Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Walking Dead

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m jumping in with one of the television shows I have been looking forward to returning in the 2014 winter TV season—AMC’s The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead 2AMC no longer means American Movie Classics.

The supernatural element is taking over the television world today, and AMC joins this phenomenon by telling the story of a small group of people working feverishly to survive a widespread zombie epidemic in the great state of Georgia in The Walking Dead.  The series begins with small town sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) waking from a coma to discover he is alone in every sense of the word: the hospital is desolate, the town looks like a post-apocalyptic war zone, and his family has vanished.

A man and his son save the deliriously weak Rick from his first encounter with a walker, or zombie as we know it, and nurse him back to health and educate him on the events that have transpired while he was in a coma.  The outlook appears bleak, but Rick insists his family is alive and sets out for Atlanta to find his wife (Lori, played by Sarah Wayne Callies) and son (Carl, played by Chandler Riggs).

On his journey, Rick finds his family and his best friend (Shane, played by Jon Bernthal) along with a small group that will become a part of his new family: Glenn (Steven Yeun). Andrea (Laurie Holden), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Carol (Melissa McBride), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), and probably my favorite character… along with most of the show’s other viewers… Daryl (Norman Reedus).

Rick immediately establishes himself as the team leader; but after the camp is infiltrated by a group of walkers and a few lives are lost, the survivors retreat, pack up and head out.  And so the journey begins….or continues in this case.

The first season of The Walking Dead is only six episodes, making it perfect for a marathon style viewing party (that’s what we did).  In season two, the survivors cohabitate on a farm with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his daughters (Maggie, played by Lauren Cohen, and Beth, played by Beth Kinney).  Of course, as expected, they have to abruptly leave the farm and take up residence in an abandoned prison, which begins season three.  And along the way, they cross paths with The Governor (David Morrissey) and a few other recurring characters (like Michonne, played by Danai Gurira, and Tyreese, played by Chad L. Coleman).

Now in season four, the group’s once safe fortress is no more…

Just how successful is The Walking Dead?  The series has already been picked up for a fifth year and averages anywhere between 10-16 million viewers per episode.   Yeah, it’s one of the most popular TV shows on today…

The Walking Dead is shot without the vibrant colors of shows like Hawaii Five-0; but while not black and white, still appears dark and gloomy in relation to the current state of events.  The episodes are not for those with weak stomachs and are filled with suspense, leaving us hanging on by the seat of our pants.  Not every character is likable, yet we find ourselves hoping that the walkers don’t bite anyone else.

The series is a bit graphic at times.  Honestly, I almost stopped watching at one particular point in the pilot episode (I did not like seeing the walkers devour a horse).  But I stuck with it and I really am glad that I did.

Oh, and most importantly, not one single character is safe from death.  Not one.  Of all the survivors listed above, six have already perished.  I just won’t say who…

It’s difficult to decide which rating I should award The Walking Dead.  For bringing zombies to television, I’m leaning towards a GTV rating; the fact that I actually need the week in-between episodes to recover from what has happened, I’m leaning towards the GTV rating; for keeping me on the edge of my seat, not being predictable, and for the music, I’m leaning towards the GTV rating.  So, I guess it’s a top-tiered TV show for me—GTV all the way.

What do you think?  Do you watch The Walking Dead?  I’d love to hear from you!

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…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

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Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Teen Wolf

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m jumping in with one of  the television shows I have been looking forward to returning in the 2014 winter TV season—MTV’s Teen Wolf.

Teen WolfWe all remember the 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox, right?  MTV promised to use the generalized idea behind the ’80s Teen Wolf, but compared their story to a transformed version with a darker side.  So did they?

First, a few similarities:

In 1985, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard; today, Tyler Posey plays Scott McCall.

In 1985, Scott Howard’s best friend was an oddball named Stiles; today, Scott McCall’s best friend is an oddball named Stiles (played by Dillon O’Brien).

Stiles (left) and Scott (right)…

In 1985, Scott Howard wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, not until he transformed into his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall isn’t anywhere close to the best lacrosse player on the squad, until he endures the cursed bite, that is.

Now, to a few differences:

In 1985, Scott Howard suffered from a family curse, a long line of male werewolves that sometimes skipped a generation; today, Scott McCall is bitten by a werewolf while out in the woods.

In 1985, Scott Howard show-boats around as his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall works desperately to keep his curse secret.

In 1985, audiences laughed along with Scott Howard in Teen Wolf; today, viewers and Scott McCall cringe as another person in the community is brutally attacked by a supposed animal (although there are laughs, especially where Stiles is concerned…).

Wolfin’ out…

MTV’s Teen Wolf pleasantly surprised me.  First of all, like most other things MTV, the show is geared toward the younger audience (or YA as we’ve become accustomed to calling it in the literary world).  I may be in my thirties, but I like most Young Adult television series; and more importantly, I really enjoy Teen Wolf.  And it’s not just me—my guy doesn’t miss an episode either.

Moreover, the show’s claim to focus on the mythology of the werewolf and the darkness of the curse has played a major role in the television series.  If The Vampire Diaries has taught the TV rating’s world anything, it’s that teens (as well as whoever is watching) prefer the dark twists and storylines—if we want comedy, there are sitcoms for that.

During the first season, Teen Wolf introduced the idea of the alpha and beta wolf.  An alpha is the strongest, most powerful, and the most deadly kind of werewolf.  Over the course of the first few years, both Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) have transitioned from betas to alphas, due to circumstances surrounding them.  And just because one is once an alpha, doesn’t mean they always will remain an alpha… just sayin’.

Derek…

In the second season, Teen Wolf picked up the action, the suspense, and the storylines.  If season one piqued our interests, season two hooked us.  The story introduced the mysterious kanima, a mutation of the werewolf.  Better yet, viewers didn’t know for quite some time who the kanima was.  Was it “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates)?  Or Lydia (played by Holland Roden), the annoying girl admired by Stiles?  Or heck, someone else all together?  Believe me… there were options.

Season three keeps with the mythology of the werewolf, as fictitious as it may be, and introduces viewers to the biggest, baddest alpha of them all—Deucalion.  But that’s not all; viewers also watch as some mysterious person or creature continues to sacrifice virgins, warriors, healers, philosophers and guardians… and a banshee is also introduced to the group.

Alison (with the bow) and Lydia…

The series has gotten better and better with each passing year, in my opinion anyway.  The show has great fight scenes (with not-so-bad special effects for TV, especially for MTV), forbidden love (Scott and Alison Argent, played by Crystal Reed, who hails from generations of werewolf hunters), and typical teen insecurities and humiliations.  And considering neither my guy nor I can wait long to watch once the new episodes are on our DVR, I’m awarding Teen Wolf with the Mac TV rating.  The water is definitely boiling rapidly with the intensity of each episode… and leaves us wondering what will happen next.

What do you think?  Do you watch Teen Wolf?  I’d love to hear from you! 

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…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Death and Evolution with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals

For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of the supernatural on TV.  Since the conclusion of Charmed and Buffy, I found a small void in my television viewing that needed to be filled.  Luckily for me, and the rest of the female population, we did have one program to keep us entertained in the meantime—Supernatural—but I’m greedy and wanted more.  Which is why when the CW launched The Vampire Diaries, I immediately set my DVR.

To me, there are three main characters of The Vampire Diaries: Elena Gilbert, Stefan Salvatore, and Damon Salvatore.  Now for whatever reason, I’ve never been an Elena or a Stefan fan.  However, Damon caught my eye and captured my heart from the get go.

But The Vampire Diaries is more than just Elena and the Salvatore brothers.  First, we have the three high school boys that make up Elena’s inner circle: Matt, Jeremy, and Tyler.  Next, we have Elena’s best friends: Bonnie and Caroline.  Not only are all five of these supporting cast members absolutely gorgeous, they’re likable… even when they act like the jock who’s better than everyone else (Tyler), or the ex-boyfriend who continues to be a doormat (Matt), or the little brother who will do anything to fit in (Jeremy), or the cheerleader who has to lead every single school activity… her way (Caroline).

This is the closest thing to a group still that I could find… even if Elena, Tyler, and Caroline’s backs are to us.

Heck, even a few of the late-comers won me over more than Elena and Stefan ever have.  Take the older Alaric as an example.  Perhaps I liked Alaric because he was closer to my age, as well as a nice piece of eye candy.  But even when he was a hunter and he was trying to kill the vampire population, I still had a small TV crush on him.

Throughout the seasons, each character has become more and more evolved as well, building stronger and stronger individual arcs and making viewers like me appreciate them more than I already did.  Matt is the only human remaining out of the original cast members; Jeremy was cursed as a hunter; Tyler transformed into a werewolf and later into a hybrid (werewolf/vampire combination), courtesy of Klaus; Bonnie inherited her family’s ability to cast spells and has evolved into a powerful witch; and Katherine, Elena’s evil doppelganger, turned Caroline into a vampire, making her into what my family likes to call “Vampire Barbie.”  Even boring Elena and Stefan have turned it up a notch since the beginning with Elena now joining the vampire ranks and the on/again off/again moments where viewers experience “bad” Stefan, or Ripper Stefan.

And as the seasons roll by, the same remains true: I find myself still preferring everyone BUT Elena and Stefan—even the “bad” vamps (Katherine, Rebekah, and the super-sexy Klaus).

Jenna and Alaric…

Many other characters have come and gone over the years, some by means of shocking deaths, but nothing could have prepared me for what transpired recently.  Since it has been over a week since the last new episode aired, I imagine it’s safe to discuss what happened.  But if anyone has yet to catch up, now would be the time to look away.

Previously, viewers had watched as Elena witnessed Klaus kill her aunt Jenna.  Jenna didn’t play a huge role, but she was involved enough to make many of us cry when she died.  Then there was Alaric’s death.  I, like so many, thought for sure he didn’t really die… the show would not do that… Alaric was one of the most popular characters on the show… he was the last adult/family figure to poor, orphaned Jeremy and Elena… but the writers really did kill him off.  There was hope for a little while that Alaric would be back as a ghost, and we saw him visit his buddy Damon a few times; but now the actor who played Alaric has his own CW show, so it’s doubtful he’ll be back now.

But the most recent death comes as the most shocking—Jeremy.  Prior to his suffering the hunter’s curse, we watched human Jeremy die multiple times; but as long as he was wearing his family ring at the time of his death, he could not die from a supernatural attack.  So when the new evil vamp, Silas, drained Jeremy of all his blood and snapped his neck, viewers still had hope—as did Elena.  But the ring no longer protected Jeremy; after all, he was a hunter now, a supernatural being in his own right.  His death was real this time and heart wrenching.  And even the usual boring and whiney Elena touched me when she finally realized her baby brother was gone for good this time, especially when she burned his corpse and her family home to the ground.

Jeremy… how the little Gilbert has matured over the years.

Why this was the direction the writers and creators felt the need to take is beyond me.  Perhaps the actor who played Jeremy wanted to pursue other projects… okay, send him away for a while like has been done in the past with both his character and Tyler’s.  But kill him?  And burn him?  Look, I’m a writer and understand we have to kill off our characters sometimes, but this seems like emotional overkill if you ask me.

Who knows if Jeremy will appear in any more episodes… even if he does, there’s no telling what these said appearances will entail—could be flashbacks, could be hauntings; but regardless, it won’t be the same without him.

Only three things can redeem the direction of this season for me at this point: “bad” Elena (Damon used his sire bond to turn her humanity off when she realized Jeremy was indeed dead), more Damon, and more Klaus.

Klaus… he’s so misunderstood.

Klaus—the evil Original with the sexy accent we’ve all grown to love over the years.  I’ve actually wanted to hug Klaus multiple times, and he’s supposed to be the BIG EVIL of the show.  Poor Klaus is so misunderstood and he really does let his feelings get the best of him, like any one of the multiple times he has come to the realization after the fact that Caroline is only playing his feelings for her to get what she and the group needs from him.  And Big Bad Klaus really does love his family, as evident when he witnessed his brother’s death at the Gilbert house this season… even if he has previously daggered them so they don’t interfere with his plans.

But The Vampire Diaries can’t really be all about Klaus, now can it?  Not when Elena, Stefan, and Damon are the main characters of the show.  And not when the supporting cast already has as many characters as it does with Matt, Jeremy, Tyler, Bonnie, and Caroline.  That’s a lot of screen time to share.  So what’s the next best thing for Klaus?

Give Klaus an opportunity at his own show!  Airing as an episode of The Vampire Diaries on April 24th, viewers will catch a glimpse of what it will be like having Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah outside Mystic Falls.  Instead, this backdoor pilot will take place in New Orleans.   The potential spinoff will follow our favorite Originals and introduce a few new vamps, witches, and humans, as well as bring along Tyler’s seductive werewolf friend, Haley.

I can see Haley being a real pain in Klaus’s side…

A few years ago, Fox tested the waters of a new drama by airing a backdoor pilot during an episode of the hit, Bones.  “The Finder” episode did well enough to land its own spot on the Fox lineup and lasted all of one season before it was cancelled.  Let’s hope “The Originals” pulls in a high enough ranking for the CW to grant it a full season order, giving us more Damon screen time on The Vampire Diaries and more Klaus all at the same time.  Only this go around, let’s hope the long-term results fare better for our favorite bloodsucking Originals than it did the cast of The Finder.

After all, I would personally love another hour of supernatural TV to watch every week…

How about you?  What do you think about The Vampire Diaries most recent death?  Do you plan to check out “The Originals” when it airs?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Spend an Evening with Moonlight

Oh, December… perhaps one of the busiest months of the year.  Many of us are moving at warp speeds trying to wrap up our holiday preparations AND deal with the end-of-the-year nonsense we all face year after year.  The days are flying by and before we know it, 2013 will be here and we’ll all be left wondering where the month has gone.  With all of the madness expected to surround us these next few weeks, Amber West and I have decided to revisit a few of our older Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews instead of tackling anything new.

Even though I’m usually running around with my head cut off in the evenings this time of year, I still have time for my TV.  However, most of the networks are about to start airing reruns, and many of the channels have a lineup of holiday movies playing hour after hour.  For some of us, we want and need something different.

Which is why this month is almost perfect for a mini-marathon-style watching party!  As we’re wrapping gifts or baking sweet treats, why not watch a TV show with some bite?

So, today, I’ve selected one of my original Queue It Up reviews to spotlight:

Moonlight

The series begins when private investigator Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin, Hawaii 5-0) meets reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles, Tristan & Isolde) at the scene of a crime.  Mick immediately feels a connection with Beth—one that he doesn’t place immediately.

But it doesn’t take him long to remember exactly where he met Beth for the first time.

Mick is a vampire, turned fifty years ago on his wedding night by his wife Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon).   Needless to say, the couple never lived happily ever after.

Mick is a good vampire; he doesn’t hunt or hurt people, unlike his best friend Josef (Jason Dohring) who relishes his life as a blood-sucker.  Instead, Mick satisfies his hunger by harvesting blood from the local morgue.

But now back to Mick and Beth…

Twenty-two years ago, Mick saved a kidnapped girl from a house fire—a fire that he started in order to kill Coraline.   As luck would have it, Beth was that little girl.

After meeting at the crime scene, Mick and Beth become instant friends, and it doesn’t take much time before Beth learns his secret.  She handles it quite well, considering, and even allows him to feed on her once to save his life.  Mick and Beth fall in love, but in addition to the fact that Mick is technically dead, Beth is dating the local assistant district attorney (Jordan Belfi), and neither she nor Mick succumb to their urges.

The love triangle becomes a square when Beth asks Mick to help her friend; a friend that looks exactly like Coraline.

Moonlight may have only lasted one season on CBS (it’s very possible the 2007-2008 writer’s strike is to blame), but it remains a favorite and is worthy of a queue up.  I don’t want to give too much away about the individual episodes, especially since there are only sixteen to watch, but it sounds like a perfect marathon, doesn’t it?

Moonlight earns a GTV rating; it has everything we want and more.  I can’t remember the last time I was so upset about a program’s cancellation.  It is highly recommended that you watch Moonlight at night—lights off, candles burning, and a glass of red wine in hand.  Be sure and keep a hand fan nearby—Mick St. John is one sexy vampire.

Oh, and don’t worry.  The show didn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger.  Even with the premature cancellation, and a great storyline for a second season, it wraps nicely considering.

What are you waiting for?  Queue it Up!

If by chance you do not subscribe to Netflix, watch for the Moonlight daytime marathons on SyFy.

My Favorite Episodes with Bite:

“Fever”
“The Ringer”
“12:04 AM”
“Fleur de Lis”
“What’s Left Behind”

Did you watch Moonlight?  Like me, are you waiting for Steve McGarrett to vamp out on Hawaii 5-0?  Have any cancellations absolutely infuriated you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what see recommends…

Come back next week when Amber and I choose another of our favorites to share….  Stay tuned!

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: A New Kind of Beauty and the Beast

It’s been twenty-two years since we all fell in love with Catherine (Linda Hamilton, the Terminator movies) and Vincent (Ron Perlman, Sons of Anarchy) in CBS’s Beauty and the Beast.  Twenty-two years… can you believe it?  Viewers watched as the “world above” and the “world below” joined together to fight evil.  But unfortunately, the series was short-lived (only three seasons) and television has been without it ever since.

But now Catherine and Vincent are back, only this time they are younger and the story is a little different…

Catherine “Cat” Chandler (Kristin Kreuk from Smallville) is a homicide detective with a haunted past (her mother was murdered in front of her).  She probably would have been killed too, but she was saved by an animal… no, a human.  Catherine takes her past experiences and uses them to become the woman that she is today—strong, independent, and very capable.

While working a case, Catherine and her partner stumble across fingerprints of Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan from Terra Nova), a man who supposedly died years earlier.  But because of his past with Catherine (I’m sure most everyone can guess this one…), he confides in her and tells her his secret—when enraged, he transforms into a beast with super strength and powers.  Catherine agrees to keep his secret; after all, she owes him her life… and she can’t seem to keep from obsessing about him at the same time.

As expected, as soon as Catherine and Vincent meet, the agency responsible for turning him into this “beast” discovers that he is indeed not dead and that she knows their secret.  This, of course, puts them both in danger and the only way the two of them can survive is by sticking together.

Cat understands that Vincent is dangerous, she just doesn’t want to believe it…

The series also stars: Max Brown (The Tudors) as Evan Marks, the medical examiner and Catherine’s “human” love interest; Brian White (The Shield) as Joe Bishop, Catherine’s boss; Nicole Anderson (Make It or Break It) as Heather, Catherine’s sister; as well as relative new-comers Nina Lisandrello (Tess, Catherine’s partner) and Austin Basis (JT, Vincent’s confidant).

First of all, I am not so sure how I feel about these characters.  Pretty much all of the characters, excluding Catherine and Vincent, are weak.  JT probably falls into the category of stronger characters, mainly because he actually has a place in the storyline—he knows Vincent’s secret and he’s been his “keeper” of sorts since Vincent faked his own death.  JT also seems to be the only voice of reason, trying to protect all involved… including Catherine…  but no one will listen to him.

JT… this poor guy is going to lose his voice telling Catherine and Vincent to stay away from each other…

Behind JT, I probably like Evan most.  Not only does this character pose as a potential roadblock for Catherine and Vincent, the writers also include him into each episode in a way that makes sense.  All of the rest, well they’re just “filler” characters… as if the show added them just to have them: Heather, Cat’s sister, now lives with her… her purpose?  Get Cat to her dad’s wedding?  Weak…; Tess, Cat’s partner, a female tomboy who acts and talks tough… her purpose?  Use Cat as her wingman to pick up guys?  Weak…; Bishop, Cat’s boss… well, it’s really no surprise that this role is only around to support the individual police case assigned to Cat and Tess each week.  Who knows?  The network has ordered a full season of Beauty and the Beast, so maybe these characters’ roles will grow…

Now, let’s talk about the “beauty” and the “beast” for a minute…

Catherine… I want to like her, but her dialogue seems a bit repetitive, especially when she’s talking to Vincent, and her actions annoying.  I’m also not sold on the acting, but I do like the martial arts sequences conveniently written into each episode (something I can’t help but think is an actual talent of the actress in real life).

Vincent… He’s not the “beast” we’ve grown accustomed to in B&Bs past, but I like him… probably more than anyone else in the series.  When he’s not “beasting” out, he’s a very nice looking guy with a horrendous scar on the side of his face.  When he does “beast” out, nothing and no one is safe, not even Catherine and JT.  He was a doctor in his previous life, and all he really wants to do is help people.  Now this, I can work with…

Now, on to the sexual tension… I get that Catherine and Vincent are supposed to want each other but realize they can’t be together.  Usually, I’m a big fan of the sexual tension in a television series… Moonlighting, Castle, Bones, etcetera.  I also understand that most of the time, the lead characters can’t get together because once they do the show falls a bit flat.  But this time, I don’t care—I want Vincent to kiss Catherine!

Catherine and Vincent and this insanely romantic chemistry between them aside, I really like this new Beauty and the Beast because of the police procedural aspect.  Each week, Catherine and Tess work a different case.  Each week, Catherine rationalizes some reason to ask Vincent for his help.  And each week, the case Catherine is working teachers her a valuable lesson about her and Vincent’s relationship and how she feels about him.

I let Beauty and the Beast pile up on the DVR after the first week’s episode.  I liked it, but I prefer other series…  Having caught up on most of my other shows, I watched a Catherine and Vincent marathon this weekend.  To be honest, I miss The Secret Circle and wish it still followed The Vampire Diaries on Thursday nights; but, Beauty and the Beast will do.  It’s still not as good as Arrow, the CW’s other freshman series, nor is it as good as a few other programs airing in its time slot on different channels (Person of Interest and Burn Notice), but I’m hooked now.  I want to see where the creators go and what will unfold with the full-season order.  The only problem is, Catherine and Vincent might just have to wait for me to watch everything unravel on the weekends…

Have you watched the CW’s Beauty and the BeastWhat do you think?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: A Halloween Special – Growing Up a Munster

This past Friday, NBC aired a Mockingbird Lane Halloween special…

What is Mockingbird Lane?  Does this ring any bells?

That’s right!  NBC put together an all-star cast in a reboot of the 1960s classic The Munsters.  I’ve been waiting on the promotions for this show since Jerry O’Connell first announced his new role as Herman Munster on Live with Kelly.  I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and finally saw the first trailer for the Halloween special earlier this month.

Halloween special?  What happened to Mockingbird Lane being a new series?

Unfortunately, and not really all that surprising, the network swooped in and dropped on ax on the ten million dollar project before it aired one single episode.  However, in a move unlike most networks that have just killed an expensive project before even allowing the public to chime in by watching, NBC decided to air one episode Friday, October 26th before the Halloween episode of Grimm.  Rumors swirled after the announcement, speculating that the special’s ratings would determine whether or not the network gives Mockingbird Lane another chance at a weekly series in 2013.  Like most rumors, we’ll all just have to wait and see…

Regardless, this news crushed me; but, at least the network gave the reboot a chance.  While I’m not sure what kind of numbers NBC was hoping for, it has been reported that Mockingbird Lane pulled in 5.4 million viewers on Friday night.  This number is just barely shy of the channel’s hit Friday night fairy tale drama, Grimm.

So, let’s talk Mockingbird Lane

First, let’s clarify that this rendition of The Munsters is not a situational comedy—it is a drama with comedic elements—a dramedy, if you will.

Now that we’ve cleared that up,  let’s meet the Munsters: Grandpa, or “D” (short for Dracula), played by Eddie Izzard, the over-bearing grandparent who sees nothing wrong with his family heritage; Herman, played by Jerry O’Connell, a former human created into a “munster” by Grandpa; Lily, played by Portia de Rossi DeGeneres, the family matriarch and vampire (but we’ll talk more about this shortly);  Marilyn, played by Charity Wakefield, the “normal” Munster, as in human; and Eddie, played by Mason Cook, the wanna be normal adolescent boy who learns he’s not so normal… he’s a werewolf.

These Munsters are not quite the same as the ‘60s family…

Instead of being sarcastic and goofy, Grandpa comes across as very blunt (although humans think he’s joking) and serious.  While he does have a laboratory underneath the staircase, viewers don’t really see the “fun” side of Grandpa as he cooks up his spells that we loved in the old series.  Like most vampires, Grandpa has a fixation on feeding and making humans his toys in this one-hour special.  To Grandpa, humans serve one purpose—they are a food source for his family and a salvage yard for Herman… and he makes no apologies for this.

Marilyn and Grandpa on a stroll to meet the new neighbors…

Instead of being a childish buffoon with extreme strength, today’s Herman is very parental, loving, and gentle.  This Grandpa-made Frankenstein monster does not have the classic Herman bolts in his neck, but instead has visual reminders of his surgical transformations with scars and zippers all over his neck, chest, and arms (loved the Herman introduction though, with Jerry O’Connell standing in front of a lamp post with the fixture creating a silhouette of the Herman bolts—nice touch).  Unfortunately for this Herman, he “loves too hard,” showcased by his need for a new “ticker,” or heart.

Instead of donning the classic white streak through her hair, Mockingbird Lane’s Lily has beautiful, one-toned brown hair (or maybe it’s black; I watched it without my contacts in).  She shows no signs of being fiery… and her vampirism is not mentioned once.  Actually, if one didn’t know any better, one might assume this Lily was also a werewolf like her son—she even mentions at one point that she’ll be careful not to hurt any humans in twenty-nine days, or at the next full moon.  I know Lily is supposed to be a vampire, but I feel the series could have focused less on her special effects (bugs dressing her and smoke enveloping her as she moved) and more on her character.

But, unlike the differences in Grandpa, Herman, and Lily, the remaining two Munsters were very close to their counterparts—Marilyn and Eddie…

Marilyn is human… a gorgeous, blonde human who has recently enrolled in community college.  While she is not a monster, she loves her family all the same and understands their lifestyle and needs.  Eddie wants nothing more than to be like his cousin Marilyn—a human; but, he’s not…he’s a werewolf.  He insists on being a vegetarian and refuses to eat meat, so his parents bring home a dragon to help Eddie control his urges.  Yes, a dragon instead of the usual family pet dog.

Today’s Herman and Lily explaining to Eddie exactly what he is…

Despite the differences between the original and rebooted characters, I did enjoy the one-hour Halloween special.  The visual effects were amazing, especially for television.  The story was a creative twist on the original; after all, it was a Bryan Fuller development… remember Pushing Daisies?

However, the special one-hour program lacked a bit for me.  Perhaps it’s because what we saw Friday night was supposed to be the pilot episode for a returning program and NOT a one-hour Halloween special.  To me, a special should start cleanly, which Mockingbird Lane did with the character introductions and explanation for the family’s moving.  A one-hour special should also wrap up nicely, which Mockingbird Lane did as well.  But here’s what it was missing… the middle.  A special’s body should follow a complete cycle of particular storyline in-between the opening and closing.  In my opinion, the story of Herman and Lily telling Eddie he was a werewolf was just too choppy and forced to wrap early.

Trust me; I wanted to LOVE Mockingbird Lane… and I’m still not opposed to the series returning on a weekly basis.  But, if the rumors were true and the ratings were high enough, I expect more from the subsequent episodes.

Did you watch Mockingbird Lane’s Halloween Special?  What did you think?  Would you like to see this Munster reboot made into a new television series?  Why or why not?  What did you think about the revamped characters?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: Topnotch Teen TV, the Supernatural

With the upcoming release of my debut YA mystery novel, Football Sweetheart, I thought it would be fun to use this week’s and next week’s Tele-Tuesday posts to showcase a few of my favorite YA and teen television series on TV today.  I may be past my teen years, but these programs have what it takes to keep this thirty-something tuning in week after week.

First up, the supernatural.  While Football Sweetheart doesn’t have any vampires, werewolves, witches, or anything of the sort, I still love the supernatural element. Personally, I don’t think we’ll ever tire of vampires and werewolves and we’ll always have a place for them on the television screen.  But what do these shows have besides the supernatural that keeps us coming back for more?  The pretty people…

Teen Wolf, MTV

Scott, the wolf
Derek, the alpha
Jackson, the jock
Allison, the girlfriend
Lydia, the mean girl

The Vampire Diaries, CW

Damon, the bad brother
Elena, the heroine
Stefan, the good brother
Tyler, the hybrid
Caroline, vampire “barbie”
Matt, the human
Alaric, the hunter
Jeremy, the little brother
Bonnie, the witch

Do you watch Teen Wolf or The Vampire Diaries?  What do you watch on television, if anything, that is geared toward the teen audience?  What keeps you coming back for more?  The story?  The pretty people?  I’d love to hear from you! 

And speaking of the pretty people, who keeps you coming back for more?

Come back next week when we visit two of our favorite YA mysteries on TV today…