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 – Preparing for the New Year

Today, Amber West and I take another look back at one of our previous Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts.  We figured that everyone is recovering from their holiday hangover right about now, so we too decided to take a tiny break and repost a previous WatchWed review.    

Reposting this particular post couldn’t have come at a better time.  With the new year on the horizon, we thought it would be worth everyone’s time to share how we determine our DVR Priorities… just in case we can help anyone struggling with the decisions of which television program to record and why. 

How do we determine our DVR Priorities?

Setting the DVR is a serious business at Casa Blanca.  A certain someone might just go into cardiac arrest if her favorite TV shows don’t record properly.  Okay… it’s a figurative heart attack, not a literal medical emergency – but try telling her it’s not a big deal. 

So, what qualifies as a DVR priority in Casa Blanca?  The episodic series that don’t feature special encore presentations or reruns later in the week are the number one priority in our house.  Ironically, these shows aren’t necessarily all GTV rated programs.

One might ask, if the television program doesn’t earn a top Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday rating, why should it be considered a DVR priority?  Because if we record an hour-long show on the DVR, we can fast forward through the commercials saving twenty minutes of our day! 

When someone (not naming any names) records anywhere from five to seven programs a night, saving those twenty minutes is crucial to making our TV viewing as efficient as possible

So, let’s begin…

Take Survivor for instance – this reality sensation, hosted by the ever-adorable Jeff Probst, does not air again if missed at its original time slot.  Does Survivor earn a GTV rating?  No, but it is definitely a guilty pleasure and sits firmly as a MacTV favorite.  The same can be said for Big Brother because we don’t have another chance if we miss a show.    

Survivor returns February 2012

Sometimes we can rely on the basic five (ABC, CBS, the CW, FOX, and NBC) to air the occasional rerun, but it’s never guaranteed; therefore, Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Bones, and Chuck sit high upon the DVR priority list (all receive a GTV rating, by the way). 

The cable channels (USA, TNT, and FX specifically) replay their original programming, so even if the DVR experiences a glitch while recording, we can schedule a future recording to ensure we stay on top of our series.  THANK YOU, cable networks; especially since so many of these channels produce top-notch GTV rated television: Psych, Burn Notice, The Closer, Justified and American Horror Story just to name a few.

Justified returns January 2012

Last week, one of our favorite and most loyal readers disagreed with the fact that The Walking Dead did not receive an undisputed GTV rating.  First of all, we can’t express enough how much it means to have a faithful following, and we specifically ask for our readers to respond and spark up healthy debates.  For that, we thank you, Andrew!  When Mr. Mocete speaks, we listen here at WatchWed – but that doesn’t mean we still don’t feel the need to back up our rating system. 

The Walking Dead returns February 2012

The Walking Dead did receive half a GTV rating with the newly awarded TBP rating – a twice baked potato is the best of both worlds: gourmet and junk food.  But regardless of the rating, AMC’s hit show receives top priority on our DVR for the mere fact it brings zombies (eh-hem, walkers) to the TV.  We can’t miss the walkers – the supernatural is a must in this house. 

We’re kind of going against our earlier rule about reruns with this next DVR priority, but at the same time, we’re sticking with the newly established supernatural rule.  While Death Valley only receives a JFTV rating, what other television program brings us thirty minutes of zombie, werewolf, and vampire comedy?   Trust us, it’s not the best television available today – but it is one of a kind and we look forward to the silliness and gore every Monday night before bed.    

Pretty Little Liars returns January 2012

The insurgence of YA mystery on TV also receives a DVR priority in this YA mystery writer’s house.   ABC Family provides mystery lovers with two fantastic on-going whodunits with Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game.  Again, neither receives a top GTV rating (although the mystery factor of each one deserves a top review), but both series definitely qualify as a guilty pleasure and earn a MacTV rating.  

Who in the world is A?  What additional secrets will Sutton and Emma uncover?  This thirtysomething loves the constant intrigue of these two young adult television shows – if an episode answers a question, it guarantees to develop two or three more before the hour expires. 

So, to recap:  When considering DVR priorities in Casa Blanca, we go with episodic TV without encore presentations or the possibility of reruns.  We ignore the rating scale for once, and go with what we may miss if we don’t schedule ahead of time.  And finally, while we didn’t set out for this to actually qualify as a rule, it appears that any programming with supernatural elements or a good YA mystery finds a home high atop our recording list.

What determines DVR priority in your house?  Which show is your #1 Priority on the DVR?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and find out which one of her Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday posts she wants to share with everyone once again before the end of the year. 

Come back next year, I mean next week, when Amber and I re-review the fairy tales, Grimm and Once Upon a Time.  We left them simmering last time, have they worked their way up the rating’s chart?

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 – The DVR Priorities de Casa Blanca

This week, Amber West and I aren’t reviewing a particular television program; instead, we’re discussing our individual DVR priorities as they stand in each of our households.

Setting the DVR is a serious business at Casa Blanca.  A certain someone might just go into cardiac arrest if her favorite TV shows don’t record properly.  Okay… it’s a figurative heart attack, not a literal medical emergency – but try telling her it’s not a big deal. 

So, what qualifies as a DVR priority in Casa Blanca?  The episodic series that don’t feature special encore presentations or reruns later in the week are the number one priority in our house.  Ironically, these shows aren’t necessarily all GTV rated programs.

One might ask, if the television program doesn’t earn a top Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday rating, why should it be considered a DVR priority?  Because if we record an hour-long show on the DVR, we can fast forward through the commercials saving twenty minutes of our day! 

When someone (not naming any names) records anywhere from five to seven programs a night, saving those twenty minutes is crucial to making our TV viewing as efficient as possible

So, let’s begin…

Take Survivor for instance – this reality sensation, hosted by the ever-adorable Jeff Probst, does not air again if missed at its original time slot.  Does Survivor earn a GTV rating?  No, but it is definitely a guilty pleasure and sits firmly as a MacTV favorite.  The same can be said for Big Brother because we don’t have another chance if we miss a show.    

Sometimes we can rely on the basic five (ABC, CBS, the CW, FOX, and NBC) to air the occasional rerun, but it’s never guaranteed; therefore, Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Bones, and Chuck sit high upon the DVR priority list (all receive a GTV rating, by the way). 

The cable channels (USA, TNT, and FX specifically) replay their original programming, so even if the DVR experiences a glitch while recording, we can schedule a future recording to ensure we stay on top of our series.  THANK YOU, cable networks; especially since so many of these channels produce top-notch GTV rated television: Psych, Burn Notice, The Closer, Justified and American Horror Story just to name a few.

Last week, one of our favorite and most loyal readers disagreed with the fact that The Walking Dead did not receive an undisputed GTV rating.  First of all, we can’t express enough how much it means to have a faithful following, and we specifically ask for our readers to respond and spark up healthy debates.  For that, we thank you, Andrew!  When Mr. Mocete speaks, we listen here at WatchWed – but that doesn’t mean we still don’t feel the need to back up our rating system. 

The Walking Dead did receive half a GTV rating with the newly awarded TBP rating – a twice baked potato is the best of both worlds: gourmet and junk food.  But regardless of the rating, AMC’s hit show receives top priority on our DVR for the mere fact it brings zombies (eh-hem, walkers) to the TV.  We can’t miss the walkers – the supernatural is a must in this house. 

We’re kind of going against our earlier rule about reruns with this next DVR priority, but at the same time, we’re sticking with the newly established supernatural rule.  While Death Valley only receives a JFTV rating, what other television program brings us thirty minutes of zombie, werewolf, and vampire comedy?   Trust us, it’s not the best television available today – but it is one of a kind and we look forward to the silliness and gore every Monday night before bed.    

The insurgence of YA mystery on TV also receives a DVR priority in this YA mystery writer’s house.   ABC Family provides mystery lovers with two fantastic on-going whodunits with Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game.  Again, neither receives a top GTV rating (although the mystery factor of each one deserves a top review), but both series definitely qualify as a guilty pleasure and earn a MacTV rating.  

Who in the world is A?  What additional secrets will Sutton and Emma uncover?  This thirtysomething loves the constant intrigue of these two young adult television shows – if an episode answers a question, it guarantees to develop two or three more before the hour expires. 

So, to recap:  When considering DVR priorities in Casa Blanca, we go with episodic TV without encore presentations or the possibility of reruns.  We ignore the rating scale for once, and go with what we may miss if we don’t schedule ahead of time.  And finally, while we didn’t set out for this to actually qualify as a rule, it appears that any programming with supernatural elements or a good YA mystery finds a home high atop our recording list.

What determines DVR priority in your house?  Which show is your #1 Priority on the DVR?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out which shows prompt her to scream at her DVR if for any reason they don’t record. 

Come back next week when Amber and I review something; we haven’t decided yet.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

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
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: The Long Lost Family Drama

Last week, we reminisced about the popular family sitcoms of the 1980s including favorites Who’s the Boss?, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Growing Pains, and The Wonder Years.  The Ooo Factor viewers remembered even more with shows like Alf and The Hogan Family – weren’t these sitcoms great?  These television shows allowed real-life families to join around the living room TV set and watch television families work through the dysfunction in their “make-believe” lives while making us laugh.

But the family oriented thirty minute situational comedy isn’t the only thing missing from television programming today – where’s the one hour family drama?  We touched on Life Goes On and Our House last week – two one hour dramas that focused on family units resolving difficult issues like dealing with a brother’s disability or a father’s death.

The 1980s provided many great honest-to-goodness family dramas that were safe for children of all ages to watch alongside their moms and dads such as:

Highway to Heaven

Quantum Leap

We also cherished the ABC after school special in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  Remember those?  Kids learned valuable lessons like: handling the difficulties surrounding blended families after moms and dads remarry; understanding the dangers of drug use, drinking, and unprotected sex; as well as learning how to cope with molestation and rape.

Perhaps one of the most brilliant aspects of the after school special was the network’s casting of young TV heart-throbs like Scott Baio (Charles in Charge), Billy Warlock (Days of our Lives), and Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) to play vital roles in the made-for-TV movies.

Speaking of the ‘90s, this decade didn’t take a complete detour from family programming and produced multi-year hits like:

 7th Heaven

Party of Five

Once and Again

One of our favorites was the short-lived Get Real starring Jon Tenney (The Closer), Deborah Farrentino, Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries), Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: LA), and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as the Green family.

Looking back, what a fantastic cast!

Mom and dad Green had their issues (for example, mom suspected dad of cheating), and the teenagers definitely had their issues (the usual sibling rivalry, secrets, and coping situations).  The Greens resembled what we’d consider a normal family today – they struggled, they loved, and they learned.  The program walked its viewers through the family decisions, as they hoped to reach a positive outcome, but didn’t always succeed. Unfortunately, this series failed after twenty episodes.

But mostly, the ‘90s began what we now know as YA television with dramas appropriate for teenagers, but perhaps not children under the age of twelve with programs including:

Beverly Hills 90210

My So Called Life

Television airs many of these YA programs today such as The Vampire Diaries, The Lying Game, Pretty Little Liars, and The Secret Circle to name a few.  While great TV, watching these shows is a tad risky for the younger audience, mostly due to the high volumes of violence and sex.

In 2010, ABC tried their hand at a family friendly drama similar to those we watched in the ‘80s and ‘90s that was appropriate for all ages, but No Ordinary Family was pulled from the air waves after a short first season.  Why didn’t this show make it?  Apparently it lacked viewers.

Why weren’t families watching No Ordinary Family?  The series started when mom (Julie Benz) and dad (Michael Chiklis) take the kids on a much needed vacation to strengthen their family unit, and they return with superpowers: the mom has super speed, the dad has super strength, the teenage son has a super brain, and the teenage daughter has telepathic abilities.  No Ordinary Family had the ever-important family dynamic, was full of motion-picture-esque action sequences, and taught morals like the importance of not cheating in school no matter the reason, yet this program fell victim to the network’s axe after twenty episodes.

 

Instead, shows like the Secret Life of the American Teenager, a drama that focuses primarily on teenage sex and pregnancy, last for multiple seasons.

Just something to think about…

Obviously, family television has changed over the years – is it for better or worse?  What ’80s and ‘90s family dramas did you enjoy?   Which one-hour drama does your family watch today?  Is it considered a family drama?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: MTV’s Joining the Party

On August 1, 1981, Music Television (also known as MTV) launched with the music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles, and was immediately a breakthrough success.  MTV changed pop culture forever, and even created what we know as VJs (vee-jay or video jockey) today.

By the 1990s, the network began to drift away from the music videos, and started airing original broadcasts such as Road Rules and The Real World, animations including Beavis and Butthead and Celebrity Deathmatch, and even a few popular game shows like Remote Control and Singled Out – the show that putJenny McCarthy and Carmen Electra on the map.

By 2000, rarely could we flip channels to MTV and actually watch a music video.  Instead, we’d find The Osbournes, and watch Ozzy and Sharon wrangle their children and many small dogs around their house in Los Angeles; or we’d watch Ashton Kutcher play pranks on celebrities on Punk’d; and, sometimes we’d even watch Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica so that we could laugh at just how silly that girl can be.

Since then, MTV has continued to launch more and more reality shows: Laguna Beach, NEXT, My Super Sweet 16, and the craziest of them all, Jersey Shore.  And, who could forget one of the biggest hits of all MTV programming – Jackass?

Where would society be today without Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Ryan (R.I.P.), and Wee-Man?

This summer, MTV gained positive attention with the premier of its supernatural hit Teen Wolf.  Some of us even refer to Teen Wolf as the summer’s The Vampire Diaries – and that’s a huge compliment.

Will MTV be able to do it again with Death Valley, the new half hour horror-comedy premiering later this month?

Death Valley follows the Undead Task Force (UTF) as they protect the San Fernando Valley from the recent outbreak of zombies, vampires, and werewolves.   The UTF, a special division within the LAPD, is tasked with the responsibility of containing or destroying as many of the walking dead as possible, while a film crew follows them documenting each encounter.

Viewers will recognize a few familiar faces on the UTF squad including: Captain Frank Dashell (Bryan Callen from The Hangover); the traditional cop, Joe Stubeck (Charlie Sanders from Funny or Die Presents); the wanna-be-actor Billy Pierce (Bryce Johnson from Pretty Little Liars); the rookie Kirsten Landry (Caity Lotz from Mad Men); the sharp-shooter, Carla Rinaldi (Tania Raymonde from Lost); and, the one who loves to fight, John-John Johnson (Texas Battle from The Bold and the Beautiful).

The trailer looks hilarious and leads us to believe the show will have plenty of gore.  What more could we ask for when watching zombies, vampires, and werewolves?

Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves – Oh, My!

Death Valley premieres on MTV Monday, August 29th at 10:30/9:30pm CDT.

Will you watch Death Valley?  Or do you prefer that MTV stop trying to compete with the regular network broadcasting channels and go back to playing more music videos?  What’s the first music video you remember watching on MTV? What’s your favorite program of all time on MTV? Do you even watch MTV anymore? I’d love to hear from you! 

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 – New to Summer: Better Late Than Never

Summer is coming to an end, and we have some new programs to sink our teeth into before the fall television series return.  These new shows bring drama galore – police drama, dating drama, and teen drama.  What will you watch?

The new police drama:

Against the Wall – Lifetime

Wanting to advance her career in the Chicago Police Department, Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani most recognizable for her recurring roles on Cane and The Glades) is faced with a tough decision.  Does she wait for the necessary promotions as a female detective, or speed things up and join the Internal Affairs division?  Abby chooses IA, and her decision causes a divide within her family; a family with a long line of Chicago police officers.

Everyone knows that cops and IA officers do not get along – but what happens when a decision affects your entire family dynamic?

Against the Wall also stars Treat Williams (Everwood), as Abby’s father, and Kathy Baker (Picket Fences, Medium), as her mother.

Following the Internal Affairs division instead of detectives adds a nice twist to the ever popular television police drama.   Find out this Sunday if it’s worth a watch– Against the Wall premieres July 31st.

The new comedy – dating drama:

Friends with Benefits – NBC

Hot on the tails of the major motion picture success of No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits, NBC brings us this new thirty-minute comedy following a group of twentysomethings as they battle the dating world.

In Friends with Benefits, everyone is single and looking – Ben Lewis (Ryan Hansen, Veronica Mars) wants the perfect woman.  Sarah Maxwell (Danneel Harris Ackles, One Tree Hill; yes ladies – she’s married to Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles), just wants someone to settle down with and perhaps start a family.  There’s also the figurative “lady-killer” (Fitz played by Andre Holland), the “free-spirit” (Riley played by Jessica Lucas, who also played Riley on the new Melrose Place), and the “techie-genius” (Aaron played by Zach Cregger).

Oh, and Ben and Sarah are apparently the “friends with benefits.”  Who wants to bet they eventually decide they are soul-mates?

Produced by the great Brian Grazer (Parenthood and Arrested Development), Friends with Benefits might just make the grade.  Find out when the show premieres August 5th.

The new YA inspired drama:

 

The Lying Game – ABC Family

From the creators of Pretty Little Liars, and based on the novel by Sara Shepard, ABC Family brings the young adult audience another teen mystery this August.

Emma Becker learns that she was separated at birth from her identical twin sister, Sutton Mercer (both roles played by Alexandra Chando, As the World Turns).  Emma, a foster-child, agrees to switch places with her twin and live Sutton’s life with her wealthy adopted family while Sutton searches for their birth mother.

Not long into the switch, Emma learns that Sutton has disappeared and she’s faced with the dilemma of telling the Mercer family and all of Sutton’s friends the truth.  Is Sutton in trouble? Why were they separated in the first place?

Like most other ABC Family dramas, The Lying Game has cast a well-known group of actors: Andy Buckley as Ted Mercer (The Office), Helen Slater as Kristin Mercer (Supergirl, The Legend of Billy Jean), Tyler Christopher (General Hospital), Blair Redford (the new 90210), Alice Greczyn (Privileged), and Adrian Pasdar (Heroes).

If the mystery is anywhere near as decent as its predecessor, Pretty Little Liars, TLG is definitely worth a watch.  The Lying Game premieres August 15th.

What do you think? Do any of these shows interest you enough to watch?  Do you think starting in August will help or hurt these shows? Do you know of any other late summer starts?  I’d love to hear from you!

Be sure to go vote for the Tamberny Awards show by clicking here before July 29th!  And, just to show how fun Amber and I can be….

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – YA Inspired TV

What’s one of the most common phrases used by toddlers when asked, “Who did this?”  How about: “Not me!” (usually coupled with the famous pointing of a finger to the nearest scapegoat).  Children learn at a very early age to lie, even if it’s a harmless little-white lie.  Right? 

The lies worsen as we get older.  We look for excuses behind why we brought home a bad grade, or why we were accused of cheating.  Perhaps some of us were really devious and were looking for the perfect fib when our parents caught us sneaking out the window late at night.  Oh, don’t worry; I never did this, Mom and Dad.   

Regardless, everyone lies – which brings me to today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday show – ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, where lies haunt from beyond the grave.

The series begins when Alison DiLaurentis’ (Sasha Pieterse) remains are found a year after her mysterious disappearance in the fictional town of Rosewood.  This event brings together her four former best friends, who had drifted apart following that fateful night.  Alison was the glue that held the girls together, the leader of the high school clique.  As the episodes progress, viewers see Alison’s viciousness and many of the secrets that she holds over everyone’s heads – not a nice girl.

After attending Alison’s funeral, the four friends reunite outside the chapel when each of their cell phones sound – they’ve received their first threatening text message from “A” – and the mystery begins: Who killed Alison? And, who is “A”?

BFF #1 – Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) returns home from a year abroad with her family, and forgetting she’s a teenager and back in America, goes to a local bar where she meets Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding).  The two immediately hit it off and share a kiss after connecting over their love for literature.  The next day at school, Aria walks into English class where she discovers Ezra is also her teacher. 

Meanwhile, emotions erupt at home when her mother (Ella Montgomery, played by Holly Marie Combs) leaves her father after discovering the true reason behind the family’s extended absence from Rosewood – Aria’s father, a professor, had an affair with a teaching assistant at the local college.  Aria and Alison knew this secret, having spotted Mr. Montgomery (Chad Lowe) making out with his TA in his car.  Whoopsie! 

Isn’t it ironic that Aria now begins a torrid love affair and dates her teacher after torturing her father for a similar inappropriate relationship?  “A” won’t let Aria forget it…..

BFF #2 – Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) replaced Alison as the most popular girl in school following her friend’s disappearance.  “Hefty Hanna”, as Alison liked to call her, dropped her baby fat, partnered with her new BFF Mona and took to a life of brattiness and shoplifting. 

Hanna lacks the self-confidence a young woman needs, having watched her father walk out on her and her mother.  She spirals out of control, throwing herself at her boyfriend, only to be rejected.  Not helping matters, Hanna watches as her single mother (Ashley Marin, played by Laura Leighton) bails her out of trouble by bedding the detective on Hanna’s shoplifting case. 

Hanna really has the worst of luck – she wrecks her boyfriend’s car, and she is run-over when she gets dangerously close to discovering “A’s” identity.  When Mona throws her a surprise “glad you’re alive party,” someone steals all of the money (assumedly “A”) that Hanna’s mother stole from a client at the bank.  And, while following “A’s” sordid trail back to the money, Hanna falls for the wrong boy who happens to be feeding information to the girls’ nemesis, Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok).

BFF #3 – Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is the poor-little-rich-girl of the bunch.  Her successful parents push Spencer to be the absolute best, much like they did with her older sister Melissa.  Spencer is brilliant, but plays second fiddle to her sister, always aware that her parents favor her.  To retaliate, Spencer kisses her sister’s boyfriend (Ian Thomas) and then later kisses her new fiancé.  Matters get worse for Spencer when Melissa surprises the Hastings family by abruptly marrying Ian right after calling off her previous engagement. 

Spencer begins to investigate her new brother-in-law, and slowly uncovers an affair between Ian and Alison before Alison’s disappearance.  As she continues to investigate, Spencer believes that Ian not only stalked her best friend, but also killed her, causing the rift between Spencer and her sister to intensify. 

Now a suspect herself in Alison’s murder, Spencer befriends Toby Cavanaugh who also happened to serve time in jail briefly as the main suspect in Alison’s death.  Did I mention that Toby is also the half-brother of Jenna?  Toby knows just how deceiving and manipulative his sister can be….is Jenna “A”?    

BFF #4 – Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) is the daughter of a military father always away on assignment who is confused with her own sexuality.  She starts the series with a boyfriend, but then falls for the new girl, Maya sending her mother (Nia Peeples) into a tailspin.  Making even more of a splash, Emily takes Toby to the homecoming dance as her date trying to hide the fact that she’s gay.  The fact that Emily doesn’t totally believe in Toby’s innocence, like the rest of the town, leads to a dangerous encounter. 

After accepting that she was a homosexual, Emily is devastated when Maya is sent away to military school after marijuana is found inside Maya’s back pack.  Emily turns back to her swimming career and begins having feelings for her competition and swim-mate. 

Emily’s world continues to turn upside down when her mother announces that they’re leaving Rosewood to live with her father, who is stationed in Texas.  Meanwhile, Emily holds the key to the photo evidence Spencer uncovered of Ian and Alison on her home computer, which conveniently gets erased when the realtor shows the Fields’ house. 

And the text messaging begins...."A"

Obviously, each of the teens have oodles of conflict surrounding them, even without “A” threatening their every move.  Throw in the suspicions the police and their parents have regarding their involvement in Alison’s murder, and the lies they continuously try to hide despite “A’s” best efforts, Pretty Little Liars doesn’t bore their viewers – they have twists and turns week in and week out.    

I give the girls & the mystery behind Pretty Little Liars another MacTV rating – despite the fact that I’m in my thirties, I tune in every single week to watch these little teenagers scurry around playing detective trying their best to solve their BFF’s murder and discover the true identity of the creepy texter known only as “A” who anticipates their every move. 

Do you watch Pretty Little Liars or is the show too young for you?  What do you think of the mystery – have you figured out the identity of “A” or who killed Alison?  Which of the girls do you relate to the most – Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Emily, Alison, or the outcast Jenna?  I’d love to hear from you!  

Now it’s time to click over and read Amber’s post discussing the new ABC Family series The Nine Lives of Chloe King based on the young adult series written by Celia Thompson (also known as Liz Braswell). 

Remember to stop by the Twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about today’s posts and any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series in the future.  Next week we swap channels and move over to TNT where we’ll discuss Franklin & Bash and Men of a Certain Age.

Friday FaBOOolousness – The “Boo” Factor: When Death Decides

How many of us are paranoid about something?  We all are, right?

Do movies help or hurt with our paranoia?

I shudder to think about spiders (thanks, Arachnophobia!), scorpions (thanks, Clash of the Titans!), snakes (thanks, Snakes on a Plane!), sharks (thanks, Jaws!), and severe storms (thanks, Twister!).  I could keep going, but you catch my drift. 

But, does paranoia stop us from watching these scary movies?

Usually not!  Most of us have babysat and been alone in the dark of someone else’s living room and pictured Michael Myers, right?  Or gone to bed and prayed Freddy is really only a fictional character? Or maybe we’ve gone camping near water and crossed our fingers that Jason is tied tightly and cemented to the bottom of the lake, right? 

What do we do when Death decides it’s our time?

If the question alone isn’t enough, the Final Destination franchise doesn’t help the paranoia, at all! 

It all started in 2000 with the release of Final Destination and the curse of Flight 180.  Alex (Devon Sawa, Nikita), Clear (Ali Larter, Varsity Blues & Heroes), and their classmates gather at the airport for their senior trip.  But before take-off, Alex has a premonition that they’re all going to die.  Pandemonium breaks out and Alex and Clear, along with a few of their friends, are booted off the flight.  Guess what?  Alex’s vision saves their lives; the plane explodes and everyone left on board dies. 

Matters continue to worsen when Alex’s friends start to die in freak accidents – in the order of their original seat number on the doomed flight!  One accidentally hangs himself in the shower; another is splattered by a moving bus; one is stabbed by a kitchen knife (that’s right, no one was controlling the knife; it did it all on its own); one is decapitated at the scene of a train wreck; and one is pummeled by a neon sign. 

To add to the paranoia, in 2003, Final Destination 2 hit the movie theaters.  Kim (A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds) envisions a massive wreck on the highway she and her friends are about to pull onto so she stalls her vehicle.  Crisis averted, right? Nope! Not minutes later, an 18-wheeler causes an accident.  Kim, as well as a few of her friends, survive the crash, including Officer Burke (Matthew Landes, Special Unit 2) who would have died had it not been for Kim’s actions.       

Knowing the past mysterious deaths of the survivors of Flight 180, Kim and Officer Burke visit Clear in the mental hospital, but Clear only warns there is nothing they can do to escape Death.  And, guess what?  One by one the survivors of the wreck die in freakish accidents.  One can always count on at least one character death by impalement, decapitation, explosion, or by being crushed by some object.   One of the deaths that grabbed our attention in FD2 followed a car crash when an emergency worker accidentally set off the airbag trying to remove a survivor from the wreckage, knocking her head into one of the metal pipes thrown through her car from a truck involved in the accident — brutal!

 

The fun doesn’t stop there!  In 2006, Final Destination 3 introduced cinema-goers to a new crowd of unlucky teenagers.  Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Kevin (Ryan Merriman, Pretty Little Liars), and friends board the roller coaster at a local theme park.  What happens next? Wendy has a premonition; some get off the doomed ride; and, the rest fall to their death.

Kevin tells Wendy about the others and warns that everyone that managed to escape the roller coaster will start to die.  And?  They do!  The death scene in FD3 that still haunts me to this day is when two girls get trapped and roast to death inside a couple of tanning beds –talk about a case of vanity kills! 

The Final Destination was released in 2009, and thinking this was the last installment in the series, I was sure not to miss it!  Nick (Bobby Campo), his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten, One Tree Hill), and their best friends, Janet and Hunt, are attending a Nascar-like event where Nick envisions debris on the track causing a wreck, that leads to mass chaos, and eventually explosions killing nearly everyone in the crowd.   

Like clockwork, one by one the survivors die in even more crazy accidents.  The climatic tension surrounding the hot mom’s (Krista Allen) impending death was pretty great.  Will she get chopped up by the loose ceiling fan?  Will the hair dresser accidentally stab her with her scissors?  Or will she escape?  Well, we know that’s not going to happen.  Instead, she dies when a flying rock rips through her eye after being tossed by a lawn mower across the street.  I normally wouldn’t mention the almost situations, but TFD filmed one potential death scene that really freaked me out when Janet’s sun-roof opened and malfunctioned inside a drive-thru car wash.  She managed to escape, but the thought of what that would feel like is haunting.   

Everyone dies in The Final Destination, another reason why one might think this movie wrapped up the franchise.  But, guess what? 

Final Destination 5 in 3D hits theaters this August!

What do you think now: Do movies help or hurt with our paranoia?

Which of the Final Destination movies do you like best? Because of these movies, do you think twice now when flying? Do you fall farther behind or drive past the trucks hauling metal pipes? Do you check the tanning bed to make sure you can open it once inside? Do you watch a roller coaster and envision something horrible happening?  Will you take your car through a drive-thru car wash and stare at your sun-roof the entire time?  Do you avoid walking under large, dangling signs or cranes lifting large objects? What makes you paranoid?  Will you see Final Destination 5?  I’d love to hear from you!

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