The judges will critique the creature designs that the contestants make where the featured puppeteers will perform the creatures on the Henson Sound Stage. The contestants wait in the screening room for the verdict and the least worthy contestant will be eliminated by Brian Henson. The winner gets prize money and a contract to work with Jim Henson's Creature Shop for a combined total of $100,000.
Chaz Vance – Special-effects and entertainment designer from West Falls, New York. He was eliminated in episode one when the sea creature he and Robert created wasn't realistic enough and the head of the sea creature that Chaz made reminded Kirk Thatcher of H.R. Pufnstuf.
Tina Roland – Freelance effects artist from Hollywood, California. She was eliminated in episode two because the arms she made for her group's Skeksis didn't have much action in them.
Josh Smith – Creature costumer and prop builder from Minot, North Dakota. He forfeited the contest in episode three because it would be difficult to be with his family and work at Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
Ivonne Escoto – Freelance special-effects artist from Los Angeles, California. She was eliminated in episode four because her hunting trophy character was classified as unfinished by Brian Henson due to the time limit. She returned in episode eight to help Robert take the win.
Lex Rudd – Puppet and creature costume-maker from Guerneville, California. She was eliminated in episode five because the legs she made for her creature weren't realistic enough in the creature's movement.
Russ Adams – Special-effects artist and creature creator from Ogden, Utah. He was eliminated in episode six because his swamp creature wasn't camouflaged enough and its paint job didn't belong comfortably. He later returned in episode eight to help Robert take the win.
Creature Brief: John Criswell mentors the Creature Designers when they create a creature made from the junk that was in Apex Electronics. The creatures in question have been hiding in junk for so long that they have become one with the junk. They are also provided with a cage for the creature to be in where they are trying to escape. Alice Dinnean, Artie Esposito, Sean Johnson, Drew Massey, Michael Oosterom, and Victor Yerrid are the featured puppeteers.
Creature Brief: Peter Brooke mentors the Creature Designers when they create a fantasy creature that has been slain and returns to life as a hunting trophy mounted on the wall at the Wizard's Mansion. The slain fantasy creature must be made from an animal foam mold which will be given to the Mold Makers to have the molds made for the slain creature. The project must include puppetry with some mechanisms in it which must be performed on the Wizard's Mansion set with the hunting trophy explaining how it ended up in this fate. Donald Faison appears in the episode where he plays the Wizard who interviews each hunting trophy in his possession. Julianne Buescher, Alice Dinnean, Artie Esposito, Drew Massey, Michelan Sisti, Colleen Smith, and Victor Yerrid are the featured puppeteers.
Creature Brief: After the Creature Designers have seen the large-scale Unicorn puppet that was used in one of Lady Gaga's tours, John Criswell mentors the Creature Designers where they create a large-scale believable creature that has real movement while running their ideas with teams' appointed puppeteers. They will also use UV paint to make it glow in the dark as part of a way to bring it to life in the dark. The large-scale creatures will be performed in the black light room. Alice Dinnean, Nameer El-Kadi, and Drew Massey are the featured puppeteers.
Creature Brief: Upon the Creature Designers seeing the development of the swamp set, Julie Zobel mentors the Creature Creators where they create a swamp creature that can camouflage itself into its surroundings until they reveal themselves to eat some "Scramp Scrats". While the lighting crew and art department finishes up the swamp set, the Creature Designers must also include some mechanism in their creatures. Neville Page appears as a guest judge. Artie Esposito, Sean Johnson, Drew Massey, Michael Oosterom, and Michelan Sisti are the featured puppeteers.
He is the last of his kind due to a deadly virus that has affected him as well. He carries an embryo in his lantern in order to restore his future race and to keep it from getting exposed to the same virus.
Lex and Chaz
He has the Elixir of Life which enables anyone to live for 100 years until the character gives up to another character before it absorbs their lifeforce.
Ivonne and Russ
He comes from the treacherous foothill of the Dark Mountains. He carries a little chest containing a crystal ball where he must find the person that can gain control of its power before it destroys his kind.
Airdate: May 13, 2014
Creature Brief: After seeing Brian Henson in his office one-by-one, the final three receiving help from the eliminated contestants (sans Josh) as they face their toughest challenge which is to design, build, and perform a full-bodied mystical creature that meets other creatures at a tavern at the mystical crossroads to tell their stories. They also have to make some props associated with their creature and also perform some special effect. Peter Brooke, Julie Zobel, and John Criswell mentors each of the teams. Lisa Henson appears in the audience with the mentors, family members, and members of The Jim Henson Company. Alice Dinnean, Drew Massey, Michael Oosterom, Michelan Sisti, Allan Trautman, and Victor Yerrid are the featured puppeteers.
In a review of the series' premiere episode, Newsday rated it with an A-, saying: "We don't just watch art being made, we come to understand the process." Entertainment Weekly awarded it an "A" rating, calling it "Wildly refreshing…" and saying "...you've never seen a reality show like this." While TV Guide's Matt Roush complained the series often felt like a copy of Face Off, he concluded: "What Creature Shop may lack in originality it makes up for in creative energy. The climactic "Screen Test" reveals are fun to watch, and the critiques are smartly constructive."
Upon its premiere on March 25, 2014, Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge became Syfy's highest-rated unscripted premiere among Adults 25-54 since July 2013. During the premiere broadcast, the series averaged 1.12 million total viewers, excluding DVR viewing. Proving especially strong among female demographics, the series was Syfy's highest-rated Tuesday night reality premiere ever among Women 25-54.