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Shameless – A Show You Should Be Watching (But Probably Aren’t)

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It’s no secret, the writers of Rock Paper Watch are all TV junkies. While there are shows that the three of us watch together, each writer also has their personal favorites. Starting a new blog series titled “A Show You Should Be Watching (But Probably Aren’t),” here are a couple of reasons why you should join us in our Shameless guilty pleasure viewing.

As unfortunate as it is, Shameless often gets overlooked among the prestige of Sunday-night television. It lacks the esteem of Mad Men, the following of Girls, and the twists and turns of True Detective. When it debuted in 2011 it was considered a dark comedy closely tied to the UK original of the same name. The show follows a family of misfits, The Gallaghers, and the debauchery that ensues as they try to make ends meat using any means necessary. It’s easy to tune-in just to see what The Gallaghers will do next since it often involves sex, drugs, violence, and theft. But somewhere in the midst of the craziness, Shameless created a genuine and sympathetic young cast of characters desperately looking for a way to survive their self-destructive behavior.

shameless-406-recap-showtimeWilliam H. Macy as Frank

The magic of Shameless is in it’s growth. On Sunday night, it wraps up its fourth, and easily best, season. When the show began, it was a guilty pleasure, raunchy comedy. Now, it’s a heart wrenching story of a family struggling with addiction. The family patriarch, Frank (William H. Macy) has for four seasons been drinking himself into oblivion. That oblivion finally arrived when this year he discovered he needed a new liver. Frank has been mostly unconscious this season, giving us plenty of time to focus on his childrens’ struggles.

shameless-407-recapEmmy Rossum as Fiona

In the previous seasons, the eldest daughter, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), has been the pillar of strength for the Gallagher clan. With their drunk and disorderly father and MIA mom, Fiona stepped into the parent role and became the legal guardian of her five siblings. Prior to this season, we watched Fiona work dead-end job after dead-end job to make ends meat and have enough food to make the kids’ lunches every morning. At the end of season three, Fiona finally gets a decent job with a cup company and things are looking up for the Gallaghers. That bliss is short lived as season four starts Fiona’s fast and dramatic downward spiral (similar to that of her father’s). She is arrested when Liam (Brennan Kane Johnson & Blake Alexander Johnson), her four year old brother, ingests her cocaine. The cocaine that was given to her by her boss/boyfriend’s brother, Robbie, who she was also sleeping with. So in one mass sweep, she loses her job, her life, and the family loses its stability. Fiona avoids serious jail time by pleading guilty for child endangerment and is put on probation. Where we stand now, Fiona is facing a ninety-day prison sentence after a night long bender with Robbie and his friends, breaking her probation. Fiona’s self-destructive behavior is a result of her not knowing who she is anymore, she can’t find a job, the kids don’t need her, and she’s dealing with this paralyzing guilt. Much like her father, instead of facing her own problems, she goes on a binge. Can Fiona make it through this?

shameless-lipJeremy Allen White as Lip

The show’s amazing storytelling is, in no small part, due to the amazing performances of it’s younger cast. Over the years, these actors have grown beautifully into their characters making season four it’s best yet. The eldest Gallagher son, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is the family genius. In past seasons, we’ve seen Lip use his intelligence to mastermind quick money-making schemes. But this season Lip is off at college and actually having to work for his grades to maintain his scholarship, as well as act as the responsible Gallagher during Fiona’s downward spiral.

shameless-411-recap-showtimeCameron Monaghan as Ian and Noel Fisher as Mickey

Next in the line, is Ian (Cameron Monaghan). Ian has been labeled as a “unique” gay character for television. In the first few seasons, he’s mostly in the closet and in a secret relationship with the neighborhood thug, Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher). Ian and Mickey are both scared, oppressed boys who are just as likely to throw punches out of frustration as they are to be affectionate towards each other. In an effort to preserve his masquerade of being straight, Mickey marries a Russian prostitute that is pregnant with his child at the end of season three. Ian runs away to the Army using Lip’s name. After going AWOL, Ian begins working in a gay-club and dabbling in prostitution. Mickey takes it upon himself to find Ian and is emerged into the affluent gay scene of Chicago. There, he can kiss Ian in public without fear. During Sunday night’s episode, in a moment that had fans cheering, Mickey came out to his homophobic father. What should have been a depressing and disturbing scene of a father beating the life out of his son, was ultimately uplifting as Ian stepped in to defend Mickey. In the end, broken and bloody, the boys shared a sweet kiss and smile in relief.

Shameless-Season-4-Episode-3-Recap-and-Review-Like-Father-Like-Daughter-22Emma Kenney as Debbie and Ethan Cutkosky as Carl

That brings us to Debbie (Emma Kenney) and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky). The middle Gallaghers are often overlooked in the chaos but this season has had poignant storylines and plenty of depth for both characters. For Debbie, she’s trying desperately to navigate being a teenage girl, which let’s admit is the worst. She has found two friends that glamorize sexual promiscuity. That’s so out of character for Debbie she doesn’t know how to act. When her efforts to be promiscuous lead to bullying, she finds herself feeling lost and confused. Carl takes it on himself to find Frank an organ donor. When his efforts are replaced by Frank’s long lost daughter Sammi (Emily Bergl) he seeks out affection by finding the Bonnie to his Clyde. Ah, teenage love. There’s nothing like it. Now add-in robbing convenience stores at gunpoint and you’ve got Carl in season four.

With the conclusion of Shameless season four happening Sunday, April 6 at 9pm, I’m desperate to see what’s next for the Gallagher family and you should be too. Now that Frank has a new liver, will he get his act together? How will Fiona handle prison? Will Lip be able to juggle his familial responsibilities and college life? We know better than to expect a happily ever after for Ian and Mickey, but will this couple last? What’s next for Debbie? And will Carl be the youngest Gallagher in prison?


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RPW Can’t Miss This List 2014 – TV

Ready for 2014 Rock Paper Watchers? To celebrate the new year, we are releasing our “Can’t Miss This List” so you know our picks for upcoming shows, movies, albums, and books.  Check back tomorrow for our top 2014 movie picks!

True Detective

Airs January 12, 2014 on HBO

True Detective is a new HBO drama about Louisiana State Police Detectives Martin Hart and and Rust Cohle.  In 2012, they are brought in for separate interrogations about a murder case they solved in 1995.  As they narrate their story, each detective is pulled back into the case as questions begin to arise about the outcome of the peculiar murder.

Reasons to Watch: Reason #1 = The cast.  The detectives are portrayed by Matthew McConaughey (Cohle) and Woody Harrelson (Hart). Enough said.  Michelle Monaghan also stars as Maggie, Detective Hart’s wife.  By the looks of the trailer, they all put on riveting and gut-wrenching performances.  Reason #2 = The writing.  True Detective was written and created entirely by Nic Pizzolatto.  Pizzolatto is best known for writing two episodes of AMC’s cop-drama The Killing, including Season 1’s shock-filled finale.  The Killing is one of my favorite television shows (and one of the most underrated IMO) so I was thrilled to learn of this connection.  After conducting a little research, I discovered that Pizzolatto actually quit working for the series because he didn’t like “serving someone else’s vision.”  With True Detective being his first major solo project, I’m thrilled to see what this young and innovative writer has to offer.

Klondike

Airs January 20, 2014 on Discovery Channel

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Klondike is an upcoming historical mini-series by the Discovery Channel.  The six episode long series is the network’s first-ever scripted drama.  It follows two childhood best friends, Bill (Game of Throne‘s Richard Madden) and Epstein (Augustus Prew), in the late 1890s as they flee west in pursuit of gold.  Their journey leads to a land full of undiscovered wealth, but surrounded by unpredictable weather and dangerous characters, including greedy businessmen and native tribes witnessing the destruction of their land.

Reasons to Watch:  Richard Madden, hello!  Also, the production details of the series hint at great action scenes.  For example, over the course of 55 days, the actors faced severe conditions.  From freezing temperatures, to high altitudes; Madden and Prew literally hung off the side of a mountain for 16 hours straight for one scene.  That’s dedication.

Orphan Black  – Season 2

Airs April 19, 2014 on BBC America

Season 1 was a whirlwind.  At the season’s end, all of our favorite clones were forced to choose sides after meeting Rachel, their fellow clone and child of Neolution. Cosima discovered that the clones are property, owned by Neolution leading to Sarah’s decision to ignore Rachel’s threats in the greatest diss of all time, “Up your’s ProClone!” Cosima followed suit, but her illness will be front and center in Season 2. Allison, on the other hand, agreed to cooperate with Neolution.  What does this mean for her relationship with the other clones? Viewers can look forward to getting to know Rachel and the world of Neolution, as she takes the place of Season’s 2 “Big Bad.”  Suit’s Patrick J. Adams will be joining the cast in a very secretive guest spot, as well as Nashville’s bad boy (and the new Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones) Michiel Huisman.

Reasons to Watch: More clones!  We’ve already seen Tatiana Maslany play seven (YES, SEVEN) clones and the creators promise there will be more.  Also, I’m going through Felix withdrawals.

Penny Dreadful

Airs Spring 2014 on Showtime

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Penny Dreadful is an upcoming pyschosexual horror series that will weave together the origin of literary horror characters, including Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s monster, Dorian Gray, and Count Dracula, in Victorian London.

Reasons to Watch: Y’all, I have a confession to make. I used to be IN LOVE with Josh Hartnett. I remember seeing Pearl Harbor and The Faculty and thinking he was going to be my first kiss. Like seriously. So naturally with Hartnett cast as the lead in Penny Dreadful and perfectly positioned for a career comeback, I’m all in!

Masters of Sex – Season 2

Airs Fall 2014 on Showtime

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We know that Masters of Sex Season 1 just finished wrapping up, but we can’t help but be excited for the shows sophomore season. In the season finale, Dr. Master’s entire professional and personal life begins to unravel and the only person he wants to turn to is Virginia (Lizzy Caplan). After a few drinks, Master’s show up at Virginia’s door soaked from the rain and finally lays his feelings on the line.

“I have nothing to offer you except maybe the truth: I finally realized that there is one thing that I can’t live without — it’s you. You.”

Reasons to Watch: In its freshman season, Masters of Sex racked up 2 Golden Globe nominations. One for best drama, and the second going to Michael Sheen for Best Actor in a Drama Series category. I’m still rolling my eyes at the fact that Lizzy Caplan got shafted (ha-ha) for her portrayal of Virginia Johnson in the Best Actress in a Drama Series category. Between the story, the acting, the costumes and that ending…that ending is enough to leave us yearning for more.

Homeland – Season 4

Airs Fall 2014 on Showtime

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I have a confession, my confession is I jumped onto the Homeland wagon a little late. In fact, I didn’t binge watch Season 1&2 until right before the Season 3 premiere. The worst part is, it’s literally filmed out behind my apartment. I mean, I could probably start my own “Homeland” set tour company at this point.

After binge watching of Season 1&2, my feelings towards all the characters were pretty cemented. I wanted Carrie and Brody to be together, to have that happy ending, but as Season 3 started up I realized thats not what needed to happen, this show is not about happy endings. The show is at its best when the storyline sticks to Carrie and her obsessive need for the chase with the CIA, which is what I hope Season 4 is going to set up for us. If you haven’t watched the season finale of Season 3, shame on you, I’m going to ruin it for you.

  • BRODY DIES
  • CARRIE IS MEGA PREGGO & MEGA DEPRESSED
  • SAUL IS MIA IN THE MEDITERRANEAN (NOT WITH THE CIA) EATING BAGUETTES
  • CARRIE IS MOVING TO ISTANBUL (MAYBE) WITH BRODY’S SOON TO BE GINGER BABY
  • QUINN IS STILL HOT
  • CARRIE HAS WICKED STAR DRAWING SKILLZ

Reasons to Watch: For obvious reasons, what Homeland needs in Season 4 is a Renaissance. With Carrie moving to Istanbul as a station leader, Quinn, Max and Virgil are sure to be in tow. Of course a big piece of the puzzle that will be missing in said gang will be Saul. Mandy Patinkin is a phenomenal actor and outside of Quinn (hot), my favorite part of the show. I do hope the writers find a way to incorporate him into show in a way that makes sense next year….or possibly just bring him back into the fold of the CIA. So why should we watch? No more Brody, no more complications. During the season finale, it became pretty clear that they are going back to the basics. Carrie and the gang, doing what they are good at, catching the bad guys.

Turn

Airs 2014 on AMC

“Turn” tells the story of Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a New York farmer who bands together with a circle of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring,  George Washington’s ring of American spies who ultimately help America defeat the British in the Revolutionary War.  The show is based on the true story told in “Washington’s Spies” by Alexander Rose.

Reasons to Watch: Since my focus in college was Colonial America, I’m thrilled about the storyline and historical content.  But I’m also intrigued to see how non-history loving audiences will receive the show.  As much as I want it to be great, Turn has potential to be a train wreck.  It doesn’t help that the story is based on a war of which the outcome is already known.  So why should you watch?  It’s on AMC.  It’s potential to be bad is just as great as it’s potential to be phenomenal, considering the channel’s recent track record (i.e. Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Hell on Wheels).  And who knows, you might even enjoy getting a fun history lesson because, let’s admit it, you don’t remember learning about The Culper Ring in elementary school.

Honorable Mentions

House of Cards Season 2, Netflix available February 14th

Orange is the New Black Season 2, Netflix available TBD

Looking Season 1, HBO airing January 19 at 10:30pm

Boardwalk Empire Season 5, HBO airing Fall 2014

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond Season 1, BBC America premieres January 19 at 10:00pm


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‘Homeland’ React 3×9 – Best episode of the season?

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I know, I know.  I said I would be posting Homeland theories every week but I’ve been so frustrated with this season I just haven’t felt any inspiration, other than seeing Quinn (past Monday Man Candy, Rupert Friend) in the shower of course.  Why have I been so frustrated you ask, let’s recap.

In general, this season has been pretty boring with a couple of peaks surrounded by a lot of really low valleys.  First of all, I don’t care about Dana, Leo, or Jessica, and does Chris even exist anymore?  We get it Homeland, as you kindly reminded us during a moment of viewer frustration, Dana is Brody’s moral tether.  But did we really need to see her running away with Leo only to discover that he’s a sociopath responsible for his brother’s suicide?  No.  I get that it was to show Dana’s growth into a pessimistic adult and it led to her exiting the Brody home, but nobody cares!

Secondly, the pregnancy.  Can we just not?

Lastly, what many considered the highlight of the season was the jaw-dropping twist that Carrie and Saul had been working together during the first few episodes.  The plan was to make it seem like she was ousted by the CIA and available to act as a double agent to lure Iranian bad-guy, Javadi, into their grasp.  Turn’s out Saul wasn’t throwing Carrie under the bus at all, she was driving said bus.  I agree, this was an excellent twist but it kind of pissed me off.  Since the first season, we’ve had the luxury of experiencing Homeland from Carrie’s point of view; her damaged and messed up point of view.  But she’s our protagonist so no matter the incident, I’ve always been on Carrie’s side.  When the larger plan was revealed and I realized that Carrie had tricked ME, the faithful viewer, it hurt!  I felt like I couldn’t trust the show anymore.  I’ve never trusted like 90% of the characters anyway, but I always felt like I could trust Carrie.

Regardless of my gripes and complaints, it seems the series is finally finding its footing in this season’s last act.  Arguably the best episode aired Sunday night; let’s discuss what made it great:

1.  Brody and Carrie

As much as I would like for it to happen for storytelling purposes, this week’s episode proved that it would be impossible for Homeland to kill off Brody.  Every episode prior felt slow and uneventful.  The second Carrie and Brody appeared on-screen together, in which was a full minute of painful silence, the tension and chemistry catapulted the show into another atmosphere.  These two sizzle on-screen together and I can’t help but wonder if the earlier episodes felt so agonizing because of the lack of Carrie/Brody time. 

2.  We learn Saul’s full plan

As previously stated, Carrie and Saul worked together to turn Javadi, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard by proving he had committed treason.  Now he’s back in Iran, supposedly acting as a double agent.  Saul wants to use Brody to take out Javadi’s boss or “the single greatest impediment of peace,” says Saul.  The idea is that Brody will be welcomed into Iran for his actions against the United States.  He will be treated as a war hero (sound familiar?) and invited into boss-man’s inner circle.  He’ll use this invitation to kill boss-man and then be extracted by a four-member team in a small city outside Tehran.  From there, Javadi will climb the ranks and take boss-man’s place, allowing for Iran-United States relations to finally lead to peace negotiations instead of war.

The plan is a little too “make peace not war” for me.  It’s too idealistic.  It puts too much faith in Javadi who we saw murder his ex-wife with a bottleneck a few weeks ago.  I agree with Carrie, it’s reaching, but at least we’re in the loop now.

3.  Brody is back-back

Not only is Brody back, he’s back-back.  After hitting what was surely rock bottom earlier this season, he’s now in probably the best shape we’ve ever seen him.  As a key part of Saul’s plan, it is important for Brody to be drug free and in excellent condition.  After a drug-induced detox, he begins training with a special ops team and after sixteen days, he’s in his best physical and mental state.  It was great seeing such a tortured and scattered character actually motivated and focused.

Saul so easily looped Brody into his master plan, fellow Rock Paper Watch writer Ashley Foster brought an interesting theory to my attention:  Is it possible that Brody has been manipulated by Saul since the very beginning?  Like back to his days as a Marine, was he intentionally a POW to get in with Abu Nazir?  I don’t think Saul would have condoned the death of the Vice President but its still interesting to consider.  I call this the Homeland-complex, trust no one.

4.  A few season one shout outs

During Brody’s detox-induced hallucinations, Tom Walker and Abu Nazir made special appearances.  Did anyone else feel like this was Homeland saying, “Hey guys, remember these characters? Back with the show was really good?”  It made me sentimental for season one and reminded me of everything Brody’s been through, making me feel protective of his character for the rest of the episode and probably the rest of the season. 

5.  Max and Virgil doing Max and Virgil things

Y’all, I love Max and Virgil.  They’re like the Batman and Robin of Homeland.  Maybe, Black Widow and Hawkeye from The Avengers is a better comparison since they’re more sideline characters, but whatever.  Virgil is definitely Black Widow.  Whenever Carrie or Saul has a plan, they are always available for the dirty work.  Even though Virgil often questions Carrie’s motives, they usually follow her blindly and there’s something very sweet about that.  This week, they were at Saul’s beck and call, sweeping Saul and Dar Adal’s homes for bugs.  Max discovers the fishy computer mouse planted by Alan Bernard, Mira’s former lover—leading to our next point.

6.  Saul is gonna make Lockhart his bitch

Alan Bernard, turns out, is an Israeli intelligence officer and is currently working for the great Senator Lockhart!  With evidence in-hand, Saul goes after Lockhart requesting more time so he can finish this mission in return for not releasing the images and ending Lockhart’s career.  Lockhart agrees to the terms after asking Saul why not release the images and permanently keep his position as the head of the CIA.  Saul’s response, “Because it would humiliate my wife, Senator, and because it would damage the agency.”  That’s the big difference between these two men.  Lockhart doesn’t understand that they agency needs protecting; he sees this job as a simple change of power.  Something tells me this blackmail isn’t over, is it possible that Lockhart will act as a puppet at the head of the CIA and Saul will continue to pull the strings?

7. Brody’s sidekicks

How awesome is Brody’s special ops team?  Their patience during training, and relentlessness during his detox warmed my heart.  And how adorable was it when the doctor one quizzed Brody on his relationship with Carrie?  I don’t know, camaraderie always gives me warm and fuzzies.  I hope we see a lot more of them in the upcoming episodes.

But what about Quinn?

Everyone’s favorite black-ops agent was pretty much missing this episode.  He had one scene with Saul, Dal Adal, Max, and Virgil when they were discussing how to deal with Alan Bernard and Senator Lockhart.  He had one line, “what would you like me to do?” Hold your horses Quinn, no need to shoot anyone in the arm.  His little screen time in the episode proved to me that the showrunners don’t quite now how he fits the story with Brody back.  I hope this doesn’t continue moving forward, he’s been the best part of Homeland lately.

What do you think of Homeland this season?  Are you sick of any storylines?  What are your predictions for Saul’s plan?  Did you miss Brody?  Should we write a petition for more Quinn shower scenes?


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‘Homeland’ season 3 premiere – React to Saul’s big reveal and Quinn’s big mistake

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Y’all, that Homeland premiere.

Instead of recapping the entire episode, RPW is trying something a little different with Homeland.  We realize that Homeland is one of those shows you can’t help but watch and ask, “okay, where is this going? what can happen next?”  Each week, we will be discussing our theories, no matter how outlandish, and providing an in-depth look into the episode.  Now, with that out of the way, let’s dive in!  If you haven’t seen this week’s Homeland stop reading, SPOILER ALERT!

The episode was cleverly titled ‘Tin Man is Down’ and we eventually found out that Tin Man is the codename for Quinn’s target in Caracas.  Initially, Quinn did not pursue his target because there was a child present.  Quinn’s inaction means that Saul must act — should they continue with just five targets, or trust Quinn to take down his target so they have all six, or abort the mission all together?  In the days leading up to the op, we see Saul twiddling his thumbs, unsure of whether to pursue the mission.  To really drive the point home, Saul has several discussions with his wife about his constant indecisiveness.  Now, Saul is forced to make a decision under enormous amounts of pressure while Quinn waits patiently for his instructions.  It’s an interesting juxtaposition to see a man who has spent days emotionally deliberating over a decision, weighing all the pros and cons versus a man who acts without emotion or thought — a Tin Man, if you will — that needs his orders.

Saul ultimately decides to move ahead with the mission and sends Quinn into the home of the Tin Man to take him down.  After eliminating his target, Quinn is sweeping the office and at the sight of a flashlight, shoots the impending threat.  That threat was a child.  That’s right, Quinn shot and killed the child.  The wide-eyed horror on his face as he checked the boy’s corpse can only mean one thing, is Quinn really a Tin Man?  At the last minute, he communicates with Langley, “Tin Man is down.”   Literally, he’s referring to his target.  Figuratively, could he be referring to his armor?

Now, I’m a firm believer that Quinn loves Carrie.  In the past, he’s only deferred from his mission of “killing bad guys” once.  Quinn seems to have a soft spot, and that spot is Carrie.  With this tragedy, will the rest of his hardened shell start to fade?  How will it affect his relationship with Carrie?

Speaking of killing bad guys…

Earlier in the episode, Carrie was bombarded by the investigative committee with a leaked DOD memo.  Later, she wakes up to find the following the headline on the newspaper; “CIA officer linked to Langley bomber.”  What the heck?  Naturally, she accuses Dar Adal of planting the story.  Saul responds to her accusations coldly.

THEN, it is Saul’s turn in front of the committee.  Unlike Carrie’s session, his testimony is broadcasted and in front of an audience.  Saul swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God.  Then he updates the committee of the “successful” ops and accuses them of conducting a witch hunt to place blame on the CIA.  When Lockhart tells him the op did nothing to restore faith in the CIA, that they believe it was orchestrated, convenient, and cowardly, Saul plays his last card.  He tells the committee that the CIA agent tasked with Brody (Carrie) was “unstable,” bipolar, and had a sexual relationship with Brody.

BOOM!

What the heck guys?  This is Saul.  He’s the good guy.  He’s Carrie’s protector.  Now, he’s throwing her under a bus.  While it probably would have been impossible to stop Carrie, Saul didn’t really try.  He and Quinn, if anything, enabled her relationship with Brody.  And if anyone begs to differ, I’d like to remind them of the time they listened to their sexual encounter through a wire.  They let this happen.  They let it escalate.  It’s not right.

Quinn enabled the Carrie/Brody relationship because of his emotional connection to Carrie.  I think that deep down he wants to see her happy and saw the potential there with Brody.  What was Saul’s reasoning for enabling the relationship?  To protect America?  To further the mission?

So far, the show has set up the government as the enemy and Carrie/Brody as the protagonists.  After his testimony, I found myself questioning Saul’s allegiance (think back to those “Pledge Allegiance” ads) to Carrie and to the CIA.  Did Saul act to save the CIA?  Is Saul the mole out to destroy Carrie?  What are his motives and why would he do this?

So, killing bad guys.  I’d like to remind everyone that Quinn has stated he “kills the bad guys.”  His dislike for Estes was never a secret.  And he was conveniently not at the VP’s funeral, and therefore not killed by the blast.  Guess who else wasn’t at the funeral?  Saul.

At the time of the bomb, Saul was on a ship with Abu Nazir’s body to conduct a burial at sea.  For the record, I don’t trust Quinn as far as I can throw him.  But, as previously stated, Quinn doesn’t make decisions, he simply carries out orders.  Saul is the man making the decisions.  Is it possible that Saul orchestrated the entire thing and worked with Quinn to frame Brody?  Was the plan all along for Brody and Carrie to die in the explosion too?  Is that why Quinn let Brody live?  Did guilt about the upcoming plans cause him to have emotions toward Carrie?With that in mind, is Abu Nazir even dead?  I mean, if Saul is the mole or double-agent, he could have easily faked the death and provided another body for burial.  This may seem outlandish, but just consider it.  Regardless, we’d love to have your feedback.  Do you think Saul is the mole?  Do you think Quinn and Saul are working together as terrorists?  How will killing a child affect Quinn?

Also, did anyone miss Brody?  I didn’t.  Is the Homeland team stealing a note from the Shonda Rhimes playbook?  Whenever she intends to kill-off someone she diminishes their screen time so the viewer gets used to not seeing the character.  Are they preparing us for Brody’s inevitable death?  Would you like to see Brody die?  Let’s face it, Homeland is Carrie’s story.  And the character shines brightest when she is on a witch hunt and ugly crying.  It seems like they’re setting it up so she spends season 3 investigating Saul and finding Brody.  Homeland is a feel-bad show, not a feel-good one.  Brody and Carrie will never live happily ever after, he kind of has to die.

Alright, let’s hear it!  What did you think of the season 3 opener?


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Top 12 Worst TV Deaths Countdown

If you don’t already know, we here at RPW really enjoy a good countdown.  After discussing an entertaining evening of television on Sunday, and freaking out about the possible untimely and fiery death of Eric Northman during the True Blood finale, the idea for this list hit us.  We are counting down the 12 worst deaths in television history.  By “worst deaths,” we don’t mean the ones that made us sad because we loved the character or the ones that were heartbreaking to watch.  We mean the downright disappointing ones.  The ones that make you question the sanity of the writing team,  the ones that make you say, “Oh my gosh, are they really dead?  Did that seriously just happen?  They can’t be dead?  They deserve a much better death!”  If a major character is going to depart a show, the death should be gut-wrenching, appalling, and downright difficult to watch but it also needs to make sense.  And so our list begins:

12. Charlie Harper, Two and a Half Men

So we all knew the death of Charlie was inevitable after Charlie Sheen’s sudden departure from the show.  But being hit by a subway car?  Really?  Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Charlie to die surrounded by prostitutes?  We guess It was a nod from the creator that Charlie Sheen would never, ever return.

11. Russell Edgington, True Blood

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For being one of True Blood’s biggest and baddest villains, his death was shockingly boring.  He was killed by Eric Northman in the opening scene of Episode 5×12 but his death was ultimately way overshadowed by the death and rebirth of Bilith.  They really should’ve stepped up their game and given Edgington a more fitting True Death.

10. Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire

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Jimmy Darmody’s death still sparks debates among critics and RPW writers alike, so it wasn’t a complete disappointment.  But there is one thing that everyone can agree on – the ultimate success of this show was hurt by the death of Jimmy.  Michael Pitt was a stellar actor and his Jimmy was beloved by many.  It was too soon for the show to say good bye to the second lead character, and the third season was noticeably weak without him.  It also felt unfair to see Jimmy die at the hands of Nucky, his make-shift father, as Nucky’s other enemies (Eli and Manny, just to name a few) escaped with their lives.  The argument can be made that Nucky finally became a full gangster, but did he really?  Did he murder Jimmy and walk away without guilt?  Did he take out all of his enemies, or just the one that was easiest to target?

9. Matthew Crawley, Downton Abbey

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Many argue that Matthew’s death was unavoidable after Dan Stevens decided not to return to Downton Abbey, but it doesn’t make his death feel any less bogus.  After two seasons of waiting for him and Mary to get together, they finally get their happy ending…only for him to die almost right after.  #Disappointing.

8. Andrea, The Walking Dead

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No one was more pleased to see Andrea die on the season finale of The Wakling Dead than me.  But come on writers, there wasn’t a better way to do it?  In a horrendously stupid scene, where Andrea has to fight for her life against Milton using her (perfectly manicured) toes and a pair of pliers, Andrea finally comes up short and is bitten by a walker.  She then has all the time in the world to sit and bleed out and wait for Rick and Co. to show up and mercy-kill her.  It would have been 1000x better to see Rick & Co. arrive to find zombie-Andrea munching on someone.

7. Bill Henrickson, Big Love

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We have one giant complaint about the way Bill was shot.  After all the enemies he made through the years, it’s the neighbor that offs him?!

6. Robert McCallister, Brothers and Sisters 

ROB LOWE

HE HAD JUST SURVIVED CANCER!… only to die in a car crash.  Everything about it felt SO WRONG.

5. John Locke, LOST 

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Our biggest complaint isn’t the fact that John Locke, the biggest believer in the magic of the island and most obvious replacement for Jacob, died before the series finale.  No, we can deal with that.  Our biggest complaint is the way Locke died!   The scene in which Ben pretends to want to help Locke and then suddenly turns on him to kill him was so sudden and so forced that it was almost unbelievable.  And it especially threw off the audience when Locke’s body was suddenly alive and well and perusing the Island.  In a series that posed more questions than it answered, this curveball was unnecessary and hurt the storyline more than it advanced it.

4. George O’Malley, Grey’s Anatomy

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He got hit by a bus and spent majority of the episode as an unrecognizable John Doe surrounded by his best friends as they half-assed operated to save his life.  When they realized that the John Doe was George it was too late and his actual death got wrapped up in Izzie’s almost-death.

Watch the clip below but be warned, you’ll probably feel annoyed just reliving it.

 

3. Lady Sybil, Downton Abbey

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Probably one of the most unexpected characters to be killed off on TV, Lady Sybil was a cast favorite.  Revolting against her families wishes and expectations, Sybil set out to form her own life.  After a difficult childbirth, the audience knew Sybil made it out alive, however toxemia claimed the best of her post-pregnancy, leaving TV viewers reeling the death of a beloved character.  Once word spread of the sudden, unexpected death of Lady Sybil, the ratings of Downton spiked, bringing in many new viewers just in time for them to be let down by the (expected) unexpected death of Matthew Crawley.

Watch the heartbreaking scene unfold below.

 

2. Rita Morgan, Dexter

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We get that the death of Rita was inevitable (she’s married to a seriel killer!).  And the shock factor for this death was definitely there.  No one, Dexter included, thought that Trinity would break his cycle and go after Rita.  All of that aside, I have some major beef with this death.  My biggest complaint is that the audience didn’t see it happen.  Rita was such a big part of the show and it felt unfair that we didn’t get to see her live her final scenes.  I get the shock factor wouldn’t have been there, but couldn’t the writers throw in a flashback somewhere?  Or even a flash of memory from Harrison?  Because we didn’t get to see the interaction between Rita and Trinity, we will never know if Rita died knowing the truth about Dexter.  #ThingsThatKeepMeUpAtNight

Watch the [disturbing] clip of Dexter finding Rita below.

 

1. Ned Stark, Game of Thrones

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Ned Stark’s death could be viewed as the best death ever on TV (I mean, who can argue it’s epicness?) or the worst death.  For our purposes, we think it was the worst.  Why?  Because Ned’s death meant that the Lannisters (AKA the dad guys) won.  Ned’s death was such a shock because it directly defied everything that viewers come to expect from a drama – the hero faces trials and tribulations, the hero suffers, the hero finds a way out, the hero is victorious.  Game of Thrones took the opposite route.  They killed off the main character and protaganist in the first season, throwing everyone for a major loop.  Not only that, but Ned’s death meant Joffrey won and who the hell wants that to happen?

Watch the chilling scene unfold below.


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New Promo Alert – Homeland Season 3

If we thought we were enjoying Christmas early this year with our 16 Top Fall TV Picks, now we know for sure that the holiday season is upon us.  The trailer for the new season of Showtime’s Award-winning drama Homeland dropped today.  Check out the emotionally-charged trailer and our breakdown below:

The Breakdown

– The trailer starts with the final scene from Season 2 between Brody and Carrie before diving into a series of (emotional) clips from upcoming episodes.

– Saul and Carrie are both subjected to official investigations (and seem to be put on trial) after the events of Season 2. Can we just talk about how excited we are to see these powerful scenes unfold??

– Carrie is a mess after losing her precious Brody and winds up in a mental institution (we think).  After she miraculously got her job back in Season 2, do you think it’s possible Carrie will ever be back in the CIA?

– Brody seems to be in the Middle East or another country (definitely not America) and he’s being hunted by the CIA Abu Nazir-style (cue maps with hundreds of lines, photos, and connections).  He is now bald, and recovering from a gun shot wound in a deteriorated building AKA not in too great of shape.

– Meanwhile, his family isn’t handling the whole situation very well.  Brody is now the infamous American Hero-Turned-Terrorist, making his family a target for paparazzi and news faccets.  In addition, Dana is now a Muslim (or trying to become one), and is sending nudie pics to someone. Boy, is it too much to ask that we focus on Chris this season instead of the annoying child?

– Rupert Friend is back.  Need we say more?

– What’s the song in the trailer that you just can’t get enough of?  We thought you might ask.  Listen to “To Build a Home” by the Cinematic Orchestra here.

There is a lot going on in the trailer and it definitely tugs at your heart-strings.  What part has you the most excited?  Do you think Season 3 can live up to the hysteria that surrounds the first two seasons of Homeland?  Can Season 3 make up for the lack-luster Season 2?  We here at RPW only know one thing – we literally can’t wait for the premiere.  Is it September 29th at 9pm yet?


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Fall Picks: The RPW Breakdown

The Crazy Ones

For Rock Paper Watch, the fall premiere season is up there with Christmas.  To celebrate our holiday season we are counting down the most exciting new shows.  To summarize, it seems that NBC has the most exciting line-up for the fall season.  After cancelling most of it’s shows in 2013 to make room for more promising pilots, one would hope they have some killer debuts shows ready for release.  After a thorough review of promos and plot summaries, it seems that NBC has finally found its footing following the format established by Parenthood and Hannibal — high quality, plot driven, dramatic shows.  Will it work?

CBS has a few interesting shows in the mix, breaking their usual format (see The Crazy Ones and Hostages).  ABC is continuing it’s theme of soapy, female-targeted dramas.  Surprisingly enough, FOX is expanding on it’s comedies, instead of offering thrillers similar to The Following.  The CW is broadening its horizons with a variety of content-driven pilots, no real unifying theme here.

What shows are you most excited about?  Are there any missing from our list that you can’t wait to watch?

1.  The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Thursday, September 26 at 9pm

A single-camera, half-hour workplace comedy about a father-and-daughter team in the world of advertising. (Oscar winner Robin Williams plays the dad, while Sarah Michelle Gellar is the daughter.) Ally McBeal’s David E. Kelley will write the pilot and executive-produce with Arrested Development’s Dean Lorey and McBeal’s Bill D’Elia. James Wolk, Amanda Setton and Hamish Linklater will also star.

Reasons to Watch – It’s Robin Williams in his first regular TV role since Mork & Mindy.  If you need another reason, majority of the show is improvised.  Also, I love seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar back and judging by the promo, these two already have amazing chemistry.  Did we mention James Wolk?  Anything with him and I’m in.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s on CBS, which tends to skew older.  This means great things for attracting an audience via Robin Williams, but what about the younger crowd?  Will it be “crazy” enough to keep their interest?  Majority of the promo follows this overly sexual jingle that Kelly Clarkson wants to perform, and it does seem a bit risqué.  If they can keep that tongue-in-cheek humor it might work.  Also, I’d watch for a glimpse into the advertising world.  Bad news, it competes with the powerhouse Grey’s Anatomy and three other shows on our list.

2. Reign (CW)
Thursday, October 17 at 9pm

Watch as a 15-year-old Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) arrives in France, betrothed to Prince Frances (Toby Regbo). She must survive fierce foes, dark forces and a world of sexual intrigue. Outlaw’s Stephanie Sengupta and CSI: Miami’s Laurie McCarthy will write and executive-produce. Celina Sinden, Torrance Coombs, Jenessa Grant, Anna Popplewell,Megan Follows, Rossif Sutherland and Caitlin Stasey will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Going through period-drama withdrawals since the end of The Tudors?  Me too.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s competing with Grey’s Anatomy, The Crazy Ones, and The Michael J. Fox Show.  The good news is that it has a great lead-in with The Vampire Diaries.  It’s on the CW, which means a younger audience with little competition.  But is the plot too “old” for the viewer?

3. Master of Sex (Showtime)
Sunday, September 29th at 10pm

Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan star in a new drama series that chronicles the unusual lives and romance of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the pioneers of the science of human sexuality. Their research took them from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch. Created by Michelle Ashford, the series also stars Caitlin Fitzgerald, Nicholas D’Agosto and Teddy Sears. Beau Bridges, Allison Janney and Margo Martindale will recur.

Reasons to Watch – This one is easy.  It’s Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen and sex.  What more do you really need?

Reasons to be Skeptical – I don’t have any skepticisms.  It’s true that some audiences might not have an interest but the show is being recognized for breaking barriers and tackling taboos.  I’ll be watching, will you?

4.  Dracula (NBC)
Friday, October 25 at 10pm

Inspired by the classic Bram Stoker novel, this drama stars The Tudors’ Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. Based on a script from co-executive producer Cole Haddon, this version finds Dracula in London posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. But his true plan — to seek revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier — is thwarted when her falls hopelessly in love with a woman named Mina (Jessica DeGouw ), who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. Dracula will be executive-produced by Colin Callender, Tony Krantz (24), Gareth Neame (Downton Abbey) and Anne Mensah.

Reasons to Watch – Remember when we said we missed The Tudors?  Well this show brings Jonathan Rhys Meyers back for another period drama, just more fangs and less wives (that we know of).  Remember that time he ate the pomegranate in season one of The Tudors?  I feel like this show is going to a lot of that and I’m perfectly fine with it.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Friday night death slot, never good.

5. The Originals (CW)
Premieres Thursday, October 3 at 9pm, airs regularly Tuesdays at 8pm

This Vampire Diaries spin-off focuses on the show’s Original Family. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) returns to New Orleans — a town he helped build centuries ago — to reunite with his diabolical former protégéMarcel (Charles Michael Davis). Diaries executive producer Julie Plec will write and executive-produce, alongside Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin, Daniella Pineda, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Producer Julie Plec says where Diaries was a coming-of-age story, “this is a show that is not about struggling to be a vampire, it’s about embracing vampirism. It’s about reveling in it. … We’ve graduated high school and went to college, and they’re getting their master’s degree in The Originals.” Oh, and did we mention Klaus? HOT.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a spinoff.  However, many show’s have had very successful runs as spinoff’s. Especially in the vampire category. Look at Angel for example, it had 6 successful seasons as a spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and continues to have a cult following. We are a bit skeptical about the show taking some of our favorite characters out of play, but that does open up the door for crossover episodes. PLUS Julie Plec has not ruled out the option of a Klaus/Caroline reunion…of sorts. We vote YES.

6.  The Blacklist (NBC)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm

The world’s most wanted criminal (James Spader) mysteriously turns himself in and offers to give up everyone he has ever worked with. His only condition: He will only work with a newly minted FBI agent (Megan Boone) with whom he appears to have no connection. Perfect Stranger‘s Jon Bokenkamp will write and executive-produce with AliasJohn Eisendrath. Ryan Eggold, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix and Ilfenesh Hadera will also star.

Reasons to Watch – James Spader.  What’s interesting about this show is that it has this Silence of the Lambs Hannibal/Clarice feel without being Hannibal by adding a dash of White Collar, basically it’s a mash-up of really great pop culture with Steff from Pretty in Pink.  Really, what more could you want?

Reasons to be Skeptical – Is it too formula?  Will it get old fast?  With a lead actor like James Spader, can the practically unknown Megan Boone counter his on-screen brilliance?  Only time will tell.

7.  Hostages (CBS)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm

Toni Collette plays a surgeon who is recruited to operate on the president (James Naughton), an assignment that propels her family — Tate Donovan, Mateus Ward and Quinn Shephard— into a grand political conspiracy. Dylan McDermott is an FBI agent tasked with helping the family. Based on an Israeli series, the pilot is written and executive-produced by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow). Jerry Bruckheimer will also executive-produce. Sandrine Holt, Rhys Coiro and Billy Brown will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Political Dramas are hot right now (Scandal, House of Cards) and CBS has some big shoes to fill. Hostages has a stellar cast of Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott, plus with the extra fire power of Jerry Bruckheimer, the series is bound to be a thrill ride. Will she murder the president for her family? What is McDermott’s motive?

Reasons to be Skeptical – Where exactly can this plot go? It seems kind of dead ended, however, it seems like writers can take plot lines anywhere they want nowadays. It wouldn’t hurt our feelings if this show did tank. We do love Dylan McDermott on American Horror Story…(hint, hint).

8. Us & Them (Fox)
Mid-season

A couple’s (Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel) long-distance, budding romance is constantly disrupted by their friends and family in this comedy based on the British series Gavin and Stacey. David Rosen (I Just Want My Pants Back) will write and executive-produce. Dustin Ybarra, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Jane Kaczmarek, Kurt Fuller and Ashlie Atkinson will also star.

Reasons to Watch – There’s nothing more we LOVE than a good RomCom and Jason Ritter. Also, I think we’ve all experience or know someone who’s experienced the pain of online dating, so we are hoping the show will be something people can find relatable. I mean, not everyone can be an an Agent in S.H.E.I.L.D….because thats relatable.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Bledel can kind of come off pretty flat as an actress. Also, chemistry is key to this show. Will they, or will they not have it? Here’s hoping!

9.  Marvel’s Agents S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Tuesday, September 24th at 8pm

Based on Marvel Universe’s fictional and secret law-enforcement agency. Avengers’ Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen will write and executive-produce. Clark Gregg will reprise his Avengers role, joined by Ming-Na, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ian De Caestecker and Chloe Bennet.

Reasons to Watch – Did you see The Avengers last summer?  Of course you did.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It seems like a cheap ploy to attract a built-in audience.  Will it last?

10. The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
Thursday, September 26th at 9pm

Michael J. Fox returns to TV as Mike, a former New York news anchor who goes back to work but still manages to find time to drive his wife (Betsy Brandt) and three kids crazy. The show is executive-produced with Fox by Sam Laybourne and Will Gluck and also stars Conor Romero, Juliette Goglia, Jack Gore, Kate Finneran and Wendell Pierce.

Reasons to Watch – In 2009, with Michael J. Fox: Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist Fox erased any cynicism about his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease by charming the world with his innate likability.  Furthermore, the actor has dominated the small screen lately with his guest appearance on The Good Wife.  The Michael J. Fox Show promises to make light of Fox’s everyday struggle and hopes to create a dialogue among viewers about optimism when struggling with the effect’s of Parkinson’s.  Bring it on Marty McFly.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Against Grey’s Anatomy, it has tough competition for it’s demo.  Do you think viewers are ready to watch the side effects of Parkinson’s every Thursday night?  Even though it’s a comedy, will it make people uncomfortable?

11.  About a Boy (NBC)
Mid-season

About A Boy

After writing a hit song, Will Freeman was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. Now he’s single, unemployed and loving it.

So when Marcus (the oddly charming 11-year-old next door neighbor) stops by, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend… until Will discovers that women find single dads hot. Well, that changes everything. A deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son, and in return Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house, playing ping-pong and gorging on steaks – something Marcus’ single, needy (and very vegan) mother would never allow.

Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy Marcus’ visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. Could it be that maybe there’s something to be said for being a (sort of) responsible adult – at least in a young boy’s eyes?

Starring Minnie Driver (“Good Will Hunting”) and David Walton (“Bent”), based on the best-selling book by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) and written/produced by Jason Katims (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) comes a different kind of coming-of-age story. Half-hour comedy (single-camera).

**Description from Huffington Post

Reasons to Watch – David Walton is fantastic and one of the most underrated actors on tv.  I loved the show he did with Amanda Peet a few years back, Bent.  It was cancelled before ever really given a chance so I’m hopeful that this show will find its footing with Walton in the lead role.  Also, with Jason Katims producing you know its going to tug at your heartstrings.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It hasn’t been given a premiere date yet by NBC.  With the right promotional campaign it could go far, I guess it is in NBC’s hands.

12.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 9:30pm

A group of detectives — including Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher,Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and Melissa Fumero — form an odd family in a police precinct in the outermost neighborhood of New York City. Parks and Recreation’s Mike Schur and Dan Goor will write and executive-produce with 30 Rock’s David Miner. Samberg will also produce.Stephanie Beatriz and Chelsea Peretti will also star.

Reasons to Watch – If Andy Samberg in a speedo isn’t enough to watch I don’t know what is.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s sharing the night with 3 major Fox comedies, 2 of which are heading into a sophomore and junior seasons with high ratings. If it doesn’t bring the people in with its time slot, it will have the axe in no time.

13.  Crisis (NBC)
Mid-season

Washington’s most powerful players, including the president, find themselves blackmailed into an international conspiracy by an unlikely puppeteer. The FBI and a rookie Secret Service agent (Lance Gross) must unravel the mystery. Life’s Rand Ravich will write and executive-produce with Far Shariat. Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Dermot Mulroney, Max Martini,Michael Beach, James Lafferty, Halston Sage, Max Schneider, Joshua Erenberg and Stevie Lynn Jones will star.

Reasons to Watch – It has a stellar cast!  With this kind of line-up, it’s hard not to have high expectations.  And as a girl who grew up watching One Tree Hill I love seeing Nathan (James Lafferty) back on the small screen.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Past the initial kidnapping, where can the show go?

14.  Dads (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 8pm

From Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, this live-action comedy stars Seth Green and Giovani Ribisi as two successful thirtysomethings who have their lives turned upside down when their fathers (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) move in with them. Vanessa Lachey, Brenda Song and Tonita Castro also star. Alec Sulkin, Wellesly Wild, Mark Cendrowski will executive-produce alongside MacFarlane.

Reasons to Watch – This needs no convincing. Its Seth McFarland, Seth Green, and Giovani Ribisi.  Remember the scene in Ted when Giovani Ribisi is dancing in front of the TV to Tiffany’s, ‘I Think We’re Alone Now?’ How could we forget? A match made in comedic heaven.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Vanessa Lachey?…Unless its a major failure in the plot department I don’t think there are any vices. It has a great time slot around New Girl and The Mindy Project. PS-did you guys see how fab Mindy Kaling looks on this week’s issue of EW?

15.  Believe (NBC)
Mid-season premiere

An unlikely relationship develops between a young girl (Johnny Sequoyah) with a gift and a man (Jake McLaughlin) sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evildoers who covet her power. Harry Potter’s Alfonso Cuaron and The Forgotten’s Mark Friedman will write and executive-produce with Lost’s J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, Sienna Guillory, Arian Moayed and Jamie Chung will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Critics are raving about how gorgeous the imagery is on this show.  It’s not set to premiere until 2014 and is already getting a lot of attention.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a mid-season premiere and the biggest name attached is J.J. Abrams as executive producer.  Jake McLaughlin is great, I remember him from a few minor roles but is he strong enough to carry a show?

16. Mind Games (ABC)
Mid-season

From Awake’s creator Kyle Killen, the project is a provocative workplace ensemble about the complicated relationship between two brothers — Steve Zahn and Christian Slater — who head an agency that uses the real science of human motivation and manipulation to solve its clients’ problems. Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gregory Marcel, Wynn Everett and Cedric Sanders will also star. Ron Rifkin will guest-star.

Reasons to Watch – It’s from Awake creator Kyle Killen.  Awake was acclaimed for being one of the most innovative pilots in 2012.  After watching the promo, the chemistry between Christian Slater and Steve Zahn seems to be incredible.  It’s like a twisted version of Scandal.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Christian Slater hasn’t had the best luck with tv shows lately, it doesn’t seem like hopes are high.

All plot summaries were gathered from TV Guide.

The list was constructed by Rock Paper Watch authors Elizabeth Bond and Ashley Foster.  Feel free to reach out with comments or questions.  Thanks for reading!