Tele-Tuesday: Perp or Victim?

Continuing with last week’s post, television 2011 has brought us a large lineup of new programs hoping to find a permanent home on the networks.  After giving almost all of the new shows a try, I’ve picked a few that have definitely peaked my interest and earned a spot on the DVR.

For those of you with just enough time for a few programs a week, this is for you!

We’ve already discussed why Revenge is Sweet, so today we’re going to talk about what happens when someone’s number is up.

Post 9/11, the U. S. Government hires Mr. Fitch (Michael Emerson,Lost) to build a computer with the programming capabilities to predict terrorist activity.  Fitch’s machine produces numbers, specifically social security numbers, indicating who the country should add to the watch list.  Of course, not every number that it generates is indicative of terrorist activity and those are thrown out.

Fitch decides to save the portion of his computer the government deems irrelevant, and he discovers that he can find individuals who may or may not be involved in a crime tomorrow, the next day, or a year from now.

Realizing he doesn’t have the required resources to follow each lead on his own, Mr. Fitch seeks out former CIA agent, John Reese (Jim Caviezel from major motion pictures including The Passion of the Christ).  Reese is the perfect partner for Fitch; he’s presumed dead by the U.S. government, and he possesses the highest level of training and skills the U.S. military has to offer.  Better yet, his beloved was murdered years before and Reese has nothing to lose.

Person of Interest begins when hoodlums on a subway train attempt to mug Reese.  Notice we said attempt….Reese, dirty and resembling a bum, fights back and incapacitates each and every one in the gang.  The police take Reese in for questioning, where he meets Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).  Det. Carter isn’t buying Reese’s story, but he is bailed out by a mysterious benefactor (Fitch) before she has the chance to question him further.

Reese cleans up and Fitch pitches his idea to him – “the machine” generates a social security number, and Reese will follow the individual gathering Intel to determine whether or not the individual is going to be the victim of a crime, and when, or whether or not the individual is going to be the perpetrator of a crime, and try to prevent it.  Mr. Fitch will provide Reese the necessary funds for each investigation; money is no object.

The first social security number Reese receives belongs to a young and beautiful district attorney.  Reese follows her with the intentions of protecting her from whatever danger is ahead, but he soon discovers that she, along with others on the NYPD, is dirty.  Reese uses this opportunity to blackmail and pocket one of the dirty cops, Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman, Rescue Me), which really comes in handy considering Det. Carter refuses to forget about the subway vigilante.

The phrase, “act first, ask questions later,” describes Reese perfectly.  He’s not afraid to punch, kick, or even shoot anyone he considers dangerous and a threat to the individuals he is tasked with protecting.  We’ve likened Reese to Michael Westen (Burn Notice) in our house, except Reese has even less to live for than our favorite burned spy, making him one dangerous dude.

And, what about Fitch’s past?  Person of Interest provides flashbacks giving the audience tiny pieces to the puzzle.  We know that Fitch is the brains behind the computer; we know that the “face” of Fitch’s organization, his partner Ingram (Brett Cullen, The Gates), has been murdered; we know that Fitch now suffers ailments from a previous injury, and that he too is presumed dead.

What happened?  Is it possible that the government tried to cover up the fact that it asked Fitch to build this technology?

Do you watch Person of Interest?  What do you think?  Do you think the government has a “super computer” they use to track potential threats?  How long before Det. Carter learns the truth, and will she join the team or arrest Reese?  I’d love to hear from you!  

 

Remember – the final season of Chuck premieres this Friday night on NBC…..What do the writers have in store for fellow Nerd Herd and Buy More fans?  Will Morgan survive the Intersect?  Will Sarah and Chuck, Ellie and Awesome, and Casey save the world and live happily ever after?  What antics does JeffSter have up their sleeves this season?

Let me know in the comments section if you’re a Chuck fan too and what you hope to see as the series comes to an end!

Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite – The Vampire Diaries

 

What makes The Vampire Diaries so successful?  For one, the allure of the vampire will always seduce a television audience.  Secondly, production cast perhaps the most beautiful ensemble on TV.  And, most importantly, the writing is absolutely stellar.

Based on the YA series of the same name by L.J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries attracts teenage and adult viewers alike every Thursday night for the CW network.  So, why is it so popular?

#1 – The Vampire

Vampires have mesmerized readers, movie-goers, and television viewers for decades.  In addition to a vampire’s ability to compel a human, they also possess seductive traits including super strength, lightening fast speed, immortality, and eternal youth.  How is it that biting into the neck of a human is sexy?  It just is.

#2 – Beautiful People

Elena Gilbert played by Nina Dobrev (Degrassi: The Next Generation), is a human teenager surrounded by the supernatural.  Dobrev also plays Elena’s doppelganger, Katherine Pierce – vampire maker of the Salvatore brothers.

Elena loses both parents in a car accident, and later learns that she is adopted.  She dates vampire Stefen, while shamelessly shelving her attraction to his vampire brother, Damon.

Stefen Salvatore played by Paul Wesley (Wolf Lake, Everwood), is a 150 year old vampire.  Stefen is the good again/bad again vampire.

In the 1920s, “bad” Stefen, also known as the “Ripper,” leaves a long trail of bodies during his tenure in the greater Chicago area.  A friendly vampire later saves Stefen, and she teaches him to feed on animals, not humans.  “Good” Stefen then saves Elena from the car crash that claims her parents’ lives, and he instantly falls in love with the Katherine look-alike and resumes residency in Mystic Falls to be near her.

Damon Salvatore played by Ian Somerhalder (Lost), is Stefen’s older brother, and he is also a 150 year old vampire.  Damon is the “bad” boy with bite that we all love to love.  Like Stefen, Damon adored Katherine and he similarly shares the same feelings for Elena; and, just like in the 1800s, Damon suffers as Elena chooses his brother over him.  Why can’t Damon catch a break?

Unlike his brother, Damon never claims to be the “good” vampire.  Damon returns to Mystic Falls to make his little brother’s life a living hell.  He laughs at Stefen for preferring animal blood over human, and Damon has no problem compelling females to get what he needs – sex, blood, and/or information. Regardless of his intentions to make Stefen’s life miserable, Damon will do anything to protect his brother – just don’t tell anybody or he will deny it.

Jeremy Gilbert played by Steven R. McQueen (Everwood and Piranha 3D; and yes, he is Steve McQueen’s grandson) is Elena’s little brother.  Like his sister, Jeremy is human; however since being brought back from the dead by his witch girlfriend, he sees the ghosts of his former vampire girlfriends.

As with  generations of Gilberts before him, Jeremy wears a magically protected ring preventing him from dying any supernatural death.

Caroline Forbes played by Candice Accola, or “Vampire Barbie” as she’s called in our house, began the series as a human.  Caroline’s the bossy teenage best friend of Elena, but that friendship doesn’t stop her from being extremely jealous of Elena.

Seizing an opportunity, vampire Katherine turns Caroline after a car accident hoping to use her against Elena and the Salvatores.  Katherine failed.  Caroline might just be my favorite character on the show, behind Damon of course.

Bonnie Bennett played by Kat Graham (Honey 2), is best friends with Elena and Caroline.  She recently discovered that she is an extremely powerful witch, and she continues to increase her powers by learning witchcraft via spells from her ancestors.

Bonnie is dating Jeremy, but so far in season three she has been MIA.

Matt Donovan played by Zach Roerig (As the World Turns), is one of the rare humans roaming the streets of Mystic Falls.  Matt previously dated Elena and Caroline, and is now a bit spooked since learning about all of his supernatural friends.

Even though they are his closest friends, Matt finds it difficult to trust the vampires because they killed his sister.

Tyler Lockwood played by Michael Trevino (Cane), is the resident high school jock and cursed werewolf.  After his father’s death, his uncle Mason arrives hoping to reclaim the family moonstone – a stone necessary to break the werewolf curse; and, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, a stone also required for an original to transform into a hybrid.

Both thrust into the world of the supernatural, Tyler and Caroline continue to grow closer.

Alaric  “Ric” Saltzman played by Matt Davis (Legally Blonde), teaches at Mystic Falls High.  Rick came to town a vampire hunter, however now he assumes the role of “protector” for the Salvatores and Gilberts, as well as their vampire and werewolf friends.

Ric is cursed on the relationship front : his ex-wife/deceased vampire Isobel, is Elena’s mother (therefore, similar to Jeremy, he also possesses a Gilbert protection ring); and his girlfriend, Jenna (Elena and Jeremy’s aunt) was recently turned and killed as a part of Klaus’ plan to take over the supernatural world.

Klaus/Nick played by Joseph Morgan (Hex, Mansfield Park), is one of the “original” vampires, and is also a new breed called a hybrid (vampire/werewolf) courtesy of a witch’s spell – the simultaneous death of a werewolf, vampire, and doppelganger.

Klaus is one bad vamp.  The current episodes are airing just enough back story so the viewers can learn a tad bit more about this original and his sister, Rebecca, who is in love with Stefen.  Uh-oh, Elena!

#3 – The Writing

Without giving too much away, the writing on The Vampire Diaries is enough to attract all ages.  Really. It is.

The first season focuses on the history of the vampire and witch in Mystic Falls.  Season two continues with the Katherine/doppelganger storyline and also introduces the werewolf curse.  The suspense, sexual tension, and the twists and turns involving every character is perhaps some of the best on television.  Season three just started a few weeks ago, and we can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us!

 

Do you watch The Vampire Diaries?  Did you read the books?  What do you like/dislike about the YA series versus the TV series?  Who’s your favorite character and why?  Better yet – Stefen or Damon? 

Do you think when it’s all said and done, that The Vampire Diaries will rival Buffy the Vampire Slayer as one of the best supernatural series of all time?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Clash of the Monday Titans

Our television sets and DVRs are about to kick into overdrive as fall TV arrives in just a few weeks.  Many of our favorite programs are returning, so Amber West and I decided to share a few more Why It’s Worth a Watch reviews to check out two of the dueling Monday night titans coming back to us September 19th – ABC’s Castle and CBS’s Hawaii Five-0

 

In 2008, TV viewers learned that CBS planned to remake the popular television series Hawaii Five-O, a hit that remained on the air from 1968-1980 starring Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett and James MacArthur as Danny Williams. 

Mixed emotions spread like wildfire – some of the older generations were furious that the networks would once again ruin a classic by attempting a remake, while others jumped in joy at the thought of their favorite television show in the ‘70s returning.  Not all that familiar with the original, the younger generations, particularly the women, marked their calendars for the series premiere and the return of some Australian sexiness to the small screen.    

Forty-two years to the day from the debut of the original Hawaii Five-O in 1968, the new Hawaii Five-0 aired.  Continuing the tribute to the original series, the 2010 opening credits remained exactly the same (except for the actors and a tad bit of our new technology today, of course).   The 2010 series also plays the original theme song composed by Morton Stevens during the opening credits. 

Don’t believe me?  Check these out!

1968

2010

What did you think?  Okay, now on to the characters!

Steve McGarrett played by Alex O’Laughlin (Moonlight, The Back-up Plan)

The series opens when McGarrett, a former Navy SEAL, hears his father murdered over the telephone.  He returns to Hawaii for the funeral and decides to stay when the governor (Jean Smart from Designing Women) appointments him the lead of the Five-O special task force, a unit with the ability to do whatever they deem necessary to close the case at hand – perfect for McGarrett’s way of acting & thinking. 

McGarrett takes down the bad guys for his “day job” while searching for the evidence to bring down Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven), the man he believes is responsible for his mother’s death years ago and for his father’s recent murder. 

Viewers get to see a tad bit of McGarrett’s personal life when his sister visits (Mary Ann McGarrett, played by Taryn Manning, 8 Mile) and his recurring love interest’s carrier docks in Hawaii (Lt. Catherine Rollins played by Michelle Borth, The Forgotten).  

Danny Williams played by Scott Caan (Varsity Blues, Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen)

McGarrett’s partner, Danny, moved to Hawaii to be closer to his daughter, Grace, and he misses the mainland and Jersey food tremendously.   

Remember the popular phrase, Book ‘em Danno?  Well, the younger generations, not as familiar with the original series, learned that the term “Danno is actually a term of endearment that Grace uses instead of “daddy” or “father” for Danny.   When McGarrett overhears an adorable exchange between Danny and his daughter, he takes a mental note and busts out with, “Book ‘em Danno” at the scene of their first arrest, much to Danny’s dismay. 

Danny operates more like a police officer should (the term “by the book” comes to mind), therefore he disagrees with McGarrett’s way of doing things.  The banter between the two partners adds a humorous element to the show, although many original Hawaii Five-O fans believe that the Danny of the ‘70s would never have talked to the McGarrett of the’70s the way our current day Danny does. 

The third and fourth members of the team, Chin-Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim from Lost) and Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park from Battlestar Galactica), are native Hawaiians with a history of their own. 

Chin-Ho was excused from the Hawaii Police Department for allegedly stealing money and his cousin Grace is the only family member who hasn’t disowned him over the supposed crime.  This matter is cleared up towards the end of season one, but we’re not offering up any SPOILER alerts today.    

Grace, a former professional surfer and recent graduate from the Police Academy, anxiously joins the Five-O task force to work with her cousin, even if it means she’ll never get to wear the HPD uniform that she worked so very hard to earn.   

Other recurring characters include: Kamekona (Taylor Wiley, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), a confidential informant and shaved-ice vendor who sometimes babysits Grace for McGarrett and Danny; Max Bergman (Masi Oka, Heroes), the medical examiner/coroner; Victor Hesse (James Marsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), murderer and Wo Fat associate; and Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik, The Baby-Sitters Club and 3rd Rock from the Sun), a former CIA agent and consultant/assistant to the Five-0 team.

The creators and CBS have brought back a classic in style, and they have glorified the beauties of the islands of Hawaii for the rest of the world to see.   Regardless of all the nay-sayers out there, I give Hawaii Five-0 a MacTV rating.   There aren’t many television programs that both my guy and I like to watch simultaneously, and this happens to be one of them. 

I really wanted to give McGarrett and Danno a GTV rating, but I just don’t quite think Beef Wellington and an expensive bottle of Cabernet when I think of Hawaii Five-0; instead, I think meatloaf covered in chili sauce served with shells-n-cheese and an ice-cold beer.  Every Monday night we sit curled up with our dinner plates in our laps enthralled in the action and mystery while shoveling the yummy food into our mouths without paying the least bit of attention to the mess we’re making.  Guilty pleasure, agree? 

What do you think? Do you like the new Hawaii Five-0 or prefer the original?  Are you like me and would watch Alex O’Laughlin in anything that guarantees the occasional shirtless scene (Navy SEALS swim a lot!)?  What do you think of Scott Caan – does he remind you of his father, James Caan (you knew that, right?)?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Nathan Fillion….I mean, the crime and mystery drama Castle on CBS!  What happens when a mystery writer tags along with a detective?  Said writer gathers tons of writing material! 

Come back next week when Amber and I continue to review a few more of our favorite programs on CBS returning this fall – the Thursday night hit, The Mentalist, and the Friday night sophomore, Blue Bloods.

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.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with you!

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

Tele-Tuesday: Fall Wouldn’t Be the Same Without New Crime and Drama

It’s that time of year again!  The fall television schedule is right around the corner and, as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites. 

Similar to the last two weeks, we’re introducing more of the new television programs this fall.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, it’s time for new crime and drama!

****

 Unforgettable – CBS

Unforgettable stars Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace) as former New York City detective Carrie Wells.  Carrie remembers everything:  every moment and every aspect of every day.   When asked to help the police solve a crime, Carrie is reunited with her ex, Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh, Nip/Tuck).  Carrie decides to rejoin the force with one major goal – solve her sister’s murder.

Other notables: Marilu Henner (Taxi) plays two roles: first as a production consultant (similar to the main character, Henner possesses the rare ability to recall all autobiographical events, a condition known as hyperthymesia) and second as a recurring guest; and, Michael Gaston (The Mentalist) plays Detective Mike Costello.

Unforgettable premieres Tuesday, September 20th.

*****

Revenge – ABC

Revenge stars Emily VanCamp (Everwood) as Emily Thorne, a young and beautiful addition to the rich and prestigious Hamptons.   Emily’s arrival isn’t her first trip to the neighborhood.  When she was a little girl, her father was framed for murder and Emily vows revenge against those responsible – primarily the Grayson family. 

Other notables: Revenge is loosely based on Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the series also stars Madeleine Stowe (from many motion pictures including Stakeout, Twelve Monkeys, and The General’s Daughter) as Victoria Grayson. 

Revenge premieres Wednesday, September 21st.

*****

Charlie’s Angels – ABC

Yet another adaptation of the popular ‘70s television program that starred Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Cheryl Ladd, to only name a few, this remake of Charlie’s Angels stars three new young and beautiful starlets: Annie Ilonzeh (General Hospital) as Kate Prince, a former dirty cop; Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights, The Roommate) as Eve French, a former street racer; and, Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy) as Abby Sampson, a former thief.   The three angels work for John Bosley (Ramon Rodriguez, Day Break and The Wire), the face of Charlie’s agency (Townsend Detective Agency), and will protect each other at all costs. 

Other notables: Charlie’s Angels is produced by Drew Barrymore, an angel herself in the motion picture hits; Leonard Goldberg, an original producer of the ‘70s hit; and,  Nancy Juvonen, producer of the major motion pictures starring Drew  Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy LiuRobert Wagner was supposed to follow in John Foresythe’s footsteps as the voice of Charlie; however, Wagner had to leave the project due to other conflicts.

Charlie’s Angels premieres Thursday, September 22nd.

*****

Person of Interest – CBS

Person of Interest stars Michael Emerson (Lost) as billionaire Mr. Fitch, and Jim Caviezel (from many motion picture blockbusters including A Thin Red Line and The Passion of the Christ) as former CIA agent, John Reese.  The two men find each other after Mr. Fitch creates a software program that has the ability to predict crimes.  Fitch seeks out Reese to help solve these crimes before they happen.  Why?  Because the former CIA agent is presumed dead – who better to help stop these crimes before they happen than a dead man?  

Other notables: Person of Interest is produced by J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost, Fringe); and, also stars Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as Carter, the detective on a mission to find Reese. 

Person of Interest premieres Thursday, September 22nd.

*****

 Prime Suspect – NBC

Based on the British drama series of the same name, Prime Suspect stars Maria Bello (Coyote Ugly, ER) as Detective Jane Timoney.  Jane’s confidence, lack of tact and reckless behavior make her adjustment in the New York City homicide division challenging.  Will her fine detective skills and her ability to focus on the case at hand help her fit into the all-male department?

Other notables:  Prime Suspect also stars Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall, Practical Magic, and TV’s Third Watch) as Lieutenant Kevin Sweeney; Kirk Acevedo (Fringe) as Detective Luisito Calderon;  Peter Gerety as Jane’s father, Desmond; and, Tim Griffin, Damon Gupton, and Brian F. O’Byrne as other members of the  homicide department. 

Prime Suspect premieres Thursday, September 22nd.

*****

A Gifted Man – CBS

A Gifted Man stars Patrick Wilson (The Phantom of the Opera, The A-Team, Insidious) as Michael Holt, a self-absorbed New York City surgeon whose life is turned upside down when his ex-wife haunts him from beyond the grave and asks him to continue her work in a free clinic.   Michael’s life changes for the better, pleasing his sister (Christina played by Julie Benz, Dexter and No Ordinary Family), while leaving his assistant (Rita played by Margo Martindale, Justified) questioning his recent career choices. 

Other notables: A Gifted Man is produced by Academy Award winning director, Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs); and Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon alumnus, Rachelle Lefevre (vampire Victoria) plays Kate, a doctor at the free clinic.

A Gifted Man premieres Friday, September 23rd.  

*****

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

Tele-Tuesday: MTV’s Joining the Party

On August 1, 1981, Music Television (also known as MTV) launched with the music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles, and was immediately a breakthrough success.  MTV changed pop culture forever, and even created what we know as VJs (vee-jay or video jockey) today.

By the 1990s, the network began to drift away from the music videos, and started airing original broadcasts such as Road Rules and The Real World, animations including Beavis and Butthead and Celebrity Deathmatch, and even a few popular game shows like Remote Control and Singled Out – the show that putJenny McCarthy and Carmen Electra on the map.

By 2000, rarely could we flip channels to MTV and actually watch a music video.  Instead, we’d find The Osbournes, and watch Ozzy and Sharon wrangle their children and many small dogs around their house in Los Angeles; or we’d watch Ashton Kutcher play pranks on celebrities on Punk’d; and, sometimes we’d even watch Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica so that we could laugh at just how silly that girl can be.

Since then, MTV has continued to launch more and more reality shows: Laguna Beach, NEXT, My Super Sweet 16, and the craziest of them all, Jersey Shore.  And, who could forget one of the biggest hits of all MTV programming – Jackass?

Where would society be today without Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Ryan (R.I.P.), and Wee-Man?

This summer, MTV gained positive attention with the premier of its supernatural hit Teen Wolf.  Some of us even refer to Teen Wolf as the summer’s The Vampire Diaries – and that’s a huge compliment.

Will MTV be able to do it again with Death Valley, the new half hour horror-comedy premiering later this month?

Death Valley follows the Undead Task Force (UTF) as they protect the San Fernando Valley from the recent outbreak of zombies, vampires, and werewolves.   The UTF, a special division within the LAPD, is tasked with the responsibility of containing or destroying as many of the walking dead as possible, while a film crew follows them documenting each encounter.

Viewers will recognize a few familiar faces on the UTF squad including: Captain Frank Dashell (Bryan Callen from The Hangover); the traditional cop, Joe Stubeck (Charlie Sanders from Funny or Die Presents); the wanna-be-actor Billy Pierce (Bryce Johnson from Pretty Little Liars); the rookie Kirsten Landry (Caity Lotz from Mad Men); the sharp-shooter, Carla Rinaldi (Tania Raymonde from Lost); and, the one who loves to fight, John-John Johnson (Texas Battle from The Bold and the Beautiful).

The trailer looks hilarious and leads us to believe the show will have plenty of gore.  What more could we ask for when watching zombies, vampires, and werewolves?

Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves – Oh, My!

Death Valley premieres on MTV Monday, August 29th at 10:30/9:30pm CDT.

Will you watch Death Valley?  Or do you prefer that MTV stop trying to compete with the regular network broadcasting channels and go back to playing more music videos?  What’s the first music video you remember watching on MTV? What’s your favorite program of all time on MTV? Do you even watch MTV anymore? I’d love to hear from you! 

%d bloggers like this: