I had forgotten what a great opportunity for discovery "running the channels" could be. It seems we all check out tvguide.com or some other source, find exactly what we want to watch, and set our DVRs. But that practice is for the shows we know. There are others that have to be found. One of them is "Face Off" on Syfy. Now, I'm a big fan of good science fiction. But I don't find what I consider to be "good" science fiction on the Syfy channel. Instead, we usually get some half-baked thriller called "Mega-Python vs. Gatoroid" starring Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Well, at least teen pop stars from the 80s can still draw a paycheck. But, you get what I'm saying--the original movies on Syfy leave a lot to be desired. Enter a (relatively) new reality series called "Face Off"--it premiered in January 2011.

I had never seen nor heard of it. I just landed on it a couple of Wednesdays ago and couldn't take my eyes off of it. The contestants on "Face Off" are given assignments very creatively.

For example, last night, they were all awakened in the middle of the night, thrown into a van, and driven to a creepy old hospital. When they arrived, they saw, on a wall, a list of phobias--some of which I've never heard of. Each contestant was assigned to choose a phobia and create a horror movie monster inspired by that phobia. Some of the choices were odontophobia (fear of teeth), chryophobia (fear of frost), and ommetophobia (fear of eyes).

The concept is simply ingenious. Another recent episode had the contestants re-imagine characters from "The Wizard of Oz" as if they were characters in a horror movie. Still another had them fashion movie monsters based on sea creatures. THIS is the kind of thoroughly original reality series I can get behind. And I don't know what I anticipate more--learning what the theme will be or the actual finished product itself. You can check the Syfy schedule for airings of re-runs and mini marathons throughout the week, but original episodes of "Face Off" air Wednesday nights at 9 central on Syfy.