Tele-Tuesday #6 – Only on Cable…and Netflix!

 

Over the years, HBO has reigned supreme with some of the best series and mini-series available on television.  Who hasn’t watched, or at least heard buzz about, Oz (1997-2003), Sex and the City (1998-2004, plus two motion pictures in 2008 & 2010), The Sopranos (1999-2007), Six Feet Under (2001-2005), Band of Brothers (2001), and Deadwood (2004-2006)?

HBO’s programs have launched powerful and everlasting characters such as Carrie Bradshaw, Tony Soprano, and Al Swearengen.  These successful shows have also helped popular actors land hot new roles such as Christopher Meloni in Law & Order: SVU, Timothy Olyphant in Justified, and Michael Imperioli in Detroit 187.

In 2008, HBO aired its own take on the ever-growing, ever-popular supernatural drama, True Blood.

True Blood – Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, True Blood focuses on the lives of the supernatural and the regular people in fictional Bon Temps, LA.

The series follows the love story between Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), and all of the consequences of such a love.  The show oozes sexuality with characters like Vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), and Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), and holds nothing back with the sultry sex scenes.  True Blood isn’t for the faint of heart; the show doesn’t hide behind the sensors, ensuring blood and gore in most of the episodes.

Season 1 followed the upturned lives of Bon Temps while a serial killer murdered many, including Sookie’s beloved grandmother.  The audience also meets the local folk of Bon Temps, who tend to be just a bit odd: Sookie’s confidant, and boss, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) shape shifts into a friendly dog; Sookie’s brother, Jason, becomes addicted to V (drinking vamp blood), and is the main suspect in the murders around town; and Sookie’s best friend, Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), while human, is all sorts of a mess.

Season 2 introduced a maenad, who manipulates Sookie’s closest friends hoping to gain control of the small town, and sacrifices many along the way.  Season 2 also builds more in the storyline for Vampire Eric, including his maker’s demise.  The second season also follows Jason as he learns to battle vamps at the Fellowship of the Sun church, and introduces the vampire queen of Louisiana: Sophie-Anne (Evan Rachel Cook).

Season 3 added the werewolf, more specifically Alcide (Joe Manganiello), another of Sookie’s protectors.  What a lucky girl! First Shape-Shifter Sam, then Vampire Bill, and Vampire Eric, now Werewolf Alcide: four hot men protecting little ol’ Sookie.  We also meet the evil vampire king of Mississippi: Russell Edgington.  Oh yea, and Sookie is revealed as a fairy, in addition to her telepathic abilities.  What will happen in Season 4?

 

Showtime joined the party launching successful programming of its own in 2000 with Queer as Folk (2000-2005), and has held its own in the series & miniseries world since with The L Word (2004-2009), Weeds (2005-present), Dexter (2006-present), The Tudors (2007-2010), Californication (2007-present), and new hits such as Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, and Shameless.

Let’s start with two of the best 30-minute dramadies on television: Weeds and Californication.

Weeds – Over the past six seasons, Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) has done what she needed to do in order to provide for her young sons (Silas, played by Hunter Parish; and Shane, played by Alexander Gould) after her husband, Judah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), passes away suddenly – she sells weed.

The surprise visit of Judah’s brother, Andy (Justin Kirk), rocks Nancy’s world even more and her life spirals even further out of control.  Despite her shenanigans, Nancy truly tries to be the best mother possible to her boys.  However, Nancy has the tendency to screw things up and fall for the wrong men along the way:  Conrad, her weed-growing partner; Peter, her second husband/FBI agent; and Esteban Reyes, her third husband/Mexican drug cartel crime lord.

In Season 5, Nancy’s life is saved by the birth of her third son, Stevie Reyes; but, the lives of her family will never be the same.  So, what does the Botwin family do?  They flee, assume false identities, and return to the world of selling hash only to come face to face with Esteban, who has been diligently searching for his son, and his goons in the season finale.  Season 7 returns June 27th – what crazy antics are in store for Nancy, Andy, Silas, Shane, and Stevie?

Californication – Hank Moody (David Duchovny) has never met a drug or a woman that he doesn’t love.  Pair that with his recurring writer’s block, and Hank’s life is a disaster just waiting to happen.

The show starts after Hank, and his baby’s momma, Karen (Natascha McElhone) move with their daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin) from New York to Los Angeles.  Joining the Moody clan, is Hanks’ agent/BFF, Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler), and his wife, Marcy (Pamela Adlon), a waxing professional to the stars.

Hank’s successful novel was adapted into a screenplay much to his dismay, and feeling down-n-out, he picks up a hot Mia (Madeline Zima) in a local LA bookstore and beds her.  That is, after all, what Hank Moody does – he beds beautiful women with his alluring charm.  During sex, Mia punches Hank; not long after “the punch”, Hank discovers that Mia is the 16 year old daughter of Karen’s new fiancé. And, there you have the setting for all five seasons thus far.

Californication is pure brilliance, but raunchy.  In Season 2, Hank is hired to write the biography of a rock star – just want Hank needs, an invitation to party like a rock star! In Season 3, Hank is hired as a college professor – that’s definitely a disaster waiting to happen! One of my favorite laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-face, scenes aired in Season 4 with the entire cast of characters sitting around Stu’s (Stephen Tobolowsky) dinner table.  Another unforgettable scene was early in Season 1…let’s just say it involved Hank and Charlie in bed, with a “shooter”.  Watch with caution….but be prepared to laugh and cry!

Dexter – Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) = member of the Miami Police Department by day (specializing in blood spatter), and vigilante/serial killer by night.  Dexter only murders other killers; that’s ok, right?

Dexter’s ties to his family (foster-sister, Debra; wife, Rita; stepchildren, Astor and Cody; and son, Harrison) force him to doubt his secret life, but he continues to kill, wrap the bodies tightly, and dispose of them at sea from his boat, “Slice of Life”.   Each season, Dexter faces a nemesis: “The Ice Truck Killer” (S1); “The Bay Harbor Butcher” (S2) — Oh wait, that’s Dexter! – so, let’s say his rival in Season 2 is Sergeant James Doakes; “The Skinner” (S3); “Trinity Killer” played by the fabulous John Lithgow (S4); and the “Santa Muerte Killer” (S5).

What demon will Dexter battle next? And what horrific murderer will Dexter permanently remove from Miami?  Will anyone catch Dexter?  Rumor mills report that Season 6 will be air sometime in 2011…

What’s your favorite movie-channel series of all time? Least favorite?  Which is better: HBO of old, or Showtime of new? Who’s your favorite HBO/Showtime series character?  Least favorite? I’d love to hear from you!

Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday #1

Do you not have enough time in the day to watch everything you want on TV?

Is there so much on each night that you don’t know what to select and therefore forego it all together?

My favorite:  Do you find something on the networks that you really do like and then all of a sudden it’s removed without so much as an explanation?

It goes without saying that I’m addicted to television.  Many of you don’t have the time to watch more than a couple of hours of TV a night, if that much, and I want to use my addiction to help you.  My friends laugh at the amount of television I watch.  I love TV!  I personally feel the DVR is the best invention since the Internet, and I put it the test.  My AT&T U-Verse DVR records up to four shows at a time!  You think I’m crazy?  Join the club.

Every Tuesday I’ll introduce more shows and sometimes I will even provoke thought.  Since this is my first edition of Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday, I’m going to keep it simple and start with my favorite shows on each network, in no particular order.  Due to the inordinate amount of television that I follow, I will break this into two parts.

Part 1

ABC – Detroit 187.  I used to love NYPD Blue and ABC launched a new show this year starring Christopher Moltisanti, I mean, Michael Imperioli, as a top Detective in Detroit with secrets and quirks.  Detroit 187 reminds me a lot of NYPD Blue, and as the season progressed I enjoyed it more and more.  Warning – ABC has already aired the season finale.

CBS – This is tough.  I believe CBS might be the best network out there.  I don’t miss an episode of Criminal Minds or any of the three CSI shows.  CBS even wins for the network with the best new shows in 2010-2011 as far as I’m concerned:  Hawaii 5-0, The Defenders, and Blue Bloods.  If you’re one of those that don’t know what to watch, tune your set to CBS and just let it run while you cook, clean, read, whatever it is you do from 7pm-10pm CST.

In the meantime, I promised a favorite so I choose….Survivor.  I can’t resist watching who can Outwit, Outlast, and Outplay each other.  Every season promises pure entertainment and crazy people.  This season, the show introduced Redemption Island.  I absolutely love the new twist in the game.  Go ahead, watch.  Is this season’s Philip really a former federal agent?  Oh, and I’m Team Boston Rob.

 

CW –Supernatural.  Brothers, Sam & Dean Winchester save the world from demons, vampires, shape-shifters, the Apocalypse, etc.  Did I mention that Dean loves classic rock?  Best Supporting Character?  The music!

 

FOX – Bones.  Do you like mysteries?  Forensics?  Did you watch Buffy or Angel and develop a crush on David Boreanaz?  Bones follows one of the best forensic pathologists lacking most social skills, and her partner, a former military sniper and current FBI agent, as they solve murders.  Is there sexual tension?  TONS!  You can’t help but fall in love with Booth and Bones.  Warning – Don’t watch the show when you’re eating dinner!

 

NBC – Chuck.  Pure Monday night fun.  Chuck is half 007 and half geek.  I can’t remember the last time an episode ended and I didn’t have a smile on my face.  For whatever reason though, Chuck is always rumored for cancellation.

To be continued…

What’s your favorite TV show?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tonight, Body of Proof debuts on ABC at 9pm CST starring Dana Delaney.  I have mine set on the DVR!

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