The best SYTYCD dances and a “Rumble on the [Project] Runway” both air next week

It’s time for Past Forward: what happened last week, and what to watch on TV next week, which is kind of slow as we wait for the blast of fall shows to arrive.

The Past

The Forward

  • Sunday
    After a slow weekend, we’ll find out what the insane, crazy, creative, or just lame new twist is on Big Brother [CBS, 8 p.m., unless Andy Rooney pushes it back], while Tool Academy [VH1, 9 p.m.] returns for a second season, and although I didn’t watch the first, I heard good things from people who don’t have pureed brains, so I might give it a shot. On The Human Family Tree [National Geographic Channel, 9 p.m.], scientists test the DNA of people in Queens, New York, to trace our common ancestors–which the network did for TV critics this summer, having us swab our cheek cells to find out who we came from and add our data to The Genographic Project. Finally, Design Star [HGTV, 10 p.m.] continues to be great television, although I swear I get more frustrated every week with the stupid judging. Just let us hear the judges discuss the designers by name! Dammit.
  • Monday
    Surprise hit Dance Your Ass Off [Oxygen, 10 p.m.] ends its season with a 75-minute finale, although a reunion will follow a week later.
  • Tuesday
    Tonight HBO rebroadcasts its documentary about Ted Kennedy, Teddy: In His Own Words [HBO, 7 p.m., and On Demand]. The first 10 acts in the top 20 perform on America’s Got Talent [NBC, 9 p.m.], which, yes, is still on the air. I’m enjoying Flipping Out [Bravo, 10 p.m.], but Jeff Lewis hasn’t really flipped out yet. The preview suggests someone quits tonight, perhaps his new assistant, who I’m not very fond of anyway, so I’m hoping for fireworks.
  • Wednesday
    Get your friends who’ve never watched So You Think You Can Dance, those people who think American Idol is a talent showcase, and get them to watch to tune in to the hour-long “best-of” special [Fox, 8 p.m.], that will show the past five season’s best dances. Top Chef Las Vegas [Bravo, 10 p.m.] is still one of my favorite shows, but it’s testing my patience by force-feeding us the brother storyline, never mind the gimmicky crap. Just cook.
  • Thursday
    Tim Gunn has teased a dramatic, controversial episode of Project Runway [Lifetime, 10 p.m.], and tonight’s episode is titled “Rumble on the Runway.” Will there be a fight, or are they making clothes for wrestlers?

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.