Face Off's 13th season, which commences tonight, will be the series finale. The SYFY show has been running since 2011, and for fans who have been with it since the beginning, it's hard to say goodbye.
The series was originally conceived as a sort of science-fiction-meets-Project Runway competition show, but for makeup instead of costumes. The series wound up being was one of SYFY's biggest hits ... but all good things must come to an end.
Let us not mourn the loss of Face Off but celebrate the art and artists it highlighted over the years by looking back at the 12 best looks over the past 12 seasons.
Season 1: Conor & Tom's Elephant Man
Sometimes the simplest concepts are the most effective, as Face Off artists learned on their very first time out in Season 1. Conor McCullagh and Tom Devlin immediately showed the potential the series had just tapped into with their "Elephant," inspired by the idea of the Victorian-era Elephant Man.
The result looked like something from a movie set, with the tusks and miniature trunk perfectly proportioned. Conor taking the win for this design foreshadowed his becoming the first winner of Face Off.
Season 2: Team Women: The Oz Quartet
Group challenges are one of the show's strong suits, but it's a rare line-up in which all the makeups stand tall like this one from Season 2.
In a Guys vs Girls challenge, the women triumphed. Brea and Beki's Wicked Witch took home the top prize, but it could have gone to any one of these.
Season 3: Roy & Rod’s Star Wars Bar Patron
Season 3 brought in a new era for the show, as the artists tackled the biggest franchise challenge to date: a new Star Wars Cantina patron, complete with a guest judge who worked on the prequels.
There were several great designs inspired by this challenge, but the "tiny creature in giant exo-skeleton" was so different than anything done before on the show, it took the win and turned up later on the animated Clone Wars TV series.
Season 4: Anthony & Alam’s Demon
If we're talking the Best Artist of Season 4, then we're talking Anthony Kosar. He was the designer who dominated as no artist had done before, with the most wins in a single season. My personal favorite of his was from the demon challenge, where he collaborated with Alam. I love how specific a design she is. This was Anthony's fourth win in a row, and no one could argue it wasn't well-deserved.
Season 5: Lyma’s Earth Mother Goddess
Season 5 was frustrating because it pitted "Vets vs Rookies" and the judges favored the Vets. Rookie Lyma could've had a good run had she been on another season. As it is, the best look from any newbie was this one.
The choice to go with a pregnant silhouette was gutsy. No one else had the nerve. Sadly, she didn't win for this character (veteran Laura Tyler won the week), but it was the week's most memorable creation.
Season 6: Graham’s Snozzwanger
In Season 6, the focus was on horror, with the selected artists favoring this style of design. The few whimsical themes were some of the toughest for the artists to handle, like Willy Wonka Week.
I called Graham's look "Nightmare Babar," but in terms of British humor and whimsy, this was the standout. Tragically it didn't win, but it’s still my favorite of the entire season.
Season 7: Dina’s Goblin Band Geek
This Season 7 challenge was one of the best ideas the show ever had: Magical Creatures in High School. I love the idea as much as I love Dina's freshman goblin band geek with zits, greasy hair and, of course, the Harry Potter glasses.
You can't see them in this shot, but during the close-up examination, judge Lois pointed out Dina gave the poor thing braces, too. Too bad she didn't take the win for it.
Season 8: Emily’s Queen of Hearts
The eighth season was a bit of an outlier with coaches and teams, much like The Voice. The gimmick only lasted the one season, but the results were interesting.
Team Laura had Emily. She was the youngest artist ever, but her ideas — like this one where she used the real shape of the human heart for the Queen of Hearts, instead of the clichéd heart symbol — were genius. She took the win for this one.
Season 9: Nora & Jasmine’s Gatekeeper
Sometimes ignoring the inspiration is the only way to go. Nora and Jasmine were given a Moorish Architecture door for their Gatekeeper challenge, which they ignored with gusto. Instead, they came up with one of the prettiest alien beauty makeups of the entire season, inspired more by the desert sands than the door. Their comic-book beast was hilarious too.
Season 10: Rob’s Genie
Rob's genie was spectacular both in concept and in execution. He even managed to make his genie green without going cartoonish, aiming for a copper patina shade.
The "lamp handle" ears are both hilarious and on point (the inspiration was Angor Wat). Even the tile applications work, even if they're clumsy. He should have taken the win for this.
Season 11: Emily’s Art Deco Gargoyle
For Season 11 All-Stars, Emily returned unfettered by coaches and a couple years older. She took five wins over the season, with this, her semi-final Gargoyle, as number 5.
It might be slightly more art nouveau, but no one could argue the execution, which literally looks like it belongs on a Manhattan building from the 1930s era.
Season 12: Team Twisted Six Effects Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
Last season was the outlier "Teams" season, in which artists worked as two competing FX shops (expect when members switched, like in this episode.)
The judges didn't pick a winning shop this week because everyone had highs and lows, but my preference was Twisted Six's Spring, Summer and Fall. Winter was a disaster and Joseph went home, but Winter on the other side wasn't much better. Maybe we just need three seasons anyway.