“You’re either in, or you’re out.” In addition to cranking out catchphrases, Heidi Klum has kept her infectious runway reality show going for nearly a decade. Project Runway (9 p.m. Thursdays, Lifetime) pits designers against each other as they create ensembles (often of a particular theme or material) to be shown on the catwalk and judged by big names in fashion. Judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia join Klum each week with a special guest judge to critique the designers’ final products. In the end, just a few get to showcase at Fashion Week in New York City. Style maven Tim Gunn, the designers’ mentor, is the adorable, quotable cherry on the cake.
Project Runway is one of the few competition programs that features realistic budget and time constraints and truly showcases real talent. Even if you’re not particularly fascinated by clothing, it’s entertaining to watch the designers construct functional, wearable art — or not — week to week.
This is a reality show, though, so expect plenty of strong personalities, designer drama and lots of people who “didn’t come here to make friends.” Also, the show begs for an accompanying drinking game.
Now for the juicy stuff — my favorites so far from Season 10:
Gunnar Deatherage – 22, Louisville, Ky. What this baby of the group lacks in age, he makes up for in bitchy sass. And he turns out some pretty on-trend looks.
Kooan Kosuke – 30, Himeji, Japan. It’s hard to tell how long Gwen Stefani’s long-lost Harajuku Girl will be able to stay in the competition with those cartoonish, cracked-out costumes, but he is a great source of LOLs.
Ven Budhu – 28, Kew Gardens, N.Y. Calm, cool and uber-talented, he reminds me of Rami with his impeccably flattering, gorgeous designs.
Andrea Katz – 58, Manhattan, N.Y
Fabio Costa – 29, Brooklyn, N.Y. He might dress himself in rags and eat out of the dumpster, but this self-proclaimed “freegan” has created some interesting looks.
Melissa Fleis -– 31, San Francisco. This gothed-out Cali chick deals almost exclusively with the color black, which may become a problem, but she’s nailed it every time so far.
In this week’s episode, the designers create Emmy red carpet ensembles for past contestants including Kenley and Anya.
WEDNESDAY AUG. 1
Top Chef Masters (10 p.m., Bravo) – The chefs cater a wedding reception.
THURSDAY AUG. 2
Wilfred (10 p.m., FX) – A “sticky encounter” forces Wilfred and Ryan to avoid each other, jeopardizing their friendship.
The Real L Word (10 p.m., Showtime) – Whitney and Sara travel to San Jose, Calif. to announce their engagement to Sara’s conservative family. Meanwhile, Lauren and Amanda fly to New York and meet the Hunter Valentine chicks.
Louie (10:30 p.m., FX) – Louie meets an old comedian and is then put in charge of an irksome boy who is allergic to everything.
FRIDAY AUG. 3
Comedy Bang! Bang! (10 p.m., IFC) – Adam Scott reveals his workout tips and plays “What Are They Eating?” Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (Paul F. Tompkins) plugs his latest musical theater project.
SATURDAY AUG. 4
Kevin Nealon: Whelmed but Not Overly (10:30 p.m., Showtime) – The Saturday Night Live alum, now known as Doug on Weeds, presents a new stand-up special.
SUNDAY AUG. 5
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Vampires and anti-supes respectively begin to take control of Bon Temps and beyond; Bill and Salome get cozy; Steve Newlin gets a new pet!
The Newsroom (10 p.m., HBO) – It’s May 1, 2011, News Night’s first anniversary, and Charlie gets an anonymous tip about an upcoming televised address by Obama. Any guesses?
Breaking Bad (10 p.m., AMC) – It’s been five seasons, but only one year has passed since the show’s premiere episode. Walt turns 51, complete with a birthday breakfast scene.
Weeds (10 p.m., Showtime) – Nancy tries to get a real job; Silas gets himself in a Magic Mike situation when he tries to recover his stolen plants; Jill discover she’s pregnant.
Small Town Security (11 p.m., AMC) – Is anyone else totally captivated by this mess? Irwin Koplan’s hair is like a mood ring! This week, Christa considers becoming a private investigator.
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