Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Art of Finding

This week Amber West and I review two of Fox’s new dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Alcatraz and The Finder.

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” pilot episode aired in Bones’ timeslot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the Fox network was testing the waters for the potential Bones spinoff, and briefly introduced the series by interweaving the Bones protagonists.

In the episode, Booth and Bones travel to Florida to consult with a former acquaintance of Booth’s (Walter Sherman played by Geoff Stults).  Walter is a former war veteran with the ability “to find” anything.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter takes over the case for Booth and Bones.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  However, airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows did not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder introduced two new characters this season:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and a young gypsy/criminal on probation, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.  The character of Walter Sherman is just as adorable.  Walter suffered a brain injury while in combat, and has since been tested by the FBI in order to resume his consulting work for other federal agencies.  Keeping with the Bones family lineage, Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) administered Walter’s test and “gave” him a passing score, despite the fact Walter didn’t really pass the psychological exam.

To reiterate, Walter can find anything.  He feels “finding is an art,” and once he’s hired to find something there is no firing him.  Walter becomes obsessed with whatever he is tasked to find – person or object.   He finds things using unorthodox methods and manners, whether it be lying on the tarmac pretending to be an airplane, or wearing insanely huge glasses or a hat made out of bar cherries and toothpicks.  Walter is fun; he leaves the professional side of the business to his “Ends of the Earth” partner (the bar) and a type of “handler” of sorts, Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan).

Leo is a former attorney who lost his family (wife and daughter) years earlier when a company didn’t properly recall a spoiled meat product.  He is a caretaker; Leo takes care of Walter and now he also takes care of Willow while she works through her probationary period.  He may be large and intimidating, but Leo has a soft heart and the simple joys in life bring a monstrous smile to his face.

Walter appreciates Leo, but usually has a hard time showing it.  But at the end of last week’s episode, viewers saw a different side of Walter.  Walter is usually carefree and boisterous, and uses Leo to ground himself.  But this past week, Walter shared his innermost thoughts that portrayed exactly how he feels about Leo: “Find someone you can trust.  It’ll change your life.”

Actually, the foursome is one great, big love fest (Walter, Leo, Isabel, and Willow).

Apparently, Walter and Isabel literally have a “friends with benefits” agreement that includes a special “paragraph C” for when one of the duo actually finds love elsewhere and plans to sleep with someone else.    This new development shocked us; we’re about six episodes into the season, and this was the first we could recall an actual relationship between Walter and Isabel being confirmed…not to mention the way it was written into the storyline made it seem like this has been understood from the beginning.  Who knows? Maybe we missed something early on?

As far as Willow goes, she adores Walter and Leo just the same and wants desperately to prove her worth and to find a permanent home with them, regardless of whether or not she admits it.  She also feels a tight bond with Isabel that allows her to open up and share parts of her life (her Gypsy life) that she’s never told anyone before.

The foursome of The Finder is really just one big, unrelated, dysfunctional family.

I know we’re approaching week seven this Thursday night, but I find myself bouncing back and forth between assigning The Finder with an SSTV rating or a JFTV rating. The fact that it doesn’t sit long on our DVR queue has me leaning more toward the JFTV rating, but I’m still not 100% sold; after all, my guy is usually more eager to watch than I am.  I do like Geoff Stults quite a bit too, another for the plus column under our JFTV scale.  So why not – let’s award The Finder with the JFTV rating.  We have yet another tasty chocolate bar waiting for us in the pantry for a once-a-week indulgence.  It’s not great for us, but it does satisfy us for a sixty minute interval every seven days.

The Finder does leave us wondering one thing: what happens when Walter can’t find something?  His friends appear to actually fear the day this occurs, more than likely for the psychological toll it will take on him.  But really…what will happen?

What do you think? Do you watch The Finder?  Will the Bones spinoff see the same success or be one-and-done?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Alcatraz.   We practically had to play tug-o-war to review this one; Amber won.  Why did we fight?  Okay, we didn’t fight… but considering we’re both caught up on Alcatraz, either of us could have shared our thoughts for our WatchWed viewers.  Hardly ever do we find a show that we’re both caught up on…so what does that tell ya?

Come back next week when Amber and I flip networks and review two of NBC’s new dramas: Smash and The Firm.

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: New Year, New Drama

Even though it feels like the fall television schedule just started and we’re still enjoying our favorite shows, it’s a new year which means it’s time for a new set of programs to check out!

This January, three new dramas attempt to sweep us off our feet – one revisits new crimes tracking back to an old, creepy prison; another follows a quirky specialist, who solves even the most difficult of cases; and one of our favorite novel and big screen attorneys works frantically to uncover secrets from yet another law firm.

*****

Alcatraz

We all know Alcatraz, also known as The Rock, as the impenetrable prison located on an island outside San Francisco that housed some of America’s worst criminals.  We also know that Alcatraz closed its doors in the early 1960s, but what if the former prisoners resurfaced and started committing crimes again?

That’s exactly what happens in the new FOX series, Alcatraz.  How is it possible that “ghosts” from Alcatraz are committing murders and other crimes today? Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) will work alongside an Alcatraz historian and expert (Jorge Garcia, Lost), while battling the government agent standing her in her way (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park) to solve these mysterious crimes.

Alcatraz premieres Monday, January 16th.

*****

The Finder

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” episode aired in Bones’ time slot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the network was testing the waters for the potential Bones spinoff, and briefly introduced the series by interweaving the Bones protagonists.

In the episode, Booth and Bones travel to the Florida Everglades to consult with a former acquaintance of Booth’s (Walter Sherman played by Geoff Stults).  Walter is a former war veteran with the ability “to find” anything or anyone.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter solves the case for Booth and Bones, while dominating most of the sixty minute episode.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  It doesn’t hurt that Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.

Airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows will not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder will introduce two new characters:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and an alleged criminal do-gooder, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

The Finder will continue and follow its sister program (Bones) this Thursday night, January 12th on Fox.

*****

The Firm

The Firm picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas, Sweet Home Alabama) turns in his law firm’s documents to the FBI, proving they were over-billing clients (from the John Grisham novel and the movie starring Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Jeanne Tripplehorn).  The story continues that these said documents led the FBI to take over the law firm and uncover piles of other files incriminating the mob, who has in turn set their sights on Mitch and his family as retribution.

The U.S. Marshalls put the McDeere family (Abby played by Molly Parker, and daughter Claire played by Natasha Calis) into witness protection for a short period of time, but the TV series picks up after the family returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.

While defending a court appointed fourteen year old boy charged with stabbing and murdering a classmate, a large D.C. firm swoops in and offers Mitch an opportunity to run a new criminal division – a job he declines but can’t shake the feeling that this is the right job for him that he has always wanted, not to mention will save his financially unsound practice.  Despite Abby’s gut-feeling, considering her husband’s experience with the last firm (from the movie), the McDeeres attend a wine and dine to meet the partners and clients of the pursuing law firm.

But the deciding factor comes when Mitch is faced with a major legal battle versus a top medical company over a defective heart stint.  He strikes a deal with the D.C. firm – their resources for a percentage of his earnings.  He officially works for the firm, but he gets to keep his staff and his off-site office location.

"It's happening again."

As far as the upcoming season, I see that not only will Mitch have the mafia after him for his past actions (from the movie), but will also battle his own firm AND against the medical company (I’m thinking like The Rainmaker here, another Grisham favorite).  And, it’s already been shown that the firm’s “real” client in Mitch’s murder trial is not in fact the young woman he is defending; instead, it’s some “suit” who jumps to his death while Mitch is desperately interrogating him, trying to get answers.

So technically, we should have about three major plots…

The casting is absolutely great with Josh Lucas and his baby blues replacing one of Hollywood’s favorites in Tom Cruise, but also with Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers) as the chain-smoking legal secretary Tammy (Holly Hunter role in the movie) and Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) as Ray, Mitch’s private detective/ex-con older brother.  Plus as a side note and odd-fun-fact, the McDeere house in the TV series resembles the McDeere house in the movie (in my opinion).

The Firm premiered Sunday night on NBC, but will return this Thursday, January 12th to its normal time slot.

*****

What do you think – did you catch the pilot episode of The Firm or The Finder?  Do you plan to watch Alcatraz?  Which show has the most promise and why?  I’d love to hear from you!