Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Ravenswood

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—Ravenswood.

ABC Family Summary: Tormented by a deadly curse lingering for generations in a small Pennsylvania town, five strangers search for its origins to put it to an end. 

I’ve made no secret of the fact about how much I love Pretty Little Liars… and now, I *kinda* have a second hour of PLL to watch every week.  How’s that?  Because Ravenswood is a Pretty Little Liars spinoff!

For those of us who watch PLL, we saw a sneak peek into the town of Ravenswood last season.  And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I couldn’t wait to see why the entire town gathered at the statue when the bells rang.  Creepy!

Which is why I find it odd, how after four episodes, the series has yet to explore this one single time.  Are we supposed to forget how odd it was when Spencer and Toby visited Ravenswood for the first time when the entire town gathered in the cemetery like zombies when the bells tolled?  I guess so.

Anyway…

With the spinoff comes the sad realization that Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) is leaving Rosewood for Ravenswood.  Does this mean he and Hanna are breaking up?  So far, no.

Joining Caleb in Ravenswood are four strangers (to him, not to each other necessarily): Miranda, played by Nicole Anderson from Beauty and the Beast, a transient like Caleb who is searching for her biological uncle and any sense of family that she can find; Remy, played by Britne Oldford from American Horror Story: Asylum, the daughter of the local paper owner who isn’t as quick to dismiss the curse when she discovers a history of it; Luke, played by Brett Dier from The L.A. Complex, a local boy grieving his father’s recent passing and the most reluctant to believe what is going on around him; and Olivia, played by Merritt Patterson from Kyle XY, Luke’s sister (and homecoming queen) who is searching for answers to her father’s death and is the first, besides Caleb, to see actual ghosts.

Together these teens must dig into the town’s past to uncover its secrets. And hopefully break the Ravenswood curse.

The curse… every time a soldier returns from war, usually when he or she survived some miracle that his or her fellow soldiers did not, five teens must die.

And guess what?!  Remy’s mother (played by Sophina Brown from Shark and Numb3rs) just returned from war, having been found underneath rubble, the lone survivor of an attack.

The series also stars: Steven Cabral as Miranda’s uncle, Raymond, and the owner of the Ravenswood funeral home—I don’t know who this Australian actor is, but he is CUTE!!; Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue and Shark) as Remy’s dad, Terry—LOVE him and the fact that he and his real life wife play husband and wife on Ravenswood!; Meg Foster as Carla Grunwald, the creepy funeral home “keeper” who also served as a sorority mother on Pretty Little Liars; and Laura Allen (The 4400) as Luke and Olivia’s mother, Rochelle, who also happens to be the prime suspect in her husband’s murder.

If someone can’t tell, I have a crush on the adult men in Ravenswood… even if Uncle Ray looks like a grown up version of Eddie Munster.

But back to my assessment…

Is Ravenswood as good as Pretty Little Liars?  No.  Not yet anyway.

Actually, the two really aren’t anything alike (other than the character of Caleb moving over to Ravenswood and the PLL girls having visited the town of Ravenswood on occasion).  Our favorite Rosewood girls deal with real life problems, like the murder of their best friend, stalkers, and crazy “live” people…  the Ravenswood five are fighting the supernatural and a curse.

But I will applaud Ravenswood on one thing.  The curse is no joke.  And by that, I mean they’ve actually already killed one of the stars of the show.  Even if he/she (I don’t want to give anything away) is still technically on the show because he/she appears as a ghost (remember, supernatural TV…).  Regardless, that doesn’t happen all that often on TV—the stars of a television series are usually safe.

I’m going to stick with Ravenswood, mainly because I’m a Pretty Little Liars fan and I want to see where it goes.  But like I said earlier, it is nowhere near as good as PLL.  We already know the curse, so there’s not a lot of mystery (except for who killed Luke and Olivia’s dad… and why?).  However, there is suspense (like is anyone else going to die and how?).  For that, I’m awarding the new ABC Family teen drama with the JFTV ratingRavenswood isn’t great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds.

What do you think—have you watched Ravenswood?  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 – A Twisted New ABC Family Mystery

After my second DVR crash since March, I found myself scurrying around, trying to recover the 200+ recordings I lost.  Amongst those so inconveniently deleted was ABC Family’s Twisted.  Luckily for me, ABC Family aired a marathon not long ago and I was able to record all of the episodes, beginning with the pilot.  And with my TV time finally freeing up last week, I pressed play on the new teen murder mystery. 

I’ve not kept the fact that I love ABC Family’s teen mysteries a secret.  Heck, I’ve only blogged about Pretty Little Liars at least five times.  And because I enjoy Pretty Little Liars as much as I do, I decided to give The Lying Game a try last year when it premiered.  Sadly, the network recently announced they will not renew The Lying Game for a third season, but that’s okay—now we have Twisted (and soon we’ll have Ravenswood, a PLL’s spinoff).

Twisted follows Danny Desai (Avan Jogia, from the popular Nickelodeon series, Victorious), a troubled teen recently released from juvenile detention after serving five years for his aunt’s murder.  Known as a “confessed, unrepentant murder,” Danny’s homecoming doesn’t go as smoothly as his family had hoped.  Looking for redemption, Danny immediately tries to reconnect with two of his best girl friends from his past—Jo (Maddie Hasson, from The Finder) and Lacey (Kylie Bunbury)—but even they have called Danny “socio” on occasion.

Danny…

Since Danny’s conviction, Jo has had trouble moving on and is considered by many to be a social outcast, while Lacey has left her past behind… for popularity and a new boyfriend.  Bringing this group back together doesn’t go as smoothly for Danny as he had hoped, especially after a classmate is found murdered and he becomes the prime suspect—again.

This new series also stars: Denise Richards (mostly recognized for her tumultuous marriage to Charlie Sheen, but also from her seductive and messed up role in Wild Things) as Karen, Danny’s mother—the former socialite, whose social status hasn’t quite recovered since her son’s arrest; Sam Robards (Gossip Girl) as Kyle, Jo’s father and the town’s sheriff; Grey Damon (Friday Night Lights and The Nine Lives of Chloe King) as Archie, Lacey’s new boyfriend; Chris Zylka (The Secret Circle) as Tyler, a boy pretending to be interested in Jo and Danny, but he’s really only creating trouble; Kathy Najimy (Veronica’s Closet) as Mrs. Fink; Robin Givens (Mike Tyson’s ex) as Lacey’s mom; and Kimberly Quinn (Terriers) as Jo’s mother.

Is my son a sociopath?

Earlier, I mentioned that Danny confessed to his aunt’s murder.  And he served his time.  But like with every murder, everyone around town, including his two besties, wants to know why he did it.  Not helping his case, Danny sticks to his guns and will not say.  All he will tell anyone is that he had his reasons and that he is protecting them by not divulging the truth.

This only adds to the mystery surrounding Danny.  As a convicted killer, and after spending five years in juvie, one might expect him to be a bit rugged and short-tempered.  But he’s not.  For the most part, he takes the high road and avoids many of the physical altercations thrown his way by the “studs” of the school.  Danny is actually quite smooth, if you ask me.

But his eyes… his eyes tell a different story.  Granted, sometimes his eyes portray the sweet teen boy he appears to be externally; but sometimes, his stare alone makes me question his innocence.  Maybe Danny is a “socio”—I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

Lacey and Jo…

Bottom line?  I watched all eight episodes of Twisted in three days.  Every free moment I could spare, I pressed play on another episode.  Now, do I like it as much as Pretty Little Liars?  No, not yet anyway.  But am I hooked?  Yes.  Have I figured out the mystery?  Nope—as Danny, Jo, and Lacey uncover new evidence, I’m thrown for a loop.  And it’s for all these reasons that I must award Twisted with the MacTV rating.  Because I absolutely hate waiting for the next episode, this new teen murder mystery deserves a rating higher than the JFTV ranking.  The water under this pot is definitely boiling and ready for some pasta!

Have you watched Twisted?  Do you plan to?  Do you think Danny is a sociopath?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Spend a Summer at The Vineyard

I’ve not kept the fact that I love ABC Family’s teen mysteries a secret.  Heck, I’ve only blogged about Pretty Little Liars at least five times; I thoroughly enjoyed the recently cancelled The Lying Game; I can’t wait to catch up on the new hit, Twisted (I lost all of the episodes in my latest DVR crash a few weeks ago, but luckily the network aired a marathon and I have them all recorded again… now I need to watch them); and I’m eagerly awaiting the PLL’s spinoff coming this fall, Ravenswood.

It’s because of the allure and success of these teen programs that I plan to watch ABC Family’s latest series starting tonight—The Vineyard.

Now, The Vineyard is not a mystery; nor is it actually a scripted drama.  What?  I’ve seen the previews and it looks like a “normal” series… but Wikipedia calls it a reality program, while ABC Family refers to it as a docu-series.

At first I thought the new summer program was going to be more like the WB’s Summerland, which I felt wasn’t bad after catching a few episodes here and there.  But now I’m afraid it’s going to resemble more of MTV’s Laguna Beach or The Hills.  I somehow managed to stay away from these shows back in the day and I don’t regret my decision one bit.

So, how do I feel about The Vineyard?  The series promises “summer dreams, summer love, and summer drama.” And knowing me, I’ll at least give it a shot.  Heck, if anything, I can use this as writing research… right?

ABC’s new show will follow a group of young adults as they work together and live together in paradise (Martha’s Vineyard).  Okay, now it’s sounding a little bit like MTV’s Real World.

As expected, most of the girls have conflicting backgrounds: the girls who grew up in The Vineyard; the girls who want successful careers; the girls who want successful men to take care of them for the rest of their lives; and the girls who just want a fresh start.

And then there are the guys.  It seems as though the guys are all looking for love.  No, I’m sorry—lust.  But the same stands true for them as it does the girls… we have the bad boy, the player, the partier, and the serious one.

Heck, two of the “cast” members even shared a romantic past…

Regardless of who they are or where they come from, all eleven are beautiful.  Surprise!

Who wouldn’t want to spend the summer here?

The Vineyard premieres tonight (July 23rd) on ABC Family.

So what do you think?  Will you watch The Vineyard?  I’d love to hear from you!      

Ready for a Twisted New ABC Family Murder Mystery?

I’ve not kept the fact that I love ABC Family’s teen mysteries a secret.  Heck, I’ve only blogged about Pretty Little Liars at least five times.  The ongoing questions have me hooked: Who killed Alison? Who is leading the “A” team? How do they have so much dirt on Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily? Why do they continue to torture these girls—what could they have possibly done to deserve this?

One can only assume that the “A” team is composed of primarily teens (Mona and Toby for example) and young adults (I’m convinced Melissa is in on it as well), so how is it that they know the deep-dark secrets of the girls’ families too?  No one is safe on this show; not the teens, not the parents, and I love it!

With every episode of Pretty Little Liars, the questions keep coming.  And every once in a while, we get answers… but not many before the show breaks for hiatus.  I hate the mid-season hiatuses.  I can’t stand waiting for the new episodes to return.  However, I do appreciate ABC Family’s seasonal run—they split each season up, usually airing new episodes in the winter and in the summer, instead of the traditional September through May like the major networks.  And more times than not, we can expect a new one-hour special, usually around Halloween, that keeps with the story and introduces more mysteries to us.

And because I enjoy Pretty Little Liars as much as I do, I decided to give The Lying Game a try last year when it premiered.  While this teen drama didn’t start out as a murder mystery, we have seen a few dead bodies since…

I can’t say I like The Lying Game as much as I do PLL, evident by the fact I’ve only blogged about it twice.  However, similar to PLL, The Lying Game is riddled with questions:  Who is the twins’ biological mother?  Who is the twins’ biological father?  Why were they split up at birth?  And who split them up?  How could Sutton have turned out so nasty (she really is a Queen B) in such a loving household, and Emma so sweet when she was bounced from one horrible foster family to another?

One by one, most of TLG‘s secrets have been answered; and as they’ve been revealed, I have literally found myself with goose bumps (while some have sadly been predictable).  But don’t be fooled; once a truth is uncovered, another mystery begins…

So, it’s because of the allure and success of these two teen programs that I plan to watch ABC Family’s newest mystery starting tonight—Twisted.

Twisted follows Danny Desai (Avan Jogia, from the popular Nickelodeon series, Victorious), a troubled teen recently released from juvenile detention after serving five years for his aunt’s murder.  Looking for redemption, Danny immediately reconnects with two of his best girl friends from his past—Jo (Maddie Hasson, from The Finder) and Lacey (Kylie Bunbury).

Since Danny’s conviction, Jo has had trouble moving on and is considered by many to be a social outcast, while Lacey has left her past behind… for popularity and a new boyfriend.  Bringing this group back together doesn’t go as smoothly for Danny as he had hoped, especially after a classmate is found murdered and he becomes the prime suspect—again.

This new series also stars: Denise Richards (mostly recognized for her tumultuous marriage to Charlie Sheen, but also from her seductive and messed up role in Wild Things) as Karen, Danny’s mother—the former socialite, whose social status hasn’t quite recovered since her son’s arrest; Sam Robards (Gossip Girl) as Kyle, Jo’s father and the town’s sheriff; Grey Damon (Friday Night Lights and The Nine Lives of Chloe King) as Archie, Lacey’s new boyfriend; Kathy Najimy (Veronica’s Closet) as Mrs. Fink; and Kimberly Quinn (Terriers) as Jo’s mother.

Twisted premieres tonight (June 11th) on ABC Family.

Are you an ABC Family fan?  Do you plan to check out the new teen mystery, Twisted?  I’d love to hear from you!      

A Twisted New ABC Family Murder Mystery

I’ve not kept the fact that I love ABC Family’s teen mysteries a secret.  Heck, I’ve only blogged about Pretty Little Liars at least five times.  The ongoing questions have me hooked: Who killed Alison? Who is leading the “A” team? How do they have so much dirt on Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily? Why do they continue to torture these girls—what could they have possibly done to deserve this?

One can only assume that the “A” team is composed of primarily teens (Mona and Toby for example) and young adults (I’m convinced Melissa is in on it as well), so how is it that they know the deep-dark secrets of the girls’ families too?  No one is safe on this show; not the teens, not the parents, and I love it!

With every episode of Pretty Little Liars, the questions keep coming.  And every once in a while, we get answers… but not many before the show breaks for hiatus.  I hate the mid-season hiatuses.  I can’t stand waiting for the new episodes to return.  However, I do appreciate ABC Family’s seasonal run—they split each season up, usually airing new episodes in the winter and in the summer, instead of the traditional September through May like the major networks.  And more times than not, we can expect a new one-hour special, usually around Halloween, that keeps with the story and introduces more mysteries to us.

And because I enjoy Pretty Little Liars as much as I do, I decided to give The Lying Game a try last year when it premiered.  While this teen drama didn’t start out as a murder mystery, we have seen a few dead bodies since…

I can’t say I like The Lying Game as much as I do PLL, evident by the fact I’ve only blogged about it twice, but I do watch the new episodes every week.  Similar to PLL, The Lying Game is riddled with questions:  Who is the twins’ biological mother?  Who is the twins’ biological father?  Why were they split up at birth?  And who split them up?  How could Sutton have turned out so nasty (she really is a Queen B) in such a loving household, and Emma so sweet when she was bounced from one horrible foster family to another?

One by one, most of TLG‘s secrets have been answered; and as they’ve been revealed, I have literally found myself with goose bumps (while some have sadly been predictable).  But don’t be fooled; once a truth is uncovered, another mystery opens.

So, it’s because of the allure and success of these two teen programs that I plan to watch ABC Family’s newest mystery coming this June—Twisted.

Twisted follows Danny Desai (Avan Jogia, from the popular Nickelodeon series, Victorious), a troubled teen recently released from juvenile detention after serving five years for his aunt’s murder.  Looking for redemption, Danny immediately reconnects with two of his best girl friends from his past—Jo (Maddie Hasson, from The Finder) and Lacey (Kylie Bunbury).

Since Danny’s conviction, Jo has had trouble moving on and is considered by many as a social outcast, while Lacey has left her past behind… for popularity and a new boyfriend.  Bringing this group back together doesn’t go as smoothly for Danny as he had hoped, especially after a classmate is found murdered and he becomes the prime suspect—again.

This new series also stars: Denise Richards (mostly recognized for her tumultuous marriage to Charlie Sheen, but also from her seductive and messed up role in Wild Things) as Karen, Danny’s mother—the former socialite, whose social status hasn’t quite recovered since her son’s arrest; Sam Robards (Gossip Girl) as Kyle, Jo’s father and the town’s sheriff; Grey Damon (Friday Night Lights and The Nine Lives of Chloe King) as Archie, Lacey’s new boyfriend; Kathy Najimy (Veronica’s Closet) as Mrs. Fink; and Kimberly Quinn (Terriers) as Jo’s mother.

As mentioned before, Twisted premieres this June on ABC Family.  But tonight (March 19th), following the Pretty Little Liars winter finale, we can watch a special Twisted sneak preview.  My DVR is already set!

Are you an ABC Family fan?  Do you plan to check out the new teen mystery, Twisted?  I’d love to hear from you!      

Tele-Tuesday: Topnotch Teen TV, the Mysteries

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

Last week, we discussed the supernatural—The Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf.  Personally, I don’t think we’ll ever tire of vampires and werewolves and we’ll always have a place for them on the television screen.  But what do these shows have besides the supernatural that keeps us coming back for more?  The pretty people…

This week, we have ABC Family’s mysteries.   I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—these stories are both compelling and are filled with twists and turns week in and week out.   Pretty Little Liars is perhaps one of the best whodunits on television today, and The Lying Game keeps us guessing as to what Sutton is really trying to accomplish with her games.

And like the supernatural, these shows have plenty of pretty people, but we also have the fashion…

Pretty Little Liars

First, we have the earrings…

Aria always wears the cutest earrings…
See? Another pair…

Next, we have the hats…

Spencer can wear any kind of hat…
Hanna with her cute new haircut and red hat…
Emily… another cute hat!

And what about the clothes?

 

Then there’s the guys…

Who wouldn’t want a teacher that looks like Ezra?
Even Caleb sports an awesome hat…
And Toby doesn’t need fashion… he just needs to stick with his construction job.  Plus, he usually only wears a t-shirt anyway.

The Lying Game

We all know Sutton/Emma has the closet most girls dream about…

Ah, to dream…

And she puts together the cutest outfits…

But her friends are no slouches either…

Now, the boys are a different story.  They may be lacking in fashion sense, but I’ll take a guy who looks like this any day!

Ethan in his usual plaid button down…
Justin all sweaty after his morning run in a classic USMC tee…
And then there’s Thayer in his V-neck t-shirt…

So, what do you think?

Which show has the better fashion?

Do you watch Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game?  What keeps you coming back for more?  The story?  The people?  The fashion?  Which show on television do you think has the best fashion?  I’d love to hear from you!

And overall, which is your favorite Topnotch Teen TV program?

While Football Sweetheart doesn’t have any of the supernatural, it does have the mystery.  Watch for it coming soon…

Tele-Tuesday – Pretty Little Liars is Pretty Fantastic for Teen TV

The insurgence of YA mystery on TV receives a DVR priority in this Young Adult mystery writer’s house.   Thankfully, ABC Family provides young mystery lovers (and some of us “old”) with a few great soap-opera style whodunits with Pretty Little Liars topping the list.

The run-down:

Alison DiLaurentis

The series begins when Alison DiLaurentis(Sasha Pieterse) remains are found a year after her mysterious disappearance in the fictional town of Rosewood.  This event brings together her four former best friends who had drifted apart following that fateful night.  Alison was the glue that held the girls together, the leader of the high school clique.  As the episodes progress, viewers see Alison’s viciousness and many of the secrets that she holds over everyone’s heads — is she not a nice girl, or is she simply misunderstood?

After attending Alison’s funeral, the four friends reunite outside the chapel when each of their cell phones sound — they’ve received their first threatening text message from “A” — and the mystery begins: Who killed Alison? And, who is “A”?

Aria Montgomery

PLL #1 – Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) returns home from a year abroad with her family, and forgetting she’s a teenager and back in America, goes to a local bar where she meets Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding).  The two immediately hit it off and share a kiss after connecting over their love for literature.  The next day at school, Aria walks into English class where she discovers Ezra is also her teacher.

Meanwhile, emotions erupt at home when her mother (Ella Montgomery, played by Holly Marie Combs) leaves her father after discovering the true reason behind the family’s extended absence from Rosewood — Aria’s father, a professor, had an affair with a teaching assistant at the local college.  Aria and Alison knew this secret prior to the Montgomeries’ extended vacation, having spotted Mr. Montgomery (Chad Lowe) making out with his TA in his car.  Whoopsie!

Isn’t it ironic that Aria now begins a torrid love affair and dates her teacher after torturing her father for a similar inappropriate relationship?  “A” won’t let Aria forget it…

Hanna Marin

PLL #2 – Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) replaced Alison as the most popular girl in school following her friend’s disappearance.  “Hefty Hanna” — as Alison liked to call her — dropped her baby fat, partnered with her new BFF Mona (Janel Parrish) and took to a life of brattiness and shoplifting.

Hanna’s friend – Mona

Hanna lacks the self-confidence a young woman needs, having watched her father walk out on her and her mother.  She spirals out of control, throwing herself at her boyfriend, only to be rejected.  Not helping matters, Hanna watches as her single mother (Ashley Marin, played by Laura Leighton) bails her out of trouble by bedding the detective on Hanna’s shoplifting case.

Hanna really has the worst luck — she wrecks her boyfriend’s car, and she is involved in a hit and run when she gets dangerously close to discovering “A’s” real identity.  When Mona throws her a surprise “glad you’re alive party,” someone steals all of the money (assumedly “A”) that Hanna’s mother stole from a client at the bank.  And, while following “A’s” sordid trail back to the money, Hanna falls for the wrong boy who happens to be feeding information to the girls’ nemesis, Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok) — who of course later turns out to be the right boy for her anyway (Caleb, played by Tyler Blackburn).

Spencer Hastings

PLL #3 – Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is the poor-little-rich-girl of the bunch.  Her successful parents push Spencer to be the absolute best, much like they did with her older sister Melissa (Torrey DeVitto).  Spencer is brilliant, but plays second fiddle to her sister, always aware that her parents favor Melissa.  To retaliate, Spencer kisses her sister’s boyfriend and then later kisses her new fiancé.  Matters only get worse for Spencer when Melissa surprises the Hastings family by abruptly marrying her boyfriend right after calling off her previous engagement.

Spencer’s big sis – Melissa

Spencer begins to investigate her new brother-in-law, and slowly uncovers an affair between him and Alison that happened just before Alison’s disappearance.  As she continues to investigate, Spencer believes that her new brother-in-law not only stalked her best friend but also killed her, causing the rift between Spencer and her sister to intensify.

Now a suspect herself in Alison’s murder, Spencer befriends Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) who also happened to serve time in jail briefly as the main suspect in Alison’s death.  Did I mention that Toby is also the half-brother of Jenna?

The vindictive Jenna

Toby knows just how deceiving and manipulative his sister can be….is Jenna “A”?

Emily Fields

PLL #4 – Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) is the daughter of a military father always away on assignment who is confused with her own sexuality.  She starts the series with a boyfriend but then falls for the new girl in town, sending her mother (Nia Peeples) into a tailspin.  Making even more of a splash, Emily takes Toby Cavanaugh to the homecoming dance as her date trying to hide the fact that she’s gay.  The fact that Emily doesn’t totally believe in Toby’s innocence, like the rest of the town, leads to a dangerous encounter — only one of many.

After accepting that she is a homosexual, Emily is further devastated when her girlfriend is sent away to military school after marijuana is found inside her back pack.  Emily’s world continues to turn upside down when her mother announces that they’re leaving Rosewood to live with her father who is stationed in Texas.  Meanwhile, Emily holds the key to the photo evidence the girls have uncovered on her home computer (evidence they believe links back to Alison’s killer) which conveniently gets erased when the realtor shows the Fields’ house.

And the texts begin…

The conclusion:

Each of the girls have oodles of conflict surrounding them individually, even without “A’s” threatening their every move (there’s so much more that I didn’t mention).  Throw in the suspicions the police and their parents have regarding their involvement in Alison’s murder, and the lies they continuously try to hide despite “A’s” best efforts, and Pretty Little Liars doesn’t bore its viewers — it has twists and turns week in and week out.

And the suspicions…

Season two ended with the huge unveiling of “A” — but is it really her?

I have my suspicions that the incorrect identification of “A” is just another twist masterfully planned by the real “A” — confused yet?

Don’t worry — everyone can clear it up when Pretty Little Liars season three premieres Tuesday, June 5th.

And the fear…

Do you watch Pretty Little Liars or is the show “too young” for you?  What do you think about the mystery — do you believe the identity of “A” or are you like me and believe there’s much more to the story?  Has anyone read the books?  Which of the girls do you relate to the most — Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Emily, Alison, Mona, or the outcast Jenna?  I’d love to hear from you!  

Tele-Tuesday: Reader’s Pick Per Night – The Polls

This month marks the one year anniversary (or blogiversary as we’ve gotten to know it around the blogosphere) of The Ooo Factor.  One year seems like a long time, but in all honesty the blog posts have flown by and I’ve had a great time sharing my television addiction with everyone on a weekly basis.  Blogging has actually given my obsessive TV watching purpose, and has made me feel better about the amount of television I watch each and every night.  And whether or not my readers can believe it, I have much more to share!

If we’ve learned anything as we’ve moved through the years, we’ve learned that as time passes, people change.

Whew; that sounded borderline serious for a second.   But it’s true…

But other things change too, like the revolving door of television programs.  The networks update their television schedules drastically over the course of a year, sometimes in just a matter of months.  In celebration of the past twelve months here at Tele-Tuesday, we’ve decided to update a few of our older posts that don’t necessarily stand true any longer (whether it be because the networks moved our shows around or because some new hit has taken its place).

Last year, we blogged about our 2011 Pick Per Night television series.  While some of our choices still air today, we may have a different favorite that has taken over on that particular night of the week and we feel an obligation to update our readers with the 2012 choices.  But before we do, we’d like to know what everyone else watches.

If you could choose only one show per night, what would it be?

Did your favorite show make the list?  If not, what is it?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Next week, we will announce what our viewers prefer to watch and what we here at Tele-Tuesday mark as our #1 must watch programs in a Pick Per Night 2012.

 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – What’s Real, and What’s The Lying Game?

This week Amber West and I hop aboard the ever popular Young Adult (YA) train, and review two shows targeting the younger audiences on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Amber takes us down a musical lane with Glee, while I attempt to solve yet another mysterious drama on ABC Family, The Lying Game.

From the creators of Pretty Little Liars, and based on the novels by Sara Shepard, The Lying Game follows twin sisters, Emma Becker and Sutton Mercer (both played by Alexandra Chando).  Currently in the second half of season one, we’re still not sure how the twins learn that they were separated at birth, but they do and they find each other online and communicate via Skype.

Usually this look means it's Sutton...

Living in an abusive foster home in Vegas, Emma agrees to switch places with her twin and live Sutton’s life in Phoenix with her wealthy adopted family, allowing Sutton the time to travel to California and search for their birth mother.  Not long into the switch, Emma learns that Sutton is quite the miserable person to be around.  She’s known around school as the mastermind behind “The Lying Games” – lies that persecute others and terrify them from ever crossing Sutton again.

And this look means it's Emma...

Emma immediately bonds with her younger sister, Laurel (played by Allie Gonino), and her mother (Helen Slater, The Legend of Billy Jean) and father (Andy Buckley, The Office), repairing the seemingly damaged relationship the adopted family had with the spoiled and entitled Sutton.

The proud Mercer parents

The only people it appears that Sutton didn’t callously cross are her two best friends – Char (Kristen Prout) and Mads (Alice Greczyn, Privileged).   While the two girls notice something is drastically different with Sutton, they continue to love her unconditionally and stand by her – even when Emma (as Sutton) breaks up with her boyfriend and starts publically dating the town’s bad  boy, Ethan (played by Blair Redford), who also happens to be the “real” Sutton’s secret boyfriend.

Ethan Whitehorse - does anyone else see the irony here? The hero saves the day, riding in on his white horse? LOL

Confused?

After a short amount of time, Emma loses contact with Sutton and fears she has disappeared.  Emma, being the nice and sweet girl that she is, is faced with the dilemma of telling the Mercer family and all of Sutton’s friends the truth.

Of course, every time Emma comes face to face with the reality of telling anyone outside the circle (only Sutton, Emma, Ethan, and Mads’ brother know the truth about the twins and the “switch”), Sutton reappears with one excuse after another and spews rude comments.  It doesn’t help that everyone loves the “new” Sutton, or Emma rather (even if they don’t know that there is two of them), and Sutton can’t stand it, claiming Emma has ruined her life.

Emma with Sutton's best friends - Char and Mads

Ethan disagrees; he feels that Emma has fixed so many of the damaged relationships that “Hurricane” Sutton left behind, which is one of the reasons he dumps Sutton for Emma.  Of course, his brother (police officer Dan, played by Tyler Christopher, General Hospital) warns Ethan to stay away from her all together.

Oh, and before we continue, here are a few other characters everyone should know: Justin (Randy Wayne) is Laurel’s boyfriend, a boy claiming to have lost both of his parents in a car wreck; but who later fesses up and tells Laurel why he really came to town – to get answers from her father, the man responsible for his mother’s death.

We also must introduce probably the second biggest villain of the story (behind Sutton) – Mads’ dad and District Attorney, Alec (played by Adrian Pasdar, Heroes).  Alec is also the life-long best friend of Sutton’s adopted dad, Ted, and Sutton’s godfather.

Alec always has an angle...

Alec clearly knows the answer to most of the secrets around town – he knows about both Sutton and Emma, and he knows what happened and why at their birth.  He also likes to hold “truths” and good favors over people’s heads to get them to do what he wants, like in the case of Ethan’s brother, Dan, and Char’s boyfriend, a juvenile delinquent.   But why?

And finally, we must discuss the two Annies: Annie number one has been locked away in an insane asylum for years, having never recovered from the death of her daughter.  And then there is Annie number two, also known as Rebecca (played by Charisma Carpenter, Buffy), perhaps the woman with the answers to all of Ted and Alec’s secrets.

Cordy is still so very pretty...

Rebecca recently returned to town, looking for a fresh beginning. She obviously knew Ted and Alec in high school, but doesn’t want to discuss the past.  She’s actually quite adamant about not reminiscing with Alec and Ted, leaving us to believe the two friends with tons of secrets may have finally met their match.

The Lying Game has layer after layer of secrets and mysteries:

Who are Sutton and Emma’s biological parents?  I have my guesses…

Why were they given up at birth?  We already know how they were separated… 

Why did Ted run out of an operation that cost Justin’s mother her life sixteen years ago?  I have my suspicions…

The twists and turns involved in the plot makes The Lying Game definitely worth a watch, even if I do think I’m starting to figure out the mystery.  Despite the show’s targeting the YA crowd, this thirty-something loves to watch, claiming it is perfect research for a YA mystery writer.

But where does TLG rank on the WatchWed ratings scale?

The Lying Game deserves a JFTV rating – it’s not as tasty as the hot and delicious Mac-n-Cheese we love around here (like the YA MacTV rated Teen Wolf and Pretty Little Liars), but it does satisfy our tummies once an hour every week like our favorite candy bars.  Seriously, 250 calories a week isn’t bad…is it?  Nah!

What do you think? Do you watch The Lying Game?  Who do you think are Sutton and Emma’s parents?  Is someone really threatening the girls, or is this just another one of Sutton’s Lying Games?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out what she has to say about Fox’s hit musical, Glee.

Come back next week when Amber and I review a few of cable’s returning police procedurals: TNT’s Southland and A&E’s Breakout Kings.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: The Long Lost Family Drama

Last week, we reminisced about the popular family sitcoms of the 1980s including favorites Who’s the Boss?, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Growing Pains, and The Wonder Years.  The Ooo Factor viewers remembered even more with shows like Alf and The Hogan Family – weren’t these sitcoms great?  These television shows allowed real-life families to join around the living room TV set and watch television families work through the dysfunction in their “make-believe” lives while making us laugh.

But the family oriented thirty minute situational comedy isn’t the only thing missing from television programming today – where’s the one hour family drama?  We touched on Life Goes On and Our House last week – two one hour dramas that focused on family units resolving difficult issues like dealing with a brother’s disability or a father’s death.

The 1980s provided many great honest-to-goodness family dramas that were safe for children of all ages to watch alongside their moms and dads such as:

Highway to Heaven

Quantum Leap

We also cherished the ABC after school special in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  Remember those?  Kids learned valuable lessons like: handling the difficulties surrounding blended families after moms and dads remarry; understanding the dangers of drug use, drinking, and unprotected sex; as well as learning how to cope with molestation and rape.

Perhaps one of the most brilliant aspects of the after school special was the network’s casting of young TV heart-throbs like Scott Baio (Charles in Charge), Billy Warlock (Days of our Lives), and Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) to play vital roles in the made-for-TV movies.

Speaking of the ‘90s, this decade didn’t take a complete detour from family programming and produced multi-year hits like:

 7th Heaven

Party of Five

Once and Again

One of our favorites was the short-lived Get Real starring Jon Tenney (The Closer), Deborah Farrentino, Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries), Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: LA), and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as the Green family.

Looking back, what a fantastic cast!

Mom and dad Green had their issues (for example, mom suspected dad of cheating), and the teenagers definitely had their issues (the usual sibling rivalry, secrets, and coping situations).  The Greens resembled what we’d consider a normal family today – they struggled, they loved, and they learned.  The program walked its viewers through the family decisions, as they hoped to reach a positive outcome, but didn’t always succeed. Unfortunately, this series failed after twenty episodes.

But mostly, the ‘90s began what we now know as YA television with dramas appropriate for teenagers, but perhaps not children under the age of twelve with programs including:

Beverly Hills 90210

My So Called Life

Television airs many of these YA programs today such as The Vampire Diaries, The Lying Game, Pretty Little Liars, and The Secret Circle to name a few.  While great TV, watching these shows is a tad risky for the younger audience, mostly due to the high volumes of violence and sex.

In 2010, ABC tried their hand at a family friendly drama similar to those we watched in the ‘80s and ‘90s that was appropriate for all ages, but No Ordinary Family was pulled from the air waves after a short first season.  Why didn’t this show make it?  Apparently it lacked viewers.

Why weren’t families watching No Ordinary Family?  The series started when mom (Julie Benz) and dad (Michael Chiklis) take the kids on a much needed vacation to strengthen their family unit, and they return with superpowers: the mom has super speed, the dad has super strength, the teenage son has a super brain, and the teenage daughter has telepathic abilities.  No Ordinary Family had the ever-important family dynamic, was full of motion-picture-esque action sequences, and taught morals like the importance of not cheating in school no matter the reason, yet this program fell victim to the network’s axe after twenty episodes.

 

Instead, shows like the Secret Life of the American Teenager, a drama that focuses primarily on teenage sex and pregnancy, last for multiple seasons.

Just something to think about…

Obviously, family television has changed over the years – is it for better or worse?  What ’80s and ‘90s family dramas did you enjoy?   Which one-hour drama does your family watch today?  Is it considered a family drama?  I’d love to hear from you!