Sand Blasters (Travel Channel)


Sand Blasters (Travel Channel) – Premieres 11th March

A sand sculpting competition where four teams made up of two sand sculptors go against each other to see who can create the best work in 9 hours to win a large trophy.

The competition is split into three rounds. In the first, the teams are given a theme and a massive amount of sand to begin their composition. And after 3 hours the piece that the judges deem to be the worst gets blown up and the team eliminated.

In the second round the remaining teams are given another 3 hours to continue to work on their sculpture. Where along with working on the piece, are challenged to incorporated a smaller sculpture to be paced onto the main creation. Then like in the first round the weakest performers have their work destroyed.

The third and final round gives the two remaining teams three hours to finish their work, and in a twist the two eliminated teams are combined and brought back into the competition. Where they have a chance to create something new to snatch the win. Then when everything is finished the judges detonate the losing sculptures leaving the winning piece standing.

As art competitions go it has far more explosions than any other that has been released recently. And while it’s pretty much people creating elaborate sand castles it a relaxing bit of viewing and an easy way to burn 45 minutes.



Nailed It (Netflix)


Nailed It (Netflix) – Premieres 9th March

A baking competition based on the internet meme where attempts to mimic a cake end up with comedically disastrous results. Hosted by Nicole Byer, who along with chef Jacques Torres and a guest baker, judge the attempts of three contestants over 2 rounds as they try to win $10k.

In the first round the contestants are set a small challenge where they have an hour to recreate a particular confectionary. At the end of the round the best performer is crowned with a golden hat while the person that finished last gets some bonus help in the next round.

The second and final round has three contestants trying to recreate a larger cake in a two hour time limit. Where all three have the chance to use a help button that brings in the guest baker, who give them advice on what to do in a three minute period. The worst performer in the last round is also given a buzzer where if used, Byer will annoy and try to distract the other two contestants for three minutes.

At the end of the round the cakes are judged and the maker of the best cake gets the $10k. As baking competitions go this one is a grind to get through, due to it relying on the cakes being made to look bad. This goes against the whole comedy surprise of the nailed it meme, so this is just showing us bad bakers presenting predictably bad looking cakes.


Truck Night In America (History)


Truck Night In America (History) – Premieres 8th March

An off-roading competition where five folks bring their trucks to the track and go head to head in the chance to win $10k. The show starts of with virtually no introduction as the five competitors line up for the first round of challenges. After a very brief description of the trucks, the round kicks off where the person who finishes last is eliminated. Though the eliminated person does have a chance of continuing if any of the cars have have a mechanical failure and can’t proceed to the next round.

Before round two kicks off, the remaining four competitors are introduced and they talk about their truck. After that the four hosts of the programme each pick a truck, where they will become the mentor for the remainder or the show. Then when the second round is complete and another person eliminated, the remaining three get the first of two pit breaks where they have an hour fix any problems on their vehicles.

The third round comes and goes whittling the field down the last two trucks standing, where after the second pit stop, get to take on the final round. In the final they vehicles go on the “Green Hell”, an obstacle course designed to push the trucks to the limit. The winner ends up being the person the can get their truck around the course in the quickest time, or if both vehicles fail in that, the winner is whoever got the furthest around the course.

The show is no nonsense in its approach with each round being introduced and then getting straight on with the competition. And the final round is like a motoring version of the Skull Buster in Broken Skull Challenge, where it’s set up to be the ultimate test and each obstacle is given it’s own name. That said, the whole mentoring aspect comes over as a bit pointless and when the rounds are in progress there’s too much cutting back to the the hosts, which takes away from getting into the competition.

That said, it’s still an entertaining bit of trashy programming.



Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings (Discovery)


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings (Lifetime) – Premieres 7th March 

Another spinoff of Street Outlaws, where in this iteration it concentrates on a no prep tournament concept. As racers from the other shows, along with some additional characters take part in a season long competition to find out who is the fastest there is.

The season consists of 8 races where the drivers earn, 5 points for turning up, going up to 30 points if they win the final along with getting $50k. At the end of the season the overall winner gets the title and a grand prize that has yet to be decided on.

In the show the night before the main race is dedicated to grudge races, where like in the regular series, racers call each one another and and bet their own money against each other. Then on the race day it goes over to a regular race format.

While there still is a fair amount of driver introductions and setup chat, it does have more racing than normal. And it’s definitely one for those that enjoyed the regular format.



American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja (USA Network)


American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja (USA Network) – Premieres 1st March

Another American Ninja Warrior spin off that has more than a little in common with Team Ninja Warriors. In this iteration there are 36 teams consisting of 3 former Ninja Warrior contestants, all competing to become the overall champion.

In each episode there are two heats, where the teams progress if the get three victories over their opponents. The heats have an initial three runs where the ninjas go against each other one on one on a special course. If there is no winner after those rounds, then relay events are played out until a winner has been decided. After the two heats the winning teams from each go against each other and the winning team from that progresses in the competition.

For what it is the show is more enjoyable to watch than Team Ninja Warriors even though the format is near identical. That said it’s still not as good as the standard American Ninja Warrior, but it’s a decent enough way to burn 45 minutes.



Glam Masters (Lifetime)


Glam Masters (Lifetime) – Premieres 28th February

A fashion competition that is vaguely similar to American Beauty Star,

four make up artists go head-to-head for the chance to win the episode, where they proceed further in the competition that could win the title of Glam Master. And get to create their own limited edition make up line with Kim Kardashian.

The show goes through three rounds, in each round the contestants are set a challenge and have a time limit to get their work done in. Then at the end of each round the four judges assess the work, then eliminated the weakest contestant. This goes on until one person is left and they get to proceed to the semi finals.

As competitions go it’s all very straight forward, though is one for those that enjoyed show like American Beauty Star & Face Off: Game Face.



The Launch (CTV)


The Launch (CTV) – Premieres 10th January 

A singing competition that takes a different angle to the concept, where the weekly winner gets to release a song they’ve performed just after winning the show.

In the programme three judges initially sit through the auditions of up to five acts, where they will select two to go through in to the next stage. After getting through the audition the selected two are then put straight into a studio where they both record a version of a new unreleased song, where it shows the producer getting the best performances out of the singers.

When the songs are recorded the programme then goes into a live performance stage, where after being given some pointers by the guest recording artist working as a judge, the pair then perform their version of the song in front of a live crowd. Then after some consulting the judges reveal which one will get to have their song released to the public.

As singing competitions go, the fact that the whole process that would take other shows around two months is done in 45 minutes makes it a refreshing change.