Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Mysteries of Under the Dome

After my second DVR crash since March, I found myself scurrying around, trying to recover the 200+ recordings I lost.  Amongst those so inconveniently deleted was CBS’s new science fiction drama, Under the Dome.

When we were finally ready to sit down and watch Under the Dome, we couldn’t find the first episode.  The pilot wasn’t available for viewing on the CBS website, or via OnDemand, prompting us to try something we’d never done before—watch TV via our Amazon Prime account.  For free.  Yeah, I was a happy camper…

Anyway, what would happen if we were cut off from the world?  If we couldn’t leave our city or county lines?  If we were imprisoned by an impenetrable barrier?

Based on the science fiction novel by Stephen King, Under the Dome follows the residents of Chester’s Mill after they are cut off from the world by an invisible, impenetrable barrier—a dome.  Will they uncover the truth in time to save their small town?

Let’s talk about this “wall” for a second… This “wall” sliced a cow in half, which was not at all appetizing to watch while eating dinner.  And for about a span of three to five minutes, although it felt longer, the cameras kept showing the darn cow.  Yuck.  Trust me.

But back to the story…

Not knowing whether or not this is an act of terror, or an act of God, the town’s people scurry around, trying to make heads or tails out of the situation.  And when government agencies show up on the outside, wearing full-on Hazmat Gear, those trapped know that something is terribly wrong.

Recognizing that something has them “stuck in a fish bowl,” the mayor hops on a public radio access channel and instructs all vehicles to stop moving, but not before a couple of cars crash into the invisible “wall.”  A few witnesses even watch as a small prop plane smashes into what appears to be nothing up in the sky and burst into flames.

Completely dumbfounded, friends and family, separated by the “wall,” stare at each other… scream at each other.  But nothing carries across the electrical field.  The only way we know it’s electrical is because it’s shocking to the touch and even prompted someone with a pace maker’s chest to explode.

As one can imagine, some panic, others keep calmer heads and hope to plan an escape, while others just go plain bonkers.

The new horror/mystery series stars: Mike Vogel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre circa 2003), Rachelle Lefevre (the Twilight saga), Colin Ford (Supernatural), Natalie Martinez (Detroit 1-8-7 and CSI: NY), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle), Aisha Hinds (Detroit 1-8-7, True Blood, and Cult), and many other familiar faces in recurring roles (like Jeff Fahey from Lost).

Bottom line?  At the end of the pilot, I was ready to watch another episode.  In addition to the dome, there were a ton of characters to get to know better, and even a few mysteries with the townsfolk (like the stockpiling of propane, a kidnapping, a murder, etc).  But my guy was ready to watch the Falling Skies season finale, so Under the Dome had to wait.

We still haven’t gotten back to it, but I want to.  It definitely left me wanting more.  For that reason, I must award the new CBS sci-fi drama with the JFTV rating.  Perhaps after we catch a few more episodes, the ranking will rise…

Have you watched Under the Dome?  How do you feel it ranks compared to the other Stephen King made-for-TV adaptations, series, and/or movies?  I’d love to hear from you!

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…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Suc-u-what?

This week Amber West and I flip channels over to SyFy to review two of their science fiction dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday — a revisit to the soon to end series, Eureka, and a look at the Canadian hit picked up by U.S. television, Lost Girl. 

What if we made a habit of waking up next to dead lovers?

That’s the story of Bo’s life (Anna Silk) — her life as a succubus.  Of course she doesn’t know what she’s doing or what her powers are called; she only knows that she has the tendency to kill those she is intimate with.  Over the years, Bo has learned to keep a stash of fake identification documents handy and to flee her whereabouts at a moment’s notice to keep her secret safe.

Bo "sucking" the life out of someone deserving, I'm sure...

But Bo’s life is about to change forever.

After saving a human girl’s life (Kenzi, played by Ksenia Solo) from an overly aggressive man looking to take advantage of her, the human actually sticks by Bo and the two become fast friends and roommates.  Throughout the investigation into the dead man, Bo also meets Dyson (played by Kristen Holden-Reid) and Hale (played by K.C. Collins), two detectives who understand her more than anyone has ever understood her in her entire life.

Dyson and Hale

Courtesy of Dyson and Hale, Bo finally learns all about her supernatural powers and about the Fae organization.  Dyson and Hale also belong in this world – Dyson is a wolf shape-shifter and Hale is a siren.

The Fae is broken into two groups — the Light and the Dark — the good and the evil.  The leaders of the Fae world insist that Bo choose a side, but she fights for her freedom and remains neutral — a rare oddity in the Fae organization.

Succubus or no succubus, Bo can take care of herself...

Regardless, Bo has finally found a home.

Lost Girl follows Bo as she attempts to control her power and balance her supernatural and human lives.  She works alongside a combination of supernatural beings and human friends as a private investigator, hired by those who can’t seem to find help anywhere else — human or supernatural.

Kenzi works as Bo’s partner, and uses her history as a scam artist and her “street” talents to their advantage.  The two constantly rely on Dyson and Hale, not only for their access to the police department but also because of their knowledge of the Fae worlds.  Also helping the team from time to time is: Lauren (Zoie Palmer), a human doctor with valuable knowledge of the supernatural Fae organization; and Trick (Rick Howland), the owner of a town pub where Light and Dark Fae comingle.

Bo and Kenzi

In addition to previously not knowing about her powers and the Fae existence, Bo also doesn’t know anything about her birth parents.  She now understands that either one or both belong to the Fae world — her mother could be another succubus; her father could be an incubus; or her mother and father could both be “sex chi eaters” — regardless, Bo wants to know more; and for whatever reason, Dyson and Trick are keeping her past from her.

Lost Girl has aired in Canada for the past few television seasons, and has been renewed for a third.  The SyFy network recently acquired the rights to air the first two seasons, and the series premiered this winter.

A little Bo-candy for the guys...

The succubus storyline is a nice twist on the usual vampire, werewolf, and witch filled supernatural TV programs, plus the special effects are great.  Perhaps it’s because the series originated outside the U.S., but the language and sexual situations are far more risqué than what we’re accustomed to here in the States.

One might wonder just how much the sexual element plays into the story, and that would be a lot.  See, Bo uses sex with Dyson to curb her succubus cravings and to heal.  In bed, where she’d normally kill a human, Dyson can take it.  It may drain him, but he keeps her satisfied.  And, to test her ability on controlling her powers, Bo played a little sexual game with Lauren.  It seems Bo can’t make up her mind — Dyson or Lauren; Lauren or Dyson?

Bo needs just a little of Dyson to heal or cure her cravings...

So how does Lost Girl rank?  For now, we’re giving the SyFy series a solid JFTV rating; like Bo, every once in a while we need to satisfy our succubus cravings (only ours come in the form of chocolate miniatures).  The show might rank higher, but considering we’re not current on the episodes and tend to let them stockpile on the DVR queue tells us that it’s not quite a MacTV favorite.

However, give us some more shirtless Dyson, and Lost Girl could move up the WatchWed food chain overnight…

Some eye-candy for the girls...

What do you think? Have you watched Lost Girl?  Who’s your favorite character and why?  If you could have any one supernatural power, what would it be and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Before we go, give Lost Girl a chance — don’t give up after watching the pilot.  The episodes get much better…

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see her continued thoughts about the soon to be gone Eureka.

Come back next week when Amber and I review something fun and interesting… 

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: New Year, Even More New Drama

The last couple of weeks, we’ve introduced a few of the new programs to hit television screens in 2012.  Many have accused us of adding too much to their already full TV schedules, and for that we apologize.  But that’s not going to stop us from talking about even more!

That’s right, we’re not done yet!  The networks are bringing television viewers a few additional winter premieres, or mid-season replacements as they like to call them, starting in February and some as late as April.  But for the sake of today’s post, we’ll stick to a handful that we can expect to see sooner rather than later.

So what do we have to look forward to?

*****

Smash

Will a show about a Broadway Musical have as much success as the popular musical dramedy Glee?

NBC sure hopes so.

Smash stars two of entertainment’s most dynamic women: Debra Messing (Will & Grace) plays Julia, a co-writer of the musical, and Academy Award winning actress Angelica Huston plays Eileen, the producer.  Keeping with the popular appeal of female success, former American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee plays Karen, a young and unfamiliar talent who finds herself a favorite for the starring role in the musical.

Perhaps the story behind the musical itself will attract an audience all its own, telling the story of the original blonde-bombshell and 1950’s starlet, Marilyn Monroe.

If the musical is actually biographical, this TV junkie might have more of an interest in checking out Smash.  But we have a feeling the new series will actually focus on the personal lives of those behind the scenes and those vying for a part in the musical, rather than the life of one of our favorite sex symbols.

Smash premieres on NBC Monday, February 6th.

*****

Missing

What would you do if your child went missing while studying abroad?

This frightening situation is the premise behind ABC’s new drama Missing.  The series stars yet another motion picture favorite, Ashley Judd, as widower and single mother Becca Winstone.  Becca takes it upon herself to travel to Rome to search for any leads and clues into her son Michael’s disappearance, and it doesn’t hurt that she has a background as a former CIA agent.

Sounds like the kidnappers picked the wrong lady to mess with…

Missing also stars Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) as CIA Agent Paul Winstone, Becca’s deceased husband, and Nick Eversman as Michael Winstone.

Missing premieres Thursday, March 15th on ABC.

*****

Awake

What is quantum immortality?

Physicists explain that quantum immortality is the subjective experience of surviving quantum suicide, or that this highly controversial phenomenon implies that a conscious being cannot cease to be. 

Does this make sense to anyone?  How about an explanation that the rest of us who struggled in Physics can comprehend, please?

Better yet, let’s explain it by introducing the premise of NBC’s new science fiction drama, Awake.

Awake follows Detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs, from the Harry Potter films) after he survives a fatal car accident involving his wife and son.  Once he wakes up, he is faced with two realities – one where his wife (Laura Allen, the 4400) did not survive, and another where his son did not survive.  Michael begins moving from one reality to the other, struggling to remember which life he is currently living, all while attempting to keep his family together.

The new series is filled with familiar faces, including: Steve Harris (The Practice) as Michael’s partner in one reality; Wilmer Valderrama (That ‘70s Show) as Michael’s partner in the other reality; B.D. Wong (Law & Order: SVU) as Michael’s therapist in one reality; Cherry Jones (24) as Michael’s therapist in the other reality; and Michaela McManus (also from Law & Order: SVU), Michael’s love interest in the reality where his wife has passed.

How does he keep his life straight?

I’m glad to see that Michael has a therapist in both worlds…his life sounds confusing, doesn’t it?

Awake is scheduled to premiere in March, after it was originally scheduled to begin in Fall 2011 and again in January 2012.  What’s the deal?  Why is NBC all over the place when it comes to the actual premiere date?

According to an online article by NY Mag.com, the writers had to work out a few kinks.  Makes sense, considering the storyline could definitely confuse the audience with all the back and forth (Fringe, anyone?).

*****

What do you think?  Do you plan to watch Smash, Missing, or Awake?  Which show has the most promise and why?  The least?  I’d love to hear from you!

*****

If you’d like to take a stab at  better understanding quantum immortality, quantum suicide, or metaphysics, click here!  Thank you Wikipedia, but even this is out of my league.

Tele-Tuesday: Fall Brings More Laughs…and adds Dinosaurs and Screams

It’s that time of year again!  The fall television schedule is right around the corner and, as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites. 

This is week three, and we’re still introducing more of the new television programs this fall.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, it’s time for even more new comedy, plus a new sci-fi program and horror series!

*****

Terra Nova – FOX

Fox joins the science fiction revolution with Terra Nova, a story that follows a family’s journey back in time to pre-historic days searching for answers to protect the human race in 2149.  The land seems perfect, except for a few life threatening downfalls –dinosaurs and renegades known as the Sixers. 

Terra Nova stars Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars) as Jim Shannon, the family’s patriarch and sheriff of the Terra Nova colony, and Stephen Lang (Gods and Generals, Avatar) as Commander Nathaniel Taylor, the leader of Terra Nova.      

Other notables: Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer along with other members of the 24, Falling Skies, and Fringe teams.   

Terra Nova premieres Monday, September 26th.

*****

Suburgatory – ABC

Suburgatory follows single dad George Altman (Jeremy Sisto, Law & Order and Clueless) as he relocates with his teenage daughter, Tessa, from New York City to a suburban neighborhood.  Tessa immediately feels that her father has moved her into another dimension with all of the seemingly perfect families, and is mortified by the perky mothers and plastic surgery obsessed teenage girls. 

Will George and Tessa survive their life inside their very own suburban purgatory? 

Other notables: Suburgatory also stars Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Dallas Royce (perfect rich suburban mom name, right?), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Dollhouse), and Saturday Night Live alums Chris Parnell (Archer) and Ana Gasteyer. 

Suburgatory premieres Wednesday, September 28th.

*****

How to be a Gentleman – CBS

How to Be a Gentleman stars David Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Six Feet Under) as Andrew Carlson, a writer assigned with the task of adding sexiness to his column.  The problem?  Andrew isn’t all that familiar with sexiness.  

Therefore, Andrew hires Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon, Entourage), a friend and current fitness trainer, for guidance.  The phrases “opposites attract” and “night and day” come to mind when researching this new comedy. 

Other notables: How to be a Gentleman is based on a book of the same name by John Bridges, and also stars funny man Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall, Celebrity Poker Showdown), and Jack Bauer’s right hand woman, Chloe O’Brian – aka Mary Lynn Rajskub (24). 

How to Be a Gentleman premieres Thursday, September 29th.

*****

American Horror Story – FX

From the creators of the FX great, Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story stars Dylan McDermott (The Practice, Dark Blue) and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as husband and wife, Ben and Vivien Harmon.  FX usually keeps “mum” on their new series; however, we do know that Ben and Vivien move into a haunted mansion….and the story is spooky!    

Other notables: American Horror Story also stars Francis Conroy (Six Feet Under), Denis O’Hare (True Blood), and Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek), as well as Hollywood great and Academy Award winning actress, Jessica Lange (King Kong, Tootsie, Cape Fear, need I say more?). 

Isn’t the cast alone worthy of a watch?

American Horror Story premieres Wednesday, October 5th.

*****

Last Man Standing – ABC

Last Man Standing brings comedian great Tim Allen (Home Improvement, The Santa Clause movies) back to television as Mike Baxter, an adventurous “manly-man” working for an outdoor sporting goods store.  But, when Mike gets home, he’s surrounded by women: his wife (Nancy Travis, Three Men and a Baby, Becker, and The Bill Engvall Show) and three daughters. 

How will Mike adapt when his wife goes back to work and he has to stick around the house a bit more? 

Other notables:  Last Man Standing also stars Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope, Monk) as Ed, Mike’s boss. 

Last Man Standing premieres Tuesday, October 11th.

*****

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!

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