A person in possession of just six Lego bricks can create almost a billion different combinations. So when you consider the second season of Fox’s reality competition show Lego Masters gives the contestants 5 million bricks to choose from, the scope and variation of the creations becomes almost unfathomable. “There are so many wonderfully, absurdly fun things that we’re asking people to do that you can’t help but get excited by the possibilities,” judge Jamie Berard told Gizmodo.
Berard, along with fellow judge Amy Corbett, hopped on a video call from Denmark last week to discuss the show’s second season with us, which premieres tonight on Fox. Hosted by Lego Batman himself, Will Arnett, Lego Masters is a reality competition series that pits teams of two in elaborate building challenges with regular eliminations until one team is crowned Lego Masters. The show began in the UK in 2018 and has since been recreated in several different countries. Season one of the U.S. version debuted early last year and season two shot a few months ago under strict covid-19 safety protocols. “We just wanted it to feel like this was a break for the audience from covid,” Corbett said. “When Jamie and I were on camera and with the contestants, we felt really like we could step away from covid and we were super safe in our little bubble on camera.” Berard added that “In some ways it was a gift to us because we had that little island of creativity and safe space. We almost didn’t want to go offstage.”
Even when they do go offstage, Corbett and Berard live and breathe Lego. Each one is Senior Design Manager at the Lego Company itself, with Corbett currently acting as design lead on Lego Dots, and Berard overseeing several adult Lego brands like Lego Architecture and Lego Ideas, among others. Then they’re also judges on Lego Masters, which only works to reinvigorate their love of the brand. “Later in the season there’s at least one challenge that it was so enjoyable for me as a builder to see how many ways people solved the same problem,” Berard said. “And that’s when you get excited because even if you’ve seen other builders, or you’ve done this your whole life, to be able to have such talented people come up with so many ways of solving stuff that’s inspiring.”
It’s good that there are moments like that because shooting the show is not easy. Challenges can sometimes last well over 12 hours, and that’s not even counting the setup, judging, and elimination. “They’re long days,” Corbett said. “What you don’t see on camera is how much Jamie and I are watching the teams from behind the scenes because we love seeing their thought process [about] what they’re building.”
Not just anyone can be a contestant on Lego Masters. So many of us love Lego (so much so they put together a giant Millennium Falcon on video) but it takes a whole other skill set to do what the contestants on this show do. They’re basically given a rather broad task and then have to come up with the most beautiful, elaborate creation to showcase, and make sure it’s better than all the other contestants. There’s a reason they’re given half a day to complete this task — they should need all that time. To that end, Corbett and Berard revealed that the casting process requires portfolios and an audition process that sounds a bit like a mini version of the show itself, with potential contestants asked to do simpler challenges.
Season two takes that to another level, though; this time, all the contestants had watched the first season, studied the challenges, and were much better prepared. “I definitely would say that they trained in the off season,” Berard said. “They knew what they were getting into.” Corbett and Berard believe they evolved this season too. “We learned to be a bit sharper in the words we were using,” Berard said. “Meaning we found that it’s our nature to … explain too much and for the television format, it’s actually quite nice to be able to, as best you can, sum it up in a few words so that people can understand it.” Basically, he feels with more direct clarity, viewers will better comprehend why the winning builds are so good, and why the people eliminated are going home. “[Also] I think we just had fun,” Corbett added. “We were a lot more relaxed. We knew what we were doing. We felt at home.”
The judges didn’t want to spoil anything specific about what’s to come in season two, though they did ‘fess up to there being more explosions and strength challenges, which happened last season. One thing they were OK teasing is some sort of fashion challenge. “To see Lego bricks associated in a fashion way and builders have to create something that is part of the fashion world [is a] super exciting and fun challenge that we love,” Corbett said. “When else would you ever do that?” Berard added. “You’re going to really enjoy seeing not only amazing builds [in the fashion challenge], but it’s a great chance to see personality from all the people involved with the show. I think it really is going to be a fun one.”
It sounds like the same can be said about the second season as a whole too.