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.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Tomorrow People

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

Today I’m jumping in with one the CW’s new shows this season—The Tomorrow People.

The CW Summary: Taking a chance and listening to the persistent voice in his head, Stephen Jameson ends up meeting a group of genetically advanced people with supernatural abilities, and not only learns about himself, but the truth behind his father’s disappearance. 

Based on the British series of the same name, The Tomorrow People follows a group of kids who have evolved into the supernatural with special abilities.  And while these select few were born with their special powers, it takes some time for the realization of these unique abilities to evolve.  Take teenager Stephen Jameson for example…

Stephen (played by Robbie Amell, “Fred” from the Scooby-Doo! TV movies) was just a normal teenage boy by all accounts until he starts hearing voices and waking up in strange places.  He thinks he is going crazy like his dad, who disappeared when he was just eight, but it turns out he is not crazy.  He has latent powers starting to emerge—telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation (the Three Ts).  After fighting it as long as he can, Stephen gives in and decides to listen to one of the voices in his head… and this voice leads him to The Tomorrow People, a genetically advanced group (John, Cara, and Russell) with powers very similar to his.

The Tomorrow People all share the same or similar genetic mutations that awaken during the adolescent years.  They are not superheroes; they are a hunted species trying to survive.  But in order for them to survive, they must outsmart the group hunting them—a group of scientists called Ultra (led by Stephen’s uncle—Jedikiah).

As one would expect, the government wants The Tomorrow People neutralized, so they set up Ultra to contain them.  Ultra uses captured Tomorrow People as agents to hunt the others down.  There’s just one catch—Tomorrow People can’t kill anyone.  An organic high frequency squeal that only they can hear interacts with their powers, causing them to have killer headaches when they come close to killing.  But that doesn’t stop Ultra from capturing and killing them.

The new supernatural drama also stars: Luke Mitchell (the cute Australian actor from Neighbours) as John; Peyton List (Mad Men and FlashForward) as Cara; Aaron Yoo (Disturbia and the remake of Friday the 13th) as Russell; and Mark Pellegrino (Supernatural, the US version of Being Human, Dexter, and The Closer) as Jedikiah.

The Tomorrow People is one of the rare television shows that interested both my guy and me from the very first time we saw the trailer.  He was on board because it looked supernaturalish… and it is.  Actually, the effects are pretty darn good for TV.  And I was on board because of the pretty people.  Hey, what can I say?

Actually, one of the first things that intrigued me was the lead actor’s name—Robbie Amell.  Amell.  Sound familiar?  It should… Stephen Amell is the star of the hit CW series Arrow.  And I love me some Stephen Amell.

Anyway, the name is not a coincidence.  The two men are cousins.  But enough about that…

Now well into the season, I’m awarding The Tomorrow People with the JFTV rating.  It’s not my favorite CW program, but I do enjoy it and I will keep going back for more as time permits (I am a bit behind and need to catch up).

What do you think—do you watch The Tomorrow People?  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 Originals

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

Today I’m jumping in with one of my most anticipated shows of the season—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.

Then there’s also the supporting cast—Matt, Jeremy, Tyler, Bonnie, and Caroline—all of whom I find more enjoyable than Stefan and Elena.  Heck, even a few of the late-comers won me over more than the two “stars” ever have.  But before I go any further, let me add that just because I don’t like the Stefan and Elena characters, doesn’t mean I haven’t appreciated their performances, especially Nina Dobrev’s.  She’s brought tears to my eyes more times than I can count.

But 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).

King Klaus!

Klaus…

We first met Klaus (played by Joseph Morgan) during season two of TVD and watched the bad-boy vamp as he killed Elena’s and Jeremy’s Aunt Jenna right in front of us.  Bad, right?  Just flat out mean!  So why do I love the character so much?

Because over the seasons, like many of the other characters on TVD, Klaus has evolved, building a stronger individual arc and making viewers, like me, appreciate him more than I already did.

Klaus—the evil Original with the sexy accent… born a werewolf but cursed by magic to the immortal life (vampirism).  I’ve actually wanted to hug Klaus multiple times over the years (and he was 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 in order 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 last season… even if he has previously daggered them (which in essence puts them in a deep sleep until the dagger is removed) so they wouldn’t interfere with his plans.

❤ Klaus

But here’s where it gets tricky: 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.  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!  Originally airing as an episode of The Vampire Diaries on April 24th, viewers caught a glimpse of what it would be like having Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah outside Mystic Falls.  Instead of hanging out at all the same locations as our TVD kids, this backdoor pilot took us to New Orleans.   This then potential spinoff followed our favorite Originals and introduced us to a few new vamps, witches, and humans, as well as brought along Tyler’s seductive werewolf friend, Haley (the beautiful Phoebe Tonkin).

Queen Haley?

Within a day of the backdoor pilot airing on the CW, The Originals was given the green light.  I watched it.  And I liked it.  It was a breath of fresh air, stepping away from boring Elena and Stefan.  The pilot had it all—Klaus’ old vampire running mates, witches and their spells, and the promise of a hybrid baby.

Oh, and I almost forgot—King Klaus.

The only thing missing was my beloved Damon.

Marcel better watch his back…

So how did Klaus make his way back to his old stomping grounds?  He was summoned by a witch.  There’s only one problem:

Marcel, Klaus’ former protégé…

Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) stepped in when Klaus left and now he runs New Orleans.  One of his rules?  No witch can use magic.  And when he learned of this particular witch casting spells, the one who unbeknownst to him summoned Klaus, Marcel killed her in the street in front of all to see (including Klaus) to set an example of her.

And now that Klaus is back, Marcel has no intentions of relinquishing his power to his former “father.”  But that’s okay because Klaus has no intentions of working with Marcel to get it back.  He’ll take it the Klaus way—by whatever means necessary.

That, plus the witches are holding hostage Klaus’ first hybrid baby (Haley is pregnant with “a magical miracle baby”).  While Klaus is putting up a tough front and acting as if he doesn’t care about the baby, his siblings (Elijah, played by Daniel Gillies, and Rebekah, played by Claire Holt) know all too well that all Klaus has ever wanted was a family.  And power.  And loyalty.

After having seen The Originals first episode, I awarded it the MacTV rating.  For a pilot, it really wasn’t all that slow, nor did it throw too much information at the viewers all at once.  I’m sure that’s because the characters were already developed through their seasons on The Vampire Diaries, but still—it was a bonus for a new program.

Now well into the season of the new series, I’m downgrading it just a bit to the JFTV rating.  This downgrade is not because I don’t like the series.  I do.  The Originals is a fresh escape from TVD.  But I am behind and I don’t have the urge to catch up right away—even though I know I will dig back in eventually, just like the classic junk food items we try to avoid.  After all, it has vampires, witches, and werewolves—Oh My!

What do you think—do you watch The Originals?  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 – Major Crimes

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

Today I’m jumping in with a TNT series that returned to TV this week—Major Crimes.

Following the conclusion of Brenda Leigh Johnson’s story in The Closer, Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) took the lead in Major Crimes.  Over the last few seasons of The Closer, we tolerated Captain Raydor while she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs).  But we also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who stood by Brenda Leigh and did everything in her power to protect the Deputy Chief.  So how does Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team?

That’s right—almost the entire cast of The Closer returned for the new series.  I said almost… this is the first major difference between the two shows.  Besides losing Brenda Leigh, obviously, the team also lost David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) and we haven’t seen the recently promoted Chief of Police (Chief Pope, played by J.K. Simmons).

Once a TV series loses a character, it usually makes sense to replace that role.  Enter Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, the newest member of the Major Crimes unit.  As expected, Detective Sykes ruffled the feathers of a few of the veterans on her way to her new position… especially Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey).  But that could be because Detective Provenza was already bothered by Raydor’s promotion, since he had been leading the team in the interim.  It could also be Detective Sykes’ eagerness and her constant over-reaching and jumping in where she doesn’t belong.  Either way, her abrupt nature didn’t fit in right away with the others, but she’s growing on them and it’s just a matter of time before they accept her fully.

Captain Sharon Raydor

Monday nights will never be the same again without The Closer; but for what it’s worth, TNT is softening the blow with Major Crimes.  Raydor may not close cases like Brenda Leigh, no one ever will for that matter; but what Brenda mastered in closing a case and prying a confession out of her suspect, Raydor will match in her ability to settle the case—saving Los Angeles a ton of money (the second major difference between the two TV shows).

How will our favorite group of detectives handle their new leader’s style?  Once again, Provenza doesn’t like it in the least.  None of them really do, but he’s the most likely to speak out against Raydor.  But there is nothing he can do; the Major Crimes unit is to work with the District Attorney’s office every step of the way in trying to skip the courtroom and walk the criminals directly to their prison cells—Chief’s orders.

In addition to the drama, The Closer episodes promised humor, and I found myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  Most of the fun centered around the interactions of the team: Gabriel, Provenza, Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz (Phillip P. Keene), and Commander Taylor (now Assistant Chief, played by Robert Gossett).  At first, I thought this to be the third major difference between The Closer and Major Crimes.  However, as the series has progressed, I’ve changed my tune.  I love the comments and the interactions between the characters.  Just like I did with The Closer.

Oh, the sarcastic Raydor smile…

The new series has focused on developing the Raydor character and the show really has done a great job (of course, they had no choice; she had some really tough shoes to fill).  Initially, The Closer fans didn’t like her; but the writers and creators slowly began to appeal to the viewers with a softer Raydor—a Raydor that even Brenda Leigh started to like.  I mean, let’s be real; if Brenda Leigh likes her, so will Brenda Leigh’s fans… right?

Which leads me to the next major difference between the two shows… the addition of Rusty Beck (played by Graham Patrick Martin), a homeless teen who was left with no other choice than turning to prostitution in order to survive.  Brenda Leigh initially discovered Rusty working her final case for the LAPD; but in her departure, Raydor has now stepped in and promised to continue Brenda Leigh’s work searching for Rusty’s mother (which she has done successfully) and protecting him while he awaits a trail in which he is scheduled to testify against a serial killer.  Rusty now lives with Raydor and the viewers slowly see the maternal side of Raydor kicking in.  She’s not just a ball-buster, she’s a mother.

It’s no Closer, but Major Crimes still has the characters I’ve grown to love over the years.  Raydor may not be Brenda Leigh, and she has a long way to go to establish herself on the same level in my opinion, but I’m not giving up.  Major Crimes is definitely worthy of a watch… therefore, I’m awarding it with the MacTV rating.  I’m happy to see it back on the TV schedule and I can’t wait to watch the Rusty storyline unfold.

Rusty… the teenage boy who has been adopted by LA’s finest.

What do you think?  Have you checked out Major Crimes?  How do you feel it fares compared to The Closer?  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 – Sleepy Hollow

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

Today I’m jumping in with one of the most anticipated shows of the season—Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy HollowFOX Summary: Ichabod Crane and Detective Abbie Mills battle forces, including the Four Horseman, brought back to life in the town of Sleepy Hollow.

After 250 years in a “dead” slumber, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) returns to the town of Sleepy Hollow.  During an interrogation by local authorities, he remembers last working for General George Washington.  He reveals Washington ordered him to kill a man, a mission he accomplished by beheading the target.

Not really knowing what to think, the local police department partners Ichabod with Detective Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), hoping the two will work together to solve a series of bizarre events.  After all, Ichabod isn’t the only one to rise from the dead in Sleepy Hollow…

But in order to succeed, the two must first uncover all of the clues left behind by our country’s founding fathers, unlocking a century’s old mystery.

Here are a few story “facts” for those who have maybe missed the early episodes and want to start watching…

Not long after rejoining society, Ichabod learns that his civilian nurse wife, Katrina, was actually a witch back in the day.  She was burned at the stake in 1782, after his death, but she continues to help him today via visions.  It’s these visions, plus the Bible buried with Ichabod, that help he and Abbie realize exactly what evil is coming to Sleepy Hollow.  It’s also Katrina’s visions that explain to Ichabod why  he’s tied to the headless horseman and tell him exactly what he needs to do—protect the skull of the horseman buried at Katrina’s grave or all hell will break loose… literally.

Before Ichabod decapitated the horseman, the horseman managed to get in a fatal blow himself.  When the two fell, their blood lines merged, binding them together by blood.  The only way to stop the horseman was to cast a spell on them both, so Katrina and her coven did just that, burying the horseman deep in the river and Ichabod in a cave.  Now resurrected, if the horseman retrieves his skull and becomes one again, evil will come and the three horseman will follow… bringing forth the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.

Light is the horseman’s weakness… therefore, daylight is also Ichabod and Abbie’s strength.  Plus, the duo also has all of the research and files kept by Abbie’s mentor, the recently deceased sheriff.

Ichabod and Abbie are tied together, two witnesses as predicted in the Bible.  It took a few run-ins with crazy cases for the partners to believe in this, but they do now… and they have a tough road ahead of them.

From the writers and producers of Star Trek (2009 and 2013), the series also stars Orlando Jones (the 7 UP guy) and John Cho (Harold from the Harold and Kumar movies).

All in all, Sleepy Hollow is enjoyable and I love the character of Ichabod. However, I don’t feel the need to immediately watch the new episodes every Monday, like I do Bones, but the episodes do keep my attention once I start them.  Therefore, I must award Sleepy Hollow with the JFTV rating.  I would still rank Fox’s other hits (Bones, obviously from my comment above, and The Following) ahead of Ichabod and Abbie.

What do you think—have you watched Sleepy Hollow?  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 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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

Today I’m reviewing the first of the new fall 2013 television programs.  I’ve been busy watching the freshman series for the past month, taking notes and waiting through a few episodes before casting any rave reviews or throwing stones, whichever might be applicable to the particular show.

So why not jump in with one of the most anticipated shows of the season—Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

ABC Summary: Agent Phil Coulson gathers a highly select team of agents from around the world to be a part of the law enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect the world’s ordinary population by investigating the extraordinary. 

S.H.I.E.L.D.

Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division.

We’ve all seen Iron Man by now, right?  Thor? The Avengers?  Let’s just assume we’re all familiar with S.H.I.E.L.D. by now.

Agent Coulson

Only now, we get to meet the agents behind S.H.I.E.L.D. that Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, The New Adventures of Old Christine) has handpicked.  We all might recognize Agent Coulson from the movies mentioned above (Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, etc.); but did we know that after he was killed in action, he was brought back to put together the perfect team to investigate new threats?  Now we do… and he is the glue that holds the organization together.

Let’s meet his team:

First, we have Agent Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge)—or FitzSimmons as they are referred to on the show—Fitz is the gadget man and Simmons is the biochemist.  Together they love their jobs, are thrilled to be a part of the team, and are pretty much unstoppable.

Next, we have Agent Ward (Brett Dalton)—he’s the black ops specialist, an expert in reconnaissance with mad military skills… but he’s not so great with people.

Agent May doing what she does…

Then we have Agent May (Ming-Na Wen, ER)—she’s a former field agent now confined to the office, but why?  We don’t know… but we do know she’s mysterious, quiet, a top-notch fighter in hand-to-hand combat, and she chooses to be confined to the office.

And last but not least, we have Skye (Chloe Bennet, Nashville)—she’s the tech expert, a computer hacker who finds herself as a member of the team after she cracks the wrong code.  Whoopsie.  And while she may have initially joined to get the inside scoop on S.H.I.E.L.D., she learns to love the organization and her co-workers.

Simmons, Fitz, and Skye

There we have it.  The humans behind the superheroes.  The normal people dealing with the superhero world.

The new series promises action, a sense of humor, and great characters.  And why not?  Joss Whedon is the creator, director, and executive producer.  I mean, c’mon… Whedonites unite.

Agent Ward

And it couldn’t really be a “superhero” television series without some great special effects and high-tech gadgets, now could it?  Because S.H.I.E.L.D. has all that too…

In case someone hasn’t watched an episode, here are some terms that might come in handy to know:

“The Bus” is actually a massive, state-of-the-art aircraft that serves as the agents’ mobile command station that was a gift of goodwill from Director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) after Coulson was “killed” before the Battle of New York (from the Avengers movie).

“084” is an object of unknown origin that the team investigates to determine whether or not it is useful or a threat to the human species.

All-in-all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does not disappoint and ABC has already given it a full season order.  I honestly believe it’s great television for all ages, something that is very rare in today’s market.  And it’s for this reason that I must award it with the MacTV rating.  After all, adults and children alike enjoy Mac-N-Cheese, right?

What do you think—have you watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.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…

Why It’s NOT Worth a Watch Wednesday – Fall TV’s First Victims

The fall television season is here and I have spent the last month or so taking in the new TV programs.  I was having a difficult time deciding which show to review first, and then the network “gods” made it easy for me… they’ve already cancelled the first shows!

So today, I’m going to share which television programs are NOT worth a watch.

First up, Lucky 7.

I really wasn’t all that surprised that ABC axed Lucky 7 first.  Of all the new shows, it was one that piqued my interest the least.

ABC Summary: Seven coworkers with big dreams put their resources together to buy lottery tickets, and when they win, they find themselves having to re-examine their values and identities in order to appreciate their shared wealth and individual dreams. 

The series starred a lot of relatively unknown actors, with no BIG name to fall back on, and the quick trailer airing on ABC didn’t really show all that much.  Was it just a drama?  Did it have mystery?  Was it supposed to be heartwarming?  Funny?

Who knows?  Obviously ABC didn’t want to give anyone the chance to figure it out because they cancelled it after only two episodes.

Next, we have We Are Men.

CBS Summary: A group of four single guys living in an apartment complex find camaraderie over their woes in love as they take the youngest of the group under their wings. 

The sitcom starred: Kal Penn (Kumar from the Harold & Kumar movies and House) as Gil; Jerry O’Connell (from so many of my favorites… Stand by Me, Scream 2, Tomcats, Buying the Cow, and TV’s Crossing Jordan and The Defenders—a show that should have made it, but moving on…) as Stuart; and the great Tony Shalhoub (Wings and Monk) as  Frank.

But I guess star power isn’t enough.

Nor was the fact that Jerry O’Connell was shirtless every opportunity he got (I did think this was kind of weird, but what can you do?).

I watched the only two episodes that aired of We Are Men and this comedy did make me laugh.  Even out loud at times.  But I guess TV audiences don’t want to watch a show about four single men out on the prowl, learning to take back their lives from messy divorces and breakups.

The next fall TV victim is Welcome to the Family.

NBC Summary: Dan and his wife, Caroline, were getting ready for the experience of having their daughter, Molly, move away for college; but then Molly and her boyfriend announce they’re having a baby and suddenly the two very different families have to get used to each other.

I heard from a lot of people that they didn’t really care for the concept of this TV series (teen pregnancy), especially not when I told them that the mother of the teenage girl was pregnant too.

But this sitcom was funny.  Laugh-out-loud funny.  My guy even watched this one with me, and actually put his handheld video game down to watch uninterrupted.  That’s a rare occasion for sitcoms in this house…

Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives) was hilarious.  I’ve never seen him in a comedy and his sarcasm and timing were perfect.  And as usual, Mary McCormack (The West Wing and In Plain Sight) was also great.  Mike O’Malley was also funny, in a role FAR from his character on Justified.  But similar to We Are Men, sometimes star power just isn’t enough.

And finally, we have Ironside.

NBC Summary: After having been shot in the line of duty and confined to a wheelchair, determined Detective Robert Ironside leads a custom-tailored team of elite investigators as they take on New York’s most infamous crimes.

This one really shocked and disappointed me.  But let me be clear: I hadn’t actually watched the episodes yet, which could be part of the problem, but I did have them all recorded on the DVR and I was looking forward to having a mini-marathon.  Now, it’s too late.

People were disappointed with the fact that the TV networks had even chosen to reboot this older television series… and I guess those early criticisms spoke loudly enough for NBC to drop the axe.  Shocking, considering shows like Hawaii Five-0 have done just fine for themselves (although it is rumored our favorite 5-0 officers are in trouble since CBS moved the series to Friday nights…).

But what can you do?

Are you shocked by any of these cancellations?  Which show/s do you think gets the axe next?  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…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – AMC’s Fear Fest

October is one of my favorite months.  First of all, football season has officially kicked into high gear.  Also, the cooler weather slowly begins to creep into the state of Texas—everywhere really, but we Texans can finally start to notice a difference between the daytime and nighttime temperatures.

Additionally, one of my favorite holidays just happens to fall during the month of October—Halloween.  I enjoy getting dressed up, most of the time anyway, and handing out candy to all of the children who knock on my door.  I’m also fascinated by the idea of anything spooky—haunted houses, horror movies, etcetera.

I usually dedicate each Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday post to a particular television show.  But not today.  Today, I want to feature an entire channel and its commitment to my favorite time of year—AMC’s Fear Fest.

For almost an entire month (October 13th-31st), AMC airs our favorite horror movie classics.  Everything from:

Alien

Cujo

Child’s Play

Friday the 13th

 A Nightmare on Elm Street

Tremors

The Amityville Horror

The Exorcist

The Omen

And of course, Halloween

Most nights, AMC even plays these movie franchises in order.  Take this week for instance.  Every night this week, we can watch Jason hunt his prey at Camp Crystal Lake.  This weekend, Tremors.  The days before Halloween… you guessed it… the entire Michael Myers collection.

My television is pretty much stuck on AMC’s Fright Fest all day long, every day of the week leading up to Halloween.  It drives my guy crazy.  Not just because he’s not as big on horror flicks as I am, but because I’ve seen all of these films a hundred times over and never tire of watching them.  Oh well, at least he has video games he can go play…

So, if you like the classic horror movies as much as I do, perhaps you’ll want to tune into AMC this month.  As for me, you know where I’ll be.

What’s your favorite classic horror movie?  Are you a fan of AMC’s Fear Fest?  I’d love to hear from you!