Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – American Horror Story

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

This week, American Horror Story

Over the years, FX has launched itself as one of the premiere networks due to their phenomenal original programming.  The channel hit pay dirt in the 2011/2012 season with yet another fantastic FX original to add to its list of past successes.  Joining the likes of Nip/Tuck, Damages, and Justified, American Horror Story kept with the creepy and dark storylines and didn’t disappoint!  And now, with two seasons “in the books,” the writers and creators hope to score big… again.

Season one, American Horror Story, followed the stories of the Murder House…

Following a miscarriage and an affair, Vivien and Ben Harmon left Boston with their daughter, looking for a fresh start.  The family bought a gorgeous house in California, despite learning that the previous owners both died in the basement in an apparent murder-suicide.

The house was perfect for the Harmons; large enough for Ben (Dylan McDermott, The Practice) to open his private psychiatry practice, and outdated just enough to keep Vivien (Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights) busy redecorating.  At first daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) doesn’t understand why the family had to move across the country, but she soon adjusted after meeting her father’s new patient and fellow “cutter” (Tate, played by Evan Peters).

The Murder House… aka The Harmon’s New Residence..

Not long after moving into the new home, the neighbors stopped by to introduce themselves: Constance (Academy Award winner, Jessica Lange) and her daughter Adelaide. Constance warned Vivien that Addy had always been attracted to the Harmon’s new home and had the tendency to walk in as she pleased, but failed to disclose that she too had a long history with the house.

Next, Vivien met Moira, the house’s former housekeeper.  After briefly visiting with Moira, Vivien decided to re-hire her to help tend to the house.  But here’s the creepy part – Vivien saw Moira as an older woman (played by Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under), but her adulterous husband saw Moira as a young and sexy maid (played by Alexandra Breckenridge, Dirt).

Following a home invasion of crazy people, reenacting a previous murder that allegedly took place in her house in the 1960s, Vivien decided to hop on board a tour bus that stopped outside her new home to learn the history of the house—The Murder House.

Season one brought us The Gimp…

The house was built in the early 1900s by a Dr. Charles Montgomery for his wife, Nora.  Suffering from a down economy, the doctor performed abortions inside the house for extra money.  It was not long before an angry family member of one of Charles’ patients kidnapped and murdered his son.

In the 1960s, a group of sorority girls lived in the house.  Maria, a devout Christian, answered the door to find a bleeding man on the front porch.  She brought him inside and called upstairs for the house nurse to help—but it was a set-up.  The man and his friends drowned the nurse, and hog tied and brutally murdered Maria.

In the 1970s, the house was vacant and a set of red-headed twin tweens enjoyed vandalizing the property.  Young Adelaide warned the two to not go inside, but they ignored her and continued to break lights and wreak havoc on the house.  After entering the basement, the two boys were murdered.

The stories continued… and the murders continued over the years; thus the nickname, the Murder House.

I made no secret of the fact that I loved the first season of American Horror Story.  The creators and writers produced groundbreaking TV; every episode was filled with eerie, spooky, and creepy storylines with twists and turns week in and week out.  No one was safe, not even the main characters played by major Hollywood actors and actresses.  And the ending?  Well, it wrapped up the Murder House storyline perfectly for the epic first year with potential for more.

But unlike most television dramas, season two brought something fresh—no more Murder House.  Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk took season two in an entirely different direction.  Together, they created American Horror Story: Asylum.

The series kept a few of our favorite leads from the first year (Jessica Lange, Evan Peters) and brought back a few of the supporting cast (Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson, and Zachary Quinto) as well.  But no one returning for season two played the same character—Constance (Lange), Tate (Peters), Moira (Conroy), Nora (Rabe), Billie Dean (Paulson), and Chad (Quinto) were gone; instead, we had Sister Jude (Lange), Kit (Peters), The Angel of Death (Conroy), Sister Mary Eunice (Rabe), Lana (Paulson), and Dr. Oliver Thredson (Quinto).

New characters were also introduced in season two with well-known actors and actresses accepting the roles (Joseph Fiennes, James Cromwell, Chloe Sevigny, Adam Levine, and Mark Consuelos to just name a few).

The story was also completely different.  Instead of the Murder House, we had Briarcliff—the mental hospital/insane asylum—where again, it seemed no one ever really escapes.  Unlike the first season, which took place in the present, season two took place in the 1960s for the most part.  Instead of the theme of infidelity like in season one, season two focused largely on themes/things that could have happened, have happened, and were rumored to have happened, and might possibly happen again in the future, making it even creepier than season one… if that’s at all possible.

Asylum brought us Bloody Face…

In lieu of the creepy and spooky, the stories were primarily dark, twisted, and extremely bothersome… bordering on disgusting.   Perhaps one of the reasons season two was so gripping was because of the controversial storylines: aliens, demonic possession, abuse at the hands of medical professionals and the Catholic Church, the inhumane treatment of those locked away in the mental hospital/insane asylum… all simply because those in charge could get away with it.  As mentioned before, all of these things could have happened in real life, have happened, and will quite possibly happen again in the future.  That’s why American Horror Story: Asylum was scary—different from the purely suspenseful themes in the first year.

For me, I enjoyed the first year more than the second… as far as the story is concerned, anyway.  The acting and characters?  They were still just as impressive.  Once again, Jessica Lange and Even Peters carried the show with help from American Horror Story alumni Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto.  I watched every single week just for the cast.  Now, I’m not saying season two was bad, just different and not as good in my opinion.  In keeping with the first year, the unique storytelling, twists, and revelations of Asylum were simply genius and still unlike anything else on TV today.

American Horror Story: Asylum closed just as nicely as the first… perhaps even better.  Every story was wrapped up in a big red bow with no questions or cliffhangers left dangling.

News of the third season pickup thrilled me; but left me wondering what we, the television audience, could expect with a new year of AHS.  And then I saw the story’s new “home” of sorts…

American Horror Story: Coven

Coven?  Are you kidding me?  We get witches?  Oh, heck yes!

Not only that, but a few of our favorites are back!  Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe return… as do a few of season one’s veterans we missed or barely saw in season two: Taissa Farmiga, Frances Conroy, Alexandra Breckenridge, and Denis O’Hare.  One name is missing, I notice, and this makes me sad… Zachary Quinto.  Fingers crossed he at least stops by the Coven for a second or two.

We also have some new faces joining the cast… some really familiar faces: Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Patti LuPone, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Grey Damon, and Mare Winningham.

After seeing what the writers and creators were capable of in the first two years, I will be one of the first to press play on my DVR October 9th when American Horror Story: Coven premieres on FX.

It’s for this reason (and all those mentioned above), that I must award the entire American Horror Story series with the GTV rating… even though I clearly enjoyed the first season more than the second.

Bottom line –  FX has themselves a groundbreaking television series, appropriate for viewing after dark with a perfectly grilled bone-in filet, steaming broccoli, and a glass of fine red wine.

What do you think—will you watch American Horror Story: Coven?  Did you watch the first two seasons of AHS?  Did you prefer season one or season two?  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…

TV’s Dark Dramas

I love dark dramas… mysteries, horror, psychological thrillers, slashers, you name it.  And in the past, I’ve had to turn to the Hollywood blockbusters to catch my fair share.  But not anymore!

Television entered this dark world last year with FX’s American Horror Story.  While this program wasn’t for everyone, I certainly enjoyed it, with the sinister and twisting storylines and the supernatural elements with the hauntings and ghosts.  Needless to say, I was thrilled when the network announced the show’s renewal… but was hesitant when I learned the cast (for the most part) and story would be completely different from the first year.  And while I didn’t necessarily enjoy the second season (AHS: Asylum) as much as the first, it kept me intrigued.

Looking back, the idea was quite brilliant actually… and now I find myself anxiously awaiting season three.  Again, the plot will be different, as will some of the cast, but the idea behind AHS: Coven is right up my alley.

But as far as dark television dramas are concerned, FX’s American Horror Story is no longer alone…

The 2012-2013 TV season saw a handful of dark programs that I really enjoyed:

Fox’s The Following

NBC’s Hannibal

A&E’s Bates Motel

ABC’s 666 Park Avenue

The CW’s Cult

Granted, only three of these shows will live to see a second season (666 and Cult died early on, but luckily the networks are airing the remainder of the taped episodes this summer for those of us who actually watched and enjoyed these mysteries).  Therefore, for the sake of today’s post, we’ll just talk about the surviving three.

To me, what really stood out with all three of these television series was the acting, character development, and the writing.

First, let’s look at The Following

Viewers are immediately taken into the mind and history of the two main characters.  The protagonist, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), is now a retired FBI agent, who is also a recovering alcoholic and a man fighting to stay healthy (he has a bad heart).  Hardy’s not limited to the rules of the FBI or other law enforcement agencies.  More importantly, he doesn’t care… he will do anything to catch his guy.  He reminds me a LOT of Jack Bauer from Fox’s 24.

Then we have the antagonist, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), who’s a former literature professor obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe… oh, and he’s a mass murderer.

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

But it’s not just that.  James Purefoy is perfect for the role of Carroll.  His charisma leaves audiences at home believing he has that special ingredient necessary to make hundreds of “crazies” follow him, thus the idea of the cult.  One moment I would feel sorry for his character, and the next, I would fear him unlike any other.  The character, and his performance, was creepy good.

Next, we have Hannibal

I personally loved the character of Will from the film adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel, Red Dragon.  But then again, I adore Edward Norton.   When I truly enjoy a character and/or an actor’s performance, I can’t help but worry about the decision to re-do or continue the same character in another adaptation with a different actor at the helm.  However, I’m happy to report that I do like Hugh Dancy’s portrayal of Will Graham in NBC’s Hannibal just as much.

And since we’re talking about the films, what more can be said about Anthony Hopkins?  He will forever be Hannibal Lecter in my mind.  However, considering the TV series couldn’t land Sir Hopkins to resume his iconic role (well, maybe they could, but they didn’t), Mads Mikkelson will definitely do.  He’s got the creepiness down and he’s playing the demented sociopath quite well.

I only recently finished watching the first season, and I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed Dancy and Mikkelson as the lead characters.  But performances aside, the story is what really pulled me into this series.  It is dark, dark, dark, dark, dark… and creepy.  It’s fascinating, chilling, and intense.  The creators do not shy away from the gore; and the way the viewers get to experience the minds of both Will and Dr. Lecter via the cinematography and writing is fantastic.

And finally, we have Bates Motel

I wrapped up the first season of Bates Motel this past weekend, and much like The Following and Hannibal, the performances in this television series are what set it apart from all the other dramas on TV.

In this series, we revisit the Alfred Hitchcock favorite… only this time we see how it all began with a young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his very-much-alive mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga).  Anyone who has seen Psycho understands why Norman is how he is as an adult, but Bates Motel shows us more of the sordid relationship between mother and son.

Speaking of the relationship between mother and son… just how inappropriate is it?  Well, we haven’t seen anything sexual between the two, but we have seen Norma undress in front of Norman… as well as crawl into bed with him.  What normal parent cozies up next to their teenage son and cuddles with him for a good night sleep?  Norma.  And Norman is such a “good boy,” he’ll do anything to please his mother.

But is Norman such a good boy?  Not if we believe all the things Norma tells his older half-brother (Max Thieriot)… not if we believe all of the hallucinations Norman suffers from… and not if we watched the season finale.

Bottom line, this family has issues… but the actors do not.  Highmore and Farmiga are great as Norma and Norman Bates.  I don’t know what I expected from A&E’s new series, but I will say the writers and creators have far exceeded whatever expectations I might have had.

What do you think?  Do you like these “dark” TV series?  Which is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

American Horror Story: Asylum—Where Crazy Stuff Happens

I made no secret of the fact that I loved the first season of American Horror Story.  The creators and writers produced groundbreaking TV; every episode was filled with eerie, spooky, and creepy storylines with twists and turns week in and week out.  No one was safe, not even the main characters played by major Hollywood actors and actresses.  And the ending?  Well, it wrapped up the Murder House storyline perfectly for the epic first year.

The news of the second season pickup thrilled me; even though the original story wrapped, the continuation of the series, Murder House included, had endless possibilities: fresh new faces with new Murder House residents—new owners would undoubtedly be haunted by the past and would uncover new secrets not yet brought to light in the first season; the ghosts—we all learned that even when dead, no one leaves the Murder House; and heck, even the same characters from season one technically could have continued in one way or another—not everyone died, and even those that did had room to continue with a little creativity.

But Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk took season two in an entirely different direction.  Together, they created American Horror Story: Asylum.

Oh, the torture! It was almost as painful to watch as it was to imagine for the character strapped to the table!

The series kept a few of our favorite leads from the first year (Jessica Lange, Evan Peters) and brought back a few of the supporting cast (Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson, and Zachary Quinto) as well.  But no one returning for season two played the same character—Constance (Lange), Tate (Peters), Moira (Conroy), Nora (Rabe), Billie Dean (Paulson), and Chad (Quinto) were gone; instead, we had Sister Jude (Lange), Kit (Peters), The Angel of Death (Conroy), Sister Mary Eunice (Rabe), Lana (Paulson), and Dr. Oliver Thredson (Quinto).

Oh, Sister!

New characters were also introduced in season two with well-known actors and actresses accepting the roles (Joseph Fiennes, James Cromwell, Chloe Sevigny, Adam Levine, and Mark Consuelos to just name a few).

But not only did the characters change, the story was completely different.  Instead of the Murder House, we had Briarcliff—the mental hospital/insane asylum—where again, it seems no one ever really escapes.  Unlike the first season, which took place in the present, season two takes place in the 1960s for the most part.  Instead of the theme of infidelity like in season one, season two focuses largely on themes/things that could have happened, have happened and were rumored to have happened, and might possibly happen again in the future, making it even creepier than season one… if that’s at all possible.

In lieu of the creepy and spooky, the stories were primarily dark, twisted, and extremely bothersome… bordering on disgusting.   Perhaps one of the reasons season two was so gripping was because of the controversial storylines: aliens, demonic possession, abuse at the hands of medical professionals and the Catholic Church, the inhumane treatment of those locked away in the mental hospital/insane asylum… all simply because those in charge could get away with it.  As mentioned before, all of these things could have happened in real life, have happened, and will quite possibly happen again in the future.  That’s why American Horror Story: Asylum was scary—different from the purely suspenseful themes in the first year.

“If you look in the face of evil, evil’s gonna look right back at you.”  ~ Sister Jude to Lana

One’s worst nightmare… being locked up against one’s own will and experiencing a horrible torture with no end in site. Creepy, right?

For me, I enjoyed the first year more than the second…  as far as the story is concerned, anyway.  The acting and characters?  They were still just as impressive.  Once again, Jessica Lange and Even Peters carried the show with help from American Horror Story alumni Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto.  I watched every single week just for the cast.  Now, I’m not saying season two was bad, just different and not as good in my opinion.  In keeping with the first year, the unique storytelling, twists, and revelations of Asylum were simply genius and still unlike anything else on TV today.

For the most part, there was one central theme/mystery in AHS: Asylum—Bloody Face.  In the ‘60s, a man murdered and skinned women.  One young man was arrested for the crimes and sentenced to Briarcliff, but he never wavered and always declared his innocence.  Was he Bloody Face?  Of course not; that would have been too easy.  The identity of the real Bloody Face was a twist all its own.  But that’s all I will say—no spoilers here.

I will say this though: I loved how almost every single actor/actress from season one, if not cast as a major or supporting character in two, was at least cast in a recurring role or cameo appearance in Asylum.  Almost everyone… Connie Britton didn’t appear once, and that was a bummer, but understandable considering her new hit on ABC (Nashville).  And just when I was beginning to think Dylan McDermott wouldn’t make an appearance either, he did.  And WHAT a role he played!

Oh, Johnny. Johnny. Johnny. Johnny.

Like its predecessor, American Horror Story: Asylum closed just as nicely as the first… perhaps even better.  Every story was wrapped up in a big red bow with no questions or cliffhangers left dangling.  We know a season three has already been announced, leaving us with just one question: what in the world can we look forward to next year?

What do you think?  Did you watch American Horror Story: Asylum?  Did you prefer season one or season two?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: Anxiously Awaiting the Return of American Horror Story

Over these last few weeks, The Ooo Factor has introduced seventeen new programs to the 2012 television schedule.  But what about our returning favorites?

By now, I think everyone knows just how much I loved a few of the new dramas last year.  When asked which one I enjoyed most, I have a difficult time choosing (all three are very different).  First, we have ABC’s Revenge, where we watch the angry, yet beautiful protagonist Emily Thorne exact vengeance against all those who destroyed her family years earlier.  Next, we have CBS’s Person of Interest, where we watch the Jack Bauer-Raylan Givens-like protagonist John Reese kick bad guys around each and every week.  Then we have American Horror Story

FX did it again in the 2011/2012 season with yet another fantastic original drama to add to its list of past successes.  Joining the likes of Nip/Tuck, Damages, and Justified, American Horror Story kept with the creepy and dark story lines and didn’t disappoint!

To recap:

Following a miscarriage and an affair, Vivien and Ben Harmon leave Boston with their daughter looking for a fresh start.  The family buys a gorgeous house, despite learning that the previous owners both died in the basement in an apparent murder-suicide.

The Harmon Family…

The house is perfect for the Harmons; large enough for Ben (Dylan McDermott, The Practice) to open his private psychiatry practice, and outdated just enough to keep Vivien (Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights) busy redecorating.  At first daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) doesn’t understand why the family has to move across the country, but she soon adjusts after she meets her father’s new patient and fellow “cutter” Tate (Evan Peters).

The family’s new neighbors stop by to introduce themselves: Constance (Academy Award winner, Jessica Lange) and her daughter Adelaide. Constance warns Vivien that Addy has always been attracted to the Harmon’s new home and tends to walk in as she pleases, but fails to disclose that she too has a long history with the house.

Next, Vivien meets Moira, the house’s former housekeeper.  After briefly visiting with Moira, Vivien decides to hire her to help tend to the house.  But here’s the creepy part – Vivien sees Moira as an older woman (played by Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under), but her adulterous husband sees Moira as a young and sexy maid (played by Alexandra Breckenridge, Dirt).

Regardless of which version of Moira is on screen, Constance can’t stand her.  Years earlier, young Moira was sleeping with another former owner of the house (played by Eric Close from Without a Trace), a man who Constance loved.  After walking in on Moira and her lover having sex, Constance shot and killed them both.  Constance didn’t bother to notice that her boyfriend was forcing himself onto the beautiful housekeeper; instead, she just shot point-blank into Moira’s eye before taking dead aim at his chest.

Following a home invasion of crazy people reenacting a previous murder that allegedly took place in her house in the 1960s, Vivien decides to hop on board a tour bus that stops outside her new home to learn a bit of history about the house—The Murder House.

The Murder House… aka the Harmon residence.

The house was built in the early 1900s by a Dr. Charles Montgomery for his wife, Nora.  Suffering from a down economy, the doctor performed abortions inside the house for extra money.  It was not long before an angry family member of one of Charles’ patients kidnapped and murdered his son.   The events destroyed the family, particularly Nora, but when the doctor sewed his son back together like a Frankenstein monster, his wife lost it.

In the 1960s, a group of sorority girls lived in the house.  Maria, a devout Christian, answered the door to find a bleeding man on the front porch.  She brought him inside and called upstairs for the house nurse to help—but it was a set-up.  The man and his friends drowned the nurse, and hog tied and brutally murdered Maria.

Learning of these additional stories about her house, Vivien decides she has heard enough.  Noticing blood, she jumps off the tour bus and rushes to the doctor afraid she’s suffering another miscarriage.  Her baby is fine, but despite her doctor’s warning to not attempt a move during pregnancy, Vivien insists they sell the house.

In addition to the legends that Vivien has already heard, the house has an even longer history of death making it difficult for the realtor (Christine Estabrook, Desperate Housewives) to show the house.

In the 1970s, the house was vacant and a set of red-headed twin tweens enjoyed vandalizing the property.  Young Adelaide warned the two to not go inside, but they ignored her and continued to break lights and wreak havoc on the house.  After entering the basement, the two boys were murdered.

Look behind you, Vivien!

Another previous owner, Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare, True Blood), set the house on fire while his wife and daughters slept—or did he?  Regardless of how the fire started, he too burned, but was spared before perishing himself.  After serving years of his life sentence in prison, he was diagnosed with an advanced stage of brain cancer and was released to live out the remainder of his days a free man.  Now free, Larry begins to stalk Ben and warns him that he must get his family out of that house…

On Halloween 2010, gay lovers Chad (Zachary Quinto, Heroes) and Patrick (Teddy Sears, Raising the Bar) died while preparing to celebrate the festive holiday.  Following a fight, Patrick stormed off and a mysterious man dressed in rubber drowned Chad in his apple-bobbing station.  Attempting to mend fences with his lover, Patrick rushed home wearing his Halloween costume and discovered his partner’s body before suffering his own untimely death at the hands of The Gimp.  As we can see, the previous owners did not die in a murder-suicide, as the realtor tells it, but rather a double homicide…

The Gimp… or is that Ben? Or Tate? Who is wearing the creepy rubber suit?

Past events continue to unfold, but remember one of the reasons why the family moved away from Boston?  Ben had an affair with his student (Hayden played by Kate Mara from We Are Marshall).

Hayden announces she is pregnant and shows up at the Harmon house hoping to convince Ben to take care of her or warns she will ruin his marriage.  Crazy Larry takes a shovel to Hayden’s head and Ben covers up the murder by burying her in a grave in the backyard.  As Larry sees it, Ben now owes him; and the house has a new ghost lingering around.

Speaking of the grave, there were other bodies down there—Moira for one.  Constance explains this is why the slain housekeeper is forever tied to the house, especially after Ben builds a gazebo to cover up Hayden’s body.  But are there other bodies down there too?

Tate, Constance, and Moira watch as yet another falls victim…

And this is just early into season one… the really good thing about American Horror Story is that the show actually answered many of our questions, including:

Who is The Gimp?
What happened to Tate?
What happened to Constance’s other children, and is she a ghost?
What happened to Mrs. Montgomery?
Will Addy be tied to the house along with the other ghosts?
Will the Harmons escape The Murder House?
And, who is the father of Vivien’s baby, her husband or the man in the rubber suit?

But unlike most television dramas, season two brings us an entirely different story and cast.  Instead of a family moving into The Murder House, this year the story takes place in an asylum.  Instead of playing Constance, Jessica Lange now plays Sister Jude.  Instead of playing Chad, Zachary Quinto now plays Dr. Thredson.  Instead of playing Tate, Evan Peters now plays Kit Walker.   And, instead of playing Nora, Lily Rabe now plays Sister Mary Eunice.  Other than this, the entire cast of American Horror Story season two is new:  James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Adam Levine, Chloe Sevigny, Clea DuVall, and Mark Consuelos to just name a few.

I won’t lie; a part of me is sad that the story of season one died along with… well, I don’t want to give anything away.  But after seeing what the writers and creators were capable of last year, I will be one of the first to press play on my DVR October 17th when American Horror Story: Asylum premieres on FX.

Did you watch American Horror Story?  What do you think about the change in location and cast for season two?  Which non-returning character will you miss most?  Which new character are you most looking forward to?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Preparing for the New Year

Today, Amber West and I take another look back at one of our previous Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts.  We figured that everyone is recovering from their holiday hangover right about now, so we too decided to take a tiny break and repost a previous WatchWed review.    

Reposting this particular post couldn’t have come at a better time.  With the new year on the horizon, we thought it would be worth everyone’s time to share how we determine our DVR Priorities… just in case we can help anyone struggling with the decisions of which television program to record and why. 

How do we determine our DVR Priorities?

Setting the DVR is a serious business at Casa Blanca.  A certain someone might just go into cardiac arrest if her favorite TV shows don’t record properly.  Okay… it’s a figurative heart attack, not a literal medical emergency – but try telling her it’s not a big deal. 

So, what qualifies as a DVR priority in Casa Blanca?  The episodic series that don’t feature special encore presentations or reruns later in the week are the number one priority in our house.  Ironically, these shows aren’t necessarily all GTV rated programs.

One might ask, if the television program doesn’t earn a top Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday rating, why should it be considered a DVR priority?  Because if we record an hour-long show on the DVR, we can fast forward through the commercials saving twenty minutes of our day! 

When someone (not naming any names) records anywhere from five to seven programs a night, saving those twenty minutes is crucial to making our TV viewing as efficient as possible

So, let’s begin…

Take Survivor for instance – this reality sensation, hosted by the ever-adorable Jeff Probst, does not air again if missed at its original time slot.  Does Survivor earn a GTV rating?  No, but it is definitely a guilty pleasure and sits firmly as a MacTV favorite.  The same can be said for Big Brother because we don’t have another chance if we miss a show.    

Survivor returns February 2012

Sometimes we can rely on the basic five (ABC, CBS, the CW, FOX, and NBC) to air the occasional rerun, but it’s never guaranteed; therefore, Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Bones, and Chuck sit high upon the DVR priority list (all receive a GTV rating, by the way). 

The cable channels (USA, TNT, and FX specifically) replay their original programming, so even if the DVR experiences a glitch while recording, we can schedule a future recording to ensure we stay on top of our series.  THANK YOU, cable networks; especially since so many of these channels produce top-notch GTV rated television: Psych, Burn Notice, The Closer, Justified and American Horror Story just to name a few.

Justified returns January 2012

Last week, one of our favorite and most loyal readers disagreed with the fact that The Walking Dead did not receive an undisputed GTV rating.  First of all, we can’t express enough how much it means to have a faithful following, and we specifically ask for our readers to respond and spark up healthy debates.  For that, we thank you, Andrew!  When Mr. Mocete speaks, we listen here at WatchWed – but that doesn’t mean we still don’t feel the need to back up our rating system. 

The Walking Dead returns February 2012

The Walking Dead did receive half a GTV rating with the newly awarded TBP rating – a twice baked potato is the best of both worlds: gourmet and junk food.  But regardless of the rating, AMC’s hit show receives top priority on our DVR for the mere fact it brings zombies (eh-hem, walkers) to the TV.  We can’t miss the walkers – the supernatural is a must in this house. 

We’re kind of going against our earlier rule about reruns with this next DVR priority, but at the same time, we’re sticking with the newly established supernatural rule.  While Death Valley only receives a JFTV rating, what other television program brings us thirty minutes of zombie, werewolf, and vampire comedy?   Trust us, it’s not the best television available today – but it is one of a kind and we look forward to the silliness and gore every Monday night before bed.    

Pretty Little Liars returns January 2012

The insurgence of YA mystery on TV also receives a DVR priority in this YA mystery writer’s house.   ABC Family provides mystery lovers with two fantastic on-going whodunits with Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game.  Again, neither receives a top GTV rating (although the mystery factor of each one deserves a top review), but both series definitely qualify as a guilty pleasure and earn a MacTV rating.  

Who in the world is A?  What additional secrets will Sutton and Emma uncover?  This thirtysomething loves the constant intrigue of these two young adult television shows – if an episode answers a question, it guarantees to develop two or three more before the hour expires. 

So, to recap:  When considering DVR priorities in Casa Blanca, we go with episodic TV without encore presentations or the possibility of reruns.  We ignore the rating scale for once, and go with what we may miss if we don’t schedule ahead of time.  And finally, while we didn’t set out for this to actually qualify as a rule, it appears that any programming with supernatural elements or a good YA mystery finds a home high atop our recording list.

What determines DVR priority in your house?  Which show is your #1 Priority on the DVR?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and find out which one of her Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts she wants to share with everyone once again before the end of the year. 

Come back next year, I mean next week, when Amber and I re-review the fairy tales, Grimm and Once Upon a Time.  We left them simmering last time, have they worked their way up the rating’s chart?

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 DVR Priorities de Casa Blanca

This week, Amber West and I aren’t reviewing a particular television program; instead, we’re discussing our individual DVR priorities as they stand in each of our households.

Setting the DVR is a serious business at Casa Blanca.  A certain someone might just go into cardiac arrest if her favorite TV shows don’t record properly.  Okay… it’s a figurative heart attack, not a literal medical emergency – but try telling her it’s not a big deal. 

So, what qualifies as a DVR priority in Casa Blanca?  The episodic series that don’t feature special encore presentations or reruns later in the week are the number one priority in our house.  Ironically, these shows aren’t necessarily all GTV rated programs.

One might ask, if the television program doesn’t earn a top Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday rating, why should it be considered a DVR priority?  Because if we record an hour-long show on the DVR, we can fast forward through the commercials saving twenty minutes of our day! 

When someone (not naming any names) records anywhere from five to seven programs a night, saving those twenty minutes is crucial to making our TV viewing as efficient as possible

So, let’s begin…

Take Survivor for instance – this reality sensation, hosted by the ever-adorable Jeff Probst, does not air again if missed at its original time slot.  Does Survivor earn a GTV rating?  No, but it is definitely a guilty pleasure and sits firmly as a MacTV favorite.  The same can be said for Big Brother because we don’t have another chance if we miss a show.    

Sometimes we can rely on the basic five (ABC, CBS, the CW, FOX, and NBC) to air the occasional rerun, but it’s never guaranteed; therefore, Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Bones, and Chuck sit high upon the DVR priority list (all receive a GTV rating, by the way). 

The cable channels (USA, TNT, and FX specifically) replay their original programming, so even if the DVR experiences a glitch while recording, we can schedule a future recording to ensure we stay on top of our series.  THANK YOU, cable networks; especially since so many of these channels produce top-notch GTV rated television: Psych, Burn Notice, The Closer, Justified and American Horror Story just to name a few.

Last week, one of our favorite and most loyal readers disagreed with the fact that The Walking Dead did not receive an undisputed GTV rating.  First of all, we can’t express enough how much it means to have a faithful following, and we specifically ask for our readers to respond and spark up healthy debates.  For that, we thank you, Andrew!  When Mr. Mocete speaks, we listen here at WatchWed – but that doesn’t mean we still don’t feel the need to back up our rating system. 

The Walking Dead did receive half a GTV rating with the newly awarded TBP rating – a twice baked potato is the best of both worlds: gourmet and junk food.  But regardless of the rating, AMC’s hit show receives top priority on our DVR for the mere fact it brings zombies (eh-hem, walkers) to the TV.  We can’t miss the walkers – the supernatural is a must in this house. 

We’re kind of going against our earlier rule about reruns with this next DVR priority, but at the same time, we’re sticking with the newly established supernatural rule.  While Death Valley only receives a JFTV rating, what other television program brings us thirty minutes of zombie, werewolf, and vampire comedy?   Trust us, it’s not the best television available today – but it is one of a kind and we look forward to the silliness and gore every Monday night before bed.    

The insurgence of YA mystery on TV also receives a DVR priority in this YA mystery writer’s house.   ABC Family provides mystery lovers with two fantastic on-going whodunits with Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game.  Again, neither receives a top GTV rating (although the mystery factor of each one deserves a top review), but both series definitely qualify as a guilty pleasure and earn a MacTV rating.  

Who in the world is A?  What additional secrets will Sutton and Emma uncover?  This thirtysomething loves the constant intrigue of these two young adult television shows – if an episode answers a question, it guarantees to develop two or three more before the hour expires. 

So, to recap:  When considering DVR priorities in Casa Blanca, we go with episodic TV without encore presentations or the possibility of reruns.  We ignore the rating scale for once, and go with what we may miss if we don’t schedule ahead of time.  And finally, while we didn’t set out for this to actually qualify as a rule, it appears that any programming with supernatural elements or a good YA mystery finds a home high atop our recording list.

What determines DVR priority in your house?  Which show is your #1 Priority on the DVR?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out which shows prompt her to scream at her DVR if for any reason they don’t record. 

Come back next week when Amber and I review something; we haven’t decided yet.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

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
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 – Urban Legends

Watching American Horror Story this week reminded us of the power of the urban legend when a patient of Dr. Harmon’s couldn’t even muster up the strength to walk into his bathroom in fear of the Pig Man.

By definition, an urban legend is a modern tale or myth usually believed to be true.    A few favorites include:

The Bloody Mary Legend, the ghost who appears in a mirror after her name is called three times.

The Killer in the Backseat Legend, the story that begins with a woman driving home alone at night when a passerby scares her by flashing his high beams or speeding past her.  She manages to make it home, safe and sound, before realizing the other driver was only trying to warn her about the man in the backseat.

 

The Achilles Slasher Legend, the fear that a mysterious person lays in wait underneath cars ready to slash our Achilles tendons as we attempt to open the car door.

The Spider Bite Legend, the legend of the facial spider bite that swells and bursts, releasing hundreds of tiny baby spiders.

The Hook Legend, a tale of a serial killer who stalks and murders young couples.

 

The Kidney Heist Legend, the terrifying story of waking up in a pool of ice only to discover a kidney has been surgical removed and stolen.

The Pop Rocks and Soda Legend, the tale that enjoying a package of Pop Rocks candy and a can of soda together will result in an explosion of the face, throat, and/or stomach.

Hollywood has told the tales of the urban legend over and over again, and it has thrived in the success of moviegoers perhaps believing in, and definitely enjoying the frightening stories.

Candyman, the 1992 horror film starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, and Xander Berkeley combines the tales of Bloody Mary and the Hook, while placing a new spin on the legends.  In this movie, the characters summon Candyman by calling his name five times while looking into a mirror.  A man with a hook for his right hand appears and seeks revenge against those who harmed him years before.

Candyman successfully spooked the begeezus out of our group in high school, and as usual the sequels weren’t quite the same (Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman 3: Day of the Dead).

I Know What You Did Last Summer, the classic tale of The Hook, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillippe.  This movie follows a killer with a hook stalking four teenagers responsible for a hit and run the summer before.

Hollywood produced a few sequels, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (Jennifer Love and Freddie Prinze Jr. return with the addition of Brandy Norwood, the singer, and Mekhi Phifer) and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (all new cast), but these follow-ups lost the shock factor of the original.

Finally, let’s not forget the Urban Legend Franchise that includes tales such as the Pop Rocks and Soda story, the Kidney Heist, the Spider Bite, and the classic, Bloody Mary.

Urban Legend stars a young, popular cast of the ‘90s: Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, as well as other familiar faces like Alicia Witt, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and Freddie Kruger himself, Robert Englund.    This movie resembles more of a slasher flick, but does introduce a few of the classic urban legends within the storyline.

Similar to its predecessor, Urban Legend: Final Cut hit screens a few years later starring Jennifer Morrison, Anthony Anderson, Eva Mendes, Joey Lawrence, and Rebecca Gayheart (again). We watched as another mysterious killer makes his way across campus killing college students working on their thesis projects.

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary wraps up the franchise, but moves toward the supernatural when three friends call to Bloody Mary during a sleep over.  Instead of the usual slasher theme, this movie follows the story of a decades old murder via haunting and mysterious deaths.

Urban Legends – fact or fiction?  Share a favorite in the comment section below. 

What other movies have you enjoyed that tell the tales of the urban legend?  Is the number three the death number for an urban legend franchise (three Candyman movies, three I Know What You Did Last Summer movies, and three Urban Legend movies), or is it just coincidence?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: Creeping Through the Murder House

Yesterday was Halloween, so in keeping with the previous week’s Tele-Tuesday theme and the spooktacular holiday, we are taking a walk through FX’s new thriller – American Horror Story.

FX does it again with fantastic original programming.  Joining the likes of Nip/Tuck, Damages, and Justified, American Horror Story keeps with the creepy and dark story lines and doesn’t disappoint!

Following a miscarriage and an affair, Vivien and Ben Harmon leave Boston with their daughter looking for a fresh start.  The family buys a gorgeous house, despite learning that the previous owners both died in the basement in an apparent murder-suicide. 

The house is perfect for the Harmons; large enough for Ben (Dylan McDermott, The Practice) to open his private psychiatry practice, and outdated just enough to keep Vivien (Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights) busy redecorating.  At first daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) doesn’t understand why the family has to move across the country, but she soon adjusts after she meets her father’s new patient and fellow “cutter” Tate (Evan Peters).    

The family’s new neighbors stop by to introduce themselves: Constance (Academy Award winner, Jessica Lange) and her daughter Adelaide. Constance warns Vivien that Addy has always been attracted to their new home and tends to walk in as she pleases, but fails to disclose that she too has a long history with the house.   

Next, Vivien meets Moira, the house’s former housekeeper.  After briefly visiting with Moira, Vivien decides to hire her to help tend to the house.  But here’s the creepy part – Vivien sees Moira as an older woman (played by Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under), but her adulterous husband sees Moira as a young and sexy maid (played by Alexandra Breckenridge, Dirt).   

Regardless of which version of Moira is on screen, Constance can’t stand her.  Years earlier, young Moira was sleeping with another former owner of the house (played by Eric Close from Without a Trace), a man who Constance loves.  After walking in on Moira and her lover having sex, Constance shoots and kills them both.  Constance doesn’t bother to notice that her boyfriend was forcing himself onto the beautiful housekeeper; instead, she just shoots point-blank into Moira’s eye before taking dead aim at his chest.    

Following a home invasion of crazy people reenacting a previous murder that allegedly took place in her house in the 1960s, Vivien decides to hop on board a tour bus that stops outside her new home to learn a bit of history about the house — The Murder House.

The house was built in the early 1900s by a Dr. Charles Montgomery for his wife, Nora.  Suffering from a down economy, the doctor performs abortions inside the house for extra money.  It’s not long before an angry family member of one of Charles’ patients kidnaps and murders his son.   The events destroy the family, particularly Nora, but when the doctor begins to sew his son back together like a Frankenstein monster, his wife loses it. 

In the 1960s, a group of sorority girls live in the house.  Maria, a devout Christian, answers the door to find a bleeding man on the front porch.  She brings him inside and calls upstairs for the house nurse to help — but it’s a set up.  The man and his friends drown the nurse, and hog tie and brutally murder Maria. 

Vivien has heard enough.  Noticing blood, she jumps off the tour bus and rushes to the doctor afraid she’s suffering another miscarriage.  Her baby is fine, but despite her doctor’s warning to not attempt a move during pregnancy, Vivien insists they sell the house.   

In addition to the legends that Vivien has already heard, the house has an even longer history of death making it difficult for the realtor (Christine Estabrook, Desperate Housewives) to show the house.    

In the 1970s, the house was vacant and set of red-headed twin tweens enjoy vandalizing the property.  Young Adelaide warns the two to not go inside, but they ignore her and continue to break lights and wreak havoc on the house.  After entering the basement, the two boys are murdered. 

Another previous owner, Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare, True Blood), set the house on fire while his wife and daughters slept.  He too burned, but was spared before perishing himself.  After serving years of his life sentence in prison, he was diagnosed with an advanced stage of brain cancer and was released to live out the remainder of his days a free man. 

Larry begins to stalk Ben and warns him that he must get his family out of that house…

On Halloween 2010, gay lovers Chad (Zachary Quinto, Heroes) and Patrick (Teddy Sears, Raising the Bar) die while preparing to celebrate the festive holiday.  Following a fight, Patrick storms off and a mysterious man dressed in rubber drowns Chad in his apple-bobbing station. 

Attempting to mend fences with his lover, Patrick rushes home wearing his Halloween costume and discovers his partner’s body before suffering his own untimely death at the hands of The Gimp.  As we can see, the previous owners did not die in a murder-suicide, as the realtor tells it, but rather a double homicide.     

Past events continue to unfold, but remember one of the reasons why the family moved away from Boston?  Ben had an affair with his student (Hayden played by Kate Mara from We Are Marshall). 

Hayden announces she is pregnant and shows up at the Harmon house hoping to convince Ben to take care of her or warns she will ruin his marriage.  Crazy Larry takes a shovel to Hayden’s head and Ben covers up the murder by burying her in a grave in the backyard.  As Larry sees it, Ben now owes him; and the house has a new ghost lingering around.

Speaking of the grave, there were other bodies down there: Moira for one.  Constance explains this is why the slain housekeeper is forever tied to the house, especially after Ben builds a gazebo to cover up Hayden’s body.  But are there other bodies down there too? 

All this after just four episodes…    

What do you think?  Have you watched American Horror Story?  Who is The Gimp?  What happened to Tate?  What happened to Constance’s other children, and is she a ghost?  Speaking of Constance, isn’t Jessica Lange magnificent?   What happened to Mrs. Montgomery?  Will Addy be tied to the house along with the other ghosts?  Will the Harmons escape The Murder House?  Who is the father of Vivien’s baby, her husband or the man in the rubber suit?  There are so many questions…I’d love to hear what you think!

Friday FaBOOolousness – October’s MarvelOoous Halloween Mashup

 

Halloween is right around the corner, so why not dedicate October’s MarvelOoous Mashup to bloggers getting into the spirit with some spooky and festive posts?

We start with one of the most familiar crafts this time of year, pumpkin carving and decorations.  Luckily for us, Angela R. Wallace walks us through some fun ideas in It’s Pumpkin Time!

Keeping with crafts, Tameri Etherton talks about the art of taxidermy (now that’s kind of a creepy conversation for Halloween, right?) and shows off her new front porch skeleton friends in her Wednesday Whimsy post.  Be sure to check out the link she provides to teach all of us how to make our own skeleton buddy.

Kate MacNicol teaches us a bit of Celtic and Wiccan history, as well as provides a healthy soup recipe in her post, What’s Cookin’ in Your Cauldron?

Do people really poison Halloween candy or is it urban legend?  Catie Rhodes investigates and provides some food for thought in her edition of Bad Candy.

Is chocolate really dangerous for our dogs?  Amy Shojai, my pet-guru, offers her expertise in her Howl-oween Spook-tacular and provides helpful first aid tips just in case man’s best friend bites into our chocolate Halloween treats.

Zombies are taking over the world, at least on TV.  Sonia G. Medeiros talks AMC’s The Walking Dead and announces the poll results to best and worst zombie movies ever in The Zombies Have Arrived!

Who can think Halloween without thinking about witches?  Personally, I’m a big fan of witches, which is why when Jess Witkins published A Wicked Review of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (prequel to The Wizard of Oz), I was wickedly intrigued.

While we’re discussing wicked witches, click over to Jillian Dodd’s Halloween special and tell her which of these sexy warlocks can cast a spell on you in her MANday: Warlocks Edition.

How about some television to get us in the mood for Halloween?  Besides horror, science fiction provides many haunting stories and far-out costume possibilities, as well as keeps the creatures crawling around the screens spooking us.  Not sure what sci-fi to watch?  Check out Amanda Rudd’s series: Top 10 SciFi Television Shows Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Skeptical that sci-fi and Halloween go hand-in-hand?  Michael Myer’s mask in the Halloween movies was adapted from a Captain Kirk Halloween mask.  No joke.

 

Speaking of haunting TV, who’s watching FX’s new show, American Horror Story?  Creepy….check out Lauralynn Elliot’s thoughts on her blog post of the same name, American Horror Story.

Do you believe in vampires?  They’re fictional, eh?  Read Stacy Green’s post The Vampire of Sacramento and tell me if you change your mind.

Speaking of vampires, visit Jillian Dodd’s blog and vote for which of these hot television and cinematic bad boys with bite can snuggle up and take a nibble out of your neck on her MANday: Vampire Edition.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Halloween without a few hauntings….

Was the home of one of the sexiest men in Hollywood haunted?  Check out Errol Flynn’s Ghost by Catie Rhodes – would you stay the night in Mulholland Farm if the house hadn’t been destroyed?

What are two of the creepiest establishments associated with hauntings?  Insane Asylums and Prisons.  Stacy Green educates us on America’s Most Haunted Prison, and it’s not Alcatraz.

What does Halloween mean to you?  Do you dress up in costume and go trick or treating?  What are some of your favorite Halloween pastimes and crafts?  Do you have any favorite Halloween recipes or ghost stories to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week for a Friday FaBOOolousness Boo Factor installment –Halloween.

Tele-Tuesday: Fall Brings More Laughs…and adds Dinosaurs and Screams

It’s that time of year again!  The fall television schedule is right around the corner and, as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites. 

This is week three, and we’re still introducing more of the new television programs this fall.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, it’s time for even more new comedy, plus a new sci-fi program and horror series!

*****

Terra Nova – FOX

Fox joins the science fiction revolution with Terra Nova, a story that follows a family’s journey back in time to pre-historic days searching for answers to protect the human race in 2149.  The land seems perfect, except for a few life threatening downfalls –dinosaurs and renegades known as the Sixers. 

Terra Nova stars Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars) as Jim Shannon, the family’s patriarch and sheriff of the Terra Nova colony, and Stephen Lang (Gods and Generals, Avatar) as Commander Nathaniel Taylor, the leader of Terra Nova.      

Other notables: Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer along with other members of the 24, Falling Skies, and Fringe teams.   

Terra Nova premieres Monday, September 26th.

*****

Suburgatory – ABC

Suburgatory follows single dad George Altman (Jeremy Sisto, Law & Order and Clueless) as he relocates with his teenage daughter, Tessa, from New York City to a suburban neighborhood.  Tessa immediately feels that her father has moved her into another dimension with all of the seemingly perfect families, and is mortified by the perky mothers and plastic surgery obsessed teenage girls. 

Will George and Tessa survive their life inside their very own suburban purgatory? 

Other notables: Suburgatory also stars Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Dallas Royce (perfect rich suburban mom name, right?), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Dollhouse), and Saturday Night Live alums Chris Parnell (Archer) and Ana Gasteyer. 

Suburgatory premieres Wednesday, September 28th.

*****

How to be a Gentleman – CBS

How to Be a Gentleman stars David Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Six Feet Under) as Andrew Carlson, a writer assigned with the task of adding sexiness to his column.  The problem?  Andrew isn’t all that familiar with sexiness.  

Therefore, Andrew hires Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon, Entourage), a friend and current fitness trainer, for guidance.  The phrases “opposites attract” and “night and day” come to mind when researching this new comedy. 

Other notables: How to be a Gentleman is based on a book of the same name by John Bridges, and also stars funny man Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall, Celebrity Poker Showdown), and Jack Bauer’s right hand woman, Chloe O’Brian – aka Mary Lynn Rajskub (24). 

How to Be a Gentleman premieres Thursday, September 29th.

*****

American Horror Story – FX

From the creators of the FX great, Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story stars Dylan McDermott (The Practice, Dark Blue) and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as husband and wife, Ben and Vivien Harmon.  FX usually keeps “mum” on their new series; however, we do know that Ben and Vivien move into a haunted mansion….and the story is spooky!    

Other notables: American Horror Story also stars Francis Conroy (Six Feet Under), Denis O’Hare (True Blood), and Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek), as well as Hollywood great and Academy Award winning actress, Jessica Lange (King Kong, Tootsie, Cape Fear, need I say more?). 

Isn’t the cast alone worthy of a watch?

American Horror Story premieres Wednesday, October 5th.

*****

Last Man Standing – ABC

Last Man Standing brings comedian great Tim Allen (Home Improvement, The Santa Clause movies) back to television as Mike Baxter, an adventurous “manly-man” working for an outdoor sporting goods store.  But, when Mike gets home, he’s surrounded by women: his wife (Nancy Travis, Three Men and a Baby, Becker, and The Bill Engvall Show) and three daughters. 

How will Mike adapt when his wife goes back to work and he has to stick around the house a bit more? 

Other notables:  Last Man Standing also stars Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope, Monk) as Ed, Mike’s boss. 

Last Man Standing premieres Tuesday, October 11th.

*****

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!

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