Two for January

While most of the shows I watch are on hiatus, I’ve been catching up on Arrow. And thinking about these two new shows that I will definitely tune in for:

  • AmericansThe Americans on FX: Home to two of my favorite dramas (Sons of Anarchy and Justified), FX has proven it can produce a quality show that keeps me coming back for more each week.  Set in the 1980s, this show is about a couple of Russian spies living in America. Starring Felicity’s Keri Russell, the show has a lot of promise, even if the promos have been light on details.So far, FX has outlined the following plot. Russell and co-star Matthew Rhys are two spies living in an arranged marriage. They have two kids, who don’t know anything about their spy lives. And they live next door to an FBI agent involved in counterintelligence. They have to balance their allegiance to their homeland with a growing affinity for the American way of life.
  • FollowingThe Following on FOX: Let me start out by saying I love Kevin Bacon. So I would probably watch just about anything he was in, small or big screen. He’s just one of those great actors who has proven over time to be adept at taking on a variety of roles, both light and heavy. And of course, it helps that Kevin Williamson (producer of The Vampire Diaries and the Scream movies) is at the helm.
    Bacon plays a broken cop on the hunt for a serial killer who uses his fans as his instruments of killing. The promo is gritty and compelling, and the production value looks excellent – you might even think you are watching a movie trailer.

Will you be checking out either of these shows? Is there anything else new on TV that I should be checking out?

What makes a show great?

In the last year, the way I watch TV has changed a lot. Having a baby tends to shift your schedule around. So, instead of watching NCIS re-runs while I do my run at the gym, I now get up at 5 a.m. every morning and watch a lot of great TV on my home treadmill while The Husband and The Babe are snoozing.

And obviously, there just isn’t as much time to watch TV. So I’m pickier than ever about what fills up the DVR.

This morning I got to thinking about what makes a TV show great while I was watching Sons of Anarchy (probably in my top 3 favorite shows right now).

I came up with a bottom line answer that works for me. A show has to be truly believable. No matter how fantastic the premise (take The Walking Dead, for instance), a show has to be so true to its universe that you never question it.

This might seem simple enough. But to be believable, a show has to have excellent writing, talented actors and superior production value. Take just one of these factors out of the equation and you can forget about it.

In a lesser show, I might raise an eyebrow over the fact that a bunch of rival criminal organizations could exist in one small area. But Sons of Anarchy sells it. And every week, I keep coming back, because I just can’t wait to see what these characters are going to endure next. How they will survive. What they will have to compromise to keep going. Who they will become. And that’s how you know its good TV.

99% full


If you have a DVR, you know what I mean.


Right now, there is simply too much good TV. My problem is this: I started watching The Mentalist re-runs on TNT this summer, and am recording two of those every Wednesday. But, I am also recording the new episodes of The Mentalist to watch when I get caught up.And then there’s Sons of Anarchy (SOA). I am caught up on SOA through the second season, which is available on Netflix instant watch. But the third season isn’t available yet, so I am recording the new episodes while waiting on that release.

And then, there’s Burn Notice, which I love, but didn’t have time to watch this summer. So I have six episodes of that on my DVR.

What this means is that I barely have enough room to tape the shows I watch weekly (Tosh.0, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, American Horror Story, Raising Hope, New Girl, Ringer, Vampire Diaries, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, Fringe, and the aforementioned Mentalist reruns). Add to that the return of Beavis and Butthead, and next week’s return of Bones, and I’ve got a real problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m somewhat of an expert in solving recording conflicts, but the real issue here is space. Anyone else having these issues? How do you manage? I guess it’s a sign of good TV that there is so much to watch.

Blogging for two

Don’t forget to tune in for True Blood Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

It’s been a busy few months for me, so forgive my absence. Never fear, I’m still watching TV and talking TV, although blogging about TV has taken a backseat to another very important adventure: Baby Rogers.

My friends and family already know what I am just now announcing on Remotely Entertaining (and to the world). I am 16 weeks pregnant with my first little one. The husband and I are super-excited.

In between eating for two, running for two, and sleeping for two; I found time over the last four months to watch The Killing, Game of Thrones and Borgias, which were all pretty great. I also caught up with the first two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, an awesome, gritty, over-the-top show that I was instantly addicted to.

Now, I’m watching Teen Wolf, Covert Affairs and Burn Notice. Most importantly, this Sunday I’ll be watching episode one of True Blood season four. Stay tuned for Monday updates, as I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say.

Aren't they cute? Scott and Allison get up close and personal in MTV’s Teen Wolf.

The big surprise for me has been Teen Wolf. If you haven’t checked it out, and you are a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’d highly recommend you give it a whirl. I think it comes the closest to striking the Buffy chord of any show I’ve seen in recent memory – humor, supernatural elements, teen angst, good special effects and best of all, strong acting and writing.

Is anyone else loving Teen Wolf? Who’s going to watch True Blood this Sunday?

Dear Thursday TV,

Elena escaped the clutches of Elijah, but this is just the beginning.

This note is to thank you for an utterly satisfying evening.

First, you served up a fresh episode of The Vampire Diaries on The CW, complete with a brand new villain, Elijah (after all, Katherine needs to cool off in the tomb for at least an episode). Not just any villain, he’s a super sexy, seemingly invincible vampire with a seriously cruel streak. And you gave us a very bittersweet scene between Damon and Elena, a scene that we’ve been waiting for since these two met. Swoon. To top it off, you gave us a blossoming romance between Jeremy and Bonnie as well as a newfound bond between Caroline and Tyler.

Second, you gave us new episodes of 30 Rock and The Office. What can I say? If I had to pick my favorite character on TV, it would be Jack Donaghy. He needs DIHC, and he’ll take it any way he can get it.

Then, you served up one of the best episodes of Fringe to date. Olivia began what promises to be an arduous journey home, with Peter as her spirit guide. Nowhere is the expertise of the show’s writers more evident than in an episode like this – which seamlessly weaves together overarching mythology with a single-episode storyline. In this case, Olivia and the Fringe team investigate someone who broke out of the amber, only to find that twin brothers have pulled the classic switcheroo, thereby leading Olivia to consider the possibility that she has switched places with her doppelganger.

Lastly, you ended the night with a new episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I have yet to watch it, but I know it will be funny, so thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Your ever-devoted, Thursday-night, couch-potato friend, Andrea

Wanted: First two episodes of Justified

Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood hottie sheriff fame) plays the lead in Justified.

I’m always on the lookout for a good, new show to watch. Some of my favorites have been suggested by my co-blogger, Mark (he’s the one who pointed me in the direction of Fringe and Lost), and I also got a great suggestion from a couple of pals about It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

This morning, I talked to my dad, who is also a great source of TV inspiration. We like a lot of the same things – Deadwood, The Office and 30 Rock, to name a few. He highly recommended Justified, which is in its first season on FX. I had heard buzz about this show, but was not really listening until my dad told me that Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood hottie sheriff fame, not my dad’s words, but that’s how I know him) is the lead.

So now I’m really interested, but in a bit of a pickle. The first season is airing right now (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.), so it’s not on DVD yet. So I turned to the Web, but the FX site and Hulu don’t have the first two episodes. What’s a girl to do in this situation? I don’t want to start watching it mid-season and miss the important stuff from the initial episodes, but I don’t want to wait until it is on DVD either. Any suggestions?

Does anyone else watch Justified? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The rewatchability of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

There are some shows that are great, but you can only watch them once. A good example of this would be Big Love, a show I love but probably would not watch repeatedly.

Then there are shows that have a little something I like to call “rewatchability.” This is a term coined by me and the husband. Essentially, whenever we watch a show or a movie we rate it on its quality (using the Netflix five-star system), but we also rate it on its potential to be watched again.

Currently, I am watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia on DVD. This show has classic rewatchability – it’s hilarious, the plots are simple and there is always some comic gem waiting to be discovered in an episode watched while, say, you are writing a blog post. I love Charlie Day. Five stars of rewatchability, hands down, for his comedic stylings alone.

Some other shows that have great rewatchability for me are The Office, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. What shows do you find yourself rewatching?