Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Chicago P.D.

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

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that could either a) fall in line with all the other police procedurals on TV, or  b) stand out as the next Dick Wolf success—Chicago P.D..

NBC Summary: Sergeant Hank Voight leads the officers of District 21, where the past history and rivalries between the officers create problems at the district.

Created by Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and a spinoff series of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. will serve as yet another typical police procedural on television.  Or will it?

My main question is this—will Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) be a good guy or a bad guy?  While I did not watch the entire first season of Chicago Fire, I did watch enough to know that he was not a “good” cop.  The character did not hesitate to cross legal or ethical lines.  And if he’s anything like that on the new show, what in the world is his staff going to be like?

And speaking of Jason Beghe, I’ve had a crush on him since I was a little girl when he starred as the quarterback, Tom Yinessa, on HBO’s 1st & Ten.  Yes; my parents let me watch with them—it was about football, after all!  And most recently, I’ve enjoyed his recurring character, Richard Bates, on Showtime’s Californication where he plays an alcoholic/sometimes gay/sometimes straight man.  His performances are fantastic.  Needless to say, I gave Chicago P.D. a try just for him.

The new drama also stars: Jon Seda (Band of Brothers) as Detective Antonio Dawson; Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) as Detective Erin Lindsay; the great Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky; and many others.

But let’s talk about Voight right now… like I mentioned earlier, Voight was not a “good” cop on Chicago Fire.  Actually, he went to jail.  However, in this new series, his character has negotiated some deal to get out of prison and land himself the supervisory position for the Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department.  We later learn this deal is for him to secretly report back to Internal Affairs… but will he?  Will he be 100% honest with them?  Probably not…

So is he good or bad?

Well, Voight instructs his staff to keep everything in-house… they tell him the truth, so he can lie for them.  This isn’t so strange.  Anyone who has played sports has heard the saying “what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.”  Same concept.

The Intelligence Unit is family, and to Voight, nothing is more important than family.  Yet, sadly, his sordid past actually gets one of his officers killed in the first episode (in a round-about-way).  Sorry for the spoiler.

Ultimately, Voight just operates under the mantra—and expects his team to as well—whatever it takes.

Does this make him bad?  Naaa.  I kinda like him and will continue to watch because of him.  I want to see how many professional and ethical lines he and his team will cross, while maintaining characters that I like and am actually rooting for.  There seems to be the “right way” and the “Voight way” of doing things.  Sometimes “Voight’s way” is the only way to get things done.  I get that real cops shouldn’t act this way, but this is TV and I like it.

But enough about just Voight…

Chicago P.D. bounces back and forth between his unit and the officers who patrol the streets of Chicago.  As a Law & Order fan, I can definitely tell this series is a Dick Wolf creation from the cinematography and style.   And being a Chicago Fire spinoff, many of the characters have done and will do a crossover stint at one time or another (for those who love and need more of Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer).   If I understand correctly, the series will actually do a full-blown crossover episode event with Chicago Fire and Law & Order: SVU.  Guess I’ll need to watch Chicago Fire that week.

While I will and already have watched more of Chicago P.D. than I have Chicago Fire, I can’t award the series with anything beyond a JFTV rating.  I like it; I do.  But I don’t mind letting the episodes pile up on the DVR to watch when I have time.  It’s just like when I keep a bag of those greasy potato chips in the pantry, but only reach for them when I need a fix.  After all, it is just another police procedural on TV today… just with a different kind of twist.

What do you think?  Do you watch Chicago P.D.?  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.

New to TV – Winter 2014 (Part Four)

It’s that time of year again… the winter 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 mixing it up with a teen sci-fi program and a few comedies.

*****

Star-Crossed

CW Summary:  When an alien spacecraft crash-landed on Earth, 6-year old Emery Whitehill harbored an Atrian boy before losing him to authorities; ten years later, Emery finds the boy, along with fellow Atrians, has returned to her town as a social experiment. 

Originally titled Oxygen, Star-Crossed has been compared to Romeo and Juliet with aliens.  For the aliens (Atrians), earth was supposed to be a refuge, a place to find unification after their world was attacked.  But for the Americans, their arrival is an invasion and they fear the Atrian kind.

The series stars: Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights and Scream 4) as Emery; Matt Lanter (the remake of 90210) as Roman; Grey Damon (Friday Night Lights, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, and Twisted) as Grayson; and Malese Jow (The Vampire Diaries) as Julia.

Oh yeah, and of course Star-Crossed wouldn’t be a true teen drama, aliens or not, without a love triangle…

We’re a little late with this one… Star-Crossed premiered last night, February 17th, but the CW is usually pretty good about replaying a pilot episode, as well as making all of the episodes available online for the viewer’s convenience.

*****

About a Boy

NBC Summary:  An unemployed man, who lives solely off of the money earned from writing a hit song, has his perfect life turned upside-down when a single mother and her 11-year old son move in next door, thrusting him into playing the role of surrogate father.

Will loves his responsibility-free life.

Marcus is an outsider that none of the other kids really get.

But once Marcus and his mom move in next door, the two form an unlikely friendship.

Based on the book by Nick Hornby, written by Jason Katims (Parenthood and Friday Night Lights), and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), About a Boy promises a lot of heart and tons of laughter.

The sitcom stars: David Walton (the adorable actor from the short-lived Bent) as Will; Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) as Fiona; and Benjamin Stockham (1600 Penn) as Marcus.

About a Boy premieres Saturday, February 22nd on NBC after the Olympics.  The sitcom will then air on its regularly scheduled night—Tuesday.

*****

Growing Up Fisher

NBC Summary: An 11-year old, who has been his blind father’s eyes and wingman for as long as he can remember, has his world turned upside-down when his parents decide to separate, which starts the family down a path of changes from their usual roles.

Meet the Fishers:

Mel is just as normal a father as can be – he teaches his kids to drive; he works in the yard; and he plays sports with his son.  There’s only one issue—he’s blind.

Joyce is living a teenager’s dream, except she’s the mom.

Katie is a regular teenage girl.

And Henry.  Henry is accustomed to being his dad’s guide, who has to now not only adjust to his parents’ divorce, but also his being replaced by a “real” guide dog.

Growing Up Fisher is narrated by one of my crushes—Jason Bateman (and he also serves as one of the executive producers).  With him behind it, I may have to give this one a try.

The sitcom stars: J.K. Simmons (The Closer) as Mel; Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg) as Joyce; Ava Deluca-Verley as Katie; and Eli Baker as Henry.

Growing Up Fisher premieres Sunday, February 23rd on NBC after the Olympics.  The sitcom will then air on its regularly scheduled night—Tuesday.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Star-Crossed at number one.  About a Boy probably comes in second with Growing Up Fisher following in last place (sorry Jason Bateman).  Here’s the thing – I totally expect the CW teen sci-fi drama/romance to outlast both of NBC’s comedies.  Why?  Because mid-season sitcom replacements usually don’t fare all that well.  That said, I’m not really chomping at the bit to see any of these—but that’s me.

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!

*****

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.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Killer Women

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

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that I have been looking forward to since I heard about the idea—Killer Women.

ABC Summary: From executive produce Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and created by Hannah Shakespeare, step inside the dangerous world of the Texas Rangers from the female perspective and experience the arresting “Killer Women.”

Based on the Argentine crime drama, Mujeres Asesinas, this series follows Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica), a Texas Ranger who is really good at her job.  Each week, this former beauty queen tracks and arrests a different female criminal.

Molly Parker “follows the law, not the rules.”

Having recently filed for divorce from her senator husband, Molly has three things going for her: her family (she currently lives with her brother, his wife, and two girls), her boyfriend (she’s dating a HOT D.E.A. agent), and her job (something she’s really good at).  Speaking of her job, she excels at reading suspects, digging down until she finds the truth, and using firearms.  Plus, she’s not afraid to break the rules to do what’s morally right.

Molly is a strong character with flaws, overcoming one of her biggest weaknesses—the abuse she endured while staying with her husband.  She’s smart, sexy, and talented.  However, I find it hard to believe that a Texas Ranger would be trained as a hypnotherapist to help witnesses recall events like Molly is.  Wouldn’t law enforcement hire an outside professional for that?

The series also stars: Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Necessary Roughness) as D.E.A. Agent Dan, Molly’s boyfriend; Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica, Fairly Legal) as Billy, Molly’s brother; Alex Fernandez (Dallas) as Lt. Zea, Molly’s boss; Jeffrey Nordling (Once and Again) as Carl, Molly’s hopefully soon-to-be-ex husband; and many guest stars, like Beth Riesgraf (Leverage).

Killer Women is enjoyable.   Another one of the reasons why I like it?  Being from Texas, I absolutely HATE (sorry to use that word, Mom, but I do) it when television shows use fake and over-the-top Texas accents.  Yes; we have a unique accent down here.  Yes; sometimes we shorten words because we’re lazy.  And yes; some of us really do sound horrible.  But we don’t sound like TV makes us out to sound.  And thankfully, Killer Women does not use the ridiculous TV Texas Twang we’ve been subject to in the past.  Except on a few words.  But I can live with a few words.  I just can’t listen to a 40 minute show of it… it hurts my ears.

All of that said, I give Killer Women the JFTV rating.  It’s not the best thing on TV, but it’s certainly not the worst.

The series was originally only an eight episode arc, but after poor ratings has been reduced to six with the final episode airing February 18th.  I just don’t get the decisions networks make today.  If you’ve paid for and shot eight episodes, why only air six?  Even if the ratings were that poor, why not air as many episodes as you have, giving the viewers that do watch the rest of the show?  And why air a struggling and NEW program opposite something as BIG and popular as the Olympics?  I’m telling ya, the decision makers at the networks should have their heads checked.

As for me, I’ll watch the show until the end.  Maybe ABC will change their mind and air the last two episodes this summer?  Because while the show has been yanked from the TV schedule, it hasn’t been officially cancelled.  Not that I can find, anyway.  So, I guess there’s hope?  Personally, I think Killer Women would make a great summer program when there aren’t so many other TV shows to choose from.

What do you think?  Do you watch Killer Women?  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.

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.

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.

New to TV – Winter 2014 (Part Three)

It’s that time of year again… the winter 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 mixing it up with comedy, drama, and pirates.

*****

Looking

HBO Summary: Three friends, living in San Francisco, explore the exciting options available to a new generation of gay men in this HBO comedy series.

Balancing between a drama and comedy, Looking follows three gay men as they search for “authentic ways of being in the world” today.

In the lead, we have Patrick (Jonathan Groff, Glee).  A successful video game designer, Patrick is currently at a crossroads in his life.  He thinks he knows who he is, but he’s noticing he’s changing just a bit.

Next, we have Augustin (Frankie Alvarez).  Augustin wants to be an artist, but fears he isn’t good enough.  In his personal life, he is in the process of settling down with his boyfriend.

And finally, we have Dom (Murray Bartlett, Guiding Light).  Dom is the oldest of the three, and he’s at a point where he is wondering what he has actually done with his life.

We’re a little late with this one… Looking premiered Sunday night, January 19th, but the show is on HBO which means it will replay like crazy and can be found via OnDemand.

*****

Rake

Fox Summary:  A show about a defense lawyer with a remarkably screwed up personal life.

Rake is not the name of the lead character.  That’s Keegan Deane, played by the very talented Greg Kinnear (As Good As it Gets, Sabrina, Little Miss Sunshine).

A “rake” is actually a man in 17th century Britain who liked to wine & dine and carouse with women.

And a rake, by that definition, is definitely who Keegan Deane is.

Keegan is a brilliant and amazing defense attorney, who can be his own worst enemy.  He’s an opportunistic, erratic, and annoying person with a very good heart.  He is in love with a prostitute (Mikki, played by Bojana Novakovic)… and he’s currently seeing a therapist, who also happens to be his ex-wife (Maddy, played by Miranda Otto from The Lord of the Rings trilogy).  The new show does take on a more serial format; however, each week Keegan will face a new and very interesting court case.

The new legal dramedy also stars: John Ortiz (Fast & Furious 6), Necar Zadegan (24), and Tara Summers (Boston Legal).

Rake premieres Thursday, January 23rd on Fox.

*****

Black Sails

Starz Summary: A Michael Bay production that reveals what it was like for the men and women of the 1700s to chart their own destinies. 

Set in Nassau, the Bahamas, Black Sails is a dark pirate show—not like our beloved and comedic Pirates of the Caribbean.  The series combines actual historical figures and characters from Treasure Island.  And in this dark world, piracy is punishable by death…

Now let’s meet the characters:

Captain Flint (Toby Stephens, Die Another Day) – Capt. Flint is the prime captain on Nassau.  He is a political creature, both witty and very manipulative.

Mr. Gates (Mark Ryan) – Mr.  Gates is the quartermaster and Capt. Flint’s ally.  Flint needs Gates to make the crew do what he wants them to do.

Billy Bones (Tom Hopper, Merlin) – Billy Bones is a pirate with actual ethics.  He truly wants to trust the people around him.

John Silver (Luke Arnold) – John Silver looks out for himself, but he’s at least honest about it.

Eleanor (Hannah New) – Eleanor is an ambitious woman, who forced her way into becoming one of the most powerful people on the island.  Not only that, but she’s a visionary and sees great things for the island’s future.

Captain Vane (Zach McGowan, Shameless) – Capt. Vane is a real pirate, who comes from nothing and decided he wanted more.  He believes in living free and on the sea… and he’s very ruthless.

Rackham (Toby Schmitz) – Rackham is as thick as thieves with Capt. Vane.  He’s a charmer, gambler, and extremely ruthless.

Anne Bonny (Clara Paget) – Anne Bonny is a strong-minded, ferocious, and bad@$$ woman.  She has earned her spot as one of the boys and is considered a stone-cold killer.

Mr. Scott (Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Hotel Rwanda) – Mr. Scott oversees Eleanor’s business.

And Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy, Smallville and The Secret Circle) – Max is a local prostitute, who like everyone else, is in it for herself.

Black Sails premieres Saturday, January 25th on Starz.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Black Sails at number one.  Everyone likes pirates, thanks to Captain Jack Sparrow; and since Mike Leach coached at my college, the pirate theme has been a popular one in our house.  Dropping quite a ways down the totem pole, Rake probably comes in second with Looking following in last place.  Only recently have I seen the Rake previews, and doing this blog research was the first I heard about Looking.  No hype = no excitement on my end.  Sorry.

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!

*****

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.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Justified

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

When I watch certain TV shows, I can’t stop thinking about how much I enjoy their particular characters… mainly due to the relationships between the good and the evil—whatever those particular relationships might be, as they are different in each instance.  It’s very normal for someone to adore the hero of a story, but when viewers connect with the “big bad” as well, we know we have something powerful on our hands.

Like Justified

JustifiedFirst, let’s talk a little about the show.

Everyone has heard of a justified shooting, right?  Well, justified shootings are Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens’ (Timothy Olyphant) forte.  Despite being a loose cannon himself, Raylan appears quite normal when compared to his Kentucky kin.  Entangled with really BAD criminals, Harlan County relies on Raylan, as does the Marshal Service, his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and his con-ex-best friend, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).

Need a reason to tune in?  Boyd Crowder is definitely one of the best antagonists on television.

Need another reason to watch?  Timothy Olyphant.  Enough said.

Now let’s talk about the characters.

First of all, all of the show’s characters are flawed—majorly flawed.

Raylan can’t stay out of trouble.  With his boss; with his ex-wife; with his ex-girlfriend; with Boyd; with the bad guys in town and those passing through; with anybody.  Raylan is always in some kind of trouble.  He chose to walk away from the dirty dealings of his daddy and join the U.S. Marshals, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not plagued with Givens trouble.  And when push really comes to shove, even though he’s a lawman, I wouldn’t put it past Raylan to do whatever is necessary to take care of the problem.  That’s one reason why we love him so much.

Then there’s Boyd.  Boyd, Boyd.  What hasn’t he done?  He has robbed banks; he has been involved with the narcotics trade; he has destroyed his competition with rocket launchers (“Fire in the Hole”); and he has led a white supremacy group.  But he’s really not all bad—promise.  He does want to be good; he believes in the Bible and he always helps his good friend (US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens) when he comes calling.  But why do we really love Boyd?  It’s all about the hair…

How about the women?  We can’t forget about good ole Ava (Joelle Carter).  Ava, like Raylan and Boyd, calls Harlan her home.  She was married to Boyd’s brother, but she shot him with a shotgun while he was eating dinner.  He abused her, don’t worry.  Not long after first meeting Ava on-screen, she aims her shotgun at Boyd while he was eating dinner at her table—but Raylan got to his gun first, shooting Boyd in the chest.  She fell head over heels for Raylan, but that didn’t work out.  So now she and Boyd are hot and heavy.  Yes, even though she has a sordid past with both him and his family.  And they make an adorable couple.  Really.

I could keep going, talking even more about other characters, but the list would be too long.

When I think of the good guy versus the bad guy on television, I immediately think of FX’s Justified.  While Raylan is the hero of this story, the series would not be the same without his childhood friend and current foe, Boyd.  I can’t actually think of another duo on TV that is as well developed as these two characters—and this, without a doubt, is the byproduct of the wonderful writings of Elmore Leonard.

Unfortunately, the two don’t share too many on-screen scenes together, but when they do it is absolute perfection.  The dialogue is fantastic and the tension is magic, and I root just as much for Boyd as I do for Raylan.  As a matter of fact, Boyd was only a recurring character the first season; but because the audiences responded the way that they did to him, he was added to the show as a permanent character in season two.

Now in season five, I love both Raylan and Boyd as much as I did the first season, if not more.  And I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble these two find themselves in this year.

Without a doubt, Justified earns the top Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday score – the GTV rating.  Since the show takes place in Kentucky, I say forgo the bottle of fine wine you are having with your bone-in filet and steamed veggies, and open up a bottle of bourbon to enjoy as you watch characterization at its finest.

What do you think?  Do you watch Justified?  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.

New to TV – Winter 2014 (Part Two)

It’s that time of year again… the winter 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 mixing it up with comedy, a science fiction thriller, a crime drama, and the supernatural.

*****

Enlisted

FOX Summary: An army-set single-camera comedy about three brothers reconnecting with one another.

Pete Hill (Geoff Stults from Seventh Heaven, Happy Town, and The Finder) is the oldest of three brothers.  He also happens to be a super soldier.  But when he messes up, he is assigned a group of misfit soldiers as his punishment—a group that includes his brothers, Randy (Parker Young from Suburgatory) and Derrick (Veronica Mars and Private Practice).

Randy is in love with the Army, while Derrick is jaded with the military and his family.  But these three brothers love each other… they just may not get along all the time.

The comedy also stars Keith David (There’s Something About Mary, the Riddick films, Barbershop, and many other feature films) and Angelique Cabral.

Enlisted was originally scheduled to premiere on Fox back in November… but something happened and they moved it to this Friday, January 10th.

*****

Helix

SyFy Summary: A team of scientists from the Centers of Disease Control travel to an Arctic Biosystems base to investigate a retrovirus and come up against unimaginable horrors; the team attempts to deal with the infected victims and a rebellion starts.

“The virus is just the beginning of the story.”

In Helix, doctors, scientists, and the military travel together to see what is happening at an Arctic Biosystems base.  The disease they encounter doesn’t just kill, it changes—and it changes the people it infects.  Every attack the doctors make to fight it fails… because it mutates.

The series stars Billy Campbell from Once and Again, Hiroyuki Sanada from Revenge and The Wolverine, and many other recognizable faces from their guest spots on popular TV shows.

Helix premieres Friday, January 10th on SyFy.

*****

True Detective

HBO Summary: Two detectives, who were once partners, are called in to give statements about the murder of a prostitute seventeen years ago; and as they share their stories, details of the case are intertwined with insights into their partnership and personal lives. 

First of all, this eight part miniseries stars Matthew McConaughey-hey and Woody Harrelson.  Yes, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.  Granted, Woody did TV back in the day, but since he has become a huge Hollywood star?  Not so much.  And my boy, Matthew?  Not that I can recall… not in a starring role anyway.

The story begins in 1995 when the detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), discover the body of a prostitute, and the narrative continues in 2012 when these two detectives are being interviewed about the case.  They are brought in because the case files were supposedly destroyed in a hurricane-type storm, but the line of questioning leads Cohle to believe perhaps the case wasn’t solved previously in its entirety and more people may have been involved.

The miniseries is more a thriller than a whodunnit, according to the writer, and the story is more about Cohle and Hart’s characters and relationships.  I also thought it was interesting that in this digital age, they shot the series with old-school 35mm film.

The series also stars: Michelle Monaghan (the Mission Impossible films), Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga), Alexandra Daddario (the Percy Jackson movies), Kevin Dunn (the Transformer films), and Michael Potts (The Wire).

True Detective premieres Sunday, January 12th on HBO.

*****

Bitten

SyFy Summary: The lone female werewolf in existence, who wanted to escape that life and who abandoned her pack and moved to a new city, is summoned back to her pack when bodies begin to turn up in her pack’s backyard. 

Based on the Women of the Otherworld book series by Kelley Armstrong, Bitten joins SyFy’s latest batch of successful supernatural TV series (Being Human, Lost Girl, etc).  The series stars Laura Vandervoort (from ABC’s V) as Elena Michaels.  Elena wants nothing to do with being a werewolf, nothing to do with her pack, and wants to forget all about that life—she even hides it from her new boyfriend.  But when trouble comes knocking, what’s a girl to do?

Oh, and the series also stars a lot of men.  A lot of men.

Bitten premieres Monday, January 13th on SyFy.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put True Detective at number one.  No contest here.  Dropping quite a ways down the totem pole, Helix probably comes in second with Bitten following at number three.  That leaves Enlisted in last place; although don’t be fooled by the rankings… I love to laugh and the commercials do look funny.

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!

*****

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.

New to TV – Winter 2014 (Part One)

It’s that time of year again… the winter 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 taking on a few of the new dramas…

*****

The Assets

ABC Summary: CIA officer Sandy Grimes investigates an incident with a lost and very valuable asset to the CIA, but is soon swept into a much larger problem that involves a decade-long hunt for a mole that may include an agent she trusted.

Based on the book Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed by former CIA agents Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, the new eight episode miniseries will follow agent Sandy Grimes (played by Jodie Whittaker) as she investigates a situation surrounding her asset, Aldrich Ames (Paul Rhys).

Even though this story is based on actual events (Ames sold secrets to Russia in the ‘80s; was arrested in the ‘90s; and is currently serving a life sentence in prison), a part of me can’t help but think this miniseries/ABC is hoping to cash in on the success of Showtime’s Homeland and FX’s The Americans.  I’ll watch it, but I’m hesitant for some reason…

We’re a week late with this one… The Assets premiered January 2nd (to horrible ratings) and continues this Thursday, January 9th on ABC.

*****

Intelligence

CBS Summary: A high-tech intelligence operative with a super-computer microchip inside his brain becomes the first human to have complete access to the global information grid to fight crime and search for his missing wife who disappeared years ago.

An elite government division, led by Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), uses Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway from Lost) to access key intelligence by hacking all sorts of data centers in order to protect the United States.  To help keep him “reeled in,” Strand orders agent Riley Neal (Meghan Ory from Once Upon a Time) to watch after him… because as we’ve seen with overly intelligent people on TV, they can be a bit unconventional and unruly (I’m thinking of Patrick Jane here from The Mentalist).

The new series also stars: Lance Reddick (Fringe), Michael Rady (The Mentalist, Emily Owens, M.D.), John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise), P.J. Byrne (Dinner for Schmucks, Final Destination 5), and the great Peter Coyote.

Intelligence premieres tonight, Tuesday, January 7th on CBS (in NCIS: Los Angeles’ spot—BOO).

*****

Killer Women

ABC Summary: From executive produce Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and created by Hannah Shakespeare, step inside the dangerous world of the Texas Rangers from the female perspective and experience the arresting “Killer Women.”

Based on the Argentine crime drama, Mujeres Asesinas, this eight episode series will follow Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica), a recently divorced Texas Ranger enjoying her newly single life and being really good at her job.  Each week, this former beauty queen tracks and arrests a different female criminal.

The series also stars: Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Necessary Roughness) as Dan, Molly’s “fling”; Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica, Fairly Legal) as Billy, Molly’s brother, Alex Fernandez (Dallas) as Lt. Zea; and many guest stars, like Beth Riesgraf (Leverage).

Killer Women premieres tonight, Tuesday, January 7th on ABC.

*****

Chicago P.D.

NBC Summary: Sergeant Hank Voight leads the officers of District 21, where the past history and rivalries between the officers create problems at the district.

Created by Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and a spinoff series of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. will serve as yet another typical police procedural on television.  My main question is this—will Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) be a good guy or a bad guy?  While I did not watch the entire first season of Chicago Fire, I did watch enough to know that he was not a “good” cop.  The character did not hesitate to cross legal or ethical lines.  And if he’s anything like that on the new show, what in the world is his staff going to be like?

And speaking of Jason Beghe, I’ve had a crush on him since I was a little girl when he starred as the quarterback, Tom Yinessa, on HBO’s 1st & Ten.  Yes; my parents let me watch with them—it was about football, after all!  And most recently, I’ve enjoyed his recurring character, Richard Bates, on Showtime’s Californication where he plays an alcoholic/sometimes gay/sometimes straight man.  His performances are fantastic.  Needless to say, I will give Chicago P.D. a try just for him…

The new drama also stars: Jon Seda (Band of Brothers) as Detective Antonio Dawson; Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) as Detective Erin Lindsay; the great Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky; and many others.

Chicago P.D. premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, January 8th on NBC.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Killer Women at number one.  Intelligence probably comes in second with Chicago P.D. following closely behind at number three.  Last place has to go to The Assets.  I already have the first episode on my DVR, but after seeing the horrible premiere numbers, I’m not dying to press play. 

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!

*****

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.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Following

With 2013 coming to an end, and the new winter television schedule right around the corner, I have decided to take a break (of sorts) here on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  I say “of sorts” because instead of reviewing a fresh new series, I want to feature a show that I am looking forward to returning in the 2014 TV season.

And one that I am most excited about?  The Following

In The Following, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon, um… from Footloose) must track down serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy from Rome)—again.

There’s only one problem; like most serial killers, Carroll has fans now… people who are willing to do anything to help him succeed.

It takes very little to pique my interest when a new pilot premieres on television; I’ll watch pretty much anything.  But there are a few things that instantly attract me to a new show: the concept, the actors and actresses, and the attention to detail, particularly the music.  The Following had me at “hello” if that’s even possible for a TV program.

Agent Hardy is damaged… but no one knows Carroll as well as he does.

First, the serial drama follows the “cat and mouse” game between Carroll and Hardy.  The idea of a former FBI agent with issues working to track down a demented killer he once captured is right up my alley.  Next, the series stars, as already mentioned, Hollywood great Kevin Bacon.  I can’t even remember the last time Mr. Bacon starred in a TV series, if he ever has, which tells me the storyline really captured his attention as well.  And third, the pilot episode began with Marilyn Manson’s rendition of “Sweet Dreams.”  The musical introduction of this song grabs me every time… and the lyrics fit perfectly with the Carroll/Hardy scene at the end of the pilot.

So, is The Following worth following?

For me, the answer is an astounding yes!  Although I usually prefer mysteries and whodunits, the premise of not only the “cat and mouse” game between Carroll and Hardy, but also the concept that Carroll’s crazies, or followers, who will do absolutely anything and everything to convey Carroll’s messages, is quite unique to television—and frightening, considering there are people in our world who worship some of the worst criminals for all the wrong reasons.

Carroll even looks crazy…

Viewers are immediately taken into the mind and history of the two main characters.  The protagonist, Hardy, is now a retired FBI agent, who is also a recovering alcoholic and a man fighting to stay healthy (he has a bad heart).  And the antagonist, Carroll, who’s not only a murderer, worked previously as a literature professor obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe.

“Carroll was obsessed with the Romantic Period… in particular, his hero, Edgar Allan Poe.  And like Poe, he believed in the insanity of art, that it had to be felt.  He didn’t just eviscerate fourteen female students, he was making art.  He cut out his victims’ eyes as a nod to his favorite works of Poe: ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and ‘The Black Cat.’ See, Poe believed the eyes are our identity, windows to our soul.  To classify him (Carroll) as a picarist would be too simplistic.” ~ Hardy about Carroll to a group of FBI agents

As the pilot begins, we learn immediately that Carroll has escaped from prison and Hardy was responsible for locking him away.  But how did Hardy catch Carroll in the first place?  The Following uses a series of flashbacks to tell the backstory of these two characters.  And probably the most fascinating flashback shows us that Hardy used Carroll’s wife (Claire, played  by Natalie Zea from Justified and Californication), who also happens to be a professor, as an expert during his investigation.  Hardy had visited her on multiple occasions for help in tracking down the killer and she unknowingly led him in the direction of her own husband.  Clearly, this gives Carroll reason to haunt and torture both Hardy and Claire… and I’m sure the fact that the two shared a romantic connection doesn’t help either.

The agents react to one of the gruesome scenes left behind by one of Carroll’s followers…

The Following’s supporting cast is filled with familiar faces: Maggie Grace (the Taken movies) as Sarah, one of Carroll’s survivors; Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men movies) as FBI agent Weston; Jeananne Goossen (Alcatraz) as FBI agent Mason; and Warren Cole (Common Law) as Roderick.

I must confess, I thought the actor playing agent Weston was also the actor who plays Jinks on Warehouse 13, but it turns out it’s not—they are twin brothers!  Just a tad bit of trivia…

Oh, and if it’s even possible to fall in love with a bad guy, Roderick is that man.  But I digress…

Watching The Following is similar to enjoying a major motion picture thriller.  It’s intense, suspenseful, somewhat dark, and it keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with an occasional reason to jump out of their skin.  Toss in the Edgar Allan Poe references, who might just be my favorite poet, and I can’t help but award the Fox serial drama with the GTV rating.  Fox has themselves a groundbreaking television series, appropriate for viewing after dark with a perfectly grilled bone-in filet, steamed broccoli, and a glass of fine red wine.

ust one of the many Edgar Allan Poe references… and yes, that’s written in blood.

And just when you think the story has wrapped up, as implied during the season one finale, they leave us with just a little taste of more to come…  I can’t wait to see what The Following has in store for us in the new season!  And with almost an entirely new cast, including Connie Nielsen (Gladiator and Basic), James McDaniel (NYPD Blue), Jessica Stroup (the newer version of 90210), and Keith Carradine (Dexter and Damages)!

The Following returns in a two night event this January (Sunday the 19th and Monday the 20th).  Why we’ve had to wait so long is beyond me.  But I’ve waited this long and I can wait a few more weeks…

Oh, and I just thought the Edgar Allan Poe masks were creepy in season one.  The Joe Carroll masks in the season two commercials are even worse!

What do you think?  Have you watched The Following?  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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