Entries from June 2010

REVIEW: Pretty Little Liars “Can You Hear Me Now?”

June 30th, 2010

I continue to be completely in love with Pretty Little Liars. Some shows lose their momentum after starting off so strong, but I’m so happy Pretty Little Liars has not. So what is going on with our little liars? Can You Hear Me Now (very cleverly named) centers around the girls trying to get rid of A once and for all. Hanna doesn’t want Alison’s bracelet anymore so she hands it off to Spencer. They all decide to block any unknown numbers from texting or calling them on their cell phones. This didn’t happen in the books but I thought it was a good new twist. But of course A. can’t be gotten rid of that easily! Right after they do this (on a bench about to be dedicated to Ali no less) a note flies in saying “Ding dong the bitch is dead!” Oh boy!

When last we left Hanna, she had crashed Sean’s car and walked away from it. Of course, Ashley, ever concerned with her family’s image, is royally pissed. She ends up calling Hanna’s dad (who she hadn’t heard from in quite some time). Hanna is thrilled until she finds out the reason he came. She goes to dinner with him (although Ashley thought she was invited as well and got super dolled up) and much to her surprise, her dad’s new fiancee is there with her daughter. In the books, Kate (the daughter) is super skinny and perfect and blonde. They got the blonde part right, but while the actress who plays Kate seems to be just fine, she doesn’t match the image in the book at all. I know that you can’t always have actors match your vision exactly but I thought this was a bit far off. Perhaps as Kate develops, I will like her more but I’ll just have to wait and see. Also, Hanna never liked Kate in the books so perhaps that is what we are supposed to feel as well?

Aria is still dealing with her father’s cheating ways. She is invited over to Ezra’s apartment, and while he’s making her dinner, they get in a fight about how to handle the situation. Aria feels like Ezra doesn’t look at her as an adult. Later in class, they banter and her classmates can definitely tell something is up. Aria confronts Ezra and they seem to be okay — whatever okay is in this student/teacher relationship. She finally goes to tell her mom about her dad’s adultery but A has beat her to the punch — in letter form. Whew, A, you really know how to mess up people’s lives, don’t you?!

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Pretty Little Liars Gets Full Season Order

June 28th, 2010

After only a small handful of episodes, and premiering to huge numbers, ABC Family has given a full season order to Pretty Little Liars. The show will film 12 additional episodes which will bring their season total to 22 episodes. I could not be more excited! There is plenty of material to work with and expand upon and I can’t wait to see more! I was just talking with one of the shows stars today (Sasha Pieterse, who plays Alison) who said she had her fingers crossed for a season 2. It looks like she’ll get what she wanted (or close to it)!

Kate Jeurgens, the EVP of Original Programming, said “Pretty Little Liars is a breakout hit for the network. It’s a perfect fit with the network’s strong slate of original scripted dramas.”

I couldn’t agree more Ms. Jeurgens and I am excited to see what mysteries abound in Rosewood with 12 additional episodes.

Pretty Little Liars airs on Tuesday nights at 8 pm on ABC Family.

ADVANCE REVIEW: Make It Or Break It: “Friends Close, Enemies Closer” Season 2 Premiere

June 28th, 2010

The Rock girls are back, and better and more rebellious than ever! After their rogue meet with China in the season finale, the girls are dealing with the repercussions and waiting to be invited to a new qualifier for the World Championships. Payson is back in the gym but struggling to regain her skills. Emily is agonizing over her dwindling scholarship and her relationship with Damon. Lauren is still Lauren…the bitch of the beam and in love with Carter. Of course Kaylie is still kept in the dark about this and trying to figure out why Carter won’t return her call from the end of last season (the one where she professed her love for him).

But the real issue at hand when the season picks up is what did the meet against China do to their careers. The girls star in a photo shoot about “The Rock Rebels,” (see picture) and Sasha has to get them to focus on training. Sasha may be all calm and collected on the outside, but inside he’s scared for his team. Kim Keeler (Payson’s mom) is back co-running the gym with Summer, which I think is a nice touch to get her more involved with Payson’s gymnastics. Without spoiling any more, I have to say I really enjoyed the season premiere. The Rock Rebels is a good twist, and while the girls have certainly matured in their gymnastics and as people, there still is the underlying drama that makes for a very entertaining show.

Of course, the issue of trust is still a big factor. Should the girls trust their coach or the National Gymnastics Organization? In elite gymnastics, there is a ton of politics, questionable decisions and hierarchy. As much as I love the sport, it has its flaws (as any sport does). I’m happy to see Make It Or Break It take on a legitimate issue in the elite gymnastics community. It also seems as if Sasha may be taking on a bigger role this season, which I also enjoy. And Holly Sorensen, the creator, teased on twitter that there might be more boys this season. In the premiere, all of the girls are focused on dethroning Kaylie, so I imagine that might be a general theme. Payson wants to be at the World Championships, since she insists a gymnast has to be if they want to make the Olympic Team. Lauren just wants to be number 1 and beat Kaylie at something besides relationships. I think Kaylie really proved herself at the end of season 1, and I’m rooting for her this season as well. I hope to see more of the Summer/Sasha relationship as well as some more competition. I always love when the girls are in the gym. Whatever the case may be, I am very excited for the upcoming season.

Make It Or Break It has its second season premiere tonight at 10 pm on ABC Family. Be sure to tune in!

ADVANCE REVIEW: Series Premiere of Huge

June 28th, 2010

The basic premise of Huge, a new offering from ABC Family, is simple: kids go to fat camp. However, the story is anything but simplistic as we learn the reasons why everyone is there and why they want to change their lives (or why they don’t). Huge stars Nikki Blonsky as Willamina (Will for short), the bad-ass who claims she is comfortable in her own body and plans to gain weight at fat camp. Her co-star, Hayley Hasselhoff, plays Amber, the skinniest one at fat camp who still thinks she isn’t skinny enough. Raven Goodwin plays Becca, the “invisible” one who befriends Nikki on the first day, and who has gained all of her weight back from the summer before. Rounding out the cast is Gina Torres, who plays Dr. Rand, the leader of Camp Victory.

In the series premiere, we learn that at Camp Victory there is a black market for food, major crushes, campers with eating disorders, intense friendships, and much more. I love ABC Family programming, as you all already know by now. I was a bit skeptical of this series, just because of the premise. I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. I didn’t love Nikki Blonsky as a leading lady. I think she is a good actress but I don’t know that this role suited her so well. I don’t really buy her as this unhappy bad-ass. Perhaps that’s because in Hairspray she was just the opposite but who knows. I did think the other actresses were brilliant though. Hasselhoff plays Amber so convincingly and with many layers we don’t even delve into in one episode. She has fantastic facial expressions that imply there is much more than meets the eye. I also really loved Goodwin’s portrayal of Becca. She is soft spoken but sarcastic, funny, loyal and sweet. I like that her and Amber might have a budding friendship. There is also the requisite trainer who is totally a Jillian Michaels knock off and tells everyone that there is no “I can’t.” I love Jillian, so I have no problem with this trainer on Huge, I just liked that it was a little throwback to one of my other favorite shows about weight loss.

In the IMDB description of the plot of the show it says two girls fall for the same guy. While I didn’t see anything like that in the first episode, it definitely set up the possibility. As Becca explains in the premiere, there are hookups every year. And the stage is definitely set for future relationships. The shining stars of this show are definitely Hasselhoff and Goodwin. I am still a bit unsure about the longevity seeing that it centers around a summer camp which can’t last forever. Also, do they lose weight? Do they gain it all back? Where does it go from here? What does it mean for the actors of the show?

Despite all my questions, I still plan on watching it. The series premiere kept me interested enough to want to know more. I think it’s definitely worth checking out.

Huge premieres tonight at 9 pm on ABC Family.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Boy Meets World, Week 6

June 25th, 2010

E is back again for another Flashback Friday.  Sorry that I missed last week, but a certain cable provider was digging new lines and destroyed my lines to another certain cable provider.  It was disastrous.  No one takes away my cable and interwebz! Anyway, we’re back, and boy howdy, there is a lot going on up in this Boy Meets World piece.

Here’s a run down for you before we get started on our in depth exploration.

  1. Shawn met and started dating Angela.
  2. Cory kissed that hussy at the ski lodge.
  3. Cory and Topanga break up.
  4. Cory drinks booze to get over his heartbreak! Scandalous!
  5. Topanga goes on a date with a guy who likes Van Gogh.
  6. But, guys, he is trying too hard and is so not Cory.
  7. Yay, Cory and Topanga are back together!
  8. Everyone goes to prom, we’re gonna party like it’s 1999!
  9. Amy Matthews is pregnant. She is sort of old.
  10. College plans are hard.  Should Topanga go to Yale?
  11. Read more…

REVIEW: Pretty Little Liars “To Kill a Mocking Girl” and thoughts on “The Jenna Thing”

June 23rd, 2010

I was out of town for the 2nd episode of Pretty Little Liars so I was unable to review it, but I thought it was fantastic. The momentum really picked up when we were introduced to Jenna, a girl who Alison and her friends inadvertently blinded with a stink bomb. Emily and the girl next door Maya get closer and we learn more about the lengths that Hanna’s mom Ashley will go to save face. And of course Aria made out with her hot teacher again.

Last night’s episode titled “To Kill A Mocking Girl” is very cleverly named given the book they are all reading in school. The girls going hiking to remember Alison but of course get a new text from A making reference to hunting season. Hanna is still dealing with the aftermath of her stealing the sunglasses. Her mom Ashley is sleeping with Darren Wilden (the police chief) so that the store will drop the charges but in the end is very protective of her daughter and kicks him out. Hanna tries to have sex with Sean at Noel Kahn’s big party and he rejects her. This leads Hanna to steal Sean’s car keys, crash his car and run off. Oh Hanna, when will you learn?

Aria thinks all is going well with her family until Meredith (the girl she saw her dad making out with in the flashbacks with Ali) shows up and weasels her way into her family’s life. She confronts her but it does no good. Meredith clearly still has feelings for her father and is not going to back down to Aria’s demands. If only her mother Ella weren’t so naive.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Martin Starr (Roman) from Party Down

June 21st, 2010

Party Down has its last episode 2nd season this week, and what a great season it has been. The season finale guest stars Jane Lynch (who is back, and getting married), and if you haven’t been watching, you really should be! It is a testament to the show that Jane Lynch came back for an episode and most of the actors stayed from season 1. Party Down centers around a catering company of the same name where none of the employees really want to be there. There’s the requisite terrible boss (played by Ken Marino) and the love interests (played by Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan), the huge sci-fi nerd/wannabee writer (played by Martin Starr), the wannabee actor (played by Ryan Hansen) and of course the stage mom (played by Megan Mullally). I think it is one of the funniest, most clever shows on television that deserves a ton more praise and attention. I recently had the chance to chat with Martin Starr (who plays Roman) about the show, his character and even how far he would go for a season three. After teasing me about The TV Chick (and thinking it was/should be The TV Chic), we proceeded to chat about Party Down. There are many rumors going around because so many of the cast have moved on that there might not be another season, but according to Martin, it’s definitely still a possibility. I also have to warn you that while I did edit a lot of this interview down, it is pretty dirty (and awesome).

What originally drew you to the part of Roman?
I wish there was a more complicated answer that I just received a phone call that I had an offer from a TV show that I knew nothing about but that Paul Rudd was producing, and I said “I guess so. Tentatively yes, I would do it. But I’ll read the script first, I suppose.” So I read it, and of course I loved it.

Are you similar to Roman at all? Do you love sci-fi quite as much as he does?
No. (laughs) That will be a disappointment to all of our sci-fi fans I suppose. Although I kind of doubt that we have a massive sci-fi fan base. I don’t know, I don’t really watch that much TV. I love Star Trek, the original with Shatner and all those guys. I used to watch that growing up on TV Land or Nick at Nite, and that was awesome. Actually I think it was just on regular TV late at night before TV Land and Nick at Nite started.

I feel like it was on UPN or something. [Ed Note: This was a total guess]
Yeah, UPN 13.

If you don’t like sci-fi as much as Roman does, how are you like or unlike him?
Hopefully I’m not as grumpy (laughs) and unhappy and sadistic as he is. I hope!

I’m sure you’re not!
Well, you don’t know me yet.

That’s true. Maybe by the end of this conversation, I will think the opposite. I don’t know.
You will now know the real me.

Do you have any personal experiences or know anyone that you draw from to portray Roman? When I spoke with Ryan Hansen, he didn’t name names of course, but he said he did know a lot of the Party Down types.
You mean like the producers he used to go to the bathroom with to get parts from?

Right (laughs)
Is that what you mean?

Ryan definitely used to do that. He’s told me crazy stories about San Diego all the fun stuff that happens on B movie sets. Just joking around!

Have you ever had a catering job? Or do you have a job that was your least favorite?
I wish. I wish I had. I actually always wanted to. I still want to. That’s going to sound so (laughs) — I feel like ignorant for me to say this — but I really want to work in a service industry job, because I feel like you gain a lot of respect for people with patience, once you have to deal with 100 morons a day. I feel like I know so many people that don’t have enough respect for people who take care of them. You know?

It’s just the general idea of respecting the people around you, in your environment. The fact that those people, who you may be disrespecting in small ways in your eyes, have the power to shit in your food. So just based on the fact that I don’t want feces in what I wind up putting in my body, I would like to show respect to all the people are kind enough to take care of whatever needs I have at an establishment that I dine at.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Carrie Preston (Arlene) from True Blood

June 20th, 2010

The third season of True Blood is officially upon us and it’s off to a fantastic start. Tonight’s episode picks up the steam even more (wolves!) in what is sure to be an amazing season. Vampires are certainly the focal point of the show, but it’s the people in Bon Temps that make the show interesting. One of those people is Arlene, the take-no-prisoners waitress at Merlottes who loves her kids, hates vampires and just realized she is pregnant with Terry Bellefleur’s child. I recently had the chance to talk to Carrie Preston (who plays Arlene) about how she relates to her character, her favorite moment from filming the show and working with Alan Ball. I also had to throw in a question about her husband Michael Emerson as well now that Lost has just ended.

What originally drew you to the project?
I had the great fortune of working with Alan Ball on his feature film “Towelhead”, and he’s the one who told me about “True Blood.” He said he had a part for me in it, but when I read the script I didn’t know what he was talking about. Arlene was so different from me, and I didn’t think I was physically right for the role. But when the offered me the part, I couldn’t resist it. It was a chance to play a real character and to transform, which is something you don’t usually get to do on television.

How do you relate to Arlene? Are you anything like her?
I’m not as outspoken as she is. I’m also not narrow minded like she is. But I can understand where she is coming from. I grew up with women like Arlene, and I take it as a responsibility to find the humanity in her. On the page sometimes, Arlene runs the risk of being ridiculed by the audience by coming off as a stereotypically racist, ignorant southerner. Yet I think she expresses a much needed viewpoint on the show, which is this: Vampires might be seductive and mysterious and sexy, but they are also killers by nature, so maybe we shouldn’t trust our children with them!

Arlene is a heavily influenced character, as she showed last season with Marianne. However, she is strong at the same time. What has it been like playing her?
I like to find the balance between the humor and the pathos with Arlene. On the page, I get a lot of one-liners or jokes, but I try to find the truth behind them. I always try to build a three dimensional woman with responsibilities and cares and woes that are similar to the concerns of our audience. She’s grounded in the real world, which is a nice balance with the supernatural stuff going on around her.

Is there more to Arlene that we don’t know yet? Will we meet her children’s father?
The audience is going to see a deeper, more emotional side of Arlene this season. However, it’s not the familiar histrionics that she displayed in the first two seasons.  I don’t know if you will ever meet the father of her first two children — I like to think they are two different fathers, actually.

Arlene has had some bad luck with men. Do you think Terry Bellefleur will be different?
Terry is by far the sweetest and most vulnerable man Arlene has ever dated. He’s the first guy who seems willing to drop everything to make her and her kids happy, so even if he’s got some emotional issues due to the war, it seems like she wants to make things work with him.

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Summer Shows: New Hits and Old Favorites: What I’m Watching

June 15th, 2010

Summer is finally upon us! (Well not quite technically, but almost). There is always a big lull in TV over the summer, but there are definitely more exciting shows this summer. There are also some new ones I am looking forward to. Here’s my summer show list, in no particular order. Feel free to chime in!

Pretty Little Liars:  This show premiered last week on ABC Family and has it’s second episode tonight. The show centers around four girls — Hanna, Spencer, Aria and Emily — whose best friend went missing. The show is based on a Young Adult book series of the same name, which I loved. Secrets abound in Rosewood, PA and I can’t wait to see what comes next. It airs every Tuesday night at 8 pm.

True Blood: The third season premiere kicked off on Sunday with a killer (no pun intended) episode. I am so excited this show is back and can’t wait to see more Eric, Sookie, Jessica, Pam and werewolves! Alan Ball has created one of the best vampire shows out there (based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris) and I look forward to being transported into Bon Temps week after week. True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9 pm on HBO.

Secret Life of the American Teenager: This show returned last week on ABC Family, and while the storylines have gone a bit off the handle (Adrian getting pregnant with Ben’s baby…seriously?) the show is still very entertaining week after week. It airs every Monday night at 8 pm.

Burn Notice had its 4th season premiere a couple weeks ago and it was pretty great. The lighthearted spy show is focusing this season on helping a spy that Michael accidentally burned. Color me intrigued! It airs on Thursday nights on the USA Network.

White Collar: My favorite boys of the summer are back! White Collar returns on July 13th and the premiere is fantastic. There’s mystery, humor and of course as Hilarie Burton describes him “one of the 7 wonders of the world,” Matt Bomer.

Make It Or Break It: A television show about gymnastics is like my dream come true. The girls of The Rock return to TV on June 28th on ABC Family at 10 pm. When we last left our favorite elite gymnasts, Payson finally got the courage to get back on the bars and there was a lot of relationships budding or coming to a close. I can’t wait to see more!

The Closer: Brenda Lee Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) and her priority homicide team will be back soon. The Closer returns July 12th at 9 pm to TNT and I’m sure hilarity will ensue. Well that and um, lots of crazy deaths and cases to solve.

The Gates: Let it be known that I love vampires. If there is a show involving vampires, I will at the very least give it a chance. The Gates is about a gated community where there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. It’s quite dark, with vampires and werewolves, but I enjoyed it. I don’t know if it would succeed as a fall show but I’ll give it a few more episodes before I decide if I am hooked. The Gates premieres on June 20th on ABC at 10 pm.

Rizzoli & Isles: A new offering from TNT, Rizzoli & Isles stars Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as a Boston detective and medical examiner respectively. From what I’ve seen of the previews, it looks like a show that I will enjoy. I like that there are two strong female leads and I think it will be a great summer show paired with The Closer. It premieres July 12th at 10 pm.

Covert Affairs: A brand new spy dramedy from USA Network is premiering on July 13th paired with White Collar. It stars Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham and Peter Gallagher as members of the CIA. I have seen the premiere and it is really original and had me on the edge of my seat. Perabo makes a great leading lady and I can’t wait to see more.

Losing It With Jillian: Since The Biggest Loser can’t be on all year, Losing It With Jillian (which premiered a couple weeks ago) gives me my Jillian Michaels fix. She moves in with a family for a week to get them back on track with their weight and health. Unlike The Biggest Loser, there are no immunity challenges or game play…which I like a lot. But there’s still Jillian and her screaming, motivating, inspirational ways. Losing It airs Tuesday nights at 8 pm on NBC.

What are you watching? What are you looking forward to?

Q&A: Francia Raisa (Adrian) from Secret Life of the American Teenager

June 14th, 2010

I love ABC Family’s programming. I watch almost all of it, and Secret Life is no exception. While the show as a whole has had its ups and downs (I’m looking at you hair plugs and Mayim Bialik), I still enjoy it quite a bit week after week. And one thing Secret Life has a way of doing is pushing the boundaries of typical teen television with lessons and racy subjects. I recently had the chance to speak with Francia Raisa, who plays Adrian — one of the more outspoken, strong female characters on the show. She talked about how she relates to her character, what she wants to see from her character going forward and if she sees herself as a spokesperson about teen sex.

What kind of emotional journey does Adrian get to go on this new season?
Well, we all found out last night that she is in fact pregnant.  She was trying to hide it from everyone.  In the last scene that you see with Adrian, you see that she is calling the women’s health clinic.  The reason why she was hiding it from Ben and trying to hide it from everyone else is because I think she’s calling to decide whether she is going to keep the baby. I think in her head right now, she’s not going to, because she’s trying to think about her life with a baby, and I think she’s seeing Amy’s life and the way it’s changed.  She has this big decision coming up this season.  She has to decide for another life as well as her own, so there is a lot of growing up that she has to do this coming season.

Speaking of emotional journeys, it has to be pretty emotional for you these past couple of seasons to see the evolution that Adrian has gone through, right?
Oh, yes.  So much has been going on with my character, being in love with Ricky, and then the relationship with her father, and then her mother, and then now with her pregnancy, it’s just been an emotional roller coaster for Adrian.  Once things are going well, then something happens and she feels like she has to get revenge.  That’s the only reason why she’s in the situation right now is because she thought something happened between Ricky and Amy right when things were going really well between them.  And then she goes, “Well, I have to get them back,” so she sleeps with Ben, and now look where she is.  It’s just been a whole roller coaster for her — insane.

How do you relate to your character?  Are you anything like Adrian?
I’m flirty by nature, so I think I relate to her in that sense from how she was in the beginning of the show.  Back when I was in high school if anyone did anything to me, I was like, “Well, I’m going to get them back.”  So I guess in that sense I can relate to her. I feel a deep connection with Adrian just because a lot of her personality traits reminded me of myself when I was growing up, and then a lot of what her decisions reminded me of a lot of decisions that my friends made, my close friends made.  So it was almost like it was a part of me just because I heard about so much and I was so involved in it.  So I do have a personal connection with her. And then the relationship with her mother, I didn’t have the best relationship with my mother when I was in high school, just because, I don’t know, I was going through puberty and I hated the world. And now I have an amazing relationship with her now the same way that Adrian has with her mother and the same with her father.

What would you like to see from your character going forward, like what would you like to see from Adrian that we haven’t seen in the past seasons?
I think what I wanted to see from her and you guys are actually going to start seeing, was her growing up a bit, realizing that life isn’t all about sex and boys and everything that she was focusing on.  Obviously, she’s also focused on her education, which I really appreciated that they added into the show.  But she was also so focused on this guy loving her that she put herself aside and didn’t really think about herself, and now she’s in the position where she needs to think for herself and realize that she’s more important than any other guy or person around her.  She has to think for another life and not just for hers and so she’s really growing up and maturing a lot, and letting people in her life, and opening up friendships.

Being on the Secret Life, do you ever feel like you’re taking on the role of spokesperson about teen sex?
Oh, yes, definitely.  I feel like people are paying close attention to what we’re doing, because I remember when I was younger and anytime anyone did something on TV, I wanted to do that too.  I was a big Mary Kate Olsen fan growing up, so anytime they did anything on TV, I was like, “Mommy, I want to do that, I want to dress like that, I want to be like that.”  Yes, I do feel a big responsibility, like they’re paying close attention to every decision we make.  I feel like they’re relating their lives a bit to ours and saying, “Oh, I’m just like that,” so whatever we decide on the show, whatever the consequences come about, they’ve related to themselves and their own lives. With the show, what I’m hoping is when they see the consequences of sex, and young teenage sex, that they pull away from the emotional side of it right then and they think about it twice, because pregnancies can occur.  You don’t always get the guy and it’s really not the best decision when you’re so young.  There’s a whole life ahead of you.

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