Sometimes you just want to watch someone make something cool. For such times, here are three TV shows about people building, crafting, restoring, and/or otherwise working with things.

Blown Away

I could watch people blow glass for hours. Scratch that; I have watched people blow glass for hours. No matter how much I understand how mechanics and chemistry of the process, I still look at people doing this and think “Oh this is sorcery.” They shape molten color into art! That’s so nifty. In this Canadian series, a group of 10 blowers compete each season, with one being eliminated each week until a champion emerges. If you’re prepared to have strong opinions on opposing glass artworks, then check this out.

On Netflix.

LEGO Masters

LEGOs are quite possibly the platonic ideal of a toy. Within the framework of thousands of different pieces are literally endless potential outcomes. It is a vector for pure imagination. LEGO is good. LEGO is life. This is a show entirely about people who have become architectural luminaries among LEGO, competing to build the best structures. I could never have imagined anything like this while playing with my knights and pirates sets as a lad.

On Hulu.

The Repair Shop

Let’s take a break from competition-focused shows for something purely constructive — something you can put on the TV if you simply want to relax in the balm of watching things be cleaned, fixed, polished, brightened, and finished. This British series focuses on a team of skilled artisans who restore antiques. Each episode consists of playing out the incredibly simple formula of “Oh no, look at how beaten up that telescope/toy/chair is! Surely they can’t fix that? No wait, they could! Phew.” It works every time.

On Netflix.

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Dan Schindel is Associate Editor for Documentary at Hyperallergic. He lives and works in New York.


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