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Fall TV 2010: My Review of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts

With the new fall season starting, new TV is bring us the good, the bad, and the mediocre, but how do you sort out the good and the bad? Here is what to watch this fall, so you can see the best new friendships, new loves, new action, and new heart. Now, first the Emmy-winning mothership, then the successful Masters addition, now its all about the sweets…

What Bravo Says:

You may get a sugar high from Bravo’s sweetest new series, “Top Chef Just Desserts” – a spin-off of the 2010 Primetime Emmy-nominated and James Beard Award-winning “Top Chef,” premiering Wednesday, September 15 at 11 p.m. ET/PT, and moving into its regular timeslot of 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22. These chefs can have their cake and make it too as the main focus of this competition is the Achilles heel of most chefs: desserts. This time the pastry chefs will see if they have what it takes to out flambe, out frost and out fudge the competition. Gail Simmons, a series judge on “Top Chef” for the past seven seasons, takes on the hosting duties of this highly competitive series showcasing the best of the best in the world of pastry arts. Joining the judges’ panel as head judge is Johnny Iuzzini, one of the country’s most celebrated and innovative pastry chefs and Executive Pastry Chef at Restaurant Jean Georges. Hubert Keller, critically acclaimed chef as well as guest judge on “Top Chef” and finalist on “Top Chef Masters,” and Dannielle Kyrillos, entertaining expert and DailyCandy Editor-at-Large will also serve as regular judges for the series.

Tune In: I think we can all admit that this past season of Top Chef has been anything less than stellar, but I think we can also agree that it was so nice to see the original, innovative food competition, win the reality Emmy. Now, after the successful spin-off, Bravo and Magical Elves are doing it again, this time using a familiar face and format. Gail Simmons host the all-sweets addition of Top Chef, and after seeing the premiere episode in which we meet the chefs and delving right in, I can say bring it on.

If the premiere is any indication, this season will have what the last season of Top Chef lacked, competition, personalities, and great food. I made the mistake of watching while hungary, and never, never, do that. Magical creations are made in the kitchens, and I hope they just keep on coming.

Watch, Record, Skip: If you like the original, you will sure to be a fan of this cycle and uses the familiar format in a colorful way. Top Chef: Just Desserts premieres tonight after the finale of Top Chef at 11/10c, but catch it in its regular time Wednesdays at 10/9c the following week.

Top Chef: DC + Work of Art = Genius?

Ok. So we all know Top Chef is great right? Right? Top Chef is easily one of the best produced and oddly engaging reality competition ever, and it is back tonight at a new time 9/8c in the nation’s capitol. Top Chef will still keep the same format of 17 chefs but will use its local and figures VERY prominently plus Eric Ripert, a recurring guest judge will take over for Toby Smith’s regular spot this year. Eric and Gail Simmons (who is hosting the new spin-off Top Chef: Just Desserts airing after this cycle) will be joined of course by Tom and Padma, and a guest judge most weeks.

Airing after Top Chef, is a surprise. Last week, Bravo premiered Work of Art: The Search for the Next Great Artist, from producer and on-and-off again appearance maker Sarah Jessica Parker. I had not heard much about Work of Art but when I tuned in last week I was very shocked to find a genuinely intelligent and interesting reality competition that will pair great with the foodie version. Work of Art takes artists from many backgrounds and puts them through challenges that tests their creatively and ultimately one will become the next great artist. The series host China Chow does a fine job in mixing the fun with the series and actually look interested in the art instead of just being a host.

If you tune in which you should to Top Chef: DC, do me a favor and check out Work of Art, you will not mind it one bit. The pair starts at 9/8c on Bravo!

First Look Review of Top Chef Masters and More….

There is some new and exciting television on tonight and most notably…

Top Chef Masters – The super all-star spin-off of the original delicacy is just as good and new in every way and after a very successful first cycle Kelly Choi (left) and the crew return for season 2. The premiere airs at a special time 11/10c on Bravo, and moves to its regular spot at 10/9c next week. The format has changed slighty to six chefs competing in the preliminary weeks to speed up the process and get to the eight chef final.

The premiere episode which I was able to see just reminded me why we need to Top Chef on each and every week. The pacing, the personalities, and the food. The first hour includes a return of one of my favorite quick-fires as well as a lovely elimination challenge involving love and pairs. All of the fine judges are back including Gael Greene, James Oseland, and Jay Raynor, plus Gail Simmons is back as a full time judge this year. However, I am most excited about an episode coming up soon when the cast of Modern Family comes to judge. Love and Love. Top Chef Masters returns tonight on Bravo at 11/10c!

Also on tonight,

Criminal Minds – 9/8c on CBS I don’t watch Criminal Minds but tonight I will be turning it for one reason, the prospect of a new show. Tonight’s episode is a backdoor pilot that will follow a new BAU team headed by Forest Whitaker. Also in the new cast, Beau Garrett and Matt Smith. I have read the script for this episode and it has a strong case that hits home with Forest’s character.

What I Will Be Watching – Monday, March 29th, 2010

Some great TV on in this start of the late winter week….

Chuck – 8/7c on NBC So who was Sarah’s red test? Will Casey come back in the fold? When is Shaw going to leave? Those are some of my questions going into Chuck vs. the American Hero. Chuck for me is really getting in a grove during this middle half of the season. Tonight, Chuck gets to pick who he takes on this mission, and his friends want him back.

Kell on Earth – 10/9c on Bravo How will Bravo exist without Kelly Cutrone now? Kell on Earth has now quickly become a Bravo staple for me, and the whole People’s Revolution crew is awesome. Skinner, Grace, Andrew, Robyn, and more, who couldn’t love this dysfunctional crew. Tonight is the finale as Kelly gets some sad news. Good news though, look for a lot more Kelly with Whitney and Roxy on MTV’s The City, next month.

Castle – 10/9c on ABC “Boom!” time. The second part of the Dana Delany two-parter airs after DWTS tonight and we will get the answer to the awesome cliffhanger that was Beckett’s building blowing up. Of course, she survives I do believe, but how and what will happen next? I’m excited!

Damages – 10/9c on FX  Is anybody watching Damages? From the ratings, it does not look like it. Tonight’s episode however really tests the story as Patty almost loses the Tobin’s case unless she gets some information as Ellen gets in hot water at the DA’s office. The episode end however is absolutely fantastic, and also look for more information on Winstone’s back story.

The Drama! Real Housewives of New York City is Back!

Drama, drama, drama, and I love it. I watch a lot of Bravo thanks to its wonderful programming of shows like Top Chef and Kell on Earth but its signature series of the Real Housewives is now on year-round it seems. My favorite cycle is that of New York and the wives return tonight at 11/10c (regular time next week at 10/9c) with more drama than ever before. The premiere episode is cramazing! The best episode of the series to date and it features make ups, break ups, fights, loves, and a naked housewife. That’s right it is amazing and if you are at all a fan of the series check out this new year.

My favorite of the crew is probably the Countess or Jill, with Ramona being the one I wish was not part of the crew along with returning Kelly, after her scandal, more likable Alex, and Bethenny who will be departing to her own series soon. She has new love and has to flaunt it every moment, but I love her for it. Below check out what is to come this year as the series airs tonight at 11/10c on Bravo!

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Reminder: Kell on Earth on Bravo

I just wanted to interrupt my vacation for a must see show that is coming to Bravo. Kelly Cutrone is awesome and you may know her as Lauren’s boss on The Hills, Whitney’s mentor on The City, and a bunch of other places, and she is now where she is meant to be. On her own show! Kell on Earth chronicles her life in New York City, and picks up just as Fashion Week is starting. The premiere which airs tonight at 10/9c, features tons of mayhem and more with her clients and staff most notably, her awesome skirt wearing assistant Andrew. This just fun, docu-soap drama, that you know you want to watch!

Kell on Earth, airs Mondays at 10/9c on Bravo beginning tonight.

This Week in Review!

Here is my thoughts on everything I watched this week, some short, some long, and some spoilers so be aware. What do you think on them all?

THE VAMPIRE DIARIESHow I Met Your Mother: Barney and Robin have been a highlight of all the episodes so far this season which has overall being pretty good. This week was episodes was one of the best of the year even though it marked the end of Barney and Robin. Alan Thicke was great in a fun cameo too.

Lie to Me: Can I just want to say I want Alicia Coppola on a show now. I loved her in Jericho and she was great as Agent Reynolds pal in this week Reynolds-centric outing. I have seen next week’s very much relevant episode on Black Friday and it is one of the best of the show.

So You Think You Can Dance: When the season started and they had that fantastic showcase show I thought this year would be outstanding, so far this year, so not. Nobody is wowing me except for maybe Jakob who is just so fun and brilliant. I still love Mollee and Nathan even though the performance was cringe-worthy.

V: V is my favorite new show this year. It is so epic in its feel and just fun to watch. Elizabeth Mitchell and Joel Gretsch are a perfect pair, and it was great to see Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica) as a FBI friend of Erica or is she. Plus any show with Alan Tudyk is a win in my book. The one area the show lacks though is in the teenagers, better dialogue and story is needed or the ratings could just go down even further.

Melrose Place: Heather Locklear we need you know. Just a million viewers is pathetic for what is a pretty fun soapy drama, next week is the week. Amanda is back and will it help, I hope so.

The Good Wife: I would watch The Good Wife just for the judges alone who have all been great in the series and next week Peter Riegert comes to the panel, love him. This week presented a nice dilemma with a lawyer/non lawyer for Alicia and the story with the son keeps me interested in her personal life.

New Adventures of Old Christine: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is funny. Really funny. This cast is really fun which it turn makes me laugh so much.

Top Chef: She is gone and I am a little sad. Robin who should have been voted off in Week 1 finally had to pack her knives and somehow I don’t think the show will be as great just because of not as much drama. However, Nigella Lawson was the perfect judge. Opinionated, funny, and adorable, I wouldn’t mind her being on each week.

FlashForward: Like I have said before the show is not bad, the story is interesting and gets better when Rocky Jay shows up but the writing is not good, and that combined with the TERRIBLE acting of Joe Finnes overshadows any good performances by Christine Woods or John Cho. The show needs to get better soon with more episodes like last week’s fantastic “The Gift.”

Survivor: Best season EVER? With episodes like the last two with brilliant blindsides, I think so. Russell is one of the best contestants ever. Love this show.

Parks and Recreation: I love this show too. By far the funniest show on NBC and the second best comedy on air behind a certain ABC comedy. The supporting cast is unstoppable.

Private Practice: Last night’s episode was off the hook. I cried and was engrossed by the emotion and story in this medical drama. Everything was perfect except for the unnecessary last scene, brought me out of it just a little.

Fringe: This week, pretty good. Next week, fantastically freaky.

The Vampire Diaries: So this show is surprising me. As I watched it this summer, I hated it. Found it so cliched and stupid, now I look forward to it each week. This week was strong once again but the episode left me hanging and confused. First, Alaric is obviously a vampire of something but when the episode ended with Jenna’s old boyfriend and supposedly dead Logan, my first thought was that somehow Alaric changed his body to his. The reason I came to this conclusion was that he said something along the lines of “Will you let me in,” and when Alaric left the house he said something like “You will let me in some other time.” Just the way the dialogues intertwined made me think they were one in the same. Crazy or no?

What I Will Be Watching – September 16th, 2009

Lots of great new TV tonight including another premiere by the CW and a finale.

tblThe Beautiful Life: TBL – 9/8c on The CW

The last of the new show premieres on the CW is here. TBL is about the New York modeling world and you can check out my review here. I only saw the 25 minute presentation but I am really looking forward to seeing the full pilot because there is potential here. The chemistry with the lead Sara Paxton and the male characters is great and Misha Barton is used perfectly in the pilot as is Elle McPherson. If you are watching Top Model stay around for TBL, and if you are not still check it out.

Top Chef: Las Vegas – 10/9c on Bravo Was last week’s episode the best episode ever? Is this season the best season ever? I think it might just be. Las Vegas has been on fire with delivering great challenges and people this year and I think that will continue with an out in the desert challenge that will put the chefs to the limits in the elements.

Wipeout – 8/7c on ABC The season finale tonight of a consistently funny show. Record it just for a laugh now and again when you need it.

102glee_acafellas_gr07Glee – 9/8c on FOX Another show that has been yet to be not funny or sweet is GLEE! Tonight, the men form a acapella group that features appearances by Alias‘s Victor Garber as Will’s dad and Josh Groban as himself. Nobody has seen this yet but with music like Mercy and Bust the Windows, how could it not be great.

So You Think You Can Dance – 8/7c on FOX Did you hear? The Shank, Adam Shankman will be a permanent judge on the table this fall season. I love him but I am a little worried that that will mean no judging by my fave Debbie Allen. Nigel has said they may add fourth guest judges some weeks although it won’t be every week. More auditions this week and if it is anything like last week there will be some great talent!

Back in the Kitchen: My Review of Top Chef: Las Vegas

The Cast of Top Chef 6: Las Vegas

The Cast of Top Chef 6: Las Vegas

Some shows make you cry, some make you laugh, some very rarely make you just happy. Top Chef, Bravo’s hit food competition series, does just that. It is happy television. The show which has turned in to quite a phenomenon for the food world and for Bravo is back with its sixth cycle tonight at 9/8c (special time), and the setting is Vegas! Yea baby!

Top Chef: Las Vegas features 17 new chefs vying for the price, the most of any season, and as Vegas is go big or go home, the contestants will have even bigger prizes to compete for, and that cannot be afraid to gamble. The contestants this year are eclectic as ever with for the first time brothers competing against each other. Some notable and favorite contestants this year are:

Robin Leventhal – The older competitor this year that has been battling cancer for a long time. She has got a fiery personality that does not hold back against the other chefs. Could be a blast.

Mattin Noblia – The frenchman is so fun to watch with his great accent and kiddie feel.

Michael Voltaggio – 1/2 of the brothers, this one is the more fiercely competitive one and I cannot wait for those good old house fights.

Jesse Sandlin – Jesse fills the “no culinary school,” tattooed woman that loves to cook and has a real passion.


Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio

The premiere episode which is a 75 min special followed by the season finale of Top Chef Masters, is a joy ride of culinary battles. The first episode finds the chefs showing there culinary voice in a unique way. The food looks great and all the contestants are somewhat decent with no real bad one standing out which makes for the judging to be tense.

Speaking of the judging, one of the best parts of the show has not changed. Padma and Top are both back as the host and judge respectively, but the Emmys would disagree with that. They have this real chemistry together when they co-host that is really fun. Gail Simmions and Toby Young will both switch out as the third judge this season as they did last year, which was a nice change of pace from time to time. The guest judge panel will rotate through very big stars this season with the likes of Wolfgang Puck in the first episode and someone like Natalie Portman in later episodes.

Overall, this maybe the best season yet and I am so on for the ride!

Top Chef: Las Vegas airs tonight at 9/8c followed by Top Chef: Masters at 10:15/9:15 on Bravo. It will then air in its regular time slot 10/9c for the rest of the season.

What Did You Think?: The Top 20 and Top Chef: Masters

Last night was a great night for summer TV. First off the always funny Wipeout was TWO hours long and better than ever. But the really great TV came on FOX and Bravo.

adeMelissaContemp090609-SYTYCD_1053So You Think You Can Dance unvielled their Top 20 last week and now they have preformed. The episode was extraordinary. Every performance brought it. I cried, I laughed, and it was just as always inspiring. Mary, Adam, and Nigel were on top of it with the judging. I have really grown to love Adam Shankman, and would welcome him back any time. What did you think? As good as I thought it was? Tell me.

Upcoming Chef Masters

Upcoming Chef Masters

Also on last night was the series premiere of Bravo’s Top Chef spinoff Top Chef: Masters. While the show keeps the same format of Quickfire then Eliminations, all other is change. New host in the wonderful Kelly Choi, new judges including the great Gael Greene, and a tweaked contestant formant. 4 contestants a week with one moving on to the championship round. I found the premiere to be great. Fun, beautiful, and the food looked great. The chefs and the critics provided many great moments for the audience.. What did you think? Do you welcome the change or want Padma and Tom back in the original (Top Chef 6: Las Vegas comes to us in the fall)?