This Lego wonderland isn't just for kids
IN THE age of fast-paced reality TV, 15 hours for one challenge sounds like an eternity. But in the world of Lego, every minute counts.
The new entertainment series Lego Masters challenges Australia's best adult Lego builders to produce their most ambitious and mind-blowing masterpieces for a shot at a $100,000 grand prize.
It's a show for all ages, even if you haven't picked up a Lego brick in years, says host Hamish Blake.
"My little boy is just in the hot zone of Lego now where he's graduating from Duplo to Lego," he says.
"In my house, the Lego with the little studs on it is called big boy Lego. To him this is the big boy Lego show and I'm playing with big boy Lego at work.
"A lot of people's natural reactions might be is this just for nerds? If you say it's adults playing with Lego then people tend to think The Big Bang Theory, but it's so far from that. We have such varied, funny, lovely and diverse people."
Judge Ryan 'Brickman' McNaught, the Southern Hemisphere's only Lego-certified professional, believes the show will normalise the phenomenon known as AFOL - adult fan of Lego.
"We've got oil rig workers, a grandmother, graphic designers - all of these people aren't nerds at all, they just happen to love Lego," he says.
"Lego is the number one toy in the world for a reason. It's going to be interesting for people to go 'Hey I'm a normal person and I like Lego too. It's OK'."
Celebrating creativity and imagination, the series lets eight teams loose in a Lego wonderland which includes the Brick Pit - a candy-coloured storeroom full of 2.5m Lego pieces of every imaginable size and shape.
"It's equal parts imagination and skill," Blake says.
"The contestants are so creative and quirky; there's always stuff in there that surprises you. It's a great mix of being flat-out impressive but also having that quirk and humour Lego has in it.
"At no stage has anyone gone 'I'm over this'. If you do the best job then you don't have to build the next build - one of those classic reality show things - but everyone keeps getting sad that they're missing a build. I keep saying 'But the point is you're safe'. I think that's a good indicator you have the right contestants."
Brickman takes care of the serious business of judging while Blake keeps the tone light and humorous during the lengthy challenges.
"You can only get so intense because it's Lego... it's still a very fun thing to play with," Blake says.
"Professionally. it's a bit of a funny leap for me. A year ago I probably wouldn't have gone 'I'll be hosting something that looks like a reality show' but in actual fact I really enjoy it. After the top of the show everything is on the fly. I can't say the same thing twice, so I'd be terrible in a show where you have to say scripted lines. I enjoy this show because apart from the start you have no idea where it's going to go."
Lego Masters premieres on Sunday at 7pm on Nine.