Tele-Tuesday: The Firm – Unfinished Business

Back in February, I reviewed NBC’s continuation of John Grisham’s The Firm.  Even then, I could tell the new television drama was in danger of cancellation.  The series premiered on a Sunday night in January before moving to its supposed permanent home on Thursday nights.  But that didn’t last long.  After just a few episodes, the network moved the show once again to a time slot that I couldn’t help but think would kill the show—Saturday nights.

I was right.  In May, NBC announced the official cancellation of The Firm.  But, in an unorthodox move, the network agreed to air the remaining episodes—all twenty-two of them.

Knowing the show had been axed, I did not rush through the recordings on my DVR.  Anyone that knows me knows that my DVR is almost always at capacity, and I chose to first watch the programs that still breathed network life.  However, in-between watching the Olympics this weekend, I finally finished The Firm.

I disagree with cancellations all of the time.  Perhaps that’s because I like too much television.  When one likes five-hundred thousand television shows (okay, that’s a bit high… but everyone catches my drift), frustrations with cancellations are expected.  But all of that aside, I am fully disappointed with the network’s decision to kill this particular program.

The Firm television series picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas) turns in his law firm’s documents proving they were overbilling clients to the FBI (from the Grisham 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 placed the McDeere family into witness protection for a short period of time, but the TV drama begins after the family leaves witsec and returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.  But when Mitch is faced with a major legal battle versus a top medical company, he strikes a deal with a large 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 thought…

“It’s happening again…”

Each episode, or chapter as each week is appropriately titled (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc), starts in the present day, then rewinds back in time to tell the story, uncover more clues, and follow Mitch through the mystery, before sending it back to the present day.  Every chapter features bits and pieces of three different plots: a minor storyline, a major storyline, and the ongoing storyline.

The minor:  Mitch will represent a new individual case each week, like when he takes on a dirty judge.
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.
The ongoing:  The mafia will follow and chase after Mitch and his family for his actions in Memphis (the storyline from the book/movie).

Without a doubt, The Firm‘s intricate plot made viewers pay attention.  Maybe this was too much for TV audiences today.  But for those that enjoy a good novel, particularly a good mystery, the plot was genius.

I don’t want to give too much of the story away for those who didn’t have the privilege of 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 other programs.  And it’s a darn-shame we won’t get to watch the rest of the story unfold… because like most other series granted a twenty-two episode season, The Firm wrapped with a cliff-hanger.  Who wouldn’t?  Twenty-two episodes is a lot.  I can understand a series tasked with recording a short-season, like six episodes, or maybe even twelve, would feel uncertain with its future.  But twenty-two?  I’d feel pretty safe with a pick-up, especially when the story is top-notch.   Yet, here we are… no more Firm.

As a Grisham fan, I hope the author continues his story—maybe a new novel—maybe a new movie—but I personally feel, without a doubt, that The Firm deserves more.  One way or another…

And if he does, please keep the cast.  Josh Lucas as Mitch, Juliette Lewis as Tammy (the chain-smoking legal secretary), and Callum Keith Rennie as Ray (a private investigator/Mitch’s ex-con older brother) were perfect in their roles.

What do you think? Did you watch The Firm?  Has there been a series cancelled that you’re still wondering how it would have or how it should have ended?  I’d love to hear from you!

P.S.  If you enjoy a good mystery with a complex story, I highly recommend making a marathon of The Firm once its available on DVD or Netflix…

Remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!

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Friday FabOoolousness – Summer Fun

During the summer months, we are busier than usual.  Not only do we find ways to deal with the heat, like making frequent trips to the pool and water parks, but we also gather up the troops and travel to fun and sunny destinations.  All of these activities pull us outside and take us away from our “normal” lives—whatever that may be.

Unlike last summer, we haven’t traveled to any tropical locations or taken any honest-to-goodness vacations; however, we have kept it close to home and just as fun.  Perhaps our long weekends this year have meant even more to us than a fancy getaway—we’ve spent time with our families and closest friends.

*****

First up, a weekend at Lake Horseshoe Bay…

Horseshoe Bay lake house

I hadn’t been to this particular lake in the Austin, Texas area in years, but it is just as peaceful and beautiful as I remember.  Just take a look at who decided to take a rest in the yard:

I have never been so close to a deer, yet alone as many as there were, in my life!

So, what do people do when they’re at the lake?

We fish…

My guy and one of his fish!

We ride jet skis…

 Jet skis are a seriously fun time… just be sure and hang on tight!

We entertain the kids by pulling them behind the jet ski…

These two were like fish out of the water… they loved it! If you want to try this, please be sure and have a spotter sitting at the back of the jet ski.

And most importantly, we spend time with those that mean the most to us…

Me and My Guy
Me and My Girls… usually we’re all dolled-up when we’re together, but this was an au natural weekend. It was awesome!

I honestly can’t remember the last time I spent a weekend away with my girls.  We’ve been friends since, well, forever, and since college, we’ve only seen each other on special occasions (engagements, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, kid’s birthdays, and high school reunions).  But not this weekend.  For the first time in years, we got together with our families and had nothing we had to do but hang out and spend time with each other.  Not once did we leave the lake house once we arrived, and that was perfect.

*****

Just a few weeks later, our house was taken over by my family.  My mom, dad, brother, and three nephews arrived for an extra-long weekend in the DFW area.  Why?  Of course, they missed us and wanted to spend time with us, but that wasn’t the primary reason—my nephew had scheduled a few golf tournaments in the area and we finally got to watch him play!

This tournament was the “real” deal…
Words can’t express how much I love this photo… my nephew, analyzing his next shot, while my big brother, the proud father, stands behind and watches.
The proud aunt/sister and Yaya…

*****

So, that’s it!  I hope everyone has enjoyed taking a peek into a few of our summer weekends.  With the release of Football Sweetheart, it was time for some fun in the sun!

What have you done this summer?  Any fun trips that you’d like to share?  What makes for the perfect summer?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – A Pretty Little Teenage Mystery

Let me begin by saying that I have the best friend and writing partner in Amber West.  With the Kindle release of Football Sweetheart last week, Amber suggested that we use this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday to promote my book.  While I don’t want to force my story down everyone’s throats by talking about it every day, as a self-published writer it is my duty to market the book as much as I can.

First, a little something about Football Sweetheart

Aimee Freeman is looking forward to the start of her senior year.  She knows her best friend Ella has been keeping secrets from her all summer long, but with football season right around the corner, the student trainer decides not to worry about it—they’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the field.

Then Ella goes missing, and Aimee realizes those secrets might be the key to finding her.  As the case unfolds, Aimee discovers more than one person may have wanted to harm Ella.  Was it Ella’s current boyfriend, a social outcast the entire city seems intent on blaming for her disappearance?  Or her ex-boyfriend, the beloved star quarterback who has harassed Ella since their breakup?  The list of potential suspects continues to grow after Aimee reads Ella’s journal, but she must first break her best friend’s secret code to reveal their identities.

Unbeknownst to Aimee, her investigation has not gone unnoticed.  Ella’s abductor is watching and waiting.  Will he decide Aimee needs to be silenced—making her the next target?

So, which television series could Amber and I review this week where the specific TV audiences might actually enjoy reading Football Sweetheart as well?  Well, it’s Young Adult and a mystery, so Pretty Little Liars came to mind.  I’ve already reviewed PLL once on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, but I enjoy the teenage drama so much that I selected it… again.

And for Amber?  Well, what says West Texas High School Football more than Friday Night Lights?  Yea, that’s what I thought…

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy our special Football Sweetheart edition of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday…

*****

The insurgence of YA mystery on TV receives a DVR priority in this Young Adult mystery writer’s house.   Thankfully, ABC Family provides young mystery lovers (and some of us “old”) with a few great soap-opera style whodunits with Pretty Little Liars topping the list.

Alison DiLaurentis

The series begins when Alison DiLaurentis’ (Sasha Pieterse) remains are found a year after her mysterious disappearance in the fictional town of Rosewood.  This event brings together her four former best friends who had drifted apart following that fateful night.  Alison was the glue that held the girls together, the leader of the high school clique.  As the episodes progress, viewers see Alison’s viciousness and many of the secrets that she holds over everyone’s heads—is she not a nice girl, or is she simply misunderstood?

After attending Alison’s funeral, the four friends reunite outside the chapel when each of their cell phones sound—they’ve received their first threatening text message from “A”—a the mystery begins: Who killed Alison? And, who is “A”?

Aria Montgomery

PLL #1 – Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) returns home from a year abroad with her family, and forgetting she’s a teenager and back in America, goes to a local bar where she meets Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding).  The two immediately hit it off and share a kiss after connecting over their love for literature.  The next day at school, Aria walks into English class where she discovers Ezra is also her teacher.

Meanwhile, emotions erupt at home when her mother (Ella Montgomery, played by Holly Marie Combs) leaves her father after discovering the true reason behind the family’s extended absence from Rosewood—Aria’s father, a professor, had an affair with a teaching assistant at the local college.  Aria and Alison knew this secret prior to the Montgomeries’ extended vacation, having spotted Mr. Montgomery (Chad Lowe) making out with his TA in his car.  Whoopsie!

Isn’t it ironic that Aria now begins a torrid love affair and dates her teacher after torturing her father for a similar inappropriate relationship?  “A” won’t let Aria forget it…

Hanna Marin

PLL #2 – Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) replaced Alison as the most popular girl in school following her friend’s disappearance.  “Hefty Hanna”—as Alison liked to call her—dropped her baby fat, partnered with her new BFF Mona (Janel Parrish) and took to a life of brattiness and shoplifting.

Hanna lacks the self-confidence a young woman needs, having watched her father walk out on her and her mother.  She spirals out of control, throwing herself at her boyfriend, only to be rejected.  Not helping matters, Hanna watches as her single mother (Ashley Marin, played by Laura Leighton) bails her out of trouble by bedding the detective on Hanna’s shoplifting case.

Hanna really has the worst luck—she wrecks her boyfriend’s car, and she is involved in a hit and run when she gets dangerously close to discovering “A’s” real identity.  When Mona throws her a surprise “glad you’re alive party,” someone steals all of the money (assumedly “A”) that Hanna’s mother stole from a client at the bank.  And, while following “A’s” sordid trail back to the money, Hanna falls for the wrong boy—who happens to be feeding information to the girls’ nemesis, Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok)—and who of course later turns out to be the right boy for her anyway (Caleb, played by Tyler Blackburn).

Spencer Hastings

PLL #3 – Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is the poor-little-rich-girl of the bunch.  Spencer’s successful parents push her to be the absolute best, much like they did with her older sister Melissa (Torrey DeVitto).  Spencer is brilliant, but plays second fiddle to her sister, always aware that her parents favor Melissa.  To retaliate, Spencer kisses her sister’s boyfriend and then later kisses her new fiancé.  Matters only get worse for Spencer when Melissa surprises the Hastings family by abruptly marrying her boyfriend right after calling off her previous engagement.

Spencer begins to investigate her new brother-in-law, and slowly uncovers an affair between him and Alison that happened just before Alison’s disappearance.  As she continues to investigate, Spencer believes that her new brother-in-law not only stalked her best friend but also killed her, causing the rift between Spencer and her sister to intensify.

Now a suspect herself in Alison’s murder, Spencer befriends Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) who also happened to serve time in jail briefly as the main suspect in Alison’s death.  Did I mention that Toby is also the half-brother of Jenna?  Toby knows just how deceiving and manipulative his sister can be….is Jenna “A”?

Emily Fields

PLL #4 – Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) is the daughter of a military father always away on assignment who is confused with her own sexuality.  She starts the series with a boyfriend but then falls for the new girl in town, sending her mother (Nia Peeples) into a tailspin.  Making even more of a splash, Emily takes Toby Cavanaugh to the homecoming dance as her date trying to hide the fact that she’s gay.  The fact that Emily doesn’t totally believe in Toby’s innocence, like the rest of the town, leads to a dangerous encounter—only one of many.

After accepting that she is a homosexual, Emily is further devastated when her girlfriend is sent away to military school after marijuana is found inside her back pack.  Emily’s world continues to turn upside down when her mother announces that they’re leaving Rosewood to live with her father who is stationed in Texas.  Meanwhile, Emily holds the key to the photo evidence the girls have uncovered on her home computer (evidence they believe links back to Alison’s killer) which conveniently gets erased when the realtor shows the Fields’ house.

And the texts begin…

Each of the girls has oodles of conflict surrounding them individually, even without “A’s” threatening their every move (there’s so much more that I didn’t mention).  Throw in the suspicions the police and their parents have regarding their involvement in Alison’s murder, and the lies they continuously try to hide despite “A’s” best efforts, and Pretty Little Liars doesn’t bore its viewers—it has twists and turns week in and week out.

And the suspicions…

Season two ended with the huge unveiling of “A” — but is it really her?

I have my suspicions that the incorrect identification of “A” is just another twist masterfully planned by the real “A”—confused yet?

And the fear…

In my last Why It’s Worth a Watch review of Pretty Little Liars, I give the girls and the mystery a MacTV rating.  But after watching as many episodes as I have to date, I have to upgrade the review to a GTV rating.   Despite the fact that I’m in my thirties, I tune in every single week to watch these little teenagers scurry around playing detective, trying their best to solve their BFF’s murder, and discover the true identity of the creepy texter known only as “A”.   The on going, soap-opera style series is one of my favorites on TV today.  Open up a glass of wine, plate your perfectly cooked filet with a side of grilled veggies, and enjoy the mystery!

What do you think? Do you watch Pretty Little Liars?  How would you rate it?  Who’s your favorite character?  Have you read any of Sara Shephard’s books?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about the hugely successful Friday Night Lights.  She’s not big on football; she’s not from Texas; and, yet, somehow she’s already on season three…  See, that Texas High School Football is big—regardless of where you’re from!

Come back next week when Amber and I begin the 2012 Tamberny Awards…

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.

And if you watch Pretty Little Liars, or if the idea of a West Texas high school mystery appeals to you, be sure to check out my book, Football Sweetheartnow available on Kindle!

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: Politics – Drama and Comedy

This weekend, I watched the pilot episode of USA’s new miniseries, Political Animals.  The word “politics” is a double-edged sword for me; I know that as an adult, understanding the politics of our respective countries is important, but mostly it does nothing more than frustrate me.  Maybe the networks recognize that politics upsets many viewers, thus the insane amount of police procedurals and medical dramas and lack of political series on the boob tube currently.  When I think TV and politics today, only one show comes to mind—Scandal—and its more drama than politics.

Until now.

If not evident from my earlier summer posts, I love the USA Network.  And when I saw the previews for the new miniseries, Political Animals, and saw the star-studded cast, I knew that I’d have to give it a try.  Now, I didn’t watch it live; I don’t really watch any TV live, unless it’s a sporting event.  But I did add the new drama to my DVR queue and watched it seven days after its original air date.

So what is Political Animals?  Let’s start with this question: who does everyone think of when we say former First Lady and current Secretary of State?  Did everyone answer Sigourney Weaver?

Secretary of State Elaine Barrish (with son Douglas in the background)

In the new six-part miniseries, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, a recently divorced former First Lady and current Secretary of State fighting to keep her family and her insane position in the U.S. government intact.  I think we all know who this sounds like, but let me add that Ms. Weaver herself has stated on talk shows that she is not playing Secretary Clinton.  Plus, the Barrish family is not the Clinton family, nor is it any one particular former President’s family.  Instead, the creators took bits and pieces from many different White House families, as well as created a fictional component, and the Barrish clan was born.

The USA network is known for its characters and Political Animals is no different.  Elaine Barrish is a strong, female lead.  She graduated first at her law school and received a ten-minute standing ovation after her commencement speech.  Despite her husband’s adulterous ways, she stood by her man throughout his political career (including his path from Governor to President of the United States).  And, most importantly, she more than challenged the Democratic male candidate throughout the presidential primary race before graciously stepping down.

Following her concession, Elaine asked her husband for a divorce.  It wasn’t until her separation from the former President that her popularity really soared with the American public, and the President-elect recognized this.  Secretary Barrish stated in the pilot episode that she did not want to be the country’s senior-most official dealing in foreign policies, but when the President of the United States calls for you, you answer.

Strengths aside, Elaine Barrish also has her flaws and weaknesses.  When in a stressful situation, the Secretary lights up a cigarette.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a character light up on screen.  In the “olden” days, characters smoked on television all of the time—but not today.  Additionally, despite her divorcing the former President, Elaine still has the rare tendency to run back to him when the going gets tough.  Sometimes a person needs the familiar warmth of a loved one, former or current—it’s a human response.

Secretary Barrish with Susan Berg (Reporter) – Will these rivals become the closest of friends?

In addition to Ms. Weaver, Political Animals also stars: Carla Gugino, a reporter who hasn’t been kind to the Secretary over the years; Ciaran Hinds, the former President and the Secretary’s ex-husband; Adrian Pasdar, the current President; Dylan Baker, the current Vice President; James Wolk, the Secretary’s son and Chief of Staff; Sebastian Stan, the Secretary’s other son and first openly homosexual child in the White House; and Ellen Burstyn, the Secretary’s mother.  Now that’s a cast!

Besides the cast and characters, the series also has drama.

From a political standpoint, the Secretary works feverishly to save three American journalists falsely imprisoned and convicted in Iran as spies.  As if the scandal wasn’t enough, she learns that the President and his sleazy Chief of Staff have known about the Iranian government’s requests and tried to handle it on their own, without giving into the demands of the Iranian President.  Keep in mind, I have only watched the first episode…

From a personal standpoint, the Secretary’s family is not-so-perfect either.  We all know her husband has flaws—her main reason for divorcing him was his many years of infidelity and his ego.  The Secretary’s one son, played by James Wolk, seems perfect—he’s clean cut, extremely intelligent, and engaged to a beautiful woman.  His fiancé also seems perfect, but she is secretly battling her own demons with bulimia and her infuriation with her future husband’s loyalty to his mother.  And the Secretary’s other son, played by the adorable Sebastian Stan, attempted suicide a year earlier and the family covered it up—or so they thought.  Anyone in politics should know nothing is sacred, not even the near death of a child—not to the media anyway.  Additionally, he is addicted to drugs.  He’s been to AA and has a sponsor, but the recent refusal of his parents to fork over the cash for him to open a restaurant/bar, and the national coverage of his suicide attempt, has pushed him over the edge.

Along with the drama, Political Animals also has moments of pure comedic genius.  Bud Hammond (Ciaran Hinds) and Margaret Barrish (Ellen Burstyn) have some of the funniest lines on TV.  I watched this episode with my parents, and even my father asked which network we were watching—not because we’re prudes, we’re Texans and language does not offend us—but because the dialogue was definitely unusual considering television sensors today.

And speaking of dialogue, here is my favorite line from the pilot:

“Bitches don’t like to be called bitches. Us bitches don’t like that.”
~Elaine Barrish to Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) AND Susan Berg to her boyfriend’s mistress/blogger at The Globe.

I also really enjoyed it when the Secretary told her husband’s Secret Service Agents that if she was going to kill Bud (her ex-husband), she would have done it years ago.  I don’t remember the exact quote, so I’m paraphrasing, but I think everyone will understand and appreciate it just the same.  This line was quite funny when used in the context of the scene.

Secretary Barrish – will she be the next President of the United States?

Lastly, I want to mention one final aspect of the story that I truly appreciate—the attempt at bi-partisanship.  Despite the Secretary’s obvious affiliation to the Democratic Party (her husband was a Democratic President; she ran for President in the Democratic primary; and her dogs are named Teddy, Bobby, and Jack), she and her sons constantly reference Elaine Barrish’s love of elephants.  C’mon, we all know what the Republican Party’s symbol is… the elephant.

So considering the network, the casting, the characters, the drama, the comedy, the dialogue, and the attempt at bi-partisanship, I can’t wait to check back in for the remaining five episodes.  I’m kind of sad this is only a miniseries…

What do you think?  Have you watched Political Animals?  Do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle!

Friday FabOoolousness: Football Sweetheart – Available on Kindle

My YA mystery, Football Sweetheart, is now available on Kindle!

*****

Aimee Freeman is looking forward to the start of her senior year.  She knows her best friend Ella has been keeping secrets from her all summer long, but with football season right around the corner, the student trainer decides not to worry about it—they’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the field.

Then Ella goes missing, and Aimee realizes those secrets might be the key to finding her.  As the case unfolds, Aimee discovers more than one person may have wanted to harm Ella.  Was it Ella’s current boyfriend, a social outcast the entire city seems intent on blaming for her disappearance?  Or her ex-boyfriend, the beloved star quarterback who has harassed Ella since their breakup?  The list of potential suspects continues to grow after Aimee reads Ella’s journal, but she must first break her best friend’s secret code to reveal their identities.

Unbeknownst to Aimee, her investigation has not gone unnoticed.  Ella’s abductor is watching and waiting.  Will he decide Aimee needs to be silenced—making her the next target?

*****

Check out some of the early reviews!

In Football Sweetheart, Tiffany A. White takes the reader into the world of high school football in West Texas. Aimee Freeman is looking forward to her senior year of high school. She knows her best friend, Ella, has changed over the summer; but it’s only after Ella disappears, that Aimee begins to understand how much.

Once I started reading Football Sweetheart, I immediately became engrossed in the story. I enjoyed getting to know Aimee and her friends, along with the football team, students, coaches, teachers from Lee High. As the book progressed, I could not wait to find out who was responsible for Ella’s disappearance; but at the same time, I did not want to leave the world of Lee High.

If you enjoy a good mystery, you will enjoy Football Sweetheart. ~ Latisha S.

This is an excellent read.  You feel like you know the characters.  I was spellbound from the start.  You really get to know the people and football as it is in some Texas towns. ~ Ann A.

The glory days of west Texas high school football lives on in this book. High school friendships, crushes, breakups, and mysterious disasters evolve in this story.

It was an easy read that kept me engaged throughout. I enjoyed the details of the city Midland and the instilled love of football for the young teens.

The characters seemed real, and the mysterious plot was believable.

I am excited to hear the author will be coming out with more for this series. I look forward to getting to venture with Aimee, one of the lead characters, and her dear high school friends.

High school kids will enjoy this series along with adults who want to be taken down memory lane with some mysterious suspense. ~ Brandy C.

*****

Somebody pinch me!  As excited as I am, I look forward to kicking back and relaxing for a few days… after I upload to Nook.  🙂

Have a fabOoolous Friday and a great weekend!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Suspense & Stilettos

This week, Amber West and I review two female-driven dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday—the short-lived Whedon series, Dollhouse, and TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles

What do we get when a Boston detective and her best friend/medical examiner solve crime together?  Two strong, female characters and plenty of laughs.  To be clear, these women aren’t perfect—they both have issues and insecurities—plus they are nothing alike.  But regardless, they make for one fun hour of television viewing.

First we have Detective Jane Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon.

Detective Jane Rizzoli

Rizzoli hails from a working class family: her dad’s a plumber; her younger brother (Colin Egglesfield) has just been released from prison; and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges), who idolizes Rizzoli, is following in his sister’s footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco).  She has been stalked, tortured, and scarred by serial killers; she doesn’t have much luck in the love department; and she’s trying to fit into a man’s world.  I know, I know; it’s 2012 and there are plenty of female officers on police forces across the country; but in Rizzoli’s case, her squadron is full of men.

Rizzoli & Isles – Jane and lil’ bro’ Frankie

Then we have Medical Examiner Maura Isles, played by Sasha Alexander.

Dr. Maura Isles

Isles was raised by her adopted parents (her mother is played by Jacqueline Bissett), where she learned to focus on her studies and adapted a fabulous sense of style.   How many medical examiners do you know who examine dead bodies and perform autopsies in stilettos?  Her biological father (John Doman) is a Boston mafia boss, a fact she learns after discovering that a corpse on her morgue table shares her DNA and was later identified as her brother.  Her biological mother (Sharon Lawrence) is a world-renowned doctor, who has invented scientific techniques to help identify victims.  But here’s the kicker—Isles’ biological father told her biological mother that baby Maura died at birth.  Of course, he did it for their protection, but still…

Friends Forever…

Regardless of their differences, the girls have each other.  Or at least they did—season two ended with Rizzoli shooting Isles’ dad.  Even though Isles has a difficult time admitting her true feelings for her biological father, he’s still her father.  Will their friendship survive?  Of course it will… it already has.  Sorry for the spoiler…

Frost & Korsak in pursuit…

The series, based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen, also stars Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s new partner, Detective Frost, and Bruce McGill as Rizzoli’s former partner/senior detective, Vince Korsak.  Frost and Korsak are like salt and pepper—they complement each other beautifully,  but like Rizzoli and Isles, they are nothing alike.  Here lately, Frost spends most of his time in front of the computer and leads Rizzoli’s little brother, Frankie, around (he’s dying to get out of the uniform and become a detective), while Korsak works most of the cases by Rizzoli’s side.  Throw in Dr. Isles and Rizzoli’s mom, Angela, and this group really meshes together well.

Mamma Rizzoli…

If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll also like Rizzoli & IslesIf you liked Angie Harmon on Baywatch Nights, Law & Order, and/or the short-lived Women’s Mystery Club, you will love her as Jane Rizzoli.  If she wasn’t an actress, I might actually think Angie was in law enforcement.

The episodes are particularly fun when Rizzoli & Isles go undercover together…

So how does Rizzoli & Isles officially rank?  If I were rating the show in comparison to Dr. Maura Isles’ lifestyle, I’d say GTV.   But Rizzoli isn’t fine wine and gourmet meals… she’s more of a beer and sandwich kinda girl.  So, I’m going with the MacTV rating—pop open a beer, make a pastrami sandwich with au jus on the side, and boil some Shells-N-Cheese.  It’s probably not great for our cholesterol, but it sure tastes good goin’ down.. am I right?

The girls like their rating…

What do you think? Do you watch Rizzoli & Isles?  How would you rate it?  Who’s your favorite character?  Have you read any of Tess Gerritsen’s books?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about Joss Whedon’s short-lived series, Dollhouse.

Come back next week when Amber and I review something..it’s summer time and the heat is taking a toll on our planning ahead.

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.

And, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle!

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: Summer Chaos, Part Two

Last Tuesday, I listed all of the TV shows that I try to watch each night in Summer Chaos, Part One.  I attempted to pick only one or two shows per night, but in some instances I couldn’t walk away without selecting at least three.

And even with these programs watched and erased from our DVR, it’s still full.  One might ask, how is this even possible right now?  Despite it not being the typical television season of September through May, we still find ourselves recording more than a few programs per night.  Plus, during the summer months, we are busier than usual.  Not only do we find ways to deal with the heat, like making frequent trips to the pool and water parks, but we also gather up the troops and travel to fun and sunny destinations.  All of these activities pull us outside and take us away from our televisions.  For our household, this leaves our DVR queue full.

So, in addition to last week’s list, today I’m going to share our left-over bucket that we cram into our weekend viewing.

Here’s to everything else… the rest of our must-see summer television series.

*****

Rizzoli & Isles

C’mon, it’s Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander!!  Angie plays Jane… just one of the guys, solving crimes, but with much prettier hair.  And Sasha plays Maura… a medical examiner who examines bodies and performs autopsies in stilettos.  And lets not forget about the humor…

Leverage

Our favorite team of cons…because last week I already stated Neal Caffrey is my favorite individual con…  Nate may lead the team, but I personally don’t think Leverage would quite be the same without the supporting cast of Parker (the thief), Hardison (the hacker), and Eliot (the muscle).

Covert Affairs

Sometimes her spy abilities prove to be a bit frustrating, but Annie Walker is with a new team this year—with more freedom.  Maybe this will open up the romantic door with Auggie a little?  We hope so!  We need more Auggie…

Dallas

So far I’m really enjoying this new generation of Ewings… they’re especially fun to look at!  Christopher or John Ross?  Elena or Rebecca?  It’s a tough decision…

Men at Work

How I Met Your Mother meets Sex and the City…  Men at Work‘s season ended last week, so that’s one less show for us to watch.  But let me just say, it was fun—it was great to see dating from a guy’s perspective—and I can’t wait for the 2013 season.    Yes, it was picked up…

The Glades

A&E is really stepping it up with its original programming…  As one can probably tell from my list last week and this week, I love police procedurals.  But Jim Longworth takes his detective skills to an entirely different level.  Not only is he adorable, but his character is seriously flawed and he walks to the beat of his own drum, ignoring everyone and everything he’s told.  But don’t worry; although the character is a bit of a rebel, he’s not annoying.

Hell’s Kitchen

This season’s group of chefs may be the most dysfunctional ever!  But it doesn’t matter!  I still want to eat at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant… and I’m going to order the scallops, risotto, and Beef Wellington!

Lost Girl

There’s a little bit of Fae (supernatural) sexiness for everyone… men and women!  As a woman, I can honestly say that Bo and her succubus abilities are pretty hot.  My guy’s not here to defend himself, but I think he’d agree—he’s always suggesting we watch Lost Girl on the DVR.  And Dyson?  If someone doesn’t know what I mean simply by saying his name, check out an episode and find out for yourself!

And speaking of SyFy, two more of the network’s summer hits start at the end of the month…

and

*****

Do you watch any of these shows?  Which summer show/s do you absolutely have to find the time to watch?  I’d love to hear from you…

Remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle!