Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Where We Are Today…

It’s that time of year when the networks are adding even more new programming to our already full TV plates.  But before we get started on the New Year in Review, Amber West and I decided to recap our 2011 Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday ratings, from best to worst.

While I’m not quite sure where everyone else stands, this crazy television and food obsessed girl has gained her share of comfort weight over the past thirty weeks – figuratively, of course.  Thirty weeks — it seems a bit unreal that WatchWed has been around that long.  Add up the time and count the amount of MacNCheese and Junk Food TV that we’ve reviewed, the added pounds become a bit easier to understand.

First, let’s take a quick look at the 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

Some of the ratings have been around since Watch Wednesday opened its doors for business, but our palates became a bit more refined over time and it took watching a few series to understand we didn’t quite have the proper scale in place.  After considerable thought, we added Gourmet MacNCheese TV, Twice Baked Potato TV, and NyQuil Induced Viewing TV to the menu.   After all, a good chef always tweaks his or her recipes depending on the comment cards left behind by the diners, right?

It makes the most sense to begin with our favorites, the best of the best – the GTV (Gourmet TV) rated programs.  Leading the way for this television viewer will always be Criminal Minds, Bones, and Burn Notice.  Not one of these shows can sit on the DVR for more than an hour without burning a hole in the table cloth – they are that hot.

That’s not to say other plates didn’t also deserve a top-nod, including Blue Bloods, and our favorite cons on Leverage and White Collar.  And, believe it or not, there are many other programs that fit into this category that we’ve yet to review (and our explanations are Justified).

But who can afford a bone-in filet, horseradish mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and a glass of $100 wine with every meal?  It appears not Fox, since our GTV alternate reality favorite, Fringe, is on the rocks.  Or rumor has it anyway…

Back to the more affordable dishes…

Most of us enjoy a homemade meatloaf with the rich and creamy guilty pleasure Velveeta Shells & Cheese (also known as MacTV, MacNCheese TV) on the average night.

And what goes better with this more affordable meal than the fantastic new supernatural series, Grimm; the action packed scenes, beautiful scenery, and the leading man eye-candy of Hawaii Five-o (that’s Alex O’Loughlin for anyone who may not already know); as well as the two new rookie programs that have both been renewed for a second season: Suits and Franklin & Bash?

Seriously – try it.  Curl up on the sofa with a warm bowl of the cheesy favorite, and check out one of these programs.  They’ll promise to fill you and leave you satisfied, wanting more.

Before we eat the last bite, we must pay our respects to the MacTV great that has given us eight seasons of laughter, tears, mystery, intrigue, and drama – the REAL housewives of Wisteria Lane, the Desperate Housewives.  It won’t be long before the housewives leave us forever, well until syndication anyway.

Moving on…

Because this girl likes to enjoy a few meals while reminiscing about the good ol’ days of high school, Pretty Little Liars and MTV’s surprising hit, Teen Wolf, also satisfy the carb-craving that everyone needs filled every once in a while (the mystery and intrigue of these YA series doesn’t hurt either).

And for the nights when cooking just doesn’t quite seem like an option, there’s always that trusty bag of greasy potato chips we keep hidden in the pantry.

Television’s equivalent to the JFTV (Junk Food TV) bag of tasty goodness is the same – it’s not the best thing in the world for us, but we must have more than one episode: Unforgettable, Being Human, Law & Order: SVU, Warehouse 13, and the late TNT drama, Memphis Beat.

Yes, Jason Lee’s blues singing detective show has been cancelled, but don’t worry – he’s joined the cast of another JFTV show and returned to his comedic roots in Up All Night.

Next are the days when we really just need something to fill our bellies and ruin our cholesterol, much like a Twice Baked Potato (TBPTV). 

For days like these, we have the AMC original hit, The Walking Dead.  This post-zombie-apocalyptic television series fills the supernatural undead void we’ve had for years (although a particular someone in this house is still waiting for the Frankenstein monster television program before he’s perfectly satisfied).  The survivors working together to make the most of a bad situation makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  And then the bloating feeling hits us like a ton of bricks, proving the show isn’t the best thing out there for us – but it sure is fun to savor while it lasts.

Perhaps tasty, warm, fuzzy, and savor aren’t the best words to use when describing a zombie television show, but we think it gets the point across.

And sadly, we left one program Still Simmering (SSTV) on the back burner and completely forgot to pay more attention to it, but we will…especially since Alphas was picked up for a second season.  For this, our readers have our deepest apologies.  The re-review will come in time before the premiere of season two on SyFy, promise.

All this serious talk may lead one to believe we’re all business around Watch Wednesday, but we’re not.  We love to laugh too, and a few of the network funnies received the same critical reviews as the dramas.

Hindsight is always 20/20, therefore we need to re-file the one MacTV rated sitcom (How I Met Your Mother) into the JFTV rating list along with Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls.  For some reason, HIMYM has its viewers crying at the end of episodes instead of laughing here recently, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sitcom and explains the need for the downgrade – something just isn’t the same.

And just like my dinner plate, there will be no Liver and Onions TV (LOTV) for the audience today, and hopefully not anytime soon.  Yuck!

Okay, that is a ton of television.  I didn’t even include the reviews of a few of my Netflix and marathon-style TV favorites (MacTV Charmed and Tru Calling, as well as the Gourmet TV Twin Peaks and Moonlight).  Does anyone notice the Alex O’Loughlin trend?

It’s a lot to take in, but tell us:

What do you think?  Which shows already in progress need to be in our list? Are there any new shows that you are looking forward to?  We’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and catch up on where her reviews sit to date.

Come back next week when Amber and I begin the new season of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

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.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – A Special Recap Edition

Welcome to today’s special edition of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, where Amber West and I recap our previous ratings.  We’ll reveal what we’re still watching, and whether or not our ratings remain the same.

Previously, MTV’s Teen Wolf earned a MacTV rating – it wasn’t perfect, but it satisfied like most guilty pleasures. 

Since the original review, seven new episodes of Teen Wolf have aired, and it is still an extreme guilty pleasure.   The audience has learned more of the back-story behind the Hale family of werewolves and the Argent family of werewolf hunters.  The show has entertained us with magic, twists and turns, and most importantly revealed the identity of the big-bad alpha wolf. 

Considering the target audience is composed of teens and young adults, this thirtysomething can’t get enough.  Therefore, I am moving it up in the ranks and giving Teen Wolf a GTV rating.  Teen Wolf is this summer’s new gourmet program – especially for those Vampire Diaries fans going through withdrawal.

TNT’s Franklin & Bash is another show that is moving up in the ranks.  This previous MacTV rating definitely deserves an upgrade to an entree’s GTV rating.  While the courtroom antics may not be entirely believable, this television program delivers a bone-in filet flavor. 

Is anyone still playing “Name that Co-Star” game with me?  Remember how to play?  Name as many of Gosselaar’s former TV co-stars that make a guest appearance.  So far, we’ve seen Garcelle Beauvais…..can you name another?  

Let’s change the objective just a tad: How many child/teen stars of the ‘90s will land a guest starring role in Franklin & Bash?  We saw “The Beek” or “Dawson” as some may remember just last week.  Anyone else? 

Speaking of gourmet television, Burn Notice, Leverage, and White Collar remain at the top of the GTV rating scale.  These shows on USA and TNT are full of all the best ingredients: drama, comedy, budding relationships, intense loyalty and friendships, beautiful people, explosions, trickery, and individual storylines plus ongoing intrigue. 

Every week promises some of the best programming available – summer, fall, winter, or spring.  Enough said.

As apparent by the previous reviews, Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  Curling up with a warm bowl in front of the TV to watch ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars is like taking a hot bath with a glass of wine, a gigantic piece of chocolate cake, and a great mystery novel.   

We’re approaching the end of season two, and this teen drama has this particular viewer completely bamboozled.  I have an inkling of an idea as to the identity of “A”, but not enough to voice my opinion here.  What does that say about the mystery?

Pretty Little Liars keeps its MacTV rating

The USA hit Suits is another one keeping its original MacTV rating.  We normally watch the same day as the program airs, but I can’t quite elevate it to the GTV status. 

We finally saw one shoe drop this past week when the paralegal learned that Mike took the LSAT for a close friend.  Will his secret come out?  It has to, right?  A college dropout can’t portray a first year associate for long, not even with perfect recall.  Can he? And, would a senior partner really keep up with this charade? 

No…..but it’s TV – it’s entertainment; it’s not real life. 

The only JFTV rating, TNT’s Memphis Beat, remains junk-food television.  Memphis Beat is one show that has failed to impress me week after week.  Not to misunderstand, some weeks are great, like when Dwight and his mother traveled to New Orleans to face his father’s killer in prison.  But, unfortunately, other episodes could technically be watched with the trigger finger locked into place on the fast-forward button. 

The character of Whitehead is very different this year.  His quirkiness from season one is gone, and serious Whitehead just isn’t the same.  Honestly, if Jason Lee weren’t the star, Memphis Beat might fall to a NIV rating – NyQuil induced viewing.  Like junk food, I take a taste only when I really need that fix.

A few weeks ago, SyFy’s Alphas earned a SSTV rating definitely showcasing its potential, but it was still too early to tell.  Only two episodes have aired since, and I continue to be pleasantly surprised with the series start.

Last week, the alphas hunted another of their kind with a pheromone problem – when encountering danger or a stressful situation, he released these little buggers into the air that caused everyone in the near vicinity to go crazy.  Who wouldn’t’ like that power?

What’s more impressive, we’ve already seen a recurring character die, and the mystery behind the alpha holding facility continues to grow.  I’m keeping with the SSTV rating, but the new episodes haven’t been simmering long on the DVR before watching.

Have our reviews tempted you to try any of this summer’s television shows? What is your favorite? Does any one network rank supreme against all others?  We’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s recap of her Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday special edition.  Is she still watching all of her programs?  Has her opinion changed at all?

Come back next week for a special NetFlix edition as Amber and I share a few of our favorite shows to watch marathon-style.

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 August and 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

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 #4 – Summer Fun Part One

Remember when all of the good television programs only aired September thru May?  Not anymore!  TNT and the USA Networks have fabulous summer programming!  This week, I’ll introduce our must- sees on TNT, and next week, the USA shows. 

Here are just a few slices of TNT’s summer fun to sample:

Leverage – A group of criminals turned do-gooders utilize their specialized skills to avenge those harmed by the wealthy and/or powerful.  Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton), the con-man, leads this team of misfits: Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), the grifter; Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), the muscle; Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), the hacker; and Parker (Beth Reisgraf), the thief.  Each character has his or her own flaw which helps the viewers understand their passion for the individual cases they accept.  Nate battles alcoholism, while trying to recover from the death of his son & the end of his marriage.  Sophie has a secret — a secret that even the audience is trying to figure out: is she royalty? Is she married? Or is she just a great actress? Eliot, well, he has a bit of an anger-management problem: he loves to punch and kick, but he refrains from using guns as much as possible.  Hardison and Parker don’t really fit into any social circles, and are slowly starting to share a budding romance.  Speaking of romance, last season ended with Nate & Sophie in bed.  They’ve hinted at romantic interludes in the past, so what will this bring?  Leverage returns Sunday, June 26th.

 

Rizzoli & Isles – A Boston detective, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), and her best friend/medical examiner, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), solve crime together.  The two friends couldn’t have less in common — Rizzoli hails from a working class family; her dad’s (Chazz Palminteri) a plumber, her younger brother (new character this season) has just been released from prison, and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges), who idolizes Rizzoli, is following in his sister’s footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco).  Meanwhile, Isles’ biological father is a Boston mafia boss, a fact she learns after discovering that a corpse on her morgue table shared her DNA and was later identified as her brother.  Isles was raised by her adopted parents where she learned to focus on her studies, and adapted a fabulous sense of style.   How many medical examiners do you know who perform autopsies in stilettos?  Regardless of their differences, the girls have each other.  Maybe we’ll see some love interests in season 2?  If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll also like Rizzoli & Isles (returning Monday, July 11th).

Memphis BeatJason Lee stars as Dwight Hendricks, who fights crime by day, and performs Elvis and other Blues’ greats by night.  Everyone loves Dwight, and he leads his fellow Memphis detectives (Davey Sutton, DJ Qualls; Whitehead, Sam Hennings; and Reggie Greenback, Leonard Earl Howze); but, when his new boss (Lt. Rice played by Alfre Woodard) comes to town, she tries desperately to operate the department like other police precincts.  Knowing the rest of 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.  The supporting cast in Memphis Beat shares the spotlight with the music and local cuisine.  If you haven’t ever really been interested in visiting Memphis, I think you will be after watching the show.  Memphis Beat returns Tuesday, June 14th. 

A new show to watch for this summer on TNT that we are very excited to check is Franklin &Bash (Wednesday, June 1st) starring Breckin Meyer as Franklin, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Bash – they are “totally lawyers”.

And don’t forget Brenda Lee Johnson, aka The Closer, returning Monday, July 11th. 

What television show are you most looking forward to this summer?  Who is your favorite character? Or ensemble cast?  I’d love to hear from you!