Don't get me wrong; I'm beyond happy that the men and women of the Montecito are back, but it's a little bittersweet. While skinny-mini Lara Flynn Boyle is in as the new casino owner, Marsha Thomason is out. I really liked Nessa, despite the fact the show never quite knew what to do with her. Nessa's disappearance into the British version of the witness-protection program isn't the only thing causing some serious frown lines for poor Ed. His entire crew is scattered all over the place: Danny hasn't been hanging around since his dad died; Delinda has been ignoring her pop; Mike's been working as a valet again; Mary's supposedly enjoying life with her cute lawyer boyfriend; and Sam's nowhere to be found. So that leaves Big Ed to handle Boyle's Monica Mancuso by his lonesome. Per Mancuso's orders, Ed has to get Danny to come back to work, leaving his No. 1 guy to reenlist Mike and Sam. Mary and Delinda remain on the outside for the time being anyway.
Thankfully the season premiere has a lot of what I love about the show: A minute into the episode, we spy a shirtless Josh looking so pretty. The new and even more tricked-out Montecito (the original was demolished at the end of last season) is a target of casino-robbing gunmen, so Danny is forced to spring into action. There's already a Cheryl Ladd sighting. And hit country duo Big & Rich, along with their hick-hopster buddy Cowboy Troy, perform for the casino's grand reopening. Let the cheesy guest-star appearances begin! This is why I consider Las Vegas to be the Love Boat of the new millennium. That's a good thing for those of you playing the home game.