Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Rewinding Time with Tru Calling

Oh, December… perhaps one of the busiest months of the year.  Many of us are moving at warp speeds trying to wrap up our holiday preparations AND deal with the end-of-the-year nonsense we all face year after year.  The days are flying by and before we know it, 2013 will be here and we’ll all be left wondering where the month has gone.  With all of the madness expected to surround us these next few weeks, Amber West and I have decided to revisit a few of our older Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews instead of tackling anything new.

Even though I’m usually running around like a chicken with its head cut off in the evenings this time of year, I still have time for my TV.  However, most of the networks are about to start airing reruns, and many of the channels have a lineup of holiday movies playing hour after hour.  For some of us, we want and need something different.

Which is why this month is almost perfect for a mini-marathon-style watching party!  As we’re wrapping gifts or baking sweet treats, why not watch an older TV show with a fun concept and quite a few familiar faces?

So, today, I’ve selected one of my original Queue It Up reviews to spotlight:

Tru Calling

The series begins with recent college graduate, Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), searching frantically for an internship hoping to get into medical school.  Most of the good placements have already been filled, so Tru takes the only job she can find—at the morgue.

As if working with the dead isn’t daunting enough, Tru must deal with the bodies temporarily awakening and asking for her help.  The very second she receives one of these requests, Tru’s day resets and she must race to figure out exactly what these souls are trying to tell her.

Mostly, when Tru’s day starts over, she tries desperately to stop the untimely deaths of those asking for her help.  But messing with fate always has its consequences.

Trying to manage her daily resets and keep her secret from friends and family, Tru also battles constant struggles with her irresponsible brother, Harrison (Shawn Reaves), her drug-addict sister, Meredith (Jessica Collins, The Young and the Restless), and her boyfriend Luc (Matt Bomer, White Collar), while still trying to lead a normal life.

Recognize him?

Despite the chaos, Tru tries to stay grounded with the help of her best friend, Lindsey (A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds), and her boss at the morgue, Davis (Zach Galifinakis from The Hangover movies).  Davis might just be Tru’s biggest rock throughout the series, even if he’s a bit odd and awkward.

How about him?

Jason Priestly (the “real” 90210) joined the cast midway through season one as Jack Harper.  There’s only one problem: his primary focus is to stop Tru and restore fate.

Him?

Typical of shows on Fox, Tru Calling was cancelled before answering all of the ongoing storylines.  This show will always live on my “gone too soon” list, and I proudly own both seasons on DVD.  One of the writers, Doris Egan, shared the remaining story arc in a two-part series via her Livejournal blog.  Without giving away any spoilers, the viewers learn all about Tru’s parents and Tru and Jack’s mentors.

Egan’s Tru Calling Part One

Egan’s Tru Calling Part Two

Tru Calling earns a MacTV rating – pop some popcorn, grab a blanket, turn off the lights, spark up a candle, and watch episode after episode like a guilty pleasure.

I hope you especially enjoy a few of my favorite episodes; but before you get started, check out the theme song (Full Blown Rose’s “Somebody Help Me”) for just a tiny taste of what’s ahead.

Season One
 “Morning After”
“Murder in the Morgue”
“Valentine”
“Two Weddings and a Funeral”

 Season Two
“Grace”
“In the Dark”
“Enough”

Season two also introduced a few familiar faces as recurring characters: Liz Vassey (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) played Dr. Carrie Allen (remember, nothing is ever as it seems) and Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles) played Jensen Ritchie, Tru’s love interest.

Last one – do you recognize him?

If you don’t have a Netflix account, don’t worry!  Occasionally, SyFy airs a daily marathon of Tru Calling.

Did you watch Tru Calling?  If your days could reset, would you race against the clock to change fate, or leave things as they were?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what see recommends…

Come back next week when Amber and I choose another of our favorites to share….  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 – 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 – Studying the Behaviors of the Criminally Inclined

The new television season has arrived!  Many of our favorite programs have returned, so Amber West and I decided to share a few more Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews to check out two additional CBS hit series – The Good Wife and Criminal Minds

First up – Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds follows a team of highly trained FBI agents who profile criminal behaviors for the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).   There are tons of police procedural programs on TV today, but none like this. 

The BAU team’s home base is at the famous Quantico, Virginia location; however, they travel around the United States once a city’s local authorities request their presence at the scene of a crime.  The unit studies the unsubs, or unidentified suspects, instead of the crime itself.    

The team is led by Unit Chief Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner (Thomas Gibson, Darma & Greg).   Hotch’s dedication to his job cost him his marriage.  After his ex-wife Haley (played by Meredith Monroe) was murdered by serial killer “The Reaper” (C. Thomas Howell), Hotch gained custody of his son, Jack. Hotch attempts to make amends by being the best father he possibly can; he even coaches the little guy’s soccer team. 

Due to the graphic nature of his job, Hotch rarely smiles and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders; but, despite the difficulty, he will do everything in his power to protect his team.      

Next in line is Senior Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore, The Young and the Restless).  Excelling at his job, Morgan has been named Acting Unit Chief when Hotch is out.  He was in line to be the next Unit Chief of the New York field office, but he declined the position.   He is strong and fast, and is by far the most physical on the BAU team (he’s pretty to look at too). 

Morgan had a difficult childhood: he witnessed his father’s murder and he was sexually abused by the local boys’ club caretaker.  As an adult, Morgan was framed for murdering a few of his hometown’s local boys, but was later proven innocent by his team.   

Also serving the BAU as a Senior Supervisory Special Agent is David Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna (Joan of Arcadia).  Rossi is credited as one of the founding members of the BAU, but he retired to write books and lecture on criminal analysis.  He returned to the team after Gideon’s untimely departure (see below), and seized the opportunity to solve a cold case that had haunted him for decades. 

Rossi has been married and divorced multiple times, and often jokes that divorce lawyers are the only people in his personal life that he can make happy.            

Special Agent Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster, Friends – remember Kathy?  She dated Joey and Chandler….) joined the team after Elle walked away (see below).  Early on, Prentiss felt she had something to prove being that Hotch and Gideon suspected her mother’s position as a U.S. Ambassador had something to do with her joining the BAU team. 

Prentiss served Interpol for years, where she worked undercover hunting international arms dealer, Ian Doyle.  This past year, Doyle killed her Interpol colleagues one-by-one, blaming them for the death of his only son.  Doyle finally found Emily, hunted her, and killed her.  Or did he? 

Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler, Alvin and the Chipmunks motion picture franchise) is probably my favorite member of the team.  Reid is a genius; he graduated high school before he was a teenager; he has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology; he has a Ph.D in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering; and he has an insanely high IQ – all courtesy of his eidetic memory.  Reid reads faster than anyone on the planet (he scans the page with his finger and remembers it verbatim), he remembers everything he sees, but he struggles with certain things that he hears. 

Reid suffers from inexplicable headaches and fears that he has inherited his mother’s schizophrenia.  He is not as physically fit as the rest of his team, which probably led to his being held hostage twice (once by a character portrayal by Luke Perry and another time by James Van Der Beek).     

Special Agent Jenifer “JJ” Jareau, (AJ Cook, Tru Calling) also serves the team as the media liaison.  JJ joined the FBI after attending one of Rossi’s lectures, and she is the only non-profiler on the team.  Because she isn’t a profiler, JJ has a hard time understanding how people can commit such horrible crimes, but she remains professional and battles through each case. 

JJ recently returned to the team after she was forced to take a position at the Pentagon.  Besides Hotch, JJ is the only BAU team member with a child.   

Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia, played by Kirsten Vangsness, serves the team from Quantico.  Garcia joined the team after the FBI caught her hacking into their systems.  Rarely does she accompany the team to crime scenes; instead, she prefers to stay locked inside her computer lair wearing bright eye shadows and lipsticks while  frantically surfing the internet and databases for information to assist the team. 

Garcia is one of the only BAU team members to have an actual romantic relationship (fellow FBI analyst, Kevin Lynch, played by Nicholas Brendon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).   

The BAU team has suffered its share of casualites over the years.  Previous team members include: Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin, Chicago Hope) silently walked away without telling anyone after his former girlfriend was murdered by a serial killer; Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini, The Sopranos) left the team after she was shot following an undercover assignment; and Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols, Alias) was transferred out to another department, explained by Strauss downsizing the BAU team. 

Recurring characters include: Reid’s schizophrenic mother, Diana Reid (Jane Lynch, Glee); former New Orleans police liaison and father of JJ’s son, William “Will” LaMontagne (Josh Stewart, No Ordinary Family); and  BAU Unit Direct Supervisor, Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson, 24).    

The Criminal Minds franchise took an unfavorable dip last year with the one-season-and-done spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior starring Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo.  I have to admit that the story improved as the season moved forward, and unfortunately it ended with a cliff hanger.  Maybe the Criminal Minds team will do another cross over episode and close out that story line for us?

Regardless, the original remains strong airing new episodes every Wednesday night on CBS and in syndication on A&E and ION.  At almost any given time, one can find an episode of Criminal Minds to enjoy. 

As if my love for the characters isn’t evident by the length of my post, I must give Criminal Minds a GTV rating: it has everything we want and more, especially for this fiction writer.  Criminal Minds is an excellent source of research for understanding a potential protagonist’s actions in murder mysteries.  That’s my excuse for watching so much of it, anyway.  Yes, I’m going to keep telling myself that…     

What do you think? Have you watched Criminal Minds?  Who’s your favorite BAU team member? Were you disappointed with the cancellation of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of The Good Wife.  Amber was very adamant during the Tambery Awards production that Julianna Margulies win best actress – and she did!  Congrats, Julianna. 

Come back next week when Amber and I click over to NBC and review two of the channel’s hit programs – Harry’s Law and Law & Order: SVU.

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Queue it Up!

Amber West and I are taking this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in a different direction.  Courtesy of Netflix, many people don’t watch live television anymore, and we’re suggesting a few series that are definitely worthy of queuing up! 

Tru Calling

The series begins with recent college graduate, Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), searching frantically for an internship hoping to get into medical school.  Most of the good placements have already been filled, so Tru takes the only job she can find – at the morgue.

As if working with the dead isn’t daunting enough, Tru must deal with the bodies temporarily awakening and asking for her help.  The very second she receives one of these requests, Tru’s day resets and she must race to figure out exactly what these souls are trying to tell her.

Mostly, when Tru’s day starts over, she tries desperately to stop the untimely deaths of those asking for her help, but messing with fate always has its consequences. 

Trying to manage her daily resets and keep her secret from friends and family, Tru also battles constant struggles with her irresponsible brother, Harrison (Shawn Reaves), her drug-addict sister, Meredith (Jessica Collins, The Young and the Restless), and her boyfriend Luc (Matt Bomer, White Collar), while trying to lead a normal life. 

Despite the chaos, Tru tries to stay grounded with the help of her best friend, Lindsey (A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds), and her boss at the morgue, Davis (Zach Galifinakis from The Hangover).  Davis may just be Tru’s biggest rock throughout the series, even if he’s a bit odd and awkward. 

Jason Priestly (the original 90210) joined the cast midway through season one as Jack Harper; his primary focus – stop Tru and restore fate.

Typical of shows on Fox, Tru Calling was cancelled before answering all of the ongoing storylines.  This show will always live on my “gone too soon” list, and I proudly own both seasons on DVD.  One of the writers, Doris Egan, shared the remaining story arc in a two-part series via her Livejournal blog.  Without giving away any spoilers, the viewers learn all about Tru’s parents and Tru and Jack’s mentors.   

Egan’s Tru Calling Part One

Egan’s Tru Calling Part Two

Tru Calling earns a MacTV rating – pop some popcorn, grab a blanket, turn off the lights, spark up a candle, and watch episode after episode like a guilty pleasure. 

I hope you especially enjoy a few of my favorite episodes, but before you get started, check out the theme song (Full Blown Rose’s “Somebody Help Me”) for just a tiny taste of what’s ahead.  

Season One
 “Morning After”
“Murder in the Morgue”
“Valentine”
“Two Weddings and a Funeral”

 Season Two
“Grace”
“In the Dark”
“Enough”

Season two also introduced a few familiar faces as recurring characters: Liz Vassey (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) played Dr. Carrie Allen (nothing is ever as it seems – remember!) and Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles) played Jensen Ritchie, Tru’s love interest. 

If you don’t have a Netflix account, don’t worry!  Occasionally, SyFy airs a daily marathon of Tru Calling

Do you subscribe to Netflix? Did you watch Tru Calling? Are you an Eliza Dushku fan? What would you do if the dead asked for your help?  If your days could reset, would you race against the clock to change fate, or leave things as they were?  What are a few of your favorite TV series gone too soon?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see why she recommends you queue up the science fiction hit – Firefly

Come back next week for another Netflix edition as Amber and I review a few more series worth a queue.

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

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

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

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

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

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

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