Season 2 of Chopped started last night. Seems as though they've made some small changes. Ted Allen seems far less wooden, but he's still not the ideal host. The judges still seem to take themselves and the show a little too seriously...I've seen Alex Guarneschelli in many things, including a personal appearance at the NY Culinary Experience last fall, and she is always warm, friendly, smart, but in this show I just don't like her persona. She comes across as kind of harsh and a little mean!
The talent level of the 4 chefs seemed to improve vastly from last year. The first course had sea urchin as one of the ingredients and none of them seemed stymied by it, although one didn't know how to open it properly, but they all created decent dishes. The ingredients also seemed to be a little more "kind", as in there wasn't that one ridiculous item in each course that they had to incorporate.
So, I'll keep watching. Oh, and I don't know if it was just me, but I thought the color quality of the show itself in the first season was awful and all the food looked gray/brown...that was better too.