Archive | May 2011

Guest Post: A love affair with HBO

HBO doesn’t $#@& around. It produces quality shows, some of which, I will boldly say, I have yet to entertain the idea of watching. I know we’re all familiar with The Wire, Entourage, The Sopranos and True Blood. I can’t argue with that kind of entertainment. But what about the other shows? The period pieces, the odder, the more historical, or, as I like to call them – the shows you wouldn’t watch unless someone made you.

The five shows below are some of most quality moments of television (excuse me – HBO) I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. I warn you though; I didn’t succumb to watching any of these without putting up a fight, showing skepticism, or muttering a few unladylike phrases under my breath.

1. John Adams. OK, so technically this doesn’t really count – it was a miniseries. But it’s still HBO, and it’s still amazing. First, I don’t automatically fall to my feet at the sound of historical period pieces. But this was actually informative. Sadly, I may have learned more about the formation of America from this show than I did in any history class I’ve ever taken. Or – perhaps it’s that what this show portrayed was a perspective textbooks often neglect – not because they’re keeping information from us – but because they’re only focusing on the facts. John Adams is a look at the formation of America through his eyes – the struggles, the players, the effect it had on families. I won’t spoil it for you, but I certainly received my fair share of goose bumps during some key moments.

2. Rome. I know little about the Roman Empire. Secular beliefs…sexual promiscuity…indulgences…vengefulness… Caesar…Mark Antony…Cleopatra. The show portrays the extravagance of the nobility, the poverty of the plebs and the loyalty of the soldiers. It’s kind of epic in that way – and certainly worth watching. Rumor has it the show had to be canceled because of the high production value (as I’m sure is the case with a lot of HBO shows).

3. Carnivale. Have you read Water for Elephants? This is sort of like that book, but very different. It’s about a traveling carnival during the 1930’s Dustbowl. The storyline ultimately merges the traveling carnival with an evangelical ministry and examines the battle between good and evil. Some magic is involved – or should I say – unexplained occurrences. Luckily, the show provides enough mystery and establishes enough trust with the viewer to make it all the more believable.

4. Tell Me You Love Me.  I was skeptical. Very skeptical. I thought it was transparent and existed solely for all the nude-y scenes it portrayed. Then I got hooked. This show is one season of emotional tumbleweeds torpedoing through the lives of three couples who are all in therapy, trying to work on or fix something about their relationships. The stories are relatable. The problems are not so uncommon. And that’s what makes this show so believable and leaves the viewer feeling a bit unpleasant and uncomfortable.

5. Deadwood. Does this one count? It’s a pretty popular one, but I thought I’d throw it in here since it’s also a period piece set to the 1876 Black Hills gold rush. Ian McShane is brilliant and Robin Weigert plays an entertaining Calamity Jane. The show feels authentic. The women don’t wear make-up. The language – is spot on. So spot on, in fact, that if you don’t watch this show with subtitles you’re liable to miss a lot.

While I don’t expect you to run off into the unknown and watch each episode of these shows, maybe I’ve piqued your curiosity? Eh? If not, I’m happy to swing by your place to sit you down and make you…and turn you into a fanatic like me.

-Alla

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USA Network: Surprisingly Entertaining!

It wasn’t too long ago that I rarely, if ever, watched anything on USA Network. That was until I was introduced to White Collar.

If you don’t watch White Collar, I can give you one very strong reason to reconsider: Matt Bomer. His character, Neal Caffrey, is insanely charming and extremely fun to look at. He’s a white collar criminal who managed to escape FBI capture for quite some time. Soon after he was arrested, Agent Peter Burke – the man who spent years trying to catch him – offered him a deal where he can assist the FBI on white collar cases instead of serving his time in jail. Naturally, they’ve become quite bromantic.

Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay)

USA Network also airs Cover Affairs, which I just recently started watching (and by “recently started” I mean I watched every episode in the last 3 days. But in my defense, there were only 10). This one is about the CIA and stars Piper Perabo (of Coyote Ugly fame), Christopher Gorham (from Ugly Betty) and Sendhil Ramamurthy (I don’t know what else he’s been in).

Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham) and Annie Walker (Piper Perabo)

Both White Collar and Covert Affairs are entertaining in a light way. While I may get caught up in the excitement of the episodes, they never end in a way that leaves me confused and worried for the next week. If you want to start watching, they both come back with new episodes on Tuesday, June 7.

The fact that I love these two shows so much makes me wonder if I should start watching Burn Notice and Psych. Maybe USA Network is on to something…

-Nicole

Castle Finale: Why Is September So Far Away?

WARNING: This post will have MAJOR spoilers. If you haven’t seen the season finale of Castle and plan to watch it, you’ve been warned.

From 10-11pm last night, I was sitting on the edge of my bed closest to my TV with my hands over my mouth. No, I wasn’t watching Hawaii Five-0, though I was told I will have a similar reaction when I watch that finale.

I only started watching Castle a few weeks ago and was instantly hooked. Thanks to Netflix and Hulu Plus, I caught up just in time for the season three finale. I don’t understand how I’m the only person I know who watches this show – it’s AMAZING! But I digress…

I’ve been invested in the Caskett (Castle + Beckett) will they/won’t they relationship since day one as well as the mystery of who killed Beckett’s mom. Both of these story lines have made huge progress this season, leading to this “holy cow” finale! Let’s go over the major moments.

First, Castle goes to Beckett’s apartment to try to stop her from continuing her investigation into her mother’s killer. He says to her, “Walk away. They’re going to kill you, Kate, and if you don’t care about that, at least think about how that’s going to affect the people that love you.” (You know Castle means business when he uses her first name!) This results in a huge fight and touches on the fact that they kissed but never discussed it and nearly froze to death in each others’ arms and never discussed that either. It ends with Beckett telling him they’re over and kicking him out. Heartbreak #1.

Castle and Beckett's long-awaited kiss (S3 E13)

Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito get a lead on who the third dirty cop involved in Beckett’s mom’s murder is. It doesn’t take them long to realize it’s their own Captain! I have to say, I DID NOT see that coming! Lockwood (the shooter who escaped from prison) tells Captain Montgomery to bring Beckett to an airport hanger so he can kill her. He says Montgomery can either save Beckett or his family, but not both. So as you can imagine, he’s a bit torn.

There was a collective audience heartbreak when we hear Montgomery call Beckett to go to the hanger, but it turns out he does it to bait Lockwood. Montgomery also brings Castle to take Beckett away and make sure she doesn’t get killed when Lockwood arrives. She pleads with Montgomery not to get himself killed and even goes so far as to forgive him for his involvement in what ultimately got her mom killed. Castle literally carries her away kicking, screaming and crying. Heartbreak #2 happened while watching Castle cover her mouth and try to console her while they knew Montgomery was about to die. The only silver lining of Montgomery’s death is that Lockwood was also killed.

The foursome (Castle, Beckett, Ryan and Esposito) all agree to keep Montgomery’s involvement a secret and let him be remembered as a hero. At the funeral, Beckett gives a eulogy that indirectly addresses her own relationship with Castle, thus indicating a make-up of sorts. But then, just when I assume the drama is over, Beckett gets shot! Castle tried to tackle her to the ground but was a second too late. He stands over her with her blood on his hands begging her, “Stay with me!” And then, the moment fans have waited three seasons for, he tells her he loves her. Just before she passes out, it looks as though there’s a faint smile on her face.

Now, the cliffhanger is not the fact that Beckett was shot. Realistically they are not killing of their second lead character, so I’m not worried about that. What I am worried about is whether the declaration of love finally means Caskett will get together! Sadly, I have to wait until September to find out. Heartbreak #3.

-Nicole

Which cancelled shows will you miss most?

It’s that time of the year again… the new fall line-ups have been announced! And with that, of course, comes the sad news of some of our favorite shows being cancelled. We want to know which shows you’ll miss most. For us, it’s hard to choose just one! Answer the poll below and feel free to add other shows in the comments section.

-katie & nicole

Guest Post: The Killing

While I am usually a bit of a CW girl, AMC has produced some really innovative and interesting shows in the past few years. From Mad Men to Walking Dead to this season’s The Killing, AMC has made me change the channel on my beloved teen dramas.

Encouraged by the plentiful voicemail messages from my sister informing me “I had to watch The Killing,” I decided to give it a whirl. So with that I tuned into Seattle’s murderous scene. The show reminded me of a much rainier version of the short–lived series “Happy Town,” which apparently I was the only person to ever watch, hence the short-lived part.

The Pilot got off to kind of a slow start in search of the missing Rosie, but has quickly taken off.  Apparently non-teen dramas actually take time for character development as opposed to the fast-paced world of Gossip Girl where all you need to know is they are rich, like to scheme and shop a lot. Anyway, once we got a feel for the lives of the characters things started moving along, and quickly! I will say there are not many shows that leave me questioning the motives of the 16 year old best friend, but in this case I trust no one!

With our resident detective who wants nothing more than to leave Seattle to get married, her new partner who relates to the teen drug scene by smoking up with the students, and a myriad of other quirky residents, viewers don’t know where to turn next. As the mystery begins to unfold, I am faced with another mystery – how is Rosie’s teacher on this show and on Being Erica? This has automatically made him the killer in my mind. How long can he be on both shows? And since I adore his character on Being Erica, clearly he needs to get off The Killing! Just look at him, all smug thinking “I’m on two shows they’ll never know it’s me!” Oh I do my friend, I do.

So for right now, here’s what I think: All these storylines seem very disjointed, which means they must fit together eventually, right? Also, I really don’t care who wins the election… and if one of them killed Rosie, can we just get to it because they are boring me. Michelle Forbes is amazing!  ‘Nuff said there.  Her husband does appear to be scary past guy so we’ll see.

As is typical with their brand of entertainment, AMC has not created a show but an event. With games and an extra-special fun-filled The Killing website, viewers like me can go pick their favorite suspect and explore and investigate other crime scenes. Hours of fun and time wasted. I haven’t had this much fun on a TV-based website since Lost.

General analysis: Enjoyable show that I can watch with my husband – unlike the CW shows – which is a bonus. Will totally keep watching to find out who did it.

Overall Rating:

4 Girl Remotes out of 5. If they focus less on the election the score would go up.

– Robin

Are You Watching Breakout Kings?

Before March, I had no idea A&E had original programming (I barely remembered it’s even a channel, actually). I kept seeing advertisements for their new show, Breakout Kings, and didn’t think much of it. But then I realized both Jimmi Simpson and Domenick Lombardozzi were in it, and that got my attention.

I first saw Jimmi Simpson in the Jason Biggs’ movie, Loser, back in 2000. More recently, though, he played one of the dirty cops in Date Night. If you’re not familiar with Domenick Lombardozzi, he played Herc in The Wire. And if you haven’t watched The Wire, you should probably reevaluate your life. Just saying.

But back to the show. Breakout Kings is a drama that centers on the U.S. Marshalls and their special task force to catch fugitives. What makes this task force special is the fact that it’s made up of current prisoners, each of whom brings a special skill to the table. As part of their deal, they are transfered to a minimum security facility and will have one month taken off their sentences for every fugitive they catch. But, if any of them try to run away, they’ll all go back to maximum security and their sentences will be doubled.

The task force is made up of three prisoners (for now). Shea Daniels (Malcom Goodwin) is a former drug smuggler with very useful street smarts. He helps the team by providing his knowledge of how convicts think and how they may decide to move around while on the run. Erica Reed (Serinda Swan) is a bounty hunter and expert tracker. Her father was tortured and killed, and Erica hunted down and killed five of the six people involved in the murder. She was only convicted of weapons charges because she killed her victims so flawlessly that they couldn’t pin it on her. She also has a daughter who she rarely sees. As a result, she is very driven to catch the fugitives because the sooner she gets out of prison, the sooner she’ll see her kid. Finally, Dr. Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson) is a former child prodigy and a behaviorist. He is able to predict the actions of the fugitives through psychological evaluation. He also has a gambling addiction and ended up in prison because he wrote illegal prescriptions to college students to help pay his debts.

Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso), a Deputy U.S. Marshall, leads the team. He has a congenital heart defect and was assigned to a desk job for six years because of it. Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi) is  Special Deputy U.S. Marhsall on the task force. He was convicted of stealing money and lost his job. He’s now in a halfway house and is able to work on the team and carry a weapon. Up until the last new episode, the prisoners on the team didn’t know he’s a con as well. Finally, Jules Simms (Brooke Nevin) is a research analyst on the team. She never goes into the field, but she researches and finds various resources the fugitives may have to help them in their escape. She used to be a student at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center but was expelled for various psychological disorders.

Now that you know everyone’s life story, I recommend you start watching the show. It’s one of those shows that you don’t have to start from the beginning (but, I recommend you do so anyway). It comes on A&E Sundays at 10pm (Bonus points if you know what channel A&E is!).

-Nicole

i <3 may sweeps

As an avid TV watcher there are two times of the year that are most important: September and May. In September you have the excitement of the new TV lineup, series premieres and of course, welcoming back old friends. May on the other hand is sweeps. Writers and producers save the BEST story lines for May: the weddings, the babies, the deaths and the drama! And this May is no different.

Luckily, thanks to one Michael Ausiello, it’s easy to keep track of it all with the May Sweeps Scorecard. Just be forewarned, there are spoilers:

http://www.tvline.com/2011/04/may-sweeps-scorecard-deaths-weddings-pregnancies-sex-reunions-and-more/

Enjoy! I know I will…  🙂

-Katie