Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day Fun: 'Sid the Science Kid'

So, you decided not to brave the crazy beach traffic and now you're looking for something to watch this Labor Day. Well, to prove that PTR cares about our more family-focused readers too, we thought we'd let you in on something fun, educational and family friendly to tune into this Labor Day (and all-week long). PBS Kids is premiering its latest educational animated series Monday morning. Sid the Kid, co-produced by The Jim Henson Company, follows Sid and his school friends as they use comedy and music to promote exploration, discovery and science readiness among preschoolers. Here's a rundown of this week's episodes:

Monday, September 1, 2008 – PREMIERE EPISODE – “The Sticker Chart”
On the premiere episode, Sid learns that creating a chart is a great science tool that can help him compare and contrast cool stuff such as snacks, pets and his daily chores.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 – “The Rolie Polie”
Sid discovers the magnifying glass and uses it to make things such as his freckles, rocks and his rolie polie bugs look bigger.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 – “Enough with the Seashells”
Sid learns how estimation can help him and his school friends make their best guesses instead of counting one-by-one.

Thursday, September 4, 2008 – “The Whale Episode”
Sid learns how to measure shoes, blocks and groups of people using non-standard measurement.

Friday, September 5, 2008 – “Super Science Tools”
Sid picks his favorite science tool that he discovered this week.

Sid the Kid airs Monday through Friday (check local listings) as part of the popular PBS KIDS preschool destination, an educational, interactive hosted two-hour morning television block. For more information, visit

Friday, August 29, 2008

PTR On Set: 'Raising the Bar' w/Two Points of View

'Raising the Bar' on TNT
By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

It’s not every day you sit down next to one of the greatest television producers of all time and have him tell you about his latest project.

Or why he has chosen the cable medium as his newest playground.

Then again, everyone is moving to cable these days, aren’t they?

After all, that is where it’s at.

And TNT knows it the best.

TNT LogoEnter their newest drama, Raising the Bar, which premieres this coming Monday, September 1st at 10 p.m., and is brought to us by Steven Bochco – who I’ll just call Mr. NYPD Blue and Mr. Hill Street Blues for now.

Enter their newest drama, Raising the Bar, which premieres this coming Monday, September 1st at 10 p.m., and is brought to us by Steven Bochco – who I’ll just call Mr. NYPD Blue and Mr. Hill Street Blues for now. As the title of the show suggest, Raising the Bar is no cop show. Rather, it delves into a new realm of legal dramas: telling the story from the prosecutor and public defenders point of view.

“We started with the idea that we wanted to do a show about a busted criminal justice system not just from a public defender’s point of view, but also from a prosecutor’s point of view,” says executive producer Bochco. “All of them are functioning in a deeply flawed environment. The most passionate and committed of them are not only trying to win cases and defend clients, but they’re also trying to maintain, change and support a system which, flawed as it is, is the only one we’ve got.”

Raising the Bar comes to us at a time when cable television is firing on all cylinders. It has become the place to find top quality, character driven dramas. When PTR had the chance to visit with the cast on set back in June, before they had wrapped their first season, they already sensed they were onto something that had yet to be done either on network or cable television.

“It’s the kind of show where you get to root for the underdog,” says Currie Graham, who plays prosecutor Nick Balco. “You see these people that society has sort of forgotten about – the people who have to have a public defender, the people the system really doesn’t give a care about anymore, the bottom 10%. We’re taking a magnifying glass, shining it on this system that forgets about these people and saying, hey, look what really happens. Does anyone know what really goes on here? To see the sort of manipulating, and the strategizing and the dealmaking that happens around people’s lives is kind of frightening.”

Adding Raising the Bar to TNT’s ever-growing slate of quality original programming was a good fit for both the cable network and Bochco.

Executive Producer Steven Bochco of TNT's 'Raising the Bar'“It seems to me that there's been a real shift in broadcast television away from the kinds of shows that I like to do,” says Bochco. “For me to continue to do the kinds of shows that are not fantastical – they're not about superheroes, or vampires,or guys that live 800 years – requires that I do [it] in the cable world, which I'm happy to do because it's a very, very respectful environment from a creative point of view. Nobody's looking over your shoulder, nobody's micromanaging you. Everyone is so respectful.”

“There’s a feeling that we’re doing what we want to do,” says Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who plays public defender Jerry Kellerman and of whom also worked with Bochco on NYPD Blue. “I think the best part [of this experience] is getting the same feeling I got with Steven working with him on NYPD Blue - that feeling of confidence about the work we’re doing.”

The show is loosely based upon the book, Indefensible, by David Feige, who also serves as supervising producer on the show.

TNT Set Visit Press Day - 'Raising the Bar'“I was a public defender for about a dozen years [in New York City] – first in Brooklyn, then in Harlem, then in the Bronx. I left and wrote this book [and] Steven was the only person in Hollywood I sent it to. And, to my amazement, he called and said, ‘I love the book but I don’t think there’s a show here.’” Feige recalls with a laugh. “So, I hung up the phone thinking, you know, Steven Bochco liked my book, the rest is gravy. I’m fine. Good. I’m done.”

Bochco laughs.

“He then writes me a five page e-mail – ” Bochco says.

“ – telling him why he was wrong,” Feige jokes.

“ – telling me why I was wrong. So, I said to my wife, read this – this crazy guy is so passionate about what he’s doing. That’s who we should be in business with – passionate people. So, I re-contacted him and basically said, ‘I don’t want to do [the book per se], but if you want to do [it a little differently], let’s go.’”

And they did.

So what do the creators feel sets the show apart from other legal drams – past or present?

“In the current landscape of television, I don’t think there’s a real character-driven, realistic, law drama. It’s been a long time since there’s been anything like that on television, and I don’t remember ever seeing a law drama that really sort of gave equal time to both sides of the equation the way we do,” Bochco says.

Adds Feige: “Steven’s explanation to me was you don’t have real drama until you have a clash of legitimate world views. And so, we have an incredibly powerful defender voice, which Mark-Paul carries as beautifully as I could have imagined. We also have incredibly powerful prosecutors, who really believe their point of view, and in the contrast is the drama and gist of the show.”

But Gosselaar wasn’t initially sold on the idea of playing a public defender.

Actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar of TNT's 'Raising the Bar'“I’ve always played strong characters,” says Gosselaar. “But when I first viewed Jerry on the page, I thought he was really an underdog – a weak character. Everything I’d ever seen on television was through the eyes of a prosecutor, through the eyes of a cop. So, to me, playing a public defender who was always losing, fighting for poor people, engine clients, didn’t really appeal to me right off the bat. But in having read David’s book, seeing the struggle that he goes through, seeing what kind of strength of person it takes to be a public defender, I began to see the challenge in [playing Jerry]. That’s sort of when it opened my eyes, and I was able to read the script from a different perspective.”

Jane Kaczmarek, best known for her work on the Emmy®-winning TV series Malcolm in the Middle, portrays Judge Judy Kessler. She also wasn’t necessarily looking to return to television, but the appeal of working on a Bochco show was pretty strong.

“To be quite honest, I really wanted to work on a show that would allow me to work only a little bit,” Kaczmarek says with a laugh. “After Malcolm went of the air, offers I would get were mostly for comedies, which I really didn’t want to do again. I got so much out of my system doing Malcolm, and it was a long run. Also, I have three little kids, and I was really looking for a life where my primary focus was going to be my family, my kids. I waited until a job came a long that was really going to suit my lifestyle – and by that I mean I could work, I could be on an interesting show yet not be the lead. I had worked with Steven 25 years ago on Hill Street Blues, and I liked that. I think Bochco brings in a certain old-fashioned storytelling – and I mean that complimentarily – in that it’s nice to know about the people trying these cases, and it’s nice to know their back stories. I also used to play a lot of lawyers for many years, then I did a lot of comedy. So, it was kind of interesting to come back to this side of the bench. And I think the character of Trudy is pretty fascinating.”

Actress Jane Kaczmarek of TNT's 'Raising the Bar'On being asked about Judge Kessler being a hard core, hard hitting kind of character, Kaczmarek doesn’t see it quite that way.

“Well, in the same way, I never found anything that Lois did on Malcolm that out of the ordinary. [Trudy] is following the letter of the law; it’s just her interpretation of the law. So, there’s nothing she’s doing that’s really illegal. In the pilot episode, the character of Charlie Salansky [played by Jonathan Scarfe] really servers to temper her and make her think differently about certain things.

“Also, the difference between the legal system and what we think is the legal system is completely [a result of] watching lawyers on television,” Kaczmarek continues. “You kind of think lawyers act the way they do on television shows. They don’t. If you actually see real lawyers in action, what happens in a court room is so different than what we’ve gotten used to [seeing]. It’s slow moving, they’re often unprepared, they can be very tedious. They can be badly dressed, badly coiffed. I’m amazed when you see real lawyers – being on jury duty and things. You think, ‘Don’t you watch Law & Order? Dress up! Be prepared!’”

All joking aside, the entire ensemble cast feels as if they’ve been given a great opportunity to work on a Bochco series.

Actor Currie Graham of TNT's 'Raising the Bar'“I think Steven is so good at casting that you know what you’re going to do when you’re get the job,” says Graham. “Once he’s sees people, he knows what you’re going to bring to it, and he lets you go and do your thing. I think he has a great knack for overseeing the big picture, picking the right components and pieces that make it work.”

As for his character, Graham says it has been a fun challenge to play, of all things, a misogynist.

“It’s the first time I have played what I believe is a misogynist,” Graham says. “It’s not in a malicious way, it’s not in a mean way. He likes women, and he’s not afraid to compliment them in perhaps an inappropriate manner, not afraid to manipulate them into going out on dates with him, but also not afraid to tell them they’re not as good at their job because they are women. Also, I think this character has an opportunity to be very funny, especially for a guy who is somewhat morally ambiguous. He’s kind of on the edge of being ethically challenged, and yet at the same time, he’s funny. I think this character – aside from the misogyny, because I’m happily married – was kind of written for me. I think there’s a part of him that is me – the sense of humor, the sarcasm. For me, I put on an Armani suit, step behind the desk, and that’s the guy, man. And the words are good. The writing has been very smart, very intelligent.”

J. August Richards, who plays prosecutor Marcus McGrath, also feels very fortunate to be in the Bochco fold.

“I’ve found that when you work with people like [this], the level of confidence is such that they hire you and let you do your thing. They don’t second guess and triple guess, or micromanage you. It’s just a certain confidence,” says Richards.

Actor J. August Richards of TNT's 'Raising the Bar'But Richards told us of the challenge in taking on a character quite different from himself.

“This character is very moved by victims,” says Richards. “And what did strike me about reading the script was that I had to read it with, like, these sunglasses on because the script is from the point of view of the PDs – the public defenders. They are the heroes, they are very passionate about how the system doesn’t work for people. Now, as a prosecutor, I have to be very passionate about victims and victim’s rights, and those are the glasses I have to put on when I read the script so that I don’t hate my character [given I might not agree with that point of view]. I just have to think about that mother that comes to my office and says my son was viciously beaten, and I can’t feel sorry for the guy for being in jail for a year, waiting for his trial. I think about people who suffer from violent crimes, and that’s what makes me feel righteous about what I do. Marcus really relates to the victim, and there’s a lot of clashing between my character and the public defenders. This has been a very interesting character for me because, politically and personally, we are so incredibly different. This guy grew up in a trying situation, he comes from Harlem, he’s seen a lot, and he kind of has an agenda with what he’s seen and what he’s been through. I’m the exact opposite. It’s been fun to get to know this guy – really walk in those shoes and really see the world through his point of view because mine is so different.”

ER alum Gloria Reuben takes on the role of Rosalind "Roz" Whitman, who runs the office of public defenders. “I’m trying to run the ship without letting too many people jump overboard,” she told us. But her primary reason for heading back to small screen was the opportunity to be a part of the TNT family, and to portray a strong woman.

Actress Gloria Reuben of TNT's 'Raising the Bar'“I think that you can see that TNT has taken the lead in creating really great roles for women on television,” says Reuben. “And I think, quite frankly, cable television is the place where interesting stuff is happening – film noir television. It’s exciting to be a part of that process, I think there still needs to be a lot done for ethnic women and women of color. But, things are changing, and the roles are getting better, and shows like this - which have great female roles - always kind of inspire other shows to be developed with that kind of strength behind it. Not to mention the chemistry of this cast is out of this world.”

Melissa Sagemiller plays Michelle Ernhardt, an assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan office and of whom has a love/hate relationship with Gosselaar’s Jerry Kellerman.

Actors Melissa Sagemille, Natalia Cigliuti and Teddy Sears of TNT's 'Raising the Bar'“I’m incredibly driven and I will pretty much do whatever it takes to win cases,” says Sagemiller. “I have this sort of extreme desire to please someone. So, I tow the line between what is morally and ethically correct, and what is legal. I struggle with that throughout the series. She’s a spitfire.”

Natalia Cigliuti plays Roberta “Bobbi” Gilardi, a public defender transferred from Brooklyn office to the Manhattan office who clashes with Sagemiller’s character.

“She’s starting to get close with the Jerry character, but she’s married, so that’ll stop her. But, she’s very passionate about her clients, and she believes in them and for them and fights for them. Melissa’s character and I have out little tit-for-tat, which we’ve had a lot of fun with it,” says Cigliuti.

Teddy Sears plays public defender Richard Patrick Woolsley IV. As you might guess from the rather formal name of the character, Richard is taking the road somewhat less traveled after enjoying a well-to-do upbringing.

“Richard comes from a very well-healed background and is looking to work in the public defenders office. He’s stepping away from the very large shadow that his family and his father have cast, and striking out on his own, and just fighting diligently and passionately and committedly for the people who he feels are underrepresented and underserved. And all of the fun stuff that comes with it helps mold this unfolding maturation that this character is experiencing,” says Sears.

The cast remain ever enthusiastic about how the first season has been laid out, and they can only hope they’ll be able to come back for a second season to continue the work.

“I think that this show is right for this time,” says Gosselaar.

“And I don’t think you need to be a liberal or a radical or anything to look at this system and say something is seriously wrong [with our system]," adds Bochco. "I just hope that we get a chance to keep going because I think we have a lot of stories to tell with a great bunch of characters that can sustain us for a long time.”

Our great thanks to the cast of Raising the Bar for taking some time to share their thoughts on the show as well as our friends at Turner publicity.Tune in for the series premiere of Raising the Bar Monday, September 1st at 10 p.m. on TNT. For more information on the series, be sure to check out the show's Official Web Site.

'Office' and 'Army' Give Labor Day Bonuses

Doncha love 3-day weekends?!! The BBQs, the extra day off, and of course, tons of fabulous marathons of your favorite shows! What's not to love, right? Before you head off to celebrate the unofficial last weekend of the summer, PTR has a couple of fun things you can do this Labor Day weekend that center around, your guessed it, TV. First, The Office (season 4) is about to hit store shelves next week, but the good folks at Universal Studios Home Entertainment have a few sneak peeks available online right now to tied you over until the release.

The Office: Bloopers
Fun Run: Deleted Scene
Dunder Mifflin Infinity: Deleted Scene

There's also a contest going on over at The Onion where you can enter to win a copy of the DVD. The fourth season of The Office comes out this Tuesday, 9/2. The fifth season kicks off September 25th on NBC.

Remember how I was just talking about those marathons? Well, Lifetime is giving you the perfect opportunity to stay home this weekend and catch up on its uber-popular Army Wives. And don't even try to pretend like you don't get sucked into these marathons. You know how it is -- once you start, you can't stop (I'm looking at you MTV and your ubiquitous Top Model marathons). Lifetime kicks off its 2-day Army Wives marathon this Sunday (9-11 p.m.) and continues it on through Labor Day (11 a.m. - 9 p.m.). The show, about the lives of five women trying to stay connected to their military husbands while navigating life on an Army post, stars Kim Delaney, Catherine Bell, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh and Wendy Davis. For more on Army Wives, visit Lifetime's official site.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Countdown Moves From Funny to Serious

We're up to the single digits in our 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. LillyKat and I ended up with 36 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2007 and June 2008. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us 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, we 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 closer look at numbers 9-7.

9: "Ten Sessions" - How I Met Your Mother
Who would have thought that an episode featuring Britney Spears would make our Best Episodes countdown let alone wind up in our Top 10??!! This just shows how strong this outing was in spite of what it had going against it. And you know what? Britney wasn't so bad. She had some great lines, she sold the character, and I found myself enjoying her presence and the way her character related to Ted's plight to win his dermatologist's heart (played adorably by Scrubs' Sarah Chalke). Even if the pop star had sunk the episode, I would have still enjoyed it because the Ted story was too charming to hate. What would you do if you had 10 sessions (that's how long it took to erase Ted's "tramp stamp" -- a drunken mistake) to convince someone that she should date you? If you're Ted, you pull out every stop and you never give up even when she explains the very good reason why she can't. Good reason be damned because it gave Ted the perfect opportunity to get creative and to use his undeniable charm in the process. I just loved the "2-minute date" at the end, and it left me hoping that this dermatologist is the one. Written by Chris Harris, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and directed by Pamela Fryman.

8: "Truth Be Told/Born Free" - Dexter
The first season of Dexter ended on a stunning note – even watching it the second time around, when CBS re-aired the complete first season in the Spring of 2008. I like to think this finale gave us the man with the missing arm (or woman, literally). The smoking gun. The gunman on the grassy knoll. The reveal of Rudy as Dex’s real, honest to goodness brother – abandoned in that nightmare of a chainsaw massacre when real-life mom’s drug deal went bad – was just so insanely clever and clicked everything into place. Dex picked up and saved by Harry. Rudy left to fend for himself in a mental institution, then spend the next umpteen years planning an ever gruesome reunion. One duty-bound by a code to co-exist in the regular world, albeit in a constant state of disguise; the other willing to forgo any sense of code to showcase a true identity and live in utter honesty with the one other person who would be able to accept him as-is. Often, the question has been raised about Dexter’s morality. That is, he is a killer underneath it all, so how could he really be a good guy? Contrasted against Rudy, it’s pretty clear Dex is incredibly moral, incredibly diligent about the handling of the condition from which he suffers, and he – most importantly – knows right from wrong. A brilliant way to end a fantastic first season. "Truth Be Told" written by Drew Z. Greenberg and Timothy Schlattmann, and directed by Keith Gordon; "Born Free" written by Daniel Cerone and Melissa Rosenberg, and directed by Michael Cuesta. - LillyKat / PTR Senior Staff Writer

7: "Dexter" - Dexter
So, as I just got done singing the praises of how the first season of Dexter ended, we must also include how it all began. The pilot introduced us to one of most intricate, complex and compelling characters on television, and it gave us a series whereby our hero is a serial killer that is irresistibly likable – moral, conscientious, an all around good guy except for that particular disposition. I cannot bring myself to call Dex’s state of mind an illness (or sickness). He’s more like a Dark Avenger – working for the Miami Metro Police Department’s forensic division as a blood splatter specialist whilst channeling his desires into cleaning up what the hardworking detectives of the department don’t always (and can’t always) get to do. And given the show is set in Miami, the epitome of the oft-used real estate phrase “light, bright and airy,” the show is an ingenious contradiction of darkness vs. light. Good vs. Evil. A blurring of the line on both sides. The table was set with this episode, and I have been at it ever since. Written by Timothy Schlattmann and directed by Michael Cuesta. - LillyKat / PTR Senior Staff Writer

So, there's a look at the next set of episodes on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave us a comment with your thoughts. And be sure to tune in next Thursday as we reveal #6-4 on the list.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Need to Get Over It on ‘Grace’

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

I love Kenny Johnson.

I do.

He’s our bud here at PTR.

He warned us these last couple of episodes of Saving Grace were going to be pretty dark.

So what I’m about to say I say in the nicest possible way: I am not buying the whole Ham-downward-spiral-into-hell routine (which will leave us in a suspended state of wonder until new episodes return next March).

As in, enough.

Get over it.

Get suspended.

Put on leave.

Forced off the squad.

Something - anything - to get the whole slobbering sweaty mess of nothingness back into some semblance of a believable character.

I get that he’s lost his bro’.

I get he’s gone crazy about it.

But it's crossed over into the unrealistic as far as I'm concerned.

As in, no police department in this day and age – of lawsuits, ethics training, diversity training, code of conduct training, CYA (cover your arse) training so as to be all kosher with themselves and the public – would let one of their own spiral so obviously and unabashedly out of control whilst on the job. It would be a political nightmare. A lawsuit magnet. My own father, who is a captain on the fire department, has written up guys for less than 1/8th of what Ham is getting away with at this point, so I don't buy three weeks of putting himself, the squad, the department and the public at risk. It's ridiculous - no matter how much of a state of grieving he's in. I can suspend disbelief and grant creative license only up to a point.

And to think Grace was like this for three years after the death of her sister?

Where is the mandatory grief counseling? Time off? Bereavement leave?

Is this how they do things in Oklahoma City - wild child cops can do whatever, however, whenever until they just go way off the edge of the map?

This whole nonsense actually makes me appreciate Lilly Rush’s silent withdrawal into nothingness after the death of her mother on Cold Case. Or even when her partner, Scotty Valens, was drinking and bonking Lil’s sister as some sort of compensation for the loss of his own girlfriend - Lieutenant Stillman stepped in and told him to get his stuff together. It took a couple of eps, and a botched detail of assignment, but wow … no naked bar romps, no passing out in PPD. Yes, he had a temper – especially after his girlfriend's death – but nobody enabled him to continue the behavior. The squad, literally, kept bagging on him to stop.

Which brings me to my other issue at the moment: Grace’s enabling of Ham.

I am so sick of her saying, I’m here for you. Let’s go get trashed. Let’s go romp around. Whatever you need, blah, blah, blah.



She isn’t helping with this codependent bull. All she’s doing is making it worse, which is why I loved Ham’s other bro’ telling her to go take a long walk off a short pier a few eps back.

Then again, this is Grace Hanadarko we’re talking about. Sex and alcohol seem to be her answer for everything. But wow, talking about the blind leading the blind. Ham is never going to clean up with her around. Rhetta seems to be the only one going, “Uh, you know .. Ham’s kinda messed up.”

Gee, ya’ think?

Which leads me to my third problem.

Where the frick is Angel Earl? Aside from getting his eye punched out by Ham?

A one-liner to Grace to have her restore Ham’s faith in God to get him … uh … back on track isn't going to cut it. And duh, I would think he'd know that by now.

With all that said, I actually cheered at the end of last night’s ep when Ham told Grace he wanted a different partner. At least one of them finally wised up. Ironic it’s the guy without the Angel offering the advice. And as much as Grace has progressed, she’s still way off the mark on getting her own stuff together, which is perhaps the whole other side to this Ham nightmare.

Or the constant reminder.

I’d love to talk about the case, but seriously, I couldn’t even focus on it with the Ham-out-of-control nonsense.

But I did really enjoy the introduction of Detective Butch Ada’s sister (who happens to have Down Syndrome), and his mom (high-powered politico who gives him as much stick about going to the University of Texas as the rest of the squad).

Needless to say, when Christina Ricci joins the cast as Grace’s new partner come March, I’m going to be psyched. I need a break from the Grace and Ham Codependent Show.


Nice way to cliff-hanger-us 'til the Spring, though.

New episodes of Saving Grace will return in March 2009. You can watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site. You can also visit to share your stories of how you embrace your inner-Grace.

Sudden Death on 'The Closer'

'The Closer' Returns for its Forth Season on TNT
By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

So lightning can really strike twice.

Or three times.

Or six times.

Or eight times.

Or however many times the good folks over at The Closer want to employ Kevin Bacon to direct episodes.

The man is just too.darn.good.


We remember we were left speechless with last season’s "Blindsided." Well, last night, he did it again with “Sudden Death.”

And, once again, it’s left me with the feeling that he should direct every episode of The Closer. Something about how he gets amazingly deep, soulful, genuine and powerful performances out of the entire cast. At the very least, the Cold Case folks need to get in touch with him ASAP to breathe some life and passion back into the Lilly Rush character (not to mention the show on the whole).

The Case

This was actually a very simple case: Detective Sanchez’s kid brother is gunned down in yet another meaningless act of violence on the streets of a gang-infested East Los Angeles neighborhood.

BJ & Co. are given cart blanche to go after what everyone suspects is possible retaliation against Sanchez for his always aggressive pursuit of gang suspects.

And boy, don’t we wish that really was the motive.

Turns out baby bro’, walking along the street with his girlfriend, just wouldn’t show the underside of his baseball cap – yes, a ridiculously simple gesture – to a gang kid out hunting down members of a rival gang whom he swore Sanchez’s bro’ was a part of. Supposedly, if Sanchez’s bro really had been a member of the gang, the sign would’ve been on the underside of the cap.

Game. Set. Death.

The saddest part about this episode is the truth of it: kids get gunned down for even less than what we saw last night.

The Personal

This case was personal from the start. And Sanchez nearly lost the plot over it. But could you blame him? No.

I want to commend Raymond Cruz for one heck of a performance. His anger, rage, passion, desperation and sadness came off as amazingly tangible and ever-so real. I swear his intensity seemed to almost come through the screen.

The Director’s Touch

Kevin Bacon has a certain way with his shot set-ups that are so well-paced, and yet, it almost seems to leave one breathless at times. Better yet, he knows exactly when to dial it up, then dial it down. He moves seamlessly from fast paced to inter-personal confrontation to intensely still. It just keeps you gripped from one scene to the next.

So, whether its Sanchez running desperately down the street, isolated in slow motion, with hardly any sound, a blur on screen trying to get to the scene of the crime and get help; to him being absurdly (if not deranged-ly) calm emerging from the ER after his brother has died, thanking everyone for coming, making sure everyone got pizza, wanting to give his statement to BJ immediately; to his confrontation with Brenda in her office over his methods, his tactics and why he just cannot back off; to sobbing in the arms of Lieutenant Provenza over the blood-soaked baseball cap of his brother, pleading it was his fault his brother was shot given he was the one to give the cap to his bro’ a month ago as a gift … it all is beautifully melded together in sequence that is timed to perfection, balanced and exquisitely done, making for yet another brilliantly powerful hour of television.

Like we said, can Kevin just direct every episode? Of every PTR-fave show?

New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT. You can also watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Photos on the 'Case'

The 6th season premiere of Cold Case is a little over a month away, but PTR has photos from the episode hot off the CBS presses. In the episode, Lilly and co. re-open the 1973 case of a murdered football player when new evidence surfaces (and it looks like Lil's latest love interest is back for another round -- of drinks, that is). Here's an early look:

Cold Case kicks off its 6th season September 28th on CBS.

Shawn & Gus Get Rigged

You guys know that I love me some Psych, but I have one gripe about it this season: the writers seem to have forgotten what to do with Jules and Lassie. Remember how they used to work with Shawn and Gus on their cases and we would all laugh at the hilarious interaction between Shawn and Lassie (Las would pretend like he thought Shawn was a moron, but in reality, he was insanely jealous at the fake psychic's natural ability to solve cases and Shawn would make all sorts of witty comments about Lassie -- those were the good old days). But now, well, it's like the two sets of characters are running in different circles solving different cases and I don't like it. Yes, I know, the two seemingly separate cases wind up intersecting at the end, but I want more Shawn/Gus/Lassie/Jules time damn it! Why did they mess with a winning formula? I feel like the Lassie/Jules scenes are a little pointless and thrown in there to give the actors some deserved screen time. It's a conundrum, and one that I hope they solve soon. I only criticize because I care. It's out of love for this fun little show.

Putting all of that aside, I did enjoy this week's oil rig outing. I had my suspicions about the daughter the entire hour, though. She wreaked of "Daddy may underestimate me, but you'd be wise not to" syndrome. And I had no idea that Brenda Leigh Johnson's father was an oil man, did you? Don't you love seeing the same actors pop up on your favorite shows? This Barry Corbin character didn't have the same understanding gene as his Closer counterpart, and he certainly didn't know his daughter the way Clay Johnson knows his. Thankfully, Shawn and Gus had her all figured out.

I want to send a shout-out to the casting department for their awesome job casting Chief Vick's sister! Those two were separated at birth!

Psych airs Friday nights on USA Network. Catch up on this episode and others at

Sunday, August 24, 2008 Launch

Warner Brothers Network Launches New Web PresenceBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

The WB lives.

On the WeB.

As we reported back in April, Warner Brothers Television Group (WBTVG) officially launches this coming Wednesday, August 27th.

Billed as a "premium, ad-supported, video-on-demand, interactive and personalized network," it will feature full episodes of fan-favorite series including the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Everwood, Friends, Gilmore Girls, The O.C., One Tree Hill, Roswell, Smallville and Veronica Mars. Additional series newly acquired for and not previously announced include Angel, Babylon 5, Firefly, In Living Color, The Loop and MADtv.

Warner Brothers Network Launches New Web will also debut original series from director/producer McG (the upcoming Terminator Salvation, Supernatural, the Charlie’s Angels films) and writer/producer Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl, Chuck, The O.C.), among others. A selection of both fan-favorite and original series will be available at launch and others will roll out in coming weeks and months.

“ is a new digital destination built from the ground up for the same 16-34 year-old audience that embraced The WB when it was a television phenomenon,” said Brent Poer, GM, “We have loaded the site with their favorite classic series like ‘Friends’ and ‘The OC,’ high-quality original programming and a wide array of sharing features, mash-up tools, and interactivity options to fit their lifestyle.”

The first batch of original and acquired series to debut are:

Sorority Forever (premieres September 8): Producer/Director McG brings us a mystery/drama that peeks behind the walls of sorority society - sort of a Prom Queen meets The O.C., but set in college. The series stars Jessica Rose (“lonelygirl15”), Mikaela Hoover, Taryn Southern, Anabella Casanova, Candice Patton, Annemarie Pazmino, Jessica Morris, Cary Hungerford, Angie Cole, David Loren and Joaquin Pastor.

Blue Water High (premieres August 27): A drama set at an exclusive, ultra-competitive surf academy where six Australian teenagers live, study, surf and socialize together. At the end of the grueling 12-month residential athletic and academic program, two surfers – one male and one female – will win the prize they’ve all been fighting for: admission to the professional surfing circuit and a sponsorship contract. Series stars include Adam Saunders, Chris Foy, Kate Bell, Khan Chittenden, Sophie Luck and Tahyna Tozzi.

A Boy Wearing Makeup (premieres August 27): Mathieu Francis is a boy who happens to a)wear makeup, and b) look fabulous. In a highly personal online video diary, Mathieu dispenses makeup advice and fashion tips while taking viewers along on his own personal journey.

Whatever Hollywood (premieres August 27): The tale of three best friends who want to take Hollywood by storm and play by their own rules. Tune in to their self-described fun and silly short films (many featuring their own original music), as well as the reality-style Whatever Show. Whatever Hollywood stars Ellyn Ruschak as Suri, Alyssa Ruschak as Shiloh and Jenny Alden as Apple.

Source: Warner Publicity

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bertinelli Lands TBS Comedy Pilot

Valerie BertinelliBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Val's back.

And better than ever.

Valerie Bertinelli has signed on to star in a-yet-to-be named new comedy pilot for TBS from Writer/Executive Producer Dave Caplan. A two-time Golden Globe® winner, best known for her roles as Barbara Royer on the classic One Day at a Time, and Gloria on Touched By An Angel, Bertinelli will play a single mother trying to run a business while raising two children. The premise of the show is inspired by events in Caplan’s own life. She'll also serve as producer.

“Valerie Bertinelli became a popular fixture on television playing one of two children being raised by a single working mother,” said Michael Wright, senior vice president in charge of the Content Creation Group for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies. “Now she's exploring that world from the opposite angle, playing a single working mother raising two children. Between Valerie’s comic skills and Dave Caplan’s highly relatable humor, we’re very excited to watch this pilot take shape.”

File this under: Very Cool News.


Because: a) I happen to really like Valerie Bertinelli; b) think it's freakin' cool how many people she's inspired (including my best friend from high school) being a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and through her autobiography, Losing It – and Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time; c) loved Touched By An Angel, so seeing any alum from that show back on the small screen is good by me.

Source: Turner Publicity

Eleven 'Amazing' New Teams

Earlier this week, CBS announced the 11 teams that make up The Amazing Race's 13th season set to kick off this fall. From the press release:

The 13th installment of THE AMAZING RACE will feature a variety of firsts, including: Teams traveling to a real-life water world where its inhabitants live upon a floating city; first time visits for the Race to locations such as Cambodia and Kazakhstan; and one Team makes an unprecedented mistake on the road that ultimately prohibits them from joining their fellow Racers at the finish line.

The cast also features couples in various stages of their lives - married beekeepers who have been together for years, a married but separated couple looking to rebuild their marriage, a newly dating couple still getting to know each other and best friends who are comic book aficionados and describe the Race as "the ultimate game on the biggest game board you can imagine."

THE AMAZING RACE was just nominated for its sixth straight Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Competition Program, which the globe-trotting series has taken home five years in a row.

Following are the 11 teams, listed in no particular order:

Occupation: Running Coach
Age: 35
Hometown: New York

Occupation: Wall Street Investment Analyst
Age: 31
Hometown: New York
Relationship: NEWLY DATING

Occupation: Student
Age: 22
Hometown: Spartanburg, S.C.

Occupation: Graphic Designer
Age: 24
Hometown: Columbia, S.C.

Occupation: Student
Age: 22
Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.

Occupation: Hotel Manager Trainee
Age: 23
Hometown: Wilmington, Del.

Occupation: Aspiring Actress
Age: 25
Hometown: Los Angeles

Occupation: Banker
Age: 25
Hometown: West Bloomfield, Mich.

Occupation: Treasurer of Comic-Con
Age: 41
Hometown: San Diego

Occupation: Student Aid Administrator
Age: 42
Hometown: San Diego
Relationship: BEST FRIENDS

Occupation: Accounting Consultant
Age: 51
Hometown: Woodside, Calif.

Occupation: Student
Age: 22
Hometown: Woodside, Calif.
Relationship: MOTHER/SON

Occupation: Actor
Age: 22
Hometown: New York

Occupation: Former NFL Cheerleader
Age: 21
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Relationship: BROTHER/SISTER

Occupation: Retired Paralegal
Age: 63
Hometown: Eugene, Ore.

Occupation: Playground Maintenance
Age: 61
Hometown: Eugene, Ore.

Occupation: Sales Representative
Age: 26
Hometown: Houston

Occupation: Business Development
Age: 26
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Relationship: DIVORCEES

Occupation: Home Builder/Ex-NFL Player
Age: 51
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.

Occupation: President BioPharmMed
Age: 48
Hometown: San Diego
Relationship: SEPARATED

Occupation: Mortgage Broker
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles

Occupation: Financial Saleswoman
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles
Relationship: DATING

So, it looks like everyone is adequately represented: The "Old" Couple, the bimbos, the long distance dating couple who's using the Race to see if they should move closer, the hippies, and various "Should they or shouldn't they stay together" couples who will no doubt argue their way through the entire competition. Yup, I can't wait!

The Amazing Race kicks off its 13th season Sunday, September 28th on CBS. For more, visit

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Countdown Breaks the Top 10

We're dipping our big toe into the Top 10 episodes on our 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. LillyKat and I ended up with 36 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2007 and June 2008. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us 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, we 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 closer look at numbers 12-10.

12: "Vick's Chip/What He Beheld" - Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
I don’t often stare at my television screen for a full 10 minutes after a show has aired its season finale. For that to happen, I have to be wowed - sucked into a show’s entire storyline, have it create some amazingly original dynamics and intricacies, and get me so attached to the characters that I stop anticipating left curves and twists. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles did that during its first season, and specifically, with its first season finale. "Vick's Chip" and "What He Beheld" aired back-to-back and were inadvertently made into the "finale" given T:SCC got its production run cut short as a result of the writers strike. The amazing thing is: you would've never known it. To think these two eps would've been slated as mid-season eps, yet easily filled in as a finale is a testament to some seriously awesome storytelling. And for me, the show has become all about Summer Glau's brilliant portrayal of the protective terminator, Cameron. This was none more true - and none more on display - than in this finale. There is just something beautifully simple about her devotion to John Connor, and to the mission to save the world from Skynet on the whole, that it makes it strangely touching. "Vick's Chip" written by Daniel T. Thomsen and directed by J. Miller Tobin; "What He Beheld" written by Ian Goldberg and directed by Mike Rohl. - LillyKat, PTR Senior Staff Writer

11: "Til Death Do Us Part (Parts I & II)" - The Closer
If we needed any more proof (which we don’t) as to why The Closer is genius for its handling of all-things personal, it was delivered in the third season finale ("'Til Death Do Us Part - Parts I and II"). It reminds me so much of how well the NYPD Blue folks did in giving us Detective Andy Sipowicz outside the precinct . 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. The dynamic between Fritz and Brenda is so real, so tangible, so normal. And in what seemed to be a hugely dividing factor in this finale – with Brenda confronting Fritz about his DUIs and Fritz confessing to his alcoholic past – you just love their dynamic even more. Part 1 written by James Duff and Michael Alaimo, and directed by Roger Young; Part II written by Duppy Demetrius and James Duff, and directed by Michael M. Robin. - LillyKat, PTR Senior Staff Writer

10: "Undercover" - Law & Order: SVU
We all know that Mariska Hargitay can act. She has an Emmy, a Golden Globe and numerous nominations to prove it. But this outstanding hour from the best L&O franchise showed us just how fan-frickin'-tastic she truly is when she gets some material to sink her teeth into. The writers asked for a gritty, emotional, raw, disturbing and flawless performance and Mariska delivered. In addition to her Emmy-worthy turn, this episode stood out because it showed us just how vulnerable Benson can be when the tables turn against her. I don't think she had any idea what she was up against when she volunteered to go undercover at the women's prison. I don't think she realized just how powerful these guards were and how that power corrupted them to the point where they were regularly raping (and even murdering) women. And Det. Olivia Benson almost became another muted victim. Luckily, amid all of the traumatizing moments, she was able to keep her wits about her well enough to remember a key detail that put the man away who almost raped her. She was one of the few lucky ones who got away with her life. But, she was left severely shaken by the event. As was I. Written by Mark Goffman and directed by David Platt.

So, there's a look at the next set of episodes on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave us a comment with your thoughts. And be sure to tune in next Thursday as we reveal #9-7 on the list.

'The Closer's' Problem Child

'The Closer' Returns for its Forth Season on TNT
By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

It seemed to be all about the kids this week.

One good, one not so much.

As we already mentioned, Grace was on the case of a slime-of-the-earth father who set his poor innocent son on fire.

However, BJ was on the case of a psycho adoptee from Russia who enjoyed running down dogs with cars, killing cats, squashing baby birds and molesting his friends.

For starters.

Oy vey.

From Russia, Without Love.

And no Return to Sender available.

The Case

Worst. Adoptee. Ever.

Poor family thought they were doing a good thing adopting a son from Russia only to have him turn out to be some sort of Michael Myers in training (that would be from the Halloween horror film series, not the comic actor). They had no idea he’d be a monster, unresponsive to just about every conceivable counseling maneuver – including military school – and destroy their family in the process.

Enter crime of passion from mom and dad.

Let me be clear: I don’t advocate killing anyone.

But I do know people have breaking points.

And a state of desperation – conscious or subconscious – leads to desperate things that seem inconceivable and/or unthinkable when not in that desperate state. Thus, I can’t blame the parents. I actually felt sorry for them. And in a way, I think BJ did as well – even though she was bound to get the confession.

That said, I wasn’t sorry that BJ didn’t treat the case as missing critical (the buzz phrase used by local police and FBI for when kids under 13-years-old go missing).

Yes, it irked Fritzy.

Yes, it bothered Pope - especially after Sergei turned up dead in the storm drain.

But seriously … call me extremely callous … or cold … but wasting time, energy and resources on a kid who probably will make serial killer his profession just doesn’t quite seem “critical” to me – I don’t care how old he is.

I was with BJ’s gut instinct on this one – especially since the kid ended up being dead before BJ and Co. even got the call.

The Curious and Clever

I liked the fact we hardly saw Sergei in this episode (except for a very brief glimpse when his body was discovered, and in the medical exam room). Rather, we heard about his horrors through the eyes of those around him. And somehow, I thought that made it even more disturbingly powerful.

The Personal

Sooooo, it would seem BJ and Fritzy are looking for a new house (OK we knew that), mapped out somewhere between the dresser, cell phone and shoes.

But we’ve got another dilemma: kids.

Clearly, Fritzy’s motivation for wanting to move to BFE (Bum Firk Egypt, otherwise known as Calabasas – which is nice, but way the heck outside of Los Angeles) is due to the house having extra room.

Read: in case the BJ and Fritzy clan adds a little one to the mix.

And I don’t mean another cat.

Not surprisingly, BJ is preferring a two-bedroom spot in the hills of LA.

Can we say ... not ready?

New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT. You can also watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Passion of the Kids on 'Grace'

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

What kind of scum o’ the earth father sets his son on fire, leaves him burning to death in a car – buckled into a seatbelt no less – then has the nerve to claim he still loves his son?

Not the way to sort out marriage issues.

Or custody issues.

Or any issues.

Was I the only one wanting to see Grace go to town on dad?

Or have Earl send him to Hell in a big flash of hellfire glory?

This week’s case was pretty intense. Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of it was the fact dad did indeed show up at the hospital and reiterated over and over how much he loved his son … WTF?!?!?! At least it was a clever ploy by Grace going undercover as “Dr. Hanadarko” to bait the father through the press and coax him out of … uh … hiding.

Gee, wonder why that might be.

Needless to say, I had no sympathy. And, I had no problem watching Grace throw him down the stairs upon taking him into custody.

When kids get involved, and they are hurt in any, way, shape or form, I think some of Grace’s best qualities come forward. I’ve mentioned this multiple times in how she interacts with her own nephew, Clay. But when kids are victims – especially in a crime as heinous as this – she clicks into a different gear both in how she soothes and handles the child, but also in how she commits to the case.

This is one display of her passion that I totally dig.

But aside from the case, Ham has lost it, hasn’t he?

Get the man some Valium.

Or a leave of absence.

The death of his brother has sent him completely over the edge, and it seems only a matter of episodes (namely, the next one) whereby something catastrophic is going to happen. Kenny Johnson already told us to expect Ham’s own fall from grace.

And what is up with Bobby disappearing into a serious deep undercover assignment?

As in, all contact is now cut off or else he could be killed?

Stay tuned.

** Programming note: Next week is the “summer” season finale of Saving Grace. TNT’s new series, Raising the Bar, is going to debut the following week (Labor Day) in Grace’s timeslot. Rest assured she’ll be back – especially given we’ll be left with a serious cliffhanger.

New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT. You can watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site. You can also visit to share your stories of how you embrace your inner-Grace.

'Bones' is Hot in Hollywood Ahead of Season Premiere

Bones stars Emily Deschanel and Eric Millegan took to the stage this past weekend at the 3rd annual Hot in Hollywood charity event. If the pair look a little more Sonny and Cher than Brennan and Zack, that's because their no-lab-coat-required performance was a homage to the famous singing duo. It was all for a good cause, though, as proceeds from the August 16th event went to charities providing AIDS prevention education and social services. When Emily wasn't doing her best Cher impression, she was glamming it up on the red carpet:

For more on the event, visit Hot in Hollywood's official site. For more on Emily's appearance, visit Emily Deschanel News.

Meanwhile, Emily and Eric's hit Fox drama Bones kicks off its fourth season two weeks from today on September 3rd with a special 2-hour episode shot on location in London. And TV Guide has some photos from the trip across the pond earlier this summer (click to enlarge):
(Scan courtesy killerweasel from bones_theseries)

For more on Bones' new season and more than 100 other shows, check out's comprehensive Fall TV Guide:

The A-to-Z List: Includes more than 100 shows, explaining where each show left off and revealing exclusive plot and casting details of what to expect in the new season.

Printable Calendar: Features all the September and October season premiere dates.

Day-by-Day Schedule: Details the timeslot match-ups: Which will you watch and which will you record?

Photo Galleries: Who are the new Brenda, Steve and Andrea? Find out in "90210: Then and Now." Who's taking over for The Hoff on Knight Rider? Meet him, and all the other fresh faces of the fall TV season. Discover the Gossip Girl "look" with our in-house fashionistas.

Video Q&As: Featuring the stars of your favorite shows.

One 'Psych'-e-Delic Trip

Anyone who has watched a little too much TV Land late at night and/or those ridiculously addictive Charlie's Angels reruns (Jaclyn Smith was sooo the best Angel -- hands down) knows that the 70s TV shows had a certain look. Something that made them unmistakably from the era of disco, cheesy car chases, and colorful nylon suites. And if you've ever found yourself partaking in the viewing of any of these super fly series, then you know that this week's outing of Psych was one badass mamajamma! But it wasn't just the lingo, costumes and uniquely 70s music that had me enjoying this throw-back episode. The hilarious folks behind-the-scenes went out of their way to make this outing look and feel like something straight out of the disco decade. The quick camera angles, the zooms, the car chase through the suburban neighborhood (set to a totally 70s underscore), and of course THAT car all contributed to the brilliance of this week's episode.

While Shawn and Gus and were busy getting the 70s experience (and having a few laughs at its expense), they were supposed to be solving the newly re-opened 30-year old case of a man who may or may not have been planning to blow up the Santa Barbara police department. To make matters worse, the original officer on the case was Henry Spencer. Because of his previous bungling involvement, he was banned from getting involved the second time. Shawn tried, he really did, but Henry being Henry and Shawn and Gus being Shawn and Gus led to a lot of Henry involvement on the DL (hence, those hilarious costumes and that super fly car). One of my favorite moments, however, came at the end when Shawn activated the bomb in order to force the bomb maker to come forward to deactivate it. How funny was Gus when he ran for the hills ala The Wizard of Oz's Cowardly Lion? These two crack me up whether they're digging for dinosaurs or decade tripping back to the 70s.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the awesomeness that was the creative forces' decision to change up the opening credits with a special extended version of the theme song. Loved it!

Psych airs Friday nights on USA Network. Catch up on this episode and others at

Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Matters

Add In Plain Sight to the list of shows that shouldn't deviate too far off its usual path and wander onto the family path. It's not that I wasn't glued to my screen with this whole will-they-or-won't-they-tie-Brandy-to-the-case drama, but rather, it was the overly melodramatic scenes involving feelings, tears, and the Shannon family past that bogged down this season finale. I just wasn't buying this "a family that cries and yells and shares their pent-up emotional issues together stays together" theme. And yes, I know it was all part of a gimmick to make us believe Mary's sudden change of heart when she decided to listen to Brandi's story and I did, but that was thanks to Raph's drunken late-night visit. It was his words that convinced Mary that she needed to be a big sister and help her troubled little sis (how could she not after learning that "Biscuit" was no longer available to play night guardsman or serve as official Flying Monkey slayer). I will admit that I did take some (short-lived) satisfaction in Mary's letters, but the other family feelings scenes threw off the pace and left the show feeling a little less like its usual self.

One of my favorite parts of this outing was the final scene at the baseball diamond. How awesome is Raph??!! Until they left us with that clever little "chalk" revelation, I had Marshall pegged as the drug dumper. Speaking of Marshall, he was awfully concerned about his partner and clearing her in all of this "family business." Hmm... does he or doesn't he? I guess that's a question for season 2. Is it wrong that I would have been totally fine if the jerky FBI agent had found the drugs in the mother's room? Or that I was rooting for this little imaginary scenario to happen? I know, I'm a bad person. But seriously, how much better would season 2 have been if it were motherless? You know I'm right.

In Plain Sight will return next summer on USA Network. If you missed this week's season finale ("A Fine Meth"), check it out for free at

Friday, August 15, 2008

As Easy as ABC

Sometimes, the long summer primetime break can be a little hard on our memories (especially with all of this great summer programing filling that space left vacant last May). Add in a midseason strike-induced break (which effectively cut several shows short) and you get a recipe for a head scratching September complete with tons of last minute cramming. Well, ABC feels your pain. So, they decided to do something about it and are gifting us with super-handy video recaps that get you caught up on everything you need to know before next month's premieres. Right now, you can get 4-minute wrap-ups on Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters over at More of your alphabet network favorites will follow. Now, if figuring out what's happening during an episode of Lost were this simple...

ABC kicks off its 2008 Primetime schedule on September 19th.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Countdown Continues

It's week 8 of our summer-long countdown of the Best Episodes of the Season and we're cracking the Top 15. Before we get to this week's entries, here's a look at the rules for this year's winners. LillyKat and I ended up with 36 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2007 and June 2008. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us 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, we 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 closer look at numbers 15-13.

15: "Boy Crazy" - Cold Case
I lament the state of Cold Case these days. I don't like the fact the show has slipped into a predictable formula, and Detective Lilly Rush is a shell of her former self. And yet, they can still deliver some serious gems of episodes when they put their minds to it. One of those was indeed "Boy Crazy." It’s not often I get really attached to the victim of the cases, but this one was just too good, too compelling, too heartbreaking and too poignant. Writer Joanna Lovinger created an amazing character in Sam, which gave us an unflinching look back at a time when non-conformity was punished in the cruelest and most insane ways. For me, the jaw-dropping moment of the episode came when the girls at the hospital were showing the truest effects of their ECT therapy, and Sam stood up against it ANYWAY even though she knew she would be next. Then when Dom finds her zombied out, yet still wanting to be set free … just a wowzer all the way around. It’s tough to look back at parts of our history when we know we just got it way wrong – whether as a society, or as individuals, or both in the treatment and/or standards of others at the time. Cold Case has, over the years, shown us on more than one occasion where people are able to persevere irregardless – but also pay the price for doing so. And the show is at its best when it does so. Written by Joanna Lovinger. Directed by Holly Dale. - LillyKat, PTR Senior Staff Writer

14: "Authority" - Law & Order: SVU
What happens when we don't question authority? This outstanding 200th episode of the best L&O franchise tackled this very question and came up with some compelling answers. I'm not one for stunt casting, but watching the impeccable Robin Williams manipulate, connive, and ultimately prove one hell of a point made me forget all that stunt casting lamenting I'm prone to doing with this sorts of shows. Of course, we shouldn't blindly follow the leader, but what happens when those in authority are there because they have more knowledge on the subject in question? Can we really blame Williams' distraught Merritt Rook character for listening to his wife's doctor? I can't, but the grieving husband and should-have-been father had no problem pointing the finger back at himself for taking the doctor's word for it and not questioning his decisions. And what about Elliot's decision to not do what Rook said as he saw Olivia "screaming" in pain? In the end, Elliot did what Rook could not and Rook proved his point. Unfortunately, it was all a case of too little, too late for his doomed wife, but more than enough to make this one powerful outing. Written by Amanda Green and Neal Baer and directed by David Platt.

13: "There's No We Anymore" - Damages
We follow up last week's Damages installment with the episode that aired immediately after the Ray suicide shocker, titled "There's No We Anymore." And really, there wasn't. This was the episode where the line in the sand finally gets drawn by none other than Ellen. As in, she's holding all the cards - especially Gregory Malina’s last gasped video taped confession that explains how Arthur Frobisher was in cahoots with the Securities and Exchange Commission investigator George Moore. This episode was also key in putting the finishing touches on past meeting present, explaining why Ellen has been sitting in the police station, beaten, battered bruised but in control. And although we had been lead to believe Ellen was just Patty Hewes' slave toy, it turns out the two of them were actually in cahoots together. When we flashback one last time to Ray's brains splattered all over Patty’s office, and Patty’s call to Ellen (before she calls the authorities) asking Ellen to help her: a) hide the file that shows Ray in cahoots with Gregory Malina and guilty of insider trading; and, b) swearing that no one can know that is why Ray was in Patty's office at zero-dark-hundred hours ... well, we knew we were in for one heck of a season finale, and that this show was unlike anything on television at the moment. Brilliant. Written by Daniel Zelman, Todd A. Kessler and Glenn Kessler. Directed by Mario Van Peebles. - LillyKat, PTR Senior Staff Writer

So, there's a look at the next set of episodes on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave us a comment with your thoughts. And be sure to tune in next Thursday as we reveal #12-10 on the list.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fools' Gold

When I was just knee high to a grasshopper (is this not the strangest expression ever?), I would run home from school, throw down my book bag and run back outside to frolic among the winding stone walls that danced around my family's New England yard. And while I was busy frolicking, I would pretend that I was Indihanna Jones (Indiana's long-lost, but equally gifted treasure hunting sister) and I would "search" (read: walk along the walls) for "treasure" (read: active imagination) and encounter insurmountable obstacles (read: bugs, snakes and toads that lived along the walls). I not only saw both National Treasure movies in the theater (which, it should be noted, are extra-awesome because they contain both history and treasure hunting), but I own the first and will be adding the second to my mounting Christmas list. I actually liked Fool's Gold! So, it stands to reason that I thought this week's episode of Psych was, in a word, AWESOME. It was also one of the funniest hours in the show's history (I still get laughing when I think about those Shawn/Gus/Henry interrogation scenes). To borrow from Scrubs' Dr. Elliot Reid, Holy Frick!! This episode is going to be tough to erase off of my DVR. Seriously, it was THAT good.

Shawn, his fake psychic ability, Gus and treasure hunting were made to go together, so this one had me at the promo. Shawn and Gus were like wide-eyed children at the mere mention of treasure hunting (not that I should talk), and I loved the way they blindly went along with the uncle's hairbrained plans. And then there was the Puma incident which led to the even funnier UGG incident ("I can't wear an UGG with a Puma!") and finally the second Puma incident. Gus and his anal retentiveness! There were too many HILARIOUS lines to recount, but I have to give special mention to this exchange:

Chief: "Mr. Spencer, let me be Frank..."
Shawn: "As long as I can be Dean and Gus can be Sammy."
Gus: "Why do I have to be Sammy?!"
Shawn: "Fine. He's Sammy. That makes you Joey Bishop. Is that what you really want? You want to be Joey Bishop??"
Jules: "Shawn!"
Shawn: "I'm sorry, Jules. How often does someone set you up with 'Let me be Frank'?"

And after Jules goes all bad cop on his ass, Shawn declares, "Oh my God, that was so hot." Add a hysterical accidental phone call to Foo's Palace, Shawn's insistence on getting a late-night burrito, and every other second of this episode and you get one of my favorite Psych outings EVER!! Plus in the end, everyone got what they should. The museum got the treasure (minus a small "finder's fee" for Shawn and Gus), the bad guys got a one-way ticket to the local jail, the uncle got conned, and Shawn got his burrito. Now, Gus can use some of that "finder's fee" to buy himself a new pair of Pumas and everyone will be happy.

Psych airs Friday nights on USA Network. Catch up on this episode (the awesomely named "The Greatest Adventure in the History of Basic Cable") and others at

PTR would like to congratulate Psych star James Roday for his recent ALMA nomination (Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series). The ALMA Awards celebrate the outstanding artistic achievements of Latinos in motion pictures, television and music. The all-star event will air FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 on ABC.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

'Grace' Wheels and Deals a Cold Case

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Let me just say there are a select few of us who name our cars.

I have no problem admitting I am one.

Call it the Christine syndrome.

Or a Herbie warm, fuzzy isn’t-my-car-cute kinda thing.

I don’t actually know how or why it starts.

It just does. And you are either genetically predisposed to: a) feel as if your car is more than a car – it’s a part of your family and, as such, deserves to be named, pampered and taken care of as if it were a person; or, b) feel as if your car is a bucket of bolts and could care less what happens to it.

I’m the former. I name my car (James, thank you).

And so does Grace.

That 1981 Porsche is Connie.

And Grace gets just as worked up about her as I do about James – especially when something bad happens.

Case in point: last night, Connie gets her door accidentally ripped off by a drunk driver, which reveals a load of $200K+ that had been stashed in the driver’s side door for a l-o-n-g time.

Like, multiple owners, before-Grace-ever-owned-her long time.

Enter Grace taking on a … wait for it … cold case. Now, can I just say she could’ve called Detective Lilly Rush in Philly and solved the case in half the time. But seeing as Lil’ doesn’t own a car, I highly doubt Rush would’ve given a care as to treating Connie – now a piece of evidence – with a whole lot of reverence.

Come to think of it, neither did Rhetta.

Grace’s panic attacks not withstanding. And her having to rent the "purple buggy" - Rhetta's very appropriate moniker for Grace's temporary Chrysler PT Cruiser.

It turns out a rich ol’ real estate developer ripped off a casino back in the day, sped home to Oklahoma and killed a highway patrol officer in the process.


Now, we know police departments do not take cop killings lightly. This was no exception. But justice came a couple of decades later than the OCPD would’ve preferred.

But the real important side story (aside from whether Connie would survive being put back together, or Mr. Oklahoma Sooner, Barry Switzer, making a guest appearance as himself as a previous owner of the Porsche) was Ham’s brother, who was serving time in Afghanistan, being killed in a raid gone bad.

As Kenny Johnson just recently told us, the next couple of episodes are going to be some emotionally challenging ones for Ham. And if this was any indication … wow, we better hold on to our hats and glasses.

Can we say … lose it?

With one brother now out of the picture, we were introduced to another: Nick, an art gallery owner (played nicely by John Conley, who Cold Case viewers will remember from the episode “Thrill Kill”).

He is none too fond of Grace

Read: thinks she's a w*ore.

And tells her so.

I already like this guy.

Yet another who doesn’t put up with Grace’s all-for-me routine. There’s no BS; he calls it as it is. Ironic he’s basically in agreement with Grace’s nephew, Clay, that Ham running around on his wife ain’t cool; and Ham being Grace’s boy toy isn’t cool, either.

And yet, we saw some serious flashes of the very deep connection Grace and Ham share, even if it is cluttered by unfaithful, selfish and adulterous reasons at the moment. When Grace gets shaken up on first learning about Ham’s bother’s disappearance, it was a surprise to me given it takes a helluva lot to crack the woman.

But Ham is a soft spot. As is Clay.

And how she deals with both continues to get interesting.

As does the show.

New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT. You can watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site. You can also visit to share your stories of how you embrace your inner-Grace.