USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement Continues…

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.

We’ve already discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television specific to TNT, but TNT is not alone.

The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.  This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer television amusement.

Last week, we shared three of the network’s veteran programs premiering in their third, fifth, and seventh seasons later this June.  And today, we’re talking about two more of USA’s returning hits PLUS a new freshman series starring some nice eye candy…

*****

Graceland

No, this is not Elvis’ Graceland…

This “Graceland” is a beautiful Southern California beachfront property where a handful of young and attractive roommates cohabitate.

But these aren’t your normal everyday roommates… these roommates have a secret; a secret that if exposed could get them all killed.

Why?  Because each and every one of them are undercover.  Some with the FBI.  Some with the DEA.  And some with US Customs.

The new series stars: Aaron Tveit (Gossip Girl and Les Miserables) as Mike Warren, an FBI agent fresh out of the academy and thrust into Graceland; Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) as Paul Briggs, an experienced FBI agent who takes Warren under his wing; Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings) as Paige Arkin, the rough and tumble, yet sexy DEA agent; Vanessa Ferlito (CSI: NY) as Charlie Demarco, an FBI agent with chameleon-like characteristics and some attitude; Brandon Jay McLaren (Harper’s Island and Falling Skies) as Dale Jakes, a territorial US Customs Agent—don’t touch his stuff; and Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro, a former Navy Seal trainee who has joined the FBI.

Graceland premieres Thursday, June 6th.

*****

Suits

Suits follows Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm instructed to find another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to work as an associate.  Enter Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant man with an eidetic memory (perfect recall) whose recitation of Bar review materials lands him a position at Harvey’s law firm—despite the fact he never graduated college.

These two unconventional minds work together, balancing the law AND lying to everyone.  But how long will it be before the shunned senior partner (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman) discovers the truth?  The boss (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) already knows and she loves holding it over Harvey’s and Mike’s heads…

Yes, I realize this would NEVER happen in real life, but it sure makes for some good TV…

Suits also stars Meghan Markle as Rachel, a paralegal at Harvey’s and Mike’s law firm, not to mention Mike’s love interest… and Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey’s spitfire assistant, and one of the very few that actually knows the big secret.

Two years ago, when I reviewed Suits as a part of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series, I ranked the then freshman series with a Mac TV rating (equivalent to three stars).  If asked to review again, I believe Harvey and Mike would find themselves upgraded into five-star status.

The one where Harvey lets loose… probably my favorite episode ever.

Season three premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Covert Affairs

Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, testing her abilities, and assessing her loyalties to the CIA.

While keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact, Annie lives her double life… showcasing her kick-ass CIA training, and battling her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.

Despite her training and attributes, Annie isn’t superhuman.  Sometimes I think she makes the worst spy ever, sometimes even one of the most annoying characters on TV today.  But I still keep coming back for more.  Regardless of how I feel about Annie, I always find myself fighting alongside with her in her corner, and it has nothing to do with how adorable Auggie is.  Okay, so maybe it does…

That’s my Auggie… so cute!

Season four premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Do you enjoy Suits or Covert Affairs?  Will you check out Graceland?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Special Anniversary Edition

I know Amber West and I promised to review something new this week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, but we told a little white lie.  I know, there we go again with fibbing to our audience, but we have a good reason.  Amber brought something to my attention this week—something very important—it’s our anniversary!!

One year ago tomorrow, a friendly face on Twitter reached out to me and proposed we join forces and two of our favorite things—television and food—to help others know which TV shows were worthy of a watch.  Because let’s face it, not many people have as much time on their hands to fit in as much television as we do (okay, as I do; I don’t want to make Amber out as a crazy-television-obsessed-viewer like I am), so why not help the channel surfers in the world find that one perfect fit to fill their one or two free hours a night?

With that, Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday was born, and a great friendship blossomed with my girl, Amber.  I never really set out to blog three times a week, especially not about TV twice a week, but looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.

So in celebration of our blogiversary, we thought it best to offer up the Top Ten most popular reviews, five here and five over at Amber’s place.

Which TV shows brought the most people over to my WatchWed posts?

#5 –Bones

#4 –Burn Notice & Suits, a hot two in one special

#3 –Criminal Minds

#2 –Leverage & White Collar, another two in one special.  Obviously our viewers love a good con man, or team, whichever…

And, the number one WatchWed post of all time?

Grimm

I mean really, who doesn’t like the darker look at the classic fairy tale… my guy and I sure do!

Before we go, we want to send out a BIG THANK YOU to all of our viewers who have supported us over the past year!  None of this would be possible without you!  Amber and I love what we do, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the great reader interaction we receive week in and week out.

And in staying in-tune with our viewers, what would you like to see as Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday embarks on its second year?  Leave a comment or stop by the Twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and let us know!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see which of her WatchWed reviews cracked her top five.  Like me, her shows come with some very sexy arm candy…

Come back next week when Amber and I review something and return to our regularly scheduled reviews, even if we don’t know which shows just yet.  Hey, it’s summer… we’ve got fun in the sun on the brain.

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: USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement

Last week we discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television specific to TNT, but TNT is not alone.  The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.

Last Wednesday kicked off the new USA season with the premieres of their Wednesday night hits, Necessary Roughness, an interesting look at the mind of professional athletes through the eyes of their therapist, and Royal Pains, where a medical doctor makes house calls for his rich and prestigious Hamptons’ clientele.  USA’s Friday nights have also already been filled with episodes of the returning favorite, Fairly Legal, a show centered on a mediator who can fix everyone’s problems but her own, and the new hit, Common Law, where two L.A. detectives love their job but not each other.

But the summer fun doesn’t end there!  Four returning favorites and a new limited series event also premiere over the course of the summer, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer amusement.

*****

First up, what we already have the pleasure of watching:

Fairly Legal

Fairly Legal follows former attorney turned mediator Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi) as she tries to change San Francisco for the better.  On the exterior, Kate appears tough and callous, but anyone who actually knows her knows that she has a bleeding heart for those less fortunate—and by less fortunate, we only mean those that the rich can afford to beat down in a court of law.

Kate lets both sides tell their stories, and she typically sides with the underdog.  Actually, even though she works for a large and prestigious law firm, Kate doesn’t like much about Corporate America.  But Kate is good at what she does, and most of her cases are assigned to her by the courts and usually by a judge that keeps a stern fist with her.   Trust me; Kate needs someone to keep her in line…

One of Kate’s only confidants is her assistant, Leo (Baron Vaughn), because for the most part, Kate alienates everyone around her: her step-mother/partner/roommate/boss, Lauren Reed (Virginia Williams); her ex-husband/ADA, Justin Patrick (Michael Trucco); and the firm’s most recent addition, her partner Ben Grogan (Ryan Johnson).

Fairly Legal is unique; instead of the traditional TV police procedural or courtroom drama, we see a glimpse into the life of another legal aspect: mediation.  Plus there’s a love triangle.  What TV show is complete without the love triangle?  And why do I find myself pulling for the new guy, Ben, when most others hope Kate and Justin rekindle their romance?

The season two finale airs Friday, but Fairly Legal is still worthy of a nod here…

Common Law

Common Law follows two Los Angeles detectives with an immense love for the job—a job  they’re good at; they just don’t like each other very much.  When a new police captain moves in, he sends the seven-year partners to relationship counseling or couples therapy to use the term we’re familiar with today.

This brand-new series stars Michael Ealy as Travis Marks and Warren Kole as Wes Mitchell, two partners stuck in a “marriage with bullets.”

Viewers can also expect to see a few other familiar faces: Sonya Walger plays Dr. Elyse Ryan, the detectives’ therapist; Alicia Coppola plays a forensic pathologist; and Nora Zehetner is a new detective on the force, specializing in the digital world.

The USA Network is known for their fantastic original programs: the older and never forgotten Monk and The Dead Zone; the current and favorites Psych and Burn Notice; and the sophomore hits Suits, Necessary Roughness, and Fairly Legal.  After just a few episodes, Common Law falls right into line with the rest of the network’s hits.

The first season of Common Law airs Fridays nights.

Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness follows Dani Santino (Callie Thorne), a New York woman attempting to balance her family and her career following a recent divorce.  She accepts a position as a therapist for a professional football team, and is assigned to assist the team’s star receiver (Mehcad Brooks) in actually catching the ball.  She sees other clients, sometimes a new client per episode, but primarily Dr. D focuses her time and energy on the New York Hawks and T.K. (Terrance King, or King Terrance as he wants to be known in season two).

The series also stars Scott Cohen as Nico, the team’s head of security, and Marc Blucas as Matt, the team’s athletic trainer and Dani’s love interest.

As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.

Season two started last week and currently airs on Wednesday nights.

Royal Pains

Royal Pains stars Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Hank Lawson, a former New York Emergency Room doctor dismissed after an alleged wrongful death case who moves to the Hamptons and begins making house calls to the rich and famous as a “concierge doctor,” and sometimes even to the less fortunate.  Hank’s company, HankMed, also consists of his brother/CFO (Evan played by Paulo Costanzo) and his invaluable assistant (Divya played by Reshma Shetty).

The series also stars: Henry Winkler as Hank and Evan’s father, Eddie Lawson; Campbell Scott as Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz (isn’t that a great name?!?!), Hank’s first client and landlord of sorts; and Jill Flint as Jill Casey, Hank’s on again/off again love interest.

For a more in-depth look, visit Amber West’s Royal Pains review

Season four also premiered last week and airs on Wednesday nights.

*****

And in the upcoming weeks, we have more to look forward to on USA:

Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing—no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA black-listed him, and discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice.

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover and current girlfriend, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the most recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.

Every season answers a few more questions pertaining to Michael’s burn notice, but similarly adds even more fuel to the fire.  Last year ended with a big bang—Fiona being handcuffed and thrown into jail for murder.  Michael is smooth when it comes to his missions, but how will he handle this one?

Season six premieres this Thursday, June 14th.

Suits

Suits follows Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm instructed to find another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to work as an associate.  Enter Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant man with an eidetic memory (perfect recall) whose recitation of Bar review materials lands him a position at Harvey’s law firm despite the fact he never graduated college.

These two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone—now that’s conflict, right?  How long before the shunned junior associate (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman), or the boss recently frustrated with Harvey’s refusal to follow her instructions (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) discover the truth?

Suits also stars: Meghan Markle as Rachel, a paralegal at Harvey and Mike’s law firm, also one of very few that actually know the two’s secret; Tom Lipinski as Trevor, Mike’s drug dealing best friend whose escapades landed Mike in front of Harvey in the first place; Vanessa Ray as Jenny, Trevor’s ex-girlfriend and Mike’s current flame, when he isn’t pining away for Rachel; and Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey’s spit-fire assistant.

Last year when I reviewed Suits as a part of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series, I ranked the then freshman series with a Mac TV rating (equivalent to three stars).  If asked to review again, I believe Harvey and Mike would find themselves upgraded into five-star status.  Here’s to hoping the new season doesn’t disappoint.

Season two premieres this Thursday, June 14th.

White Collar

White Collar follows Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by the FBI, and the FBI agent responsible for Neal’s arrest, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).  What’s interesting about this relationship is that Peter is also responsible for Neal’s release from prison, a special circumstance allowing Neal his freedom under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor and one condition:  Neal must use his criminal expertise to assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys.

Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-man, Mozzie (Willie Garson), who despite his distrust of the government, stands by his friend’s side and builds his own relationship with Peter and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Theissen).  Each season focuses on a unique and on-going storyline in addition to solving a new FBI case each week.  But remember, Neal is a con despite how clean he attempts to live his life today.  Once a con, always a con—right?

White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another of Neal’s con-buddies played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator/Neal’s current love interest played by Hilarie Burton), keeping with USA’s motto of character driven television.

The series also stars Marsha Thomason as Peter’s FBI right-hand, Diana, and Sharif Atkins as Special Agent Clinton Jones.  Both Diana and Jones trust Neal, as far as they can throw him; but they want to trust him one-hundred percent… as do the viewers.

Season four premieres July 10th.

Covert Affairs

Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham), and the former CIA director’s son, Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, testing her abilities, and reviewing her loyalties to the CIA.

Annie also battles familial woes, living in her sister Danielle’s (Anne Dudek) guest house and playing perfect aunt to her two nieces, while keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact (until she chooses to tell her sister the truth, which doesn’t go over so well as one can imagine).  Living her double life, Annie showcases her kick-ass CIA training, and battles her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.

Despite her training and attributes, Annie isn’t superhuman.  Sometimes I think she makes the worst spy ever, sometimes even one of the most annoying characters on TV today.  But I still keep coming back for more.  Regardless of how I feel about Annie, I always find myself fighting alongside with her in her corner, and it has nothing to do with how adorable Auggie is.  Okay, so maybe it does…

Season three premieres July 10th.

*****

Now that we’ve been through USA’s returning favorites, how about a new miniseries?

Political Animals

Who does everyone think of when we say former First Lady and current Secretary of State?  Did everyone answer Sigourney Weaver?

In the new USA miniseries, Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, a recently divorced former First Lady and current Secretary of State fighting to keep her family and her insane position in the U.S. government intact.  The special six episode program also stars: Carla Gugino, a reporter who hasn’t been kind to the Secretary over the years; Ciaran Hinds, the former President and the Secretary’s ex-husband; Adrian Pasdar, the current President; Dylan Baker, the current Vice President; and Ellen Burstyn, the Secretary’s mother.  Now that’s a cast!

Political Animals premieres July 5th.

*****

Whew!  That was a long post, but that’s what happens when one channel shines as USA does.

Do you enjoy any of the above USA original programs?  If so, who is your favorite or least favorite character, keeping in mind that USA thrives on being character driven?  Do you plan to watch Political Animals?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Where We Are Today…

It’s that time of year when the networks are adding even more new programming to our already full TV plates.  But before we get started on the New Year in Review, Amber West and I decided to recap our 2011 Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday ratings, from best to worst.

While I’m not quite sure where everyone else stands, this crazy television and food obsessed girl has gained her share of comfort weight over the past thirty weeks – figuratively, of course.  Thirty weeks — it seems a bit unreal that WatchWed has been around that long.  Add up the time and count the amount of MacNCheese and Junk Food TV that we’ve reviewed, the added pounds become a bit easier to understand.

First, let’s take a quick look at the review system:

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

Some of the ratings have been around since Watch Wednesday opened its doors for business, but our palates became a bit more refined over time and it took watching a few series to understand we didn’t quite have the proper scale in place.  After considerable thought, we added Gourmet MacNCheese TV, Twice Baked Potato TV, and NyQuil Induced Viewing TV to the menu.   After all, a good chef always tweaks his or her recipes depending on the comment cards left behind by the diners, right?

It makes the most sense to begin with our favorites, the best of the best – the GTV (Gourmet TV) rated programs.  Leading the way for this television viewer will always be Criminal Minds, Bones, and Burn Notice.  Not one of these shows can sit on the DVR for more than an hour without burning a hole in the table cloth – they are that hot.

That’s not to say other plates didn’t also deserve a top-nod, including Blue Bloods, and our favorite cons on Leverage and White Collar.  And, believe it or not, there are many other programs that fit into this category that we’ve yet to review (and our explanations are Justified).

But who can afford a bone-in filet, horseradish mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and a glass of $100 wine with every meal?  It appears not Fox, since our GTV alternate reality favorite, Fringe, is on the rocks.  Or rumor has it anyway…

Back to the more affordable dishes…

Most of us enjoy a homemade meatloaf with the rich and creamy guilty pleasure Velveeta Shells & Cheese (also known as MacTV, MacNCheese TV) on the average night.

And what goes better with this more affordable meal than the fantastic new supernatural series, Grimm; the action packed scenes, beautiful scenery, and the leading man eye-candy of Hawaii Five-o (that’s Alex O’Loughlin for anyone who may not already know); as well as the two new rookie programs that have both been renewed for a second season: Suits and Franklin & Bash?

Seriously – try it.  Curl up on the sofa with a warm bowl of the cheesy favorite, and check out one of these programs.  They’ll promise to fill you and leave you satisfied, wanting more.

Before we eat the last bite, we must pay our respects to the MacTV great that has given us eight seasons of laughter, tears, mystery, intrigue, and drama – the REAL housewives of Wisteria Lane, the Desperate Housewives.  It won’t be long before the housewives leave us forever, well until syndication anyway.

Moving on…

Because this girl likes to enjoy a few meals while reminiscing about the good ol’ days of high school, Pretty Little Liars and MTV’s surprising hit, Teen Wolf, also satisfy the carb-craving that everyone needs filled every once in a while (the mystery and intrigue of these YA series doesn’t hurt either).

And for the nights when cooking just doesn’t quite seem like an option, there’s always that trusty bag of greasy potato chips we keep hidden in the pantry.

Television’s equivalent to the JFTV (Junk Food TV) bag of tasty goodness is the same – it’s not the best thing in the world for us, but we must have more than one episode: Unforgettable, Being Human, Law & Order: SVU, Warehouse 13, and the late TNT drama, Memphis Beat.

Yes, Jason Lee’s blues singing detective show has been cancelled, but don’t worry – he’s joined the cast of another JFTV show and returned to his comedic roots in Up All Night.

Next are the days when we really just need something to fill our bellies and ruin our cholesterol, much like a Twice Baked Potato (TBPTV). 

For days like these, we have the AMC original hit, The Walking Dead.  This post-zombie-apocalyptic television series fills the supernatural undead void we’ve had for years (although a particular someone in this house is still waiting for the Frankenstein monster television program before he’s perfectly satisfied).  The survivors working together to make the most of a bad situation makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  And then the bloating feeling hits us like a ton of bricks, proving the show isn’t the best thing out there for us – but it sure is fun to savor while it lasts.

Perhaps tasty, warm, fuzzy, and savor aren’t the best words to use when describing a zombie television show, but we think it gets the point across.

And sadly, we left one program Still Simmering (SSTV) on the back burner and completely forgot to pay more attention to it, but we will…especially since Alphas was picked up for a second season.  For this, our readers have our deepest apologies.  The re-review will come in time before the premiere of season two on SyFy, promise.

All this serious talk may lead one to believe we’re all business around Watch Wednesday, but we’re not.  We love to laugh too, and a few of the network funnies received the same critical reviews as the dramas.

Hindsight is always 20/20, therefore we need to re-file the one MacTV rated sitcom (How I Met Your Mother) into the JFTV rating list along with Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls.  For some reason, HIMYM has its viewers crying at the end of episodes instead of laughing here recently, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sitcom and explains the need for the downgrade – something just isn’t the same.

And just like my dinner plate, there will be no Liver and Onions TV (LOTV) for the audience today, and hopefully not anytime soon.  Yuck!

Okay, that is a ton of television.  I didn’t even include the reviews of a few of my Netflix and marathon-style TV favorites (MacTV Charmed and Tru Calling, as well as the Gourmet TV Twin Peaks and Moonlight).  Does anyone notice the Alex O’Loughlin trend?

It’s a lot to take in, but tell us:

What do you think?  Which shows already in progress need to be in our list? Are there any new shows that you are looking forward to?  We’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and catch up on where her reviews sit to date.

Come back next week when Amber and I begin the new season of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – A Special Recap Edition

Welcome to today’s special edition of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, where Amber West and I recap our previous ratings.  We’ll reveal what we’re still watching, and whether or not our ratings remain the same.

Previously, MTV’s Teen Wolf earned a MacTV rating – it wasn’t perfect, but it satisfied like most guilty pleasures. 

Since the original review, seven new episodes of Teen Wolf have aired, and it is still an extreme guilty pleasure.   The audience has learned more of the back-story behind the Hale family of werewolves and the Argent family of werewolf hunters.  The show has entertained us with magic, twists and turns, and most importantly revealed the identity of the big-bad alpha wolf. 

Considering the target audience is composed of teens and young adults, this thirtysomething can’t get enough.  Therefore, I am moving it up in the ranks and giving Teen Wolf a GTV rating.  Teen Wolf is this summer’s new gourmet program – especially for those Vampire Diaries fans going through withdrawal.

TNT’s Franklin & Bash is another show that is moving up in the ranks.  This previous MacTV rating definitely deserves an upgrade to an entree’s GTV rating.  While the courtroom antics may not be entirely believable, this television program delivers a bone-in filet flavor. 

Is anyone still playing “Name that Co-Star” game with me?  Remember how to play?  Name as many of Gosselaar’s former TV co-stars that make a guest appearance.  So far, we’ve seen Garcelle Beauvais…..can you name another?  

Let’s change the objective just a tad: How many child/teen stars of the ‘90s will land a guest starring role in Franklin & Bash?  We saw “The Beek” or “Dawson” as some may remember just last week.  Anyone else? 

Speaking of gourmet television, Burn Notice, Leverage, and White Collar remain at the top of the GTV rating scale.  These shows on USA and TNT are full of all the best ingredients: drama, comedy, budding relationships, intense loyalty and friendships, beautiful people, explosions, trickery, and individual storylines plus ongoing intrigue. 

Every week promises some of the best programming available – summer, fall, winter, or spring.  Enough said.

As apparent by the previous reviews, Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  Curling up with a warm bowl in front of the TV to watch ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars is like taking a hot bath with a glass of wine, a gigantic piece of chocolate cake, and a great mystery novel.   

We’re approaching the end of season two, and this teen drama has this particular viewer completely bamboozled.  I have an inkling of an idea as to the identity of “A”, but not enough to voice my opinion here.  What does that say about the mystery?

Pretty Little Liars keeps its MacTV rating

The USA hit Suits is another one keeping its original MacTV rating.  We normally watch the same day as the program airs, but I can’t quite elevate it to the GTV status. 

We finally saw one shoe drop this past week when the paralegal learned that Mike took the LSAT for a close friend.  Will his secret come out?  It has to, right?  A college dropout can’t portray a first year associate for long, not even with perfect recall.  Can he? And, would a senior partner really keep up with this charade? 

No…..but it’s TV – it’s entertainment; it’s not real life. 

The only JFTV rating, TNT’s Memphis Beat, remains junk-food television.  Memphis Beat is one show that has failed to impress me week after week.  Not to misunderstand, some weeks are great, like when Dwight and his mother traveled to New Orleans to face his father’s killer in prison.  But, unfortunately, other episodes could technically be watched with the trigger finger locked into place on the fast-forward button. 

The character of Whitehead is very different this year.  His quirkiness from season one is gone, and serious Whitehead just isn’t the same.  Honestly, if Jason Lee weren’t the star, Memphis Beat might fall to a NIV rating – NyQuil induced viewing.  Like junk food, I take a taste only when I really need that fix.

A few weeks ago, SyFy’s Alphas earned a SSTV rating definitely showcasing its potential, but it was still too early to tell.  Only two episodes have aired since, and I continue to be pleasantly surprised with the series start.

Last week, the alphas hunted another of their kind with a pheromone problem – when encountering danger or a stressful situation, he released these little buggers into the air that caused everyone in the near vicinity to go crazy.  Who wouldn’t’ like that power?

What’s more impressive, we’ve already seen a recurring character die, and the mystery behind the alpha holding facility continues to grow.  I’m keeping with the SSTV rating, but the new episodes haven’t been simmering long on the DVR before watching.

Have our reviews tempted you to try any of this summer’s television shows? What is your favorite? Does any one network rank supreme against all others?  We’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s recap of her Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday special edition.  Is she still watching all of her programs?  Has her opinion changed at all?

Come back next week for a special NetFlix edition as Amber and I share a few of our favorite shows to watch marathon-style.

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

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

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

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

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

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – USA’s Spies and Suits

This week, Amber West and I switch gears and bring a double review of the hit shows on USA. 

Why? Because USA’s summer programming is so hot, we’ve decided the only way to do the network justice is by making this edition of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday too hot to handle. 

Our double feature includes spies, suits, and sports – a triple threat.  Wait; since we’re both writing about two series, it’s technically a quadruple!  Right?

 Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white-hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing – no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA black-listed him, and discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice. 

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.  

Burn Notice is one of the best, and definitely the sexiest shows on television; therefore, I have no other choice than to award the show with the highest #WatchWed review to date: GTV (Gourmet Television – Everything we want, and more!).  

To add fuel to the already smoking hot Burn Notice, Jeffrey Donovan might just be the sexiest man on TV.  Does anyone else make eating yogurt look so yummy?  When he throws on those sunglasses and flashes that crooked smile while wearing his designer suits, he has women melting in their living rooms across the U.S.  

 

Suits 

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm, is instructed to hire another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to add to the associate pool, hopefully someone as bright as he is.  

Meanwhile, across town, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) fastens his tie, grabs the briefcase filled with marijuana that his BFF has left for him, and heads to a hotel to make a drug deal yielding enough cash ($25,000) to keep his grandmother in her around-the-clock care nursing facility.  

What Mike doesn’t know, is that his low-life best friend is sending him to an undercover cop with his briefcase full of drugs.  Using his better judgment and brilliant observation skills, Mike picks up on the sting and ducks into Harvey’s interview room trying to avoid the cops chasing him.   

Intrigued by the young man with a briefcase full of pot, Harvey indulges and interviews Mike, learning that this young, brilliant man sitting across from him has an eidetic memory (perfect recall) when Mike recites blurbs of the Bar review materials with only the slightest provocation.  Despite the fact that Mike never graduated college, let alone law school, Harvey hires Mike on the spot. 

These two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone – now that’s conflict, right?  How long before the shunned junior associate (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman), or the boss recently frustrated with Harvey’s refusal to follow her instructions (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) discover the truth? 

While it’s still early in the series, I give Suits a MacTV rating (MacNCheese TV: Guilty pleasure – Not perfect, but it satisfies) because I am looking forward to future episodes.  I can’t wait to see how long before anyone discovers the truth behind Harvey’s new star associate, and how the writers continue to develop this very unique story. 

Be sure and catch Burn Notice and Suits Thursday night on USA!

What do you think? Do you agree with my top rating for Burn Notice? Should Michael rejoin the CIA? What about Suits? Have you fallen victim to USA’s latest summer hit?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now – remember to visit Amber’s review of Covert Affairs, starring Piper Perabo as CIA Operative Annie Walker, and Necessary Roughness, starring Callie Thorne as therapist to the stars, Dr. Dani Santino. 

Come back next week when Amber and I switch over to the world of fantasy and review TNT’s Falling Skies and SyFy’s Alphas

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.  Amber and I would love to chat with you!

 A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tele-Tuesday: White-Hot TV

We all know the temperature is red-hot in Miami.  In 2007, the temperature rose when a new production came to town.  With sexy stars and massive explosions, Burn Notice raised the climate in Miami to white-hot.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.  Freezing bank accounts and assets, and deleting the agent’s entire job history are just a few of the government’s little tricks when burning an agent.  With nothing, Michael turns to his family and friends for assistance as he takes on odd jobs for money, mostly utilizing his background as a spy to take down drug cartels, find kidnapped victims, and handle any other sticky situations that require his expertise.  The news of Michael’s success as a private investigator quickly spreads throughout Miami, and he’s known as the go-to guy for anyone finding themselves in a bind.  The numerous requests for his help often interfere with his only goal – discovering the truth behind his burn notice.

On a personal note, Michael has a hard time letting anyone get close to him, undoubtedly due to his life as a secret agent.  Michael every so often lets down his emotionally hardened wall to friends and family, and he reveals a vulnerable side.  He can’t refuse to help his loved ones out of trouble, regardless of just how deep they’re in.  While his primary goal is to unravel the mystery behind his excommunication from the government, Michael will do anything necessary to keep his close circle of loved ones safe.

Michael first enlists an ex-navy seal buddy, Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), to help him uncover the truth behind his burn notice.  Since retiring, Sam’s life has been focused on women and booze.  Sam often refers to his conquests as “lady-friends”, and these women inevitably provide Sam with cars, money, and rich bungalows that he lends to Michael for use during their freelance work to interrogate suspects, hide clients, or even hide themselves.

Despite his friendship and loyalty to “Mike” (Sam’s the only one who calls Michael by the commonly used abbreviation), Sam was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI, but Sam found a way to only report “half-truths” to the feds, with Michael’s help of course.  After some of Michael’s file mysteriously vanished, the FBI’s no longer needed Sam’s help.  Undercover, Chuck Finley (Sam’s alias) uses his knowledge of the American government to obtain the necessary information for Michael’s task at hand.  With his training as a Navy SEAL and his brilliance with tactical plans, Sam proves to be a valuable asset for Michael and the team.

The second member of the team is Michael’s ex-girlfriend and former IRA agent Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar) who doubles as an arms dealer and a bounty hunter.  Fiona loves to blow things up and always jumps at the chance to build and plant explosives.  Fiona and Michael first met while he was undercover as an operative, and his abrupt departure (his cover was blown) has always haunted her.   She wants nothing more than to rekindle her relationship with Michael, and even uses his mother against him at times.  Fiona’s sharp-tongue and quick-wit make for some of the best banter between the characters.  She has a love/hate relationship with Sam, and really only tolerates him because of his loyalty to Michael.

Not quite a member of the team, but always in the middle of things, is Michael’s chain-smoking mother, Madeline Westen (played by the great Sharon Gless).  Madeline hovers over Michael, always reminding him that he was never around when the family needed him most: he didn’t attend his father’s funeral, he doesn’t help his brother (who happens to be a train-wreck by the way), and he never tells her what she wants to know such as where he’s been all these years and why he always flees when she needs him most.  Regardless, Madeline loves her son and does whatever necessary to keep him close by.  One of Madeline’s favorite tricks is to insist that Michael help her friends, and in return she too joins the team now and then by going undercover to aid her son and his friends.

The fourth and newest member of the team, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell) is a counterintelligence agent accidentally burned by Michael.  Not knowing Michael was responsible, Jesse approaches Michael and asks for his help uncovering the truth behind his very own burn notice.  Feeling guilty, Michael not only invites Jesse to join the team, but he also offer’s Madeline’s garage to Jesse as a safe place to stay.  It’s not long before Jesse puts two and two together, and though he ponders killing Michael, he ultimately rejoins the team after Madeline tricks her son and his friend into talking it out.

Last season ended with Michael arriving in Washington, D.C. and coming face to face with a man who greets Michael with a cold, “Welcome back.”  Will Michael’s burn notice be lifted?  Will Michael and Fiona grow their relationship as a couple, or will Michael continue to push her away?  Will Jesse’s obvious feelings for Fiona pose as an additional threat to Michael & Fiona’s future, or will he graciously step aside?

 

Burn Notice is one of the best, and definitely the sexiest show on television.  To add fuel to the fire, Jeffrey Donovan might just be the sexiest man on TV.  Does anyone else make eating yogurt look so yummy?  When he throws on those sunglasses and flashes that crooked smile, he has women melting in their living rooms across the U.S.

Not to leave the men out, many argue that Gabrielle Anwar is indeed the sexiest woman on TV.  C’mon guys, doesn’t it have something to do with her love of guns and explosions, or is just her smokin’ hot body?

And, not to deny their sexiness, Bruce Campbell rocks Sam’s Hawaiian shirts unbuttoned down his chest, and he wears a pinky ring like no other.  Oh, and Coby Bell?  He’s quite the sight for sore eyes.

Is this enough for you to check out USA’s hit?  Tune in this Thursday, June 23rd for the season premiere.

 

Are you a Burn Notice fan? Who’s your favorite character on the show and why? Do you watch because of the sexy cast, the compelling and action-packed story lines, or for another reason?  Do you think Michael and Fiona can survive a relationship, or does the show need to continue to play a cat & mouse game to keep it interesting?  I’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned after Burn Notice for the season premiere of Suits on USA.

Remember to stop by the #DevilColony hashtag in Twitter today to celebrate James Rollins’ new release – The Devil Colony. 

Tele-Tuesday #8 – New to Summer 2011

Every summer, the major networks pick up at least one new show hoping to break it big with huge ratings success.  With June just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away, here are a few of the programs that might fit your television tastes.  Give ‘em a try!

ABC: The Hot ZoneThe new medical drama

The Hot Zone follows the medical staff, consisting of nurses and doctors from the allied nations (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia), in Afghanistan as they treat the men and women fighting to protect their country’s freedom.  The show stars a few familiar faces: Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Shutter Island), Michelle Borth (The Forgotten and Hawaii Five-0), and Luke Mably (The Gates).  Premiers Tuesday, June 21ST

NBC: Love BitesThe new romantic comedy

Love Bites follows a single girl (Becki Newton from Ugly Betty and Guiding Light) dating in New York City while searching for love, and a Venice Beach married couple (Constance Zimmer from Entourage and Boston Legal, and Greg Grunberg from Heroes and Alias). Love Bites plans to feature an array of guest stars including Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), Lindsay Price (90210 and Eastwick), and Guillermo Diaz (Weeds and Half Baked) just to name a few. Premiers Thursday, June 2ND

USA: Necessary Roughness – The new sports series

Necessary Roughness follows a New York woman attempting to balance her family and her career following a recent divorce.  She accepts a position as a therapist for a professional football team, and is assigned to assist the team’s star receiver in actually catching the ball.  Callie Thorne (Rescue Me and Prison Break) stars as Dani Santino along with Scott Cohen (The Gilmore Girls and Law & Order: Trial by Jury), Mehcad Brooks (True Blood and Desperate Housewives), and Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Knight and Day).  As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.  Premiers Wednesday, June 29th

USA: Suits – The new legal series

Instructed by a partner to hire another brilliant Harvard Law graduate for his Manhattan law firm, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht from Whiteout and Love and Other Drugs) recruits a brilliant new associate, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams from Friday Night Lights and many other cameo appearances on popular television shows).  But, Mike has a huge secret – he never graduated college, yet alone law school.  The two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone – now that’s a dilemma, right?  Premiers Thursday, June 23rd

Unfortunately, many of the summer shows on the basic cable channels don’t fare well; however, there are a few that return this year including Rookie Blue (ABC) and Flashpoint (CBS).  The USA network, on the other hand, ROCKS the summer broadcasting, and I’m personally looking forward to their new shows this summer!

What shows are you looking forward to checking out this summer? Do you prefer sex, dating, and  marriage comedies, medical dramas, legal series, or sports-themed television?  I’d love to hear from you!