Tuesday 9pm, SyFy
SyFy’s cinematic make-up competition returns for Season 3, just a scant five months after it wrapped its solid second outing. Ratings grew dramatically from its premiere season, and continued to increase throughout the second run—you have to strike while the prosthetic is hot. A new crop of make-up artists will tackle challenges ranging from super heroes to cyborgs, Day of the Dead to pirates, and guest judges this time include writer/director Kevin Smith. A cool concept, likable host, and judges who actually know what they’re talking about make this a rare reality treat. Although it isn’t immune to stunt casting: a pair of fraternal twins is in the mix this time.
“American Bible Challenge”
Thursday 8pm, GSN
Given that fried chicken and waffle fries have become a source of religious debate in this country, now is unquestionably the time to launch a Bible-themed quiz show. It’s really not that crazy. Biblical questions are frequently featured on “Jeopardy,” and any “Simpsons” superfan knows that the Flanderses enjoyed vigorous games of “Bombardment” of Bible questions in between breaks for nonfat ice milk (unflavored for Maude!). Jeff Foxworthy, noted redneck comedian and former host of that other essential quiz show, “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?,” handles the emcee duties as Bible scholars from across the country compete to prove they know their Ruth from their Esther.
“America’s Next Top Model”
Friday 8pm, CW
The CW’s now-fatigued former ratings champ is undergoing a major overhaul for cycle 19. First, it’s now on Fridays, which makes sense —“Top Model” appeals to both the tweens and the dateless, who have nothing better to watch. Second, longtime judges/coaches Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel, and Miss J are out, replaced by a crop of fresh-faced newbies (Tyra Banks remains, as does PR maven Kelly Cutrone). And most importantly, the show has embraced social media. The photo shoots for the entire season were released online, and viewer votes were taken into consideration during the judging panels. At least one eliminated contestant was even allowed to re-enter the competition due to popular vote. You’d think this would spoil the progress of the season, but all 13 girls did every shoot (except the one that dropped out—oops!), so we got to see their progress (or lack thereof—sorry, Jessie, with one of the most embarrassing portfolios in “Top Model” history). I’m rooting for Kristin and Leila.