Ever since Project Runway made the move from New York to L.A. — and to Lifetime — fans increasingly have grumbled about the reality competition show. While the Season 6 premiere brought in record ratings for the women-oriented cable channel, it has lost nearly a million viewers, leaving 3.2 million watching the Oct. 29 episode. (The season ends Thursday, Nov. 19, at 10/9c.)
Maybe Season 7 will reinvigorate the series as it returns to the Big Apple; in the meantime, the main complaints:
1. Musical [Judging] Chairs
Half of what made the runway so fun was that the staple judges — Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and Heidi Klum — were present each week, offering up zinger after zinger during their critiques. (Who can forget Kors' "pope in a sex club" line?) Not only do we enjoy their snarky remarks, but it's far more fair for the designers to have consistent judges who can get a feel for their point of view. This season, the only reliable judge on the panel is Heidi. Nina has been MIA a few times. And Michael Kors ... well, let's just say we hope Lifetime didn't pay him in advance for a full season of work, only to have him show his orange-tinted face a handful of times.
2. Cranky Tim
Tim Gunn always will be our beloved Papa Bear of Design, but his personality seems to have changed this season. He may be saying "Make it work," but you can really tell from the way he critiques the designers that he's exasperated and bitter. Perhaps because they made him wear flip-flops in a surfing-themed episode?
If we could pick one word to describe this season's personalities, it would be "meh." While the designers may be lovely, friendly people, that doesn't mean they make for good television. We want villains such as Santino Rice, Wendy Pepper and Kenley Collins. And how about someone to root for like Chris March, Christian Siriano or Daniel Vosovic? Chances are slim we'll remember anyone's names a week after this season's finale is over (except maybe "Meana" Irina, but only because it rhymes).
4. Runway Snoozefests
Granted, there have been a few out-of-the-box designs this season. But more often than not, the runway shows have been safe and boring. Whether it was the designers' fault or the lackluster challenges is debatable, but so many of their creations were something you could find at any department store. Even the Bob Mackie challenge was a bust. We want pizzazz! We want striking! We want "Letha" Stella!
5. Recycled Challenges
After six cycles of a show, the same challenges tend to get a bit stale (even when past seasons' challenges are tweaked and the producers try to pass them off as something fresh and new). Season 6 had a whole new setting in L.A.; yet, the red-carpet challenge was the same, and though the surf-inspired one had potential, it became a knock-off of a nature-inspired challenge. Recycling is good for the environment, not for reality TV.
What do you think? Has Runway jumped the shark this season? Do you think it will be better come Season 7 in NYC?