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!

Tele-Tuesday: Welcome to the Tamberny Award Show!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first annual Tamberny Awards – where we promise to not agree!

When the Emmy nominations were announced last month, writer friend Kathy Owen approached us to review the shows and announce who we thought would take home the awards.

Sounds easy enough, right?  HA!  Amber and I don’t watch the same things.  What she loves, I haven’t even heard of; and, what I watch (which is almost everything on television), she has to Netflix in order to carry on a conversation with me.

Okay, maybe it’s not so bad; after all, this may just be why our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday partnership works so well!

  Enjoy the show!

Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

A:  I’ll kick things off with the comedy category.  I think Parks and Recreation should take it.  Why?  Two words:  Ron Swanson. 

Ok, maybe not just for him.  I love every character on that show.  They are all flawed, in ridiculous ways, yet they are all completely lovable, too.  They do all of that AND they make me laugh.  Sometimes until I cry.  And, they gave us “awesomesauce”.  I also think they’ve had good forward momentum, unlike some comedies that are quick out of the gate then rest on their funny laurels.  (Hee, “Funny laurels”)

T:  Did you just laugh at your own joke?  *laughing, eye rolls*

While Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock are fabOoolously written, the Emmy will come down to Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory.  Do I agree with this?  No, but what can you do?

A:  You can be disagreeable.  Like me.  And yell things.  Or, at least type them in all CAPS.

T:  FINE!  Since you want to light a fire under me, 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation DESERVE to win.  But, they won’t.

The #TeleTuesday voters clearly want Modern Family to win.  Me?  Put the guns away, but I’ve never watched it.  Same with Glee.  I refuse to drink the punch…plus I watch so much on television already.  Maybe one day on Netflix?

 

A:  I forgive you on Glee.  I’m a Broadway girl, so I was on board in the beginning, but I started to burn out pretty quickly.  But Modern Family? Please.  Go watch it.  So funny.  Our readers know what they are talking about.  I’m still waving the Parks and Recreation banner, but if Modern Family wins…well, I ain’t mad at ’em. 

T:  Ya ain’t? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  You left the door wide open for that one.

Maybe I will Netflix Modern Family for you; you did watch Bones for me.

Back on topic, The Big Bang Theory on the other hand, is brilliant.  Sheldon and Leonard have brought sexy back for the geeks; well, maybe sexy isn’t the right word…

A:  I’m about to make myself unpopular.  That’s smart, right?  Don’t hate me.  I do think that The Big Bang Theory has some good one liners.  And, I get a kick out of the geek references, being a geek and all.  BUT, I think Chuck Lorre tends to write shows that pander to the masses.  Granted, there is nothing wrong with that.  But it’s just not my cup o’ tea. 

T:  Isn’t that what Lorre is supposed to do?

A:  Probably.  Also explains why I am not writing a successful TV show right now.  Before this turns into an argument, I bring you…DRAMA! 

Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men 

A: I have a thing for underdogs.  They’re all cute and scruffy.  The Good Wife feels like an underdog here.  It’s one of the few “network” shows on the list; it’s been well written from episode one and the cast is incredible.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had a bit of a crush on Josh Charles since his Sports Night days. This is a solid category, though, so anyone who takes it is deserving.

T: I have to disagree with you, Amber – while I might end up eating my words, I think that the cable channels will win this one: Showtime’s Dexter is a must see, but HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones will be hard to beat.  I’m going with Game of Thrones here.

A: Dexter is amazingly well written, and I don’t have the pay channels, so I have not seen Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones.  But, I do believe I called my choice the underdog.  The likelihood of it winning is slim.  And yet, here I sit, cheering them on.  Someone has to.

T: Funny, how after two rounds of bickering, neither of us has yet to mention Mad Men as a contender here…

A: I can never remember who votes for what in the actual Emmy’s (no affiliation), but I didn’t go with Mad Med because they’ve already taken awards.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s another show that has great writing, great actors and Jon Hamm.  Mmmmm…Hammmmmm….

T: And with that, we’ve lost Amber.  Maybe we should move on.

Outstanding Animated Series

The Cleveland Show
Futurama
Robot Chicken
The Simpsons
South Park
Family Guy

A: Ahem.  I’m good.  I was just channeling Homer in preparation for this category.

I don’t watch Robot Chicken with any regularity.  Having said that, the little I have seen was funny.  And different.  And, it’s probably the least popular one on this list, in my world anyway.  The rest of them are feeling a little “old hat” for me.  

Isn’t there anything new?  Also, judging by this category, is it now a requirement to offend to be funny?  Don’t get me wrong, some of these guys do it well and are smart, but its feeling a little like no one knows how to be funny without it. 

T: South Park – while controversial, is funny!  Not many shows, especially animations with the exception of The Simpsons, can say they’ve been on the air for over 15 years.  Plus, aren’t they really just saying what so many of us wish we could, just don’t have the guts to?

A: I agree that South Park is funny.  Those dudes can write.  I mean, Book of Mormon is a roaring success for a reason.  But, I stand by the idea that you don’t HAVE to be offensive to be funny.  Having said that, you are probably correct on your choice. 

T: Wait a minute?!?! Stop the presses.  Where the heck is Archer?  Why in the world isn’t Archer nominated here?

 

A: I’ve never seen it.  That could be why.  To quote one of your picks, “Bazinga!”

T: Archer belongs on the Netflix queue, Amber….enough said.

Lead Actress in a Comedy

Laura Linney, The Big C
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Tina Fey, 30 Rock

A: I really want to see Amy Poehler take this.   Her show is funny.  She is funny.  Her husband is funny.  She is like an entire universe of funny.  I love her.

T: I agree with you, but I think Edie Falco takes it.  The cable channels are hard to beat when nominated…I’d even love to see a newbie take it, like Martha Plimpton or Melissa McCarthy, but I don’t see that happening.

A: I’ve heard good things about Edie in Nurse Jackie.  But I’m sticking with Amy Poehler. But, I won’t cry if Martha gets it.  She, too, is awesome. 

T: I’m just glad to see Martha resurface from her ’80s hit movies.  “Hey, you guys…”  Quick – what’s that from?

A: I am awful at that game.  Prize for the first commenter who gets it.

T: Seriously?  You don’t know what movie that quote is from? Do you need a hint?

 

Lead Actor in a Comedy

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

A: Although I feel that 30 Rock is a bit lacking lately, Alec Baldwin is genius in his role.  Love him.  

T: We agree again, but I think Alec will lose.  This one goes to Sheldon.

A: Boo.  Didn’t he take this award already?  Alec…Alec…  

T: Do you know who’s not going to win from the cable channels?  Matt LeBlanc.  Was that mean?

A: Yes, yes it was.  Also, my nominee could totally take your nominee in a cage match.  Just sayin’.  Note to self: propose new reality show where awards ceremony winners are determined by having nominees step into the octagon. 

T: Brilliant! 

Wait, what is that?  Are we running out of time?  Someone turn off that music!

The producers closed the curtain on us…

We’re on a roll, and we promise, we won’t let a little thing like time get in the way of that.  Tune in next Tuesday for the conclusion of the Tamberny Awards.

Do you agree with our picks?  How about our write-in shows like Archer?  We’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to tell us what you think, and send pictures of your own Tamberny moments for a chance to win something special!

Tele-Tuesday – The Tamberny Awards: Who should win?

Welcome to the first annual Tamberny Awards – where we can’t promise to agree!

Before we do, we want to hear from you!

From the nomination list below, who will win?

****

Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

 ****

Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men

 ****

Lead Actress in a Comedy
Laura Linney, The Big C
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Tina Fey, 30 Rock

 ****

Lead Actor in a Comedy
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

****

Lead Actor in a Drama

 Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

****

Lead Actress in a Drama
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law

****

Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family

****

Supporting Actor in a Drama
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins, Justified
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

 ****

Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

****

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified

 ****

Mini-series or Made-for-Television Movie
Cinema Verite
Downton Abbey
The Kennedys
Mildred Pierce
The Pillars Of The Earth
Too Big To Fail

 ****

Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
Conan
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

****

Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or movie
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail

****

Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or movie
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

****

Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow
Deadliest Catch
Hoarders
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List
MythBusters
Undercover Boss

 ****

Reality Competition 
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef

 ****

Host of a Reality Program or Competition
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Jeff Probst, Survivor

 ****

Leave a comment before July 29th, and your vote will be included in our special!  Better yet, leave a witty contribution and win blog linkage! 

Be sure to include who you think will win, or who should win versus who will win?  Who was snubbed? Which network will walk away with the most wins? Is Modern Family worthy of all the supporting cast nominations? Why didn’t the USA Network get any Emmy love? We’d love to hear from you!

Watch for the announcement of the 1st Annual Tamberny Awards this August.  The 63rd Annual Emmy Awards airs September 18th!

 

Tele-Tuesday #6 – Only on Cable…and Netflix!

 

Over the years, HBO has reigned supreme with some of the best series and mini-series available on television.  Who hasn’t watched, or at least heard buzz about, Oz (1997-2003), Sex and the City (1998-2004, plus two motion pictures in 2008 & 2010), The Sopranos (1999-2007), Six Feet Under (2001-2005), Band of Brothers (2001), and Deadwood (2004-2006)?

HBO’s programs have launched powerful and everlasting characters such as Carrie Bradshaw, Tony Soprano, and Al Swearengen.  These successful shows have also helped popular actors land hot new roles such as Christopher Meloni in Law & Order: SVU, Timothy Olyphant in Justified, and Michael Imperioli in Detroit 187.

In 2008, HBO aired its own take on the ever-growing, ever-popular supernatural drama, True Blood.

True Blood – Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, True Blood focuses on the lives of the supernatural and the regular people in fictional Bon Temps, LA.

The series follows the love story between Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), and all of the consequences of such a love.  The show oozes sexuality with characters like Vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), and Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), and holds nothing back with the sultry sex scenes.  True Blood isn’t for the faint of heart; the show doesn’t hide behind the sensors, ensuring blood and gore in most of the episodes.

Season 1 followed the upturned lives of Bon Temps while a serial killer murdered many, including Sookie’s beloved grandmother.  The audience also meets the local folk of Bon Temps, who tend to be just a bit odd: Sookie’s confidant, and boss, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) shape shifts into a friendly dog; Sookie’s brother, Jason, becomes addicted to V (drinking vamp blood), and is the main suspect in the murders around town; and Sookie’s best friend, Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), while human, is all sorts of a mess.

Season 2 introduced a maenad, who manipulates Sookie’s closest friends hoping to gain control of the small town, and sacrifices many along the way.  Season 2 also builds more in the storyline for Vampire Eric, including his maker’s demise.  The second season also follows Jason as he learns to battle vamps at the Fellowship of the Sun church, and introduces the vampire queen of Louisiana: Sophie-Anne (Evan Rachel Cook).

Season 3 added the werewolf, more specifically Alcide (Joe Manganiello), another of Sookie’s protectors.  What a lucky girl! First Shape-Shifter Sam, then Vampire Bill, and Vampire Eric, now Werewolf Alcide: four hot men protecting little ol’ Sookie.  We also meet the evil vampire king of Mississippi: Russell Edgington.  Oh yea, and Sookie is revealed as a fairy, in addition to her telepathic abilities.  What will happen in Season 4?

 

Showtime joined the party launching successful programming of its own in 2000 with Queer as Folk (2000-2005), and has held its own in the series & miniseries world since with The L Word (2004-2009), Weeds (2005-present), Dexter (2006-present), The Tudors (2007-2010), Californication (2007-present), and new hits such as Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, and Shameless.

Let’s start with two of the best 30-minute dramadies on television: Weeds and Californication.

Weeds – Over the past six seasons, Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) has done what she needed to do in order to provide for her young sons (Silas, played by Hunter Parish; and Shane, played by Alexander Gould) after her husband, Judah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), passes away suddenly – she sells weed.

The surprise visit of Judah’s brother, Andy (Justin Kirk), rocks Nancy’s world even more and her life spirals even further out of control.  Despite her shenanigans, Nancy truly tries to be the best mother possible to her boys.  However, Nancy has the tendency to screw things up and fall for the wrong men along the way:  Conrad, her weed-growing partner; Peter, her second husband/FBI agent; and Esteban Reyes, her third husband/Mexican drug cartel crime lord.

In Season 5, Nancy’s life is saved by the birth of her third son, Stevie Reyes; but, the lives of her family will never be the same.  So, what does the Botwin family do?  They flee, assume false identities, and return to the world of selling hash only to come face to face with Esteban, who has been diligently searching for his son, and his goons in the season finale.  Season 7 returns June 27th – what crazy antics are in store for Nancy, Andy, Silas, Shane, and Stevie?

Californication – Hank Moody (David Duchovny) has never met a drug or a woman that he doesn’t love.  Pair that with his recurring writer’s block, and Hank’s life is a disaster just waiting to happen.

The show starts after Hank, and his baby’s momma, Karen (Natascha McElhone) move with their daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin) from New York to Los Angeles.  Joining the Moody clan, is Hanks’ agent/BFF, Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler), and his wife, Marcy (Pamela Adlon), a waxing professional to the stars.

Hank’s successful novel was adapted into a screenplay much to his dismay, and feeling down-n-out, he picks up a hot Mia (Madeline Zima) in a local LA bookstore and beds her.  That is, after all, what Hank Moody does – he beds beautiful women with his alluring charm.  During sex, Mia punches Hank; not long after “the punch”, Hank discovers that Mia is the 16 year old daughter of Karen’s new fiancé. And, there you have the setting for all five seasons thus far.

Californication is pure brilliance, but raunchy.  In Season 2, Hank is hired to write the biography of a rock star – just want Hank needs, an invitation to party like a rock star! In Season 3, Hank is hired as a college professor – that’s definitely a disaster waiting to happen! One of my favorite laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-face, scenes aired in Season 4 with the entire cast of characters sitting around Stu’s (Stephen Tobolowsky) dinner table.  Another unforgettable scene was early in Season 1…let’s just say it involved Hank and Charlie in bed, with a “shooter”.  Watch with caution….but be prepared to laugh and cry!

Dexter – Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) = member of the Miami Police Department by day (specializing in blood spatter), and vigilante/serial killer by night.  Dexter only murders other killers; that’s ok, right?

Dexter’s ties to his family (foster-sister, Debra; wife, Rita; stepchildren, Astor and Cody; and son, Harrison) force him to doubt his secret life, but he continues to kill, wrap the bodies tightly, and dispose of them at sea from his boat, “Slice of Life”.   Each season, Dexter faces a nemesis: “The Ice Truck Killer” (S1); “The Bay Harbor Butcher” (S2) — Oh wait, that’s Dexter! – so, let’s say his rival in Season 2 is Sergeant James Doakes; “The Skinner” (S3); “Trinity Killer” played by the fabulous John Lithgow (S4); and the “Santa Muerte Killer” (S5).

What demon will Dexter battle next? And what horrific murderer will Dexter permanently remove from Miami?  Will anyone catch Dexter?  Rumor mills report that Season 6 will be air sometime in 2011…

What’s your favorite movie-channel series of all time? Least favorite?  Which is better: HBO of old, or Showtime of new? Who’s your favorite HBO/Showtime series character?  Least favorite? I’d love to hear from you!

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