Lifetime tries again to find Project Runway’s soul

After the limp and unmemorable sixth season of Project Runway that concluded last fall, Lifetime tries again. Season six proved Lifetime and Bunim-Murray can get the look and feel down, but can they find the show’s soul, the part that makes it more than just a visual experience?

For the first time in its history, the designers, their creations, and Tim Gunn will be shot and broadcast in high definition. But HD won’t mean much if the 16 designers don’t bring talent and personality, and the challenges don’t challenge them, and the judges–Michael and Nina judge the whole season–don’t just seem to be going through the motions.

Marketing for the new season seems to be along the lines of, “Oops! Screwed that one up. But now we’re back, baby!” It emphasizes the return to New York, which is definitely one step in the right direction. In one promo, the announcer says the new season has “unprecedented talent, unthinkable challenges, and the most memorable designers we’ve ever met.” At least the bar wasn’t set too high by last season.

The marketing isn’t above lying a little, either. In a promo about Michael Kors return, the YouTube video’s description says, “You’ve asked for it and we’ve listened, Michael Kors is back for every episode.” That suggests viewer response to his absence last season brought him back, but in reality, season seven filmed before anyone watched season six. Nice try.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.