Tele-Tuesday: New Year, New Drama

Even though it feels like the fall television schedule just started and we’re still enjoying our favorite shows, it’s a new year which means it’s time for a new set of programs to check out!

This January, three new dramas attempt to sweep us off our feet – one revisits new crimes tracking back to an old, creepy prison; another follows a quirky specialist, who solves even the most difficult of cases; and one of our favorite novel and big screen attorneys works frantically to uncover secrets from yet another law firm.

*****

Alcatraz

We all know Alcatraz, also known as The Rock, as the impenetrable prison located on an island outside San Francisco that housed some of America’s worst criminals.  We also know that Alcatraz closed its doors in the early 1960s, but what if the former prisoners resurfaced and started committing crimes again?

That’s exactly what happens in the new FOX series, Alcatraz.  How is it possible that “ghosts” from Alcatraz are committing murders and other crimes today? Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) will work alongside an Alcatraz historian and expert (Jorge Garcia, Lost), while battling the government agent standing her in her way (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park) to solve these mysterious crimes.

Alcatraz premieres Monday, January 16th.

*****

The Finder

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” episode aired in Bones’ time slot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the network was testing the waters for the potential Bones spinoff, and briefly introduced the series by interweaving the Bones protagonists.

In the episode, Booth and Bones travel to the Florida Everglades to consult with a former acquaintance of Booth’s (Walter Sherman played by Geoff Stults).  Walter is a former war veteran with the ability “to find” anything or anyone.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter solves the case for Booth and Bones, while dominating most of the sixty minute episode.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  It doesn’t hurt that Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.

Airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows will not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder will introduce two new characters:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and an alleged criminal do-gooder, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

The Finder will continue and follow its sister program (Bones) this Thursday night, January 12th on Fox.

*****

The Firm

The Firm picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas, Sweet Home Alabama) turns in his law firm’s documents to the FBI, proving they were over-billing clients (from the John Grisham novel and the movie starring Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Jeanne Tripplehorn).  The story continues that these said documents led the FBI to take over the law firm and uncover piles of other files incriminating the mob, who has in turn set their sights on Mitch and his family as retribution.

The U.S. Marshalls put the McDeere family (Abby played by Molly Parker, and daughter Claire played by Natasha Calis) into witness protection for a short period of time, but the TV series picks up after the family returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.

While defending a court appointed fourteen year old boy charged with stabbing and murdering a classmate, a large D.C. firm swoops in and offers Mitch an opportunity to run a new criminal division – a job he declines but can’t shake the feeling that this is the right job for him that he has always wanted, not to mention will save his financially unsound practice.  Despite Abby’s gut-feeling, considering her husband’s experience with the last firm (from the movie), the McDeeres attend a wine and dine to meet the partners and clients of the pursuing law firm.

But the deciding factor comes when Mitch is faced with a major legal battle versus a top medical company over a defective heart stint.  He strikes a deal with the D.C. firm – their resources for a percentage of his earnings.  He officially works for the firm, but he gets to keep his staff and his off-site office location.

"It's happening again."

As far as the upcoming season, I see that not only will Mitch have the mafia after him for his past actions (from the movie), but will also battle his own firm AND against the medical company (I’m thinking like The Rainmaker here, another Grisham favorite).  And, it’s already been shown that the firm’s “real” client in Mitch’s murder trial is not in fact the young woman he is defending; instead, it’s some “suit” who jumps to his death while Mitch is desperately interrogating him, trying to get answers.

So technically, we should have about three major plots…

The casting is absolutely great with Josh Lucas and his baby blues replacing one of Hollywood’s favorites in Tom Cruise, but also with Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers) as the chain-smoking legal secretary Tammy (Holly Hunter role in the movie) and Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) as Ray, Mitch’s private detective/ex-con older brother.  Plus as a side note and odd-fun-fact, the McDeere house in the TV series resembles the McDeere house in the movie (in my opinion).

The Firm premiered Sunday night on NBC, but will return this Thursday, January 12th to its normal time slot.

*****

What do you think – did you catch the pilot episode of The Firm or The Finder?  Do you plan to watch Alcatraz?  Which show has the most promise and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

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25 Replies to “Tele-Tuesday: New Year, New Drama”

  1. I recorded The Firm and hope to watch it tonight. I figure with Josh Lucas in it, worse case I can just stare at him for a while.

  2. I didn’t see either pilot, so I’m not sure about watching those two. However, I think Alcatraz looks promising. A lot will depend on what hubby wants to watch. My guess, of the three, he’ll go with Alcatraz. And I think I’m on board with that. Because it sounds all nice and creepy. 🙂

    1. I’ve been looking forward to Alcatraz since last summer, the very first time I saw anything about it. I love supernatural/police procedurals. Fox always makes me nervous though…they’ll axe a good show before giving it a chance. Here’s hoping it’s good and they don’t do that with this one!

      Thanks for stopping by, Lauralynn! 🙂

  3. I’ve been waiting for Alcatrez! Have seen the previews several times, and it looks promising. You know I love the idea of ghosts rising, and it’s got some strong actors in it.

    As for the Finder, meh. I wasn’t that impressed when it stole Bones’ slot last year, lol. We’ll see.

    1. Me too, Stacy! I really hope it’s not a bust. Hopefully with Sam Neill and Jorge Garcia, it’ll get great ratings! We’re together on The Finder, but I’m going to give it a chance…I always do. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

    1. I was really hesitant about The Firm…I mean, really – another remake? But it’s not, and it pleasantly surprised us with the pilot. I love the anticipation of the three MAJOR plot points and cases that Mitch will have to deal with – I think this could have made a great movie. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Natalie!

  4. Alcatraz sounds good…and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I am so glad I read your blog. So…I’m about to do a search and DVR.

    I like Josh Lucas. He was…interesting in Wonderland. And he’s got that sexy voice. I am not sure if that’s enough to make me watch The Firm…even though I liked the movie way back when. Am I really this old?

    1. If you think you’re old, what does that say about me? Hmmm? 🙂

      Everyone seems excited about Alcatraz. I feel some American Horror Story type chats coming in the near future on Twitter….if you decide to check out The Firm, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I think it has great potential. We’ll know more tomorrow night with the new episode, but the writing seems top notch and creative (especially if you like Grisham type stories).

      Thanks for stopping by, Catie!

  5. I have Alcatraz on my calendar, and can’t wait to see it. Because I wasn’t keen on the episode of Bones where they introduced the Finder characters, I’m probably not going to watch that one.

    1. Alcatraz is clearly everyone’s most anticipated new show! I agree with you about The Finder, Marcy…but I’m the “crazy TV girl” and I feel that I owe it to cutie Jeff Stults to give it another chance. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the reminder about Alcatraz. I just set my DVR to record it. It looks great to me. I liked the “pilot” for The Finder, but if the cockney girl isn’t going to be in it, I don’t know…

    1. Yay, Jeff! I’m always happy to help. Everyone seems to be looking forward to Alcatraz. Hopefully that means FOX will actually give it a chance, something they’ve been guilty of not doing in the past. I was really disappointed to see that Saffron Burrows wasn’t returning on The Finder. We’ll just have to see how the new characters rate. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. The Firm looks interesting (might have to be a Netflix thing once the series is done), but I’m excited for The Finder. I liked the pilot and thought the relationship between Booth and Walter was great. They make him out to be kind of loopy, but a genius loopy. It might be fluff or it could be good drama, I’m not sure yet.

    1. I will have to let go of my initial disappointment that Booth won’t be in every episode of The Finder, but I’m willing to give Walter a go. His character reminds me of the man version of Jess on That Girl – quirky and goofy, while smart and adorable. I’m also not sure what all he’s going to “find” – considering I prefer murder mysteries, this might have a steeper hill to climb for me. We’ll see.

      Thanks for stopping by, Tameri!

  8. As I’m sure you already know, I’m all for watching The Finder (I love his “legal advisor”!). I’m iffy on Alcatraz (it depends on the time slot and I really wish it were about ghosts) and I think I’m out on watching The Firm (it’s ones of those I’ll watch once and forget about it).

    1. I’m not sure Alcatraz isn’t going to be a bit supernatural with the ghosts. How else will they explain former inmates of a prison closed 40+ years ago as the culprits? I’m still hoping ghosts. 🙂

  9. Alcatraz and The Finder look pretty durn interesting. I missed The Finder pilot :(. I did catch The Firm but wasn’t that impressed. I love the actors but it felt like too much backstory spilling…then again, I know that it could pick up in later episodes. Like Once Upon a Time.

    1. I bet you anything that missing the pilot of The Finder won’t hurt you, Sonia. Everyone seems most excited about Alcatraz (me included), but I’m giving all three a solid shot. The Firm definitely did tell a lot of backstory, but I think when you’re working with such a beloved story, you have to fully justify your direction to the viewers. The Firm could have gone either way after the pilot – infuriate many with the simple fact the story is being retold once again, or try and pave a clear enough path to make TV audiences want to continue with the McDeere drama. With the potential plot points currently in place, the show could fail quickly without strong writing; and I’m looking forward to seeing exactly how the writers and creators handle this.

      That’s what I think, anyway. I’m a big Grisham fan and do not want to see his work tarnished. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

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