Preview: Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

As a child, I grew up on the creations of Jim Henson and his famous creature shop. We live in a world of completely digital creature creations, but I still believe practical puppets can sometimes produce better results (especially when used in tandem with cg, augmenting the practical with the impossible). A new Syfy television series Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge will give us a look behind the magic.

Syfy has teamed with Jim Henson's Creature Shop for the new reality competition series which will air starting March 25th 2014. More information of the television series can be found after the jump alongside a series of video previews for those interested in a sneak peek.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

The eight-episode series, Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge, which will pit 10 aspiring creature creators competing in a series of challenges to create and operate new cinematic creatures. The winner will get $100,000 and a job working at the famous Creature Shop on their upcoming productions.

Jim Henson's son Brian Henson is the lead judge on the series, and longtime Creature Shop artists: designer Peter Brooke, mechanization and animatronics expert John Criswell, and fabrication and artistic designer Julie Zobel will act as mentors on the series.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge Season 1: Concept Trailer

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge Season 1: Series Teaser

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge Season 1: The Competition

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge Season 1: Creatures 101

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge Season 1: Meet the Cast

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge Season 1: Behind the Scenes Purple People Eaters

Official information from Syfy:

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge is a competition series featuring ten aspiring creature creators competing to out-imagine one another in a series of challenges where they will build everything from mechanical characters to whimsical beasts, bringing high-end inanimate creature designs to life. The contestants compete for a prize worth up to $100,000 including the opportunity for the job of a lifetime – a contract working at the world-renowned Jim Henson's Creature Shop™.

Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company and the Creature Shop, will serve as lead judge on the series. He will be joined by additional judges Beth Hathaway (a Creature Fabricator who has worked on such projects as Jurassic Park, The Walking Dead and Edward Scissorhands) and Kirk R. Thatcher (a Creature Designer with credits such as Return of the Jedi, Gremlins and E.T.). Gigi Edgley, best known for her role on Farscape, will serve as host.

Serving as mentors on the series will be world-renowned designer Peter Brooke, mechanization and animatronics master John Criswell and fabrication and artistic specialist Julie Zobel. The three are longtime Creature Shop artists who have dedicated their talents to the Henson legacy. Their tenures with The Jim Henson Company span decades and they bring a specialized knowledge having collaborated directly with Jim Henson himself. Working alongside the creature creators inside their workplace at the Creature Shop, they will be available for consultation and hands-on assistance.

The creative challenges in the series will showcase the fascinating process behind creature building, from conceptual design to sculpting, fabricating and mechanization. Each episode will end with on-set performances involving the elaborate and life-like creations. The creature creators will be tasked to create everything from hand puppets to large-scale theatrical creatures that can master the balance between realism and fantasy.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge is a production of The Jim Henson Company. Brian Henson will executive produce with his sister Lisa Henson, the company's CEO. In addition to her time at The Jim Henson Company, Lisa's prolific career in entertainment includes serving as president for Columbia Pictures where she oversaw films like Men In Black and The People vs. Larry Flint. Before that, she was a production executive at Warner Bros. where she worked on projects like Batman and Lethal Weapon. Lisa is currently in production on the upcoming family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Also serving as executive producers on Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge are Joseph Freed (Little People Big World, Rachael Ray) and Rob Bagshaw (Paradise Hotel, Top Chef Masters, Project Runway All Stars).

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge premieres on Tuesday, March 25th at 10/9c