Friday FaBOOolousness –MarvelOoous Mashups in the New Year

Welcome to the first edition of 2012’s MarvelOoous Mashups.  We spent the last few months of the year keeping to holiday themes, but now we’re back to sharing the writing and entertainment links that stood out and provided us with great information.

A few of these posts were published months ago, but we held onto them here at the Ooo Factor because the content of these bloggers is definitely worth the wait.  Be sure to click on these fabOoolous links featured today in the January edition of MarvelOoous Mashups!

PART I: FabOoolous Writerly Posts

E-Book pricing is a heated debate right now.  We’ve seen multiple blogs discussing whether or not free is a good thing, but these publications didn’t really help the rest of us looking to self-publish who want to know exactly how to price our work.  Not until we read E-Book Pricing by Ruth Harris and another E-Book Pricing post by Dean Wesley Smith.  Finally, some food for thought.

Before writing, many of us would question whether or not writer’s block is an actual disease.  Well, maybe it’s not a disease, but it does happen.  Heidi Cohen helps writers Fight the Writing Demons with challenges we can overcome.

One demon I wouldn’t mind battling while writing…okay, so he’s not a “writing” demon.

Show, Don’t Tell.  Speak to the Reader.  These are all things important to our manuscripts that we’ve heard as writers.  But how does a writer add psychological power to his or her writing, or speak to the reader’s subconscious?  Margie Lawson tells us how and provides fabOoolous examples in her guest post over at Jenny Hansen’s Cowbell.

Feel like getting to know a New York Times Best Selling Author?  Piper Bayard takes us one-on-one with Sandra Brown in this fantastic interview.  Sixty of her books have made it onto the NYT Best Selling List!?!  Oh, to dream…

With Sandra Brown at DFWcon 2011

What makes a story a mystery? A thriller? A romance?  Genre is a very important aspect of all writing; it’s actually the first question anyone asks when we announce that we are writing a story – What are you writing?  Learn what makes up a few of the different genres here in Genre Matters by Kristen Lamb.

Another hot topic in the world of writing involves the different publishing methods available to writers today.  Will self-publishing phase out the traditional publishing houses?  What does the future have in store for us?  Lynn Kelley takes a look at her Publishing Choices and includes a couple of great blurbs and links from other writers and agents for the rest of us worried about taking that next big step.

As if the perils of writing, e-book pricing, and publishing aren’t stressful enough, where would writers be without the important step of editing – and editing correctly?  Girls with Pens (the great Marcy Kennedy and Lisa Hall-Wilson) share 6 Steps for the Final Edit and the ever important 5 Ways to Show and Not Tell.  Seriously.  Read these.

PART II: FabOoolous Recipes and Crafts

Who doesn’t like to order Bread Pudding when dining out at a nice restaurant?  Well, now we don’t have to wait for that special date night!  Instead, Amber West cooks up this homemade dessert for our very own private recipe list!

Looks good to me!

Ever enjoyed a Cupcake MartiniJillian Dodd shares this delicious recipe, including a rim of icing.  Seriously.  Yum.

Looking to fill the day with something other than work?  Why not get crafty and creative with Custom Coasters like these man-cave favorites designed by Amber West.

Amazing!

Part III: FabOoolous True Crime Stories

Comics about Jeffrey Dahmer?  Songs about Charles Manson?  Yes, they do exist.  Catie Rhodes shares a few shocking true stories about Murder and Pop Culture adaptations, including the actual crime that inspired the movie Scream.

 

We always hear about all the open cold cases that have never been solved.  We even watch television shows including A&E’s Cold Case Files and the former CBS series Cold Case to see authorities working diligently years later to find closure for these victims.  So why not celebrate a few Solved Cold Cases, courtesy of Stacy Green.

Part IV: Just Because They’re fabOoolous

There has been a lot of Buffy talk on Twitter lately, and for good reason – Buffy rocks.  Luckily for those who haven’t watched the fabOoolous vampire slayer kick some serious butt and fall in love with multiple bad boys with bite (awe, Angel and Spike – how we miss thee!), Lyn Midnight takes the time to Break Down Buffy for us.

It seems we’re always watching movies about teen rebellion.  But when Catie Rhodes mentions that Over the Edge is the 1970’s version of Rebel Without a Cause, how can we resist watching?  Better yet, Catie explains that the story is inspired by actual events AND that the Nirvana hit “Smells like Teen Spirit” was based on the tale.  Interesting, right?

 

Time for the Sci-Fi Battle Royale: Who would win – Captain Kirk or Captain Picard? Jen L. Kirchner places the two Star Trek captains side by side and offers her opinion on the matter.  Who do you think would win?

Who read the Choose Your Own Adventure stories growing up?  We did, which is only one reason why we love Zombies over at Mark Lidstone’s blog.  Each week, Mark posts another chapter in Victoria’s attempt to escape the post zombie apocalyptic world, and our votes help guide him through to the next week’s story.  Vote now!

 

What blogs have you read lately that have really stood out?  Have any good blog posts for writers regarding self-publishing or e-books that you’d like to share? How about a favorite true crime story that inspired Hollywood to make a movie?  We’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: “Ringer” in the New Year

Perhaps the correct phrase is “Ringing in the New Year,” but not in the case of today’s post.  Today, we’re catching up on Ringer, the CW’s new mysterious series starring 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.  Matters get worse when Siobhan appears to have committed suicide, leaving Bridget the perfect opportunity to assume her sister’s identity.   

Enter the drama….

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 played by Zoey Deutch), and she lashes out constantly by skipping school, doing drugs, and destroying things around the penthouse.    

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

Just as Bridget grabs a hold of all 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.  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, 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. 

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.

Could that be because he’s an ex-cop named John working for the real Siobhan, who is camped out in Paris under an assumed identity?  It appears she’s the puppet master behind everything, but why? 

Oh, and did we mention she’s pregnant?  That’s an interesting twist…Henry thinks the baby is his; Andrew of course thinks the baby is his; and Siobhan’s Parisian lover (Tyler played by Justin Bruening) now thinks the baby is his.  This lady is a mess. 

To make matters worse, Bridget doesn’t do a bang up job keeping her secret – Gemma discovers the truth: that 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 Bridget (aka Siobhan), she of course thinks he did something to Gemma – why else would he cover up the evidence?   But remember, the “real” Siobhan is the one pulling all the strings….

If this was a Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday review, I’d award Ringer with the JFTV rating – it’s the perfect Junk Food Television.  I sat over the holidays and watched the entire first half of the season in mini-marathon style.  See, I recorded the series but wasn’t intrigued enough at first to watch; but once I started the episodes this weekend, I couldn’t stop. 

There are so many questions to be answered: Why does Siobhan hate her sister so much?  When will Andrew discover the truth?  How long will Siobhan and Bridget keep up this charade?  And what is Mr. Carpenter’s secret (Juliet’s teacher played by Jason Dohring)?

What do you think?  Have you watched Ringer?  How will this series continue for multiple seasons?  Any ideas?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Studying the Behaviors of the Criminally Inclined

The new television season has arrived!  Many of our favorite programs have returned, so Amber West and I decided to share a few more Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews to check out two additional CBS hit series – The Good Wife and Criminal Minds

First up – Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds follows a team of highly trained FBI agents who profile criminal behaviors for the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).   There are tons of police procedural programs on TV today, but none like this. 

The BAU team’s home base is at the famous Quantico, Virginia location; however, they travel around the United States once a city’s local authorities request their presence at the scene of a crime.  The unit studies the unsubs, or unidentified suspects, instead of the crime itself.    

The team is led by Unit Chief Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner (Thomas Gibson, Darma & Greg).   Hotch’s dedication to his job cost him his marriage.  After his ex-wife Haley (played by Meredith Monroe) was murdered by serial killer “The Reaper” (C. Thomas Howell), Hotch gained custody of his son, Jack. Hotch attempts to make amends by being the best father he possibly can; he even coaches the little guy’s soccer team. 

Due to the graphic nature of his job, Hotch rarely smiles and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders; but, despite the difficulty, he will do everything in his power to protect his team.      

Next in line is Senior Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore, The Young and the Restless).  Excelling at his job, Morgan has been named Acting Unit Chief when Hotch is out.  He was in line to be the next Unit Chief of the New York field office, but he declined the position.   He is strong and fast, and is by far the most physical on the BAU team (he’s pretty to look at too). 

Morgan had a difficult childhood: he witnessed his father’s murder and he was sexually abused by the local boys’ club caretaker.  As an adult, Morgan was framed for murdering a few of his hometown’s local boys, but was later proven innocent by his team.   

Also serving the BAU as a Senior Supervisory Special Agent is David Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna (Joan of Arcadia).  Rossi is credited as one of the founding members of the BAU, but he retired to write books and lecture on criminal analysis.  He returned to the team after Gideon’s untimely departure (see below), and seized the opportunity to solve a cold case that had haunted him for decades. 

Rossi has been married and divorced multiple times, and often jokes that divorce lawyers are the only people in his personal life that he can make happy.            

Special Agent Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster, Friends – remember Kathy?  She dated Joey and Chandler….) joined the team after Elle walked away (see below).  Early on, Prentiss felt she had something to prove being that Hotch and Gideon suspected her mother’s position as a U.S. Ambassador had something to do with her joining the BAU team. 

Prentiss served Interpol for years, where she worked undercover hunting international arms dealer, Ian Doyle.  This past year, Doyle killed her Interpol colleagues one-by-one, blaming them for the death of his only son.  Doyle finally found Emily, hunted her, and killed her.  Or did he? 

Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler, Alvin and the Chipmunks motion picture franchise) is probably my favorite member of the team.  Reid is a genius; he graduated high school before he was a teenager; he has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology; he has a Ph.D in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering; and he has an insanely high IQ – all courtesy of his eidetic memory.  Reid reads faster than anyone on the planet (he scans the page with his finger and remembers it verbatim), he remembers everything he sees, but he struggles with certain things that he hears. 

Reid suffers from inexplicable headaches and fears that he has inherited his mother’s schizophrenia.  He is not as physically fit as the rest of his team, which probably led to his being held hostage twice (once by a character portrayal by Luke Perry and another time by James Van Der Beek).     

Special Agent Jenifer “JJ” Jareau, (AJ Cook, Tru Calling) also serves the team as the media liaison.  JJ joined the FBI after attending one of Rossi’s lectures, and she is the only non-profiler on the team.  Because she isn’t a profiler, JJ has a hard time understanding how people can commit such horrible crimes, but she remains professional and battles through each case. 

JJ recently returned to the team after she was forced to take a position at the Pentagon.  Besides Hotch, JJ is the only BAU team member with a child.   

Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia, played by Kirsten Vangsness, serves the team from Quantico.  Garcia joined the team after the FBI caught her hacking into their systems.  Rarely does she accompany the team to crime scenes; instead, she prefers to stay locked inside her computer lair wearing bright eye shadows and lipsticks while  frantically surfing the internet and databases for information to assist the team. 

Garcia is one of the only BAU team members to have an actual romantic relationship (fellow FBI analyst, Kevin Lynch, played by Nicholas Brendon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).   

The BAU team has suffered its share of casualites over the years.  Previous team members include: Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin, Chicago Hope) silently walked away without telling anyone after his former girlfriend was murdered by a serial killer; Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini, The Sopranos) left the team after she was shot following an undercover assignment; and Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols, Alias) was transferred out to another department, explained by Strauss downsizing the BAU team. 

Recurring characters include: Reid’s schizophrenic mother, Diana Reid (Jane Lynch, Glee); former New Orleans police liaison and father of JJ’s son, William “Will” LaMontagne (Josh Stewart, No Ordinary Family); and  BAU Unit Direct Supervisor, Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson, 24).    

The Criminal Minds franchise took an unfavorable dip last year with the one-season-and-done spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior starring Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo.  I have to admit that the story improved as the season moved forward, and unfortunately it ended with a cliff hanger.  Maybe the Criminal Minds team will do another cross over episode and close out that story line for us?

Regardless, the original remains strong airing new episodes every Wednesday night on CBS and in syndication on A&E and ION.  At almost any given time, one can find an episode of Criminal Minds to enjoy. 

As if my love for the characters isn’t evident by the length of my post, I must give Criminal Minds a GTV rating: it has everything we want and more, especially for this fiction writer.  Criminal Minds is an excellent source of research for understanding a potential protagonist’s actions in murder mysteries.  That’s my excuse for watching so much of it, anyway.  Yes, I’m going to keep telling myself that…     

What do you think? Have you watched Criminal Minds?  Who’s your favorite BAU team member? Were you disappointed with the cancellation of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of The Good Wife.  Amber was very adamant during the Tambery Awards production that Julianna Margulies win best actress – and she did!  Congrats, Julianna. 

Come back next week when Amber and I click over to NBC and review two of the channel’s hit programs – Harry’s Law and Law & Order: SVU.

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.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with 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
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
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 – Clash of the Monday Titans

Our television sets and DVRs are about to kick into overdrive as fall TV arrives in just a few weeks.  Many of our favorite programs are returning, so Amber West and I decided to share a few more Why It’s Worth a Watch reviews to check out two of the dueling Monday night titans coming back to us September 19th – ABC’s Castle and CBS’s Hawaii Five-0

 

In 2008, TV viewers learned that CBS planned to remake the popular television series Hawaii Five-O, a hit that remained on the air from 1968-1980 starring Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett and James MacArthur as Danny Williams. 

Mixed emotions spread like wildfire – some of the older generations were furious that the networks would once again ruin a classic by attempting a remake, while others jumped in joy at the thought of their favorite television show in the ‘70s returning.  Not all that familiar with the original, the younger generations, particularly the women, marked their calendars for the series premiere and the return of some Australian sexiness to the small screen.    

Forty-two years to the day from the debut of the original Hawaii Five-O in 1968, the new Hawaii Five-0 aired.  Continuing the tribute to the original series, the 2010 opening credits remained exactly the same (except for the actors and a tad bit of our new technology today, of course).   The 2010 series also plays the original theme song composed by Morton Stevens during the opening credits. 

Don’t believe me?  Check these out!

1968

2010

What did you think?  Okay, now on to the characters!

Steve McGarrett played by Alex O’Laughlin (Moonlight, The Back-up Plan)

The series opens when McGarrett, a former Navy SEAL, hears his father murdered over the telephone.  He returns to Hawaii for the funeral and decides to stay when the governor (Jean Smart from Designing Women) appointments him the lead of the Five-O special task force, a unit with the ability to do whatever they deem necessary to close the case at hand – perfect for McGarrett’s way of acting & thinking. 

McGarrett takes down the bad guys for his “day job” while searching for the evidence to bring down Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven), the man he believes is responsible for his mother’s death years ago and for his father’s recent murder. 

Viewers get to see a tad bit of McGarrett’s personal life when his sister visits (Mary Ann McGarrett, played by Taryn Manning, 8 Mile) and his recurring love interest’s carrier docks in Hawaii (Lt. Catherine Rollins played by Michelle Borth, The Forgotten).  

Danny Williams played by Scott Caan (Varsity Blues, Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen)

McGarrett’s partner, Danny, moved to Hawaii to be closer to his daughter, Grace, and he misses the mainland and Jersey food tremendously.   

Remember the popular phrase, Book ‘em Danno?  Well, the younger generations, not as familiar with the original series, learned that the term “Danno is actually a term of endearment that Grace uses instead of “daddy” or “father” for Danny.   When McGarrett overhears an adorable exchange between Danny and his daughter, he takes a mental note and busts out with, “Book ‘em Danno” at the scene of their first arrest, much to Danny’s dismay. 

Danny operates more like a police officer should (the term “by the book” comes to mind), therefore he disagrees with McGarrett’s way of doing things.  The banter between the two partners adds a humorous element to the show, although many original Hawaii Five-O fans believe that the Danny of the ‘70s would never have talked to the McGarrett of the’70s the way our current day Danny does. 

The third and fourth members of the team, Chin-Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim from Lost) and Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park from Battlestar Galactica), are native Hawaiians with a history of their own. 

Chin-Ho was excused from the Hawaii Police Department for allegedly stealing money and his cousin Grace is the only family member who hasn’t disowned him over the supposed crime.  This matter is cleared up towards the end of season one, but we’re not offering up any SPOILER alerts today.    

Grace, a former professional surfer and recent graduate from the Police Academy, anxiously joins the Five-O task force to work with her cousin, even if it means she’ll never get to wear the HPD uniform that she worked so very hard to earn.   

Other recurring characters include: Kamekona (Taylor Wiley, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), a confidential informant and shaved-ice vendor who sometimes babysits Grace for McGarrett and Danny; Max Bergman (Masi Oka, Heroes), the medical examiner/coroner; Victor Hesse (James Marsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), murderer and Wo Fat associate; and Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik, The Baby-Sitters Club and 3rd Rock from the Sun), a former CIA agent and consultant/assistant to the Five-0 team.

The creators and CBS have brought back a classic in style, and they have glorified the beauties of the islands of Hawaii for the rest of the world to see.   Regardless of all the nay-sayers out there, I give Hawaii Five-0 a MacTV rating.   There aren’t many television programs that both my guy and I like to watch simultaneously, and this happens to be one of them. 

I really wanted to give McGarrett and Danno a GTV rating, but I just don’t quite think Beef Wellington and an expensive bottle of Cabernet when I think of Hawaii Five-0; instead, I think meatloaf covered in chili sauce served with shells-n-cheese and an ice-cold beer.  Every Monday night we sit curled up with our dinner plates in our laps enthralled in the action and mystery while shoveling the yummy food into our mouths without paying the least bit of attention to the mess we’re making.  Guilty pleasure, agree? 

What do you think? Do you like the new Hawaii Five-0 or prefer the original?  Are you like me and would watch Alex O’Laughlin in anything that guarantees the occasional shirtless scene (Navy SEALS swim a lot!)?  What do you think of Scott Caan – does he remind you of his father, James Caan (you knew that, right?)?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Nathan Fillion….I mean, the crime and mystery drama Castle on CBS!  What happens when a mystery writer tags along with a detective?  Said writer gathers tons of writing material! 

Come back next week when Amber and I continue to review a few more of our favorite programs on CBS returning this fall – the Thursday night hit, The Mentalist, and the Friday night sophomore, Blue Bloods.

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.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with 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
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: New to Fall 2011 – The CW & 1963

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.

Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

First up, the CW:

Ringer – Supernatural Thriller

Ringer stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as twin sisters Bridget and Siobhan Martin.  The sisters share a troubled relationship but decide to move past previously made mistakes.  The series begins as Bridget runs to her wealthy sister, Siobhan, after she witnesses a mob hit.  Matters get worse when Siobhan disappears and Bridget assumes her sister’s identity and learns her sister’s life is nothing like it seems.

Ringer premieres Tuesday, September 13th on the CW.

*****

The Secret Circle – Supernatural Drama

From the creators of The Vampire Diaries and based on the YA series by L.J. Smith, The Secret Circle follows teenager Cassie Blake (Brittany Robertson, Life Unexpected) after her mother’s death (well, murder).  Cassie moves to her mother’s hometown to live with her grandmother, where she meets a group of friends that help her uncover her destiny – she’s a witch.

She learns that their families have a deep history of witchcraft dating back hundreds of years, and in order for them to complete their circle, one member from each of the original families is needed.  The power of six magnifies the circle’s power one hundred percent, and Cassie makes six.

The Secret Circle premieres Thursday, September 15th on the CW.

*****

Hart of Dixie – Medical Drama

Hart of Dixie stars Rachel Bilson (The O.C.) as Dr. Zoe Hart.  She accepts a job in Blueberry, Alabama working for a man she’s never met.  When she arrives, she learns that the Doctor that hired her has recently passed away and left her a portion of his practice.   Zoe must learn to work with her new partner, his daughter (Lemon Breeland, played by Jamie King of Pearl Harbor and Sin City), and adjust to life in a small southern town that is nothing at all like New York.

Hart of Dixie premieres Monday, September 26th on the CW.

*****

Next up, ABC and NBC take us back to the ‘60s:

The Playboy Club Drama

The Playboy Club focuses on the “Bunnies” of the first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963.  The series stars Amber Heard (Pineapple Express, The Stepfather) as the newest Bunny, Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch, Sunset Beach) as an attorney with ties to the Chicago mafia and an elite club member, also known as a “Keyholder”, and David Krumholtz (Numbers), as the club manager.  The program focuses on the Bunnies’ aspirations, secrets, and seductions during a time that these clubs forever changed American society.

The Playboy Club premieres Monday, September 19th on NBC.

*****

Pan Am – Drama

Another period piece from 1963, Pan Am focuses on the pilots and stewardesses of Pan American World Airways, starring Hollywood star Christina Ricci (The Addams Family, Mermaids, and Monster).  Pan Am takes us back to a time when flying was fun for everyone, when smoking was legal in the cabin, and when the pilots kept the cockpit door open for requests from the passengers.  How times have changed….

Pan Am premieres Sunday, September 25th on ABC.

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of the new shows on the CW this year?  Are you excited to relive the early days of The Playboy Club and Pan American?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Queue it Up!

Amber West and I are taking this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in a different direction.  Courtesy of Netflix, many people don’t watch live television anymore, and we’re suggesting a few series that are definitely worthy of queuing up! 

Tru Calling

The series begins with recent college graduate, Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), searching frantically for an internship hoping to get into medical school.  Most of the good placements have already been filled, so Tru takes the only job she can find – at the morgue.

As if working with the dead isn’t daunting enough, Tru must deal with the bodies temporarily awakening and asking for her help.  The very second she receives one of these requests, Tru’s day resets and she must race to figure out exactly what these souls are trying to tell her.

Mostly, when Tru’s day starts over, she tries desperately to stop the untimely deaths of those asking for her help, but messing with fate always has its consequences. 

Trying to manage her daily resets and keep her secret from friends and family, Tru also battles constant struggles with her irresponsible brother, Harrison (Shawn Reaves), her drug-addict sister, Meredith (Jessica Collins, The Young and the Restless), and her boyfriend Luc (Matt Bomer, White Collar), while trying to lead a normal life. 

Despite the chaos, Tru tries to stay grounded with the help of her best friend, Lindsey (A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds), and her boss at the morgue, Davis (Zach Galifinakis from The Hangover).  Davis may just be Tru’s biggest rock throughout the series, even if he’s a bit odd and awkward. 

Jason Priestly (the original 90210) joined the cast midway through season one as Jack Harper; his primary focus – stop Tru and restore fate.

Typical of shows on Fox, Tru Calling was cancelled before answering all of the ongoing storylines.  This show will always live on my “gone too soon” list, and I proudly own both seasons on DVD.  One of the writers, Doris Egan, shared the remaining story arc in a two-part series via her Livejournal blog.  Without giving away any spoilers, the viewers learn all about Tru’s parents and Tru and Jack’s mentors.   

Egan’s Tru Calling Part One

Egan’s Tru Calling Part Two

Tru Calling earns a MacTV rating – pop some popcorn, grab a blanket, turn off the lights, spark up a candle, and watch episode after episode like a guilty pleasure. 

I hope you especially enjoy a few of my favorite episodes, but before you get started, check out the theme song (Full Blown Rose’s “Somebody Help Me”) for just a tiny taste of what’s ahead.  

Season One
 “Morning After”
“Murder in the Morgue”
“Valentine”
“Two Weddings and a Funeral”

 Season Two
“Grace”
“In the Dark”
“Enough”

Season two also introduced a few familiar faces as recurring characters: Liz Vassey (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) played Dr. Carrie Allen (nothing is ever as it seems – remember!) and Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles) played Jensen Ritchie, Tru’s love interest. 

If you don’t have a Netflix account, don’t worry!  Occasionally, SyFy airs a daily marathon of Tru Calling

Do you subscribe to Netflix? Did you watch Tru Calling? Are you an Eliza Dushku fan? What would you do if the dead asked for your help?  If your days could reset, would you race against the clock to change fate, or leave things as they were?  What are a few of your favorite TV series gone too soon?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see why she recommends you queue up the science fiction hit – Firefly

Come back next week for another Netflix edition as Amber and I review a few more series worth a queue.

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.  We’re currently working on our August and September schedules and would love to chat with 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

JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds

SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out

NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer

LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite – The Bad Boys

The supernatural is especially hot right now, and more often than not, the television vampire and werewolf is sexy.  These physically sculpted and beautiful characters are mesmerizing and seducing – to the other characters on-screen and those tuning in to watch the show.

Every television supernatural can moonlight as both a bad-boy and good, but more often than not, the audience prefers the naughty over the nice.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Bad Boy #1: Spike (James Marsters)

Turned in the late 1800s, the former poet known as “William the Bloody,” transformed into Spike after Drusilla drained him and forced him to feed off of her blood.  Mentored by Angelus, Spike tortured Europe for years and killed two slayers.  The bleach-blonde Billy Idol lookalike then moved to Sunnydale to destroy his third – Buffy Summers. 

Spike successfully defeats his enemies by using a combination of his combat skills, his ability to withstand large amounts of pain, and his great observation and perception skills.  But Spike has one big weakness – he’s impatient.  

Spike overcomes many battles to reach his ultimate goal, such as withstanding the microchip inserted into his body (a chip that inflicts pain every time Spike attempts to hurt any non-demon) and his alcoholism.  After his defeat of the Demon Trials (physical challenges not survived by many), Spike regains his soul. 

Early on, Spike proves to be Buffy’s nemesis, and is a constant thorn in her side.  But over the years, Spike grows to appreciate Buffy and her friends, and eventually falls in love with the slayer.  

Marsters’ character was so popular, that after Spike died on the series finale of Buffy, he was resurrected on the spin-off series, Angel.

The Vampire Diaries

Bad Boy #2: Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder)

In the 1860s, Damon meets Katherine and falls head over heels.  Not long after meeting the woman of his dreams, Damon learns that the she also shares a romantic relationship with his younger brother, Stefen. 

Making matters worse, Katherine is a vampire.  After being trapped by the Salvatore father, Katherine turns both boys and leaves them behind believing she’s dead. 

Deeply scorned by the betrayal of his brother and maker, Damon transforms into an arrogant, selfish, and dangerous vampire.  He lacks any remorse, and he is unpredictable.  Damon lives in a world of isolation, but continues searching for acceptance and love.

After decades, Damon follows his brother back to their hometown of Mystic Falls, where he meets Elena, Stefen’s new girlfriend.  Elena looks exactly like Katherine.  And so, the games begin.  Damon is drawn to Elena and eventually falls in love with her causing even more tension between the Salvatore brothers. 

After learning that Elena is “The Doppelganger” and is wanted by the strongest and oldest of all vampires, the real Damon emerges putting forth the necessary plans to save Elena from damnation.

Where Stefen takes the morally high road (he refuses to drink human blood and feeds off of small animals), Damon isn’t afraid to tear someone’s head off or rip out their heart.  Damon is the stronger of the two brothers, and will do whatever it takes to protect Elena.

True Blood

Bad Boy #3: Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard)

A tall, blonde former Viking over 1,000 years old, Eric Northman is one of the most powerful vampires in the Louisiana area.  He acts as sheriff of northern Louisiana, and takes his role in the vampire hierarchy very seriously.

At night, Eric owns and operates “Fangtasia” – a bar with a basement that serves as his dungeon and torture chamber.  He’s proven to be violent, keeping a few souls chained up until he’s satisfied.  Eric’s also very arrogant and manipulative. 

Many fear Eric, but not Sookie Stackhouse.  Eric is fascinated with Sookie when he realizes that she can read minds.  After his maker commits suicide, Eric forms a close bond with her.  He dreams about Sookie, and develops genuine feelings for her.  There’s only one problem: Sookie belongs to another vampire in town, Bill Compton. 

Similar to everything else, Eric doesn’t let Sookie’s relationship with Bill stand in his way.  He manages to force her to drink his blood, and then becomes enamored with her scent.  In addition to her mind reading skills, Sookie possesses fairy blood; and when a vampire consumes such blood, he can walk in the daylight.  Eric decides at this moment to protect Sookie, no matter what it takes. 

Besides Sookie, Eric’s only loyalty is to himself and to Pam, one of his vampire spawns. Everyone else is just a means to an end.   

Teen Wolf

Bad Boy #4: Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin)

Born a wolf, Derek spends most of his days running from the police and the Argents, a family whose werewolf hunting lineage dates back to the 1700s.  He’s blamed for most of the crime in his town, including the murder of his very own sister.  When a wolf inflicts a bite on local high school student Scott McCall, all fingers point to Derek.   

The Hale family was destroyed in a house fire set by the hunters.  Derek and his sister weren’t home at the time, and his uncle barely escaped.  With his family gone, and his uncle comatose in the hospital with third-degree burns across half of his body, Derek swears revenge against the hunters.

As a beta wolf, Derek knows that it is up to him to find and kill the alpha responsible for the town’s murders and chaos before the alpha has time to recruit and build his pack.  In return for training on how to control his new wolf urges, Scott reluctantly agrees to help Derek. 

Despite Derek and Scott’s agreement to work and train together, Derek has difficulty being friendly.  His mere presence makes those around him nervous, and even his so-called “friends” know not to let their guard down.

Do you prefer the bad-boy over the good? Who is your favorite television supernatural bad-boy and why?    In a head to head battle, who would win – Spike, Damon, Eric, or Derek? I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite

Vampires are especially hot right now, but technically the story of the television vampire has been popular for decades.

The history and mythology of the vampire has us believing the following to be true for the supernatural creatures: vampires have super strength, lightening fast speed, immortality, eternal youth, and no souls (therefore no conscience).  Vampires have pale skin and are cool to the touch.  They fear holy water, crucifixes, and garlic, and sunlight will burn their flesh.  Vampires sleep in coffins during the daylight hours, and walk the night in search of food, or play toys; whichever you prefer to call it.  A vampire doesn’t have a reflection and can’t enter one’s residence without a proper invitation from the homeowner.  And, most importantly, a vampire experiences the most excruciating hunger that only blood will satisfy.

Intriguing, right? But there’s more!

More often than not, the television vampire is sexy.  Whether the blood-sucker is male or female, the character is both mesmerizing and seducing, and has the power of extreme mind control.  The older TV series show their vampires transforming into bats, giving them the ability to fly away; today, the vampire possesses lightening fast speed and doesn’t have to shape shift anymore.

Over the years, the television vampire has adapted and has discovered a few ways around previous restrictions.  For one, the vampire has emulated today’s watchful eaters, such as vegetarians.  Instead of feeding on human blood, vampires may drink only the blood of animals.  Spells and elixirs have assisted today’s vampire in walking among the living in broad daylight.  And garlic?  It’s been left behind as an old superstition.

Are you hooked yet?

Future TV with Bite posts will discuss vampire television in further details, but the list below provides just a taste of my television favorites:

Dark Shadows, 1966-1971 – ABC; 1991 – NBC; 2004 – The WB, and syndicated on Chiller today

Vampire Barnabas Collins (Ben Cross) hides his curse from the young and beautiful Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) who just happens to resemble Barnabas’ previous love hundreds of years ago.

Forever Knight 1989, 1993-1996 -CBS, and syndicated on Chiller today

Detective/Vampire Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies) fights crime in an attempt to make up for his cold-blooded killings centuries before.  He manages to keep his secret from everyone, including his partner, except for the medical examiner/confidant, Dr. Natalie Lambert (Catherine Disher), who provides him at times with human blood.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1997-2003 – The WB, and syndicated on multiple channels today

A young teenage slayer, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), works alongside her watcher, her witchy best friend, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) , her vampire boyfriends, Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters), her human friends Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), an occasional werewolf (Seth Green) and demon (Emma Caulfield), and fellow slayer (Eliza Dushku) to protect Sunnydale from the Big Bad.

Angel, 1999-2004- The WB, and syndicated on multiple channels today

A popular spinoff from Buffy, Angel (Boreanaz) and Cordelia (Carpenter) continue to battle evil in the search for Angel’s internalized redemption alongside with new minions: Wesley (Alexis Denisof), Charles (Jaime Augusto Richards III), Winifred (Amy Acker), and Connor (Vincent Kartheiser).

Moonlight2007-2008– CBS, syndicated on Chiller and SyFy today

Private Investigator/Vampire Mick St. John (Alex O’Laughlin) and reporter, Beth (Sophia Myles), fall in love while keeping Los Angeles and Mick’s secret safe.  Mick, however, keeps an even larger secret from Beth – his vampire wife, Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon), had kidnapped Beth as a little girl, and he was the one who saved her decades ago.  Moonlight may have only lasted the one year, however it remains one of my absolute favorites.

Two of the most popular television shows on today revolve around the vampire world, True Blood on HBO, and The Vampire Diaries on The CW.  These shows are so hot, they require a future Tele-Tuesday post all their own.

While not airing new episodes, these vamp series live-on in the ever-popular syndication world: Kolchak: The Night Stalker, 1974-1975 (Chiller and SyFy); Kindred: The Embraced, 1996 (Chiller); and Blood Ties, 2007, (syndicated outside the United States).  Chiller and SyFy run a different marathon every day making it easy to catch up on these older series; check them out!

What are your thoughts on the mythological versus the television vampires?  Which is your favorite vampire television series of all time?  Who is your favorite television vampire?  Do you think these television shows will live forever like their eternal characters, or will someone jab a stake through their heart?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday #8 – New to Summer 2011

Every summer, the major networks pick up at least one new show hoping to break it big with huge ratings success.  With June just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away, here are a few of the programs that might fit your television tastes.  Give ‘em a try!

ABC: The Hot ZoneThe new medical drama

The Hot Zone follows the medical staff, consisting of nurses and doctors from the allied nations (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia), in Afghanistan as they treat the men and women fighting to protect their country’s freedom.  The show stars a few familiar faces: Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Shutter Island), Michelle Borth (The Forgotten and Hawaii Five-0), and Luke Mably (The Gates).  Premiers Tuesday, June 21ST

NBC: Love BitesThe new romantic comedy

Love Bites follows a single girl (Becki Newton from Ugly Betty and Guiding Light) dating in New York City while searching for love, and a Venice Beach married couple (Constance Zimmer from Entourage and Boston Legal, and Greg Grunberg from Heroes and Alias). Love Bites plans to feature an array of guest stars including Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), Lindsay Price (90210 and Eastwick), and Guillermo Diaz (Weeds and Half Baked) just to name a few. Premiers Thursday, June 2ND

USA: Necessary Roughness – The new sports series

Necessary Roughness follows a New York woman attempting to balance her family and her career following a recent divorce.  She accepts a position as a therapist for a professional football team, and is assigned to assist the team’s star receiver in actually catching the ball.  Callie Thorne (Rescue Me and Prison Break) stars as Dani Santino along with Scott Cohen (The Gilmore Girls and Law & Order: Trial by Jury), Mehcad Brooks (True Blood and Desperate Housewives), and Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Knight and Day).  As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.  Premiers Wednesday, June 29th

USA: Suits – The new legal series

Instructed by a partner to hire another brilliant Harvard Law graduate for his Manhattan law firm, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht from Whiteout and Love and Other Drugs) recruits a brilliant new associate, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams from Friday Night Lights and many other cameo appearances on popular television shows).  But, Mike has a huge secret – he never graduated college, yet alone law school.  The two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone – now that’s a dilemma, right?  Premiers Thursday, June 23rd

Unfortunately, many of the summer shows on the basic cable channels don’t fare well; however, there are a few that return this year including Rookie Blue (ABC) and Flashpoint (CBS).  The USA network, on the other hand, ROCKS the summer broadcasting, and I’m personally looking forward to their new shows this summer!

What shows are you looking forward to checking out this summer? Do you prefer sex, dating, and  marriage comedies, medical dramas, legal series, or sports-themed television?  I’d love to hear from you!

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