Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Things Get Personal on 'The Closer'

By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer

One of the things that instantly hooked me when The Closer first ever came to TNT was its opening sequence – brief cuts of a crime scene punctuated by the simple, cut-to-white-on-black opening titles. Now into its third season, the sequence still gets me. I even consider it one of the better opening sequences of any crime procedural.

So, when this week’s second episode of Season 3, “Grave Doubts,” opened with what appeared to be a body lying motionless on a bed, under a pile of white sheets, leg outstretched over the end of the mattress, hand draped over the side … well, I was thinking this was going to be pretty good.

And it was.

Except that body was Brenda’s.

She was rising a bit later than usual whilst simultaneously discovering Fritz had accidentally answered her phone line the day before, which of course just happened to have had Brenda’s father on the other end. You know, the still-doesn’t-know-I’m-living-with-a-man father of which Brenda so desperately lives in fear …? More on this later in our broadcast.

While the episode started off on a lighter note, the case certainly was anything but – a young gang member’s body unearthed by a construction crew and of who is discovered to have Lieutenant Provenza’s card in his decaying wallet.

So begins the case, with Provenza doing his best not to appear senile as he tracks down his old notes to determine the kid had gone missing in 1992 – right around the time the Los Angeles Riots had swept through the city and of which had further placed the LAPD on the less-than-popular list amongst many in the city.

The investigation leads Brenda and the team to first suspect a priest (Father Jack – not to be confused with Captain Jack … Pirates anyone?), who is known for reforming gang youth but uses questionable methods to do so. This then leads to the victim’s brother (Kenyon), who is another reformed gang member now running for a City Council spot.

Not exactly the opportune time to pull him in for questioning on a murder investigation.

Perhaps what surprised me most about this episode was the personal conflict between Brenda and Sergeant Gabriel over Kenyon’s arrest in the killing of his brother. Gabriel strongly believed in Kenyon’s work in the community, the fact he had dedicated his life to “making a difference” all the while using his brother’s death as the catalyst to do so. Fearing his arrest would send the wrong message, Gabriel essentially wanted Brenda to look the other way.

A big no-no when you’re playing on Brenda’s team.

“I’m not sending a message. I’m solving a murder … We don’t get to live in a world where we get to kill people and then decide how to make up for it.”

Gabriel's personal struggle (and his inability to let it go) garnered a bit of tension between the usually amicable pair. Perhaps even more personal than Gabriel was Provenza as he came to terms with knowing his own bitterness 15 years ago left him unable to “follow up with a kid [the murder victim] who wanted to turn his life around.”

And now back to our lighter moment programming (which was well placed in this rather tense episode) …

It centered around Brenda trying to phone her father to explain .. well, explain Fritz only be told he doesn’t want to talk to her and instead has sent her a letter (GASP! “The last time I got a letter from my daddy, I was a freshman in college. I got a B- in history. He told me I should think about being a stewardess.”)

But all’s well that ends well. Even with the hysterical letter-is-here-do-you-want-me-to-open-it-yes-no-yes-no routine between Brenda and Fritz, it seems dad isn’t quite so stodgy after all. He does forgive, too.

Now what?

Stay tuned.

New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Countdown Continues

Last week, we took a look at the first episodes to make the summer-long countdown of The Best Episodes of the Season. Before we get to this week's entries, here's a look at the rules for this year's winners. I ended up with 30 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. All of the shows and their episodes are from NETWORK television only, meaning that I did not take any cable series into consideration (since I only watch a few and felt that it would be unfair). All episodes aired between September 2006 and June 2007. Each episode that made the final list moved me in some way; either by making me laugh out loud, cry my eyes out or just left me with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, I will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Thursday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a look at numbers 27-25.

27: "Postgame Mortem" - Veronica Mars
Most episodes of this series are classics, so it's always difficult to choose which ones will make the list each year. This one made it for its classic "Veronica-ness," but what really set it apart was the Logan story line. Depressed after losing Veronica, Logan begins a downward spiral on the fast lane to Depressionville. He refuses to leave his hotel room, so Dick seizes the opportunity and leaves his new girlfriend's little sister in his depressed friend's care while he and the girl run off to Vegas. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it turns out to be exactly what Logan needs. Both he and the little girl have loved and lost, but this little girl has endured losing her father, so Logan realizes he will survive losing Veronica as well. This episode also gets props for a hilarious awkward elevator scene involving Logan, the little girl and Veronica. Written by Joe Voci and directed by John T. Kretchmer. (Photo courtesy vm-caps.com)

26: "Fireflies" - Cold Case
I'm always a little biased when it comes to the racial issues episodes of this fantastic crime drama. They just do them so well. But, bias aside, this one was an exceptional look at the racial tensions that spread much further north than the Mason-Dixon line. Two little girls who were more interested in fireflies, being BFFs, and getting together after school than the difference in their skin color find themselves caught up in a firestorm of anger and hate over the infamous "white flight" - the belief that black families brought down property values, so white families should sell and move further out while they still could. What happens when you mix racial tensions, anger, and hate? In this case - murder, and it took the form of the young white girl caught in the middle of the storm. But, this episode came with a twist. Turns out, she wasn't dead after all, but had no memory of her ordeal all those years ago (thanks to a gunshot wound to the head, which induced amnesia). A surprising development that only enhanced this socially aware outing. Written by Erica Shelton and directed by Marcos Siega.

25: "Mother's Little Helper" - Medium
There are times when I wish that an entire episode of this thriller was simply one of Allison's prophetic dreams. This happens when the writers transcend the television screen by making the guest characters real and extremely likable. Such was the case for Patty and Claire Chase - a mother/daughter team who owned a local dress shop. We know from the beginning that they both end up murdered, so the only question is, who is the killer? Both Allison and Ariel dream about the violent deaths, but the dreams seem to contradict each other. That's because Ariel is getting hers from Claire while Allison gets hers from Patty. In the end, it doesn't matter who killed them. The tragedy is their death, and no killer reveal can compensate for the loss of these two lives. Sometimes a crime drama transcends its formula and brings us guest characters we truly care about, causing the episode to leave a mark. This one stuck with me for a while. Written by Moira Kirland and directed by Vincent Misiano. (Photo courtesy nbc.com)

So, there's a look at episodes 27-25 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. PTR will be on vacation next week (although, PTR staff writer LillyKat will be writing about The Closer as usual), so look for the Best Episodes countdown to return in 2 weeks with #24-22 on the list.

DON'T FORGET!!! Vote for your favorite Scrubs quote of the season in PTR's Best of the Scrubies Poll! Results will be revealed a week from Wednesday!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Previewing 'The Champ'

Once again, we interrupt this TV-only blog to bring you a bit of movie news. Of course that movie just happens to feature PTR fave and Cold Case star (which is totally a TV show, so whatever) Kathryn Morris. The trailer for Resurrecting the Champ is finally out!!! Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I'm able to share it with all of you.

How awesome does this film look?? I can't wait to check it out. According to the lastest news, it's set to hit theaters August 24th, but that date is always subject to change.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

'The Closer' Returns for its Third Season

By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Police Department’s favorite Deputy Chief is back.

The Closer kicked off its third season this week on TNT with a season premiere episode titled “Homewrecker.” Fans of Cold Case might have thought they were watching some sort of sequel-do-over to CC's season ending “Stalker” episode, whereby the premise of that case revolved around an entire family that was found slain in their own home save for one lone survivor – the daughter.

Ironically, “Homewrecker” started out on the same note – the Wallace family slain in their own home save for one lone survivor: the son.

Except this was a tale of two families; not just one.

And, there were definitely no stalkers involved … unless you count a disgruntled half-brother.

It was definitely an interesting story – a bigamist father leading two separate lives with two separate families: one wealthy and well-to-do (The Wallaces); the other not so much (The Reichters). It came down to the not-so-wealthy Reichter son finding out about the wealthy Wallace wife and family. Not surprisingly, he didn’t like what he saw … and the fact that dad decided to disown him right then and there in front of said “other” family.

Enter anger. Rage. Murder.

But, solving this case was a bit of a doozy for Brenda Leigh Johnson. Seems the ol’ LAPD is about to face some serious budget cuts – which, of course, is to affect Brenda’s squad. No more overtime, no more working weekends, no more expedited lab work – not to mention having to possibly let go one of her own.

Ah, but since when does Brenda really ever do anything according to protocol if it interferes with her ability to solve a murder? (“What if my victims don’t die between 8 and 4 in the afternoon?”)

So, ne’er mind she puts lone-survivor-Wallace-son on suicide watch at the hospital; “calls in everyone on earth [to work] on Sunday”; charters the LAPD jet to take a trip up to Lompoc, California to interview The Reichters.

Budget cuts?

What budget cuts?

This is where Kyra Sedgwick still remains so enjoyable watch - quirky whilst in control - and where the show always manages to strike the right balance of crime-solving intensity with lighter moments of humor and banter amongst the squad.

Another area where this show excels better than most is its ability to give Brenda a life outside of LAPD Priority Homicide. It doesn’t make her any less of an ace criminal investigator, or some co-dependent woman who doesn’t know how to handle herself.

No, it actually makes her pretty darn human.

And it gives her some much needed balance – even when she stumbles along in it.

Brenda and Fritz (did I mention we love Fritz? Is PTR’s other favorite, Detective Lilly Rush, EVER going to find a Fritz, or does she only get to have leftover rejects from her past and dead men in her future? Clone Fritz and send him to Cold Case, please).

Alas, happy to report that Brenda and Fritzy (played by the wonderful Jon Tenney) are still going strong. He’s still trying to be officially “moved in” – two years later. The house is too small (priceless moment at the end of the episode whereby he moves ALL his stuff into the house from the garage so that Brenda cannot move from one room to the other without running into armoires, sofas, book cases, overturned tables … “There’s a barbeque in the bathroom?”). Seems as though house hunting will be on tap this season whilst Brenda tries to figure out how she really-really-really-for-sure-swears-honestly is going to tell her father she’s living with a man. (“I hate change, but I think it’s important in a relationship like ours to keep all our stuff in one place.”)

Should be another great season of The Closer!

New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Diana in Spain Makes 'The 4400' a Little Plain

Diana's lookin' hot in Spain and all, but The 4400 isn't the same without her right there beside Tom as they take out the latest promicin-injecting threat of the week. She needs to get back to Seattle stat, and of course; she can bring her hottie beau with her. Needless to say, the previews for next week made me very happy. Separate story lines aside; there was a lot of interesting stuff going on in this 4th season premiere. Where are Richard and Alana? The ending gave us a pretty revealing clue for the latter's location. Based on the painting in Alana's gallery, she has been transported back to the 1800s courtesy of the future. Remember how Tom traded Isabelle's life for Maia's in order to save Diana? Well, he never paid up on his end of the bargain with the future, so they collected Alana. High price to pay for Isabelle's life. Speaking of a high price, it looks like the promicin is taking some lives and enhancing others. And who would have thought Jordan had the ability to reverse the powers of the promicin-injectors?? The man is full of surprises!

In other surprising news, either Kyle has a stalker or a dangerous new friend. Unfortunately for him, there's no way to find out because she didn't give him her real name. I thought something was up with her when she mysteriously knew his name. Sure Kyle has been in the news, but this chick seems to know a lot more than the average news junkie. This doesn't bode well for Shawn since she's the one who suggested that Kyle inject him with the promicin (that she somehow knew he had by the way). The question is, what is her agenda? Meanwhile, NTAC has a new boss, and I'm not so sure that I like her yet. She seems a little wet behind the ears and not very authoritative. We'll have to see how they develop her character. As long as they bring Diana back, I don't care what they do with Megan Doyle and her affinity for foreign films. If this episode is any indication of the season ahead, though, I think we're in for a terrific, wild ride filled with promicin-inspired freaks of the week, an ambiguous line between good and evil, and the usual amount of intrigue to keep us coming back each week. Yup, The 4400 is back.

If you missed last night's premiere, you can watch it for free at the show's official site.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weekend News & Notes

THE 4400 RETURNS!!!!
Cable's best summer series is back for its 4th season tonight on USA Network (9 p.m. est). Last season ended with promicin, the substance that gives the 4400 their abilities, hitting the black market while several characters' futures hung in the balance. This year, the network promises a full-fledged debate on whether the substance should be available to the general public or just the reserved few who were chosen by the future to change the events that set into motion some sort of catastrophe. As the show's official site coyly teases, the battle over promicin has begun - choose a side and join. Series star Jacqueline McKenzie (Diana Skouris), writes on her official site that this season is better than ever. "[Co-star Joel Gretsch] and I were only saying over coffee the other day 'Aren't the scripts amazing?' They’re always engaging and always incredibly topical and always have tremendous heart. They’re a pleasure to work on." Speaking of McKenzie's Agent Skouris, when we last left off, she was heading to Europe with new beau Ben (Brennan Elliot) and leaving NTAC. Wonder how that worked out for her. Here's a preview of tonight's big premiere courtesy of USA Network and the wonderful folks at You Tube.

Click on over to USANetwork.com for more on The 4400.

*By now, you've already heard that CBS pulled a shocking move and brought back the cancelled Jericho for next season. Now, the network has decided to air reruns this summer in order to get more people involved in this serial drama. Beginning July 6th, you can catch up on the happenings in the small town of Jericho, Kansas. A series of nuclear explosions around the U.S. have left the town isolated while they try to discover the truth behind the vicious attacks. Reruns will run for the remainder of the summer beginning July 6th on Friday nights at 9 p.m.

*Meanwhile, fans of another series are hoping that the same fortunate fate awaits their show. Viewers of ABC's summer series Traveler are organizing a campaign to make the network aware of how many people are watching the intrigue series. They're hoping for more than the original 8-episode order. Click on over to the Renew Traveler Petition to help the show's chances for another set of episodes.

*And finally, it's Father's Day, so a BIG HUGE Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there (especially mine). In that spirit, TV.com asked more than 6,000 of you which TV dad you would like to call your own. And the winner is... Mr. Bennet (a.k.a. Claire's dad) from NBC's Heroes!! Homer Simpson landed in second with Tony Soprano taking third. Here's a look at the complete results of the TV.com poll:
Mr. Bennet / HRG (Heroes) 19%
Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) 17%
Tony Soprano (The Sopranos) 13%
Peter Griffin (Family Guy) 12%
Commander Adama (Battlestar Galactica) 10%
Ignacio Suarez (Ugly Betty) 8%
Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights) 7%
Randy Marsh ( South Park ) 6%
Julius Rock (Everybody Hates Chris) 4%
Alan Harper (Two and a Half Men) 4%

Speaking of polls, don't forget to vote for your favorite Scrubs quote of the season in PTR's Best of the Scrubies Poll!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

'Cold' Star's Hot New Look

I'm going to break my solemn oath to the TV gods that I made when I started this blog and talk about hair. I was especially sworn to not discuss the hair of Cold Case's Lilly Rush or her portrayer Kathryn Morris after that one mention when her messy updo (which I secretly loved) became a messy down-do. It just doesn't seem right to cut the men a break when their hair could make for an interesting topic of conversation (not really) while the ladies have to endure endless scrutiny over their looks. Thus, the solemn vow of silence. BUT, my girl Kathryn Morris is really rockin' this new 'do and I felt it worthy of mention. I was thinking this was a complete makeover, but I think it's just the hair. Anyway, she attended the Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco this week sporting her new sleeker look. Thanks to my friends at Look Again for the heads up and for tracking down the photos from the event. Here are a few more shots of Kathryn at the festival with her new look.

With Prince Albert of Monaco and actress Kristanna Loken

You can see lots more photos at Getty Images and Wire Image. Cold Case will return for its fifth season this fall on CBS.

On Your Mark, Get Set, COUNTDOWN!!!

It's hard to believe that another awesome season of television has come to an end, but that means that PTR's summer-long countdown of the Best Episodes of the Season is just beginning! Last year's countdown was a big hit, so these episodes have some big shoes to fill. With another first-rate year, I'm confident that they'll be able to do it. First though, we have to go over the rules for the countdown. I ended up with 30 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. All of the shows and their episodes are from NETWORK television only, meaning that I did not take any cable series into consideration (since I only watch a few and felt that it would be unfair). All episodes aired between September 2006 and June 2007. Each episode that made the final list moved me in some way; either by making me laugh out loud, cry my eyes out or just left me with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, I will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Thursday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a look at numbers 30-28.

30: "All the Saints, Sinners" - Without a Trace
This episode reminded us of how small a world it is, but at the same time, how isolated we can become in it. Martin searches for a missing woman who disappears after an alleged exorcism. But this one isn't all pea soup and crazy staircases. Turns out, the victim may be suffering from a mental illness and not the effects of a possessed demon. Further more, Martin knew the missing girl, but he can't remember her. She was an intern at the FBI, and he has the picture to prove it. When things take a turn for the worse, emotions run high as we're reminded of how we can be an island too much of the time. Written by Jose Molina and directed by Martha Mitchell.

29: "The Headless Witch in the Woods" - Bones
Mix film students, a Blair Witch-style horror film and the zany-ness that only Bones can bring, and what do you get? A stellar hour from this light-hearted crime drama. Somehow, things are just filled with more character at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute, but that doesn't mean that these cases can't move us in some way as well. This one managed to do just that by having us watch as Brennan was shaken to her core by her own bad judgment. After making a connection with the victim's brother, she's disturbed to learn that he's responsible for his sibling's murder. If a seasoned investigator isn't able to read the signs, what hope is there for the rest of us? Watching Bones question her intuition gave this one the extra punch to put it on this year's list. Written by Stephen Nathan and Karine Rosenthal and directed by Tom Wharmby.

28: "6 Months Ago" - Heroes
Because the characters that we know and love as heroes weren't always trying to save the world, it was fun and informative to see where they were just 6 months prior to the premiere. Sure, Claire was just your typical confused teen, but things were a bit more complicated as she tried to grasp her indestructible ability. Niki was dealing with her estranged father while Peter was just graduating from nursing school. But the hour's most interesting revelation came when Mohinder's father recruited watch repairman Sylar for his test subject study. Talk about the beginning of the end! Just another shocking hour for a show with a lot of tricks up its sleeve. Written by Aron Eli Coleite and directed by Allan Arkush.

So, there's a look at the first set of episodes on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. And be sure to tune in next Thursday for #27-25 on the list.

DON'T FORGET!!! Vote for your favorite Scrubs quote of the season in PTR's Best of the Scrubies Poll!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Best of the Scrubies

It's summer, and that means no new Scrubs episodes until the fall (thankfully, we're getting the show back this fall for once). So, we're in for a long wait until we get to laugh along with our favorite wacky doctors of Sacred Heart (thank god for the DVD sets!). But, I have good news for you faithful PTR readers -- today, we're going to revisit some of this season's best lines. And just as you did last year, you'll be able to vote for your favorite line of the season. So settle in and prepare to laugh your booty off once again as PTR presents the Best of the Scrubies Awards! And the nominations for Best/Most Awesome/Funniest Line/Exchange of the Year are:

#1 "Here's a novel idea. Why don't you go fetch me a very large cut of coffee with so damn many fake sugars that the coffee itself gets cancer." Dr. Cox to "Coffee Bucks" employee

#2 "That's going to be a little rough on my scooter." JD after learning that Kim got a job in Tacoma, Washington

#3 "You're like a prostitute that gets paid up front then bolts from the restaurant after dinner." Dr. Kelso to Elliot after she left for private practice

#4 "Look, I know you all curl up on your futons at night dreaming of cracking a real-life medical mystery so that some doctor-slash-supermodel will want to touch your eruption button." Dr. Cox to his interns after they referenced television doctors

#5 "Nice singlet. Does it come in hetero?" JD to Keith after Keith whipped out his high school wrestling uniform

#6 "Or taking advice from a big Hollywood movie star and the dead science fiction writer he worships. You need to get some help." Jordan to Carla on her PPD

#7 "You have been wrong about so many things that I'm not even going to say something's wrong anymore. Instead, I'm going to say it's 'Dorian.'" Dr. Cox to JD

#8 "Jordan, the boy already lip-syncs into your tampons. Must we put the final nail in his tiny gay coffin?" Dr. Cox regarding his son

#9 "Ah Billy. After the Arctic and Pacific, you're my favorite Ocean." JD after hearing Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen" on his scooter's radio

#10 "Oh my god!! How hard is it for you to use a frickin' coaster you frickin' frickety frick??!! Eliot to Keith

#11 "Damn trannies got me in my sleep!" Dr. Kelso after returning from his trip with a full head of braids

#12 "Nothing ever changes. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince is still just Prince, my ex-wife is still pretty much my wife, 'Grey's Anatomy' always wraps up every episode with some cheesy voiceover that ties together all of the story lines, which incidentally is my least favorite device on television, Newbie continually will try to violate my no touching policy, and Republicans will forever try to raise [JD interrupts his speech with a "sneak hug"]... Of course, I would go kill him right now, but he actually just helped to prove my point." Dr. Cox to Eliot after she insists that people change

#13 "Bull dinky! Perry Cox. 6'1." A buck 85 after lunch." Dr. Cox to Laverne after she quotes the bible

#14 "You know Laverne if this were a horror flick, I'd be so scared that I was next. They always kill the black folks off first." Turk to a comatose Laverne

#15 "I'm glad it's not Marg. It would not end well. Hell hath no fury like a Helgenberger scorned." Janitor (regarding actress Marg Helgenberger) after thinking that Dr. Cox's "starts with an M and ends with an R" clue was referring to the CSI actress

#16 "Lloyd, you're 40 years old and a delivery man, so you should be suffering from a pretty severe case of the Where-did-I-go-wrong-sies." Dr. Cox to his patient

#17 "Now it's really over." Turk to Dr. Cox while they were sending their hypochondriac patient back and forth
"Oh yeah? What'd you do, kill him?" Dr. Cox

#18 "I've seen The Wiggles live in concert. Twice." Dr. Cox to JD regarding how a baby changes everything in your life
"Did they perform 'Big Red Car'?" Turk to Dr. Cox
"They opened and closed the show with it. It was awesome." Dr. Cox

#19 "You know what? Make it 22 fries." JD ordering at the drive thru after band member Miguel wouldn't stop playing the drums.
"22 fries. You didn't think I'd do it, did you?" JD to Miguel after he ordered fries for everyone except him

#20 "Let's cut to the chase Freak Show. If you're a 44 year old man wearing a jumpsuit and you are not climbing into the cockpit of a rocket ship, chances are you made a lot of wrong turns along the way. Good talk." Dr. Kelso to Janitor

Now, it's your turn to decide which quote you think was the best of the season. Simply vote in the poll below, and I'll reveal the results next week! So, which Scrubs quote deserves the Best/Most Awesome/Funniest Line/Exchange of the Year Ultimate Scrubie? Click your choice below.

Which SCRUBS quote gets your vote for the Best Quote of the Year?
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

PTR Can't Live Without Character (Part 2)

All right, the boys had their moment. Now it's time to let the girls shine! There are so many Cannot Live Without-worthy females that I have to condense a few of them. It doesn't mean that I love them any less, just that my cup of fabulous female characters runeth over. Of course, the important part is that they made the list! And now without further adieu, here's a look at PTR's Cannot Live Without Characters (Girls-Just-Want-to-Have-Fun edition).

Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights)
Played by Connie Britton

Like her TV husband, Mrs. Coach Taylor is one of my faves. She's real and she serves as the grounding force for her big-time coach husband. As they say, behind every great man is a great woman and this couldn't be truer for these two. Eric wouldn't be the coach that he is without Tami backing him up and being his rock. But Tami isn't resting on her supporting role laurels. She's a guidance counselor at the high school, and the kids depend on her to keep them on track for their futures. She cares about these kids, especially Tyra. Maybe it's because she knows what goes on in Tyra's home or she just sees a little bit of herself in Tyra, but something has her determined to broaden this teen's horizons. Her work is so important that she wasn't willing to leave it behind for a better opportunity for her husband in Austin. And when she's not helping the students, she's guiding her own daughter through the rocky roads of dating and peer pressure. It's a lot, but it's all in a day's work for Coach Taylor's better half.

Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars)
Played by Kristen Bell

Saying goodbye to Veronica is the most difficult part of losing VM. She is one of those rare teen characters who appeals to everyone. She's the underdog we root for, the tough chick who gets her heart broken just as easily as the rest of us, the girl who would do anything for a friend (but don't get on her bad side or you may find yourself at the other end of her taser gun), and the smart PI who outwits the sheriff every time she gets the chance (R.I.P Lamb). And we won't forget those most excellent one-liners, which so beautifully captured the essence of this intelligent series. Veronica may not have the trust fund or the showy car like her Neptune counterparts, but she has the most heart and best resources to crush those who cross her.

Lilly Rush (Cold Case)
Played by Kathryn Morris

You guys know I adore Lilly. She's so beautifully flawed and intricate that the writers could string us along for 5 more seasons and I'd still be waiting with baited breath for every small detail of her past (in fact, I'm hoping they do). How can one person be so confident, so strong in the interrogation room while facing down murderers, child rapists, and other unsavory types, but such a complete mess with men, family and love? She's a walking contradiction, and yet, it works. It makes since that Lilly Rush would channel her strength for something that doesn't require her to give with the chance of not having it reciprocated. She has been hurt, left and damaged so much that it has stripped a bit of her humanity when she's outside the security of those interrogation walls. Will that ever change? In some ways it has, and in others it may have gotten worse. As Bruce Springsteen sang, "One step up and two steps back."

Eliot Reid (Scrubs)
Played by Sarah Chalke - OCD+Frick= HILARIOUS!

Lorelei Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
Played by Lauren Graham - BEST. MOM. EVER!!! 'Nough said.

Well, there you have it: the female characters that PTR Cannot Live Without. Who makes your list? Leave me a comment with your essentials. Today's list concludes the Cannot Live Without editions of PTR. BUT, be sure to tune in next week for more coverage of your favorite shows beginning with The Best of the Scrubies on Monday. And coming Thursday.... (drum role please)... the beginning of the 2nd annual summer-long countdown of PTR's Best Episodes of the '06-'07 Season!!! Which episodes will make the list this year? What will be #1?? Tune in each week beginning one week from today for PTR's most popular countdown.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

PTR Can't Live Without Character (Part 1)

So those dramas and comedies are great, but where would they be without the fabulous characters that occupy them? Nowhere! Characters are the ones that we cheer for, root against, cry with and celebrate from week to week. When we lose a favorite show, it can feel like we just lost a good friend because of the characters that we have grown to love over the course of several seasons. And how many of us have sworn off a show that killed off our fave character (only to tune right back in the following week)?? Today, PTR salutes the characters that make us laugh, cry, cheer and everything in between with part 1 of the Characters I Cannot Live Without (Let's-Hear-it-for-the-Boys edition).

Keith Mars (Veronica Mars)
Played by Enrico Colantoni

Yet another "Can't Live Without" that I'll be living without come fall. When it comes to dads, I'm pretty sure that no other TV one is going to beat Keith. He guides Veronica through bumpy roads using his own experiences. And while Keith and Veronica may be pals (and co-sleuths), he never forgets that his number one priority is to keep her safe. He'd do anything for his daughter, and she the same for him. Nothing brought that point home more than the finale this season. After learning that the intruder in the Kane house was none other than his daughter, Keith risked his career and future as his reelection was nearing to erase any evidence of Veronica's presence in the Kane residence. Ethical? Nope. But a damn good dad? You bet!

Dr. Perry Cox (Scrubs)
Played by John. C. McGinley

When it comes to sarcastic doctors, no one beats Dr. Cox (not even that limping medical mystery expert over on Fox). In addition to being hilarious, he's a BIG softie deep down. Unfortunately for everyone close to him, that's the side he never shows. JD has been waiting for his hug for 6 seasons. He even attempted to negotiate one into his wheeling and dealing with Perry over his godfather title for little Jennifer Dylan (JD). Most of the things that make Dr. Cox such a great character (his constant picking on JD, calling JD girls' names, his relationship with Jordan, his bedside manner, etc.) would normally make him unlikable, but part of this doc's appeal is his anti-appeal. Add in a HUGE dose of humor and a hidden soft side, and you have one of the best characters to ever grace Sacred Heart and our TV screens.

Coach Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights)
Played by Kyle Chandler

Coach Taylor is in my top-3 overall favorite characters on television. He's everything you want a coach to be: fair, moral, productive, balanced and a role model for the kids he's molding and shaping through the sport of football. And yet, he still makes mistakes like the rest of us. He's human and not afraid to admit that to anyone who attempts to imply otherwise. But as much as I love him on the field, I'm even more enamored with him off. Those qualities that make him a great coach also make him a wonderful husband and father. Of course, he isn't perfect at these either, but the bottom line is: his family comes first. Whether he's disciplining a wayward player or his teenage daughter, he's concerned about what's best for them. I guess you can say that Coach Taylor gets the win on and off the field

So, these are my Cannot Live Without Boys of TV. What are yours? Leave me a comment with your essential list. Tomorrow, the ladies will have their chance to shine in PTR's salute to the female characters that PTR Cannot Live Without.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

PTR Can't Live Without Drama

Yesterday, we took a look at the comedies that PTR Cannot Live Without. Today, the dramas step up to the plate while the characters are on deck. And now, a look at the dramas that I Cannot Live Without:

Veronica Mars (The CW)
Sadly, I'll be living without this one next season, but I won't be happy about it! This series struggled to find itself this year - first concluding the mystery too quickly and then fixing it the second time around to finally moving to a more episode-contained mystery format. The latter worked the best, but low ratings sank its chance of trying out the new, more successful format next season. It's too bad because VM was back to being the VM that we all know and loved for three seasons. This show is almost too smart for the average viewer with cultural references that zip around so fast your head will spin, intelligent one-liners, intricate cases, and characters that never fail to move us in some way each week. Veronica Mars was one of those once in a TV lifetime kind of shows. My schedule is not going be as complete without it.

Friday Night Lights (NBC)
With every dark cloud, there is a silver lining and the renewal of this gem was certainly the silver lining to VM's cancellation. I started watching FNL because I thought Mr. TVFan would enjoy it. Turns out, we both fell in love with this Southern football-obsessed town and it's complex characters with their heart-wrenching stories. This is a show you can cheer for, cry with, laugh at and just feel good about throughout the season. It failed to turn out a weak episode, and it gave us characters that you'll see on the next couple of days' lists. When it comes to quality, no show can top this one.

Cold Case (CBS)
My favorite show was back this season after leaving me a little under-whelmed the year before. Intriguing well-written cases, memorable characters, and excellent personal drama and developments for the core detectives contributed to Case's best season ever. Highlights included Lilly's continued inner struggle and her personal tragedies with her mother and her shooting in the finale, women's rights, and disturbing stories that left me feeling a little shaken. There are plenty of crime dramas on television, but this one is the best because of its stories and characters. The writers make us care about the cases and the detectives who are investigating them without compromising either. And I can't wait to see how Lilly copes with her membership in the shot-on-the-job club. Good thing Kat is there to show her the ropes.

So, these are my Cannot Live Without Dramas. What are yours? Leave me a comment with your essential list. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the men of television in day 1 of PTR's essential characters.

Monday, June 04, 2007

PTR Can't Live Without Comedy

Today, PTR is kicking off a week of favorites in this year's list of TV's Can't Live Without commodities. We'll take a look at the essential comedies, dramas and characters of this past season. Unfortunately, the world of television is a cruel one, and some of these picks won't be around for another season, thus deeming the "Can't Live Without" honor a little dramatic. After all, my TV watching will go on without them, but it WILL NOT be the same. If you don't believe me, just try to mention the words "EVER" and "WOOD" in the same sentence and you will see that some wounds run too deep (hell, I'm finally "OK" with the whole Joan of Arcadia cancellation of '05!). Anyway, the comedies are at the plate first and the dramas are on deck. Here are my picks for Comedies that I Cannot Live Without '06-'07:

My Name is Earl (NBC)
This series may not have had as strong of a sophomore season as its freshman one had promised, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't laughing out loud tons this season. Joy's deaf lawyer and subsequent trial, Earl's decision to be an adult, getting the other characters' perspectives and a hilarious trip to Mexico made this show stand out once again as one of TV's best comedies. Plus, the writers seem to have written themselves into a corner with Earl in jail at the end of the season, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they get themselves (and Earl) out of it.

Gilmore Girls (The CW)
This dramedy may be heavier on the drama than the comedy, but I'm including it in the comedy category because TV's cup runeth over in the quality drama department. This is yet another example of a show not shining as brightly this season, but it still had some classic moments and the charm of its leading characters to keep it on top. Paris (the character, not the eloping destination), Rory's graduation and job search, and the Gilmore roadtrip were enough to keep me glued to this series until the very end. I only wish the show had more time to wrap up the characters and stories it had shared with us for 7 seasons. Perhaps we'll get that Gilmore movie we're all hoping for?

Scrubs (NBC)
This is still my favorite comedy. You just can't beat JD and Turk, Dr. Cox, Eliot's OCD, Janitor, Bob Kelso, and all the zany antics these guys get themselves into each week. This is a show about characters, and it's the characters that make it stand out from the pack. Of course, there was also that AWESOME musical outing that pretty much pushed this show into the Awesome-ness Hall of Fame where it resides comfortably next to other distinguished examples of awesome-ness (Veronica Mars' cultural references, Friday Night Lights, Lilly Rush, etc.). Now that JD is about to be a father (whether he's ready or not), how will the characters change? Knowing Scrubs, in the most hilarious way possible.

So, these are my Cannot Live Without Comedies. What are yours? Leave me a comment with your essential list. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the dramas.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

News & Notes: The 'Creatures' are Coming!

*What happens when you take real people, ask them fun questions, and then put their answers to animation? You get the new CBS series Creature Comforts from the Academy Award winning Aardman Animation. The hit UK series jumps across the pond and pairs real answers with animated creatures for a hilarious look at love, life and everything inbetween. According to the official CBS site, one scene finds two men who seem to be examining the bouquet of a fine wine portrayed by two dogs sniffing another dog. It premieres tomorrow night (Mon.) at 8 p.m. on CBS. For a preview, check out cbs.com.

*Actor Fred Thompson is leaving the Law & Order franchise after playing New York's district attorney for 5 seasons on NBC. From PTR staff writer Tru Blu:
It's official, Fred Thompson is leaving the Law &
Order world. His presidential bid seems eminent,
though he has yet to file the official papers. There's
still no word on who will be taking his place. More on
this story at Yahoo! News.
*Fox may have ended The O.C's run this season, but it seems that fans are still buzzing about Summer's fashion choices. The beloved character is your pick for the Best Overall Fashion female from this past TV season according to a new poll from TV.com. More than 6 million of you cast your votes, and the O.C.-er (played by Rachel Bilson) came out on top while her TV boyfriend, Seth, took the male category. For more on this year's fashionable winners, click on over to TV.com. In other TV.com news, more than 7,000 of you voted Jericho's cancellation as the most shocking news to come out of the Network Upfronts this year. The CBS drama ended its freshman (and solo) season last month. Veronica Mars' undetermined fate was your second most shocking news item from this year's Upfronts.

*And finally, it's TV on DVD: Weekend Edition. Look for the third season of Rescue Me to hit shelves on Tuesday along with CHiPs (season 1), The Dead Zone (season 5), Seinfeld (season 8), and Hogan's Heroes (season 6). For more of this week's releases, visit tvshowsondvd.com.