Tele-Tuesday: The Return of MTV’s Teen Wolf

On a Tele-Tuesday post last year, I introduced MTV’s new summer TV series: Teen Wolf.  We all remember the 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox, right?  MTV promised to use the generalized idea behind the ’80s Teen Wolf, but compared their story to a transformed version with a darker side, similar to the CW’s The Vampire Diaries.

First, a few similarities:

In 1985, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard; today, Tyler Posey plays Scott McCall.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Scott McCall

In 1985, Scott Howard’s best friend was an oddball named Stiles; today, Scott McCall’s best friend is an awkward oddball named Stiles (played by Dillon O’Brien).

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Stiles

In 1985, Scott Howard wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, not until he transformed into his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall isn’t anywhere close to the best lacrosse player on the squad, until he endures the cursed bite, that is.

Now, to a few differences:

In 1985, Scott Howard suffered from a family curse, a long line of male werewolves that sometimes skipped a generation; today, Scott McCall is bitten by a werewolf while out in the woods searching for the remains of a dead girl with his best friend.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Scott “wolfed” out

In 1985, Scott Howard show-boats around as his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall works desperately to keep his curse secret from everyone, excluding his BFF, Stiles.

In 1985, audiences laughed along with Scott Howard in Teen Wolf; today, viewers and Scott McCall cringe as another person in the community is brutally attacked by a supposed animal.

More Wolf

MTV’s Teen Wolf pleasantly surprised me.  First of all, like most other things MTV, the show is geared toward the younger audience or YA as we’ve become accustomed to in the literary world.  I may be in my thirties, but I like most Young Adult television series, and more importantly I really enjoy Teen Wolf.  And it’s not just me – my guy doesn’t miss an episode either.

Moreover, the show’s claim to focus on the mythology of the werewolf and the darkness of the curse has played a major role in the television series.  If The Vampire Diaries has taught the TV rating’s world anything, it’s that teens (as well as whoever is watching) prefer the dark twists and storylines – if we want comedy, there are sitcoms for that.

During the first season, Teen Wolf introduced the idea of the alpha and beta wolf.  An alpha is the strongest, most powerful, and the most deadly kind of werewolf.  Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) are beta wolves.   The Alpha bit Scott, and wants Scott to join his pack – insists actually.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Derek Hale

The Alpha is obviously a nasty and horrible werewolf, and Scott wants nothing to do with this violent lifestyle.  Will Derek help him?  Or is Derek setting Scott up?  Let’s say a little bit of both – nothing like a taste of both worlds to make Derek even more lickable – I mean, likable.

As with any supernatural drama, Teen Wolf also offers a bit of werewolf on werewolf in the form of fight scenes.  While it wasn’t as exciting as a Salvatore brother fight (Yes, I’m talking about Stefan and Damon, ladies!), it held our attention and stayed true to MTV’s promise of a darker rendition of the cinematic classic.

Like most Young Adult features, or really any television show for that matter, Teen Wolf also has the love story: the typical nerdy high school boy (Scott) who wants to lead a normal life and date the beautiful new girl (Alison Argent played by Crystal Reed).  Not interesting enough?

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Alison Argent

How about a forbidden love…  Did I mention that Scott’s dream girl’s father is the lead hunter out to kill the werewolves in the area?  And that she too is to train and fulfill her family legacy of hunters?  Only Alison doesn’t realize at first that she hails from generations of hunters or that her boyfriend is a wolf.  But when she does, will she choose her family or Scott?

And let’s not forget that Scott’s humiliation of “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates) on the lacrosse field now drives Jackson to discover exactly what Scott is hiding.  Jackson knows that Scott didn’t pick up his super strength overnight by hitting the weight room.  Once Jackson learns Scott’s secret, he decides he wants a “piece” of the wolf himself.

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Jackson

What exactly was Jackson’s deal with Derek?  We all know after the final battle Derek assumes the role of Alpha; will Jackson join Derek’s pack?

Speaking of Derek’s pack, he wasn’t the one to bite Scott.  Is it now safe to assume it will definitely be Scott versus Derek in season two?

And what about Lydia (played by Holland Roden), the annoying girl admired by Stiles but who barely gives anyone besides Jackson the time of day?  The original Alpha did attack her before his demise, but Scott apparently gave her a clean bill of health when he noticed her marks weren’t healing as quickly as his wolf bite did.  Is she in the clear or is she too now a member of a pack?

MTV’s Teen Wolf – Lydia

I smell some major wolf action in season two…

Season two premieres Sunday, June 3rd on MTV, following the MTV Movie Awards.

What do you think?  Did you watch the first season of Teen Wolf?  Do you plan to continue with season two?  Do you prefer the 1985 comedy or the newer, darker version?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FaBOOolousness – March’s MarvelOoous Mashups, Awards, and a Tag Meme

We skipped February so it’s time for The Ooo Factor’s next installment of MarvelOoous Mashups.  This month I’m including a few awards that my fellow bloggers so generously awarded me, as well as participating in the widely spread Lucky 7 Meme.

First up, a big HUGE thanks to Marcy Kennedy for awarding me the Liebster Award!

Liebster is the German word for beloved person.  If anything, I have definitely developed a close friendship with Marcy, even though we’ve never met in real life.  She is one of the most supportive writing friends a girl could have, and I look forward daily to her tweets, emails, posts, and smiles.

In turn, I award these great blogging friends with the Liebster Award: Amber West and Jen L. Kirchner.  They’re my liebsters and excellent bloggers.

Jen has previously written a few great Vote Your Own Adventure blog series, but she’s now venturing out into the Sci-Fi world and provides great Gaming Reviews for Girls as well as Sci-Fi Pin Ups each month.

Amber, in addition to all of her blogging greatness, has started a new series of her own where she takes inspiration from her blog commenters to build the next portion of her story.  Her tale has just begun, so be sure and stop by her blog to contribute to her Tell Me a Story series.

I’d also like to express a big HUGE thanks to Martine Svanevik for awarding me the Kreativ Blogger Award and Fallon Brown for the Versatile Blogger Award.

I’ve done this a few times, but still feel like I should share the love and award a few new bloggers with the same honor.

Let’s see….who’s Kreativ?  Definitely Myndi Shafer.  Myndi blogs about anything and everything, but my favorite series is her I am Beautiful posts where she features women’s beauty from the inside out.

Who’s deserving of the Versatile Blogger Award?  Lydia Sharp of The Sharp Angle.  Lydia blogs about everything from vivacious spring colors, to the writing craft, and in one of my favorite segments, she promotes other writers and their books out in the market today in Fresh Baked Books.

THANK YOU, everyone!  Winning these awards for my posts means so very much to me, AND congratulations to the new recipients.

*****

In addition to these fabOoolous bloggers deserving of the awards, be sure to click on these sites featured in the March edition of MarvelOoous Mashups!

PART I: FabOoolous Writerly Posts

When writing, we’ve all heard to be careful with our use of flashbacks.  Luckily, Lydia Sharp helps us along with her post: Good Flashbacks, Bad Flashbacks.

All writers waffle back and forth as to whether or not they should travel down the traditional publishing route, the indie publishing route, or the self-publishing route.  These next two posts explore two of the three roads: The Ins and Outs of Indie Publishing, a guest post by PJ Sharon courtesy of Catie Rhodes, and Publishing with Small Press, a guest post by Laura Kaye courtesy of Stacy Green.  These are fabOoolous reads for all writers considering their publishing options.

Show Don’t Tell – one of the most popular phrases a writer hears when attending self-editing workshops.  Thanks to the great Angela R. Wallace, I found this wonderful example of how to show and not tell by Ilona Andrews.  Thanks for sharing, Angela!

What do we do when we want to talk about a controversial topic on our blog?  Taking a side in any controversy can be controversial in itself.  Thanks to August McLaughlin, she offers up a wonderful summation of just what to do in her post: Controversial Blog Posts – How to Make them Work.

We all know that Targeting Advertising is the Key to Success, right?  If not, check out this fabOoolous post and list of resources by Emlyn Chand.

PART II: FabOoolous Recipes

It’s Martini O’clock!  When in need of a fancy cocktail to get us through the night (or day in some circumstances), Jillian Dodd has just what we need: the Thin Mint Martini and the Salted Caramel Chocolate Martini.  YUM!!!

Part III: FabOoolous True Crime Stories

Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t corner the market on homosexual oriented serial killings. Kansas City had its own monster: Robert Berdella, a.k.a. the Butcher. While Dahmer killed his victims fairly quickly, Berdella liked to torture the young men he seduced for days and sometimes weeks. He kept a “torture book” detailing his sadistic activities. 

Ooo, Stacy really grabbed my attention with this one!  When I see an introduction like this, I’m interested.  For more about Bob’s Bazaar Bizarre, check out Stacy Green’s thrilling post.

What ‘s better than True Crime?  Throwing ghosts into the mix.  The Devil’s Weekend by Catie Rhodes does not disappoint.  To quote Catie quoting Joseph Conrad: “The horror! the horror!”

Part IV: Just Because They’re fabOoolous

Anyone who knows me, knows I love scary movies.  Especially slashers.  Which is why it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite links these past few months is Sonia G. Medeiros’ Creepiest Movie Quotes.

My vote for creepiest movie quote – “Your blood, all over me” from When a Stranger Calls (2006)

Can anyone name a few Songs that Became Movies?  It’s a lot harder than it seems.  Check out a few of the lyrical sensations that took Hollywood by storm, courtesy of Catie Rhodes.

Ever wonder what in the world the kids are talking about today?  Take a trip down memory lane with these Excellent Generational Phrases by Erin Brambilla.

Who is a Larger than Life Character?  Check out this very interesting blog post by Julie Glover where she explores theconcoctions of an author’s mind who take on their own identity and become conversational touchpoints

Julie picked Hannibal Lector as one of her top six. I have to agree…

Ever wonder what a logline would be like if we combined two movies together?  To be honest, I hadn’t either.  Not until I read Loglines from the Edge of Ridiculousness by Myndi Shafer.  This post is brilliant and very entertaining.

We can never be too safe in today’s digital world, which is why I absolutely recommend this fabOoolous Tech Safety and Security blog with Ian Thompson courtesy of Amber West.  Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like the hackers are growing exponentially today?

*****

And now for the last part of today’s special blog celebration — my participation in The Lucky 7 Meme tag game.  Thank you to Angela R. Wallace, Marcy Kennedy, Lisa Hall Wilson, Shannyn Schroeder, and Jillian Dodd for the big slap on the back (that’s how you play tag, right?).

Of course with any tagging game, there are rules…

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines (sentences or paragraphs) and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 writers and let them know.

Everyone knows that I’m working on my first YA mystery novel, but very few know anything about it.  I’ve kept pretty mum on my title and storyline, but considering I’m almost done with my cover and am in the final editing stage, it’s time.

So here’s an excerpt from the rough draft of my first book… drumroll please…

Football Sweetheart

Whew!  That’s the first time I’ve publically announced the name of my book!!

I’ve been editing for the past few months and I’m really not sure if this scene will actually end up on page 77, but it’s there now.  So here goes…

Aimee glanced up while singing along to Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” only to notice Jeanie wasn’t standing in the circle any longer.  She slowed her swaying, and started looking around.  Jeanie was new to the school, new to the group, and had never been out to Uncle Marty’s — not with the girls anyway.  Just as she started to panic, Aimee spotted Jeanie across the dark street talking to Bobby.   

“The nerve!”   Aimee spewed spit with the exclamation, luckily keeping her tone low enough to only grab the attention of her friends. 

Okay, so it’s not much… but I did play by the rules – page 77, 7 lines down, 7 lines of my novel.

I’ve read some great excerpts of those participating in the Lucky 7 Meme tag game these past few weeks, and I’m looking forward to more.  Here are my Lucky 7 that I’d like to return the favor and slap on the back — TAG, YOU’RE IT!

  1.        Jen L. Kirchner
  2.        Amber West
  3.        Angela R. Wallace
  4.        Nichole Chase
  5.        Stephanie Nelson
  6.        Liz Schulte
  7.        Claudia Lefeve

This was really out of my comfort zone to announce the name of my book as well as include a small excerpt.  But why not?  I sure hope my Lucky 7 take the plunge with me, but I also understand if they don’t.

What blogs have you read lately that have really stood out among the rest?  Have any good blog posts for writers regarding self-publishing or e-books that you’d like to share? Recipes? How about a favorite true crime story that sends chills down your spine?  We’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – Kait Nolan, Seeing Red

I first met Kait Nolan online in early 2011.  She was actually one of the first writers to help me understand the Twitterverse and practically held my hand as I started my new journey into social media.

Author Kait Nolan

Not only is Kait friendly, she is multi-talented and strives to assist other writers on a daily basis.  First and foremost, she writes paranormal romance (YA and adult) – the reason we’re featuring her today here at Friday FabOoolousness.  Kait also blogs, sharing tasty meals and gluten-free treats with the rest of us.  But perhaps even more impressive than her writing and culinary skills, is the fact that Kait manages a self-created online writing community and challenge, A Round of Words in Eighty Days, or Row80 to the “rowers”.

I’m a proud Row80 participant, and I recommend it to any and all writers – published and non-published.  Heck, I would shout it from the rooftops if I didn’t think my neighbors would call the cops.  Row80 is one of the best communities of writers on the Internet today.  Rowers encourage others, support one another, and help each other to the finish line.  All because of Kait…

Did I mention that Kait has one of the best personalities and senses of humor out there?  Don’t believe me?

Just read her bio:

Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss.  When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots.

Red:

Every fairy tale has a dark side…

Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

Oh heck yeah.  I’ve been telling stories to entertain myself since I was knee-high, as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys who thought I had cooties (silly boys).  I couldn’t imagine a better job than telling stories for a living, so I set my cap on that when I was twelve years old, and other than a handful of detours for stuff like, you know, college and master’s degrees, I haven’t wavered.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

There’s no one place.  A snatch of conversation.  Random articles from the net.  A scrap of a fairy tale or myth.  Dreams.  Sometimes just a random “what if…?” thought.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Nalini Singh, J.R. Ward, Cassandra Clare, Lilith Saintcrow, Maggie Stiefvater, Nora Roberts, Marjorie M. Liu, and Madeleine L’Engle.   This list could get REALLY long…

The cover art for Red is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

Oh good God no.  I hired a professional cover designer, Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Designs.  She’s amazingly talented and has done all but one of my covers.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your protagonist Elodie Rose and why?

I often do, but in this particular case, I had the cover art done early on, so I really had the girl from the cover in my head.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.  We’re watching Return of the King on Bluray.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn; I really liked him in The Perfect Murder.

In addition to writing, you publish a weekly food blog titled “Pots and Plots” and you founded the Round of Words in Eighty Days Challenge, more commonly known as Row80 to the Twitterverse.  How do you find the time? 

I am freakishly organized and possibly need an intervention for my addiction to lists.  But mostly it’s that you find time for what you love.  I’m going to cook anyway and calculate all the nutrition information for my meals, which I am gonna write down anyway in order to remember and make it again. It doesn’t take much more time to take pics and put everything up at Pots and Plots—which I actually started so I could access all my favorite recipes from anywhere without needing to take my recipe box.  As for ROW80, well each round I’m joined by ten fabulous sponsors who help me crack the whip, I mean inspire everybody to keep going.

What other hobbies do you enjoy that we don’t know about?

I’m into photography, horseback riding (which I haven’t had an opportunity to do in ages), and hiking.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television… What are your favorite television programs airing today? 

NCIS, Bones, Once Upon a Time, Grimm, and Rizzoli & Isles

What is your favorite movie all-time?

It is so not possible to answer that question.  Pride and Prejudice (BBC mini-series), Star Wars the original trilogy only, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

Sour Patch Kids and popcorn—butter please!

You write paranormal romance.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the paranormal. 

Book: Again, not a fair question to try to narrow it down, but I suppose by dint of how many times I’ve read it, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

Movie: Ok, I really had to think about this one because everything that comes to mind is not actually paranormal, it’s fantasy.  I think I’d have to say Stardust because it’s a combination of both.  Or maybe Xmen.  Love Wolverine.

TV series: Um, Buffy, hello?  Followed closely by the first four seasons of Supernatural.  Love me some Dean.

Dean Winchester...enough said.

Before we go, do you believe in fairy tales?

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…In all fairy tales there is a grain of truth.  Who are we to say which grain is true?

*****

Need more Kait?  Catch up with her at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads accounts.

Do you have a question for Kait?  Have you read Red – if so, share your thoughts.  What’s your favorite fairy tale – actual tale, TV adaptation, or movie and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Before we go, remember to grab your copy of Red if you haven’t already!  Available in ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DESony, the iBookstore, Diesel Ebooks, XinXii, and All Romance EBooks.

Also available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository (free international shipping!) and Createspace.

*****

And last but not least, here is a taste of a few of Kait’s other stories…enjoy!

Paranormal beings exist, among us, around us. Their strictest rule: keep the secret.

Forsaken by Shadow

When Embry’s father is kidnapped by human scientists and the Council of Races makes a firm decision of non-intervention, enforcer Embry Hollister must turn her back on her job and her government to go rogue and seek the help of the one great love from her past. Banished from her world years ago, his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd has a new name, a new life, and no knowledge her kind exist. Can he relearn the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? And, if they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Devil’s Eye

Trouble. That’s what wolf-shifter Mick thinks when a beautiful woman appears in his New Orleans bar with a hurricane at her back. His first impression is confirmed when Sophie starts asking questions about his missing waitress, Liza. Mick will do anything to rescue a member of the pack he’s made for himself, including forming an unlikely alliance with a woman with a badge.

Blindsight

Isla’s ability as a Seer has made her a life-long captive of a paranormal crime lord. Fae assassin, Ransom, offers her a chance at escape, but when she touches his hand she sees only blood, horror, and apocalypse. What reason can Ransom have for wanting to rescue her, and can she possibly trust a man who deals in death?

Genesis…it’s only the beginning

Genesis is the compilation of Kait’s two novellas and short story, previously published and available individually.  Buy them together and save!

Available in e-book from Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Barnes and Noble, Sony, the iBookstoreDiesel Ebooks, XinXii, and Smashwords.

Also available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository (for international readers) and Createspace.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – What’s Real, and What’s The Lying Game?

This week Amber West and I hop aboard the ever popular Young Adult (YA) train, and review two shows targeting the younger audiences on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Amber takes us down a musical lane with Glee, while I attempt to solve yet another mysterious drama on ABC Family, The Lying Game.

From the creators of Pretty Little Liars, and based on the novels by Sara Shepard, The Lying Game follows twin sisters, Emma Becker and Sutton Mercer (both played by Alexandra Chando).  Currently in the second half of season one, we’re still not sure how the twins learn that they were separated at birth, but they do and they find each other online and communicate via Skype.

Usually this look means it's Sutton...

Living in an abusive foster home in Vegas, Emma agrees to switch places with her twin and live Sutton’s life in Phoenix with her wealthy adopted family, allowing Sutton the time to travel to California and search for their birth mother.  Not long into the switch, Emma learns that Sutton is quite the miserable person to be around.  She’s known around school as the mastermind behind “The Lying Games” – lies that persecute others and terrify them from ever crossing Sutton again.

And this look means it's Emma...

Emma immediately bonds with her younger sister, Laurel (played by Allie Gonino), and her mother (Helen Slater, The Legend of Billy Jean) and father (Andy Buckley, The Office), repairing the seemingly damaged relationship the adopted family had with the spoiled and entitled Sutton.

The proud Mercer parents

The only people it appears that Sutton didn’t callously cross are her two best friends – Char (Kristen Prout) and Mads (Alice Greczyn, Privileged).   While the two girls notice something is drastically different with Sutton, they continue to love her unconditionally and stand by her – even when Emma (as Sutton) breaks up with her boyfriend and starts publically dating the town’s bad  boy, Ethan (played by Blair Redford), who also happens to be the “real” Sutton’s secret boyfriend.

Ethan Whitehorse - does anyone else see the irony here? The hero saves the day, riding in on his white horse? LOL

Confused?

After a short amount of time, Emma loses contact with Sutton and fears she has disappeared.  Emma, being the nice and sweet girl that she is, is faced with the dilemma of telling the Mercer family and all of Sutton’s friends the truth.

Of course, every time Emma comes face to face with the reality of telling anyone outside the circle (only Sutton, Emma, Ethan, and Mads’ brother know the truth about the twins and the “switch”), Sutton reappears with one excuse after another and spews rude comments.  It doesn’t help that everyone loves the “new” Sutton, or Emma rather (even if they don’t know that there is two of them), and Sutton can’t stand it, claiming Emma has ruined her life.

Emma with Sutton's best friends - Char and Mads

Ethan disagrees; he feels that Emma has fixed so many of the damaged relationships that “Hurricane” Sutton left behind, which is one of the reasons he dumps Sutton for Emma.  Of course, his brother (police officer Dan, played by Tyler Christopher, General Hospital) warns Ethan to stay away from her all together.

Oh, and before we continue, here are a few other characters everyone should know: Justin (Randy Wayne) is Laurel’s boyfriend, a boy claiming to have lost both of his parents in a car wreck; but who later fesses up and tells Laurel why he really came to town – to get answers from her father, the man responsible for his mother’s death.

We also must introduce probably the second biggest villain of the story (behind Sutton) – Mads’ dad and District Attorney, Alec (played by Adrian Pasdar, Heroes).  Alec is also the life-long best friend of Sutton’s adopted dad, Ted, and Sutton’s godfather.

Alec always has an angle...

Alec clearly knows the answer to most of the secrets around town – he knows about both Sutton and Emma, and he knows what happened and why at their birth.  He also likes to hold “truths” and good favors over people’s heads to get them to do what he wants, like in the case of Ethan’s brother, Dan, and Char’s boyfriend, a juvenile delinquent.   But why?

And finally, we must discuss the two Annies: Annie number one has been locked away in an insane asylum for years, having never recovered from the death of her daughter.  And then there is Annie number two, also known as Rebecca (played by Charisma Carpenter, Buffy), perhaps the woman with the answers to all of Ted and Alec’s secrets.

Cordy is still so very pretty...

Rebecca recently returned to town, looking for a fresh beginning. She obviously knew Ted and Alec in high school, but doesn’t want to discuss the past.  She’s actually quite adamant about not reminiscing with Alec and Ted, leaving us to believe the two friends with tons of secrets may have finally met their match.

The Lying Game has layer after layer of secrets and mysteries:

Who are Sutton and Emma’s biological parents?  I have my guesses…

Why were they given up at birth?  We already know how they were separated… 

Why did Ted run out of an operation that cost Justin’s mother her life sixteen years ago?  I have my suspicions…

The twists and turns involved in the plot makes The Lying Game definitely worth a watch, even if I do think I’m starting to figure out the mystery.  Despite the show’s targeting the YA crowd, this thirty-something loves to watch, claiming it is perfect research for a YA mystery writer.

But where does TLG rank on the WatchWed ratings scale?

The Lying Game deserves a JFTV rating – it’s not as tasty as the hot and delicious Mac-n-Cheese we love around here (like the YA MacTV rated Teen Wolf and Pretty Little Liars), but it does satisfy our tummies once an hour every week like our favorite candy bars.  Seriously, 250 calories a week isn’t bad…is it?  Nah!

What do you think? Do you watch The Lying Game?  Who do you think are Sutton and Emma’s parents?  Is someone really threatening the girls, or is this just another one of Sutton’s Lying Games?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out what she has to say about Fox’s hit musical, Glee.

Come back next week when Amber and I review a few of cable’s returning police procedurals: TNT’s Southland and A&E’s Breakout Kings.

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.

Friday FabOoolousness – Jillian Dodd and finding That Boy

Earlier this summer, I found myself reluctantly attending a Meet and Greet with a few other SheWrites.com members that I’d only talked to briefly online.  Having heard repeatedly that writers need to network, I hopped in my car and drove the ten minutes to BJ’s Brewery where I met Jillian Dodd.

Author Jillian Dodd

Jill and I hit it off immediately.  Not only do we share the same profession and love for the written word, we both have a minor obsession (okay, maybe it’s a tad major) with NCAA football.  For the past decade, our alma maters even played each other in the same conference: Jill’s a Nebraska Cornhusker, and we all know I’m a Texas Tech Red Raider.  One might think this would make Jill and I instant rivals, but it didn’t; instead, we were immediate friends.

Jill and I now belong to the same writing group and she’s a frequent lunch date of mine.  We also share a love of movies and luckily live close enough to one another that we can meet at the AMC Theater on occasion for an afternoon of playtime.

Jill published her first book, That Boy, earlier this year and will soon release the sequel, That Wedding.  I hope everyone enjoys getting to know Jill just as much as I have!

That Boy:

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There’s Danny, the golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or has been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy that every girl crushes on; he’s the hot quarterback that no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure; he’s the boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.

Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth. Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. He’s the boy who rescues me; the boy who can read my mind; the boy who is always there for me; the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble; and the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me. And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.

Only one of them is That Boy.

 *****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

When I was a little girl, I loved to read, but writing never really crossed my mind. I grew up on a farm and dreamed of adventure. I wanted to be a spy. My parents owned a clothing store when I was in college, so I majored in Textiles, Clothing, and Design. I wanted to be a buyer, own a chain of stores, and make a million or so. LOL.

I never dreamed of being a writer, but I did dream about the story I wrote, which is what made me start writing. I’ve always written stories in my head for my own entertainment. Like on long drives, I would dream up and act out stories in my mind. When I was forced to clean our family’s basement every Saturday morning, it always took me forever because I acted out a musical I wrote to all the Beach Boys songs on Endless Summer.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Honestly, I dream vividly. Many of my ideas come from dreams.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

All time favorite in Carolyn Keene, who wrote the Nancy Drew series.  For fun, I read a combination of YA and thrillers: James Rollins, David Baldacci, Lee Child, Alex Horowitz, and Sophie Kinsella.

Did you design the cover art for That Boy yourself?

I did. I illustrated the inside of the book with lots of silly little doodles. I envisioned something like what I would’ve drawn on my notebook as a teen. I also wanted something very simple that stood out amongst all the photos of people on most romances. I originally planned to do three books – That Boy has the heart; That Wedding will have a wedding cake; and That Baby would have a rattle. Simple, bold, and similar.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your characters and why?

I didn’t really for That Boy. I sorta combined some people I knew with other people’s personalities. The relationships between Danny and Lori and Phillip and Jadyn were inspired by my husband and our friendship with another couple (the guy in the couple is one of my best friends).

The new series that I’m working on is set in a boarding school and has a lot of characters, so I do have photos of each character in front of me when I write.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer. Really, the entire cast of Magic Mike.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to paint, see movies, cook, shop, and spend time with my family. My son is a semi-pro kart racer, so I spend lots of time traveling with him as well. I’m also a bit addicted to Twitter.

You are an avid college football fan like me.  If you could play, which position would you choose and why?

Part of me wants to say the quarterback because I like to control things, but I was the pitcher for my fast pitch softball team for years, and that was a lot of pressure. When I didn’t pitch, I played first base. It was much less stress. So I’d say I’d want to be a wide receiver. Run down the field, catch the ball, and score.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I’m loving Revenge, and I LOVE Gossip Girl, even though it is NOTHING like the books. I have been doing research for That Wedding and have become addicted to David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding, as well as, Say Yes to the Dress.

 

You review a new movie every Friday on your blog, what is your favorite movie all-time?

Oh, wow. I don’t know if I could pick just one. I loved Independence Day. I can watch it over and over. I could also watch The Hangover a million times; it just keeps getting funnier. I would also include Harry Potter, Star Wars, Transformers, Talladega Nights, The Golden Child, Boomerang, and Titanic. I could go on for days. Avatar. I’ll stop now.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I get the same thing every time – large popcorn, to which I add way more butter than is good for me, and a large Diet Coke (the Diet Coke counteracts all the calories I consume. Like, in theory.)

*****

Isn’t Jill almost like that girl we’d all like to know?!

Want more Jill?  Be sure to visit her website and blog, follower her Twitter and Goodreads, and like her Facebook author page.

And don’t forget to buy a copy of That Boy here – Jill has Kindle, Nook, iPad and PDF copies available!

Do you have a question for Jill?  Have you read That Boy, and if so share your thoughts here!  What’s your favorite love story and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Before we go, here’s a special sneak peek of That Wedding

I know Phillip is that boy. The boy I want to marry, my prince, my happily ever after. I feel like I’m living in a dreamy fairytale.

But then Pastor starts asking questions I don’t know the answers to.
I have horrible wedding disaster dreams.
I can’t find a dress.
I have to manipulate Phillip to get my way.
And then, an old boyfriend asks me to run away and marry him.
My best friend tells me I’m going to ruin everything.
And forever is starting to sound like a really long time.

Which makes me start to wonder…

I wonder if best friends should get married.
I wonder if I’m settling.
I wonder if the fact that sex with Phillip is so amazing that it’s clouding my judgment.
I wonder if it’s just cold feet.
I wonder if marriage is all that fun.

And then I have to decide. Am I willing to give up on true love forever, or should I say, what the hell, and marry him?

*****

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

Tele-Tuesday: Not So Secret Circle

New to television this fall, The Secret Circle has left viewers a bit conflicted.  For one, the fans of the popular YA series by L.J. Smith are not impressed with the CW’s adaptation of the books.  The television series has changed quite a few things including the town (New Salem, Massachusetts in the books versus Chance Harbor, Washington on the television show) and the number of witches required to complete the circle (twelve in Smith’s books to six on the CW).

But for those of us who have not read the books, The Secret Circle ranks up there with the best of the new fall TV shows.

From the creators of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle follows teenager Cassie Blake (Brittany Robertson) after her mother’s death (well, murder).  Cassie moves to her mother Amelia’s (Emily Holmes) hometown to live with her grandmother (Jane played by Ashley Crow), where she meets a group of friends that help her uncover her destiny – she’s a witch.

Cassie learns that their families have a deep history of witchcraft dating back hundreds of years.  In order to complete their circle, one member from each of the original families is needed.  The power of six magnifies the circle’s power one hundred percent, and Cassie is the sixth.

Adam (Thomas Dekker) is immediately attracted to Cassie, and according to his father’s tales, the two are destined to be together.  The one problem standing in the way is Adam’s girlfriend, Diana (Shelley Hennig), the practical and good-natured leader of the circle.

Other members of the circle include: Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), the spoiled, selfish, and beautiful witch who often times practices reckless magic putting those around her in harm’s way;  and Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Faye’s best friend who happens to be in love with fellow member, bad-boy Nick (Louis Hunter).

It takes convincing, but the teenagers bind their circle which in essence binds their individual powers.  Once the circle is bound, the witches encounter many dangers including demons and witch hunters.  It takes a near death experience before Cassie learns that she may be the most powerful witch of all; but what she doesn’t know is that this power is directly tied to dark magic.

Each member of the circle has lost at least one parent already: Cassie and Nick are orphaned, having lost both parents; Adam and Diana have each lost their mothers; and Faye’s father is dead.  For whatever reason, Melissa’s family has yet to be introduced so we’re not sure which of her parents has passed, or if she too is an orphan.

The young high schoolers are only part of the story.  Witches come from witches, and the secrets behind their parents’ coven and a mysterious fire sixteen years earlier make for an interesting tale as well.

So far we’ve been introduced to the six members of the circle, and a few of their single parents and grandparents (the elders).   We know that Faye’s mother, Principal Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge) seems to be quite angry that the elders bound her powers and she wants desperately to be able to perform witchcraft again.

We also know that Diana’s dad Charles (Gale Harold) is responsible for Cassie’s mother’s death and that he is working feverishly with Dawn to recover their powers, destroying anyone who stands in their way.  And, we know that Adam’s father Ethan (Adam Harrington) drowns his sorrows in alcohol, pines away for Amelia, and is bullied by Dawn and Charles.

The storytelling has this TV addict hooked with so many questions… What happened in the fire sixteen years ago?  Who is Cassie’s father; is he the leader of the witch hunters? By the way, does anyone think it’s funny that JR Bourne (Isaac) plays a witch hunter on The Secret Circle and a werewolf hunter on Teen Wolf?  He must like to hunt…

Anyway, back to The Secret Circle: will Jake (Chris Zylka) fall for Cassie or will he destroy the circle?  What’s going to happen when someone discovers that Cassie possesses her family’s crystal?

The Secret Circle has been picked up for a full 22 episodes – how many of our questions will be answered?  I miss Charmed, and while The Secret Circle isn’t quite as good (in my opinion), it fills the hole that the Power of Three left behind.

So, what do you think?  Have you watched The Secret Circle?  What are your thoughts on the YA series versus the CW production?  Out of curiosity, did they kill Nick’s character in the books (that came as a bit of a shocker to me)?  I’d love to hear from you!

Tele-Tuesday: TV with Bite – The Vampire Diaries

 

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

Based on the YA series of the same name by L.J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries attracts teenage and adult viewers alike every Thursday night for the CW network.  So, why is it so popular?

#1 – The Vampire

Vampires have mesmerized readers, movie-goers, and television viewers for decades.  In addition to a vampire’s ability to compel a human, they also possess seductive traits including super strength, lightening fast speed, immortality, and eternal youth.  How is it that biting into the neck of a human is sexy?  It just is.

#2 – Beautiful People

Elena Gilbert played by Nina Dobrev (Degrassi: The Next Generation), is a human teenager surrounded by the supernatural.  Dobrev also plays Elena’s doppelganger, Katherine Pierce – vampire maker of the Salvatore brothers.

Elena loses both parents in a car accident, and later learns that she is adopted.  She dates vampire Stefen, while shamelessly shelving her attraction to his vampire brother, Damon.

Stefen Salvatore played by Paul Wesley (Wolf Lake, Everwood), is a 150 year old vampire.  Stefen is the good again/bad again vampire.

In the 1920s, “bad” Stefen, also known as the “Ripper,” leaves a long trail of bodies during his tenure in the greater Chicago area.  A friendly vampire later saves Stefen, and she teaches him to feed on animals, not humans.  “Good” Stefen then saves Elena from the car crash that claims her parents’ lives, and he instantly falls in love with the Katherine look-alike and resumes residency in Mystic Falls to be near her.

Damon Salvatore played by Ian Somerhalder (Lost), is Stefen’s older brother, and he is also a 150 year old vampire.  Damon is the “bad” boy with bite that we all love to love.  Like Stefen, Damon adored Katherine and he similarly shares the same feelings for Elena; and, just like in the 1800s, Damon suffers as Elena chooses his brother over him.  Why can’t Damon catch a break?

Unlike his brother, Damon never claims to be the “good” vampire.  Damon returns to Mystic Falls to make his little brother’s life a living hell.  He laughs at Stefen for preferring animal blood over human, and Damon has no problem compelling females to get what he needs – sex, blood, and/or information. Regardless of his intentions to make Stefen’s life miserable, Damon will do anything to protect his brother – just don’t tell anybody or he will deny it.

Jeremy Gilbert played by Steven R. McQueen (Everwood and Piranha 3D; and yes, he is Steve McQueen’s grandson) is Elena’s little brother.  Like his sister, Jeremy is human; however since being brought back from the dead by his witch girlfriend, he sees the ghosts of his former vampire girlfriends.

As with  generations of Gilberts before him, Jeremy wears a magically protected ring preventing him from dying any supernatural death.

Caroline Forbes played by Candice Accola, or “Vampire Barbie” as she’s called in our house, began the series as a human.  Caroline’s the bossy teenage best friend of Elena, but that friendship doesn’t stop her from being extremely jealous of Elena.

Seizing an opportunity, vampire Katherine turns Caroline after a car accident hoping to use her against Elena and the Salvatores.  Katherine failed.  Caroline might just be my favorite character on the show, behind Damon of course.

Bonnie Bennett played by Kat Graham (Honey 2), is best friends with Elena and Caroline.  She recently discovered that she is an extremely powerful witch, and she continues to increase her powers by learning witchcraft via spells from her ancestors.

Bonnie is dating Jeremy, but so far in season three she has been MIA.

Matt Donovan played by Zach Roerig (As the World Turns), is one of the rare humans roaming the streets of Mystic Falls.  Matt previously dated Elena and Caroline, and is now a bit spooked since learning about all of his supernatural friends.

Even though they are his closest friends, Matt finds it difficult to trust the vampires because they killed his sister.

Tyler Lockwood played by Michael Trevino (Cane), is the resident high school jock and cursed werewolf.  After his father’s death, his uncle Mason arrives hoping to reclaim the family moonstone – a stone necessary to break the werewolf curse; and, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, a stone also required for an original to transform into a hybrid.

Both thrust into the world of the supernatural, Tyler and Caroline continue to grow closer.

Alaric  “Ric” Saltzman played by Matt Davis (Legally Blonde), teaches at Mystic Falls High.  Rick came to town a vampire hunter, however now he assumes the role of “protector” for the Salvatores and Gilberts, as well as their vampire and werewolf friends.

Ric is cursed on the relationship front : his ex-wife/deceased vampire Isobel, is Elena’s mother (therefore, similar to Jeremy, he also possesses a Gilbert protection ring); and his girlfriend, Jenna (Elena and Jeremy’s aunt) was recently turned and killed as a part of Klaus’ plan to take over the supernatural world.

Klaus/Nick played by Joseph Morgan (Hex, Mansfield Park), is one of the “original” vampires, and is also a new breed called a hybrid (vampire/werewolf) courtesy of a witch’s spell – the simultaneous death of a werewolf, vampire, and doppelganger.

Klaus is one bad vamp.  The current episodes are airing just enough back story so the viewers can learn a tad bit more about this original and his sister, Rebecca, who is in love with Stefen.  Uh-oh, Elena!

#3 – The Writing

Without giving too much away, the writing on The Vampire Diaries is enough to attract all ages.  Really. It is.

The first season focuses on the history of the vampire and witch in Mystic Falls.  Season two continues with the Katherine/doppelganger storyline and also introduces the werewolf curse.  The suspense, sexual tension, and the twists and turns involving every character is perhaps some of the best on television.  Season three just started a few weeks ago, and we can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us!

 

Do you watch The Vampire Diaries?  Did you read the books?  What do you like/dislike about the YA series versus the TV series?  Who’s your favorite character and why?  Better yet – Stefen or Damon? 

Do you think when it’s all said and done, that The Vampire Diaries will rival Buffy the Vampire Slayer as one of the best supernatural series of all time?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – Beating the Heat with Movie Madness

Due to the horrendous Texas heat this summer, we’ve been staying indoors as much as possible.  What’s the best pastime when stuck inside?  Watching movies!

We’ve made it to the theater a few times, but mostly we’ve picked up the $1/night rentals at Redbox or caught an almost-new release on the cable channels and On Demand.  Mostly, we’ve focused on comedy and suspense, but occasionally we throw in some action and the supernatural. 

Grab the popcorn, and turn out the lights! Here are just a few picks of what we think is worth a watch.

Laughs, Laughs, and More Laughs

First Place goes to…..

Horrible Bosses – hands down, laugh out loud funny, from start to finish.  Everyone knows that Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis are funny, but what about Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx? 

Personally, we thought that Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Spacey stole the show.  Jennifer Aniston’s sexy role is a far cry from the “Rachel” we all know and love; Colin Farrell nails the coked-out tool roll; and, Kevin Spacey’s character is the perfect combination of paranoid and crazy. 

While Jaime Foxx didn’t play that large of a role throughout the film, we did laugh out loud every single time his character was called by name….   

Honorable Mentions go to….

Just Go With It– starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.  Watch out for scene stealers Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Dave Matthews, and Nicole Kidman.  Sandler and Aniston’s chemistry is fabOoolous throughout, but the entire supporting cast makes the movie. 

Grown Ups – starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider.  Everyone saw the advertising for this film, but there are many more laugh-out-loud moments than what we saw in the trailer.

Hall Pass – starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis.  We had actually heard that this film was a disappointment, but we have to agree to disagree.  Granted, we watched it late at night, but we laughed a lot – in particularly during one scene that caught us completely off-guard. 

Edge of our Seats Suspense

First Place goes to….

The Lincoln Lawyer – without naming names, someone in my household must see every single movie starring Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe.  Because of this, someone else in my household does not want to see every single Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe movie, which is why we had to wait for this film to be available at Redbox. 

After we watched The Lincoln Lawyer, that same certain someone loved it just as much as the Matthew and Ryan fan did.   In other words, men and women alike will enjoy this flick.

From the trailer, everyone knows that Matthew’s character is defending Ryan’s character for a murder that he actually committed.  But what we don’t know pulls the audience smack-dab in the middle of masterful suspense.  To what lengths will one go in covering up a crime?  Do we ever know all who are involved? 

A very close second goes to….

Limitless – starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.  What would you do if you were handed a mysterious pill that promised to activate 100% of your brain, as opposed to the usual twenty percent?  Would you take it?

Attention writers: Cooper’s character is an author, and after he takes the pill, he finishes his novel in just around four days.  Does this tempt you, even the slightest bit? 

It’s Not Real, but it’s Still FabOoolous

The award for the most awaited release of the summer goes to….

Fright Night – this much awaited remake did not disappoint.  Colin Farrell finally brings the bad-boy vampire back to the big screen.  Viewers experience a vampire that actually feeds on humans and still has the ability to seduce every female in the audience.      

The story remains very close to the original 1985 horror film, but also introduces a few new twists to make it its very own.   A few of the 3-D special effects were great, and we even saw a tiny cameo by one of the original Fright Night actors. 

While Roddy McDowall was and always will be the great Peter Vincent, vampire hunter, David Tennant makes the role uniquely his.  Every scene of Tennant’s is brilliant and very entertaining.   I’d say more, but I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it yet.      

The award for heroes of the summer goes to….

Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon – once again, Bumble Bee and Sam’s (Shia LaBeouf) relationship, as well as Optimus Prime and Sam’s relationship, made me cry.  Yes – for the second Transformers movie in a row, I actually teared up.  Never in a million years did I think I’d enjoy these movies about robots transforming into cars and saving the world, yet alone grow to love these Autobots the way that I do. 

Josh Duhamel’s role grows immensely in this third film and hallelujah for that!  Everyone needs a little more Josh in their life…  Oh, and don’t worry – many cringed, especially the men, when it was announced that Megan Fox would not reprise her role as Sam’s girlfriend; but, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s character fills the void perfectly.    

The award for the biggest surprise of the summer goes to….

I am Number Four – based on the bestselling YA novel of the same name, this science fiction hit targeted for the younger generation pleasantly surprised the thirtysomethings in this house.  We immediately called family members, young and not-so-young alike, and recommended a quick trip to Redbox.

Every single one of them loved alien John Smith (Number Four) and his handler/warrior/guardian, Henri.  The special effects in the fight scene at the end are absolutely fabOoolous, and the anticipation for a sequel is astounding.  The Power of Six is on book shelves now; does anyone know when the movie starts production? 

Not every movie can earn a top spot, but a few other films that kept us entertained and out of the hot-summer heat include: Priest. Life As We Know It, You Again, Date Night, The Hangover Part 2, The Mechanic, The Rite, The Dilemma, and Little Fockers.

Next up on our must-see list:  Sucker Punch, Season of the Witch, Arthur, Red Riding Hood, and Your Highness. Which one should we watch first?

What’s the last movie that you watched? What’s next on your list of must-sees?  Do you prefer going to the movies or staying in?  Have you tried a Redbox near you?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – YA Inspired TV

What’s one of the most common phrases used by toddlers when asked, “Who did this?”  How about: “Not me!” (usually coupled with the famous pointing of a finger to the nearest scapegoat).  Children learn at a very early age to lie, even if it’s a harmless little-white lie.  Right? 

The lies worsen as we get older.  We look for excuses behind why we brought home a bad grade, or why we were accused of cheating.  Perhaps some of us were really devious and were looking for the perfect fib when our parents caught us sneaking out the window late at night.  Oh, don’t worry; I never did this, Mom and Dad.   

Regardless, everyone lies – which brings me to today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday show – ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, where lies haunt from beyond the grave.

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

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

BFF #1 – Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) returns home from a year abroad with her family, and forgetting she’s a teenager and back in America, goes to a local bar where she meets Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding).  The two immediately hit it off and share a kiss after connecting over their love for literature.  The next day at school, Aria walks into English class where she discovers Ezra is also her teacher. 

Meanwhile, emotions erupt at home when her mother (Ella Montgomery, played by Holly Marie Combs) leaves her father after discovering the true reason behind the family’s extended absence from Rosewood – Aria’s father, a professor, had an affair with a teaching assistant at the local college.  Aria and Alison knew this secret, having spotted Mr. Montgomery (Chad Lowe) making out with his TA in his car.  Whoopsie! 

Isn’t it ironic that Aria now begins a torrid love affair and dates her teacher after torturing her father for a similar inappropriate relationship?  “A” won’t let Aria forget it…..

BFF #2 – Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) replaced Alison as the most popular girl in school following her friend’s disappearance.  “Hefty Hanna”, as Alison liked to call her, dropped her baby fat, partnered with her new BFF Mona and took to a life of brattiness and shoplifting. 

Hanna lacks the self-confidence a young woman needs, having watched her father walk out on her and her mother.  She spirals out of control, throwing herself at her boyfriend, only to be rejected.  Not helping matters, Hanna watches as her single mother (Ashley Marin, played by Laura Leighton) bails her out of trouble by bedding the detective on Hanna’s shoplifting case. 

Hanna really has the worst of luck – she wrecks her boyfriend’s car, and she is run-over when she gets dangerously close to discovering “A’s” identity.  When Mona throws her a surprise “glad you’re alive party,” someone steals all of the money (assumedly “A”) that Hanna’s mother stole from a client at the bank.  And, while following “A’s” sordid trail back to the money, Hanna falls for the wrong boy who happens to be feeding information to the girls’ nemesis, Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok).

BFF #3 – Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) is the poor-little-rich-girl of the bunch.  Her successful parents push Spencer to be the absolute best, much like they did with her older sister Melissa.  Spencer is brilliant, but plays second fiddle to her sister, always aware that her parents favor her.  To retaliate, Spencer kisses her sister’s boyfriend (Ian Thomas) and then later kisses her new fiancé.  Matters get worse for Spencer when Melissa surprises the Hastings family by abruptly marrying Ian right after calling off her previous engagement. 

Spencer begins to investigate her new brother-in-law, and slowly uncovers an affair between Ian and Alison before Alison’s disappearance.  As she continues to investigate, Spencer believes that Ian not only stalked her best friend, but also killed her, causing the rift between Spencer and her sister to intensify. 

Now a suspect herself in Alison’s murder, Spencer befriends Toby Cavanaugh who also happened to serve time in jail briefly as the main suspect in Alison’s death.  Did I mention that Toby is also the half-brother of Jenna?  Toby knows just how deceiving and manipulative his sister can be….is Jenna “A”?    

BFF #4 – Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) is the daughter of a military father always away on assignment who is confused with her own sexuality.  She starts the series with a boyfriend, but then falls for the new girl, Maya sending her mother (Nia Peeples) into a tailspin.  Making even more of a splash, Emily takes Toby to the homecoming dance as her date trying to hide the fact that she’s gay.  The fact that Emily doesn’t totally believe in Toby’s innocence, like the rest of the town, leads to a dangerous encounter. 

After accepting that she was a homosexual, Emily is devastated when Maya is sent away to military school after marijuana is found inside Maya’s back pack.  Emily turns back to her swimming career and begins having feelings for her competition and swim-mate. 

Emily’s world continues to turn upside down when her mother announces that they’re leaving Rosewood to live with her father, who is stationed in Texas.  Meanwhile, Emily holds the key to the photo evidence Spencer uncovered of Ian and Alison on her home computer, which conveniently gets erased when the realtor shows the Fields’ house. 

And the text messaging begins...."A"

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

I give the girls & the mystery behind Pretty Little Liars another MacTV rating – despite the fact that I’m in my thirties, I tune in every single week to watch these little teenagers scurry around playing detective trying their best to solve their BFF’s murder and discover the true identity of the creepy texter known only as “A” who anticipates their every move. 

Do you watch Pretty Little Liars or is the show too young for you?  What do you think of the mystery – have you figured out the identity of “A” or who killed Alison?  Which of the girls do you relate to the most – Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Emily, Alison, or the outcast Jenna?  I’d love to hear from you!  

Now it’s time to click over and read Amber’s post discussing the new ABC Family series The Nine Lives of Chloe King based on the young adult series written by Celia Thompson (also known as Liz Braswell). 

Remember to stop by the Twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about today’s posts and any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series in the future.  Next week we swap channels and move over to TNT where we’ll discuss Franklin & Bash and Men of a Certain Age.