A few years ago, the show Lego Masters popped up on television in the US. It’s fun to watch, though as much as I like the host Will Arnett’s acting in comedy shows, he kinda takes on a persona of a “jock” spending most of his time heckling nerds. It’s not a good fit, tone-wise and detracts from the show. There’s also a bit too much pomp and circumstance in the show when I just want to see how people build things and how the builds perform at the end of each episode.
When a friend mentioned there was a UK version and also an Australian version of the same show that was even better, I looked and found all the previous seasons on usenet, though I’m sure you could find them on reddit too. If there’s a way for Americans to legally buy copies of it, I’d say go that route, as the show is worth it.
UPDATE: thanks to David who shared that there’s a free streaming option at Tubi for Australian Lego Masters.
The builds are pretty great on the Australian show. I don’t think they give them more time as the American version, but they certainly find talented contestants. Also, their “Brick Master” expert is more of a Tim Gunn type where he helps everyone out and teaches those watching how to do certain things with LEGO (the US version’s experts don’t give too much in the way of hints and feedback during the build process). They give contestants a ton of feedback during the build process, which often makes for better outcomes though small changes. The whole show feels way more supportive and like a Great British Bake Off instead of a typical American reality TV show. Also, the host, while still a comedy guy from Australian TV genuinely likes the contestants and feeds off their energy.
I’ve watched every season of the Australian version and it’s indeed much better in the way of builds but also a key factor is they don’t throw someone off each week. They tend to do it every 2-3 episodes, which means contestants can have an “off” week and be ok and come back to compete another day.
This is a long-winded way of saying the current season is one consisting only of previous winners (a “Grand Masters” season) and as a result, this best-of-the-best competition is producing some of the most artistic, functional, and impressively engineered LEGO builds I’ve ever seen. The very best of the season so far is the episode three above, where they have to build life-sized realistic LEGO models of stuff you’d find on a 1950’s detective’s office film set.
Across the board, all the items built were incredible, lifelike, and when the “is it cake?!” style competition happens near the end, it’s completely mind-blowing how realistic these contestants made their builds.
You can watch the show embedded above without knowing any of the builders or their personalities. It works as a standalone episode and it’s just a fantastic mix of engineering and art that produces truly amazing LEGO works. But I would strongly encourage everyone to check out the whole fifth season, and if you have the chance and the time, go back to season 1 and watch everything all the way through.