Designers on the air
FALL DESIGN SHOW LINE-UP
It’s the season when the networks bring out their new series, but in the design show category, sadly, there’s little to get excited about. Most new programs follow a proven formula, and while they’ll be blessed with a built-in audience, they won’t break any ground or capture new viewers. Hire a fresh host, follow a well-known designer around as she not only makes over an old space but also now picks up her laundry, sips her coffee, placates her disgruntled staff, yada, yada, yada. Reality show viewers are fickle folk; they bore easily, so the networks should think about innovating. Of course, some classics shouldn’t be tampered with, and some duds should never have seen the light of day. Here’s a breakdown of new shows, the best of the old ones and those that ought to go. New: Designer Guys The new hosts all have serious architectural backgrounds and, in addition to more design chops and fewer helmet hairdos, they’ll expand their territory beyond Rosedale mansions and downtown lofts. One of the first episodes is a stylish penthouse suite in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. There’s more of a mix of commercial and residential spaces. If the hosts aren’t as comfortable in front of the camera, let’s chalk it up to inexperience for now. New: Home To Stay As Home To Go’s Peter Fallico’s popularity grows, he and his audience are moving on to the subject of first-time homes. He still brings smart, affordable solutions to design dilemmas for average folks, but now the focus is on more permanent changes, broadening his scope and allowing Fallico and his designers to flex their muscles. Could we have new music? New: Martha Live Post-prison, Martha Stewart’s loosened up and acquired a sense of humour. The hostess with the mostest is debuting an off-the-cuff show. Come on! Normally, I’d take less uptight any day, but this is one expert who I’d prefer kept running a tight ship. Many others deliver near-perfection; pure perfection is about as rare as Stewart’s Beef Wellington. Here To Stay: The Block Touted as a sexy, tough design/reality show/contest, it features four Aussie couples vying to complete a renovation with time, budget and design constraints. The winners, of course, are the pair who’d make the biggest profit on the sale of their unit. Tons of interesting, wacky digressions make for great TV. Okay, it seems a tad unrealistic that all these regular homeowners could be so good-looking, but it sure beats all those mom jeans we’ve come to expect on other shows. Here To Stay: Holmes On Homes This is HGTV’s number-one show, a modernday fairy tale. People love distress, vindication and happy endings. What else can I say? Here To Stay: My Parents House This has built-in therapeutic value along with fun. All those nightmares about your parents’ house can be eradicated in a single show. The draw isn’t just the great redesign, but also the headscratching rooms the producers find. Throw in a feel-good good deed and you’ve got a hit. Ought To Go: The Decorating Challenge The producers must have inventoried every cliché about Canadians (soft-spoken, reserved, annoyingly agreeable, chipper, eh?) and used the list to cast these homeowners. Did we mention that the designs usually incorporate crafts? If I want crafting I’ll try the new Craft Corner Deathmatch. I’m riveted only because I can’t believe this is still on TV.
Ought To Go: Love It Or Lose It There’s camp, and then there’s this show. I’ve yet to see one designer I’d trust with a pack of crayons or one room I’d spend the night in. Where do they find these people? These guys and gals make Frank from Trading Spaces look like a modernist wonder. There’s something about the host that gives me the shivers in a Stepford Wives kind of way. Ought To Go: Real Renos I’ve never figured out what this show or its host, Jim Caruk, is about. There are lots of shots of his truck and his temper, but I’ve never seen a completed renovation. Why watch when there are plenty of reno shows with a beginning, middle and end?
Enjoy the new fall season! I’ll happily respond to comments, suggestions or beefs about my picks. Please send them along to email@example.com.
Meaghan Clark is a Toronto-based freelance writer who writes about design and retail initiatives and spends far too much time researching European shelter magazines.
Heavenly highrise at the Cosmopolitan Hotel courtesy of The Designer Guys.
Comfort, style and luxury in a signature suite.