Saturday, June 14, 2014

Friday Night Lights: 1.1 "Pilot"

Series Summary (from IMDb): The trials and tribulations of small town Texas football players, their friends, family, and coaching staff. (I love how succinct it is!)

I'm watching this because: I've heard so many good things about this show—from critics, from my sister, from friends. I purchased the series for about $40 from Amazon a couple years ago, and I watched the first episode about four times at different times, but it just never grabbed me ... until now. After I finished The West Wing (one of the most addictive and satisfying viewing experiences of my life), I decided to give Friday Night Lights another go.

Recap: The pilot episode follows the week leading up to the Dillon Panthers' first game of the season. Football is life in Dillon, and the football players are revered. New head coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is under extreme pressure to deliver a win—and perhaps a state championship. Starting quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter) is the team's star, and he's looking forward to guaranteed college scholarships ... until he is gravely injured in the season opener. Backup Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) saves the game with a last-second Hail Mary.

Reactions: For whatever reason, the fifth time's the charm. Even though I basically knew what would happen, thanks to my previous four viewings of the pilot over the past two years, I was riveted to the screen, and I immediately watched the next two episodes, as well. I love, love, love Coach & Tami Taylor (Connie Britton), I think Saracen is adorable, and, for the first time ever, I get why Taylor Kitsch (as bad boy Tim Riggins) was supposed to be the "next big thing."

Keep watching? No question. I'm completely smitten!

Watch it on Amazon or Netflix.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The West Wing: 1.1 "Pilot"

Series Summary (from Netflix): This powerful political epic chronicles the triumphs and travails of White House senior staff under the administration of President Josiah Bartlet.

I'm watching this because: Honestly, it was on a whim. I was looking for a new show to watch, and I'd pretty much decided to try The Good Wife when The West Wing popped up as a suggestion on Amazon Prime. So I pressed play ...

Recap: Basically, the pilot serves as a vehicle to introduce viewers to the vast cast of characters: President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney), Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer), Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), Communications Director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), and others. About a million things happen, but the memorable threads include Josh's near-firing over comments he made about the Religious Right and Sam's one night stand with a prostitute.

Reactions: OK, so now I get what all the buzz is about. The West Wing is completely charming. And though I'm a conservative and the majority of the characters are incredibly liberal, I love them. (Though it does bug me when Christians get stomped on.)

I'll now admit that I'm writing this as I begin the sixth season (less than two months after I began watching)—so obviously, I'm all in! I adore Donna (Janel Moloney) and C.J., am thrilled that Josh is finally figuring out how much he cares for Donna, and eagerly scour the names of the guest stars at the beginning of each episode, hoping that Timothy Busfield's Danny is going to return to sweep C.J. off her feet.

Also, it's so much fun seeing who will pop up as a guest star—Nick Offerman ("Ron Swanson" on Parks & Rec), Matthew Perry, Christian Slater, Lisa Edelstein ("Cuddy" on House) and John Goodman have all shown up a time or two. But I did the most squealing when George Frankly from Mathnet (Joe Howard) showed up in a one-line role!

And it's really a testament to how great an actor Dulé Hill is that I don't even see a smidge of Burton Guster (Psych) in his portrayal of Charlie, the President's personal aide.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say I'm head over heels for this show!

Keep watching? Absolutely! But what will I do once I'm finished???
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