USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement Continues…

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

We’ve already discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television specific to TNT, but TNT is not alone.

The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.  This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer television amusement.

Last week, we shared three of the network’s veteran programs premiering in their third, fifth, and seventh seasons later this June.  And today, we’re talking about two more of USA’s returning hits PLUS a new freshman series starring some nice eye candy…

*****

Graceland

No, this is not Elvis’ Graceland…

This “Graceland” is a beautiful Southern California beachfront property where a handful of young and attractive roommates cohabitate.

But these aren’t your normal everyday roommates… these roommates have a secret; a secret that if exposed could get them all killed.

Why?  Because each and every one of them are undercover.  Some with the FBI.  Some with the DEA.  And some with US Customs.

The new series stars: Aaron Tveit (Gossip Girl and Les Miserables) as Mike Warren, an FBI agent fresh out of the academy and thrust into Graceland; Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) as Paul Briggs, an experienced FBI agent who takes Warren under his wing; Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings) as Paige Arkin, the rough and tumble, yet sexy DEA agent; Vanessa Ferlito (CSI: NY) as Charlie Demarco, an FBI agent with chameleon-like characteristics and some attitude; Brandon Jay McLaren (Harper’s Island and Falling Skies) as Dale Jakes, a territorial US Customs Agent—don’t touch his stuff; and Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro, a former Navy Seal trainee who has joined the FBI.

Graceland premieres Thursday, June 6th.

*****

Suits

Suits follows Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm instructed to find another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to work as an associate.  Enter Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant man with an eidetic memory (perfect recall) whose recitation of Bar review materials lands him a position at Harvey’s law firm—despite the fact he never graduated college.

These two unconventional minds work together, balancing the law AND lying to everyone.  But how long will it be before the shunned senior partner (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman) discovers the truth?  The boss (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) already knows and she loves holding it over Harvey’s and Mike’s heads…

Yes, I realize this would NEVER happen in real life, but it sure makes for some good TV…

Suits also stars Meghan Markle as Rachel, a paralegal at Harvey’s and Mike’s law firm, not to mention Mike’s love interest… and Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey’s spitfire assistant, and one of the very few that actually knows the big secret.

Two years ago, when I reviewed Suits as a part of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series, I ranked the then freshman series with a Mac TV rating (equivalent to three stars).  If asked to review again, I believe Harvey and Mike would find themselves upgraded into five-star status.

The one where Harvey lets loose… probably my favorite episode ever.

Season three premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Covert Affairs

Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, testing her abilities, and assessing her loyalties to the CIA.

While keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact, Annie lives her double life… showcasing her kick-ass CIA training, and battling her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.

Despite her training and attributes, Annie isn’t superhuman.  Sometimes I think she makes the worst spy ever, sometimes even one of the most annoying characters on TV today.  But I still keep coming back for more.  Regardless of how I feel about Annie, I always find myself fighting alongside with her in her corner, and it has nothing to do with how adorable Auggie is.  Okay, so maybe it does…

That’s my Auggie… so cute!

Season four premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Do you enjoy Suits or Covert Affairs?  Will you check out Graceland?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tele-Tuesday: USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement

Last week we discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television specific to TNT, but TNT is not alone.  The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.

Last Wednesday kicked off the new USA season with the premieres of their Wednesday night hits, Necessary Roughness, an interesting look at the mind of professional athletes through the eyes of their therapist, and Royal Pains, where a medical doctor makes house calls for his rich and prestigious Hamptons’ clientele.  USA’s Friday nights have also already been filled with episodes of the returning favorite, Fairly Legal, a show centered on a mediator who can fix everyone’s problems but her own, and the new hit, Common Law, where two L.A. detectives love their job but not each other.

But the summer fun doesn’t end there!  Four returning favorites and a new limited series event also premiere over the course of the summer, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer amusement.

*****

First up, what we already have the pleasure of watching:

Fairly Legal

Fairly Legal follows former attorney turned mediator Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi) as she tries to change San Francisco for the better.  On the exterior, Kate appears tough and callous, but anyone who actually knows her knows that she has a bleeding heart for those less fortunate—and by less fortunate, we only mean those that the rich can afford to beat down in a court of law.

Kate lets both sides tell their stories, and she typically sides with the underdog.  Actually, even though she works for a large and prestigious law firm, Kate doesn’t like much about Corporate America.  But Kate is good at what she does, and most of her cases are assigned to her by the courts and usually by a judge that keeps a stern fist with her.   Trust me; Kate needs someone to keep her in line…

One of Kate’s only confidants is her assistant, Leo (Baron Vaughn), because for the most part, Kate alienates everyone around her: her step-mother/partner/roommate/boss, Lauren Reed (Virginia Williams); her ex-husband/ADA, Justin Patrick (Michael Trucco); and the firm’s most recent addition, her partner Ben Grogan (Ryan Johnson).

Fairly Legal is unique; instead of the traditional TV police procedural or courtroom drama, we see a glimpse into the life of another legal aspect: mediation.  Plus there’s a love triangle.  What TV show is complete without the love triangle?  And why do I find myself pulling for the new guy, Ben, when most others hope Kate and Justin rekindle their romance?

The season two finale airs Friday, but Fairly Legal is still worthy of a nod here…

Common Law

Common Law follows two Los Angeles detectives with an immense love for the job—a job  they’re good at; they just don’t like each other very much.  When a new police captain moves in, he sends the seven-year partners to relationship counseling or couples therapy to use the term we’re familiar with today.

This brand-new series stars Michael Ealy as Travis Marks and Warren Kole as Wes Mitchell, two partners stuck in a “marriage with bullets.”

Viewers can also expect to see a few other familiar faces: Sonya Walger plays Dr. Elyse Ryan, the detectives’ therapist; Alicia Coppola plays a forensic pathologist; and Nora Zehetner 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.  After just a few episodes, Common Law falls right into line with the rest of the network’s hits.

The first season of Common Law airs Fridays nights.

Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness follows Dani Santino (Callie Thorne), 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 (Mehcad Brooks) in actually catching the ball.  She sees other clients, sometimes a new client per episode, but primarily Dr. D focuses her time and energy on the New York Hawks and T.K. (Terrance King, or King Terrance as he wants to be known in season two).

The series also stars Scott Cohen as Nico, the team’s head of security, and Marc Blucas as Matt, the team’s athletic trainer and Dani’s love interest.

As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.

Season two started last week and currently airs on Wednesday nights.

Royal Pains

Royal Pains stars Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Hank Lawson, a former New York Emergency Room doctor dismissed after an alleged wrongful death case who moves to the Hamptons and begins making house calls to the rich and famous as a “concierge doctor,” and sometimes even to the less fortunate.  Hank’s company, HankMed, also consists of his brother/CFO (Evan played by Paulo Costanzo) and his invaluable assistant (Divya played by Reshma Shetty).

The series also stars: Henry Winkler as Hank and Evan’s father, Eddie Lawson; Campbell Scott as Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz (isn’t that a great name?!?!), Hank’s first client and landlord of sorts; and Jill Flint as Jill Casey, Hank’s on again/off again love interest.

For a more in-depth look, visit Amber West’s Royal Pains review

Season four also premiered last week and airs on Wednesday nights.

*****

And in the upcoming weeks, we have more to look forward to on USA:

Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing—no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA black-listed him, and discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice.

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover and current girlfriend, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the most recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.

Every season answers a few more questions pertaining to Michael’s burn notice, but similarly adds even more fuel to the fire.  Last year ended with a big bang—Fiona being handcuffed and thrown into jail for murder.  Michael is smooth when it comes to his missions, but how will he handle this one?

Season six premieres this Thursday, June 14th.

Suits

Suits follows Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm instructed to find another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to work as an associate.  Enter Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant man with an eidetic memory (perfect recall) whose recitation of Bar review materials lands him a position at Harvey’s law firm despite the fact he never graduated college.

These two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone—now that’s conflict, right?  How long before the shunned junior associate (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman), or the boss recently frustrated with Harvey’s refusal to follow her instructions (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) discover the truth?

Suits also stars: Meghan Markle as Rachel, a paralegal at Harvey and Mike’s law firm, also one of very few that actually know the two’s secret; Tom Lipinski as Trevor, Mike’s drug dealing best friend whose escapades landed Mike in front of Harvey in the first place; Vanessa Ray as Jenny, Trevor’s ex-girlfriend and Mike’s current flame, when he isn’t pining away for Rachel; and Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey’s spit-fire assistant.

Last year when I reviewed Suits as a part of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series, I ranked the then freshman series with a Mac TV rating (equivalent to three stars).  If asked to review again, I believe Harvey and Mike would find themselves upgraded into five-star status.  Here’s to hoping the new season doesn’t disappoint.

Season two premieres this Thursday, June 14th.

White Collar

White Collar follows Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by the FBI, and the FBI agent responsible for Neal’s arrest, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).  What’s interesting about this relationship is that Peter is also responsible for Neal’s release from prison, a special circumstance allowing Neal his freedom under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor and one condition:  Neal must use his criminal expertise to assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys.

Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-man, Mozzie (Willie Garson), who despite his distrust of the government, stands by his friend’s side and builds his own relationship with Peter and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Theissen).  Each season focuses on a unique and on-going storyline in addition to solving a new FBI case each week.  But remember, Neal is a con despite how clean he attempts to live his life today.  Once a con, always a con—right?

White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another of Neal’s con-buddies played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator/Neal’s current love interest played by Hilarie Burton), keeping with USA’s motto of character driven television.

The series also stars Marsha Thomason as Peter’s FBI right-hand, Diana, and Sharif Atkins as Special Agent Clinton Jones.  Both Diana and Jones trust Neal, as far as they can throw him; but they want to trust him one-hundred percent… as do the viewers.

Season four premieres July 10th.

Covert Affairs

Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham), and the former CIA director’s son, Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, testing her abilities, and reviewing her loyalties to the CIA.

Annie also battles familial woes, living in her sister Danielle’s (Anne Dudek) guest house and playing perfect aunt to her two nieces, while keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact (until she chooses to tell her sister the truth, which doesn’t go over so well as one can imagine).  Living her double life, Annie showcases her kick-ass CIA training, and battles her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.

Despite her training and attributes, Annie isn’t superhuman.  Sometimes I think she makes the worst spy ever, sometimes even one of the most annoying characters on TV today.  But I still keep coming back for more.  Regardless of how I feel about Annie, I always find myself fighting alongside with her in her corner, and it has nothing to do with how adorable Auggie is.  Okay, so maybe it does…

Season three premieres July 10th.

*****

Now that we’ve been through USA’s returning favorites, how about a new miniseries?

Political Animals

Who does everyone think of when we say former First Lady and current Secretary of State?  Did everyone answer Sigourney Weaver?

In the new USA miniseries, Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, a recently divorced former First Lady and current Secretary of State fighting to keep her family and her insane position in the U.S. government intact.  The special six episode program also stars: Carla Gugino, a reporter who hasn’t been kind to the Secretary over the years; Ciaran Hinds, the former President and the Secretary’s ex-husband; Adrian Pasdar, the current President; Dylan Baker, the current Vice President; and Ellen Burstyn, the Secretary’s mother.  Now that’s a cast!

Political Animals premieres July 5th.

*****

Whew!  That was a long post, but that’s what happens when one channel shines as USA does.

Do you enjoy any of the above USA original programs?  If so, who is your favorite or least favorite character, keeping in mind that USA thrives on being character driven?  Do you plan to watch Political Animals?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tele-Tuesday: Television Characters Worthy of a Slap, Figuratively of Course

Does anyone ever watch a television program and think to themselves, “Someone really needs to slap that character!”?  Wanting to slap someone doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t still love them, but that they need a reality check.  Also, wanting to slap someone doesn’t necessarily mean we should slap them – this is all figurative of course, not literal.

Many characters on TV today find themselves worthy of a slap, at least in our opinion here at The Ooo Factor.  Some of these characters portray leading roles on some of our very favorite television programs, but we still find ourselves wishing we could jolt them back to reality at times.

Maybe they’re a bit overzealous; maybe they’re a bit narcissistic; maybe they’re a bit dense; or maybe they’re just a bit clueless — regardless, playing a fun game of Slap This TV Character might just be what they need… or better yet, what we need as a viewer to continue on.

So who does Tele-Tuesday believe is worthy of a figurative slap?

*****

1. Charlie Runkle – Californication

Charlie is a bit clueless and he’s definitely a bit jealous, considering himself to be lacking in more areas than one. Over the years he’s been caught doing the unthinkable “alone-time” while at his desk at work; he’s been suckered into a sex-slave type relationship with his boss; his wife has left him and is raising his son with her new husband, who she met courtesy of Charlie; and, he’s afraid that everything good in his life will disappear and he continuously makes bad decisions in attempt to hold on to the good.  Watching Charlie is kind of like watching a train wreck — we know we shouldn’t look, but we also can’t look away.

2. Annie Walker – Covert Affairs

Annie may just be the worst CIA operative on television.  Don’t get us wrong, we love Covert Affairs; but Annie wears us out.  We’re supposed to believe that she’s been through all of this top of the line secret agent training, yet she constantly makes so many bad decisions while in the field.  And in her love life.  Hello?!?!  Why is she still pining away for the one who keeps showing up and disappearing again when she has the stable and sexy Auggie by her side?  Wake up, Annie!

3. Susan Mayer – Desperate Housewives

Susan, Susan, Susan.  Susan is a mess.  Yes she’s quirky and fun, but she’s also annoying and clueless so much of the time.  We should probably give her the benefit of the doubt since her husband was just murdered in front of her, but we’re not.  So many things have gone bad on Wisteria Lane because of Susan and her not really thinking before acting.  After Susan’s first husband left, her daughter Julie played more of a motherly role than Susan did.  Even now adult Julie still shows signs of having done a better job raising herself than Susan has, and usually offers more support to Susan than Susan does to her own daughter.  Let’s just hope Julie is around for MJ now that his father is gone too.

4. Sharon Peacham – GCB

GCB is new, but not new enough for us to have not already formed an opinion of Sharon.  Sharon is a former beauty queen who has put on a few pounds since high school, yet she’s not big in any way; she’s married to a former football star who’s stuck living a bit in his past glory days; and she’s the mother to two heavily entitled children who always put themselves first.  Through all of this, Sharon has lost her identity (if she ever had one) and she’s jealous of everyone and everything.  Even when attempting to better herself, she proves to be nothing but an annoyance to one of the most patient men in her life (her pastor).  Yes GCB is supposed to be an “over-the-top” comedy, poking fun at Texans and extremely devout Christians in a nice way (not spiteful at all), but Sharon is a bit much.

5. Maxie Jones – General Hospital

Maxie has always been a bit annoying, especially since she has lived in her younger sister’s shadow for as long as we can remember.  What makes matters worse?  Her character has not grown in the least over the years.  Currently Maxie blames herself for her cousin’s death, but not in a quiet, self-destructive way — in a public, loud, and obnoxious way. Robin’s death is her fault?  Fine!  She wants to be incarcerated for Robin’s death?  Lock her up!  Throw away the key!  Just please do something so we don’t have to listen to her whining anymore.  Please.

*****

Come back next week when we divulge our numbers six through ten…

Do you agree with our choices?  Which character/s on television do you wish you could slap, figuratively of course?  Does an annoying character stop you from watching a TV series?  I’d love to hear from you!

Please note that our selections are in no particular order, other than they are alphabetized by program name.  And remember, we’re not condemning these characters — obviously we watch each and every one of these shows, and these characters hold a special place in our hearts for one reason or another.  But don’t we all want to slap even those that we love the most every once in a while, figuratively of course?

That’s what we thought…

Tele-Tuesday: TV’s Female Cops We Love to Love

Last week, we joined three other writers to share TV’s top 10 men with (and without) badges that we love to love.  In order for Tele-Tuesday to not appear sexist, we’re including a few of television’s strong and beautiful female cops we love to love today.

Sadly, most female character roles are not written as well as their male counterparts.  It’s actually quite predictable to determine which of the typical attributes the female stars on TV programs will have today: will they be weak and dependant on a man; or damaged beyond repair; or haunted by their past to the point of repetitiveness; or flat-out boring?

There are, however, a few female protagonists written today that could quite honestly kick their male co-star’s rears.  Perhaps not because they are insanely muscular like the women of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment for those that don’t follow Raw), but because these ladies have an inner strength that makes them as enticing as any male star; these women have the intelligence and drive to support themselves in what is sadly a man’s world on TV, and we love them for it.

Oh, and did we mention they are beautiful too?

Brenda Leigh Johnson – The Closer

 

Brenda Leigh is a southern belle from Atlanta running the all-male major crime squad in Los Angeles.  At the beginning, one may have wondered exactly how she landed the job as Deputy Chief (having had an affair with her boss and all), but she has proven herself in case after case after case.

No one can convince a criminal to confess the way that Brenda Leigh can, and she is about as polite as a she can be at the same time with her catch phrase, “Thank you, thank you very much.”  We can always tell when Brenda Leigh is having a bad day or stressing out over the case when she opens her desk drawer full of chocolate.  Who can relate, ladies?

Jane Rizzoli – Rizzoli & Isles

Detective Jane Rizzoli is about as tough as they come, even with her scarred hands as a reminder that she has come close to death on numerous occasions from the maniacs she chases around Boston.  She hails from a working class family where she picked up just as many tricks of the trade as her younger brothers.

Despite her absolutely stunning good looks, Jane is quite the tomboy; she loves to play baseball, field hockey, or any other sport with a ball.  Of course, these physical activities have to attribute to her long and lean body, one that all women wish they had (and men too, ha-ha).

Calleigh Duquesne – CSI: Miami

Another southern belle, with a to-die-for accent, Calleigh Duquesne is a brilliant criminologist working with other Crime Scene Investigators for the Miami-Dade Police Department.  She is an expert in ballistics and she speaks fluent Spanish (a bonus for law enforcement in Miami).

Calleigh has escaped death numerous times; she has been stalked by a serial killer, she almost perished in a fire in the lab and another fire at a crime scene, and she nearly drowned when her Hummer was forced off the dirt roads in the Glades and into the swamps.  Regardless of her day’s work, she always manages to smile – and capture the bad guy.

Jackie Curatola – Blue Bloods

Partnered with the Police Chief’s son, Detective Jackie Curatola is assigned most of the major cases for the great city of New York.  Not only does she and her partner investigate the biggest cases of the squadron, they also manage to capture the bad guys under constant scrutiny from those that oppose the Police Chief.

Jackie left home when she was just a teenager and she has been on her own ever since.  She made a few bad decisions in life (drugs, bad boys, etc), but she turned things around and put herself through school.  Jackie has the looks of a classic beauty, and she has used this to her advantage to work undercover as a high-priced call girl where she arrested a team of serial killers despite having been drugged herself.  Jackie holds her own…

Juliete O’Hara – Psych

Juliete O’Hara has proven herself to be more than a pretty face.  Partnered with the head detective for the Santa Barbara Police department, Juliete has fought her way through the frustrations of her coworkers not believing her to be the best suited for the position.  She faced similar scrutiny while also working as a rookie in Miami.

No one can believe that this petite, blonde girl can take on the bad guys roaming the streets.  But she can; between her con-man father and her military trained brother, Juliet isn’t as fragile as she appears.  With her aviator glasses and tailored suits, Juliete is one sharp-looking, yet tough, police officer.

Many other female TV cops deserved to make this list, including Jennifer “JJ” Jareau and Emily Prentiss from Criminal Minds, Annie Walker from Covert Affairs, and Kensi Blye from NCIS: LA….

What do you think?  Are you a fan of these ladies?  Which of TV’s female cops do you love to love – past or present?  We’d love to hear from you! 

Come back next week when we include a few of the female criminals we love to love….

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – USA’s Spies and Suits

This week, Amber West and I switch gears and bring a double review of the hit shows on USA. 

Why? Because USA’s summer programming is so hot, we’ve decided the only way to do the network justice is by making this edition of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday too hot to handle. 

Our double feature includes spies, suits, and sports – a triple threat.  Wait; since we’re both writing about two series, it’s technically a quadruple!  Right?

 Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white-hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing – no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA black-listed him, and discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice. 

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.  

Burn Notice is one of the best, and definitely the sexiest shows on television; therefore, I have no other choice than to award the show with the highest #WatchWed review to date: GTV (Gourmet Television – Everything we want, and more!).  

To add fuel to the already smoking hot Burn Notice, Jeffrey Donovan might just be the sexiest man on TV.  Does anyone else make eating yogurt look so yummy?  When he throws on those sunglasses and flashes that crooked smile while wearing his designer suits, he has women melting in their living rooms across the U.S.  

 

Suits 

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm, is instructed to hire another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to add to the associate pool, hopefully someone as bright as he is.  

Meanwhile, across town, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) fastens his tie, grabs the briefcase filled with marijuana that his BFF has left for him, and heads to a hotel to make a drug deal yielding enough cash ($25,000) to keep his grandmother in her around-the-clock care nursing facility.  

What Mike doesn’t know, is that his low-life best friend is sending him to an undercover cop with his briefcase full of drugs.  Using his better judgment and brilliant observation skills, Mike picks up on the sting and ducks into Harvey’s interview room trying to avoid the cops chasing him.   

Intrigued by the young man with a briefcase full of pot, Harvey indulges and interviews Mike, learning that this young, brilliant man sitting across from him has an eidetic memory (perfect recall) when Mike recites blurbs of the Bar review materials with only the slightest provocation.  Despite the fact that Mike never graduated college, let alone law school, Harvey hires Mike on the spot. 

These two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone – now that’s conflict, right?  How long before the shunned junior associate (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman), or the boss recently frustrated with Harvey’s refusal to follow her instructions (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) discover the truth? 

While it’s still early in the series, I give Suits a MacTV rating (MacNCheese TV: Guilty pleasure – Not perfect, but it satisfies) because I am looking forward to future episodes.  I can’t wait to see how long before anyone discovers the truth behind Harvey’s new star associate, and how the writers continue to develop this very unique story. 

Be sure and catch Burn Notice and Suits Thursday night on USA!

What do you think? Do you agree with my top rating for Burn Notice? Should Michael rejoin the CIA? What about Suits? Have you fallen victim to USA’s latest summer hit?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now – remember to visit Amber’s review of Covert Affairs, starring Piper Perabo as CIA Operative Annie Walker, and Necessary Roughness, starring Callie Thorne as therapist to the stars, Dr. Dani Santino. 

Come back next week when Amber and I switch over to the world of fantasy and review TNT’s Falling Skies and SyFy’s Alphas

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.  Amber and I 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 #5 – Summer Fun Part Two

Ready for more summer fun? Tune to the USA Network!

White Collar – Meet Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer, from Chuck and Tru Calling), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by FBI agent, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).  Season 1 opens with Peter releasing Neal from prison under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor, AND one condition: Neal must assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys by utilizing his criminal expertise.  Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-artist, Mozzie (Willie Garson, aka Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City) who despite his distrust of the government stands by his friend’s side, and builds his own relationship with Peter and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (played by Tiffani Theissen most popularly known for her role as Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell).  In addition to solving a new FBI case each week, Neal focuses on discovering the truth behind his girlfriend Kate’s disappearance. 

Did I mention that Neal is sexy?  Neal’s piercing baby blues and charming smile illuminate in combination with his dapper tailored suits and his Fedora hat. 

In Season 2, Neal continues his search while everyone, including Peter and his FBI right-hand Diana (Marsha Thomason from Vegas), investigates Kate’s story on their own, each hoping to bring closure to Neal’s heartache.  White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another con played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator played by Hilarie Burton).  Season 2 ends with Neal’s previous mentor turned nemesis, Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy best known from his 80’s hits Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire) escaping once again, ending Neal’s quest for answers – for the time being.  What will happen in Season 3?  Find out when White Collar returns June 7th!

Covert Affairs – Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo, Coyote Ugly) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham, Harper’s Island), and the former CIA director’s son, Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (played by Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (the fabulous Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, test her abilities, and review her loyalties to the CIA.  Annie also battles familiar woes living in her sister’s guest house, and playing perfect aunt to her two nieces, while keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact.

Living her double life, Annie showcases her kick-ass CIA training, and battles her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.  Covert Affairs also returns June 7th

Burn Notice – Bringing sexy back to Thursday nights.  Miami + Burned Spy = Hottest Show on Television!  Michael Westen, a former spy burned by the U.S. government, teams up with Sam Axe (Michael’s friend and former Navy Seal), Fiona Glenanne (Michael’s gun-crazy on & off again girlfriend), and Jesse Porter (another spy accidentally burned by Michael) to keep Miami safe, and continue Michael’s investigation into his burn notice. 

Season 4 ended with a bang, no different from any other Burn Notice finale.  Why was Michael taken to Washington D.C.?  Was his burn notice lifted?  Burn Notice returns June 23rd.  

 

Law & Order: Criminal IntentGoren & Eames, together again, returned Sunday, May 1st, for the tenth and final season.  It seems tv-land is happy for the original CI partners’ return – the show’s rating was up 43% from last year.  In an interview with Candace Havens, Vincent D’Onofrio mentioned that the storyline this season focuses more on the cases than the personal lives of the detectives – back to Law & Order basics. 

Psych – It was just announced by the USA Network that Psych doesn’t return until Fall 2011, but I still highly recommend adding it to your Netflix queue for summer fun if you like mysteries, pop-culture from the 80’s, and laughing – especially for the blooper reel! 

Growing up with a detective father (Corbin Bernsen from the 80’s greats L.A. Law and Major League) teaching him to pay very close attention to detail, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) fools everyone into believing he has psychic abilities.  Everyone, that is, except his father, Henry, and his best friend, Gus (Burton Guster played by Dule Hill from The West Wing).  Shawn & Gus open a consulting/detective agency, “Psych”, and freelance their services to the Santa Barbara police department on numerous cases, despite the constant disapproval of lead detective, Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson).  Lassiter and his partner, Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), join Shawn and Gus to close the cases assigned to them by Police Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), and comedy ensues each and every time.  Every episode promises laughs, especially with the absolutely hilarious nicknames Shawn & Gus assume for each case.  The 80’s references, 80’s music, and 80’s guest stars (Judd Nelson & Ally Sheedy from The Brat Pack, Phylicia Rashad & Keisha Knight Pulliam from The Cosby Show, Cybill Shepherd from Moonlighting just to name a few) make watching Psych a fun game of 80’s trivia, especially for those of us deemed children of the 80’s – like myself. 

Being a huge fan of the 90s hit Twin Peaks, I absolutely loved the Psych season five episode: ‘Dual Spires’.  James Roday outdid himself writing the episode: he perfected the oddities of the characters from David Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery; he mimicked the eerie music and peculiar dancing to a “T”; and, he incorporated a few of the Twin Peaks iconic elements such as the dead girl’s body wrapped in plastic found by the water, the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.  Even better yet, Psych cast a few of the fabulous Twin Peaks alumni for the episode: Sheryl Lee, Laura Palmer; Dana Ashbrook, Bobby Briggs; Ray Wise, Leland Palmer; and, Sherilyn Finn; Audrey Horne.  ‘Dual Spires’ may be my favorite Psych episode to date! 

Do you watch USA’s In Plain Sight or Royal Pains?  Do you hope that Fairly Legal returns for a second season on USA?  Do you miss Monk or The Dead Zone?  What other networks and/or shows do you enjoy during the summer months?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday #1 – Part 2

As I mentioned in my first post, I am addicted to television.  So much so, I had to break down my first edition of Tele-Tuesday into two parts.  Last week, I covered the basic cable networks – ABC, CBS, the CW, FOX, and NBC.  Today, I’m going to discuss my favorite shows on cable.  Remember, these are just my favorites.  I watch far more than these shows as my DVR knows too well (I did get my recordings down to 95 this weekend – celebrate!).

And now, for the continuation of Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday #1:

Part 2

TNT – The Closer.  TNT mostly runs their programming in the summer months starting in June.  I like this schedule because I don’t have nearly as many broadcasting conflicts.  The show focuses on Brenda Lee Johnson and the Major Case Squad as they solve L.A.’s worst crimes while her FBI-agent/husband often times provides his and the Bureau’s expertise.  In addition to the drama, each episode promises humor, and I find myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  You can always tell when Brenda Lee is having a bad day – she opens her desk drawer full of chocolate, now that’s relatable!  TNT always airs re-runs, if you’d like to stick your toes in.

USA – The USA Network is a lot like CBS to me –USA has some of the best programming on television.  USA splits their seasons between summer and winter when most other basic cable channels air re-runs.  I don’t miss an episode of Psych, White Collar, or Covert Affairs; and, I miss Monk desperately.  I also enjoy Fairly Legal and In Plain Sight but don’t watch as religiously and catch them when I can.  But to choose just one, I have to recommend:

Burn Notice.  Michael Westen, aka Jeffrey Donovan, is the sexiest man on TV and his ex-girlfriend/partner might just be the sexiest woman (Gabrielle Anwar).  Throw in the fabulous Sharon Gless and the scene-stealing Bruce Campbell, and you have some of the most fun TV can offer.  Burn Notice is based in Miami and is hot, hot, hot.  If you like explosions, look no further.  The show has been such a success that USA will air a prequel-movie featuring Sam Axe, Bruce Campbell’s character, April 17th.

 

One last note about USA – have you been wondering what happened to Law & Order: Criminal Intent?  USA will begin airing the final episodes starring the original Goren & Eames this May.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate USA’s effort to not just let the show dissipate into thin air like most others when given the axe.  Thank you for letting the audience members know in advance that the show is wrapping up for good.

FX – Justified.  You’ve heard of a justified shooting, right?  Well, justified shootings are Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens’ forte.  Despite being a loose cannon himself, Raylan appears quite normal when compared to his Kentucky kin.  Entangled with really BAD criminals, Harlan County relies on Raylan as does the Marshall Service, his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and his con-ex-best friend, Boyd Crowder.  Need a reason to tune in?  Boyd Crowder is definitely one of the best antagonist’s on television.  Need another reason to watch?  Timothy Olyphant.  Enough said.

A&E – The Glades.  Excommunicated from Chicago after allegedly sleeping with his boss’s wife, Jim Longworth takes his settlement money and moves to Florida to play golf.  He takes a job with the small town law enforcement, and ruffles many feathers along the way as he solves homicide cases using his unique approach and disregard for the rules.  The show ended season one with a love triangle between Jim, nurse-Callie, and her jailed husband promising sparks for Season 2.

Now look at that – I ran out of time again!  I didn’t even have a chance to discuss Showtime or HBO!  I’ll have to save those for another time…..

Before I go, remember my favorite CW show, Supernatural?  Warner Bros. is releasing a 22 episode animated series available on DVD and Blu-Ray this summer in the U.S.  I told you it was good!

 

What’s your favorite cable tv show?  Or your favorite network? I’d love to hear from you!