To be fair, some of us (read: me) might not think that a show about competitive flower arranging could possibly even be entertaining, let alone great. Thankfully, Netflix's The Big Flower Fight is here to prove us all (read: me, again) wrong.
The reality competition is basically The Great British Baking Show, if the Baking Show were about building gigantic insects dresses and fairytale creatures out of beautiful blooms, rather than making a proper Victoria sponge and baking fruit-filled breads. As someone who personally struggles with keeping the lone orchid in our house alive, the entire concept of this show is honestly incredible to me. And watching these contestants fill giant wire frames with moss, stuff them with beautiful flowers and build complex portable irrigation systems to keep them alive feels like magic.
The basic gist of Flower Fight is this: There are ten teams of two, and the get just a single day (usually more like 15 hours) to craft a gigantic, extravagent flower sculpture based on various themes. These run the gamut from "sea creatures" to "green giants" and "edible thrones," but all involve a hell-for-leather dash through the show's extensive Flower Shop, where it's always first come, first served.
One team is named "Best in Bloom" each week, while the worst performer at a particular challenge is sent to the proverbial compost heap in the sky. The ultimate winner will receieve a remarkable prize: The chance to build a sculpture to be displayed at London’s world-famous Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.
This show is stunning and soothing by turns, the sort of low-stakes reality competition in which you can become freely invested, knowing that everyone involved will basically walk away a winner, even if it's only of our hearts. In short: Flower Fight is perfect quarantine programming. it's filmed in the oh-so-English wilds of Kent, in a giant futuristic dome that's so packed with tools, florals and goodies that someone jokingly refers to as a TARDIS. Everything is overflowing with beauty and kindness - even the least successful contestants are merely called "basic" or informed that their designs "don't stand out."
Like many reality series of this ilk, the "competition" of the Flower Fight isn't exactly cutthroat. Every pair of contestants is charming and friendly, and they each have their own stories and backgrounds to share. The skill level on the show fluctuates wildly - some of the competitors are professional florists, some are home gardeners, and some are still college students who took a floristry class, like, one time. One of favorite pairs is the duo who have literally never worked with flowers before in their lives - one is a DJ and one is an artist who works with a variety of materials that are distinctly not floral. And yet they make stunning creations, though to be honest I kind of have no idea how.
The series is co-hosted by comedians Natasia Demetriou and Vic Reeves, but it's judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht who repeatedly steals the show with his sharp suits and emotional reactions to the contestants' efforts.
Honestly, my only complaint is that I wish the show spent a bit more time explaining how these amazing creations are made. I can't even name most of these flowers, let alone figure out how to make a sculpture out of them, and while Flower Fight tells me a bit about both of these things, it doesn't always dig into the level of detail that I would like, particularly in its earlier episode when there are more contestants than screentime to go around. That said, there's tons to enjoy about this show, and even if you just end up staring at beautiful flowes for forty minutes an episode, it's generally time well spent.
The Big Flower Fight's first season is now available to stream in full on Netflix.