Friday FabOoolousness – The Go Without Game

Usually my Friday posts are reserved for movies, books, sports, vacations, and favorite things; but today I’m breaking away from the norm.  What else is Ooo Factor worthy?  Philanthropy. 

My great friend and Wednesday writing partner, Amber West, decided a few weeks ago to start a new kind of blogging game.  It’s simple: she’s encouraging the rest of us to give something up in order to give back to the community – the Go Without game.   

I agree with Amber that the economy has taken a toll on a lot of us.  While it may be difficult to think about making any sort of monetary donation right now, look at it this way: what can we give up, in order to give back?

Step one – Choose something to go without 

I won’t begin to speak for others, but the list of items that I would consider giving up for a week includes Starbucks, Sonic, Barnes and Noble, and Rosa’s Cafe (my West and North Texas friends know that giving up Rosa’s would be a real sacrifice). 

What will I give up?  My weekly writing reward purchase of a half a dozen delicious treats from Sugar Queen Cupcakes

No Cream Cheese Lime or Berry Pecan for me this weekend!

Step two – Decide which charity to donate to

There are so many charities out there for us to choose from.  Amber has put together a list of charities that accept text donations to keep it super easy for us:

Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital:
Text KIDS to 27722 to give $10

Susan G. Komen – Breast Cancer:
Text KOMEN to 90999 to give $10

Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
:
Text HIVFREE to 90999 to donate $5

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children: Text NYSPCC to 50555 to donate $10

The list doesn’t stop here!

Jillian Dodd is giving up Chick-Fil-A for a week and is sending her donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Way to go, Jill! 

Stacy Green is giving up her afternoon coke (or soda for those of you outside Texas) and is sending her donation to the American Diabetes Association.  There’s a bit of poetry here, Stacy!  

Andrea S. Michaels is giving up pizza and is donating her money to Save a Jaguar.   I adore cats, Andrea, and your generosity melted my heart.

Who will I give to?  St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Why St. Jude’s?  St. Jude Children’s Hospital does not deny service to any child, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.  They continuously strive to research preventions, cures, and treatments for all diseases plaguing our children. 

I’ve always held a special place in my heart for St. Jude’s, and this is why I am donating $10 via their online donation center

Step three: Link your blog

Link your blog below and join the others participating in Amber’s Go Without game.   The linky tool will be active for a month, so there’s plenty of time to join.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

If you don’t blog, don’t worry!  Anyone can participate in giving back.  Leave a comment below and let us know how you will play the Go Without game.    

Amber also set up the hashtag #gowithout in Twitter for those of us twittering around the Twitterverse.  Come tweet and tell us what you’re giving up and which wonderful charity will get a donation from you! 

THANK YOU, Amber.  Your Go Without game only goes to show what a wonderful person you are and I’m proud to call you my friend.

Will you join us in the Go Without game?  What will you give up?  Which charity will you choose to donate your money to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

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Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Studying the Behaviors of the Criminally Inclined

The new television season has arrived!  Many of our favorite programs have returned, so Amber West and I decided to share a few more Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews to check out two additional CBS hit series – The Good Wife and Criminal Minds

First up – Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds follows a team of highly trained FBI agents who profile criminal behaviors for the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).   There are tons of police procedural programs on TV today, but none like this. 

The BAU team’s home base is at the famous Quantico, Virginia location; however, they travel around the United States once a city’s local authorities request their presence at the scene of a crime.  The unit studies the unsubs, or unidentified suspects, instead of the crime itself.    

The team is led by Unit Chief Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner (Thomas Gibson, Darma & Greg).   Hotch’s dedication to his job cost him his marriage.  After his ex-wife Haley (played by Meredith Monroe) was murdered by serial killer “The Reaper” (C. Thomas Howell), Hotch gained custody of his son, Jack. Hotch attempts to make amends by being the best father he possibly can; he even coaches the little guy’s soccer team. 

Due to the graphic nature of his job, Hotch rarely smiles and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders; but, despite the difficulty, he will do everything in his power to protect his team.      

Next in line is Senior Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore, The Young and the Restless).  Excelling at his job, Morgan has been named Acting Unit Chief when Hotch is out.  He was in line to be the next Unit Chief of the New York field office, but he declined the position.   He is strong and fast, and is by far the most physical on the BAU team (he’s pretty to look at too). 

Morgan had a difficult childhood: he witnessed his father’s murder and he was sexually abused by the local boys’ club caretaker.  As an adult, Morgan was framed for murdering a few of his hometown’s local boys, but was later proven innocent by his team.   

Also serving the BAU as a Senior Supervisory Special Agent is David Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna (Joan of Arcadia).  Rossi is credited as one of the founding members of the BAU, but he retired to write books and lecture on criminal analysis.  He returned to the team after Gideon’s untimely departure (see below), and seized the opportunity to solve a cold case that had haunted him for decades. 

Rossi has been married and divorced multiple times, and often jokes that divorce lawyers are the only people in his personal life that he can make happy.            

Special Agent Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster, Friends – remember Kathy?  She dated Joey and Chandler….) joined the team after Elle walked away (see below).  Early on, Prentiss felt she had something to prove being that Hotch and Gideon suspected her mother’s position as a U.S. Ambassador had something to do with her joining the BAU team. 

Prentiss served Interpol for years, where she worked undercover hunting international arms dealer, Ian Doyle.  This past year, Doyle killed her Interpol colleagues one-by-one, blaming them for the death of his only son.  Doyle finally found Emily, hunted her, and killed her.  Or did he? 

Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler, Alvin and the Chipmunks motion picture franchise) is probably my favorite member of the team.  Reid is a genius; he graduated high school before he was a teenager; he has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology; he has a Ph.D in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering; and he has an insanely high IQ – all courtesy of his eidetic memory.  Reid reads faster than anyone on the planet (he scans the page with his finger and remembers it verbatim), he remembers everything he sees, but he struggles with certain things that he hears. 

Reid suffers from inexplicable headaches and fears that he has inherited his mother’s schizophrenia.  He is not as physically fit as the rest of his team, which probably led to his being held hostage twice (once by a character portrayal by Luke Perry and another time by James Van Der Beek).     

Special Agent Jenifer “JJ” Jareau, (AJ Cook, Tru Calling) also serves the team as the media liaison.  JJ joined the FBI after attending one of Rossi’s lectures, and she is the only non-profiler on the team.  Because she isn’t a profiler, JJ has a hard time understanding how people can commit such horrible crimes, but she remains professional and battles through each case. 

JJ recently returned to the team after she was forced to take a position at the Pentagon.  Besides Hotch, JJ is the only BAU team member with a child.   

Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia, played by Kirsten Vangsness, serves the team from Quantico.  Garcia joined the team after the FBI caught her hacking into their systems.  Rarely does she accompany the team to crime scenes; instead, she prefers to stay locked inside her computer lair wearing bright eye shadows and lipsticks while  frantically surfing the internet and databases for information to assist the team. 

Garcia is one of the only BAU team members to have an actual romantic relationship (fellow FBI analyst, Kevin Lynch, played by Nicholas Brendon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).   

The BAU team has suffered its share of casualites over the years.  Previous team members include: Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin, Chicago Hope) silently walked away without telling anyone after his former girlfriend was murdered by a serial killer; Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini, The Sopranos) left the team after she was shot following an undercover assignment; and Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols, Alias) was transferred out to another department, explained by Strauss downsizing the BAU team. 

Recurring characters include: Reid’s schizophrenic mother, Diana Reid (Jane Lynch, Glee); former New Orleans police liaison and father of JJ’s son, William “Will” LaMontagne (Josh Stewart, No Ordinary Family); and  BAU Unit Direct Supervisor, Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson, 24).    

The Criminal Minds franchise took an unfavorable dip last year with the one-season-and-done spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior starring Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo.  I have to admit that the story improved as the season moved forward, and unfortunately it ended with a cliff hanger.  Maybe the Criminal Minds team will do another cross over episode and close out that story line for us?

Regardless, the original remains strong airing new episodes every Wednesday night on CBS and in syndication on A&E and ION.  At almost any given time, one can find an episode of Criminal Minds to enjoy. 

As if my love for the characters isn’t evident by the length of my post, I must give Criminal Minds a GTV rating: it has everything we want and more, especially for this fiction writer.  Criminal Minds is an excellent source of research for understanding a potential protagonist’s actions in murder mysteries.  That’s my excuse for watching so much of it, anyway.  Yes, I’m going to keep telling myself that…     

What do you think? Have you watched Criminal Minds?  Who’s your favorite BAU team member? Were you disappointed with the cancellation of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of The Good Wife.  Amber was very adamant during the Tambery Awards production that Julianna Margulies win best actress – and she did!  Congrats, Julianna. 

Come back next week when Amber and I click over to NBC and review two of the channel’s hit programs – Harry’s Law and Law & Order: SVU.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: New to Fall – Final Four…For Now

Fall television is here!  

As always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.  For the past four weeks, we have introduced these new shows hoping to find a permanent home on the networks.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out.

But, guess what?  We’re not done! 

While we will have more shows premiering later in the year and into 2012, for now, here are the final four new programs for Fall 2011.

*****

Grimm – NBC

We’ve all heard of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, right?  Grimm follows Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, multiple TV appearances including Nip/Tuck, Ghost Whisperer, and Veronica Mars) as he balances his life solving murders and learning that he comes from a long line of criminal profilers (Grimms) responsible for protecting the people of the world against the supernatural. 

Nick tries to protect his girlfriend (Bitsie Tulloch, Outlaw) and his homicide partner (Russell Hornsby, In Treatment) by not telling them the truth about his family lineage and his newfound responsibilities.  Instead, he turns to a former Grimm creature, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell, My Name Is Earl), for help understanding the mythology in order to protect the world as he knows it.

Will Nick succeed?

Other notables: David Giuntoli first appeared on MTV’s Road Rules: South Pacific and also participated in the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet.   Grimm also stars Sasha Roiz (Caprica) and Reggie Lee (No Ordinary Family). 

Grimm premieres Friday, October 28th.

*****

Once Upon a Time – ABC

Once Upon a Time stars Jennifer Morrison (House) as bail bondsman Emma Swan.  Her ordinary life takes a bizarre turn when Henry (Jared Gilmore), the son she gave away a decade ago, arrives claiming that according to his fairytale book, she is the missing daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. 

Emma takes the imaginative Henry back to his hometown of Storybrooke, where she finds herself unusually attacked to the town.  If the townsfolk are indeed fairytale characters, they do not recollect their former world and they go about their day-to-day lives like all humans.  But, Emma can sense that something is not right. 

Will Emma accept her destiny and return the magical balance to the charmed city?  

Other notables: Once Upon a Time also stars Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love),  as Snow White/Sister Mary Margaret; Joshua Dallas (Thor) as Prince Charming/John Doe; Lana Parrilla (24) as The Evil Queen/Regina; and Giancarlo Esposito (Homicide: Life on the Street) as the Evil Queen’s Magic Mirror/Sydney.  

Once Upon a Time premieres Sunday, October 23rd.

*****

Man Up – ABC

Man Up follows three friends as they question what it means to be a “man” in today’s society. 

Friend number one, Will (Mather Zickel, Rachel Getting Married), is married with children, but he’s childlike himself with his addiction to video games.  Friend number two, Craig (Christopher Moynihan, Coupling), is stuck in the past trying to get his college girlfriend back.  While friend number three, Kenny (Dan Fogler, Take me Home Tonight), is busy attempting to sabotage his ex’s relationship with her gorgeous new man.   

Will these friends “man up,” or continue to act like children?

Other notables: Man Up also stars Teri Polo (Focker movie franchise and The West Wing) as Teresa, Will’s wife; Amanda Detmer (Saving Silverman) as Bridgette, Kenny’s ex; and Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue) as Grant, Bridgette’s new hottie.

Man Up premieres Friday, October 21st.

*****

I Hate My Teenage Daughter – FOX

I Hate My Teenage Daughter stars Jaime Pressley (My Name is Earl) as Annie, and Katie Finneran (George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead) as Nikki, two single mothers cringing as they watch their teenage daughters turn into the girls they hated when they were growing up. 

Annie was raised in a very strict household, so she allows her daughter (Sophia, Kristi Lauren) to have as much freedom as she wants.  Nikki was an unpopular outcast, therefore she allows her daughter (Mackenzie, Aisha Dee) to have whatever she needs to fit into the popular crowd.  While trying to give their girls everything they never had, Annie and Nikki have created two spoiled mean girls. 

Who will win in the end – the mothers or the daughters?

Other notables:  I Hate My Teenage Daughter also stars Eric Sheffer Stevens (As the World Turns) as Matt, Annie’s ex and Sophia’s father; Chad Coleman (The Wire) as Gary, Nikki’s ex and Mackenzie’s father; Kevin Rahm (Desperate Housewives); and Rosa Blasi (The Bold and the Beautiful). 

I Hate My Teenage Daughter premieres Wednesday, November 30th.

*****

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – September Awards & Mashup

This month, my wonderful writer & Twitter friends awarded me with a few new blogging awards.

Gene Lempp and the magnificent Girls with Pens duo awarded me the Liebster Blog Award.

Liebster is the German word for beloved person.  I have developed close friendships with Gene and Marcy Kennedy (one of the Girls with Pens), even though we’ve never met in real life.  They are two of the most supportive writing friends a girl could have, and I look forward to their tweets, emails, posts, and smiles every day.

Thanks, Gene & Marcy!

In turn, I award these great blogging friends with the Liebster Award: Andrew Mocete, Amber West, Jen L. Kirchner.  You are my liebsters.

Tia Bach awarded me the Kreativ Blogger award.

Tia’s blog, Depression Cookies, is a wonderful place to visit.  The website is truly a family affair – Tia writes posts along with her mother and the site was designed by her sister.  Check it out!

Thanks, Tia!

I’ve had the pleasure to meet many creative bloggers over the past few months, but I can’t help but award Ellie Ann Soderstrom with this Kreativ Blogger award.  Her blog is wonderful – if you haven’t already checked it out, you must!  Ellie is so creative, that she writes her very own Tall Tales.

Lynn Kelley awarded me the One to Follow award.

Without a doubt, Lynn is one to follow.  Her blog is so much fun.  She shares pictures of her family, she introduces other writers and their works, and she vlogs (video blog).

Thanks, Lynn!

Who do I feel are the ones to follow?  I highly recommend Roni Loren, Kait Nolan, and Piper Bayard.  Seriously, just follow these wonderful women.

Ashley E. Prince  and Amanda Rudd awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks, ladies!

Nothing says versatile like Kathy Owen and Amy Shojai.  Kathy takes us back through history with wonderful mysteries and trends in fashion, while Amy is my certified pet guru, a vloger, and she writes fiction!

Like with most of the blogging awards floating through cyber-space, these awards come with a few rules.  Just a few weeks ago I posted ten random things about myself, therefore I am skipping that rule.  Instead, I am passing these awards directly to my wonderful blogging friends.

THANK YOU, everyone!  Winning these awards for my posts means so very much to me, AND congratulations to the new recipients.

In addition to these fabOoolous bloggers receiving awards, be sure to click on the sites below featured in the September edition of MarvelOoous Mashups!

PART I: FabOoolous writerly posts

How does one prepare for success?  Jill Kemerer tells us how in this great three-part series – Part one: The Mental Game; Part two: Writing; and Part three: Standing Out.

Writers, do we want to be arrested for POV Prostitution?  I think not!  Check out this great post by Kristen Lamb.

As writers, we must always continue learning the craft.  Check out these three very important elements to writing: Contrast, Details, and Emotion by Phillip Creighton via Jenni Holbrook Talty’s blog. 

PART II: Just because they’re fabOoolous

What are some of the Best and Worst Movies of 2008?  Check out Lyn Midnight’s Secrets of Zelda.

Stacy Green shares a very disturbing true crime murder story in London with the Face of Pure Evil – Mary Bell.

Ever wonder exactly how rock bands get their namesJulie Glover investigates…..

Have you ever played with a Ouija board? Catie Rhodes teaches us The History of the Ouija Board.

 

Have a favorite movie or television star that you miss seeing on the big screen?  Ellie Soderstrom shares her list in Hire Them Hollywood!

Who didn’t read fairy tales when they were younger?  Sonia Medeiros breaks down Little Red Riding Hood in this two-part series: Never Stray and In The Company of Wolves.

Who are a few of your favorite fabOoolous bloggers?  Do you prefer to read posts about writing or fun miscellaneous reads?   I’d love to hear from you!  Happy Friday FabOolousness everyone! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Reagan Family Ties

The new television season has arrived!  Many of our favorite programs are returning, so Amber West and I decided to share a few more Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews to check out two of CBS’s hit series – The Mentalist and Blue Bloods

First up – Blue Bloods

 

The Reagan family loves each other and New York City.  Each member of the Reagan family serves, or has served, their city in one way or another. 

Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck, also known as the man with the best looking mustache in the industry, Magnum, and Jesse Stone), is the current NYC Police Commissioner.  Frank is the patriarch of the Reagan family, even though his father Henry lives with him under the same roof. 

Frank served in the marines and is a Vietnam veteran.  He is widowed and also suffered the untimely loss of his son, Joseph Reagan, who died while on the job, also serving New York City (later revealed to be at the hands of The Blue Templar, a group of rogue cops). 

The job of Police Commissioner in New York City is grueling enough, but throw in the added pressure of a mayor seeking re-election (played by Bruce Altman) who is constantly riding the commissioner’s case, and one can see why Frank needs a drink at the end of every day. 

Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) is one of the top detectives on the NYPD squad.  Danny gets the job done, even if he doesn’t follow the letter of the law to a “T”.  Like his father, he is a former marine and Iraq war veteran.   While Tom Selleck receives top billing, and rightfully so, Donnie Wahlberg is the star of the series. 

When one initially hears the name Donnie Wahlberg, they recall his role in the ‘90s boy band, New Kids on the Block.  However, Donnie has had many fantastic performances in both television and motion pictures proving himself as an actor, including HBO’s Band of Brothers, NBC’s Boomtown, and Hollywood blockbusters such as Ransom, The Sixth Sense, and the Saw franchise (movies 2, 3, and 4). 

Jamie Reagan (Will Estes, American Dreams) is the newest of the Reagan family to join the force, currently working the streets as a rookie cop.  Jamie attended Harvard Law planning to follow in his big sister’s footsteps, however he changed his mind after graduation to join the NYPD like his brothers, father, and grandfather before him. 

Because he was new to the force, the FBI approached Jamie to provide information as it pertained to The Blue Templar.  Through his investigations, Jamie learned that his brother Joe was helping the FBI uncover information about these dirty cops as well, and that these rogue officers were responsible for his brother’s death.

Erin Reagan-Broyle (Bridget Moynahan from Sex and the City and Coyote Ugly), the only daughter of Frank and his late wife, is an up-and-coming Assistant District Attorney.  Divorced and raising a teenage daughter (Sami Gayle), Erin tends to be the voice of reason that helps hold her family together, besides her father that is. 

Erin tries to keep Danny in line so that her convictions of his arrests will stick; but, despite his love for his sister, no one can make Danny follow the book.  In addition to balancing her family and her career, Erin must also decide if it’s appropriate to date her boss, a man gunning for the mayoral race and who will undoubtedly remove her father as Police Commissioner.       

Henry Reagan (Tony Award winning actor, Len Cariou), or Grandpa, is the retired NYC Police Commissioner.  Henry lives with his son Frank, or Francis as he calls him, and provides support to his son and the entire family.

Blue Bloods also has a stellar supporting cast: Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?, Spin City) plays Jackie Curatola, Danny’s partner; Amy Carlson (Another World, Third Watch) plays Linda Reagan, Danny’s wife and mother to their two sons; Nicholas Turturro (NYPD Blue, Third Watch) plays Sgt. Anthony Renzulli, Jamie’s partner; and Emmy Award winning and Tony Award nominated actor, Bobby Cannavale (Will & Grace, Third Watch) plays Erin’s boss and District Attorney, Charles Rossellini.  

Okay, so there is a ton of programming on television today, so what’s special about Blue Bloods? Every episode features at least one family gathering around the dinner table at Frank’s house, an aspect of television today that is often times overlooked. 

The Reagan family represents America’s finest fighting crime every Friday night in New York City, but the relationship shared among the characters is the real hero.   Because of this, I award Blue Bloods the GTV rating – this gourmet television program has everything we want, and more.  Fitting, considering Frank meets someone for lowball whiskey cocktails and fine steak dinners in restaurants with linen table clothes in most of the episodes. 

What do you think? Have you watched Blue Bloods?  Who’s your favorite Reagan? Are you like me and would watch Tom Selleck in just about anything? What do you think of Donnie Wahlberg – he has come a long way from singing and dancing with the New Kids, hasn’t he?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of The Mentalist….is Simon Baker’s character, Patrick Jane, not just the tiniest bit fabulous?  

CBS is so hot, that Amber and I can’t quite leave.  Come back next week when we continue to review a few more of our favorite programs on the hit channel –The Good Wife and Criminal Minds.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: Fall Brings More Laughs…and adds Dinosaurs and Screams

It’s that time of year again!  The fall television schedule is right around the corner and, as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites. 

This is week three, and we’re still introducing more of the new television programs this fall.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, it’s time for even more new comedy, plus a new sci-fi program and horror series!

*****

Terra Nova – FOX

Fox joins the science fiction revolution with Terra Nova, a story that follows a family’s journey back in time to pre-historic days searching for answers to protect the human race in 2149.  The land seems perfect, except for a few life threatening downfalls –dinosaurs and renegades known as the Sixers. 

Terra Nova stars Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars) as Jim Shannon, the family’s patriarch and sheriff of the Terra Nova colony, and Stephen Lang (Gods and Generals, Avatar) as Commander Nathaniel Taylor, the leader of Terra Nova.      

Other notables: Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer along with other members of the 24, Falling Skies, and Fringe teams.   

Terra Nova premieres Monday, September 26th.

*****

Suburgatory – ABC

Suburgatory follows single dad George Altman (Jeremy Sisto, Law & Order and Clueless) as he relocates with his teenage daughter, Tessa, from New York City to a suburban neighborhood.  Tessa immediately feels that her father has moved her into another dimension with all of the seemingly perfect families, and is mortified by the perky mothers and plastic surgery obsessed teenage girls. 

Will George and Tessa survive their life inside their very own suburban purgatory? 

Other notables: Suburgatory also stars Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Dallas Royce (perfect rich suburban mom name, right?), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Dollhouse), and Saturday Night Live alums Chris Parnell (Archer) and Ana Gasteyer. 

Suburgatory premieres Wednesday, September 28th.

*****

How to be a Gentleman – CBS

How to Be a Gentleman stars David Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Six Feet Under) as Andrew Carlson, a writer assigned with the task of adding sexiness to his column.  The problem?  Andrew isn’t all that familiar with sexiness.  

Therefore, Andrew hires Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon, Entourage), a friend and current fitness trainer, for guidance.  The phrases “opposites attract” and “night and day” come to mind when researching this new comedy. 

Other notables: How to be a Gentleman is based on a book of the same name by John Bridges, and also stars funny man Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall, Celebrity Poker Showdown), and Jack Bauer’s right hand woman, Chloe O’Brian – aka Mary Lynn Rajskub (24). 

How to Be a Gentleman premieres Thursday, September 29th.

*****

American Horror Story – FX

From the creators of the FX great, Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story stars Dylan McDermott (The Practice, Dark Blue) and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as husband and wife, Ben and Vivien Harmon.  FX usually keeps “mum” on their new series; however, we do know that Ben and Vivien move into a haunted mansion….and the story is spooky!    

Other notables: American Horror Story also stars Francis Conroy (Six Feet Under), Denis O’Hare (True Blood), and Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek), as well as Hollywood great and Academy Award winning actress, Jessica Lange (King Kong, Tootsie, Cape Fear, need I say more?). 

Isn’t the cast alone worthy of a watch?

American Horror Story premieres Wednesday, October 5th.

*****

Last Man Standing – ABC

Last Man Standing brings comedian great Tim Allen (Home Improvement, The Santa Clause movies) back to television as Mike Baxter, an adventurous “manly-man” working for an outdoor sporting goods store.  But, when Mike gets home, he’s surrounded by women: his wife (Nancy Travis, Three Men and a Baby, Becker, and The Bill Engvall Show) and three daughters. 

How will Mike adapt when his wife goes back to work and he has to stick around the house a bit more? 

Other notables:  Last Man Standing also stars Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope, Monk) as Ed, Mike’s boss. 

Last Man Standing premieres Tuesday, October 11th.

*****

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – A Writer’s Life….in Movies

Everyone loves movies, particularly writers.  Writers find it extremely helpful to use movies as tools to identify crucial elements to the story making process, and even better yet, as research.

So, why not reminisce about some of the recent decades’ most popular movies about writers? 

*****

Romancing the Stone (1984)

This widely successful film stars Kathleen Turner as fictional romance novelist, Joan Wilder. 

Joan is lonely, living with her cat in her New York City apartment, when she receives a phone call from her recently widowed sister who claims to have been kidnapped by antiquities smugglers. As ransom, the smugglers demand a treasure map that Joan received in the mail from her brother-in-law.

Ransom demand in hand, Joan sets off to Cartagena, Colombia.  After a bit of a wild and crazy detour, Joan learns that other criminals want this treasure map as well.  She meets Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) and he promises to guide her through the jungle for a small monetary fee, not aware of what he’s gotten himself into. 

After sharing a romantic exchange, Joan and Jack decide to follow the map on their own.  They find a beautiful emerald, but not before one of the kidnappers (Danny DeVito) finds them.   One thing leads to another; Joan finally exchanges the stone for her sister, and shares her adventures in Cartagena by writing a novel when she returns to the city. 

Romancing the Stone has romance, action, suspense, and comedy.   In 1985, the movie was followed by a sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, also starring Turner, Douglas, and DeVito.   

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all writers encountered a love affair, mystery, or adventure of our own to help push us through our stories?

*****

Her Alibi (1989)

Tom Selleck stars as Phil Blackwood, a fictional mystery novelist who meets his muse while sitting in a courtroom.  Blackwood forges an alibi for Nina (supermodel Paulina Porizkova), the beautiful Romanian woman accused of murder, and she is released into his custody. 

Blackwood takes Nina back to his house and begins plotting his story as he fantasizes himself in the role of his protagonist living with a mysterious woman.  Suspicions set in, however, after a police detective pays him a visit and places doubts in Blackwood’s head about Nina’s innocence.  Blackwood further questions just how well he knows this woman after she throws a kitchen knife across the room, stabbing and killing a bug crawling up a cabinet just inches from his face.

Not knowing if he’s made the right decision to protect this woman, and definitely not able to stop his romantic feelings for her, Blackwood follows Nina to a clown festival where they encounter the Romanian operatives responsible for the crime in which she was accused. 

How far will writers go to find the ever-important muse?

*****

Misery (1990)

Based on Stephen King’s novel, Misery stars James Caan as fictional novelist, Paul Sheldon.

On his way to deliver a new novel to his publicist, a story not related to the successful series that his readership has grown to admire, Sheldon crashes his car deep in the desolate woods during a blizzard.  Badly bruised and with multiple broken bones, including both legs, Sheldon is rescued by Annie (Kathy Bates), a nurse who just so happens to be his number one fan. 

Grateful for her hospitality, Sheldon agrees to let Annie read his new novel.  Unfortunately for Sheldon, she doesn’t like the new story and is offended by his language.  This disappointment sends Annie into a crazed tailspin where she obsesses about other mistakes in his storytelling; she tortures him, drugs him, spills hot soup on him, forces him to burn his manuscript, and finally takes a sledgehammer to his ankles.

Eventually, Sheldon escapes, and the movie ends just as he meets another number one fan…

Writers, how painful would it be to be forced to burn one of our manuscripts?  Does this story make us re-evaluate the importance of a “number one” fan?    

*****

Secret Window (2004)

Based on another Steven King story, Secret Window, Secret Garden, this psychological thriller stars Johnny Depp as fictional author, Mort Rainey. 

Secret Window keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, watching as Rainey spends most of his days alone in his cabin, agonizing over his wife’s (Maria Bello) affair which has created an untimely case of writer’s block. 

What’s worse than a writer suffering from writer’s block?  Being accused of plagiarism, of course. 

Rainey doesn’t believe he, the successful writer, stole the work of his crazed accuser (played by the great John Turturro).  After his dog is murdered, Rainey hires a private investigator (Charles S. Dutton) to look after the man. 

The movie takes an interesting turn when it’s revealed that Rainey is actually suffering from an identify disorder and has assumed the role of his character.  He lives out his story first hand by imagining the man accusing him of plagiarism, and by seeking revenge against his unfaithful wife and her lover (Timothy Hutton), thus overcoming his writer’s block. 

Are writers really this crazy?

*****

Did you enjoy any of these movies? What other movies about writers do you enjoy?  Writers, do you use movies and television programs as research for your stories?  I’d love to hear from you!