Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The 'Deadliest' Catch Yet

Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

The sound of people drowning is something I cannot describe to you. No one can. It is an absolutely dreadful sound, and it is followed by a terrible silence." - Eva Hart, Titanic Survivor

This quote is something I cannot get out of my head today.

It has stuck with me since I first heard it years ago, watching a documentary on the Titanic tragedy. And every time I hear of death at sea - particularly tragedies in which there are survivors - I think of it again.

I also cannot quite get rid of the lump that seems permanently lodged in my throat after watching last night's episode of Deadliest Catch.

In truth, this was not an episode.

It was an experience.

A poignant, timeless, chilling, gripping, touching and memorable tribute to the F/V Katmai, who succumbed to the raging Bering Sea last October in the midst of a Typhoon that engulfed almost the entire fishing ground.

Four Katmai crewmen survived.

Seven did not.

As we listened to the survivors recount their tale of survival, it seems impossible they did survive. Their life raft flipped nearly 50 times as they rode out the night, thrashing about in 40-foot seas, 80-knot winds, and existing 17 hours in 40 degree waters that create instantly hypothermic conditions without a survival suit.

And pushes the envelope of being able to survive in one.

Perhaps most touching, though, was not only the haunting video footage the crew shot of themselves some time before they left port, joking that the job they do could cost them their lives, but the subsequent reflection of the surviving Katmai crew in asking the proverbial question: Why them and not me? Or, why me and not them?

It's a question every survivor of every tragedy asks him or herself.

And for which seems no easy answer.

It's the guilt of surviving.

We already know this is one of the deadliest jobs on earth.

We just don't often get to experience the loss of life alongside these guys.

Last night, we did.

And I, for one, will never forget it.

In loving memory of the F/V Katmai and crew members: Carlos Zabala, Robert Davis, Cedric Smith, Glenn Harper, Jake Gilman, Joshua Leonguerrero and Fuli Lemusu

New episodes of Deadliest Catch air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel. Visit the official Deadliest Catch Web site for the latest on the captains and crews of the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie, Time Bandit, Wizard, Early Dawn and North American and the new boat, Lisa Marie.

This is 'Fringe's' Spinal Tap


No more shrimp cocktail for me! You know why... because Walter was right: those splayed spinal columns were reminiscent of the (formally) yummy appetizer/cocktail party staple. But even worse, he had to go and point out that the vein in "de-vein" isn't a vein at all -- it's the shrimp's intestine! Yuck! As if I wasn't grossed out enough by the vein idea all these years. Moratorium on shrimp cocktail aside, I thought that this was another strong outing for Fringe. This show sure knows how to close (after a strong start, mediocre middle, and then a random incredibly long break that frakked up the momentum of the show), which has me salivating in anticipation of the final few episodes of the season. This week's episode put a new twist on the old vampire stories. Instead of sucking a victim's blood, this "monster" sucked the victim's spinal fluid. Apparently, she had a super form of syphilis. Recently, I was at the forensic anthropology exhibit at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. The exhibit contained several skulls and skeletons that had the marks of the disease and it explained how the illness, if left untreated, could damage the heart and brain among other vital organs. So, this genetically altered form of the disease was like the original on steroids!

"And just for the record, one mad scientist is my limit!" Ain't it the truth, Peter? Actually, there were a lot of commonalities between Walter and Nicolas Boone. Both are brilliant men with minds that have endless capacity for science and research. But both men were exploited (whether with their knowledge or not) by those who wanted to use their brilliance for harm instead of good. Walter's research (with Bell) has turned up more than once in incidents related to the pattern and Boone's expertise were used against his own wife. And then there's last week's revelation that Walter was involved in the testing on children in Jacksonville and one of those children was our very own Olivia (or Olive back then). Boone sacrificed everything (including his own life) for the person he loved the most. I wonder what price Walter will pay.

The big advertised secret was a HUGE letdown for me this week. I guess I assumed that Bell was behind all of this stuff from the beginning (like, before the horrendous momentum-shattering break). He's the only other person who shared Walter's research lab, so I figured it had to be him. So, no big shocker there. Otherwise, another excellent episode for a show that just keeps getting better.

BONUS: Check out season 2 scoop from co-creator J.J. Abrams and the cast at SCI FI Wire.

Fringe airs Tuesday nights on Fox. If you missed last night's episode, watch it for free at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Spy Who Loved 'Chuck'


A few weeks ago, I wrote about the unwritten rule that TV shows get better right as talks about a possible cancellation begin. At the time, I was referring to Cold Case (which seems to have done a 180 in recent weeks), but the same holds true for Chuck. Tonight's finale was proof positive that this charming little spy dramedy should not end with last night's episode. It even included those dreaded three words, "To Be Continued..." so it would be criminal for NBC not to renew this show. Like so many TV fans out there, I am so tired of losing my favorite shows to the ratings game. I've said goodbye to Joan of Arcadia, Everwood and Veronica Mars in recent seasons and I can tell you one thing, it never gets any easier. Let's hope that Chuck isn't destined to join that list this season. As awesome as those flashes were, imagine how kickass this new kung fu ability is going to be next season. We have to see Chuck kick some serious a$$ with his new and improved Intersect (now complete with super fighting power). Plus, I want to know if Brice Larken is really dead this time and whether or not Morgan becomes a Benihana chef.

Of course, all of this kung fu/Intersect talk means more spy work and more spy work means no more normal life for Chuck. I'm not so sure that the end of the spy game is that good of an idea for the son of Orion. I'm not suggesting that he has to go out and save the world everyday, but I could see Chuck working for the government in an analyst capacity as the General suggested. And then there's Sarah. She and Chuck are one of my favorite TV non-couple/couples, so I was so excited when she shook her head at Brice indicating that she wasn't going with him. She was leaving it all behind for Chuck and I was so happy. Now that Chuck has been re-acquainted with the Intersect (new & improved), that normal life between him and Sarah has to be put on hold once again. So, a mixed bag as far as Chuck's decision to play the hero goes.

RANDOM THOUGHTS... As soon as Ellie mentioned the beach wedding, I knew the fancy one was going down the toilet and yet, watching the nice stuff get destroyed kinda hurt. Chuck was sorta vocalizing what I was thinking during those scenes. Jeffster doing "Mr. Roboto" = AWESOME! I almost fell off my couch laughing when they broke out with that one. Am I the only one who's kinda sad that Roark is dead? I know, I know he's evil and horrible and completely psychotic, but I kinda liked the guy in an evil bad guy sorta way.

Save Chuck so he can save the world!

If you missed this week's episode ("Chuck Versus the Rings"), you can watch it for free at

Hallmark's Tribute Golden Girl Bea Arthur

Actress Bea ArthurBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Yes, Virginia, networks sometimes actually do what the fans want them to do.

And when that happens, they should be commended for it.

So, bravo Hallmark Channel for aptly responding to the large outpouring of support from Golden Girls fans who asked the network for an even more significant tribute to beloved actress Bea Arthur, who portrayed Dorothy Zbornak on the legendary sitcom and of whom passed away this weekend at the age of 86.

Hallmark was already Johnny-on-the-spot-on-it when they announced - shortly after news broke of the actress' death - they would run Dorothy-centric episodes all day Memorial Day in a tribute to Arthur.

But in response to overwhelming support for the classic comedy, which flooded the network’s viewer services department on Monday with appreciation for the channel’s Memorial Day tribute announcement, Hallmark expanded its tribute to Arthur by hand-selecting the “Best of the Dorothy Zbornak Episodes" and will begin airing them Tuesday, April 28 (7 p.m. - 9 p.m.), continuing Wednesday, April 29 (7 p.m. - 9 p.m.), Thursday, April 30 (7 p.m.-9 p.m.), and Sunday, May 3 (6 a.m.- 3 a.m.).

Nicely done fans.

Way to go Hallmark Channel.

R.I.P. Dorothy.

Thanks for the memories, Bea.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mary's New Sidekick

PHOTO: USA Network

You know, I'm surprised no one has tried the old amnesia act before on this show. And I wonder how often it's attempted in real life. It's an interesting tactic for trying to get out of testifying (of course in this episode, it had more to do with the witness's fear of social situations/public speaking and less to do with a fear for retaliation). I wasn't sure how Mary was going to get him on that witness stand testifying about his business partnership with the two goons on trial, but she sure pulled that one off! That "Bob" idea was brilliant! As the psychiatrist psychologist said, nobody is better at their job than Mary. Speaking of the psychologist, I love the way the show had her following Mary around -- watching her, taking notes, analyzing her. I can't think of anything that could possible drive her nuts more than having that woman tagging along. Too funny. It was effective, however; so effective that I began to wonder if the Philly PD ought to attach one to Lilly Rush's hip on Cold Case.

I swear, the mother goes from bad to worse. I'm starting to feel like we're the ones saddled with her right along with Mary. She's a train wreck. She causes nothing but undo stress and heartache for Mary who is simply trying to do right by her (and her dad). It's a tough situation, but I have the perfect cure-all for the writers: send her to rehab!! Think about it -- we (and Mary) would be rid of her for several episodes (possibly an entire season) and she would come back a better, more functional member of society, television and Mary's life. Think about how much better the show, Mary's life and our life would be! Simply put, the character is a drag on the show and I hope they find something to do with her -- STAT -- because the rest of the show is rockin' this season. How funny was that pissing contest between Mary's office and the FBI?!

In Plain Sight airs Sunday nights on USA Network. If you missed this week's episode, check it out for free at

The 'Cold' Hustle

Well, I suppose nothing lasts forever. But I kinda thought things were going to continue to stay on the right track with Lilly and her dad. I'm not sure why I thought this considering that I've been watching this show from the very beginning and if there is one thing you can count on with it -- it's that they'll drive a wedge right down the middle of any good relationship (I would give examples, but I'd be here listing them all day). And yet, I thought this one was different. I guess I thought the show had turned over a new leaf. I'm like the mouse that keeps going after the cheese and keeps getting shocked. I can't quite figure out why Lil is so PO'ed at her father for not telling his family that he has been meeting with her. It's not like she's an open book for crying out loud! Pot, meet kettle! I would say that I hope she comes to her senses and she and her dad reconnect and work through their issues, but I have been down this road before and it ends in Unresolved-ville while passing through LetsNotTalkThruThings-ville. I'd like to see her talk with her father and work through things together, but she's so consumed by her hurt and mounds of issues that she isn't able to see things clearly. I'm just so bummed to see this beautiful relationship go down the drain.

The case this week didn't do much to hold my interest. I'm not one for pool, so the episode lost me at the premise. There were too many names involved (especially when you add in the nicknames), so I was in the dark for most of it. Every now and then CC has one of these episodes where they include far too many names in an effort to keep the suspect pool full, but all it does is make the story difficult to follow. And then there was the (non) Kennedy link. His assassination had NOTHING to do with the murder and yet, the show threw it in to make the date significant. Just because a case takes place in the past doesn't meet that it has to tie-in with an event from that year.

As you can probably tell, this wasn't one of my favorites and without the Lilly story to save it this week, I'm going to have to put this one in the "L" column. So, CC misses for the first time this season and moves to 19-1-1. Screencap courtesy of LongIslandItalian2.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Masked 'Bones'


A girl could get used to this double-dose of Bones every week! Because, let's face it, one night with Booth and Bones just isn't enough. Here's a look at this episode's Good, Bad and Ugly.

There seemed to be a bit more emotional growth on the part of Brennan. She all but admitted that her lack of close, intimate relationships has to do with her fear of abandonment because everyone she has loved has left her. She asked Booth and Det. Nakamura (not to be confused with Hiro Nakamura) about losing someone they loved. For Booth, it was the hypothetical scenario of losing his son. Her question -- Is it worth it? Those of us who have loved know that it is, and I think that both Booth and Det. Nakamura were able to get Bones thinking about what she's missing out on by protecting herself from hurt. I don't expect her to connect better with others, but I do think that she may be starting to get the whole "someone to come home to" concept.

Although it made for some interestingly awkward scenes, I thought that the speculation about Dr. Tanaka's gender was a perfect pick for this week's "BAD" category. Until Angela raised the question, I hadn't thought that gender was up in the air. I (mistakenly) thought Dr. Tanaka was a female, but in my defense, the actress playing the role is female. Anyway, it doesn't matter. I thought that this subplot was weak and a little over the top.

Alright, you guys can probably guess this one, but it's definitely the pimp's decision to put Det. Nakamura's sister's mask-covered head on a bamboo pole in the roommate's apartment. Now, that is something you DO NOT want to come home to!

If you missed last night's episode ("The Girl in the Mask "), check it out for free at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Sobering 'Catch' Reminder

Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

I interrupt this blog entry to say I'm so far behind on LAST week's episodes of Harper's Island (and then there were 20 - Abbey is still good, though!) and Tracey Ullman's State of the Union (cult compound much?) that all I seem to be able to manage to do this week is get some homage going with my Deadliest Catch gang. And I'm glad I am - even if this post might seem a bit ... well, morbid. Apologies.

The final 15 minutes of last night's Deadliest Catch left me a bit speechless.


It's only the second episode of the season, and we already have our first ship sent to Davy Jones' Locker: the Katmai.

Worse, the Katmai crew is nowhere to be found given they were a) 900 frakin' miles out to sea when their distress signal was picked up - like, the outskirts of the fishing grounds where no OTHER crab boats are available to aid in a rescue; and, b) it took the US Coast Guard (USCG) 9+ hours to reach the scene - sailing/flying full speed ahead through a Typhoon in the dead of night.

This does not look good.

And I have to say (correct me if I'm wrong, Discovery Channel), I think last night's ep was actually the first one in which we got to see a deceased crewmen floating in the water AND the USCG retrieve the body into the rescue helicopter.

Can I just say ... goosebumps? speechless? creepy? scary? humbling?

I don't think I blinked.

Something about watching the Katmai crew member floating lifeless in the water whilst listening to the USCG crew guys go back/forth trying to determine if there even WAS a body IN the suit was just eerie. Then, seeing the USCG crew pull him into the helicopter whilst they go back/forth again trying to figure out where they OTHERS are given there is no sign of ship and only a empty life raft ... wow.

Perhaps it was Captain Keith who said it best: "There's somebody every year who doesn't make it back."

We were humbly reminded of that last night - this really IS one of the deadliest jobs on earth.

And the Bering Sea takes no mercy.

We'll have to wait until NEXT week to see if ANY of the Katmai crew manages to survive. I think not, but I will hold out hope.

New episodes of Deadliest Catch air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel. Visit the official Deadliest Catch Web site for the latest on the captains and crews of the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie, Time Bandit, Wizard, Early Dawn and North American and the new boat, Lisa Marie.

'Fringe' Dreams are Made of This

There's a lot about Olivia Dunham's childhood that we don't know. Actually, there's a lot about Olivia Dunham's childhood that she doesn't know! Like, an entire chunk of time where she was a research subject for a trial involving an experimental drug that seems to have a different effect on each participant. Take the gentleman from this week's episode, who coincidentally, happened to be Liv's partner or buddy while they shared time at this research facility. He became hyper-emotive, which essentially made his emotions extremely contageous to the point where his own suicidal thoughts became transferred to those in his general vicinity. I know I often liken this show to another Fox series that dealt with the paranormal -- The X-Files, but this week's outing reminded me of the dearly departed 4400. With each passing day, he became more and more hyper-emotive until he had an entire pack of people ready to jump off that rooftop with him. His ability grew out of control. There were some classic episodes of The 4400 that had similar stories.

As is typical with this show, the most shocking, revealing moment came at the end when Walter popped in a VHS tape that showed a young, blonde girl crouching in the corner of a institutional-like room. Adult male voices were discussing an incident involving the young girl. It sounded like some sort of attack committed against her. That young girl was Olivia and one of those adult male voices sounded an awful lot like Walter. But he said that he did not test on people! Not only did he, but one of those people was our very own Olivia. And now the two are working together on cases that fit "The Pattern." Oh boy! Walter better hope that Liv never remembers or never discovers the truth. Simply put (great use of this expression on this show, BTW), I feel friction coming on before the season ends.

Fringe airs Tuesday nights on Fox. If you missed last night's episode, watch it for free at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

'Bones' Gets Lost in Translation


I love me some funny Bones! And yet, I also love it when this show does a 180 and tackles a serious, emotional story line. This time, the show went comical to hilarious results. Here's a breakdown with this week's Good, Bad and Ugly.

The entire freakin' hour! Seriously, there is no "Bad" or "Ugly" this week. I LOVED this episode. It had me laughing out loud, laughing so hard I had tears running down my face ("we can't see him like this" "Like What?" "Hitler."), and laughing so hard I had to pause it several times. The whole thing had a Weekend at Bernie's feel to it with Booth and Bones stealing borrowing that body from the wake and then propping him up in the car to make him look alive for the ride back to the Jeffersonian. It was completely ridiculous, but that's what made it so darn funny. And then they managed to drag everyone else into it making the entire story even funnier. The funniest part of the episode, though, was a tie between Booth and Bones referring to murder with the key word "translation" (as in, it looks as though this guy was actually translated - HILARIOUS!) and Angela telling the family that they couldn't view the body because of a mortuary issue that had him looking like Hitler. So freakin' funny!

I would be remiss with the PTR readers if I did not discuss Brennan's continued cluelessness when it comes to issues related to the human condition. I'm kinda torn about this character flaw. On the one hand, I find it very unrealistic that she has no idea how to conduct herself at a wake and needs coaching just to relate to her fellow human beings. That's some serious emotional detachment issues! But on the other, I find that it leads to some really funny moments between her and Booth. Therefore, I'm not sure if I want the show to transform the character to a more human-like state. I suppose they could tone it down a bit, after all, it would be completely within the realm of plausibility that she would evolve as a character and that her continued interaction with Booth would be a strong catalyst and perpetual influence in the slow transformation. That could work for me. In the meantime, I guess I'll just continue to laugh and shake my head at the same time. I wonder if that's easier than patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time?

Don't forget to catch another episode of Bones on its regular night -- this Thursday on Fox. If you missed last night's episode ("The Double Death of the Dearly Departed"), check it out for free at

'Chuck' Lives to Die Another Day

Is it completely selfish that I felt a huge lump in my throat when Chuck became free of the Intersect? And why did this episode feel like the beginning of the end for this series? The entire final 10 minutes or so really felt like "dead show walking" and it kinda bummed. Of course, it is entirely possible that Chuck only thinks that he is free of the Intersect. Plus, we have one badass wedding crasher on his way to Ellie and Awesome's wedding ceremony in next week's season finale. If this season ends in a cliffhanger and NBC fails to renew the show (which seems likely since the net is losing an hour of primetime every night next season due to its new primetime Leno show), I'm going to scream! I have no patience for lack of closure. Let's keep our fingers crossed and our chins up and hope that this fun little show will be back to spy another day.

Anyway, I'd be lying if I said I didn't LOVE Sarah's new-found open feelings for Chuck. I never thought that she'd give in while they were still working together. I guess, technically, they were on a personal assignment being AWOL and all, but Chuck (at that point and possibly still) had the Intersect, so I'm counting it as working together. I'm not sure where they're going to go from here seeing how things are very complicated between them, especially since Sarah will be getting a new assignment. If I had it my way, they'd buy a nice place on the beach together and spend their days listening to the ocean waves, taking in the breeze, and watching the sun set over the ocean. BUT, I'm not holding my breath. And speaking of moving to the beach, did we just see the last of Morgan and Anna??!! Don't get me wrong, I was happy that Morgan stood up for himself and decided to follow his dream (to be a chef at Benihana), but I'm going to miss the little guy. With him gone, the shenanigans at the Buy More won't be as fun.

Be sure to tune in next Monday, April 27th on NBC for the season finale! If you missed this week's episode ("Chuck Versus the Colonel"), you can watch it for free at

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mary Becomes the River

PHOTO: USA Network

I'm a little thrown off by this show's early return. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have it back; I was just expecting it to return this summer as part of the "2nd Season." Plus, it has been soooo long since we left off that I was feeling a bit out of the loop. Luckily, USA was kind enough to include a "previously on..." before the premiere started. The show returned with a bang and I think it got the season off on the right foot (after I was feeling meh about the season finale). Admittedly, this case was complicated -- REALLY complicated (as in, I spent some time after it ended sorting through the entire convoluted story to figure out what happened) -- but, I liked the fact that the family's WITSEC status was secondary to the real narrative taking place. Lily died not from an imprisoned criminal's obsession with revenge, but because she took her own life after learning that she had and was developing the symptoms of Huntington's Disease. Her daughter turned off the gas and opened the window and effectively, erased the proof that her mother had committed suicide and threw herself and her siblings into the suspect pool. Meanwhile, poisoned gold coins left to the family almost cost them two more members. None of it had much to do with WITSEC, but it was very intriguing.

I don't know, call me crazy, but I kinda liked Nice Mary. I know it didn't feel right at first, but she started to grow on me just before she tossed that desk. I knew it couldn't last, though, and I spent the time until it ended waiting for the other PTSD shoe to drop. And boy did it ever! She needed to get it out. And now she needs to see the job-issued shrink to work through it. Something tells me that she's going to pull a Lilly Rush during her mandated sessions, but who knows? Maybe she'll surprise me. After all, who would have thought that she would have enjoyed watching Marshall play boss?

BONUS: Read LillyKat's post on series star Cristian de la Fuente from a recent conference call with the actor that she attended!

In Plain Sight airs Sunday nights on USA Network. If you missed this week's episode, check it out for free at

Friday, April 17, 2009

'In Plain Sight' w/ Cristián de la Fuente

Cristián de la Fuente of 'In Plain Sight'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

We often joke here at PTR we'd like to clone a couple of our favorite male characters from some of our favorite shows so that we could send at least one of them over to the perpetually unlucky on love Detective Lilly Rush (Cold Case) as proof there are decent guys left on the planet that COULD keep up with her and her issues.

Jon Tenney's Fritz Howard (The Closer) is one.

Dean Winter's Charley Dixon (the now canceled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) is another.

And we're now adding In Plain Sight's Cristián de la Fuente to that list given his portrayal of Raphael Ramirez is just so.darn.good.

If we thought keeping up with Lilly was tough, keeping up with U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon is a full-time job, which Raph manages to do unbelievably well - not to mention with the patience and understanding of a saint.

He really is that good AND that decent of a guy.

Just like the actor who portrays him.

PTR was recently invited on to a conference call with fellow bloggers to speak with Cristián in anticipation of the second season premiere of In Plain Sight, which airs this Sunday at 10 p.m. on USA Network.

On the challenges of his role as Raphael: "The first thing that challenged me was playing baseball. I was born and raised in Santiago, Chile where the biggest sport is soccer. We don't play baseball. Also, working with a great cast is always challenging because you have to really give 180%. But [it's] mainly [been] the baseball part. The rest at the beginning was scary, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to work with Lesley Ann Warren and Mary McCormack,' but then when I got to meet them [it became] the best part of the job, not the hardest."

On what he likes most about his character: "I think [Raphael] goes against all the stereotypes. He's not the typical Latin lover. He's not the typical Latino. Latinos are not [being] portrayed [on the show] as drug dealers but [as] people [who] have good hearts, [who] want the best for their family and their loved ones. I think that's the beauty about Raphael - he's really in love with Mary, and he's a nice guy. I think he's going to always do the right thing and it's great to play [that] kind of role nowadays."

Cristián de la Fuente of 'In Plain Sight'On where he draws inspiration to portray Raphael: "I try to draw the inspiration [from] the way I would like to be. I think, 'How would I like to be if I was the perfect guy?' And the perfect version of me is Raphael."

On what is in store for the Raphael character this season: "There are big surprises. Let me see, how can I say it without ruining it? There's going to be a change in my career. I can say that. I'm going to get closer to changing my marital status."

On Mary and Raphael's relationship and whether Raphael will run out of patience with Mary's indecision on things: "Mary, that character, is very hard to deal with. Raph would like to marry her and have a family, but it's tough. Mary is hard to get, and she's a little bit afraid of commitment. In the ideal world, which doesn't exist - not even in fiction - Raphael would like to marry her and have children and be happy. He's going to try to do everything in his power [to make that happen], and hopefully Mary's going to try to do something, too."

On who he would want most to guest star guest on the show: "I would love to have Al Pacino, but I don't think he would [do] our show. I'm going to apply to see if I can serve him coffee on the set of his movie. Maybe that will work ... but I can guarantee that there will be some big names guest starring [this season]. We're doing 16 episodes, and more than half [have] big name [guest stars]. So, be prepared."

On his ultimate dream role: "I've always wanted to do like a modern version of I Love Lucy. What would happen today if a guy like Raphael married an American? How would they live and all the issues that they have to deal with? I think that would be a nice role to play."

On the advice he would give someone wanting to get into the acting business: "I would give them two [pieces of advice]. As a friend of mine says, life is too short and then you die. So, you have to do everything that you want even if people tell you that you're crazy, that [it's] not for you, that it's hard - all the bad things that they can tell you - you just have to do it. The second [piece of] advice is, you need a lot of patience. A lot of times, doors are going to be closed, people are going to say 'No,' and you just have to keep believing in [yourself], believing your dream, and just keep going because one day you're going to make it. Maybe you're not going to make it huge, maybe you're not going to be the star of a big action movie, maybe you're going to do a play in a theatre, maybe you're going to do a local TV show, maybe you're going to do a national TV show ... [whatever it is] you're going to do it, and [the] satisfaction of having a dream and really being able to accomplish it [is] priceless"

On why people are drawn to continuing to watch the show: "I don't think there's a lot of female driven shows. In this case, In Plain Sight follows [both] the life and work of Mary McCormack's character, Mary [Shannon]. We have a lot of cop [and] law shows - Law and Order or all the CSI's - but they all investigate one crime, one suspect and/or they have one [crime] story. I think what's very unique about [our] show [is that] Mary has to protect the witness every week, but she also has a personal life. She has to deal with her mother, her sister, her boyfriend. So, there's a lot of the personal life of Mary that we see, and I think that's unique. That really makes a difference in the show."

And you know how much we love the personal here at PTR.

We extend our great thanks to Cristián for taking the time to chat about all-things Raphael. And yes, we really DO want to clone him. We also thank our friends at New Media Strategies. The second season of In Plain Sight premieres Sunday, April 19th at 10 p.m. on USA Network. To catch up on all-things Witness Protection, head on over to the show's official Web site.

'Bones' Brings Back an Old Friend


OMG, Gordon Gordon was back last night! As if it wasn't already awesome enough that we had a bonus episode of Bones this week. And just in case you weren't suffering from an awesome overload, the episode (courtesy of Gordon Gordon) posed a question that we can all ponder and discuss for months to come. Here's a breakdown of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Gordon Gordon, Gordon Gordon, Gordon Gordon!!!! As much as I love Sweets (and we all know I do), it was so good to have our favorite British shrink back. Even better, he and Sweets worked together and their interaction allowed Sweets to work through a bit of his childhood issues. And even better, this led to Brennan and then Booth revealing something painful from their own childhood. Gordon Gordon can work some serious magic! He also posed an intriguing question that we can all discuss and disagree on for months to come when he told Sweets that within the relationship between Booth and Bones, one of them is aware of the attraction between them but struggles everyday with it while the other is unaware. The easy answer is that Booth is aware and Bones is unaware. After all, he's the one who's in touch with his feelings and she is in touch with her science. But, I'm going out on a limb and reversing it. I think the fact that Booth is in touch with his feelings means that he wouldn't struggle with them while Bones would because she's afraid to open up and let others in. The scene at the end where Sweets finally figured it out didn't do too much to help out, but there were a few lingering looks from Brennan and Booth. Hmm...

The icky obsession with death within the metal community in this episode. One band stole the body of the murdered band member from another and then hung it up on stage. Meanwhile, everyone was trying to claim credit. Back on stage, the bands and their members were attempting all sorts of tricks to fake their deaths or prove that they were "hardcore." It was definitely an eye-opening look at a subculture. And who would have thought that Sweets was once a part of it?

Booth revealing that if it hadn't been for his grandfather, he would have killed himself as a teen. Wow -- that's some ugly darkness and angst. And he just put it out there without allowing for any follow up discussion. I think Bones was pretty shocked as well.

If you missed last night's episode ("Mayhem on a Cross"), check it out for free at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pressed 'Bones'

You guys know I love me some Sweets, especially when he's combined with Booth and Bones. As you can imagine, I LOVED their interaction this week. Here's a closer look a the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Pretty much anything having to do with Sweets as well as Booth and Bones's disagreement on whether or not to tell him about what they saw at the bridal store. Of course Booth and Bones being, well, Booth and Bones, they automatically assumed Daisy was engaged and cheating on her "fiance" with Sweets. Keeping with the whole "assuming makes an 'a$$' out of 'u' and 'me'" theme, they were wrong (as I figured -- notice I did not "assume") and Daisy was merely shopping for a dress for her cousin since she was out of town during the sale. Luckily for Sweets, Daisy is the forgiving kind who thinks that her boyfriend's jealousy is a term of endearment so no real harm was done. But, it did make for some great scenes between Booth and Bones and between Booth, Bones and Sweets. That scene at the Founding Fathers restaurant was worth tuning in for alone! Runner-up in this category -- Bones recognizing that her views on love and relationships are practical and scientific, but they aren't necessarily the path to happiness.

This is going to sound completely out of character for me and completely out of the spirit of the show, but I'm going to have to go with the series' repeated use of the "you two would make a great couple" theme. Sure, it's amusing that everyone can see it except Booth and Bones, but the point has been driven home a bit too much that it's beginning to feel like overkill. There were two, count them, two of these moments in this week's episode. The first one, with the plastic surgeon asking if he needed to be there while they worked out their "relationship issues," was hilarious. I LOVED it. The second one, with the bridal shop lady, was just too, how should I say this?, anvil-ous for me. Perhaps the writers are trying to lay some groundwork in these final episodes, but it's just feeling a bit heavy-handed to me.

The manner of death. First, she was deliberately mowed over and then, she was deliberately driven over and crushed so severely she had tire track-pattern bruising. That's some serious hate! Or in this case, hurt. Runner up in this category -- the victim. She was engaged and yet, she was still actively participating in the "Date or Hate" dating service. She was pretty vile.

If you missed last night's episode ("The Cinderella in the Cardboard"), check it out for free at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Cold Case' Lands on Base

Sometimes it's difficult for us as Americans to understand why so many from other countries are willing to risk their lives, leave their families, and/or face horrendous retribution back home just to come to our country. We're so fortunate here because we don't understand. This week's episode of Cold Case made things a bit clearer as we saw things through the eyes of one of those people trying to come to this land and bring his family over. I don't know what it's like to live under a dictator, but I can imagine the sense of joy and relief Gonzalo must have felt when he made it safely to this country after a strenuous trip in a home-made raft across the Atlantic. He had come so far, accomplished so much only to be killed on the streets of Philly by his disturbed Cuban cousin. In a bit of poetic injustice, it was Gonzalo's journey to America that served as the catalyst for his death.

This episode was co-written by series star Danny Pino (himself, an American of Cuban descent), and I felt a lot of personal touches from the actor and his family's experiences throughout the outing. It was interesting to see his character Scotty seem so detached from his roots at first and then embracing his own Cuban ancestry at the end (the personal photo and the unopened champaign bottle in the fridge). Scotty's reaction to the case was in direct contrast to Pino's since the actor centered an episode around his roots. The personal touches in this one stood out and gave it some heart. In fact, they were my favorite part of the episode. I hope Pino tries his hand at writing again.

There was a lot of build-up to that softball game between the police department and the fire department, but unfortunately, there was little payoff. Just a few quick shots during the closing montage. I enjoyed the quips between Vera and everyone else throughout the episode, but I would have enjoyed a scene or two of the gang taking on the fire department (outside of the confines of the closing moments which feature no dialog). Knowing Vera, it would have been priceless.

This one falls squarely in the "liked it" category, so CC moves to 19-0-1 on the season. Screencaps courtesy of RichE.

'Deadliest Catch' - So Good You're Back, Guys

Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Happy Tax Day.

Happy 97th Anniversary of Titanic.

Happy return of Deadliest Catch.

(Okay, technically our boys returned to Discovery Channel LAST night, but the Titanic reference DOES count seeing as the ship struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on the 14th and sank at 2:20 a.m. on the 15th. Um, yeah ... you already were warned about the Titanic history buff side of me).

My biggest question for this season got answered last night: Captain Phil STILL isn't healthy enough to go fishin'.

Can this man ever catch a break?!?!??!?!

Pinch Hitting on the Cornelia Marie ... Again: So, my fave relief captain Murray resumes his pinch hit role on the CM given Captain Phil's blood clot issue still isn't resolved. Basically, if he goes to sea, he might die - with or without the Bering Sea's help. I felt for Phil as he watched his boat sail off without him for the first time in 33 years. But, as I said last year, Murray makes it seem like 50-60 foot seas and 30-35 knot winds are no big deal. He is just so calm all the time not to mention he has the deep respect of the crew. I don't think Captain Phil could ask for a better pinch hitter.

Did he just ...?: Captain Keith (The Wizard) dives IN to the Bering Sea to check the underside of the ship's hull for some stray Zinc metal that is snagging the crab pot rope lines only to banged in the head by the sudden roll of the ship. Holy Frak, folks. Skull fracture much?

Lightning Strikes Twice: We know I love the Cornelia Marie. BUT, the Time Bandit runs a close second, and I do have a soft spot for bros Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand. So, I can't be all that upset they scored the first big catch of the season - in the same spot as LAST season.

Can I Get Some Coffee with that Head of Herring?: I did take some devilish pleasure in Captain Sig (The Northwestern) having drawn the shortest straw, and thus, received the dubious traditional honor of biting the head off a herring fish to ring in the new crab season. Ewwwwwwwww!

Bueller? Bueller?: So where's the new boat, the Lisa Marie? Guess she'll become along later? (Okay by me, since having two "Maries" in the lineup seems ... weird. It's all about the CORNELIA Marie, thank you very much).

New episodes of Deadliest Catch air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel. Visit the official Deadliest Catch Web site for the latest on the captains and crews of the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie, Time Bandit, Wizard, Early Dawn and North American and the new boat, Lisa Marie.

Creature Feature

I talked before about the way this show manages to take something that seems completely ridiculous and turn it into something that seems completely possible. In fact, this crafty ability is what makes Fringe rock. Take this week's episode about a creature created in a lab from the pieces of other creatures. Basically, scientists were able to successfully create a new species by using the DNA of several existing species. Sounds crazy, right? I totally thought so until Walter presented his research, addressed all of the difficulties that one would have to overcome in order to accomplish such a feat, and then pointed out that if the scientist built on his research from 20 years ago, he/she would be able to create a hybrid creature (in theory anyway). And then toward the end, we learned that the "monster" contained bat DNA, and suddenly, the whole thing was made even more credible. Apparently, bats have an unique immune system that would allow them to fight off the effects of different DNA coming together (much like the way the body will reject an organ transplant unless the recipient takes specific drugs to stop the process). Now, I have no doubt that the show (like any show) takes a lot of creative license in order to craft its stories, but I have to give them mad props for taking the impossible, making it possible, and then giving good enough explanations to the audience to make it all plausible. Bravo, Fringe.

I didn't think that they would kill off Charlie (and I knew this wasn't the end of the road for Walter), but there were a few times when I wasn't sure how they were going to save the FBI agent. When the poison seemed to do more bad than good, I wondered what Walter and co. were going to do next. And then he came up with the risky blood remedy, which ultimately, saved Charlie's life while ending the life of the creature, I held my breath. I guess you could say it was a "win-win" for the Fringe crew. BTW, loved the Big Bird joke at the beginning. Classic Walter!

Fringe airs Tuesday nights on Fox. If you missed last night's episode, watch it for free at Photo courtesy Fox.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Leaving in a State of 'Grace'

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

I sure do like it when everything comes full circle.

Especially for show I gave up on LAST season.

If I recall correctly, I did my best Detective Lilly Rush impression and closed the case of Saving Grace - swore it wouldn't be re-opened, thought I had wasted my time on a show that really seemed to be more about pushing the envelope than in giving us much substance to go along WITH that envelope.

But last June, when I visited the set, the passion of the entire cast and crew forced me to take a second look at the series.

I'm still glad I did.

Yes, I had my gripes this season - which were about the same as they were last season: stop the endless downward spiral of Grace; give us something to care about in her character; separate her away from that co-dependent mess of a relationship she has with Ham Dewey; force her to grow up, be accountable and act like an adult; give some of the other characters a chance to shine.

When the show DID do all of this, it really worked for me. And with last night's second season finale, I think it was the best the show has had on offer.

Grace owned up to not only having been awarded a last chance Angel, but also in accepting her responsibility that comes along with that gift. She faced down her fear and demons - SOME of them, anyway - and was forced to understand her role in the larger circle of life.

That is, it really is NOT all about Grace Hanadarko.

We didn't get the happy ending with Leon Cooley earning a stay of a execution (which was the stronger play story-wise), but we did get some serious soul searching on the part of Grace that brought her face to face with Leon in the end.

And of which allowed her to make some peace not only with Leon, but within herself.

We didn't get the holier-than-thou lecture from Angel Earl (not that he ever really does that), but instead, more of the equal partnership between her and Grace as to the turn of event(s) that have brought them both to this point in time.

It was a page out of Touched By An Angel in that the angels on that show didn't always know the whole "plan" ahead of time. Sometimes, they had to learn it on the job. Or at the last minute. Or all of a sudden. And they had to identify with their human assignment in the same uncertain, uncomfortable kind of way, only being able to offer reassurance there IS a big plan.

Trust in it.

This is the second time in as many episodes that I can make a TBAA comparison. And THAT is a good thing for this viewer (since Grace generally likes to be anything BUT TBAA).

And we also saw the leveling of the playing field between Earl and Grace, which has been progressing nicely for most of this season. That is, they have become friends, gotten to know each other, have come to almost understand one another. And in the end, when Grace really needed Earl, he was there for her though perhaps not with the all-knowing answers that she had expected.

Which forced Grace to own up to it all by herself.

And I have to say, I am proud of her for doing so. I'm happy with where the writers have left her to start the third season. She turned a huge corner in this finale.

Is it temporary? Will she go back to her old ways? Probably. But I'd like to think it may be tempered somewhat, that there may be an even heavier conscience weighing on her now given the loss of Leon - and her role IN that loss.

Don't quite know how I feel about Ham having finally divorced Darlene FOR Grace. Line of the night goes to Darlene:

Darlene: "Does she love you?"
Ham: "I don't know."
Darlene: "Then what are you doing?"

Good question.

My own personal Idaho request is not to see any more of Ham's obsession over Grace or vice versa. Both characters are far more interesting to me when they are apart. They actually have to talk, not boink the heck out of each other. And in that, they mature a bit.

Obviously, it's not up to me, and I don't know what the writers have in store for the third season. But if this finale left us with anything, it would be a sense that Grace DOES actually seem to be worth saving.

Can't say I felt that way at the end of the first season.

How's that for full circle?

New episodes of Saving Grace return this summer. If you missed any of the second season, 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.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tracey's New 'State'

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Has it really been almost a year since we've seen Tracey Ullman's State of the Union sketch comedy series? Is that possible?

Perhaps there should be a law that much comedic genius shouldn't be allowed to be away THAT long.

Thankfully, she's back for season two, which premiered Sunday night on Showtime. Is it bad I started laughing BEFORE the show even started as I was remembering the sketches from LAST season?!?

How I've missed my favorites: Blogs and Kisses Arianna Huffington; TSA Agent Chanel; Bollywood Pharmacist Padma Perkesh; Horror-Fear-Terror-Horror News Anchor Campbell Brown.

Newbies: Former First Lady Barbara Bush organizing a presidential garage sale; the woman stuck in her toy box of a car called the Mint Body Trap Hybrid with OnStar; Celine Dion Reporting from the 9th Ward in New Orleans; flight attendants charging $5 for emergencies - and they don't carry change.

And that was only the first episode.

New episodes of Tracey Ullman's State of the Union air Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Even if you don't get Showtime, you can catch up on all the goods over at the show's official Web site.

'Chronicles' Terminates it Second Season

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Goodbye, good luck, and thanks for the memories, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles.

Can't say it hasn't been fun.

Can't say part of me doesn't wish for you to be back for a third season.

But all good things must come to an end, and it's taken me a couple of days to process how I really feel about the second season finale of T:SCC - knowing it really feels more like the "series" finale.

Let it be said I am, if nothing else, happy how it all went down: Catherine Weaver ending up being a good machine, rescuing John into the future. John Henry off with Cameron's chip. Sarah back to being a fugitive. Ellison having a DOH! moment of all moments. The machines trying to now kill John AND take out Weaver's establishment given they're on the same side.

And even if I still do think last week's episode was the best of the season (alongside "Allison From Palmdale"), I'm relieved to see the T:SCC folks go out with a bang, not a whimper.

And this, I think, is all a show can hope to do when its future fate is so uncertain - no pun intended.

We really don't want it to get cute, try and do too much or pull a WTF moment from The Sopranos. We want a sense of closure, a bit of unpredictability, a bit of knowing there's still something left on the table that we'll always wish we knew more about. But mostly, we want to feel the show gave it their best shot as they went off into that good night so that if it really IS the last we see of them, we'll remember them well.

That said, this IS a tough thing for a show to accomplish. Some do it brilliantly, others not so much. I think T:SCC succeeded, and my only gripe is that we could've perhaps cut to the last 10-15 minutes of the finale and gotten the gist.

But it IS those last 10-15 minutes that will linger, and they will remind us how much potential is still left with the premise of the series.

We learned so much about what was really going on with Catherine Weaver (or the Shirleymeister, as we had affectionately been referring to her here at PTR given Shirley Manson was superb throughout this season). I loved the fact she ended up being a good machine, sent back to help build and study a computer infrastructure that will aid in understanding what will end up becoming the enemy of mankind, thus, potentially being of help to John Conner. This was a fantastic twist. And yet, I can't help feel had they not waited until the end to spring this on us - perhaps explored this angle of the plot more actively than the Tangents Formerly Known As Jesse and Reilly - maybe a third season would seem more certain.

We saw Cameron in her last moments of devotion to John AND her last moments as being a machine. Enough.Said.

But perhaps most poignantly, we saw the "rescue" of young John to the future so that he is reunited with Derek, his father and Cameron - rather, Allison - at what would seem to be the beginnings of the war against the machines whilst Sarah remains behind to try and continue to fight to stop the start of Skynet.

These last string of episodes reminded so many of us why we watch, and what we loved most about the show from the get-go. And the finale did give us a strong sense of finishing it in the same humdinger way that it started.

In the end, it really was another beginning.

Which is what finales do best.

If you missed the second season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, isit the Official Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Web site to catch up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shattered 'Bones'

I love it when Bones is "Booth and Bonesy-er!" These two brought their A-game this week, so this episode was an instant winner for me. Here's a closer look at the outing with this week's edition of the good, bad and ugly.

Pretty much the entire darn hour. Highlights, though, include: the canon experiment, the turkey drop, Booth and Bones locked in that death trap of a chamber, Bones trying to clarify her statement about Booth's intelligence, and this newly-formed partnership between Hodgins and Mr. Nigel Murray. The undercurrent to the entire Booth/Bones relationship is that they are two very different people. This was a huge theme in this week's episode. She's all about the science and he's all about the instincts. She trusts what she knows and he trusts what he feels. But what they both fail to realize is, they compliment each other perfectly. Bones summed this up at the end without realizing it when she pointed out that Booth knows how to use intelligence. What a loaded line! And what a great moment in an episode filled with them.

I loved this episode, but I do have one nit-picky thing: the opening. Here's how I imagine the writers' meeting goes when the team sits around to write the next episode. They come up with some sort of case, figure out whodunit, hash out a few key scenes and then they toss around ideas for the opening "body found" scene. This is the part of the meeting where nothing is too ridiculous or over-the-top. And just when it seems that the "body found" scene couldn't get more ridiculous, they produce the scene that we saw in this episode. A model in a vacant lot hamming it up for a photographer that's too crazy even for Top Model and suddenly, an ear ruins the entire shoot. Don't get me wrong, I like the craziness that is these opening sequences (they're sort of a Bones trademark), but this one was a bit too much even for me. Also, I like Angela's dad, but him hounding Hodgins seemed a little out of place this week. He's about 6 months too late and it was his daughter who called it off.

I'm not even going to pretend that the two garbage bags containing what was left of an esteemed scientist didn't win this category this week. Just yuck. As Cam said, even as a pathologist, she was disgusted.

If you missed last night's episode ("The Science in the Physicist"), check it out for free at

'Harper's Island' Let's the Good Times (and Heads) Roll

'Harper's Island' on CBSBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Two down.

23 to go.

This is going to be awfully fun, folks.

Just as I had fan girl glee and was thrilled when Fox decided to bring us Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles in a weekly TV Series (a continuation of the Terminator: Judgment Day film, one of my all-time faves), the horror/thriller fan girl in me is game to play along with CBS' Harper's Island, which premiered last night and lived up to my expectations.

Which may or may not be saying much.

But after an awful lot whole lot of hullabaloo, it was great to finally get to see the darn thing. I can say that I did have flashes of Friday the 13th (thanks for the heads-up Jon Turteltaub). I even thought about The Shinning given how creepy little Madison seems to be. Cripes, she's channeling Danny, Tony AND the twins. Room 237 anyone?

Now, 20+ years of horror movie viewing has conditioned me NOT to fall for the Horror 101 Spook Shots that were abundantly on display in the pilot - the sudden appearance of someone behind you (cue pounce music!); the creepy steadicam long shot through the trees watching the girl traverse the dark parking lot alone (cue look over the shoulder and worry for moment!).

That said, I get a kick out of the horror-esque look and feel of this series. As Jon Turteltaub explained to us, it really is more like a film than a television series. It's big. it's bold. It's Vancouver. It reminds me of some of those great sequences from the early seasons of The X-Files

Now, I know it also IS a murder mystery. And so as not to scare off people who are averse to the whole horror genre, heads aren't flying constantly nor are chainsaws buzzing in the background.

But people are hanging from trees.

Being tied to the propellers of boats.

And being hacked in half.

Can't say you weren't warned.

And yet, that is what I find awfully cool about the premise. In a mostly unknown cast, you're instantly drawn to trying to figure out what comes next or who you want to have survive.

Or not.

Let it be said right now I'm routing for Elaine Cassidy's Abby Mills.


Abby is one of the 25 (er, 23, now) who has returned to the island to attend her friend's wedding after seven years away. And seven years doesn't seem quite long enough to forget the memories of her mum, who fell victim to John Wakefield's murderous rampage that also killed six other people.

Since Elaine's casting is one of those good ol' only-happens-in-Hollywood stories whereby she put her self on a tape in Ireland, sent it in for consideration and wowed everyone in the room ... well, I'm prone to give her the nickname Ireland for luck.

'Cause I definitely want her to make it through all 13 weeks.

But there are so many characters to keep track of that it's fun: The soon to be newlyweds. The best buds. The past lovers. The wanna be newlyweds. As for Harry Hamlin's creepy Uncle Marty ... um, yeah ... all's well that ends well. Didn't expect to have him exit center bridge in the first ep.

And yes, dialogue is a bit cornball at times, but that's to be expected when one is in the horror/thriller genre.

Does it entertain? Yes.

Does it intrigue? Yes.

Is the story interesting? Yes.

Does it keep me guessing? Yes.

Do I like the characters? Yes.

Do I want more? Yes.

Will I be bored? No.

That, for me, is good television.

New episodes of Harper's Island air Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS. The series will run 13 weeks. Play along online at to see if you can figure out who is next to get the axe. And be sure to check out the social networking companion series Harper's Globe to satisfy even more your Harper's addiction.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

On 'Island' Time with Jon Turteltaub

Producer and Director Jon TurteltaubBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

I am a horror fan (plain and simple).

I am a thriller fan (equally plain and simple).

I am a murder mystery fan (you get the idea).

So what happens when a network decides to air a show that puts all three of these things together in one 13-week series?

Not ever done before television.

Or rather, perhaps we should say, yet to be done regularly on television.

But this Thursday, that will change when CBS (yes, CBS - the network of steady-eddy procedurals and formulas) debuts its intriguing murder mystery/thriller (and okay, yes, we can say horror) series, Harper's Island.

"That [horror/thriller] dilemma you brought up is, I think, the painful dilemma the network is going through," says executive producer Jon Turteltaub, with whom we recently had a chance to speak. "It’s one of the problems you have when you’re trying to sell something – how do you phrase it in a way that attracts people but also doesn’t push them away. What ends up happening is you try to make the commercials appeal to everyone, and then it waters it down and you have no idea what it is. This show is an old-fashioned murder mystery, but what’s new-fashioned about it is that you don’t get see this on TV a lot. Normally, in a whodunit, you’re trying to figure out who’s doing the murdering. But the excitement [with our show] really is that you don’t know who’s getting bumped off. That’s where this really has its extra edge."

In case you're not in the know, the mystery, intrigue, secrecy and conspiracies surrounding Harper's Island seem almost of X-Files-esque proportions.

As CBS has summed it up on their Web site:
The show is about a group of family and friends who travel to a secluded island off the coast of Seattle for a destination wedding. The island is famous for a streak of unsolved murders from seven years ago. As the wedding festivities begin, friendships are tested and secrets exposed as a murderer claims victims, one by one, transforming the wedding week of fun and celebration into a terrifying struggle for survival. In every episode, someone is killed and every person is a suspect, from the wedding party to the island locals. By the end of the 13 episodes, all questions will be answered, the killer will be revealed and only a few will survive.

'Harper's Island' on CBSShot almost entirely on location on Bowen Island off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and looking cinematically more like a movie than a television show given its huge locations and locales, CBS sent certain journalists a full nine episodes to preview while others received only the first premiere episode all the while employing Fort Knox type restrictions to ensure NOTHING about the series is revealed (and if it is, you're going to be tar and feathered in the town square). For the record, we here at PTR received NO preview screener of any kind, so it's safe to say we know nothing about the series that we would be able to give away.

Still, we have remained intrigued and impressed by the promos, not to mention the buzz that seems to be following the series from every corner of the the television blogosphere. We had already intended to bring the series into the PTR summer line-up, so we didn't want to pass up the opportunity to join in on a conference call to speak with Jon about the show and his involvement in bringing it to CBS.

Jon is known to most television addicts as the executive producer of the wonderful albeit short-lived CBS series Jericho. To film folk, he has helmed the fantastically entertaining National Treasure franchise of films and is currently shooting another Jerry Bruckheimer production in New York City, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, starring National Treasure alum Nicolas Cage.

For starters, the 13 weeks given to Harper's Island is not because the network doesn't know whether it wants to pick up the series for a full 22 weeks.

That 13 weeks IS the series.

'Harper's Island' on CBSAnd Jon says that is as deliberate as the mystery in the series itself.

"The short series is really something HBO has had success with," says Jon. "They discovered that you can hold the attention of people with 10 weeks in a very powerful way; it’s harder over 22 weeks. So, it was really CBS' choice to make Harper’s Island a 13-week show. And in 13 weeks, you can ask an audience to put a night aside and focus on [the show] in a [much] better way."

And focus on this show is intense.

It's mysterious. It's spooky. It's a thriller. It's horror.

When I specifically asked Jon to tell me what appealed to him most about working on the project, it was indeed the fact that a series such as this had not really ever been done before on television.

Says Jon: "That was part of the attraction – the not-ever-seen-before part. You always want to do something new and interesting. On the TV-producer side, it just seemed shocking that it was a new idea because it seemed like such an obvious idea. But, I don’t think the climate and the business atmosphere was right for this kind of show until networks were at the point where they were really looking to experiment with formats and break out of traditional episodic shows. From a director’s standpoint, the notion of doing something more thriller/horror based was really the biggest appeal to me because I hadn’t done that."

And that thriller/horror angle has proven to be an interesting sell even though CBS has shown a willingness to venture into more edgy waters. We remember the network showcased America's favorite serial killer (Dexter) during last year's writers strike shortened season. That was the first time a premium cable show ever received a run on a major network - and it still wasn't a show for the light at heart even WITH the edits.

"Even as the number one network, CBS knows that the world is changing," explains Jon. They know that viewership is changing. And I think, with this show, they said, ‘Alright, let’s do something different. Let’s sort of experiment with the audience a little bit.' They were always really supportive and excited about the show, and pushing to really let us do what we wanted to do."

Harper's Globe by CBS and EQALAlong those lines, CBS had a desire from the get-go to have the Internet and TV work together in a cross-promotional push for the series, particularly with the likes of its social networking show, Harper's Globe.

"Because of how CBS has done it, which is not as an after-thought, we’ve all been very involved with each other," says Jon. "The character on Harper’s Globe appears in the TV series itself, and we worked really closely with the guys at EQAL as they were putting Harper’s Globe together. CBS, from the beginning, wanted to incorporate all of these elements and not just sort of throw the Internet at the TV series. They really wanted to work the two together."

Seeing as PTR was left off island with regards to screening the series, I asked Jon specifically what he'd say to those viewers who know little to nothing about the series in advance. Plainly, why should they watch and what are they going to get out of it?

Says Jon: "Surprises every week. You’re not going to ever be bored. You will have something where you get sucked into the characters and the drama, but the horror/thriller format means that anything can happen at any time. Usually, shows are kept within really small parameters. And, oddly enough, that’s the appeal of a lot of television. You know you’re going to get 30 minutes of Law and 30 minutes of Order every single week, and that’s why you watch. Here, you can’t quite tell what’s going to happen. You don’t know which characters are going to make it or which characters are going to be kicked out. And that’s the excitement of it."

And since questions always seem to come in threes, when I specifically asked Jon what three words he would use to describe the series on the whole, they came as ... well, no surprise.

'Harper's Island' on CBSSays Jon: "Surprising because you don’t know who the killer or killers is/are; you don’t know who the victims will be each week. Exciting – and I mean that in the broader sense – because there’s a lot of action, but also on a relationship level, there’s lots going on with affairs, surprising trists and things like that; you also have these huge locations, and big beautiful locales you don’t normally get on a regular hour drama. It's much more like a movie than it is a TV series. And lastly, addictive because the feedback I've gotten from every single person I’ve shown it to is that they want to know what happens next.

"All that being said," Jon continues, "the only thing that ever works on TV is if you have good characters and good stories. We knew we had to make a good show where if nobody died and nobody was killing anybody, we’d still want to watch. That was the main objective when we were sitting there writing is how do you write good stories regardless of the murder mystery."

Being the horror fan girl that I am, I was surprised to learn on the call that the infamous Jason Voorhees from the original Friday the 13th horror film franchise served as a strong influence to Jon for the series. Definitely not a bad thing considering the recent 2009 remake reaped box office gold.

"Believe it or not, I thought a lot about Friday the 13th - the ones from my generation, not the ones from this generation – in that it was one of the first [films] to get into this format where you realize you have to keep coming up with interesting ways of killing, but also putting characters into the interesting situations that would make them vulnerable to the killing," says Jon. "But, I also thought about the old shows like Ten Little Indians, and the psychological game that was going on. That was the other thing that really influenced us. Like, in Friday the 13th, it’s not a mystery who’s doing the killing – it’s the giant immortal person in the hockey mask. In our show, you needed to know it could be one of the people sitting next to you at dinner, and that added an extra layer of mystery to it."

And how about the ending?

Not that he could speak too much about it, but suffice it to say people will have a sense of conclusion to series when it ends its run in July.

"So much conversation went into the ending before we even started," says Jon. "I think the networks have gotten very sensitive to any of their serialized shows ending prematurely – and the backlash they get from audiences – that they’re aware they need a good ending. One of the things CBS did brilliantly in their advertising is that they not only gave you the premiere date, but they also gave you the conclusion date. Getting the ending big, right, exciting, not out of left field, completely believable and something that you can almost look forward to was very important to us. The show does have a great ending, it has a surprising ending and it has a longer ending than people might think. But believe me, it doesn’t end with no ending."

So no pulling a 'What the ...?' moment à la The Sopranos.

Good, 'cause that only needs to happen once in a television generation lifetime.

Our great thanks to Jon for taking time out of his filming schedule to talk all things Harper's Island. Special thanks to our friends at WKT PR. Tune into for the series premiere of Harper's Island Thursday, April 9th at 10 p.m. on CBS. For more about the series, visit the official Harper's Island Web site.

'Fringe' Artwork

Let the nightmares begin! Nope, there's not going to be much sleeping for the next few nights after that haunting and creepy scene at the beginning of this week's episode of Fringe (which marked the return of the series after a way-too-long Idol-induced hiatus). That poor, everything-deprived child. Of course, his discovery wasn't the most intriguing part of this story -- no, that was left to the question about his origin. How did a child (or possibly someone much older -- Walter isn't sure) end up in a sealed-off tunnel under the city? And how did he survive on little to no food or water, little oxygen, no sunlight, and no contact with the outside world? Apparently, he isn't the only one to pull off this feat either. The social services/CIA agent placed a call saying that they had "found another one," so it seems there are other everything-deprived boys who have popped up. There was a very intriguing possible link at the end of the hour when we saw the boy react to The Observer. He saw him standing on the sidewalk from the backseat of the car. Was The Observer one of these everything-deprived boys at one time? Or did the boy just make an emotional connection to him after passing by him briefly? I suppose this week's episode was not designed to be one of the open and shut stories we've had as of late.

It was really good to have this show back (finally!). So good, in fact, I was able to overlook the fact that American Idol ran 9 frickin' minutes!!!! over, thus pushing Fringe to a 9:09 start time and 10:09 stop by, thus rendering my DVR null and void for the last 9 minutes of the episode. I was so psyched when it suddenly STOPPED PLAYING THE EPISODE and I had to frantically flip the DVR back over to network, which caused me to miss a bit of the episode (I rarely watch a show right when it starts because I loathe commercials. I wait 15 minutes and then watch so I can fast forward through the ads and still finish the ep on time). Ugh!!! OK, so the fact that the show was back wasn't enough for me to forget about Idol's ridiculous inability to time out a show correctly. For the love of Simon, Paula, Randy and the random new judge -- the show has been on for a gazillion seasons! Can you not learn how to time out a live performance show already??!! Rant over. Let's hope they get it together in time for next week's outing because it looks AWESOME!

Fringe airs Tuesday nights on Fox. If you missed this week's episode, watch it for free at Photo courtesy Fox.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

'Grace' Goes for Broke - In a Good Way

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Well, that was even quicker.

I can't quite say that if you blinked, you would've missed Kathy Baker's guest appearance on Saving Grace ('cause she was in two episodes, and her role was significant). But, I do feel kind of as if we saw both she and Christina Ricci fly through the show like they were in the 10 items or less line.

Make that three episodes or less.


Such good actresses. So little time.

That said, I have to give the Saving Grace folks credit for having the Maggie character turn out to be a bit of a schemer - and arguably the worst kind of schemer (not that there are any GOOD kinds). Someone who blows into town to prey on the victims of tragedy, like 9/11 or the Oklahoma City Bombing. But mostly, what I really enjoyed about both the Baker and Ricci characters is they brought out the best in Grace - the older, wiser, more mature, protective and focused Grace as opposed to ... well, you know.

This is why I'll miss them.

I just find this show so much more interesting when Grace is forced to act like an adult. Yes, she's still pretty ballsy. Yes, she's still a spitfire. Yes, she tends to always lean toward her wild-child side. But it CAN be kept in check, it CAN be put aside, and she CAN actually seem worthy of the last chance Angel that has yet to abandon her in the whole of her wild child.

In fact, they've almost become friends - each learning a bit more about each other this season. I have enjoyed even seeing THAT relationship mature.

Hmmm, key word here is mature, yes?

And I haven't talked much of late about Laura San Giacomo, but can I just get a high-five on Rhetta once again? Seriously, she does remain one of my most favorite characters in this series for an umpteen number of reasons I've already stated (she holds Grace accountable, believes in Earl, is all about the greater good, is fun to watch). But I confess I really loved her this week opposite Leon Cooley, reading his last meal request. She hardly said anything, yet there was something so poignant and powerful in the single tear running down her face.

Speaking of Leon ... so it all comes down to the finale next week, eh? He has failed to be granted clemency, yet if we are to believe the previews, Grace is going to have some sort of last word on THAT.

And I'm actually looking forward to it.

Maybe, just maybe, she'll finally learn the lesson that seems to have been set in motion since way back in season one.

I find myself hoping she will Or at least end the season on a strong note for growth NEXT season.

Roma Downey as Monica on 'Touched By An Angel'; Leon Rippy as Earl on 'Saving Grace'And now for a Touched By An Angel segue ... (since I have YET to do this in the whole of two seasons).

Previously on the television angel landscape, there was an angel named Monica who visited us Sunday nights on CBS. Love her / not love her / don't care / didn't pay attention, Monica was THE angel on TV for a decade.

Now last night, Leon asks Angel Earl if he's ever been in the whole death row inmate situation. And Earl, much to my surprise, says no.

Score one for Monica.

She DID have a death row assignment that she had to see carried out. And no one came in granting clemency - Governor or otherwise.

Death Row Inmate Assignments: Miss Wings 1, Angel Earl 0.

On that fact alone, Monica outranks Earl.

Then again, I might be a wee bit biased. (No, really?)

The spring season finale of Saving Grace airs next Monday 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.

'Chuck's' Father The Hero

Before I can proceed with this week's discussion of Chuck, I MUST give huge props to Scooter McGavin of Scooter McGavin's 9th Green for making this dead-on prediction on March 24th in the comments section here at PTR:
Not only do I think Orion is not dead, I started getting the feeling that Orion may turn out to be Chuck's dad during this episode as they seemed to disappear from society around the same time.

Nice call, Scooter.

I'll admit it -- while I was intrigued by the idea, I didn't think it could be possible. Not only is it possible, as we learned this week, it's true! Paint me shocked! Further more, any suspicion that I may have had going into the ep was completely erased as we got to know the older Bartowski better. And even though this Intersect connect seems incredibly improbable, I like it -- A LOT! There are tons of fun opportunities for future story lines and it gives Chuck someone to confide in other than his "handlers." Someone who gets it better than they do. There's a slight hitch in all of this, though, Orion is a bit indisposed at the moment. Minutes after learning that his father is the allusive Orion, Chuck had to watch as Roark and his Fulcrum buddies took him away at gun point. Seems they need the creator of the Intersect to help out with Intersect 2.0. This can NOT be good!

Speaking of things NOT being good, Ellie and Awesome are still dealing with the ramifications of last week's bachelor party. I'll admit that when we first saw the duo this week, I was scratching my head because everything seemed just peachy between them. I was beginning to think that this episode aired out of order when we finally had a reference to the infamous evening at the Buy More. Note to Devon... do not, I repeat DO NOT (perhaps, all caps and bolding will make this point crystal clear) bring up the bachelor party ever again. Not as a joke. Not as a "funny little memory." Not as anything. We know you did nothing wrong, but unfortunately, there are some pictures that say otherwise and since you can't remember (I know, not your fault), just zip it on the subject. And while we're on the subject of zipping it, I felt bad for Chuck because I know he wanted to be able to tell Ellie that their father didn't run off on them then or now. Just add it to the ever-growing pile of secrets Chuck has to keep from those he loves the most.

If you missed this week's episode ("Chuck Versus the Dream Job"), you can watch it for free at