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!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – USA’s Spies and Suits

This week, Amber West and I switch gears and bring a double review of the hit shows on USA. 

Why? Because USA’s summer programming is so hot, we’ve decided the only way to do the network justice is by making this edition of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday too hot to handle. 

Our double feature includes spies, suits, and sports – a triple threat.  Wait; since we’re both writing about two series, it’s technically a quadruple!  Right?

 Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white-hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing – no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA black-listed him, and discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice. 

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.  

Burn Notice is one of the best, and definitely the sexiest shows on television; therefore, I have no other choice than to award the show with the highest #WatchWed review to date: GTV (Gourmet Television – Everything we want, and more!).  

To add fuel to the already smoking hot Burn Notice, Jeffrey Donovan might just be the sexiest man on TV.  Does anyone else make eating yogurt look so yummy?  When he throws on those sunglasses and flashes that crooked smile while wearing his designer suits, he has women melting in their living rooms across the U.S.  

 

Suits 

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm, is instructed to hire another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to add to the associate pool, hopefully someone as bright as he is.  

Meanwhile, across town, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) fastens his tie, grabs the briefcase filled with marijuana that his BFF has left for him, and heads to a hotel to make a drug deal yielding enough cash ($25,000) to keep his grandmother in her around-the-clock care nursing facility.  

What Mike doesn’t know, is that his low-life best friend is sending him to an undercover cop with his briefcase full of drugs.  Using his better judgment and brilliant observation skills, Mike picks up on the sting and ducks into Harvey’s interview room trying to avoid the cops chasing him.   

Intrigued by the young man with a briefcase full of pot, Harvey indulges and interviews Mike, learning that this young, brilliant man sitting across from him has an eidetic memory (perfect recall) when Mike recites blurbs of the Bar review materials with only the slightest provocation.  Despite the fact that Mike never graduated college, let alone law school, Harvey hires Mike on the spot. 

These two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone – now that’s conflict, right?  How long before the shunned junior associate (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman), or the boss recently frustrated with Harvey’s refusal to follow her instructions (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) discover the truth? 

While it’s still early in the series, I give Suits a MacTV rating (MacNCheese TV: Guilty pleasure – Not perfect, but it satisfies) because I am looking forward to future episodes.  I can’t wait to see how long before anyone discovers the truth behind Harvey’s new star associate, and how the writers continue to develop this very unique story. 

Be sure and catch Burn Notice and Suits Thursday night on USA!

What do you think? Do you agree with my top rating for Burn Notice? Should Michael rejoin the CIA? What about Suits? Have you fallen victim to USA’s latest summer hit?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now – remember to visit Amber’s review of Covert Affairs, starring Piper Perabo as CIA Operative Annie Walker, and Necessary Roughness, starring Callie Thorne as therapist to the stars, Dr. Dani Santino. 

Come back next week when Amber and I switch over to the world of fantasy and review TNT’s Falling Skies and SyFy’s Alphas

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.  Amber and I 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: White-Hot TV

We all know the temperature is red-hot in Miami.  In 2007, the temperature rose when a new production came to town.  With sexy stars and massive explosions, Burn Notice raised the climate in Miami to white-hot.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.  Freezing bank accounts and assets, and deleting the agent’s entire job history are just a few of the government’s little tricks when burning an agent.  With nothing, Michael turns to his family and friends for assistance as he takes on odd jobs for money, mostly utilizing his background as a spy to take down drug cartels, find kidnapped victims, and handle any other sticky situations that require his expertise.  The news of Michael’s success as a private investigator quickly spreads throughout Miami, and he’s known as the go-to guy for anyone finding themselves in a bind.  The numerous requests for his help often interfere with his only goal – discovering the truth behind his burn notice.

On a personal note, Michael has a hard time letting anyone get close to him, undoubtedly due to his life as a secret agent.  Michael every so often lets down his emotionally hardened wall to friends and family, and he reveals a vulnerable side.  He can’t refuse to help his loved ones out of trouble, regardless of just how deep they’re in.  While his primary goal is to unravel the mystery behind his excommunication from the government, Michael will do anything necessary to keep his close circle of loved ones safe.

Michael first enlists an ex-navy seal buddy, Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), to help him uncover the truth behind his burn notice.  Since retiring, Sam’s life has been focused on women and booze.  Sam often refers to his conquests as “lady-friends”, and these women inevitably provide Sam with cars, money, and rich bungalows that he lends to Michael for use during their freelance work to interrogate suspects, hide clients, or even hide themselves.

Despite his friendship and loyalty to “Mike” (Sam’s the only one who calls Michael by the commonly used abbreviation), Sam was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI, but Sam found a way to only report “half-truths” to the feds, with Michael’s help of course.  After some of Michael’s file mysteriously vanished, the FBI’s no longer needed Sam’s help.  Undercover, Chuck Finley (Sam’s alias) uses his knowledge of the American government to obtain the necessary information for Michael’s task at hand.  With his training as a Navy SEAL and his brilliance with tactical plans, Sam proves to be a valuable asset for Michael and the team.

The second member of the team is Michael’s ex-girlfriend and former IRA agent Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar) who doubles as an arms dealer and a bounty hunter.  Fiona loves to blow things up and always jumps at the chance to build and plant explosives.  Fiona and Michael first met while he was undercover as an operative, and his abrupt departure (his cover was blown) has always haunted her.   She wants nothing more than to rekindle her relationship with Michael, and even uses his mother against him at times.  Fiona’s sharp-tongue and quick-wit make for some of the best banter between the characters.  She has a love/hate relationship with Sam, and really only tolerates him because of his loyalty to Michael.

Not quite a member of the team, but always in the middle of things, is Michael’s chain-smoking mother, Madeline Westen (played by the great Sharon Gless).  Madeline hovers over Michael, always reminding him that he was never around when the family needed him most: he didn’t attend his father’s funeral, he doesn’t help his brother (who happens to be a train-wreck by the way), and he never tells her what she wants to know such as where he’s been all these years and why he always flees when she needs him most.  Regardless, Madeline loves her son and does whatever necessary to keep him close by.  One of Madeline’s favorite tricks is to insist that Michael help her friends, and in return she too joins the team now and then by going undercover to aid her son and his friends.

The fourth and newest member of the team, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell) is a counterintelligence agent accidentally burned by Michael.  Not knowing Michael was responsible, Jesse approaches Michael and asks for his help uncovering the truth behind his very own burn notice.  Feeling guilty, Michael not only invites Jesse to join the team, but he also offer’s Madeline’s garage to Jesse as a safe place to stay.  It’s not long before Jesse puts two and two together, and though he ponders killing Michael, he ultimately rejoins the team after Madeline tricks her son and his friend into talking it out.

Last season ended with Michael arriving in Washington, D.C. and coming face to face with a man who greets Michael with a cold, “Welcome back.”  Will Michael’s burn notice be lifted?  Will Michael and Fiona grow their relationship as a couple, or will Michael continue to push her away?  Will Jesse’s obvious feelings for Fiona pose as an additional threat to Michael & Fiona’s future, or will he graciously step aside?

 

Burn Notice is one of the best, and definitely the sexiest show on television.  To add fuel to the fire, Jeffrey Donovan might just be the sexiest man on TV.  Does anyone else make eating yogurt look so yummy?  When he throws on those sunglasses and flashes that crooked smile, he has women melting in their living rooms across the U.S.

Not to leave the men out, many argue that Gabrielle Anwar is indeed the sexiest woman on TV.  C’mon guys, doesn’t it have something to do with her love of guns and explosions, or is just her smokin’ hot body?

And, not to deny their sexiness, Bruce Campbell rocks Sam’s Hawaiian shirts unbuttoned down his chest, and he wears a pinky ring like no other.  Oh, and Coby Bell?  He’s quite the sight for sore eyes.

Is this enough for you to check out USA’s hit?  Tune in this Thursday, June 23rd for the season premiere.

 

Are you a Burn Notice fan? Who’s your favorite character on the show and why? Do you watch because of the sexy cast, the compelling and action-packed story lines, or for another reason?  Do you think Michael and Fiona can survive a relationship, or does the show need to continue to play a cat & mouse game to keep it interesting?  I’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned after Burn Notice for the season premiere of Suits on USA.

Remember to stop by the #DevilColony hashtag in Twitter today to celebrate James Rollins’ new release – The Devil Colony. 

Tele-Tuesday #5 – Summer Fun Part Two

Ready for more summer fun? Tune to the USA Network!

White Collar – Meet Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer, from Chuck and Tru Calling), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by FBI agent, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).  Season 1 opens with Peter releasing Neal from prison under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor, AND one condition: Neal must assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys by utilizing his criminal expertise.  Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-artist, Mozzie (Willie Garson, aka Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City) who despite his distrust of the government stands by his friend’s side, and builds his own relationship with Peter and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (played by Tiffani Theissen most popularly known for her role as Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell).  In addition to solving a new FBI case each week, Neal focuses on discovering the truth behind his girlfriend Kate’s disappearance. 

Did I mention that Neal is sexy?  Neal’s piercing baby blues and charming smile illuminate in combination with his dapper tailored suits and his Fedora hat. 

In Season 2, Neal continues his search while everyone, including Peter and his FBI right-hand Diana (Marsha Thomason from Vegas), investigates Kate’s story on their own, each hoping to bring closure to Neal’s heartache.  White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another con played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator played by Hilarie Burton).  Season 2 ends with Neal’s previous mentor turned nemesis, Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy best known from his 80’s hits Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire) escaping once again, ending Neal’s quest for answers – for the time being.  What will happen in Season 3?  Find out when White Collar returns June 7th!

Covert Affairs – Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo, Coyote Ugly) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham, Harper’s Island), and the former CIA director’s son, Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (played by Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (the fabulous Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, test her abilities, and review her loyalties to the CIA.  Annie also battles familiar woes living in her sister’s guest house, and playing perfect aunt to her two nieces, while keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact.

Living her double life, Annie showcases her kick-ass CIA training, and battles her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.  Covert Affairs also returns June 7th

Burn Notice – Bringing sexy back to Thursday nights.  Miami + Burned Spy = Hottest Show on Television!  Michael Westen, a former spy burned by the U.S. government, teams up with Sam Axe (Michael’s friend and former Navy Seal), Fiona Glenanne (Michael’s gun-crazy on & off again girlfriend), and Jesse Porter (another spy accidentally burned by Michael) to keep Miami safe, and continue Michael’s investigation into his burn notice. 

Season 4 ended with a bang, no different from any other Burn Notice finale.  Why was Michael taken to Washington D.C.?  Was his burn notice lifted?  Burn Notice returns June 23rd.  

 

Law & Order: Criminal IntentGoren & Eames, together again, returned Sunday, May 1st, for the tenth and final season.  It seems tv-land is happy for the original CI partners’ return – the show’s rating was up 43% from last year.  In an interview with Candace Havens, Vincent D’Onofrio mentioned that the storyline this season focuses more on the cases than the personal lives of the detectives – back to Law & Order basics. 

Psych – It was just announced by the USA Network that Psych doesn’t return until Fall 2011, but I still highly recommend adding it to your Netflix queue for summer fun if you like mysteries, pop-culture from the 80’s, and laughing – especially for the blooper reel! 

Growing up with a detective father (Corbin Bernsen from the 80’s greats L.A. Law and Major League) teaching him to pay very close attention to detail, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) fools everyone into believing he has psychic abilities.  Everyone, that is, except his father, Henry, and his best friend, Gus (Burton Guster played by Dule Hill from The West Wing).  Shawn & Gus open a consulting/detective agency, “Psych”, and freelance their services to the Santa Barbara police department on numerous cases, despite the constant disapproval of lead detective, Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson).  Lassiter and his partner, Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), join Shawn and Gus to close the cases assigned to them by Police Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), and comedy ensues each and every time.  Every episode promises laughs, especially with the absolutely hilarious nicknames Shawn & Gus assume for each case.  The 80’s references, 80’s music, and 80’s guest stars (Judd Nelson & Ally Sheedy from The Brat Pack, Phylicia Rashad & Keisha Knight Pulliam from The Cosby Show, Cybill Shepherd from Moonlighting just to name a few) make watching Psych a fun game of 80’s trivia, especially for those of us deemed children of the 80’s – like myself. 

Being a huge fan of the 90s hit Twin Peaks, I absolutely loved the Psych season five episode: ‘Dual Spires’.  James Roday outdid himself writing the episode: he perfected the oddities of the characters from David Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery; he mimicked the eerie music and peculiar dancing to a “T”; and, he incorporated a few of the Twin Peaks iconic elements such as the dead girl’s body wrapped in plastic found by the water, the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.  Even better yet, Psych cast a few of the fabulous Twin Peaks alumni for the episode: Sheryl Lee, Laura Palmer; Dana Ashbrook, Bobby Briggs; Ray Wise, Leland Palmer; and, Sherilyn Finn; Audrey Horne.  ‘Dual Spires’ may be my favorite Psych episode to date! 

Do you watch USA’s In Plain Sight or Royal Pains?  Do you hope that Fairly Legal returns for a second season on USA?  Do you miss Monk or The Dead Zone?  What other networks and/or shows do you enjoy during the summer months?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday #1 – Part 2

As I mentioned in my first post, I am addicted to television.  So much so, I had to break down my first edition of Tele-Tuesday into two parts.  Last week, I covered the basic cable networks – ABC, CBS, the CW, FOX, and NBC.  Today, I’m going to discuss my favorite shows on cable.  Remember, these are just my favorites.  I watch far more than these shows as my DVR knows too well (I did get my recordings down to 95 this weekend – celebrate!).

And now, for the continuation of Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday #1:

Part 2

TNT – The Closer.  TNT mostly runs their programming in the summer months starting in June.  I like this schedule because I don’t have nearly as many broadcasting conflicts.  The show focuses on Brenda Lee Johnson and the Major Case Squad as they solve L.A.’s worst crimes while her FBI-agent/husband often times provides his and the Bureau’s expertise.  In addition to the drama, each episode promises humor, and I find myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  You can always tell when Brenda Lee is having a bad day – she opens her desk drawer full of chocolate, now that’s relatable!  TNT always airs re-runs, if you’d like to stick your toes in.

USA – The USA Network is a lot like CBS to me –USA has some of the best programming on television.  USA splits their seasons between summer and winter when most other basic cable channels air re-runs.  I don’t miss an episode of Psych, White Collar, or Covert Affairs; and, I miss Monk desperately.  I also enjoy Fairly Legal and In Plain Sight but don’t watch as religiously and catch them when I can.  But to choose just one, I have to recommend:

Burn Notice.  Michael Westen, aka Jeffrey Donovan, is the sexiest man on TV and his ex-girlfriend/partner might just be the sexiest woman (Gabrielle Anwar).  Throw in the fabulous Sharon Gless and the scene-stealing Bruce Campbell, and you have some of the most fun TV can offer.  Burn Notice is based in Miami and is hot, hot, hot.  If you like explosions, look no further.  The show has been such a success that USA will air a prequel-movie featuring Sam Axe, Bruce Campbell’s character, April 17th.

 

One last note about USA – have you been wondering what happened to Law & Order: Criminal Intent?  USA will begin airing the final episodes starring the original Goren & Eames this May.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate USA’s effort to not just let the show dissipate into thin air like most others when given the axe.  Thank you for letting the audience members know in advance that the show is wrapping up for good.

FX – Justified.  You’ve heard of a justified shooting, right?  Well, justified shootings are Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens’ forte.  Despite being a loose cannon himself, Raylan appears quite normal when compared to his Kentucky kin.  Entangled with really BAD criminals, Harlan County relies on Raylan as does the Marshall Service, his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and his con-ex-best friend, Boyd Crowder.  Need a reason to tune in?  Boyd Crowder is definitely one of the best antagonist’s on television.  Need another reason to watch?  Timothy Olyphant.  Enough said.

A&E – The Glades.  Excommunicated from Chicago after allegedly sleeping with his boss’s wife, Jim Longworth takes his settlement money and moves to Florida to play golf.  He takes a job with the small town law enforcement, and ruffles many feathers along the way as he solves homicide cases using his unique approach and disregard for the rules.  The show ended season one with a love triangle between Jim, nurse-Callie, and her jailed husband promising sparks for Season 2.

Now look at that – I ran out of time again!  I didn’t even have a chance to discuss Showtime or HBO!  I’ll have to save those for another time…..

Before I go, remember my favorite CW show, Supernatural?  Warner Bros. is releasing a 22 episode animated series available on DVD and Blu-Ray this summer in the U.S.  I told you it was good!

 

What’s your favorite cable tv show?  Or your favorite network? I’d love to hear from you!

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