Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Messin’ with Momma is a Bad Idea

This week Amber West and I review two new 2012 midseason replacements starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday — Fox’s Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland, and ABC’s Missing, starring Ashley Judd.

What would you do if your child went missing while studying abroad?

This frightening situation is the premise behind ABC’s new drama Missing.

The series begins with Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) as she witnesses, or overhears really, an explosion that kills her husband (CIA Agent Paul Winstone, played by Sean Bean from Game of Thrones) while talking to her son, Michael, on the telephone.

Missing then fast forwards ten years when a now eighteen year old Michael (played by Nick Eversman) informs his mother that he has been accepted to an architectural summer program in Rome.  Becca’s hesitant at first, considering Venice is where her husband was murdered, but agrees to Michael’s study abroad opportunity.

The two only have each other, and they share a very close relationship as apparent with their secret “I love you” code — 235@W’ — “23” is Michael’s soccer number; “5” because the heart is the 5th largest organ in the body; and “@W’” because Becca is the head of the Winstone household, thus making her Winstone Prime.

A concerned mother...

A little while into Michael’s trip, all texts and calls stop.  Making her worry even more, Becca receives a phone call from the architectural program that Michael has missed multiple courses and has since been withdrawn from school.  Becca decides to do what any mother would do — she takes it upon herself to travel to Rome to search for any leads and clues into her son’s disappearance.

A mother with one concern -- find her son...

Becca first visits Michael’s apartment where she discovers spoiled food on the table and his cell phone plugged into the wall charger.  What teenager goes anywhere without his or her cell phone?  She’s reading his outgoing call history when she is interrupted by a man with a gun.  A struggle ensues, but Becca kicks some serious booty, grabs his gun, and flees from the window after she hears the Italian police.

How in the world can a soccer mom (literally, she’s a soccer mom) and flower shop owner disarm and kill a man so effortlessly? Well she has bruises, but still.  Because like her deceased husband, Becca is a retired CIA agent (she retired following her husband’s death).

While on the run, Becca reaches out to an old ally (Giancarlo Rossi, played by Swept Away’s Adriano Giannini) who informs her that the man she just killed in her son’s apartment is former Italian intelligence.  This just keeps getting worse…

Becca and her ally, Giancarlo

Becca manages to track down Francesca, one of the most dialed phone numbers on Michael’s cell phone, at her place of employment (a nightclub).  Francesca admits to seeing Michael the day he disappeared and sends Becca to a soccer bar hangout where Michael likes to frequent.  Once there, Becca runs into two more men with guns.  She escapes by stealing a moped and drives back to the nightclub where she finds Francesca murdered.  This just keeps getting worse…

While resting at Giancarlo’s, Becca continues to study Michael’s phone and from a photograph discovers a surveillance camera out on the street behind her son’s apartment.  She tracks across town, breaks in, disables the security alarm, and hacks into the video footage of the day her son disappeared (she knows Thursday was the last day Francesca saw him alive).  Becca watches the surveillance as two men grab Michael and throw him into the back of a black van with French plates.  A mother’s worst fears realized… 

A distraught mother...

Becca returns to Giancarlo’s where the two discover the black van is registered to a warehouse in France. Becca’s next stop — Paris.

**Missing was filmed on location in Europe (eight different cities, I believe) — the settings are real, not studio CGI imagery.**

In the meantime, viewers meet the Italian based CIA operatives who are now hot on the trail of Becca, led by Agent Dax Miller (Cliff Curtis, Trauma).  These agents have access to Becca’s CIA file, but learn very little because of the size of said file — “the thinner the file, the better the agent.”

CIA Agent Cliff Curtis

Becca is “persona non grata” in France, and the CIA must intercept her before she crosses the border.  They send in a team who singles her out, and a fight ensues (yes, another fight).  Despite Becca’s phenomenal fight skills, the agents subdue her.

While in CIA custody, Becca somehow manages to befriend Agent Miller and he allows her three hours in France to do what she needs to do.  She immediately tracks down the warehouse and finds evidence that her son was indeed held prisoner in this location from his wall etchings — 235@W’.

Becca’s visit to the warehouse is interrupted by a guard, who she disarms and incapacitates before going about her business searching for any clues or evidence as to where Michael might be being held now.  She discovers a package of surveillance photos in a desk drawer — photos of her son since he was a small boy.  Finished at this location, Becca picks up a phone and dials the CIA requesting Agent Miller.  She lays the receiver down, allowing a trace.

Obviously she’s not completely against working with the CIA, but she has her own mission to worry about.  Nothing will stop her from finding her son.  Seems like the kidnappers picked the wrong woman to mess with…

Messin' with Momma is a bad idea...

The pilot ends with Becca walking along the streets of Paris studying the photographs from the warehouse.  Once again she is being followed and is shot in the shoulder, causing her to fall over a bridge and into a body of water.  This just keeps getting worse…

Only two episodes of Missing have aired to date, and the action does not slow down.  Becca is a woman on a mission, comparable to a female Jack Bauer.  Seriously.

Seriously, messin' with Momma is a bad idea...

Missing was a television series that my guy wasn’t all that interested in.  He thought it was just going to be another one of my mysteries that I can’t live without, so he declared Missing as one I could watch without him — we have his, hers, and ours programs.  After telling him all about the action in the first two episodes, he now wants to check it out.

But because only two episodes have aired, I must award Missing with the SSTV rating.  Not only do I like Ashley Judd (I can watch Double Jeopardy and High Crimes over and over again), but the non-stop action and actual European filming adds heat to the already rapidly boiling water.  It may not take many more episodes for Missing to be upgraded to the MacTV rating, but we’ll see…

What do you think? Have you caught an episode of Missing?  Does Becca remind you of a female Jack Bauer?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about Kiefer’s new series, Touch.  And speaking of Jack Bauer, will Kiefer be able to shake his popular 24 personality we’ve all grown to love over the years with his new role?

Come back next week when Amber and I review something…

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

Friday FabOoolousness – Steven Montano’s Post-Apocalyptic World

I first met Steven Montano on Twitter last year courtesy of our mutual friends, Jen L. Kirchner and Amber West.  Not only does Steven write a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy fiction series, but he hangs in one of the coolest posses in the Twitterverse.  He’s friendly, he’s funny, he loves his family (in an absolutely adorable way), and he’s a San Antonio Spurs fan.

Author Steven Montano

That’s right — Steven yells for our Texas team all the way from the great state of Washington.  I may live in Dallas and root for the Mavericks on a consistent basis, but when the Spurs and Mavs face off, I am a Spurs fan all the way.  Needless to say, I love Steven even more now.

Steven fell out of the sky one day and landed behind an accountant’s desk.  Rather than write novels about his experiences in an alternate post-apocalyptic world besieged by vampires, he decided to reconcile accounts and calculate journal entries.  Thankfully for his own sanity and our enjoyment, he still writes on the side.

Steven has published four stories in his Blood Skies series, with the most recent release, Soulrazor, releasing this past March 16th.  How about a little bite?

Blood Skies:

In the time after The Black, human survivors of the Southern Claw Alliance clash with vampire legions of the Ebon Cities in a constant war for survival. Earth as we know it has been forever damaged by an arcane storm that fused our world with distant realms of madness and terror. Things that once existed only in our nightmares stalk the earth.

Now, humanity is threatened by one of its own.

Eric Cross, an enlisted warlock in the Southern Claw military, is part of an elite team of soldiers and mages in pursuit of a woman known as Red — a witch whose stolen knowledge threatens the future of the human race. The members of Viper Squad will traverse haunted forests and blighted tundra in their search for the traitor, a journey that ultimately leads them to the necropolis of Koth.

There, in that haven of renegade undead, Cross will discover the dark origins of magic, and the true meaning of sacrifice…

Black Scars:

Something ancient has awoken. Primordial and wholly evil, a living shadow emerges from a prison made weak by the magical cataclysm called The Black. Now the Sleeper stalks the land in search of its old enemies, leaving a trail of madness and destruction in its wake.

Eric Cross, a Southern Claw warlock, has been sent to find the Woman in the Ice, the only known means of stopping this evil. Aided by a grizzled ranger and a band of wardens and inmates from a sadistic prison, Cross’ mission will bring him into conflict with an array of foes: the barbaric Gorgoloth, vampire shock troops out of the Ebon Cities, and a cadre of mercenary nihilists called the Black Circle.

On a mission that will take him from a lost temple once ruled by insidious wolf sorcerers to the vicious gladiator games of the vampire city-state of Krul to the deadly ruins of an ice city, Cross will play a pivotal role in an ancient conflict whose outcome will determine the future of the world.

Tales of the Earth: A Blood Skies Short Story:

In the time after The Black, humans battle against the onslaught of the vampire armies of the Ebon Cities.

In a desolate patch of remote wasteland, a young woman named Rooke, part of a group of prisoners held by the corrupt prison wardens called The Revengers, struggles to stay alive. Ordered to unearth a terrible chamber of ancient power and hounded by once-frozen vampire savages, Rooke’s journey into darkness will reveal forgotten secrets of the conflict that has brought The Black to our world.

But will Rooke survive long enough to tell anyone?

Soulrazor:

The war continues…

Eric Cross and his team of elite mercenaries are the bane of the Ebon Cities. Armed with the cutting-edge arcane weaponry of the Southern Claw, Cross and his crew – Black, Kane, Ronan, Maur, Grissom and Ash – have become a veritable thorn in the side of the vampire armies.

Now the team is tasked with halting vampire activity near the remote city-state of Fane, where the Ebon Cities have teamed up with a former Revenger in search of a deadly weapon called Soulrazor.

To make matters worse, something sinister has happened to Cross, and the key to his salvation is somehow directly tied to the Ebon Cities’ new soldiers: a host of necrotic angels who bear traces of divine power.

Cross and his team must travel across a blighted wilderness and do battle with a vile array of enemies as they race not only to save the city of Thornn from total annihilation, but to rescue Cross’ very soul from an enemy more powerful than he could ever imagine…

*****

When you were young, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I’ve wanted to be a professional writer since I was eighteen years old.  I actually went to college to get a Creative Writing degree (which I did, along with a minor in European History), but life got in the way and “starving artist” wasn’t really a viable career choice when my father caught ill, so I went into the first job that presented itself: accounting.  Been stuck there ever since.

But all this time, I’ve always harbored a love of writing, and I’ve pursued it as a hobby most of my life.  It was only a couple of years ago that I decided to take the plunge and publish my work on my own.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Wow, good question…a little bit comes from everywhere.  I’m something of a popular media goofball, so I find influence in films, television, fantasy and sci-fi fiction, and music.  I also pull inspiration from my surroundings (Washington state is a gorgeous place to explore nature), from video and role-playing games, and from my own dreams, which are pretty durned scary.

Mt. Rainier, Washington -- photo by Jonas West Photography (Amber West)

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

China Mieville and J.V. Jones are my favorite authors of dark fantasy fiction.  Their ability to create new worlds and populate those worlds with believable characters and unusual but totally realistic conflicts are unparalleled.  I also love their prose, and I try to emulate some bastardized hybridization of them both as often as I can.  ;D

I also hold a deep appreciation for Clive Barker (whose works got me into writing in the first place), Tanith Lee (whose prose taught me how to write), John Marco and Tad Williams (whose works, at various points in my life, got me back into writing when I’d all but given up on it.)

The cover art for your books is amazing.  Did you design them yourself? 

I concocted the skeletons of the ideas for the covers, but I can’t take credit for the actual design.  Syd Gill is amazing, and she crafted the covers for Blood Skies and Black Scars.  I can’t get over what a terrific job she did.  My friend Barry Currey designed the cover for Soulrazor, and I thought he did an amazing job, as well.  The only one I designed on my own was Tales of a Blood Earth, and it’s…meh.  It’s okay.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Eric Cross and why?

Alan Edwards got the scoop on this.  Eric Cross’s physical appearance is actually based on a character I created for an NBA Basketball game for the XBOX.  The character came out looking better than I expected.  When I started working on Blood Skies, the same character name came to mind, and it occurred to me that he’d look just like that dark-haired, lean little Point Guard I had leading the Las Vegas Vipers.  Yes, I’m a dork.

I don’t normally assign actors to characters until after I finish the books.  Now, I do a regular blog post after each novel identifying which actor would get to play them, but I try not to think about that too much while I’m actually writing, since I’ve always been pretty good at imagining up people’s appearances.

As it turns out, James McAvoy gets the honor of playing Cross.  He should feel lucky.  ;D

I can see it...

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

My wife, as usual.  =D

Steven and his equally talented and beautiful wife, Liberty

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

As I mentioned before, I like to play XBOX (mostly 1st person shooters), watch NBA Basketball (Go Spurs!!!), and watch lots of movies.  I also love to hike, go bike-riding, shoot hoops, dance, and read.  I’ve also spent the last few years learning how to cook, and I must admit I’m not half bad in the kitchen these days. ;D

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your favorite television programs airing today? 

Right now we’re watching Person of Interest, Castle, Game of Thrones, Modern Family and Hot In Cleveland religiously.  There are at least a half-dozen more we want to give a shot, but as it is we only get a little bit of TV time in every night.  Oh, we’re also plowing our way through Enterprise, since we’d never gotten to watch that one when it was on the air.

Person of Interest is a favorite in our household as well...

What is your favorite movie of all-time?

I call unfair, I can’t answer that question!  ;D  I don’t have any one movie that I hold in preference to all others, but I do have a short list: Aliens, Saving Private Ryan, The Usual Suspects, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (the American version), Inception and Unforgiven top my list at the moment.  I’m also deliriously looking forward to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I tend to sneak my own snacks in.  Paying $10 for a box of popcorn feels like getting robbed at gunpoint.

The Blood Skies series brings us vampires, witches, and zombies – Oh My!  Name your favorite book, movie, and/or television series featuring the supernatural undead. 

China Mieville’s Bas-Lag series alludes to a hidden necropolis of aristocratic undead, and I’ve always liked the way he handles vampires in his novels, making them the dregs of the netherworld.  John Steakley’s Vampire$ did a nice job of making vamps scary again instead of romantic sissies.  And you have to love the classics – Bram Stoker’s Dracula and J. Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla are masterworks of the vampire genre.

In film, I’ve always appreciated the brutality of vampires in the Blade films, as well as the tongue-in-cheek (yet very scary) Fright Night films (the originals…I haven’t seen the Colin Ferrell version).  And with all apologies to zombie “purists”, I’ve always enjoyed Zach Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead.  And (again with apologies), though it doesn’t feature traditional “zombies”, I think 28 Days Later is one of the best horror films ever made.

*****

Can everyone tell from Steven’s responses that he loves to smile? 🙂

Any fan of the Fright Night films is a friend of mine…and Blade?  Heck yea!  Who’s with us?

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

Do you have a question for Steven?  Have you read his Blood Skies series yet?  What’s your favorite zombie movie?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Amazon to buy a copy of Blood Skies (available in paperback and Kindle), Black Scars (available in Kindle), Tales of a Blood Earth: A Blood Skies short story (available in Kindle), and Soulrazor (available in Kindle) if you haven’t already.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – A Little Nip Here, a Little Tuck There

It’s almost that time of year when our favorite television programs take a summer hiatus.  That previously meant that we would have to wait until fall programming returned to watch anything new, but this isn’t necessarily the case anymore — not with summer series on networks such as USA, A&E, and TNT.  But even with these summer hits, we still don’t have the variety of TV shows to watch during the summer, which is why Amber West and I decided to return to our Netflix Queue It Up series this week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.

Has anyone ever had a crush so big on a TV actor or actress that they would watch anything that said actor or actress starred in?  That’s how I found Nip/Tuck

I first “met” Julian McMahon on a fantastic criminal profiling series (Profiler) in the late ‘90s.  When the program ended in 2000, I was ecstatic to learn that the actor who played “John Grant” joined the cast of another one of my favorite television shows, CharmedFor three years, I loved McMahon’s dual role as the demon Balthazar and his human counterpart, Cole Turner – especially his love affair with Phoebe (Alyssa Milano).  But again after just a few short years, Julian McMahon was leaving the show…

So what did I do?  I followed him over to the new FX drama, Nip/Tuck, where he plays one half of the plastic surgeon team of McNamara/Troy.

And let me just say, I was very pleased with my decision to trail him over to the new series.  Already established with hit original programming (The Shield), FX didn’t disappoint with its newest drama following two plastic surgeons and friends since college –Sean McNamara and Christian Troy.

"Tell us what you don't like about yourself."

The two doctors are nothing alike – Sean (played by Dylan Walsh) is grounded, logical, and married; while Christian (McMahon) is sexy, charming, edgy and most importantly, single.  In other words, McNamara/Troy not only succeeds because Sean and Christian are two of the best in the business, but also because of the dynamic – Sean is the “brains” and Christian the “face” of the practice.

Nip/Tuck not only focused on the practice and aired graphic plastic surgery scenes (some so vivid, even the manliest of men had to look away), but also shared the life of Sean and Christian outside the office… and their personal lives were anything but perfect.

Meet Sean’s family: Julia McNamara (played by Joely Richardson), Matt McNamara (played by John Hensley), and Annie McNamara (played by Kelsey Batelaan).

Julia
Matt
Annie

Now meet Christian’s family: Sean, Julia, Matt, and Annie.  That’s right – Christian has no one outside the McNamara clan.  But that’s okay; they love him — sometimes too much (considering his love affair with Julia that produced… well, no spoilers here) and sometimes not at all.

But despite my ongoing love affair with Julian McMahon, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the real star of Nip/Tuck is the storyline/s.  Each episode usually involves at least one plastic surgery story with a new or returning patient (patients including familiar faces such as J.K. Simmons, Rosie O’Donnell and Joan Rivers), but each season also carries out an ongoing storyline that carried the show.

What made these storylines so special?  They were dark, messed up, and some of the best drama on TV at the time.  The writers and creators of Nip/Tuck pushed the boundaries, something the regular network channels wouldn’t dream of doing (at least not then; and still not today… not really).

See? Graphic...

Don’t believe me?  Season one immediately starts with Sean’s son Matt self-circumcising himself to better please his high school girlfriend.  Yea, that’s right – self-circumcision.  Also in the first season: a baby is born (it’s no surprise that the paternity is an issue), Christian inherits a stalker, McNamara/Troy is forced into surgically removing heroin from drug mules, and one of the doctors might actually commit murder.  Oh, and there’s another paternity issue.  I’m trying really hard to not give anything away here…

My favorite season/storyline is hands down season three – The Carver.  Sean and Christian (along with new surgeon Quentin Costa, played by Bruno Campos) agree to operate on The Carver’s victims pro bono, further infuriating the serial attacker.  One thing leads to another, many fall victim to The Carver (including an entire sorority house) and Christian’s bride-to-be (Kimber, played Kelly Carlson) is kidnapped and later discovered as another completely mutilated victim of The Carver.

Of course, The Carver storyline isn’t the only on-going masterpiece of season three; it’s just my favorite.  Other popular and racy stories over the years include: Kimber’s sex doll (Kimber is ultimately the love of Christian’s life, who also happens to be a porn star); trans-gender sex changes; bi-sexuality; white supremacy; extreme religious affiliations; controversial pregnancies due to genetic disorders; and lots and lots of sex.

Kimber and her sex doll

Nip/Tuck featured many famous guest stars over the years (Portia de Rossi, Bradley Cooper, Famke Janssen, Vanessa Redgrave, Rhona Mitra, Brittany Snow, Jacqueline Bisset, Mario Lopez, Sharon Gless, AnnaLynne McCord, Katee Sackhoff, and Rose McGowan to just name a few), but the heart of the story belonged to Sean, Christian, Julia, Matt, Annie, Kimber, and Liz Cruz (Sean and Christian’s gay anesthesiologist played by Roma Maffia).

Liz is really the glue that holds McNamara and Troy together...

I literally could go on and on about Nip/Tuck, it is absolutely one of my favorites of all time.  It’s not for those with weak stomachs or those with strong convictions, but to me is still worthy of a GTV rating —  fine TV is like fine dining at its best: bone-in-filet cooked to perfection with a side of lobster baked macaroni and cheese, served with a $100 bottle of Cabernet and table-side banana fosters for dessert.

To this day, I will still give FX’s original programs a try because of their “out-side-the-box” way of producing and writing.  Seriously, look at their resume since:  Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dirt, The Riches, Damages, and Sons of Anarchy.  And what about the network’s most recent hits:  Justified, Archer, The League, and American Horror Story?  If you haven’t already, give FX a try.   But first – queue up Nip/Tuck on Netflix and watch the 100 episodes in order.

What do you think? Did you watch Nip/Tuck?  Are you a McNamara or a Troy fan?  Which storyline was your favorite and why?  Do you have a TV crush that you’ve followed from program to program?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see which programs she recommends our WatchWed viewers queue up on Netflix this summer — I smell a few BBC series in the air…

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of TV’s newest dramas starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Missing, starring Ashley Judd.

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Two Worlds, One Ringer

This week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, Amber West and I review two new programs to the 2011-2012 television schedule whose plots are based on dual realities – NBC’s new drama, Awake, where the protagonist lives in alternate realities depending on whether or not he is dreaming; and the CW’s new mystery, Ringer, where the protagonist is choosing to live in another reality, her twin sister’s world.

Ringer stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as twin sisters Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin.

The sisters share a troubled past – Bridget is a former narcotics user and stripper, and Siobhan cut ties from Bridget when she married a millionaire New York City hedge fund manager, leaving her normal life and sister behind.  But after a few years apart, the girls suddenly decide to move past previously made mistakes and mend their relationship, or so it seems.

The series begins as Bridget runs to her wealthy sister, Siobhan, after she witnesses a mob hit and escapes protective custody just before testifying in court.  A few days into the happy reunion, Siobhan disappears herself (making it look like an apparent suicide).  Bridget panics, like most would, but then realizes that this is her perfect opportunity to escape her past and assume her sister’s identity.

And so the story begins….

Bridget’s first matter of business is to convince Siobhan’s husband (Andrew Martin, played by Ioan Gruffudd) that she is her sister.  She learns rather quickly that the two share a rocky, tumultuous marriage, and her new husband doesn’t seem to like her very much.  Andrew’s teenage daughter from a previous marriage really hates Siobhan (Juliet Martin, played by Zoey Deutch), and she lashes out constantly by skipping school, doing drugs, and destroying things around the penthouse.

Siobhan's husband, Andrew

As if Siobhan’s life at home wasn’t enough of a disaster, Bridget soon discovers that her sister was also having an affair with Henry Butler (Kristoffer Polaha), the husband of her best friend (Gemma Butler, played by Tara Summers).

Siobhan's boyfriend and best friend's husband, Henry

Just as Bridget begins to manage all of the lies her sister is living, the FBI agent tasked with protecting her during the trial (Agent Victor Machado, played by Nestor Carbonell) arrives in New York with a few questions for Siobhan.

The FBI agent tasked with protecting Bridget, Victor

Meanwhile, Bridget’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor and apparent lover (Malcolm Ward, played by Mike Colter) is abducted by the drug lord/mob boss looking for her back home, beaten within an inch of his life, and reacquainted with black tar heroin.  Malcolm might just be the hero of the show; despite the torture, he doesn’t disclose Bridget’s secret and he still manages to escape and travel to NYC to protect her.

Bridget's NA Sponsor and one-time lover, Malcolm

Everything is just too much, so Bridget (aka Siobhan) seeks out a new NA sponsor in the city and meets Charlie (Billy Miller).  Charlie seems eager to help, not only with her constant battle with relapse, but also with the many matters surrounding her double life.  People can trust sponsors, right?

Bridget's new NA sponsor and dirty former cop, Charlie

Oh, and did we mention the “real” Siobhan (who is camped out in Paris under an assumed identity) is pregnant?  That’s an interesting twist…Bridget gets the call from Siobhan’s doctor and has to pretend she’s pregnant; meanwhile, Henry thinks the baby is his; Andrew of course thinks the baby is his; and Siobhan’s new Parisian lover (Tyler, played by Justin Bruening) now thinks the baby is his.  This lady is a mess.

Siobhan's Parisian boy-toy and her husband's business associate, Tyler

To make matters worse, Bridget doesn’t do a bang up job keeping her secret – Gemma discovers the truth: that the “real” Siobhan is sleeping with her husband, and that Bridget is assuming her sister’s identity.  When Gemma threatens to blow the top off Bridget’s lies, she disappears.   Henry comes home to find blood all over the walls and a broken vase, and immediately cleans the mess up to protect Siobhan.  But when he confronts Siobhan (aka Bridget), she of course thinks he did something to Gemma – why else would he cover up the evidence?

Confused yet?  Remember, the “real” Siobhan is the puppet master pulling all the strings; Bridget is only trying to survive in Siobhan’s world.

And this ladies and gentleman is just the beginning…

Because of the non-stop twists and turns, I must award Ringer with the JFTV rating – it’s the perfect Junk Food Television.  I sat and watched the entire first half of the season in mini-marathon style.  See, I record the series each week, but wasn’t intrigued enough at first to watch; but once I started the episodes, I couldn’t stop – just like when I pick up a bag of Hershey’s miniatures from Costco — someone needs to pull the bag of chocolate away from me in order for me to stop popping the delicious delights in my mouth one right after the other.

I enjoyed my mini-marathon of the first half of the season so much, I’m currently stock-piling the second half of the season for another marathon-style viewing party.  I’m just waiting for that perfect Saturday…

What do you think? Do you watch Ringer?  Which of Siobhan and Bridget’s men is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the masterfully creative dual realities of Awake.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Lost in the Amazon

This week Amber West and I review two mini-series on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: the BBC favorite, Doctor Who, and the new ABC paranormal mystery, The River.

The River has been described as a paranormal, action-packed, and adventurous program that falls into the horror, mystery, and fantasy genres.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

First, a quick summary of The River:

The series follows the friends and family members of Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), as they search for any signs that the famous television personality and wild life expert survived his last voyage into the Amazon.

Desperate for the opportunity to search for their loved one, the doctor’s wife (Tess, played by Leslie Hope) and son (Lincoln, played  by Joe Anderson) agree to allow Dr. Cole’s former producer (Clark, played by Paul Blackthorne) to join and film the expedition “documentary” style, in exchange for his funding of the trip.

The search team also consists of: Lena (Eloise Mumford), a valued resource and the daughter of Emmet Cole’s missing cameraman; Emilio (Daniel Zacapa), the ship’s mechanic and his young daughter, Jahel (Paulina Gaitan); Captain Kurt (Thomas Kretschmann), a bodyguard hired to protect the crew but who also harbors a secret agenda; and lead cameraman,  A.J. (Shaun Parkes).

Will the team discover the truth behind Emmet Cole’s disappearance, or will they too fall victim to The River?

Now, a bit of the story:

For over twenty years, Emmet Cole starred in a popular television series that explored the different parts of the world and the organisms that populate it.  His catch phrase, “There’s magic out there,” reached out to millions of loyal viewers, but perhaps no one quite as much as his wife and son who traveled with him on his ship, the Magus, during his expeditions.

But on his latest voyage to the Amazon, Emmet leaves behind those that usually travel with him (his wife, his son, his producer, and his cameraman’s daughter).  Instead, he hires a new crew and ventures out on his own searching for magic.

See? Magic…

Magic is just what he finds – a mysterious magic in the Amazon.  But before he can return with his discovery, he along with everyone else on his ship vanishes.  Emmet was presumed dead by the world, that is until his emergency beacon activates six months later.

Tess, feeling a bit guilty for reasons we won’t mention, insists they find her husband.  She decides to partner up using Clark’s financial resources to document her search for Emmet and builds the team, including her reluctant son, to find the ship and her husband (and the other missing people, but everyone has their own agenda out there).

Once the team locates the Magus, they board and immediately start watching footage taped by Lena’s dad (Russ, played by Lee Tergesen) and Jonas (Scott Michael Foster).  It is obvious to the viewer that something in the Amazon is making Emmet appear like he is going crazy; but the team presses on despite the forces working against them — forces such as possessions, magical legends and curses, poisons, and ghosts.

So far, the search and recovery has yielded two of Emmet’s missing shipmates: Russ and Jonas; but still no Emmet.  After seeing what happens to these men (no spoilers), one can only imagine Emmet’s fate is doomed.

For television, The River is actually very spooky and mysterious and the special effects are surprisingly good (Steven Spielberg is involved, after all).  The season is short (only eight episodes long) and I’m hoping for some answers in the remaining two shows.  While I am enjoying the series and it’s not sitting in my DVR queue very long, I’m still not so sure about the overall program’s rating.

Lost in the Amazon at night… spooky!

A part of me feels that I should award the JFTV rating; The River is unlike anything else on network television today (American Horror Story is better, in my opinion), but I have a bad feeling that the direction of these final episodes could possibly leave a Lost feeling in my mouth.  For that, and for that fear alone, I must award The River the SSTV rating.  It’s still simmering; what can I say?

What do you think? Do you watch The River?  Is it worthy of a higher rating?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the regenerating doctors of Doctor Who.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Does It Get Much Better Than Revenge?

This week Amber West and I review two of TV’s top dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: a returning NBC favorite, Parenthood, and the new ABC smash hit, Revenge.

Revenge has been called the return of the night time soap opera, and the critics and viewers may be right.  The new drama loosely based on the Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, stars Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne, a young and beautiful addition to the rich and prestigious Hamptons.   However, Emily’s arrival isn’t her first trip to the neighborhood…

"Our" Emily

When she was a little girl, Amanda Clarke and her father lived in the quaint beach house next door to her father’s boss and his mansion (known as Grayson Manor).  Late one night, Amanda’s father was ripped away from her for crimes that later sent him to prison for the rest of his life.  Not necessarily believing in his innocence, Amanda rebelled and spent time in incarceration herself.  The day Amanda was released from prison, she was greeted by a stranger with life changing news: her father was dead, he had been framed, and she was now filthy rich.

Amanda’s father had believed in and secretly invested in a young man named Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) when no one else would.  Nolan awarded Mr. Clarke forty-nine percent of his company in return for the investment, and his investment was now worth millions.  When Amanda’s father died in prison, all of his assets were awarded to her.  But something greater came with these riches – a map and an explanation to each and every person responsible for framing her father and sending him to prison.  Amanda assumes a new identity as Emily Thorne (the name of her closest friend in juvenile detention) and spends the next eight years of her life setting her plan in to motion, vowing revenge against those responsible for her father’s downfall – primarily the Grayson family.

"Our" Emily hard at work, researching her next target...

After establishing herself around the world as an educated and philanthropic young lady, Emily returns to the Hamptons and rents the beach house where she spent time with her father; the house where he was so abruptly taken from her.   In practically every episode, Emily destroys someone involved with her father’s demise: her father’s assistant and current mistress to Conrad Grayson, Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta); her father’s closest friend and a corrupt hedge fund manager, Bill Harmon (Matthew Glave); and the district attorney and current state senator, Tom Kingsley (Yancey Arias) to just name a few.

But these are not Emily’s prime targets.  Enter Conrad Grayson (Henry Czemy), the CEO of her father’s company who spearheaded the entire take-down, and his not-so-loyal wife, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe).

Victoria may be smiling, but rest assured she is up to something...

To make matters worse, Victoria idly stood by and watched her lover (Amanda’s father) taken away in handcuffs.  Yes, that’s right – Victoria and David Clarke actually loved each other.  And little Amanda witnessed the entire thing – the love affair and Victoria’s standing outside the door as the police arrested her father.  Oh, and just wait and see what this secret romance created…

The look says it all...

How will Emily destroy the Graysons?  Will she involve their son, Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman); the man she’s slowly but surely seducing?  The pilot episode begins at Emily and Daniel’s engagement party with Daniel’s lying bleeding on the Hampton beach from gunshot wounds….so probably.

Sweet, sweet Daniel...

Or will the “real” Emily Thorne, assuming the identity of Amanda Clarke (played by Margarita Levieva) expose the entire charade before “our” Emily has the chance to exact her revenge on the Grayson family?

And what about Emily’s childhood friend, Jack Porter (Nick Wechler), who adopted her puppy when she and her father were ripped away from their beach house?  The same love-sick boy turned man who named his boat Amanda?  “Our” Emily has worked feverishly to protect Jack, but couldn’t stand in the way when the “real” Emily also fell in love with the bar owner.  Will he remain in the dark?  Will he learn the truth?  And when/if he does, how will he respond?

And then there's sweet, sweet Jack...

Oh, I could go on and on.  As if the title of today’s blog wasn’t clear enough, Revenge scores the highest of the highest WatchWed scores – the GTV rating.  It’s not gourmet because the series showcases what life in the Hamptons is all about – money, prestige, lavish homes, elaborate parties, and endless wardrobes, but because the storyline each and every week leaves such a sweet taste of revenge in our mouths that we simply can’t wait until the next episode.

If I could award Revenge with an even higher rating, I would.  How’s TBMIEH TV – The Best Meal I’ve Ever Had Television?  So that’s not a real rating here at Watch Wednesday, but it gets my point across.  I often say Revenge is my favorite of all of the new programs this 2012 season, but it may just be my favorite series that I’m watching today.  Period.

Revenge is infinitely sweet…

There's that look again...

What do you think? Do you watch Revenge?  Who’s your favorite character?  If you had all of Emily’s resources and a similar childhood story, would you exact revenge on those responsible?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Parenthood, the show, not her motherly experiences.

Come back next week when we review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Dirty Business, Again

This week Amber West and I review two of NBC’s new dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Smash and The Firm.

What comes to mind when we hear the words “The Firm”?  Many associate these words with the best-selling novel written by John Grisham, but perhaps most think Tom Cruise almost immediately from his performance as Mitch McDeere in the 1993 film adapted from the novel, The Firm.

Mitch McDeere, fresh out of law school, is hired by a top law firm in Memphis where he and his young wife move (Abby, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn) to begin their new life together.  After just a few short weeks working for the firm, Mitch discovers that the company has been overbilling clients and he is immediately in a race to save his and his family’s life.  The Firm is a fantastic, suspenseful movie (also starring Gene Hackman) which is why I initially cringed at the thought of the story being retold yet again.

But it’s not.  Not really.

The Firm television series picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas, Sweet Home Alabama) turns in his law firm’s documents to the FBI, proving they were overbilling clients (from the novel and the movie).  The story continues that these said documents led the FBI to take over the law firm and uncover piles of other files incriminating the mob, who has in turn set their sights on Mitch and his family as retribution.

The U.S. Marshalls place the McDeere family (Abby played by Molly Parker, and daughter Claire played by Natasha Calis) into witness protection for a short period of time, but the television program begins after the family leaves witsec and returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.

Each episode, or chapter as each week is appropriately titled (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc), starts current day, then rewinds back in time to tell the story, uncovers more clues, and follows Mitch through the mystery, before it ends back in the current day.

"It's happening again..."

The pilot begins with Mitch running frantically through the DC area, running from two men in suits.  Mitch believes to have escaped the two suits and arrives in a hotel room where he is scheduled to meet a man.  This man briefly argues with Mitch, giving him nothing, before leaping to his death instead of facing the suits (they found Mitch) banging on the hotel door.

Rewind a few weeks…

While defending a court appointed fourteen year old boy charged with stabbing and murdering a classmate, a large D.C. firm swoops in and offers Mitch an opportunity to run a new criminal division – a job he declines but can’t shake the feeling that this is the right job for him that he has always wanted, not to mention will save his failing practice.   Despite Abby’s gut-feeling, considering her husband’s experience with the last firm (from the movie), the McDeeres attend a wine and dine to meet the partners and clients of the pursuing law firm.

Mitch and Abby meet the new firm...

But the deciding factor comes when Mitch is faced with a major legal battle versus a top medical company over a defective heart stint.  He strikes a deal with the D.C. firm – their resources for a percentage of his earnings.  He officially works for the firm, but he gets to keep his staff and his off-site office location.

Or so he thinks…

It seems each chapter will feature bits and pieces of three different plots: a minor storyline, an ongoing storyline, and one major storyline.

The minor:  Mitch will represent a new individual case each week, like when he takes on a dirty judge (guest star, Victor Garber).

The ongoing:  The mafia will follow and chase after Mitch and his family for his actions in Memphis (the movie).

The major:  Mitch will continue to research the Sarah Holt case – a client on trial for murdering an older woman while in her care.

This story qualifies as the major plot line because unbeknownst to Mitch, his new firm is interested in THIS case.  The firm isn’t interested in Miss Holt, the woman Mitch represents; they are interested in protecting their client – Noble Insurance.

Who is Noble insurance?  Remember the man from the pilot who jumps to his death?  He’s a Vice President at Noble insurance…

I don’t want to give too much of the story away for those who haven’t been enjoying chapter after chapter with me, but we do see a glimpse of truth behind the mystery in each episode.  The Firm doesn’t keep us guessing, not completely anyway, week after week like some frustrating shows.

The casting is absolutely great with Josh Lucas and his baby blues replacing one of Hollywood’s favorites in Tom Cruise, but also with Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers) as the chain-smoking legal secretary Tammy (Holly Hunter role in the movie) and Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) as Ray, Mitch’s private detective/ex-con older brother.  Plus as a side note and odd-fun-fact, the McDeere house in the TV series resembles the McDeere house in the movie (in my opinion).

The Firm premiered on a Sunday night in January on NBC before moving to its temporary permanent home on Thursday nights.  I say temporary permanent because NBC has already moved The Firm, and to a time slot that I can’t help but think will kill the show – Saturday nights.  All this moving around can make a girl dizzy…

Because of the cast and the non-stop mystery and intrigue, I must award The Firm with the MacTV rating – it is by far a guilty pleasure like my favorite box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese.  After all, I can’t turn away from a good mystery; I never know where I’ll draw inspiration for my stories.  I’ve actually thought that this television series could have jumped the small screen all together and continued into a major motion picture sequel with success.

Now, depending on how The Firm wraps up the multiple plot lines, the rating could definitely fall to a JFTV rating, the kind of TV I regret watching after story-telling takes a plunge for the worst.  I hope this doesn’t happen; I really don’t want to feel miserable like I do after eating too many chocolate bars.

What do you think? Do you watch The Firm?  How does it fare in comparison with Grisham’s book and the movie?  Do you like Josh Lucas as Mitch, or do you prefer Tom Cruise?  Do you think the move to Saturday night will kill the show?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Smash.   Remember our “fight” last week to review Alcatraz?  Yea, no fighting this week.  Smash is all Amber’s…

Come back next week when Amber and I flip networks and review two of ABC’s dramas: Parenthood and my favorite of all the new shows, Revenge.

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Art of Finding

This week Amber West and I review two of Fox’s new dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Alcatraz and The Finder.

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” pilot episode aired in Bones’ timeslot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the Fox network was testing the waters for the potential Bones spinoff, and briefly introduced the series by interweaving the Bones protagonists.

In the episode, Booth and Bones travel to Florida to consult with a former acquaintance of Booth’s (Walter Sherman played by Geoff Stults).  Walter is a former war veteran with the ability “to find” anything.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter takes over the case for Booth and Bones.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  However, airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows did not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder introduced two new characters this season:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and a young gypsy/criminal on probation, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.  The character of Walter Sherman is just as adorable.  Walter suffered a brain injury while in combat, and has since been tested by the FBI in order to resume his consulting work for other federal agencies.  Keeping with the Bones family lineage, Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) administered Walter’s test and “gave” him a passing score, despite the fact Walter didn’t really pass the psychological exam.

To reiterate, Walter can find anything.  He feels “finding is an art,” and once he’s hired to find something there is no firing him.  Walter becomes obsessed with whatever he is tasked to find – person or object.   He finds things using unorthodox methods and manners, whether it be lying on the tarmac pretending to be an airplane, or wearing insanely huge glasses or a hat made out of bar cherries and toothpicks.  Walter is fun; he leaves the professional side of the business to his “Ends of the Earth” partner (the bar) and a type of “handler” of sorts, Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan).

Leo is a former attorney who lost his family (wife and daughter) years earlier when a company didn’t properly recall a spoiled meat product.  He is a caretaker; Leo takes care of Walter and now he also takes care of Willow while she works through her probationary period.  He may be large and intimidating, but Leo has a soft heart and the simple joys in life bring a monstrous smile to his face.

Walter appreciates Leo, but usually has a hard time showing it.  But at the end of last week’s episode, viewers saw a different side of Walter.  Walter is usually carefree and boisterous, and uses Leo to ground himself.  But this past week, Walter shared his innermost thoughts that portrayed exactly how he feels about Leo: “Find someone you can trust.  It’ll change your life.”

Actually, the foursome is one great, big love fest (Walter, Leo, Isabel, and Willow).

Apparently, Walter and Isabel literally have a “friends with benefits” agreement that includes a special “paragraph C” for when one of the duo actually finds love elsewhere and plans to sleep with someone else.    This new development shocked us; we’re about six episodes into the season, and this was the first we could recall an actual relationship between Walter and Isabel being confirmed…not to mention the way it was written into the storyline made it seem like this has been understood from the beginning.  Who knows? Maybe we missed something early on?

As far as Willow goes, she adores Walter and Leo just the same and wants desperately to prove her worth and to find a permanent home with them, regardless of whether or not she admits it.  She also feels a tight bond with Isabel that allows her to open up and share parts of her life (her Gypsy life) that she’s never told anyone before.

The foursome of The Finder is really just one big, unrelated, dysfunctional family.

I know we’re approaching week seven this Thursday night, but I find myself bouncing back and forth between assigning The Finder with an SSTV rating or a JFTV rating. The fact that it doesn’t sit long on our DVR queue has me leaning more toward the JFTV rating, but I’m still not 100% sold; after all, my guy is usually more eager to watch than I am.  I do like Geoff Stults quite a bit too, another for the plus column under our JFTV scale.  So why not – let’s award The Finder with the JFTV rating.  We have yet another tasty chocolate bar waiting for us in the pantry for a once-a-week indulgence.  It’s not great for us, but it does satisfy us for a sixty minute interval every seven days.

The Finder does leave us wondering one thing: what happens when Walter can’t find something?  His friends appear to actually fear the day this occurs, more than likely for the psychological toll it will take on him.  But really…what will happen?

What do you think? Do you watch The Finder?  Will the Bones spinoff see the same success or be one-and-done?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Alcatraz.   We practically had to play tug-o-war to review this one; Amber won.  Why did we fight?  Okay, we didn’t fight… but considering we’re both caught up on Alcatraz, either of us could have shared our thoughts for our WatchWed viewers.  Hardly ever do we find a show that we’re both caught up on…so what does that tell ya?

Come back next week when Amber and I flip networks and review two of NBC’s new dramas: Smash and The Firm.

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Breaking Out To Do Good

This week Amber West and I review two returning police procedurals, neither of which is light and fluffy; the characters and story lines are darker than usual which might explain why these shows are on TNT and A&E:  Southland and Breakout Kings.

We’ve reviewed similar shows in which convicts assist law enforcement to do good (White Collar) or where con men and women help out regular citizens when other bad guys steal from them or make their lives miserable (Leverage), and A&E’s Breakout Kings does more of the same – a group of convicted felons help the U.S. Marshal’s office capture fugitives in exchange for reduced sentences (one month for each bad guy found and arrested) and transfers to lower-security facilities.

The group is led by Marshal Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso, Avatar), who is on a type of probation himself.  He suffers from a heart defect and supervising the team of convicts is his only chance at not being stuck on desk duty for the remainder of his career.

Working as second in command is former Marshal Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi, The Wire).  Ray has all of the necessary skills for the job, but he must work with a dark cloud hovering over him since his own conviction for taking money from a crime scene.  He currently lives in a half-way house, and until the end of season one keeps his secret from the convicts.

The only other non-con working on the task force is Jules Simms (Brooke Nevin).  Jules was unable to complete her training for the Marshal’s service due to a few disorders of her own – including anxiety and panic attacks.  Instead of working in the field along with the team, she serves as the assistant or analyst, researching the history and potential resources of the fugitives the team is assigned to find.

Next we meet the team of convicted felons, a colorful group of people without many similarities among them, other than surviving prison and hoping for an early release:

Serinda Swan portrays Erica Reed, a single mother who was arrested on weapons charges when she should have been charged with murder.  She used her skills as a bounty hunter to track each of her father’s murderers down and planned each attack so diligently, that she only went away for the lesser of the charges.  Erica is smart, concise, beautiful, and very meticulous.  Honestly, I think she may be the best hunter on the team.

Shea Daniels (Malcolm Goodwin) has the team’s street smarts.  As a former drug smuggler and dealer, Shea knows how the bad guys plan to move through networks and what avenues they will have available to them once on the outside.  Perhaps the most dangerous of the bunch, Shea oftentimes proceeds through cases with a chip on his shoulder, waiting for the Marshal service to retract on their special arrangement.

And last but not least, we have Dr. Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson).  That’s right – he is a genius with a PhD in psychology, a professor, and a published author.  So how did he wind up in prison?  Lloyd suffers from an addiction to gambling and he went to prison for writing and selling fake prescriptions to his students to help cover his debt.  He has an innate ability to break down the fugitives psyches for the team, and he also provides unsolicited counseling to the others on the task force.  Lloyd is funny and quirky, and a perfect addition to the team; perhaps my favorite character.

So there we have it – the team of misfits who make up the Breakout King Task Force, appropriately named by Shea.

Each week, Charlie and Ray pull the others out of prison to track and eventually arrest their next fugitive.  Many of the fugitives may look familiar to some of us too, including: Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper, Heroes), a convicted murderer who kidnapped and raped his multiple victims; Andrew Brenan (Richard Burgi, Desperate Housewives), a felon convicted of tax evasion, but also the suspected leader of a successful jewelry  heist team – which he is; and Virgil Downing (Mark Pellegrino, from Being Human, Supernatural, and The Closer), a convicted contract killer with dozens of killings under his belt.

Breakout Kings is more than just a police procedural; each episode is just as much about the characters as it is the fugitive on the loose.  It also has heart…and anger.

Charlie is angry; he wants nothing more than to prove to his superiors that his medical condition is not an issue and he can successfully run this task force. Ray is angry; he wants his life back, he wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, and he wants his badge back – permanently.  Erica is really angry; she wants the freedom to spend time with her daughter, a relationship that has been strained since she was arrested.  Shea is angry; but deep down he is a teddy bear and he loves to earn some alone time with his girlfriend, even if it’s in the elevator.  Even Jules is angry; sitting behind a desk is not what she had in mind when picturing her career in law enforcement.  Lloyd may be the only King without anger, but he is damaged and wants nothing more than for his mother to accept his apology for ruining his life (it’s not really a very healthy relationship between mother and son).

Because of the cat and mouse game with the fugitives and the in-depth and dark characters, Breakout Kings earns a JFTV rating.  It’s not a show that we must watch immediately when it airs, but it does have the sweet appeal of a once-a-week candy bar and we’re happy to see it when it appears on the DVR like magic.

Considering the fact that Breakout Kings premiered silently on A&E last year (our house just ‘happened’ upon it), I’m afraid not many are aware of this program.  But after today’s review, I hope more of you will check out the season two premiere Sunday, March 4th.

What do you think? Do you watch Breakout Kings?  Who is your favorite King, or do you prefer the Marshal?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the networking hopping series, Southland.   I think it may have finally found its home on TNT.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of Fox’s new dramas: Alcatraz and The Finder.

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

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

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