I’m not one for reality competition shows. I haven’t actively followed one since “Survivor” when I was in high school, not counting “The Great British Baking Show” because they win a glass plate and love each other deeply. A friend recommended a new Netflix series a few months ago but I wasn’t really interested in a show about glass blowing. When the second season dropped recently, he reiterated how great the show was and encouraged us to watch.
Holy cow. He was so right.
Fire up the glory holes
“Blown Away” pits glass artists against each other in the “hot shop” for a $60,000 cash prize and residency at the Corning Museum of Glass, a very prestigious glass museum in upstate New York. Each contest challenges them to create a new design from scratch, assemble it with help from Corning Museum-trained assistants and present them to the judges. Basic formula, right? That’s that I thought too, but have you ever really watched someone blow glass and make sculptures from it? It’s insane!
For one thing, the kilns they use to heat the glass, called glory holes, are heated to 2,000 degrees!
Once more for the folks in the cheap seats: that’s TWO THOUSAND DEGREES. I thought NYC in July was bad…
“Oh, I hate them…”
Like any good competition show, I immediately found my favorites and the contestants I despised. The amount of broken glass is par for the course for these artists, but every time their pieces shattered on the floor with less than an hour left, a part of me died for them.
As an artist myself, I don’t know what I’d do if every time I went on stage, stepped in front of a camera, or began editing a new video project, there would be a 60-80% chance I or it would literally explode and I’d have to start completely from scratch. The stress watching was good stress and welcomed over the usual stress of continued pandemic life.
Without spoiling anything, I was VERY disappointed with the winner of season one, but much more pleased with the winner of season two. There are a lot of egos flying around and while talented, some of the folks are real jerkfaces. I’m very excited to talk with said friend about season two once he finishes it.
The art they create is incredible. The fact that it’s all entirely glass is mind-blowing. I’ve seen glass blown on a very small scale (I lived in Vermont, afterall), but nothing to the scale or caliber of these artists. Plus the episodes are short, so binging is very easy.
I do not like the host. Mostly because we are a similar type and I want his job, but also he doesn’t bring anything to the show whatsoever. His jokes aren’t funny, he has little presence, and is very forgettable. So, why not recast with this guy? Hello? Anyone?
If you’re looking for a family-friendly competition that’s a little left center, give “Blown Away” a shot. Now please excuse me while I Google glass blowing classes to take someday.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Snack Packs
Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and writer in NYC. His show SESSION ZERO is now available in podcast format: www.lincolnlhayes.com/sessionzero.