Tele-Tuesday: Astute or Psychic?

Which show can be described as a police procedural, detective drama, quirky comedy, and an ‘80s and ’90s throwback?

The USA Network’s Psych!

Shawn Spencer (James Roday, Miss Match) was an ornery young boy raised by his single cop dad (Henry Spencer played by Corbin Bernsen, L.A. Law).  Okay, Shawn is still a bit ornery today.  From a very early age, Shawn’s dad taught him to pay close attention to details; and, it’s this astute ability that has allowed Shawn to trick everyone around him into believing he is psychic.

Everyone, that is, except for his father and his best friend, partner, and pharmaceutical salesman Burton ‘Gus’ Guster (Dule Hill, The West Wing).

Each episode begins with a flashback to the ‘80s when Shawn and Gus were young boys.  Often times, this childhood scene depicts an observational lesson from Henry, or a direct memory from Shawn and Gus’ past (like remembering their old classmate, played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.) that will relate directly to the current week’s episode.

After assisting the Santa Barbara Police Department on a case, Shawn and Gus establish Psych, their psychic consulting firm.  Hired on a case by case basis by Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), Shawn and Gus work alongside detectives Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson, Judging Amy) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson, TV movies Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover).

Most of Psych’s fun spawns from the banter between Shawn and Gus, Lassie’s constant frustration and exasperation with the two Psych consultants, and the familiar (Shawn and Henry) and romantic (Shawn and Jules) relationships shared between characters.

Fan of the ‘80s? ‘90s? Look no further!  Psych not only casts familiar faces from the decades, but also includes puns on particular storylines.

Famous ‘80s and ’90s recurring guest stars include Phylicia Rashad as Gus’ mom (The Cosby Show), Cybill Shepherd as Shawn’s mom (Moonlighting), and Ray Wise as Father Westley (Twin Peaks).

Shawn’s nemeses are all ‘80s greats as well: Yin (Peter Weller, Robocop), Yang (Ally Sheedy, member of the “Brat Pack”), and Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes, The Princess Bride).

One of the best episodes to date was the Twin Peaks tribute in season five, “Dual Spires”.  James Roday outdid himself writing the episode: he perfected the oddities of the characters from Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery; 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 dead girl’s body wrapped in plastic found by the water, the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.

Psych even changed the opening credits to honor Twin Peaks.  This wasn’t the first time the program made subtle changes to the music to reflect the current episode’s theme (just a little fun-Psych-“I Know You Know”-fact).

Back to the blasts from the past, let’s not forget these additional ‘80s and ‘90s guest stars: Jaleel White (Family Matters), Rachael Leigh Cook from She’s All That, “Brat Pack” member Judd Nelson, C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid), Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show), Mena Suvari (American Pie), Carl Weathers (Rocky), and Twin Peaks alumni Dana Ashbrook, Sherilyn Fenn, and Sheryl Lee.

Need more? The new season promises to bring a few new faces from the ‘80s and ‘90s: Molly Ringwald (another “Brat-Pack” member), Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie), Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys), Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block), Jason Priestley (the original 90210), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon movies), William Shatner (Star Trek movies), and Madchen Amick (another Twin Peaks alumnus).

Rumor has it that this season will also include an Indiana Jones themed episode.  No doubt this will be fabulous!

Psych returns this Wednesday, October 12th.

Do you watch Psych?  Shawn or Gus?  Lassie or Henry?  Who is your favorite guest star to date?  Do you look for the pineapple in each episode?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tele-Tuesday: New to Fall – Final Four…For Now

Fall television is here!  

As always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.  For the past four weeks, we have introduced these new shows hoping to find a permanent home on the networks.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out.

But, guess what?  We’re not done! 

While we will have more shows premiering later in the year and into 2012, for now, here are the final four new programs for Fall 2011.

*****

Grimm – NBC

We’ve all heard of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, right?  Grimm follows Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, multiple TV appearances including Nip/Tuck, Ghost Whisperer, and Veronica Mars) 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. 

Nick tries to protect his girlfriend (Bitsie Tulloch, Outlaw) and his homicide partner (Russell Hornsby, In Treatment) by not telling them the truth about his family lineage and his newfound responsibilities.  Instead, he turns to a former Grimm creature, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell, My Name Is Earl), for help understanding the mythology in order to protect the world as he knows it.

Will Nick succeed?

Other notables: David Giuntoli first appeared on MTV’s Road Rules: South Pacific and also participated in the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet.   Grimm also stars Sasha Roiz (Caprica) and Reggie Lee (No Ordinary Family). 

Grimm premieres Friday, October 28th.

*****

Once Upon a Time – ABC

Once Upon a Time stars Jennifer Morrison (House) as bail bondsman Emma Swan.  Her ordinary life takes a bizarre turn when Henry (Jared Gilmore), the son she gave away a decade ago, arrives claiming that according to his fairytale book, she is the missing daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. 

Emma takes the imaginative Henry back to his hometown of Storybrooke, where she finds herself unusually attacked to the town.  If the townsfolk are indeed fairytale characters, they do not recollect their former world and they go about their day-to-day lives like all humans.  But, Emma can sense that something is not right. 

Will Emma accept her destiny and return the magical balance to the charmed city?  

Other notables: Once Upon a Time also stars Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love),  as Snow White/Sister Mary Margaret; Joshua Dallas (Thor) as Prince Charming/John Doe; Lana Parrilla (24) as The Evil Queen/Regina; and Giancarlo Esposito (Homicide: Life on the Street) as the Evil Queen’s Magic Mirror/Sydney.  

Once Upon a Time premieres Sunday, October 23rd.

*****

Man Up – ABC

Man Up follows three friends as they question what it means to be a “man” in today’s society. 

Friend number one, Will (Mather Zickel, Rachel Getting Married), is married with children, but he’s childlike himself with his addiction to video games.  Friend number two, Craig (Christopher Moynihan, Coupling), is stuck in the past trying to get his college girlfriend back.  While friend number three, Kenny (Dan Fogler, Take me Home Tonight), is busy attempting to sabotage his ex’s relationship with her gorgeous new man.   

Will these friends “man up,” or continue to act like children?

Other notables: Man Up also stars Teri Polo (Focker movie franchise and The West Wing) as Teresa, Will’s wife; Amanda Detmer (Saving Silverman) as Bridgette, Kenny’s ex; and Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue) as Grant, Bridgette’s new hottie.

Man Up premieres Friday, October 21st.

*****

I Hate My Teenage Daughter – FOX

I Hate My Teenage Daughter stars Jaime Pressley (My Name is Earl) as Annie, and Katie Finneran (George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead) as Nikki, two single mothers cringing as they watch their teenage daughters turn into the girls they hated when they were growing up. 

Annie was raised in a very strict household, so she allows her daughter (Sophia, Kristi Lauren) to have as much freedom as she wants.  Nikki was an unpopular outcast, therefore she allows her daughter (Mackenzie, Aisha Dee) to have whatever she needs to fit into the popular crowd.  While trying to give their girls everything they never had, Annie and Nikki have created two spoiled mean girls. 

Who will win in the end – the mothers or the daughters?

Other notables:  I Hate My Teenage Daughter also stars Eric Sheffer Stevens (As the World Turns) as Matt, Annie’s ex and Sophia’s father; Chad Coleman (The Wire) as Gary, Nikki’s ex and Mackenzie’s father; Kevin Rahm (Desperate Housewives); and Rosa Blasi (The Bold and the Beautiful). 

I Hate My Teenage Daughter premieres Wednesday, November 30th.

*****

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday #5 – Summer Fun Part Two

Ready for more summer fun? Tune to the USA Network!

White Collar – Meet Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer, from Chuck and Tru Calling), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by FBI agent, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).  Season 1 opens with Peter releasing Neal from prison under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor, AND one condition: Neal must assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys by utilizing his criminal expertise.  Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-artist, Mozzie (Willie Garson, aka Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City) who despite his distrust of the government stands by his friend’s side, and builds his own relationship with Peter and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (played by Tiffani Theissen most popularly known for her role as Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell).  In addition to solving a new FBI case each week, Neal focuses on discovering the truth behind his girlfriend Kate’s disappearance. 

Did I mention that Neal is sexy?  Neal’s piercing baby blues and charming smile illuminate in combination with his dapper tailored suits and his Fedora hat. 

In Season 2, Neal continues his search while everyone, including Peter and his FBI right-hand Diana (Marsha Thomason from Vegas), investigates Kate’s story on their own, each hoping to bring closure to Neal’s heartache.  White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another con played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator played by Hilarie Burton).  Season 2 ends with Neal’s previous mentor turned nemesis, Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy best known from his 80’s hits Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire) escaping once again, ending Neal’s quest for answers – for the time being.  What will happen in Season 3?  Find out when White Collar returns June 7th!

Covert Affairs – Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo, Coyote Ugly) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham, Harper’s Island), and the former CIA director’s son, Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (played by Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (the fabulous Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, test her abilities, and review her loyalties to the CIA.  Annie also battles familiar woes living in her sister’s guest house, and playing perfect aunt to her two nieces, while keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact.

Living her double life, Annie showcases her kick-ass CIA training, and battles her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.  Covert Affairs also returns June 7th

Burn Notice – Bringing sexy back to Thursday nights.  Miami + Burned Spy = Hottest Show on Television!  Michael Westen, a former spy burned by the U.S. government, teams up with Sam Axe (Michael’s friend and former Navy Seal), Fiona Glenanne (Michael’s gun-crazy on & off again girlfriend), and Jesse Porter (another spy accidentally burned by Michael) to keep Miami safe, and continue Michael’s investigation into his burn notice. 

Season 4 ended with a bang, no different from any other Burn Notice finale.  Why was Michael taken to Washington D.C.?  Was his burn notice lifted?  Burn Notice returns June 23rd.  

 

Law & Order: Criminal IntentGoren & Eames, together again, returned Sunday, May 1st, for the tenth and final season.  It seems tv-land is happy for the original CI partners’ return – the show’s rating was up 43% from last year.  In an interview with Candace Havens, Vincent D’Onofrio mentioned that the storyline this season focuses more on the cases than the personal lives of the detectives – back to Law & Order basics. 

Psych – It was just announced by the USA Network that Psych doesn’t return until Fall 2011, but I still highly recommend adding it to your Netflix queue for summer fun if you like mysteries, pop-culture from the 80’s, and laughing – especially for the blooper reel! 

Growing up with a detective father (Corbin Bernsen from the 80’s greats L.A. Law and Major League) teaching him to pay very close attention to detail, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) fools everyone into believing he has psychic abilities.  Everyone, that is, except his father, Henry, and his best friend, Gus (Burton Guster played by Dule Hill from The West Wing).  Shawn & Gus open a consulting/detective agency, “Psych”, and freelance their services to the Santa Barbara police department on numerous cases, despite the constant disapproval of lead detective, Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson).  Lassiter and his partner, Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), join Shawn and Gus to close the cases assigned to them by Police Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), and comedy ensues each and every time.  Every episode promises laughs, especially with the absolutely hilarious nicknames Shawn & Gus assume for each case.  The 80’s references, 80’s music, and 80’s guest stars (Judd Nelson & Ally Sheedy from The Brat Pack, Phylicia Rashad & Keisha Knight Pulliam from The Cosby Show, Cybill Shepherd from Moonlighting just to name a few) make watching Psych a fun game of 80’s trivia, especially for those of us deemed children of the 80’s – like myself. 

Being a huge fan of the 90s hit Twin Peaks, I absolutely loved the Psych season five episode: ‘Dual Spires’.  James Roday outdid himself writing the episode: he perfected the oddities of the characters from David Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery; 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 dead girl’s body wrapped in plastic found by the water, the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.  Even better yet, Psych cast a few of the fabulous Twin Peaks alumni for the episode: Sheryl Lee, Laura Palmer; Dana Ashbrook, Bobby Briggs; Ray Wise, Leland Palmer; and, Sherilyn Finn; Audrey Horne.  ‘Dual Spires’ may be my favorite Psych episode to date! 

Do you watch USA’s In Plain Sight or Royal Pains?  Do you hope that Fairly Legal returns for a second season on USA?  Do you miss Monk or The Dead Zone?  What other networks and/or shows do you enjoy during the summer months?  I’d love to hear from you!

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