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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – 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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