10 girl crushes: My favorite ladies of TV

I just love the wit and wisdom of Dr. Temperance Brennan.

                                                                         

On the way to work this morning, I was thinking about Bones. That got me thinking about Dr. Brennan, and how much I love her character, which got me thinking about some of the other cool ladies on TV right now.

My co-blogger, Mark, has said that we are in a Golden Age of TV. I tend to agree – there are so many good things to watch right now. Part of the appeal of many of the shows I watch is the strong leading lady. It used to be that such strong women on TV were few and far between. Of course, the ‘90s gave us Dana Scully and Buffy Summers, two monoliths of TV womanhood. But to my knowledge there has never been a time when so many women dominated the tube. And the great thing about these leading ladies is that they are such diverse characters – gone are the days of the token strong-willed woman trying to eke out a living among the boys. Here are some ladies of note.

  • Dr. Temperance Brennan (aka Bones, of Bones) – Leader of squints and lover of guns, she’s a highly objective scientist who blows away the stereotype of the overly emotional woman.
  • Annie Walker (of Covert Affairs) – This rookie CIA agent doesn’t need a partner to take down the bad guys in her way. She’s spunky and fresh, not your typical tough girl, and she’s a one-woman wolf pack.
  • Fiona Glenanne (of Burn Notice) – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You build bombs. You rescue boys. You kill bad guys. You have impeccable style. You have such a sharp sense of humor.  And I love the way you say, “Shall we shoot them?”
  • Debra Morgan (of Dexter) – She’s hot mess when it comes to the opposite sex, and she’s got a mouth like a sailor. In seasons past, her vulnerability bordered on annoying, but this year she has really come into her own.
  • Liz Lemon (of 30 Rock) – LL is the funniest woman on TV, simply put. She’s a proud nerd who’s not afraid to admit to wearing a bathing suit as underwear. Need I say more?
  • Margene Heffman, Nicki Grant and Barb Henrickson (of Big Love) – Three very different women (who I am counting as one, polygamist girl crush), married to one man. In four seasons, each has shown strength of character and vulnerability. The complexities of their relationships to one another go beyond the challenges of polygamy, and delve into the differences between each one’s ideas of what it means to be a woman, wife and mother.
  • Caroline Forbes (of Vampire Diaries) – Not the obvious choice from this show (that would be the main star, Elena), but I really like Caroline. And what’s more, I think she’s a good example for young ladies. Last year, she was shallow and mean. But over time, her character grew (and changed into a vampire) into a much deeper person capable of true friendship, love and compassion. This season, she has weathered her change with grace, and even stepped up to the plate to help Tyler handle his own change. She’s a nice example of how a young woman can transcend the cliques, gossip and stereotyping of high school.
  • Olivia Dunham (of Fringe) ­ – Olivia is a smart agent who follows her instincts. She not only solves mysteries in our world, she crosses to other universes as well. She is a fascinating character, capable of great emotional depth as well as detachment.   
  • Myka Bering (of Warehouse 13) – Myka left her gig with the Warehouse at the end of last season following the debacle with H.G. Wells. But if you ask me, the empathy she showed for H.G.’s loss added a new dimension to her previously businesslike demeanor. But don’t get me wrong – I have always appreciated her focus on being the best agent she can be, and putting that before her personal feelings.
  • Pam Swynford De Beaufort (of True Blood) – Again, not the obvious choice, which would be Sookie Stackhouse. However, I just love Pam. Classy and ruthless, she is equally commanding in the pleather Fangtasia costumes as she is in her two-piece pink suits.

It’s your classic male/female body switching scenario, Warehouse 13 style

Hilarious chaos ensued last night when Pete and Myka switched bodies.

Good writers and actors can make the most overused TV trope into small screen magic. Look no further than last night’s episode of Warehouse 13 if you need evidence. The plot was pretty standard science fiction fare – Pete and Myka find an artifact that causes them to switch bodies.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve probably seen this scenario played out in about a million TV shows, movies and books. However, Warehouse 13 is a fun, witty, well-written show, with two excellent lead actors.

I found myself laughing the whole hour through – especially during the scene where Pete engaged in some sports banter with Myka’s love interest. Speaking of, it was good to see Myka get a little love at the end of the episode – this sexy, smart heroine was long overdue for a little romance if you ask me.

Two for Tuesday (yes, I know it’s Thursday)

Myka kicked supermodel butt on the runway, thanks to a killer dress and pep talk from Pete.

I know, I should be more prompt in my posting as it is now Thursday, but I wanted to chat about Warehouse 13 and Covert Affairs, which are both on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on SyFy and 10 p.m. on USA Network, respectively.

This week’s episode of Warehouse 13, “Age Before Beauty,” was excellent – probably my favorite episode to date, in fact. The story started out with a somewhat random scene of Myka and Pete recovering Excalibur, and then moved into the main plot of the agents investigating the case of a young runway model who suddenly dies of old age. They need an undercover agent to infiltrate the modeling agency, and well, who better than Myka? In typical TV trope fashion, Myka (who is a classic, statuesque beauty) gets a makeover fit for the runway (actually, it’s a lot more like Clark Kent taking off his eyeglasses). My favorite scene by far from this highly entertaining hour of TV was the sweet pep talk Pete gave Myka before she walked the runway. Funny one-liners from Pete (“gay Clue”) and Myka’s reaction to being called fat kept me laughing all the way through. Also, I just love Claudia’s new puppy love interest. Overall a great episode that hit the right balance of interpersonal character relationship development, irreverent humor, fast-paced action and artifact intrigue.

Switching gears (or should I say channels?), I watched Covert Affairs last night on DVR. I know, I’m such a wimp for not staying up until 11 p.m. on Tuesday, but I just can’t do it. Not even for a great show like this. “Southbound Suarez” was the first episode in which Annie had an international mission. She was off to Venezuela to investigate large sums of money being stolen for the funding of terrorist organizations. Pretty standard spy stuff, except awesome because Annie is super cool. Case in point, I loved it when she took the wheel of the Lamborghini, pretended to not know how to drive stick shift, then engaged in some fancy maneuvering to avoid an accident, followed by some wicked, bullet-dodging donuts. We also learned a bit more about Auggie, who apparently isn’t ready to push papers all day and longs for the field work he can no longer do. Keep it coming, USA. I love this show.

I have a couple other things to catch up with on the DVR – namely Being Human, Haven and Rizzoli and Isles. I’ll try to let you know what I think of those tomorrow or Saturday. So much TV; so little time.

New shows and a returning favorite

Warehouse 13’s daring duo, Pete and Myka, is the driving force behind the show, but the addition of guest star Jaime Murray as the season two villain is really going to shake things up.

There have been several series premieres and some notable returning favorites in the last couple weeks. I don’t have time to watch them all, but I am digging a few of them – namely Haven and Warehouse 13 on SyFy and Rizzoli and Isles on TNT. I DVR’d Covert Affairs on USA last night, but didn’t have a chance to watch it yet. The reviews of the new spy thriller starring Piper Parabo have been good, so I’m looking forward to checking that out tonight.

Warehouse 13 came back with a bang last week with an episode that featured Jaime Murray (aka Lila Tournay from Dexter) as none other than H.G. Wells. I can’t say enough about how great Murray was in Dexter – sexy, mean, and devious in all her brunette, British glory. She seems to be the overarching villain for this season, and I am very excited to watch the story play out. Last night’s episode was also excellent, and fully displayed the chemistry between agents Myka (Joanne Kelly) and Pete (Eddie McClintock). The wit and general appeal of these two kept me coming back for more even as the first season became a bit tedious, and I think we can expect more funny banter and light sexual tension from them this summer. All in all, I’m really excited to see how this show plays out, and it already seems to be much-improved from last year.

The other SyFy vehicle that I picked up on DVR this week was Haven, which premiered last Friday. Of course, it can be difficult to say how good a show is going to be based on the pilot alone, but I’m thinking this one has a lot of promise, for a few reasons. First, it’s based on a Stephen King novel called The Colorado Kid. Say what you will about the sometimes cheesy nature of the movies that are based on King’s books, but I love his writing and many of his movies are classics. So there’s good base material. Second, the lead actress Emily Rose, who plays FBI agent Audrey Parker, had a cool, commanding presence reminiscent of Olivia from Fringe. And third, the show seems to have a decent budget – it has a slick, high quality feel that I must admit is sometimes lacking in other SyFy productions (Warehouse 13, with its ridiculous CG imagery is guilty of this). I’ll keep watching this one for sure.

As for Rizzoli and Isles, I had my doubts. Although I enjoy cop dramas, I don’t religiously watch them. I’m more of a casual viewer of shows like Law and Order, NCIS, and CSI – watching at the gym or pausing for a few moments when I’m channel surfing. The first episode hooked me, not necessarily with Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander (who pay Rizzoli and Isles, respectively), but with co-stars Lorraine Bracco (aka Dr. Jennifer Melfi from The Sopranos), who plays Rizzoli’s mom, and Billy Burke (aka Chief Swan from Twilight), who plays hottie FBI agent Gabriel Dean. These two really round out the cast and are going to make me tune in for at least one more episode. While the case they investigated may have been lacking (typical, fast-moving serial killer plot), the dynamic between Rizzoli and the various people in her life (including her mother, Agent Dean, her old and new partners, and medical examiner Isles) was engaging and witty.

So that’s it. I’ll let you know about Covert Affairs after I have had a chance to watch it. Unfortunately, it’s going to have to compete for screen time with three, count ‘em, three Sopranos discs that are arriving via Netflix today. And you thought I was only watching True Blood…

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I started watching the first season of The Sopranos.

I have to apologize, dear readers, for my sporadic posting behavior as of late. The simple fact of the matter is that I am in a bit of a TV dead zone, as the normal seasons of all the shows I watch have wrapped, and I am waiting for the summer shows to start. To pass the time, I’ve been watching movies, most recently Night of the Creeps. But I digress – this is a TV blog, after all.

A couple weeks ago, I started watching The Sopranos on HBO On Demand. I’ve also been watching the final season of the Tudors on Showtime (which took a break for the Memorial Day holiday). I’m a little more than half-way through the first season of The Sopranos, which I have been meaning to watch for a couple years now. So far, it’s a pretty good watch – James Gandolfini (as Tony Soprano) is excellent, as are Lorraine Bracco (as Dr. Jennifer Melfi) and Edie Falco (as Carmela Soprano). At times, the actors who play the Soprano kids are a little annoying, but that is forgivable. I didn’t know if I would like Falco’s character, as I was never very impressed with Nurse Jackie (in spite of the wealth of critical acclaim it has garnered), but it turns out she is really quite good in this role. She portrays the wife of a mobster with complexity, and avoids the overdone clichés of such a role.

Of course, I am counting down the days for the premiere of True Blood (only 10 days left) and enjoying all of the promos HBO has been putting out for that. The newest trailer is awesome, and all of the minisodes have been really cool. I have to admit, I had little faith in these shorts, but they have been worth watching every week. My favorite is still the first one, in which Eric and Pam audition strippers for Fangtasia. Alas, even with all of the trailers, minisodes, and posters, waiting still sucks.

I’ll also be watching season 2 of Being Human on BBC, starting July 24, as well as the sophomore season of Warehouse 13 on SyFy. What will you be watching this summer?