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No, I don't know why you can't watch the new season of Project Runway tonight. Like you, I can't find it in the TV listings.

Yes, yes, I know that it has been heavily promoted and, if you read U.S. magazines, you think it's going to be on tonight. Not here, it isn't.

Sorry, but for now you'll have to miss Lindsay Lohan's debut as a guest judge on the fashion show. Tough it out. Maybe it'll turn up later.

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While we're on the subject of fashion, clothes, hair and related matters - yes, I think the new hair stylist on What Not to Wear (Fridays, TLC, 9 p.m.), the velvet-voiced Ted Gibson, has improved the show. The guy he replaced, Nick Arrojo, was nice and all, but it was time for him to go.

By the way, if you think Clinton Kelly and Stacy London are a couple off-screen, you're an idiot. Seriously, you're an idiot. Recently, while looking up something about the series, I was astonished to see the copious amount of speculation about their relationship that exists online.

Moving along, but returning to the topic of things we don't see in Canada, no, I'd never heard of a show called Megan Wants a Millionaire until this week's news stories about some guy from Calgary who was a contestant on it being wanted for questioning by police. Look, there are some shows we are better off not seeing here, ever.

My point, and I do have one today, is that at this time of the year you really do have to search for compelling TV to watch. You have to look up and down the dial and, if you do, you'll be rewarded.

For instance, tonight you'll find the first part of Conspiracy of Silence (Vision, 9 p.m.), the 1991 CBC miniseries about the murder of Helen Betty Osborne in The Pas, Manitoba, in 1971, and the ensuing cover-up of the identity of the murderers. (It continues on Vision next Thursday.)

Produced by Bernard Zukerman, written by Suzette Couture and directed by Francis Mankiewicz, the team who also made the CBC miniseries Love and Hate (about the murder of Joanne Thatcher), Conspiracy of Silence is very good. It's also a reminder of how, once upon a time, CBC regularly aired TV movies and miniseries rooted in recent Canadian history.

It's a shocking story, too. One night in 1971, four drunken youths drove around The Pas looking for a "squaw," and grabbed Osborne (Michelle St. John) off the street. When she refused to have sex with them, she was beaten, stabbed repeatedly and left naked in the snow. Nobody went on trial for the murder until 1987, and then only two of the four were charged and one was convicted.

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And if you want a goofy example of the excellence of contemporary U.S. cable drama, check out Sons of Anarchy (SuperChannel, 10 p.m.), which is now in its second season. A brooding and often baroque drama about an outlaw motorcycle club that dominates life in a small California town, it has plenty of violence, but it doesn't take long before you realize that much of it is anchored in Shakespeare.

Yes, Shakespeare. Vice-president of the club is Jax (Charlie Hunnam), a sensitive fella and son of the gang's original founder. His mother (Katey Sagal) is now married to the gang's current leader (Ron Perlman). He is Hamlet, struggling to define himself and decide on a course of action for the gang. The show is about power and blood. And believe me, it beats Project Runway for insight into human nature.

Also airing

The Spies Who Came from the Sea (CBC, 9 p.m.) aims to tell us the story of German spies landing and operating in Canada during the Second World War. It suggests that in 1942 German U-boats were not only sinking ships but depositing spies along the St. Lawrence River. It promises "exclusive interviews with German survivors and a chambermaid who unmasked a spy" and says it reveals secrets that have been held for decades.

Law & Order (NBC, 10 p.m.) is a repeat and delves into one of U.S. TV's favourite areas for locating nefarious acts - the Russian mob. Our heroic detectives are looking for the murderer of a trucking-company owner, and discover he had ties to the Mob. Then, when the case goes to trial, it falls apart because of a hidden and tangled love connection.

Your alternative is Law & Order: UK (CITY-TV, 10 p.m.), which is new. The Brit version of the franchise has as many fans as it has haters. Me, I like its lack of pretty-looking people. J.D.

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