Entries from January 2010

ABC Family: New 2010 Dramas

January 29th, 2010

I am thrilled to introduce all of you to two new dramas picked up by ABC Family. You all know how much I love this network, and their pilot pickups have only solidified this love.

Over a year ago, I devoured a Young Adult book series called Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. I checked the first couple out of the library and I was so hooked, I went back and checked out the next four or five. At the time, I thought it would make a fantastic TV series, and I saw that it was published by Alloy Entertainment (which brought us Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Gossip Girl). So when I heard the news that ABC Family had picked up the show, I was absolutely ecstatic.

Here is what the network has to say about the show:

“Pretty Little Liars” follows four estranged best friends who are reunited one year after their best friend and queen bee of the group, Alison, goes missing – only to discover they are receiving messages from an anonymous “A” who knows all their secrets. The drama stars Lucy Hale (“Privileged”) as Aria, Troian Bellisario (“Navy NCIS”) as Spencer, Ashley Benson (“Eastwick”) as Hanna and Shay Mitchell as Emily. Also starring are Laura Leighton (“Melrose Place”) and Nia Peeples (“The Young and the Restless”). Additionally, Bianca Lawson (“The Vampire Diaries”) has been cast in a recurring role as Maya.”

You may make the connection between “A” and Alison right away, but let me tell you, there is a lot more to the story than that. These girls have a crazy past together, and secrets wear upon people. Because there are so many books, this show has a lot of lasting power. I’m curious to see if season 1 will essentially be book 1 (like True Blood) or if the books will meld together. Sara Shepard was not the writer of the pilot, but I hope she is involved in some way because I’m sure she could give valuable input into the character development. I think this is a show that will transition incredibly well to a TV audience, and I can’t wait to see it. The cast is also really fantastic. The show has been picked up for a 10 episode run and will premiere sometime in 2010.

Another pilot pickup is based on a Young Adult novel entitled Huge that I am not familiar with (although I may go check it out now).

Read more…

INTERVIEW: Tina Majorino (Addy Fisher) from The Deep End

January 28th, 2010

The Deep End is a mid-season show on ABC that centers around five first year law associates, the pressures of the jobs, their relationships and staying afloat in an extremely competitive environment. In my advance review, I mentioned that I thought the show was very entertaining with some great acting. To be quite honest, one of the main reasons I tuned in was for Tina Majorino. I have loved her since the days of Veronica Mars, when Veronica and Mac would team up for crazy adventures. She has since moved onto Big Love (playing Heather Tuttle), and now to The Deep End. I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to speak with her, and she couldn’t have been more gracious. I had extreme technical difficulties, as my phone, despite having full service (AT&T, I hate you!) didn’t ring. I finally restarted it and found I had a sweet message from Tina on it. We finally were able to connect and we talked about how she relates to her character on The Deep End, what makes the show so unique, and even a little bit about her days on Veronica Mars.

Tell us a little more about your character Addy.
My character is a really sweet, somewhat naive girl who is just fresh out of law school. She’s bright-eyed and bushy tailed and just really wants to help people. And as time goes on, the great part about this character that I really enjoy this aspect is that she doesn’t stay green. She, as time goes on, and she goes through these different experiences of getting pushed around and walked on, she learns from it and applies. So, it’s really fun to go on this journey with her as she tries to find that balance between being a good person and being a good lawyer. Because she does want to keep her integrity, and she wants to keep that passion that she has for her job, but there is that really important part that she needs to learn how to be more assertive and be tougher, because that what it’s going to take to be a successful lawyer. So it’s really fun to go on that journey with her, and to see her grow and learn as a person and as a lawyer.

What originally drew you to the character?
I think — when I read the script — David Hemingson is such a genius writer that I really loved her humor. I think that she has a really great ability to not take herself too seriously. So she has that ability to laugh at herself, and to also be — she has to have the ability to reflect on herself and acknowledge where there’s room for improvement. And I think that’s a really admirable quality in someone. I just was really excited to do something this different. I have never played a role like this before, and as funny as this sounds, I literally have never played anybody over 17 before, so it’s really nice to get the opportunity to play an adult, and also step into attempting to play a lawyer — that’s really difficult. So the role is challenging in so many different ways so I was really attracted to not only her qualities as a person but the challenges I knew that this character would apply me with.

How do you relate to Addy — obviously you’re not a lawyer. How do you draw from your own experiences to play this character?
(laughs) I think that we’re very similar in certain aspects and we’re really, really different in others. Our similarities are you know, obviously we’re the same age and we’re both trying to — I kind of feel like with this project, I’m stepping into a new part of my career. So I kind of relate to her anxieties about trying to navigate that aspect of her life — trying to figure out this new direction that she’s going in. And I definitely relate to her in that I could use a lesson in being more assertive. I have a tendency of — I can let myself get walked on sometimes, and it’s something I’m working on.

(laughs) We all can, right?
(laughs) And I think we’re both pretty quirky and clumsy in certain ways. I really enjoyed playing her because they gave me some great physical comedy in the show and that’s pretty similar to me. I’m a very physical person. I tend to trip and fall — you know do that kind of stuff all the time. And we both bake. So those are my similarities with her. There are a lot of ways in which we differ too. I always try to find characters to play that there are differences because it’s more challenging when a character is not you. I do try to bring some of myself to this character, as I do with all the characters I play but I really like playing our differences.

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Food Network Worst Cooks in America GIVEAWAY

January 27th, 2010

Do you love the Food Network? I know I do! And to celebrate the new Worst Cooks in America series, Food Network and The TV Chick are teaming up to give away (1) Food Network prize pack.

Twelve of the most hopeless cooks in the country will compete in a high-stakes elimination series in Worst Cooks in America. At stake for the last two standing is the chance to cook for a panel of esteemed culinary critics and win the grand prize of $25,000. This six-week series will put the “recruits” through a culinary boot camp led by two acclaimed chefs: Anne Burrell, host of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, and Beau MacMillan, executive chef at elements in Phoenix.   Don’t miss the two-part finale on Jan. 31st at 10p/9c and Feb. 1st at 10p/9c on Food Network.

Aspire to be an Iron Chef and don’t want to be one of the Worst Cooks in America?

Learn to cook by entering now to win a Food Network Gift Bag featuring:

–          Food Network bag

–          The latest issue of Food Network Magazine

–          A copy of Food Network Kitchens, Favorite Recipes

–          A copy of ‘Favorites’ – Recipes from our All-Star Chefs

–          A Food Network Apron

Check out a video sneak peek here:

Find out more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/worstcooks

All you have to do to win is leave me a comment with your favorite Food Network show! If you don’t watch Food Network, leave me a comment and tell me why you’d like to win this prize!

REVIEW: Make It Or Break It “Are We Having Fun Yet?”

January 26th, 2010

The title of this week’s Make It Or Break It reminds me of Party Down, but I digress. This episode centers around The Rock’s open house event. Kaylie and Nikki seem opposed to the event at first and aren’t getting along as usual. They don’t really get the need to stop practice and put on a show. Meanwhile, Payson is forced to go to a regular high school. Of course, her first class turns out to be gym, where they are practicing tumbling. The Queen Bee at school demonstrates a round off-back handspring (screwing up the landing), and the gym teacher tells Payson to give her tips. Payson does so reluctantly and has quickly become the outcast. In her adventures at school, she meets a really uppity girl who wants her to join Astronomy Club, and a new boy. The new boy/possible love interest seems just as displeased with high school as Payson is. In fact, they even cut class together. To Payson’s surprise, Lauren, Emily and Kaylie pick her up from school and Lauren and Kaylie decide to show up the Queen Bee by showing them how to really tumble. However, it doesn’t seem like Payson enjoyed it at all. She catches up with her friends and they suspect there’s a new boy, but she doesn’t seem to want to hang out with them. That was her old life, this is her new one (even if she hates it).

Emily tries to comfort Payson, telling her that she has been tossed from school to school before and she understands what Payson is going through. However, in true Payson form, she tells Emily that even if she had to deal with many different schools, she still had gymnastics. Payson says that she has nothing. It’s actually good to see Payson stand up for herself instead of being as perfect as she was before. She has lost everything, and going to real school isn’t fun for her (a fact in which she blatantly states to her mom over dinner that night).

And back in The Rock world, each girl is scrambling to come up with a routine for the open house. Emily is preoccupied reading bloggers comments about how she is unfit to become an Olympian. She can’t focus on practice and has no idea what to do for her routine. Her mom suggests that she own her story. She didn’t come from an elite gymnastics background but now she is thriving at The Rock, and she should tell her story because she has nothing to be ashamed of.

Kaylie and Nikki have to perform a duet together, and they continue to butt heads. Finally, Kaylie confronts him and explains that she works just as hard as everyone else and beat everyone in the country and she deserves to be where she is today. Nikki opens up and confesses that it’s hard to see her win the gold when he has been trying so hard and can only come in second place. They call a truce, and Kaylie says she has an idea for their routine: a bull-fight.

The next day is The Rock open house. Payson reluctantly attends to support her friends. First up is Lauren who does a hip-hop beam routine. This made me laugh because I have gone to or watched many gymnastics tours where this is the sort of thing they do. Clearly, Holly and the writers did their research. Next up is Emily, who told her story and did some great gymnastics. She explained that she didn’t learn any of this in a gym but she can do anything if she puts her mind to it. Last up is Nikki and Kaylie, who perform a dance and tumbling routine with a bull fighting theme. It’s at this point that Payson storms out. She runs into Sasha who tells her to find another dream, and to keep dreaming. Payson aptly replies “I’m done with dreaming.” She then goes to see her new (boy) friend and hangs out with his crew. He offers her a smoke, which she declines, but I don’t like that she is hanging out with these people. Earlier she skipped class with the boy and now she is blowing off her friends to hang out with him. Payson is a strong girl but she has suffered a devastating loss which leaves her vulnerable and susceptible to peer pressure. I hope she doesn’t cave into it.

After The Rock open house a little girl comes up to Emily and asks her for her autograph and tells her she got the picture from her fan site. The girl also tells Emily that her speech inspired her. This was a great moment, that may or may not have caused my eyes to water a little bit. The open house turned out to be a big success. Of course there is still Lauren and Carter drama going on — he’s still staying in her house, he got drunk towards the end of the episode, she really likes him — but I am sure all of that will play itself out over the course of the season.

I like the new Payson, but I hope she decides she wants to coach. I think that she really longs for the gym again and even if she can’t compete, this would be a decent compromise. Payson’s mom (Kim) is really getting the brunt of the anger and she clashes with Summer in this episode, who has taken over the gym. I like Summer’s new role but it seems like we haven’t seen much of her in the first few episodes of the season. I hope that she gets more involved with the girls. And Lauren…what can you say about Lauren? She is bound to reveal the secret of the cortisone, and the fact that Carter is staying with her. Regardless, I have really enjoyed what I have seen from the show in this (mid) season. There has been more gymnastics, and certainly more drama. I am wondering if there will be an Olympic trials somewhere down the line, but I’m sure that won’t be for quite some time. I’d like to see another competition though. Next week’s episode centers around Valentines Day, so I’m excited to see what happens.

Make It Or Break It airs Monday nights at 9 pm on ABC Family.

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Secret Diary Of A Call Girl: GIVEAWAY

January 25th, 2010

Secret Diary of a Call Girl, a UK import, returns for its 3rd season on Showtime tonight at 10 pm. The series is based on the books and blog from the pseudonymous Belle de Jour, and I have to say, it is quite wonderful! I am thrilled to be able to offer this amazing giveaway.

One lucky winner will receive:

  • Season 1 DVD
  • Season 2 DVD
  • Copy of “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” Written by the real Belle de Jour
  • Secret Diary “diary”
  • *Open to US residents, 18 or older*

    Check out this video preview of the 3rd season:

    To enter to win, leave a comment with your favorite moment from the show. If you don’t watch the show, check out the preview and leave me a comment telling me why you want to check it out!

    ADVANCE REVIEW: Life Unexpected “Home Inspected”

    January 25th, 2010

    All of the readers of this site know that I absolutely adore Life Unexpected. The cast is wonderful, and the creator has put her heart and personal experiences into this new series. The show premiered last week to record numbers for the CW, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’ve had the chance to see the first three episodes, and it just continues to build off the fantastic pilot.

    The 2nd episode “Home Inspected” centers around Cate and Baze figuring out Lux’s living situation. The social worker in charge of Lux’s case needs to inspect their homes to see where Lux will be staying. Of course, Baze screws this up (can we say bong lamp?) Cate is also still trying to grapple with her feelings in “adopting” Lux, and is forced to lie on the radio about her pregnancy.

    Meanwhile, we see a very different side of Lux. In the pilot, she is this vulnerable young girl who needs guidance. She is certainly still this way, but we realize she is quite independent. She has a group of friends and an agenda entirely outside of Cate and Baze that I didn’t even see coming. I don’t want to spoil too much, but Liz Tigelaar revealed in an earlier interview for the site that we meet Lux’s boyfriend, Bug. And that we do. I have to say, at first I was surprised by this other side of Lux. She seemed so innocent and mistreated and this episode really exposes a tough, hard-edged side to her. But I actually really liked it. It gives her a level of complexity I never would have imagined, and it makes perfect sense that Lux would have friends from foster care. I love that these characters are flawed. They have doubts (as anyone would be in this situation), they screw up, they disappoint others and they struggle with their pasts.

    All of the characters learn about themselves and about their relationships in this episode. Cate and Baze realize that having a kid doesn’t just mean cleaning up their homes for her. Lux realizes that her vision of the future before she met her new parents is vastly different from what it is now. But together they are a new family and that is what the show is about at its core. In the third episode, we get to meet Cate and Baze’s family (both very, very different) which is interesting to say the least. I can’t wait to see more in what is shaping up to be one of my new favorite shows.

    Be sure to tune in tonight at 9 pm on the CW for Life Unexpected! And I have it on good authority that there will be a theme song!

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome) from Chuck

    January 25th, 2010

    Chuck is off to a fantastic start this season. It is full of big guest stars, interesting story lines, the Intersect 2.0, and Captain Awesome finding out Chuck’s secret. Captain Awesome has always been a favorite character of mine, simply because it’s clear that there is much more than meets the eye. When he has to essentially become a spy in an hour or less, he is able to handle whatever Chuck throws at him (even if it’s not done with the utmost of grace, and results in a lot of hilarity). Chuck is a show that has it all, and I’m excited to see what new surprises the creators have in store for us this season. I recently had the chance to chat with Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome) ab0ut his significant role this season, his character’s relationship with Ellie, his dream guest stars, and that time George Clooney wandered onto their set.

    Your character Captain Awesome/Awesome has really taken on a significant role this season. What has that been like for you?
    It’s been cool. The end of last season, Captain Awesome was brought into the spy world, you know everybody was making a really big deal of it, well let’s see the third season and see where it goes, and then what they did with it — I’m really impressed with all of the writers, and I’m really impressed with the fact that they didn’t kill Captain Awesome in the spy world, because that would have been a bad thing.

    Yeah.
    (laughs) That’s the risk though that you run with dealing with the likes of Angie Harmon. She could shoot you in the face at any time. So yeah it was great, it was fun, there’s always more for me to do but we have such a good supporting cast that it’s just fun to see everybody get more involved–see all these back stories come to light a little bit.

    Absolutely. And Awesome was the first person to find out about Chuck’s secret. Why do you think he was the first person to find out?
    Oh, Vik [Lester Patel] just brought me some lunch here. Lester is right next to me, eating right now. Maybe you want to ask him too (laughs). He said no, he has to go change. He’s gotta get out of his Jeffster outfit right now. I’m sorry, what was your question again?

    Why do you think Awesome was the first person to find out about Chuck’s secret?
    I just don’t think the audience saw it coming. And I thought it was good, really fun — you would think that his best friend would find out or his sister or somebody else. So I don’t think the audience saw that I was the one– it just made sense though because of course Captain Awesome would want to get into the spy world first and jump right in without any training or without any I don’t know, spy training. And let’s just be honest, it’s more fun to have Captain Awesome in there (laughs) because I can bring the fun in. It’s a funny character and I have a good time with him.

    Will we see him getting more involved in Chuck’s world as the season goes on?
    As the season goes on, I mean to be honest, I think they wrote it, got really excited by it but then are like “Oh, now what do we do?” which is what happens with most shows. No, they probably have a good arc planned out, but the thing is you can’t have him be really good at it yet. I’m kind of carrying the torch from the first season, and this season, I’m kind of like what Chuck was in the first season where he was balancing the spy world with the home world and now the audience is going to see that through Captain Awesome’s eyes. So, yeah I think it’s going to evolve. Not in the same way as it did for Chuck, but there’s some chatter going on right now about what’s going to happen at the end of the season, and it sounds like it’s going to be just as big and exciting as the end of season 2.

    Read more…

    INTERVIEW: Jolene Blalock (Sister Nicci) from Legend of the Seeker

    January 23rd, 2010

    Many of you have read my interview from the beginning of the season with Bridget Regan (Kahlan) from Legend of the Seeker. At the time, I professed myself not a real sci-fi fantasy fan, but I loved the premiere of LOTS. My love for the show has continued, and I think this season has been particularly intriguing and great. One big storyline that has just emerged is the Sisters of the Light/Sisters of the Dark appearing and not knowing what their agenda is. Jolene Blalock, best known for her role as T’Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise begins her guest starring role tonight. I recently had the chance to chat with Jolene about her role, filming in New Zealand and working with the cast.

    Can you tell us a little bit more about your character Sister Nicci or Sister of the Dark?
    Sister Nicci…Sister of the Dark or Sister of the Light…I just believe that she has lost focus of the bigger picture because she’s become blinded by her own passion–the passion of her intentions, which she truly believes are the way to go, the path to take.

    How did you initially become involved in The Legend of the Seeker?
    It’s odd because I auditioned ages ago and I wanted to say over three years ago. And the casting director at the time held onto my tape. The producers remembered me, and when Sister Nicci came up — when they were writing her, they thought of me, and brought me in for it. So it’s sort of interesting.

    Were you familiar with the story, the books and the show before you got involved in the auditions?
    Honestly, I wasn’t. Once I learned about the character, that’s when I started doing my research.

    What has it been like filming the show for you, especially in New Zealand?
    New Zealand is an incredible, incredible place. The landscape is breathtaking. But even more special are the people. The cast and the crew, they went out of their way to make me feel at home. And we’re just incredibly hospitable to me, and I am grateful for their efforts.

    You seem to act mostly in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. What about this genre attracts you?
    Well, sci-fi/fantasy is always going to attract me, because it’s something that’s special to my heart. Growing up, I grew up on the original Star Trek. Also, when I was in sixth grade, I would come home from school and watch the Star Wars trilogy back to back every day for the entire year. It’s something that brings humanity outside of itself. It makes us think outside of ourselves, it presents the question what if, what if we could jump the timeline, what if we could meet another intelligent species, what if we could colonize on another planet. It deals with very big ideas, so sci-fi/fantasy, you can do [anything].

    Can you give us a little teaser of what’s coming up for your character on the show?
    Well what’s going on in the show is basically a battle of agendas. Because the set up is we’ve got Richard, who has his quest, of course, so that’s one agenda. You have the sisters of the light, they have their agenda. And then we have, dis-affected Sisters of the Dark, led by Sister Nicci, who has her agenda. So it’s really a battle of agendas, but who Richard is going to choose as right, I think it’s — each person believes their agenda is true. So it’s really an outlaying of — so for Sister Nicci, her agenda and her intention has been a plan long awaited. She’s plotted this for possibly thousands of years, so when Richard arrives on the scene, it is a long awaited event and each moment with Richard — between Richard and Sister Nikki — each word that she says to him, each sentence that she says and the way that she says it is very well rehearsed because she’s had all this time to salivate over how this will unfold. So as she’s actually watching it unfold, moment-to-moment, I think she’s just satisfied with herself, with her mastery of manipulation. And the subtleties of it. Because it’s not blatant, it’s very subtle.

    Read more…

    ADVANCE REVIEW: Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    January 22nd, 2010

    Premiering tonight on the Starz network is one of their biggest and most interesting projects to date. Spartacus: Blood and Sand tells the story of a man who was betrayed, beaten, enslaved and emerges a warrior. You probably read about Spartacus in high school, or you at least remember the epic movie with Kirk Douglas. The real Spartacus was separated from his wife, and thrown into the arena to die but instead fought back and was given a second chance to live and train to become a warrior. The show is full of many gruesome and graphic moments, slow-motion fighting and blood baths, as well as a lot of sex and nudity. If you are bothered by this, you might want to skip Spartacus. However, the visuals are what make the show very appealing. They were interesting, intriguing and unique.

    Spartacus is forced to learn the politics of the arena (and the school) and fight for his life, his freedom and his wife. And in the midst of all this angst and bloodshed, there are other ancient rules and politics that we come to learn. The show comes to us from Sam Raimi (a director I very much respect) and the creative team from “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Legend of the Seeker.” It stars Andy Whitfield as Spartacus (a beautiful looking man if you get get past the blood constantly dripping from his face), and Lucy Lawless as Lucretia, a fiery red head who is power hungry.

    I have to say, the pilot was a little rough. There was so much blood and so many graphic sex scenes, that I wasn’t sure if I should push through. By the end of the episode, I was getting more into it. When I watched the second episode, which got much more into the politics of the arena, and behind-the-scenes world, I found myself really enjoying it. The acting is phenomenal, and the story is inspiring. It’s an ambitious historical figure to take on, but I think Starz has done it in the right way. I really suggest you check it out, and if you feel similarly about the pilot, give it one more episode and I think you’ll be hooked. In addition, you don’t have to worry about this show getting canceled right away because in an unprecedented move by the network, it has already been renewed for a second season.

    Spartacus premieres tonight on Starz at 10 pm.

    Check out a trailer of the show before you watch:

    Vampire Diaries Returns Tonight

    January 21st, 2010

    I have really missed this show! So excited for it to return!