Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Does It Get Much Better Than Revenge?

This week Amber West and I review two of TV’s top dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: a returning NBC favorite, Parenthood, and the new ABC smash hit, Revenge.

Revenge has been called the return of the night time soap opera, and the critics and viewers may be right.  The new drama loosely based on the Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, stars Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne, a young and beautiful addition to the rich and prestigious Hamptons.   However, Emily’s arrival isn’t her first trip to the neighborhood…

"Our" Emily

When she was a little girl, Amanda Clarke and her father lived in the quaint beach house next door to her father’s boss and his mansion (known as Grayson Manor).  Late one night, Amanda’s father was ripped away from her for crimes that later sent him to prison for the rest of his life.  Not necessarily believing in his innocence, Amanda rebelled and spent time in incarceration herself.  The day Amanda was released from prison, she was greeted by a stranger with life changing news: her father was dead, he had been framed, and she was now filthy rich.

Amanda’s father had believed in and secretly invested in a young man named Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) when no one else would.  Nolan awarded Mr. Clarke forty-nine percent of his company in return for the investment, and his investment was now worth millions.  When Amanda’s father died in prison, all of his assets were awarded to her.  But something greater came with these riches – a map and an explanation to each and every person responsible for framing her father and sending him to prison.  Amanda assumes a new identity as Emily Thorne (the name of her closest friend in juvenile detention) and spends the next eight years of her life setting her plan in to motion, vowing revenge against those responsible for her father’s downfall – primarily the Grayson family.

"Our" Emily hard at work, researching her next target...

After establishing herself around the world as an educated and philanthropic young lady, Emily returns to the Hamptons and rents the beach house where she spent time with her father; the house where he was so abruptly taken from her.   In practically every episode, Emily destroys someone involved with her father’s demise: her father’s assistant and current mistress to Conrad Grayson, Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta); her father’s closest friend and a corrupt hedge fund manager, Bill Harmon (Matthew Glave); and the district attorney and current state senator, Tom Kingsley (Yancey Arias) to just name a few.

But these are not Emily’s prime targets.  Enter Conrad Grayson (Henry Czemy), the CEO of her father’s company who spearheaded the entire take-down, and his not-so-loyal wife, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe).

Victoria may be smiling, but rest assured she is up to something...

To make matters worse, Victoria idly stood by and watched her lover (Amanda’s father) taken away in handcuffs.  Yes, that’s right – Victoria and David Clarke actually loved each other.  And little Amanda witnessed the entire thing – the love affair and Victoria’s standing outside the door as the police arrested her father.  Oh, and just wait and see what this secret romance created…

The look says it all...

How will Emily destroy the Graysons?  Will she involve their son, Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman); the man she’s slowly but surely seducing?  The pilot episode begins at Emily and Daniel’s engagement party with Daniel’s lying bleeding on the Hampton beach from gunshot wounds….so probably.

Sweet, sweet Daniel...

Or will the “real” Emily Thorne, assuming the identity of Amanda Clarke (played by Margarita Levieva) expose the entire charade before “our” Emily has the chance to exact her revenge on the Grayson family?

And what about Emily’s childhood friend, Jack Porter (Nick Wechler), who adopted her puppy when she and her father were ripped away from their beach house?  The same love-sick boy turned man who named his boat Amanda?  “Our” Emily has worked feverishly to protect Jack, but couldn’t stand in the way when the “real” Emily also fell in love with the bar owner.  Will he remain in the dark?  Will he learn the truth?  And when/if he does, how will he respond?

And then there's sweet, sweet Jack...

Oh, I could go on and on.  As if the title of today’s blog wasn’t clear enough, Revenge scores the highest of the highest WatchWed scores – the GTV rating.  It’s not gourmet because the series showcases what life in the Hamptons is all about – money, prestige, lavish homes, elaborate parties, and endless wardrobes, but because the storyline each and every week leaves such a sweet taste of revenge in our mouths that we simply can’t wait until the next episode.

If I could award Revenge with an even higher rating, I would.  How’s TBMIEH TV – The Best Meal I’ve Ever Had Television?  So that’s not a real rating here at Watch Wednesday, but it gets my point across.  I often say Revenge is my favorite of all of the new programs this 2012 season, but it may just be my favorite series that I’m watching today.  Period.

Revenge is infinitely sweet…

There's that look again...

What do you think? Do you watch Revenge?  Who’s your favorite character?  If you had all of Emily’s resources and a similar childhood story, would you exact revenge on those responsible?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Parenthood, the show, not her motherly experiences.

Come back next week when we review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

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.

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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
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

Advertisements

Tele-Tuesday: Tour de Psych

One of Tele-Tuesday’s favorite programs returns this week – the USA Network’s Psych.  What is Psych?  This one hour television series masterfully combines the classic police procedural and detective drama with quirky laughs and top-notch pop culture references.

To celebrate the mid-season premiere, Tele-Tuesday has decided to list our top 10 Psych episodes to help everyone get ready for the much-anticipated return of “psychic” Shawn Spencer (James Roday), his right-hand-man, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill), Detectives Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), and Shawn’s retired detective father, Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen).

This selection process was difficult, considering how many times the Psych writers and actors have knocked the ball way out of the park.  But we selected our top 10, nonetheless.

Sit back, relax, and grab a cup of coffee or another favorite blog reading snack – this is a long post, but couldn’t be avoided.  Enjoy!

*****

10. “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” (Season 5)

Because we love our readers, we have to rewind to season four for just a minute.  In “Extradition: British Columbia”, Shawn and Gus begin tracking an art thief (Pierre Despereaux played by Cary Elews) in Canada; an art thief that Lassie has tracked for years but never successfully captured.

Fast-forwarding to season five, Despereaux needs Shawn and Gus’ help and pays for them to travel back to Canada, just before his extradition to the United States.  In the meantime, the suave criminal escapes prison and is wrongfully accused of murder, leaving Shawn no choice but to investigate.

Shawn, Gus, and Despereaux

The Despereaux storyline is a fun one to return to, but “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” is perhaps included in the top ten because Shawn finally professes his love to Jules at the end of the episode.   And when we say finally, we mean finally.  It took us five seasons for him to admit his feelings for her.

9. “Last Night Gus” (Season 6)

“Last Night Gus” (Psych’s version of The Hangover) may have been one of the most enjoyable hours of the first half of season six.  After a night of apparently partying too hard, Shawn, Gus, Lassiter, and Woody (the coroner) wake up not remembering the night before.  Why is Lassie’s gun missing bullets?  Why did Henry wake up across town in a hotel room, sans pants?  What is the white powdery substance on Woody’s face?  Why is Shawn wearing a dead man’s sandals?  Why is “The Blueberry” (Gus’ car) dented?

Using Shawn’s “psychic” ability and Henry and Lassie’s detective skills, the group of men follow one clue after another, leading them to discover what really happened… and that “last night Gus” was a bit out of his element.

8. “The Devil’s in the Details… and the Upstairs Bedroom” (Season 4)

Shawn and Gus take the case of a college girl’s apparent suicide after one of her professors (Father Westley, played by the great Ray Wise) pleads with them to investigate, believing the girl to have been possessed by demons.  Why not?  It’s a Catholic University…

Shawn never believes the girl’s death to be more than suicide, but “plays along” until he actually discovers there was indeed foul play involved.  And when the Father is suspected of killing the girl, Shawn dedicates himself to prove the Holy Man’s innocence.

This was a bit of Heaven for former Twin Peaks fans…  Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), playing a priest, accused of murdering a young girl?  Too fun…

7.  “This Episode Sucks” (Season 6)

What more needs said about “This Episode Sucks” besides: vampires, Corey Feldman, and Kristy Swanson?  Exactly… but we will, just because.

When a body is discovered drained of blood in a parking lot, Shawn immediately believes vampires were involved.  He and Gus dress the part and visit a cult-like bar where all of the patrons dress and perhaps believe that they are indeed vampires.

Shawn and Gus "undercover"

Remember the pop culture references mentioned above?  Again, fantastic writing and attention to detail comes into play as Shawn and Gus approach the bartender to question him regarding the murder.  As the bartender turns to face the “Psych” detectives, “Cry Little Sister” (the theme song from The Lost Boys) plays louder and louder until – Duh Duh Duh DUNNNNNN — Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) turns to face them.

Also in this episode, Lassie meets a woman (Kristy Swanson) who the rest of the gang believes is involved in the murder.  Is she a vampire?  Probably not… but has Lassie finally found love?  Maybe…

 6.  “Yang 3 in 2D” (Season 5)

The Yin and Yang storyline is hands down one of the top highlights of the Psych era.  Since our first introduction in season three, we’ve watched multiple episodes featuring Shawn’s biggest nemeses.  Sorry to throw a Yang storyline in here at number six (essentially out-of-order if one is not familiar with the series), but we’ll provide more detail below in the top five.

After a woman (Mena Suvari) claims to have escaped the elusive Yin (Peter Weller), Shawn cannot help but investigate, knowing that Yin is responsible for Yang’s (Ally Sheedy) psychopathic nature and her years of tormenting him.  Shawn uses Yang, against everyone else’s better judgment, to face the evil behind the deranged.

Yes, this summary is cryptic but we didn’t want to give too much away…

5. “Murder? … Anyone? … Anyone? … Bueller?” (Season 3)

What could go wrong when Shawn and Gus attend their high school reunion?  Well murder, of course.  But there’s only one problem – there’s no body.  Without the body, no one believes Shawn.  So Shawn does what he does best – he pushes forward until he uncovers all of the necessary clues to solve the case.

Oh, and he reconnects with a girl he dissed in high school (Abigail, played by Rachael Leigh Cook) which begins an ongoing relationship for Shawn.

4.  “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast” (Season 1)

We love when Jules gets more involved in the cases, and our favorite episode of the entire first season follows Jules as she goes undercover in a sorority house.  She invites Shawn and Gus to help as she investigates a series of bizarre events seemingly related to an earlier suicide at an insane asylum.

Sorority house, undercover assignment, insane asylum, alleged ghosts – who could want more in an episode?

See, even Shawn and Gus are spooked...

3. “An Evening with Mr. Yang” (Season 3)

We could almost say this episode is where it all begins, but that would be a lie considering we’re in season three.  This is, however, the introduction of Yang (Ally Sheedy).  Yang is a serial killer who has set her sights on Shawn and those dearest to him.  Shawn mistakenly suspects a psychologist (Mary, played by Jimmi Simpson) as Yang, but soon discovers that he is dealing with another deranged madman (or woman in this case) all together.

Things intensify on Shawn and Abigail’s date at the drive-in when Yang kidnaps Shawn’s mother (Madeleine Spencer, played by Cybill Shepherd).  Will Shawn’s astute attention to detail save his mother’s life and allow him to capture Yang before it is too late?

2. “Mr. Yin Presents…” (Season 4)

As reminded by the Ion Television Psych Saturday evening marathons, “Mr. Yin Presents” is by far one of the best episodes to date.  The episode begins when Shawn and Gus are reminded of a former foe – Yang.  After she releases her new book, a book she has written from her new home inside an insane asylum, another familiar face returns (Mary, Jimmi Simpson).  Mary insists that Yang was working with a partner, so Shawn and Gus agree to interview her hoping for answers.

Yang gives them what they ask for – confirmation that she has a partner:  Yin.  Everyone is drawn into Yin’s game – a game consisting of scenes from classic Alfred Hitchcock movies.  Shawn, Gus, Henry, Lassie and Jules are separated into different Hitchcock scenes, when both of Shawn’s loves (Jules and Abigail) are kidnapped.  Who will Shawn choose to rescue and who will die?

Who will Shawn choose - Jules or Abigail?

And Number 1… Drum roll please…. “Dual Spires” (Season 5)

Shawn and Gus travel to Dual Spires looking forward to a cinnamon festival they learned about via a mysterious email, but instead find a murdered teenage girl wrapped in plastic down by the water.  Together they join forces with the town’s sheriff to solve the murder.

We could go on and on about this episode.  James Roday outdid himself writing this piece: he perfected the oddities of the characters from Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery from the ‘90s, Twin Peaks; he mimicked the eerie music and peculiar dancing to a “T”; and he incorporated a few of the Twin Peaks iconic elements such as the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.  Even better yet, Psych cast a few of the Twin Peaks alumni for the episode: Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), and Sherilyn Finn (Audrey Horne).

Every once in a while, Psych adjusts the opening theme song to appropriately fit the night’s episode.  Needless to say, “Dual Spires” was one of those episodes – and the show’s creators invited Julee Cruise to sing the opening (that’s right!  She also sang the Twin Peaks’ opening).

“Dual Spires” inspired those of us at Tele-Tuesday (me) to write a “thank you” note to the producers of Psych at the USA Network.  While we didn’t hear back from James Roday himself, we did receive an email from one of the producers thanking us for the kind words and assuring us that our note would please Roday, considering this episode was one of his creations.  Maybe she never shared our note, but it doesn’t matter.  We felt better expressing our gratitude for an episode VERY well done.

*****

The mid-season premiere “Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger” airs this Wednesday, February 29th on USA.  Will you watch?  Let’s just say one of our favorite bad guys is expected to return in this special extended episode of Psych, and a familiar face for those of us Twin Peaks fans guest stars.

We’ve already seen so many of our favorite faces from the ‘80s and ‘90s during the first half of season six:  Molly Ringwald (Psych loves the “Brat Pack”, Joey McIntyre, Jason Priestley, Danny Glover, and William Shatner.  Who’s next?

Just two besties playing 'thumb-war'

Do you watch Psych?  What’s your favorite episode?  Who is your favorite guest star to date?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – Celebrations, Part II

Last week I blogged about my week of celebrations, combining Valentine’s Day with my big thirty-fifth birthday.  This week in February is always my favorite time of year, go figure.  For me personally, I believe there is no better way to celebrate a special occasion than to incorporate as much good food as possible into the diet.  By good I mean tasty, not necessarily healthy.

I love food.  Instead of choosing a fancy Dallas restaurant where we could spend hundreds of dollars, I opted for three smaller meals at a few of my favorite locations.  Two of these eateries are national chains, while one is a Texas specialty.  No, not BBQ – Mexican food!  I highly recommend these restaurants and dishes for everyone to try at least once when they have the chance!

It’s time to celebrate!

Stop Number One: Chinese cuisine at PF Chang’s China Bistro

My love affair started with PF Chang’s a few years ago on a trip to Dallas, before I lived here.  To start, I ordered the chain’s signature Lettuce Wraps and later sampled from multiple main dishes on the menu.  Since the meals are served family style, I was able to taste two or three different delicacies and honestly didn’t find a single plate that I didn’t like.

When we arrived for my birthday dinner, we sat at the bar to wait for our table.  My Honey ordered a Maker’s and Coke while I sipped on a Kir Royale (Champaign and Cream de Cassis).  Some like to make a Kir Royale with Chambord instead, but the simple and less expensive Cream de Cassis works just as fine and tastes just as yummy.  Trust me.

Sorry it's so dark. We had to work with the lighting on the camera...

Once seated at our romantic, over-sized booth, I didn’t even need the dinner menu.  After numerous trips whenever I could, I found perhaps the most sinful appetizer and main dish that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting at PF Chang’s, and I knew exactly what I wanted…

Okay, I know what everyone is thinking – we can get fried calamari at almost any restaurant location around the globe.  That’s true; but what we can’t get is the perfect combination of dry sea salt and pepper rub that accompanies the PF Chang’s appetizer.  Dip a piece of the lightly breaded fried seafood into the rub, then into the Chinese mystery sauce (I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of ginger, pepper, and sweet and sour sauce combined, but I’m not one hundred percent on the contents), and experience a taste bud explosion!

Next is the entire reason I wanted to eat at PF Chang’s in the first place – the Lemon Scallops.  Sadly it’s not on the national menu any longer, but the Dallas PF Chang’s chefs still whip up a batch of their lemon sauce for those patrons that would like to place an order (they do lemon chicken too).  For anyone that likes a citrus base accompanied by a lightly pan-fried shellfish, this plate hits the mark.

Stop Number Two: A Mardi Gras celebration at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

A few years ago, we celebrated my birthday in the fabOoolous city of New Orleans.  We missed Mardi Gras by a week, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The city is always hopping with tourists, so we still experienced New Orleans at its finest, but we were also able to enjoy the local restaurants without the long lines and crazy, celebratory people everywhere.

When one can’t make it to The Big Easy for a night of Cajun cuisine, Pappadeaux is the next best thing.  I honestly wasn’t thinking about Mardi Gras, but the hostesses handing out beads to everyone as they walked through the doors reminded me that Fat Tuesday was just around the corner (and has since passed).  I immediately realized that I needed the signature drink of New Orleans to start off the night – a Hurricane.

My cocktail didn’t disappoint, a hurricane glass filled with light and dark rum, orange and passion fruit juice, and a slice of lime.  The drink was made popular in the 1940’s at Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter, a must-stop location when in New Orleans.

And what trip to the Bayou is complete without fresh oysters on the half shell?  My guy wasn’t thrilled that I ordered these slimy little creatures, but once I mixed up my cocktail sauce with the right amount of horseradish sauce, he let one slide…down his throat.

The dinner salad at Pappadeaux, with their signature Creole dressing, is the entire reason why I wanted to go to this location as a part of my birthday celebration.  I have no idea what is in the dressing or how to describe it, other than it is fabOoolous and it opens up the sinuses.   I was so excited when my bowl of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and croutons was placed in front of me that I forgot to take a picture.  Sorry!

By the time our dinner arrived, I was already too full to eat.  I ordered a combination plate of Blackened Catfish served atop a bed of dirty rice and Shrimp Creole.  I managed to somewhat enjoy the shrimp and okra in the tomato stew base of the Shrimp Creole, but couldn’t muster up enough energy to take even one bite of my catfish.  And don’t be mistaken; I only “somewhat enjoyed” the Cajun dish because I was absolutely miserable and felt like I was going to explode from our earlier appetizers and salads, not because it wasn’t delish.

Sorry, I took the picture after I enjoyed my Shrimp Creole...

In case anyone is wondering whether or not the catfish reheats well, it does.  I slid it into the oven and squeezed fresh lemon over the top, enjoying a perfect Ash Wednesday meal this week.

Stop Number Three: The perfect hangover food at Chuy’s

Still recovering from our fabOoolous Big Easy date the night before, my guy and I scrambled into Chuy’s for the perfect day-after food – Mexican.  I’ve had Mexican food from all over, including Mexico and New Mexico, but nothing tastes quite the same as our state’s combination of Texan and Mexican dishes, more commonly known as Tex-Mex.  All restaurants claim their Mexican food is authentic, and maybe it is, I really don’t care.  All I know is that Chuy’s always hits the spot.

Of course we started with a drink, and one of my favorite Mexican liquids is a glass of Sangria.  I know, everyone thought I was going to say margarita, but tequila and I don’t get along.  I have had a margarita at Chuy’s and it is tasty, but I’ll go for my glass of wine adorned with fruit any day when given the choice.  Oh, and my Honey had one of our favorite Mexican beers – Pacifico.

In Texas, all Mexican restaurants bring complimentary chips and salsa to the table with a glass of water.  Chuy’s, however, raises the bar. Not only do diners get a fabOoolous chopped tomato, cilantro, onion, and jalapeño hot sauce, but can also receive a dish of their creamy jalapeño sauce on request.  Think ranch and jalapeño here.  And yes, it’s free too.  Always request this salsa when eating at Chuy’s!

I could have gone one of two ways when ordering my main dish – did I want a Big As Your Face burrito smothered in tomatillo sauce (yes, it is literally as big as your face and guarantees left-overs for most women when ordered) or the Chica-Chica Boom-Boom enchiladas?

It was time for Chica-Chica Boom-Boom, shredded chicken enchiladas covered in a spicy queso sauce served with green chili rice and charro beans (pinto simmered with tomato and peppers).  Chuy’s loves to use fresh Hatch green chilies in almost everything, and sometimes the dinners are really spicy!  Nose-run spicy.

At this point, after three consecutive days of dining out with my Honey, I was ready to fall out of my chair and curl up into a ball on the sofa with the remote control.  Instead, I ordered one last delicacy – Chuy’s Tres Leches Cake.  I was so excited once our waiter placed the bowl of moist cake covered in fresh strawberries, Mexican vanilla cream, and caramel at the center of the table that I forgot to take a picture.  I still took one, just after I had attacked it like a starving lion.

Thank you to everyone for all of the warm birthday wishes!  I hope you’ve enjoyed celebrating this special time of year with me.  Until next time…

Our weak attempt at a self-photo...

Where do you like to go out to eat to celebrate those special days?  Have any favorite dishes that the rest of us must try?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Dirty Business, Again

This week Amber West and I review two of NBC’s new dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Smash and The Firm.

What comes to mind when we hear the words “The Firm”?  Many associate these words with the best-selling novel written by John Grisham, but perhaps most think Tom Cruise almost immediately from his performance as Mitch McDeere in the 1993 film adapted from the novel, The Firm.

Mitch McDeere, fresh out of law school, is hired by a top law firm in Memphis where he and his young wife move (Abby, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn) to begin their new life together.  After just a few short weeks working for the firm, Mitch discovers that the company has been overbilling clients and he is immediately in a race to save his and his family’s life.  The Firm is a fantastic, suspenseful movie (also starring Gene Hackman) which is why I initially cringed at the thought of the story being retold yet again.

But it’s not.  Not really.

The Firm television series 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 overbilling clients (from the novel and the movie).  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 place 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 television program begins after the family leaves witsec and returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.

Each episode, or chapter as each week is appropriately titled (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc), starts current day, then rewinds back in time to tell the story, uncovers more clues, and follows Mitch through the mystery, before it ends back in the current day.

"It's happening again..."

The pilot begins with Mitch running frantically through the DC area, running from two men in suits.  Mitch believes to have escaped the two suits and arrives in a hotel room where he is scheduled to meet a man.  This man briefly argues with Mitch, giving him nothing, before leaping to his death instead of facing the suits (they found Mitch) banging on the hotel door.

Rewind a few weeks…

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 failing 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.

Mitch and Abby meet the new 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.

Or so he thinks…

It seems each chapter will feature bits and pieces of three different plots: a minor storyline, an ongoing storyline, and one major storyline.

The minor:  Mitch will represent a new individual case each week, like when he takes on a dirty judge (guest star, Victor Garber).

The ongoing:  The mafia will follow and chase after Mitch and his family for his actions in Memphis (the movie).

The major:  Mitch will continue to research the Sarah Holt case – a client on trial for murdering an older woman while in her care.

This story qualifies as the major plot line because unbeknownst to Mitch, his new firm is interested in THIS case.  The firm isn’t interested in Miss Holt, the woman Mitch represents; they are interested in protecting their client – Noble Insurance.

Who is Noble insurance?  Remember the man from the pilot who jumps to his death?  He’s a Vice President at Noble insurance…

I don’t want to give too much of the story away for those who haven’t been enjoying chapter after chapter with me, but we do see a glimpse of truth behind the mystery in each episode.  The Firm doesn’t keep us guessing, not completely anyway, week after week like some frustrating shows.

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 on a Sunday night in January on NBC before moving to its temporary permanent home on Thursday nights.  I say temporary permanent because NBC has already moved The Firm, and to a time slot that I can’t help but think will kill the show – Saturday nights.  All this moving around can make a girl dizzy…

Because of the cast and the non-stop mystery and intrigue, I must award The Firm with the MacTV rating – it is by far a guilty pleasure like my favorite box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese.  After all, I can’t turn away from a good mystery; I never know where I’ll draw inspiration for my stories.  I’ve actually thought that this television series could have jumped the small screen all together and continued into a major motion picture sequel with success.

Now, depending on how The Firm wraps up the multiple plot lines, the rating could definitely fall to a JFTV rating, the kind of TV I regret watching after story-telling takes a plunge for the worst.  I hope this doesn’t happen; I really don’t want to feel miserable like I do after eating too many chocolate bars.

What do you think? Do you watch The Firm?  How does it fare in comparison with Grisham’s book and the movie?  Do you like Josh Lucas as Mitch, or do you prefer Tom Cruise?  Do you think the move to Saturday night will kill the show?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Smash.   Remember our “fight” last week to review Alcatraz?  Yea, no fighting this week.  Smash is all Amber’s…

Come back next week when Amber and I flip networks and review two of ABC’s dramas: Parenthood and my favorite of all the new shows, Revenge.

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.

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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
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: March Madness, TV Style

Television programs air sporadically today, and we’re not safe assuming (we all know what that really means) all new series and returning shows begin in September and January.  It’s simply not true anymore.

Since introducing so many new programs to 2012 in January, we decided to take the first few weeks of February to provide a breather of sorts.  But now we’re back, introducing yet another pilot series to ABC and two returning sophomores to Fox and USA that perhaps not everyone will be familiar with.

What will you watch?

*****

GCB

Originally Good Christian Bitches and later Good Christian Belles, GCB follows a former high school Queen “B” (Amanda, played by Leslie Bibb from Crossing Jordan) after she returns to her home town (Dallas) following a divorce and moves in with her mother (Annie Potts, Designing Women).

Despite the fact that Amanda left her “mean girl” days behind her, the girls she terrorized in high school haven’t quite forgotten the way she treated them.  Everyone, including Amanda’s mother, seems to be stuck in the past and the tables have turned on her.

GCB also stars: Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) as Carlene, Marisol Nichols (24) as Heather, Jennifer Aspen (Party of Five) as Sharon, and Miriam Shor (Damages) as Cricket Caruth-Reilly, the girls Amanda terrorized in high school.  The series wouldn’t be complete without the husbands: David James Elliott (JAG) as Carlene’s husband, Ripp; Brad Beyer (Jericho) as Sharon’s husband, Zack; and Mark Deklin (Lone Star) as Cricket’s husband, Blake, who happens to have a Dallas-sized secret of his own.

GCB premieres Sunday, March 4thon ABC.

*****

Breaking In

How many shows can actually say they have officially survived a literal network cancellation?  Not many; Fox first resurrected Family Guy in 2004 after watching continued success of the previous seasons in DVD sales and reruns airing on Adult Swim.  And now Breaking In can, a Fox program originally cancelled in May 2011.

Breaking In follows a team of “legitimate thieves” working at Contra Security, a high-tech security firm.  Clients hire Contra to break in and highlight flaws in security systems already in place.  For example, in season one the Contra team is hired to break into a house with a supposed impenetrable security system in an attempt to retrieve a valuable belonging to the homeowner.  Later, they discover that the house belongs to their team leader, who unbeknownst to them happens to be on the verge of a nasty divorce.

Perhaps our favorite episode of the first season was when the Contra team was hired to protect an invaluable DVD sequel until its national release party at Comic-ConGoonies 2.  The pop culture references and comedic events were absolutely spot-on and hilarious, at least for those of us who will forever be a Goonie.

The Contra team is led by Oz (Christian Slater, Heathers), a man who loves to play mind games on his staff… a staff composed of: Cameron (Bret Harrison, Reaper), a genius with top-rated hacking abilities; Cash (Alphonso McAuley), a gadget guy and hacker; Melanie (Odette Annable, House), the hot girl with safe cracking abilities; and Josh (Trevor Moore), the master manipulator and master of disguise.   Season two will see a new, yet familiar face at Contra Security when Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) joins the cast as Veronica, Contra’s new boss.

Breaking In returns to Fox Tuesday, March 6th.

*****

Fairly Legal

We love the USA Network’s programs here at Tele-Tuesday, which is why when Fairly Legal premiered last year we immediately checked it out.

Fairly Legal follows Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi, Life – a great short-lived series, by the way), a former attorney turned mediator working at her father’s law firm in San Francisco, as she deals with life both professionally and personally following a failed marriage and her father’s untimely death.

Kate, while extremely beautiful and successful, lives life by the seat of her pants.  She resides on her father’s boat, arrives late to almost everything, and relies heavily on her assistant (Leonardo, played by Baron Vaughn) to keep her day straight.  Once Kate arrives at the office, she not only has to deal with arguing clients assigned to her by the courts (especially those difficult cases assigned by Judge Nicastro, played by Gerald McRaney), but also with her new boss and step-mother, Lauren (Virginia Williams, Monarch Cove).

Unfortunately for Kate, her professional life isn’t the only thing leaving her rushing around with her head cut off.  Factor in her soon-to-be-ex husband Justin (Michael Trucco, Battlestar Galactica), who she continues to have an on-again/off-again relationship with, and the secrets surrounding a man (Richard Dean Anderson) involved with her father prior to his death, and Kate’s life is hectic.

Fairly Legal returns to the USA network Friday, March 16th.

*****

Will you watch GCB?  Do you agree with ABC’s decision to change the title?  How about Breaking In and Fairly Legal?  Did you catch the first seasons and if so, what did you think?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – Celebrations, Part I

I don’t usually blog about myself, but I decided to share a bit of my Honey’s and my celebrations the past few days in honor of Valentine’s and my thirty-fifth birthday.  That’s right – I turned the big THREE FIVE yesterday.  Thirty-five used to be my scary age, but to be honest, I feel just as I did when I turned twenty-five.  There’s nothing scary about this, but it is time to celebrate!

It all started last Thursday night when we ventured into downtown Dallas for a night of cheese at Scardello Artisan Cheese.  Our friend works there and he’s been trying to get us down for a class, which is why when we discovered the Cheese, Chocolate, and Bubbles extravaganza we were finally in.  I’m usually not one for cheese, but my guy loves the stinky stuff.  The justification that I’m a chocoholic to his cheese-head and the fact that we both love the bubbly made the class our perfect choice.

The lack of cheese-favoring-taste buds aside, I actually tried every single piece on my plate.  Unfortunately, I left our menu on the table (perhaps the bubbly went to my head) or I’d share a few that didn’t provoke a “nasty face” as my friend so eloquently described my cheese tasting reaction.

Without fail, the chocolate was my favorite part of the night. The locally crafted sweets from Dude, Sweet Chocolate took first prize in every instance.  One dark chocolate, and perhaps my favorite, was made with foie gras.  It may not sound appetizing, but it was absolutely delish.

The bubbles weren’t so bad either, although none of the four that we tasted replaced our recent discovery and new favorite champaign – Risque by Toad Hollow from California.

Our evening out led me to the proper Valentine for my guy.   Every year, I feel bad that he is forced into two back-to-back celebrations which is why this year, I decided that Valentine’s would be spent at home.  I rushed out to Whole Foods Market, a store that usually only sees our business a few times a year because I get lost, drooling over all the produce and beautifully prepared and carved fruits, choosing between all of the fresh cuts of meats and fish, and finding myself completely distracted by the aromas of their roasted meats and full-service delicatessen.  After selecting a few of the award-winning cheeses, I meandered over to the olive and pasta bar where I chose a few different delicacies for our snacking delight before making my way back to the fish station where I picked up a filet of smoked salmon.

Once home, I carefully laid our spread out on the kitchen island (the cats love the smell of any fish, particularly salmon), and we enjoyed a Valentine’s night full of a few of my Honey’s favorite things.

Sans salmon because of the cats…

Our Valentine celebration continued into Thursday, when my guy surprised me with a couples massage at our local spa.  We first learned about Stonebriar Spa through one of my guy’s ex- co-workers.  Since the location isn’t far from us, we frequent the pampering location as often as we feasibly can.  After briefly kicking back in our plush and comfy robes in the spa room, complete with the tranquil sound of a small water fountain, we followed the masseuses into our room – I opted for the relaxing stone massage and my guy enjoyed sixty minutes of relaxation.  Mission complete!  Let me just say that I am really glad we didn’t have anything else on the docket for the rest of day besides lounging around the house and catching up on our television shows (my DVR is full again, go figure)  because I was worthless.

To cap everything off, and perhaps one of my favorite things of all time, we’re planning a big birthday dinner celebration just the two of us.  I love food.  Instead of choosing a fancy Dallas restaurant where we could spend hundreds of dollars, I’ve opted for three smaller meals at a few of my favorite locations.  Next week, I’ll share our date night locations and the dishes that everyone must try, when they have the chance!  And don’t worry, two of the three restaurants are national chains (one is a Texas specialty), so everyone can hopefully find one nearby…

My fabOoolous birthday cake from Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse…YUM, people. YUM.

As everyone can see, I’m off to a great Valentine’s and birthday week.  Please don’t take this post as  bragging, its entire purpose is to share my fabOoolous experiences with the rest of you.  If you are ever in the DFW area, I highly recommend adding these stops to your itinerary.

How do you like to celebrate those special days?  What’s your idea of the “perfect date”?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Art of Finding

This week Amber West and I review two of Fox’s new dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Alcatraz and The Finder.

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” pilot episode aired in Bones’ timeslot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the Fox 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 Florida 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.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter takes over the case for Booth and Bones.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  However, airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows did not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder introduced two new characters this season:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and a young gypsy/criminal on probation, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.  The character of Walter Sherman is just as adorable.  Walter suffered a brain injury while in combat, and has since been tested by the FBI in order to resume his consulting work for other federal agencies.  Keeping with the Bones family lineage, Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) administered Walter’s test and “gave” him a passing score, despite the fact Walter didn’t really pass the psychological exam.

To reiterate, Walter can find anything.  He feels “finding is an art,” and once he’s hired to find something there is no firing him.  Walter becomes obsessed with whatever he is tasked to find – person or object.   He finds things using unorthodox methods and manners, whether it be lying on the tarmac pretending to be an airplane, or wearing insanely huge glasses or a hat made out of bar cherries and toothpicks.  Walter is fun; he leaves the professional side of the business to his “Ends of the Earth” partner (the bar) and a type of “handler” of sorts, Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan).

Leo is a former attorney who lost his family (wife and daughter) years earlier when a company didn’t properly recall a spoiled meat product.  He is a caretaker; Leo takes care of Walter and now he also takes care of Willow while she works through her probationary period.  He may be large and intimidating, but Leo has a soft heart and the simple joys in life bring a monstrous smile to his face.

Walter appreciates Leo, but usually has a hard time showing it.  But at the end of last week’s episode, viewers saw a different side of Walter.  Walter is usually carefree and boisterous, and uses Leo to ground himself.  But this past week, Walter shared his innermost thoughts that portrayed exactly how he feels about Leo: “Find someone you can trust.  It’ll change your life.”

Actually, the foursome is one great, big love fest (Walter, Leo, Isabel, and Willow).

Apparently, Walter and Isabel literally have a “friends with benefits” agreement that includes a special “paragraph C” for when one of the duo actually finds love elsewhere and plans to sleep with someone else.    This new development shocked us; we’re about six episodes into the season, and this was the first we could recall an actual relationship between Walter and Isabel being confirmed…not to mention the way it was written into the storyline made it seem like this has been understood from the beginning.  Who knows? Maybe we missed something early on?

As far as Willow goes, she adores Walter and Leo just the same and wants desperately to prove her worth and to find a permanent home with them, regardless of whether or not she admits it.  She also feels a tight bond with Isabel that allows her to open up and share parts of her life (her Gypsy life) that she’s never told anyone before.

The foursome of The Finder is really just one big, unrelated, dysfunctional family.

I know we’re approaching week seven this Thursday night, but I find myself bouncing back and forth between assigning The Finder with an SSTV rating or a JFTV rating. The fact that it doesn’t sit long on our DVR queue has me leaning more toward the JFTV rating, but I’m still not 100% sold; after all, my guy is usually more eager to watch than I am.  I do like Geoff Stults quite a bit too, another for the plus column under our JFTV scale.  So why not – let’s award The Finder with the JFTV rating.  We have yet another tasty chocolate bar waiting for us in the pantry for a once-a-week indulgence.  It’s not great for us, but it does satisfy us for a sixty minute interval every seven days.

The Finder does leave us wondering one thing: what happens when Walter can’t find something?  His friends appear to actually fear the day this occurs, more than likely for the psychological toll it will take on him.  But really…what will happen?

What do you think? Do you watch The Finder?  Will the Bones spinoff see the same success or be one-and-done?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Alcatraz.   We practically had to play tug-o-war to review this one; Amber won.  Why did we fight?  Okay, we didn’t fight… but considering we’re both caught up on Alcatraz, either of us could have shared our thoughts for our WatchWed viewers.  Hardly ever do we find a show that we’re both caught up on…so what does that tell ya?

Come back next week when Amber and I flip networks and review two of NBC’s new dramas: Smash and The Firm.

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.

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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
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