Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Viewers’ Voice: Which TV Review Has Hooked You?

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it is officially the holiday season.  Before we know it, 2013 will be here and we’ll all be left wondering where December went.  With all of the madness expected to surround us these next few weeks, Amber West and I have decided to switch things up again with today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews.

Instead of reviewing the remaining 2012 fall television programs we’ve yet to cover, we’ve decided to ask our viewers to participate in our Viewers’ Voice Special over the next few weeks.

Playing is simple.  Answer the below question and tell us why in the comments.

“Thanks to Amber’s/Tiffany’s (choose one) Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews, I am now hooked on this television series: ______.”

To show everyone how it works, Amber and I are each going to choose one of the others blog posts that applies to this week’s question.  So, here goes….

“Thanks to Amber’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews, I am now hooked on the television series: Scandal.

ABC’s Scandal, now it its second season, takes the word “scandal” to an entirely different level.

The series stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a former White House communications director who is now operating her very own private crisis management firm.  The character of Olivia is not completely fictional… she is loosely based on Judy Smith, one of President George H. W. Bush’s former press aides.  In return, Ms. Smith serves the Shonda Rhimes’ production as a consultant and co-executive producer.

But, back to the show…

So, what makes Scandal so scandalous?

Well, first there’s Olivia…

Olivia Pope can “fix” any problem, except maybe for her ongoing love affair with the President of the United States (President Fitzgerald Grant, played by Tony Goldwyn).  Everyone inside the President’s circle, including his wife (First Lady Mellie Grant, played by Bellamy Young), his Chief of Staff (Cyrus, played by Jeff Perry), and his entire Secret Service staff, knows about Olivia and President Grant.

Looks scandalous to me!

The mere fact that Olivia and the President share a romantic link is scandalous, but it’s not the most shocking twist to the story.  So, what makes this love affair even more outrageous and fun?  That would be the relationship shared between the First Lady and the President’s mistress.

Olivia’s and Mellie’s ability to work together and manipulate the President into doing exactly what they want makes for some of the best chemistry on the show… despite the fact the two women really don’t like each other.  These two, especially when realizing one can benefit from the other, are very scandalous!

Oh, and I should mention that Ms. Washington has stated in television interviews that Judy Smith did NOT have an affair with President Bush.  The writers and creators use Ms. Smith’s professional expertise to tell their stories… not her personal life.  Scandal is fictional television.

So, what else makes Scandal so scandalous?

Not only is Olivia keeping secrets, so is her team.

To complete her firm, Olivia hires a very qualified staff; a staff that successfully fixes the firm’s client’s problems, but that also brings their very own issues to the table: Columbus Short plays Harrison, a lawyer who Olivia helped escape serious jail-time for insider trading while he worked for a very corrupt man; the fabulous Guillermo Diaz plays Huck, the group’s computer expert who is haunted by his past… a past where he worked as a contract killer for the C.I.A.; Darby Stanchfield plays Abby, the team’s investigator and a survivor from an abusive ex who also happens to be from a very well “connected” family; and Katie Lowes plays Quinn (formerly Lindsey), a lawyer who Olivia helped beat a bombing charge that labeled her a domestic terrorist in the eyes of many Americans.

Eavesdropping… Breaking and Entering… Never an issue for Olivia’s team. They do what it takes to “fix” the problem.

See?  Even Olivia’s team’s backgrounds are sordid…

So, what else makes Scandal so scandalous?

Characters can only interest viewers to a certain point; the rest is left up to the writers…

To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the name Shonda Rhimes until Amber reviewed Scandal last year.  As much TV as I watch, my regular viewing schedule does not include Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice, two of Ms. Rhimes’ most popular creations to date.  But, now, I know who Ms. Rhimes is and what she is capable of.

I don’t want to give too much away about Scandal’s scandalous plot, but I do want to say that each and every episode draws me in, holds me in tight so that I don’t miss a word, and leaves me with my mouth gaping open in awe at the end.  The series is classified as a procedural in that each week Olivia and her team take on a new client and help “make their problems go away.”  But, Scandal can also be classified as a serial drama, or a nighttime soap opera, with an ongoing story that keeps getting better and even more scandalous with each passing week.

Scandal has drama; it has politics; it has love; and it has A LOT of scandalous twists and turns….

Now, it’s your turn: “Thanks to Amber’s/Tiffany’s (choose one) Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews, I am now hooked on this television series: ______.”  Be sure to include why you’re hooked!  We’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see how she filled in the blanks…

Come back next week when Amber and I continue our Viewers’ Voice WatchWed series….  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

Tele-Tuesday: Scandal-ous Television

It’s been no secret that a few of last year’s freshman television series swept me off my feet… particularly, American Horror Story, Person of Interest, and Revenge.  Today, I’m adding a fourth program to this list—Scandal.

ABC’s Scandal, now it its second season, takes the word “scandal” to an entirely different level.

The series stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a former White House communications director who is now operating her very own private crisis management firm.  The character of Olivia is not completely fictional… she is loosely based on Judy Smith, one of President George H. W. Bush’s former press aides.  In return, Ms. Smith serves the Shonda Rhimes’ production as a consultant and co-executive producer.

But, back to the show…

So, what makes Scandal so scandalous?

Well, first there’s Olivia…

Olivia Pope can “fix” any problem, except maybe for her ongoing love affair with the President of the United States (President Fitzgerald Grant, played by Tony Goldwyn).  Everyone inside the President’s circle, including his wife (First Lady Mellie Grant, played by Bellamy Young), his Chief of Staff (Cyrus, played by Jeff Perry), and his entire Secret Service staff, knows about Olivia and President Grant.

Looks scandalous to me…

The mere fact that Olivia and the President share a romantic link is scandalous, but it’s not the most shocking twist to the story.  So, what makes this love affair even more outrageous and fun?  That would be the relationship shared between the First Lady and the President’s mistress.

Olivia’s and Mellie’s ability to work together and manipulate the President into doing exactly what they want makes for some of the best chemistry on the show… despite the fact the two women really don’t like each other.  These two, especially when realizing one can benefit from the other, are very scandalous!

Do NOT stand in this First Lady’s way…

Oh, and I should mention that Ms. Washington has stated in television interviews that Judy Smith did NOT have an affair with President Bush.  The writers and creators use Ms. Smith’s professional expertise to tell their stories… not her personal life.  Scandal is fictional television.

So, what else makes Scandal so scandalous?

Not only is Olivia keeping secrets, so is her team.

To complete her firm, Olivia hires a very qualified staff; a staff that successfully fixes the firm’s client’s problems, but that also brings their very own issues to the table: Columbus Short plays Harrison, a lawyer who Olivia helped escape serious jail-time for insider trading while he worked for a very corrupt man; the fabulous Guillermo Diaz plays Huck, the group’s computer expert who is haunted by his past… a past where he worked as a contract killer for the C.I.A.; Darby Stanchfield plays Abby, the team’s investigator and a survivor from an abusive ex who also happens to be from a very well “connected” family; and Katie Lowes plays Quinn (formerly Lindsey), a lawyer who Olivia helped beat a bombing charge that labeled her a domestic terrorist in the eyes of many Americans.

Breaking and Entering is never a concern of Olivia and her team…

See?  Even Olivia’s team’s backgrounds are sordid…

So, what else makes Scandal so scandalous?

Characters can only interest viewers to a certain point; the rest is left up to the writers…

To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the name Shonda Rhimes until my Wednesday blogging partner, Amber West, reviewed Scandal last year.  As much TV as I watch, my regular viewing schedule does not include Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice, two of Ms. Rhimes’ most popular creations to date.  But, now, I know who Ms. Rhimes is and what she is capable of.

I don’t want to give too much away about Scandal’s scandalous plot, but I do want to say that each and every episode draws me in, holds me in tight so that I don’t miss a word, and leaves me with my mouth gaping open in awe at the end.  The series is classified as a procedural in that each week Olivia and her team take on a new client and help “make their problems go away.”  But, Scandal can also be classified as a serial drama, or a nighttime soap opera, with an ongoing story that keeps getting better and even more scandalous with each passing week.

Scandal has drama; it has politics; it has love; and it has A LOT of scandalous twists and turns….

Oh, and before I go, I have to mention Josh Malina and his portrayal of Assistant U.S. Attorney David Rosen.  Rosen and Olivia have a love/hate relationship… they respect each other’s brilliance, but disagree with each other’s antics.  Before Scandal, I didn’t even know Mr. Malina’s name (although I do remember him from his guest appearance on Psych a few years ago).  However, today, I know him (his name, we’ve never met beyond sharing words on Twitter).  I applaud the writers for giving Rosen what appears to be a larger part in season two AND I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us as it pertains to his investigation into Olivia and his recent romance with Abby!

There it is again… more scandal for Scandal!

Will Rosen get what he needs to expose Olivia?

In case anyone is having difficulty understanding the underlying message I am trying to portray in this blog post, it is that Scandal is very scandalous AND definitely worthy of a watch!

What do you think?  Do you watch Scandal?  Who’s your favorite character (mine is Huck!)?   I’d love to hear from you!       

Tele-Tuesday: The Hot New Thing – Midseason Replacements

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 now we have this new set of TV programs called midseason replacements.

Does a “midseason replacement” mean that the veteran show it is replacing midseason has actually been cancelled?  Not necessarily…

It seems the terminology “midseason replacement” is simply the networks’ way of testing the market for a new pilot series, instead of rushing the cancellation of current programs airing today to only regret it later.  We live in a marketing based world – why not order a few episodes of a new show to air in April in order to test the waters in a popular timeslot before announcing the plans for the next season in May?

*****

Bent

Bent follows recently divorced attorney, Alex (Amanda Peet, Saving Silverman), as she tries to pick up the ”bent” pieces of her life post-divorce.  With sole-custody of her daughter, Alex buys a small home that is in need of renovations.  She hires Pete (David Walton, Perfect Couples), a contractor who is also trying to pick up the pieces of his “bent” life (recovering gambling addict) as well.

Alex and Pete are nothing alike — Alex is a responsible person with a no-nonsense personality, while Pete flies by the seat of his pants.  We can definitely smell the romance brewing between these two and the sitcom hasn’t even premiered yet.

The new comedy also stars: Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) as Pete’s father; Margo Harshman (Sorority Row) as Alex’s sister; and Joey King (Ramona & Beezus) as Alex’s daughter.

Bent premieres Wednesday, March 21st on NBC.

*****

Best Friends Forever

Created by and starring Lennon Parham (as Lennon White, from Accidentally on Purpose) and Jessica St. Clair (as Jessica Black, from Bridesmaids), Best Friends Forever follows two lifelong friends after one of them (Jessica) is served divorce papers.  After the news that her marriage is over, Jessica decides to leave California and return to New York where she moves in with Lennon in the old apartment the two previously shared.

The two women pick up right where they left off, which isn’t helping Lennon’s boyfriend (Joe Foley, played by comedian Luka Jones) feel at home in the apartment where he lives too.  In addition to Lennon’s potential relationship troubles, Jessica reconnects with an old friend (Rav Stark, played by Stephen Schneider) who might just have a flame still burning for her, making her new single life more complicated that she originally bargained for.

It appears the sitcom is just as much about the women’s friendship as it is their romantic lives’ ups and downs…

 Best Friends Forever, premieres Wednesday, April 4th on NBC.

*****

Scandal

Scandal stars Kerry Washington (from the Fantastic Four movies) as Olivia Pope, a former White House communications director who is now operating her very own private crisis management firm.  She hires an apparently qualified staff; a staff that successfully fixes the firm’s client’s problems, but also brings their own issues to the table: Stephen (Henry Ian Cusick, Lost); Harrison (Columbus Short, The Losers); Hack (Guillermo Diaz, Weeds); Abby (Darby Stanchfield, Jericho); and Quinn (Katie Lowes, Easy Money).

Scandal also stars Tony Goldwyn (Ghost) as Fitzgerald Grant, President of the United States, and Jeff Perry (My So Called Life) as Cyrus Beene, the President’s Chief of Staff.  ** It is rumored that the new drama is loosely inspired by the actual life of President George H. W. Bush’s former press aide…**

Looks scandalous to me...

Will Olivia succeed in starting her new life?  Or will the secrets she has worked so diligently to hide in her past resurface?  Will her staff help her, or will they hold her back?

Scandal premieres Thursday, April 5th on ABC.

*****

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 tells the story of two unlikely roommates surviving in New York City…

Roommate #1: June (played by Dreama Walker, Seven Deadly Sins) hails from the Midwest, yet uproots her life for her ideal job in corporate America.  Only when she arrives in The Big Apple, she discovers her position has been eliminated, so she does what everyone does at least once in their lifetime – she becomes a barista.

Roommate #2: Chloe (played by Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad) is a partying socialite who has been accused on more than one occasion of being a con artist, and she is constantly hanging out with her best friend (James Van Der Beek as James Van Der Beek).

Will June survive NYC?  Will she heed everyone’s warning to not trust the “B” in Apt. 23? Will James Van Der Beek playing a fictionalized version of himself be enough to keep this new comedy alive?

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 premieres Wednesday, April 11th on ABC.

*****

NYC 22

And of course the midseason replacements would not be complete without a police procedural…

Not to be confused with ABC’s Rookie Blue, NYC 22 follows six NYPD rookies as they adjust to their new life on patrol.  The group consists of: Jennifer “White House” Perry (LeeLee Sobieski, Joan of Arc), a former marine; Ray “Lazarus” Harper (Adam Goldberg, Dazed and Confused), an older rookie than the others with a previous career in police news reporting; Tonya Sanchez (Judy Marte, Raising Victor Vargas), who has a few criminals in her family’s past; Ahmad Kahn (Tom Reed), a former Afghani native; Kenny McClaren (Stark Sands, Generation Kill), who falls in line as a 4th generation cop; and Jayson “Jackpot” Toney (Harold House Moore, Necessary Roughness), a former basketball star who should have seen success in the NBA.

Clearly, the six rookies form a much diversified group with extremely different backgrounds, who now share the same goal — protect the streets of New York City.

The drama also stars Terry Kinney (Oz) as Field Training Officer, Daniel “Yoda” Dean, and Felix Solis (The Good Wife) as Sergeant Terry Howard.  Doesn’t everyone just love the nicknames?

NYC 22 premieres Sunday, April 15th on CBS.

*****

What do you think?  Do you plan to watch any of these new programs?  Which show has the most promise and why?  The least?  I’d love to hear from you!

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