WHAT2WATCH: Another Trip Down The Runway

Project Runway had seemed to be waning in relevance ever since its move to Lifetime, but its eighth season, which wrapped up last fall, turned things back around. The cast was one of the show’s strongest ever (in terms of memorable personalities if not skill), and the outrage over the way the season ended provided a good old-fashioned reality show controversy. A lot of angry people swore they would never watch again, but why do I suspect most of them will be back for the new season?

And that season begins on Thursday (Lifetime, 9 p.m.) with an unusually large cast of 20 – are there really this many aspiring designers in America? But it might be wise not to get too attached, as several of the newbies won’t even make it past the first episode. Based on first impressions, it’s going to be hard not to root for Bert, who is very nearly the same age as Tim Gunn and is attempting to make a comeback. But it’s never wise to get attached to those who seem too good to be true, as the winners here tend to be disappointing as people.

Also this week:

Monday: The Big C (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.): Cathy is concerned enough about Paul’s financial health to consider a new means of getting cash. Also, Sean gets a cool reaction to his newfangled baby sling from the neighborhood moms, and Adam’s method of dealing with his sexual frustration goes all wrong.

Tuesday: Deadliest Catch (Discovery, 9 p.m.): Another season at sea ends, and while everyone always seems exhausted by this stage, things have seemed even worse this season. The big question looming over the finale and the coming hiatus is whether the Cornelia Marie will be coming back next year or not. It might be time to give the old gal a Viking funeral.

Wednesday: Love in the Wild (NBC, 10 p.m.): Four weeks into the game, everyone is now going to have to switch partners. If they’re hoping for love connections – and the name of the show kinda makes me think they are – then why force teams to break up? Weird. Also, the teams have to navigate a waterfall  en route to a canyon, and an injury could force someone from the competition.

Friday: Whale Wars (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.): Are the Sea Shepherds actually showing scary signs of competence all of a sudden? They have gone from sneaking around to now literally attempting to disable the Japanese harpoon ship that’s been harassing them. If I can’t make fun of how clueless they all seem, I’ll have to retire several of my best running gags.

Saturday: Age of the Dragons (Syfy, 8 p.m.): Our favorite bad movie channel has gone highbrow – by which I mean that it’s now doing an adaptation of Moby-Dick, complete with Danny Glover playing Ahab. The only teensy difference between this and the original is that the whale is now a dragon. But I’m sure we can agree that Herman Melville would have gone that route if only they had CGI in the mid-1800s.

Sunday: Great White Invasion and Jaws Comes Home (Discovery, 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.): SHARK WEEK! The bloodiest fun of the TV season kicks off with specials examining the perceived increase in the number of great whites seen near popular beaches, and the tracking of sharks that appeared near New England shores where they are rarely seen.