Friday FabOoolousness – Fall, Football, and Varsity Blues

I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again…  what says Friday night during the fall months better than high school football?

The sun sets; the temperatures cool; and the sounds of marching bands, spectator’s cheers, and the crackling of shoulder pads crashing into one another echo throughout the neighborhoods.  Ah, the memories…

In honor of Football Sweetheart‘s recent release and football season everywhere, grab the old letter jacket, microwave some popcorn, grill a few hot dogs, crack open a coke, and curl up on the sofa for a great movie that reminds us all of the good ol’ Friday nights in fall.

Varsity Blues (1999)

High school football is life in West Canaan, Texas, and anybody who’s anybody plays their part for the team.  Training begins at a very early age—girls perfect their toe-touches as soon as they can jump, and boys practice tossing the pigskin through a tire hanging from a tree as soon as they can stand.

Jonathan “Mox” Moxon (James Van Der Beek, Dawson’s Creek) plays quarterback for the West Canaan team—backup quarterback.  His best friend, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker, the Fast and the Furious movies), is the starting quarterback.  The competition doesn’t bother the two boys, but it drives their fathers absolutely crazy.

The two teens seemingly have it all—Mox has the grades for prestigious Brown University, plus he has a healthy teenage relationship with his best friend’s sister (Jules Harbor, played by Amy Smart).  Lance doesn’t quite have the grades, but he does have an opportunity to play college ball, and he’s dating a gorgeous cheerleader (Darcy Sears, played by Ali Larter).

Everything comes crashing down around the boys when Lance injures his knee during a game and Mox is thrown onto the field and thrust into the spotlight.  Mox wasn’t as prepared as he should have been, having not expected to play, but he manages his way through the final buzzer and later rushes to the hospital to be by his friend’s side.

Doctors determine that Lance can’t play, and his football days have quite possibly come to an end.  Mox can’t believe what he’s hearing and he grows even more devastated when he learns that the team’s legendary coach (Bud Kilmer played by Hollywood great, Jon Voight) has been covering up minor knee tweaks here and there by injecting Lance with cortisone shots for a while now.

Mox makes the best of the situation and takes charge of the team with Lance and his other friends by his side: Charlie Tweeder, played by Scott Caan; Billy Bob, played by Ron Lester; and Wendell Brown, played by Eliel Swinton.

Varsity Blues isn’t just about football, but more about teens finding their way in spite of what they have been conditioned to do.

Varsity Blues is about as realistic as it gets when talking about high school football in West Texas, without actually claiming to be inspired by actual events: the coach’s win-at-all-costs attitude; the quarterback’s celebrity (everyone remembers the whipped cream bikini, right?); the realization that great moments are often times the most painful; and that character is built by going against the norm.

The ending can make even the toughest man cry, and this movie will forever be one of the best Friday night flicks for fall.

Oh, and the soundtrack is fabOoolous… Collective Soul, Loudmouth, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, and Van Halen to just name a few of the artists.

Now, I’m ready for some football!

Have you seen Varsity Blues?  Did your high school take football as seriously as West Canaan?  What other movies remind you of your high school days?  I’d love to hear from you!

If you liked Varsity Blues, check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!

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Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Las Vegas Today, Sort of

Fall Television is officially here!  But being only a few days into the new season, Amber West and I have decided to wait a week before reviewing any of TV’s newest programs; however, in the meantime, we’re going to review and/or repost a couple of shows that complement next week’s selections…

That’s right; today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday focuses on television series that complement the new CBS dramas we’re reviewing next week—Elementary and Vegas.   Any ideas as to which shows we’ve picked for today?  Amber’s revisiting her review of the BBC’s Sherlock, and I’m going to review NBC’s former hit and TNT’s current daytime rerun favorite, Las Vegas.

Las Vegas… how I love Sin City—insanely huge hotel resorts with masterful architecture, massive shopping centers, elaborate Broadway-style shows, and the casinos…

Back in 2003, Las Vegas premiered on NBC, a television series focusing on the ins and outs of running one of the large casino/hotels in the city known across the world today for gambling.  Running the fictional Montecito, at least for the first few years of the program, was a former CIA operative, Ed Deline (James Caan).  “Big” Ed ruled with a stern fist and nobody messed with him—a perfect role for the former Godfather family member.

The rest of the team consisted of: ex-Marine Danny McCoy (the adorable Josh Duhamel, Fergie’s husband and Transformer’s star), Ed’s right-hand man, who supervised the daily operations of the Montecito; valet turned security engineer, Mike Cannon (James Lesure, Men at Work); casino host, Sam Marquez (Vanessa Marcil, General Hospital and the “real” 90210); Big Ed’s daughter, Delinda Deline (Molly Sims, the gorgeous US model), also the entertainment manager and food and beverage coordinator; special events coordinator, Mary Connell (Nikki Cox, Unhappily Ever After); and pit boss, Nessa Holt (Marsha Thomason, White Collar).

Over the years, the Montecito changed ownership a few times…  Monica Mancuso (Lara Flynn Boyle, Twin Peaks), Casey Manning (Dean Cain, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), and A.J. Cooper (Tom Selleck, who doesn’t need any introductions) all took turns.  But unlike the guest-starring ownership roles before him, Selleck officially joined the cast in 2007, following James Caan’s departure.

With Las Vegas, there was love—Danny first dated Mary and later Delinda; Sam was kind of/sort of married to Casey, even if she refused to admit it; and Mike fancied the concierge, Piper.  There was drama—an owner, I won’t say who, literally flew off the roof of the hotel; the Montecito was bombed; and the casino floor saw its share of scams, crooks, and robbery attempts.  And, there was entertainment—Criss Angel, The Black Eyed Peas (I’m pretty sure this is how Duhamel and Fergie met), Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Mark McGrath, etcetera.  Heck, the series was so popular while on the air, that NBC did cross-over episodes with another of its hits, Crossing Jordan a few times.  These episodes with Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessy) and Detective Woody Hoyt (Jerry O’Connell) were particularly fun.

Danny and Delida… I miss you! You were such an adorable and fun couple!

But then, all of a sudden, the show was cancelled.  Why?  Oh, I’m sure it has something to do with the network’s greed for huge ratings.  But, I’ll say it again—Las Vegas was fun to watch.  My guy and I both loved watching each week.  And while I’m still angry that NBC’s decision meant never resolving the cliffhanging season five finale, at least TNT recognizes the greatness and airs it every day in mini-marathon style.

All things considered, I really kept tuning in to Las Vegas for the characters…  I loved Big Ed, Danny, Mike, Sam, and Delinda (Mary got on my nerves with her whining; Nessa didn’t stay around long; and A.J. didn’t get much of a chance before cancellation).  If asked to compare how I felt about the Las Vegas cast with a show on air today, I immediately think of my love for the Bones cast—not just the two stars, but every last one of them.  For that, I must award Las Vegas with the MacTV rating.

Despite the fact that new episodes of Las Vegas aren’t airing any more, it is still worth a watch.  Luckily for us, the series lives on every afternoon on TNT.  Check it out—it’s perfect television for those days when we’re hanging around, cleaning, folding laundry, or just taking it easy.  However, for those who don’t like a series ending on cliffhangers, consider yourself warned.

Did you watch Las Vegas?  How would you rate it?  If not, are you interested now?   I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and re-read her thoughts about the BBC’s Sherlock as she prepares for next week’s review.

And of course, come back next week when Amber and I take on two of the new 2012 CBS dramas—Vegas and Elementary 

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: New TV This Fall

It’s that time of year again… the fall television schedule is here!  And as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.

Some of the series have promise, while others may flop—but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, we’re looking at even more, but we’re mixing it up with comedy and drama…

*****

Ben and Kate… two siblings who have always had each other—and only each other on many occasions.

Ben Fox is the brother who “never grew up” and Kate Fox is the sister who “grew up too fast” by having a baby out-of-wedlock.  Like most sisters, Kate is the first one to admit that her brother is an idiot; but no matter how tough life gets, Ben and Kate will always have each other… and Maddy, Kate’s five year old daughter… and their two best friends, BJ and Tommy.

The comedy stars: Nat Faxon, a comedian with a familiar face and recent Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (The Descendants); Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson—yeah, THE Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson; as well as Maggie Jones (We Bought a Zoo), Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher and Dinner for Schmucks), and Echo Kellum.

To see my thoughts on the pilot, click here.  I cheated and watched it online a few weeks ago…

Ben and Kate premieres tonight (September 25th) on Fox.

*****

Does watching romantic comedies skew a girl’s ideas on what relationships actually look like?  Yes…

And what happens when a girl meets a boy in a typical romantic comedy “cute encounter” type of situation, but it doesn’t end the same way as the romantic comedies do?  A girl obsesses about scoring her romantic comedy type of relationship and sets out to find herself the perfect man…

Meet Mindy (Mindy Kaling from The Office), a physician looking for love…  Yep, that’s it; that’s what The Mindy Project is all about from what I can tell.

Amber West snuck a peek a few weeks ago and tells us what she thought about the pilot.  Click here for more.

The Mindy Project also premieres tonight (September 25th) on Fox.

*****

Welcome to Hidden Hills, a gated community in the suburbs of New Jersey complete with its own golf course… sounds peaceful, right?  Not when the entire neighborhood consists of aliens…

The new ABC comedy follows the experiences of the Weaver family, the first human family to move into Hidden Hills in the ten years its current residents (aliens from the planet Zabvron) have been waiting for instructions to return home.  At first the Weavers believe their new neighbors are just weird (most are even named after famous athletes), but do weird neighbors really cry a nasty goo from their ears when upset?  No… that would be aliens.  Is it time to move?

The series stars Lenny Venito, one of Sipowicz’s snitches from NYPD Blue, and Jami Gertz, one of my favorite ‘80s actresses (Sixteen Candles, Lost Boys, and Less Than Zero).

The Neighbors premieres tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 26th on ABC.

*****

What happens when a Navy submarine crew, ordered to launch missiles at an enemy, is betrayed by their very own country?

This is the premise behind ABC’s new drama, Last Resort.  Realizing they’ve been hung out to dry by the United States government, the USS Colorado’s captain decides to take refuge on an island and protect his ship and crew no matter the cost—even if that means attacking Washington DC.

As if the story isn’t intense enough, Last Resort also stars one of my favorites—Andre Braugher (Glory, Hack, and Men of a Certain Age) as Captain Marcus Chaplin.  Viewers might also recognize a few other familiar faces: Scott Speedman (the Underworld movies and TV’s Felicity);  Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse and Being Human); Autumn Reeser (No Ordinary Family and Entourage); Jessy Schram (Veronica Mars and Falling Skies); and Robert Patrick (Terminator 2).

Our two favorite NCIS shows have some Naval competition…

Last Resort premieres Thursday, September 27th on ABC.

*****

“What would you do to have everything you desire?”

Residents at The Drake apartment building in New York City have it all—wealth, success, and good fortune.  But in this building, all good things come at a price… and it just so happens at 666 Park Avenue, a supernatural force demands possession of their souls in return.

Based on the books by Gabriella Pierce, 666 Park Avenue stars: Terry O’Quinn (Lost) as Gavin Doran, The Drake’s owner; Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives) as Olivia, Gavin’s beautiful wife; Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) and Rachael Taylor (the beautiful Australian actress from movies such as Transformers and Shutter) as the apartment building’s new managers; and Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill) and Mercedes Masohn (The Finder) as a few of The Drake’s tenants.

Sexy, mysterious, and chilling are just three of the words used to describe this new series… I’m sold!

666 Park Avenue premieres Sunday, September 30th on ABC.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put 666 Park Avenue at number one.  Last Resort probably comes in second with The Neighbors following closely behind at number three.  Fourth place has to go to Ben and Kate, even though I’ve already watched the pilot, and The Mindy Project comes in last.  Someone always has to come in last, but that doesn’t mean we won’t give it a chance here on Tele-Tuesday.

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – More Football Foods

Football is here!!

That means it’s not only time to watch our favorite teams kick-off, but also time for those special foods that we make specifically for football games.  A few weeks ago, I included three of my family’s recipes: deviled eggs, queso, and sausage balls.  Today, I’m adding to that list and I’m sharing two more of our household’s must-haves… plus a few of our favorite adult beverages perfect for tailgating!

*****

Mom’s Drunken Weenies

The picture says it all… that’s all you need!

A crock pot
A package or two of party weenies
A beer of any kind, I used Bud Light this day
Any kind of BBQ sauce, although Stubb’s is might tasty

Dump, mix, cover, and cook!

Cook on high for an hour or two and then simmer.  It’s that simple!  And guys love this stuff…

*****

Easy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

One package of frozen, creamed spinach
16 oz. of drained artichoke halves, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons of jarred pesto
2 tablespoons of horseradish sauce (or mayonnaise if preferred)
1/2 cup of chopped onion
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the creamed spinach per the instructions on the package.  Mix together with bite-size artichokes, pesto, horseradish sauce, chopped onion, and a few shakes of the cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour mixture into an oven-safe dish, cover with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for at least thirty minutes.

I saw this cooking segment with Guy Fieri years ago on Regis and Kelly, and Guy put together his spinach and artichoke dip in an aluminum baking pan covered in foil.  Of course, he used more ingredients than I do (he’s a culinary wizard, after all) and he grilled it outside!!  I haven’t tried grilling it yet, but maybe at the next tailgate…

*****

And now for our favorite quick and easy ADULT BEVERAGES.

By “adult beverage,” I mean NO ONE under the age of twenty-one should try any of the below drinks.

Margaritaville Skinny Margaritas

Just add ice!!

I love this stuff.  It is now a staple in my household and I always make sure to have a bottle in the pantry or refrigerator!

*****

Ice-Cold Beer

Chill…

Pick your favorite flavor!  I like more than what’s pictured above… but everyone gets the idea.

*****

Classic Bourbon and Coke

The BEST stuff ever!!

I’ve always enjoyed Whiskey and/or Bourbon and Coke with football.  Heck, I even knew a boy in college whom my friends and I called “Jim Beam Boy.”  Why?  Because he always kept us warm by pouring a little Jim Beam into our Cokes at the football games.  Now, that’s a good friend!

*****

Well, there you have it!

Do you make anything special during football season?  What’s your favorite tailgating beverage?  Please share!  I’d love to hear from you.

And since it’s football season, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!

Here are a few of my latest reviews!

This was a great mystery novel. The characters in the book are believable and it was so fun reading about them and getting to know them. As the book progressed, I could not put it down. It was mesmerizing and I could not wait to find out who the villain was. Tiffany is an excellent author. I can’t wait until her next book comes out. I will definitely be reading it. I would highly recommend this book to young and old alike. ~ Carol. R.

I have to admit, I don’t know a whole lot about football. We never had football in our school so all I knew was what I got from the movies so I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to really relate to Football Sweetheart. Tiffany White did a great job in explaining the “behind the scenes” of what all goes into a high school football team while still keeping with a good storyline.

I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to any young adult who likes to read crime, drama and mystery. ~ Darcie S.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Mob Doctor

Fall Television is officially here!  To celebrate, Amber West and I tuned in and watched two brand new pilots this week for our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews—NBC’s Revolution and Fox’s The Mob Doctor.

We’re all familiar with The Hippocratic Oath, right?  The Oath every single doctor, nurse, and healthcare professional takes, swearing to practice medicine both honestly and ethically…  But what happens when a top surgeon’s family is indebted to the mob and medical expertise is expected as a form of payment from such a debt?

This is the basic premise of FOX’s new drama, The Mob Doctor.  Based on the novel Il Dottore: The Double Life of a Mafia Doctor by Ron Felber, the series follows Dr. Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro), one of the top residents in Chicago.  Everything is falling into place for Grace and her future looks promising, until she makes a deal with the devil—or mafia—to save her brother.  As a part of her “arrangement” with the mob, Grace agrees inadvertently to do whatever it takes… even if that means killing a patient in her care.  But will she actually go through with it?  Or will she fight the mafia, trying to do what’s right—staying true to The Hippocratic Oath?  And what sort of consequences will she face if she decides to go against the mob’s orders?

Let’s talk about Dr. Grace Devlin…

Be honest—who here immediately thought of “taking a Devlin” when they read the good Doctor’s name?  Has anyone seen Just Go with It, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston?  That is immediately what I thought of when I heard Grace’s last name.  If you haven’t seen the comedy, a girl named Devlin (played by Nicole Kidman) is Jennifer Aniston’s character’s college nemesis; so instead of Aniston’s  on-screen children saying “I’ve got to go number two” when referencing an upcoming bathroom trip, she changed it up for them.  In her house, “taking a Devlin” really means taking a poo.  It’s a funny movie, but I digress…

Back to Dr. Grace Devlin…

As mentioned earlier, Dr. Devlin is one of the top surgical residents in Chicago.  Her future looks promising and she is catching the attention of the Chief of Surgery at her hospital (Dr. White, played by the great Željko Ivanek from Damages).  She connects well with patients and does what she feels is right for her patients, regardless of the law.  I’d say she’s very Gregory House-like, but House never connected well with his patients… although he definitely never cared if what he did was legal or not.

Don’t let her looks fool you – she’s very brazen.

Of course, Dr. Devlin’s brilliance doesn’t come without a price…  For one, she clashes with an older, more experienced surgeon—her superior.  And for another, her fellow residents (specifically Dr. Olivia Watson, played by Jaime Lee Kirchner from Just Legal) don’t seem to like her much—they think that Dr. Devlin believes she’s better than everyone else and that she isn’t a team player.  But none of this stops Dr. Devlin; she does her job the way she knows how and she’s darn good at it.  She’s so good, even a fellow doctor is willing to look past a judgment call that she makes when dealing with a young girl’s pregnancy—a decision that he knows is not at all the ethical thing to do.  Okay… so this very same doctor is her current boyfriend (Zach Gilford from Friday Night Lights), but still.

Now, let’s talk about the deal she made with the devil…

We’re going to refer to Dr. Devlin as Grace now, and get to know her from a personal standpoint.  At a very early age, Grace actually saw her first dead body—her father’s dead body.  She didn’t seem too upset to see her father in this way; apparently, he was a drunk and the family was better off without him.  However, Grace does have a close relationship with her mother—a woman who has survived cancer and is now ten years in remission.  I think it would be safe to assume after knowing these two facts about her parents, that Grace felt responsible for keeping her younger brother safe and out of as much trouble as possible—the family had no father figure anymore and her mother was sick.  However, it seems that despite what Grace does for her little brother (Nate, played by Jesse Soffer from the Brady Bunch movies), he continuously makes the wrong decisions.  And one of these bad decisions has cost Grace her freedom.

To save her brother’s life, Grace agrees to do whatever it takes in order for a Chicago Mob “captain” to forgive her brother’s debts.  For the most part, Grace keeps up her end of the bargain—until this same “captain” wants her to kill a federal witness while in surgery.  I don’t want to go into detail in case someone missed the pilot episode; but I will say if Grace is afraid of the mob, she doesn’t show it.

I’m still trying to understand this relationship between Doctor and Mob Boss…

The new series also stars William Forsythe as Constantine Alexander, the former mob boss who claims to be “reformed” after a stint in prison, but we all should know better than to believe that… and James Carpinello (Broadway alum and husband to one of our favorite Whedonites, Amy Acker) as Franco, the loyal mobster who might just have a crush on Grace.  I was also excited to see Michael Rapaport (one of my favorites the 1995 movie, Higher Learning) in the commercials, but his name didn’t appear in the credits online and now I know why—it was just a guest stint.  BOO!  He was one of the main reasons I watched in the first place.

Considering Grace’s current situation with the mob, as well as her history with the mob (this is made clear at the end of the pilot episode), one might think she would hate the head of the family—Constantine.  But she doesn’t; it almost seems like the two share a father/daughter type of relationship.  The big-bad Constantine even offers her a way out of the deal, which requires her leaving Chicago… but she chooses to stay.  Even then, Constantine promises to do his best to protect her.

The dialogue at the very end of the pilot was great.  I love dialogue, especially dialogue that you know has meaning to the story’s future:

“Remember, you had a choice.” Constantine to Grace

“Choice is a moving target, like what we choose to share and what we choose to keep secret.” Narration by Grace

To be honest, it’s too early to award The Mob Doctor with anything other than the SSTV rating.  I had to fight the urge on this one… I wanted to award the new series with a higher ranking—I think it has that much promise.  But, it’s early and we’ll just have to sit back and see if the episodes continue to engage the viewer and whether or not Dr. Devlin is a likable—correction—lovable character.  But so far, so good…

If you missed Monday night’s premiere, don’t worry; catch an encore presentation of the pilot this Friday night, September 21st on Fox.

What do you think? Did you watch The Mob Doctor?  How would you rate it?  Is this the kind of show you were hoping to see this fall?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about NBC’s latest sci-fi drama—Revolution.  I hear Billy Burke has some MAD sword-fighting abilities…

Come back next week when Amber and I review something..

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: New Fall Drama

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

Some of the series have promise, while others may flop—but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, we’re looking at a few of the new fall dramas…

*****

If there’s anything we’re all guilty of in today’s world, it’s our addiction to technology.  But what would we do if all of the technologies in the world were wiped out forever?  How would we survive?  And as if living in a world without everything we’ve become accustomed to isn’t bad enough, what if the one we love the most is taken away from us?

Revolution follows the Matheson family after a blackout destroys everything we rely on heavily today—phones, computers, transportation, electricity, etc.  This family possesses the truth behind why the blackout occurred and holds “the key” to reversing its effects and restoring power.  But along the way, and with public order non-existent in this post-apocalyptic world, an evil militia has taken over and wants the power to rule all to themselves.

The series stars: Tracy Spiridakos as Charlotte “Charlie” Matheson, a young woman who will stop at nothing until she reunites with her brother taken by the militia; Billy Burke as Uncle Miles, a former Marine who supposedly has MAD sword-fighting skills; Ginacarlo Esposito as Tom Neville, a captain in the militia; Tim Guinee as Ben, Charlie’s father, the one with the supposed “key” to restoring the power; and Elizabeth Mitchell as Rachel, Charlie’s mother.

Revolution premiered last night on NBC.  But don’t worry; catch an encore presentation this Wednesday, September 19th.

*****

We’re all familiar with The Hippocratic Oath, right?  The Oath every single doctor, nurse, and healthcare professional takes, swearing to practice medicine both honestly and ethically…  But what happens when a top surgeon’s family is indebted to the mob and medical expertise is expected as a form of payment toward such a debt?

The Mob Doctor follows Dr. Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro), one of the top surgical residents in Chicago.  Everything is falling into place for Grace and her future looks promising, until she makes a deal with the devil—or mafia—to save her brother.  As a part of her “arrangement” with the mob, Grace agrees inadvertently to do whatever it takes to repay her debt… even if that means killing a patient in her care.  But will she actually go through with it?  Or will she fight the mafia, trying to do what’s right—staying true to The Hippocratic Oath?

The new series also stars: William Forsythe as Constantine Alexander—the mob boss; Zach Gilford from Friday Night Lights; James Carpinello, Broadway alum and husband to one of our favorite Whedonites, Amy Acker; Jesse Soffer, from the Brady Bunch movies; and Michael Rapaport, one of my favorites from the 1995 movie, Higher Learning, and TV series Boston Public and Prison Break.

But here’s what’s concerning—Michael Rapaport is clearly in the commercials for The Mob Doctor, but his name doesn’t appear in the credits online.  Very interesting…  Maybe he is killed off early?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but that would be a shame… considering he’s one of the main reasons I’m tuning in to watch.

The Mob Doctor premiered last night on Fox.  But again, don’t worry; catch the pilot episode again this Friday night, September 21st.

*****

I used to like a show about Vegas a LOT—remember NBC’s Las Vegas, starring James Caan, Josh Duhamel, James Lesure, Molly Simms, and Vanessa Marcil?  Heck, even Tom Selleck starred for a few seasons after Caan left.  Now that was a good show…

But that’s not this Vegas.

Inspired by a true story, Vegas follows a sheriff and rancher (Dennis Quaid) as he battles a Chicago mob boss (Michael Chiklis) looking to take over the desert town in the 1960s.  As their personalities and lifestyles clash, these two men with completely different ideals battle head-to-head.  Who will win?  After all, Vegas is all about winning and losing…

The series also stars Carrie-Anne Moss (the Matrix movies) and Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova).

Vegas premieres Tuesday, September 25th on CBS.

*****

Certain literary masterpieces continue to live on just as strong today as they did centuries ago…  like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Jane Austen’s Emma, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes just to name a few.

Elementary is television’s latest adaptation of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.  Hoping to bask in the popularity of the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, as well as the BBC’s Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, CBS’s new drama places a modern-day twist on the classic story.

Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) stars as Sherlock Holmes, a former London detective with a bit of a drinking problem.  At the insistence of his father, Sherlock is shadowed by Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu, from Ally McBeal) who is looking to get back into the medical field after her license is revoked.  But Sherlock’s sobriety is not a concern for him and he knows a normal rehabilitation program is not what he needs—instead, he wants to do what he does best—solve crimes.  Together, the duo will solve some of New York City’s toughest cases… whether Watson likes it or not.

The series also stars Aiden Quinn (Prime Suspect, but more importantly Legends of the Fall) as NYC Police Captain, Tobias Gregson.

Elementary premieres Thursday, September 27th on CBS.

*****

What do you get when you cross a high-powered New York law firm with street-smarts from New Jersey?  The perfect attorney for the job—Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery, from Human Target and Entourage).

Of course, that doesn’t mean the other members of her firm won’t doubt Ms. Garretti’s abilities—after all, most of her colleagues have Ivy League educations.  Plus, with a traditional Italian family back at home, we can expect Martina to be pulled in many different directions.  Despite all of the naysayers and interruptions, will she successfully balance her family life with a high-powered legal career?

The series also stars: Kyle Maclachlan (Twin Peaks, Desperate Housewives) as firm founder, Donovan Stark; Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer) as Nolan Adams; Stephanie March (Law & Order: SVU) and many other familiar faces.

Made in Jersey premieres Friday, September 28th on CBS.

*****

If I had to rank these in order as to which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Elementary at number one.  Not to mention, Elementary falls on my favorite TV night of the week—Thursday.

Revolution probably comes in second behind Elementary, with Vegas following closely behind at number three.  Fourth and fifth place is probably a tossup between The Mob Doctor and Made in Jersey, but that doesn’t mean we won’t give both of these a chance here on Tele-Tuesday.

And just in case anyone missed the premiere of The Mob Doctor and Revolution last night and can’t decide whether or not to check out the encore presentations later this week, come back tomorrow and find out what Amber West and I thought of the two in our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews.

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new dramas?  Which one most interests you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – Kill for Mother (Friday the 13th)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and I to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the horror classic, Friday the 13th.

Usually, I include Catie’s Homeade Summary that applies to both films.  But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:

A group of young adults is terrorized by a killer at Crystal Lake and the nearby deserted summer camp.

Before I begin, let me first mention that I love Friday the 13th—not just the movie franchise—but the actual date itself.  But when I think about it, maybe I love it when a Friday lands on the thirteenth of a month because I automatically associate the day as a scary day because of the horror movie and its subsequent sequels.  Regardless, I’m a fan…  When I see that a particular Friday actually falls on the thirteenth, I hit the television and search immediately for a Friday the 13th marathon.  Sadly, not many stations actually take the opportunity to air an all-day and all-night marathon of Jason Voorhees movies; and if I ever run a TV station, this will be one of my first orders of business.

Friday the 13th is a classic and Catie said it best in her blog post discussing the original—if anyone considers themselves to be a horror buff and they have not seen this movie, shame on them.  Because of this movie, there have been many instances in real life where I have felt uncomfortable—like when I stayed at a week-long Athletic Training Camp at Prude Ranch in high school; I heard noises outside my cabin… and I really didn’t want to shower out there—or anytime I go to a lake; one never knows what or who’s lurking in that dirty water—or when I camped overnight at Palo Duro Canyon in college; I heard noises in the dry, dead brush all around us the entire time.  Thanks a lot, Jason.

One might ask, if the 1980 film is so great, why remake it?  Well, I don’t feel Friday the 13th (2009) is an actual remake… it’s more a re-envisioning of the first few films in the franchise.  The writers did a fantastic job creating somewhat of a new story all its own, while still incorporating many elements of the other films and the classic horror movie rules.

Let’s talk about the similarities—things that if were missing from the film would not make a Friday the 13th movie complete:

The Curse of Camp Crystal Lake:

It all started in 1980, when innocent camp counselors worked to open an old camp site; a camp that had been closed after a young boy, Jason Voorhees, drowned in the lake.  How did Jason drown?  Two camp counselors that were supposed to watch him decided to have sex instead.  Devastated by her son’s death, Jason’s mother took matters into her own hands to ensure the camp didn’t open again—to protect other children from counselors who were more interested in their summer shenanigans than watching the children.  One by one, she stalked the unaware teenagers, placing blame on each of them for her son’s death.  Mrs. Voorhees managed to brutally murder each counselor—all except for one.   Alice managed to escape Mrs. Voorhees’ murderous rampage and turned the tables on the crazed mother.  In what began the true Friday the 13th style, Alice decapitated Mrs. Voorhees’ with a machete.  Thus, we have the Curse of Camp Crystal Lake.

Jason, the mask, and the machete:

Jason Voorhees remains one of the most frightening characters today.  He’s gigantic, has super strength, obtains supernatural abilities, and isn’t afraid to kill.  He always has his machete, but he will also never shy away from bows and arrows, spears, pitchforks or chainsaws—anything that will cut right through his victims.

Yeah, I’d run if I saw him coming…

The music:

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma – The dreadful, eerie, creepy music.  There have been many debates over what the actual sounds of the Jason music are.  The ‘ki’ sound comes from the word ‘kill’ and the ‘ma’ sound from ‘mommy’—a line in the original movie spoken by Mrs. Voorhees in her child’s voice: “Kill her mommy!”

The killings:

Even the murders mirror classic Jason killings from a few of the earlier movies:  a machete chop through the head; a machete stab through the chest and into a tree; an arrow through the head; a metal hook through the throat; a towel rack and an ax through the back; and a fireplace stoker through the eye.  Okay; it’s been a while since I’ve seen all of the Jason movies, but all of these kills at least seemed familiar… next Friday the 13th, hopefully I’ll find a marathon so that I can confirm that all of these tactics have indeed previously taken the lives of a few other teenagers in Jason’s way.

The re-envisioning also incorporates a few of the franchise’s key moments: a shrine to Jason’s mother with her decapitated head as the centerpiece, showing his love and dedication to her, and also Jason’s finding an old hockey mask to cover his disfigured face.  We also see the classic horror elements Catie listed in her post: the prior “evil” events at Camp Crystal Lake in 1980, and the fact that help is not coming.

Next, let’s go over the horror movie rules present in Friday the 13th (2009) just in case someone isn’t quite familiar:

  1. Don’t show your breasts.  Show your breasts, and die.
  2. Don’t have sex.  Everyone knows that the second a couple fornicates, they die.
  3. Don’t drink or do drugs.  Intoxicate yourself in any way, and die.

Now, let’s switch gears and discuss cast and characterization.

Catie mentioned that the cast of the original was primarily a group of relatively unknown actors.  One of Jason’s victims back in 1980 may not have been well known then, but he’s a huge Hollywood star today—Kevin Bacon.  How many times have we seen someone’s starring in a slasher film actually launch their career?  But I digress…

Unlike the original, the 2009 version stars many familiar faces: Jared Padalecki (Supernatural), Danielle Panabaker (Shark), Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist), Travis Van Winkle (Transformers), and Willa Ford (ex-wife to hockey super-star, Mike Modano and former Dancing with the Stars contestant).  Each of these actors and actresses can be described as easy on the eyes, or eye candy—a feature that doesn’t hurt when deciding which movie to go see…

Clay will do anything to protect his sister… much like Mr. Padelecki’s Supernatural character will do anything to protect the world… He’s awesome.

And where the casting can affect whether or not I’m interested in seeing the movie, the characterization determines whether or not I enjoy the movie—usually.  In the case of horror films and slashers, I usually can’t empathize with many of the characters.  In other words, I don’t mind the fact that I know each and every one of them are about to be hacked into pieces.  However, I can list four characters in Friday the 13th (2009) that I actually liked:

  • Clay, the hero—the good guy on a mission to find his missing sister and protect as many as he can in the meantime.
  • Jenna, the nice girl—the girl with substance, unlike her partying friends, who wants to help others and not only protect herself.
  • Whitney, the damsel—the girl that even though held captive, plays her captor like a fiddle to prolong her survival.
  • Jason, the killer—the poor, lost soul who wants to follow his mother’s orders (“Kill for mother.”), protect his land (“They must be punished, Jason.”), and be left alone (“We just want to be left alone, and so does he.”).  He may be a serial killer, but viewers see a side of Jason we’ve never seen before… more of a “why” he does what he does.

As usual, Michael Bay’s production does not disappoint.  That’s right—Michael Bay.  Many associate his name with major motion picture action and drama masterpieces (Transformers, Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, etc…), but he also co-owns the production house responsible for so many of our favorite remakes  (A Nightmare on Elm Street, and last month’s feature, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).  Mr. Bay may be one of my favorite producers in Hollywood now simply for this reason.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of the crazed, movie-goers that attended the premiere of Friday the 13th on Friday, February 13, 2009.  How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to see a Friday the 13th film on Friday the 13th?  I couldn’t… so I coaxed my guy into taking me by playing the Valentine/birthday card.  While he tolerated it (he’s not into slashers and horror like I am), the film didn’t disappoint this Friday fan.  I enjoyed all of the classic elements of the older versions, as mentioned above, but especially and most recognizably the ending—Jason’s resurrection after being buried in the water, from which he rises and grabs a survivor before the screen fades to black…  Did you jump?  I sure did!  Now that’s my kind of ending…

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the “remake” of Friday the 13th?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

And while it may not  be horror, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!