Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Messin’ with Momma is a Bad Idea

This week Amber West and I review two new 2012 midseason replacements starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday — Fox’s Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland, and ABC’s Missing, starring Ashley Judd.

What would you do if your child went missing while studying abroad?

This frightening situation is the premise behind ABC’s new drama Missing.

The series begins with Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) as she witnesses, or overhears really, an explosion that kills her husband (CIA Agent Paul Winstone, played by Sean Bean from Game of Thrones) while talking to her son, Michael, on the telephone.

Missing then fast forwards ten years when a now eighteen year old Michael (played by Nick Eversman) informs his mother that he has been accepted to an architectural summer program in Rome.  Becca’s hesitant at first, considering Venice is where her husband was murdered, but agrees to Michael’s study abroad opportunity.

The two only have each other, and they share a very close relationship as apparent with their secret “I love you” code — 235@W’ — “23” is Michael’s soccer number; “5” because the heart is the 5th largest organ in the body; and “@W’” because Becca is the head of the Winstone household, thus making her Winstone Prime.

A concerned mother...

A little while into Michael’s trip, all texts and calls stop.  Making her worry even more, Becca receives a phone call from the architectural program that Michael has missed multiple courses and has since been withdrawn from school.  Becca decides to do what any mother would do — she takes it upon herself to travel to Rome to search for any leads and clues into her son’s disappearance.

A mother with one concern -- find her son...

Becca first visits Michael’s apartment where she discovers spoiled food on the table and his cell phone plugged into the wall charger.  What teenager goes anywhere without his or her cell phone?  She’s reading his outgoing call history when she is interrupted by a man with a gun.  A struggle ensues, but Becca kicks some serious booty, grabs his gun, and flees from the window after she hears the Italian police.

How in the world can a soccer mom (literally, she’s a soccer mom) and flower shop owner disarm and kill a man so effortlessly? Well she has bruises, but still.  Because like her deceased husband, Becca is a retired CIA agent (she retired following her husband’s death).

While on the run, Becca reaches out to an old ally (Giancarlo Rossi, played by Swept Away’s Adriano Giannini) who informs her that the man she just killed in her son’s apartment is former Italian intelligence.  This just keeps getting worse…

Becca and her ally, Giancarlo

Becca manages to track down Francesca, one of the most dialed phone numbers on Michael’s cell phone, at her place of employment (a nightclub).  Francesca admits to seeing Michael the day he disappeared and sends Becca to a soccer bar hangout where Michael likes to frequent.  Once there, Becca runs into two more men with guns.  She escapes by stealing a moped and drives back to the nightclub where she finds Francesca murdered.  This just keeps getting worse…

While resting at Giancarlo’s, Becca continues to study Michael’s phone and from a photograph discovers a surveillance camera out on the street behind her son’s apartment.  She tracks across town, breaks in, disables the security alarm, and hacks into the video footage of the day her son disappeared (she knows Thursday was the last day Francesca saw him alive).  Becca watches the surveillance as two men grab Michael and throw him into the back of a black van with French plates.  A mother’s worst fears realized… 

A distraught mother...

Becca returns to Giancarlo’s where the two discover the black van is registered to a warehouse in France. Becca’s next stop — Paris.

**Missing was filmed on location in Europe (eight different cities, I believe) — the settings are real, not studio CGI imagery.**

In the meantime, viewers meet the Italian based CIA operatives who are now hot on the trail of Becca, led by Agent Dax Miller (Cliff Curtis, Trauma).  These agents have access to Becca’s CIA file, but learn very little because of the size of said file — “the thinner the file, the better the agent.”

CIA Agent Cliff Curtis

Becca is “persona non grata” in France, and the CIA must intercept her before she crosses the border.  They send in a team who singles her out, and a fight ensues (yes, another fight).  Despite Becca’s phenomenal fight skills, the agents subdue her.

While in CIA custody, Becca somehow manages to befriend Agent Miller and he allows her three hours in France to do what she needs to do.  She immediately tracks down the warehouse and finds evidence that her son was indeed held prisoner in this location from his wall etchings — 235@W’.

Becca’s visit to the warehouse is interrupted by a guard, who she disarms and incapacitates before going about her business searching for any clues or evidence as to where Michael might be being held now.  She discovers a package of surveillance photos in a desk drawer — photos of her son since he was a small boy.  Finished at this location, Becca picks up a phone and dials the CIA requesting Agent Miller.  She lays the receiver down, allowing a trace.

Obviously she’s not completely against working with the CIA, but she has her own mission to worry about.  Nothing will stop her from finding her son.  Seems like the kidnappers picked the wrong woman to mess with…

Messin' with Momma is a bad idea...

The pilot ends with Becca walking along the streets of Paris studying the photographs from the warehouse.  Once again she is being followed and is shot in the shoulder, causing her to fall over a bridge and into a body of water.  This just keeps getting worse…

Only two episodes of Missing have aired to date, and the action does not slow down.  Becca is a woman on a mission, comparable to a female Jack Bauer.  Seriously.

Seriously, messin' with Momma is a bad idea...

Missing was a television series that my guy wasn’t all that interested in.  He thought it was just going to be another one of my mysteries that I can’t live without, so he declared Missing as one I could watch without him — we have his, hers, and ours programs.  After telling him all about the action in the first two episodes, he now wants to check it out.

But because only two episodes have aired, I must award Missing with the SSTV rating.  Not only do I like Ashley Judd (I can watch Double Jeopardy and High Crimes over and over again), but the non-stop action and actual European filming adds heat to the already rapidly boiling water.  It may not take many more episodes for Missing to be upgraded to the MacTV rating, but we’ll see…

What do you think? Have you caught an episode of Missing?  Does Becca remind you of a female Jack Bauer?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about Kiefer’s new series, Touch.  And speaking of Jack Bauer, will Kiefer be able to shake his popular 24 personality we’ve all grown to love over the years with his new role?

Come back next week when Amber and I review something…

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: Reader’s Pick Per Night, The Comedy Polls

A few weeks ago, the Tele-Tuesday readers had the chance to vote on which television dramas they can’t live without in a Pick Per Night 2012.  Today, we want to know which comedies reign supreme.

If we’ve learned anything year after year, we’ve learned that as time passes, people change.   We’ve also learned to adapt to other changes as well, like the revolving door of television programs.

The networks update their television schedules drastically over the course of a year, sometimes in just a matter of months.  We have fall premieres, winter premieres, summer premieres, and this new thing called midseason replacements.  Comedy seems to be at the top of this year’s midseason replacements with sitcoms such as Bent and the upcoming Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and Best Friends Forever.

And while the constant change to our network favorites continues to waffle, we must remember one thing — to laugh.

We’re watching more comedies than ever here at The Ooo Factor.  While some of our favorite veteran sitcoms still air today, we may have a different favorite that has taken over on a particular night of the week and we feel an obligation to update our readers with our 2012 choices.  But before we do, we’d like to know what everyone else watches.

If you could choose only one comedy per night, what would it be?

We’re omitting Friday and Saturday from the polls because there doesn’t appear to be any sitcoms on during the prime time hours.  Whatever happened to TGIF?  Remember those days?

Did your favorite comedy make the list?  If not, what is it?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Next week, we will announce what our viewers prefer to watch and what we here at Tele-Tuesday mark as our #1 must watch funny program in a Pick Per Night 2012: the Comedies.

 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – A Little Nip Here, a Little Tuck There

It’s almost that time of year when our favorite television programs take a summer hiatus.  That previously meant that we would have to wait until fall programming returned to watch anything new, but this isn’t necessarily the case anymore — not with summer series on networks such as USA, A&E, and TNT.  But even with these summer hits, we still don’t have the variety of TV shows to watch during the summer, which is why Amber West and I decided to return to our Netflix Queue It Up series this week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.

Has anyone ever had a crush so big on a TV actor or actress that they would watch anything that said actor or actress starred in?  That’s how I found Nip/Tuck

I first “met” Julian McMahon on a fantastic criminal profiling series (Profiler) in the late ‘90s.  When the program ended in 2000, I was ecstatic to learn that the actor who played “John Grant” joined the cast of another one of my favorite television shows, CharmedFor three years, I loved McMahon’s dual role as the demon Balthazar and his human counterpart, Cole Turner – especially his love affair with Phoebe (Alyssa Milano).  But again after just a few short years, Julian McMahon was leaving the show…

So what did I do?  I followed him over to the new FX drama, Nip/Tuck, where he plays one half of the plastic surgeon team of McNamara/Troy.

And let me just say, I was very pleased with my decision to trail him over to the new series.  Already established with hit original programming (The Shield), FX didn’t disappoint with its newest drama following two plastic surgeons and friends since college –Sean McNamara and Christian Troy.

"Tell us what you don't like about yourself."

The two doctors are nothing alike – Sean (played by Dylan Walsh) is grounded, logical, and married; while Christian (McMahon) is sexy, charming, edgy and most importantly, single.  In other words, McNamara/Troy not only succeeds because Sean and Christian are two of the best in the business, but also because of the dynamic – Sean is the “brains” and Christian the “face” of the practice.

Nip/Tuck not only focused on the practice and aired graphic plastic surgery scenes (some so vivid, even the manliest of men had to look away), but also shared the life of Sean and Christian outside the office… and their personal lives were anything but perfect.

Meet Sean’s family: Julia McNamara (played by Joely Richardson), Matt McNamara (played by John Hensley), and Annie McNamara (played by Kelsey Batelaan).

Julia
Matt
Annie

Now meet Christian’s family: Sean, Julia, Matt, and Annie.  That’s right – Christian has no one outside the McNamara clan.  But that’s okay; they love him — sometimes too much (considering his love affair with Julia that produced… well, no spoilers here) and sometimes not at all.

But despite my ongoing love affair with Julian McMahon, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the real star of Nip/Tuck is the storyline/s.  Each episode usually involves at least one plastic surgery story with a new or returning patient (patients including familiar faces such as J.K. Simmons, Rosie O’Donnell and Joan Rivers), but each season also carries out an ongoing storyline that carried the show.

What made these storylines so special?  They were dark, messed up, and some of the best drama on TV at the time.  The writers and creators of Nip/Tuck pushed the boundaries, something the regular network channels wouldn’t dream of doing (at least not then; and still not today… not really).

See? Graphic...

Don’t believe me?  Season one immediately starts with Sean’s son Matt self-circumcising himself to better please his high school girlfriend.  Yea, that’s right – self-circumcision.  Also in the first season: a baby is born (it’s no surprise that the paternity is an issue), Christian inherits a stalker, McNamara/Troy is forced into surgically removing heroin from drug mules, and one of the doctors might actually commit murder.  Oh, and there’s another paternity issue.  I’m trying really hard to not give anything away here…

My favorite season/storyline is hands down season three – The Carver.  Sean and Christian (along with new surgeon Quentin Costa, played by Bruno Campos) agree to operate on The Carver’s victims pro bono, further infuriating the serial attacker.  One thing leads to another, many fall victim to The Carver (including an entire sorority house) and Christian’s bride-to-be (Kimber, played Kelly Carlson) is kidnapped and later discovered as another completely mutilated victim of The Carver.

Of course, The Carver storyline isn’t the only on-going masterpiece of season three; it’s just my favorite.  Other popular and racy stories over the years include: Kimber’s sex doll (Kimber is ultimately the love of Christian’s life, who also happens to be a porn star); trans-gender sex changes; bi-sexuality; white supremacy; extreme religious affiliations; controversial pregnancies due to genetic disorders; and lots and lots of sex.

Kimber and her sex doll

Nip/Tuck featured many famous guest stars over the years (Portia de Rossi, Bradley Cooper, Famke Janssen, Vanessa Redgrave, Rhona Mitra, Brittany Snow, Jacqueline Bisset, Mario Lopez, Sharon Gless, AnnaLynne McCord, Katee Sackhoff, and Rose McGowan to just name a few), but the heart of the story belonged to Sean, Christian, Julia, Matt, Annie, Kimber, and Liz Cruz (Sean and Christian’s gay anesthesiologist played by Roma Maffia).

Liz is really the glue that holds McNamara and Troy together...

I literally could go on and on about Nip/Tuck, it is absolutely one of my favorites of all time.  It’s not for those with weak stomachs or those with strong convictions, but to me is still worthy of a GTV rating —  fine TV is like fine dining at its best: bone-in-filet cooked to perfection with a side of lobster baked macaroni and cheese, served with a $100 bottle of Cabernet and table-side banana fosters for dessert.

To this day, I will still give FX’s original programs a try because of their “out-side-the-box” way of producing and writing.  Seriously, look at their resume since:  Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dirt, The Riches, Damages, and Sons of Anarchy.  And what about the network’s most recent hits:  Justified, Archer, The League, and American Horror Story?  If you haven’t already, give FX a try.   But first – queue up Nip/Tuck on Netflix and watch the 100 episodes in order.

What do you think? Did you watch Nip/Tuck?  Are you a McNamara or a Troy fan?  Which storyline was your favorite and why?  Do you have a TV crush that you’ve followed from program to program?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see which programs she recommends our WatchWed viewers queue up on Netflix this summer — I smell a few BBC series in the air…

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of TV’s newest dramas starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Missing, starring Ashley Judd.

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 – Two Worlds, One Ringer

This week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, Amber West and I review two new programs to the 2011-2012 television schedule whose plots are based on dual realities – NBC’s new drama, Awake, where the protagonist lives in alternate realities depending on whether or not he is dreaming; and the CW’s new mystery, Ringer, where the protagonist is choosing to live in another reality, her twin sister’s world.

Ringer stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as twin sisters Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin.

The sisters share a troubled past – Bridget is a former narcotics user and stripper, and Siobhan cut ties from Bridget when she married a millionaire New York City hedge fund manager, leaving her normal life and sister behind.  But after a few years apart, the girls suddenly decide to move past previously made mistakes and mend their relationship, or so it seems.

The series begins as Bridget runs to her wealthy sister, Siobhan, after she witnesses a mob hit and escapes protective custody just before testifying in court.  A few days into the happy reunion, Siobhan disappears herself (making it look like an apparent suicide).  Bridget panics, like most would, but then realizes that this is her perfect opportunity to escape her past and assume her sister’s identity.

And so the story begins….

Bridget’s first matter of business is to convince Siobhan’s husband (Andrew Martin, played by Ioan Gruffudd) that she is her sister.  She learns rather quickly that the two share a rocky, tumultuous marriage, and her new husband doesn’t seem to like her very much.  Andrew’s teenage daughter from a previous marriage really hates Siobhan (Juliet Martin, played by Zoey Deutch), and she lashes out constantly by skipping school, doing drugs, and destroying things around the penthouse.

Siobhan's husband, Andrew

As if Siobhan’s life at home wasn’t enough of a disaster, Bridget soon discovers that her sister was also having an affair with Henry Butler (Kristoffer Polaha), the husband of her best friend (Gemma Butler, played by Tara Summers).

Siobhan's boyfriend and best friend's husband, Henry

Just as Bridget begins to manage all of the lies her sister is living, the FBI agent tasked with protecting her during the trial (Agent Victor Machado, played by Nestor Carbonell) arrives in New York with a few questions for Siobhan.

The FBI agent tasked with protecting Bridget, Victor

Meanwhile, Bridget’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor and apparent lover (Malcolm Ward, played by Mike Colter) is abducted by the drug lord/mob boss looking for her back home, beaten within an inch of his life, and reacquainted with black tar heroin.  Malcolm might just be the hero of the show; despite the torture, he doesn’t disclose Bridget’s secret and he still manages to escape and travel to NYC to protect her.

Bridget's NA Sponsor and one-time lover, Malcolm

Everything is just too much, so Bridget (aka Siobhan) seeks out a new NA sponsor in the city and meets Charlie (Billy Miller).  Charlie seems eager to help, not only with her constant battle with relapse, but also with the many matters surrounding her double life.  People can trust sponsors, right?

Bridget's new NA sponsor and dirty former cop, Charlie

Oh, and did we mention the “real” Siobhan (who is camped out in Paris under an assumed identity) is pregnant?  That’s an interesting twist…Bridget gets the call from Siobhan’s doctor and has to pretend she’s pregnant; meanwhile, Henry thinks the baby is his; Andrew of course thinks the baby is his; and Siobhan’s new Parisian lover (Tyler, played by Justin Bruening) now thinks the baby is his.  This lady is a mess.

Siobhan's Parisian boy-toy and her husband's business associate, Tyler

To make matters worse, Bridget doesn’t do a bang up job keeping her secret – Gemma discovers the truth: that the “real” Siobhan is sleeping with her husband, and that Bridget is assuming her sister’s identity.  When Gemma threatens to blow the top off Bridget’s lies, she disappears.   Henry comes home to find blood all over the walls and a broken vase, and immediately cleans the mess up to protect Siobhan.  But when he confronts Siobhan (aka Bridget), she of course thinks he did something to Gemma – why else would he cover up the evidence?

Confused yet?  Remember, the “real” Siobhan is the puppet master pulling all the strings; Bridget is only trying to survive in Siobhan’s world.

And this ladies and gentleman is just the beginning…

Because of the non-stop twists and turns, I must award Ringer with the JFTV rating – it’s the perfect Junk Food Television.  I sat and watched the entire first half of the season in mini-marathon style.  See, I record the series each week, but wasn’t intrigued enough at first to watch; but once I started the episodes, I couldn’t stop – just like when I pick up a bag of Hershey’s miniatures from Costco — someone needs to pull the bag of chocolate away from me in order for me to stop popping the delicious delights in my mouth one right after the other.

I enjoyed my mini-marathon of the first half of the season so much, I’m currently stock-piling the second half of the season for another marathon-style viewing party.  I’m just waiting for that perfect Saturday…

What do you think? Do you watch Ringer?  Which of Siobhan and Bridget’s men is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the masterfully creative dual realities of Awake.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

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: A Pick Per Night 2012, The Results

The results of our first Reader’s Choice Tele-Tuesday polls are in.  Last week, we asked our readers one simple question: if you could watch only one show per night, what would it be?

If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that as time changes, people change.  Last March, we blogged about our 2011 Pick Per Night television series.  But because the networks update their television schedules drastically over the course of twelve months, our tastes as viewers change as well.  While some of these programs still air today, most of our nightly favorites have changed because of the revolving door of television series.

Did our picks from 2011 win in 2012?  Did the Tele-Tuesday readers agree with our picks?  Find out today in A Pick Per Night 2012.

Monday: Pretty Little Liars

The series begins when a teenager’s remains (Alison) are found one year after her mysterious disappearance.  This event brings together her four former best friends (Aria, Emily, Spencer, and Hanna), who had drifted apart following that fateful night.  Alison was the glue that held the girls together, the leader of the high school clique.  As the episodes progress, viewers see flashbacks of Alison’s viciousness and many of the secrets that she holds over everyone’s heads – not a nice girl.

After attending Alison’s funeral, the four friends reunite outside the chapel when each of their cell phones ring – they’ve received their first threatening text message from “A” – and the mystery begins: Who killed Alison? And, who is “A”?

Each of the girls have oodles of conflict surrounding them individually, even without “A” threatening their every move.  Throw in the suspicions the police and their parents have regarding their involvement in Alison’s murder, and the lies they continuously try to hide despite “A’s” best efforts, and Pretty Little Liars doesn’t bore its viewers – it has twists and turns week in and week out.

Reader’s Choice: Castle.  We’re really not surprised that Castle won Monday night with 32% of the vote; really, we’re not.  But we like to go against the grain sometimes, and that’s why Tele-Tuesday picked a show that we feel more people should check out with Pretty Little Liars (which earned only 3% of the vote).  We thought Hawaii Five-0 would come in second, but that honor went to Other with 24% of the vote.

Tuesday: Justified

Everyone has heard of a justified shooting, right?  Well, justified shootings are Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens’ forte.  Despite being a loose cannon himself, Raylan appears quite normal when compared to his Kentucky kin.  Entangled with really BAD criminals, Harlan County relies on Raylan as does the Marshal Service, his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and his con-ex-best friend, Boyd Crowder.

Need a reason to tune in?  Boyd Crowder is definitely one of the best antagonists on television.

Need another reason to watch?  Timothy Olyphant.

Enough said.

Reader’s Choice: NCIS.  Last year, NCIS’s sister program (NCIS: LA) made our Pick Per Night blog post, but this year 29% of our readers chose NCIS as the favorite.  Our Tele-Tuesday pick, Justified, came in second with 19% of the vote.

Wednesday: Revenge

Revenge follows Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne, a young and beautiful addition to the rich and prestigious Hamptons.   However, Emily’s arrival isn’t her first trip to the neighborhood… when she was a little girl, Emily (then known as Amanda) and her father lived in the quaint beach house next door to her father’s boss and his mansion.  Late one night, Amanda’s father was ripped away from her for crimes that later sent him to prison for the rest of his life.

Not necessarily believing in his innocence, Amanda rebelled and spent time incarcerated herself.  The day Amanda was released from prison, she was greeted by a stranger with life changing news: her father was dead, he had been framed, and she was now filthy rich.

Amanda assumes a new identity as Emily Thorne and sets her plan in motion vowing revenge against those responsible – primarily the Grayson family. Each week, Emily destroys someone involved with her father’s demise.

Does it get much sweeter than Revenge?

Reader’s Choice: Criminal Minds.  Last year we would have agreed with the 25% of readers who feel that Criminal Minds is the best show on Wednesday nights.  But that was before the second place winner (Revenge at 22%) hit the airwaves…

Thursday: The Vampire Diaries

What makes The Vampire Diaries so successful?  For one, the allure of the vampire will always seduce a television audience.  Secondly, production cast perhaps the most beautiful ensemble on TV.  And, most importantly, the writing is absolutely stellar.

Maybe some of us tune in to The Vampire Diaries weekly to drool over the beautiful people (particularly vampires Damon and Klaus), but most of us watch because of the writing.  Without giving too much away, the writing on The Vampire Diaries is enough to attract all ages.  Really. It is.

The first season focuses on the history of vampires and witches in Mystic Falls.  Season two continues with the Katherine/doppelganger storyline and also introduces the werewolf curse.  The suspense, sexual tension, and the twists and turns involving every character are perhaps some of the best on television.  We’re smack dab in the middle of season three now, watching as a resurrected witch decides the fate of her family of vampires and we can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us!

Reader’s Choice: BonesBones is a Tele-Tuesday favorite around here, and came in first place on Thursday night’s with 18% of the vote.  The Vampire Diaries and Person of Interest tied for second place with 16% each.

Friday: Supernatural

Brothers Sam & Dean Winchester hunt – not the usual game like ducks and deer – but to save the world from demons, vampires, shape-shifters, the Apocalypse, the leviathan, the devil, the mother of all evil, etc…

Sam and Dean are bad boys: Sam has been possessed by the devil and has enjoyed demon’s blood as a power source; Dean drinks (alcohol) heavily and he is promiscuous.  Both brothers are on the FBI’s most wanted list (it has nothing to do with their impersonating an officer repeatedly, and the trunk of their car resembles an arsenal of men at war.  Why?  Because they are at war – a war of hunting and killing the supernatural evils plaguing the world today.

Did I mention the music?  The music definitely deserves a best supporting character nod at some point…  “Carry on my wayward son.”

Reader’s Choice: Other.  Friday night is a big night on television, yet Other still won with 22% of the readers’ votes.  Grimm tied with Supernatural for second place with 19% each.

Saturday: The Firm

The Firm television series picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere turns in his law firm’s documents to the FBI, proving they were overbilling clients (the plot from the novel and the movie).  The story continues as these said documents lead 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.

It seems each chapter (episode) will feature bits and pieces of three different plots: a minor storyline, an ongoing storyline, and one major storyline.

The minor:  Mitch will represent a new individual case each week, like when he takes on a dirty judge.

The ongoing:  The mafia will follow and chase after Mitch and his family for his actions in Memphis (fallout from the movie plot).

The major:  Mitch will continue to research the Sarah Holt case – a client on trial for murdering an older woman while in her care.  This story qualifies as the major plot line because unbeknownst to Mitch, his new firm is interested in THIS case.  The firm isn’t interested in Miss Holt, the woman Mitch represents; they are interested in protecting their client – Noble Insurance.

I don’t want to give too much of the story away for those who haven’t been enjoying chapter after chapter with me, but we do see a glimpse of truth behind the mystery in each episode.  The Firm doesn’t keep us guessing, not completely anyway, week after week like some frustrating shows.

Reader’s Choice: Other.  There’s not much to choose from on Saturday nights, and Other won outright with 75%.  The Firm came in second with 25%.

Sunday: The Walking Dead

The supernatural element is taking over the television world today, and AMC joins this phenomenon by telling the story of a small group of people working feverishly to survive a widespread zombie epidemic in the great state of Georgia in The Walking Dead.  The series begins with small town sheriff Rick Grimes waking from a coma to discover he is alone in every sense of the word: the hospital is desolate, the town looks like a post-apocalyptic war zone, and his family has vanished.

The Walking Dead is shot without the vibrant colors of Hawaii Five-0 and CSI: Miami, but while not black and white, still appears dark and gloomy in relation to the current state of events.  The episodes are not for those with weak stomachs and are filled with suspense, leaving us hanging on by the seat of our pants.  Not every character is likable, yet we find ourselves hoping that the walkers don’t bite anyone else.

And most importantly, not every character is safe from the walkers…

Reader’s Choice: Other.  Yes, with all of our options on Sunday nights, 25% of our readers voted on Other.  The Walking Dead came in second at 22%.

Did your favorite win?  If not, what is it and tell us why it should have?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Many noticed that our poll last week only consisted of dramas.  In a few weeks (next week we’re going to introduce a few new shows coming in April), we will poll which comedies reign supreme today.  Which major network will have the most watched sitcoms?  Which sitcom will come out on top?  We hope to see you then…

 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Lost in the Amazon

This week Amber West and I review two mini-series on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: the BBC favorite, Doctor Who, and the new ABC paranormal mystery, The River.

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

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

First, a quick summary of The River:

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

Desperate for the opportunity to search for their loved one, the doctor’s wife (Tess, played by Leslie Hope) and son (Lincoln, played  by Joe Anderson) agree to allow Dr. Cole’s former producer (Clark, played by Paul Blackthorne) to join and film the expedition “documentary” style, in exchange for his funding of the trip.

The search team also consists of: Lena (Eloise Mumford), a valued resource and the daughter of Emmet Cole’s missing cameraman; Emilio (Daniel Zacapa), the ship’s mechanic and his young daughter, Jahel (Paulina Gaitan); Captain Kurt (Thomas Kretschmann), a bodyguard hired to protect the crew but who also harbors a secret agenda; and lead cameraman,  A.J. (Shaun Parkes).

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

Now, a bit of the story:

For over twenty years, Emmet Cole starred in a popular television series that explored the different parts of the world and the organisms that populate it.  His catch phrase, “There’s magic out there,” reached out to millions of loyal viewers, but perhaps no one quite as much as his wife and son who traveled with him on his ship, the Magus, during his expeditions.

But on his latest voyage to the Amazon, Emmet leaves behind those that usually travel with him (his wife, his son, his producer, and his cameraman’s daughter).  Instead, he hires a new crew and ventures out on his own searching for magic.

See? Magic…

Magic is just what he finds – a mysterious magic in the Amazon.  But before he can return with his discovery, he along with everyone else on his ship vanishes.  Emmet was presumed dead by the world, that is until his emergency beacon activates six months later.

Tess, feeling a bit guilty for reasons we won’t mention, insists they find her husband.  She decides to partner up using Clark’s financial resources to document her search for Emmet and builds the team, including her reluctant son, to find the ship and her husband (and the other missing people, but everyone has their own agenda out there).

Once the team locates the Magus, they board and immediately start watching footage taped by Lena’s dad (Russ, played by Lee Tergesen) and Jonas (Scott Michael Foster).  It is obvious to the viewer that something in the Amazon is making Emmet appear like he is going crazy; but the team presses on despite the forces working against them — forces such as possessions, magical legends and curses, poisons, and ghosts.

So far, the search and recovery has yielded two of Emmet’s missing shipmates: Russ and Jonas; but still no Emmet.  After seeing what happens to these men (no spoilers), one can only imagine Emmet’s fate is doomed.

For television, The River is actually very spooky and mysterious and the special effects are surprisingly good (Steven Spielberg is involved, after all).  The season is short (only eight episodes long) and I’m hoping for some answers in the remaining two shows.  While I am enjoying the series and it’s not sitting in my DVR queue very long, I’m still not so sure about the overall program’s rating.

Lost in the Amazon at night… spooky!

A part of me feels that I should award the JFTV rating; The River is unlike anything else on network television today (American Horror Story is better, in my opinion), but I have a bad feeling that the direction of these final episodes could possibly leave a Lost feeling in my mouth.  For that, and for that fear alone, I must award The River the SSTV rating.  It’s still simmering; what can I say?

What do you think? Do you watch The River?  Is it worthy of a higher rating?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the regenerating doctors of Doctor Who.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

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: Reader’s Pick Per Night – The Polls

This month marks the one year anniversary (or blogiversary as we’ve gotten to know it around the blogosphere) of The Ooo Factor.  One year seems like a long time, but in all honesty the blog posts have flown by and I’ve had a great time sharing my television addiction with everyone on a weekly basis.  Blogging has actually given my obsessive TV watching purpose, and has made me feel better about the amount of television I watch each and every night.  And whether or not my readers can believe it, I have much more to share!

If we’ve learned anything as we’ve moved through the years, we’ve learned that as time passes, people change.

Whew; that sounded borderline serious for a second.   But it’s true…

But other things change too, like the revolving door of television programs.  The networks update their television schedules drastically over the course of a year, sometimes in just a matter of months.  In celebration of the past twelve months here at Tele-Tuesday, we’ve decided to update a few of our older posts that don’t necessarily stand true any longer (whether it be because the networks moved our shows around or because some new hit has taken its place).

Last year, we blogged about our 2011 Pick Per Night television series.  While some of our choices still air today, we may have a different favorite that has taken over on that particular night of the week and we feel an obligation to update our readers with the 2012 choices.  But before we do, we’d like to know what everyone else watches.

If you could choose only one show per night, what would it be?

Did your favorite show make the list?  If not, what is it?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Next week, we will announce what our viewers prefer to watch and what we here at Tele-Tuesday mark as our #1 must watch programs in a Pick Per Night 2012.

 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Does It Get Much Better Than Revenge?

This week Amber West and I review two of TV’s top dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: a returning NBC favorite, Parenthood, and the new ABC smash hit, Revenge.

Revenge has been called the return of the night time soap opera, and the critics and viewers may be right.  The new drama loosely based on the Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, stars Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne, a young and beautiful addition to the rich and prestigious Hamptons.   However, Emily’s arrival isn’t her first trip to the neighborhood…

"Our" Emily

When she was a little girl, Amanda Clarke and her father lived in the quaint beach house next door to her father’s boss and his mansion (known as Grayson Manor).  Late one night, Amanda’s father was ripped away from her for crimes that later sent him to prison for the rest of his life.  Not necessarily believing in his innocence, Amanda rebelled and spent time in incarceration herself.  The day Amanda was released from prison, she was greeted by a stranger with life changing news: her father was dead, he had been framed, and she was now filthy rich.

Amanda’s father had believed in and secretly invested in a young man named Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) when no one else would.  Nolan awarded Mr. Clarke forty-nine percent of his company in return for the investment, and his investment was now worth millions.  When Amanda’s father died in prison, all of his assets were awarded to her.  But something greater came with these riches – a map and an explanation to each and every person responsible for framing her father and sending him to prison.  Amanda assumes a new identity as Emily Thorne (the name of her closest friend in juvenile detention) and spends the next eight years of her life setting her plan in to motion, vowing revenge against those responsible for her father’s downfall – primarily the Grayson family.

"Our" Emily hard at work, researching her next target...

After establishing herself around the world as an educated and philanthropic young lady, Emily returns to the Hamptons and rents the beach house where she spent time with her father; the house where he was so abruptly taken from her.   In practically every episode, Emily destroys someone involved with her father’s demise: her father’s assistant and current mistress to Conrad Grayson, Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta); her father’s closest friend and a corrupt hedge fund manager, Bill Harmon (Matthew Glave); and the district attorney and current state senator, Tom Kingsley (Yancey Arias) to just name a few.

But these are not Emily’s prime targets.  Enter Conrad Grayson (Henry Czemy), the CEO of her father’s company who spearheaded the entire take-down, and his not-so-loyal wife, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe).

Victoria may be smiling, but rest assured she is up to something...

To make matters worse, Victoria idly stood by and watched her lover (Amanda’s father) taken away in handcuffs.  Yes, that’s right – Victoria and David Clarke actually loved each other.  And little Amanda witnessed the entire thing – the love affair and Victoria’s standing outside the door as the police arrested her father.  Oh, and just wait and see what this secret romance created…

The look says it all...

How will Emily destroy the Graysons?  Will she involve their son, Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman); the man she’s slowly but surely seducing?  The pilot episode begins at Emily and Daniel’s engagement party with Daniel’s lying bleeding on the Hampton beach from gunshot wounds….so probably.

Sweet, sweet Daniel...

Or will the “real” Emily Thorne, assuming the identity of Amanda Clarke (played by Margarita Levieva) expose the entire charade before “our” Emily has the chance to exact her revenge on the Grayson family?

And what about Emily’s childhood friend, Jack Porter (Nick Wechler), who adopted her puppy when she and her father were ripped away from their beach house?  The same love-sick boy turned man who named his boat Amanda?  “Our” Emily has worked feverishly to protect Jack, but couldn’t stand in the way when the “real” Emily also fell in love with the bar owner.  Will he remain in the dark?  Will he learn the truth?  And when/if he does, how will he respond?

And then there's sweet, sweet Jack...

Oh, I could go on and on.  As if the title of today’s blog wasn’t clear enough, Revenge scores the highest of the highest WatchWed scores – the GTV rating.  It’s not gourmet because the series showcases what life in the Hamptons is all about – money, prestige, lavish homes, elaborate parties, and endless wardrobes, but because the storyline each and every week leaves such a sweet taste of revenge in our mouths that we simply can’t wait until the next episode.

If I could award Revenge with an even higher rating, I would.  How’s TBMIEH TV – The Best Meal I’ve Ever Had Television?  So that’s not a real rating here at Watch Wednesday, but it gets my point across.  I often say Revenge is my favorite of all of the new programs this 2012 season, but it may just be my favorite series that I’m watching today.  Period.

Revenge is infinitely sweet…

There's that look again...

What do you think? Do you watch Revenge?  Who’s your favorite character?  If you had all of Emily’s resources and a similar childhood story, would you exact revenge on those responsible?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Parenthood, the show, not her motherly experiences.

Come back next week when we review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

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: Tour de Psych

One of Tele-Tuesday’s favorite programs returns this week – the USA Network’s Psych.  What is Psych?  This one hour television series masterfully combines the classic police procedural and detective drama with quirky laughs and top-notch pop culture references.

To celebrate the mid-season premiere, Tele-Tuesday has decided to list our top 10 Psych episodes to help everyone get ready for the much-anticipated return of “psychic” Shawn Spencer (James Roday), his right-hand-man, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill), Detectives Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), and Shawn’s retired detective father, Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen).

This selection process was difficult, considering how many times the Psych writers and actors have knocked the ball way out of the park.  But we selected our top 10, nonetheless.

Sit back, relax, and grab a cup of coffee or another favorite blog reading snack – this is a long post, but couldn’t be avoided.  Enjoy!

*****

10. “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” (Season 5)

Because we love our readers, we have to rewind to season four for just a minute.  In “Extradition: British Columbia”, Shawn and Gus begin tracking an art thief (Pierre Despereaux played by Cary Elews) in Canada; an art thief that Lassie has tracked for years but never successfully captured.

Fast-forwarding to season five, Despereaux needs Shawn and Gus’ help and pays for them to travel back to Canada, just before his extradition to the United States.  In the meantime, the suave criminal escapes prison and is wrongfully accused of murder, leaving Shawn no choice but to investigate.

Shawn, Gus, and Despereaux

The Despereaux storyline is a fun one to return to, but “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” is perhaps included in the top ten because Shawn finally professes his love to Jules at the end of the episode.   And when we say finally, we mean finally.  It took us five seasons for him to admit his feelings for her.

9. “Last Night Gus” (Season 6)

“Last Night Gus” (Psych’s version of The Hangover) may have been one of the most enjoyable hours of the first half of season six.  After a night of apparently partying too hard, Shawn, Gus, Lassiter, and Woody (the coroner) wake up not remembering the night before.  Why is Lassie’s gun missing bullets?  Why did Henry wake up across town in a hotel room, sans pants?  What is the white powdery substance on Woody’s face?  Why is Shawn wearing a dead man’s sandals?  Why is “The Blueberry” (Gus’ car) dented?

Using Shawn’s “psychic” ability and Henry and Lassie’s detective skills, the group of men follow one clue after another, leading them to discover what really happened… and that “last night Gus” was a bit out of his element.

8. “The Devil’s in the Details… and the Upstairs Bedroom” (Season 4)

Shawn and Gus take the case of a college girl’s apparent suicide after one of her professors (Father Westley, played by the great Ray Wise) pleads with them to investigate, believing the girl to have been possessed by demons.  Why not?  It’s a Catholic University…

Shawn never believes the girl’s death to be more than suicide, but “plays along” until he actually discovers there was indeed foul play involved.  And when the Father is suspected of killing the girl, Shawn dedicates himself to prove the Holy Man’s innocence.

This was a bit of Heaven for former Twin Peaks fans…  Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), playing a priest, accused of murdering a young girl?  Too fun…

7.  “This Episode Sucks” (Season 6)

What more needs said about “This Episode Sucks” besides: vampires, Corey Feldman, and Kristy Swanson?  Exactly… but we will, just because.

When a body is discovered drained of blood in a parking lot, Shawn immediately believes vampires were involved.  He and Gus dress the part and visit a cult-like bar where all of the patrons dress and perhaps believe that they are indeed vampires.

Shawn and Gus "undercover"

Remember the pop culture references mentioned above?  Again, fantastic writing and attention to detail comes into play as Shawn and Gus approach the bartender to question him regarding the murder.  As the bartender turns to face the “Psych” detectives, “Cry Little Sister” (the theme song from The Lost Boys) plays louder and louder until – Duh Duh Duh DUNNNNNN — Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) turns to face them.

Also in this episode, Lassie meets a woman (Kristy Swanson) who the rest of the gang believes is involved in the murder.  Is she a vampire?  Probably not… but has Lassie finally found love?  Maybe…

 6.  “Yang 3 in 2D” (Season 5)

The Yin and Yang storyline is hands down one of the top highlights of the Psych era.  Since our first introduction in season three, we’ve watched multiple episodes featuring Shawn’s biggest nemeses.  Sorry to throw a Yang storyline in here at number six (essentially out-of-order if one is not familiar with the series), but we’ll provide more detail below in the top five.

After a woman (Mena Suvari) claims to have escaped the elusive Yin (Peter Weller), Shawn cannot help but investigate, knowing that Yin is responsible for Yang’s (Ally Sheedy) psychopathic nature and her years of tormenting him.  Shawn uses Yang, against everyone else’s better judgment, to face the evil behind the deranged.

Yes, this summary is cryptic but we didn’t want to give too much away…

5. “Murder? … Anyone? … Anyone? … Bueller?” (Season 3)

What could go wrong when Shawn and Gus attend their high school reunion?  Well murder, of course.  But there’s only one problem – there’s no body.  Without the body, no one believes Shawn.  So Shawn does what he does best – he pushes forward until he uncovers all of the necessary clues to solve the case.

Oh, and he reconnects with a girl he dissed in high school (Abigail, played by Rachael Leigh Cook) which begins an ongoing relationship for Shawn.

4.  “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast” (Season 1)

We love when Jules gets more involved in the cases, and our favorite episode of the entire first season follows Jules as she goes undercover in a sorority house.  She invites Shawn and Gus to help as she investigates a series of bizarre events seemingly related to an earlier suicide at an insane asylum.

Sorority house, undercover assignment, insane asylum, alleged ghosts – who could want more in an episode?

See, even Shawn and Gus are spooked...

3. “An Evening with Mr. Yang” (Season 3)

We could almost say this episode is where it all begins, but that would be a lie considering we’re in season three.  This is, however, the introduction of Yang (Ally Sheedy).  Yang is a serial killer who has set her sights on Shawn and those dearest to him.  Shawn mistakenly suspects a psychologist (Mary, played by Jimmi Simpson) as Yang, but soon discovers that he is dealing with another deranged madman (or woman in this case) all together.

Things intensify on Shawn and Abigail’s date at the drive-in when Yang kidnaps Shawn’s mother (Madeleine Spencer, played by Cybill Shepherd).  Will Shawn’s astute attention to detail save his mother’s life and allow him to capture Yang before it is too late?

2. “Mr. Yin Presents…” (Season 4)

As reminded by the Ion Television Psych Saturday evening marathons, “Mr. Yin Presents” is by far one of the best episodes to date.  The episode begins when Shawn and Gus are reminded of a former foe – Yang.  After she releases her new book, a book she has written from her new home inside an insane asylum, another familiar face returns (Mary, Jimmi Simpson).  Mary insists that Yang was working with a partner, so Shawn and Gus agree to interview her hoping for answers.

Yang gives them what they ask for – confirmation that she has a partner:  Yin.  Everyone is drawn into Yin’s game – a game consisting of scenes from classic Alfred Hitchcock movies.  Shawn, Gus, Henry, Lassie and Jules are separated into different Hitchcock scenes, when both of Shawn’s loves (Jules and Abigail) are kidnapped.  Who will Shawn choose to rescue and who will die?

Who will Shawn choose - Jules or Abigail?

And Number 1… Drum roll please…. “Dual Spires” (Season 5)

Shawn and Gus travel to Dual Spires looking forward to a cinnamon festival they learned about via a mysterious email, but instead find a murdered teenage girl wrapped in plastic down by the water.  Together they join forces with the town’s sheriff to solve the murder.

We could go on and on about this episode.  James Roday outdid himself writing this piece: he perfected the oddities of the characters from Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery from the ‘90s, Twin Peaks; he mimicked the eerie music and peculiar dancing to a “T”; and he incorporated a few of the Twin Peaks iconic elements such as the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.  Even better yet, Psych cast a few of the Twin Peaks alumni for the episode: Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), and Sherilyn Finn (Audrey Horne).

Every once in a while, Psych adjusts the opening theme song to appropriately fit the night’s episode.  Needless to say, “Dual Spires” was one of those episodes – and the show’s creators invited Julee Cruise to sing the opening (that’s right!  She also sang the Twin Peaks’ opening).

“Dual Spires” inspired those of us at Tele-Tuesday (me) to write a “thank you” note to the producers of Psych at the USA Network.  While we didn’t hear back from James Roday himself, we did receive an email from one of the producers thanking us for the kind words and assuring us that our note would please Roday, considering this episode was one of his creations.  Maybe she never shared our note, but it doesn’t matter.  We felt better expressing our gratitude for an episode VERY well done.

*****

The mid-season premiere “Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger” airs this Wednesday, February 29th on USA.  Will you watch?  Let’s just say one of our favorite bad guys is expected to return in this special extended episode of Psych, and a familiar face for those of us Twin Peaks fans guest stars.

We’ve already seen so many of our favorite faces from the ‘80s and ‘90s during the first half of season six:  Molly Ringwald (Psych loves the “Brat Pack”, Joey McIntyre, Jason Priestley, Danny Glover, and William Shatner.  Who’s next?

Just two besties playing 'thumb-war'

Do you watch Psych?  What’s your favorite episode?  Who is your favorite guest star to date?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Dirty Business, Again

This week Amber West and I review two of NBC’s new dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: Smash and The Firm.

What comes to mind when we hear the words “The Firm”?  Many associate these words with the best-selling novel written by John Grisham, but perhaps most think Tom Cruise almost immediately from his performance as Mitch McDeere in the 1993 film adapted from the novel, The Firm.

Mitch McDeere, fresh out of law school, is hired by a top law firm in Memphis where he and his young wife move (Abby, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn) to begin their new life together.  After just a few short weeks working for the firm, Mitch discovers that the company has been overbilling clients and he is immediately in a race to save his and his family’s life.  The Firm is a fantastic, suspenseful movie (also starring Gene Hackman) which is why I initially cringed at the thought of the story being retold yet again.

But it’s not.  Not really.

The Firm television series 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 overbilling clients (from the novel and the movie).  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 place 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 television program begins after the family leaves witsec and returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice.

Each episode, or chapter as each week is appropriately titled (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc), starts current day, then rewinds back in time to tell the story, uncovers more clues, and follows Mitch through the mystery, before it ends back in the current day.

"It's happening again..."

The pilot begins with Mitch running frantically through the DC area, running from two men in suits.  Mitch believes to have escaped the two suits and arrives in a hotel room where he is scheduled to meet a man.  This man briefly argues with Mitch, giving him nothing, before leaping to his death instead of facing the suits (they found Mitch) banging on the hotel door.

Rewind a few weeks…

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 failing 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.

Mitch and Abby meet the new 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.

Or so he thinks…

It seems each chapter will feature bits and pieces of three different plots: a minor storyline, an ongoing storyline, and one major storyline.

The minor:  Mitch will represent a new individual case each week, like when he takes on a dirty judge (guest star, Victor Garber).

The ongoing:  The mafia will follow and chase after Mitch and his family for his actions in Memphis (the movie).

The major:  Mitch will continue to research the Sarah Holt case – a client on trial for murdering an older woman while in her care.

This story qualifies as the major plot line because unbeknownst to Mitch, his new firm is interested in THIS case.  The firm isn’t interested in Miss Holt, the woman Mitch represents; they are interested in protecting their client – Noble Insurance.

Who is Noble insurance?  Remember the man from the pilot who jumps to his death?  He’s a Vice President at Noble insurance…

I don’t want to give too much of the story away for those who haven’t been enjoying chapter after chapter with me, but we do see a glimpse of truth behind the mystery in each episode.  The Firm doesn’t keep us guessing, not completely anyway, week after week like some frustrating shows.

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 on a Sunday night in January on NBC before moving to its temporary permanent home on Thursday nights.  I say temporary permanent because NBC has already moved The Firm, and to a time slot that I can’t help but think will kill the show – Saturday nights.  All this moving around can make a girl dizzy…

Because of the cast and the non-stop mystery and intrigue, I must award The Firm with the MacTV rating – it is by far a guilty pleasure like my favorite box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese.  After all, I can’t turn away from a good mystery; I never know where I’ll draw inspiration for my stories.  I’ve actually thought that this television series could have jumped the small screen all together and continued into a major motion picture sequel with success.

Now, depending on how The Firm wraps up the multiple plot lines, the rating could definitely fall to a JFTV rating, the kind of TV I regret watching after story-telling takes a plunge for the worst.  I hope this doesn’t happen; I really don’t want to feel miserable like I do after eating too many chocolate bars.

What do you think? Do you watch The Firm?  How does it fare in comparison with Grisham’s book and the movie?  Do you like Josh Lucas as Mitch, or do you prefer Tom Cruise?  Do you think the move to Saturday night will kill the show?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on Smash.   Remember our “fight” last week to review Alcatraz?  Yea, no fighting this week.  Smash is all Amber’s…

Come back next week when Amber and I flip networks and review two of ABC’s dramas: Parenthood and my favorite of all the new shows, Revenge.

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

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