Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Chicago P.D.

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that could either a) fall in line with all the other police procedurals on TV, or  b) stand out as the next Dick Wolf success—Chicago P.D..

NBC Summary: Sergeant Hank Voight leads the officers of District 21, where the past history and rivalries between the officers create problems at the district.

Created by Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and a spinoff series of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. will serve as yet another typical police procedural on television.  Or will it?

My main question is this—will Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) be a good guy or a bad guy?  While I did not watch the entire first season of Chicago Fire, I did watch enough to know that he was not a “good” cop.  The character did not hesitate to cross legal or ethical lines.  And if he’s anything like that on the new show, what in the world is his staff going to be like?

And speaking of Jason Beghe, I’ve had a crush on him since I was a little girl when he starred as the quarterback, Tom Yinessa, on HBO’s 1st & Ten.  Yes; my parents let me watch with them—it was about football, after all!  And most recently, I’ve enjoyed his recurring character, Richard Bates, on Showtime’s Californication where he plays an alcoholic/sometimes gay/sometimes straight man.  His performances are fantastic.  Needless to say, I gave Chicago P.D. a try just for him.

The new drama also stars: Jon Seda (Band of Brothers) as Detective Antonio Dawson; Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) as Detective Erin Lindsay; the great Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky; and many others.

But let’s talk about Voight right now… like I mentioned earlier, Voight was not a “good” cop on Chicago Fire.  Actually, he went to jail.  However, in this new series, his character has negotiated some deal to get out of prison and land himself the supervisory position for the Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department.  We later learn this deal is for him to secretly report back to Internal Affairs… but will he?  Will he be 100% honest with them?  Probably not…

So is he good or bad?

Well, Voight instructs his staff to keep everything in-house… they tell him the truth, so he can lie for them.  This isn’t so strange.  Anyone who has played sports has heard the saying “what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.”  Same concept.

The Intelligence Unit is family, and to Voight, nothing is more important than family.  Yet, sadly, his sordid past actually gets one of his officers killed in the first episode (in a round-about-way).  Sorry for the spoiler.

Ultimately, Voight just operates under the mantra—and expects his team to as well—whatever it takes.

Does this make him bad?  Naaa.  I kinda like him and will continue to watch because of him.  I want to see how many professional and ethical lines he and his team will cross, while maintaining characters that I like and am actually rooting for.  There seems to be the “right way” and the “Voight way” of doing things.  Sometimes “Voight’s way” is the only way to get things done.  I get that real cops shouldn’t act this way, but this is TV and I like it.

But enough about just Voight…

Chicago P.D. bounces back and forth between his unit and the officers who patrol the streets of Chicago.  As a Law & Order fan, I can definitely tell this series is a Dick Wolf creation from the cinematography and style.   And being a Chicago Fire spinoff, many of the characters have done and will do a crossover stint at one time or another (for those who love and need more of Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer).   If I understand correctly, the series will actually do a full-blown crossover episode event with Chicago Fire and Law & Order: SVU.  Guess I’ll need to watch Chicago Fire that week.

While I will and already have watched more of Chicago P.D. than I have Chicago Fire, I can’t award the series with anything beyond a JFTV rating.  I like it; I do.  But I don’t mind letting the episodes pile up on the DVR to watch when I have time.  It’s just like when I keep a bag of those greasy potato chips in the pantry, but only reach for them when I need a fix.  After all, it is just another police procedural on TV today… just with a different kind of twist.

What do you think?  Do you watch Chicago P.D.?  I’d love to hear from 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
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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Major Crimes

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m jumping in with a TNT series that returned to TV this week—Major Crimes.

Following the conclusion of Brenda Leigh Johnson’s story in The Closer, Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) took the lead in Major Crimes.  Over the last few seasons of The Closer, we tolerated Captain Raydor while she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs).  But we also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who stood by Brenda Leigh and did everything in her power to protect the Deputy Chief.  So how does Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team?

That’s right—almost the entire cast of The Closer returned for the new series.  I said almost… this is the first major difference between the two shows.  Besides losing Brenda Leigh, obviously, the team also lost David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) and we haven’t seen the recently promoted Chief of Police (Chief Pope, played by J.K. Simmons).

Once a TV series loses a character, it usually makes sense to replace that role.  Enter Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, the newest member of the Major Crimes unit.  As expected, Detective Sykes ruffled the feathers of a few of the veterans on her way to her new position… especially Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey).  But that could be because Detective Provenza was already bothered by Raydor’s promotion, since he had been leading the team in the interim.  It could also be Detective Sykes’ eagerness and her constant over-reaching and jumping in where she doesn’t belong.  Either way, her abrupt nature didn’t fit in right away with the others, but she’s growing on them and it’s just a matter of time before they accept her fully.

Captain Sharon Raydor

Monday nights will never be the same again without The Closer; but for what it’s worth, TNT is softening the blow with Major Crimes.  Raydor may not close cases like Brenda Leigh, no one ever will for that matter; but what Brenda mastered in closing a case and prying a confession out of her suspect, Raydor will match in her ability to settle the case—saving Los Angeles a ton of money (the second major difference between the two TV shows).

How will our favorite group of detectives handle their new leader’s style?  Once again, Provenza doesn’t like it in the least.  None of them really do, but he’s the most likely to speak out against Raydor.  But there is nothing he can do; the Major Crimes unit is to work with the District Attorney’s office every step of the way in trying to skip the courtroom and walk the criminals directly to their prison cells—Chief’s orders.

In addition to the drama, The Closer episodes promised humor, and I found myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  Most of the fun centered around the interactions of the team: Gabriel, Provenza, Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz (Phillip P. Keene), and Commander Taylor (now Assistant Chief, played by Robert Gossett).  At first, I thought this to be the third major difference between The Closer and Major Crimes.  However, as the series has progressed, I’ve changed my tune.  I love the comments and the interactions between the characters.  Just like I did with The Closer.

Oh, the sarcastic Raydor smile…

The new series has focused on developing the Raydor character and the show really has done a great job (of course, they had no choice; she had some really tough shoes to fill).  Initially, The Closer fans didn’t like her; but the writers and creators slowly began to appeal to the viewers with a softer Raydor—a Raydor that even Brenda Leigh started to like.  I mean, let’s be real; if Brenda Leigh likes her, so will Brenda Leigh’s fans… right?

Which leads me to the next major difference between the two shows… the addition of Rusty Beck (played by Graham Patrick Martin), a homeless teen who was left with no other choice than turning to prostitution in order to survive.  Brenda Leigh initially discovered Rusty working her final case for the LAPD; but in her departure, Raydor has now stepped in and promised to continue Brenda Leigh’s work searching for Rusty’s mother (which she has done successfully) and protecting him while he awaits a trail in which he is scheduled to testify against a serial killer.  Rusty now lives with Raydor and the viewers slowly see the maternal side of Raydor kicking in.  She’s not just a ball-buster, she’s a mother.

It’s no Closer, but Major Crimes still has the characters I’ve grown to love over the years.  Raydor may not be Brenda Leigh, and she has a long way to go to establish herself on the same level in my opinion, but I’m not giving up.  Major Crimes is definitely worthy of a watch… therefore, I’m awarding it with the MacTV rating.  I’m happy to see it back on the TV schedule and I can’t wait to watch the Rusty storyline unfold.

Rusty… the teenage boy who has been adopted by LA’s finest.

What do you think?  Have you checked out Major Crimes?  How do you feel it fares compared to The Closer?  I’d love to hear from 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
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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Sizzling Summer Fun in The Glades

I know I mentioned last week (and the week before) that I would review Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons today, but I’m taking a break from the regularly scheduled program.  I know… I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  Let’s blame it on Spring Fever.  That, and trying to push out my Football Sweetheart paperbacks and book two in the series.

So, for the sake of today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday post, I’m sharing an older post from 2012, featuring a show that returns to A&E later this month with its brand new season—The Glades.

The Glades follows Detective Jim Longworth (played by the ever-adorable Aussie, Matt Passmore) as he solves crime in South Florida.  Excommunicated from Chicago after allegedly sleeping with his boss’s wife, Jim takes his settlement money and moves to the Miami area to play golf.  He takes a job with a small law enforcement agency (FDLE – Florida Department of Law Enforcement), thinking it will not take him away from the golf course all that often… he was wrong.

Partnered most of the time with the agency’s medical examiner (Carlos Sanchez, played by Carlos Gomez), Jim ruffles feathers as he solves homicide cases using his unique approach and disregard for the rules.  Carlos tries desperately to ground Jim and keep him from drawing attention to the FDLE, but no one can wrangle Jim—except maybe Callie.

While working a case, Jim meets Callie (played by Kiele Sanchez), a single-mom and registered nurse who is also putting herself through medical school at the same time.  The two have an instant connection, but there’s only one problem—Callie is married (or at least she was at the time).

Callie & Jim

Her husband, Ray (Clayne Crawford, perhaps most recently recognized for his role on Leverage as Eliot’s nemesis), is serving time for armed robbery during season one.  In season two, Ray cuts a deal and is placed into Witness Protection, but not before putting a kink in Jim’s and Callie’s love affair as he gets to spend some time with his and Callie’s son, Jeff.

Jeff (Uriah Shelton) adores Jim, but obviously he loves his dad and yearns for the day his parents can be together once again—like any child would.  This poses a problem for Callie, who doesn’t want to upset her son, but knows her relationship with Ray is over.  Eventually, Callie decides Jim is worth the risk and announces she wants a divorce to pursue her future with him.

The Glades also stars Michelle Hurd as Colleen Manus, Jim’s FDLE boss, and Jordan Wall as Daniel, Carlos’ intern (a fun sidekick for Jim, even if his overzealousness drives Carlos crazy all of the time).

Oh, and before I forget, Callie also assists the FDLE on cases from time to time as a forensic nurse.

Jim & Callie in the field, literally. Okay, it’s more like The Glades…

One might wonder why yet another police procedural set in or around Miami is worthy of a watch.  I can answer in one word—Jim.  Not only is he adorable (as mentioned earlier in this post), but his character is seriously flawed and he walks to the beat of his own drum, ignoring everyone and everything he’s told.  But don’t worry; although the character is a bit of a rebel, he’s not at all annoying.

In case anyone wants another reason, how about the tumultuous relationship between Jim and Callie… everyone knows that once television characters “hook up” on screen, ratings seem to fizzle.  Regardless, I can’t help but root for these two to get together.

I’m not much of a romantic (in other words, it doesn’t bother me if a television program or motion picture doesn’t end with the ever-popular “happily ever after”), but it’s because of Jim’s character and his on again/off again relationship with Callie that I keep tuning in.  For this reason, I must award The Glades with a MacTV rating – the flames definitely have our water boiling and it’s ready for us to dump in our favorite cheesy shells to enjoy while we watch the summer sizzle down in South Florida.

How will Callie answer Jim’s question??

The Glades returns to A&E Monday, May 27th… and I can’t wait to see how Callie answers Jim’s question from last summer’s season finale!

Do you watch The Glades?  Will Jim and Callie stay together or will some new obstacle stand in their way?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week when I return to the regularly scheduled program and review Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons.  Or at least try to review…

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, 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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Tele-Tuesday: A New Kind of Beauty and the Beast

It’s been twenty-two years since we all fell in love with Catherine (Linda Hamilton, the Terminator movies) and Vincent (Ron Perlman, Sons of Anarchy) in CBS’s Beauty and the Beast.  Twenty-two years… can you believe it?  Viewers watched as the “world above” and the “world below” joined together to fight evil.  But unfortunately, the series was short-lived (only three seasons) and television has been without it ever since.

But now Catherine and Vincent are back, only this time they are younger and the story is a little different…

Catherine “Cat” Chandler (Kristin Kreuk from Smallville) is a homicide detective with a haunted past (her mother was murdered in front of her).  She probably would have been killed too, but she was saved by an animal… no, a human.  Catherine takes her past experiences and uses them to become the woman that she is today—strong, independent, and very capable.

While working a case, Catherine and her partner stumble across fingerprints of Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan from Terra Nova), a man who supposedly died years earlier.  But because of his past with Catherine (I’m sure most everyone can guess this one…), he confides in her and tells her his secret—when enraged, he transforms into a beast with super strength and powers.  Catherine agrees to keep his secret; after all, she owes him her life… and she can’t seem to keep from obsessing about him at the same time.

As expected, as soon as Catherine and Vincent meet, the agency responsible for turning him into this “beast” discovers that he is indeed not dead and that she knows their secret.  This, of course, puts them both in danger and the only way the two of them can survive is by sticking together.

Cat understands that Vincent is dangerous, she just doesn’t want to believe it…

The series also stars: Max Brown (The Tudors) as Evan Marks, the medical examiner and Catherine’s “human” love interest; Brian White (The Shield) as Joe Bishop, Catherine’s boss; Nicole Anderson (Make It or Break It) as Heather, Catherine’s sister; as well as relative new-comers Nina Lisandrello (Tess, Catherine’s partner) and Austin Basis (JT, Vincent’s confidant).

First of all, I am not so sure how I feel about these characters.  Pretty much all of the characters, excluding Catherine and Vincent, are weak.  JT probably falls into the category of stronger characters, mainly because he actually has a place in the storyline—he knows Vincent’s secret and he’s been his “keeper” of sorts since Vincent faked his own death.  JT also seems to be the only voice of reason, trying to protect all involved… including Catherine…  but no one will listen to him.

JT… this poor guy is going to lose his voice telling Catherine and Vincent to stay away from each other…

Behind JT, I probably like Evan most.  Not only does this character pose as a potential roadblock for Catherine and Vincent, the writers also include him into each episode in a way that makes sense.  All of the rest, well they’re just “filler” characters… as if the show added them just to have them: Heather, Cat’s sister, now lives with her… her purpose?  Get Cat to her dad’s wedding?  Weak…; Tess, Cat’s partner, a female tomboy who acts and talks tough… her purpose?  Use Cat as her wingman to pick up guys?  Weak…; Bishop, Cat’s boss… well, it’s really no surprise that this role is only around to support the individual police case assigned to Cat and Tess each week.  Who knows?  The network has ordered a full season of Beauty and the Beast, so maybe these characters’ roles will grow…

Now, let’s talk about the “beauty” and the “beast” for a minute…

Catherine… I want to like her, but her dialogue seems a bit repetitive, especially when she’s talking to Vincent, and her actions annoying.  I’m also not sold on the acting, but I do like the martial arts sequences conveniently written into each episode (something I can’t help but think is an actual talent of the actress in real life).

Vincent… He’s not the “beast” we’ve grown accustomed to in B&Bs past, but I like him… probably more than anyone else in the series.  When he’s not “beasting” out, he’s a very nice looking guy with a horrendous scar on the side of his face.  When he does “beast” out, nothing and no one is safe, not even Catherine and JT.  He was a doctor in his previous life, and all he really wants to do is help people.  Now this, I can work with…

Now, on to the sexual tension… I get that Catherine and Vincent are supposed to want each other but realize they can’t be together.  Usually, I’m a big fan of the sexual tension in a television series… Moonlighting, Castle, Bones, etcetera.  I also understand that most of the time, the lead characters can’t get together because once they do the show falls a bit flat.  But this time, I don’t care—I want Vincent to kiss Catherine!

Catherine and Vincent and this insanely romantic chemistry between them aside, I really like this new Beauty and the Beast because of the police procedural aspect.  Each week, Catherine and Tess work a different case.  Each week, Catherine rationalizes some reason to ask Vincent for his help.  And each week, the case Catherine is working teachers her a valuable lesson about her and Vincent’s relationship and how she feels about him.

I let Beauty and the Beast pile up on the DVR after the first week’s episode.  I liked it, but I prefer other series…  Having caught up on most of my other shows, I watched a Catherine and Vincent marathon this weekend.  To be honest, I miss The Secret Circle and wish it still followed The Vampire Diaries on Thursday nights; but, Beauty and the Beast will do.  It’s still not as good as Arrow, the CW’s other freshman series, nor is it as good as a few other programs airing in its time slot on different channels (Person of Interest and Burn Notice), but I’m hooked now.  I want to see where the creators go and what will unfold with the full-season order.  The only problem is, Catherine and Vincent might just have to wait for me to watch everything unravel on the weekends…

Have you watched the CW’s Beauty and the BeastWhat do you think?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: Major Crimes’ New Look

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would return to my thoughts about TNT’s The Closer spinoff.  Today is that day…

Following the conclusion of Brenda Leigh’s story, Captain Raydor took the lead in Major Crimes.  For the past few seasons, we’ve tolerated Captain Raydor while she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs).  But we also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who stood by Brenda Leigh and did everything in her power to protect the Deputy Chief.  How will Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team?

That’s right—almost the entire cast of The Closer returned for the new series.  I said almost… this is the first major difference between the two shows.  Besides losing Brenda Leigh, obviously, the team also lost David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) and we haven’t seen the recently promoted Chief of Police (Chief Pope, played by J.K. Simmons).

Once a TV series loses a character, it usually makes sense to replace that role.  Enter Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, the newest member of the Major Crimes unit.  As expected, Detective Sykes ruffled the feathers of a few of the veterans on her way to her new position… especially Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey).  But that could be because Detective Provenza was already bothered by Raydor’s promotion, since he had been leading the team in the interim.  It could also be Detective Sykes’ eagerness and her constant over-reaching and jumping in where she doesn’t belong.  Either way, her abrupt nature isn’t fitting in with the others just yet, but she’s growing on them and it’s just a matter of time before they accept her.

Captain Sharon Raydor

As of last night, I’ve watched three episodes and I stand behind my earlier statement that my Monday nights will never be the same again without The Closer; but for what it’s worth, TNT is softening the blow.  Raydor (Mary McDonnell) may not close like Brenda Leigh, no one ever will for that matter; but what Brenda mastered in closing a case and prying a confession out of her suspect, Raydor will match in her ability to settle the case—saving Los Angeles a ton of money (the second major difference between the two TV shows).

How will our favorite group of detectives handle their new leader’s style?  Once again, Provenza doesn’t like it in the least.  None of them really do, but he’s the most likely to speak out against Raydor.  But there is nothing he can do; the Major Crimes unit is to work with the District Attorney’s office every step of the way in trying to skip the courtroom and walk the criminals directly to their prison cells—Chief’s orders.

In an earlier post, I also mentioned that in addition to the drama, The Closer episodes promised humor, and I found myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  Most of the fun centered around the interactions of the team: Gabriel, Provenza, Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz (Phillip P. Keene), and Commander Taylor (now Assistant Chief, played by Robert Gossett).  So far, this is the third major difference between The Closer and Major Crimes as far as I’m concerned.  While there may be a comment or an interaction that brings a smile to my face, it happens a lot less often in Major Crimes.

Oh, the sarcastic Raydor smile…

For now, I believe this is because the show is focusing on developing the Raydor character—they have no choice; she has some really tough shoes to fill.  Initially, The Closer fans didn’t like her; but the writers and creators slowly began to appeal to the viewers with a softer Raydor—a Raydor that even Brenda Leigh started to like.  I mean, let’s be real; if Brenda Leigh likes her, so will Brenda Leigh’s fans… right?  But Raydor is still no Brenda Leigh, and her character needs to be developed just a little bit more for us to fully fall head-over-heels for her like we did our favorite southern Deputy Chief.

Which leads me to the fourth major difference between the two shows… the addition of Rusty (played by Graham Patrick Martin), a homeless teen who was left with no other choice than turning to prostitution in order to survive.  Brenda Leigh initially discovered Rusty working her final case for the LAPD; but in her departure, Raydor has now stepped in and promised to continue Brenda Leigh’s work searching for Rusty’s mother.  In the meantime, Rusty lives with Raydor and the viewers slowly see the maternal side of Raydor kicking in.  She’s not just a ball-buster, she’s a mother.

It’s no Closer, but Major Crimes still has the characters I’ve grown to love over the years.  Raydor may not be Brenda Leigh, and she has a long way to go to establish herself on the same level in my opinion, but I’m not giving up.  Major Crimes is definitely worthy of a watch… even if this isn’t one of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts.

What do you think?  Have you checked out Major Crimes?  How do you feel it fares compared to The Closer?  Do you think the spinoff is headed in the right direction?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Summer Sizzles in The Glades

I know Amber West and I promised to review two of USA’s summer programs this week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, but we told a little white lie.  Amber’s taking a much needed week off, so I’ve decided to review a summer program over on A&E that hasn’t been mentioned on The Ooo Factor since April, 2011 that everyone should check out – The Glades.

The Glades follows Detective Jim Longworth (played by the ever-adorable Aussie, Matt Passmore) as he solves crime in South Florida.  Excommunicated from Chicago after allegedly sleeping with his boss’s wife, Jim takes his settlement money and moves to the Miami area to play golf.  He takes a job with a small law enforcement agency (FDLE – Florida Department of Law Enforcement) not thinking it will take him away from the golf course all that often.  He was wrong.

Carlos & Jim

Partnered most of the time with the agency’s medical examiner (Carlos Sanchez, played by Carlos Gomez from ER), Jim ruffles feathers as he solves homicide cases using his unique approach and disregard for the rules.  Carlos tries desperately to ground Jim and keep him from drawing attention to the FDLE, but no one can wrangle Jim — except maybe Callie.

Callie & Jim

While working a case, Jim meets Callie (played by Kiele Sanchez), a single-mom and registered nurse who is also putting herself through medical school at the same time.  The two have an instant connection, but there’s only one problem – Callie is married.

Her husband, Ray (Clayne Crawford, perhaps most recently recognized for his role on Leverage as Eliot’s nemesis), is serving time for armed robbery during season one.  In season two, Ray cuts a deal and is placed into Witness Protection, but not before putting a kink in Jim and Callie’s love affair as he gets to spend some time with their son Jeff.

Jeff

Jeff (Uriah Shelton) adores Jim, but obviously he loves his dad and yearns for the day his parents can be together once again – like any child would.  This poses a problem for Callie, who doesn’t want to upset her son, but knows her relationship with Ray is over.  Eventually, Callie decides Jim is worth the risk and announces she wants a divorce to pursue her future with him.

The Glades also stars: Michelle Hurd (also from ER) as Colleen Manus, Jim’s FDLE boss; and Jordan Wall as Daniel, Carlos’ intern (a fun sidekick for Jim, even if his overzealousness drives Carlos crazy all of the time).  Oh, and before I forget, Callie also assists the FDLE on cases from time to time as a forensic nurse.

Jim & Callie in the field, literally. Okay, it’s more like the glades…

One might wonder why yet another police procedural set in or around Miami is worthy of a watch.  I can answer in one word – Jim.  Not only is he adorable (as mentioned earlier in this post), but his character is seriously flawed and he walks to the beat of his own drum, ignoring everyone and everything he’s told.  But don’t worry; although the character is a bit of a rebel, he’s not annoying.

In case anyone wants another reason, how about the tumultuous relationship between Jim and Callie.  Everyone knows that once television characters “hook up” on screen, ratings seem to fizzle.  Regardless, I can’t help but root for these two to get together.

I’m not much of a romantic (in other words, it doesn’t bother me if a television program or motion picture doesn’t end with the ever-popular “happily ever after”), but it’s because of Jim’s character and his on again/off again relationship with Callie that I keep tuning in.  For this reason, I must award The Glades with a MacTV rating – the flames definitely have our water boiling and it’s ready for us to dump in our favorite cheesy shells to enjoy while we watch the summer sizzle down in South Florida.

Oh, the romantic tension…

And don’t worry – if anyone missed the previous seasons of The Glades, A&E has clips from season one and two available online.  But even better yet, A&E.com also has all of the season two episodes currently available as well.  Check it out!

The Glades season three premieres Sunday, June 3rd on A&E.

What do you think? Do you watch The Glades?  Will Jim and Callie finally get together or will some new obstacle stand in their way?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of the USA Network’s dramas – the new series, Common Law, and the sophomore surprise, Fairly Legal.   Really, we will this time.  Promise.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: Tour de Psych

One of Tele-Tuesday’s favorite programs returns this week – the USA Network’s Psych.  What is Psych?  This one hour television series masterfully combines the classic police procedural and detective drama with quirky laughs and top-notch pop culture references.

To celebrate the mid-season premiere, Tele-Tuesday has decided to list our top 10 Psych episodes to help everyone get ready for the much-anticipated return of “psychic” Shawn Spencer (James Roday), his right-hand-man, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill), Detectives Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), and Shawn’s retired detective father, Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen).

This selection process was difficult, considering how many times the Psych writers and actors have knocked the ball way out of the park.  But we selected our top 10, nonetheless.

Sit back, relax, and grab a cup of coffee or another favorite blog reading snack – this is a long post, but couldn’t be avoided.  Enjoy!

*****

10. “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” (Season 5)

Because we love our readers, we have to rewind to season four for just a minute.  In “Extradition: British Columbia”, Shawn and Gus begin tracking an art thief (Pierre Despereaux played by Cary Elews) in Canada; an art thief that Lassie has tracked for years but never successfully captured.

Fast-forwarding to season five, Despereaux needs Shawn and Gus’ help and pays for them to travel back to Canada, just before his extradition to the United States.  In the meantime, the suave criminal escapes prison and is wrongfully accused of murder, leaving Shawn no choice but to investigate.

Shawn, Gus, and Despereaux

The Despereaux storyline is a fun one to return to, but “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” is perhaps included in the top ten because Shawn finally professes his love to Jules at the end of the episode.   And when we say finally, we mean finally.  It took us five seasons for him to admit his feelings for her.

9. “Last Night Gus” (Season 6)

“Last Night Gus” (Psych’s version of The Hangover) may have been one of the most enjoyable hours of the first half of season six.  After a night of apparently partying too hard, Shawn, Gus, Lassiter, and Woody (the coroner) wake up not remembering the night before.  Why is Lassie’s gun missing bullets?  Why did Henry wake up across town in a hotel room, sans pants?  What is the white powdery substance on Woody’s face?  Why is Shawn wearing a dead man’s sandals?  Why is “The Blueberry” (Gus’ car) dented?

Using Shawn’s “psychic” ability and Henry and Lassie’s detective skills, the group of men follow one clue after another, leading them to discover what really happened… and that “last night Gus” was a bit out of his element.

8. “The Devil’s in the Details… and the Upstairs Bedroom” (Season 4)

Shawn and Gus take the case of a college girl’s apparent suicide after one of her professors (Father Westley, played by the great Ray Wise) pleads with them to investigate, believing the girl to have been possessed by demons.  Why not?  It’s a Catholic University…

Shawn never believes the girl’s death to be more than suicide, but “plays along” until he actually discovers there was indeed foul play involved.  And when the Father is suspected of killing the girl, Shawn dedicates himself to prove the Holy Man’s innocence.

This was a bit of Heaven for former Twin Peaks fans…  Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), playing a priest, accused of murdering a young girl?  Too fun…

7.  “This Episode Sucks” (Season 6)

What more needs said about “This Episode Sucks” besides: vampires, Corey Feldman, and Kristy Swanson?  Exactly… but we will, just because.

When a body is discovered drained of blood in a parking lot, Shawn immediately believes vampires were involved.  He and Gus dress the part and visit a cult-like bar where all of the patrons dress and perhaps believe that they are indeed vampires.

Shawn and Gus "undercover"

Remember the pop culture references mentioned above?  Again, fantastic writing and attention to detail comes into play as Shawn and Gus approach the bartender to question him regarding the murder.  As the bartender turns to face the “Psych” detectives, “Cry Little Sister” (the theme song from The Lost Boys) plays louder and louder until – Duh Duh Duh DUNNNNNN — Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) turns to face them.

Also in this episode, Lassie meets a woman (Kristy Swanson) who the rest of the gang believes is involved in the murder.  Is she a vampire?  Probably not… but has Lassie finally found love?  Maybe…

 6.  “Yang 3 in 2D” (Season 5)

The Yin and Yang storyline is hands down one of the top highlights of the Psych era.  Since our first introduction in season three, we’ve watched multiple episodes featuring Shawn’s biggest nemeses.  Sorry to throw a Yang storyline in here at number six (essentially out-of-order if one is not familiar with the series), but we’ll provide more detail below in the top five.

After a woman (Mena Suvari) claims to have escaped the elusive Yin (Peter Weller), Shawn cannot help but investigate, knowing that Yin is responsible for Yang’s (Ally Sheedy) psychopathic nature and her years of tormenting him.  Shawn uses Yang, against everyone else’s better judgment, to face the evil behind the deranged.

Yes, this summary is cryptic but we didn’t want to give too much away…

5. “Murder? … Anyone? … Anyone? … Bueller?” (Season 3)

What could go wrong when Shawn and Gus attend their high school reunion?  Well murder, of course.  But there’s only one problem – there’s no body.  Without the body, no one believes Shawn.  So Shawn does what he does best – he pushes forward until he uncovers all of the necessary clues to solve the case.

Oh, and he reconnects with a girl he dissed in high school (Abigail, played by Rachael Leigh Cook) which begins an ongoing relationship for Shawn.

4.  “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast” (Season 1)

We love when Jules gets more involved in the cases, and our favorite episode of the entire first season follows Jules as she goes undercover in a sorority house.  She invites Shawn and Gus to help as she investigates a series of bizarre events seemingly related to an earlier suicide at an insane asylum.

Sorority house, undercover assignment, insane asylum, alleged ghosts – who could want more in an episode?

See, even Shawn and Gus are spooked...

3. “An Evening with Mr. Yang” (Season 3)

We could almost say this episode is where it all begins, but that would be a lie considering we’re in season three.  This is, however, the introduction of Yang (Ally Sheedy).  Yang is a serial killer who has set her sights on Shawn and those dearest to him.  Shawn mistakenly suspects a psychologist (Mary, played by Jimmi Simpson) as Yang, but soon discovers that he is dealing with another deranged madman (or woman in this case) all together.

Things intensify on Shawn and Abigail’s date at the drive-in when Yang kidnaps Shawn’s mother (Madeleine Spencer, played by Cybill Shepherd).  Will Shawn’s astute attention to detail save his mother’s life and allow him to capture Yang before it is too late?

2. “Mr. Yin Presents…” (Season 4)

As reminded by the Ion Television Psych Saturday evening marathons, “Mr. Yin Presents” is by far one of the best episodes to date.  The episode begins when Shawn and Gus are reminded of a former foe – Yang.  After she releases her new book, a book she has written from her new home inside an insane asylum, another familiar face returns (Mary, Jimmi Simpson).  Mary insists that Yang was working with a partner, so Shawn and Gus agree to interview her hoping for answers.

Yang gives them what they ask for – confirmation that she has a partner:  Yin.  Everyone is drawn into Yin’s game – a game consisting of scenes from classic Alfred Hitchcock movies.  Shawn, Gus, Henry, Lassie and Jules are separated into different Hitchcock scenes, when both of Shawn’s loves (Jules and Abigail) are kidnapped.  Who will Shawn choose to rescue and who will die?

Who will Shawn choose - Jules or Abigail?

And Number 1… Drum roll please…. “Dual Spires” (Season 5)

Shawn and Gus travel to Dual Spires looking forward to a cinnamon festival they learned about via a mysterious email, but instead find a murdered teenage girl wrapped in plastic down by the water.  Together they join forces with the town’s sheriff to solve the murder.

We could go on and on about this episode.  James Roday outdid himself writing this piece: he perfected the oddities of the characters from Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery from the ‘90s, Twin Peaks; 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 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).

Every once in a while, Psych adjusts the opening theme song to appropriately fit the night’s episode.  Needless to say, “Dual Spires” was one of those episodes – and the show’s creators invited Julee Cruise to sing the opening (that’s right!  She also sang the Twin Peaks’ opening).

“Dual Spires” inspired those of us at Tele-Tuesday (me) to write a “thank you” note to the producers of Psych at the USA Network.  While we didn’t hear back from James Roday himself, we did receive an email from one of the producers thanking us for the kind words and assuring us that our note would please Roday, considering this episode was one of his creations.  Maybe she never shared our note, but it doesn’t matter.  We felt better expressing our gratitude for an episode VERY well done.

*****

The mid-season premiere “Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger” airs this Wednesday, February 29th on USA.  Will you watch?  Let’s just say one of our favorite bad guys is expected to return in this special extended episode of Psych, and a familiar face for those of us Twin Peaks fans guest stars.

We’ve already seen so many of our favorite faces from the ‘80s and ‘90s during the first half of season six:  Molly Ringwald (Psych loves the “Brat Pack”, Joey McIntyre, Jason Priestley, Danny Glover, and William Shatner.  Who’s next?

Just two besties playing 'thumb-war'

Do you watch Psych?  What’s your favorite episode?  Who is your favorite guest star to date?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Breaking Out To Do Good

This week Amber West and I review two returning police procedurals, neither of which is light and fluffy; the characters and story lines are darker than usual which might explain why these shows are on TNT and A&E:  Southland and Breakout Kings.

We’ve reviewed similar shows in which convicts assist law enforcement to do good (White Collar) or where con men and women help out regular citizens when other bad guys steal from them or make their lives miserable (Leverage), and A&E’s Breakout Kings does more of the same – a group of convicted felons help the U.S. Marshal’s office capture fugitives in exchange for reduced sentences (one month for each bad guy found and arrested) and transfers to lower-security facilities.

The group is led by Marshal Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso, Avatar), who is on a type of probation himself.  He suffers from a heart defect and supervising the team of convicts is his only chance at not being stuck on desk duty for the remainder of his career.

Working as second in command is former Marshal Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi, The Wire).  Ray has all of the necessary skills for the job, but he must work with a dark cloud hovering over him since his own conviction for taking money from a crime scene.  He currently lives in a half-way house, and until the end of season one keeps his secret from the convicts.

The only other non-con working on the task force is Jules Simms (Brooke Nevin).  Jules was unable to complete her training for the Marshal’s service due to a few disorders of her own – including anxiety and panic attacks.  Instead of working in the field along with the team, she serves as the assistant or analyst, researching the history and potential resources of the fugitives the team is assigned to find.

Next we meet the team of convicted felons, a colorful group of people without many similarities among them, other than surviving prison and hoping for an early release:

Serinda Swan portrays Erica Reed, a single mother who was arrested on weapons charges when she should have been charged with murder.  She used her skills as a bounty hunter to track each of her father’s murderers down and planned each attack so diligently, that she only went away for the lesser of the charges.  Erica is smart, concise, beautiful, and very meticulous.  Honestly, I think she may be the best hunter on the team.

Shea Daniels (Malcolm Goodwin) has the team’s street smarts.  As a former drug smuggler and dealer, Shea knows how the bad guys plan to move through networks and what avenues they will have available to them once on the outside.  Perhaps the most dangerous of the bunch, Shea oftentimes proceeds through cases with a chip on his shoulder, waiting for the Marshal service to retract on their special arrangement.

And last but not least, we have Dr. Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson).  That’s right – he is a genius with a PhD in psychology, a professor, and a published author.  So how did he wind up in prison?  Lloyd suffers from an addiction to gambling and he went to prison for writing and selling fake prescriptions to his students to help cover his debt.  He has an innate ability to break down the fugitives psyches for the team, and he also provides unsolicited counseling to the others on the task force.  Lloyd is funny and quirky, and a perfect addition to the team; perhaps my favorite character.

So there we have it – the team of misfits who make up the Breakout King Task Force, appropriately named by Shea.

Each week, Charlie and Ray pull the others out of prison to track and eventually arrest their next fugitive.  Many of the fugitives may look familiar to some of us too, including: Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper, Heroes), a convicted murderer who kidnapped and raped his multiple victims; Andrew Brenan (Richard Burgi, Desperate Housewives), a felon convicted of tax evasion, but also the suspected leader of a successful jewelry  heist team – which he is; and Virgil Downing (Mark Pellegrino, from Being Human, Supernatural, and The Closer), a convicted contract killer with dozens of killings under his belt.

Breakout Kings is more than just a police procedural; each episode is just as much about the characters as it is the fugitive on the loose.  It also has heart…and anger.

Charlie is angry; he wants nothing more than to prove to his superiors that his medical condition is not an issue and he can successfully run this task force. Ray is angry; he wants his life back, he wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, and he wants his badge back – permanently.  Erica is really angry; she wants the freedom to spend time with her daughter, a relationship that has been strained since she was arrested.  Shea is angry; but deep down he is a teddy bear and he loves to earn some alone time with his girlfriend, even if it’s in the elevator.  Even Jules is angry; sitting behind a desk is not what she had in mind when picturing her career in law enforcement.  Lloyd may be the only King without anger, but he is damaged and wants nothing more than for his mother to accept his apology for ruining his life (it’s not really a very healthy relationship between mother and son).

Because of the cat and mouse game with the fugitives and the in-depth and dark characters, Breakout Kings earns a JFTV rating.  It’s not a show that we must watch immediately when it airs, but it does have the sweet appeal of a once-a-week candy bar and we’re happy to see it when it appears on the DVR like magic.

Considering the fact that Breakout Kings premiered silently on A&E last year (our house just ‘happened’ upon it), I’m afraid not many are aware of this program.  But after today’s review, I hope more of you will check out the season two premiere Sunday, March 4th.

What do you think? Do you watch Breakout Kings?  Who is your favorite King, or do you prefer the Marshal?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the networking hopping series, Southland.   I think it may have finally found its home on TNT.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of Fox’s new dramas: Alcatraz and The Finder.

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 – Last Law & Order Standing

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to NBC and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Harry’s Law and Law & Order: SVU.

For the past twenty plus years, Dick Wolf’s productions have dominated the NBC primetime slots.  He first created the original Law & Order, and then added spinoffs SVU and Criminal Intent, as well as the short-lived Trial by Jury and LA.    

The last of the franchise still standing today is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, currently in its thirteenth season.  Like the original, SVU has a great ensemble cast, and it showcases gut-wrenching storylines. 

The Special Victims Unit is a specialized department that focuses on assault and rape cases in New York City, often times inspired by today’s headlines.   

For the first twelve seasons, the SVU team depends on lead detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni).  Benson, the product of her mother’s rape, and Stabler, the father of five children, take the cases personally and sometimes take actions we as viewers wish we could see more of on television – in other words, they’re not always by the book, and therefore one of the partners is always in trouble. 

SVU’s cast, for the most part, has remained the same for all thirteen seasons, including: Captain Cragen (Dan Florek), and also detectives Tutuola (Ice-T) and Munch (Richard Belzer). 

The original Law & Order split the hour-long program into two parts – “the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.” [t1]  SVU doesn’t follow the exact same formula, but does of course involve the district attorney’s office in each episode (returning favorites in season 13 – Casey Novak played by Diane Neal, Alexandra Cabot played by Stephanie March, and Michael Cutter played by Linus Roache from L&O).   

This season, viewers will see a new cast of characters following Meloni’s departure from the show and Hargitay’s rumored request for a lighter workload.  Danny Pino (Cold Case) joins as Det. Nick Amaro from warrants and narcotics, and Kellie Giddish (Chase) transfers to NYC from Atlanta as Det. Amanda Rollins

In addition to SVU’s fictionalized accounts of current events, viewers can count on a large revolving door of guest stars.  So far in season thirteen, we’ve seen a familiar story line where a hotel maid accuses a foreign diplomat of rape.  In episode two, SVU landed guest stars Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years), Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness), and real-life basketball greats Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.    

This week (tonight actually), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex and the City) and Paige Turco (Damages) guest star as husband and wife in a fictionalized account of a particular politician’s scandal. 

Before rating, I must issue this warning – the writers don’t sugar-coat things.  If you don’t like watching bad things happen to children, don’t watch! 

The past few weeks, the GTV rating has been awarded left and right; but, not today.  While I do watch Law & Order: SVU religiously, I can only award the JFTV ratingSVU is like junk food, particularly like that bag of greasy potato chips – it’s not great for us, but we keep coming back for more. 

SVU is the last of the franchise airing new episodes.  I simply can’t imagine television today without hearing this:

Of course, I am worried that I will soon have to get my Law & Order fix watching reruns only (thank you, TNT!). 

What do you think? Do you prefer the original Law & Order, SVU, or Criminal Intent? Will SVU survive Meloni’s departure, or will this be the last of the L&O franchise?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Harry’s Law.  The GTV ratings came to an end over here; will Amber award another top review over on her site?   

Come back next week when Amber and I switch over to FOX and review two supernatural programs – the new hit, Terra Nova, and the returning favorite, Fringe.

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 future Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts. 

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
 


 [t1]Opening narration spoken by Steven Zirnkilton