Tele-Tuesday: Sometimes It Just Takes Two

Watching television is much like reading a good book; in order to keep us coming back for more, a few elements must fall into place like a great story and relatable and lovable characters.

What’s better than falling in love with a great character?  Why falling in love with a great duo, of course.

Television programs have produced wonderful power couples over the years, some even going back decades.  A perfect example of a happy husband and wife team working together from the start of a series to the end is Hart to Hart’s Jonathan and Jennifer Hart.

 

But not every couple on television experiences the same success as the Harts.  Actually, many TV partnerships begin as “just friends” before ever turning romantic.  Historically, the programs with platonic relationships actually last longer, or at least they do when the TV characters start out as just friends.

Of course, that’s not to say we don’t appreciate a bit of a cat and mouse game when it comes to alluding to the possibility of romance between friends.  But each and every time the characters find happiness with one another, the show tends to end.

*****

Moonlighting – David and Maddie

Moonlighting never quite recovered once David and Maddie gave in to their romantic feelings.  The series attempted to go back to the way things were, but it was too late.

House – House and Cuddy

We could all see it coming, and it made for some great television…but were we really shocked when House drove a car through Cuddy’s house ending their tumultuous relationship?  Doesn’t it say enough that the only picture we could find of the duo appearing happy was in the fantasized skit, “Get Happy?”

Chuck – Chuck and Sarah

Chuck always seemed to struggle with the ratings bug, but luckily the fans and Subway saved the show more than once.  Last season, we witnessed Chuck and Sarah finally marry and begin their lives together, just in time for the network to announce that this season, a shortened season at that, would be its last.

Alias – Vaughn and Sydney

Vaughn and Sydney might just be one of the best cat & mouse relationships on television…ever.  It seemed like every single time Vaughn and Sydney might be happy, some major obstacle smacked the two in the face (sometimes literally… remember the car wreck?).

*****

Like the many attempts before, the television gods are trying their hand at newly developed relationships between characters who at first were just friends.  What will the future hold for a few of our favorite TV duos now venturing down a romantic path?

Bones – Booth and Brennan

We’re seven seasons in and Booth and Brennan are finally together and having a baby.  Will the relationship survive the two’s differences (financial, spiritual, etc), or is their future doomed?

Burn Notice – Michael and Fiona

Michael has finally admitted his feelings for Fiona and she has moved in, but now the man responsible for Michael’s burn notice is blackmailing them.  How will Michael manage his way out of this one?

Psych – Shawn and Juliet

While Psych doesn’t focus on the romantic relationship between Shawn and Juliet, we still wonder how it will affect their ability to work together… Plus, don’t we really want to see more?

Fringe – Peter and Olivia

Okay, so we keep bouncing from one universe to another where sometimes Peter and Olivia are together and other times they’re not.  Perhaps this is because the show’s creators fear their future if indeed Peter and Olivia appear content?

*****

Which past or present TV power couple do you love?  Do you feel that once the relationship turns romantic, the show is doomed to fail?  What are your thoughts on the current relationship/television show status of Bones, Burn Notice, Psych, and Fringe?  Will these shows make it or will history repeat itself?   I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: Astute or Psychic?

Which show can be described as a police procedural, detective drama, quirky comedy, and an ‘80s and ’90s throwback?

The USA Network’s Psych!

Shawn Spencer (James Roday, Miss Match) was an ornery young boy raised by his single cop dad (Henry Spencer played by Corbin Bernsen, L.A. Law).  Okay, Shawn is still a bit ornery today.  From a very early age, Shawn’s dad taught him to pay close attention to details; and, it’s this astute ability that has allowed Shawn to trick everyone around him into believing he is psychic.

Everyone, that is, except for his father and his best friend, partner, and pharmaceutical salesman Burton ‘Gus’ Guster (Dule Hill, The West Wing).

Each episode begins with a flashback to the ‘80s when Shawn and Gus were young boys.  Often times, this childhood scene depicts an observational lesson from Henry, or a direct memory from Shawn and Gus’ past (like remembering their old classmate, played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.) that will relate directly to the current week’s episode.

After assisting the Santa Barbara Police Department on a case, Shawn and Gus establish Psych, their psychic consulting firm.  Hired on a case by case basis by Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), Shawn and Gus work alongside detectives Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson, Judging Amy) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson, TV movies Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover).

Most of Psych’s fun spawns from the banter between Shawn and Gus, Lassie’s constant frustration and exasperation with the two Psych consultants, and the familiar (Shawn and Henry) and romantic (Shawn and Jules) relationships shared between characters.

Fan of the ‘80s? ‘90s? Look no further!  Psych not only casts familiar faces from the decades, but also includes puns on particular storylines.

Famous ‘80s and ’90s recurring guest stars include Phylicia Rashad as Gus’ mom (The Cosby Show), Cybill Shepherd as Shawn’s mom (Moonlighting), and Ray Wise as Father Westley (Twin Peaks).

Shawn’s nemeses are all ‘80s greats as well: Yin (Peter Weller, Robocop), Yang (Ally Sheedy, member of the “Brat Pack”), and Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes, The Princess Bride).

One of the best episodes to date was the Twin Peaks tribute in season five, “Dual Spires”.  James Roday outdid himself writing the episode: he perfected the oddities of the characters from 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.

Psych even changed the opening credits to honor Twin Peaks.  This wasn’t the first time the program made subtle changes to the music to reflect the current episode’s theme (just a little fun-Psych-“I Know You Know”-fact).

Back to the blasts from the past, let’s not forget these additional ‘80s and ‘90s guest stars: Jaleel White (Family Matters), Rachael Leigh Cook from She’s All That, “Brat Pack” member Judd Nelson, C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid), Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show), Mena Suvari (American Pie), Carl Weathers (Rocky), and Twin Peaks alumni Dana Ashbrook, Sherilyn Fenn, and Sheryl Lee.

Need more? The new season promises to bring a few new faces from the ‘80s and ‘90s: Molly Ringwald (another “Brat-Pack” member), Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie), Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys), Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block), Jason Priestley (the original 90210), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon movies), William Shatner (Star Trek movies), and Madchen Amick (another Twin Peaks alumnus).

Rumor has it that this season will also include an Indiana Jones themed episode.  No doubt this will be fabulous!

Psych returns this Wednesday, October 12th.

Do you watch Psych?  Shawn or Gus?  Lassie or Henry?  Who is your favorite guest star to date?  Do you look for the pineapple in each episode?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tele-Tuesday – Down Memory Lane: 1986

The 1980s – the decade known for punk rock, heavy metal bands, the Rubik’s cube, the “perm” and “mullet” hair styles, shoulder pads, jean jackets, and leg-warmers.

Top entertainers in the ’80s included Michael J. Fox, Eddie Murphy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, and David Hasselhoff to just to name a few.  Some of the highest grossing films during the ’80s are considered classics now such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beverly Hills Cop.

The “Brat Pack” also formed in the ’80s, and movie greats The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and St. Elmo’s Fire launched the careers of Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Demi Moore – but I’ll save this for a future Friday FabOoolousness post.

Very important to the ’80s generation, MTV was born and music videos swept the nation.  Michael Jackson led the music industry, joined by Aerosmith, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Metallica, Motley Crue, and many more.

Now shift specifically to 1986 – What do I remember about that year?

The Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated after take-off, televised live in classrooms across the United States, including mine.

What else?

Racing home on Friday nights after our high school football games to watch Miami Vice and Crime Story with my family.

Television crime dramas filled the networks with popular detective and private investigator shows in 1986, which is why I’ve marked this year as the beginning of my television addiction.

Magnum P.I. 1980-1988

Tom Selleck plays Thomas Sullivan Magnum living on the Robin’s Nest estate in Hawaii, the alleged home of author, Robin Masters.  “The Nest” is managed by Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman) and protected by two Doberman Pinschers: Zeus and Apollo.  A former SEAL, Magnum works as a private investigator, drives a Ferrari (just one of the many perks of living on the Masters’ estate), and enjoys a cold beer with his former Marine buddies: Rick and T.C.

There have always been rumors of a Magnum P.I. reunion movie, but where is it?

Cagney and Lacey 1981-1988

Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly star as New York City detectives Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey.  Despite their differing backgrounds (Cagney hailed from a wealthy family and Lacey was a hard working mother and wife), the two solved crime and built a lasting friendship in a man’s world.

Due to the series popularity, the ‘90s saw four Cagney and Lacey television movies which sometimes air today on Encore.

Remington Steele 1982-1987

Stephanie Zimbalist stars as Laura Holt, a private investigator, who after struggling to find enough clients for her agency hires a con man (Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele) to play the role of her boss.  The farce leads to many laughs and to an eventual romance between Laura and Remi.

After announcing cancellation, NBC aired six television movies in 1987 to wrap up the series, but who wouldn’t love to see a reunion show today?

Scarecrow and Mrs. King 1983-1987

Kate Jackson stars as Amanda King, a divorced housewife who goes to work for Lee Stetson (Bruce Boxleitner), a top agency operative with the codename, “Scarecrow.” Despite not having any professional training as an operative, Amanda travels the world with Scarecrow assisting him on cases and going undercover with her boss.  The relationship leads to a romance, but after Jackson battled breast cancer in real-life, the series reduced her role and eventually cancelled the show after the fourth season.

Hunter 1984-1991

Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer star as Sergeant Rick Hunter and Sergeant Dee Dee McCall, partners in the Los Angeles Police Department.  A popular theme on ‘80s television, the two partners dabble with a potential love story, but after six seasons Stepfanie Kramer left the show to pursue other career opportunities.  Hunter was partnered with a few other female detectives, but the series lost its flare and ended after season seven.

NBC aired a few reunion television movies in the ‘90s, and in 2002, Stepfanie Kramer returned for a special two-hour movie. With good ratings, the networks attempted to revive the series in 2003 with three one-hour episodes before cancelling again.

Miami Vice 1984-1990

Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas star as Miami police detectives Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs. Crockett lives a luxurious lifestyle driving fast and expensive cars while he sleeps on his sailboat with his pet alligator, Elvis.  Visiting from New York searching for the man who murdered his brother, Tubbs works alongside Crockett and eventually transfers to Miami were the two partner up permanently.

And, who can think Miami Vice without picturing Crockett’s pastel pant suits, and hearing the fabulous music of Phil Collins or Jan Hammer?

Moonlighting 1985-1989

One of the first successful television dramedies, Moonlighting stars Bruce Willis as David Addison, a private detective, and Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes, a former model.  After David convinces Maddie to not sell the agency during tumultuous times, Maddie moves in to the office and forms a partnership with David and renames the business Blue Moon Investigations after one of her most famous modeling jobs and endorsements for Blue Moon shampoo.

The two form a lasting partnership, argue constantly, and eventually fall in love.  I have David and Maddie listed on my all-time great television duo list.

Crime Story 1986-1988

Dennis Farina stars as Lieutenant Mike Torello on the hunt for mobster Ray Luca (Anthony Denison).  Wanting to destroy Luca, Torello follows Luca from Chicago to Las Vegas.  Season one ended with one of the most talked about cliff hangers in television history – an A-Bomb explosion in the Nevada desert.

After the network moved the show to a different night, Crime Story lasted only two short seasons.  This began my frustrations with networks moving a series around from night to night and with writers ending a television season on a cliffhanger. We’ll never know if Luca or Torello survived the plane crash.

Are you a child of the ‘80s? What are some of the earliest shows your remember watching? Did you enjoy any of these 1986 greats? I’d love to hear from you!

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 #2 – This one? Or that one?

This one? Or that one?

Do you ask yourself these very questions if and when you have a free hour to watch television? 

I realize that most people don’t watch (or DVR in my case) four to ten hours of television a night — so, I am here to help you! 

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation versus CSI: Miami versus CSI:NY

My #1 – CSI: NY.  The addition of Sela Ward this season really helps make up for losing Melina Kanakaredes, and Gary Sinise is always great.  I feel the ensemble cast of NY wins against the other two CSI shows, and New York City is a wonderful supporting cast member.  I also like the NY storylines a bit more than the others CSI shows — the crimes appear to be a bit more believable.  I do hope the remainder of the 2011 season brings more of David James Elliott’s guest appearances as a FBI agent.  Plus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that I have a small crush on Carmine Giovinazzo (Danny Messer). 

 

My #2 – CSI: Miami.  I love the bright colors and shots of Miami throughout the episodes; however, Horatio Caine, his sunglasses, and his one-liners drive me nuts!  Honestly, if it wasn’t for Horatio, Miami may rank above NY.  I must admit though, Horatio and his sunglasses have become a staple for the show.  I love Calleigh Duquesne, and I applaud the show’s attempts at covering Emily Procter’s pregnancy since they chose not to write it into the storyline.  I can’t wait for next season when Calleigh has more scenes, and hopefully the show re-explores the Calleigh/Eric Delko relationship.  Major kudos to Miami for bringing back Adam Rodriquez’s character, Delko.  I liked Eddie Cibrian, but it just wasn’t the same. 

My #3 – the original, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  The Vegas edition has been through a lot in its 11 years on the air.  The original cast has dwindled: Grissom is off the screen even though William Peterson is still involved with the production; they killed Gary Dourdan, aka Warrick Brown, and he was probably my favorite.  The show has tried to redeem itself with the addition of Lawrence Fishburne, and that did help.  The show also brought Jorja Fox back after a brief hiatus.  But, unfortunately, the storylines too often reach far beyond the norm making it last on my list — but then again, it’s Vegas, baby!  You may now think I’m stranger than you once thought, but a part of me watches to support my fellow Red Raider: Guns’ Up – George Eads, aka Nick Stokes. 

The Law & Order franchise – Law and Order: SVU versus Law and Order: Criminal Intent versus Law and Order: LA

My #1 – Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  NBC dropped CI a few years ago, but the USA network picked it right up.  They’ve waffled a bit with characters: Chris Noth, Jeff Goldblum, Annabella Sciorra, Saffron Burrows, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Alicia Witt — all big names, but still not the originals – Vincent D’Onofrio (Goren) and Kathryn Erbe (Eames).  CI returns this May for its final season on USA.  Goren and Eames may be on my top all-time partner list along with Booth & Bones (Bones), Crockett & Tubbs (Miami Vice), and Maddie Hayes & David Addison (Moonlighting).  Goren & Eames’ partnership works, and I’m glad they’re back to close out a solid show. 

My #2 – Law and Order: SVU.  SVU has another great ensemble cast, but showcases gut-wrenching storylines.  The Special Victims Unit works assault and rape cases led by Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), and her partner, Elliott Stabler (Christopher Meloni).  Benson, the product of her mother’s rape, and Stabler, the father of five children, take the cases personally and sometimes they take actions that we as viewers wish we could see more of on television (in other words, they’re not always by the book).  The main characters are joined by Tutuola (Ice-T), also not by-the-book, and Munch (Richard Belzer), who adds a small comedic touch to the otherwise dark story.  SVU loads the guest stars into each season.  So far in the 2010-2011 season, the show has featured Jeremy Irons, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Marcia Gay Harden, Debra Messing, Rose McGowen, and many more.  Warning – the writers don’t sugar-coat things.  If you don’t like watching bad things happen to children, don’t watch! 

My #3 – Law and Order: LA.  NBC rushed LA to make up for the fact they cancelled the original Law & Order without much warning after 20 years.  I shelved my frustrations, and I looked forward to the new cast led by Skeet Ulrich.  NBC aired a few episodes this fall, and then bam, it was gone.  After more than a 4 month hiatus, LA returned last night with a BANG.  Yea, they really did kill off Skeet Ulrich.  I don’t mean to ruin it for anyone, but it aired last night.  A small redemption: former Law & Order cast member Alana de la Garza (also formerly of CSI: Miami) has joined the LA cast.  Now the show is led by Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina, and I’m quite sure they can hold their own.  I’m not giving up yet, but as it stands now, LA is the low-Law and Order on my totem pole.   

Do you battle with This One or That One?  If so, who do you choose?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tune in to Tele-Tuesday these upcoming weeks for more: Criminal Minds versus Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior; NCIS versus NCIS: Las Angeles; Archer versus Family Guy; Hawaii Five-O versus Blue Bloods; Rizzoli & Isles versus Body of Proof

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