Vegas, Fine Dining, and a Wedding!

A few weeks ago, my guy and I escaped to Vegas for a little vacation… and a wedding!  After almost ten years together, we decided to finally tie the knot.  And, being blessed to have the friends and family that we do, we were able to celebrate the weekend with our nearest and dearest.

Seriously, everyone who made the trip went above and beyond… considering we didn’t give anyone more than four weeks to plan.  We’re inconsiderate that way. 🙂

Adorable wine labels one of the bridesmaids made for us...
Adorable wine labels one of the bridesmaids made for us…

But in all seriousness, it was a perfect weekend.  My family, his family.  My best friends, his best friends.  Bachelor and bachelorette parties.  And the Craps tables…

We kicked everything off Friday night … while the boys ran off to go play, my girls hosted a fun little lingerie shower for me.  With a few hilariously funny games here and there.

You see, this picture is still funny because I'm still not quite sure what it is I'm holding up.
You see, this picture is still funny because I’m still not quite sure what it is I’m holding up.

Saturday morning, my two girls whisked me away to the hotel salon for pedicures and then treated me to some relaxation time in the spa.  The three of us don’t get to spend all that much time together, making the morning of my wedding absolutely perfect.

Something blue...
Something blue…

Then Saturday night, we all gathered outside at the Bellagio fountains for the ceremony.  All five minutes of it.  Remember my mentioning that everyone who attended went above and beyond?  Yeah; they did.  It was 114 degrees at the time of the wedding.  Luckily, our little alcove was already in the shade by the time the minister started.

Getting ready to say “I do.”

Following the “I dos” and a few tears here and there, the real party began.  At the Craps table.  We had barely cut into the cake before everyone was ready to go back downstairs and start gambling.  And that is why we decided to get married in Vegas!

Red and Black.. it was a Red Raider Wedding after all!
Red and Black.. it was a Red Raider Wedding after all!

Once everyone left, we headed over to Paris for our first date night as husband and wife.  Being the HUGE Hell’s Kitchen fans that we are, we’ve been dying to dine at one of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.  And since we were in Vegas, we finally had that opportunity.

Gordon Ramsay Steak
Gordon Ramsay Steak

Our experience at Gordon Ramsay Steak was phenomenal from start to finish.  The wait staff is extremely professional and friendly.  The food is flat out amazing.  And thanks to Chef, I now have a favorite new oyster… kusshi.

Just look at that precious little bottle of Tabasco!
Just look at that precious little bottle of Tabasco served with the east and west coast oysters!

Now, for anyone who watches Hell’s Kitchen with us, you know that Beef Wellington is one of the dishes the chefs on his TV show constantly mess up.  Therefore, my guy and I knew exactly what we wanted to have for dinner.  Let me just say that I do not eat my meat medium-rare, but since this is the only temperature the Beef Wellington is served at, I had no choice.  Was it good?  Yeah.  I have never had a steak melt in my mouth the way this did.  One might say it was a tiny piece of Heaven.

Beef WellingYUM!
Beef WellingYUM!

Oh, and if we weren’t already full from our appetizers and main dishes, the coffee and desserts leave you wishing someone were there to carry you out.  Sadly, we inhaled the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the brown butter ice cream it was served with before taking a picture.  We did, however, snap a picture of this coffee sexiness.

Gordon Ramsay Steak Coffee Sexiness
At Gordon Ramsay Steak, they like to know if you prefer chocolate dipped Amaretto, Baileys, or Chambord with your coffee… Coffee Sexiness.

I know this is not the usual Friday blog post everyone is accustomed to here at The Ooo Factor, but I thought I’d share the news and a few pictures.

One of the "silly" poses the photographer put us in that actually turned out kinda cute...
One of the “silly” poses the photographer put us in that actually turned out kinda cute…
Waiting for the limo after the ceremony... at the Bellagio bar where most married couples go after they get hitched.
Waiting for the limo after the ceremony… at the bar, where most married couples go after they get hitched.  Right?

Oh, and if anyone is considering a wedding in Vegas, check out the On the Spot package offered by The Wedding Place.

Did you plan a traditional wedding?  Or did you run off and plan a destination wedding?  And more importantly, would you choose to do it all over again or change it up a bit?  I’d love to hear from you!

And be sure to check out the Summer Crush Book Event happening now!  Football Sweetheart and 50+ other tiles are all on sale for 99 cents each!!

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Summer Book Crush – 50+ Books, 50+ Authors, All 99 Cents!

Hot sun, hot sand, cool drinks, dark tans. Ahhhh. But your summer won’t be complete until you land a new BOOK BOYFRIEND, right? Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered!

color banner

SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in many genres. This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢, but for a limited time only. The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don’t wait up! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. There are plenty of BOOK BOYS to share!

Button_who is your book crush

Find your summer’s fling between the pages of a book. And don’t stop on one – after all we have many BOOK BOYFRIENDS for you to mingle with.

Who’s your Football Sweetheart crush?  Is it Bobby?  Scott?  Coach McWilliams?  Or Eric?

* HAPPY READING * HAPPY SUMMER *

To purchase for the Kindle, click here.

To purchase for the Nook, click here.

Who doesn’t love buying a book for under $1?  Be sure to take advantage of the lower price while it lasts!

*****

High School Football can be MURDER

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?

*****

And remember, Amazon makes it easy to give as a gift!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Devious Maids, Devilishly Fun

The summer shows have started, some of them anyway.  And while we still have quite a few to premiere over the next few weeks, I did catch a new Lifetime original series that aired this past weekend: Devious Maids.

I almost missed this new series…  I hadn’t heard anything about it.  Luckily, as I watched the Lifetime original Jodi Arias story, I caught a commercial for Devious Maids just in time to set my DVR for the premiere.

The story begins with a wealthy wife confronting her husband and their maid for having an affair.  Having said her piece, the wife takes her husband back down to their lavish backyard party… while someone murders the maid upstairs.

A murder mystery.  Already, I’m intrigued.

Devious Maids follows a group of beautiful Hispanic housekeepers in Beverly Hills and the rich families they work for.  First, there’s Marisol (played by Ana Ortiz from Ugly Betty).  She’s new to the scene, but has a very good reason for being there…  Then there’s Rosie (J. Dania Ramirez from Heroes and Entourage).  She’s the sweet one, working diligently to bring her young son to America from Mexico.  Next, there’s Carmen (played by the beautiful Roselyn Sanchez from Without a Trace).  Carmen landed a maid-ship, working for a Latin recording artist… a lucky coincidence, since she has her own dreams and aspirations of signing a big record deal.  And finally there’s Zoila (Judy Reyes from Scrubs) and Valentina (Edy Ganem), a mother and daughter cleaning team… that is if the mother can remind the daughter that she’s there to dust and mop (and that the rich folk don’t date the help).

After watching the first hour, this new Lifetime original series reminded me of Desperate Housewives.  There are hot guys (Drew Van Acker—also known as Jason DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars, and  Matt Cedeno—Brandon Walker from Days of our Lives);  familiar faces (Susan Lucci—the Erica Kane from All My Children, Grant Show—from the “real” Melrose Place, Brett Cullen—Harold’s business partner from Person of Interest, Mariana Klaveno—Lorena from True Blood; Rebecca Wisocky—the seemingly untrustworthy Brenda from The Mentalist, Brianna Brown—the crazy Lisa from General Hospital; and Tom Irwin—from one of my old favorites… My So Called Life); plus, gossip, lust, and humor, with both laugh-out-loud moments and backhanded comments.

“You thought my maid had plastic surgery?” ~Taylor
“Poor people like to be pretty too!” ~Evelyn

Oh, and did I mention Devious Maids was created by Marc Cherry?  You know, the man responsible for Desperate Housewives?  No wonder I saw the similarities… even the music reminded me of our favorite ladies from Wisteria Lane.

I’ll admit; when I first saw the commercials for the new series, I rolled my eyes.  Just a little bit.  But you know me; I set my DVR to record it anyway.  And I’m really kind of glad I did… because Devious Maids is devilishly fun.

So for now, I’m awarding Devious Maids with the JFTV rating.  This dramedy is definitely a guilty pleasure.  And if you miss Desperate Housewives, this one might be just for you!

Did you watch Devious Maids?  Do you plan to?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, 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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Catch the End of a Few Cancelled TV Shows This Summer

A few weeks ago, I shared a complete list of all the cancelled television shows this season.  As usual, no program was safe.  Just ask CSI: NY—they were cancelled after nine seasons.

As usual, the freshman series saw the largest number of casualties.  Or as I like to call it, the “One & Done” category.

But here’s something new and refreshing… ABC, the CW, and NBC are all airing the previously unaired episodes of a few of their cancelled programs this summer.  NBC has done this once before with Jimmy Smits’ Outlaw.  And despite the fact the network had cancelled the legal drama early on, I was glad to watch the rest of the taped episodes… even if the first season didn’t have a “clean” ending.  It was better than nothing.

So, which TV shows are returning this summer, even if to only air the remaining episodes of their first and only season?

CultFriday Nights on the CW – Cult

Do No HarmSaturday Nights on NBC – Do No Harm

Zero HourSaturday Nights on ABC – Zero Hour

666Saturday Nights on ABC – 666 Park Avenue

Check your local listings… my DVR automatically picked up each of these shows’ episodes.

Are you excited about any of these series returning to wrap up the episodes they already taped?  Do you like the idea of networks airing the already taped, yet canned television series?  Do you think more should do this or should they just let the series die when they officially cancel them?  I’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and here’s some more good news…

Hannibal was renewed for a 13-episode second season to start airing later next year!  We may have to wait for the midseason replacements like this year (January – April premiere dates), but at least we’re getting more from Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen.

Beating the Summer Heat with Movie Madness

Summer is the perfect time to fill our weekends with late night cinematic greatness.  After being out in the Texas heat, my guy and I only seem to have enough energy to curl up on the couch and pop in a movie.  Mostly we lean toward the comedies, wanting to laugh the week away, but we don’t shy away from the action flicks, adventures, dramas, mysteries, or even the fantasies… especially where zombies are concerned.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a list of movies that come highly recommended here at The Ooo Factor, so it’s time…

*****

Warm Bodies

Not your everyday zombie movie…

I must admit, I enjoyed Warm Bodies far more than I expected to.

Based on the novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies follows R (Nicholas Hoult from X-Men: First Class), a recently turned teenage zombie, who in all actuality doesn’t like being a zombie.  He hates feeding on humans, but he will—after all, even zombies need to eat.  While out to “lunch” with a few other zombiefied friends, R runs into a group of human teens scavenging a local laboratory for supplies.  As one would expect, the group of zombies attack, and even R feasts on the brain of a young man (played by James Franco’s younger brother, Dave from Fright Night and 21 Jump Street).  And, when a zombie eats the brain of a human, he absorbs the human’s memories…

Enter the girl…

When R spots Julie (Teresa Palmer from I am Number Four), he falls in love and decides to do everything within his power to protect her.

There’s comedy, gore, and romance… just the right amounts to leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

Oh, and the soundtrack rocks!

*****

Parker

Most everyone has already learned about my crush on Jason Statham.  I will pretty much watch any of his movies, just to get my “Statham Fix” in.

And Parker was no different.

Only this film was actually a bit different that I expected.  While there are the typical Jason Statham fight scenes, Parker has a solid story.

Based on the novel series by Donald Westlake, aka Richard Stark, Parker follows a down on his luck professional thief (Parker, played by Statham) as he seeks revenge against his former team for sticking it to him.  Left for dead, and rescued by a quaint farming family, Parker recuperates and tracks the team (Michael Chiklis—The Shield, the Fantastic Four films, and the recent one-and-done Vegas on CBS—Wendell Pierce—The Wire—and Clifton Collins, Jr.—The Event and another one-and-done, Red Widow) to Palm Beach where he learns they are planning another heist.

When Parker arrives in Florida, he hires a realtor (played by Jennifer Lopez, yes, the singer/actress/dancer/what does she not do?) to show him around.  While she thinks he’s a rich Texan looking to buy a multimillion dollar property, he’s actually searching the area for perfect hideouts (a cover house) for his former colleagues.  He finds them, she helps, and stuff goes down.  I don’t want to give too much away… but I will say this movie was pretty entertaining.

But then again, I do like Jason Statham…

*****

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

This is NOT a fairy tale for children…

Not that I thought it would be, but sometimes I never know going into a movie like this.  Let’s just say H & G drop a few “F” bombs, and well, this film might have a bit more gore than Warm Bodies.  Okay, a lot more.

We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, right?  Two young children are left out in the woods by their parents to fend for themselves.  After wandering around with nowhere to go, the two happen upon a house made of candy.  They run to the house, break off what they can eat, and creep inside when the front door opens.  However, inside lives a mean witch who keeps Hansel chained up and forces Gretel into being her slave.  One day, when the witch is preparing to drop Hansel into the oven, Gretel breaks free and throws the witch in instead, saving her brother.

Same story, only in the film, Hansel and Gretel become famous for their ability to kill witches.  A local mayor hires the brother and sister to help find a group of local children who have recently gone missing, and agrees that his law enforcement will stand back and let them do their thing—kill as many witches as necessary along the way.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters definitely kept our attention.  I’m just not sure if my nephews (they’re eleven) should watch it or not…

I had hoped for more Jeremy Renner (I’ve really started to like him, especially after watching his performances in  The Town, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Bourne Legacy, and The Avengers), but I kind of felt jipped and thought Gemma Arterton (Gretel) had a bit more screen time.

Regardless, if you don’t mind the dark fairy tales, this one might just be for you.

*****

Have you seen any of these movies?  If so, what did you think?  What movies have you seen lately that come highly recommended?  Have you been disappointed by any recent films?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Longmire, a Cozy Murder Mystery

We may have started a new trend here last week… I hope so at least.  Anyway, today we have our second Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday guest blogger!

Author Steven Montano
Author Steven Montano

The Ooo Factor readers may remember today’s guest, Steven Montano, from one of our earlier author features.  Steven is really a machine, truth be told.  He has written six stories in his post-apocalyptic series, Blood Skies, as well as the novella, Something Black.  Not only that, but he’s a full-time accountant!  See?  A machine…  He’s married with two beautiful children, loves spending time outdoors (he lives in Washington State so he can afford to spend time outside, unlike those of us in Texas where it’s already in the triple digits), and he takes magnificent photographs.

Photo courtesy of Steven Montano
Photo courtesy of Steven Montano

Anywho…

I’ve had a lot on my plate lately (like running away to Vegas and getting married!!), and instead of reblogging an older post today, I asked Steven to step in.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about today’s TV show, and when Steven messaged me asking when I was going to review it, I shamefully admitted I hadn’t seen it and left an open invitation for him to write a review for us.  His guest post couldn’t have come at a better time.  So, what does he think about A&E’s original series, Longmire?

Let’s find out!

*****

Whoa. A guest post.  And one completely out of my element, because this week I’m reviewing the A&E TV Series Longmire.

First off, about me: I’m the author of the dystopian military sci-fi Blood Skies novels and the upcoming epic fantasy City of Scars.  And while my being an Indie author in no way qualifies me to write a review of a television series, it’s worth noting that my wife Liberty and I have become quite the TV connoisseurs in the past few years, eating up everything from police procedurals to murder mysteries to wacky comedies to gritty fantasy.  It’s difficult to say which television genre is our favorite, but the “cozy murder mystery” ranks right up there…and that brings us to Longmire, based on the popular novels by Craig Johnson.

Longmire follows the title character, Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), as he returns to work following the death of his wife to protect the people of remote Absaroka County, Wyoming.  Aided by a diverse and eclectic group of deputies and his barkeep best friend, Walt investigates oft-times brutal crimes while contending with racial tensions between the white residents and the local Cheyenne reservation, as well as the pressures of potentially not being re-elected as Sheriff.

Longmire also stars Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar: Galactica) as Vic, a deputy recently relocated from Philadelphia; Lou Diamond Phillips (Young Guns) as Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s best friend and the proprietor of the Red Pony Café; Cassidy Freeman (Smallville) as Cady, Walt’s lawyer daughter; Bailey Chase (Saving Grace) as Branch, a fiery deputy running against Walt for the Sheriff’s office; and Adam Bartley as Deputy Ferguson (aka “The Ferg”), a somewhat bungling member of Walt’s team hired as a favor to his father.

Though Longmire is listed as a “crime drama,” for me it falls under what I like to call “cozy murder mystery”: a whodunit featuring lots of familiar elements, engaging characters, and just enough humor and surprises to keep you wanting to come back for more.  While the name “cozy murder mystery” may call to mind shows like Murder, She Wrote or Matlock, there are plenty of modern equivalents that fill the same criteria, from Castle and Elementary to Bones and Rizzoli & Isles.  With all of these shows, figuring out the crime really takes something of a backseat to watching the characters work off of one another and struggle against their situations and environment, and even if you can guess who the killer is in the first 15 minutes (which is usually the case with all of the afore-mentioned shows), watching our intrepid heroes figure it all out is often the most engaging element.

Longmire takes the familiar elements of these shows – the mysterious killing, the red herrings, the ever-growing list of suspects and last-minute revelations – and adds a new twist: rather than being located in a big city this show takes place in a modern Western setting, and even though modern technology is available it often plays little part in solving the case.

As I mentioned before, characters are usually the most important aspect of a show like this, and Longmire is chock full of good ones, not the least of which is Walt himself.  Old-fashioned and gentlemanly, the stoic and reserved Sheriff Longmire also has something of a darker side, evinced by a series of flashbacks to violent events from his past.  Walt is an imposing presence, not because he’s bombastic and loud but because he’s so quiet and unassuming in spite of his size.  He loves his daughter (even if he keeps her in the dark), Rainier beer and his good friend Henry (a wonderfully understated Lou Diamond Phillips).  Anger seethes under Walt’s skin almost constantly, but in true “old fashioned Cowboy” fashion he doesn’t “deal” with things so much as just carrying on, trudging along and doing his job regardless of what else is happening.

And Walt has plenty of distractions: Branch’s constant attempts to undermine his reputation, Vic (Katee Sackhoff is deliciously sarcastic as a big city cop completely out of her element in the country) gives him grief over being the last man alive not to own a cell phone, and an out-of-town homicide detective (Charles S. Dutton, terrific as ever) is trying to corner Walt and get him to answer some questions about mysterious events Walt may have been involved with in Denver.  But at the end of the day you know Walt will get the job done, even if a little bit more of his already battered and worn-out soul is damaged in the process.

All in all, I find Longmire a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  Groundbreaking?  Not exactly, but I like the way it plays with conventions of the crime drama without being too obvious about it.  The show can at times be quite dark (some of the crimes are gut-wrenching, and not always about murder), and the politics and tension between the Anglo-dominated county and the Cheyenne tribe are well-handled without over-sympathizing or demonizing either side.  All of the characters are nicely rounded (even “The Ferg”, who in spite of being something of a walking cliché still manages to feel believable), and right from the very first episode I felt like I was reconnecting with a bunch of old friends.

So, using Tiffany’s system, I’ll give Longmire a GMacTV rating. Longmire isn’t exactly revolutionary television, but it’s a well-crafted drama which rarely missteps.  It’s also one of the few shows I eagerly anticipate every week (curse you, mere 10-episode season!).

Oh, and who is Robert Taylor?  This Australian born actor has only one major U.S. Credit to his name, and when I learned what that was I had to do a double-take.  Gruff, slow-talking Walt Longmire is none other than Agent Jones from The Matrix.  Whoa.

Agent Jones The Matrix*****

Thank you SO MUCH for taking over this week, Steven.  You are welcome back anytime.

I should probably catch up on Longmire… I do enjoy A&E’s The Glades.

What do you think?  Have you seen Longmire?  If not, do you plan to?  We’d (Steve and I) love to hear from you!

If you haven’t already, be sure to get to know Steven better by reading his blog, liking his Facebook Author Page, and following him on Twitter and Goodreads.

And remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, 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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

New to TV this Summer (2013) – Part 2

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

As the hot winds blow into our neighborhoods, so does a new television season.

This summer, the networks have a lineup of new programs to entertain us during the primetime hours.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop—but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Continuing with the Part One introduction, here are a few more premieres we can look forward to this summer…

*****

Whodunnit?

Ever want to attend one of those murder mystery dinner parties?  I have!

Whodunnit? is kind of like reality television’s version of these parties…

Thirteen “investigators” will gather and live inside a mansion, attempting to solve a “murder.”  The “investigators” will use real CSI technology and work up a “murder dossier” of sorts.  Each week, the contestants will describe what they think happened in detail and those furthest from the truth will be eliminated.

This setup reminds me of the older reality show, The Mole, that aired from 2001-2008.  Remember that one?

Needless to say, I will be tuning in and playing along…

Whodunnit? premieres June 23rd on ABC.

*****

Crossing Lines

Get ready for summer’s new police procedural…

Crossing Lines follows a group of International Criminal Court (ICC) officers as they investigate cross-border criminals and their crimes.  Working to solve some of the “most notorious international crimes,” this series promises to be action packed.

And just look at the headliner… Donald Sutherland.  He doesn’t need any introductions, does he?  The new series also stars: William Fichtner (Prison Break), Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones), Marc Lavoine, Richard Flood, Gabriella Pession, and Moon Daily.

Crossing Lines premieres June 23rd on NBC.

*****

Under the Dome

What would happen if we were cut off from the world?  If we couldn’t leave our city or county lines?  If we were imprisoned by an impenetrable barrier?

Based on the science fiction novel by Stephen King, Under the Dome follows the residents of Chester’s Mill after they are cut off from the world by an impenetrable barrier—a dome of sorts.  As one can imagine, some panic, while some keep calmer heads and attempt an escape.  Will they uncover the truth in time to save their small town?

The new horror/mystery series stars: Mike Vogel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre circa 2003), Rachelle Lefevre (the Twilight saga), Colin Ford (Supernatural), Natalie Martinez (Detroit 1-8-7 and CSI: NY), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle), Aisha Hinds (Detroit 1-8-7, True Blood, and Cult), and many other familiar faces in recurring roles (like Jeff Fahey from Lost).

Under the Dome premieres June 24th on CBS. 

*****

Ray Donovan

ABC has Olivia Pope; Showtime now has Ray Donovan…

Ray Donovan (played by the adorable Liev Schreiber, from the Scream films, Salt, and other major motion pictures) “fixes” Hollywood’s problems.  He does the dirty work for the city’s celebrities and life seems great for Ray… until his father (Mickey Donovan, played by the great Jon Voight—no introduction necessary, right?) is released from prison.

The new drama series also stars: Paula Malcomson (Deadwood) as Abby Donovan, Ray’s wife and L.A. social climber; Steven Bauer (Scarface) as Avi, Ray’s right-hand man; Katherine Moenning (The L Word) as Lena, Ray’s assistant; Pooch Hall (Jumping the Broom) as Daryll, Ray’s half brother; Dash Mihok (Romeo + Juliet) as Bunchy Donovan, Ray’s troubled brother; Eddie Marsan (Mission: Impossible III) as Terry Donovan, Ray’s other brother; and Elliot Gould (Friends and the Ocean’s movies) as Ezra, a frequent client of Ray’s.

Ray Donovan premieres June 30th on Showtime.

*****

The BridgeThe Bridge

If FX’s other original programs are any indicator, The Bridge should be very good…

The Bridge follows Detective Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger, from the National Treasure movies and Inglorious Basterds) from El Paso and Detective Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir, A Better Life and Savages) from Chihuahua, Mexico as they investigate a serial killer operating both sides of the Texas/Mexico border.

The new police drama also stars: Annabeth Gish ( from some of my ‘80s favorites, like Shag, Mystic Pizza, Hiding Out, and most recently Pretty Little Liars), Ted Levine (Monk and The Silence of the Lambs), and Matthew Lillard (Scream).

The Bridge premieres July 10th on FX.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Whodunnit? at number one.  After all, I love trying to figure out murder mysteries!!  Ray Donovan and The Bridge probably tie for second, mainly because I absolutely love Showtime’s and FX’s original programs.  Because of Nip/Tuck and Justified, I have really high hopes for The Bridge; but Ray Donovan’s trailers have piqued my interest since the first time I saw them air months ago—so it’s a tie.  That leaves Under the Dome and Crossing Lines I think I’ll put Stephen King’s new TV series at number four with Crossing Lines in last place.  No offense, but I’ll blame this one on advertising.  I’ve seen ads for Under the Dome for months and only recently caught a quick ad for Crossing Lines.

Which of these new programs are you most looking forward to and why?  I’d love to hear from you!   

And for all the Zero Hour and 666 Park Avenue fans, ABC is currently airing the remaining episodes for both series on Saturday nights…