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

A few weeks ago, the Tele-Tuesday readers had the chance to vote on which television dramas they can’t live without in a Pick Per Night 2012.  Today, we want to know which comedies reign supreme.

If we’ve learned anything year after year, we’ve learned that as time passes, people change.   We’ve also learned to adapt to other changes as well, like the revolving door of television programs.

The networks update their television schedules drastically over the course of a year, sometimes in just a matter of months.  We have fall premieres, winter premieres, summer premieres, and this new thing called midseason replacements.  Comedy seems to be at the top of this year’s midseason replacements with sitcoms such as Bent and the upcoming Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and Best Friends Forever.

And while the constant change to our network favorites continues to waffle, we must remember one thing — to laugh.

We’re watching more comedies than ever here at The Ooo Factor.  While some of our favorite veteran sitcoms still air today, we may have a different favorite that has taken over on a particular night of the week and we feel an obligation to update our readers with our 2012 choices.  But before we do, we’d like to know what everyone else watches.

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

We’re omitting Friday and Saturday from the polls because there doesn’t appear to be any sitcoms on during the prime time hours.  Whatever happened to TGIF?  Remember those days?

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tele-Tuesday: March Madness, TV Style

Television programs air sporadically today, and we’re not safe assuming (we all know what that really means) all new series and returning shows begin in September and January.  It’s simply not true anymore.

Since introducing so many new programs to 2012 in January, we decided to take the first few weeks of February to provide a breather of sorts.  But now we’re back, introducing yet another pilot series to ABC and two returning sophomores to Fox and USA that perhaps not everyone will be familiar with.

What will you watch?

*****

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 a divorce and moves in with her mother (Annie Potts, Designing Women).

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 Caruth-Reilly, the girls Amanda terrorized in high school.  The series wouldn’t be complete without the husbands: David James Elliott (JAG) as Carlene’s husband, Ripp; Brad Beyer (Jericho) as Sharon’s husband, Zack; and Mark Deklin (Lone Star) as Cricket’s husband, Blake, who happens to have a Dallas-sized secret of his own.

GCB premieres Sunday, March 4thon ABC.

*****

Breaking In

How many shows can actually say they have officially survived a literal network cancellation?  Not many; Fox first resurrected Family Guy in 2004 after watching continued success of the previous seasons in DVD sales and reruns airing on Adult Swim.  And now Breaking In can, a Fox program originally cancelled in May 2011.

Breaking In follows a team of “legitimate thieves” working at Contra Security, a high-tech security firm.  Clients hire Contra to break in and highlight flaws in security systems already in place.  For example, in season one the Contra team is hired to break into a house with a supposed impenetrable security system in an attempt to retrieve a valuable belonging to the homeowner.  Later, they discover that the house belongs to their team leader, who unbeknownst to them happens to be on the verge of a nasty divorce.

Perhaps our favorite episode of the first season was when the Contra team was hired to protect an invaluable DVD sequel until its national release party at Comic-ConGoonies 2.  The pop culture references and comedic events were absolutely spot-on and hilarious, at least for those of us who will forever be a Goonie.

The Contra team is led by Oz (Christian Slater, Heathers), a man who loves to play mind games on his staff… a staff composed of: Cameron (Bret Harrison, Reaper), a genius with top-rated hacking abilities; Cash (Alphonso McAuley), a gadget guy and hacker; Melanie (Odette Annable, House), the hot girl with safe cracking abilities; and Josh (Trevor Moore), the master manipulator and master of disguise.   Season two will see a new, yet familiar face at Contra Security when Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) joins the cast as Veronica, Contra’s new boss.

Breaking In returns to Fox Tuesday, March 6th.

*****

Fairly Legal

We love the USA Network’s programs here at Tele-Tuesday, which is why when Fairly Legal premiered last year we immediately checked it out.

Fairly Legal follows Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi, Life – a great short-lived series, by the way), a former attorney turned mediator working at her father’s law firm in San Francisco, as she deals with life both professionally and personally following a failed marriage and her father’s untimely death.

Kate, while extremely beautiful and successful, lives life by the seat of her pants.  She resides on her father’s boat, arrives late to almost everything, and relies heavily on her assistant (Leonardo, played by Baron Vaughn) to keep her day straight.  Once Kate arrives at the office, she not only has to deal with arguing clients assigned to her by the courts (especially those difficult cases assigned by Judge Nicastro, played by Gerald McRaney), but also with her new boss and step-mother, Lauren (Virginia Williams, Monarch Cove).

Unfortunately for Kate, her professional life isn’t the only thing leaving her rushing around with her head cut off.  Factor in her soon-to-be-ex husband Justin (Michael Trucco, Battlestar Galactica), who she continues to have an on-again/off-again relationship with, and the secrets surrounding a man (Richard Dean Anderson) involved with her father prior to his death, and Kate’s life is hectic.

Fairly Legal returns to the USA network Friday, March 16th.

*****

Will you watch GCB?  Do you agree with ABC’s decision to change the title?  How about Breaking In and Fairly Legal?  Did you catch the first seasons and if so, what did you think?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Art of Finding

This week Amber West and I review two of Fox’s new dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Alcatraz and The Finder.

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” pilot episode aired in Bones’ timeslot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the Fox network was testing the waters for the potential Bones spinoff, and briefly introduced the series by interweaving the Bones protagonists.

In the episode, Booth and Bones travel to Florida to consult with a former acquaintance of Booth’s (Walter Sherman played by Geoff Stults).  Walter is a former war veteran with the ability “to find” anything.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter takes over the case for Booth and Bones.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  However, airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows did not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder introduced two new characters this season:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and a young gypsy/criminal on probation, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.  The character of Walter Sherman is just as adorable.  Walter suffered a brain injury while in combat, and has since been tested by the FBI in order to resume his consulting work for other federal agencies.  Keeping with the Bones family lineage, Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) administered Walter’s test and “gave” him a passing score, despite the fact Walter didn’t really pass the psychological exam.

To reiterate, Walter can find anything.  He feels “finding is an art,” and once he’s hired to find something there is no firing him.  Walter becomes obsessed with whatever he is tasked to find – person or object.   He finds things using unorthodox methods and manners, whether it be lying on the tarmac pretending to be an airplane, or wearing insanely huge glasses or a hat made out of bar cherries and toothpicks.  Walter is fun; he leaves the professional side of the business to his “Ends of the Earth” partner (the bar) and a type of “handler” of sorts, Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan).

Leo is a former attorney who lost his family (wife and daughter) years earlier when a company didn’t properly recall a spoiled meat product.  He is a caretaker; Leo takes care of Walter and now he also takes care of Willow while she works through her probationary period.  He may be large and intimidating, but Leo has a soft heart and the simple joys in life bring a monstrous smile to his face.

Walter appreciates Leo, but usually has a hard time showing it.  But at the end of last week’s episode, viewers saw a different side of Walter.  Walter is usually carefree and boisterous, and uses Leo to ground himself.  But this past week, Walter shared his innermost thoughts that portrayed exactly how he feels about Leo: “Find someone you can trust.  It’ll change your life.”

Actually, the foursome is one great, big love fest (Walter, Leo, Isabel, and Willow).

Apparently, Walter and Isabel literally have a “friends with benefits” agreement that includes a special “paragraph C” for when one of the duo actually finds love elsewhere and plans to sleep with someone else.    This new development shocked us; we’re about six episodes into the season, and this was the first we could recall an actual relationship between Walter and Isabel being confirmed…not to mention the way it was written into the storyline made it seem like this has been understood from the beginning.  Who knows? Maybe we missed something early on?

As far as Willow goes, she adores Walter and Leo just the same and wants desperately to prove her worth and to find a permanent home with them, regardless of whether or not she admits it.  She also feels a tight bond with Isabel that allows her to open up and share parts of her life (her Gypsy life) that she’s never told anyone before.

The foursome of The Finder is really just one big, unrelated, dysfunctional family.

I know we’re approaching week seven this Thursday night, but I find myself bouncing back and forth between assigning The Finder with an SSTV rating or a JFTV rating. The fact that it doesn’t sit long on our DVR queue has me leaning more toward the JFTV rating, but I’m still not 100% sold; after all, my guy is usually more eager to watch than I am.  I do like Geoff Stults quite a bit too, another for the plus column under our JFTV scale.  So why not – let’s award The Finder with the JFTV rating.  We have yet another tasty chocolate bar waiting for us in the pantry for a once-a-week indulgence.  It’s not great for us, but it does satisfy us for a sixty minute interval every seven days.

The Finder does leave us wondering one thing: what happens when Walter can’t find something?  His friends appear to actually fear the day this occurs, more than likely for the psychological toll it will take on him.  But really…what will happen?

What do you think? Do you watch The Finder?  Will the Bones spinoff see the same success or be one-and-done?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Alcatraz.   We practically had to play tug-o-war to review this one; Amber won.  Why did we fight?  Okay, we didn’t fight… but considering we’re both caught up on Alcatraz, either of us could have shared our thoughts for our WatchWed viewers.  Hardly ever do we find a show that we’re both caught up on…so what does that tell ya?

Come back next week when Amber and I flip networks and review two of NBC’s new dramas: Smash and The Firm.

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 – Breaking Out To Do Good

This week Amber West and I review two returning police procedurals, neither of which is light and fluffy; the characters and story lines are darker than usual which might explain why these shows are on TNT and A&E:  Southland and Breakout Kings.

We’ve reviewed similar shows in which convicts assist law enforcement to do good (White Collar) or where con men and women help out regular citizens when other bad guys steal from them or make their lives miserable (Leverage), and A&E’s Breakout Kings does more of the same – a group of convicted felons help the U.S. Marshal’s office capture fugitives in exchange for reduced sentences (one month for each bad guy found and arrested) and transfers to lower-security facilities.

The group is led by Marshal Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso, Avatar), who is on a type of probation himself.  He suffers from a heart defect and supervising the team of convicts is his only chance at not being stuck on desk duty for the remainder of his career.

Working as second in command is former Marshal Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi, The Wire).  Ray has all of the necessary skills for the job, but he must work with a dark cloud hovering over him since his own conviction for taking money from a crime scene.  He currently lives in a half-way house, and until the end of season one keeps his secret from the convicts.

The only other non-con working on the task force is Jules Simms (Brooke Nevin).  Jules was unable to complete her training for the Marshal’s service due to a few disorders of her own – including anxiety and panic attacks.  Instead of working in the field along with the team, she serves as the assistant or analyst, researching the history and potential resources of the fugitives the team is assigned to find.

Next we meet the team of convicted felons, a colorful group of people without many similarities among them, other than surviving prison and hoping for an early release:

Serinda Swan portrays Erica Reed, a single mother who was arrested on weapons charges when she should have been charged with murder.  She used her skills as a bounty hunter to track each of her father’s murderers down and planned each attack so diligently, that she only went away for the lesser of the charges.  Erica is smart, concise, beautiful, and very meticulous.  Honestly, I think she may be the best hunter on the team.

Shea Daniels (Malcolm Goodwin) has the team’s street smarts.  As a former drug smuggler and dealer, Shea knows how the bad guys plan to move through networks and what avenues they will have available to them once on the outside.  Perhaps the most dangerous of the bunch, Shea oftentimes proceeds through cases with a chip on his shoulder, waiting for the Marshal service to retract on their special arrangement.

And last but not least, we have Dr. Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson).  That’s right – he is a genius with a PhD in psychology, a professor, and a published author.  So how did he wind up in prison?  Lloyd suffers from an addiction to gambling and he went to prison for writing and selling fake prescriptions to his students to help cover his debt.  He has an innate ability to break down the fugitives psyches for the team, and he also provides unsolicited counseling to the others on the task force.  Lloyd is funny and quirky, and a perfect addition to the team; perhaps my favorite character.

So there we have it – the team of misfits who make up the Breakout King Task Force, appropriately named by Shea.

Each week, Charlie and Ray pull the others out of prison to track and eventually arrest their next fugitive.  Many of the fugitives may look familiar to some of us too, including: Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper, Heroes), a convicted murderer who kidnapped and raped his multiple victims; Andrew Brenan (Richard Burgi, Desperate Housewives), a felon convicted of tax evasion, but also the suspected leader of a successful jewelry  heist team – which he is; and Virgil Downing (Mark Pellegrino, from Being Human, Supernatural, and The Closer), a convicted contract killer with dozens of killings under his belt.

Breakout Kings is more than just a police procedural; each episode is just as much about the characters as it is the fugitive on the loose.  It also has heart…and anger.

Charlie is angry; he wants nothing more than to prove to his superiors that his medical condition is not an issue and he can successfully run this task force. Ray is angry; he wants his life back, he wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, and he wants his badge back – permanently.  Erica is really angry; she wants the freedom to spend time with her daughter, a relationship that has been strained since she was arrested.  Shea is angry; but deep down he is a teddy bear and he loves to earn some alone time with his girlfriend, even if it’s in the elevator.  Even Jules is angry; sitting behind a desk is not what she had in mind when picturing her career in law enforcement.  Lloyd may be the only King without anger, but he is damaged and wants nothing more than for his mother to accept his apology for ruining his life (it’s not really a very healthy relationship between mother and son).

Because of the cat and mouse game with the fugitives and the in-depth and dark characters, Breakout Kings earns a JFTV rating.  It’s not a show that we must watch immediately when it airs, but it does have the sweet appeal of a once-a-week candy bar and we’re happy to see it when it appears on the DVR like magic.

Considering the fact that Breakout Kings premiered silently on A&E last year (our house just ‘happened’ upon it), I’m afraid not many are aware of this program.  But after today’s review, I hope more of you will check out the season two premiere Sunday, March 4th.

What do you think? Do you watch Breakout Kings?  Who is your favorite King, or do you prefer the Marshal?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the networking hopping series, Southland.   I think it may have finally found its home on TNT.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of Fox’s new dramas: Alcatraz and The Finder.

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Striving Toward Normalcy

This week Amber West and I dive back into the world of science fiction on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, as she updates us on her latest thoughts on Fox’s first season of Terra Nova and I introduce one of SyFy’s new popular series, Being Human.

Okay, perhaps it’s not so much of a surprise that Being Human is a big hit; let’s be honest, the supernatural is the new big thing – vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches, demons, etc.  Men and women alike dream of having some sort of fantastical power or paranormal romantic interest in his or her life.  This isn’t so much a new fad, but the Twilight books and movies (love ‘em or hate ‘em) birthed a new generation of supernatural lovers.

So if we want the supernatural in our life, why be shocked that they want to be like us – be human?  That’s the premise of SyFy’s adaptation of a British hit, Being Human.   The BBC program starts its fourth season (or series for the British folk) this year.

BBC's Being Human

The series follows three supernatural friends living in Boston, wishing they could go back to being human: a vampire, Aiden (Sam Witwer, one may recognize his face/likeness as the lead character in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars); a werewolf, Josh (Sam Huntington, Superman Returns); and a ghost, Sally (Meaghan Roth).

SyFy's Being Human

Aiden and Josh work at the hospital, Aiden as a nurse and Josh as an orderly.  One might wonder why a vampire would work in a hospital surrounded by blood all the time, especially when he fights day and night to not feed like a “normal” vampire.  But despite the obvious torture of his career path, he remains faithful to helping those who need him.

Aiden was turned in the late 1700s during the Revolutionary War, leaving behind a wife and son.  Throughout the years, Aiden remains close to his maker (Bishop, played by the great Mark Pellegrino, also known as the Devil from Supernatural, or Brenda Leigh’s attorney from The Closer), but recently has started to distance himself from him.  This undoubtedly has caused quite a heave-ho type relationship between the two, and makes for some of the best scenes.

But then again, doesn’t Mark Pellegrino steal the scenes of most everything he does? 

Josh doesn’t quite have the same daily struggles as Aiden, but then again a werewolf only turns once a month during a full moon.   However when it is “that time of the month,” Josh panics and does everything in his power to not hurt anyone.  Sometimes he locks himself up in the catacomb-like basement of the hospital, or sometimes he drives out to the woods and roams free (but the latter has proven a bit more dangerous for him on more than one occasion, so one can usually count on his locking himself up).

Perhaps a blessing, or perhaps not, Josh meets Nora (Kristen Hager, Aliens Vs Predator) at the hospital and the two begin dating.  Josh shelves his sexual attraction to her for as long as he can, afraid he will hurt Nora.  But he finally gives in to the urge on the eve of a full moon.  This encounter leads to a pregnancy and later a miscarriage, but not before Nora starts to show signs of turning herself.  This makes for a very interesting storyline in season two…

Then there’s Sally, poor little ol’ Sally.  Aiden and Josh meet Sally when they move into the brownstone that she recently died in, or better yet – was murdered in, courtesy of a light shove (or angry, it depends on the point of view) from her fiancé Danny (Gianpaolo Venuta).  After Sally’s death, and for obvious reasons, Danny can no longer live in the couple’s starter home, so he rents it out to Aiden and Josh.

As a ghost, Sally is tied to the house and it takes a bit of time for her to learn the necessary abilities to move through time and space, thus having the freedom to leave the house.  She really battles with the realization that Danny not only killed her, but later begins dating her best friend.  To make matters even worse, Danny hires a medium to perform ghost-ridding-rituals on the house, angering Sally to no end.  Despite being weakened from the mediums chants, Sally still manages to wreak havoc on her ex and empower herself.

But will she ever cross over?

Watching the three supernatural beings strive for everyday normalcy hooked me, maybe not in the first few episodes, but eventually the show definitely drew me in.  So much so, that after our season one DVR marathon, I was tearing up at the thought of anything happening to the characters: like when Josh is forced to fight another werewolf for the vampire council’s amusement; or when Aiden decides to settle the score with his maker and fight until the death.

It is because of this love for the characters that I award Being Human the JFTV rating; it’s like an addiction to Kettle Baked Salt and Vinegar Chips that we just can’t get enough of, and before we know it, we’ve chomped down on every last chip inside the bag.

Definitely a Thumbs Up!

As soon as the first season ended, I was immediately online to see if Being Human had  been picked up another year.  It was!  Season two premieres Monday, January 16th on SyFy.

What do you think? Do you watch Being Human?  BBC or SyFy?  Which of the characters is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see if Fox’s Terra Nova has moved up or down the rating scale since her last simmering review.

Come back next week when Amber and I review…. we don’t know yet.  Tricked ya!  We’ll figure something out in time. Don’t worry!

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: New Year, New Drama

Even though it feels like the fall television schedule just started and we’re still enjoying our favorite shows, it’s a new year which means it’s time for a new set of programs to check out!

This January, three new dramas attempt to sweep us off our feet – one revisits new crimes tracking back to an old, creepy prison; another follows a quirky specialist, who solves even the most difficult of cases; and one of our favorite novel and big screen attorneys works frantically to uncover secrets from yet another law firm.

*****

Alcatraz

We all know Alcatraz, also known as The Rock, as the impenetrable prison located on an island outside San Francisco that housed some of America’s worst criminals.  We also know that Alcatraz closed its doors in the early 1960s, but what if the former prisoners resurfaced and started committing crimes again?

That’s exactly what happens in the new FOX series, Alcatraz.  How is it possible that “ghosts” from Alcatraz are committing murders and other crimes today? Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) will work alongside an Alcatraz historian and expert (Jorge Garcia, Lost), while battling the government agent standing her in her way (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park) to solve these mysterious crimes.

Alcatraz premieres Monday, January 16th.

*****

The Finder

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” episode aired in Bones’ time slot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the network was testing the waters for the potential Bones spinoff, and briefly introduced the series by interweaving the Bones protagonists.

In the episode, Booth and Bones travel to the Florida Everglades to consult with a former acquaintance of Booth’s (Walter Sherman played by Geoff Stults).  Walter is a former war veteran with the ability “to find” anything or anyone.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter solves the case for Booth and Bones, while dominating most of the sixty minute episode.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  It doesn’t hurt that Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.

Airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows will not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder will introduce two new characters:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and an alleged criminal do-gooder, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

The Finder will continue and follow its sister program (Bones) this Thursday night, January 12th on Fox.

*****

The Firm

The Firm picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas, Sweet Home Alabama) turns in his law firm’s documents to the FBI, proving they were over-billing clients (from the John Grisham novel and the movie starring Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Jeanne Tripplehorn).  The story continues that these said documents led the FBI to take over the law firm and uncover piles of other files incriminating the mob, who has in turn set their sights on Mitch and his family as retribution.

The U.S. Marshalls put the McDeere family (Abby played by Molly Parker, and daughter Claire played by Natasha Calis) into witness protection for a short period of time, but the TV series picks up after the family returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.

While defending a court appointed fourteen year old boy charged with stabbing and murdering a classmate, a large D.C. firm swoops in and offers Mitch an opportunity to run a new criminal division – a job he declines but can’t shake the feeling that this is the right job for him that he has always wanted, not to mention will save his financially unsound practice.  Despite Abby’s gut-feeling, considering her husband’s experience with the last firm (from the movie), the McDeeres attend a wine and dine to meet the partners and clients of the pursuing law firm.

But the deciding factor comes when Mitch is faced with a major legal battle versus a top medical company over a defective heart stint.  He strikes a deal with the D.C. firm – their resources for a percentage of his earnings.  He officially works for the firm, but he gets to keep his staff and his off-site office location.

"It's happening again."

As far as the upcoming season, I see that not only will Mitch have the mafia after him for his past actions (from the movie), but will also battle his own firm AND against the medical company (I’m thinking like The Rainmaker here, another Grisham favorite).  And, it’s already been shown that the firm’s “real” client in Mitch’s murder trial is not in fact the young woman he is defending; instead, it’s some “suit” who jumps to his death while Mitch is desperately interrogating him, trying to get answers.

So technically, we should have about three major plots…

The casting is absolutely great with Josh Lucas and his baby blues replacing one of Hollywood’s favorites in Tom Cruise, but also with Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers) as the chain-smoking legal secretary Tammy (Holly Hunter role in the movie) and Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) as Ray, Mitch’s private detective/ex-con older brother.  Plus as a side note and odd-fun-fact, the McDeere house in the TV series resembles the McDeere house in the movie (in my opinion).

The Firm premiered Sunday night on NBC, but will return this Thursday, January 12th to its normal time slot.

*****

What do you think – did you catch the pilot episode of The Firm or The Finder?  Do you plan to watch Alcatraz?  Which show has the most promise and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Parallel Universe, Fact or Fringe?

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to FOX and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of the new sci-fi hit, Terra Nova, and the returning favorite, Fringe

Fringe science is a type of scientific study whose hypotheses and conclusions differ significantly from mainstream theories.   Creators J.J. Abrams (creator and writer for Alias and Lost, as well as executive producer for the new CBS hit Person of Interest), Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci (both writers and producers of Alias and Hawaii Five-0) used this unorthodox technique to create Fringe, a science fiction television series on Fox.

After Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) witnesses extremely strange events involving her partner and boyfriend (played by Mark Valley, Human Target), she joins the Fringe Division of the FBI.    Olivia tracks down Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson, Dawson’s Creek) and asks for his assistance in releasing his father, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble, The Lord of the Rings trilogy), from his seventeen year incarceration at an insane asylum.   

Why?  Walter is known as a “mad scientist” and the FBI needs him to experiment and explain the unusual events taking place all around them.  Not long after his release, Walter introduces the parallel universe to the team, and only he, Peter, and Olivia can safely transport back and forth between worlds.

Why Walter and Peter? In the world as we know it, Walter’s son Peter died when he was a young boy.  Distraught, Walter used his portal creation to transport over to the parallel universe where he took Walternate’s (Walter in the parallel universe who also happens to be the Secretary of Defense in that world) son, Peter.  As expected, Peter didn’t take the news that he was from another world so well, and spent some time quite angry with Walter. 

Why Olivia?  As a small child, Olivia participated in a scientific research program and drug trial led by Walter in Florida .  Confused by bits and pieces of memory, Olivia returned to the facility where she spent her childhood and eventually remembered all of the events that took places years before.  She and the other children of the trial possess the ability to transport back and forth safely to the other universe.  Oh, and before we forget – Olivia’s identity in the parallel world is known as Feuxlivia in our world, while she is Olive over there.  That’s right – two Olivias: our world’s Agent Dunham and the parallel universe’s Feuxlivia/Olive. 

Let’s not forget about Massive Dynamic, the company created and founded by Walter’s former partner William “Billy” Bell (Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek).  Nina Sharp (Blair Brown, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd) runs Massive Dynamic and knows all of Walter and Billy’s secrets as they pertain to the parallel universe.  Nina diverts Olivia and Peter from the truth as long as she can, but she can’t hide it forever. 

Sound confusing?  It kind of is, but the show is amazing!  Fringe is sci-fi at its best.  We watch as our world and the parallel universe go to war, and as previously unexplained events involving shape shifting, teleporting, and the intricacies of neuroscience, to name a few, are investigated. 

The team is also assisted by recurring characters: Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick, The Wire), Fringe Division’s leader; Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), a junior agent with the FBI who serves as Walter’s assistant and confidant; Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo, Band of Brothers), senior FBI agent and Olivia’s friend; and agent Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel, Nip/Tuck), the newest addition to the team. 

This may come as a shock to many who know me, but I must award Fringe with a GTV ratingFringe is literally the first science fiction television program of its kind that has me tuned in on a weekly basis to see what the writers and creators will throw at us next (well, the first not involving the usual supernatural creatures like witches, werewolves, and vampires). 

It certainly doesn’t hurt that I have a minor crush on Walter (why hasn’t John Noble won an Emmy for his performance?) and a bit of a larger crush on Peter (Joshua Jackson isn’t Pacey any longer – and did I mention his voice is fabulous?). 

What do you think? Have you watched Fringe?   Who is your favorite character? Do you think the government has a Fringe Division we don’t know about?  Do we have a parallel universe out there, somewhere?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Terra Nova, the TV show with time travel and dinosaurs.  

Come back next week when Amber and I switch channels again – this time we’re moving over to ABC and reviewing Body of Proof and Desperate Housewives.

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
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Last Law & Order Standing

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to NBC and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Harry’s Law and Law & Order: SVU.

For the past twenty plus years, Dick Wolf’s productions have dominated the NBC primetime slots.  He first created the original Law & Order, and then added spinoffs SVU and Criminal Intent, as well as the short-lived Trial by Jury and LA.    

The last of the franchise still standing today is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, currently in its thirteenth season.  Like the original, SVU has a great ensemble cast, and it showcases gut-wrenching storylines. 

The Special Victims Unit is a specialized department that focuses on assault and rape cases in New York City, often times inspired by today’s headlines.   

For the first twelve seasons, the SVU team depends on lead detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni).  Benson, the product of her mother’s rape, and Stabler, the father of five children, take the cases personally and sometimes take actions we as viewers wish we could see more of on television – in other words, they’re not always by the book, and therefore one of the partners is always in trouble. 

SVU’s cast, for the most part, has remained the same for all thirteen seasons, including: Captain Cragen (Dan Florek), and also detectives Tutuola (Ice-T) and Munch (Richard Belzer). 

The original Law & Order split the hour-long program into two parts – “the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.” [t1]  SVU doesn’t follow the exact same formula, but does of course involve the district attorney’s office in each episode (returning favorites in season 13 – Casey Novak played by Diane Neal, Alexandra Cabot played by Stephanie March, and Michael Cutter played by Linus Roache from L&O).   

This season, viewers will see a new cast of characters following Meloni’s departure from the show and Hargitay’s rumored request for a lighter workload.  Danny Pino (Cold Case) joins as Det. Nick Amaro from warrants and narcotics, and Kellie Giddish (Chase) transfers to NYC from Atlanta as Det. Amanda Rollins

In addition to SVU’s fictionalized accounts of current events, viewers can count on a large revolving door of guest stars.  So far in season thirteen, we’ve seen a familiar story line where a hotel maid accuses a foreign diplomat of rape.  In episode two, SVU landed guest stars Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years), Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness), and real-life basketball greats Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.    

This week (tonight actually), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex and the City) and Paige Turco (Damages) guest star as husband and wife in a fictionalized account of a particular politician’s scandal. 

Before rating, I must issue this warning – the writers don’t sugar-coat things.  If you don’t like watching bad things happen to children, don’t watch! 

The past few weeks, the GTV rating has been awarded left and right; but, not today.  While I do watch Law & Order: SVU religiously, I can only award the JFTV ratingSVU is like junk food, particularly like that bag of greasy potato chips – it’s not great for us, but we keep coming back for more. 

SVU is the last of the franchise airing new episodes.  I simply can’t imagine television today without hearing this:

Of course, I am worried that I will soon have to get my Law & Order fix watching reruns only (thank you, TNT!). 

What do you think? Do you prefer the original Law & Order, SVU, or Criminal Intent? Will SVU survive Meloni’s departure, or will this be the last of the L&O franchise?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Harry’s Law.  The GTV ratings came to an end over here; will Amber award another top review over on her site?   

Come back next week when Amber and I switch over to FOX and review two supernatural programs – the new hit, Terra Nova, and the returning favorite, Fringe.

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 future Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts. 

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
 


 [t1]Opening narration spoken by Steven Zirnkilton

Tele-Tuesday: New to Fall – Final Four…For Now

Fall television is here!  

As always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.  For the past four weeks, we have introduced these new shows hoping to find a permanent home on the networks.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out.

But, guess what?  We’re not done! 

While we will have more shows premiering later in the year and into 2012, for now, here are the final four new programs for Fall 2011.

*****

Grimm – NBC

We’ve all heard of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, right?  Grimm follows Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, multiple TV appearances including Nip/Tuck, Ghost Whisperer, and Veronica Mars) as he balances his life solving murders and learning that he comes from a long line of criminal profilers (Grimms) responsible for protecting the people of the world against the supernatural. 

Nick tries to protect his girlfriend (Bitsie Tulloch, Outlaw) and his homicide partner (Russell Hornsby, In Treatment) by not telling them the truth about his family lineage and his newfound responsibilities.  Instead, he turns to a former Grimm creature, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell, My Name Is Earl), for help understanding the mythology in order to protect the world as he knows it.

Will Nick succeed?

Other notables: David Giuntoli first appeared on MTV’s Road Rules: South Pacific and also participated in the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet.   Grimm also stars Sasha Roiz (Caprica) and Reggie Lee (No Ordinary Family). 

Grimm premieres Friday, October 28th.

*****

Once Upon a Time – ABC

Once Upon a Time stars Jennifer Morrison (House) as bail bondsman Emma Swan.  Her ordinary life takes a bizarre turn when Henry (Jared Gilmore), the son she gave away a decade ago, arrives claiming that according to his fairytale book, she is the missing daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. 

Emma takes the imaginative Henry back to his hometown of Storybrooke, where she finds herself unusually attacked to the town.  If the townsfolk are indeed fairytale characters, they do not recollect their former world and they go about their day-to-day lives like all humans.  But, Emma can sense that something is not right. 

Will Emma accept her destiny and return the magical balance to the charmed city?  

Other notables: Once Upon a Time also stars Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love),  as Snow White/Sister Mary Margaret; Joshua Dallas (Thor) as Prince Charming/John Doe; Lana Parrilla (24) as The Evil Queen/Regina; and Giancarlo Esposito (Homicide: Life on the Street) as the Evil Queen’s Magic Mirror/Sydney.  

Once Upon a Time premieres Sunday, October 23rd.

*****

Man Up – ABC

Man Up follows three friends as they question what it means to be a “man” in today’s society. 

Friend number one, Will (Mather Zickel, Rachel Getting Married), is married with children, but he’s childlike himself with his addiction to video games.  Friend number two, Craig (Christopher Moynihan, Coupling), is stuck in the past trying to get his college girlfriend back.  While friend number three, Kenny (Dan Fogler, Take me Home Tonight), is busy attempting to sabotage his ex’s relationship with her gorgeous new man.   

Will these friends “man up,” or continue to act like children?

Other notables: Man Up also stars Teri Polo (Focker movie franchise and The West Wing) as Teresa, Will’s wife; Amanda Detmer (Saving Silverman) as Bridgette, Kenny’s ex; and Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue) as Grant, Bridgette’s new hottie.

Man Up premieres Friday, October 21st.

*****

I Hate My Teenage Daughter – FOX

I Hate My Teenage Daughter stars Jaime Pressley (My Name is Earl) as Annie, and Katie Finneran (George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead) as Nikki, two single mothers cringing as they watch their teenage daughters turn into the girls they hated when they were growing up. 

Annie was raised in a very strict household, so she allows her daughter (Sophia, Kristi Lauren) to have as much freedom as she wants.  Nikki was an unpopular outcast, therefore she allows her daughter (Mackenzie, Aisha Dee) to have whatever she needs to fit into the popular crowd.  While trying to give their girls everything they never had, Annie and Nikki have created two spoiled mean girls. 

Who will win in the end – the mothers or the daughters?

Other notables:  I Hate My Teenage Daughter also stars Eric Sheffer Stevens (As the World Turns) as Matt, Annie’s ex and Sophia’s father; Chad Coleman (The Wire) as Gary, Nikki’s ex and Mackenzie’s father; Kevin Rahm (Desperate Housewives); and Rosa Blasi (The Bold and the Beautiful). 

I Hate My Teenage Daughter premieres Wednesday, November 30th.

*****

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!