Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Viewers’ Voice: Which TV Shows Should We Review?

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it is officially the holiday season.  Before we know it, 2013 will be here and we’ll all be left wondering where December went.  With all of the madness expected to surround us these next few weeks, Amber West and I have decided to switch things up again with today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews.

Instead of reviewing the remaining 2012 fall television programs we’ve yet to cover, we’ve decided to ask our readers to participate in our Viewers’ Voice Special this week.

Playing is simple.  Answer the below question and tell us why in the comments.

 “I am really interested in _________________ and would love to see it reviewed as a part of the Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series in the future.” 

*****

To show everyone how it works, Amber and I are each going to answer this week’s question with shows we’ve yet to review.  So, here goes….

“I am really interested in FX’s Sons of Anarchy and would love to see it reviewed as a part of the Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series in the future.”

There’s really not a lot on television today that I don’t watch religiously or have at least caught an episode a time or two, but FX’s Sons of Anarchy is one that managed to slip by.  Now, the show is in its fifth season and every time I see a commercial I wonder why I haven’t watched this program.

Not only that, but FX is a network that I love!  They push the boundaries and have had some of the best writing on TV over the past decade with shows like Nip/Tuck, Damages, Justified, and American Horror Story.

So, how did I let this one slip by?

*****

Okay; that was so short and sweet that I’ve decided to play again…

“I am really interested in Cinemax’s Original Series Hunted and would love to see it reviewed as a part of the Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series in the future.”

Over the years, HBO and Showtime have produced GREAT original programming… even dating back to when I was a child with HBO’s Fraggle Rock.  Yeah, that’s right—Fraggle Rock.  Since then, I’ve enjoyed a few other HBO series such as Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, and True Blood.

Showtime’s no slouch either.  Mostly, I’ve enjoyed the comedies like Weeds, Californication, and the most recent hit, House of Lies.  However, Showtime has also hit it big with a few of its recent original dramas (Dexter, Shameless, and Homeland).

So, Cinemax is finally joining this party…Most people associate Cinemax as “Skin-a-Max” for its late night adult television programming, but now I believe the network is trying to at least compete with HBO and Showtime during the primetime hours.  Not only have they recently aired Hunted, an original action/drama starring Melissa George as Sam Hunter, an undercover operative seeking revenge against those who tried to kill her, but they also plan to release another series in January 2013 that has piqued my interest—Banshee.

Good for Cinemax… now I just need to watch their new shows.

*****

So, there it is—two shows I’d like to see Amber and I review in the future with a brief explanation as to why…

Now, it’s your turn: “I am really interested in _________________ and would love to see it reviewed as a part of the Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series in the future.”  Be sure to include why you feel we should review your show recommendation!  We’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see how she filled in the blanks…

Come back next week when Amber and I continue our Viewers’ Voice WatchWed series….  Stay tuned!

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

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Keeping a Bent Life from Breaking

This week Amber West and I review two new 2012 midseason comedy replacements on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – ABC’s Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and NBC’s Bent.

Comedy seems to be at the top of this year’s midseason replacements with many of the networks picking up new sitcoms.  While it is annoying to watch our favorite series end a bit early this year, we can also see the upside to introducing these new programs in April so that the decision makers don’t necessarily cancel a popular show just to test the waters with a pilot (we’ve seen that happen one too  many times).  With this in mind, we’re tuning in to these newbies and trying to not hold any grudges.

Bent follows recently divorced attorney, Alex (Amanda Peet), as she tries to pick up the ”bent” pieces of her life post-divorce.  With sole-custody of her daughter, Alex buys a small home that is in need of renovations.  She hires Pete (David Walton), a contractor who is a recovering gambling addict trying to pick up the pieces of his “bent” life as well.

Alex and Pete...

Alex and Pete are nothing alike — Alex is a responsible person with a no-nonsense personality, while Pete flies by the seat of his pants.  From the first episode, we could already smell the romance brewing between these two and we wonder how long it’s going to take before they get together.  But wouldn’t that be the kiss of death for the new sitcom?  TV audiences have proven over the years that they like the chase and romantic tension between leads, and ratings plummet once the couple gives in to their sexual urges (we’re specifically thinking of Moonlighting here and hoping we don’t see the same fate with Bones).  Not to mention, Alex has a serious boyfriend (Ben, played by Matt Letscher) who can also sense the attraction between Alex and Pete and who conveniently intervenes anytime the two get too close.

Alex and Ben...

That’s right — Bent has a love triangle…

The two leads aren’t the only ones living “bent” lives.  The new comedy also stars Jeffrey Tambor as Pete’s “bent” father, Walt.  Walt is a struggling actor working feverishly to land a new agent since his has recently died.  We’re led to believe he’s never really had a successful career, but he’s positive and has never given up hope.  Walt’s life is also “bent” considering he is still madly in love with his ex-wife (played by Marcia Gay Harden), who is a successful stage actress over in Europe.

Jeffrey Tambor knows comedy...

Pete knows the flame still burns  between his parents, and he knows that his mother will tug at his father’s heart strings before returning to her life overseas; therefore, he tries to keep the two apart.  Pete’s reaction to his parents is almost a realistic, rather than an optimistic approach which is a nice deviation from most fictional characters on television today.

The series also stars Margo Harshman (Sorority Row) as Alex’s sister, Screwsie.   Screwsie is a hoot; while her life is anything but perfect, she does seem a bit less “bent” than the rest.  She owns her own catering business, which seems very lucrative, and she almost always has a drink in her hand (tequila, wine, or coffee).  She’s young and enjoys not being tied down, especially when that means she can manipulate one of Pete’s workers (Gary, played by Jesse Plemons from Friday Night Lights).

Wrapping up the Bent cast is Alex’s daughter, Charlie (played by Joey King from Ramona and Beezus) and the rest of Pete’s contracting crew: Clem (comedian J.B. Smoove) and Vlad (Pasha D. Lychnikoff).

Charlie really likes Pete...

Each episode focuses on the home renovations and at least one other story line.  Honestly, I wonder what will happen if or when the construction job is complete — will the show fizzle out and die, or will Alex find something else to keep Pete and his crew busy?  The general plot idea definitely works at first, but there is also an obvious end to the storyline which leads us to wonder if the creators have thought that far out or if they’re just hoping to get picked up and they’ll take it from there.

While Bent has only aired for three weeks, viewers have been lucky enough for a double dose each of the past three weeks giving us six episodes to date.  I personally love the banter between Alex and Pete; Pete and Ben; Alex, Pete, and Ben; as well as Pete and his crew, and Screwsie (isn’t her name awesome?!?!) and anyone else.  The dialogue is sharp, witty, and a lot of fun.  That said, I award Bent with the JFTV rating.   I’d like to give it more, but I simply can’t; it’s not the best comedy I’ve seen, but it is one of the most enjoyable airing now on Wednesday nights (now that Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? have aired their season finales).  For the time being, Bent will have to settle as one of my favorite TV snacks…

Before wrapping, I just want to add that David Walton (Pete) is adorable!!  I didn’t really know him before and wondered why they didn’t get someone familiar to play opposite Amanda Peet, but now I am more than happy with the selection.

And by the way, I really love the message of the show — our life can always bend, but it’s up to us whether or not it breaks.  Cheers!

What do you think? Have you watched Bent?  Which character do you like or relate to the most?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.  Thanks to Hulu, she got a sneak peek!  And I don’t know about everyone else, but I am really looking forward to James Van Der Beek, playing James Van Der Beek, and poking a little fun at himself…

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of TV’s newest dramas dealing in scandalous affairs and shady clientele – Scandal and The Client List

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

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 Re-Tell of the Fairy Tale Grimm

Happy 2012, everyone!  This week, Amber West and I return to the world of fairy tales, where we re-review Grimm and Once Upon a Time on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.    

We first reviewed NBC’s new drama based on the Grimm’s Fairy Tales shortly after it premiered.  The series follows Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) as he balances his life solving murders and learning that he comes from a long line of criminal profilers (Grimms) responsible for protecting the people of the world against the supernatural.   

To Recap: The Hook and Fairy Tale Number One – Little Red Riding Hood

The pilot episode might still be my favorite.  The attention to detail and fantastic one-liners hooked me immediately, but not enough to earn anything above the SSTV rating.  I mean, seriously – the program had just barely aired one episode, but the interest was there… 

The series began as a sorority girl departs from her house wearing a bright red hoodie and listening to the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” as she sets out for her morning jog through the woods.  While on her run, the girl spots an odd figurine positioned on a rock.  She stops to investigate when she is suddenly tackled by something with lightening fast speed, and the viewers can only assume she’s going to die. 

Nick and his partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), drive out to the scene of the crime where they discover a jogger has been ripped apart in the woods.  The detectives assume an animal is responsible for the attack, although they can’t seem to locate any animal tracks – only boot tracks.

Later that night, Nick returns home to discover his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) has stopped by on a surprise visit.  After a cryptic, “we need to talk,” Nick and his aunt go for a walk and she begins to tell him that his family has a secret.  His parents didn’t die in an accident; they were murdered.  Why is she telling him this now?  She is dying, and the Grimm powers will pass to him in just a matter of days if they haven’t already. 

Before she can tell him the complete story, Nick and his aunt are attacked by a Reaper of the Grimms.  Nick can’t believe his eyes and he opens fire on the monster and shoots him dead, but not before the attack renders his aunt unconscious.  

Reeling from the day’s events, Nick walks into his aunt’s travel-trailer where he finds an arsenal of bizarre weapons and an ancient family book revealing his destiny.   All of this helps explain the event earlier in the day when he noticed a beautiful blonde walking down the street suddenly transform into nasty looking creature. 

As most of us would with life-altering information such as this, Nick decides to keep his secret from his girlfriend (Bitsie Tulloch) and his partner.  For now, anyway.

The fairy tale continues the next day when Nick and his partner are called to another crime scene.  This time, a younger girl has been kidnapped with the initials R.H.  Coincidence? 

This is where Nick tracks down Eddie Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a reformed Big Bad Wolf.   Monroe can see Nick as a Grimm immediately, but he reluctantly agrees to help Nick understand the mythology.   Monroe also agrees to help track down the Big Bad responsible for the little girl’s disappearance.  He drives Nick out to the woods, sticking his head out the window along the way sniffing out the Big Bad’s scent.  Afraid of what might happen if he gets too close, Monroe retreats as soon as they locate the cabin where his sense of smell has indicated the Big Bad and little R.H. are located.  Nick calls Hank out to the woods, but explains he didn’t call for any additional backup because he “already cried wolf once.” 

Of course, Hank doesn’t understand how Nick tracked this man down, but he believes his partner when he overhears the suspect humming the exact same song that had been playing in the jogger’s ear buds, “Sweet Dreams.”  The take down ensues, little R.H. is rescued, and Grimm ends with the Marilyn Manson version of “Sweet Dreams” — I’ve got to know what’s inside you.

Let’s be honest – the song is what actually hooked me.  Not only is it a favorite (either rendition), but the chosen lyrics forshadowed what the series had in story of us.  Like we mentioned earlier, great attention to detail.

Now further into the season, Grimm has aired more episodes and tackled fairy tales such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Pied Piper, Rapunzel, The Queen Bee, and the Three Little Pigs.  The special effects and storylines are enticing; the use of Monroe in each episode to help Nick solve the case at hand is fun, and it is a bit heartwarming to see the two work together and develop a friendship between creature and Grimm; and the actual police procedural aspect of the story ranks up there with the other crime dramas on television today. 

The first creature that Nick saw transform on the street has a bit of a recurring role, and has since been identified as a hexinbeast (the blonde monster from the pilot episode, played by Claire Coffee).  Nick and Hank were assigned to protect her in “The Queen Bee” episode, despite the fact that she attempted to kill his aunt while in the hospital (of course Hank has no idea about Nick’s past encounters with her). 

As viewers, we know this hexinbeast is working for Nick’s police captain (Captain Renard played by Sasha Roiz), but Nick has no idea his boss is a bad guy, a Reaper.   

Which poses the question, why not?  Nick can see the creatures transform in front of him, so why can’t he see that his boss is one of them?  Also, we know that the creatures know immediately just by looking at him that Nick is a Grimm, so what is it that they see exactly?  Does his face transform as well? 

Obviously, I’d like for the series to answer some of these questions; but in the meantime, since sitting on the hot plate after the pilot, the simmering water is now boiling and Grimm earns a MacTV rating.  The water is clearly hot enough for us to drop in the pasta in order to enjoy some MacNCheese, and we’re anxiously awaiting its return in a few weeks. 

What do you think? Do you watch Grimm?  Which of the episodes has been your favorite and why?  What do you think about Monroe?  How long before Nick’s captain is exposed?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her second review of ABC’s new hit, Once Upon a Time

Come back next week when Amber and I review a few sci-fi hits – SyFy’s Being Human and an update to Fox’s Terra Nova (it too was left simmering on the stove…).

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