Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – TV with a Crazy Cult Following

Television’s winter premiere season is officially here!  We’re currently down to the very last of the new shows premiering this TV season, but Amber West and I still have our work cut out for us.  And we have had so much fun these past few weeks posting dual reviews, we’ve decided to do it again!  Will Amber and I agree or disagree after watching the CW’s new drama, Cult?

Who was sad when The Vampire Diaries killed Alaric at the end of last season?  I know I was.  Of course, even though Alaric is technically dead, we have seen him a few times this season as a ghost, hovering around his buddy Damon… but maybe not for much longer.

Why?  Because the CW has given Matt Davis (TVD‘s Alaric) a new television series—Cult.

Basically, Cult is a CW show about a CW show within a CW show.  Is anyone lost yet?  Don’t worry; the pilot episode is just about as confusing, but it gets better.

Cult follows journalist Jeff Sefton (Davis) as he investigates the disappearance of his brother.  His brother had rambled on and on to Jeff about how one of his favorite TV shows—a show about the cat and mouse game between a cult’s leader and his ex-lover/detective chasing him—was out to get him, but Jeff wrote it off as paranoia.  TV shows don’t come after people, right?  But when his brother goes missing, Jeff learns that the television series (also titled “Cult”) his brother talked about does indeed have a rabid fan base who might just be committing the crimes as shown on the series.

Jeff is not alone… working alongside him, and hoping to unravel the secrets behind the “Cult” TV show and its fan base, is Skye Yarrow (Jessica Lucas, Melrose Place and Cloverfield).  Skye works as a production assistant for “Cult”; but like Jeff, she thinks something just isn’t quite right about the television series, the fans, or its creator/writer… which is why she accepted the position on the production staff to do research for the show in the first place—to investigate.

They can’t trust the police; the lead investigator into Jeff’s brother’s disappearance has the “Cult” symbol tattooed on her inner wrist.   Additionally, anyone they find to question about the TV show or Jeff’s brother either kills themselves or talks in circles, not making much sense.  And if that’s not bad enough, we, the viewers know that Jeff and Skye need to be very careful during this investigation because anyone who supports or suggests change to the writer’s direction (script/character development) or the fan base finds themselves at the mercy of the “Cult” cult members and/or its tribal leaders.

Clues keep falling into place, leading Jeff and Skye to fear the worst—something sinister is definitely going on surrounding the show and its fans.  First, there’s a disc that, when uploaded, releases all of the user’s personal information to “Cult.”  Skye claims this is harmless and just a fun tactic in order for the character of Billy to thank the show’s fans by sending them a video message saying, “You’re next.”

“You’re Next.”

Secondly, there are the 3-D glasses that allow the user to see beyond what’s visible to the human eye, revealing puzzles, symbols, computer codes, and other patterns.  There’s also the mysterious gold coin (we’re not sure of the danger associated with it yet) and the car… the car that also happens to be around off the set as well, especially where the mysterious “real-life” crimes are taking place.

All of these items not only have meaning within the TV show within the show, making them all popular series souvenirs for the “Cult” fans, but also in the “real” world—the world where Jeff and Skye live.  Somehow and someway, these items will reveal the answers, but will Jeff and Skye figure it all out before it’s too late?

Because of the unique premise of a show about a show within a show, Cult has some very witty dialogue about what TV programs need to do today in order to be successful.  I like that.  And speaking of dialogue, there is a super-creepy message all of the characters repeat just before dying (both on the show and in the show on the show):

snap

What the heck does that mean?  What does it mean?  Anyone? Anyone?

As with any new show, sometimes the casting helps to attract viewers.  In addition to Matt Davis and Jessica Lucas, the new CW series also stars: Alona Tal (Cane and Supernatural) as Marti, an actress playing Kelly on “Cult”—a former member of the cult and ex-lover of the leader; Roger Knepper (Heroes and Prison Break) as Roger Reeves, an actor playing Billy Grimm on “Cult”—the leader of the cult; and a few some might recognize in recurring roles from the teen television series The Inbetweeners (Marie Avgeropoulos) and Degrassi: The Next Generation (Stacey Farber and Ben Hollingsworth).

So how does Cult rank?  I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new series, and while the pilot episode confused me more than anything else, the second episode redeemed itself.  Not to mention, I need to know more; I must know more.  Therefore, I’m giving the new CW series the JFTV rating.  There’s really nothing about the show that is all that beneficial to us, kind of like that bag of greasy potato chips we continuously dig into, but it sucks us in… like a cult.

Oh, and the CW recently moved Cult from its Tuesday night slot to Fridays… maybe that was the plan all along, or maybe this is the kiss of death.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about the new CW series.  Did we agree or disagree?  Trust me; we usually have very different tastes in our television viewing pleasure….

Come back next week when Amber and I review something…

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

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

Tele-Tuesday – New to Summer: Better Late Than Never

Summer is coming to an end, and we have some new programs to sink our teeth into before the fall television series return.  These new shows bring drama galore – police drama, dating drama, and teen drama.  What will you watch?

The new police drama:

Against the Wall – Lifetime

Wanting to advance her career in the Chicago Police Department, Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani most recognizable for her recurring roles on Cane and The Glades) is faced with a tough decision.  Does she wait for the necessary promotions as a female detective, or speed things up and join the Internal Affairs division?  Abby chooses IA, and her decision causes a divide within her family; a family with a long line of Chicago police officers.

Everyone knows that cops and IA officers do not get along – but what happens when a decision affects your entire family dynamic?

Against the Wall also stars Treat Williams (Everwood), as Abby’s father, and Kathy Baker (Picket Fences, Medium), as her mother.

Following the Internal Affairs division instead of detectives adds a nice twist to the ever popular television police drama.   Find out this Sunday if it’s worth a watch– Against the Wall premieres July 31st.

The new comedy – dating drama:

Friends with Benefits – NBC

Hot on the tails of the major motion picture success of No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits, NBC brings us this new thirty-minute comedy following a group of twentysomethings as they battle the dating world.

In Friends with Benefits, everyone is single and looking – Ben Lewis (Ryan Hansen, Veronica Mars) wants the perfect woman.  Sarah Maxwell (Danneel Harris Ackles, One Tree Hill; yes ladies – she’s married to Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles), just wants someone to settle down with and perhaps start a family.  There’s also the figurative “lady-killer” (Fitz played by Andre Holland), the “free-spirit” (Riley played by Jessica Lucas, who also played Riley on the new Melrose Place), and the “techie-genius” (Aaron played by Zach Cregger).

Oh, and Ben and Sarah are apparently the “friends with benefits.”  Who wants to bet they eventually decide they are soul-mates?

Produced by the great Brian Grazer (Parenthood and Arrested Development), Friends with Benefits might just make the grade.  Find out when the show premieres August 5th.

The new YA inspired drama:

 

The Lying Game – ABC Family

From the creators of Pretty Little Liars, and based on the novel by Sara Shepard, ABC Family brings the young adult audience another teen mystery this August.

Emma Becker learns that she was separated at birth from her identical twin sister, Sutton Mercer (both roles played by Alexandra Chando, As the World Turns).  Emma, a foster-child, agrees to switch places with her twin and live Sutton’s life with her wealthy adopted family while Sutton searches for their birth mother.

Not long into the switch, Emma learns that Sutton has disappeared and she’s faced with the dilemma of telling the Mercer family and all of Sutton’s friends the truth.  Is Sutton in trouble? Why were they separated in the first place?

Like most other ABC Family dramas, The Lying Game has cast a well-known group of actors: Andy Buckley as Ted Mercer (The Office), Helen Slater as Kristin Mercer (Supergirl, The Legend of Billy Jean), Tyler Christopher (General Hospital), Blair Redford (the new 90210), Alice Greczyn (Privileged), and Adrian Pasdar (Heroes).

If the mystery is anywhere near as decent as its predecessor, Pretty Little Liars, TLG is definitely worth a watch.  The Lying Game premieres August 15th.

What do you think? Do any of these shows interest you enough to watch?  Do you think starting in August will help or hurt these shows? Do you know of any other late summer starts?  I’d love to hear from you!

Be sure to go vote for the Tamberny Awards show by clicking here before July 29th!  And, just to show how fun Amber and I can be….

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