Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Las Vegas Today, Sort of

Fall Television is officially here!  But being only a few days into the new season, Amber West and I have decided to wait a week before reviewing any of TV’s newest programs; however, in the meantime, we’re going to review and/or repost a couple of shows that complement next week’s selections…

That’s right; today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday focuses on television series that complement the new CBS dramas we’re reviewing next week—Elementary and Vegas.   Any ideas as to which shows we’ve picked for today?  Amber’s revisiting her review of the BBC’s Sherlock, and I’m going to review NBC’s former hit and TNT’s current daytime rerun favorite, Las Vegas.

Las Vegas… how I love Sin City—insanely huge hotel resorts with masterful architecture, massive shopping centers, elaborate Broadway-style shows, and the casinos…

Back in 2003, Las Vegas premiered on NBC, a television series focusing on the ins and outs of running one of the large casino/hotels in the city known across the world today for gambling.  Running the fictional Montecito, at least for the first few years of the program, was a former CIA operative, Ed Deline (James Caan).  “Big” Ed ruled with a stern fist and nobody messed with him—a perfect role for the former Godfather family member.

The rest of the team consisted of: ex-Marine Danny McCoy (the adorable Josh Duhamel, Fergie’s husband and Transformer’s star), Ed’s right-hand man, who supervised the daily operations of the Montecito; valet turned security engineer, Mike Cannon (James Lesure, Men at Work); casino host, Sam Marquez (Vanessa Marcil, General Hospital and the “real” 90210); Big Ed’s daughter, Delinda Deline (Molly Sims, the gorgeous US model), also the entertainment manager and food and beverage coordinator; special events coordinator, Mary Connell (Nikki Cox, Unhappily Ever After); and pit boss, Nessa Holt (Marsha Thomason, White Collar).

Over the years, the Montecito changed ownership a few times…  Monica Mancuso (Lara Flynn Boyle, Twin Peaks), Casey Manning (Dean Cain, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), and A.J. Cooper (Tom Selleck, who doesn’t need any introductions) all took turns.  But unlike the guest-starring ownership roles before him, Selleck officially joined the cast in 2007, following James Caan’s departure.

With Las Vegas, there was love—Danny first dated Mary and later Delinda; Sam was kind of/sort of married to Casey, even if she refused to admit it; and Mike fancied the concierge, Piper.  There was drama—an owner, I won’t say who, literally flew off the roof of the hotel; the Montecito was bombed; and the casino floor saw its share of scams, crooks, and robbery attempts.  And, there was entertainment—Criss Angel, The Black Eyed Peas (I’m pretty sure this is how Duhamel and Fergie met), Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Mark McGrath, etcetera.  Heck, the series was so popular while on the air, that NBC did cross-over episodes with another of its hits, Crossing Jordan a few times.  These episodes with Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessy) and Detective Woody Hoyt (Jerry O’Connell) were particularly fun.

Danny and Delida… I miss you! You were such an adorable and fun couple!

But then, all of a sudden, the show was cancelled.  Why?  Oh, I’m sure it has something to do with the network’s greed for huge ratings.  But, I’ll say it again—Las Vegas was fun to watch.  My guy and I both loved watching each week.  And while I’m still angry that NBC’s decision meant never resolving the cliffhanging season five finale, at least TNT recognizes the greatness and airs it every day in mini-marathon style.

All things considered, I really kept tuning in to Las Vegas for the characters…  I loved Big Ed, Danny, Mike, Sam, and Delinda (Mary got on my nerves with her whining; Nessa didn’t stay around long; and A.J. didn’t get much of a chance before cancellation).  If asked to compare how I felt about the Las Vegas cast with a show on air today, I immediately think of my love for the Bones cast—not just the two stars, but every last one of them.  For that, I must award Las Vegas with the MacTV rating.

Despite the fact that new episodes of Las Vegas aren’t airing any more, it is still worth a watch.  Luckily for us, the series lives on every afternoon on TNT.  Check it out—it’s perfect television for those days when we’re hanging around, cleaning, folding laundry, or just taking it easy.  However, for those who don’t like a series ending on cliffhangers, consider yourself warned.

Did you watch Las Vegas?  How would you rate it?  If not, are you interested now?   I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and re-read her thoughts about the BBC’s Sherlock as she prepares for next week’s review.

And of course, come back next week when Amber and I take on two of the new 2012 CBS dramas—Vegas and Elementary 

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

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

Tele-Tuesday: New Year, New Drama

Even though it feels like the fall television schedule just started and we’re still enjoying our favorite shows, it’s a new year which means it’s time for a new set of programs to check out!

This January, three new dramas attempt to sweep us off our feet – one revisits new crimes tracking back to an old, creepy prison; another follows a quirky specialist, who solves even the most difficult of cases; and one of our favorite novel and big screen attorneys works frantically to uncover secrets from yet another law firm.

*****

Alcatraz

We all know Alcatraz, also known as The Rock, as the impenetrable prison located on an island outside San Francisco that housed some of America’s worst criminals.  We also know that Alcatraz closed its doors in the early 1960s, but what if the former prisoners resurfaced and started committing crimes again?

That’s exactly what happens in the new FOX series, Alcatraz.  How is it possible that “ghosts” from Alcatraz are committing murders and other crimes today? Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) will work alongside an Alcatraz historian and expert (Jorge Garcia, Lost), while battling the government agent standing her in her way (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park) to solve these mysterious crimes.

Alcatraz premieres Monday, January 16th.

*****

The Finder

Bones is a favorite in our household, which is why we felt a tad bit robbed last season when “The Finder” episode aired in Bones’ time slot.  Of course, the introduction was rather genius – the network was testing the waters for the potential Bones spinoff, and briefly introduced the series by interweaving the Bones protagonists.

In the episode, Booth and Bones travel to the Florida Everglades to consult with a former acquaintance of Booth’s (Walter Sherman played by Geoff Stults).  Walter is a former war veteran with the ability “to find” anything or anyone.  Along with his bar partner (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile) and colleague (Saffron Burrows, Boston Legal), Walter solves the case for Booth and Bones, while dominating most of the sixty minute episode.

Despite feeling robbed, as mentioned earlier, the pilot episode showed promise.  It doesn’t hurt that Geoff Stults is adorable, for those who aren’t familiar with 7th Heaven or Happy Town.

Airing the “backdoor pilot” did suffer one casualty – Saffron Burrows will not resume her role.  Instead, The Finder will introduce two new characters:  Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) and an alleged criminal do-gooder, Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).

The Finder will continue and follow its sister program (Bones) this Thursday night, January 12th on Fox.

*****

The Firm

The Firm picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas, Sweet Home Alabama) turns in his law firm’s documents to the FBI, proving they were over-billing clients (from the John Grisham novel and the movie starring Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Jeanne Tripplehorn).  The story continues that these said documents led the FBI to take over the law firm and uncover piles of other files incriminating the mob, who has in turn set their sights on Mitch and his family as retribution.

The U.S. Marshalls put the McDeere family (Abby played by Molly Parker, and daughter Claire played by Natasha Calis) into witness protection for a short period of time, but the TV series picks up after the family returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.

While defending a court appointed fourteen year old boy charged with stabbing and murdering a classmate, a large D.C. firm swoops in and offers Mitch an opportunity to run a new criminal division – a job he declines but can’t shake the feeling that this is the right job for him that he has always wanted, not to mention will save his financially unsound practice.  Despite Abby’s gut-feeling, considering her husband’s experience with the last firm (from the movie), the McDeeres attend a wine and dine to meet the partners and clients of the pursuing law firm.

But the deciding factor comes when Mitch is faced with a major legal battle versus a top medical company over a defective heart stint.  He strikes a deal with the D.C. firm – their resources for a percentage of his earnings.  He officially works for the firm, but he gets to keep his staff and his off-site office location.

"It's happening again."

As far as the upcoming season, I see that not only will Mitch have the mafia after him for his past actions (from the movie), but will also battle his own firm AND against the medical company (I’m thinking like The Rainmaker here, another Grisham favorite).  And, it’s already been shown that the firm’s “real” client in Mitch’s murder trial is not in fact the young woman he is defending; instead, it’s some “suit” who jumps to his death while Mitch is desperately interrogating him, trying to get answers.

So technically, we should have about three major plots…

The casting is absolutely great with Josh Lucas and his baby blues replacing one of Hollywood’s favorites in Tom Cruise, but also with Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers) as the chain-smoking legal secretary Tammy (Holly Hunter role in the movie) and Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) as Ray, Mitch’s private detective/ex-con older brother.  Plus as a side note and odd-fun-fact, the McDeere house in the TV series resembles the McDeere house in the movie (in my opinion).

The Firm premiered Sunday night on NBC, but will return this Thursday, January 12th to its normal time slot.

*****

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