Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Teen Wolf

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m jumping in with one of  the television shows I have been looking forward to returning in the 2014 winter TV season—MTV’s Teen Wolf.

Teen WolfWe all remember the 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox, right?  MTV promised to use the generalized idea behind the ’80s Teen Wolf, but compared their story to a transformed version with a darker side.  So did they?

First, a few similarities:

In 1985, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard; today, Tyler Posey plays Scott McCall.

In 1985, Scott Howard’s best friend was an oddball named Stiles; today, Scott McCall’s best friend is an oddball named Stiles (played by Dillon O’Brien).

Stiles (left) and Scott (right)…

In 1985, Scott Howard wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, not until he transformed into his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall isn’t anywhere close to the best lacrosse player on the squad, until he endures the cursed bite, that is.

Now, to a few differences:

In 1985, Scott Howard suffered from a family curse, a long line of male werewolves that sometimes skipped a generation; today, Scott McCall is bitten by a werewolf while out in the woods.

In 1985, Scott Howard show-boats around as his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall works desperately to keep his curse secret.

In 1985, audiences laughed along with Scott Howard in Teen Wolf; today, viewers and Scott McCall cringe as another person in the community is brutally attacked by a supposed animal (although there are laughs, especially where Stiles is concerned…).

Wolfin’ out…

MTV’s Teen Wolf pleasantly surprised me.  First of all, like most other things MTV, the show is geared toward the younger audience (or YA as we’ve become accustomed to calling it in the literary world).  I may be in my thirties, but I like most Young Adult television series; and more importantly, I really enjoy Teen Wolf.  And it’s not just me—my guy doesn’t miss an episode either.

Moreover, the show’s claim to focus on the mythology of the werewolf and the darkness of the curse has played a major role in the television series.  If The Vampire Diaries has taught the TV rating’s world anything, it’s that teens (as well as whoever is watching) prefer the dark twists and storylines—if we want comedy, there are sitcoms for that.

During the first season, Teen Wolf introduced the idea of the alpha and beta wolf.  An alpha is the strongest, most powerful, and the most deadly kind of werewolf.  Over the course of the first few years, both Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) have transitioned from betas to alphas, due to circumstances surrounding them.  And just because one is once an alpha, doesn’t mean they always will remain an alpha… just sayin’.

Derek…

In the second season, Teen Wolf picked up the action, the suspense, and the storylines.  If season one piqued our interests, season two hooked us.  The story introduced the mysterious kanima, a mutation of the werewolf.  Better yet, viewers didn’t know for quite some time who the kanima was.  Was it “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates)?  Or Lydia (played by Holland Roden), the annoying girl admired by Stiles?  Or heck, someone else all together?  Believe me… there were options.

Season three keeps with the mythology of the werewolf, as fictitious as it may be, and introduces viewers to the biggest, baddest alpha of them all—Deucalion.  But that’s not all; viewers also watch as some mysterious person or creature continues to sacrifice virgins, warriors, healers, philosophers and guardians… and a banshee is also introduced to the group.

Alison (with the bow) and Lydia…

The series has gotten better and better with each passing year, in my opinion anyway.  The show has great fight scenes (with not-so-bad special effects for TV, especially for MTV), forbidden love (Scott and Alison Argent, played by Crystal Reed, who hails from generations of werewolf hunters), and typical teen insecurities and humiliations.  And considering neither my guy nor I can wait long to watch once the new episodes are on our DVR, I’m awarding Teen Wolf with the Mac TV rating.  The water is definitely boiling rapidly with the intensity of each episode… and leaves us wondering what will happen next.

What do you think?  Do you watch Teen Wolf?  I’d love to hear from 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
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

Tele-Tuesday: The Return of MTV’s Teen Wolf

On a Tele-Tuesday post last year, I introduced MTV’s new summer TV series: Teen Wolf.  We all remember the 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox, right?  MTV promised to use the generalized idea behind the ’80s Teen Wolf, but compared their story to a transformed version with a darker side, similar to the CW’s The Vampire Diaries.

First, a few similarities:

In 1985, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard; today, Tyler Posey plays Scott McCall.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Scott McCall

In 1985, Scott Howard’s best friend was an oddball named Stiles; today, Scott McCall’s best friend is an awkward oddball named Stiles (played by Dillon O’Brien).

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Stiles

In 1985, Scott Howard wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, not until he transformed into his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall isn’t anywhere close to the best lacrosse player on the squad, until he endures the cursed bite, that is.

Now, to a few differences:

In 1985, Scott Howard suffered from a family curse, a long line of male werewolves that sometimes skipped a generation; today, Scott McCall is bitten by a werewolf while out in the woods searching for the remains of a dead girl with his best friend.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Scott “wolfed” out

In 1985, Scott Howard show-boats around as his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall works desperately to keep his curse secret from everyone, excluding his BFF, Stiles.

In 1985, audiences laughed along with Scott Howard in Teen Wolf; today, viewers and Scott McCall cringe as another person in the community is brutally attacked by a supposed animal.

More Wolf

MTV’s Teen Wolf pleasantly surprised me.  First of all, like most other things MTV, the show is geared toward the younger audience or YA as we’ve become accustomed to in the literary world.  I may be in my thirties, but I like most Young Adult television series, and more importantly I really enjoy Teen Wolf.  And it’s not just me – my guy doesn’t miss an episode either.

Moreover, the show’s claim to focus on the mythology of the werewolf and the darkness of the curse has played a major role in the television series.  If The Vampire Diaries has taught the TV rating’s world anything, it’s that teens (as well as whoever is watching) prefer the dark twists and storylines – if we want comedy, there are sitcoms for that.

During the first season, Teen Wolf introduced the idea of the alpha and beta wolf.  An alpha is the strongest, most powerful, and the most deadly kind of werewolf.  Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) are beta wolves.   The Alpha bit Scott, and wants Scott to join his pack – insists actually.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Derek Hale

The Alpha is obviously a nasty and horrible werewolf, and Scott wants nothing to do with this violent lifestyle.  Will Derek help him?  Or is Derek setting Scott up?  Let’s say a little bit of both – nothing like a taste of both worlds to make Derek even more lickable – I mean, likable.

As with any supernatural drama, Teen Wolf also offers a bit of werewolf on werewolf in the form of fight scenes.  While it wasn’t as exciting as a Salvatore brother fight (Yes, I’m talking about Stefan and Damon, ladies!), it held our attention and stayed true to MTV’s promise of a darker rendition of the cinematic classic.

Like most Young Adult features, or really any television show for that matter, Teen Wolf also has the love story: the typical nerdy high school boy (Scott) who wants to lead a normal life and date the beautiful new girl (Alison Argent played by Crystal Reed).  Not interesting enough?

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Alison Argent

How about a forbidden love…  Did I mention that Scott’s dream girl’s father is the lead hunter out to kill the werewolves in the area?  And that she too is to train and fulfill her family legacy of hunters?  Only Alison doesn’t realize at first that she hails from generations of hunters or that her boyfriend is a wolf.  But when she does, will she choose her family or Scott?

And let’s not forget that Scott’s humiliation of “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates) on the lacrosse field now drives Jackson to discover exactly what Scott is hiding.  Jackson knows that Scott didn’t pick up his super strength overnight by hitting the weight room.  Once Jackson learns Scott’s secret, he decides he wants a “piece” of the wolf himself.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Jackson

What exactly was Jackson’s deal with Derek?  We all know after the final battle Derek assumes the role of Alpha; will Jackson join Derek’s pack?

Speaking of Derek’s pack, he wasn’t the one to bite Scott.  Is it now safe to assume it will definitely be Scott versus Derek in season two?

And what about Lydia (played by Holland Roden), the annoying girl admired by Stiles but who barely gives anyone besides Jackson the time of day?  The original Alpha did attack her before his demise, but Scott apparently gave her a clean bill of health when he noticed her marks weren’t healing as quickly as his wolf bite did.  Is she in the clear or is she too now a member of a pack?

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Lydia

I smell some major wolf action in season two…

Season two premieres Sunday, June 3rd on MTV, following the MTV Movie Awards.

What do you think?  Did you watch the first season of Teen Wolf?  Do you plan to continue with season two?  Do you prefer the 1985 comedy or the newer, darker version?  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.

Tele-Tuesday: Not So Secret Circle

New to television this fall, The Secret Circle has left viewers a bit conflicted.  For one, the fans of the popular YA series by L.J. Smith are not impressed with the CW’s adaptation of the books.  The television series has changed quite a few things including the town (New Salem, Massachusetts in the books versus Chance Harbor, Washington on the television show) and the number of witches required to complete the circle (twelve in Smith’s books to six on the CW).

But for those of us who have not read the books, The Secret Circle ranks up there with the best of the new fall TV shows.

From the creators of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle follows teenager Cassie Blake (Brittany Robertson) after her mother’s death (well, murder).  Cassie moves to her mother Amelia’s (Emily Holmes) hometown to live with her grandmother (Jane played by Ashley Crow), where she meets a group of friends that help her uncover her destiny – she’s a witch.

Cassie learns that their families have a deep history of witchcraft dating back hundreds of years.  In order to complete their circle, one member from each of the original families is needed.  The power of six magnifies the circle’s power one hundred percent, and Cassie is the sixth.

Adam (Thomas Dekker) is immediately attracted to Cassie, and according to his father’s tales, the two are destined to be together.  The one problem standing in the way is Adam’s girlfriend, Diana (Shelley Hennig), the practical and good-natured leader of the circle.

Other members of the circle include: Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), the spoiled, selfish, and beautiful witch who often times practices reckless magic putting those around her in harm’s way;  and Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Faye’s best friend who happens to be in love with fellow member, bad-boy Nick (Louis Hunter).

It takes convincing, but the teenagers bind their circle which in essence binds their individual powers.  Once the circle is bound, the witches encounter many dangers including demons and witch hunters.  It takes a near death experience before Cassie learns that she may be the most powerful witch of all; but what she doesn’t know is that this power is directly tied to dark magic.

Each member of the circle has lost at least one parent already: Cassie and Nick are orphaned, having lost both parents; Adam and Diana have each lost their mothers; and Faye’s father is dead.  For whatever reason, Melissa’s family has yet to be introduced so we’re not sure which of her parents has passed, or if she too is an orphan.

The young high schoolers are only part of the story.  Witches come from witches, and the secrets behind their parents’ coven and a mysterious fire sixteen years earlier make for an interesting tale as well.

So far we’ve been introduced to the six members of the circle, and a few of their single parents and grandparents (the elders).   We know that Faye’s mother, Principal Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge) seems to be quite angry that the elders bound her powers and she wants desperately to be able to perform witchcraft again.

We also know that Diana’s dad Charles (Gale Harold) is responsible for Cassie’s mother’s death and that he is working feverishly with Dawn to recover their powers, destroying anyone who stands in their way.  And, we know that Adam’s father Ethan (Adam Harrington) drowns his sorrows in alcohol, pines away for Amelia, and is bullied by Dawn and Charles.

The storytelling has this TV addict hooked with so many questions… What happened in the fire sixteen years ago?  Who is Cassie’s father; is he the leader of the witch hunters? By the way, does anyone think it’s funny that JR Bourne (Isaac) plays a witch hunter on The Secret Circle and a werewolf hunter on Teen Wolf?  He must like to hunt…

Anyway, back to The Secret Circle: will Jake (Chris Zylka) fall for Cassie or will he destroy the circle?  What’s going to happen when someone discovers that Cassie possesses her family’s crystal?

The Secret Circle has been picked up for a full 22 episodes – how many of our questions will be answered?  I miss Charmed, and while The Secret Circle isn’t quite as good (in my opinion), it fills the hole that the Power of Three left behind.

So, what do you think?  Have you watched The Secret Circle?  What are your thoughts on the YA series versus the CW production?  Out of curiosity, did they kill Nick’s character in the books (that came as a bit of a shocker to me)?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: MTV’s Joining the Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves – Oh, My!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty Little Liars keeps its MacTV rating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

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

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

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

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

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

Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite – The Bad Boys

The supernatural is especially hot right now, and more often than not, the television vampire and werewolf is sexy.  These physically sculpted and beautiful characters are mesmerizing and seducing – to the other characters on-screen and those tuning in to watch the show.

Every television supernatural can moonlight as both a bad-boy and good, but more often than not, the audience prefers the naughty over the nice.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Bad Boy #1: Spike (James Marsters)

Turned in the late 1800s, the former poet known as “William the Bloody,” transformed into Spike after Drusilla drained him and forced him to feed off of her blood.  Mentored by Angelus, Spike tortured Europe for years and killed two slayers.  The bleach-blonde Billy Idol lookalike then moved to Sunnydale to destroy his third – Buffy Summers. 

Spike successfully defeats his enemies by using a combination of his combat skills, his ability to withstand large amounts of pain, and his great observation and perception skills.  But Spike has one big weakness – he’s impatient.  

Spike overcomes many battles to reach his ultimate goal, such as withstanding the microchip inserted into his body (a chip that inflicts pain every time Spike attempts to hurt any non-demon) and his alcoholism.  After his defeat of the Demon Trials (physical challenges not survived by many), Spike regains his soul. 

Early on, Spike proves to be Buffy’s nemesis, and is a constant thorn in her side.  But over the years, Spike grows to appreciate Buffy and her friends, and eventually falls in love with the slayer.  

Marsters’ character was so popular, that after Spike died on the series finale of Buffy, he was resurrected on the spin-off series, Angel.

The Vampire Diaries

Bad Boy #2: Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder)

In the 1860s, Damon meets Katherine and falls head over heels.  Not long after meeting the woman of his dreams, Damon learns that the she also shares a romantic relationship with his younger brother, Stefen. 

Making matters worse, Katherine is a vampire.  After being trapped by the Salvatore father, Katherine turns both boys and leaves them behind believing she’s dead. 

Deeply scorned by the betrayal of his brother and maker, Damon transforms into an arrogant, selfish, and dangerous vampire.  He lacks any remorse, and he is unpredictable.  Damon lives in a world of isolation, but continues searching for acceptance and love.

After decades, Damon follows his brother back to their hometown of Mystic Falls, where he meets Elena, Stefen’s new girlfriend.  Elena looks exactly like Katherine.  And so, the games begin.  Damon is drawn to Elena and eventually falls in love with her causing even more tension between the Salvatore brothers. 

After learning that Elena is “The Doppelganger” and is wanted by the strongest and oldest of all vampires, the real Damon emerges putting forth the necessary plans to save Elena from damnation.

Where Stefen takes the morally high road (he refuses to drink human blood and feeds off of small animals), Damon isn’t afraid to tear someone’s head off or rip out their heart.  Damon is the stronger of the two brothers, and will do whatever it takes to protect Elena.

True Blood

Bad Boy #3: Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard)

A tall, blonde former Viking over 1,000 years old, Eric Northman is one of the most powerful vampires in the Louisiana area.  He acts as sheriff of northern Louisiana, and takes his role in the vampire hierarchy very seriously.

At night, Eric owns and operates “Fangtasia” – a bar with a basement that serves as his dungeon and torture chamber.  He’s proven to be violent, keeping a few souls chained up until he’s satisfied.  Eric’s also very arrogant and manipulative. 

Many fear Eric, but not Sookie Stackhouse.  Eric is fascinated with Sookie when he realizes that she can read minds.  After his maker commits suicide, Eric forms a close bond with her.  He dreams about Sookie, and develops genuine feelings for her.  There’s only one problem: Sookie belongs to another vampire in town, Bill Compton. 

Similar to everything else, Eric doesn’t let Sookie’s relationship with Bill stand in his way.  He manages to force her to drink his blood, and then becomes enamored with her scent.  In addition to her mind reading skills, Sookie possesses fairy blood; and when a vampire consumes such blood, he can walk in the daylight.  Eric decides at this moment to protect Sookie, no matter what it takes. 

Besides Sookie, Eric’s only loyalty is to himself and to Pam, one of his vampire spawns. Everyone else is just a means to an end.   

Teen Wolf

Bad Boy #4: Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin)

Born a wolf, Derek spends most of his days running from the police and the Argents, a family whose werewolf hunting lineage dates back to the 1700s.  He’s blamed for most of the crime in his town, including the murder of his very own sister.  When a wolf inflicts a bite on local high school student Scott McCall, all fingers point to Derek.   

The Hale family was destroyed in a house fire set by the hunters.  Derek and his sister weren’t home at the time, and his uncle barely escaped.  With his family gone, and his uncle comatose in the hospital with third-degree burns across half of his body, Derek swears revenge against the hunters.

As a beta wolf, Derek knows that it is up to him to find and kill the alpha responsible for the town’s murders and chaos before the alpha has time to recruit and build his pack.  In return for training on how to control his new wolf urges, Scott reluctantly agrees to help Derek. 

Despite Derek and Scott’s agreement to work and train together, Derek has difficulty being friendly.  His mere presence makes those around him nervous, and even his so-called “friends” know not to let their guard down.

Do you prefer the bad-boy over the good? Who is your favorite television supernatural bad-boy and why?    In a head to head battle, who would win – Spike, Damon, Eric, or Derek? I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Just Teen TV?

About a month ago, Amber West approached me and suggested we join forces to share more of our love of television with our friends and family.

More TV?  You don’t have to ask me twice!

So, after a few weeks of preparation, we’d like to welcome everyone to our first installment of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Each week, we’ll each take one television show and provide a mini-review with our readership.  Sometimes we’ll compare and contrast, other times we’ll write separate posts covering two different shows – like today. 

We’ve also created a fun ratings chart for each post – can anyone tell what was on our mind when we hashed out these details?  My other favorite thing: FOOD!

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

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

And now, to the main event: Teen Wolf, MTV

On an earlier Tele-Tuesday post, I introduced MTV’s new series: Teen Wolf.  We all remember the 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox, right?  MTV promised to take the generalized idea behind Teen Wolf, but compared their story to a transformed version with a darker side, similar to the CW’s The Vampire Diaries.

First, a few similarities:

MTV's Teen Wolf - Scott McCall

In 1985, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard; today, Tyler Posey plays Scott McCall.

In 1985, Scott Howard’s best friend was an oddball named Stiles; today, Scott McCall’s best friend is an awkward oddball named Stiles.

In 1985, Scott Howard wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, not until he transformed into his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall isn’t anywhere close to the best lacrosse player on the squad, until he endures the cursed bite, that is.

Now, to a few differences:

1985's Teen Wolf - Scott Howard

In 1985, Scott Howard suffered from a family curse, a long line of male werewolves that sometimes skipped a generation; today, Scott McCall is bitten by a werewolf while out in the woods searching for the remains of a dead girl with his best friend. 

In 1985, Scott Howard show-boats around as his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall works desperately to keep his curse secret from everyone, excluding his BFF, Stiles.

In 1985, audiences laughed along with Scott Howard in Teen Wolf; today, viewers and Scott McCall cringe as another person in the community is brutally attacked by an animal.

I’ll be honest; MTV’s Teen Wolf has pleasantly surprised me.  The show’s claim to focus on the mythology of the werewolf, and the darkness of the curse, has been an accurate, so far. 

Episode three (aired Monday, June 13th) introduced the idea of the alpha and beta wolf.  Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) are beta wolves; an alpha is the strongest, most powerful, and the most deadly kind of werewolf.  An Alpha bit Scott, and wants Scott to join the Alpha’s pack.  The conflict here?  This Alpha is obviously a nasty and horrible werewolf, and Scott wants nothing to do with this violent lifestyle.  Will Derek help him?  Or is Derek setting Scott up?

We also saw our first werewolf on werewolf fight scene in episode three.  While it wasn’t as exciting as a Salvatore brother fight (Yes, I’m talking about Stefan and Damon, ladies!), it was a nice twist away from the typical nerdy high school boy who wants to lead a normal life and date the beautiful new girl (Allison Argent played by Crystal Reed) storyline that’s also a large element to MTV’s Teen Wolf

Need more conflict? Did I mention that Scott’s dream girl’s father is the lead hunter out to kill the werewolves in the area?  And let’s not forget that Scott’s humiliation of “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates) on the lacrosse field now drives Jackson to discover exactly what Scott is hiding. 

After three weeks of viewing, I give MTV’s Teen Wolf a MacTV rating; it’s definitely a guilty pleasure.  It’s not perfect, but it satisfies. 

What do you think?  Do you prefer the 1985 comedy or the newer, darker version of Teen Wolf?  Is Derek a good wolf, or is he setting Scott up?  Will Allison follow in her father’s footsteps and train to hunt werewolves?  How will Allison react when she learns Scott’s secret?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now, remember to click over and read Amber’s post discussing the new series Switched at Birth on ABC Family. 

Are you on twitter?  Stop by the twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about today’s posts and any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series in the future.

Tele-Tuesday: “Real” Summer Fun

The networks produce tons of reality television for basic cable over the summer months.  Let’s be honest – the networks produce tons of reality television every month for all of the networks – period.  One can find reality shows on almost any network at any time, including A&E and The History Channel.

While there is more than enough out there for everyone to choose from, June and July bring back two of our favorite reality shows – Hell’s Kitchen and Big Brother.

 

First up, Hell’s Kitchen

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey hosts one of the best cooking shows on television, and definitely the most-fun.  Along with his British accent, his multiple Michelin stars (one of the top hotel and restaurant annual guides), his multiple renowned restaurants, and six television programs, Chef Ramsey might just as well be known for his stellar vocabulary.  He drops the “F” bomb a lot, and the television sensors bleep him quite a bit.  “You, Donkey,” happens to be one of our favorite Ramsay-isms.

Lewd language aside, Chef Ramsey shares his knowledge of cooking and invites twelve chefs (some aspiring chefs, some sous-chefs, and some executive chefs) to compete for an opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to win a high paying position at a top restaurant in popular cities such as Vegas, Atlantic City, Los Angeles, and Whistler, British Columbia.

Each season promises drama as the cast members’ personalities inevitably clash.  But most importantly, and ironically, each season the cast members appear to cook the same dishes incorrectly over and over again driving Chef Ramsey absolutely bonkers.  Such dishes include scallops, risotto, and beef wellington.

One by one, the competing chefs’ jackets are burned, leaving only two to battle it out for the prize.  The final two select previously eliminated teammates to work alongside them in the final competition of the season, and there’s nothing quite like watching the two struggle with this decision, knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and tempers of their cohorts.  These two finalists build their own menus and sometimes even design their half of the dining room giving Chef Ramsey a full view of their potential as Executive Chefs.

Chef Gordon Ramsey and season 3 winner Rock Harper

Former winners of Hell’s Kitchen include: Michael Wray (Season 1), Heather West (Season 2), Rahman “Rock” Harper (Season 3), Christina Machamer (Season 4), Danny Veltri (Season 5), Dave Levey (Season 6), Holli Ugalde (Season 7), and Nona Sivley (Season 8).

If you love food, love to cook, or love to laugh, I highly suggest giving Hell’s Kitchen a try.  I have added dining at a Ramsey restaurant to my bucket list.  Do you know what I’ll order?  Scallops, risotto, and beef wellington!

Hell’s Kitchen premiers Tuesday, July 19th on FOX.

 

Next, we have Big Brother

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Big Brother’?  “Big Brother is watching you,” right?  Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell still lives strong today.  Only today, many people immediately think of CBS’s hit reality show, Big Brother, not the classic literary work.

Each season, approximately thirteen houseguests arrive for their summer of seclusion cut off from the outside world completely – no television, no telephone, no radios, no newspapers, no computers – no contact.  They compete against each other in food and luxury competitions, as well as the ever-powerful Head of Household (H.O.H.) and the Power of Veto competitions in the hopes of winning the $500,000 cash prize.

Alliances inevitably form, and usually only the strongest survive the game.  On the other hand, forming and publicly acknowledging an alliance will most often times ensure the members of said alliance have the largest targets on his/her backs.  Two of the most successful alliances in the history of Big Brother formed the previous two seasons – Season 11’s Jeff Schroeder and winner Jordan Lloyd, and season 12’s ‘The Brigade’ consisting of winner Hayden Moss, and his three buddies: Enzo Palumbo, Lane Elenburg, and Matt Hoffman.

Video cameras capture the houseguests’ every move.  In addition to CBS’s airing three episodes a week, live 24/7 feeds are available online, and Showtime airs Big Brother: After Dark every night from midnight to 3am (EST).

America watches and votes on special circumstances to make the houseguests’ lives even more difficult. For example, the losing members of the food competitions are forced to eat “Big Brother Slop” for seven days.  The slop has been compared to oatmeal in texture, but lacks all taste.  America votes each week and allows the losing houseguests the opportunity to eat other selected food items such as bok choy and baby food.

America has also voted some of the biggest twists into the game – The Power of Coup D’Etat (season 11 awarded to Jeff Schroeder), re-entry into the house (season 6 awarded to Kaysar Ridha), and the Saboteur (season 12 awarded to Ragan Fox).   But don’t worry; Big Brother doesn’t always need America’s help to thrust the houseguests into a deep paranoia.  In Season 11, Big Brother introduced Pandora’s Box.  Each time the houseguest of choice decides to open the box, the remaining houseguests endure a good consequence and a bad consequence.  They never know what might happen until it’s too late and the decision has been made.

Big Brother host – Julie Chen

CBS and Julie Chen host some of the most fun summer television programming has to offer.  If you love watching men & women battle it out physically, go insane and breakdown, and engage in some of the most strategic game-play on television today, check out Season 13!

Big Brother premiers Thursday, July 7th on CBS.

 

Are you a fan of Hell’s Kitchen or Big Brother?  Who’s your favorite winner from Hell’s Kitchen?  Who’s your favorite houseguest from Big Brother?  How about your least favorite and why? Which reality television shows do you enjoy?  If given the opportunity, would you audition for reality television?  I’d love to hear from you!

Special Announcement – Tomorrow, Amber West and I launch our new blog series, Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Come back and check out our first editionsSwitched at Birth (ABC Family) and Teen Wolf (MTV).  Stop by the twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series.

Tele-Tuesday: New to Summer 2011 Too

In tandem with last week’s edition of Tele-Tuesday, here are a few more new television series braving the broadcasting waves this summer. 

MTV: Teen Wolf

We all remember the hit 1985 movie starring Michael J. Fox…MTV transforms the teenage werewolf comedy into a supernatural drama starring Tyler Posey as Scott McCall, a high school lacrosse player who escapes a dangerous wolf encounter with only a bite. At least he thinks he escaped…  This Teen Wolf edition has bite, pun intended; it will focus on werewolf mythology and the dark-side of the curse with some comparing it to the hit CW television series, The Vampire Diaries.  Will Scott control his werewolf urge or give in to the curse’s temptation?  Catch the special two-night Premier June 5th and June 6th

Lifetime: The Protector

Remember the 1990s series, The Profiler?  Ally Walker returns to television this summer as Gloria Sheppard, The Protector: a single mother/homicide detective.  By day, Sheppard and her partner (Tisha Campbell-Martin from Martin and My Wife and Kids) uphold the law.  Unlike other detectives, Sheppard uses unorthodox methods and she receives constant guidance from her Lieutenant (played by Miguel Ferrer from Crossing Jordan).  By night, the recently divorced Sheppard looks to her brother for help with her kids, but he brings his own trouble to the table.  Nothing in life comes easy… Premiers June 12th

ABC Family: The Nine Lives of Chloe King

Destined to be a part of Mai, an ancient race with extraordinary powers, a young girl learns to balance life as a normal sixteen year old, understand and master her new supernatural abilities, and battle the assassins trying to kill her.  So much for trying to be a normal teen!  Based on the young adult series by Celia Thompson (also known as Liz Braswell), Skyler Samuels, from The Gates and The Stepfather (2009), stars as Chloe King. Premiers June 14th  

SyFy: Alphas

Alphas follows five people pulled together by not-so ordinary superhuman abilities.  Dr. Lee Rosen, a non-Alpha played by Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Temple Grandin), leads the team consisting of a hyperadrenal-Alpha with super strength and training as a former FBI Agent; a hyperkinesis-Alpha with perfect aim and motor skills, as well a history as an army sniper; an influencing-Alpha, the woman who manipulates others with her power of persuasion; a transducing-Alpha or human antennae; and a synesthete-Alpha, the most vulnerable of the Alphas with the ability to strengthen one of the five senses while leaving the other four useless. As one can imagine, these Type-A personalities will battle extreme personality differences, yet the team must overcome the odds to fight the more important crime at hand.  Premiers July 11th

Remember to catch these new shows this week:

Franklin & Bash – Wednesday on TNT

Love BitesThursday on NBC

The Glades – Sunday on A&E

Which of these shows will you check out this summer?  Do you like the strong presence of the supernatural series? What’s missing from television today that you’d like to see return?  I’d love to hear from you!