Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review - Mystery Girls

No.  No, no no.

I was a big fan of the original Beverly Hills 90210 that aired for a decade, and I enjoy seeing people from shows of the past reunite in new stuff, so I tuned in to this ... show ... which stars Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling.  So sorry I did.

This is a bad TV, my friends.  Bad writing, bad acting, so gaudy in its production design and way too over-the-top, which seems to be a trend for ABC Family comedies (see Melissa and Joey and the Young and Hungry).  This feels more like a show you'd see on Disney or Nickelodeon, being that it's so hammy and exaggerated. 


Mystery Girls is about follows two former detective TV show starlets brought back together by a real-life mystery. Charlie Contour (Garth) is a suburban housewife and mother, while Holly Hamilton (Spelling) longs for her glory days in the 90's when she was on television. Both of their lives are disrupted when Nick (Miguel Pinzon), a witness to a crime and a ‘Mystery Girls' fanatic, will only speak to the infamous duo, and the former friends must reunite and put their TV crime-solving skills to the test.

Now, I watched the episode entitled "Death Becomes Her," which is labeled Season 1 Episode 1, which implies it's the first episode of the series.  It's logical, then, that this first episode would set up the series and resemble the description presented by the network, as pilots usually do.  BUT IT DIDN'T!!!  This first-aired episode explained nothing about who these women are or what they do, nothing about their 90's show, no clear setup that they have a detective agency.  Suffice to say, I'm thoroughly baffled by what I was watching and as I write this, my brow is crinkled in utter confusion. 

Not to mention I would NEVER buy these women as detectives.  TV detectives, sure, in a comic way.  But the fact that we're supposed to believe these actresses (I'm talking about Garth's and Spelling's characters) then give the profession a go ... I guess I can see why it would be a funny premise, but it so doesn't work.  AT ALL.  It's so bad, I still can't believe I made it through the episode. 

Poor Garth seems to be taking her role seriously, giving her straight-man all and trying perhaps to recapture the mild success she had when she co-starred with Amanda Bynes in What I Like About You, her first post-90210 foray into episodic television.  Maybe she's just glad to be acting again.  She still looks great.

Spelling, who is supposedly the brainchild behind this debacle, is playing ditzy dumb to the hilt, which is not funny at all, just very sad.  I know her personal life is a bit of a train wreck right now, and maybe she just needs to go and have fun with an old friend, and that's great.  But not when it's this awful.  She does not have her dad's knack for creating entertaining TV.

Pinzon's Nick is like Sean Hayes' Jack (Will & Grace) on a hundred Red Bulls.  The former worked.  The latter does not.  This whole show doesn't work.

I will not be watching any more of Mystery Girls - unless they scored a cameo by Shannen Doherty, which would be worth suffering through 22 more minutes of for the sheer madness it would inevitably be.  But maybe I'm missing something, so feel free to check it out for yourselves ... if you absolutely have nothing better (laundry, getting your privates waxed, watching paint dry, listening to a symphony of nails being drawn down a chalkboard ...) to do.

Mystery Girls airs Wednesdays at 8:30pm on ABC Family.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Farewell, Drop Dead Diva


Last night we bid goodbye to a really delightful series, Drop Dead Diva, which aired on Lifetime for six seasons.

DDD had actually been cancelled early last year but response from fans drove the cable net to bring the show back for a shortened last season, giving it the chance to wrap things up.

I wish I could say I loved the finale, but it felt too much like a regular run-of-the-mill episode rather than a goodbye.  Plus I was still wrestling with a decision the writers made a few weeks ago that didn't really have the time to play out, given there were just a few episodes left in the series run.


The premise of DDD is that a beautiful model, Deb, was killed in a car accident, but when she gets to heaven, she hits a "return" button on her welcoming angel's computer keyboard and gets sent back into the body of a lawyer, Jane, who had just died after being shot.  Deb went on to live Jane's life, maintaining her own soul and personality but meshing with Jane's intelligence and law know-how. 

The star, Brooke Elliott, pulled this duality brilliantly and was so likeable in the role.  Her on-screen love was Grayson (Jackson Hurst), who happened to be Deb's fiancee and worked in Jane's law firm.  During the course of the series, Grayson fell in love with Jane, and this last season finally learned that Jane was in fact Deb.

Then a few weeks ago Grayson, who was planning to propose to Jane, was shot outside the courthouse and eventually died, which was a dark turn for this rather light-toned show.  Grayson went to heaven and himself pushed the "return" button and came back into the body of a man, Ian, who had just been executed on death row, having been convicted of murder.  He calls Jane and lets her know that he - Grayson - is back.  Jane comes to his defense and in a whirlwind, proves that Ian was in fact innocent of the crime, gets him freed and jumps right back into her relationship with him.

Of course, no one can understand how Jane could be with someone just weeks after supposedly losing the love of her life (except her best friend Stacy (April Bowlby), who has known all along that Jane is the reincarnated Deb).  But again, we only have three episodes left at this point, so, in order to have a happy ending which this kind of show demands, Jane's friends and coworkers have to come around to accept Jane and Ian together.  It was rather forced and leaves us kind of hanging, which I'm not happy with.  The finale gave us a little montage of Deb/Jane and Grayson/Ian's love story at the end, and then it was over.

So that's it.  Again, I really loved this show and its quirky, likeable characters andthe  twists-and-turns its law cases (the fastest resolved in judicial history, but hey, suspension of disbelief) took in each episode.  I just wish we'd gotten a better, more fulfilled sendoff.

Catch up with past seasons of Drop Dead Diva now on Netflix.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Farewell, Casey Kasem


Casey Kasem, who had one of the most recognizable voices in the world, has passed away at the age of 82.

Best known for his radio presence as the longtime host of America's Top 40 and "Long-Distance Dedications," he also voiced dozens of cartoon voices, most notably Shaggy from Scooby-Doo but also Robin on Superfriends and Alexander on Josie and the Pussycats.

For me, he'll always be the voice of G-Force leader Mark on Battle of the Planets, one of my favorite cartoons growing up.

His famous sign-off was "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."  Here's hoping Kasem is now among the stars himself.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Viewing - Have a Blast!

Welcome to Summer, TV Tourists!  No longer are these inter-season months a vast wasteland of repeats.  There's plenty of terrific viewing, both returning and premiering.  Here are just a few of my faves that are coming back:


Suits (Returning June 11 on USA) is one of the best shows on television. With a top-notch cast - including Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Gina Torres, Rick Hoffman, Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty - brilliant writing and fantastic stories, I can't recommend catching up with this show enough.


I don't think ABC expected this show (returning June 19) about rookie cops to take off, but I'm glad it did.  It has a great ensemble cast and is very entertaining and a stand-out among the many police-centered shows, probably because of its summer slot.


I love a show with terrific female leads.  Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander are a great ... well, if there were a female word for bromance, they're the epitome of it.  I'm curious to see how they'll handle the tragic loss of castmate Lee Thompson Young - who committed suicide last year - on the show (returning June 17), but however it is done, I trust it will be handled well.  The cases they solve aren't always original, but the way these ladies tackle and solve them is what makes the show.


Considering my age, I guess this would have to qualify as a guilty pleasure for me.  But if that's the way it has to be, so be it ... love the show (returning June 10)!  But dammit, who the frak is A????

Consider this show (airing now on ABC) another guilty pleasure ... it ain't Shakespeare, it's just sexy, trashy fun.  But ain't that what summer is all about?  Can't wait to see how they hide Alyssa Milano's growing baby belly (hint:  big purses!).


The good news here is, no waiting week-to-week!  You get to stream all 13 episodes of the new season as fast as you can watch them (starting June 6).  And catch up on Season 1 the same way!


Stephen King's supernatural mystery series is back for Season 2 (returns June 30), with the horror master penning the season premiere and even making a rare cameo.  It's an intriguing series and I look forward to learning more about just who - or what - is behind the mysterious dome.


Ok, so we have to wait till August for this (return date TBD on BBC America), but I'll manage somehow!  Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor ... so intrigued!

There are also many new shows to check out as well:

The Last Ship (TNT) - June 22

The Musketeers (BBC America) - June 22
Tyrant (FX) - June 24
 Extant (CBS) - July 9
The Strain (FX) - July 13
Married (FX) - July 17
Penn & Teller: Fool Us (CW) - July 30

Happy viewing!!