Thursday, September 27, 2007

Revisiting ‘Case’: Look Again (Pilot)



By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


O Lilly, Lilly! wherefore art thou Lilly?

Of seasons gone by, that is.

We can never get enough Cold Case here at PTR.

Or Lilly Rush.

As we say, she is our favorite homicide detective (followed closely thereafter by The Closer’s Brenda Leigh Johnson).

With Cold Case entering into full-blown, marathon-like syndication this month (both on TNT and local CBS affiliates around the country), and in tribute to this PTR fave, I’ll be writing about one of the older eps each week – which will hopefully remind us all of: a) why we love this show; b) what perhaps should not have changed over the past couple of seasons; and, c) what we hope we might see again.

So what better way to start off than revisiting the Pilot episode, “Look Again” (which aired on late night CBS this past weekend).

Now, I must confess: I came to Cold Case during its third season, when many folks had already felt the show had taken a left turn for the not-so-good. As in, the debacle in not dealing with the second season finale serial killer showdown; the introduction of a new female detective to the team (twice – one bad, one good); less Lilly time (both at work and at home); the fly-by-night ridiculously cryptic Motorcycle mutt (er, I mean man); and, Lilly just … well, sort of not being the same ol’ snarky, punchy, funny, spunky, wicked smart, passionate, genius female homicide detective of the first two seasons.

And then there was the hair.

The show had, for whatever reason, become all about the hair – up, down, messy, tidy, more blonde, less blonde.

Whatever.

I nonetheless, in my rookie Cold Case knowledge, defended the changes. Characters grow, they evolve. Andy Sipowicz was not the same at the beginning of NYPD Blue as he was at the end. I actually still enjoy a majority of Cold Case’s third season, and I find I have less problems with that season – on the whole – than most (particularly in comparison to the fourth season, which was a total washout for me; as in, I really did not like the darn thing from start to finish). Nonetheless, I do confess my defense of the third season occurred before I had the chance to truly catch up on the first two.

Having said all that, the more I have watched the “older” stuff, the more I find myself asking the question: What has happened to the essence of Lilly Rush?

And in seeing “Look Again” this week, I really want to know where that Lilly Rush went.

‘Cause that Lilly ain’t around much anymore.

And as much as I love character growth, I don’t love it at the expense of what made the essence of the character in the first place.

We remember when Lilly arrived on television screens in 2003 – this feisty, no nonsense, passionate and driven female homicide detective who stumbles into finding her calling solving murder cases long ago left unsolved.

"People shouldn’t be forgotten."
"Hope lives because the evidence never dies."

She was spunky. She was funny. She was intense. She ruffled feathers.

Yet, in the blink of an eye, she could become this powerfully compassionate woman who just wanted to bring closure to a victim’s family, who threw herself into the nuances of the case to get justice served, who did not want to let one more person be forgotten. This ability to go from hard edges to soft corners was (and still is) due to the genius-made-for-this-role talent of Kathryn Morris.

There was something beautifully flawed about this character that you just could not stop watching.

She. Just. Rocked.

We remember, too, the show was a pioneer of sorts with its approach to solving murders that were not current, and with its use of period music to compliment the case being solved.

It was something unique and different.

That. Just. Rocked.

And yet, as we look back now, the old cases are still waiting to be solved. The team is more defined (as in, no more jokes about being on a “cold” job instead of out on the beat on a “triple” murder). Yet, the musical element of the show is no longer an original concept. That is not to say it isn’t still an integral part of what makes every single Cold Case episode (and of which I do look forward to each week; I have an entire playlist on my iPod called Cold Case, which is a sampling of my favorite tunes they’ve used over the past five years). However, we know that many shows (arguably following Cold Case’s lead) have now incorporated the use of music and musical montages to supplement a storyline or two. Thus, I’m not sure the novelty of this idea has the same punch it did back in 2003.

But more than anything, Lilly is not what she was. It’s so obvious when you watch these older episodes, it’s almost sad. True, she’s been through hell and back. And she should be a little different. But, it seems as if the essence of her has been lost in one too many storyline tangents, and/or has not been allowed to be explored given a change in creative decision making or a lack of focus on where she needs to be headed.

And, perhaps most notable is that she is no longer the solo, hard-charging, lone wolf female homicide cop on television.

We’ve got Olivia.

We’ve got Brenda.

There is Grace (out of control, but hard charging for sure).

And yet, our beloved Lil’ just seems to be going through the motions, now. Compare that to “Look Again,” when she was so intriguing, captivating and interesting, she stole every scene.

I can honestly say that in watching a show like The Closer, I have yet to ask myself what has happened to Brenda. I don’t feel like I’m watching some former shell of the character, or that they have tried too many things with her that they’ve lost the focus on what she is still supposed to be about. If anything, I actually think she has become more interesting, more complex, more intriguing than when she first blew onto our television screens. Her essence has not only remained the same, but it has been enhanced.

With the fifth season of Cold Case now underway, it seems as if the showrunners might (and I heavily emphasize might) be realizing they have taken ol’ Lil’ a little too far out into left field, and thus, need to get her back to the pitcher’s mound to keep control of the game. It seems this season's premiere got us to back to Lilly driving the case – she went for it, she gave it a chance, she wanted to tackle it when everyone else seemed to be like, "Whatever, Lil'." PTR's Editor TVFan has her excellent review of the fifth season opener here.

The cases are Lilly’s passion. She is the crusader for the victims. The story is revealed through her eyes.

And yet, it’s still OK to have her laugh, be snarky, be funny, be a woman.

Kathryn Morris has said recently that she does wish Lilly could lighten up a bit, have a laugh every once in a while, have some friends, go to a movie, find a good guy.

She has not said any of this would make Lilly less of the top homicide cop that we know her to be.

And I, for one, agree.

In re-watching “Look Again,” we see once again the potential.

Perhaps the current Cold Case gang are returning to the essence of what made the show so compelling in its early years.

And that hopefully includes those best parts of Lilly that we fell in love with on Day 1.

New episodes of Cold Case air Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBS. Mini-marathons of older episodes air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on TNT. You can also check the local listings of your CBS affiliate for additional late night weekend airings.

Sara's Fate in the Hands of the 'CSI' Season Opener

(photo courtesy CBS)
From CBS:

THE CSI TEAM RUSHES TO FIND SARA, THE LATEST VICTIM OF THE MINIATURE KILLER, AS HER LIFE HANGS IN THE BALANCE IN THE VEGAS DESERT, ON THE EIGHTH SEASON PREMIERE OF "CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION," THURSDAY, SEPT. 27

"Dead Doll" — Sara’s fate remains in question as the CSI team rushes to find out if she survived an attack by the miniature killer, on the eighth season premiere of CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, Thursday, Sept. 27 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

No "Alternate" For SVU Season Premier



Photos curteous of BuddyTV.com

By Trublu
PTR Staff Writer

Fin: Nice haircut.

Some things never change, such as the amount of humor that you’ll find in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. While it’s been a rough ride these last couple of seasons, I was delighted to see that SVU seems to have gotten back on track with their season nine premier. And what better way to start off than with resolving that cliffhanger that we had at the end of last season? (And of course, viewing Benson’s renewed “butch” cut, a favorite among viewers everywhere.)

It was no surprise to learn that Olivia was suspended, Elliot and Fin were on the edge of being suspended, Cragen is being “temporarily reassigned”, Chester is as annoying as ever, and Munch is… a sergeant?

*Double take*

Did this happen at the same time Liz Donnelly was being made a judge? “Bar bet,” he says. Sure. I’d go for what would be probably the most important promotion that I’m going to have in my career on a bet in a bar. Wouldn’t you?

Chester: It was an honor to serve under you, sir.
Cragen: I’m not dead yet!

That was a gem, though, and part of such a dynamic opening! The whole squad was thrown upside down at the end of last season, and it seems as if someone just pressed the “blend” button. Great decision to start after all the suspensions have (mostly) occurred, but where everything is actually starting to fall apart. Cragen is being removed for “failure to supervise,” but the brass have now removed all the supervision there was ever going to be. Party time!

And Miss Cynthia Nixon makes her dynamic entrance! She looks so calm, cool, and collected, that you hardly want to believe that she is lying about her identity. The first clue that not many may pick up, though, is the different accounts people give of her. One describes her as a witch with paranoia, one as a perfect mom and employee. I’m convinced that this part was tailor made for Nixon; her tone and her facial expressions were just perfect in each aspect of her acting.

There was a nice Benson/Stabler character moment during the scene in the interrogation room. We get to see that Elliot still doesn’t possess that sympathy card that he needs so badly, but Olivia still has it. Of course, we find out later that it doesn’t matter what cards Elliot played here, only that they were being played.

The disorder of the week is “Dissociative Identity Disorder” AKA Multiple Personality Disorder.(SVU is actually very educational, since Huang is so amazingly amazing at teaching the detectives all about these disorders in the five seconds he gets on film).

Olivia: So far we’ve seen a therapist, a 6 year old child, and a tough Russian.
Elliot: And I bet she does a mean Christopher Walken too.

See what I mean? Humor.

Now, to the creepy Elliot-flirts-with-the-suspect-and-there’s-lightening-outside scene. If you were confused out of your mind at the presence of lightening in this scene… don’t worry, I was too. Hopefully you, like I did, didn’t spend too much time on it, and instead focused on Elliot being creepy and flirting with Dory in order to get a confession or a location for April. Now that’s SVU twisted for you.

Fin: I think you need to adjust your TV. The baby we’re looking for is Caucasian.



That’s what you get when you send Munch out in uniform to do a press conference. Chaos. I must admit, though, that Munch looked awfully handsome in uniform. I think Richard Belzer just asked the writers to make it so he could wear the uniform and look snazzy. Wonderful as he looked, though, that didn’t stop him from looking awfully silly when April’s mother came waltzing into the squad room, reporting that April was just fine.

Oopsie.

It was very creepy watching the hypnotism scene, yet it was oddly fascinating at the same time. Watching Nixon bounce back and forth from personality to personality was especially gratifying, and the climax at the end where the therapist has to snap her out of the trance… phenomenal. I really enjoyed how the writers chose to portray the effect of Janice’s ever changing personalities; if you were keeping count, Olivia had to introduce herself to Janice at least four different times. The last time, it seems like she’s back to actually being Janice, and they let her go home.

Oopsie number two.

While Kathleen has a cutsie scene where she gets to complain about her community service, and Kathy gets to show off her baby bump, Janice is busy murdering her parents. She even gets to hold Kathy hostage, which was just a fun scene to watch. Nixon dressing like an awkward teenager, wielding a knife and professing her love for Elliot totally made my day. And the awful yet totally satisfying comment about the “electricity” that passed between her and Elliot in the interrogation room? Priceless! (You see now why there was lightening.)

Chester: I’m not saying that we didn’t have crazies in Brooklyn, but you guys are cuckoo magnets.
Fin: You should have been here for the case where the white supremacist shot Munch in his ass. He still needs to sit on a special pillow.

Defense lawyer: She has five documented personalities.
Judge Bradley: Should we swear them in separately?

Casey: I didn’t do it, my imaginary friend did.

All obviously poking fun at a woman with a supposed disorder… and Munch, but funny none-the-less. Munch getting shot where the sun don’t shine will always and forever be funny.

Now, here comes the part where we go to trial and debate mental illness. Yes! It’s like it has to be in every episode, somewhere. Only, Casey get her neck wrung in this one. Writers! What do you have against Casey? She keeps getting attacked all the time…
Casey: DA walks, killer flops. That’s one for my scrapbook.


But, eureka! Casey makes the discovery.

It was all a lie.

Yes, you saw correctly. Your jaw dropping to the floor was justified. The whole thing was a hoax. There never were any multiple personalities, but you sure were convinced, don’t try to say that you weren’t! I was totally flabbergasted; between Nixon’s flawless acting and the amazing writing that was part of tonight’s episode. That two women thought they could get away with murder... and almost did, by faking a personality disorder? Fantastic television.

Overall, this was an example of one of the finest bounce back television premiers. Each character had a more equal spread of the screen time, and every character was featured. Cynthia Nixon gave so much to these characters, it was fascinating! It was also about time that SVU featured an out actress, so congratulations to them.

Stayed tuned next week for “Avatar,” when the virtual reality world of the internet comes into play. Pass that remote!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Counting the ‘Damages’



By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


So much damage, so little time.

Where do I even begin with this week’s episode of Damages?

Wow.

Six weeks is now our magic number.

As in, we’ve got about six weeks separating “past” from “present.”

Things are looking increasingly twisted, cryptic and downright “What the …?” as present day flashforward finds Ellen rotting away at New York’s City’s Rikers Island jail, pushing Tom to find Patty at what now seems to be another potential crime scene: Patty’s beach house.

And what do we find there?

Patty flipping out.

Literally.

Convulsions, crying, complete nervous breakdown material.

Who knew Patty could even … well, breakdown, eh?

But before we find her at the beach house (and before the murdering rampage that transpires on that fateful night when Ellen is left to stay in the now infamous Hewes apartment as Patty departs for beach bumming), we have this whole cryptic conversation between Ellen and Patty as it is revealed fiancé doc David has broken off the engagement to Ellen.
Patty: “He broke off the engagement?”
Ellen: “Do you regret what we did?”
What in the world is that about?

Are we talking about crazy granddaughter Lila? (Who is still alive and well … making a set of keys to Ellen and David’s apartment just for herself … cornering him in front of the hospital asking for dinner … going to Ellen’s office to say she slept with him … gee, stalk much?)

An amazing twist and turn I did not see coming. I second Peter Facinelli’s (Gregory Malina) comments about never knowing what is coming next with this show.

People who think the show is being drawn out too long are Missing. The. Whole. Genius. Point.

An elevator ride of suspense, remember?

Meanwhile, in our past day flashback, Gregory Malina has returned from his exile to Mexico (where, you know, he was trying not to get himself killed and all). And, he heads straight for Katie to try and make amends. Poor guy. He really does love her, doesn’t he? Am not sure the feeling is mutual considering she blames him for ruining her life. Nonetheless, he’s decided to video tape himself disclosing the one big-ol’-super-duper-case-breaking bit of info: he was sent to Florida to set up a condo in his name so that Arthur Frobisher could have a secret meeting with a member of the Security and Exchange Commission, George Moore.

And he was paid 1000 shares of Frobie stock to do so.

By Frobie lawyer Fiske, who (I was right) had a thing for Gregory.

Boy toy, anyone?

Funny, then, Fiske orders the hit on Greg. (You shouldn’t have called Fiske, Greg. Ever heard of a phone trace?)

But before we watch Gregory be splattered all over the pavement by a hit-and-run in front of Katie’s house, SEC executive Moore decides to play both ends to the middle. He goes directly to Ellen to reveal that Frobie left a girl to die in a car accident in 1983, and he has conveniently been paying off the family ever since.

Hmmm, sounds familiar.

Apparently, this handy bit of incriminating evidence was left out of the government trial. But wait, it seems Moore is in cahoots with Fiske, too. Are we trying to screw Frobie from the inside? Or outside? Or both?

In any event, he seems to have a serious bone to pick with Frobie. But then again, next week, that could all change. Ellen remains suspicious. I think she’s becoming more Patty-like by the minute:

"Patty Hewes doesn’t like surprises or hidden agendas. I better not find out you have one."

But perhaps the most compelling sequence of this week’s episode was one in which Frobie goes to confront Patty at the gala she was attending – cutting in to dance with her as he tries to negotiate a settlement figure now that he knows she knows about the car accident.

She’s isn’t buying.

“It’s rude to abandon a girl on the dance floor … almost as bad as abandoning a girl in a burning car.”
Line of the series, perhaps?

Too bad this was a Frobie dream sequence (as he slugs through preparing for his deposition, and banging his depo-prep lawyer in the process).

Like we said, so much damage, so little time.

New episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. You can also have fun visiting the Hewes and Associates Official Web Site.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Peter Facinelli Talks ‘Damages’



By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


Gregory Malina is alive and well.

Er, at least the actor who plays him is.

Recently, PTR was invited to participate in a conference a call with actor Peter Facinelli, who plays the now infamous Gregory Malina on PTR fave Damages. Those of you who have been following a) the show, and b) this blog know that Greg is a huge part of the overall plot of the show that has Patty Hewes desperately trying to take down corporate corruption poster boy Arthur Frobisher.

Everything hinges on Greg’s testimony, but as of last week, he has gone missing. If this week’s preview is any indication, it seems ol’ Greg is still alive ... and out to tell his story to the world.

In catching up with Peter, he offered some excellent insight on his character and his experience on the show:

PTR: What appealed to you most about the character of Gregory Malina?
Peter Facinelli: You know, it’s hard to say what appealed to me because he’s in such a hard place. It’s fun to play that [kind of] character because he is sandwiched between two sides and [doesn’t] know exactly which side to turn to. He’s a very lonely character, and all he had was Katie, [but] she’s gone now, too. So for him, he’s just kind of swimming in this huge ocean and just looking for somebody to help him because he wants out. But [at the same time], he’s not sure if he should go to the other side and tell [his] story.

PTR: Do you think he’s inherently a good guy caught up in a bad situation or do you think he’s more of a bad guy like Arthur Frobisher?
Peter Facinelli: No, I think he’s a good guy caught up in a bad situation.

PTR: What do you think is the best part about being on Damages for you personally?
Peter Facinelli: You know it’s such a phenomenal cast, and the writing is so good. Reading it is as fun as watching it, and every time I turn the page, I don’t know what’s going to happen next. And then I get to work with these phenomenal actors. It’s been a blast; I’ve been blessed to be a part of it.

PTR: If you could have a conversation with Greg, what would you want to say to him? Would you give some advice or would you just shoot the breeze?
Peter Facinelli: Oh, that’s a good question … I’d want to tell him to pick a side and dig yourself out of that hole. You’ve got to get Katie back because she didn’t deserve [what happened to her].

PTR: Can you name three things you’ve learned, either in general or about yourself being on the show? It could be anything you might have learned either through acting or the influence of other costars.
Peter Facinelli: What have I learned on Damages? I’ve learned how good the writers are [and] to really trust the writing. On some shows, there’s a tendency to ad-lib or go off the books, but on this show, I really try to stick to the writing. Sometimes they give out re-writes, and they’ll just change a period to an exclamation point – that’s how detail oriented they are. And you know if they are spending so much time on each word, then each word is very important. So, I try to really stick on book. That’s been interesting for me because I like to ad-lib.

PTR: Oh, so you’re allowed to ad-lib?
Peter Facinelli: Well, they let you ad-lib at times, but because they’re working so hard on the dialog, they really prefer that you stick to it. If you want to add something to the end and if it works, it works; if not, they can cut it out. But in the middle of a scene, it’s better on this series to really stick to the dialog. Also, I think why they put so much emphasis on [the dialog] is because if an actor comes in and changes a line, it might affect a piece of story that might be coming out three episodes from now. So, as an actor, you really have to just stick to the words. If I try to change something, all of a sudden that piece of information might not [come across correctly], and two episodes from now, people won’t understand it. It’s a very interesting piece. For me, this whole series has been different because it’s not close-ended; it’s like one long puzzle.

PTR: Has there been a practical joke, or is there an experience on the set in general that’s really made an impression on you, or that you remember specifically?
Peter Facinelli: You know, it gets to be pretty serious when we’re shooting because we have very short time to shoot, and a lot to shoot. There are times when we’re going 18 hours straight, so every minute counts. I’ve been on sets that were more relaxed, and you could do those practical jokes. But I remember at one point saying [to myself], “I’ve got to go do a comedy after this show.” I don’t want to say it’s stressful, but we’re aware of the amount of time we have, and the amount of work we have, and the quality of work we want to put in. I think everybody comes [to set] really focused and tries to bring as much to the table in that short amount of time. There really hasn’t been any downtime to play practical jokes.

PTR: Is there anything that happens to Greg, like a twist or a turn that you really didn’t see coming?
Peter Facinelli: Yes, in future episodes, you will see what I’m talking about. No hints, but I can tell you that there are a couple more surprises with my character.

PTR would like to thank both FX and Peter Facinelli for his time and thoughtful responses to our questions. Also, a special thanks to Marjorie Case of Blogger Reps.

You can catch up with Peter on his Official Web Site. New episodes of Damages air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

Claire Pretends She's Not one of the 'Heroes'

So, four months later and the heroes are trying to get their normal lives back and pretend that they're not walking around with a special power. Easier said than done for some of them. Take Claire -- new school, new friends, new identity, and yet, she's having a difficult time putting her old self behind her. So much so, she called her birth father Nathan for advice. Bad move since Nathan is busy trying to drink away what happened and the loss of his brother. So, Claire continues to feel isolated at her new school and in her new existence, BUT that could all change very soon. It seems that her only new friend, a boy who asks her whether she's a "robot" or an "alien," is hiding his own unique ability. Like Nathan, he can fly and he's onto Claire's "alien" tendencies as well (blame her need to attempt the double tuck off the landing or her conversation with Nathan). Me thinks Claire won't feel lonely for long.

Meanwhile, Hiro is busy changing the course of history with his time-traveling. He thought he was saving his hero from a few arrows through the armor, but he inadvertently prevented the warrior from saving a village of people, marrying the sword maker's daughter, and who knows what else. Now, he's on a mission to correct the wrongs he caused. LOVED, by the way, that his hero was an Englishman (Alias' Sark) and Hiro was completely caught off guard. Great scene! What Hiro doesn't know, back in the present, someone is killing off members of the organization that created these heroes and their latest victim is his father. It looks like Nathan and Peter's mom is next. And speaking of Peter, it seems he didn't die after all. He showed up in a cargo crate on a dock in Ireland naked and completely unaware of who he is or what he was a part of (reminiscent of the rebirth of The 4400's Jordan Collier). And then there was the latest hero -- Maya and her brother Alejandro. The two are trying to get to the US from South America, but Maya seems to have a little problem with keeping the people around her alive. I'm curious to see how she fits in to the plan and to find out the truth about her power. I think we better buckle in again because this looks like another unpredictable season!

Photos courtesy nbc.com.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lil's Back on the 'Case'

I feel it's only appropriate to quote those funny beer commercials and say that the season premiere of Cold Case was "Brill-ant!" Ohhh so much brilliance, so little time - such is the curse of a CC blogger. Let's just start with the best part -- Lil's back!! I know we weren't worrying all summer that she wouldn't be, but we were wondering what her return would look like. Would the writers sweep this tragedy under the rug with a glance at a newspaper before it gets tossed aside into the trashcan ala Lilly shooting and killing serial killer George Marks in the season 2 ender? Or would they actually explore the numerous and interesting layers of Lil's new emotional state? Judging by this week's opener, it seems to be the latter. Fingers crossed that it continues and they don't drop it midseason - never to be mentioned again (i.e. her relationship with Joseph last season). And while we're talking about brilliance, let me just mention that Kathryn Morris was pretty frickin' unbelievable in this one. She effortlessly kept Lilly teetering on the line between "nothin's wrong, glad to be back" and "I just want to crawl into the darkest corner and assume the fetal position until it all goes away." I mean, how brilliant was she during her first return trip to the interview room where it all went down last season? At first I was thinking, "This won't be that bad. She's totally dealing with it," but then it became horribly apparent that she wasn't and she was about to have a panic attack in the middle of the interrogation. I swear to the TV gods, she was hyperventilating on the inside as the panic began to quickly overcome her. BUT, she never lost control. She splashed some cold water on her face and regrouped because that's exactly what Lilly Rush is supposed to do. She's not supposed to show any sign of weakness, most of all, not in front of others. Kathryn crossed that line with Lil and then brought her right back just in time to press the boy's mother about her husband in a kick-ass interview. And this was just one of many brilliant scenes for her. Of course, I always think she rocks, but we're talking so on her game in this one.

Sad case as usual, especially with executive producer Veena Sud at the reigns. I honestly had no idea who killed the three little boys, but the father turned into a very believable killer. What a head case! If there was ever an argument for violence begets more violence, this was it. Whoever did a number on him as a child left his mark. Flashlights in every room, sleeping with the lights on, and worst of all, murdering your son and his friends because they put you in the dark and then laughed at your transition into a full-fledged psycho. This guy went from calm and rational to cold-blooded killer with the flip of a switch (literally). But he didn't just kill his son and his friends; he also killed one of the boys who took the fall for the crime he committed. The man hanged (take note CC characters - it's HANGED, not HUNG) himself on his 30th birthday, leaving another mother without her son. Tragedy all around this week.

Final thought on this one. Do you secretly wish that Kat and Vera would hook up? How funny would these two be??!!
Kat: "And you're reachin' for my Kung Pao Chicken!"
Vera: "It's family style. So what?"
Kat: "Do I look like your family??"

HILARIOUS! And a much needed break from the serious matter of this episode. This one goes in the "win" column. Cold Case starts the season 1-0.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

MIA, DOA, A-OK on 'Damages'


By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


So, things just aren’t getting any better for Ellen, are they?

Or Patty.

No wonder they seem to be on a collision course.

Damages steered us toward that possibility (or perhaps we should say certainty) this week. To think we’ve got until mid-October or so before this genius of a show wraps up … I just don’t know if I can wait that long!

In any event, “past” and “present” are starting to merge into one.

This week, our present day flashforward finds Ellen being officially “booked” for killing fiancé doc David. The past day flashback finds her trying to save her father from legally screwing himself over after he’s involved in a car accident where he decides he has a moral obligation to look after the welfare of the victim. (Big no, no, dad. Listen to Ellen).

As for Patty, present day flashforward has her still MIA whilst past day flashback sees her with her hands full now that Gregory Malina has gone MIA (and is assumed to be DOA).

“Without Gregory Malina, we’re going to lose the case.”

This doesn’t sit too well with, among others, client rep Larry, who just so happens to be a mole for Arthur Frobisher. But given that Frobie’s not making good on his I’ll-pay-you-whatever-you-want-to-keep-quiet-while-you-feed-me-info-from-Patty’s-side … well, Larry’s having second thoughts.

Especially when he learns Gregory had disappeared. (And how genius was it that when Frobie goes to meet his secret mafia police in the middle of nowhere to get the scoop on what exactly happened to Malina – seeing as Frobie had no idea – we the audience get snippets of Malina’s last moments where it looks like … it could be … it may be … we think he …

Cut.

We’re left not knowing.

Kinda like Patty and Co.

Brilliant.

In any event, Larry decides to flip on Frobie and start spying for Patty. But in true Patty form, she’s already on to Larry’s two-timing, which simply has this new “arrangement” working better in her favor, not necessarily Larry’s:

“Arthur Frobisher is smart. I’m sure he has a way to get you your blood money with no paper trail …. You need to understand something, Larry. No [one in your family] for the next 100 years will be able to spend that money without being humiliated, disgraced and locked up.”

So at least Patty gets that back under her control for the time being.

Which is more than we can say for Ellen: dad learns the hard way that the lawyers for the car accident victim were out to get him for everything he’s got, and the system is out to get her for the murder of fiancé doc David.

Bail is $1.5 million.

Off to Riker’s Island.

Not good.

Anyone find Patty, yet?

Hurry up, October.

Heck, I’ll just settle for next Tuesday.

New episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. You can also have fun visiting the Hewes and Associates Official Web Site.

'Grace' Out with a Bang ... Not.



By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


What the heck was that?

Honestly.

That was a season finale?

Talk about over promised and under delivered.

The wrap up of the first season of Saving Grace was beyond dull and lackluster, and I am not even sure I have words to describe its over-hyped-ness.

We at PTR seriously frown upon deceptive promos of any kind – no matter what show, no matter what network, no matter if it is for a regular episode or a season finale.

Apparently, TNT missed that memo.

All this build up to ''Grace’s biggest secret is revealed" / "It all comes down to this" / "Journey to redemption" is eminent … yeah, sure … if you call Grace simply fessing up to the ultimate night-gone-wrong from 11 years ago.

One problem (and one that kinda seems like a big consistency issue): if it went so wrong, if we are so scarred by the experience, if we are so freaked out and so disturbed that we check for this guy’s whereabouts on a weekly basis … why are we exactly the same 11 years later? As in, no change in behavior that got us into the predicament in the first place? Case in point: boinking some dude that we met at the grocery store at the beginning of this episode.

Oh, right … we had a total blackout.

Give me a break.

How on earth do you expect me to buy the fact that Grace is suddenly tripped out by the fact that she was picked up in a bar by the same dude who ends up being the murder suspect of this week’s case – a guy who thinks women, basically, are whores and should be sliced and diced at will?

Yeah, so she barfs up a lung when she figures out it is the same guy. And she barfs up another lung when she gets out the beer bottle left in her bedroom 11 years ago that she kept (read: stole) as evidence hoping to one day nail the guy. Yeah, so that scar on her shoulder (and we know we’ve seen plenty of it) is from his knife – the whole “where it all began” thing.

And yet we’re still boinking grocery store clerks, right? And truckers … and other guys from bars … and both our partners … and our medical examiner … and, and, and …

Have the writers completely forgotten the mess they have created in Grace Hanadarko, or are we just supposed to pretend this entire first season doesn’t exist? Seriously, how do we know she didn’t dare psycho boy to do some sort of S & M ritual in the first place – have we not been watching her more-than-aggressive and completely self-absorbed behavior this entire first season?

This whole episode played like some desperate attempt to wrap up the season, with Grace scoring some “I’m really changing” points (to which Earl gives her) because she fessed up to her night gone bad.

Whoop-dee-do.

I’m sorry, but if you want me to be shocked and feel like I should care that Grace has to face down psycho boy, then maybe we should’ve started several episodes back, with some sort of change of behavior (her tough love act with her nephew not withstanding – which was the only highlight of this episode, and by my count, the only real interesting aspect of her character growth for this entire first season).

I can’t even stand Kenneth Johnson anymore (and I loved this guy on Cold Case. Literally. I was prepared to have Lil’ live happily ever after with his Joseph). As such, I was actually looking forward to his role on this show, but he annoys me so badly with his surfer-dude cop routine who just wants to boink Grace hourly … well, in the words of Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest): “Enough!”

Talk about no character development from Pilot to Finale. Perhaps beat only by Grace herself.

I still loved Rhetta, who honorably tries to piece together all of the “things” Earl has brought back for Grace on his various trips around the globe (and galaxy), suggesting Grace is deliberately blocking out her memory so as to prevent her from moving forward (as symbolized by the trinkets).

‘kay.

Then why was she hunting psycho boy on a weekly basis if she could not – and did not want to – remember?

It just doesn’t make sense.

To put a different spin on a line from The Closer’s third season finale: the Kennedy assassination had less holes in it than this storyline.

The only thing that got me through this finale were the multiple airings of the Cold Case mini-marathon promos (set to begin this Tuesday, September 25th).

Good luck to those of you going on to watch Season 2. The PTR file on Saving Grace is officially closed.

We won’t be reopening the case.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Thrilling 'Case' Kicks off the New Season This Sunday

Danny Pino, Kathryn Morris, and John Finn shoot a scene for tomorrow night's 5th season opener "Thrill Kill." (Photo courtesy CBS/Warner Bros. Television)

This is a very exciting time for PTR because we're hours away from the 5th season premiere of my favorite show Cold Case! And I know what you're thinking, "Cold Case is your favorite show?? No way! Next you'll tell me that Kathryn Morris is your favorite PTR fave!" As surprising as it may be (since I NEVER cover either), CC and yes Kathryn are my favorite faves. So as you can imagine, I'm about two 80s tunes away from bursting into song with "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." This season, the CC gang celebrates 100 episodes! A milestone for any show and one that is usually marked with cake (of course!). The crazy CC gang is no exception, and fortunately for us, Entertainment Tonight was there to mark the occasion and tease star Kathryn Morris about her Emmy magazine cover:
video

Before we reach that milestone, CC kicks off the season with an episode that centers on the music of Nirvana. According to a CBS press release, the featured songs are: "All Apologies," "Stay Away," "If You Must," "Lithium," "Drain You," "Heart Shaped Box," "Something in the Way" and "Come as You Are." The songs will set the backdrop as the gang reopens the 1994 case of three fatally beaten boys and Lilly struggles to assimilate back into her normal life after being shot in last season's finale. I have a brand-new preview thanks to the wonderful folks at CBS:
video

And finally, there are a couple of great new CC-related articles. First, The Philadelphia Inquirer caught up with the cast during a recent location shoot in Philly. Executive Producer Veena Sud told the newspaper that Lilly is going to have a rough road this season. "For Lilly, her mother's death symbolizes many things," Sud told the paper. "A closing of a chapter in her life, a need to move past some emotional issues." But according to Sud, it won't just extend to Lilly. "This season, Rush is going to be dealing with the fallout of the shooting, and so are the others," she explains. Morris added, "She comes back to work like usual, pretending that nothing happened. But when she was in the hospital, Lilly saw the beyond and she saw that she's alone." Back on the set, the newspaper found the cast stopping to talk with fans in between takes:
On the set, the stars did not disappear into their trailers during their short breaks. Instead, they posed for cell-phone photos with fans and politely signed autographs on everything from Starbucks napkins to ticket stubs from the King Tut exhibition. The actor in most demand, of course, was Morris, who, despite appearing in every shot, took the time to greet as many people as she could.
And you wonder why I love this show! Speaking of Morris, she did a recent Q&A with Bankrate.com. In the article, she talks about her splurges since finding her success:
To me, it's a nice thing to be able to invite a friend or family member on a trip that I was going on for work. It's nice to be able to say "I'd love it if you'd come with me. When I was in Australia a few years ago, I got to climb across the bridge with a harness and bring two friends with me -- how great was that? So those are some splurges to me. Or, if I send a girlfriend a pair of expensive shoes for no reason at all. And if I buy something for myself because hey, I worked a 22-hour day and I'm really proud of what I did today. I like to be able to celebrate that moment in life. So my splurges can be really big or really small but always satisfying.
TV Guide critic Matt Roush has certain actors that he'd follow even to the crappiest show on television simply because of their acting brilliance and seemingly "good person" qualities. Kathryn is mine (along with a few others). You can read more from The Philadelphia Inquirer article HERE and more from Bankrate.com's interview with Kathryn HERE.

Cold Case kicks off its 5th season tomorrow night (September 23rd) at 9 p.m. on CBS. Of course, PTR will have full coverage the following day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

CBS Adds to its Star Power this Fall

From CBS:

NEW ACTORS AND CHARACTERS TO JOIN CBS SERIES THIS FALL IN REGULAR, RECURRING AND GUEST STARRING ROLES

NEW REGULAR CAST MEMBERS:

CRIMINAL MINDS Wednesdays, 9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT
Emmy Award nominee JOE MANTEGNA will join the cast of CRIMINAL MINDS starring as FBI Special Agent David Rossi, an original member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit who took early retirement to go on lecture and book tours, and has volunteered to return to the unit. Mantegna is scheduled to make his first appearance in the sixth episode of the season. "We are all THRILLED to have Joe Mantegna joining our family. He's an incredible actor, a genuinely nice person and, as a fellow Chicagoan, I can tell you he makes fantastic Italian Beef sandwiches and Chicago Style Hot Dogs," said Executive Producer Ed Bernero.

CSI: NY Wednesdays, 10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT
A.J. BUCKLEY will become a series regular after recurring for two seasons as Adam Ross, a CSI Tech guru out of Seattle . Specializing in Computer Forensics, Ross is the go-to scientist for the latest technological applications needed to solve crimes in Manhattan . "He was hired by Mac Taylor to stay 'one step ahead' of the criminals in New York City , who often use more complicated technology than the average crime lab in the country. Therefore, Ross is the X-factor in crime solving and necessary 'ringer' to fight the most complex and sophisticated crimes," said Anthony E. Zuiker, Creator and Executive Producer of the CSI Franchis

GHOST WHISPERER Fridays, 8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT
JAY MOHR will become a series regular, playing Professor Payne who provides an encyclopedic knowledge of the spirit world, as well as genuine concern for Melinda’s (Jennifer Love Hewitt) safety as she puts herself in ever greater danger to protect those she cares about — even though he hides his concern behind an ever-present irreverent sense of humor. "We’re thrilled to have Jay as a series regular this year. He’s a terrific actor who is fun to work with for the same reasons he’s fun to watch: he brings humor, energy, creativity and spontaneity to the set and to his role. He also brings sports commentary and sometimes donuts," says Executive Producer P.K. Simonds.

SHARK Sundays, 10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT
KEVIN ALEJANDRO joins the cast as Sebastian's (James Woods) newest team member Danny Reyes, an edgy and aggressive young deputy district attorney who earned his stripes in the Organized Crime Unit. "Kevin Alejandro is an incredibly dynamic and intelligent actor who brings great energy and attitude to the legal team," says Executive Producer/Creator Ian Biederman. "Danny plays by his own rules — which both endears him to Sebastian and creates great conflict."


NEW RECURRING CAST MEMBERS:

SHARK Sundays, 10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT
KEVIN POLLAK joins the series in the recurring role of brash and cunning newly elected District Attorney Leo Cutler. "Kevin Pollak is a superb actor who infuses the role of Leo Cutler with wit and a moral ambiguity that is a perfect fit for the show. Leo's an outstanding foil for Sebastian and the team," says Executive Producer/Creator Ian Biederman.

WITHOUT A TRACE Thursdays, 10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT
Golden Globe nominee HENRY THOMAS ("E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," "Gangs of New York") will join the series in a recurring role as Jack's (Anthony LaPaglia) evil nemesis, and the leader of a human trafficking group who the FBI team is pursuing.


GUEST STARS:

CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION Thursdays, 9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT

JESSICA LUCAS ("The Covenant," "The L Word") is set to guest star in four episodes of CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION beginning Thursday, Oct. 11. She plays the role of Veronica Lake, aka "Ronnie," a young, overzealous new CSI in training, who is extremely bright, albeit naïve. After graduating from one of the top criminalistics programs in the country, she was offered positions at numerous crime labs, but chose Vegas due to its increase in crime rates. Now that she’s entered the throws of solving real crimes, she’s about to find out that in searching for the perpetrator of a crime, she could easily become his next victim.

WITHOUT A TRACE Thursdays, 10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT
JAMES MARSTERS ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel") will guest star in a five episode arc beginning with the season premiere on Thursday, Sept. 27. He will play Grant Mars, a detective who helps Vivian (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) with an unsolved case.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT Mondays, 9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT
Golden Globe nominee HEATHER LOCKLEAR (" Spin City ") will guest star in two episodes later this season as Barbara, the sister of Audrey (Megyn Price) who comes to town to visit. During her stay, Barbara announces that her marriage, which Audrey has always idealized, may be over. While Audrey has a difficult time dealing with the news, she is even more surprised to learn that her sister has agreed to go on a date with Russell (David Spade).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

PTR Premieres

It's hard to believe that our favorite shows are starting to come back for another exciting season! It seems like just yesterday we were moping around with that empty feeling that finale season brings, but now, our little hearts are brimming with anticipation and elation as our faves begin to return and bring our beloved characters with them. But, when does each show's new season start? Well, PTR is here to break all of that down for you with an alphabetical listing of some of your faves' premiere dates (all times EST). Here we go...

Bones (Fox) - 9/25/07 @ 8 p.m.
*Chuck (NBC) - 9/24/07 @ 8 p.m.
Cold Case (CBS) - 9/23/07 @ 9 p.m.
CSI (CBS)- 9/27/07 @ 9 p.m.
Friday Night Lights (NBC)- 10/5/07 @ 9 p.m.
Heroes (NBC)- 9/24/07 @ 9 p.m.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)- 9/25/07 @ 10 p.m.
Lost (ABC)- 2/6/08 @ 10 p.m.
Medium (NBC)- 1/20/08 @ 9 p.m.
Men in Trees (ABC)- 10/12/07 @ 10 p.m.
My Name is Earl (NBC)- 9/27/07 @ 10 p.m.
*Pushing Daisies (ABC)- 10/3/07 @ 8 p.m.
Scrubs (NBC)- 10/25/07 @ 9:30 p.m.
Without a Trace (CBS)- 9/27/07 @ 10 p.m.

Premiering Tonight
Back to You (Fox) - 8 p.m.
America's Next Top Model (CW) - 8 p.m.
Kid Nation (CBS) - 8 p.m.
'Til Death (Fox) - 8:30 p.m.
Gossip Girl (CW) - 9 p.m.

* = denotes new show with promise and a possible future as a PTR Fave


Before you settle in to watch all of fall's big premieres, check out TV.com's Premiere Plots page. It features 20 of TV.com’s top shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Heroes, Prison Break and House and allows you to decide whether their plot picks are "right on" or "so wrong" for the respective show's new season. Click over to TV.com to play along now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

PTR Faves Shine on TV's Biggest Night

Even though I skipped "The Awards that Shall Not Be Mentioned" this year due to the atrocious snubbing of so many deserving television actors and shows, some PTR faves did not. And while my little one-blogger boycott continues, it does not extend to the wonderful folks who give me something to write about week after week. Here's a montage of some PTR faves attending television's biggest night this past Sunday evening in Los Angeles.
Kristen Bell with new Heroes costar Masi Oka

Presenters (and Cold Case stars) Danny Pino and Kathryn Morris

Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler presents an award with Grey's Anatomy's Katherine Heigl



Special thanks to Getty Images, Publish PostWireImage and RichE at Look Again for the amazing photos! You can check out more photos from the show at the Getty Images and WireImage web sites.

Monday, September 17, 2007

'The 4400' Ups the Body Count

I have mixed feelings about last night's finale of The 4400. Some things were wrapped up too easily (Tom going back to being, well, Tom), others too out of control (Danny's promicin-infecting power), and then there was the seemingly high body count (Danny, his mom, and Isabelle just to name a few). And then there was the most obvious misstep -- little to no Maia! I was shocked, shocked I tell you to see her in two scenes (one of which was simply an appearance at Danny's funeral). What happened to her screen time this season? It felt like she was never around. Her final scene with Diana was a good one, but not enough to correct her absence during the rest of the hour. She's quick to jump on the Jordan Collier bandwagon, isn't she? She believes he's a good guy and assures her mom that the "P-positives" are in charge now, and that's a good thing. Well, anything is better than The Marked. Speaking of them, their future wasn't looking so bright after Isabelle sacrificed herself in order to save Jordan, Tom, and the fate of the world. Turns out, she was human after all and not just a weapon created by Bad Future.

I hate to sound as if I didn't like this one because in reality, I found it quite enjoyable. Yes, there were missteps, but the episode as a whole was strong and it managed to raise some interesting prospects for next season (fingers crossed that we get another season). What will happen now that Seattle has been turned into Promise City and Jordan Collier is running it? Is Maia right? Can the "P-positives" be the right change at the right time? And what about Tom? Will he finally take the shot? I'm dying to know what ability he'll get. Then there's NTAC and all of the new abilities the agents are forming there -- Marcos, Meghan, etc. We found out last night that Diana is resistant to promicin thanks to Dr. Burkoff's early experiments, so it doesn't look like she's developing anything. There are so many roads to explore here, and I can only hope that we get the opportunity to do so next season. Overall, a mixed ending to an otherwise excellent season.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

PTR's TV on DVD Round-Up

With the new season set to kick off any day, there's only a little bit of time left to catch up on the previous season of your favorite (or soon to be favorite) shows. Here's a rundown of what you can check out on DVD now with PTR's TV on DVD Rundown.

Recently Released Shows
30 Rock (season 1)
*Bones (season 2)
Desperate Housewives (season 3)
Dexter (season 1)
*Friday Night Lights (season 1)
Grey's Anatomy (season 3)
*Heroes (season 1)
House (season 3)
Las Vegas (season 4)
Prison Break (season 2)
Rules of Engagement (season 1)
The Black Donnellys (complete series)
The Office (season 3)
The Starter Wife (complete mini-series)
Two and a Half Men (season 1)
Ugly Betty (season 1)
Weeds (season 2)

And Coming this Tuesday (Sept. 18th)
Boston Legal (season 3)
Brothers & Sisters (season 1)
Ghost Whisperer (season 2)

* denotes PTR Fave

You can get a copy of any and/or all of these shows via Amazon.com or Netflix.com before the new season starts at the end of this month.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Trust No One on ‘Damages’


By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


So, remember last week when I talked about Damages being a pretty darn good elevator ride of suspense? And how you keep heading up to the next floor to find out what is going to happen?

I think we shot up 12 floors this week.

Whoa, Nelly.

Or should I say whoa, Ellen.

And make sure you trust no one.

Since the show began, we’ve been wondering how young lawyer protégé Ellen has ended up in a police precinct bloodied, beaten, bruised and trying to claim she did not kill fiancé doc David. And recently, we learned that somehow, Patty Hewes is involved in Ellen’s present-day predicament, yet is conveniently MIA.

Well, we got a partial answer to this dilemma last night. And, no roadmap was required given the clever producers of this show know exactly where it is headed (unlike, ahem, Saving Grace). Gee, imagine that.

Anyways, it seems Ellen and David had a bit of a fight (over hot-to-trot Lila, perhaps?), and Patty offered up her apartment to Ellen whilst she was headed out of town. Whilst staying in Patty’s digs, bad guy comes in, attacks, Ellen stabs the guy (thinking she’s killed him), escapes (hence the blood and bruises), goes to check on David (who we’ve known for weeks is dead in their apartment bathtub), and of course inadvertently picks up the murder weapon (a Statue of Liberty bookend).

Ellen, Ellen, Ellen … did you never watch police shows when you were … well, even younger than you are now? How about a good cop movie? Never touch stuff at the scene of the crime, babe. You become Prime Suspect Numero Uno if you do. What are they teaching in law school these days ... hmmm ...

So, alas, Ellen is still a bit buggered. And Patty is nowhere to be found

Meanwhile, flashing back to before the present day whodunnit, Patty is desperately trying to depose Gregory Malina given the entire Frobisher case now hinges on his testimony.

Enter subpoena.

And enter Lawyer Ray trying to quash the subpoena.

Since Patty (never to be outdone, of course) has documentation ol’ Greg did indeed dump his stock on the same day as Frobie, the subpoena stands.

Bummer for Ray.

And Greg.

So as Ray delivers the bad news to Greg, who has been holed up in a dinkpod hotel on Frobie’s watch, Ray conveniently encourages Greg to disappear. (Can I digress and say what exactly is going on between Ray and Greg? I’m still not sure. Seems like Ray has a thing for Greg, but maybe I’m reading way too much into it).

Anyways, did we say Patty is never outdone?

She’s been monitoring Greg with her own mafia police bodyguard something-or-other. Under armed escort, she’ll depose him and keep him safe.

Except Greg has other plans.

All the while, Ellen and whipping boy Tom go back and forth as to whether to tell Patty about their brief inclination to run off and start a firm together. Sensing something, Patty devilishly tries to drive a wedge between the two – asking one to keep an eye on the other and vice versa.

I think if you looked up control freak in the dictionary, you would find a picture of Patty Hewes. This woman covers every base and then some – even when there isn’t a base to be covered. How she knows what she knows (or suspects) is played out in a brilliantly cryptic way, revealing only a touch here and there. (Have we mentioned lately how good Glenn Close is? Do we even need to reiterate?)

But alas, whilst Ellen and Tom vow to trust each other, they essentially keep to playing other.

What’s that X-Files saying …? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, Patty is dealing with son Michael’s pending release from his juvenile delinquent boot camp (even if it does look to be somewhere in Amish country):

Patty: “It’s like a cult compound. All the kids look like zombies.”

We remember he was kidnapped (literally) and sent there in order to get his act together. But in his new Zen-centered self, he’s not really interested in coming home and being controlled my mom again.

That is, until she issues emancipation papers for a full parental divorce.

Patty: “I’m tired of fighting you Michael. You sign these papers, you’re on your own … you’re in control … you win.”

Turns out he is a mama’s boy after all (which is likely all part of Patty's plan to win once again, of course).

I guess Michael can at least trust mom to do as she normally does.

Which is more than I can say for anyone else at Hewes and Associates.

Ellen (phoning lawyer in jail): “Mr. Nye, Tom’s full of [it]. Stay on ‘em. He’ll lead you to Patty.”
Tom (leaving jail): “I just saw her … you better not come back here, Patty.”

Stay tuned.

We’re approaching the Penthouse Level.

New episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. You can also have fun visiting the Hewes and Associates Official Web Site.

**PTR Note: I will be on vacation next week, so review of the next Damages episode will be delayed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lilly's on the 'Case' of That Woman

Last week, I brought you photos from Cold Case's season premiere. Today, I have some from the crime drama's second episode courtesy of CBS and Warner Bros. Television. The episode, entitled "That Woman," finds Lil and crew reopening the 1998 case of a murdered 15-year old girl with a bad reputation. It's scheduled to air September 30th on CBS. Here's your first look at the episode, which also features guest star Mackenzie Phillips (pictured above with series star Kathryn Morris):

Special thanks to RichE at Look Again for the heads up. Cold Case premieres September 23rd on CBS.

NOTE: Get a special behind-the-scenes look at CC's new season in The Returning Favorites issue of TV Guide (September 17-23) as the cast shoots on location in Philadelphia.

All’s Well That Ends Well on ‘The Closer’


By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


“The Kennedy case had less holes in it …”

“The LAPD overreacted …”

Ah, the media.

But alas, Brenda Leigh Johnson does get her man in the end.

And woman, too.

Have to hand it to the good folks over at The Closer: they sure know how to give us fabulous humdingers for season finales.

We remember last week (Part 1 of “’Til Death Do Us Part”) had ol’ Brenda stuck in whole mess of somethin’ that got her a whole lotta nothin’. Her lack of physical evidence and inability to get a confession out of a cocky ophthalmologist (a rarity for BJ) had it seeming as if Mr. Eye Doc was going to get away with murdering his wife’s high-powered, celebrity-client-prone divorce lawyer.

Turns out ol’ eye doc had a $12 million marijuana farm conveniently disguised as second “clinic” in a nice posh pad on the Westside of Los Angeles. Divorce lawyer found out about it, placed a lien on the house so that Mrs. Eye Doc would get what she deserved in a divorce settlement, and decided to go after Mr. Eye Doc with a vengeance.

Alas, Divorce Lawyer becomes Doc Family Enemy #1 seeing as he’s going to essentially screw over the doc’s main source of income – divorced or otherwise. (Guess the eye doc business isn’t nearly as good as the drug dealing business, eh?)

Needless to say, Mr. Eye Doc wasn’t too happy about Divorce Lawyer’s intention. Neither was Mrs. Eye Doc, who decided to reconcile with hubby anyways.

Murder scheme, anyone?

Signed. Sealed. Delivered. Closed.

But aside from the very intricate and detail-specific case, it was Brenda’s personal storyline that was once again brilliantly interwoven throughout the episode.

If we needed any more proof (which we don’t) as to why this show is genius for its handling of Brenda’s personal life, it was delivered in this finale. It reminds me so much of how well the NYPD Blue folks did in giving us Detective Andy Sipowicz outside the precinct – especially once he had his son, Theo. You were treated to a totally different side of Andy, one that allowed you to see him more balanced, more centered, trying to grow through struggles, yet without sacrificing any of his abilities to be a top cop or the overall case-driven plot lines of the show.

The Closer consistently does the same thing.

I am amazed at how normal and real of a life this show creates for Brenda outside the murder room, without sacrificing her in the murder room. I usually compare this to Cold Case’s Lilly Rush, and frankly, I stand by the fact writers of that show should take note of this one. The dynamic between Fritz and Brenda is so real, so tangible, so normal. And in what seemed to be a hugely dividing factor this week – with BJ confronting Fritz about his DUIs and Fritz confessing to his alcoholic past – you just love their dynamic even more.

Absolutely perfect chemistry once again between Jon Tenney and Kyra Sedgwick. The scene where they finally spill it all out on the table – she calling him out for his deception, him battling back with the litany of lies he has watched her tell, she pushing him away in aggravation, him standing his ground and reminding her how patient he’s been with her not to mention absorbing all of her flaws ...

So. Well. Written.

The fact that Fritz remained honorable even when having to apologize for something that was from a long time ago whilst Brenda was reduced to tears after he yells through what he feels is his only explanation without wavering on his feelings for her … this is as real of a relationship as it gets. This is how it is for couples - especially for couples who want to make it work. You fight. You make-up. You struggle. You grow. You do it together.

So. Well. Done.

I cannot compliment the writers of this show enough for how they continually evolve this relationship, and subsequently, both Brenda and Fritz in the process. (Again, can we not clone Fritz and send him over to Lil’ at Cold Case? Or can we just send Lil' to Los Angeles to help BJ on a case?)

All in all, a fabulous end to season three. We had a healthy dose of just about everything this summer. So what awaits us? Another special two-part episode will air in December.

Until then, TNT will run an encore presentation of season three Mondays at 9 p.m.

Hail to the chief!

Saving ‘Grace’ … and Leon, Dion and Grandma


By LillyKat
PTR Staff Writer


I was just wondering: was last night’s episode of Saving Grace about saving Grace, saving Leon, or saving the community from Bigtime Dion Reynolds and his grandmother?

Did anyone else need a roadmap to figure out where the heck the episode was going?

One minute, we’re getting shot raiding the house of a supposed crack dealer; then we’re in the hospital for two seconds; then we’re back at work, hanging with the boys, eating pizza and drinking beer; then Angel Earl is dealing with death row inmate Leon’s sudden realization he’s losing his son and ex-wife to another man; then we’re harassing Bigtime Reynolds (and grandma) who are supposedly linked to said crack dealer; then we’re going to fallen comrade’s funeral (who, unlike Grace, didn’t survive the raid).

Get all that?

It was disjointed to say the least - which isn’t anything new with the way this show has been going.

Now, I did like a couple of things.

1) No sex romps for Grace this week (shocking, yes, I know; I’ve had enough Holly Hunter Wardrobe Malfunctions to tide me over for years, thank you).

2) The raid. This was intense. Now, I recognize this was a little too much guns-ablazin’-shootout-at-the-OK-Corral-ish (which was over dramatized for television given this sort of thing doesn’t happen on a daily basis in most police precincts around the country), but I liked Grace getting the stuff knocked out of her. I guess this must be the year for female detectives to get shot at?

3) The anger/rage of the detectives in wanting to nail Bigtime Reynolds for the death of one of their fallen officers. Any real-life cop will tell you: one of their own gets killed by a bad guy, it’s a big flippin’ deal. They stop at nothing to get the guy who did it, and I thought this was done perfectly in this ep.

4) The goofball names thought up by Bigtime Reynolds for Grace: “Detective Handjob” (accurate) and “Detective Hanadyko” (not so accurate … just ask all of … well, the entire male population of Oklahoma City, I guess).

Things I didn’t buy whatsoever:

1) Grace, after being shot so hard the impact of the bullet stopped her heart and bruised the entire left side of her upper body, is back on the street without missing a beat save for a few winces of pain here and there. Huh? Excuse me, but no. Where is the psyche evaluation (a lá Brenda Leigh Johnson’s close encounter with a serial killer and Lilly Rush’s are-we-really-sure-she’s-ready-to-return-to-work dilemma?). And no, five minutes with her Catholic brother priest does not count. Of course, I think one actually has to have some sort of heart or conscience to be affected by trauma, which we aren’t really sure Grace has at the moment. So perhaps she can just turn into Sarah Connor (Terminator 2), brush it aside and keep on after the machines, er, bad guys. Throw in the occasional fleeting moments of wanting to attend fallen officer’s funeral – even though she did not go to her sister or father’s (wow, priorities anyone?) – and hey, I guess it’s all good. Whatever. Of course one could take this as a sign she’s “changing.” Who knows at this point.

2) Zero to cold-blooded-grandmother killer in less than 30 seconds. I’m sorry, but that was just a little too quick for me. It’s one thing to have her being a cool-as-ice woman, angry that her son was killed whilst simultaneously having to defend his son (her grandson) and his crack dealing thuggery. It’s another to suddenly have her shoot grandson and his cohort, end up in interrogation, and after two questions, go, yep … that was me. Um, ‘kay. Makes it seem like The Closer and Cold Case take way to long to solve their cases.

3) Too much going on. Period. All the stuff with death row inmate Leon was just way out of place. I know he and Grace “share” Angel Earl (as it were), but I swear it felt like they were trying to wrap up his storyline or something. And, did it not seem strange Angel Earl was spending more time worrying about whether Leon could deal with his now ex-wife getting remarried and son being adopted by new husband than whether Grace was dealing with having the stuffing knocked out of her? I guess he just thought she could handle it. Or God is done babying her.

Like I said last week, I still think this show cannot make up its mind about what it’s supposed to be doing – the cop stuff almost seems to get thrown in just for the heck of it. You have no real interest of any case given it’s always some footnote abbreviated – dead body, two suspects, solved (Tah-dah!). And we already know Grace's routine is getting old. Also, throwing 4,790 things at the audience in one episode to make you think what you're watching is compelling actually makes it even less so. We are smarter than that, thank you.

Still wondering how there is going to be a second season to all of this.

The first season finale of Saving Grace airs next Monday at 10 p.m. on TNT.

** PTR Note: I will be on vacation next week, so the final review of the Saving Grace finale will be delayed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bang Bang Tom's Dead?

Do you find yourself watching The 4400 and thinking, "Self, is it just me, or do these writers constantly write themselves into a wall? Not just any wall, but the tallest titanium wall ever, like say, critically shooting one of the main characters or injecting Good Future's poster boy with 'tiny machines' that will cause him to act in Bad Future's best interest??" I know I'm not the only one who carries on lengthy conversations in my head about how they're going to get themselves outta this one and then has to rewind my DVR to catch the next shocker that I just missed while pondering the creative genius that is The 4400 writing staff. I swear, it takes me twice as long to watch this show than any other. Titanium walls be damned because somehow, some way, the writers come up with an incendiary device that blows them up and the story goes on. I can only assume the same will be true with tonight's shocking ending because there's no way they killed Tom Baldwin (and Not-Tom in the process -- although, hopefully that part is true). But how are they going to write themselves outta this one?? How?? And how is Jordan going to get the "tiny machines" out of him so he can continue to lead the movement?? It's not like I'm usually rooting for him, but he's a lot better than Not-Tom and The Marked. Plus, we can't have Jordan Marked and using his power against his own people! And for what purpose is all this Marked upheaval, you ask? So Bad Future can ensure that the oceans and rivers dry up and the world slowly dies off. EXCEPT for those who adapt and live behind security walls like the people who sent The Marked to make sure it happens by fighting the 4400 (who were sent back to prevent it). And who wouldn't want to sign up for that side? Doom and gloom all the way!

Not-Tom, along with being a murderer (did he have to kill Curtis Peck???!!!), is really mean. He threw words like daggers at Diana about her personal life. He even brought up Ben and her inability to make things work with a hand-delivered fiance. Ahem, at last check, Ben and Diana were still together. He's in Europe doing his photography thing and she's in Seattle doing her NTAC/save the world thing. This could still work, Not-Tom! Please, just because you're angry at Diana for discovering your identity doesn't mean you have to take it out on those of us rooting for her to make it work with Ben. Anywho, things have been taking an increasingly shocking turn these last few weeks, and I can only imagine what next week's finale will bring. Hopefully, it involves the return of real Tom and a Ben/Diana reunion (hey, a girl can dream, right?).

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Be sure to join stars Joel Gretsch (Tom), Jenni Baird (Meghan), and Chad Faust (Kyle) in a live video chat this Friday (8 p.m. EST) at The4400.com. Sign up now to join in.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Countdown Reveals this Year's Winner!

Well, we have made it through the summer-long countdown, which means that it is time to reveal the #1 Best Episode of the Season. For the final time, here is a look at the rules I employed to compose the list of 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 on Thursdays to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Before we get to #3-1, here's a quick review of #30-4:

30. "All the Saints, Sinners" Without a Trace
29. "The Headless Witch in the Woods" Bones
28. "6 Months Ago" Heroes
27. "Postgame Mortem" Veronica Mars
26. "Fireflies" Cold Case
25. "Mother's Little Helper" Medium
24. "New York Fiction" Men in Trees
23. "Rampage" Cold Case
22. "Enter 77" Lost
21. "Kept a Guy Locked in a Truck" My Name is Earl
20. "Bang" Desperate Housewives
19. "Aliens in a Spaceship" Bones
18. "Our Cops is On" My Name is Earl
17. "Git 'Er Done" Friday Night Lights
16. "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week" Veronica Mars
15. "Collision" Heroes
14. "Fallout" Jericho
13. "Gilmore Girls Only" Gilmore Girls
12. "My Point of No Return" Scrubs
11. "South of the Border" My Name is Earl
10. "Forever Blue" Cold Case
9. "Responsible" Law & Order: SVU
8. "Expose" Lost
7. "Pilot" Friday Night Lights
6. "Deep Water" Without a Trace
5. "The Bitch is Back" Veronica Mars
4. "Stalker" Cold Case

And now, the Top 3 episodes of the season...

3: "My Musical" - Scrubs
How can you not love an episode that sings about everything coming down to poo and "Guy Love" and every other funny thing imaginable?? Most episodes of this hilarious comedy are pretty genius, but this one was off the charts. Everything from the aforementioned "poo song" to Dr. Cox's song about why JD drives him crazy (LOVED Janitor's spotlighted solo!) to "Guy Love," Turk and Carla's tango and JD wanting to know which of them was the best singer in the patient's head was done so brilliantly that I forgot that I wasn't watching a real musical. It's no coincidence that the episode played out like a show on New York's famous theater street. The people behind Broadway's Avenue Q were also behind this stellar hour. These guys made the episode feel real, and not like a show that was trying to do a musical episode. After watching this, I can imagine a Scrubs: The Musical opening on Broadway in summer '08! I'd be there opening night. Written by Debra Fordham and Directed by Will MacKenzie.

2: "State" - Friday Night Lights
This episode was all set to be the number 1 best of the season until it was upstaged (only slightly, though). Seriously, it was that good and it easily could have shared the top spot had I allowed ties. I laughed, moved to the edge of my seat, cheered, and teared up as the Dillon Panthers attempted to put the crowning jewel on their rollercoaster season. BUT, some of the best moments happened off the field. Landry's roadtrip with Tyra's family, Matt's grandmother and Lyla Garrity was pure comic gold while Lyla's continued struggle to accept her parents' divorce (and her father's infidelities) was moving and tragic. But the best moment was saved for my two favorite characters -- Coach Taylor and his wife Tami. These two often share the best moments of the series, but watching Tami tell Eric that she's pregnant is my favorite scene from any show this season. I just loved his reaction, and Tami's huge sense of relief. It was a moving, funny, tearful scene that beautifully demonstrates everything that is so wonderful and perfect about this show. Written by Patrick Massett and directed by Jeffrey Reiner. (Photo courtesy of nbc.com)

And now, after an entire summer of counting down episodes, we're finally up to the number one episode of the past season. Drum roll please....

1: "Through the Looking Glass" - Lost
Talk about your the jaw-dropping endings! This one revealed the eventual fate of the survivors of flight 815. You see, the flashbacks weren't flashbacks at all. They were flash-forwards into the future after Jack and co. get off the island (or was it the present - you can never be too sure with this show). And yes, it seems that they do indeed get off the island eventually. Throw in a mystery funeral and a sad exit for Charlie and you have the makings of this season's best episode. Just in case the Jack meeting Kate in the future scene wasn't quite shocking enough, there was also Charlie's final message. The ship and the parachuter are not working with Penelope. Was the seemingly evil Ben right all along?? Did Jack's satellite phone call set into motion a dangerous plan that will send everyone home, but destroy the island? Perhaps, Ben isn't as wrong as we think. Talk about chilling! Written by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and directed by Jack Bender. (Screencap courtesy of Lost-Media.com.)

Well, there you have it -- the complete list of PTR's Best Episodes of the Season! Do you agree? Disagree? Are there episodes that PTR left off the list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts on the final list. If you would like to take a closer look at numbers 30-4, click the "Best Episodes" link at the bottom of this post.