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Review: Sixth season of 'Entourage' on HBO

THE SHOW "Entourage"

WHEN & WHERE Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on HBO

REASON TO WATCH Sixth-season party begins -- in midsummer again.

CATCHING UP In November -- when the fifth season wrapped -- the guys were back in Queens, where Eric ( Kevin Connolly) finally got Gus Van Sant to watch the rushes on Vince's ( Adrian Grenier) aborted stint in "Smoke Jumpers." Down, really down, on his career luck, Vince needs the new movie badly, but Van Sant passes. Vince fires Eric, and then ... Marty Scorsese comes to the rescue, after Van Sant has passed on the footage to him. He wants Vince for his re-imagined version of "The Great Gatsby." The boys make up, and ...

WHAT SUNDAY'S ABOUT The four amigos are back in their big, shiny pond, far from NYC, basking in the dazzling glow of Los Angeles. (Bring your sunglasses -- they do.) That's appropriate, because after a season of hard knocks, Vince is back on top again; the Scorsese film is a success, reviews are good, and the opening night party (in the second episode, July 19) is a smash, too. (Recession? What recession?)

Vince has already been cast in a new movie -- a biopic of Enzo Ferrari -- which requires that he finally learn to drive. Drama (Kevin Dillon) reasonably wonders whether they can deploy the air bags before they all get in the car. Everyone's in a good mood, even Ari ( Jeremy Piven), who masterfully demonstrates an instant bad mood when his assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee) demands a promotion. And, yes, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Jamie-Lynn Sigler are still together. As for Eric? His former girlfriend, the stunning Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), comes calling and wonders whether he'd like to sublet a friend's spectacular crib. That means breaking up the frat house, so a hard decision, made easier by the fact that someone named Ashley (Alexis Dziena) will be E's new neighbor.

SPECIAL ADDED BONUS A cameo from Jay Leno.

BOTTOM LINE I'll make this quick -- it's great. Funny, smart, comfortable, escapist (oh yeah), "Entourage" remains one of the purest pleasure rides anywhere on TV. It just gets better and better and ... Two episodes were sent out for review, and the second even improves on the first. That's always a good sign at the outset of a new season.


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