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Tiffany’s TV Reviews – San Fran http://socialinsanfrancisco.com Join the Fun! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 “Chicago P.D.” – Unique or Just Another Police Procedural? http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/chicago-p-d-unique-or-just-another-police-procedural/ Wed, 19 Feb 2014 22:36:48 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2366

Chicgao PD

A Review of NBC’s “Chicago P.D.” by Tiffany A. White

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that could either a) fall in line with all the other police procedurals on TV, or b) stand out as the next Dick Wolf success—Chicago P.D..

Created by Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and a spinoff series of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. will serve as yet another typical police procedural on television. Or will it?

My main question is this—will Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) be a good guy or a bad guy? While I did not watch the entire first season of Chicago Fire, I did watch enough to know that he was not a “good” cop. The character did not hesitate to cross legal or ethical lines. And if he’s anything like that on the new show, what in the world is his staff going to be like?

And speaking of Jason Beghe, I’ve had a crush on him since I was a little girl when he starred as the quarterback, Tom Yinessa, on HBO’s 1st & Ten. Yes; my parents let me watch with them—it was about football, after all! And most recently, I’ve enjoyed his recurring character, Richard Bates, on Showtime’s Californication where he plays an alcoholic/sometimes gay/sometimes straight man. His performances are fantastic. Needless to say, I gave Chicago P.D. a try just for him.

The new drama also stars: Jon Seda as Detective Antonio Dawson; Sophia Bush as Detective Erin Lindsay; the great Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky; and many others.

But let’s talk about Voight right now… like I mentioned earlier, Voight was not a “good” cop on Chicago Fire. Actually, he went to jail. However, in this new series, his character has negotiated some deal to get out of prison and land himself the supervisory position for the Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department. We later learn this deal is for him to secretly report back to Internal Affairs… but will he? Will he be 100% honest with them? Probably not…

So is he good or bad?

Well, Voight instructs his staff to keep everything in-house… they tell him the truth, so he can lie for them. This isn’t so strange. Anyone who has played sports has heard the saying “what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.” Same concept.

The Intelligence Unit is family, and to Voight, nothing is more important than family. Yet, sadly, his sordid past actually gets one of his officers killed in the first episode (in a round-about-way). Sorry for the spoiler.

Ultimately, Voight just operates under the mantra—and expects his team to as well—whatever it takes.

Does this make him bad? Naaa. I kinda like him and will continue to watch because of him. I want to see how many professional and ethical lines he and his team will cross, while maintaining characters that I like and am actually rooting for. There seems to be the “right way” and the “Voight way” of doing things. Sometimes “Voight’s way” is the only way to get things done. I get that real cops shouldn’t act this way, but this is TV and I like it.

But enough about just Voight…

Chicago P.D. bounces back and forth between his unit and the officers who patrol the streets of Chicago. As a Law & Order fan, I can definitely tell this series is a Dick Wolf creation from the cinematography and style. And being a Chicago Fire spinoff, many of the characters have done and will do a crossover stint at one time or another (for those who love and need more of Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer). If I understand correctly, the series will actually do a full-blown crossover episode event with Chicago Fire and Law & Order: SVU. Guess I’ll need to watch Chicago Fire that week. But overall, it is just another police procedural on TV today… just with a different kind of twist.

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2014 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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“Killer Women” – Good While it Lasted… http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/killer-women-good-while-it-lasted/ Wed, 12 Feb 2014 23:09:57 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2348

Killer Women

A Review of ABC’s “Killer Women” by Tiffany A. White

Today, I’m jumping in with a show that I have been looking forward to since I heard about the idea—Killer Women.

ABC Summary: From executive produce Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and created by Hannah Shakespeare, step inside the dangerous world of the Texas Rangers from the female perspective and experience the arresting “Killer Women.”

Based on the Argentine crime drama, Mujeres Asesinas, this series follows Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica), a Texas Ranger who is really good at her job. Each week, this former beauty queen tracks and arrests a different female criminal. She “follows the law, not the rules.”

Having recently filed for divorce from her senator husband, Molly has three things going for her: her family (she currently lives with her brother, his wife, and two girls), her boyfriend (she’s dating a HOT D.E.A. agent), and her job (something she’s really good at). Speaking of her job, she excels at reading suspects, digging down until she finds the truth, and using firearms. Plus, she’s not afraid to break the rules to do what’s morally right.

Molly is a strong character with flaws, overcoming one of her biggest weaknesses—the abuse she endured while staying with her husband. She’s smart, sexy, and talented. However, I find it hard to believe that a Texas Ranger would be trained as a hypnotherapist to help witnesses recall events like Molly is. Wouldn’t law enforcement hire an outside professional for that?

The series also stars: Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Necessary Roughness) as D.E.A. Agent Dan, Molly’s boyfriend; Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica, Fairly Legal) as Billy, Molly’s brother; Alex Fernandez (Dallas) as Lt. Zea, Molly’s boss; Jeffrey Nordling (Once and Again) as Carl, Molly’s hopefully soon-to-be-ex husband; and many guest stars.

Killer Women is enjoyable. Another one of the reasons why I like it? Being from Texas, I absolutely HATE (sorry to use that word, Mom, but I do) it when television shows use fake and over-the-top Texas accents. Yes; we have a unique accent down here. Yes; sometimes we shorten words because we’re lazy. And yes; some of us really do sound horrible. But we don’t sound like TV makes us out to sound. And thankfully, Killer Women does not use the ridiculous TV Texas Twang we’ve been subject to in the past. Except on a few words. But I can live with a few words. I just can’t listen to a 40 minute show of it… it hurts my ears.

All of that said, Killer Women is not the best thing on TV, but it’s certainly not the worst.

The series was originally only an eight episode arc, but after poor ratings has been reduced to six with the final episode airing February 18th. I just don’t get the decisions networks make today. If you’ve paid for and shot eight episodes, why only air six? Even if the ratings were that poor, why not air as many episodes as you have, giving the viewers that do watch the rest of the show? And why air a struggling and NEW program opposite something as BIG and popular as the Olympics? I’m telling ya, the decision makers at the networks should have their heads checked.

As for me, I’ll watch the show until the end. Maybe ABC will change their mind and air the last two episodes this summer? Because while the show has been yanked from the TV schedule, it hasn’t been officially cancelled. Not that I can find, anyway. So, I guess there’s hope? Personally, I think Killer Women would make a great summer program when there aren’t so many other TV shows to choose from.

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2014 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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Why “The Walking Dead” is a Household Favorite… http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/why-the-walking-dead-is-a-household-favorite/ Wed, 05 Feb 2014 23:35:13 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2324

The Walking Dead 2

A Review of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” by Tiffany A. White

AMC no longer means American Movie Classics.

The supernatural element is taking over the television world today, and AMC joins this phenomenon by telling the story of a small group of people working feverishly to survive a widespread zombie epidemic in the great state of Georgia in “The Walking Dead.” The series begins with small town sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) waking from a coma to discover he is alone in every sense of the word: the hospital is desolate, the town looks like a post-apocalyptic war zone, and his family has vanished.

A man and his son save the deliriously weak Rick from his first encounter with a walker, or zombie as we know it, and nurse him back to health and educate him on the events that have transpired while he was in a coma. The outlook appears bleak, but Rick insists his family is alive and sets out for Atlanta to find his wife (Lori, played by Sarah Wayne Callies) and son (Carl, played by Chandler Riggs).

On his journey, Rick finds his family and his best friend (Shane, played by Jon Bernthal) along with a small group that will become a part of his new family: Glenn (Steven Yeun). Andrea (Laurie Holden), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Carol (Melissa McBride), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), and probably my favorite character… along with most of the show’s other viewers… Daryl (Norman Reedus).

Rick immediately establishes himself as the team leader; but after the camp is infiltrated by a group of walkers and a few lives are lost, the survivors retreat, pack up and head out. And so the journey begins….or continues in this case.

The first season of “The Walking Dead” is only six episodes, making it perfect for a marathon style viewing party (that’s what we did). In season two, the survivors cohabitate on a farm with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his daughters (Maggie, played by Lauren Cohen, and Beth, played by Beth Kinney). Of course, as expected, they have to abruptly leave the farm and take up residence in an abandoned prison, which begins season three. And along the way, they cross paths with The Governor (David Morrissey) and a few other recurring characters (like Michonne, played by Danai Gurira, and Tyreese, played by Chad L. Coleman).

Now in season four, the group’s once safe fortress is no more…

Just how successful is this show about walkers? The series has already been picked up for a fifth year and averages anywhere between 10-16 million viewers per episode. Yeah, it’s one of the most popular TV shows on today…

“The Walking Dead” is shot without the vibrant colors of other shows; but while not black and white, still appears dark and gloomy in relation to the current state of events. The episodes are not for those with weak stomachs and are filled with suspense, leaving us hanging on by the seat of our pants. Not every character is likable, yet we find ourselves hoping that the walkers don’t bite anyone else.

The series is a bit graphic at times. Honestly, I almost stopped watching at one particular point in the pilot episode (I did not like seeing the walkers devour a horse). But I stuck with it and I really am glad that I did.

Oh, and most importantly, not one single character is safe from death. Not one. Of all the survivors listed above, six have already perished. I just won’t say who…

For bringing zombies to television, I applaud “The Walking Dead”; the fact that I actually need the week in-between episodes to recover from what has happened, I applaud “The Walking Dead”; for keeping me on the edge of my seat, not being predictable, and for the music, I applaud “The Walking Dead.” All in all, it has to be a top-rated TV show for me.

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2014 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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Why the TBS Comedy “Men at Work” Works in our House… http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/why-the-tbs-comedy-men-at-work-works-in-our-house/ Wed, 29 Jan 2014 21:48:26 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2304

Men at Work

A Review of the TBS Comedy “Men at Work” by Tiffany A. White

TBS, a channel we don’t usually watch in our house, launched a new sitcom a few years ago created by the great Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash). Men at Work follows four friends who all work together at the same magazine as writers, photographers, and reporters. It started with the friends as they help a buddy get back on the dating horse after a disastrous breakup. Now, it’s just all about their friendships and the hilarity that ensues.

The series stars: Danny Masterson (That ‘70s Show) as Milo, the friend at the beginning who was dumped and who is still single in season three; James Lesure (Las Vegas – we are big fans of Mike Cannon from Las Vegas in our house) as Gibbs, the sexual and sensual best friend; Adam Busch (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Neal, the only one of the four in a serious relationship, at least he was… with the boss’ daughter; and Michael Cassidy (The O.C.) as Tyler, the beautiful and stylish one.

Rarely do we see a comedy centered around all men, about men. Plus, Men at Work features four funny television character actors we’ve missed seeing around the TV screen for the past few years. Add the funny-man creator to this, and we couldn’t help but think Men at Work could potentially be worth a watch.

And it is—Men at Work is thirty minutes of fun. I’d say it puts the “fun” in “funny,” but that might sound a bit cliché. It’s nice having a comedy my guy and I both enjoy watching. Not only are the relationships between the friends enjoyable, but the foursome introduces hilarious and spot-on new terminology for everyone to throw into their daily conversations with phrases like:

Heterotexual – a modern man who pleases a woman with his thumbs
HotZone
– things that pose the risk of infection
TruthBomb
– boom goes the conversation dynamite, or saying truths your friends might not otherwise want to hear
CrazyHot Paradox
– a woman who is easy on the eyes, but insane in the brain

Honestly, these sayings remind me of “Barneyisms” from How I Met Your Mother, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them just the same.

Men at Work’s humor is a bit on the raunchy side, but then again almost anything sexual anymore is considered raunchy. Perhaps that’s why the new sitcom is on TBS and not the basic network channels, joining the ranks of FX (Archer), Showtime (Californication and Weeds), and Comedy Central (Workaholics).

And since TV ratings are all about the guest stars here lately, Men at Work has had ‘em lined up since the beginning: Amy Smart (Milo’s ex-girlfriend), Stacy Kiebler (a girl who likes threesomes), Kathy Najimy (a sex blogger), J.K. Simmons (the owner of the magazine and Neal’s girlfriend’s father), and fellow That ‘70s Show‘ers Wilmer Valderrama (Milo’s upstairs neighbor) and Laura Prepon to just name a few.

Oh, yeah… and the four friends like to have meals at a local diner. In every episode. Which kinda reminds me of the girls from Sex and the City

So how does Meyer’s baby rank? All in all, I’d say Men at Work is like that bag of potato chips that we know we should put away after a few bites, but can’t help going back for more. The crunch of the chip and the explosion of flavors (a.k.a. the laughter) is just what the doctor ordered to accompany an ice-cold beer after a long day at work.

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2014 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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Why “Pretty Little Liars” Has This Adult Mystery Lover Hooked… http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/why-pretty-little-liars-has-this-adult-mystery-lover-hooked/ Wed, 22 Jan 2014 23:16:46 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2282

PLL

A Review of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” by Tiffany A. White

The insurgence of YA mysteries on TV these days receives a DVR priority in this Young Adult mystery writer’s house. Thankfully, ABC Family provides young mystery lovers (and some of us “old”) with a few great soap-opera style whodunits… with Pretty Little Liars topping the list.

The series begins when Alison DiLaurentis’ remains are found a year after her mysterious disappearance in the fictional town of Rosewood. This event brings together her four former best friends (Aria Montgomery, played by Lucy Hale; Hanna Marin, played by Ashley Bensen; Spencer Hastings, played by Troian Bellisario; and Emily Fields, played by Shay Mitchell), who had drifted apart following that fateful night. Alison was the glue that held the girls together, the leader of the high school clique.

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.

The ongoing questions have me hooked: Who killed Alison? Who is leading the “A” team? How do they have so much dirt on Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily? Why do they continue to torture these girls—what could they have possibly done to deserve this?

Over the course of four seasons, and with one spinoff under its belt (Ravenswood), Pretty Little Liars has taken the art of a whodunit and masterfully played its viewers. At one point or another, every single character has raised my suspicions as to whether or not he or she was actually “A” – including Alison herself. And although I’ve never believed any of the four best friends to be “A,” with the exception of Spencer at one time, I have suspected many close to the girls.

At one point, I figured one could only assume that the “A” team was composed of primarily teens (including characters like Hanna’s other friend, Mona, or Spencer’s boyfriend, Toby for example) and young adults (like Spencer’s sister, Melissa, or Aria’s on-again-off-again teacher/boyfriend, Ezra Fitz), so how is it that they (The “A” team) know the deep-dark secrets of the girls’ families too? No one is safe on this show; not the teens, not the parents, and I love it!

And that is the beauty of Pretty Little Liars. But what’s even better about the show? They don’t make us wait long before every single suspicion is answered. It’s just maybe not without additional twists and turns…

As many of us know, a TV show isn’t much of a success without conflict—especially not mysteries. And each of the girls has oodles and oodles of conflict surrounding them individually, even without “A’s” 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, and Pretty Little Liars doesn’t bore its viewers.

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 disappearance, and hoping to discover the true identity of the creepy texter known only as “A.” Pretty Little Liars is one of my favorite programs on TV today… and seriously… there is so much more that I didn’t even mention!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2014 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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“Teen Wolf” – Not Just Teen TV http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/teen-wolf-not-just-teen-tv/ Wed, 15 Jan 2014 22:22:30 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2257

Teen Wolf

A Review of MTV’s “Teen Wolf” by Tiffany A. White

MTV’s Teen Wolf is not just television for teens…

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. So did they?

First, a few similarities:

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

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.

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

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 (although there are laughs, especially where Stiles is concerned…).

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. Over the course of the first few years, both Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) have transitioned from betas to alphas, due to circumstances surrounding them. And just because one is once an alpha, doesn’t mean they always will remain an alpha… just sayin’.

In the second season, Teen Wolf picked up the action, the suspense, and storylines. If season one piqued our interests, season two hooked us. The story introduced the mysterious kanima, a mutation of the werewolf. Better yet, viewers didn’t know for quite some time who the kanima was. Was it “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates)? Or Lydia (played by Holland Roden), the annoying girl admired by Stiles? Or heck, someone else all together? Believe me… there were options.

Season three keeps with the mythology of the werewolf, as fictitious as it may be, and introduces viewers to the biggest, baddest alpha of them all—Deucalion. But that’s not all; viewers also watch as some mysterious person or creature continues to sacrifice virgins, warriors, healers, philosophers, and guardians… and a banshee is also introduced to the group.

The series has gotten better and better with each passing year, in my opinion anyway. The show has great fight scenes (with not-so-bad special effects for TV, especially for MTV), forbidden love (Scott and Alison Argent, played by Crystal Reed, who hails from generations of werewolf hunters), and typical teen insecurities and humiliations. And considering neither my guy nor I can wait long to watch once the new episodes are on our DVR, I highly recommend giving it a try. The suspense always leaves us wondering what’s going to happen next.

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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Why it’s Justified to Watch “Justified” http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/why-its-justified-to-watch-justified/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 19:57:54 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2226

Justified

A Review of FX’s “Justified” by Tiffany A. White

Happy 2014!!

When I watch certain TV shows, I can’t stop thinking about how much I enjoy their particular characters… mainly due to the relationships between the good and the evil—whatever those particular relationships might be, as they are different in each instance. It’s very normal for someone to adore the hero of a story, but when viewers connect with the “big bad” as well, we know we have something powerful on our hands.

Like Justified

First, let’s talk a little about the show.

Everyone has heard of a justified shooting, right? Well, justified shootings are Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens’ (Timothy Olyphant) forte. Despite being a loose cannon himself, Raylan appears quite normal when compared to his Kentucky kin. Entangled with really BAD criminals, Harlan County relies on Raylan, as does the Marshal Service, his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and his con-ex-best friend, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).

Need a reason to tune in? Boyd Crowder is definitely one of the best antagonists on television.

Need another reason to watch? Timothy Olyphant. Enough said.

Now let’s talk about the characters.

First of all, all of the show’s characters are flawed—majorly flawed.

Raylan can’t stay out of trouble. With his boss; with his ex-wife; with his ex-girlfriend; with Boyd; with the bad guys in town and those crossing through; with anybody. Raylan is always in some kind of trouble. He chose to walk away from the dirty dealings of his daddy and join the Marshals, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not plagued with Givens trouble. And when push really comes to shove, even though he’s a lawman, I wouldn’t put it past Raylan to do whatever is necessary to take care of the problem. That’s one reason why we love him so much.

Then there’s Boyd. Boyd, Boyd. What hasn’t he done? He has robbed banks; he has been involved with the narcotics trade; he has destroyed his competition with rocket launchers (“Fire in the Hole”); and he has led a white supremacy group. But he’s really not all bad—promise. He does want to be good; he believes in the Bible and he always helps his good friend (US Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens) when he comes calling. But why do we really love Boyd? It’s all about the hair…

How about the women? We can’t forget about good ole Ava. Ava, like Raylan and Boyd, calls Harlan her home. She was married to Boyd’s brother, but she shot him dead with a shotgun while he was eating dinner. He abused her, don’t worry. Not long after first meeting Ava on screen, she aims her shotgun at Boyd while he was eating dinner at her table—but Raylan got to his gun first, shooting Boyd in the chest. She fell head over heels for Raylan, but that didn’t work out. So now she and Boyd are hot and heavy. Yes, even though she has a sordid past with both Boyd and his family. And they make an adorable couple. Really.

I could keep going, talking even more about other characters, but the list would be too long.

When I think of the good guy versus the bad guy on television, I immediately think of FX’s Justified. While Raylan is the hero of this story, the series would not be the same without his childhood friend and current foe, Boyd. I can’t actually think of another duo on TV that is as well developed as these two characters—and this, without a doubt, is the byproduct of the wonderful writings of Elmore Leonard.

Unfortunately, the two don’t share too many on-screen scenes together, but when they do it is absolute perfection. The dialogue is fantastic and the tension is magic, and I root just as much for Boyd as I do for Raylan. As a matter of fact, Boyd was only a recurring character the first season; but because the audiences responded the way that they did to him, he was added to the show as a permanent character in season two.

Now in season five, I love both Raylan and Boyd as much as I did the first season. If not more. And I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble these two find themselves in this year.

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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Will You Follow “The Following” to Season Two? http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/will-you-follow-the-following-to-season-two/ Wed, 18 Dec 2013 21:15:24 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2167

The Following

A Review of Fox’s “The Following” by Tiffany A. White

Today I want to feature a show that I am looking forward to returning in the 2014 TV season… The Following

In The Following, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon, um… from Footloose) must track down serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy from Rome)—again.

There’s only one problem; like most serial killers, Carroll has fans now… people who are willing to do anything to help him succeed.

It takes very little to pique my interest when a new pilot premieres on television; I’ll watch pretty much anything. But there are a few things that instantly attract me to a new show: the concept, the actors and actresses, and the attention to detail, particularly the music. The Following had me at “hello” if that’s even possible for a TV program.

First, the serial drama follows the “cat and mouse” game between Carroll and Hardy. The idea of a former FBI agent with issues working to track down a demented killer he once captured is right up my alley. Next, the series stars, as already mentioned, Hollywood great Kevin Bacon. I can’t even remember the last time Mr. Bacon starred in a TV series, if he ever has, which tells me the storyline really captured his attention as well. And third, the pilot episode began with Marilyn Manson’s rendition of “Sweet Dreams.” The musical introduction of this song grabs me every time… and the lyrics fit perfectly with the Carroll/Hardy scene at the end of the pilot.

So, is The Following worth following?

For me, the answer is an astounding yes! Although I usually prefer mysteries and whodunits, the premise of not only the “cat and mouse” game between Carroll and Hardy, but also the concept that Carroll’s crazies, or followers, who will do absolutely anything and everything to convey Carroll’s messages, is quite unique to television—and frightening, considering there are people in our world who worship some of the worst criminals for all the wrong reasons.

Viewers are immediately taken into the mind and history of the two main characters. The protagonist, Hardy, is now a retired FBI agent, who is also a recovering alcoholic and a man fighting to stay healthy (he has a bad heart). And the antagonist, Carroll, who’s not only a murderer, worked previously as a literature professor obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe.

As the pilot begins, we learn immediately that Carroll has escaped from prison and Hardy was responsible for locking him away. But how did Hardy catch Carroll in the first place? The Following uses a series of flashbacks to tell the backstory of these two characters. And probably the most fascinating flashback shows us that Hardy used Carroll’s wife (Claire, played by Natalie Zea from Justified and Californication), who also happens to be a professor, as an expert during his investigation. Hardy had visited her on multiple occasions for help in tracking down the killer and she unknowingly led him in the direction of her own husband. Clearly, this gives Carroll reason to haunt and torture both Hardy and Claire… and I’m sure the fact that the two shared a romantic connection doesn’t help either.

The Following’s supporting cast is filled with familiar faces: Maggie Grace (the Taken movies) as Sarah, one of Carroll’s survivors; Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men movies) as FBI agent Weston; Jeananne Goossen (Alcatraz) as FBI agent Mason; and Warren Cole (Common Law) as Roderick.

I must confess, I thought the actor playing agent Weston was also the actor who plays Jinks on Warehouse 13, but it turns out it’s not—they are twin brothers! Just a tad bit of trivia…

Oh, and if it’s even possible to fall in love with a bad guy, Roderick is that man. But I digress…

Watching The Following is similar to enjoying a major motion picture thriller. It’s intense, suspenseful, somewhat dark, and it keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with an occasional reason to jump out of their skin. Toss in the Edgar Allan Poe references, who might just be my favorite poet, and I can’t help but award the Fox serial drama with a top rating.

And just when you think the story has wrapped up, as implied during the season one finale, they leave us with just a little taste of more to come… I can’t wait to see what The Following has in store for us in the new season! And with almost an entirely new cast, including Connie Nielsen (Gladiator and Basic), James McDaniel (NYPD Blue), Jessica Stroup (the newer version of 90210), and Keith Carradine (Dexter and Damages)!

The Following returns in a two night event this January (Sunday the 19th and Monday the 20th). Why we’ve had to wait so long is beyond me. But I’ve waited this long and I can wait a few more weeks…

Oh, and I just thought the Edgar Allan Poe masks were creepy in season one. The Joe Carroll masks in the season two commercials are even worse!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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A Hunted Species Fighting to Survive… “The Tomorrow People” http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/a-hunted-species-fighting-to-survive-the-tomorrow-people/ Wed, 11 Dec 2013 21:33:47 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2141

The Tomorrow People

A Review of The CW’s “The Tomorrow People” by Tiffany A. White

Based on the British series of the same name, The Tomorrow People follows a group of kids who have evolved into the supernatural with special abilities. And while these select few were born with their special powers, it takes some time for the realization of these unique abilities to evolve. Take teenager Stephen Jameson for example…

Stephen (played by Robbie Amell, “Fred” from the Scooby-Doo! TV movies) was just a normal teenage boy by all accounts until he starts hearing voices and waking up in strange places. He thinks he is going crazy like his dad, who disappeared when he was just eight, but it turns out he is not crazy. He has latent powers starting to emerge—telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation (the Three Ts). After fighting it as long as he can, Stephen gives in and decides to listen to one of the voices in his head… and this voice leads him to The Tomorrow People, a genetically advanced group (John, Cara, and Russell) with powers very similar to his.

The Tomorrow People all share the same or similar genetic mutations that awaken during the adolescent years. They are not superheroes; they are a hunted species trying to survive. But in order for them to survive, they must outsmart the group hunting them—a group of scientists called Ultra (led by Stephen’s uncle—Jedikiah).

As one would expect, the government wants The Tomorrow People neutralized, so they set up Ultra to contain them. Ultra uses captured Tomorrow People as agents to hunt the others down. There’s just one catch—Tomorrow People can’t kill anyone. An organic high frequency squeal that only they can hear interacts with their powers, causing them to have killer headaches when they come close to killing. But that doesn’t stop Ultra from capturing and killing them.

The new supernatural drama also stars: Luke Mitchell (the cute Australian actor from Neighbours) asJohn; Peyton List (Mad Men and FlashForward) as Cara; Aaron Yoo (Disturbia and the remake of Friday the 13th) as Russell; and Mark Pellegrino (Supernatural, the US version of Being Human, Dexter, and The Closer) as Jedikiah.

The Tomorrow People is one of the rare television shows that interested both my guy and me from the very first time we saw the trailer. He was on board because it looked supernaturalish… and it is. Actually, the effects are pretty darn good for TV. And I was on board because of the pretty people. Hey, what can I say?

Actually, one of the first things that intrigued me was the lead actor’s name—Robbie Amell. Amell. Sound familiar? It should… Stephen Amell is the star of the hit CW series Arrow. And I love me some Stephen Amell.

Anyway, the name is not a coincidence. The two men are cousins. But enough about that…

Now well into the season, I’m enjoying The Tomorrow People. It’s not my favorite CW program, but I do enjoy it and I will keep going back for more as time permits (I am a bit behind and need to catch up). Like I said earlier, the special effects are pretty good for TV; the storyline isn’t boring; and the acting isn’t bad. Of course, Mark Pellegrino makes everything better…

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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Following “The Originals” to New Orleans… http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/following-the-originals-to-new-orleans/ Wed, 04 Dec 2013 18:56:13 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2118

The Originals

A Review of The CW’s “The Originals” by Tiffany A. White

For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of the supernatural on TV. Since the conclusion of Charmed and Buffy, I found a small void in my television viewing that needed to be filled. Luckily for me, and the rest of the female population, we did have one program to keep us entertained in the meantime—Supernatural—but I’m greedy and wanted more. Which is why when the CW launched The Vampire Diaries, I immediately set my DVR.

To me, there are three main characters of The Vampire Diaries: Elena Gilbert, Stefan Salvatore, and Damon Salvatore. Now for whatever reason, I’ve never been an Elena or a Stefan fan. However, Damon caught my eye and captured my heart from the get go.

Then there’s also the supporting cast—Matt, Jeremy, Tyler, Bonnie, and Caroline—all of whom I find more enjoyable than Stefan and Elena. Heck, even a few of the late-comers won me over more than the two “stars” ever have. But before I go any further, let me add that just because I don’t like the Stefan and Elena characters, doesn’t mean I haven’t appreciated their performances, especially Nina Dobrev’s. She’s brought tears to my eyes more times than I can count.

But as the seasons roll by, the same remains true: I find myself still preferring everyone BUT Elena and Stefan—even the “bad” vamps (Katherine, Rebekah, and the super-sexy Klaus).

Klaus…

We first met Klaus (played by Joseph Morgan) during season two of TVD and watched the bad-boy vamp as he killed Elena’s and Jeremy’s Aunt Jenna right in front of us. Bad, right? Just flat out mean! So why do I love the character so much?

Because over the seasons, like many of the other characters on TVD, Klaus has evolved, building a stronger individual arc and making viewers, like me, appreciate him more than I already did.

Klaus—the evil Original with the sexy accent… born a werewolf but cursed by magic to the immortal life (vampirism). I’ve actually wanted to hug Klaus multiple times over the years (and he was supposed to be the BIG EVIL of the show). Poor Klaus is so misunderstood and he really does let his feelings get the best of him, like any one of the multiple times he has come to the realization (after the fact) that Caroline is only playing his feelings in order for her to get what she and the group needs from him. And Big Bad Klaus really does love his family, as evident when he witnessed his brother’s death at the Gilbert house last season… even if he has previously daggered them (which in essence puts them in a deep sleep until the dagger is removed) so they wouldn’t interfere with his plans.

But here’s where it gets tricky: The Vampire Diaries can’t really be all about Klaus, now can it? Not when Elena, Stefan, and Damon are the main characters of the show. And not when the supporting cast already has as many characters as it does. That’s a lot of screen time to share. So what’s the next best thing for Klaus?

Give Klaus an opportunity at his own show! Originally airing as an episode of The Vampire Diaries on April 24th, viewers caught a glimpse of what it would be like having Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah outside Mystic Falls. Instead of hanging out at all the same locations as our TVD kids, this backdoor pilot took us to New Orleans. This then potential spinoff followed our favorite Originals and introduced us to a few new vamps, witches, and humans, as well as brought along Tyler’s seductive werewolf friend, Haley (the beautiful Phoebe Tonkin).

Within a day of the backdoor pilot airing on the CW, The Originals was given the green light. I watched it. And I liked it. It was a breath of fresh air, stepping away from boring Elena and Stefan. The pilot had it all—Klaus’ old vampire running mates, witches and their spells, and the promise of a hybrid baby.

Oh, and I almost forgot—King Klaus.

The only thing missing was my beloved Damon.

So how did Klaus make his way back to his old stomping grounds? He was summoned by a witch. There’s only one problem:

Marcel, Klaus’ former protégé…

Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) stepped in when Klaus left and now he runs New Orleans. One of his rules? No witch can use magic. And when he learned of this particular witch casting spells, the one who unbeknownst to him summoned Klaus, Marcel killed her in the street in front of all to see (including Klaus) to set an example of her.

And now that Klaus is back, Marcel has no intentions of relinquishing his power to his former “father.” But that’s okay because Klaus has no intentions of working with Marcel to get it back. He’ll take it the Klaus way—by whatever means necessary.

That, plus the witches are holding hostage Klaus’ first hybrid baby (Haley is pregnant with “a magical miracle baby”). While Klaus is putting up a tough front and acting as if he doesn’t care about the baby, his siblings (Elijah, played by Daniel Gillies, and Rebekah, played by Claire Holt) know all too well that all Klaus has ever wanted was a family. And power. And loyalty.

After having seen The Originals first episode, I loved it. For a pilot, it really wasn’t all that slow, nor did it throw too much information at the viewers all at once. I’m sure that’s because the characters were already developed through their seasons on The Vampire Diaries, but still—it was a bonus for a new program.

Now well into the season of the new series, I’m downgrading it just a bit. This downgrade is not because I don’t like the series. I do. The Originals is a fresh escape from TVD. But I am behind and I don’t have the urge to catch up right away—even though I know I will dig back in eventually. After all, it has vampires, witches, and werewolves—Oh My!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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