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….

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Memphis, Music, and Mystery

This week, my partner Amber West and I change things up and instead of talking about the same network, we switch over and review two police dramas currently airing on TNT and Lifetime.

First up: Memphis Beat on TNT starring Jason Lee ( from My Name is Earl, and Kevin Smith’s hit movies such as Mall Rats, Chasing Amy, and Cop Out in addition to the motion picture adaptation of Alvin and the Chipmunks) as detective Dwight Hendricks. 

Dwight loves Memphis, his mamma (played by Celia Weston), and music – specifically Elvis Presley.  He followed in his daddy’s footsteps by joining the Memphis Police Department, and strives to keep his city safe alongside his partner, Detective Charlie “Whitehead” White (played by Sam Hennings). 

Unlike Whitehead, Dwight has a cool demeanor and never raises his voice even when interrogating the worst criminal.  He also uses his peaceful tone to help his partner deal with his insecurities about aging, and Dwight assures Whitehead that he’s still a great cop – a better cop, actually.    

Dwight drives a classic blue 1964 Pontiac GTO instead of a patrol car, and he has a music den at his house where he tends to sleep on the couch night after night.  Does Dwight have a bedroom?

Once a case is solved, Dwight performs at the local bars in Memphis singing popular blues hits from Elvis and Waylon Jennings to just name a few, while his fellow squad members fill the audience with cold beers in hand. 

Spoiler alert – Jason Lee doesn’t sing, at least not in all of the scenes; he has a stand in vocalist for many of the bar performances.  Sorry ladies; I’ve seen him confirm it as truth on Regis and Kelly.

Dwight’s precinct was upended when the new department’s lieutenant took over (Tanya Rice played by Alfre Woodard), and Dwight stepped in to ease the tension between the new boss and his unit.  Knowing his fellow detectives look to him, Dwight does his best to oblige, but continues to maintain his unorthodox detective methods forcing Lt. Rice to slowly adjust her attitude toward the Memphis way of doing things.  Now, if only Lt. Rice would learn to like Dwight’s partner…

Continuing with his “good-guy” role, Dwight mentors his fellow co-workers including Officer Davey Sutton (played by DJ Qualls) and Detective Reginald Greenback (Leonard Earl Howze).  Although he’s a master marksman, Officer Sutton is looked at as a joke by others in the department and especially out in the field – he’s as skinny as a rail and he looks like a young school boy – yet Dwight works to make him feel like a part of the team.  Detective Greenback has problems of his own, like supporting a family on a cop’s salary – will this lead to trouble?  We’ve already seen some questionable actions from Det. Greenback. 

Watching Memphis Beat makes me want to plan a trip to Tennessee soon, especially for the music and cuisine.  Ironic really, when you consider most of the show is filmed in Los Angeles and New Orleans.

I give Memphis Beat a JFTV rating – Junk Food TV.  It’s not the best police drama on TV, but it’ll definitely keep me coming back for more….especially since it airs mostly during the summer months when there’s not much else on the tele. 

What are your thoughts about Memphis Beat?  Should I have given it a higher rating?  Do you prefer Jason Lee as Earl Hickey or Dwight Hendricks? Should Dwight get a love interest anytime soon? I’d love to hear from you!

Now – remember to visit Amber’s review of The Protector starring Ally Walker on Lifetime.  She created a new rating for this one…NIV.  You’ll have to click to see exactly what it stands for, but the acronym reminds me of an infectious disease.

Come back next week when Amber and I speed things up – each of us will host two USA hit shows for a total of four reviews!  I’ll review Burn Notice and Suits while Amber reviews Covert Affairs and Necessary Roughness.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Unconventional Courtroom Fun

Welcome to this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday where Amber West and I channel surf over to TNT.

As I mentioned on an earlier Tele-Tuesday post, TNT hosts some of the hottest summer programming on television today, and the network once again hit one out of the ball park with the new dramedy Franklin & Bash

 “We’re Totally Lawyers” – doesn’t that sound exactly like something the “grown-up” Zach Morris or Travis Birkenstock would say?  

“As if” – who doesn’t totally love Saved by the Bell and Clueless? “Whatever!”

Now I can’t get “Rollin With My Homies” out of my head!

Now back to today’s post – As we learned in last week’s episode, Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) have been friends since high school.  The series begins with the two sitting at a diner watching the traffic in Los Angeles while they banter back and forth when suddenly a fender-bender takes place directly in front of them.  Racing out to the scene, they immediately offer their business cards and legal representation to the driver responsible for rear-ending another car. 

Why is the driver not responsible for the crash when he clearly bumped into the car in front of his?  Franklin and Bash explain that it is because the driver was distracted by the interactive advertising sign yards ahead flashing images of a sexy young woman. 

The young and unconventional attorneys take the case to court and after prompting the beautiful girl in the ad to unbutton her shirt while on the witness stand, thus proving her chest to be guilty of causing an unnecessary distraction to those driving, they win the case against a large and successful law firm.

Witnessing and enjoying the unique techniques of Franklin and Bash, Stanton Infeld (played by Malcolm McDowell) offers the two friends jobs at Infeld Daniels, where he is the senior partner.  Along with their ex-con assistant, Carmen, and their agoraphobic clerk, Pindar, the two join the firm.

Meanwhile, the obvious successor to his uncle, Damien Karp (played by Reed Diamond) takes a disliking to Franklin and Bash and does his best to discredit their antics – but his uncle loves it saying repeatedly that the two remind him of himself when he was younger. 

Further infuriating Damien, Franklin beds Hanna Linden (Garcelle Beauvais, former NYPD Blue cast mate of Gosselaar), another lawyer working at the firm almost immediately.  Why does this bother Damien? Hanna is Damien’s ex. 

We’re only three episodes in, but so far we’ve enjoyed each episode.  Meyer and Gosselaar have great comedic timing and a perfect on-screen chemistry.  Franklin and Bash live together, party together, and work together, yet never seem to tire of one another.  Their famous “Margarita-Monday’s” have already saved one of their cases and provided them the vision to defend another case successfully. 

I’m giving Franklin & Bash another MacTV rating.  It doesn’t quite qualify for the GTV rating that I’d give Justified, Burn Notice, or Bones, but it also doesn’t sit long on my DVR making it a tad better than JFTV. 

I’ve started playing a game with each new episode – how many of Gosselaar’s former TV co-stars will land a guest role on Franklin & BashWanna play?  So far, I’ve already mentioned Garcelle Beauvais…..can you name another?  

Tune in tonight for a new Franklin & Bash on TNT. 

What do you think of Franklin & Bash?  Did you enjoy the butt scene in the first episode, or was it too much?  What do you think of Franklin and Bash’s courtroom antics – are they believable, or would they never happen in real-life?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now, click over and check out Amber’s review of TNT’s Men of a Certain Age starring Scott Bakula, Ray Romano, and one of my favorites, Andrew Braugher. 

Remember to stop by the Twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about today’s posts and any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series in the future.  Next week we discuss police dramas: Lifetime’s The Protector and TNT’s Memphis Beat.

Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite

Vampires are especially hot right now, but technically the story of the television vampire has been popular for decades.

The history and mythology of the vampire has us believing the following to be true for the supernatural creatures: vampires have super strength, lightening fast speed, immortality, eternal youth, and no souls (therefore no conscience).  Vampires have pale skin and are cool to the touch.  They fear holy water, crucifixes, and garlic, and sunlight will burn their flesh.  Vampires sleep in coffins during the daylight hours, and walk the night in search of food, or play toys; whichever you prefer to call it.  A vampire doesn’t have a reflection and can’t enter one’s residence without a proper invitation from the homeowner.  And, most importantly, a vampire experiences the most excruciating hunger that only blood will satisfy.

Intriguing, right? But there’s more!

More often than not, the television vampire is sexy.  Whether the blood-sucker is male or female, the character is both mesmerizing and seducing, and has the power of extreme mind control.  The older TV series show their vampires transforming into bats, giving them the ability to fly away; today, the vampire possesses lightening fast speed and doesn’t have to shape shift anymore.

Over the years, the television vampire has adapted and has discovered a few ways around previous restrictions.  For one, the vampire has emulated today’s watchful eaters, such as vegetarians.  Instead of feeding on human blood, vampires may drink only the blood of animals.  Spells and elixirs have assisted today’s vampire in walking among the living in broad daylight.  And garlic?  It’s been left behind as an old superstition.

Are you hooked yet?

Future TV with Bite posts will discuss vampire television in further details, but the list below provides just a taste of my television favorites:

Dark Shadows, 1966-1971 – ABC; 1991 – NBC; 2004 – The WB, and syndicated on Chiller today

Vampire Barnabas Collins (Ben Cross) hides his curse from the young and beautiful Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) who just happens to resemble Barnabas’ previous love hundreds of years ago.

Forever Knight 1989, 1993-1996 -CBS, and syndicated on Chiller today

Detective/Vampire Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies) fights crime in an attempt to make up for his cold-blooded killings centuries before.  He manages to keep his secret from everyone, including his partner, except for the medical examiner/confidant, Dr. Natalie Lambert (Catherine Disher), who provides him at times with human blood.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1997-2003 – The WB, and syndicated on multiple channels today

A young teenage slayer, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), works alongside her watcher, her witchy best friend, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) , her vampire boyfriends, Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters), her human friends Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), an occasional werewolf (Seth Green) and demon (Emma Caulfield), and fellow slayer (Eliza Dushku) to protect Sunnydale from the Big Bad.

Angel, 1999-2004- The WB, and syndicated on multiple channels today

A popular spinoff from Buffy, Angel (Boreanaz) and Cordelia (Carpenter) continue to battle evil in the search for Angel’s internalized redemption alongside with new minions: Wesley (Alexis Denisof), Charles (Jaime Augusto Richards III), Winifred (Amy Acker), and Connor (Vincent Kartheiser).

Moonlight2007-2008– CBS, syndicated on Chiller and SyFy today

Private Investigator/Vampire Mick St. John (Alex O’Laughlin) and reporter, Beth (Sophia Myles), fall in love while keeping Los Angeles and Mick’s secret safe.  Mick, however, keeps an even larger secret from Beth – his vampire wife, Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon), had kidnapped Beth as a little girl, and he was the one who saved her decades ago.  Moonlight may have only lasted the one year, however it remains one of my absolute favorites.

Two of the most popular television shows on today revolve around the vampire world, True Blood on HBO, and The Vampire Diaries on The CW.  These shows are so hot, they require a future Tele-Tuesday post all their own.

While not airing new episodes, these vamp series live-on in the ever-popular syndication world: Kolchak: The Night Stalker, 1974-1975 (Chiller and SyFy); Kindred: The Embraced, 1996 (Chiller); and Blood Ties, 2007, (syndicated outside the United States).  Chiller and SyFy run a different marathon every day making it easy to catch up on these older series; check them out!

What are your thoughts on the mythological versus the television vampires?  Which is your favorite vampire television series of all time?  Who is your favorite television vampire?  Do you think these television shows will live forever like their eternal characters, or will someone jab a stake through their heart?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: New to Summer 2011 Too

In tandem with last week’s edition of Tele-Tuesday, here are a few more new television series braving the broadcasting waves this summer. 

MTV: Teen Wolf

We all remember the hit 1985 movie starring Michael J. Fox…MTV transforms the teenage werewolf comedy into a supernatural drama starring Tyler Posey as Scott McCall, a high school lacrosse player who escapes a dangerous wolf encounter with only a bite. At least he thinks he escaped…  This Teen Wolf edition has bite, pun intended; it will focus on werewolf mythology and the dark-side of the curse with some comparing it to the hit CW television series, The Vampire Diaries.  Will Scott control his werewolf urge or give in to the curse’s temptation?  Catch the special two-night Premier June 5th and June 6th

Lifetime: The Protector

Remember the 1990s series, The Profiler?  Ally Walker returns to television this summer as Gloria Sheppard, The Protector: a single mother/homicide detective.  By day, Sheppard and her partner (Tisha Campbell-Martin from Martin and My Wife and Kids) uphold the law.  Unlike other detectives, Sheppard uses unorthodox methods and she receives constant guidance from her Lieutenant (played by Miguel Ferrer from Crossing Jordan).  By night, the recently divorced Sheppard looks to her brother for help with her kids, but he brings his own trouble to the table.  Nothing in life comes easy… Premiers June 12th

ABC Family: The Nine Lives of Chloe King

Destined to be a part of Mai, an ancient race with extraordinary powers, a young girl learns to balance life as a normal sixteen year old, understand and master her new supernatural abilities, and battle the assassins trying to kill her.  So much for trying to be a normal teen!  Based on the young adult series by Celia Thompson (also known as Liz Braswell), Skyler Samuels, from The Gates and The Stepfather (2009), stars as Chloe King. Premiers June 14th  

SyFy: Alphas

Alphas follows five people pulled together by not-so ordinary superhuman abilities.  Dr. Lee Rosen, a non-Alpha played by Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Temple Grandin), leads the team consisting of a hyperadrenal-Alpha with super strength and training as a former FBI Agent; a hyperkinesis-Alpha with perfect aim and motor skills, as well a history as an army sniper; an influencing-Alpha, the woman who manipulates others with her power of persuasion; a transducing-Alpha or human antennae; and a synesthete-Alpha, the most vulnerable of the Alphas with the ability to strengthen one of the five senses while leaving the other four useless. As one can imagine, these Type-A personalities will battle extreme personality differences, yet the team must overcome the odds to fight the more important crime at hand.  Premiers July 11th

Remember to catch these new shows this week:

Franklin & Bash – Wednesday on TNT

Love BitesThursday on NBC

The Glades – Sunday on A&E

Which of these shows will you check out this summer?  Do you like the strong presence of the supernatural series? What’s missing from television today that you’d like to see return?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

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