Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Devious Maids, Devilishly Fun

The summer shows have started, some of them anyway.  And while we still have quite a few to premiere over the next few weeks, I did catch a new Lifetime original series that aired this past weekend: Devious Maids.

I almost missed this new series…  I hadn’t heard anything about it.  Luckily, as I watched the Lifetime original Jodi Arias story, I caught a commercial for Devious Maids just in time to set my DVR for the premiere.

The story begins with a wealthy wife confronting her husband and their maid for having an affair.  Having said her piece, the wife takes her husband back down to their lavish backyard party… while someone murders the maid upstairs.

A murder mystery.  Already, I’m intrigued.

Devious Maids follows a group of beautiful Hispanic housekeepers in Beverly Hills and the rich families they work for.  First, there’s Marisol (played by Ana Ortiz from Ugly Betty).  She’s new to the scene, but has a very good reason for being there…  Then there’s Rosie (J. Dania Ramirez from Heroes and Entourage).  She’s the sweet one, working diligently to bring her young son to America from Mexico.  Next, there’s Carmen (played by the beautiful Roselyn Sanchez from Without a Trace).  Carmen landed a maid-ship, working for a Latin recording artist… a lucky coincidence, since she has her own dreams and aspirations of signing a big record deal.  And finally there’s Zoila (Judy Reyes from Scrubs) and Valentina (Edy Ganem), a mother and daughter cleaning team… that is if the mother can remind the daughter that she’s there to dust and mop (and that the rich folk don’t date the help).

After watching the first hour, this new Lifetime original series reminded me of Desperate Housewives.  There are hot guys (Drew Van Acker—also known as Jason DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars, and  Matt Cedeno—Brandon Walker from Days of our Lives);  familiar faces (Susan Lucci—the Erica Kane from All My Children, Grant Show—from the “real” Melrose Place, Brett Cullen—Harold’s business partner from Person of Interest, Mariana Klaveno—Lorena from True Blood; Rebecca Wisocky—the seemingly untrustworthy Brenda from The Mentalist, Brianna Brown—the crazy Lisa from General Hospital; and Tom Irwin—from one of my old favorites… My So Called Life); plus, gossip, lust, and humor, with both laugh-out-loud moments and backhanded comments.

“You thought my maid had plastic surgery?” ~Taylor
“Poor people like to be pretty too!” ~Evelyn

Oh, and did I mention Devious Maids was created by Marc Cherry?  You know, the man responsible for Desperate Housewives?  No wonder I saw the similarities… even the music reminded me of our favorite ladies from Wisteria Lane.

I’ll admit; when I first saw the commercials for the new series, I rolled my eyes.  Just a little bit.  But you know me; I set my DVR to record it anyway.  And I’m really kind of glad I did… because Devious Maids is devilishly fun.

So for now, I’m awarding Devious Maids with the JFTV rating.  This dramedy is definitely a guilty pleasure.  And if you miss Desperate Housewives, this one might be just for you!

Did you watch Devious Maids?  Do you plan to?  I’d love to hear from you!

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – “How to Live with Your Parents…” and Perhaps the Longest TV Title Ever

Since sharing the sad news last week that Amber was stepping away from her regularly scheduled television reviews, I decided it was time for some laughs.  So, in my first solo-Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday review, I clicked over and watched ABC’s latest sitcom—How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life).

We’ve all wondered it at least once since leaving home, whether it be for college, or marriage, or just because… what would we do if we had no choice but to move back in with our parents as an adult?

After Polly’s (Sarah Chalke from Roseanne and Scrubs) divorce, she has no choice but to move back in with her parents.   But after six months, she worries she’s stuck there forever with her mother (Elaine, played by Elizabeth Perkins from Big and Weeds) and her step-father (Max, played by Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond).  To make matters worse, she’s plagued by the ex-husband who just won’t go away (of course).

This sitcom really has a sweet family dynamic—everyone wants to be there for each other, regardless of “how” they express their love and support.  For example, the granddaughter is scared of dogs… so her grandparents take her to a dog shelter to help her face her fears.  In retrospect, this may not have been the best method, but their hearts are in the right place. Bottom line, everyone in the family makes each other a better person (even where the ex-husband is concerned).

But mostly the show is about Polly (Chalke) and her growth post-divorce.  Since leaving her husband, she’s projected most of her fears onto her daughter… to make herself feel better.  Her daughter isn’t really scared of dogs; Polly is.  Her daughter isn’t afraid to sleep alone; Polly is.  And her daughter doesn’t mind if Polly wants to date other men; Polly is scared to date other men.  And as  bizarre and as quirky and as “not normal” as Polly’s parents are, they’re giving her the freedom to figure all of this out on her own… which, as we all know, is the only way to learn.

Besides having the longest TV title EVER, did the new comedy make me laugh-out-loud?  Because as we’ve established previously in other reviews, this is an absolute must for television sitcoms as far as I’m concerned…

Well, the casting is great.  Sarah Chalke is adorable and has great comedic timing, especially with her facial expressions and her “Marty Kahn-like” moments with the audience when she looks directly into the camera (random example I know, but the out-of-character-camera-moments with the audience is the exact same as Marty Kahn’s character from Showtime’s House of Lies AND I love ’em).  And speaking of adorable, that little Rachel Eggleston (Natalie, Polly’s daughter) is absolutely precious!!

Polly’s “Marty Kahn-like” Moment with the Camera

And then we have Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett…

Elizabeth Perkins’s character (Elaine, Polly’s mother) is honest, uncensored, and unfiltered.  She’s full of love and lives carefree… and Perkins nails it.  As expected, Brad Garrett’s character (Max, Polly’s stepfather) has Mr. Garrett’s dry tone and hilarious delivery… enough said, right?  Together, these two steal the show.

But is HTLWYPFTROYL laugh-out-loud funny?  Eh…  more so than 1600 Penn, for sure.  But not as much as New Girl.  I did smile a lot; therefore I’m awarding this sitcom with the SSTV rating for now.  I will definitely watch it again and I have a feeling the laughter will come.

What do you think?  Have you watched How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Come back next week when I take on another new show… one that I’ve been anxiously awaiting since I heard of the project’s development… NBC’s Hannibal.

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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Keeping Up with The Neighbors

Fall Television is officially here!  With all of the new TV programs airing this fall, Amber West and I have a ton of homework to do…  This week, we tuned in and watched two of the most recent additions to the comedy lineups for our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews—NBC’s Guys with Kids and ABC’s The Neighbors.

Welcome to Hidden Hills, a gated community in the suburbs of New Jersey complete with its own golf course… sounds peaceful, right?  Not when the entire neighborhood consists of aliens…

The new ABC comedy follows the experiences of the Weaver family, the first human family to move into Hidden Hills in the ten years its current residents (aliens from the planet Zabvron) have been waiting for instructions to return home.  At first, the Weavers believe their new neighbors are just weird (they dress alike AND they are all named after famous athletes), but do weird neighbors really cry out a nasty goo from their ears when upset?  No… that would be aliens.

The series stars Lenny Venito (one of Sipowicz’s snitches from NYPD Blue) and Jami Gertz (one of my favorite ‘80s actresses from movies like Sixteen Candles, Lost Boys, and Less Than Zero) as Marty and Debbie Weaver.  The Weavers have waited for years to get their family of five (Amber, the typical cranky teenager; Max, the take it or leave it preteen boy; and Abby, the youngest and typically adorable daughter) out of their crammed New Jersey apartment, and when the first unit in Hidden Hills opens up they snatch it.

The Weaver family’s reaction to the news that their neighbors are aliens…

Immediately welcoming the Weavers are the neighbors, a group of identically dressed adults all holding pies, led by the “supreme leader” Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) and his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye).  The Weavers notice that the Joyner-Kersee-Bird family is a bit of an oddity, but accept an invitation to dinner anyway—being neighborly and all…

While at dinner, the strangeness continues… at the dinner table, the Weavers enjoy the food that the Joyner-Kersee-Birds prepared for them, while the JKBs read books—that’s how they nourish their bodies.  After their respective meals, Jackie Joyner-Kersee confesses to Debbie that she wishes Larry Bird would treat her with more respect and talk to her the same way Marty does with Debbie, instead of ordering her around all the time.  Jackie further explains that she allows this treatment solely because Larry Bird gave birth to their children (a teenager, Reggie Jackson, and his younger brother, Dick Butkus)—a feat she will never understand and always appreciate.

Wait a minute… did Jackie Joyner-Kersee just imply that the men get pregnant and carry the babies in Hidden Hills?  Weird… oh, wait; they’re all aliens… okay.

But, perhaps my favorite part was when Jackie Joyner-Kersee was washing dishes… well, not so much washing as throwing them out the window.  Now, that’s my kind of lady!  Haven’t we all been there before?  Wishing we could just toss the nastiness instead of soaking and scrubbing plates?

Anyway, it’s not until after dinner that all the craziness breaks out.

Trying to impress his new friends, Dick Butkus shows Max and Abby exactly what makes him special—with the clap of his hands, he immediately transforms into a little green alien, thrusting green goo all over the Weaver children.  Needless to say, the Weaver children run screaming from the house, leaving the parents wondering what in the world had just transpired upstairs.  And of course, Marty and Debbie don’t believe Max and Abby… not until the entire Joyner-Kersee-Bird family shows up at the Weaver house and lets their true forms shine.

The “real” Joyner-Kersee-Bird Family…

The first episode opened with a lot of promise; I even laughed out loud on a few different occasions.  But, the subsequent episodes haven’t nearly been as funny…  Honestly, I thought “the neighbors are aliens” secret would last a little longer; but they were “outed” before the end of the first episode.  The remaining episodes, while cute, have focused on the Weavers “teaching” the Joyner-Kersee-Birds all about life here on earth, while simultaneously learning about their very own family issues within.

Usually when I review a new television program, I can’t help but award it with the SSTV rating; but I’m breaking away from the norm today.  That’s right—I’m awarding The Neighbors with the NIV rating.  I know what some of our readers are thinking… I must not like ABC’s new comedy if I’m only willing to watch it while I’m dozing off.  That’s not true; I do like it, but it’s not something I’m dying to watch as soon as Wednesday night rolls around.

It’s simply okay; not bad, but not great either… but, definitely appropriate for viewers of all ages—a real family show.  There really aren’t many honest-to-goodness family programs on TV today… and this is one reason why I keep tuning in to The Neighbors.  The sitcom tackles very important topics like the first day of school in a new neighborhood (or world for that matter), how to respond to bullying, the meaning of family holiday celebrations, and the patience to understand that we’re not all the same.

Aliens on an escalator for the first time… too funny!

I may not watch The Neighbors until I’m crawling into bed to go to sleep, but I do watch it—it remains a weekly recording on my DVR queue… for now.

What do you think?  Have you watched The Neighbors?   I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what she thinks about Jimmy Fallon’s new creation, Guys With Kids.

Come back next week when Amber and I return with an installment of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday unlike any other… we’re reviewing the same show for the very first time!  Will we agree or disagree after watching Chicago Fire?

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 – Early Look at Animal Practice

After two weeks of partying with our readers at the Tamberny Awards,  Amber West and I return to our regularly scheduled program this week and review two of NBC’s upcoming comedies on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday—Go On and Animal Practice. 

We each caught a sneak peek at the pilot episodes, which were strategically positioned at the end of NBC’s Olympic broadcasts.  I somehow missed Go On, but I remembered to set my DVR to pick up Animal Practice after the Closing Ceremonies.

We watch Weeds in our house and love the Botwin family, including Andy (played by Justin Kirk).  Mr. Kirk’s comedic timing is fantastic on the Showtime hit; so when we learned that this was the final season of Weeds, and that the actor who has been entertaining us for the past eight years as the quirky brother-in-law/Botwin-father-figure was starring in a new sitcom, we knew that we’d want to check it out.

Obviously, from the title, the series focuses on an animal hospital and the doctors providing the care.  We have the “head” doctor, if that’s the appropriate term, Dr. George Coleman (Kirk), and his supporting staff.  The supporting staff comes with a very funny resume.  First we have a Chelsea Lately Round-Table veteran, Bobby Lee, playing Dr. Kim Yamamoto.  I’ve never seen Mr. Lee act before, but so far I’m not looking away.  We also have Tyler Labine, a very funny side-kick from two short-lived TV programs (the CW’s Reaper and CBS’s Mad Love), playing Dr. Doug Jackson.

As a side note, my favorite part played by Mr. Labine has to be the role of Dale in the comedy/horror film Tucker & Dale Versus Evil.  Now that’s entertainment!

But anyway, back to Animal Practice

Everything seems to be running smoothly at the hospital until George’s ex-girlfriend (Dorothy Crane, played by Reba star, Joanna Garcia-Swisher) returns.  As if her return isn’t bad enough, she brings with her the news that her aunt (the owner of the animal hospital) has named her the proprietor of the establishment.

So we have funny men (Kirk, Lee, and Labine), a funny lady (Garcia-Swisher), the elements of a romantic comedy, and animals… specifically a capuchin monkey (Dr. Rizzo, played by Crystal the Monkey).

Anyone who knows me knows that I love monkeys.  I loved Marcel, the monkey in Friends.  I also loved the monkey in The Hangover Part II—oh, wait… it’s the same monkey!  That’s right; Crystal the Monkey also starred alongside Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms in the popular sequel.  What a lucky monkey…

But will this be enough for Animal Practice?

To be honest, it’s too early to award Animal Practice with anything other than the SSTV rating.  I mean, we’ve only seen twenty-some-odd minutes worth.   Now, the pilot did show some promise… we’ll just have to see if the episodes can lift it up enough to keep it going once it returns in late September.

What did you think? Did you catch the sneak peek of the Animal Practice pilot?  How would you rate it?  Do you plan to catch the sitcom this fall?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about Matthew Perry’s return to comedy in Go On.   I can’t believe I missed this one.

Come back next week when Amber and I review something..

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

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

Friday FabOoolousness – I Need a Movie to Watch…

I had a different post planned for today, but I’m feeling a bit under the weather and decided to save it for another time.  Since all I can think about is curling up in my chair, drinking warm liquids, and watching movies, I thought I’d share some of the films that are on my radar and that I’d like to see.

Deciding which movies to watch may not be a factor, especially if I don’t start feeling a bit better and I stay in my chair all weekend.  But I thought that by sharing, perhaps everyone could help me prioritize which ones I need to move to the top of the list.

First up, the comedies… because we all know that I love to laugh.

Next, we have a few dramas… with a touch of action.

And, we have the action/adventure films with the added bonus of some eye candy…

with Ryan Reynolds…

With Justin Timberlake, Alex Pettyfer, and Matt Bomer…

With Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, and Michael Fassbender…

With Jesse Metcalfe…

And last but not least, we have one of my favorites… the psychological thrillers.

Have you seen any of these films?  Which one/s should I  move to the top of my viewing list?  Any I should stay away from completely?  Do you recommend any other movies?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Men at Work… on Dating

This week Amber West and I take on two new television programs on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in our first Boys versus Girls post—ABC Family’s Bunheads and TBS’s Men at Work.

TBS, a channel we don’t usually watch in our house, has launched a new sitcom created by the great Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash).  Men at Work follows four friends who all work together at the same magazine as writers, photographers, and reporters as they help a buddy get back on the dating horse after a disastrous breakup.

The series stars: Danny Masterson (That ‘70s Show) as Milo, the recently dumped friend; James Lesure (Las Vegas – we are big fans of Mike Cannon here at The Ooo Factor) as Gibbs, the sexual and sensual best friend; Adam Busch (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Neal, the only one of the four in a serious relationship; and Michael Cassidy (The O.C.) as Tyler, the beautiful and stylish one.

Rarely do we see a comedy centered around all men, about men.  Plus, Men at Work features four funny television character actors we’ve missed seeing around the TV screen for the past few years.  Add the funny-man creator to this, and we couldn’t help but think Men at Work could potentially be summer dynamite.

We weren’t far off—Men at Work is thirty minutes of fun.  I’d say it puts the “fun” in “funny,” but that might sound a bit cliché.  It’s nice having a comedy my guy and I both enjoy watching.  Not only are the relationships between the friends enjoyable, but the foursome introduces hilarious and spot-on new terminology for everyone to throw into their daily conversations with phrases like:

Heterotexual – a modern man who pleases a woman with his thumbs
HotZone
– things that pose the risk of infection
TruthBomb
– boom goes the conversation dynamite, or saying truths your friends might not otherwise want to hear
CrazyHot Paradox
– a woman who is easy on the eyes, but insane in the brain

And another one…

Honestly, these sayings remind me of “Barneyisms” from How I Met Your Mother, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them just the same.

Men at Work’s humor is a bit on the raunchy side, but then again almost anything sexual anymore is considered raunchy.  Perhaps that’s why the new sitcom is on TBS and not the basic network channels, joining the ranks of FX (Archer), Showtime (Californication and Weeds), and Comedy Central (Workaholics).

And since TV ratings are all about the guest stars here lately, Men at Work has ‘em lined up as well: Amy Smart (Milo’s ex-girlfriend), Stacy Kiebler (a girl who likes threesomes), Kathy Najimy (a sex blogger), J.K. Simmons (the owner of the magazine and Neal’s girlfriend’s father), and fellow That ‘70s Show‘ers Wilmer Valderrama (Milo’s upstairs neighbor) and Laura Prepon (not sure yet about her role, I think she guest stars this week from the previews) to just name a few.

Oh, yeah… and the four friends like to have meals at a local diner. Kinda reminds me of the girls from Sex and the City…

So how does Meyer’s baby rank?  All in all, I’d say I must award Men at Work with the JFTV rating—it’s like that bag of potato chips that we know we should put away after a few bites, but can’t help going back for more.  The crunch of the chip and the explosion of flavors is just what the doctor ordered to accompany an ice-cold beer after a long day at work—technically a long week at work since Men at Work airs on Thursday nights.

What do you think? Have you watched Men at Work?  How would you rate it?  Do you have any phrases you’ve coined that you feel we should incorporate into everyday conversations?  I’d love to hear from you!

For more Men at Work’isms, follow @MenatWorkTBS or the hashtag, #MenatWork.  TBS also has four of the episodes available online.  Check them out!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about ABC Family’s Bunheads.

Come back next week when Amber and I review something..it’s summer time and the heat is taking a toll on our planning ahead.

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

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

Friday FabOoolousness – The Boo Factor: Dark Shadows

We don’t go to the movie theater often.  When we do actually go to the cinema, we rarely pick a flick on its opening weekend.  But at least once a year there is a movie release that I absolutely can’t miss — a film that I have been anxiously awaiting for months.

Readers of my blog know that I love scary movies – horror, slashers, psychological thrillers, classics, B-rated films, etc.  These are “my movies” according to my guy, and he usually insists that I see these with my girlfriends.

Two years ago, the film was the Nightmare on Elm Street remake starring Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, and Thomas Dekker.  My girls and I rushed out early on a Saturday morning to witness the “new” Freddy Krueger terrorize the teens of Springwood, Ohio.

In 2011, we again met at the theater for a Saturday morning viewing of Colin Farrell as the sexy vampire Jerry Dandridge in the remake of Fright Night – in 3-D no less.  As with Nightmare, this vampy flick put a new twist on the popular original which is exactly the kind of remake I appreciate (in most instances, not in The Clash of the Titans’ case).

But I digress…

Around December of last year, I knew exactly which film my girlfriends and I would see on its premiere weekend this year – Dark Shadows.

Dark Shadows is not new; it has been around for decades, literally.  In the ’60s and ’70s, Dark Shadows aired on the ABC network as a soap opera.  Dan Curtis’ melodramatic soap put the supernatural on the map – vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies, witches, etc.  It also featured time travel and aspects of parallel universes, something that is extremely popular on TV today.

The soap opera launched into a phenom craze of its own, and MGM released two feature films based on the popular hit in the ’70s: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.  Since then, the Dark Shadows franchise has grown to also include magazines, comics, and books.

In 1991, Dark Shadows aired on NBC as a primetime drama as a reimagining of the original series (also created by Dan Curtis).  The “new” Dark Shadows didn’t last past its freshman year, but the story grabbed a certain teenage girl in Midland, Texas who never missed an episode.  Yes, I’m talking about me…  Even today, I have my DVR set to record the ’91 series anytime it airs in syndication on SyFy or Chiller.

The Dark Shadows television series was almost brought back to life in 2004 by the WB, but the network passed on the pilot starring Alec Newman and other familiar faces: Marley Shelton (Valentine), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Alexander Gould and Martin Donovan (Weeds), Kelly Hu (Nash Bridges), Ivana Milicevic (Head over Heels), and Blair Brown (Fringe).  I am seriously bummed that this series didn’t make it.

So what makes Dark Shadows special?  Vampire Barnabas Collins

As if it wasn’t enough that Tim Burton is bringing Dark Shadows to the big screen, he cast one of the best actors of our time in the role of Barnabas Collins — the fabOoolous Johnny Depp.

Barnabas Collins, 2012

I’m a fan of vampires in general (the dark kind, not the lovey-dovey kind – yes, I’m referring to Twilight here).  The trailer has me worried that the film will be a bit “campy” for me, but I’m putting all preconceived notions aside and am looking forward to my movie date this weekend.  After all, Mr. Depp isn’t the only star cast in this cult classic: we also have Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass), Helena Bonham Carter, and Jackie Earle Haley (the “new” Freddy Krueger) to just name a few.

It’s also rumored that a few of the soap opera stars from the ’60s and ’70s will play a cameo in the film, something I truly appreciate.  Did everyone notice Chris Sarandon’s cameo in Fright Night (2011)?  Loved it – the “old” vampire Jerry killed by the “new” vampire Jerry.  Brilliant!

I don’t know what to expect from this movie, but I know I’m looking forward to it.  With the exception of The Rum Diary (in my opinion), everything Johnny Depp touches turns to gold.  Surely Dark Shadows will be another of his masterful character pieces and will leave all of us applauding him once again.  The man is simply fantastic.  Partnered again with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, how can it fail?

Are you a Dark Shadows fan?  Did you prefer the soap or the ’91 retelling?  Do you plan to see the movie?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Oh, Those Good Christian…

This week Amber West and I return to somewhat of a normal Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday review – last week’s sex conversation had me all sorts of flustered.

What do girls do when they’re flustered?  We rely on our girlfriends… which is why my TV partner-in-crime and I thought it best to review two television programs that feature women and their ever-important relationships with their girlfriends – Best Friends Forever and GCB.

Originally Good Christian Bitches and later Good Christian Belles, GCB follows a former high school Queen “B” (Amanda, played by Leslie Bibb from Crossing Jordan) after she returns to her home town (Dallas) following the death of her husband.  Along with her two teenage children, Amanda moves in with her mother (Annie Potts, Designing Women) and attempts to pull her life back together – not only did her husband die with another woman by his side, but he was also guilty of embezzling millions of dollars from his clients (yet another TV show with a ponzi scheme storyline).

Amanda and her family

Despite the fact that Amanda left her “mean girl” days behind her, the girls she terrorized in high school haven’t quite forgotten the way she treated them.  Everyone, including Amanda’s mother, seems to be stuck in the past and the tables have turned on her.

GCB also stars Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) as Carlene, Marisol Nichols (24) as Heather, Jennifer Aspen (Party of Five) as Sharon, and Miriam Shor (Damages) as Cricket, the girls Amanda terrorized in high school still living in Dallas – the girls she donned the “javelinas” (ugly girls).  Of course, not one of these women is physically ugly by any means, but they do mask their true intentions by hiding behind His Word and their church.

THE Christian B, Carlene. Boy, is she not happy to see Amanda…

Each and every one of these ladies are successful in their own right, but for three of them life wouldn’t be the same without their husbands: David James Elliott (JAG) plays Carlene’s husband, Ripp Cockburn (one of the best Texas names I’ve ever heard, and I live in Texas) who owns massive real estate, local businesses, and anything else that makes tons of money; Brad Beyer (Jericho) plays Sharon’s husband, Zack Peacham who played professional football for the Cowboys and now owns a struggling luxury car dealership; and Mark Deklin (Lone Star) plays Cricket’s husband, Blake Reilly, a “real” cowboy who happens to have a Dallas-sized secret of his own (he’s gay).

The Reillys are good at keeping secrets…

When I first saw the previews for GCB, I hoped it was ABC’s next Desperate Housewives.  The potential for massive drama is there – Ripp seems to be one of the many that Amanda’s ex-husband ripped off, and he wants his money back – but as the show title indicates, the series is mostly dramedy showcasing the teeny-tiny cat fights the girls always find themselves wrapped up in.

Will Ripp rip Amanda for her husband ripping him off? Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

Carlene always leads the pack, horrified by everything teenage Amanda did and said to her. Sharon is not at all confident and constantly fears that Amanda is going to steal her man, much like she did Cricket’s high school boyfriend (Amanda’s deceased husband).  Heather appears to be the only rational member of the foursome, and actually accepts Amanda’s apology and refrains from any of the vengeful games the others launch at her (unless she’s being threatened by Carlene, Sharon, or Cricket for whatever reason).

Amanda’s entrance catches Sharon and Heather by surprise as well…

As usual, the show takes the regular Texas accent and twists it into the hideous Texas TV Twang we’ve grown accustomed to over the years.  Seriously Hollywood, we don’t sound like that!  And let’s not forget the idealism that everything is bigger in Texas, they play that up to a “T” as well, in addition to the Texan’s love affair with the 2nd Amendment and BBQ.

Gotta have guns…

But bottom line, GCB is fun.  It’s not great, it’s not even a series that I would rank in my top twenty – but it’s fun with its over-the-top humor (Annie Potts steals the show, hands down).  I do laugh, but I still haven’t decided if I’m laughing at the show or with the show.

I’m torn as to how to rate GCB – it’s definitely not LOTV, nor is it NIV.  But what is it?  After watching the conclusion of the first season, GCB earns the JFTV rating – but it’s the kind of junk food that we should only reach for when we’ve kept to our workout regimen and there’s nothing left in the cupboard besides that bag of chocolate we know deep down we really should avoid.

Maybe if it makes it to a season two, GCB will redeem itself and move up the scale.  I know it has the potential to be better than it actually is.  And like I said, now that Desperate Housewives is done, I’m looking for a show to fill the Wisteria Lane gap.  I’m not hating here… really, I’m not.  I just want more.

What do you think? Did you watch the first season of GCB?  Do you agree or disagree with my rating?  Who’s your favorite character and why?  Do you think the show will be back for season two?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about another show that focuses on the relationships between female characters that also happens to form another acronym, BFF or Best Friends Forever

Come back next week when Amber and I revisit a few of our SSTV reviews… How will Scandal and Missing fare today?

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

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

Tele-Tuesday: May Flowers, aka TV in Bloom

Just as most television programs wrap up the 2011-2012 season, a few networks plan to launch new series this month.  It’s like a never-ending game of “What’s on TV?”

May is no different.  Our revolving door of television is back.

We haven’t introduced any new programs since March because many have accused us of adding too much to their already full TV schedules.  For that, we apologize.  But that’s not going to stop us from talking about even more!  Sorry – but we feel it’s our duty here at Tele-Tuesday.

So sit back and try to relax…

What will you watch?

*****

The L.A. Complex

We’re actually late to this party — The L.A. Complex premiered April 24th on the CW.  The show follows a group of twenty-somethings living in the same apartment complex who are trying to make it in Hollywood.  Sound familiar?  Melrose Place comes to mind…

The series stars Cassie Steele (Degrassi: The Next Generation) as Abby Vargas, a Canadian who dreams of becoming an actress.  Abby meets other struggling artists at The Lux Motel, one of the few places they can all afford to live: Nick (Joe Dinicol), a comedian; Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson), a musician; Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore), an Aussie actor; Alicia (Chelan Simmons), a dancer; and Raquel (Jewel Staite from Firefly), a television actress.  Will they survive Los Angeles?

Most of the cast are relatively unknown, but viewers will see many familiar faces throughout the season in recurring and guest roles, like Krista Allen (Days of our Lives), Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), and Mary Lynn Rajskub (24).

The L.A. Complex airs Tuesdays on the CW.

*****

White Heat

Normally we wouldn’t look to BBC America when searching for new television series, but because of the success of many British television programs here in the United States (Doctor Who, Being Human, and Sherlock to just name a few), we thought we’d change it up a bit.

White Heat follows seven friends (Lilly, Jack, Victor, Orla, Charlotte, Alan, and Jay) who first meet in London in 1965.  The six episodes will flash-forward and feature these same seven friends in the years 1967, 1973, 1979, 1982, and 1990 as they maneuver through personal and political times.

Because we don’t frequent British television, most of the actors and actresses are not recognizable by name, however many have a favorable resume: young Lilly, played by MyAnna Buring (The Descent); current-day Lilly, played by Lindsay Duncan (Rome); young Jack, played by Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides); young Edward, played by Jeremy Northam (The Tudors); young Jay, played by Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones); and many others.

One aspect of White Heat that really captured our attention was the music associated with each episode, featuring artists Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Queen, The Clash, and Culture Club.  The tunes alone make the series worthy, right?

White Heat premieres Wednesday, May 9th on BBC America.

*****

Common Law

Common Law follows two Los Angeles detectives with an immense love for the job – and they’re good at it; they just don’t like each other very much.  When a new police captain (Captain Phil Sutton, played by Jack McGee from Rescue Me) moves in, he sends the seven-year partners to relationship counseling or couples therapy as we’re familiar with today.

Common Law stars Michael Ealy (Flashforward) as Travis Marks and Warren Kole (The Chicago Code) as Wes Mitchell – two partners stuck in a “marriage with bullets.”

Viewers can expect to see a few other familiar faces: Sonya Walger (Lost) plays Dr. Elyse Ryan, the detectives’ therapist; Alicia Coppola (Jericho) plays a forensic pathologist; and Nora Zehetner (Grey’s Anatomy) is a new detective on the force, specializing in the digital world.

The USA Network is known for their fantastic original programs: the older and never forgotten Monk and The Dead Zone; the current and favorites Psych and Burn Notice; and the sophomore hits Suits, Necessary Roughness, and Fairly Legal.  Because of the network’s track record, Common Law is probably the series we’re most looking forward to here at Tele-Tuesday,

Common Law premieres Friday, May 11th on USA.

*****

Men at Work

Another channel we don’t usually watch for, TBS is launching a new sitcom this month created by the great Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash).  Men at Work follows four friends who all work together at the same magazine as they help a buddy get back on the dating horse after a disastrous breakup.

The series stars: Danny Masterson (That ‘70s Show) as Milo, the recently dumped friend; James Lesure (Las Vegas – we are big fans of Mike Cannon here at Tele-Tuesday) as Gibbs; Adam Busch (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Neal; and Michael Cassidy (The O.C.) as Tyler.

Rarely do we see a comedy centering around all men, and funny character actors we’ve missed for years at that.  Add the funny-man creator to this, and we can’t help but feel Men at Work could potentially be summer dynamite.

Men at Work premieres Thursday, May 24th on TBS.

*****

What do you think?  Do you plan to watch The L.A. Complex, White Heat, Common Law, or Men at Work?  Which show has the most promise and why?  The least?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – Reuniting with our Pals from American Pie

Thirteen years ago we all met and fell in love with the quirky teenagers of American Pie.  In my early twenties at the time, I joined millions of other moviegoers and watched the group of young adults as they frantically fluttered about, preparing for their senior prom.  Would they all find a date?  Would any of them lose their virginity?  Would this night be a night to remember, forever?

American Pie was a huge box-office hit, and the success continued once the movie was available on DVD despite critics claims that the film was lewd and shallow.  Regardless, the American Pie film franchise has now grown to include four films starring our favorite characters and another four films following other groups of teenagers.

But for the sake of today’s post, we’re only focusing on the “real” American Pie favorites:

The original, American Pie;

The sequel, American Pie 2;

The official consummation, known as American Wedding;

And the most recent theatrical release, American Reunion.

One thing that I truly appreciate about the American Pie films is that the story follows a group of teenage boys; it’s not the usual girl drama of most YA films.  While there are female characters crucial to the storyline (Michelle, played by Alyson Hannigan; Heather, played by Mena Suvari; Vicky, played by Tara Reid; and Nadia, played by Shannon Elizabeth), the movie tells the tales of five male friends as they move throughout life: Jim Levenstein, played by Jason Biggs; Kevin Myers, played by Thomas Ian Nicholas; Chris “Oz” Ostreicher, played by Chris Klein; Paul Finch, played by Eddie Kaye Thomas; and Steve Stifler, played by Seann William Scott.

The boys/men of American Pie... in order from left to right: Kevin, Jim, Stifler, Oz, and Finch.

Another thing that I applaud is the fact that the franchise kept the original actors throughout; even when a particular star couldn’t return or wasn’t written into the sequel scripts, the casting remained the same.  We recently splurged and treated ourselves to a Sunday afternoon date at the AMC Cinema Suites where we sat back and enjoyed juicy hamburgers and parmesan fries while we witnessed the crew (the ENTIRE crew) come back together for their twelve year high school reunion.

The American Pie franchise keeps true to the comedic moments, with each movie featuring at least one outlandish and hilarious scene (usually featuring Jason Biggs).  In the original, Jim “makes love” to a warm apple pie after he’s told that’s what “third base” feels like.  In American Pie 2, Jim superglues a pornographic VHS tape to one hand, and his other hand to his you know what after he mistakes a bottle of lube with the super sticky adhesive.  Jim’s up to his old tricks in American Wedding when he decides to “manscape” before his nuptials to Michelle, and he disposes of the remnants a bit too close to a vent which of course blows the hair all over the wedding cake.  American Reunion doesn’t disappoint, but for those who haven’t made it to the movie theater these past two weeks to see it, we don’t want to give anything away.

How it all began...

Another great aspect of the American Pie films has to be the pranks.  For what seems to be true of most young boys, the American Pie movies are filled with boys playing pranks on one another.  For example, we have the famous scene of Finch blasting a massive bowel movement in the high school bathroom in the original, courtesy of Stifler (or the “Stifmeister” as he likes to be called); and we have the forever famous and ultimate payback when Finch has sex with Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge).

Stifler's Mom & Finch

Heck, our generation owes the American Pie franchise for introducing us to the word MILF — meaning Mom I’d Like to…Fondle (so that’s not the actual word, but you have to fill in the rest; sorry, we like to keep The Ooo Factor as clean as possible).

And speaking of parents, let’s not forget to mention Jim’s awkwardly awesome dad, Noah Levenstein, played by the great Eugene Levy.  Mr. Levenstein is actually the only character in all eight films credited to the American Pie franchise.

Jim and his beloved and quirky father, Mr. Levenstein

But back to what prompted us to write this post in the first place — American Reunion.  It’s too early to give a summation of the movie, but know this:  it does not disappoint.  My guy and I never go to the theater, but I was dying to see this film.  Instead of ignoring my constant pleading, my guy agreed to go with me (usually he asks that I attend “my movies” with my girlfriends).  And let me just say — he laughed, and laughed, and laughed.  While the credits were rolling, he actually said how fun it was.

Did American Reunion exceed our expectations?  No — but seriously, it did NOT disappoint either.  The story was very well done, and the fact that every single one of the major characters (and a few of the minor) shared the screen at one point or another deserves a standing ovation.

To quote a friend of mine, “everyone who saw the original American Pie in the theater, owes it to themselves to take a trip back to the movies to see American Reunion.”  I’m going to take it a step further and add that this rule applies to anyone who has seen any of the American Pie movies in the theater.  Actually, let’s go even further — this rule applies to everyone who has ever seen any of the American Pie movies — anyhow, anyway.

See? Even Mr. Levenstein gives it a "thumbs up!"

Have you seen American Reunion?  What are your thoughts on the entire American Pie franchise?  Which movie and/or character is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

For another review of American Reunion, click over to my friend Jillian Dodd’s blog.  It seems she and I agree that it’s a must see!