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Should You Watch Project Runway Season Seven?

Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Heidi Klum, Project Runway Barbara Nitke, Lifetime Television

After last season's supremely lackluster Project Runway outing, should you commit to another installment of the Lifetime reality series, or is it time to take it off your TiVo? (Perhaps it's just impossible to live up to the likes of Christian Siriano?)

We've seen the premiere episode of season seven, airing this coming Thursday, Jan. 14 at 10 p.m., and here's what we can tell you about what's hot and what's not about the latest Runway...

The good news is... The show has returned to New York, thank god. The skyscraper canyons and the vibrant green allées of Central Park are the perfect exterior backdrop for the fashion series. Shooting in industrial areas of downtown Los Angeles last season totally dragged down the show's visual appeal. The return to New York City has restored Runway's necessary look and feel.

The bad news is... The show's interiors could use a refresh. Everything from the series logo to workrooms to the dullsville runway set seems tired and wan. Obviously the clothes and the characters are meant to be the visual highlights of the show, but the backdrops are stale and should be replaced.

The good news is... The crazies have returned! Project Runway works best when half the designers are bat-guano crazy out of their minds. This season is not stocked with as many nutters as we were hoping to see, but at least there's Ping Wu, who is a physical therapist when she's not designing eclectic, high-impact pieces that make her models look like heritage-breed roosters.

The bad news is... High-larious Anthony Williams, who comes from Birmingham, Ala., and says that being being black, gay and from the ghetto is nobody's idea of a good time, might not be a strong enough designer to last us through the whole season. He's hilarious, but he can't provide the laugh track all by himself. Pray that there are more comedians in the cast than are evident in the premiere.

The good news is... Nina Garcia and Michael Kors are back, and thank god. Their frequent absences last season were a total bummer. The show can recruit the greatest, most famousest guest judges in the world, but no temporary visitor can be counted upon to match the entertainment value of Kors' witty clowning or Garcia's shrewd criticism. We need their consistent, clear voices on the show.

Overall, the season-seven premiere of Project Runway made us cautiously optimistic about the episodes to come, but it was no home run. The show seems to be running on autopilot, which risks putting viewers to sleep. Experiments meant to freshen up the series, such as the move to another city and the copious application of guest judges, have largely not worked. We're willing to give Lifetime's take on Project Runway one more chance, mostly for the sake of Nina, Michael, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, but the show is otherwise very much on probation.

Are you interested in more Project Runway? Do you think the move to Lifetime was a mistake, or were last season's doldrums just a fluke?

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