Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – A Little Nip Here, a Little Tuck There

It’s almost that time of year when our favorite television programs take a summer hiatus.  That previously meant that we would have to wait until fall programming returned to watch anything new, but this isn’t necessarily the case anymore — not with summer series on networks such as USA, A&E, and TNT.  But even with these summer hits, we still don’t have the variety of TV shows to watch during the summer, which is why Amber West and I decided to return to our Netflix Queue It Up series this week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.

Has anyone ever had a crush so big on a TV actor or actress that they would watch anything that said actor or actress starred in?  That’s how I found Nip/Tuck

I first “met” Julian McMahon on a fantastic criminal profiling series (Profiler) in the late ‘90s.  When the program ended in 2000, I was ecstatic to learn that the actor who played “John Grant” joined the cast of another one of my favorite television shows, CharmedFor three years, I loved McMahon’s dual role as the demon Balthazar and his human counterpart, Cole Turner – especially his love affair with Phoebe (Alyssa Milano).  But again after just a few short years, Julian McMahon was leaving the show…

So what did I do?  I followed him over to the new FX drama, Nip/Tuck, where he plays one half of the plastic surgeon team of McNamara/Troy.

And let me just say, I was very pleased with my decision to trail him over to the new series.  Already established with hit original programming (The Shield), FX didn’t disappoint with its newest drama following two plastic surgeons and friends since college –Sean McNamara and Christian Troy.

"Tell us what you don't like about yourself."

The two doctors are nothing alike – Sean (played by Dylan Walsh) is grounded, logical, and married; while Christian (McMahon) is sexy, charming, edgy and most importantly, single.  In other words, McNamara/Troy not only succeeds because Sean and Christian are two of the best in the business, but also because of the dynamic – Sean is the “brains” and Christian the “face” of the practice.

Nip/Tuck not only focused on the practice and aired graphic plastic surgery scenes (some so vivid, even the manliest of men had to look away), but also shared the life of Sean and Christian outside the office… and their personal lives were anything but perfect.

Meet Sean’s family: Julia McNamara (played by Joely Richardson), Matt McNamara (played by John Hensley), and Annie McNamara (played by Kelsey Batelaan).

Julia
Matt
Annie

Now meet Christian’s family: Sean, Julia, Matt, and Annie.  That’s right – Christian has no one outside the McNamara clan.  But that’s okay; they love him — sometimes too much (considering his love affair with Julia that produced… well, no spoilers here) and sometimes not at all.

But despite my ongoing love affair with Julian McMahon, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the real star of Nip/Tuck is the storyline/s.  Each episode usually involves at least one plastic surgery story with a new or returning patient (patients including familiar faces such as J.K. Simmons, Rosie O’Donnell and Joan Rivers), but each season also carries out an ongoing storyline that carried the show.

What made these storylines so special?  They were dark, messed up, and some of the best drama on TV at the time.  The writers and creators of Nip/Tuck pushed the boundaries, something the regular network channels wouldn’t dream of doing (at least not then; and still not today… not really).

See? Graphic...

Don’t believe me?  Season one immediately starts with Sean’s son Matt self-circumcising himself to better please his high school girlfriend.  Yea, that’s right – self-circumcision.  Also in the first season: a baby is born (it’s no surprise that the paternity is an issue), Christian inherits a stalker, McNamara/Troy is forced into surgically removing heroin from drug mules, and one of the doctors might actually commit murder.  Oh, and there’s another paternity issue.  I’m trying really hard to not give anything away here…

My favorite season/storyline is hands down season three – The Carver.  Sean and Christian (along with new surgeon Quentin Costa, played by Bruno Campos) agree to operate on The Carver’s victims pro bono, further infuriating the serial attacker.  One thing leads to another, many fall victim to The Carver (including an entire sorority house) and Christian’s bride-to-be (Kimber, played Kelly Carlson) is kidnapped and later discovered as another completely mutilated victim of The Carver.

Of course, The Carver storyline isn’t the only on-going masterpiece of season three; it’s just my favorite.  Other popular and racy stories over the years include: Kimber’s sex doll (Kimber is ultimately the love of Christian’s life, who also happens to be a porn star); trans-gender sex changes; bi-sexuality; white supremacy; extreme religious affiliations; controversial pregnancies due to genetic disorders; and lots and lots of sex.

Kimber and her sex doll

Nip/Tuck featured many famous guest stars over the years (Portia de Rossi, Bradley Cooper, Famke Janssen, Vanessa Redgrave, Rhona Mitra, Brittany Snow, Jacqueline Bisset, Mario Lopez, Sharon Gless, AnnaLynne McCord, Katee Sackhoff, and Rose McGowan to just name a few), but the heart of the story belonged to Sean, Christian, Julia, Matt, Annie, Kimber, and Liz Cruz (Sean and Christian’s gay anesthesiologist played by Roma Maffia).

Liz is really the glue that holds McNamara and Troy together...

I literally could go on and on about Nip/Tuck, it is absolutely one of my favorites of all time.  It’s not for those with weak stomachs or those with strong convictions, but to me is still worthy of a GTV rating —  fine TV is like fine dining at its best: bone-in-filet cooked to perfection with a side of lobster baked macaroni and cheese, served with a $100 bottle of Cabernet and table-side banana fosters for dessert.

To this day, I will still give FX’s original programs a try because of their “out-side-the-box” way of producing and writing.  Seriously, look at their resume since:  Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dirt, The Riches, Damages, and Sons of Anarchy.  And what about the network’s most recent hits:  Justified, Archer, The League, and American Horror Story?  If you haven’t already, give FX a try.   But first – queue up Nip/Tuck on Netflix and watch the 100 episodes in order.

What do you think? Did you watch Nip/Tuck?  Are you a McNamara or a Troy fan?  Which storyline was your favorite and why?  Do you have a TV crush that you’ve followed from program to program?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see which programs she recommends our WatchWed viewers queue up on Netflix this summer — I smell a few BBC series in the air…

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of TV’s newest dramas starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Missing, starring Ashley Judd.

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

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 – Seriously, Queue This Up!

Amber West and I are back with Netflix on this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Courtesy of all the programs that television has to offer, we’ve got a few more series that are definitely worthy of queuing up! 

I’m taking a trip down memory lane and recommending one of, if not the greatest television Whodunit mysteries of our time: Twin Peaks.

Remember Dallas’ ever-so famous mystery back in 1980: Who shot J.R.?

How about 1984’s Wendy’s slogan: Where’s the beef?

The 1990’s wasn’t far behind with its very own unique conversation starter: Who killed Laura Palmer?

Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, Twin Peaks first aired April 8, 1990.  The series opened with the beautiful scenery of fictional town, Twin Peaks, Washington with the peaceful song “Falling” performed by Julee Cruise playing in the background. 

And then the hook – a teenage girl’s dead body is found wrapped tightly in clear plastic on the bank of the town’s river.  The sheriff and town doctor arrive only to identify the body as Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), the local homecoming queen.

News of Laura’s death quickly spreads across Twin Peaks.  We see the devastation the news brings to her mother (Sarah Palmer played by Grace Zabriskie) and father (Leland Palmer played by the great Ray Wise).  Both of Laura’s parents suffer some sort of breakdown – Leland sporadically breaks into song and dance and his hair turns white overnight, while Sarah begins seeing psychic visions of a white horse and a long-haired man. 

We also watch Laura’s high school classmates cry when the announcement pours through the loud-speaker.  Sadness sweeps through the school, and the crazy begins.  For example, Laura’s boyfriend, Bobby, begins howling like a dog – and this is just episode one. 

Everyone loved Laura. 

Or did they?

Making matters worse, this small town encounters another young girl walking aimlessly along the rail road tracks.  She’s badly injured and in shock.  Are the two incidents related?

Enter FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Agent Cooper is a very special, or shall I say odd, individual.  His peculiarities fit right in with the bizarre townsfolk of Twin Peaks, but more on those individuals later.  When satisfied, he enjoys giving a thumbs up, he loves a good piece of pie and cup of coffee, and he constantly records case notes into his microphone addressing someone named Diane.  Quirkiness aside, Agent Cooper is one heck of an investigator. 

Together, Agent Cooper and Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) begin investigating the two cases.  What happened to Ronette Pulaski, the girl found wandering the same morning Laura’s body was discovered, and who killed Laura Palmer?

Almost immediately, they learn that Laura is not quite who she appeared to be.  Everyone knew she was dating the football star, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), but only her best friend, Donna Hayward (originally played by Lara Flynn Boyle, and later by Moira Kelly), knew that Laura was also seeing supposed bad-boy, James Hurley (James Marshall).

Next, Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman discover that not only was Laura in the middle of a love triangle with the teenage boys, she was also working as a prostitute for Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) and Jacque Renault (Walter Olkewicz).

The twists and turns don’t stop there.  It seems every single person in the small town of Twin Peaks has some secret of their very own.  Well, if not a secret, they are so weird that they can’t be excluded from the investigation (like the lady who carries around a log as if it’s a child).  The cast of characters in Twin Peaks is one of the best ensembles I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing on television, that’s for sure.  And the acting skills? Simply superb.

Characters and appearances include: Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Miquel Ferrer, Kiefer Sutherland, Billy Zane, Chris Isaak, Piper Laurie, Everett McGill, Peggy Lipton, Heather Graham, Ian Buchanan, and David Duchovny

Twin Peaks also introduced a young and talented cast.  In addition to Laura, Donna, Bobby, and James, alumni also include the beautiful Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne) and Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson).   The female cast was so hot that even Rolling Stone Magazine featured them on the 1990 College Special.

The success of the television series spawned numerous Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.  It also prompted a prequel motion picture, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and book stores sold The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (I have that somewhere…). 

Twin Peaks can only be described now as a cult classic

Lynch and Frost’s masterful whodunit mystery kept me on the edge of my seat week in and week out in the early ‘90s; therefore, I’d be remiss to not give Twin Peaks a GTV rating.  When viewers learn who the murderer actually is, it’s shocking.  One can also get lost watching the colorful characters like Ed’s crazy patch-wearing wife who thinks she’s still in high school. 

The plot, characters, and conflict of Twin Peaks are unlike anything on television today.

If asked what my favorite television program of all time, I’d say Twin Peaks.  I may be dating myself a bit, but I proudly own the entire series on VHS.  Of course, I no longer have a working VHS player in the house….but I sometimes am lucky enough to find Twin Peaks marathons on Chiller. 

And, as much as I love Twin Peaks, I have to tell you that the series lost its flare once the murder of Laura Palmer was solved.  But, regardless, it’s only 30 episodes – so I highly recommend you Queue It Up!

This is Psych, not Twin Peaks. See the similarities?

The USA Network’s hit television series, Psych, honored Twin Peaks last year in probably my favorite episode: “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.  

Even better yet, Psych cast a few of the Twin Peaks alumni for the episode: Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), and Sherilyn Finn (Audrey Horne). 

Walter channeling Dr. Jacoby

Fox’s Fringe has also paid homage to Twin Peaks.  Walter Bishop has worn Dr. Jacoby’s famous glasses with one red lens and one blue lens, and he also dated the actress who played Josie Packard (Joan Chen) in one episode. 

Flipping back to the USA Network, White Collar also hosted a few Twin Peaks veterans this year: Dana Ashbrook and Madchen Amick. 

If so many current day television programs honor Twin Peaks, shouldn’t you at least check it out?  Seriously, queue it up!

So, how about you – did you watch Twin Peaks?  Did you figure out the mystery or were you surprised?  What is your favorite aspect of the series – the mystery, the unique characters, or the constant intermingling of character conflicts?  Are you a David Lynch fan?  I’d love to hear from you! *Please try not to give away any spoilers here for those who haven’t watched it yet *

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see why she recommends everyone queue up BBC’s Sherlock!   

Come back next week when Amber and I review a few of our favorite FOX programs returning this fall – House & Bones.

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 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 – Magical Artifacts

This week, Amber West and I return to the science fiction world and review two of our viewers’ favorite SyFy programs.

Warehouse 13

Throughout history, government agencies have built secret warehouses around the world to house and protect magical artifacts.  These warehouses are overseen by the Secret Service and a group known as the Council of Regents. 

Warehouse 13, the current warehouse designed by a team including Thomas Edison, is hidden deep in the mountains outside of the fictional town of Univille, South Dakota, also known as the middle of nowhere.  As a part of their cover, the Secret Service agents claim to work for the IRS, and therefore the townsfolk snub them.  After all, who likes the IRS? 

Dr. Arthur “Artie” Nielsen (played by Saul Rubinek from the TV series Frasier and Nero Wolf) is the agent-in-charge of the warehouse.  Artie has a hard time trusting others with the artifacts, and he is oftentimes frustrated with his two lead agents, Myka and Pete.  Artie isn’t very personal, although he does have an ongoing crush on a visiting doctor played by Lindsay Wagner, who comes once a year to remove his regenerating appendix (it’s a magical show, remember?). 

Viewers learn that Artie’s mysterious past includes his unknowingly trading magical artifacts to the Soviet Union in exchange for the release of his imprisoned family members, an act that was considered treason by the United States.  Once he turned himself in, the US government assigned him to the warehouse where he has been ever since. 

Myka Bering (played by Joanne Kelly from the TV series Vanished and The Dresden Files) is the traditional, play by the rules, Secret Service agent working at the warehouse.  Like most women, Myka pays great attention to detail, and her professional style clashes with her goofy partner, Pete.  On a personal note, Myka has a pet ferret (that she named Pete) and she loves Twizzlers.

What “special power” does Myka bring to the table? She has a photographic memory.

Pete Lattimer (played by Eddie McClintock from the TV series Stark Raving Mad and Crumbs) is the other side of the partnership.  He’s a former Marine and a recovering alcoholic, yet he still has a goofy and fun side.  Pete loves sports, collects comic books, and craves junk food. 

What “special power” does Pete bring to the table? He’s a master at reading lips and he can sense when something bad is about to happen. 

The two partners share a cute relationship – it’s clear that they love each other, but more in a brotherly/sisterly kind of way.  Pete dated the town veterinarian for a little while (until an artifact possessed her and she tried to kill him), while Myka managed to kiss the boy she crushed on in high school at her reunion.  Other than that, the Warehouse 13 agents rarely have time for any romantic interludes. 

The Warehouse also employs Claudia (played by Allison Scagliotti), a young techie-genius who went to work for the team after breaking into the warehouse, and Leena (played by Genelle Williams), the proprietor of the local bed and breakfast where the agents reside. 

Other recurring characters include: Mrs. Frederic (C.C.H. Pounder), the director of the warehouse and liaison between the agents and regents; Helena “H.G.” Wells (Jaime Murray), an agent from the late 1800’s who bounces back and forth between good and evil; and, Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore), an agent brought in after Myka temporarily resigns. 

A huge bonus to working at the warehouse is the access to very cool gadgets.  The agents use a “Farnsworth” to communicate with one another visually and telephonically in lieu of cell phones.  Instead of using real guns, the agents use a “Tesla Gun” – a weapon that shoots lightning bolts that stuns the bad guys instead of killing them.  The agents also use caution when in public by capturing the magic of the artifacts by sealing it inside metallic “flash” bags.   

Warehouse 13 has featured many historical artifacts throughout the seasons including Lewis Carroll’s looking glass, Lizzie Borden’s compact, Marilyn Monroe’s hair brush, Harry Houdini’s wallet, Marie Antoinette’s guillotine blade (well, the one that killed her), Ben Franklin’s lightning rod, and Edgar Allan Poe’s quill pen. 

Click here for a complete list of artifacts to date.

Not personally big on most shows featured on SyFy, I find Warehouse 13 very enjoyable.  I read somewhere that W13 has over 50% female viewers, maybe for the very same reasons that I watch – it’s fun, magical, and an escape from reality.    That’s why Warehouse 13 earns a JFTV rating – it’s like the bag of potato chips that we just can’t put down.

Are you a Warehouse 13 fan? Is there an artifact throughout history that you’d like to get your hands on, and if so, what magical power do you think it might possess?   Do you like that the writers keep the relationship between Myka and Pete strictly professional and friendly, or would you prefer see a romantic spark ignite? I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she has to say about SyFy’s Eureka.

Come back next week when Amber and I recommended a few more queue worthy shows for your viewing pleasure as we close out the month of August with another Netflix edition.     

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 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

Friday FabOoolousness – August’s MarvelOoous Mashups and Blog Awards

This month, fellow writer & Twitter friend, Angela R. Wallace awarded me with a very fun blogging award – the Blog on Fire Award.

THANK YOU, Angela!  Winning this award for my posts means so very much to me.  I love the color red, and I love to light candles, so why not set the blog ablaze?  Well, I don’t want to burn it, but I’m definitely adding the fun badge to my homepage!

From now on, anytime someone clicks on the Blog on Fire Award icon on my site, they will experience Angela’s fabOoolous blog!  While you’re there, be sure and check out her post, My First Vampire.

The fun thing about this award is that I’m supposed to rattle off seven random things about myself.  But before I do, I want to award this honor to my fellow writing friend and She-Writes member, Jillian Dodd.

Jill is new to the blogging world, and her blog is on fire!  Just a few weeks in, she’s blogging three times a week – check out a few of my favorites.

The Bad Boys of Monday’s MANday Who would you choose?

Freaky Friday’s film Review of The Change Up starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman.  Jill’s review chart is quite fun!

In addition to the fabOoolous blogs by Angela and Jill, be sure to click on these sites featured in the August edition of MarvelOoous Mashups!

PART I: FabOoolous writerly posts

Every writer wants to know how to take their written words to the next level.  Check out Market Your Novel, a guest post by Donna Galanti via Stacy Green’s fabOoolous blog.

In addition to the manuscript and query, writers need a synopsis.  Roni Loren offers five helpful tips to get us through the Not So Dreaded Synopsis.

Every writer wants and needs to hook the reader.  Catie Rhodes helps us Get the Ball Rolling with our inciting incident by offering a few movie references as examples.

Amy Romine shares her realization that the word “writing” and the word “exercise” are interchangeable.  After all, Writing is Exercise for the Brain.

 PART II: Just because they’re fabOoolous

Julie Glover helps decipher a few British terms with American translations in The Queen’s LanguageUse your favorite in a sentence below in the comments section.  Bloody Brilliant.

Who doesn’t like to laugh?  Jess Witkins reminds us of a few television sitcoms that Make us Snicker.  That reminds me – I must queue up Freaks and Geeks on Netflix….

 

What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you see the world ‘Rebel’?  That’s what I thought – James Dean.  Catie Rhodes remembers the young talent gone too soon, and explores The Curse of Little Bastard.

 

Hobbits – are they primitive, futuristic, or Tolkein’s creation?  Gene Lempp researches the mythology of Hobbits and Pygmy Elephants.

Once Upon a Time….  Sonia G. Medeiros revisits the fairy tales that captured our imaginations as children.  Watch for her new blog series!  What’s your favorite fairy tale?

What were the best and worst movies of 2009?  Lyn Midnight reveals in the Secrets of ZeldaWhat didn’t make the list?

Manon Eileen feels that drug criminality is the most interesting field of criminology, and she recommends these 10 Drug Movies for our entertainment pleasure.   What film would you add?

And, now seven random things about me.  Enjoy!

1 – I name my cars.  My first car was a 1993 Red Thunderbird named Scarlett from my mother’s favorite movie, Gone With the Wind.  Today, I drive the car that most females in Texas drive – my Black Beauty, a 2003 Yukon.  She’s really a dark shade of grey that sparkles like the Texas Tech football helmets when the sun shines on her.  What, you don’t name your car?

 

2 – I’m naturally blonde, technically strawberry blonde.  Most of the online universe is fooled by my recently darkened hair courtesy of my profile pictures.

3 – I’m overly competitive.  In school, I had to be the first one done with the tests AND I’d be upset if I didn’t score a perfect 100% on each one.  Because of this, I actually gave myself a stomach ulcer from self-imposed stress at eight years old.   Okay, maybe I didn’t give myself an ulcer, but I coincidentally was diagnosed by the pediatrician as having an ulcer around the very same time I realized that I wanted to be perfect.  It took me a while to realize that perfect isn’t possible – we all just have to be our very best.

 

4 – I love monkeys.  My favorites are the See No, Hear No, Speak No Evil Monkeys.  Ironically, one of my favorite episodes of Charmed is when a spirit steals a sense from each of the sisters using evil monkey magic – Phoebe loses her hearing; Paige loses her voice; and, Piper loses her vision.

 

5 – If I’m ever brave enough to get a tattoo, it will be of the triqueta – also known to fellow Charmed fans as the symbol on the Book of Shadows.  Where?  The inside of my left wrist so that my watch can cover it up when necessary.

Or, maybe I’ll get an Ankh Cross?  I can’t decide, and it doesn’t help that I’m absolutely terrified of the pain from the constant sticking of the tattoo needle.  Maybe I’ll just stick to my Henna tattoos?  They are painless, and they wash off after two weeks, another bonus.

6 – I quit the game of basketball after one hellacious week at Lady Raider Basketball camp.  The camp came as my first trip back to the court after dislocating my knee cap (I had to wear an awful pink knee brace for what felt like forever), but the final straw was when another girl elbowed me in the mouth and my upper lip got stuck underneath my braces.  The head trainer at Texas Tech University had to pull my lip out.  Isn’t basketball a non-contact sport?

Isn’t the knee brace awesome?

7 – I hate to get dirty, especially my hands and fingernails.  Even as a child, I’d cry and run to the nearest adult and beg them to help me wash my hands.  I’m quite certain that I bawled my eyes out when my parents pushed my hand into my first birthday cake.  I don’t remember, but that’s what they tell me.

Knowing that I didn’t like to get dirty, my cousin used to throw dirt on me just to watch me squirm.  Don’t worry; I got her back….plus some!  Love you, Ali!  Perhaps my parents should have seen this as one of the early stages of OCD.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m Monkish, right?  Man, I really miss Monk.

 

Who are a few of your favorite fabOoolous bloggers? What’s a random fact about you that you’d like to share?  Do you have any tattoos, if so what and where? What’s your favorite fairy tale, and do you like any of the recent cinematic releases? Do you agree with Lyn’s best and worst movie list of 2009?  What drug film should Manon watch that she didn’t list on her blog?  I’d love to hear from you!  Happy Friday FabOolousness everyone! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Queue This Up Too!

Amber West and I are staying with Netflix on this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Courtesy of all the programs that television has to offer, we’ve got a few more series that are definitely worthy of queuing up!

Moonlight

The series begins when private investigator Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin, Hawaii 5-0) meets reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles, Tristan & Isolde) at the scene of a crime.  Mick immediately feels a connection with Beth – one that he doesn’t place immediately.

But, it doesn’t take him long to remember exactly where he met Beth for the first time.

Mick is a vampire, turned fifty years ago on his wedding night by his wife Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon, A Knight’s Tale).   Needless to say, the couple never lived happily ever after.

 

Mick is a good vampire; he doesn’t hunt or hurt people, unlike his best friend Josef (Jason Dohring, Veronica Mars) who relishes his life as a vampire.  Instead, Mick satisfies his hunger by harvesting blood from the local morgue.

But, back to Mick and Beth.

Twenty-two years ago, Mick saved a kidnapped girl from a house fire – a fire that he started in order to kill Coraline.   As luck would have it, Beth was that little girl.

After meeting at the crime scene, Mick and Beth become instant friends, and it doesn’t take much time before Beth learns his secret.  She handles it quite well, considering, and even allows him to feed on her once to save his life.  Mick and Beth fall in love, but in addition to the fact that Mick is technically dead, Beth is dating the local assistant district attorney (Jordan Belfi, Entourage), and neither she nor Mick succumb to their urges.

The love triangle becomes a square when Beth asks Mick to help her friend; a friend that looks exactly like Coraline.

Moonlight may have only lasted one season on CBS (it’s very possible the 2007-2008 writer’s strike is to blame), but it remains a favorite and is worthy of a queue up.  I don’t want to give too much away about the individual episodes, especially since there are only sixteen to watch, but it sounds like a perfect weekend marathon, doesn’t it?

Moonlight earns a GTV rating; it has everything we want and more.  I can’t remember the last time I was so upset about a program’s cancellation.  It is highly recommended that you watch Moonlight at night – lights off, candle burning, and a glass of red wine in hand.  Keep a hand fan nearby – Mick St. John is one sexy vampire.

Oh, and don’t worry.  The show didn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger.  Even with the premature cancellation, and a great storyline for a second season, it wraps nicely considering.

What are you waiting for?  Queue it Up!

If by chance you do not subscribe to Netflix, watch for the Moonlight daytime marathons on SyFy.

Episodes with Bite:

“Fever”
“The Ringer”
“12:04 AM”
“Fleur de Lis”
“What’s Left Behind”

Did you watch Moonlight?  Like me, are you waiting for Steve McGarrett to vamp out on Hawaii 5-0?  What show’s cancellation absolutely infuriated you?  Is it available on Netflix?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see why she recommends you queue up Downton Abbey.

Come back next week for another SyFy edition as Amber and I review a few more of the network’s most popular programs – Eureka and Warehouse 13.

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 schedules 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 – Queue it Up!

Amber West and I are taking this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in a different direction.  Courtesy of Netflix, many people don’t watch live television anymore, and we’re suggesting a few series that are definitely worthy of queuing up! 

Tru Calling

The series begins with recent college graduate, Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), searching frantically for an internship hoping to get into medical school.  Most of the good placements have already been filled, so Tru takes the only job she can find – at the morgue.

As if working with the dead isn’t daunting enough, Tru must deal with the bodies temporarily awakening and asking for her help.  The very second she receives one of these requests, Tru’s day resets and she must race to figure out exactly what these souls are trying to tell her.

Mostly, when Tru’s day starts over, she tries desperately to stop the untimely deaths of those asking for her help, but messing with fate always has its consequences. 

Trying to manage her daily resets and keep her secret from friends and family, Tru also battles constant struggles with her irresponsible brother, Harrison (Shawn Reaves), her drug-addict sister, Meredith (Jessica Collins, The Young and the Restless), and her boyfriend Luc (Matt Bomer, White Collar), while trying to lead a normal life. 

Despite the chaos, Tru tries to stay grounded with the help of her best friend, Lindsey (A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds), and her boss at the morgue, Davis (Zach Galifinakis from The Hangover).  Davis may just be Tru’s biggest rock throughout the series, even if he’s a bit odd and awkward. 

Jason Priestly (the original 90210) joined the cast midway through season one as Jack Harper; his primary focus – stop Tru and restore fate.

Typical of shows on Fox, Tru Calling was cancelled before answering all of the ongoing storylines.  This show will always live on my “gone too soon” list, and I proudly own both seasons on DVD.  One of the writers, Doris Egan, shared the remaining story arc in a two-part series via her Livejournal blog.  Without giving away any spoilers, the viewers learn all about Tru’s parents and Tru and Jack’s mentors.   

Egan’s Tru Calling Part One

Egan’s Tru Calling Part Two

Tru Calling earns a MacTV rating – pop some popcorn, grab a blanket, turn off the lights, spark up a candle, and watch episode after episode like a guilty pleasure. 

I hope you especially enjoy a few of my favorite episodes, but before you get started, check out the theme song (Full Blown Rose’s “Somebody Help Me”) for just a tiny taste of what’s ahead.  

Season One
 “Morning After”
“Murder in the Morgue”
“Valentine”
“Two Weddings and a Funeral”

 Season Two
“Grace”
“In the Dark”
“Enough”

Season two also introduced a few familiar faces as recurring characters: Liz Vassey (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) played Dr. Carrie Allen (nothing is ever as it seems – remember!) and Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles) played Jensen Ritchie, Tru’s love interest. 

If you don’t have a Netflix account, don’t worry!  Occasionally, SyFy airs a daily marathon of Tru Calling

Do you subscribe to Netflix? Did you watch Tru Calling? Are you an Eliza Dushku fan? What would you do if the dead asked for your help?  If your days could reset, would you race against the clock to change fate, or leave things as they were?  What are a few of your favorite TV series gone too soon?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see why she recommends you queue up the science fiction hit – Firefly

Come back next week for another Netflix edition as Amber and I review a few more series worth a queue.

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 schedules 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

Tele-Tuesday: Welcome to the Tamberny Award Show!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first annual Tamberny Awards – where we promise to not agree!

When the Emmy nominations were announced last month, writer friend Kathy Owen approached us to review the shows and announce who we thought would take home the awards.

Sounds easy enough, right?  HA!  Amber and I don’t watch the same things.  What she loves, I haven’t even heard of; and, what I watch (which is almost everything on television), she has to Netflix in order to carry on a conversation with me.

Okay, maybe it’s not so bad; after all, this may just be why our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday partnership works so well!

  Enjoy the show!

Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

A:  I’ll kick things off with the comedy category.  I think Parks and Recreation should take it.  Why?  Two words:  Ron Swanson. 

Ok, maybe not just for him.  I love every character on that show.  They are all flawed, in ridiculous ways, yet they are all completely lovable, too.  They do all of that AND they make me laugh.  Sometimes until I cry.  And, they gave us “awesomesauce”.  I also think they’ve had good forward momentum, unlike some comedies that are quick out of the gate then rest on their funny laurels.  (Hee, “Funny laurels”)

T:  Did you just laugh at your own joke?  *laughing, eye rolls*

While Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock are fabOoolously written, the Emmy will come down to Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory.  Do I agree with this?  No, but what can you do?

A:  You can be disagreeable.  Like me.  And yell things.  Or, at least type them in all CAPS.

T:  FINE!  Since you want to light a fire under me, 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation DESERVE to win.  But, they won’t.

The #TeleTuesday voters clearly want Modern Family to win.  Me?  Put the guns away, but I’ve never watched it.  Same with Glee.  I refuse to drink the punch…plus I watch so much on television already.  Maybe one day on Netflix?

 

A:  I forgive you on Glee.  I’m a Broadway girl, so I was on board in the beginning, but I started to burn out pretty quickly.  But Modern Family? Please.  Go watch it.  So funny.  Our readers know what they are talking about.  I’m still waving the Parks and Recreation banner, but if Modern Family wins…well, I ain’t mad at ’em. 

T:  Ya ain’t? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  You left the door wide open for that one.

Maybe I will Netflix Modern Family for you; you did watch Bones for me.

Back on topic, The Big Bang Theory on the other hand, is brilliant.  Sheldon and Leonard have brought sexy back for the geeks; well, maybe sexy isn’t the right word…

A:  I’m about to make myself unpopular.  That’s smart, right?  Don’t hate me.  I do think that The Big Bang Theory has some good one liners.  And, I get a kick out of the geek references, being a geek and all.  BUT, I think Chuck Lorre tends to write shows that pander to the masses.  Granted, there is nothing wrong with that.  But it’s just not my cup o’ tea. 

T:  Isn’t that what Lorre is supposed to do?

A:  Probably.  Also explains why I am not writing a successful TV show right now.  Before this turns into an argument, I bring you…DRAMA! 

Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men 

A: I have a thing for underdogs.  They’re all cute and scruffy.  The Good Wife feels like an underdog here.  It’s one of the few “network” shows on the list; it’s been well written from episode one and the cast is incredible.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had a bit of a crush on Josh Charles since his Sports Night days. This is a solid category, though, so anyone who takes it is deserving.

T: I have to disagree with you, Amber – while I might end up eating my words, I think that the cable channels will win this one: Showtime’s Dexter is a must see, but HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones will be hard to beat.  I’m going with Game of Thrones here.

A: Dexter is amazingly well written, and I don’t have the pay channels, so I have not seen Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones.  But, I do believe I called my choice the underdog.  The likelihood of it winning is slim.  And yet, here I sit, cheering them on.  Someone has to.

T: Funny, how after two rounds of bickering, neither of us has yet to mention Mad Men as a contender here…

A: I can never remember who votes for what in the actual Emmy’s (no affiliation), but I didn’t go with Mad Med because they’ve already taken awards.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s another show that has great writing, great actors and Jon Hamm.  Mmmmm…Hammmmmm….

T: And with that, we’ve lost Amber.  Maybe we should move on.

Outstanding Animated Series

The Cleveland Show
Futurama
Robot Chicken
The Simpsons
South Park
Family Guy

A: Ahem.  I’m good.  I was just channeling Homer in preparation for this category.

I don’t watch Robot Chicken with any regularity.  Having said that, the little I have seen was funny.  And different.  And, it’s probably the least popular one on this list, in my world anyway.  The rest of them are feeling a little “old hat” for me.  

Isn’t there anything new?  Also, judging by this category, is it now a requirement to offend to be funny?  Don’t get me wrong, some of these guys do it well and are smart, but its feeling a little like no one knows how to be funny without it. 

T: South Park – while controversial, is funny!  Not many shows, especially animations with the exception of The Simpsons, can say they’ve been on the air for over 15 years.  Plus, aren’t they really just saying what so many of us wish we could, just don’t have the guts to?

A: I agree that South Park is funny.  Those dudes can write.  I mean, Book of Mormon is a roaring success for a reason.  But, I stand by the idea that you don’t HAVE to be offensive to be funny.  Having said that, you are probably correct on your choice. 

T: Wait a minute?!?! Stop the presses.  Where the heck is Archer?  Why in the world isn’t Archer nominated here?

 

A: I’ve never seen it.  That could be why.  To quote one of your picks, “Bazinga!”

T: Archer belongs on the Netflix queue, Amber….enough said.

Lead Actress in a Comedy

Laura Linney, The Big C
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Tina Fey, 30 Rock

A: I really want to see Amy Poehler take this.   Her show is funny.  She is funny.  Her husband is funny.  She is like an entire universe of funny.  I love her.

T: I agree with you, but I think Edie Falco takes it.  The cable channels are hard to beat when nominated…I’d even love to see a newbie take it, like Martha Plimpton or Melissa McCarthy, but I don’t see that happening.

A: I’ve heard good things about Edie in Nurse Jackie.  But I’m sticking with Amy Poehler. But, I won’t cry if Martha gets it.  She, too, is awesome. 

T: I’m just glad to see Martha resurface from her ’80s hit movies.  “Hey, you guys…”  Quick – what’s that from?

A: I am awful at that game.  Prize for the first commenter who gets it.

T: Seriously?  You don’t know what movie that quote is from? Do you need a hint?

 

Lead Actor in a Comedy

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

A: Although I feel that 30 Rock is a bit lacking lately, Alec Baldwin is genius in his role.  Love him.  

T: We agree again, but I think Alec will lose.  This one goes to Sheldon.

A: Boo.  Didn’t he take this award already?  Alec…Alec…  

T: Do you know who’s not going to win from the cable channels?  Matt LeBlanc.  Was that mean?

A: Yes, yes it was.  Also, my nominee could totally take your nominee in a cage match.  Just sayin’.  Note to self: propose new reality show where awards ceremony winners are determined by having nominees step into the octagon. 

T: Brilliant! 

Wait, what is that?  Are we running out of time?  Someone turn off that music!

The producers closed the curtain on us…

We’re on a roll, and we promise, we won’t let a little thing like time get in the way of that.  Tune in next Tuesday for the conclusion of the Tamberny Awards.

Do you agree with our picks?  How about our write-in shows like Archer?  We’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to tell us what you think, and send pictures of your own Tamberny moments for a chance to win something special!

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

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!