Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Return of Dallas and That Ewing Family

The days are flying by and before we know it, 2013 will be here and we’ll all be left wondering where the time has gone.  With all of the madness expected to surround us these next few days, Amber West and I have decided to revisit a few of our older Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews instead of tackling anything new.

Today, we’re each selecting one TV show that has us on the edge of our seats waiting for the 2013 premiere.  The series I chose returns in January, and as if the entire first season’s reboot didn’t already leave us excited for more, the season finale sure did!  The twists and turns of this series kept the original’s legacy intact, and I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us in season two.

But not only that… recently we lost one of the beloved cast members, a man who entertained television audiences for years with his portrayals of I Dream of Jeanie’s Major Tony Nelson and Dallas’ J.R. Ewing.  I watched both programs, but to me, Mr. Hagman will always be J.R.  Larry Hagman didn’t just act out the role of the rich and conniving J.R. Ewing… he is and forever will be J.R. Ewing.

Shooting for season two had already commenced before he passed, and immediately the writers all returned to Dallas to get back to work.  They now have the difficult task of properly writing one of the greatest TV icons of all-time out of a series.  They promised to make Mr. Hagman proud, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve written for him.  He deserves nothing but the best.

*****

One of the most anticipated programs this year is the continued story of the duel between the members of the Ewing family.  And after only two-hours, the new Dallas does not disappoint!

TNT has successfully revived the popular soap opera that ran from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s, even mirrored the original opening as best they could.

Back in the day, we watched the great sibling rivalry between J.R. and Bobby Ewing.   Whew!  Those two brothers never saw eye to eye…

They still look good, don’t they?

We had J.R. (Larry Hagman), the cut-throat oil-tycoon who would stop at nothing to earn his next riches, and Bobby (Patrick Duffy), the more family oriented and rule-following of Miss Ellie’s boys.  And because of these tendencies, Miss Ellie bequeaths Southfork to Bobby, leaving J.R. with a sour taste in his mouth.

In the new series, J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), has left him.  The Texas courts awarded her all of J.R.’s money, making her one of the most successful women in Dallas (and she may even run for Governor).   Since Bobby lives at and runs Southfork, J.R. has nothing.  These events cause him to fall into a deep depression and someone, we’re assuming Bobby, puts J.R. up in a nice retirement community.

Speaking of Bobby, he’s now married to Ann (Brenda Strong), and is suffering from a recent diagnosis of intestinal cancer.  He decides to sell Southfork—the only requirement being that whoever buys the ranch must continue with Miss Ellie’s wish to not drill on her property.  And like the “Good Ol’ Boy” he is, Bobby settles the deal with a handshake.

The new generation of Ewings…

But what about these younger Ewing boys we keep hearing so much about?  Fast-forward twenty years, and the Ewing family is still going strong, bickering included, only with two new faces: John Ross, played by Josh Henderson, and Christopher, played by Jesse Metcalf.

Let’s start with John Ross…

While secretly drilling on Southfork, John Ross and his girlfriend/business partner (Elena, played by Jordana Brewster) hit oil.  But when Bobby finds out about it, he forbids anyone from drilling on his mamma’s ranch.  This prompts John Ross to act just like his daddy.  After all, “he’s a chip off the old block.”  Lying, cheating, and backstabbing seem to be John Ross’s methods of choice—but does he have what it takes to outplay J.R.?

And then we have Christopher, sweet and idealistic Christopher…

Christopher runs Ewing Alternative Energies where he researches and experiments with methane drilling.  Unfortunately, his work appears to have caused earthquakes off the coast of China, and while he commits to finding a way to protect the people and preserve the methane, John Ross is the first to point out his cousin’s failures.  Skipping his honeymoon with Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), Christopher decides to change his daddy’s mind about selling Southfork—but will Bobby listen?

See now, “the fun is just beginning.”

I’ve used a few of the opening episodes’ one-liners above in this post, but I’m not done.  The writers and creators have definitely impressed me with some of the dialogue in these first few hours, especially when it comes to describing J.R. Ewing:

“Some people are just too damn mean to die.”
“It’s better to be old than to be the devil.”

Larry Hagman still has it!  There’s nothing quite as mischievous as J.R.’s smile…

RIP, Mr. Hagman

Before we wrap, let’s not forget to mention the soap opera element.  First, we have the business partnerships between John Ross and Elena, Christopher and Elena, and Sue Ellen and Elena.  Surely one if not more of these are going to blow up in their faces, specifically Elena’s.

Let’s stay on the topic of Elena for a second.  Elena is the daughter of the Ewing’s long-time cook and Christopher’s former girlfriend/fiancée.  But when she received a supposed email from Christopher ending their relationship the night before their wedding, she ran away to Mexico and into the waiting arms of John Ross.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.  At John Ross’s suggestion, and knowing full well of Christopher and Elena’s past, Rebecca asks Elena to stand up for her at her and Christopher’s wedding.  That’s only the first sign we see that Rebecca may not be as sweet as she appears…  When we meet Rebecca’s brother, we deduce that they have been planning to scam the Ewing family for a few years now—but why?

And what about the sale of Southfork?  Well, Bobby thinks he’s selling to the Del Sol Corporation on the promise that the ranch won’t be developed.  J.R. knows about this sale, but thinks the Del Sol Corporation is going to turn around and sell him the ranch thirty days after the sale closes, making him the rightful owner of Southfork.  But John Ross has an idea all his own—he brings in a fraud to play the part of Marta Del Sol, and unbeknownst to Bobby and J.R., John Ross plans to take the ranch as his own.

Christopher and John Ross see things just as about as clearly as their daddies… not eye to eye with one another.

Dallas is definitely still a soap opera.  But how does it rank?  It’s still early, but I must award TNT’s Dallas with the MacTV rating.  The first two hours were definitely a guilty pleasure, and I personally can’t wait for more.

Bring on the oil fields, cattle ranches, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and family feuds.  Dallas, we’ve missed you.

*****

I wrote this review after watching only two hours of the new Dallas, and well, let me just say that a TON has happened since.  The final seconds of the season finale left me with my jaw dropped to the floor—I did not see that twist coming!  The writers and creators have definitely done the Dallas fans proud with this reboot, and I can’t wait for more!

Have you watched TNT’s Dallas reboot?  How would you rate it?  Are you Team Bobby and Christopher or J.R. and John Ross?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what see recommends…

Come back next week when Amber and I choose another of our favorites to share….  Stay tuned!

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 – Welcome back to Southfork!

After celebrating our one-year blogiversary last week, Amber West and I return to somewhat of a normal Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday review as we take on a web series, Leap Year, and TNT’s continuation of Dallas.

One of the most anticipated programs this year is the continued story of the duel between the members of the Ewing family.  And after only two-hours, the new Dallas does not disappoint!

TNT has successfully revived the popular soap opera that ran from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s, even mirrored the original opening as best they could.

Back in the day, we watched the great sibling rivalry between J.R. and Bobby Ewing.   Whew!  Those two brothers never saw eye to eye…

They still look good, don’t they?

We had J.R. (Larry Hagman), the cut-throat oil-tycoon who would stop at nothing to earn his next riches, and Bobby (Patrick Duffy), the more family oriented and rule-following of Miss Ellie’s boys.  And because of these tendencies, Miss Ellie bequests Southfork to Bobby, leaving J.R. with a sour taste in his mouth.

In the new series, J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), has left him.  The Texas courts awarded her all of J.R.’s money, making her one of the most successful women in Dallas (and she may even run for Governor).   Since Bobby lives at and runs Southfork, J.R. has nothing.  These events cause him to fall into a deep depression and someone, we’re assuming Bobby, puts J.R. up in a nice retirement community.

Speaking of Bobby, he’s now married to Ann (Brenda Strong), and is suffering from a recent diagnosis of intestinal cancer.  He decides to sell Southfork—the only requirement being that whoever buys the ranch must continue with Miss Ellie’s wish to not drill on her property.  And like the “Good Ol’ Boy” he is, Bobby settles the deal with a handshake.

The new generation of Ewings… HELLO!

But what about these younger Ewing boys we keep hearing so much about?  Fast-forward twenty years, and the Ewing family is still going strong, bickering included, only with two new faces: John Ross, played by Josh Henderson, and Christopher, played by Jesse Metcalf.

Let’s start with John Ross…

While secretly drilling on Southfork, John Ross and his girlfriend/business partner (Elena, played by Jordana Brewster) hit oil.  But when Bobby finds out about it, he forbids anyone from drilling on his mamma’s ranch.  This prompts John Ross to act just like his daddy.  After all, “he’s a chip off the old block.”  Lying, cheating, and backstabbing seem to be John Ross’s methods of choice—but does he have what it takes to outplay J.R.?

And then we have Christopher, sweet and idealistic Christopher…

Christopher runs Ewing Alternative Energies where he researches and experiments with methane drilling.  Unfortunately, his work appears to have caused earthquakes off the coast of China, and while he commits to finding a way to protect the people and preserve the methane, John Ross is the first to point out his cousin’s failures.  Skipping his honeymoon with Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), Christopher decides to change his daddy’s mind about selling Southfork—but will Bobby listen?

See now, “the fun is just beginning.”

I’ve used a few of the opening episodes’ one-liners above in this post, but I’m not done.  The writers and creators have definitely impressed me with some of the dialogue in these first few hours, especially when it comes to describing J.R. Ewing:

“Some people are just too damn mean to die.”
“It’s better to be old than to be the devil.”

Larry Hagman still has it!  There’s nothing quite as mischievous as J.R.’s smile…

Before we wrap, let’s not forget to mention the soap opera element.  First, we have the business partnerships between John Ross and Elena, Christopher and Elena, and Sue Ellen and Elena.  Surely one if not more of these are going to blow up in their faces, specifically Elena’s.

Let’s stay on the topic of Elena for a second.  Elena is the daughter of the Ewing’s long-time cook and Christopher’s former girlfriend/fiancé.  But when she received a supposed email from Christopher ending their relationship the night before their wedding, she ran away to Mexico and into the waiting arms of John Ross.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.  At John Ross’s suggestion, and knowing full well of Christopher and Elena’s past, Rebecca asks Elena to stand up for her at her and Christopher’s wedding.  That’s only the first sign we see that Rebecca may not be as sweet as she appears…  When we meet Rebecca’s brother, we deduce that they have been planning to scam the Ewing family for a few years now—but why?

TNT knows Drama, and the new generation of Ewings promises to bring us just that!

And what about the sale of Southfork?  Well, Bobby thinks he’s selling to the Del Sol Corporation on the promise that the ranch won’t be developed.  J.R. knows about this sale, but thinks the Del Sol Corporation is going to turn around and sell him the ranch thirty days after the sale closes, making him the rightful owner of Southfork.  But John Ross has an idea all his own—he brings in a fraud to play the part of Marta Del Sol, and unbeknownst to Bobby and J.R., John Ross plans to take the ranch as his own.

Dallas is definitely still a soap opera.  But how does it rank?  It’s still early, but I must award TNT’s Dallas with the MacTV rating.  The first two hours were definitely a guilty pleasure, and I personally can’t wait for more.

Bring on the oil fields, cattle ranches, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and family feuds.  Dallas, we’ve missed you.

What do you think? Have you watched TNT’s Dallas?  How would you rate it?  Who do you think will win out in the long run—the good Ewings, Bobby and Christopher, or the evil Ewings, J.R. and John Ross?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about the web series, Leap Year.

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

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

Last week, we offered a special anniversary giveaway where Amber promised one lucky commenter from my blog and another from hers to receive a red carpet event photo with the celebrity of their choice.  First, THANK YOU to everyone who participated!  But sadly we can only have one winner.

After using the random number generator at www.random.org, lucky #8 won here at The Ooo Factor.

Who is lucky #8?  That would be Andrew Mocete… 

Congratulations, Andrew!  Please email  me a photo where your face is quite visible.  The closer, the better… but Amber can work her magic with pretty much anything.

Andrew’s first choice was Spider-Man as his red carpet date, but being that might make Amber’s job a bit more difficult, he mentioned he also wouldn’t mind being seen with Shirley Manson from The Sarah Connor Chronicles.   Who will Amber choose for Andrew? Come back next week and see!

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: Waving Goodbye to the Geeky Spy We’ve Grown to Love

We’re taking a break from the regularly scheduled program – yes; that means we have even more new shows to introduce on upcoming Tele-Tuesdays – to say goodbye to one of our favorite series: Chuck.

Chuck then...

Friday night aired the last of the new episodes, an event the audience has been expecting since the end of last season when the network announced that Chuck would come to an end during its fifth season, with a short order of only thirteen episodes.  But true “Nerd Herders” had already grown accustomed to waiting on the series’ fate year after year, considering the fans and Subway (the restaurant chain) saved the show and it’s supposed low ratings as much as they could with petitions, campaigns, and sponsorships for the past two years.

So, thank you NBC, Subway, and the creators of Chuck, for giving us five seasons filled with geekiness, action, laughter, love, character growth, true familial support, and “Jeffster”.

Meet Jeffster, and the other Chuck characters:

The series follows Charles “Chuck” Bartowski, played by the ever-adorable, Zachary Levi.   Chuck, very intelligent and known for his hacking abilities, has a bright future and a gorgeous girlfriend (played by Jordana Brewster), but he never graduates college because his friend plants evidence indicating that he was cheating.

Chuck's never been a fan of guns...

As if getting kicked out of school for such horrible accusations wasn’t enough, Chuck’s girlfriend breaks up with him.  Defeated, he is forced to re-establish himself and he moves in with his sister, Eleanor “Ellie” Bartowski (played by Sarah Lancaster).  Chuck accepts a job at the Burbank Buy More as a “Nerd Herder” (think Geek Squad at Best Buy), alongside his childhood best friend (Morgan Grimes, played by Joshua Gomez).

Ellie and Awesome

His life seems to be getting back on track, as much as it possibly can, when suddenly the same friend responsible for Chuck’s early collegiate departure (Bryce Larkin, played by Matt Bomer), sends him a mysterious email – an email that changes his life, forever.

The email contains “the intersect” – a program written by Chuck’s father (played by Scott Bakula) that contains all of the government’s databases, a supercomputer, and is uploaded directly into Chuck’s brain.   The intersect allows Chuck to “flash” on faces of terrorists or objects once he sees them or comes into direct contact with them.  The information obtained by these flashes enables Chuck to see into the terrorist’s past lives, as well as see what the terrorists have in store for the future, making Chuck an extremely valuable government asset.

The CIA sends Agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin) to secure the intersect, which later leads to the two trained government killers’ main assignment during the series – protect Chuck, and the intersect, at all costs.

As one can imagine, Chuck is not the most coordinated spy – even with his intersect flashes to perfect the art of karate and other skills.  But he is loveable, even to those who seem the most callous of heart (insert a famous John Casey grunt here).

While we’re on the topic, here are a few of our favorite John Casey grunts…

Of course Chuck and Sarah fall in love after playing a long game of cat and mouse, and the entire group forms a new family.  Over the years, the family members increase with the addition of Ellie’s husband (Dr. Devon “Awesome” Woodcomb, played by Ryan McPartlin), Chuck’s long-lost mother (Mary Bartowski, played by Linda Hamilton), and Casey’s daughter (Alex, played by Mckenna Melvin).  And who could forget the extended family, Chuck’s Buy More family: Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence), Lester (Vik Sahay), and Jeff (Scott Krinsky)?

Chuck now, after years of training

What makes Chuck so special?  Besides the fantastic cast of characters, and I mean characters, each of the “Chuck versus” something-or-another episodes were literally filled with action and massive take downs of bad guys – bad guys including: Chevy Chase, Brandon Routh, Timothy Dalton, and Bo “freaking” Derek. 

Chuck never once forgot the meaning of friends and family, and each episode left me with a smile on my face – feel good, action packed, geeky goodness.

Well, to be honest, a few of the episodes left me in tears – but good tears – tears of happiness, and in Friday night’s case, tears of sadness that we’ve reached the end of Chuck’s journey.   A journey that was not dragged out too long like many other television series, in my opinion.

So much more can be said of the five years we’ve spent with Chuck, but for those who haven’t watched the series in sequential order with us, here’s hoping you will – via the Netflix Queue, Best Buy DVD sets, Hulu, etc…

We will miss you, Chuck.  I did see a random Twitter handle Friday night when I was reading through the #goodbyechuck farewells… Could we be lucky enough to see a “Chuck Versus the Movie” in our future?  A girl can dream….

Did you watch Chuck?  Are you in a Chuck mourning period with me?  Who was your favorite character and why?  Least favorite?  Favorite bad guy?  Favorite episode and/or storyline?  Let’s reminisce.  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – Action Packed Movie Madness

Staying in, wrapping up in a blanket, lighting a candle, and watching a movie makes for a perfect weekend evening in our house.  Due to the recent closures of most Blockbuster and Hollywood Video Stores, we slide our credit card into the vending machines dubbed Redbox and rent the new releases for $1 per night. 

That’s right – $1 per night; that’s cheaper than racing to the theater for a hot new release or renting a movie via OnDemand.

So, what have we watched lately?  Two fabOoolous action-packed movies: X-Men First Class and Fast Five

*****

X-Men: First Class

The fourth movie in the franchise, X-men: First Class takes us back in time; this prequel shares the story of how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) becomes Professor X and how Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) becomes Magneto

For those unfamiliar with the comics, the explanation of Charles and Erik’s friendship in First Class helps explain the first movies of the X-Men franchise.   Each and every one of the films is very enjoyable, but First Class really pulled us in. 

In addition to us learning about Professor X and Magneto’s early years, we meet the young and beautiful Raven, better known as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).  The movie also introduces a few of the younger mutants from the comic books and the first three films: Beast (Nicholas Hoult), a mutant ashamed of his abnormally large feet who takes a self-made potion that transforms him into a gigantic blue beast; Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), a mutant with the ability to emit powerful supersonic sound waves; Darwin (Edi Gathegi), a mutant who transforms into any being to protect himself; and Havoc (Lucas Till), a mutant who absorbs energy and unleashes it in fire blasts to defend his friends. 

We also meet the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his Hellfire Club members (aka the bad guys):  Emma Frost (January Jones), a telepath who also has the ability to mutate into diamond form making it impossible to physically torture her; Azazel (Jason Flemyng), a mutant who resembles the devil and can teleport back and forth surprising his victims; Riptide (Alex Gonzalez), a mutant with the ability to transform into a powerful whirlwind of dust like a tornado, or water like a cyclone; and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), a mutant who possesses the ability to fly and spit an acid-like substance.

Of course, there are a few humans in the movie like CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, played by Rose Byrne.  She is the one responsible for bringing Xavier’s team of mutants together.  She is also the one who opens the door to the mutant world with the US government. 

Additionally, we see a few other familiar faces playing human roles including the fabOoolous Ray Wise, James Remar, and Michael Ironside.

A nice and appreciated addition to the movie was the cameo appearances by Rebecca Romjin (the adult Mystique) and Hugh Jackman.  We can’t have an X-Men movie without Wolverine, can we?

*****

Fast Five

We love high-speed racing and action in this house.  The Fast and The Furious starring Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner, the undercover police officer sent in to gather evidence to arrest the illegal street racing ring leader, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), gave us just that and absolutely rocked. 

Despite the lack of Diesel in 2 Fast 2 Furious, we maintained interest as Brian works undercover again, only this time with the FBI to take down a drug lord (Cole Hauser) in an effort to redeem himself after falling in with Dom’s crowd. 

However, after The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2006, we almost wrote off the franchise.  Why have a Fast and Furious movie without Walker and Diesel? 

Luckily in 2009, the series redeemed itself with Fast & Furious and brought back the franchise’s hotties, as well as other favorites including Leti Ortiz (Michelle Rodriquez) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). 

Add Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as federal agent Luke Hobbs, and Fast Five officially has the best eye-candy of the entire series. 

Oh, and action…just not enough racing.  The scenes in which Dom and Brian acquire the necessary cars to take down the evil Brazilian crime lord Reyes were omitted; instead of showing us how they earn the pink slips to these vehicles, we just see the two return to their hideout with the cars.   Maybe these scenes were scrapped on the cutting room floor? 

But what did we really, really enjoy about Fast Five?  Not only did we see the return of all the original surviving characters (no spoilers), but a few of our favorites from the past also join forces to help Dom and Brian, including: Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce (from 2); Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej Parker (also from 2); Matt Schulze as Vince (from 1); Sung Kang as Han Seoul-Oh (from 4); and for the men, Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar (also from 4).

Making up for the lost pink-slip racing mentioned before, the heists at the beginning and at the end are action packed and fabOoolous.  Viewers watch Brian, Dom, and Mia steal cars from a moving train, and later witness Dom and Brian’s synchronized driving sequence, which is unlike any other. 

Oh, and don’t turn off the video before the end of the credits….just sayin’.    Something is in the works.

Eye Candy....

*****

Overall, X-Men: First Class and Fast Five are both definitely worth a watch; definitely worth spending a $1 at Redbox.  The action, special effects, relationships, backstory (in First Class) and continuing story (from Fast Five) are even worthy of the more expensive video rental via OnDemand . 

What do you think – have you watched X-Men: First Class or Fast Five?  Which of the X-Men characters is your favorite and why?  What about the Fast and the Furious men (or women, let’s be fair)? 

Have you checked out Redbox yet?  Any other new releases we should rent?  I’d love to hear from you. 

%d bloggers like this: