Madam Secretary is made of win!

madamsecretarycbs

“A woman’s perspective is such an important thing”, says Elizabeth McCord (aka Tea Leoni) at one point during the debut of the new show, Madam Secretary. And you know what? I couldn’t agree more. Most political tales are told from the point of view of the male and as a woman, I like seeing a strong female character at the forefront of the drama. Elizabeth is intelligent, fervent and brave. It takes guts to stand up to a bunch of her superiors who are against her, rather than supporting her. But lest you think this show is only written for “chicks”, let me say that it truly is a drama anyone can enjoy – chockfull of witty repartee, action, pathos and great acting.

The show opens with a shot of a mosque. A flash of text in the corner of the screen tells us we are visiting Damascus, Syria. The camera soon pans to the inside of a jail where a group of men are paying checkers. A young American man in typical denim jeans and a tee-shirt is being dragged to a cell where his brother is waiting. The young man is screaming “call the State Department”.

That was a decent – if slightly predictable – hook to the begin show though admittedly at that point, I was just waiting for a glance of Tim Daly’s fine self. We soon meet Elizabeth who is hurrying along while being stalked by a very entitled university student who doesn’t like his thesis topic. We get a glimpse at Elizabeth’s greatly witty side when she rebuffs the student in style and tells him he will not receive an extension on his paper. At that point, I am sure that I will like her a lot. And I do.

She soon meets up with her husband Henry (played by Tim Daly who is as fine as ever! Thank you, HDTV, for the close-up!)  and we get to see them interact. They are a fun couple, teasing and cajoling each other right and left. I can see from first glance that they have major shipper-potential. We learn that they live on a farm; that they have so-called normal lives, even with a “self-proclaimed anarchist” for a son. Cue the upset. The president arrives. He tells Elizabeth that the secretary of state’s plane went down. The man is no more and there is suddenly a position needing filled. Elizabeth is called to serve. She balks at the idea (anyone would feel under-qualified for that job, right?) and then we are shown that she has accepted the offer as the little text box in the corner soon reads “Two Months Later”…

A lot of stuff happens thereafter (there’s never a dull moment in this show) that I could spoil you about but you know what, I won’t. And why? Because I think you need to watch this show yourself. Actually, I demand that you watch this show yourself! It’s really that darn good. It would be a mistake to skip it and write it off as “just another one of those political shows”. It’s not. It’s actually bordering on brilliant even when it has a few predictable moments here and there.

The characters and acting alone make the show worth the price of admission. Tim Daly’s hotness makes the show worth the price of admission too, but I digress. Watch this show, even if it doesn’t sound like your thing. You might be pleasantly surprised just how fast the narrative moves. I am most definitely on pins and needles waiting for next Sunday’s episode. They left us with one hell of a cliffhanger and I look forward to seeing how the mystery element they introduced plays into the events of the coming season.

While Madam Secretary debuted at very modest ratings (they only scored only a 2.0 share in Households), I am hoping positive buzz about the show will ensure its success. I’d be pretty lost without Elizabeth and Henry. Seriously, I would. The show has made that much of an impact on me already. So just to recap: watch this show!

What did you think of Madam Secretary? Sound off in the comments below.

Advertisements

Sneak Peek at…

Forever

image

You know that moment when you watch a show and you just know you’ve going to love this one.   Sadly, for me at least, that moment is usually followed by immediate cancellation.  If I love a show–really love it–it’s doomed.  My track record is scary…really.

Having said that, I’m cautiously optimistic about Forever.  It’s that good.  Think NYPD/Once Upon a Time/Sherlock Holmes.

The main character is Dr. Henry Morgan played by the uber yummy Ioan Gruffudd.  I don’t recognize him, but he’s talented, gorgeous, and he’s got a fantastic accent.

It turns out Dr. Morgan has a bit of secret.  He’s been alive for a really long time (200 years to be exact) mainly because he can’t die despite the fact that he manages to get killed a lot.

His predicament lands him in some interesting situations, so it’s understandable that he needs a confidante…someone he can talk to and lean on in times of trouble.  Enter Abe, Henry’s “Fairy Godfather” if you will.  We find out some interesting info about Abe towards the end of the show, but I won’t spoil it for those of you that haven’t seen the episode yet.

Dr. Morgan isn’t as happy about his immortality as you’d expect him to be and he spends a rather large chunk of his time working to determine how to break his curse.  When he’s not working his day job as the medical examiner for New York City, he holes up under Abe’s Antique Shop keeping records of his brushes with death.

Remember when I said this show was part NYPD…well, you need a cop for that and that cop comes in the form of Detective Jo Martinez.  We find out a bit about Jo throughout this episode, but most importantly we find out she’s become a bit suspicious of, and possibly taken with, Dr. Morgan.

The good doctor has managed to get himself involved in a train crash.  Everyone on board died (except him of course) which makes him the main suspect.  Luckily for the immortal Dr. Morgan, he’s not just a pretty face.  He’s also very, very observant.

Pretty woman on train- “You see a lot.”

Dr. Morgan- “I’ve seen a lot.”

Uh huh.

The show moves quickly.  Dr. Morgan works to  clear his name and quickly forges a friendship with Jo.  They team up to find the real killer and all is going along swimmingly until the cryptic phone calls start coming.

Someone knows Dr Morgan’s secret and they share his curse.

Dum..Dum..Dum…

Before show’s end, Dr. Morgan dies a few more times, Jo comes close to death, and we learn a little more about Dr. Henry Morgan’s beginnings courtesy of some well-placed flashbacks.

The show ends with some, all too appropriate dialogue.

“Henry, Are you ok?”

“I’ll survive.

Let’s hope so.  This show has the makings of a real winner.

First Look at….

Red Band Society

image

You might think a show about a bunch of kids that lived in a hospital would be depressing.  You might expect to be in tears multiple times throughout the episode.  You might be prepared to hear dialogue that, although poignant, is a bit heavy handed.  You would be right.

The show begins with a voice which we soon learn to be the voice of, Charlie, otherwise known as “Coma Boy”.  He will be a narrarator for this fun-filled journey.

The show revolves around an interesting cast of characters….all of whom have depressing life stories.

Nurse Jackson runs the hospital.  There’s a heart of gold under that tough exterior, but it takes us a while to see it.  She tortures poor Brittany, who just wants to be someone’s “muffin buddy” and is almost cruel to other members of the staff.

Kara, the main recepient of Nurse Jackson’s wrath for most of the show, is a cheerleader who thinks the world owes her a living.  She’s clearly privileged and has everything money can buy….too bad money can’t buy her a functioning heart.

You’ve got Leo, the tough talking teen with cancer.  He’s lost a leg and he’s confined to a wheelchair.  Right now, he’s waiting to see if the treatment was successful.

Then there’s Jordi, a courageous, newly diagnosed cancer patient.  He’s preparing to have his leg amputated, hoping to stop the cancer before it spreads.

Dash, cystic fibrosis sufferer, who you might recognize as Astro (last seen on America’s Got Talent).  Guess that singing career didn’t work out for him.

Emma rounds out the group.  She’s suffering from an eating disorder which the show comes dangerously close to downplaying.  It’s revelaed she used to have a thing for Leo but, “now they only live to make each other miserable”.

These kids live in a hospital.  Miserable shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish.

As shows go, this one has the makings for good drama.  I’m a big fan of the “cleansing cry” and this show provides plenty of opportunities.  I’m just worried it may provide a few too many.  While this concept might make a great movie, I’m not sure it can sustain an entire tv series and, even if it could, I don’t know if my mental health could survive.

By time the teens have taken to the roof top for Jordi’s last hurrah befhore surgery, I’m already dangerously close to tears.

Leo hands out his red arm bands (clearly the inspiration for the show’s name) to his friends.  Each band holds a significance to him and, as he hands them to each person, he tells the backstory.  Sob fest #1

Sob fest #2 occured following a conversation between Leo and Jordi.  Jordi is getting ready to go in for surgery and he has some questions.

Jordi- “How bad does it hurt?”

Leo- “Not as bad as you’d think. What hurts most is not  that it’s [the leg] gone , it’s remembering that it was ever there.”

To be honest, the sobbing didn’t really stop after that.

I have to admit, the show isn’t what I expected.  The humor is smart.  The sadness is real and the stories are all too reminiscent of real-life stories we all know all too well.  I’m not sure if the show has legs.  I’m not certain enough people want to to tune in to get a bird’s eye view of their worst nighmares.

But, as Charlie tell us..

“People think when you go into the hospital your life stops, but they’re wrong–it starts.”

I, for one, hope he’s right.  This could be the start of a great show.

Mysteries of Laura makes its debut

mol

The new NBC show Mysteries of Laura opens with a high-speed chase. Laura (the titular character, played by the always stellar Will and Grace alum, Debra Messing) climbs out of her filthy (and I do mean filthy!) car and hurries down the street to catch a nameless criminal. Guns are drawn, chaos ensues, and an earlobe is tragically and gruesomely lost in the debacle. Almost immediately, we get a clear picture of who Laura is – a cynical, lovable mess. She’s an absolute train wreck and that’s what makes the show hard to turn away from. Messing’s character (and her talented co-stars) will no doubt be the draw that brings people back every week to watch a rather predictable (I mean, I knew who the killer was 5 minutes in!), schlocky show.

We soon learn that Laura has twin boys who can only justifiably be called demons (I kid you not, these children are of the devil!); an affable, if misguided ex-husband (played by the super-sexy and delicious Josh Lucas), and a whole host of problems. She is great undercover, has a brilliant mind for crime-solving, and is a devout mother but she’s got issues. Issues that should be fun to explore over the course of the season. Will Laura completely unravel under the pressure of her chaotic life? I admit it; I do look forward to finding out.

To be honest, Mysteries of Laura is far from rocket-science. We’ve seen this cop-show/harried-woman-police-officer formula a hundred times over, but it’s the characters and actors on the show that make it shine. Hopefully, it will be a true success because NBC needs a hit show like this couch potato needs to lose fifty pounds. I kind of doubt that the show will set the world on fire, but at the same time, I am certainly willing to give the show and OCD-Laura another chance. I actually look forward to next week’s episode and seeing what new tragedies will face our crazy, oddly dressed, junk-food loving heroine.

Did you watch the debut of Mysteries of Laura? Please be sure to share your own thoughts about it in the comments below. Thank you!