An overwhelming majority of fans would make horrible television executives because they want to know all of the answers immediately. If they were able to, they would convince Ted Mosby to tell us who his wife is already. They would figure out why the hell the power went out on Revolution by the end of the first season, and once and for all, they would make Meredith Grey completely and irreversibly happy. Luckily, showrunners usually have a long-term strategy in mind. They think beyond immediate gratification and make choices to yield maximize payoffs down the road. At least, that’s what they usually do.
Unfortunately, now and again, that process breaks down. Sometimes those in charge make decisions for short-term gain at the expense of long-term possibilities. When it’s a desperate attempt to keep a show on the air, that’s understandable, but when the choice involves a beloved staple that’ll be on the air for another decade regardless, it’s confounding, frustrating and stupid.
Less than a year ago, Project Runway held its first ever all-star season. Brilliant, redemptive, filled with top flight competitors and yet strangely original, it was a refreshing journey for the show’s bigger obsessives who got to see many of their favorites fill out their workspaces one more time. During the last episode, fan favorite, frontrunner and arguably the best non-winner in Runway history, Mondo Guerra, finally came through in the clutch and won, capping off an essentially perfect season of television.
If nothing else, Project Runway All Stars proved devoted fans would flock to their televisions to watch great designers from different seasons compete against one another. It proved Isaac Mizrahi, Georgina Chapman and Joanna Coles could prove a unique and refreshing change-up. It proved some fans actually prefer the interesting dynamic of the all stars type of season. Unfortunately, rather than keeping that knowledge as an ace in the hole, executives decided to flip off the future in favor of immediate gratification by going into production on another All Stars season, immediately.
Last week, that second All Stars season debuted on Lifetime. Did I watch it? You bet your ass I watched it. I love Project Runway, probably more than any other show on television. I wish every episode was two hours, but throughout the entire runtime, my joy was tapered by a sad sense of missed opportunities. I like watching Laura and Anthony Ryan and Joshua M. I’m glad they’re getting a chance to compete on All Stars since the placement of their season didn’t allow for redemption, but you know what I’d like to watch even more? Them compete against even better players.
That’s the biggest problem, really. The whole point of an all stars season is to allow the best of the best to compete against one another. Naturally, the more all stars seasons a show has, the more that show rids itself of the competitors who actually deserve second chances. If producers had just waited a single year, we could have thrown Christopher, Fabio and maybe Melissa, Sonja, Ven, or Elena into the mix. Imagine how many brilliant competitors could have given Josh M a run for his money if producers had waited five years.
I’m not telling you to avoid Project Runway All Stars. I’m going to watch it, and I think you should too. But recognize this season for what it is: a premature ejaculation. The powers that be should have known better.