Betrayal (Pilot)

I like soaps and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Daytime, primetime, any old time…the campy, dramatic, somewhat unrealistic world of soaps is an escape for me–a reminder that no matter how bad my life seems, those poor suckers on that screen have it WAY worse.

Betrayal was a show I’d been looking forward to for a very long time for a few reasons. 

1)  It’s a soapy drama.  I love Revenge (more on that later) and the idea of a companion show for it made me happy.  I also love the idea of a soapy primetime show filled with all the romantic entaglements, ridiculous plot twists, and crazy characters they always provide.

2)  The cast is absolutely fantastic.  Wendy Moniz is my favorite actress of all time.  I’ve followed her career since her days on Guiding Light and I’ll watch absolutely anything she’s in.  Throw in a couple of gorgeous men and a kick butt actor like James Cromwell and I’m hooked.

3)  The show has a mystery thrown in.  I love a good mystery and some of my favorite shows are the ones that leave you guessing every week. 

I’ve followed the development of this one since the first rumblings of cast sign ons and I have eagerly awaited its premiere since the pickup annoucement was made.  Last night finally arrived and……

 

We’re starting with a flash forward.  I like it.  It’s been done…maybe overdone, but I still like it.  I also like the hushed voice calling “Sara” and the flash of the hand that we can’t quite identify.  Nice touch. 

The first look into Sara and Drew’s marriage is interesting.  I can see the writers are desperately trying to portray Drew as the husband that doesn’t have time for his wife and that clearly doesn’t concern himself with her feelings (Act like that about a gift I buy you and see what happens…you’ll be eating that tie). 

One of my favorite lines of the show and it comes so early…

Sara- Still after ten years, how does a marriage just blow up like that?

Drew- Someone lights a match.

Ouch.

Thatcher Karsten portrayed by the magnificient James Cromwell and TJ Karsten played by Henry Thomas aka….. the guy that was in E.T. have arrived on screen.  James Cromwell just won an Emmy for his work on American Horror Story and it’s not hard to understand why.  The man absolutely commands a screen from the second he appears and Henry Thomas shines in this role.  They walk away and leave us to Sara and Drew again.  Oh yeah Drew…that tie is much better.

The infamous bridge scene….and this would be where the show begins to fall apart a little for me.  Who actually starts talking to a stranger on a bridge?  And in Chicago no less?  Have you checked out the rising crime rate in that city?  This is how you get yourself shot. 

They both love the water, Of course. 

And now when they both go back inside to their respective spouses they must try and fight the almost unbreakable bond that has formed.  Instead of throwing themselves into each other’s arms (give them about twenty minutes) they instead stare each other down through as they go their seperate ways….only to run into each other again on the streets of Chicago.  Beat me over the head why don’t you?

Now we get a peek into the McAllister marriage.  Wendy Moniz back on my screen is always a treat.  I can forgive so much of the ridiculousness that plagued the last ten minutes of my life just to see her back on screen where she belongs.  Elaine clearly has issues with her mother’s death (completely understandable) and her father’s business practices make her uncomfortable (considering his one and a half minutes of screen time made the little hairs on my arm stand up, also understandable).  Her children seem caught up in their own lives and her husband seems to regard her as a bit of an ungrateful shrew.  She’s annoyed…and for good reason…besides that, she made breakfast and no one ate it! 

Back to Sara and Drew. She’s taking pictures of the kid. Jack’s meeting with Thatcher, Lou, and TJ.  We learn a couple of very important things here.  No matter how unhappy Sara may be with Drew, she’s not unhappy enough to keep her out of his bed.  Thatcher might have a bit of an anger problem. 

Sara wants to do a photography series on obsession.  Dear God. 

Agorophobia?  Really?  Really?

I have to be honest, I’m enjoying the McAllister family drama much more than I’m enjoying this heavy handed manufactured chemistry between Sara and Jack.  TJ clearly has some sort of brain damage from an accident and now we find out that Jack saved his life.  Clearly, Jack has been an integral part of the McAllister clan and the writers would be wise to utilize the power of the powerhouse actors they have here (Henry Thomas, Wendy Moniz, James Cromwell) and stop trying to make this some Harlequin novel. 

I can’t make myself comment on the train scene.  It’s just more than I can handle. 

The commercial gives me enough time to recover, but then we return to Sara and Jack on the beach. 

TJ and Thatcher together is magic.  Henry Thomas does an amazing job and I actually teared up at the father son moment.  The look on his face after his father’s rejection was devestating and so telling.  Thatcher has to realize, yet again, that TJ is now very much a child. What a horrifying line for any child to hear from their father…

Thatcher: TJ, stop. Know your limitations.

 

Jack and Sarah are now having a dinner by firelight.  And it’s moments like this that make absolutely no sense.  We go from meeting on bridge to going to dinner to getting a hotel room.  Clothes are flying off and then a cell phone rings.  It’s Sara’s husband and son.  That kills the moment, right?  Of course not.  Now we lay on the bed with our would-be lover and go over the details of the son’s favorite bedtime book.  Seriously? 

Uncle Lou you were not long for this world.  You were a plot point, but you did not die in vain.  Your death may have been the only salvagable plot in this show.  The ripples your death creates for the McAllister clan may just keep this show afloat.  Go with God, Lou.

Sara wants to have coffee with Drew, but he can’t do it right now.  She’ll show you. 

And now Jack’s home….far away from Sara and all those naughty thoughts.  Except Sara isn’t very far away, is she?  The photograph is hanging on the wall…right in front of him.  Enter Elaine.  You know, Wendy Moniz is a gorgeous actress and making her look like the frumpy housewife is lazy.  Jack is pained and tears up when he thinks about what he’s about to die.  You ought to cry pal, you’re an idiot. 

And here it is….what everyone has been waiting on…Sara and Jack finally sleep together and now what? 

The police are here to question TJ and Thatcher is protecting his cub.  Sara walks the street with a smile and heads home.  Drew has the pleasure of dropping the next bombshell.  He’s going head to head with her boy toy in court. 

So Sara…your little love affair seems a little less romantic now, doesn’t it? 

And the credits roll as the previews for next week flash by. 

What Worked: 

1)  The McAllister family is made up of some amazing actors.  Henry Thomas as the brain damaged moguls son is captivating and James Cromwell is nothing short of magnificient. 

2)  Liked the idea of setting up a murder mystery within the plot.  Who killed Uncle Lou?  Who shoots Sara–and if viewers had a chance, how long would the line be????

3) Chicago makes a beautiful back drop.  The city is gorgeous and it gives an air of reality to many of the shots. 

 

What Flopped:

1)  Wendy Moniz is fantastic.  I’m so sick of seeing these shows with such amazing actors that they stick in filler scenes.  You’ve got amazing actors–use them! 

2)  Sara and Jack do not have the compelling, life affirming chemistry required to explain starting an affair so quickly.  I feel like I fell asleep in the middle of the show and woke up with these two characters in bed together. 

3)  Sara is utterly unlikeable.  The character is supposed to be unhappy in her marriage and yet she has sex with her husband to try and make it better.  She gets interrupted during her would-be tryst with Jack by a phone call from her son and husband and instead of leaving, she lays on the bed and tells Jack a bedtime story. 

All in all, Betrayal has promise.  As I’ve said before, a cast can carry a show, but they need a decent story.  What we have here is a few stories, with a couple decent ones.  I care who shot Sara because I really want to myself.  I care who shot Uncle Lou because the McAllister family drama is the most compelling part of the show, but I don’t give a flip what happens between Sara and Jack.  I’d much rather watch Sara and Jack deal with the issues in their respective marriages.  That might give me a chance to find a redeeming quality in both of their characters. 

I’m in for the long haul with Betrayal simply because I respect the actors involved, but the writers need to do some serious clean up or the long haul won’t be long at all. 

What did you think of Betrayal?  Did you watch?  Will you tune in next week?  Talk to us.  We want to hear what you think. 

Until next time,

Lynn

 

 

Give it up for The Goldbergs!

The cast of The Goldbergs

The cast of The Goldbergs

 

Give it Up for The Goldbergs!

 

I will make an admission right now. I decided to watch the first episode of The Goldbergs, mostly out of boredom. Going into it, I didn’t have high expectations or hopes for it, and maybe that is part of the reason I enjoyed it so much! Or, maybe it’s because it’s actually a really good show! Surprise, surprise! The Goldbergs is actually a highly watchable show.

 

First of all, the cast is really good. They all play their parts convincingly, especially Wendi McLendon-Covey! Which surprises me because I am used to her playing these (forgive me for typing this!) “dumb blonde”-type roles with little substance. But she hits it out of the park as Beverly Goldberg, a mother who is struggling with the fact that her children are growing up so fast, right before her eyes, and she doesn’t know what to do with herself… Truthfully, I wouldn’t be surprised that if this show lasts, Wendi snags herself an Emmy nod next year.

 

Another cast member I have to single out is George Segal, who plays Albert Solomon. I have always liked this actor since I first saw him on the awesome, much-missed sitcom Just Shoot Me but he’s a whole ‘nother level of amazing here. He plays his part really well and imbues it with a lot of heart and wit. I would love to have a grandpa like him! (Especially if he gave me a sports car!)

 

The rest of the cast is good too. I just need to see their characters developed a bit more, especially Erica’s role. She remains a blank slate for this viewer, thus far.

 

I liked the show because of the writing too. It was genuinely funny and very relatable. (I do appreciate that there is no laugh track. I have always hated those so much!) Lines like “Flava Flav is the only one who understands me!” seriously made me laugh almost until I cried. Then there were scenes like Murray giving his son an REO Speedwagon cassette instead of a car that were just as classic. And they felt authentic. How many sixteen year olds have hoped for a car and instead gotten something entirely less exciting like a tape (or CD) or hmm, a package of underwear?! I know I have! This show is relatable, even with it being set decades ago. That’s what I like most about it. (The 80’s were but a decade long, but family dysfunction is forever.)

 

The show reminds me of a John Hughes movie and I miss John Hughes movies very much. I think I will be sticking with it for the long haul. It’s comfortable and homey – like shoulder pads, leg warmers and parachute pants! (Yes, that was a sad 80’s fashion reference lol)

 

Check out the first episode of The Goldbergs (“Circle of Driving”). You might be surprised and actually like it!

A First Look at Hostages

I want to like Hostages…I really, really do. On the surface, it has all the makings of a hit. Drama, a great cast, and a compelling storyline, but you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and in this case, you can’t judge a show by its cast. Toni Collette is amazing. You couldn’t ask for a more capable leading actress, and Dylan McDermott deserves an Emmy for getting out of bed in the morning after the disaster that was Big Shots, but I fear Hostages isn’t going to be the mega hit that either of them deserve.

What follows is a series of thoughts I jotted down as I watched the episode. Beware…Spoilers Below……

1) Cheesy super agent Duncan really isn’t a very promising start. When his police backup asks him “What if you were wrong?” after he took a huge chance “taking care” of a suspect, Duncan responds “I wasn’t.” Cue dramatic music and serious bedroom eyes. Ack.

2) I can appreciate the fact that the writers care enough to try to give Duncan a backstory. A FBI agent gone rogue is so passe, so at least the wife in a coma and the daughter he’s raising gives him a touch of humanity.

3) Man…these people have problems…like super, serious need some therapy kind of problems. You’ve got a teenage girl with a secret lover and a possible bun in the oven, a teenage boy with a gambling/drug problem, and a husband hiding some definite secrets. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Mr. Dr. Ellen, but I do know pasta timers don’t send text messages.

4) Barkley better not be dead. Kill all the people you want, but the dogs are off limits.

5) I have to say as capable as McDermott is, I’m not sure this character really suits him. Every time he starts talking in that raspy, I’m so serious voice, I secretly want to giggle.

6) Brian Brian Brian…Do we have a little cookie on the side? Seriously though buddy…you’re in the house with a bunch of guys holding guns on you….are you really worried about your wife finding out about your affair right now? If I were being held hostage, I’m not sure I’d give a furry rat’s behind if my extramaritial activities were discovered.

7) I love the the criminal wants the kid to do his homework. See if he’d worked harder in school, he would have gotten that job as an engineer instead of being Duncan’s sidekick.

8) Barkley…you’re ok. Thank goodness. 🙂

9) Love the conversation between Duncan and the wanna be tutor. “We’re not here to fix their problems.” You’re right pal, you’re not. You don’t have that kind of time. It’s only an hour show.

10) Oh look, Duncan finds out teenage girl has a secret and we see he has a heart underneath that tough outer shell. A bad guy with a softer side–we’ve never seen that before.

11) Well, I guess they couldn’t take the chance of the beginning being more cheesy than the ending. Good job guys, you outdid yourselves again. Double Ack.

Oh Hostages, you had such promise–why did you throw it all away? Am I the only one who wonders how in the world they are going to make this stretch an entire season? I mean, I could see this lasting for a movie of the week kind of scenario or even a miniseries, but a series??? Hostages had all the elements in place to be a successful show, but unfortunately I don’t see this one sticking around for very long.

Until next time–

Lynn

Sleepy Hollow 1×01

Sleepy Hollow – A little sleepy at times and a bit hollow too, but worth the watch, just the same!

So it’s officially Wednesday now, but I am happy to report that I finally got to watch the pilot episode of Sleepy Hollow! (Better late than never, right?) Prior to actually tuning in, I hadn’t heard much about the show. I just knew that there were headless horsemen involved and that Ichabod Crane was very easy on the eyes! I ultimately tuned in out of curiosity and ended up being pretty happy with my decision to do so. Sure there were some sleepy parts, a hollow bit or two, but I am still glad that I gave up an hour to try out a new show.

Sleepy Hollow pulls you in from the get go. The opening scenes were well choreographed and they immediately grabbed my attention. When the headless horseman came riding onto the battleground, I became especially intrigued. My attention held throughout the show as people were decapitated and sliced and diced left and right, and mysteries started to build and unravel. Truthfully, the only weak spots I saw were the Abbie and Ichabod “talky” scenes (such as the squad car scene where they chat about seeing a Starbucks on every corner).

**As a side note, I imagine Abbie and Ichabod (“Abbod”/”Ibbie”??) will be paired up romantically on screen, at some point. I imagine they will even collect a sizable fan base but I thought their scenes were a little forced and contrived from the get-go. In fact, the Abbie character is a little too bland for my liking. Katrina, Ich’s “dead” wife, on the other hand, made me sit up and take notice. I don’t know what to make of her character though. Is she good or is she bad? I can’t wait to find out.**

The three main highlights of the ep, for me, were:

  • The unintentional humor of Abbie phoning into the police station in a panic saying “we’ve got an officer down” when by that point, Corbin had no head! “Yes, he’s down,” I wanted to say, “but he’s not getting up again, at least not in this episode!”
  • Any and all Orlando Jones appearances. He usually plays “funny man”-type roles so it was surprisingly cool to see him don a serious attitude and costume. I like the character of Frank Irving already. I think he’s got a secret or two (or five!) and I bet they are juicy!
  • The Horseman discovering modern weaponry! He just picked that shotgun right up and started using it like he’d been practicing at it for so many millennia!

The one BIG question I am left with though? If the Horseman and Ich’s blood was intermingled as Katrina said, does this mean Ich will go over to the dark side at some point? Hopefully we’ll find out in coming episodes!

So to wrap it all up, I will say that while the show had some sleepy moments (see all conversations about Starbucks) and some hollow moments (see all attempts at Abbie and Ichabod “banter”), it’s still worth watching. I am going to stick with it for the foreseeable future.

P.S. According to this website, over 10 million households watched the premiere of Sleepy Hollow! This could end up being a long-running hit show with a very loyal fan base. I know that I’ll keep blogging about SH as long as it holds my interest.

P.P.S. Next week looks really good! I’ve read spoilers and one mentions that Ichabod takes his first bath in two-hundred plus years. Um, heck yeah! Tom Mison is hot. Hot and wet and nekkid, I hope!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for blogging with this TV Tart!

–Daphne

New Fall Shows Poll

Welcome!

While watching television is generally regarded to be a solitary activity, it sure is a lot more fun when you have someone to discuss it with!  That’s what this blog is all about.   We’d love to learn about you and your favorite shows, and since it’s only fair–we’ll go first.

Meet Daphne:

Did you know that I’m involved in a deep, torrid love affair … with television? LOL

Episodic TV has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a tot, I cut my teeth on cartoons like Legend of Zelda and Peter Pan and the Pirates (boy am I dating myself here or what?) and eventually graduated to gorging myself on Saved by the Bell re-runs and then daytime television shows like The Young and the Restless. I watched primetime shows too back in the day but none really affected me or spoke to me, until I first saw an episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer in 1998. From that point, I became a devout primetime watcher.

When invariably someone asks me would I rather watch a TV show or a movie, I always answer “TV show”. I love that with television, you get to see a character evolve – or deteriorate, in some cases – over the course of several years. You bond with them in many ways. They become a part of your life. I love characters – seeing what makes them tick, what drives them, breaks them, haunts them, etc. Maybe it’s the former psych major in me?! Hmm… I do know for a fact though that I have always enjoyed a good story. If the story and the characters are compelling enough, I don’t want them to leave me! I want them to keep going and going like the Energizer bunny.

Sadly, we do live in an era where shows debut and are cancelled after two episodes, but that has not and will not deter me from continuing to seek out shows (and characters! And couples!) I can fall in love with. Currently I am hooked on The Vampire Diaries, Mistresses, Once Upon a Time, Grey’s Anatomy and the best show you’ve never heard of, Luther (which stars the oh-so-yummy Idris Elba!).

Upcoming shows I can’t wait to see are: Sleepy Hollow, Betrayal, The Michael J. Fox Show, The Originals and The Blacklist.

Meet Lynn:

I am an admitted tv junkie.  As an only child, tv has always been a bit of a companion for me.  Sure I had, and continue to have, other interests (Growing up in the rural South, you’ve got to find ways to enterain yourself), but tv is different.  Few things in life allow to escape your reality in a healthy way.  In fact, television and reading are the only two I can think of.  I happen to love both.

My television interests are varied. I enjoy soapy primetime sagas like Revenge as well as witty sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory.  I like to be entertained, but I want to be treated like an intelligent viewer.  Lazy plot twists, sloppy dialouge, and poory storyline decisions annoy me.  That makes me want to rant.

Brutal honesty, snarky comments, ranting, and raving can all be expected when reading my reviews, but I will always try to be fair.  I have a tremendous respect for actors and, even though I may not always commend a performance, I am careful not to bash.  Actors are people too…very rich, very pretty people.
Shows I love:  Revenge, Bates Motel, The Big Bang Theory, The Middle, The Mentalist, Shark Tank, The Neighbors

Shows I’m Looking Forward To:  Betrayal, The Blacklist, Welcome to the Family, Trophy Wife, Resurrection, Hostages, The Tomorrow People

So…there you have it.  Now that you know about us, please tell us something about you!  We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.  Feel free to drop by and tell us what your favorite shows are and what shows have you counting down the days until their debuts.  Hope to see you here soon!