Psych-O for Psych – What I Will Miss Most…

If not apparent from my back-to-back-to-back blogs about Psych this week, I love this show and consider myself a Psycho-O—a die-hard Psych fan.

Not only do the writers and creators outdo themselves with each and every episode, ensuring craftily designed mysteries and packing the show full of pop culture puns and tributes, they never forget to make the audience laugh. Heck, even the commercials and promos kill me every time I see them, even when I’ve seen the same one over and over again. Unlike the Hollywood movie trailers that include all of the funniest moments in the sneak peeks, one can always expect to laugh from start to finish when Shawn, Gus, Lassie, Jules, and Henry take to the screen.

So today, I’ve decided to share what I will miss most after Psych airs its series finale tonight…

1. The special intros & theme songs dedicated to particular episodes.

First of all, the Psych theme song makes me happy. Period. If I’m not bobbing my head along to the music, I might be dancing. Just sayin’.

Every once in a while, Psych adjusts the opening theme song to appropriately fit the night’s episode. As mentioned in my Top 15 Psych episodes posts, “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).

Another good one? From the “High Top Fade Out” episode in season four.

2. All the popular ’80s and ’90s guest stars and pop culture references.

There are just too many to list here…

3. Looking for the pineapple in every episode.

I’ve even learned to look for the pineapple in everyday life. Just like this one time at dinner when it arrived by surprise on my dessert plate.

Psych Pineapple4. Shawn’s made-up names for Gus

Perhaps one of my favorite elements of Psych and its comedy and pop culture references comes when Shawn introduces himself and Gus during an investigation. Shawn almost always introduces himself accurately (although not always), but Gus isn’t so lucky. Take the “Let’s Get Hairy” episode. When introducing themselves to a psychiatrist, Shawn introduces himself as “Randle P. McMurphy” and Gus as “Cheswick,” two patients from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Shawn provides aliases for both of them in this example, but it’s usually just Gus with names like “Art Vandelay” from Seinfeld, “Black Magic,” and “Fellatio Del Toro.” It’s always something in every single episode…

5. The special USA Psych promos and commercials. Particularly “Private Eyes.”

6. Shawn telling Gus to “not be” something.

There are also the numerous times Shawn tells Gus to “not be” something: “Gus, don’t be Nick Cage’s accent from Con Air” (episode “Death is in the Air” – Season 4) or “Gus, don’t be Pete Rose’s haircut” (episode “Dead Man’s Curveball” – Season 6). These lines of dialog aren’t always pop culture related, sometimes they are just funny when used in context of the episode, but we can always count on some “Gus, don’t be” comment… and a laugh.

7. Gus’ screams. And Gus’ and Shawn’s screams.

8. All the times Shawn and Gus say, “Suck It.”

9. All the times Shawn and Gus say, “C’mon Son!”

10. All the times Shawn and Gus “tisk” something the other has said or a situation.

“Suck It,” “C’mon, Son,” and the tisks have all made their way into this household’s everyday conversations…

Call me crazy because I know I am, but I’m tearing up now just typing this post. So, ten things I will miss most about Psych are all you get.

The rumors have been swirling all week that USA might back a Psych movie. PLEASE DO!! I still don’t understand why the network is ending a show that is still, as of this year, winning awards and has the crazy fan base this particular show does.

Psych, you will be missed.

Love always,
Your Psych-Os

Do you watch Psych? What will you miss most? I’d love to hear from you!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

 

 

USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement Continues…

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

We’ve already discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television specific to TNT, but TNT is not alone.

The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.  This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer television amusement.

Last week, we shared three of the network’s veteran programs premiering in their third, fifth, and seventh seasons later this June.  And today, we’re talking about two more of USA’s returning hits PLUS a new freshman series starring some nice eye candy…

*****

Graceland

No, this is not Elvis’ Graceland…

This “Graceland” is a beautiful Southern California beachfront property where a handful of young and attractive roommates cohabitate.

But these aren’t your normal everyday roommates… these roommates have a secret; a secret that if exposed could get them all killed.

Why?  Because each and every one of them are undercover.  Some with the FBI.  Some with the DEA.  And some with US Customs.

The new series stars: Aaron Tveit (Gossip Girl and Les Miserables) as Mike Warren, an FBI agent fresh out of the academy and thrust into Graceland; Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) as Paul Briggs, an experienced FBI agent who takes Warren under his wing; Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings) as Paige Arkin, the rough and tumble, yet sexy DEA agent; Vanessa Ferlito (CSI: NY) as Charlie Demarco, an FBI agent with chameleon-like characteristics and some attitude; Brandon Jay McLaren (Harper’s Island and Falling Skies) as Dale Jakes, a territorial US Customs Agent—don’t touch his stuff; and Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro, a former Navy Seal trainee who has joined the FBI.

Graceland premieres Thursday, June 6th.

*****

Suits

Suits follows Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm instructed to find another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to work as an associate.  Enter Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant man with an eidetic memory (perfect recall) whose recitation of Bar review materials lands him a position at Harvey’s law firm—despite the fact he never graduated college.

These two unconventional minds work together, balancing the law AND lying to everyone.  But how long will it be before the shunned senior partner (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman) discovers the truth?  The boss (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) already knows and she loves holding it over Harvey’s and Mike’s heads…

Yes, I realize this would NEVER happen in real life, but it sure makes for some good TV…

Suits also stars Meghan Markle as Rachel, a paralegal at Harvey’s and Mike’s law firm, not to mention Mike’s love interest… and Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey’s spitfire assistant, and one of the very few that actually knows the big secret.

Two years ago, when I reviewed Suits as a part of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series, I ranked the then freshman series with a Mac TV rating (equivalent to three stars).  If asked to review again, I believe Harvey and Mike would find themselves upgraded into five-star status.

The one where Harvey lets loose… probably my favorite episode ever.

Season three premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Covert Affairs

Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) 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), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, testing her abilities, and assessing her loyalties to the CIA.

While keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact, Annie lives her double life… showcasing her kick-ass CIA training, and battling her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.

Despite her training and attributes, Annie isn’t superhuman.  Sometimes I think she makes the worst spy ever, sometimes even one of the most annoying characters on TV today.  But I still keep coming back for more.  Regardless of how I feel about Annie, I always find myself fighting alongside with her in her corner, and it has nothing to do with how adorable Auggie is.  Okay, so maybe it does…

That’s my Auggie… so cute!

Season four premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Do you enjoy Suits or Covert Affairs?  Will you check out Graceland?  I’d love to hear from you! 

USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

The last two weeks, we discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television shows specific to TNT… but TNT is not alone.

The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.  This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer television amusement.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll discuss these USA series.  First up, three of the network’s veteran programs, premiering in their third, fifth, and seventh seasons this June…

*****

Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing—no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family members to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA blacklisted him AND discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice.

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover and current girlfriend, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the most recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.

Every season answers a few more questions pertaining to Michael’s burn notice, but similarly adds even more fuel to the fire.

Season seven premieres Thursday, June 6th.

*****

Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness follows Dani Santino (Callie Thorne), a New York woman attempting to balance her family and her career following a recent divorce.  She accepts a position as a therapist for a professional football team, and is assigned to assist the team’s star receiver in actually catching the ball.  She sees other clients, sometimes a new client per episode, but primarily Dr. D focuses her time and energy on the New York Hawks and T.K. (Terrance King, aka Mehcad Brooks).

The series also stars Scott Cohen as Nico, the team’s head of security, and Marc Blucas as Matt, the team’s general manager… both of whom are Dani’s love interests.

As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.

Season three premieres Wednesday, June 12th.

*****

Royal Pains

Royal Pains stars Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Hank Lawson, a former New York Emergency Room doctor dismissed after an alleged wrongful death case.  He moves to the Hamptons and begins making house calls to the rich and famous as a “concierge doctor,” and sometimes even helps the less fortunate.  Hank’s company, HankMed, also consists of his brother/CFO (Evan played by Paulo Costanzo) and his invaluable assistant (Divya played by Reshma Shetty).

The series also stars Henry Winkler as Hank and Evan’s father, Eddie Lawson, and Campbell Scott as Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz (isn’t that a great name?!?!).

Season five premieres Wednesday, June 12th.

*****

Do you enjoy any of the above USA Network original programs? Which one are you most looking forward to and why? I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: Why Common Law Deserves a Renewal

Everyone is familiar with the term opposites attract.  Heck, many of us even remember Paula Abdul’s hit song from the late ‘80s, early ‘90s.  Usually, people think of romantic couples when hearing the phrase… but television has taken it to an entirely different level, especially when creating cohesive and lovable partnerships—detective pairings to be specific.

These duos usually have different backgrounds: familiar, economic, social, racial, educational, etcetera.  But more often than not, these partners make for some of the best in the field.  One of the first pairs that comes to mind is Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs (Miami Vice).  Another is Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey (Cagney & Lacey).  And a more recent example would have to be Peter Burns and Neal Caffrey (White Collar).

There is nothing ground-breaking about these types of pairings on television, which is why when a new police procedural airs, the characters need another sort of twist to make it stand out among all the others.

Common Law does just that.  The USA series follows two Los Angeles robbery/homicide detectives with an immense love for the job—a job they’re good at—great at, actually—they just don’t like each other very much.  And when one partner draws his gun on the other, the police captain insists the two attend relationship counseling, or couples therapy to use a term we’re familiar with today.

Let’s start with Travis (Michael Ealy).  Travis was raised in the foster care system and has many mothers and brothers around the L.A. area.  He is a bit of a womanizer—he loves women and they love him—but he shies away from dating any one woman for more than, well, a night.  Perhaps this has something to do with his unstable childhood, but for whatever reason, it works for him… for now.

Next, we have Wes (Warren Kole).  The series hasn’t shared much about his childhood, but one can assume he hails from a wealthy enough family.  Before joining the LAPD, Wes worked as a lawyer and was married to another lawyer.  But when he quit to become a policeman, he lost more than his job—his wife left him too.  He hasn’t really dipped his toes back into the dating waters, but he’s taking baby steps toward the pool.

Travis and Wes bring these differences to their partnership, but only one thing matters—they are the best at what they do.  They bicker; they fight; and then they bicker and fight some more.  But when on a case, they rock it.

This scenario isn’t very fresh, is it?  No—but this is where the couples therapy comes in.  Travis and Wes do NOT want to attend therapy, but they don’t have a choice.  They’re joined by three heterosexual married couples and led by Dr. Ryan (Sonya Walger).  The therapy sessions really are great, and each episode’s opening quote always ties into the detectives’ lessons for the week.

For example, “Responsibility is the price of greatness.” ~Winston Churchill

Of course, Travis and Wes feel the group’s conversations don’t apply to them because they aren’t in a romantic relationship with one another; yet every single session relates directly to what the duo is experiencing, including: discussions about respecting each other’s personal property, or more specifically, Wes’ stapler and Travis’ inability to return it; co-parenting, or more specifically, working out a shared-custody arrangement of another policeman’s dog; and dealing with the in-laws, or more specifically, managing time between former, divisional bosses joining the current investigation.

“This session just took a detour to crazy town.” ~ Wes

The freshman series was very enjoyable for the most part, but the series finale sealed the deal for me.  After watching the last episode of the first season, I immediately hopped online to see if it had been picked up.  I was saddened to see it had not… not yet anyway.

In the finale, viewers watched Travis and Wes share with Dr. Ryan the story as to how they met and how their partnership began.  But more importantly, we learned why the two were assigned to couples therapy in the first place—why Wes drew his gun on Travis.  And let me just say, FANTASTIC.  I loved the finale so very much.  Not just because it gave the entire season purpose, but because we saw honest-to-goodness character growth from both Travis and Wes.

And I applaud the writers.  I noticed the tiny attention to detail inside the evidence warehouse; I saw the baby masks that the thieves wore in an earlier episode.  Everything came full-circle, including what I now consider to be Travis’ and Wes’ signature take-down.

“I can see a storm front coming through… a cloudy, cloudy storm front.” ~Travis

Watch the video attached to this article for a better understanding of Storm Front.

This partnership has a future, but does Common law?  I sure hope so…

C’mon USA!  Just renew it already.  Friday night is a tough spot, and even I’m guilty of not watching it live.  But I do watch it.  And I love it.  Please bring it back.

Oh, and did I mention the eye candy?

Travis and his baby blues…

Not a great shot, but just imagine baby blue eyes… because they are!

Wes and his killer dimples…

Again, not a great shot, but it gives you an idea of how cute his dimples are…

And one more thing that makes me swoon…  Warren Kole’s voice—it’s very sexy, ladies!

What do you think?  Did you watch Common Law?  Have you ever been so-so on a series until one particular episode drew you in for-keeps?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: Politics – Drama and Comedy

This weekend, I watched the pilot episode of USA’s new miniseries, Political Animals.  The word “politics” is a double-edged sword for me; I know that as an adult, understanding the politics of our respective countries is important, but mostly it does nothing more than frustrate me.  Maybe the networks recognize that politics upsets many viewers, thus the insane amount of police procedurals and medical dramas and lack of political series on the boob tube currently.  When I think TV and politics today, only one show comes to mind—Scandal—and its more drama than politics.

Until now.

If not evident from my earlier summer posts, I love the USA Network.  And when I saw the previews for the new miniseries, Political Animals, and saw the star-studded cast, I knew that I’d have to give it a try.  Now, I didn’t watch it live; I don’t really watch any TV live, unless it’s a sporting event.  But I did add the new drama to my DVR queue and watched it seven days after its original air date.

So what is Political Animals?  Let’s start with this question: who does everyone think of when we say former First Lady and current Secretary of State?  Did everyone answer Sigourney Weaver?

Secretary of State Elaine Barrish (with son Douglas in the background)

In the new six-part miniseries, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, a recently divorced former First Lady and current Secretary of State fighting to keep her family and her insane position in the U.S. government intact.  I think we all know who this sounds like, but let me add that Ms. Weaver herself has stated on talk shows that she is not playing Secretary Clinton.  Plus, the Barrish family is not the Clinton family, nor is it any one particular former President’s family.  Instead, the creators took bits and pieces from many different White House families, as well as created a fictional component, and the Barrish clan was born.

The USA network is known for its characters and Political Animals is no different.  Elaine Barrish is a strong, female lead.  She graduated first at her law school and received a ten-minute standing ovation after her commencement speech.  Despite her husband’s adulterous ways, she stood by her man throughout his political career (including his path from Governor to President of the United States).  And, most importantly, she more than challenged the Democratic male candidate throughout the presidential primary race before graciously stepping down.

Following her concession, Elaine asked her husband for a divorce.  It wasn’t until her separation from the former President that her popularity really soared with the American public, and the President-elect recognized this.  Secretary Barrish stated in the pilot episode that she did not want to be the country’s senior-most official dealing in foreign policies, but when the President of the United States calls for you, you answer.

Strengths aside, Elaine Barrish also has her flaws and weaknesses.  When in a stressful situation, the Secretary lights up a cigarette.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a character light up on screen.  In the “olden” days, characters smoked on television all of the time—but not today.  Additionally, despite her divorcing the former President, Elaine still has the rare tendency to run back to him when the going gets tough.  Sometimes a person needs the familiar warmth of a loved one, former or current—it’s a human response.

Secretary Barrish with Susan Berg (Reporter) – Will these rivals become the closest of friends?

In addition to Ms. Weaver, Political Animals also stars: Carla Gugino, a reporter who hasn’t been kind to the Secretary over the years; Ciaran Hinds, the former President and the Secretary’s ex-husband; Adrian Pasdar, the current President; Dylan Baker, the current Vice President; James Wolk, the Secretary’s son and Chief of Staff; Sebastian Stan, the Secretary’s other son and first openly homosexual child in the White House; and Ellen Burstyn, the Secretary’s mother.  Now that’s a cast!

Besides the cast and characters, the series also has drama.

From a political standpoint, the Secretary works feverishly to save three American journalists falsely imprisoned and convicted in Iran as spies.  As if the scandal wasn’t enough, she learns that the President and his sleazy Chief of Staff have known about the Iranian government’s requests and tried to handle it on their own, without giving into the demands of the Iranian President.  Keep in mind, I have only watched the first episode…

From a personal standpoint, the Secretary’s family is not-so-perfect either.  We all know her husband has flaws—her main reason for divorcing him was his many years of infidelity and his ego.  The Secretary’s one son, played by James Wolk, seems perfect—he’s clean cut, extremely intelligent, and engaged to a beautiful woman.  His fiancé also seems perfect, but she is secretly battling her own demons with bulimia and her infuriation with her future husband’s loyalty to his mother.  And the Secretary’s other son, played by the adorable Sebastian Stan, attempted suicide a year earlier and the family covered it up—or so they thought.  Anyone in politics should know nothing is sacred, not even the near death of a child—not to the media anyway.  Additionally, he is addicted to drugs.  He’s been to AA and has a sponsor, but the recent refusal of his parents to fork over the cash for him to open a restaurant/bar, and the national coverage of his suicide attempt, has pushed him over the edge.

Along with the drama, Political Animals also has moments of pure comedic genius.  Bud Hammond (Ciaran Hinds) and Margaret Barrish (Ellen Burstyn) have some of the funniest lines on TV.  I watched this episode with my parents, and even my father asked which network we were watching—not because we’re prudes, we’re Texans and language does not offend us—but because the dialogue was definitely unusual considering television sensors today.

And speaking of dialogue, here is my favorite line from the pilot:

“Bitches don’t like to be called bitches. Us bitches don’t like that.”
~Elaine Barrish to Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) AND Susan Berg to her boyfriend’s mistress/blogger at The Globe.

I also really enjoyed it when the Secretary told her husband’s Secret Service Agents that if she was going to kill Bud (her ex-husband), she would have done it years ago.  I don’t remember the exact quote, so I’m paraphrasing, but I think everyone will understand and appreciate it just the same.  This line was quite funny when used in the context of the scene.

Secretary Barrish – will she be the next President of the United States?

Lastly, I want to mention one final aspect of the story that I truly appreciate—the attempt at bi-partisanship.  Despite the Secretary’s obvious affiliation to the Democratic Party (her husband was a Democratic President; she ran for President in the Democratic primary; and her dogs are named Teddy, Bobby, and Jack), she and her sons constantly reference Elaine Barrish’s love of elephants.  C’mon, we all know what the Republican Party’s symbol is… the elephant.

So considering the network, the casting, the characters, the drama, the comedy, the dialogue, and the attempt at bi-partisanship, I can’t wait to check back in for the remaining five episodes.  I’m kind of sad this is only a miniseries…

What do you think?  Have you watched Political Animals?  Do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle!

Tele-Tuesday: USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement

Last week we discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television specific to TNT, but TNT is not alone.  The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.

Last Wednesday kicked off the new USA season with the premieres of their Wednesday night hits, Necessary Roughness, an interesting look at the mind of professional athletes through the eyes of their therapist, and Royal Pains, where a medical doctor makes house calls for his rich and prestigious Hamptons’ clientele.  USA’s Friday nights have also already been filled with episodes of the returning favorite, Fairly Legal, a show centered on a mediator who can fix everyone’s problems but her own, and the new hit, Common Law, where two L.A. detectives love their job but not each other.

But the summer fun doesn’t end there!  Four returning favorites and a new limited series event also premiere over the course of the summer, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer amusement.

*****

First up, what we already have the pleasure of watching:

Fairly Legal

Fairly Legal follows former attorney turned mediator Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi) as she tries to change San Francisco for the better.  On the exterior, Kate appears tough and callous, but anyone who actually knows her knows that she has a bleeding heart for those less fortunate—and by less fortunate, we only mean those that the rich can afford to beat down in a court of law.

Kate lets both sides tell their stories, and she typically sides with the underdog.  Actually, even though she works for a large and prestigious law firm, Kate doesn’t like much about Corporate America.  But Kate is good at what she does, and most of her cases are assigned to her by the courts and usually by a judge that keeps a stern fist with her.   Trust me; Kate needs someone to keep her in line…

One of Kate’s only confidants is her assistant, Leo (Baron Vaughn), because for the most part, Kate alienates everyone around her: her step-mother/partner/roommate/boss, Lauren Reed (Virginia Williams); her ex-husband/ADA, Justin Patrick (Michael Trucco); and the firm’s most recent addition, her partner Ben Grogan (Ryan Johnson).

Fairly Legal is unique; instead of the traditional TV police procedural or courtroom drama, we see a glimpse into the life of another legal aspect: mediation.  Plus there’s a love triangle.  What TV show is complete without the love triangle?  And why do I find myself pulling for the new guy, Ben, when most others hope Kate and Justin rekindle their romance?

The season two finale airs Friday, but Fairly Legal is still worthy of a nod here…

Common Law

Common Law follows two Los Angeles detectives with an immense love for the job—a job  they’re good at; they just don’t like each other very much.  When a new police captain moves in, he sends the seven-year partners to relationship counseling or couples therapy to use the term we’re familiar with today.

This brand-new series stars Michael Ealy as Travis Marks and Warren Kole as Wes Mitchell, two partners stuck in a “marriage with bullets.”

Viewers can also expect to see a few other familiar faces: Sonya Walger plays Dr. Elyse Ryan, the detectives’ therapist; Alicia Coppola plays a forensic pathologist; and Nora Zehetner is a new detective on the force, specializing in the digital world.

The USA Network is known for their fantastic original programs: the older and never forgotten Monk and The Dead Zone; the current and favorites Psych and Burn Notice; and the sophomore hits Suits, Necessary Roughness, and Fairly Legal.  After just a few episodes, Common Law falls right into line with the rest of the network’s hits.

The first season of Common Law airs Fridays nights.

Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness follows Dani Santino (Callie Thorne), a New York woman attempting to balance her family and her career following a recent divorce.  She accepts a position as a therapist for a professional football team, and is assigned to assist the team’s star receiver (Mehcad Brooks) in actually catching the ball.  She sees other clients, sometimes a new client per episode, but primarily Dr. D focuses her time and energy on the New York Hawks and T.K. (Terrance King, or King Terrance as he wants to be known in season two).

The series also stars Scott Cohen as Nico, the team’s head of security, and Marc Blucas as Matt, the team’s athletic trainer and Dani’s love interest.

As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.

Season two started last week and currently airs on Wednesday nights.

Royal Pains

Royal Pains stars Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Hank Lawson, a former New York Emergency Room doctor dismissed after an alleged wrongful death case who moves to the Hamptons and begins making house calls to the rich and famous as a “concierge doctor,” and sometimes even to the less fortunate.  Hank’s company, HankMed, also consists of his brother/CFO (Evan played by Paulo Costanzo) and his invaluable assistant (Divya played by Reshma Shetty).

The series also stars: Henry Winkler as Hank and Evan’s father, Eddie Lawson; Campbell Scott as Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz (isn’t that a great name?!?!), Hank’s first client and landlord of sorts; and Jill Flint as Jill Casey, Hank’s on again/off again love interest.

For a more in-depth look, visit Amber West’s Royal Pains review

Season four also premiered last week and airs on Wednesday nights.

*****

And in the upcoming weeks, we have more to look forward to on USA:

Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing—no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA black-listed him, and discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice.

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover and current girlfriend, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the most recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.

Every season answers a few more questions pertaining to Michael’s burn notice, but similarly adds even more fuel to the fire.  Last year ended with a big bang—Fiona being handcuffed and thrown into jail for murder.  Michael is smooth when it comes to his missions, but how will he handle this one?

Season six premieres this Thursday, June 14th.

Suits

Suits follows Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm instructed to find another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to work as an associate.  Enter Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant man with an eidetic memory (perfect recall) whose recitation of Bar review materials lands him a position at Harvey’s law firm despite the fact he never graduated college.

These two unconventional minds work together balancing the law and lying to everyone—now that’s conflict, right?  How long before the shunned junior associate (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman), or the boss recently frustrated with Harvey’s refusal to follow her instructions (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) discover the truth?

Suits also stars: Meghan Markle as Rachel, a paralegal at Harvey and Mike’s law firm, also one of very few that actually know the two’s secret; Tom Lipinski as Trevor, Mike’s drug dealing best friend whose escapades landed Mike in front of Harvey in the first place; Vanessa Ray as Jenny, Trevor’s ex-girlfriend and Mike’s current flame, when he isn’t pining away for Rachel; and Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey’s spit-fire assistant.

Last year when I reviewed Suits as a part of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series, I ranked the then freshman series with a Mac TV rating (equivalent to three stars).  If asked to review again, I believe Harvey and Mike would find themselves upgraded into five-star status.  Here’s to hoping the new season doesn’t disappoint.

Season two premieres this Thursday, June 14th.

White Collar

White Collar follows Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by the FBI, and the FBI agent responsible for Neal’s arrest, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).  What’s interesting about this relationship is that Peter is also responsible for Neal’s release from prison, a special circumstance allowing Neal his freedom under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor and one condition:  Neal must use his criminal expertise to assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys.

Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-man, Mozzie (Willie Garson), 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 (Tiffani Theissen).  Each season focuses on a unique and on-going storyline in addition to solving a new FBI case each week.  But remember, Neal is a con despite how clean he attempts to live his life today.  Once a con, always a con—right?

White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another of Neal’s con-buddies played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator/Neal’s current love interest played by Hilarie Burton), keeping with USA’s motto of character driven television.

The series also stars Marsha Thomason as Peter’s FBI right-hand, Diana, and Sharif Atkins as Special Agent Clinton Jones.  Both Diana and Jones trust Neal, as far as they can throw him; but they want to trust him one-hundred percent… as do the viewers.

Season four premieres July 10th.

Covert Affairs

Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) 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), and the former CIA director’s son, Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, testing her abilities, and reviewing her loyalties to the CIA.

Annie also battles familial woes, living in her sister Danielle’s (Anne Dudek) guest house and playing perfect aunt to her two nieces, while keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact (until she chooses to tell her sister the truth, which doesn’t go over so well as one can imagine).  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.

Despite her training and attributes, Annie isn’t superhuman.  Sometimes I think she makes the worst spy ever, sometimes even one of the most annoying characters on TV today.  But I still keep coming back for more.  Regardless of how I feel about Annie, I always find myself fighting alongside with her in her corner, and it has nothing to do with how adorable Auggie is.  Okay, so maybe it does…

Season three premieres July 10th.

*****

Now that we’ve been through USA’s returning favorites, how about a new miniseries?

Political Animals

Who does everyone think of when we say former First Lady and current Secretary of State?  Did everyone answer Sigourney Weaver?

In the new USA miniseries, Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, a recently divorced former First Lady and current Secretary of State fighting to keep her family and her insane position in the U.S. government intact.  The special six episode program also stars: Carla Gugino, a reporter who hasn’t been kind to the Secretary over the years; Ciaran Hinds, the former President and the Secretary’s ex-husband; Adrian Pasdar, the current President; Dylan Baker, the current Vice President; and Ellen Burstyn, the Secretary’s mother.  Now that’s a cast!

Political Animals premieres July 5th.

*****

Whew!  That was a long post, but that’s what happens when one channel shines as USA does.

Do you enjoy any of the above USA original programs?  If so, who is your favorite or least favorite character, keeping in mind that USA thrives on being character driven?  Do you plan to watch Political Animals?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Fairly Something Alright

This week Amber West and I return to somewhat of a normal Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday review as we take on two of our favorite summer channel’s programs: USA’s new series Common Law and the returning Fairly Legal.

Now in its second season, Fairly Legal follows former attorney turned mediator Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi, Life) as she tries to change San Francisco for the better.  On the exterior, Kate appears tough and callous, but anyone who actually knows her knows that she has a bleeding heart for those less fortunate – and by less fortunate, we only mean those that the rich can afford to beat down in a court of law.

Kate lets both sides tell their stories, and she typically sides with the underdog.  Actually, even though she works for a large and prestigious law firm (founded by her recently deceased father), Kate doesn’t like much about Corporate America.

But Kate is good at what she does, and most of her cases are assigned to her by the courts and usually by a judge that keeps a stern fist with Kate (Judge Nicastro, played by Gerald McRaney, Simon & Simon).   Trust us; Kate needs someone to keep her in line…

One of Kate’s only confidants is her assistant, Leo (Baron Vaughn), because for the most part, Kate alienates everyone around her: her step-mother/partner/roommate/boss, Lauren Reed (Virginia Williams); her ex-husband/ADA, Justin Patrick (Michael Trucco, Battlestar Galactica); and the firm’s most recent addition, her partner Ben Grogan (Ryan Johnson).

Lauren screaming into an ice bath… clearly she had a day FULL of Kate.

The first season of Fairly Legal was fresh — instead of the traditional TV police procedural or courtroom drama, we see a glimpse into the life of another legal aspect: mediation.  Season one follows Kate, a highly flawed character who can fix anyone’s life but her own.  We watched as she deals with the aftermath of her father’s death, working with Lauren without her dad around, and her separation from Justin.  She lives on her father’s boat, broken from his death and her impending divorce, and really tries to ground herself as best she can.

Kate’s hottie ex-Justin — I’d throw my arms up in the air if dealing with Kate too…

But season two has changed the story – changed Kate in our opinion.

The boat is gone (some sort of leak caused an explosion), forcing Kate to now live with Lauren.  Despite the obvious animosity shared between the two in season one, the Reeds really seem to be trying to work it out this season.  Why are the two working so hard?  To form a united front against the next big change – the new partner.

Reed & Reed (the law firm) is under water (not literally; it’s struggling), so Lauren brings in a cut-throat, no-nonsense attorney as partner along with this finances.  Ben represents just the type of person Kate can’t stand – he’s arrogant, he’s successful, and he’ll do anything to win regardless of who or what might stand in his way – he’s the male version of Kate.

The character of Ben also brings a new twist to the show – the love triangle.  In the first season, Kate struggles with her love for Justin but realizes she is better off without him.  Now, Kate has two successful men vying for her attention.  Honestly, this storyline is predictable and boring.  Fairly Legal took something that wasn’t broken and attempted to fix it.

Ben, the best part of season two…

But the love triangle isn’t the only facelift to Fairly Legal this season.  Something has changed with Kate – she’s borderline annoying.  She’s pushy and argumentative, but in a different way from last season – she’s almost bratty.  She’ll use anyone or anything to get her way, but then becomes overly argumentative when someone else uses her very same tactics to accomplish their goals.  Kate was lovable in season one, and somehow she’s lost this appeal with the show’s new direction.

I figure the creators made these changes to save the show.  The USA Network took a long time to announce when a second season would air, something that is very unlike one of my favorite networks (especially during the summer months).  But since this is my review, I’m downgrading my rating to a JFTV ratingFairly Legal is perfect TV viewing when you have what I like to call “boredom hunger” (when you grab that bag of chocolate that you’re only eating because there’s nothing else left to do).  Last year, if I had reviewed Fairly Legal, it would have earned the MacTV rating.  But the only thing worthy of my favorite cheesy shell this season is the character of Ben.

But keep this in mind, all of the said frustrations with season two don’t stop me from recording Fairly Legal and watching it when I’m caught up on everything else… so it’s still worthy of a watch.

What do you think? Do you watch Fairly Legal?  Do you like the changes to the storyline in season two or did you prefer the first season?  And since we brought up the love triangle, should Kate be with Justin or Ben?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week when Amber and I revisit two of our previously simmering reviews: Amber determines if Smash really is a “smash” hit and I try to give Lifetime’s The Client List the benefit of the doubt.

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: May Flowers, aka TV in Bloom

Just as most television programs wrap up the 2011-2012 season, a few networks plan to launch new series this month.  It’s like a never-ending game of “What’s on TV?”

May is no different.  Our revolving door of television is back.

We haven’t introduced any new programs since March because many have accused us of adding too much to their already full TV schedules.  For that, we apologize.  But that’s not going to stop us from talking about even more!  Sorry – but we feel it’s our duty here at Tele-Tuesday.

So sit back and try to relax…

What will you watch?

*****

The L.A. Complex

We’re actually late to this party — The L.A. Complex premiered April 24th on the CW.  The show follows a group of twenty-somethings living in the same apartment complex who are trying to make it in Hollywood.  Sound familiar?  Melrose Place comes to mind…

The series stars Cassie Steele (Degrassi: The Next Generation) as Abby Vargas, a Canadian who dreams of becoming an actress.  Abby meets other struggling artists at The Lux Motel, one of the few places they can all afford to live: Nick (Joe Dinicol), a comedian; Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson), a musician; Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore), an Aussie actor; Alicia (Chelan Simmons), a dancer; and Raquel (Jewel Staite from Firefly), a television actress.  Will they survive Los Angeles?

Most of the cast are relatively unknown, but viewers will see many familiar faces throughout the season in recurring and guest roles, like Krista Allen (Days of our Lives), Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), and Mary Lynn Rajskub (24).

The L.A. Complex airs Tuesdays on the CW.

*****

White Heat

Normally we wouldn’t look to BBC America when searching for new television series, but because of the success of many British television programs here in the United States (Doctor Who, Being Human, and Sherlock to just name a few), we thought we’d change it up a bit.

White Heat follows seven friends (Lilly, Jack, Victor, Orla, Charlotte, Alan, and Jay) who first meet in London in 1965.  The six episodes will flash-forward and feature these same seven friends in the years 1967, 1973, 1979, 1982, and 1990 as they maneuver through personal and political times.

Because we don’t frequent British television, most of the actors and actresses are not recognizable by name, however many have a favorable resume: young Lilly, played by MyAnna Buring (The Descent); current-day Lilly, played by Lindsay Duncan (Rome); young Jack, played by Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides); young Edward, played by Jeremy Northam (The Tudors); young Jay, played by Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones); and many others.

One aspect of White Heat that really captured our attention was the music associated with each episode, featuring artists Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Queen, The Clash, and Culture Club.  The tunes alone make the series worthy, right?

White Heat premieres Wednesday, May 9th on BBC America.

*****

Common Law

Common Law follows two Los Angeles detectives with an immense love for the job – and they’re good at it; they just don’t like each other very much.  When a new police captain (Captain Phil Sutton, played by Jack McGee from Rescue Me) moves in, he sends the seven-year partners to relationship counseling or couples therapy as we’re familiar with today.

Common Law stars Michael Ealy (Flashforward) as Travis Marks and Warren Kole (The Chicago Code) as Wes Mitchell – two partners stuck in a “marriage with bullets.”

Viewers can expect to see a few other familiar faces: Sonya Walger (Lost) plays Dr. Elyse Ryan, the detectives’ therapist; Alicia Coppola (Jericho) plays a forensic pathologist; and Nora Zehetner (Grey’s Anatomy) is a new detective on the force, specializing in the digital world.

The USA Network is known for their fantastic original programs: the older and never forgotten Monk and The Dead Zone; the current and favorites Psych and Burn Notice; and the sophomore hits Suits, Necessary Roughness, and Fairly Legal.  Because of the network’s track record, Common Law is probably the series we’re most looking forward to here at Tele-Tuesday,

Common Law premieres Friday, May 11th on USA.

*****

Men at Work

Another channel we don’t usually watch for, TBS is launching a new sitcom this month created by the great Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash).  Men at Work follows four friends who all work together at the same magazine as they help a buddy get back on the dating horse after a disastrous breakup.

The series stars: Danny Masterson (That ‘70s Show) as Milo, the recently dumped friend; James Lesure (Las Vegas – we are big fans of Mike Cannon here at Tele-Tuesday) as Gibbs; Adam Busch (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Neal; and Michael Cassidy (The O.C.) as Tyler.

Rarely do we see a comedy centering around all men, and funny character actors we’ve missed for years at that.  Add the funny-man creator to this, and we can’t help but feel Men at Work could potentially be summer dynamite.

Men at Work premieres Thursday, May 24th on TBS.

*****

What do you think?  Do you plan to watch The L.A. Complex, White Heat, Common Law, or Men at Work?  Which show has the most promise and why?  The least?  I’d love to hear from you!

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! 

Tele-Tuesday: March Madness, TV Style

Television programs air sporadically today, and we’re not safe assuming (we all know what that really means) all new series and returning shows begin in September and January.  It’s simply not true anymore.

Since introducing so many new programs to 2012 in January, we decided to take the first few weeks of February to provide a breather of sorts.  But now we’re back, introducing yet another pilot series to ABC and two returning sophomores to Fox and USA that perhaps not everyone will be familiar with.

What will you watch?

*****

GCB

Originally Good Christian Bitches and later Good Christian Belles, GCB follows a former high school Queen “B” (Amanda, played by Leslie Bibb from Crossing Jordan) after she returns to her home town (Dallas) following a divorce and moves in with her mother (Annie Potts, Designing Women).

Despite the fact that Amanda left her “mean girl” days behind her, the girls she terrorized in high school haven’t quite forgotten the way she treated them.  Everyone, including Amanda’s mother, seems to be stuck in the past and the tables have turned on her.

GCB also stars: Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) as Carlene, Marisol Nichols (24) as Heather, Jennifer Aspen (Party of Five) as Sharon, and Miriam Shor (Damages) as Cricket Caruth-Reilly, the girls Amanda terrorized in high school.  The series wouldn’t be complete without the husbands: David James Elliott (JAG) as Carlene’s husband, Ripp; Brad Beyer (Jericho) as Sharon’s husband, Zack; and Mark Deklin (Lone Star) as Cricket’s husband, Blake, who happens to have a Dallas-sized secret of his own.

GCB premieres Sunday, March 4thon ABC.

*****

Breaking In

How many shows can actually say they have officially survived a literal network cancellation?  Not many; Fox first resurrected Family Guy in 2004 after watching continued success of the previous seasons in DVD sales and reruns airing on Adult Swim.  And now Breaking In can, a Fox program originally cancelled in May 2011.

Breaking In follows a team of “legitimate thieves” working at Contra Security, a high-tech security firm.  Clients hire Contra to break in and highlight flaws in security systems already in place.  For example, in season one the Contra team is hired to break into a house with a supposed impenetrable security system in an attempt to retrieve a valuable belonging to the homeowner.  Later, they discover that the house belongs to their team leader, who unbeknownst to them happens to be on the verge of a nasty divorce.

Perhaps our favorite episode of the first season was when the Contra team was hired to protect an invaluable DVD sequel until its national release party at Comic-ConGoonies 2.  The pop culture references and comedic events were absolutely spot-on and hilarious, at least for those of us who will forever be a Goonie.

The Contra team is led by Oz (Christian Slater, Heathers), a man who loves to play mind games on his staff… a staff composed of: Cameron (Bret Harrison, Reaper), a genius with top-rated hacking abilities; Cash (Alphonso McAuley), a gadget guy and hacker; Melanie (Odette Annable, House), the hot girl with safe cracking abilities; and Josh (Trevor Moore), the master manipulator and master of disguise.   Season two will see a new, yet familiar face at Contra Security when Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) joins the cast as Veronica, Contra’s new boss.

Breaking In returns to Fox Tuesday, March 6th.

*****

Fairly Legal

We love the USA Network’s programs here at Tele-Tuesday, which is why when Fairly Legal premiered last year we immediately checked it out.

Fairly Legal follows Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi, Life – a great short-lived series, by the way), a former attorney turned mediator working at her father’s law firm in San Francisco, as she deals with life both professionally and personally following a failed marriage and her father’s untimely death.

Kate, while extremely beautiful and successful, lives life by the seat of her pants.  She resides on her father’s boat, arrives late to almost everything, and relies heavily on her assistant (Leonardo, played by Baron Vaughn) to keep her day straight.  Once Kate arrives at the office, she not only has to deal with arguing clients assigned to her by the courts (especially those difficult cases assigned by Judge Nicastro, played by Gerald McRaney), but also with her new boss and step-mother, Lauren (Virginia Williams, Monarch Cove).

Unfortunately for Kate, her professional life isn’t the only thing leaving her rushing around with her head cut off.  Factor in her soon-to-be-ex husband Justin (Michael Trucco, Battlestar Galactica), who she continues to have an on-again/off-again relationship with, and the secrets surrounding a man (Richard Dean Anderson) involved with her father prior to his death, and Kate’s life is hectic.

Fairly Legal returns to the USA network Friday, March 16th.

*****

Will you watch GCB?  Do you agree with ABC’s decision to change the title?  How about Breaking In and Fairly Legal?  Did you catch the first seasons and if so, what did you think?  I’d love to hear from you!