The Cast’s the Thing

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What to do when one star has a meltdown and another one bites the hand that feeds him? Well, if you’re Two and a Half Men, you get a great storyline, an established young star and, in the words of Sheldon Cooper, “Bazinga!” It’s Amber Tamblyn as Charlie Harper’s illegitimate booze-swilling daughter, Jenny. Oh, yeah – she’s also gay and Evelyn loves her. Since the two reasons the TVJ watches this show are Holland Taylor and the brilliant Jon Cryer, this new twist just might be what this series needs. Toss in a TVJ fave from the Hot L Baltimore days, Conchata Ferrell as Berta, and this show continues to go where no other show has gone. Now, again – who is Charlie Sheen?

Stana Katic & Nation Fillion of Castle
Stana Katic & Nation Fillion of Castle

Oh, how the TVJ has missed Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic (ok, maybe Katic more than Fillion, but the TVJ has known Nathan since his One Life to Live days) and the fun that is Castle. The plots are intriguing, the banter is snappy, but most of all, it’s the cast who drives this show. From Susan Sullivan as Castle’s mother Martha and the wise-beyond-her-years-but-not-annoying Molly Quinn as his daughter Alexis, to Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever as Esposito and Ryan, to Penny Johnson Herald as Capt. Gates and Tamala Jones as Lainie, this group keeps the banter light and the atmosphere fun. There are so many shows that “jump the shark” when the leads hop in the sack, but not this one. The Castle-Beckett-post-making-whoopee relationship is a hoot. And we know who wears the pants in that family!

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It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the TVJ’s favorite returning guilty pleasure is Drop Dead Diva. There, the words have been spoken, or written, or whatever. The concept of Deb, a hot model, dying and returning to life with her soul placed in the body of attorney Jane Bingum, who is played to perfection by Brooke Elliott, is so much fun. Add in Margaret Cho as Jane’s fabulous assistant Teri, the only actress who can pull off dumb blonde and make you love her, April Bowlby as Deb’s (now Jane’s) best pal Stacy, the divine Sharon Lawrence as Deb’s mother, the hilarious Faith Prince as Jane’s mother, Deb/Jane’s soulmate Grayson (the uber-squeaky-clean Jackson Hurst) and Lex Medlin as the adorable Owen French (the TVJ’s fave male cast member!) and you have a dream cast that makes this highly improbable concept totally believable. Biggest plus (sic) is to finally have a female star who isn’t the cookie-cutter size 2 and Elliott, so brilliant on Broadway in Taboo, has great comic chops and a million dollar smile. Jane is a fashonista, through and through! When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping and Jane’s sense of style is eclipsed only by Elliott’s portrayal. Try it, you’ll like it. The TVJ is never wrong!

James Spader stars as "Red" in The Blacklist.
James Spader stars as “Red”
in The Blacklist.

The brilliant James Spader in The Blacklist will take your breath away with his mesmerizing performance of a rogue agent returning to the fold. After the bland and pointless Hostages (Seriously? Kill the President?) and the truly awful Betrayal, the TVJ was praying that The Blacklist would be top notch. But then, with Spader aboard, how could it not be! Do not miss this show. It’s the best show of the new season and you heard it here first!

OH…NO!!!

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As much as the TVJ loves her gingers, even Seth Green can’t save this mess and Dads has been removed from the DVR list. Trophy Wife is still hanging on by a thread, but the TVJ kinda likes it, if only for Marcia Gay Harden. She is also realizing that the only reason she likes Back in the Game is that the team colors are orange and brown, the same as her alma mater, Bowling Green State University. Ok, so the TVJ is shallow and got in a shameless plug for BGSU. BFD!!! And Super Fun Night? The TVJ so wanted to like this show, but alas, a real stinkeroo.

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A FEW LAST THOUGHTS…

This Week on the Tube…Kudos to Law & Order: SVU for taking out (sic) Anthony Weiner in one of their “ripped from the headlines” episodes.

Ilene Kristen returns as Delia Reid Ryan
Ilene Kristen returns as Delia Reid Ryan.

Best TV Moment of the Week…the return to daytime of the spectacular Ilene Kristen in the role that made her famous, Delia Reid Ryan Ryan Coleridge (and a few more), as she welcomes Sam and Silas (Kelly Monaco and Michael Easton) to Ryan’s Bar on General Hospital. The TVJ confesses a special place in her heart for the late lamented Ryan’s Hope. Her neighbor in Brooklyn was Roscoe Born (Joe), Kristen is an old friend, she worked with Helen Gallagher (Maeve Ryan) Off-Broadway on Tallulah! and John Ryan himself (the late Bernie Barrow) was the TVJ’s Masters’ advisor at Brooklyn College. But it was always Delia who ran the show. Or was that ran away with the show? Whichever it is and whomever she might be (Ava Jerome’s mother) it’s great to see her back where she belongs…in our living rooms. Well done, Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati!

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Worst TV Moments of the Week…The TVJ really, really tried, but after twelve minutes of The Millers, fifteen minutes of Sean of the Dead – oops, make that Sean Saves the World – and three tries with The Goldbergs, she ran screaming from the room and has not been seen since.

Cast of The Bob Newhart Show
The cast of The Bob Newhart Show

And don’t even get me started…what moron gave a green light for more episodes of The Millers, Dads and The Goldbergs?

This just in…The TVJ has just learned of the passing of the wonderfully funny Marcia Wallace at the age of 70. Today’s TV audiences know her best as Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons, but those of us of “a certain age” remember her fondly as Carole Kester, Bob Hartley’s secretary on The Bob Newhart Show. Whether it was keeping up with both Bob’s schedule of crazy patients, making us ROFL on “Match Game” or belting out Edna’s trademark “Ha!” Wallace’s dry sense of humor, expressive face and spot-on delivery, made her a joy to watch.

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Next Time…hidden gems.

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The TV Junkie was preceded in her family by a large mahogany cabinet that housed a small screen with a large speaker below. Thus began her love affair with the older sibling in the living room. Theirs was a tenuous relationship, prone to mishaps (forgetting to use the special "screen" for Winky Dink), joyous events (Julie & Carol at Carnegie Hall), sad moments (Clarabelle saying goodbye to the Peanut Gallery) and a wide range of emotions (the funeral of John F. Kennedy and the Inauguration of Barack Obama). From Captain Video to Star Trek to Lost; from A Brighter Day to The Edge of Night to One Life to Live; from Peyton Place to Dynasty to Desperate Housewives; there has never been a greater love, than that of the TVJ and the best friend a girl could ever have. Like "The TV Junkie" on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @thetvjunkiepml.