TNT – Terrific (Summer) Nighttime Television

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

TNT has some of the best summer programming of any network today. This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedule full of terrific nighttime television.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll discuss these TNT series.  First up, three of the network’s veteran programs, premiering in their third and fourth seasons this June…

*****

Falling Skies

Falling Skies follows a group of survivors led by Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) after aliens invade and attack our world as we now know it.

As if the practically complete destruction of our planet wasn’t bad enough, the aliens want our few surviving children and plan to attach a horrendous apparatus to the children’s spines (the harness). This device controls the children—but what are the visitor’s end goals?

The series also stars Moon Bloodgood as Anne Glass, the resident doctor among the survivors, and Will Patton as Captain Dan Weaver (the title “Captain” should give plenty enough away about his role among the survivors).

I didn’t pay much attention to the first season of Falling Skies… but my guy LOVED it. And yes, I used all caps because he rarely shows this much excitement about a television program. So, I tuned in with him for most of season two, and I must admit, I found myself enthralled and asked him to not watch any more of the episodes without me. Aliens usually aren’t my thing, but Falling Skies I can do.

Season three premieres June 9th.

*****

Franklin & Bash

They’re Totally Lawyers. Totally.

Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) have been friends since high school. And now they live together, party together, and work together, yet never seem to tire of one another. The two are quite unconventional, especially when it comes to the cases they choose to represent and how they win over the courtroom…

It all started with the two sitting at a diner, watching the traffic in Los Angeles while they banter back and forth like best friends do. When a fender-bender takes place directly in front of them, they race out to the scene and immediately offer their business cards and legal representation to the driver responsible for rear-ending another car.

Why is the driver not responsible for the crash when he clearly bumped into the car in front of his? Franklin and Bash explain that it is because the driver was distracted by the interactive advertising sign yards ahead flashing images of a sexy young woman. The young and unconventional (really unconventional) attorneys take the case to court and prompt the beautiful girl in the ad to unbutton her shirt while on the witness stand, thus proving her chest to be guilty of causing an unnecessary distraction to those driving. With that, they win their case against a large and successful law firm.

Witnessing and enjoying the unique techniques of Franklin and Bash, Stanton Infeld (played by Malcolm McDowell) offers the two friends jobs at his very successful and large law firm. Along with their ex-con assistant, Carmen, and their agoraphobic clerk, Pindar, the two join the firm and later become partners.

The series also stars Reed Diamond as Damien Karp, the obvious successor to his uncle at the firm and the classic jerk, as well as Garcelle Beauvais as Hanna Linden, another lawyer at the firm with previous romantic ties with both Damien and Franklin.

Meyer and Gosselaar have great comedic timing and a perfect on-screen chemistry, leaving one to forget they are actually playing characters on television (not to imply they aren’t hilariously funny and friendly in real life because they probably are). And remember, Franklin and Bash are quite unique… the successful bachelors throw weekly parties, and their famous “Margarita-Mondays” have already saved one of their cases and provided them the vision to defend another case successfully.

See? Unconventional… and fun.

Season three premieres June 19th.

*****

Rizzoli & Isles

Based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen, Rizzoli & Isles follows Boston detective, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), and her best friend/medical examiner, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), as they solve crime together.

The two friends couldn’t have less in common — Rizzoli hails from a working class family; her dad’s a plumber, her younger brother (Colin Egglesfield) has just been released from prison, and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges) idolizes Rizzoli and is following in her footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco). Meanwhile, Isles’ biological father (John Doman) is a Boston mafia boss. She was raised by her adopted parents (her mother is played by Jacqueline Bissett) where she learned to focus on her studies, and adapted a fabulous sense of style… how many medical examiners do you know who perform autopsies in stilettos?

But regardless of their differences, the girls have each other and they make for one of the best crime-fighting duos on television today.

The series also stars Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s partner, Detective Frost, and Bruce McGill as Rizzoli’s former partner/senior detective, Vince Korsak.

If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll also like Rizzoli & Isles. Season four premieres June 25th.

*****

Come back next week when we share two more returning TNT summer favorites PLUS a new series that we can’t wait to check out (hint: it stars Jon Tenney from The Closer)!

Do you enjoy any of the above TNT original programs? Which one are you most looking forward to and why? I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: TNT – Terrific (Summer) Nighttime Television

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – TNT has some of the best summer programming of any network today.  Tonight kicks off the new season with the premieres of Franklin & Bash and Rizzoli & Isles, two fun and unconventional dramas.  But the summer fun doesn’t end there!  Three returning favorites and three additional new series also premiere over the course of the summer, keeping our TV schedules full of terrific nighttime television.

*****

Franklin & Bash

They’re Totally Lawyers.  Totally.

Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) have been friends since high school.  The series begins with the two sitting at a diner watching the traffic in Los Angeles while they banter back and forth like best friends do, when a fender-bender takes place directly in front of them.  Racing out to the scene, they immediately offer their business cards and legal representation to the driver responsible for rear-ending another car.

Why is the driver not responsible for the crash when he clearly bumped into the car in front of his?  Franklin and Bash explain that it is because the driver was distracted by the interactive advertising sign yards ahead flashing images of a sexy young woman.  The young and unconventional (really unconventional) attorneys take the case to court and prompt the beautiful girl in the ad to unbutton her shirt while on the witness stand, thus proving her chest to be guilty of causing an unnecessary distraction to those driving.  With that, they win their case against a large and successful law firm.

Witnessing and enjoying the unique techniques of Franklin and Bash, Stanton Infeld (played by Malcolm McDowell) offers the two friends jobs at his law firm.  Along with their ex-con assistant, Carmen, and their agoraphobic clerk, Pindar, the two join the firm.  The series also stars Reed Diamond as Damien Karp, the obvious successor to his uncle at the firm and the classic jerk, as well as Garcelle Beauvais as Hanna Linden, another lawyer at the firm with previous romantic ties with both Damien and Franklin.

Meyer and Gosselaar have great comedic timing and a perfect on-screen chemistry.  Franklin and Bash live together, party together, and work together, yet never seem to tire of one another.  Their famous “Margarita-Mondays” have already saved one of their cases and provided them the vision to defend another case successfully.

Franklin & Bash is full of unconventional (one more time to be clear) courtroom fun, and season two premieres tonight (June 5th).

Rizzoli & Isles

A Boston detective, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), and her best friend/medical examiner, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), solve crime together.

The two friends couldn’t have less in common — Rizzoli hails from a working class family; her dad’s a plumber, her younger brother (Colin Egglesfield) has just been released from prison, and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges) idolizes Rizzoli and is following in her footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco).  Meanwhile, Isles’ biological father (John Doman) is a Boston mafia boss.  Isles was raised by her adopted parents (her mother is played by Jacqueline Bissett) where she learned to focus on her studies, and adapted a fabulous sense of style.   How many medical examiners do you know who perform autopsies in stilettos?

But regardless of their differences, the girls have each other.  Or at least they did – season two ends with Rizzoli shooting Isles’ dad.  Even though Isles has a difficult time admitting her true feelings for her biological father, he’s still her father.  Will Rizzoli and Isles’ friendship survive?

The series also stars Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s partner, Detective Frost, and Bruce McGill as Rizzoli’s former partner/senior detective, Vince Korsak.

If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll also like Rizzoli & IslesSeason three premieres tonight (June 5th).

*****

In the upcoming weeks, we have more to look forward to:

Falling Skies

Falling Skies follows a group of survivors led by Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) after aliens invade and attack our world as we know it.

As if the practically complete destruction of our planet wasn’t bad enough, the aliens want our few surviving children and plan to attach a horrendous apparatus to the children’s spines (the harness).  This device controls the children – but what are the visitor’s end goals?

Falling Skies also stars Moon Bloodgood as Anne Glass, the resident doctor among the survivors, and Will Patton as Captain Dan Weaver (the title “Captain” should give plenty enough away about his role among the survivors).

Courtesy of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday partner, Amber West, I learned that Falling Skies is actually inspired by the events at Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.  To read her review of the sci-fi drama, click here.

Season two of Falling Skies premieres June 17th.

The Closer

The Closer follows Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) and the Major Case Squad as they solve L.A.’s worst crimes, while her FBI-agent/husband (Fritzy or Fritz Howard, played by Jon Tenney) provides his and the Bureau’s expertise to her team.

Brenda Leigh hails from the south, if not already evident by her accent, and has a very hard time hiding her emotions when she has a bad day – she opens her desk drawer full of chocolate and digs in.  She possesses that southern charm we’ve grown to love over the years, and having been born and raised in Texas, I can personally attest to what Brenda Leigh actually means when she says, “Thank you, thank you very much.”  Kyra Sedgwick perfects the sarcasm so many southerners use in our daily vocabulary.

In addition to the drama, each show promises humor, and I find myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  Most of the fun centers on the interactions of her team: David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds), Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz (Phillip P. Keene), and Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett) with her boss, Will Pope (J.K. Simmons).

The final six episodes of The Closer premiere July 9th.

Leverage

The Leverage team consists of a group of criminals turned do-gooders that utilize their specialized skills to avenge those harmed by the wealthy and/or powerful.  Each character has his or her own flaw which helps the viewers understand their passion behind the individual cases they accept.

Nate Ford (Academy Award winner, Timothy Hutton), is “The Mastermind” — he leads this team of otherwise misfits.  He selects the team’s clients, and he uses his skills to anticipate the movement of the con’s marks while the rest of his team is in play.

Joining Nate are his “side-kicks” (without whom, the show would not be the same):

“The Grifter” — Sophie (Gina Bellman).  Sophie serves as Nate’s right hand.  She has secrets that even the audience is still trying to figure out: is she royalty? Is she married? Or is she just a great actress? Well, maybe she’s not as great on stage as she is at playing the marks of the con.

“The Hitter” — Eliot (Christian Kane.  Eliot has a bit of an anger-management problem: he loves to punch and kick, but he refrains from using guns as much as possible.  His number one job is to protect the team; but, sometimes he takes on a character role that showcases his intelligence, not just his muscle, in order to complete the con.

“The Hacker”  — Hardison (Aldis Hodge). Hardison loves his computers, technology, and “Lucille,” his thoroughly pimped out techie van.  He has designed the team’s headquarters twice now (they had to blow the first office up to hide their identities), and the specialized equipment the team uses on each case.

“The Thief” — Parker (Beth Reisgraf).  Moving from foster home to foster home, Parker lacks many social skills, but might just have the biggest heart of all the cons.  One might think that Parker lacks empathy, but when she’s emotionally involved in a case, she’ll stop at nothing to take down the bad guys.  Parker is one of the best thieves around, and her supreme safe cracking skills and her extreme acrobatics make her crucial to every case.

The Leverage team gets it done, even if they are a bunch of “bad cons” converted to good.  Season five premieres July 15th.

*****

But what about new shows – does TNT have any new fresh faces to add to our television programming this summer?

Dallas

One of the most anticipated programs this year is the continued story of the duel between the members of the Ewing family.

We’ll see Ewings from the ever-popular soap opera that aired from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s, including Larry Hagman as J.R. (who remembers the famous slogan:  Who shot J.R.?), Linda Gray as Sue Ellen, and Patrick Duffy as Bobby to just name a few.  Additionally, we’ll meet the new Southfork generation of Ewings, played by the young, fresh, and beautiful faces of Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, and Jordana Brewster.

Bring on the oil fields, cattle ranches, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and family feuds.  Dallas, we’ve missed you.

The new Dallas premieres June 13th.

Major Crimes

Following the conclusion of The Closer, Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) takes the lead in TNT’s spinoff, 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’ve also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who has stood by Brenda Leigh and done everything in her power to protect our favorite Deputy Chief.

How will Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team?  That’s right – almost the entire cast of The Closer returns for the new series, including Provenza, Flynn, Tao, Sanchez, Buzz, Taylor, and even Fritzy.

The new Major Crimes premieres August 13th.

Perception

Would TV be complete without a new medical drama?

I don’t know much about Perception, other than it stars Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a neuroscientist who specializes in complex cases for the FBI.  The series also stars Rachael Leigh Cook, a former student of Dr. Pierce, and the FBI agent responsible for adding him to the team of investigators.

I guess we’ll just have to see what this is all about.  Perception premieres July 19th.

*****

Do you enjoy any of the above TNT original programs?  Which of the new summer 2012 shows are you most looking forward to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tele-Tuesday: TV’s Female Cops We Love to Love

Last week, we joined three other writers to share TV’s top 10 men with (and without) badges that we love to love.  In order for Tele-Tuesday to not appear sexist, we’re including a few of television’s strong and beautiful female cops we love to love today.

Sadly, most female character roles are not written as well as their male counterparts.  It’s actually quite predictable to determine which of the typical attributes the female stars on TV programs will have today: will they be weak and dependant on a man; or damaged beyond repair; or haunted by their past to the point of repetitiveness; or flat-out boring?

There are, however, a few female protagonists written today that could quite honestly kick their male co-star’s rears.  Perhaps not because they are insanely muscular like the women of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment for those that don’t follow Raw), but because these ladies have an inner strength that makes them as enticing as any male star; these women have the intelligence and drive to support themselves in what is sadly a man’s world on TV, and we love them for it.

Oh, and did we mention they are beautiful too?

Brenda Leigh Johnson – The Closer

 

Brenda Leigh is a southern belle from Atlanta running the all-male major crime squad in Los Angeles.  At the beginning, one may have wondered exactly how she landed the job as Deputy Chief (having had an affair with her boss and all), but she has proven herself in case after case after case.

No one can convince a criminal to confess the way that Brenda Leigh can, and she is about as polite as a she can be at the same time with her catch phrase, “Thank you, thank you very much.”  We can always tell when Brenda Leigh is having a bad day or stressing out over the case when she opens her desk drawer full of chocolate.  Who can relate, ladies?

Jane Rizzoli – Rizzoli & Isles

Detective Jane Rizzoli is about as tough as they come, even with her scarred hands as a reminder that she has come close to death on numerous occasions from the maniacs she chases around Boston.  She hails from a working class family where she picked up just as many tricks of the trade as her younger brothers.

Despite her absolutely stunning good looks, Jane is quite the tomboy; she loves to play baseball, field hockey, or any other sport with a ball.  Of course, these physical activities have to attribute to her long and lean body, one that all women wish they had (and men too, ha-ha).

Calleigh Duquesne – CSI: Miami

Another southern belle, with a to-die-for accent, Calleigh Duquesne is a brilliant criminologist working with other Crime Scene Investigators for the Miami-Dade Police Department.  She is an expert in ballistics and she speaks fluent Spanish (a bonus for law enforcement in Miami).

Calleigh has escaped death numerous times; she has been stalked by a serial killer, she almost perished in a fire in the lab and another fire at a crime scene, and she nearly drowned when her Hummer was forced off the dirt roads in the Glades and into the swamps.  Regardless of her day’s work, she always manages to smile – and capture the bad guy.

Jackie Curatola – Blue Bloods

Partnered with the Police Chief’s son, Detective Jackie Curatola is assigned most of the major cases for the great city of New York.  Not only does she and her partner investigate the biggest cases of the squadron, they also manage to capture the bad guys under constant scrutiny from those that oppose the Police Chief.

Jackie left home when she was just a teenager and she has been on her own ever since.  She made a few bad decisions in life (drugs, bad boys, etc), but she turned things around and put herself through school.  Jackie has the looks of a classic beauty, and she has used this to her advantage to work undercover as a high-priced call girl where she arrested a team of serial killers despite having been drugged herself.  Jackie holds her own…

Juliete O’Hara – Psych

Juliete O’Hara has proven herself to be more than a pretty face.  Partnered with the head detective for the Santa Barbara Police department, Juliete has fought her way through the frustrations of her coworkers not believing her to be the best suited for the position.  She faced similar scrutiny while also working as a rookie in Miami.

No one can believe that this petite, blonde girl can take on the bad guys roaming the streets.  But she can; between her con-man father and her military trained brother, Juliet isn’t as fragile as she appears.  With her aviator glasses and tailored suits, Juliete is one sharp-looking, yet tough, police officer.

Many other female TV cops deserved to make this list, including Jennifer “JJ” Jareau and Emily Prentiss from Criminal Minds, Annie Walker from Covert Affairs, and Kensi Blye from NCIS: LA….

What do you think?  Are you a fan of these ladies?  Which of TV’s female cops do you love to love – past or present?  We’d love to hear from you! 

Come back next week when we include a few of the female criminals we love to love….

Tele-Tuesday #4 – Summer Fun Part One

Remember when all of the good television programs only aired September thru May?  Not anymore!  TNT and the USA Networks have fabulous summer programming!  This week, I’ll introduce our must- sees on TNT, and next week, the USA shows. 

Here are just a few slices of TNT’s summer fun to sample:

Leverage – A group of criminals turned do-gooders utilize their specialized skills to avenge those harmed by the wealthy and/or powerful.  Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton), the con-man, leads this team of misfits: Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), the grifter; Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), the muscle; Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), the hacker; and Parker (Beth Reisgraf), the thief.  Each character has his or her own flaw which helps the viewers understand their passion for the individual cases they accept.  Nate battles alcoholism, while trying to recover from the death of his son & the end of his marriage.  Sophie has a secret — a secret that even the audience is trying to figure out: is she royalty? Is she married? Or is she just a great actress? Eliot, well, he has a bit of an anger-management problem: he loves to punch and kick, but he refrains from using guns as much as possible.  Hardison and Parker don’t really fit into any social circles, and are slowly starting to share a budding romance.  Speaking of romance, last season ended with Nate & Sophie in bed.  They’ve hinted at romantic interludes in the past, so what will this bring?  Leverage returns Sunday, June 26th.

 

Rizzoli & Isles – A Boston detective, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), and her best friend/medical examiner, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), solve crime together.  The two friends couldn’t have less in common — Rizzoli hails from a working class family; her dad’s (Chazz Palminteri) a plumber, her younger brother (new character this season) has just been released from prison, and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges), who idolizes Rizzoli, is following in his sister’s footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco).  Meanwhile, Isles’ biological father is a Boston mafia boss, a fact she learns after discovering that a corpse on her morgue table shared her DNA and was later identified as her brother.  Isles was raised by her adopted parents where she learned to focus on her studies, and adapted a fabulous sense of style.   How many medical examiners do you know who perform autopsies in stilettos?  Regardless of their differences, the girls have each other.  Maybe we’ll see some love interests in season 2?  If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll also like Rizzoli & Isles (returning Monday, July 11th).

Memphis BeatJason Lee stars as Dwight Hendricks, who fights crime by day, and performs Elvis and other Blues’ greats by night.  Everyone loves Dwight, and he leads his fellow Memphis detectives (Davey Sutton, DJ Qualls; Whitehead, Sam Hennings; and Reggie Greenback, Leonard Earl Howze); but, when his new boss (Lt. Rice played by Alfre Woodard) comes to town, she tries desperately to operate the department like other police precincts.  Knowing the rest of his fellow detectives look to him, Dwight does his best to oblige, but continues to maintain his unorthodox detective methods forcing Lt. Rice to slowly adjust her attitude toward the Memphis way of doing things.  The supporting cast in Memphis Beat shares the spotlight with the music and local cuisine.  If you haven’t ever really been interested in visiting Memphis, I think you will be after watching the show.  Memphis Beat returns Tuesday, June 14th. 

A new show to watch for this summer on TNT that we are very excited to check is Franklin &Bash (Wednesday, June 1st) starring Breckin Meyer as Franklin, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Bash – they are “totally lawyers”.

And don’t forget Brenda Lee Johnson, aka The Closer, returning Monday, July 11th. 

What television show are you most looking forward to this summer?  Who is your favorite character? Or ensemble cast?  I’d love to hear from you!