Review | Hell's Kitchen

Air Date: Monday 7/18

Us Rating: ***

Good news: Gordon Ramsay's cooking battle hasn't gone stale. In season 9's amusing opening moments, the evercaustic chef plays a clever trick on the 18 would-be star chefs -- an especially contentious group that includes the likes of taunting Brendan, scowling Elise and jittery Jonathon. Turns out the contestants are so inept it's hard to imagine any of the them winning the grand prize (a plum gig at an NYC hot spot). But their fiery competitiveness captivates. (Fox, 8 P.M.)

--JOHN GRIFFITHS