Friday FabOoolousness – The Boo Factor: Dark Shadows

We don’t go to the movie theater often.  When we do actually go to the cinema, we rarely pick a flick on its opening weekend.  But at least once a year there is a movie release that I absolutely can’t miss — a film that I have been anxiously awaiting for months.

Readers of my blog know that I love scary movies – horror, slashers, psychological thrillers, classics, B-rated films, etc.  These are “my movies” according to my guy, and he usually insists that I see these with my girlfriends.

Two years ago, the film was the Nightmare on Elm Street remake starring Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, and Thomas Dekker.  My girls and I rushed out early on a Saturday morning to witness the “new” Freddy Krueger terrorize the teens of Springwood, Ohio.

In 2011, we again met at the theater for a Saturday morning viewing of Colin Farrell as the sexy vampire Jerry Dandridge in the remake of Fright Night – in 3-D no less.  As with Nightmare, this vampy flick put a new twist on the popular original which is exactly the kind of remake I appreciate (in most instances, not in The Clash of the Titans’ case).

But I digress…

Around December of last year, I knew exactly which film my girlfriends and I would see on its premiere weekend this year – Dark Shadows.

Dark Shadows is not new; it has been around for decades, literally.  In the ’60s and ’70s, Dark Shadows aired on the ABC network as a soap opera.  Dan Curtis’ melodramatic soap put the supernatural on the map – vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies, witches, etc.  It also featured time travel and aspects of parallel universes, something that is extremely popular on TV today.

The soap opera launched into a phenom craze of its own, and MGM released two feature films based on the popular hit in the ’70s: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.  Since then, the Dark Shadows franchise has grown to also include magazines, comics, and books.

In 1991, Dark Shadows aired on NBC as a primetime drama as a reimagining of the original series (also created by Dan Curtis).  The “new” Dark Shadows didn’t last past its freshman year, but the story grabbed a certain teenage girl in Midland, Texas who never missed an episode.  Yes, I’m talking about me…  Even today, I have my DVR set to record the ’91 series anytime it airs in syndication on SyFy or Chiller.

The Dark Shadows television series was almost brought back to life in 2004 by the WB, but the network passed on the pilot starring Alec Newman and other familiar faces: Marley Shelton (Valentine), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Alexander Gould and Martin Donovan (Weeds), Kelly Hu (Nash Bridges), Ivana Milicevic (Head over Heels), and Blair Brown (Fringe).  I am seriously bummed that this series didn’t make it.

So what makes Dark Shadows special?  Vampire Barnabas Collins

As if it wasn’t enough that Tim Burton is bringing Dark Shadows to the big screen, he cast one of the best actors of our time in the role of Barnabas Collins — the fabOoolous Johnny Depp.

Barnabas Collins, 2012

I’m a fan of vampires in general (the dark kind, not the lovey-dovey kind – yes, I’m referring to Twilight here).  The trailer has me worried that the film will be a bit “campy” for me, but I’m putting all preconceived notions aside and am looking forward to my movie date this weekend.  After all, Mr. Depp isn’t the only star cast in this cult classic: we also have Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass), Helena Bonham Carter, and Jackie Earle Haley (the “new” Freddy Krueger) to just name a few.

It’s also rumored that a few of the soap opera stars from the ’60s and ’70s will play a cameo in the film, something I truly appreciate.  Did everyone notice Chris Sarandon’s cameo in Fright Night (2011)?  Loved it – the “old” vampire Jerry killed by the “new” vampire Jerry.  Brilliant!

I don’t know what to expect from this movie, but I know I’m looking forward to it.  With the exception of The Rum Diary (in my opinion), everything Johnny Depp touches turns to gold.  Surely Dark Shadows will be another of his masterful character pieces and will leave all of us applauding him once again.  The man is simply fantastic.  Partnered again with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, how can it fail?

Are you a Dark Shadows fan?  Did you prefer the soap or the ’91 retelling?  Do you plan to see the movie?  I’d love to hear from you!

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: A New Year Full of the Paranormal

We briefly discussed how the supernatural is taking over the world, the world of television that is, last week in our Why It’s Worth a Watch review of the SyFy network’s Being Human.

Blame it on this love for the paranormal, but we announce with excitement that there’s not only one, or two, but three new science fiction shows airing on not one, or two, but three different networks in the next few weeks.  Not all three are one hundred percent supernatural, but all three have the crucial element of sci-fi – leaving the audience believing in fantastical events, whether realistic or not.

*****

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.

Lost Girl follows Bo as she attempts to control her power and balance her supernatural and human lives.

Bo works alongside a combination of supernatural beings and human friends: Kenzi (Ksenia Solo, Life Unexpected), Bo’s best friend and scam artist with many “street” talents; Dyson (Kristen Holden-Reid, The Tudors), a police detective and a wolf shape-shifter; Lauren (Zoie Palmer), a human doctor with valuable knowledge of the supernatural Fae organization, an organization that we can only assume is a supernatural council of sorts; and Trick (Rick Howland), the owner of a town pub where good and bad, supernatural and human, mingle.

Looks like Bo can hold her own, succubus or no succubus

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 last night.

But don’t worry; if you missed the pilot episode, you can catch the encore presentation this Saturday, January 21st at 10pm CST. 

Lost Girl airs on SyFy’s Monday night’s 9pm CST time slot following Being Human.

*****

Touch

He’s back… Jack’s back…only this time not as our beloved Jack Bauer.  Instead, Kiefer Sutherland returns to the Fox network as Martin Bohm, a single father to an autistic and mute son.  A son (Jake, played by David Mazouz), who despite his lack of verbal communication and social skills, possesses a greater ability – the ability to see things that no one else can and communicate solely by using numbers.

Touch also stars the great Danny Glover as Professor Arthur Dewitt, an expert who will help Martin better understand Jake, even if his methods are a bit unorthodox.  It is crucial that Martin establish a better relationship with his son and build a solid home, since social worker Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Undercovers) is watching his every move.

Touch premieres on Fox, January 25th.

*****

The River

The River has been described as a paranormal, action-packed, and adventurous program, that also falls into the horror, mystery, and fantasy genres.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

The series follows the friends and family members of Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood, as they search for any signs that the famous television personality and wild life expert survived his last voyage into the Amazon.

Desperate for the opportunity to search for their loved one, the doctor’s wife (Tess, played by Leslie Hope, 24) and son (Lincoln, played  by Joe Anderson, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2) agree to allow Dr. Cole’s former producer (Clark, played by Paul Blackthorne, the great Harry Dresdon from The Dresdon Files) to join and film the expedition “documentary” style, in exchange for his funding of the trip.

The search team also consists of: Lena (Eloise Mumford), a valued resource; Emilio (Daniel Zacapa), the mechanic; and Captain Kurt (Thomas Kretschmann), a bodyguard.

Will the team discover the truth behind Dr. Cole’s disappearance, or will they too fall victim to The River?

The River premieres on the ABC network February 7th.

*****

What do you think – did you catch the pilot episode of Lost Girl?  Do you plan to watch Touch or The River?  Which show has the most promise and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Striving Toward Normalcy

This week Amber West and I dive back into the world of science fiction on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, as she updates us on her latest thoughts on Fox’s first season of Terra Nova and I introduce one of SyFy’s new popular series, Being Human.

Okay, perhaps it’s not so much of a surprise that Being Human is a big hit; let’s be honest, the supernatural is the new big thing – vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches, demons, etc.  Men and women alike dream of having some sort of fantastical power or paranormal romantic interest in his or her life.  This isn’t so much a new fad, but the Twilight books and movies (love ‘em or hate ‘em) birthed a new generation of supernatural lovers.

So if we want the supernatural in our life, why be shocked that they want to be like us – be human?  That’s the premise of SyFy’s adaptation of a British hit, Being Human.   The BBC program starts its fourth season (or series for the British folk) this year.

BBC's Being Human

The series follows three supernatural friends living in Boston, wishing they could go back to being human: a vampire, Aiden (Sam Witwer, one may recognize his face/likeness as the lead character in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars); a werewolf, Josh (Sam Huntington, Superman Returns); and a ghost, Sally (Meaghan Roth).

SyFy's Being Human

Aiden and Josh work at the hospital, Aiden as a nurse and Josh as an orderly.  One might wonder why a vampire would work in a hospital surrounded by blood all the time, especially when he fights day and night to not feed like a “normal” vampire.  But despite the obvious torture of his career path, he remains faithful to helping those who need him.

Aiden was turned in the late 1700s during the Revolutionary War, leaving behind a wife and son.  Throughout the years, Aiden remains close to his maker (Bishop, played by the great Mark Pellegrino, also known as the Devil from Supernatural, or Brenda Leigh’s attorney from The Closer), but recently has started to distance himself from him.  This undoubtedly has caused quite a heave-ho type relationship between the two, and makes for some of the best scenes.

But then again, doesn’t Mark Pellegrino steal the scenes of most everything he does? 

Josh doesn’t quite have the same daily struggles as Aiden, but then again a werewolf only turns once a month during a full moon.   However when it is “that time of the month,” Josh panics and does everything in his power to not hurt anyone.  Sometimes he locks himself up in the catacomb-like basement of the hospital, or sometimes he drives out to the woods and roams free (but the latter has proven a bit more dangerous for him on more than one occasion, so one can usually count on his locking himself up).

Perhaps a blessing, or perhaps not, Josh meets Nora (Kristen Hager, Aliens Vs Predator) at the hospital and the two begin dating.  Josh shelves his sexual attraction to her for as long as he can, afraid he will hurt Nora.  But he finally gives in to the urge on the eve of a full moon.  This encounter leads to a pregnancy and later a miscarriage, but not before Nora starts to show signs of turning herself.  This makes for a very interesting storyline in season two…

Then there’s Sally, poor little ol’ Sally.  Aiden and Josh meet Sally when they move into the brownstone that she recently died in, or better yet – was murdered in, courtesy of a light shove (or angry, it depends on the point of view) from her fiancé Danny (Gianpaolo Venuta).  After Sally’s death, and for obvious reasons, Danny can no longer live in the couple’s starter home, so he rents it out to Aiden and Josh.

As a ghost, Sally is tied to the house and it takes a bit of time for her to learn the necessary abilities to move through time and space, thus having the freedom to leave the house.  She really battles with the realization that Danny not only killed her, but later begins dating her best friend.  To make matters even worse, Danny hires a medium to perform ghost-ridding-rituals on the house, angering Sally to no end.  Despite being weakened from the mediums chants, Sally still manages to wreak havoc on her ex and empower herself.

But will she ever cross over?

Watching the three supernatural beings strive for everyday normalcy hooked me, maybe not in the first few episodes, but eventually the show definitely drew me in.  So much so, that after our season one DVR marathon, I was tearing up at the thought of anything happening to the characters: like when Josh is forced to fight another werewolf for the vampire council’s amusement; or when Aiden decides to settle the score with his maker and fight until the death.

It is because of this love for the characters that I award Being Human the JFTV rating; it’s like an addiction to Kettle Baked Salt and Vinegar Chips that we just can’t get enough of, and before we know it, we’ve chomped down on every last chip inside the bag.

Definitely a Thumbs Up!

As soon as the first season ended, I was immediately online to see if Being Human had  been picked up another year.  It was!  Season two premieres Monday, January 16th on SyFy.

What do you think? Do you watch Being Human?  BBC or SyFy?  Which of the characters is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see if Fox’s Terra Nova has moved up or down the rating scale since her last simmering review.

Come back next week when Amber and I review…. we don’t know yet.  Tricked ya!  We’ll figure something out in time. Don’t worry!

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

Friday FaBOOolousness – October’s MarvelOoous Halloween Mashup

 

Halloween is right around the corner, so why not dedicate October’s MarvelOoous Mashup to bloggers getting into the spirit with some spooky and festive posts?

We start with one of the most familiar crafts this time of year, pumpkin carving and decorations.  Luckily for us, Angela R. Wallace walks us through some fun ideas in It’s Pumpkin Time!

Keeping with crafts, Tameri Etherton talks about the art of taxidermy (now that’s kind of a creepy conversation for Halloween, right?) and shows off her new front porch skeleton friends in her Wednesday Whimsy post.  Be sure to check out the link she provides to teach all of us how to make our own skeleton buddy.

Kate MacNicol teaches us a bit of Celtic and Wiccan history, as well as provides a healthy soup recipe in her post, What’s Cookin’ in Your Cauldron?

Do people really poison Halloween candy or is it urban legend?  Catie Rhodes investigates and provides some food for thought in her edition of Bad Candy.

Is chocolate really dangerous for our dogs?  Amy Shojai, my pet-guru, offers her expertise in her Howl-oween Spook-tacular and provides helpful first aid tips just in case man’s best friend bites into our chocolate Halloween treats.

Zombies are taking over the world, at least on TV.  Sonia G. Medeiros talks AMC’s The Walking Dead and announces the poll results to best and worst zombie movies ever in The Zombies Have Arrived!

Who can think Halloween without thinking about witches?  Personally, I’m a big fan of witches, which is why when Jess Witkins published A Wicked Review of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (prequel to The Wizard of Oz), I was wickedly intrigued.

While we’re discussing wicked witches, click over to Jillian Dodd’s Halloween special and tell her which of these sexy warlocks can cast a spell on you in her MANday: Warlocks Edition.

How about some television to get us in the mood for Halloween?  Besides horror, science fiction provides many haunting stories and far-out costume possibilities, as well as keeps the creatures crawling around the screens spooking us.  Not sure what sci-fi to watch?  Check out Amanda Rudd’s series: Top 10 SciFi Television Shows Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Skeptical that sci-fi and Halloween go hand-in-hand?  Michael Myer’s mask in the Halloween movies was adapted from a Captain Kirk Halloween mask.  No joke.

 

Speaking of haunting TV, who’s watching FX’s new show, American Horror Story?  Creepy….check out Lauralynn Elliot’s thoughts on her blog post of the same name, American Horror Story.

Do you believe in vampires?  They’re fictional, eh?  Read Stacy Green’s post The Vampire of Sacramento and tell me if you change your mind.

Speaking of vampires, visit Jillian Dodd’s blog and vote for which of these hot television and cinematic bad boys with bite can snuggle up and take a nibble out of your neck on her MANday: Vampire Edition.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Halloween without a few hauntings….

Was the home of one of the sexiest men in Hollywood haunted?  Check out Errol Flynn’s Ghost by Catie Rhodes – would you stay the night in Mulholland Farm if the house hadn’t been destroyed?

What are two of the creepiest establishments associated with hauntings?  Insane Asylums and Prisons.  Stacy Green educates us on America’s Most Haunted Prison, and it’s not Alcatraz.

What does Halloween mean to you?  Do you dress up in costume and go trick or treating?  What are some of your favorite Halloween pastimes and crafts?  Do you have any favorite Halloween recipes or ghost stories to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week for a Friday FaBOOolousness Boo Factor installment –Halloween.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Parallel Universe, Fact or Fringe?

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to FOX and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of the new sci-fi hit, Terra Nova, and the returning favorite, Fringe

Fringe science is a type of scientific study whose hypotheses and conclusions differ significantly from mainstream theories.   Creators J.J. Abrams (creator and writer for Alias and Lost, as well as executive producer for the new CBS hit Person of Interest), Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci (both writers and producers of Alias and Hawaii Five-0) used this unorthodox technique to create Fringe, a science fiction television series on Fox.

After Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) witnesses extremely strange events involving her partner and boyfriend (played by Mark Valley, Human Target), she joins the Fringe Division of the FBI.    Olivia tracks down Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson, Dawson’s Creek) and asks for his assistance in releasing his father, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble, The Lord of the Rings trilogy), from his seventeen year incarceration at an insane asylum.   

Why?  Walter is known as a “mad scientist” and the FBI needs him to experiment and explain the unusual events taking place all around them.  Not long after his release, Walter introduces the parallel universe to the team, and only he, Peter, and Olivia can safely transport back and forth between worlds.

Why Walter and Peter? In the world as we know it, Walter’s son Peter died when he was a young boy.  Distraught, Walter used his portal creation to transport over to the parallel universe where he took Walternate’s (Walter in the parallel universe who also happens to be the Secretary of Defense in that world) son, Peter.  As expected, Peter didn’t take the news that he was from another world so well, and spent some time quite angry with Walter. 

Why Olivia?  As a small child, Olivia participated in a scientific research program and drug trial led by Walter in Florida .  Confused by bits and pieces of memory, Olivia returned to the facility where she spent her childhood and eventually remembered all of the events that took places years before.  She and the other children of the trial possess the ability to transport back and forth safely to the other universe.  Oh, and before we forget – Olivia’s identity in the parallel world is known as Feuxlivia in our world, while she is Olive over there.  That’s right – two Olivias: our world’s Agent Dunham and the parallel universe’s Feuxlivia/Olive. 

Let’s not forget about Massive Dynamic, the company created and founded by Walter’s former partner William “Billy” Bell (Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek).  Nina Sharp (Blair Brown, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd) runs Massive Dynamic and knows all of Walter and Billy’s secrets as they pertain to the parallel universe.  Nina diverts Olivia and Peter from the truth as long as she can, but she can’t hide it forever. 

Sound confusing?  It kind of is, but the show is amazing!  Fringe is sci-fi at its best.  We watch as our world and the parallel universe go to war, and as previously unexplained events involving shape shifting, teleporting, and the intricacies of neuroscience, to name a few, are investigated. 

The team is also assisted by recurring characters: Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick, The Wire), Fringe Division’s leader; Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), a junior agent with the FBI who serves as Walter’s assistant and confidant; Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo, Band of Brothers), senior FBI agent and Olivia’s friend; and agent Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel, Nip/Tuck), the newest addition to the team. 

This may come as a shock to many who know me, but I must award Fringe with a GTV ratingFringe is literally the first science fiction television program of its kind that has me tuned in on a weekly basis to see what the writers and creators will throw at us next (well, the first not involving the usual supernatural creatures like witches, werewolves, and vampires). 

It certainly doesn’t hurt that I have a minor crush on Walter (why hasn’t John Noble won an Emmy for his performance?) and a bit of a larger crush on Peter (Joshua Jackson isn’t Pacey any longer – and did I mention his voice is fabulous?). 

What do you think? Have you watched Fringe?   Who is your favorite character? Do you think the government has a Fringe Division we don’t know about?  Do we have a parallel universe out there, somewhere?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Terra Nova, the TV show with time travel and dinosaurs.  

Come back next week when Amber and I switch channels again – this time we’re moving over to ABC and reviewing Body of Proof and Desperate Housewives.

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
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: 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!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Magical Artifacts

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

Warehouse 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for a complete list of artifacts to date.

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

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

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

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

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

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

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

Tru Calling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Egan’s Tru Calling Part One

Egan’s Tru Calling Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our August and September schedules and would love to chat with you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies

JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds

SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out

NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer

LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech