"To acknowledge the obvious, the pottery show has a built-in advantage," says Maureen Ryan. "Competitors in food-based TV contests have to win over judges with tastes and textures the audience can’t experience, while the Pottery Throw Down can show us what its dozen amateur potters have made, with an entertaining and illuminating summary of how they made it. Some versions of kiln firing involve wrapping clay creations in steel wool and banana peels and then placing them in fiery boxes of wood shavings — picture a festive campfire, but instead of marshmallows, handmade statues are roasting. It looks fun! But there are even more reasons the Throw Down, which drops its fifth season on HBO Max Thursday, has won my heart. Each edition takes place in an adorably old-timey former factory in Stoke-on-Trent in the U.K., and the show is produced by the same company that makes every iteration of the Baking Show. Thus it has all the energy and confident polish of those series, and the contestants are usually pretty good — or very good — at what they do."
TOPICS: The Great Pottery Throw Down, HBO Max, Reality TV