Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PTR Exclusive: Roma Downey's Sweet 'Dance' of Life

Roma Downey Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Come Dance at My Wedding'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Nine years.

212 episodes.

A show called Touched By An Angel.

An angel named Monica.

This is Roma Downey’s television legacy.

One that almost seems incomparable in this day and age when what is left of scripted characters and dramas tend to dissolve into formulas and mediocrity by their third seasons – if they make it that far.

I consider myself one of the lucky viewers.

I grew up with Roma as my angel on television every Sunday night for nearly a decade, when television could still inspire us to want to be better people. I missed a couple episodes here and there, but when Les Moonves sent TBAA off into the good night in the spring of 2003, I stopped at nothing to watch the series finale. It still ranks as one of the best I’ve ever seen: a perfect balance of happy sadness as everything wrapped up, and Monica drove off into the sunset with a complete set of life lessons learned.

But this, of course, was back before the television blogosphere had exploded into what it is today, and before wee ol’ me ever fathomed one could actually write about TBAA on a weekly basis. Alas, part of me wishes I still could.

So what is the next best thing?

Welcoming Roma back to our television screens after nearly a five-year hiatus (or perhaps we should say semi-retirement) as she stars in the upcoming Hallmark Original Movie, Come Dance at My Wedding, premiering Saturday June 6th at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on Hallmark Channel.

The film, which also stars John Schneider and Brooke Nevin, is about a young bride-to-be who's father that she never knew shows up alive and well, holding the deed to her family's dance studio that she wants to sell so that she can pursue her dream of becoming a therapist. When it turns out dad isn't in all that big of a hurry to turn over the deed, or leave town, she turns to her attorney, Laura (played by Roma), for help.

“When this project found me, it really was just the sweetness of the story that tempted me because I’m just at that time in my life when I’m really enjoying being a mum, being around and being available [to my family],” says Roma.

And that, as it turns out, is exactly how one talks to a retired angel these days: on a recent late afternoon, after she’s just completed the second of her twice daily runs transporting her daughter and two stepsons to/from school – which is a 40 minute drive in each direction.

Roma Downey Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Come Dance at My Wedding'Call it one heck of a carpool schlep.

“I’ve become Queen of the Carpool,” she says quite proudly. “We joke that I’ve listened to so many books on tape because I have 40 minutes of company, and then 40 minutes of no company. Of course, then you double that because I have to go back and get them.”

As Roma tells me this, I think perhaps she should earn points in some sort of frequent driver program. She’d be in the Million Mile club in no time. And yet, for Roma, this is all part of that precious routine centering on being home and available for her family after the long haul commitment she made to Touched By An Angel.

“I made a choice, really, to have a life. There was a concept, right?” she says with a laugh. “Having come off almost a decade of being involved with Touched By An Angel, even though the rewards were great and I loved working on the show – loved being a part of that material, being part of that message – by the time we ended, I really was burnt out. It was a lot of TV hours. I decided rather than just keep jumping into what’s next, I realized how fortunate I was – how fortunate I am. And when the show ended, it was a time of big change for me. I think there’s always opportunity at those moments in your life to reevaluate where you are. And so rather than just continue to climb without really giving thought to where I was going, I thought, ‘What’s important?’ The rewards had been great for that decade, but the price had been high, too, in that I really felt I didn’t have much of a personal life. I just thought there’s got to be more.

“I didn’t want my tombstone to read, ‘Here Lies Roma: She Wishes She Had Spent More Time At Work,’ y’know?” she says with another laugh. “So, it really was about accepting and being grateful for the knowledge that I didn’t have to work – a tremendous freedom. A fantastic luxury – filled with gratitude. So, I really didn’t take a step back because that suggests backwards movement, but I actually feel that I took a big step forward because I made a real pro-active choice for myself, my happiness, my growth, my life and my soul-searching. I moved into the light of my own life. When you create space for yourself, it’s amazing what you can manifest. All sorts of wonderful personal opportunities arrive.”

Roma Downey Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Come Dance at My Wedding'Cue soft warm angel glow light.


For anyone wondering whether Roma really is this beautifully articulate, wonderfully insightful and incredibly inspiring in discussing life as she was in portraying the angel character of Monica, she is.

And yet, she does confess that being tempted by the sweetness of the Come Dance at My Wedding script made her wonder whether shelving the carpool crown for a couple of weeks would wreak havoc on her family’s schedule.

“I don’t know if you remember that game Ker Plunk?”

“Yes, I do,” I say.

“I was concerned that to leave town for any length of time would be the final straw, and all the marbles would come crashing down!” she says laughing. “But there was a moment, when I was laughing to myself as I was flying to Vancouver [where the movie was filmed] going, ‘Thank God, I’m going to work - I get a break!’ But this script just touched me. I thought it was a lovely story. I loved the fact that I could be involved in something but not overwhelmed, or not so involved to the exclusion of everything else. The most important thing for me [these days] is that I retain balance and harmony in my life.”

Part of that balance and harmony has involved a return to school. She’s currently finishing up the first year of a two-year Masters program at the University of Santa Monica (yes, irony in the name there), which will ultimately qualify her to be … wait for it … a therapist.

Roma Downey Delivers the Commencement Speech to Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management on April 18, 2009For real.

Now, it seems to me she already has nine years experience in that realm. Nonetheless, we could – at this time next year – be calling her Dr. Roma.

(And not in the honorary doctorate of law sense, which she also just recently received from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.)

Says Roma: “It’s really the most beautiful course imaginable – soul centered education. And, ultimately, one would I guess be qualified to be a therapist, but we’ll see how or in what way I might apply it professionally. But certainly, even just a year into it, I find the teachings so applicable as a parent – in relationship to anyone, really – how to listen better, how to be more present in your own life. And, I’ve always been interested in the study of human behavior – of why we do what we do. I guess, to some extent, it’s the work of the actor to analyze character and to figure out motivation and so on. So, it’s sort of an extremely deep version of character study.”

And though she spends a lot of time these days focused on her studies (in between carpool runs, of course), she’s also returned to her first love: painting. It is, for Roma, still essential to find creative outlets even if they aren’t along the acting lines.

“I’ve always been a big believer that if you’re a creative person, it can manifest itself in many areas,” says Roma. “When I left high school, I went to art school. I thought I was going to be a painter. And, at that time, I read something – I’ll paraphrase it here – that Van Gogh had written to his brother about being frustrated about his artwork; that it was no longer enough for him to be the painter, he wanted to be the paint. And I remembered thinking I didn’t want to be a painter, I wanted to be an actor. And it sort of seemed like that would be the paint. Now, I‘ve kind of moved into this time of my life where I think I might want to be the painter again. And while I’m doing painting, I’m actually also doing writing, which is kind of like the canvas, y’know? So, there are different means of artistic expression coming from the same root – the same essence of me – to express myself.”

Roma Downey Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Come Dance at My Wedding'But let it be said right now that her acting skills are nowhere near rusty. She still fires on all those magical Roma-esque cylinders in the film, and when I ask whether the protective mother in Laura is what she could identify with the most in the character, she agrees.

“That’s it – you’ve absolutely got that right. She wasn’t exactly sure of what John Schneider’s character [Tanner] motives were, and in the absence of the mother – who was her best friend who had passed away – she’d really moved into a very maternal role [for Brooke Nevin’s character of Cyd] because of her legal experience and her maternal feelings to protect and make sure the girl’s best interests were taken care of. So, particularly, the first ¾ of that arc for me to have to be a little tougher [was different]. I probably wrote the book on empathetic characters,” she says laughing once again. “We used to joke on Touched By An Angel that I was a professional sigher because every script – every act – would end with: ‘CLOSE ON MONICA. SHE SIGHS.’ I really have perfected the sigh.”

“So, that’ll go on the tombstone, then? 'Roma Downey – Professional Sigher',” I ask jokingly.

“Yeah, yeah!” she laughs. “But [in identifying with the character] it was the mom factor. Hey, it’s what I do.”


And what she also now knows how to do is line dance, thanks in no small part to the focus of the film’s story centering around a dance studio that was the heartbeat of a small town – and served to connect everyone to each other.

Roma Downey Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Come Dance at My Wedding'“The dance studio,” says Roma “became a metaphor for the heart – that it brought out the best in people, where everybody felt safe. In that feeling safe – in that loving space – everybody grew and became connected. So, if I felt moved by the script, it was in that which connects us, and the little dance studio became sort of the glue. And so, then, the fight to save the studio was really as much about saving that which joins us together as opposed to the metaphor of something new coming in and breaking us apart. So, [the film really is about] community, connection, oneness – and that love is the glue. I think the whole dancing thing, too, gives it a great energy. I learned how to line dance. I had never tried that before, and it was great fun. I think you could speak to anybody who participated, and it was hard not to laugh while doing it. I’m very proud and pleased to be part of the movie.

“Also, as a parent,” Roma continues, “I really love – and always have loved – to be in things that I’m comfortable to sit down and watch together as a family, and to not feel in any way compromised as a family because of content and so on. I don’t want to have to have my finger hovering over the channel changer just in case. So, this [film] is completely family appropriate. That’s something I always like to do.”

It’s at this point in the conversation I ask her what she feels is the ongoing legacy of Touched By An Angel - particularly in the context of viewers who may only be just discovering the show through the wonders of reruns and syndication.

Roma Downey and the cast of 'Touched By An Angel'“I think that the reminder of spirit – and spirit presence in our lives – was central [to the show],” says Roma. “And it ties back into what we were discussing earlier, which is that feeling of connectedness. I think the show touched that in people. I think it reminded people that God is ever present, and we always have a choice to make. And, it reminded us to reach for the higher road. There was always that beautiful moment in each episode where as the angel, I would be right there at the crossroads. Usually, the drama was set up each week that the person being helped was at some crises or other and had a choice to make. And, I think one of the healthiest aspects of the show was that I didn’t make the choice for them – I just showed them the better option. The choice was always up to the individual, in such as it is, too, in our own lives. We had so many letters from teachers, and parents and people in positions of influence where they would usually stop the episode at that point and ask for feedback from their classrooms – you know, what should the person do, what will the person do. Our writers were always so good at pulling from very pertinent, current situations in people’s lives of all the things that we all deal with all the time within family and death, adolescence, addiction and so on. And so there’s always a very relatable – and timeless – kind of quality to it.

“We were beamed all around the earth in many languages,” Roma continues, “and it’s a universal response by people who were touched by it. It really moved them – it, like, entered their heartspace. I think that will just resonate. And while you could tune in in another decade and the clothing may start to look outdated,” she laughs, “those themes will never get outdated because they’re still very human experiences, and they just keep surfacing from generation to generation. We’re all on the same journey, and we’re all just figuring it out. God is ever present, and those choices to be the best we can be are always there for each of us to make. And because I am a person of faith, it was such an enormous privilege for me to be the messenger.”

After hearing this, it’s hard not to feel as if I’ve been listening to Monica.

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett at the 7th Annual Geffen GalaIronic, then, that a few weeks later, when I had the opportunity to speak with her husband, Mark Burnett, he confirmed for me this very fact as we joked Roma’s commencement speech for the Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management seemed like one of those beautiful closing monologues from a Touched By an Angel episode – to which he had to follow with his own speech.

“She’s a tough act to follow – imagine following Roma? It’s hard because I’m much more rough around the edges," Mark says with a laugh. "But you know what the thing is? She is Monica. It’s like living with Monica. Roma sets this really high standard in our house – with the kids, the charity, the service. And she truly believes in the value of the heart and soul. That’s just very Roma.”

And that, one might say, is her legacy.

All on her own.


Roma’s PTR Quicktakes …

I’m most comfortable when I’m … with my family.

The best part of my day is when … I wake up.

Last book I read/listened to was … Eckhart Tolle’s The New Earth

The oldest thing in my closet is … and I keep it because … my Ugg Boots because they’re so comfortable.

The best piece of advice ever given to me was … and he or she said … my father said no matter where you go in the world, it’s the same moon in the sky.

The last time I laughed so hard I cried was when … we had a monk to dinner, and he sang the grace. My kids thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever heard.

I’m most inspired when I’m … in meditation.

At this point in my life, I feel my greatest accomplishment is … my happy family.

After 9 years of Touched By An Angel the most important thing Monica taught me was … to listen with your heart.

If it came down to sailing the seas with Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner or an un-cursed Davy Jones, I’d sail the seas with … I get sea sick.


I want to extend a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious helping of thanks to Roma for squeezing me in between carpool runs and making herself so available to chat. It was truly a wonderful pleasure. PTR also extends our sincerest thanks to our fantastic friends at Hallmark Publicity. You can catch Roma in Come Dance at My Wedding Saturday, June 6th at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central). Check out for the entire scoop on the film.

And if you are missing Roma these days, or if one movie won’t be enough, you can try these remedies: keep an eye out for Touched By An Angel re-runs on Hallmark Channel; visit Roma's official Web site and join her official Facebook page (both run by the lovely Ms. Anna K, long time Webmaster of Roma's official site); subscribe to the Derry Air Blog – Roma’s own monthly contribution to; make sure you keep up with Roma's charitable work with Operation Smile and; and watch us here at PTR as we go retro this summer and review selected episodes of two of our faves - Touched By An Angel (done by yours truly - gee, you knew that, right?) and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (tackled by editor-in-chief TVFan).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

'Catch' Closes Out King Crab Season

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

Another King Crab season is in the books.

And, wow, was it a long haul.

Not to mention a tragic one.

As the crews now prepare to take on the wrath of the Bering Sea in the dead of winter for the Opilio season, the loss of the F/V Katmai still lingers. As such, I remain grateful at the midpoint to have seen our Catch Crews return to Dutch Harbor safely.

I See Dead Crab, But ...: What to say about my beloved Cornelia Marie. Seriously, half a tank of dead loss? Bummer. And yet, I'm confused. Or completely duped by the editing of the episodes. How can the CM's season have been portrayed as so "embattled" when she ended up taking in $2.6 million in crab (about $54K per deckhand) - THE MOST of the ENTIRE Catch FLEET? Episode after episode of pensive, concerned relief Captain Murray Gamrath pulling up moderate-to-half-empty pots turned out to be .... uh, kind of misleading.

Has Anyone Seen the Wind Up Toy?: What in the world happened to Lisa Marie? Did she run out of batteries or something? No final crab count. No final word of where she ended up. Weird. But, I will confess this whole deal with adding her to the fleet seemed half-arsed anyway - she wasn't around for the first part of the season, and what we did see of her was hardly impressive. Thus, cutting her out of the finale was an edit I could live with ... but I do wonder if she'll show up for Opilio.

Is that the Coast Guard?: The Northwestern's fireworks celebration upon retrieving their final pot was a good one. But, I have to agree with the guys (and thus, ignore Captain Sig's paranoia): if the United States Coast Guard can't tell the difference between fireworks and an emergency flare, we're in trouble. And how Sig can keep the guys away for 50-some-odd hours continues to amaze me.

Going with SPF 30: Can I just say the Time Bandit brothers Marlin fishing, drinking and living life in San Carlos, Mexico whilst the rest of the fleet slaves away trying to hopefully-almost-barely make their quotas ... ouch. But in a good way. I wonder how much stick they'll take for seeming to glide right on through this King Crab season - and will the Bering Sea be so kind to them with Opilios? Hmmmm.

Welcome Aboard!: So, remember the greenhorn on the Wizard - the one who decide to put his girlfriend's picture up in the bait area and took an insane amount of flak for it? Turns out he buckled down, stepped up to the plate and is the best - yes, the best - greenhorn to come through the ranks in a while. He got the job - and sometimes, you actually do get a second chance to make a first impression.

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. You can also catch up with Deadliests Catch folks on Twitter: fvnw_erin / CaptPhilHarris / northwesternpat / NorthwesternPR / captjohnathan / northwesternsig / DeadliestCatch (which is actually the Cornelia Marie) / DiscoveryChPR.

Monday, May 25, 2009

PTR Exclusive: Taking a 'Safe' Chance with Nancy Travis

Nancy Travis Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Safe Harbor'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Question: How many of us can say we’ve acted on a whimsical chance that is still going on 25 years later?

My guess is not many.

Yet, that is exactly what Robbie and Doug Smith did when they founded the Safe Harbor Boys Home 25 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida.

And that is exactly what Nancy Travis found most inspiring when she took on the role of Robbie in the upcoming Hallmark Original Movie, Safe Harbor.

“For me, that whole element of chance – taking a chance, being available to whatever fate brings you – is the most powerful element of this movie. And, what appealed to me most about the story was the notion of somebody who has their life pretty much charted out, was prepared to take the next step, and fate threw something in their path that completely changed their direction and made them realize unfulfilled wishes. That was all an appealing process to me,” says Nancy.

The movie, which premieres Saturday, May 30th at 9 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel, is based on the true story of real-life married couple Robbie and Doug Smith, who shelved their retirement plans to sail around the world together, and instead founded a unique, residential, educational program for at risk teen-aged boys aboard their boat on the Saint Johns River. The Safe Harbor Boys Home is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

"I think, too, what was also interesting about it," says Nancy, "is that in this day and age - especially if you’re somewhat of celebrity - there’s an onus to find a charity with which to associate yourself. And, I think in general today, it’s what can you do for the world. But often, those decisions come to you without you looking for them. I liked that this was a gradual process for the Smiths in that they took in a boy as a favor to somebody else, and it blossomed into their journey. So sometimes, even though we’re searching for the place to put our name, it’s [actually] right there in front of us. What Robbie and Doug did, ultimately, [was] a huge contribution. But sometimes, there are things that we do that are small that are equally as helpful."

Nancy Travis Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Safe Harbor'So, as a mother of two, what did she identify with the most in Robbie - a woman who didn't have any children? Ironically enough, it was actually the mothering quality in Robbie that the Safe Harbor boys seemed to be able to bring out of her.

“I’m a mother, and I can’t really imagine my life without my children now that I’ve had them,” says Nancy. “But Robbie is a woman who chose not to have children – mostly because she couldn’t get pregnant, and as a couple, they decided to just not have kids. It was this unfulfilled desire for her. And yet, it was an interesting notion that these delinquent boys come to her, and she is able to fulfill that dream [of being a mother] even though they are not her own children. So, there was a very mothering quality about her. I connected with that."

The process of making the movie, however, proved to be one in which Nancy isn’t entirely used to considering her day job is one that most of us would envy – no matter the profession.

Start at 10 a.m.

Done at 3 p.m.

Sweet, yes?

This, of course, is the benefit of being on a sitcom, which has always had the reputation for having one of the cushiest filming schedules in the entertainment industry.

Currently enjoying a strong run as Bill Engvall’s wife, Susan, on the TBS hit comedy, The Bill Engvall Show, Nancy got a true taste of renegade filmmaking as Safe Harbor was filmed outside, on a real sailboat, during some extremely unseasonably cool weather in Long Beach, California.

Nancy Travis Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Safe Harbor'"All of it was [filmed] pretty much made outside," says Nancy. "So, we were definitely dealing with the elements - with the light, or just trying to get a shot in of a walk on the beach before the sun goes down. It ended up almost being renegade filmmaking. That said, surprisingly given the budget, the scenes that really worked in a very professional way were the storm scenes - I was really impressed with that. We were lucky, too, in that Treat Williams [who portrays husband Doug Smith] is a nautical guy – spent his life sailing, knew things about boats and sailing and the sea – and he was able to bring a lot to it."

Bringing a lot to the projects she undertakes is something Nancy takes great pride in doing - no matter whether it be a comedy or a drama. She finds inspiration in simply having the ability to investigate any given character at any given moment at any place in time.

"I have always had a sense of adventure," says Nancy. "I love that in acting, I get to be other people, live in other places, experience emotions and situations I might not have in my own life. And then, conversely, all I can bring to it is what I’ve experienced in my own life, and imagine what it would be like to be a woman who lives on a boat, and a woman who faces these boys [who are] virtual criminals - how does one handle that, how does one answer their own moral questions. I love being able to put thoughts and emotions before other people and see how I can affect them.

Nancy Travis Stars in Hallmark Channel's 'Safe Harbor'"I just love performing," Nancy continues. "I love to do theater. I love film. I love even performing at my kids’ school fundraiser. I love all of it. And, I think I mostly look for projects that look like they're going to be interesting and fun, and hopefully [be] the best quality thing I can find. But also, it’s about what’s happening in a moment. I’ve done jobs that I’ve thought, 'Ugh. Wow. I don’t know why I’m doing this. What am I doing here?' But a director once said to me: you never know what the opportunity is going to bring. You just never know what the opportunity is that’s within a project. And that is almost a metaphor for this film, too, in that you just never know what opportunity lurks with what you choose to do."

But she does confess theater is her favorite. Why?

"I think because you spend time in this little cocoon rehearsing and preparing something, and you really don’t know what it's going to be until you’re pushed out onto a stage, and it’s just you, your other actors and the audience. And, that thing that happens with the written material, the actors and the audience changes every night - it can be a different sensation every night. It’s an alchemy that happens that’s pretty addictive. There’s really no opportunity to say, 'Ok, let’s stop. Let’s go back and redo this, let’s perfect this.' It is what it is. One night, a line may soar and everybody will be applauding; the next night no one may get it. So, you just never know, and I just love that question," says Nancy.

Speaking of questions, you know that old saying how everything comes in threes? I believe this to be true. So how would Nancy sum up Safe Harbor in three words?

She wouldn't.

She'd use three phrases instead.

“Let fate be your guide. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Take a chance - it can provide answers you’ve been searching for your entire life,” says Nancy.

We here at PTR extend our great thanks to Nancy for taking the time out to chat with us. We also thank our friends at Hallmark Publicity. Safe Harbor premieres Saturday, May 30th at 9 p.m. / 8 p.m. Central on the Hallmark Channel. For the inside scoop on the story and the film, head on over to

Friday, May 22, 2009

Join the 'Expedition' and Win a Prize Pack

'Expedition Africa' on the History ChannelBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

So what kind of grades did you get in history?

Hopefully ones good enough to enjoy Mark Burnett's newest - and dare we say innovative - offering Expedition Africa, an action-adventure, docu-reality series that follows four modern day explorers on the same path blazed by adventure-journalist Henry Morton Stanley in 1871 as he trekked through Tanzania to find the infamous Dr. David Livingstone.

Yes, that'd be Dr. Livingstone you presume.

As the series gets ready to premiere on History Channel on May 31st, we here at PTR are giving away one awesome prize pack that includes:

* History Channel Laptop Backpack

* Expedition Branded 35mm Disposable Camera & Photo Album

* Trek Kit including Binoculars, Flashlight, Compass, Swiss Army Knife and more!

Win an 'Expedition Africa' Prize Pack

Looks awfully good, eh? Like you might want to go expeditioning yourself?

Before you enter to grab the gear, read the scoop on the series:

HISTORY™ presents the television event of the summer: EXPEDITION AFRICA: STANLEY & LIVINGSTON.

Watch the series premiere May 31 at 10pm/9c.

Twenty miles off the coast of eastern Africa, four modern-day explorers are sailing toward the unknown, the deep interior of Tanzania. They'll travel over 900 miles through African terrain that is as stunning as it is fraught with danger. Using only a compass and basic maps, they will attempt to recapture the spirit of one of the world’s most remarkable adventures—journalist Henry Morton Stanley’s perilous 1871 journey to find Dr. David Livingstone. Their historic exploration has been captured by one of the premiere storytellers of our time, Mark Burnett. This is not a competition or a game. It's a real-life adventure.

To enter to win PTR's Expedition Africa swag:

- Send an e-mail to: lilly_of_philly(at) with the following:

** Subject line: Expedition Africa Prize Pack
** Message Body: MUST contain your FULL NAME.

- Entry rules are as follows:

** Entries must be received by June 13, 2009.
** The winner will be drawn at random on or after June 14, 2009.
** The winner will be notified by e-mail
** You must be a U.S. resident to enter and over the age of 18.

And while you count it down to see if YOU are the lucky winner, check out this two-minute sneak peak of the series:

Expedition Africa premieres Sunday, May 31st at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) on History Channel. You can join other fans on Facebook; follow History on Twitter, or visit the official Expedition Africa site.

Pausing for 'Catch'

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

So, was it just me, or did this week's episode of Deadliest Catch seem ... slow? drawn out? Like, this was really "Part 1" of the end of the King Crab Season but really wasn't being billed as such?

Last week's promo totally fooled me into thinking THIS week would be the end of the first part of the season. And even though me loves my Catch Crew, the ep felt a little repetitive at times - kinda like we were all waiting for everybody else to catch (no pun intended) up to the Time Bandit, which is now happily back in Dutch Harbor. Quota completed. Cash in the bank. Scene.

That said, I feel I have to postpone my write-up because ... well, there wasn't a whole heck of a lot going on that differed from last week.

Considerably less anger, though. Always a good thing.

But do the crab counts at the end of the eps suggest the Cornelia Marie has so much crab when all we see is poor ol' Murray stressing about pulling up empty pot after empty pot?

I know it's all about the editing, but still ... I'm confused.

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. You can also catch up with Deadliests Catch folks on Twitter: fvnw_erin / CaptPhilHarris / northwesternpat / NorthwesternPR / captjohnathan / northwesternsig / DeadliestCatch (which is actually the Cornelia Marie) / DiscoveryChPR.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where Have the Angels Gone, Hallmark Channel?

Roma Downey and the cast of 'Touched By An Angel'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Oh, my beloved Hallmark Channel.

What have you done?

You've REMOVED Touched By An Angel from your daily programming schedule?!?!?!?

And I'm now inundated with e-mails asking what I can do about it?!?!?!?!

I can, obviously, do nothing except give this open letter to you (and everyone else):

Hi Hallmark,

I'm a senior staff writer for the indy television blog, Pass the Remote. We cover quite a bit of Hallmark programming. I decided to write today because I myself received several e-mails this morning with regards to the recent programming decision to remove Touched By An Angel from your daily schedule. I was under the impression the show had consistently been one of your more popular airings and/or has remained slotted at 12 p.m. for almost a year and half. Additionally, its airing on Hallmark is promoted on the site and elsewhere as a place where TBAA fans can still go to get their fix of all-things Monica, Tess, Andrea and Gloria.

As I've looked at the schedule today, it seems to now be tipped almost exclusively in the comedy direction. I had read on your forums and elsewhere that the I Love Lucy folks were feeling a bit shortchanged with so few offerings of their show, but it now seems that TBAA has lost out completely. I understand you recently did a similar experiment with Little House on the Prairie - sort of removing it unexpectedly only to have concern expressed by those who love the show, and thus, it was able to find its way back onto the schedule.

I know you experiment with scheduling from time to time, but in my very humble opinion, this seems somewhat of an unfair decision to TBAA fans. It also seems even more ill-timed given the fact Roma Downey stars in the upcoming Come Dance at My Wedding and on one of the current behind the scenes clips out on the consumer side of the Hallmark site, she discusses how fortunate it is to have TBAA have found a home on Hallmark Channel.

As I had the pleasure of speaking with Roma recently, and we were able to discuss the continuing legacy of the show - its timeless quality that resonates between generations - on behalf of TBAA fans across the globe, might it not be possible to remove one hour of one of those comedy blocks to put this beloved show back on the air?

Thanks very much for your time.

If you want to let Hallmark Channel know what you feel, write them:; call them (888) 390-7474 or fill out their online feedback form.

('Cause really, folks, I love you guys think I have THAT much power, but alas, I don't. Perhaps we should send for Monica?)

EDITED TO ADD: I love that Marilyn Beck & Stacy Jenel say today how TBAA "is having another life in repeats on the channel as well." Oops! Not anymore, eh?

EDITED TO ADD #2: Looks as though Hallmark plans to resume airings of TBAA on June 29, 2009. One of our readers (thanks, John) found this with new DVR program data, and Hallmark has indicated this on the June page of the monthly calendar on the TBAA portion of their Web site. Standard disclaimer is I will believe it when I see it, but ... yay!

EDITED TO ADD #3: Effective June 1st, Hallmark is airing TBAA at 8 p.m. daily. The TBAA portion of their Web site has been updated accordingly. Yay!

BREAKING UPFRONTS NEWS: CW Ups the 'Gossip,' Cancels 'Privileged'

Well, another Network Upfronts season is in the history books, which means we can all commence our sighs of relief for our faves that were renewed and/or our cursing the networks for those that were not. But first, The CW took its turn at the plate and made a few tweaks. Watercooler shows Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and 90210 will return, but Privileged, it seems, is not quite as well, privileged. The freshman drama did not earn a place on the new line-up. Meanwhile, fan favorite Smallville is moving to Friday. Here's a closer look at The CW's Fall 2009 schedule courtesy of The Futon Critic:



8:00-9:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL

9:00-10:00 PM ONE TREE HILL


8:00-9:00 PM 90210

9:00-10:00 PM MELROSE PLACE (New Series)



9:00-10:00 PM THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE (New Series)


8:00-9:00 PM THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (New Series)



8:00-9:00 PM SMALLVILLE (New night)

For more on the new schedule, visit The Futon Critic.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BREAKING UPFRONTS NEWS: CBS Moves 'Case;' Cancels 'Trace,' 'Unit'

CBS stepped up to the podium today on Day 3 of Network Upfronts week and made some high profile cancellations. Both Without a Trace and The Unit are gone from the line-up while the network picked up former NBC series Medium and paired it with the well-matched Ghost Whisperer on Friday nights. As previously reported, PTR Fave Cold Case will return for a seventh season, but the show is moving to a later slot: 10 p.m. on Sundays (which means late nights in the fall thanks to the NFL overruns). TV's best comedy, How I Met Your Mother, will also return. Here's a look at CBS's complete Fall 2009 schedule courtesy of USA Today:

CBS Fall 2009 Schedule

8 p.m.: How I Met Your Mother
8:30 p.m.: Accidentally on Purpose (new Jenna Elfman comedy)
9 p.m.: Two and a Half Men
9:30 p.m.: The Big Bang Theory
10 p.m.: CSI: Miami

8 p.m.: NCIS
9 p.m.: NCIS: Los Angeles (new spinoff)
10 p.m.: The Good Wife (new Julianna Margulies legal drama).

8 p.m.: The New Adventures of Old Christine
8:30 p.m.: Gary Unmarried
9 p.m.: Criminal Minds
10 p.m.: CSI: NY

8 p.m.: Survivor: Samoa
9 p.m.: CSI
10 p.m.: The Mentalist

8 p.m.: Ghost Whisperer
9 p.m.: Medium
10 p.m.: Numb3rs

8 p.m.: Crime drama repeats
10 p.m.: 48 Hours Mystery

7 p.m.: 60 Minutes
8 p.m.: The Amazing Race
9 p.m.: Three Rivers (new medical drama)
10 p.m.: Cold Case

For more on CBS's new schedule, visit USA Today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BREAKING UPFRONTS NEWS: ABC Moves 'Betty;' NBC Cancels 'Earl'

Today it was both ABC and NBC's turns to step up to the upfronts plate. First, we'll take a look at ABC's announcement. As previously reported, Scrubs will return (at midseason) along with the final season of Lost. But the big news from the alphabet's presentation is the decision to move Ugly Betty from its prime Thursday slot to the less desirable Friday night. Here is ABC's complete Fall 2009 schedule courtesy of The Futon Critic:


8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars" (two-hours)
10:00 p.m. "Castle"

TUESDAY: 8:00 p.m.
"Shark Tank"
9:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars the Results Show"
10:00 p.m. "The Forgotten"

8:00 p.m. "Hank"
8:30 p.m. "The Middle"
9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"
9:30 p.m. "Cougar Town"
10:00 p.m. "Eastwick"

8:00 p.m. "Flash Forward"
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
10:00 p.m. "Private Practice"

8:00 p.m. "Supernanny"
9:00 p.m. "Ugly Betty"
10:00 p.m. "20/20"

8:00 p.m. "Saturday Night College Football"

7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
9:00 p.m. "Desperate Housewives"
10:00 p.m. "Brothers & Sisters"

"The Bachelor" will air Monday nights from 8:00-10:00 p.m. following the run of "Dancing with the Stars," and "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted" will air at 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., respectively, following the run of "Dancing with the Stars The Results Show."

Over at NBC, PTR Fave Chuck will move to midseason (but retain its same Monday slot) while fellow "bubble show" My Name is Earl was not as fortunate. The comedy will not return next season. Meanwhile, Law & Order will return for a record 20th season. The network is losing an hour of primetime each night (due to the new Jay Leno vehicle) and will carry the 2010 Winter Olympics, but did manage to pack a lot of returning and new series into its combined Fall 2009 and Winter 2010 schedules. Here's a look at both courtesy of The Futon Critic:

*New programs in UPPER CASE

8-9 p.m. "Heroes"
9-10 p.m. - "TRAUMA"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-10 p.m. "The Biggest Loser" (two-hour edition)
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-9 p.m. "PARENTHOOD"
9-10 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8- 8:30 p.m. "SNL WEEKEND UPDATE THURSDAY" (multi-episode run)
8:30-9 p.m. "Parks and Recreation"
9- 9:30 p.m. "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. "COMMUNITY" (moves to Thursdays 8-8:30 p.m. after multi-episode run "30 Rock" returns)
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-9 p.m. "Law & Order"
9-10 p.m. "Southland"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-9 p.m. "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. "TRAUMA" (encore broadcast)
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (encore broadcast)

7- 8:20 p.m. "Football Night in America"
8:20-11 p.m. "NBC Sunday Night Football"

(2010 WINTER OLYMPICS preempt regularly scheduled programming from February 12-28)
*New programs in UPPER CASE

8-9 p.m. "Chuck" (season premiere)
9-10 p.m. - "DAY ONE"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-9:30 p.m. "The Biggest Loser" (90-minute edition) 9:30-10 p.m. "100 QUESTIONS"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-9 p.m. "MERCY"
9-10 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8- 8:30 p.m. "COMMUNITY"
8:30-9 p.m. "Parks and Recreation"
9- 9:30 p.m. "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. "30 Rock"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-9 p.m. "Law & Order"
9-10 p.m. "Southland"
10-11 p.m. "THE JAY LENO SHOW"

8-9 p.m. "Dateline NBC"
9-10 p.m. "Southland" (encore broadcast)
10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (encore broadcast)

7-8 p.m. "Dateline NBC"
9-11 p.m. "The Celebrity Apprentice" (season premiere; two-hour edition)

For more on both schedules, visit The Futon Critic.

Mary Keeps the Faith

When I saw the guest cast listed in the opening credits, the first thing I thought was, "OMG, a mini West Wing reunion!" I so wanted Mary McCormack, Joshua Malina and Richard Schiff to share a scene or two together, but alas, we had to settle for several awesome Mary/Richard scenes and one Mary/Joshua scene. It was better than nothing, but I wanted all three. Throughout the hour, I half expected Martin Sheen and Allison Janney to make surprise appearances. And then there's fellow former cast member Dule Hill who stars in that other USA Network show that I (heart) so much -- Psych. I smell crossover! In all seriousness, this episode had me at the opening credits. And how fabulous was Richard Schiff as a rabbi on a mission to get, well, a "get." I loved the love-to-hate chemistry between Mary and his character and how it morphed into a spiritual leader/"I find people" relationship. It was also nice to see Everwood's Hannah again as the wife desperately seeking a divorce from Avi/Andy.

Meanwhile, Jinx was home for a weekend visit and I have to say, she did pretty well. She didn't annoy me and seeing her sober may (and I do stress the word "may") have added something to the episode. It certainly threw Mary off her game which was worth the price of admission alone. She's so used to dealing with her alcoholic mother that she often appears to be on auto pilot with her, but this week, she had to turn off the auto pilot and fly the emotional plane herself. You could tell that she simply wanted to coast through the weekend, but Jinx forced her out of her comfort zone times and she scrambled to regain the control. The letter "confession" at the end was a nice touch and I liked the way Mary joked about being seriously angry about her mother dumping her tequila down the drain. Hey, at least she didn't drink it.

Finally, I'm not sure where this Brandi/Peter thing is going, I can't imagine it leading very far. Brandi, despite her advances in maturity and responsibility, is still a bit of a train wreck and wealthy- Governor's- Ball- going- I- own- half- the- city Peter is going to figure that out sooner or later even if she passes the first test at the ball. I hope she keeps it together because I like Joshua Malina and would like to see him stick around.

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

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rita is Rockin' It in the Fall

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

File this under: Listening to own advice.

And: PTR's own version of an upfront announcement.

With all this talk of network upfronts, we recall back in February, I wrote about wanting to bring Lifetime's Rita Rocks to PTR.

It had been one of those "other" shows waiting patiently in line to get a prime spot on my DVR schedule (just like Army Wives).

I even felt bad I wasn't showing my girl Nicole Sullivan much love by leaving her OUT of my schedule given ... well, I was too busy trying to: a) see if John Conner could save mankind; b) playing Pirates of the Caribbean with Philip Winchester; c) determining what in the world a human doll was and why there was a need for a whole house of them; and, d) negotiating a chopped up "summer" and "spring" schedule viewing of Brenda Leigh Johnson and Grace Hanadarko.

What can I say, I'm only one writer.

BUT ... it's official: Rita Rocks WILL be on our slate next fall.

Nicole Sullivan Stars in Lifetime's 'Rita Rocks'This also leads me to giving a shoutout to Nicole, who I had the pleasure of meeting this past weekend at the 8th Annual Nuts for Mutts dog competition show, presented by New Leash on Life. Nicole - a passionate dog lover in her own right but of whom is currently several months pregnant - dutifully endured sweltering heat at Pierce College in Woodland Hills (the Los Angeles valley) to return as emcee of the show. Those of us in the Love Da Pawz booth had a ringside seat - literally - and were thoroughly entertained.

Seriously, folks.

The sun was unforgiving.

I have the sunburn to prove it.

In getting the chance to speak with Nicole after the show, we're planning for a QA in the fall in support of Rita's second season seeing as when I explained my "other" job as a writer for PTR, she said "Oh! I've heard of you guys! Somebody told me about you!"

Aww, thanks Nicole - rock on!

Rita Rocks will return to Lifetime this coming fall. Watch this space for season premiere dates. In the mean time, head on over to the show's official site for the scoop on the series.

Two More PTR Faves Get Pick-Ups; Fox Announces Schedule

Today is another glorious day in the TV Upfront world because both Cold Case and Chuck, yet two other "bubble shows," have both been picked up for another season by their respective networks. Cold Case will kick off its 7th season this fall on CBS according to Entertainment Weekly's Mike Ausiello who delivered the "official" news in his Ausiello Files online column. Meanwhile, Chuck will begins its 3rd season on NBC albeit with only 13 episodes and huge budget cuts (and the possible departure of a character in a cost-cutting move) according to Ausiello. (h/t to RichE for alerting me of the CC news in the comments section)

However, today was Fox's day to step up to the plate with the announcement of its official Fall 2009 schedule. As previously announced here at PTR, Bones will return for a fifth season and (surprise, surprise) it's keeping its current timeslot on Thursday night! But wait, there's more! The network is moving fellow PTR show Fringe to Thursdays after Bones, so we're going to have a Fox block on Thursday nights! Two of my faves on one night! Plus, we're getting an additional season of So You Think You Can Dance (season 5 premieres this Thursday and season 6 kicks off this fall) -- seriously, this is THE best upfronts week EVER!! Here's Fox's full fall schedule courtesy of The Futon Critic:


8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LIE TO ME

8:00-10:00 PM SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Performance Show

8:00-9:00 PM SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Results Show
9:00-10:00 PM GLEE

8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE

8:00-8:30 PM BROTHERS
8:30-9:00 PM 'TIL DEATH
9:00-10:00 PM DOLLHOUSE

8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
11:00 PM-Midnight THE WANDA SYKES SHOW (working title)

7:00-8:00 PM THE OT (NFL post-game)
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD

For more on Fox's schedule (including details on new series), visit The Futon Critic.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

PTR Meets a Childhood Icon

There are opportunities in your life that you just have to seize. This weekend, I was lucky enough to have one of them. More on that in a bit, but first, a little background. When I was 12 years old, CBS brought to life the compelling and inspiring story of a woman who traveled from the comfort of her wealthy Boston upbringing to the untamed, unpredictable American West. The year was 1867 and this woman was a doctor! Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman nurtured my love of history, the American West, a good old-fashioned love story and a strong, independent determined woman who used her smarts and training to win over the less-than-convinced residents of Colorado Springs. The show had a big impact on me as a young woman, and it remains near and dear to my heart to this day. Its star, actress Jane Seymour, continues to be one of my faves. A few months ago, PTR proudly grandfathered her in as an official "PTR Fave," and this summer, I'll be revisiting her (in my opinion) greatest role: Dr. Michaela Quinn.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to meet Jane Seymour and so, I seized it. She was visiting the Washington D.C. area for a series of art shows at local Wentworth Galleries. I packed a camera, my "Open Hearts" jewelry and 17 years of admiration for this actress, philantropist, mother, artist, author and dancer and headed on over to meet her. Jane was incredibly gracious, kind and engaging. She signed my Open Hearts book, talked about my jewelry and posed for photos. She was the epitome of grace and beauty. And her paintings were AMAZING! Here are a few photos from the event (all photos taken by my husband, "Mr. TVFan"):
Jane signs my copy of her Open Hearts book

Jane poses with one of her paintings (her take on her famous Somewhere in Time role)

Jane in front of one of her paintings

Her famous "Open Hearts" symbol

Jane talks to fans in front of one of her paintings

For more on Jane's artwork, jewelry, books, acting and much more, be sure to visit her official site. Special thanks to Jane for taking the time to talk, sign my book and pose for photos. You made this Dr. Quinn fan's day! :0)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fox Orders More 'Bones'

This coming week is the beginning of the nail-biting time we TV fans know as Network Upfronts Week. Essentially, it's the week where the nets announce their fall schedules and in the process, let us know which of our favorites are in for another season and which are out for good. But fellow Bones fans do not have to cross their fingers, wish on a shooting star or sweat it out any more this season -- or next! -- because Fox just officially renewed the show for not one, but two more seasons!!! I am literally jumping for joy right now. From Creator Hart Hanson (via his Twitter account):
Who am I to argue with Ausiello? Two seasons pick-up it must be!

First Friday Night Lights gets the green light on two more seasons and now Bones! Best. Pre-Upfronts. EVER!!! Now, we just need CBS to renew Cold Case and NBC to renew Chuck. Yay for Bones, though! Here's more on the pick-up from TV Guide:

Capping one of the upfront season's most prolonged back-and-forths over the licensing fee paid by the network to the studio, Fox has decided to renew Bones — for a fifth and sixth season.

Executive producer Hart Hanson announced the pick-up on Saturday, via his Twitter account. Later, Hanson confirmed that Fox had ordered not just one but two more seasons.

Bones likely will be paired on Thursday nights with So You Think You Can Dance, which this year will be launching a fall season veritably on the heels of this summer's cycle.

Bones joins Lie to Me, Fringe, Dollhouse and 24 as Fox's officially announced returning dramas for the 2009-10 TV season.

OMG, and it's being paired with the fall edition of SYTYCD!!!! I am one happy TV fan tonight.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Morris Meets the 'Terminator'

PTR Fave Kathryn Morris attended Thursday night's Terminator Salvation premiere in Los Angeles. Here are a few photos of the Cold Case star from the event (HUGE thanks to RichE for providing the beautiful photos):

Cold Case just wrapped its 6th season this past Sunday. To help make sure that the finale was a season finale and not a series finale, sign the petition and join the email campaign to save Cold Case.

The Feelings in the Finale

I'm feeling very duped this morning. Normally after hearing a spoiler like "Booth & Bones are going to end up in bed together in the season finale," I would assume that there was some sort of catch (kinda like that "kiss" from last season after Bones was obligated to hold up her end of the bargain with the U.S. Attorney). BUT, we were promised early on that this development was not going to be a dream or a tease or anything else I could think of that would make it anything less than the real deal. Still, I had my suspicions and they were ramped up even more after seeing last week's episode (which ended with Booth heading into surgery to remove a brain tumor) and then the subsequent previews for this week's finale (which showed a perfectly healthy Booth -- hair and all). I figured either: a) A lot of time must transpire between the two episodes, or b) Something is amiss. Turns out Option B was correct. It's weird because I feel completely duped and yet, I'm not completely disappointed. I was never sure that this was the right time to put Booth & Bones together. There had been little lead-up and no major changes in their current relationship. Plus, the fact that they didn't get into bed together means that the show has time to develop that aspect of their relationship further first. And that is a good thing.

In light of last night's strange "alternate universe meets Bones's writing meets (possibly) Booth's comatose musings," I'm going to forgo the usual Good, Bad and Ugly format. Even though Booth and Brennan didn't really seal the deal last night, the episode was chock full of subtext. The biggest question surrounding the strange alternate world is, whose alternate world was it? Was it Brennan's writings? We saw her typing the closing lines on her laptop (which she curiously erased). Did she imagine a world where she and Booth are happily married? And what about Booth? Did he dream about him and Brennan happily married? Or was it a combination of both of their imaginations? This, of course, goes back to the central question that Gordon Gordon raised several weeks ago when he suggested that one of them is aware of his/her feelings for the other and struggles with those feelings every day. I originally suggested Brennan and then backpedaled to Booth last week. Now, I'm leaning more toward Brennan again. I think Booth waking up and talking about his "very real" dream was just a rouse designed to throw us off. We would automatically assume that he would dream about him and Brennan together over Brennan actually drafting a story in which they were a couple.

At the very end, we learned that Booth has memory loss from his surgery/subsequent coma. When you take that into account, it makes the alternate world seem even more like Brennan's writings. If Booth had dreamt it, wouldn't he think Brennan was his wife when he woke up? And how would he have known all of the other characters' names if he was suffering from memory loss? It was also somewhat telling that Brennan was the only one whose name was changed in the story (slightly to "Bren"). If Brennan did in fact write that world and it was hers and hers alone, it brings up the idea of the "road not taken" (h/t Fringe for putting this into the forefront of my mind this week). Perhaps, she is imagining a world where she is settled down and happy with someone she loves. And that someone just happens to be Booth. She was even sure to include a bit at the end where "Bren" revealed that she was pregnant (with Booth's baby -- something Brennan had wanted prior to the brain tumor... hmmmm). I think the very thought of this scared her enough to cause her to erase it at the end, but there is no delete key on feelings. Next season should be interesting.

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Four Rounds of a 'Catch' Grudge Match

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

Bering Sea Grudge Match - Round One.

And two.

And three.

And four.

And you get the idea.

Grumpy is as grumpy does. That about sums up this week's episode of Deadliest Catch. Or, as narrator Mike Rowe kept calling it, a Bering Sea Grudge Match between irritable crews short on crab count, bait and a whole bunch'a other stuff.

Anger Management: So Captain Keith lost it (gee, what else is new) running low on bait. Apparently, the greenhorn needed to read Keith's mind to understand he needs to let Keith KNOW when the bait is getting low. Um, 'kay. Might be helpful if one of the crew - um, like the Captain? - TELLS the greenhorn this BEFOREHAND as opposed to expecting him to know it by osmosis.

Where's the Wind-Up Key - Redux: The new Lisa Marie boat STILL looks like a toy boat to me this week. In fact, how in the world does she even have room for the camera crew? She's not catching any crab, which doesn't do much to make me think she should be out there with the big boys. True, the catching crab part isn't completely her fault. But seriously ... is it time to wind her up, or is there a remote control somewhere?

Just Say No: With the aforementioned Captain Keith low on bait, he puts a radio call out to Captain Sig on the Northwestern to help him out - you know, abide by that help-your-fellow-sailor-in-distress code. Apparently, Sig feels differently. Or, the fact that Keith was low on bait by his OWN fault isn't in the same category as ... oh, how about the Katmai sinking, and thus, doesn't quite warrant keeping to that code. Totally thought Sig's non-reaction was the right one.

Has Anyone Seen the Crab?: My poor Cornelia Marie. Nada mucho on the crab catcho. Bummo. And yet, they remain the most un-grumpy group of the bunch. Not to mention Captain Murray never seems to panic. Love.Him.

Catching on Twitter: On a completely unrelated note ... I've found a smattering of cool Catch folks on Twitter: fvnw_erin / CaptPhilHarris / northwesternpat / DeadliestCatch (which is actually the Cornelia Marie). Shouts out to northwesternpat for giving me the word 'fuxored' to replace 'fraked' in my 'f-uh-cowee' dictionary, fvnw_erin for the follow-back, and to DiscoveryChPR for humoring me most of the time.

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' Travels to Another World

I fell for the hype from the preview for this week's finale of Fringe. And yes, I understand that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It's not as if the finale didn't have it's shocking moments, but it just felt a little flat. Blame the over-hyped preview or the show's recent stretch of strong episodes, but I was expecting something more. I wanted a finale of Lost proportions. I wanted epic events. I wanted more than 30 seconds of William Bell (I mean, how hyped was Leonard Nimoy's blink- and- you- missed- it guest spot??)! So, as a finale, this one was just ho-hum. But as an episode, it kinda rocked -- A LOT!!

Portals into the "road(s) not taken" (a.k.a. alternate universes)??!! Walter remembering where he hid the whatchamacallit??!! Nina working with the FBI in order to vindicate her boss??!! And how about the revelation that Peter is from one of those alternate universes? I kinda figured that one out when Walter told him about the coin. He said that he may not remember this and followed it up with a seemingly throwaway line about when Peter was sick and dying. I listened sorta half-paying attention since it didn't seem too important and then he threw in the whole "sick and DYING" bit and a HUGE lightbulb lit up in my head. Suddenly, that talk about Walter wanting to travel to an alternate universe to retrieve someone to replace the version he was losing in this one all made sense. I had originally attributed that story to the alternate being his wife. Plus, I assumed he wasn't successful. Shows what I know! So Peter isn't really Peter. Well, he is, but he's not the original Peter, if you will.

The whole "window to another world" story was pretty awesome, and I'm not even a sci-fi fan. It was just cool (and scary at the same time) to imagine a glimpse into a life that might have been. Of course, the slicing you in half part (or diagonally for that poor soccer player) wasn't so cool. But hey, at least we don't have to worry about creepy bandage-wearing teleporter guy anymore. That dude was harboring a serious inferiority complex! I'm kinda glad it wasn't William Bell activating his soldiers as the conspiracy nut suggested during last week's episode. And speaking of William Bell, it seems that he is hiding in an alternate universe where 9/11 never happened. Am I the only one who felt a great sadness come over when the camera zoomed out of his office and it became painfully apparent that he and Olivia were standing inside the former Twin Towers? Yup, that one still hurts just as much to this day.

Overall a very intriguing, entertaining, original, fun and exciting freshman season for a show that seems to have endless possibilities at its fingertips. I'm very excited to see where it takes us next season. If the preview is a window into what lies ahead, then September can't come soon enough. Oh, there I go again! Oh well, just call me INSANE.

If you missed last night's season finale, you can watch it for free at

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mary's Witness Gets Caught 'In Plain Sight'

Is there really anything more entertaining than a super intense episode and Mary being, well, Mary complete with her quick wit and sarcasm? I didn't think so. This outing had the unfortunate timing of starting right after the awesome Cold Case finale on my viewing schedule, but it held its own nicely. I have to give the creators and the writers MAJOR props for creating a character who is both sarcastic as hell and compassionate and caring. It's a delicate balance that Mary juggles beautifully. She could easily be completely closed off, but she's not. She blocks out some, but lets in those who matter the most. The character reminds me a bit of Bones's Dr. Brennan, but where Mary is able to walk the line between her sarcastic/keep- people- at- arms'- length emotional issues and the right amount of care and compassion needed for her job (and life in general), Brennan is not. She's all closed off (and uses her enormous intellectual knowledge to keep others away) and lacking a lot in the caring/compassion column. It's nice to have a Mary out there who presents both.

One area where Mary has everything in common with Dr. Brennan is their kickass job skills. She's cool as a cucumber under pressure, always thinking ahead and good with people. All of these skills came in very handy as she tended to a witness trapped in a pile of rubble and a literal sitting duck for those who wished to knock him off before he could testify against them in a pending Department of Justice case. She sacrificed her own safety and played EMT while they desperately awaited help. All of this while the threat of a further collapse loomed overhead. And there was the overzealous "journalist" whose get- the- story- no- matter- the- cost tactics almost outed Mary and, in the process, could have ruined her career. Some quick thinking and a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" exchange saved the day.

Something was missing in this one... what was it?? I just can't put my finger on it... something just felt lighter. Oh, right! The mother. Can't say I actually missed her. In all honesty, I just now realized that she wasn't in this one. This rehab development has done wonders for the side-story part of this show already!

BONUS: Read LillyKat's post on series star Frederick Weller (Marshall) from a recent conference call she attended with the actor!

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

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Sixth Finale

Photo: CBS

OMG, Cold Case just Sixth Sense-d us for the sixth season finale!! I can't believe it. I'm still in a complete state of shock. As I was watching this episode, I kept waiting for Lilly to just keel over. I thought she was suffering from a serious concussion and its effects were escalating as the case moved along. But when that letter showed up on the table in the interrogation room, I knew something was seriously amiss. It wasn't until Moe told her that from where he sits, she's still in that "box." Suddenly I was seeing Bruce Willis, that scary little kid and the entire previous hour flash before my eyes while Lil was watching water fill the room as the mirror began to shatter and her mind raced to figure out what the hell was going on. After all, she'd gotten herself out of that car, right? It was the hospital scene that went wrong because she refused to stick around for further tests. Obviously, she had rushed to clear herself and that error in judgement meant that she was more injured than she thought, right? No! Completely wrong. She was still in that car trapped in the water unconscious and everything that had transpired in the last hour had been a hallucination.

But how, you ask, could Lil possibly solve the entire case (with all its twists and turns) in her head? I haven't quite pieced that together myself. We know she has good instincts (hence one of the reasons Stillman selected her to be the first female detective in homicide), so it's reasonable to assume that she figured out that Ryan and Moe killed/covered up Kate's murder. But how did she know about the murder-made-to-look-like-a-suicide? My guess -- that part was not in Lilly's head but actually part of her comrades' sleuthing, but as I said, I'm still piecing all of this together.

This episode was pretty much perfection for me. It was one big Lilly-fest from start to finish and part of that Lilly-fest included a huge chunk of the missing pieces of her past. We learned for certain that Stillman was the cop who caught the man who assaulted her as a young child (for those who don't remember, Lilly was assaulted -- to what extent we aren't exactly sure -- while running to the store to buy booze for her mother. Serial killer George Marks confronted her with this happy part of her past when he cornered her in the abandoned attic of his childhood home in the season two finale). She, apparently, left an impression on Stillman and when she came up through the rank and file in PPD, he took notice of her astute observations and impeccable instincts and took her under his wing. We also learned that Lilly's father left because of her mother (no surprise). It seems that Lilly's life was not the only one affected by Ellen's toxic force. Paul was right about something -- Lilly is stronger than he. She not only stuck it out, but she continued to take care of her mother for years caring for her up until her alcohol-induced death.

This episode had a lot to digest and it pretty much hit every scene right out of the park. It was everything I could have asked for in a season (emphasis on "season") finale. Cold Case ends the season 21-1-1 (this outing counts 2x in the "win" column because: a) it was in 2-parts and b) it was that awesome).

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please CBS -- don't cancel Cold Case! Lilly has too much work to do. Everyone else, sign the petition and join the email campaign to save Cold Case.

BONUS: Read TV Guide's interview with series star Kathryn Morris. She discusses the special connection she has to the young actress who played her Lilly Rush character at age 6, who did all of those awesome underwater stunts, and whether or not she thinks the show will get another season.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The 'In Sight'-ful Truth with Frederick Weller

Frederick Weller of Stars on USA Network's 'In Plain Sight'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Something must be in the water down in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that makes the actors on USA Network's hit show In Plain Sight a lot like their characters.

We've heard Mary McCormack recite this for us.

Add Frederick Weller to the list, too.

We recently had the opportunity to sit in on a conference call with Fred, where I found him to be as smart, quick witted, easy-going and as much a dilettante as his alter-ego, U.S. Marshal Marshall Mann (yes, we have a double Marshal/Marshall thing going on, which seems to just fit right in with the character). The second season of In Plain Sight is currently underway on USA Network Sunday nights at 10 p.m.

On playing a U.S. Marshal, and whether the role has helped him learn anything new in his own life: "It’s really fun to play a law man who, in theory, has jurisdiction anywhere in the country. Also, an undercover law man is, I think, an especially cool thing to play because you’ve got an interesting dynamic that you are [not only] enforcing the law, but at the same time, trying to appear like you’re not. Our technical advisor, who is the head of WitSec in California, is on the set every day now, and one of his favorite reminders is that you’re always scanning the horizon for danger. In fact, we poke fun at him whenever he walks over to the set. We just say, 'ABS, ABS,' which stands for 'always be scanning.' I don’t know if I’ve learned anything I’ve applied to my life. My life is pretty safe. I don’t have too many run-ins with unsavory characters, but when I do I plan to really scan the hell out of them."

On his character's personal life - which hasn't completely been laid out for us on screen as yet: "Well, I’d love to see more on the air. We think about it, and secretly joke on the set about what his apartment must look like with all his myriad interests. We hypothesize about what musical instrument he plays - there must be one, and it must be weird. I’m thinking the bassoon, sometimes a French horn. Does he have a bird? I don’t know. I do conjecture about his family life. All we know about his family life is he is a fifth generation U.S. Marshal. I imagine his father was a hard-ass and his mother was an intellectual, but this is just conjecture. Creator [David Maples] might decide something else, something I think is even better. He never ceases to surprise and amaze with his ideas. He’s a great writer, and I’m sure what we do learn about Marshall’s personal life, it’ll be interesting."

Frederick Weller of Stars on USA Network's 'In Plain Sight'On the challenges of the role: "It’s challenging for the same reason that it’s fun in that it requires comedic and emotional ability. Now, my emotions are not [as] frequently [on display] as are Mary’s. Her character is in emotional turmoil much of the time. But at least a couple times a season - and certainly more times this season than last - Marshall is in some kind of emotional turmoil. And, any time that you’re asked, as an actor, to exhibit some state that is out of control or should appear out of control, it’s a little more challenging. I [also] think comedy is an exacting science. You don’t want to blow the humor if it’s there. If you do it wrong, it’s either funny or it’s not, so the fact [the character] has comedy and emotion is what makes it rich, and it’s also what makes it challenging. You don’t want to disappoint. When you’ve got such great material, it’s important to rise [up] and get it right."

On giving input for his character: "I occasionally will talk to [Creator] David Maples. We’ll joke around. I can’t actually think of something that I said that made it into the script per se, but we’re definitely on the same page about who he is. And, David has said that who Mary and I are has started to influence his vision of the characters - [it's] sort of a symbiotic relationship because playing a character which you love for a length of time starts to affect your own personality, I think. So, the lines tend to blur. I’ve never played a character that I felt was closer to me, [and] there have been ideas of mine that have informed the set dressing - [like] what’s on Marshall’s desk - but I can’t remember saying, 'Oh, I think my dad is such and such,' and then it was in the script. But [Mary and I] do have a good relationship with David, and I think that informs his take on the characters we play."

On his inspirations for portraying Marshall: "Well, not unlike Marshall, I have a variety of interests and a variety of influences, and I mostly draw the information about Marshall from our technical advisor. I talk to him when I can on the set. In terms of his emotional life, it’s pretty much mine. Otherwise, I just try to figure out how to have fun with any given episode. It’s an interesting thing to do television because it’s a work in progress for you - for the actor, that is - as well as for the writer. We’re all discovering it as we go along - different aspects of the character - they clarify themselves along with the story. It’s not like doing a play or film where you have the whole plot and the character arc from the get-go. It’s an exciting process to be discovering it as you go."

On his favorite Marshall trait: "I suppose my favorite would be his medical ability because it’s so far removed from anything I can do. The fact that he can patch up his own bullet wound to his lung, it’s an interest that I think would be useful, and it’s removed from my own fields of interests. I’m a little more of a music and literature person. My big brother is a man of science, an electrical engineer, and I always really admired him growing up. He had this strange capacity that didn’t seem to come from anyone in the family, it was just something that he was born with, and he was always intrigued by how things worked and just had an aptitude for it. And everybody else in the family is basically literature and arts, so that, to me, is fun because I get to pretend that I have that aptitude."

Frederick Weller of Stars on USA Network's 'In Plain Sight'On whether Marshall has developed a Zen-like approach to life: "Yes. I think so. It’s difficult to talk about Zen, isn’t it? Because it just leaves the room as soon as you start talking about it. But I think that he certainly attempts to be in the moment and to let things go. I think it was Isaiah Berlin who wrote a famous essay comparing Dostoevsky with Tolstoy. It was about the fox and the hedgehog. He said that there are two types of people - foxes and hedgehogs. The fox is someone who has myriad interests. He doesn’t believe in any one shaping idea. He simply embraces various and sundry ideas. The hedgehog is someone who sees the universe through one controlling idea. And he said that Tolstoy was a fox who wanted to be a hedgehog, who believed in the principle of being a hedgehog. That is to say he believed in having one controlling idea, but really he was [fundamentally] a fox. I think Marshall is the opposite. I think he’s secretly a hedgehog, but he believes in the principle of being a fox. He embraces the notion of having a wide variety of interests and ideas, but he ultimately filters everything through the one, which is, I think, he believes in love and the transformative power of love. I [also] think Marshall is more flexible, more committed to optimism and to a kind of faith. You see in several episodes that Marshall seems to believe in a moral universe. And so when Mary - who is ever the cynic, which I think is really a kind of armor that she adopts to protect herself - has some kind of crisis, I think that the apostle of faith and wisdom and optimism is going to be useful to her. It’s one of the aspects that I really love about the character - that he’s a believer."

On whether he'd ever allow his young daughter to enter into an acting career - or date: "I’m going to try to keep the secret from her that I’m an actor at all. It’s going to be tough. I’m going to try to persuade her I’m a professor of something - something really nerdy [like in] comparative literature. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’ve got to figure it out before she really masters the alphabet .... I’m hoping to eventually groom her into a very bookish child who doesn’t date boys at all."

Which, I think, is what all fathers always want for their young daughters: stay away from boys.

Fred is a kick, and we do love his Marshall Mann. We extend our great thanks to him for taking the time to chat about all-things Marshal Marshall. We also thank our friends at New Media Strategies. New episodes of In Plain Sight air Sundays 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.