more power given to just the Angels here since they’re the real stars of the show and we count on them being unbiased.
We do think that the right person won the Face-Off in the end here — after Infamous and Carrie were eliminated, Tone lost to Ryan — a bold move picking her — and didn’t get the votes of either the eliminated artists or the Angels. He had arguably the more legible concept, but up close there were numerous technical issues. He was confident bordering on cocky most of the episode, but this is where his journey ends. It was fun while it lasted, especially since he spent much of the hour on the verge of freaking out. We also a little more of his own signature style, one that we haven’t seen as much of on Ink Master over the years.
Are there some kinks to be worked out here in terms of the format? Sure, and we do think the Angels should individually more to do in the episode while highlighting more of the city. Beyond that, though, the Ink Master: Angels premiere was fun, engaging, and had some interesting ideas. We like that they focused a little more on the canvas’ stories for the Angel Face-Off rather than just treating them like slabs to be worked on. (We feel that way about the flagship show here and there.) This was a worthy start to the series and we’re excited to see how the rest of the season plays out.
What did you think about the Ink Master: Angels premiere?
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