TV 411: The Royals – An Introduction

** SPOILER ALERT: Proceed at your own risk **


Mark Schwahn


E! Entertainment Television


March 15, 2015

The Hook:

Shows about royalty, or things royal-like, story lines always grabs my attention. It’s not because I’m smitten with the idea of a court or with the glitz and glamor. It’s always because I’m curious to see how royalty will be depicted. Will it be serious? Will it be funny? Will it be somewhat realistic? I mean, I know it’s fiction so things will get exaggerated, but I can’t help but wonder what the truth of that exaggeration might be, you know? So the hook for me is simply because it’s a show about a fictional family of royals and the ups and downs of be caught among fame, duty, and individuality.

Th Premise:

So, considering the title of the show, I’m sure you can guess what the baseline story arch of the show is. Royalty and the drama that follows.  The show focuses on the royal family, of course, but I also like that the show teases out the security detail  and, it’s too soon for me to tell (I only really watched one episode so far), I’d imagine the servants as well.

Cast of Characters:

Prince Liam (William Moseley) – The future king. Having assumed this title and responsibility rather suddenly, and very much unexpectedly, Liam is has to quickly figure out what kind of king he wants to be (or at least the direction he’s aiming for) while figuring out how to keep true to himself while doing what’s best for his kingdom.

Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley) – The queen and mother of Liam. Boy, do I like her character. She’s not my favorite (I don’t thin I even have a favorite yet. No, wait. I do. I do have a favorite) and, you know, I’m not even sure if like her (I need to watch more of the show to decide where she stands with me), but I do respect her character. She’s fighting all kinds of battle fronts. Firstly, keeping her family out of the tabloids. Then ruling her kingdom. Then trying to be a mother. She’s got all kinds of things going on I can’t help but appreciate her. Elizabeth Hurley is really doing a good job with her portrayal.

Princess Elenor (Alexandra Park) – Liam’s twin sister and, of course, the princess. I like her. While Queen Helena is the iron fist of the family, Elenor can be seen as the black sheep. She’s the Queen Helena is trying to keep out of the tabloids the most because Elenor doesn’t make things easy. Every family has one, but I like the energy she brings to the show. The vulnerability clashing with anger, bitterness, and bite. Or at least bark.

King Simon (Vincent Regan)  The king, of course. And poor Simon! I mean, he’s suppose to be king and the head of household, but often takes a backseat to, well, everyone.

Ted Price (Oliver Milburn) – Head of security and my favorite (as of episode one)! I love what his character brings to the show. Well, since I’ve only seen the pilot, what I see him brining to the show is that other layer of perspective. He’s that behind the scenes person, but an important person, and I love how that works. His position would make things interesting to see how that influences his life.

Ophelia Price (Merritt Patterson) – Daughter to the Head of Security and Prince Liam’s love interest. Because of  course we need a love interest who would be known as a servant or a daughter of a servant or a commoner. You know what I mean. I may be a bit sarcastic, but I do like the idea of these two. They’re about the same age so they more or less grew up together (in the castle of course, not like having playdates with each other). It’ll be interesting to see where this may go.

I think that’s pretty much the main cast, as of episode one. I’m sure I’m missing characters and will learn who they are as I make my way along season one (like Marcus, for example. Liam’s bodyguard).

Continuing on:

The pilot episode introduced some interesting plot lines I wouldn’t mind seeing played out. Liam and Ophelia for one. Ophelia and her father is another. What happened to Ophelia’s mother? Why is Elenor the wild child? I think there is a lot of potential with a setting and atmosphere like the royal family so I’m curious.

And because I’m curious, I think I’ll give season one a shot. At least season one. We’ll see if it’s worth sticking it out. Since they’re still on air, I am assuming they’re doing well enough so that’s a plus. It’s listed as a drama, but I find it entertaining as well.







Entertainment 411: Happy Dance!

Because Autumn is here!

It’s my favorite season. I’m not quite sure why it’s my favorite exactly, since I live in an area where you can’t really see autumn, like with changing of the colors and everything.

Maybe it’s because of Halloween. Except I never was a big fan of Halloween until recently.

Maybe because I consider it an in-between. You know, there is summer and then winter and in between you have spring and fall.

I think it’s because the air is a bit cooler and it rains a bit more than normal.

Whatever the reason, I love Autumn and it. is. here. The first day of Autumn.

And a new season means new releases! Here are some releases I’m really looking forward to.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (premieres September)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (premieres October – this!)

Inferno (premieres October – and this!)

Dr. Strange (premieres November)

Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them (premieres November – and definitely this!)


There are any books and/or authors on my watch list that comes out this autumn, but I’m playing catch up on others due to my impromptu break.

There are some interesting reads that spark my interest, but I’m still on the fence about:

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (released May 2016)

Swear on this Live by Renee Carlino (released August 2016)

The Graces by Laure Eve (released September 2016) – actually this is firmly on my list

Timekeeper by Tara Sim (to be released November 2016)


In addition to the shows I am currently following, these piqued my interest this fall.

Designated Survivor (premieres September 2016)

Van Helsing (premiers September 2016)

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (debuts November 2016)





TV 411: BBC’s Sherlock, The Abominable Bride

sherlockCreated by: Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat
Network: BBC
Show Debut: 2010
On Air: 2010 – present
Episode Title: The Abominable Bride
Episode Debut: Jan 1, 2016

What a heart-stopping episode! I usually try to stay away from anything that would scare me, like all things that fall in the horror genre, because I have an overactive imagination. Understanding what The Abominable Bride was all about, you would expect to be prepared. NOT! It was a chilling experience. A good, excited, all things I expected from this series, kind of experience, but still, chilling. From the first 10 minutes!

*** SPOILER ALERT for the rest of this post ***

Episode Story Arch:

The story starts off in 1890s London (which is one of my favorite eras) with Sherlock and Watson being approached by Lestrade with a very troubling case. That’s not unusual and pretty much how things normally start for this detective duo, but the troubling part is, well, troubling. drum roll plus spoiler alert warning: Someone was killed by a someone who was already declared dead gasp! So off Sherlock and Watson go, trying to figure out how a ghost can kill someone and they are trying to solve it with a community where some people still strongly believe in superstitions and all things paranormal.

The breakdown:

I absolutely love this episode.

We start with the story line. I enjoy the fact that this case is taking place in 19th century London. A time before some of the technological advancements of the time and strong believers in superstitions within the community. Where ghosts weren’t too far-fetched and almost plausible. The story keeps a consistent pace and does a nice job weaving in the pieces of the story to create the entire plot. In addition to that, this episode also ties itself to “present day” Sherlock and Watson story lines such as Mary Watson and Moriarty. And my favorite thing about this episode is the blend of past and present. It’s almost like 19th century Sherlock and Watson is running parallel to present day Sherlock and Watson, solving a similar case or, well, a similar problem. The blend of both timelines, stories, and themes was so much fun to watch and put together in a way that just worked. Sherlock and Watson have a moment, the in 19th century time line, where Watson touches on Sherlock’s … love life so to speak, which was a nice play on their friendship side of things. After all, Watson is married and, well, that’s that. With season four on its way, you know Sherlock’s character development has to evolve in some ways, whether he sticks on that trajectory and makes it back to his single self it will be interesting to see how they follow up on this.

As always, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (Watson) continue their great on screen chemistry as friends and colleagues. In addition, you have Amanda Abbington (Mary) and Mark Gatiss (Mycroft) making an appearance as well as Rupert Graves (Lestrade) and even Andrew Scott (Moriarty) in this episode. Oh, and Louise Brealey (Molly) is in this one as well and I love the part she played and how they portrayed her … well, I’ll stop here. I also love this episode because it was interesting to see how Cumberbatch and Freeman portray their personalities across two time periods. How their 19th century counterparts would react to the world around them yet keeping true to their distinct personalities. They did wonderfully, all those who played both timelines. And I have to say, Natasha O’Keeffe, our Abominable Bride was excellent! I mean, chills. Enough said.

And, since I’ve gushed on about the two time periods, may as well continue that into presentation. The set directors and costume designers did a great job giving us the feel of two distinct eras. I’m not an expert on historical accuracy, yet, and even if I was I wouldn’t nitpick here because it was done well enough for me to discern 19th century timeline and 21st century timeline. Camera and sound work were awesome. I know it takes a combination of costume and camera work to give viewers the chills, of course delivery is crucial as well, and they did it well.

I can’t wait to see what comes next. Especially with Sherlock’s whole “I said Moriarty was back not alive” bit at the end of the episode. What does that mean?! Ugh! Season 4 cannot come soon enough.

TV 411: Suits, Series Intro

Created by: Aaron Korsh
Network: USA
On Air: 2011-present
The Hook: A law firm drama and the fact that one of their best associates is a fraud!

I’m not sure what’s deal, but seems I’m a sucker for shows were the underlying premise is someone who isn’t who they say they are. I mean, love Psych. And I love White Collar. And now this? Well, I’m not sure if I love … ah, who am I kidding. Legal drama? Definitely one of my favorite topics.

So, overall story arch.

The main focus of this series is Mike Ross. The series starts of with him needing money to keep his grandma in the nursing home facility so she can continue to have the best care. Down on his luck, he reluctantly accepts a “job” from his best friend which involves him participating in delivering a suitcase of marijuana to this guy in some hotel. The thing about Mike? He has a photographic memory, so while on his way to delivering the suitcase to this guy, he notices two people who look like they work at the hotel, but they don’t. He figures them to be cops and while running away from them, he happens upon this interview session of prospective first year associates for some fancy law firm. The secretary, instructed by her boss, gets down on him, he says something witty to impress her, she sends her into her bosses office for the interview winking her approval.

This happens, that happens, and then BAM! Mike Ross becomes first year associate to the prominent Harvey Specter and a show is born.

Suits is going into its 5th season come January 2016 and I am enjoying it enough to have stayed with it this long. Granted this was a show I didn’t start watching until a few months ago, and I’m already halfway through season 4, but it doesn’t change that I like watching it.

The dialogue is witty enough and the minor story arcs and character developments are enough to pique my interest. The continuing conflict is still the fact that Mike Ross is practicing law without having gone to law school nor has taken the bar, but he’s good at being a lawyer in spite of that. And he gets along with Harvey, who doesn’t let much people into his inner circle.

There’s a growing plot line in Season 4 that I’m intrigued about, but we’ll get to that when I review each season.

Cast of Characters (#SpoilerAlert)

As with any good show, you need to have a good cast of core characters. Here is the core cast of Suites:

Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams)- First year associate to Harvey Specter at one of the top law firms in New York. He hasn’t gone to law school and hasn’t taken the bar which proves to be quite a big deal considering your working for one of the top law firms in New York.

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht)- One of the top closers in one of the top law firms in New York. He is good at what he does. Takes on white collar head on, every time. All I can think of when I watch this show is, “I could never ever afford to hire him.”

Donna Paulson (Sarah Rafferty)- My idol! Seriously, she’s Harvey’s assistant and she totally rocks. If I was still an office assistant, I’d totally aspire to be like her. She’s sharp, she’s good at what she does, she’s … Donna.

Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres)- The top lawyer and managing partner in Pearson, Specter and Litt and one pitt bull of a lawyer. What I love about her is that she’s a female who dominates in mostly male profession, and she owns the law firm. She is awesome in her own right.

Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman)- He balances out this core cast by being the comic relief. He’s so absurd you just have to feel for him, but he’s a good lawyer. He’s the one with all these quirks and the one who is ALWAYS one step behind everyone, but when the team needs a hail mary, he’s usually he one to count on, even though he screws up. A lot.

Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle)- A paralegal in this top notch law firm and she’s so good at what she does she’s a paralegal with her own office. Between her and Louis, the share the secondary spotlight in this core cast, but she makes the starting line up as far as this core cast goes.

There are other minor, recurring characters that I’ll get into with each season, but here’s your starting line up.

I’m excited to see this show through. I’ve enjoyed the plot lines and various perspective and corporate law and how the game is played. The dialogue is witty enough (but, if you ask me, it doesn’t come close to Gilmore Girls. Na uh, no way), the characters interesting enough, and the world of corporate law contentious enough. There’s so much material to work with in white collar crime I’m thinking this show can go on for a few more seasons. Hopefully the character developments can keep up and continue to grow in the ways I’ve seen them do so far.

And there you have it. Suits. Another show to add to your TV line up.

TV 411: The White Queen

Colin Teague (4 episodes, 2013)
James Kent (3 episodes, 2013)
Jamie Payne (3 episodes, 2013)

Malcolm Campbell (2 episodes, 2013)
Emma Frost (8 episodes, 2013)
Philippa Gregory (10 episodes, 2013)
Lisa McGee (1 episode, 2013)
Nicole Taylor (1 episode, 2013)

Based on the novels written by Philipa Gregory

On Air: June 16th – August 18th, 2013 (mini-series, 10 episodes)
Network: Starz! together with BBC

The Hook: Historical Fiction and that tag line! “Men go to battle, Women wage war” << AWESOME!

Since we all know I’m an aspiring historian, it should be surprised that this show landed in my queue. I was trying to make the most of my semester break and this popped up on my “recently added,” or may be my “because you watch,” list and so I decided to give it a go. And I loved it!

Plot: The overall story arch follows three women of the era: Margaret Beaufort (mother to the future King Henry VI), Anne Neville (daughter of Lord Warwick, advisor to King Edward), and Elizabeth Woodville (wife of King Edward IV and grandmother to King Henry VIII) with the central focus on Elizabeth. The story takes place during the War of Roses, where the House of Lancaster and the House of York fought for the control of England. These women made certain decisions, some good and some bad, that cemented history as we know it and this mini series provides some insight to that.

Since the plot is based on actual events, originality points are above and beyond. The screen play for each episode was awesome, though. You know there are points were history was embellished a bit and of course they may not get it 100% correct, but they mirror similar reactions we’d have today so I say it was well done. Not to mention that attitudes and behaviors were different back then, especially when it came to wives and women and such. And while history suggest Elizabeth’s heritage as a descendent of a river goddess is not taken so literally in today’s modern world, I’m glad to see this element added in the series. They married pagan beliefs with Christian beliefs very well and I’d imagine that that’s how people of the time would have done it.

Cast of Characters:

As mentioned above, the overall plot goes back and forth between three women:

Margaret Beaufort – portrayed by Amanda Hale

Anne Neville – portrayed by Faye Marsay

Elizabeth Woodville – portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson

These women played their parts so well. They portrayed strength, determination, and yes, fear. They embodied royalty if you ask me.

I also loved Max Irons as King Edward IV. He did such a good job. I haven’t seen him before this show, but I hope he goes places. He did so well. And the chemistry between Irons and Ferguson was awesome. They made the perfect power couple. Of course they had challenges of their time, but wow. I loved watching them.

And of course I have to mention the bad guy, right? James Frain was awesome. He made you loathe Lord Warwick. I mean, seriously. And I’ve seen Frain around before, but I liked seeing him in this character. He’ll be memorable, and forever known as Warwick, after this one. At least to me.

So many other characters made their way in and around this series, in a good way, and to mention them all would be a super, really long post, but I can say they all do a fantastic job. They really did.

Overall: This show didn’t disappoint. And it served its purpose. If the story wanted to highlight the troubled times through the War of Roses, they hit their mark. I can’t tell you how many times I searched “war of roses,” “Elizabeth Woodville,” and “House of Lancaster” while binge watching. I wanted some background information so I could keep up and of course … spoilers!

If you’re one to critique historical accuracy, I can’t vouch for all the details, but they seemed to stick close to what happen in history. I’m an aspiring historian, not an expert, so don’t bite my head off if this is a misdiagnosis. And if it is, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it so post in the comments.

If you love watching period pieces, you definitely need to give this one a shot.

And while I really would love to see this cast continue their storytelling, you really can’t do much when you’re working with a historical plot line and staying true to it. They wouldn’t be able to justify a second season so I didn’t expect them to return. They did a really good job with what they did and I’m glad they did it at all. BBC never seems to disappoint though so I’m looking forward to what they’re going to do next.


Credits: Show info –, Photo –

TV 411: Warehouse 13, Series Intro


Created by: Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire SlayerOnce Upon a Time& D. Brent Mote
Network: Syfy
On Air: 2009-2014
The Hook: If magical objects existed in our reality, someone’s got to collect them, right? What would that be like?

Warehouse 13 is one of those handful of episodes that I’ve actually followed from Pilot to series finale in “almost” real-time. I watched them OnDemand for their first two seasons, then migrated to Hulu, then waited for the last half of Season 4 to load to Hulu (since I missed one or two episodes on Hulu so, you know, I couldn’t watch the next because, well, you know). And I’ve been patiently, patiently, waiting for Season 5 with no such luck so, well, you know the rest.

Back to the point. Being one of the handful of shows that I kept up with, I was so sad to see them on the chopping block last year, especially with my other favorite Syfy show–Eureka–on the chopping block as well. So. Sad. And then I realized. Since this show had a weird filming schedule, I never really blogged about it. And it was also during a time when I wasn’t on my A-game with blogging.

I just had to correct this wrong! Oh, well, oversight anyway. So, here’s the road to recovery.

For those of you considering this show, watch it! It’s worth all five seasons, especially if you love a good adventure and love magic. As mentioned above, I got hooked when I saw a preview of these two “Secret Service” agents recruited to hunt magical artifacts. How cool is that? Of course, the first thought that popped into my head was “hey, this is just like that other show on Syfy where they were this government agency kind of like Area 51, but not Area 51 because they were ‘better than those kooks in Area 51’, but I forgot the name of” (and until this day I’m still not sure what show this is, but I’m thinking it was Level 9 because the description and timeline matches. If anyone has an idea of what show I’m talking about, let me know please. I’ve tried to find it. It wasn’t on air long) followed by an immediate second thought that was “or like that movie, The Librarian.” Of course, Warehouse 13 has a flare of its own and I fell in love with it instantly.

It starts off with a team of two, Pete and Myka, having that uniquability that draws the attention of the Warehouse. They get recruited as Warehouse agents and thus starts their adventure. Warehouse 13 is a government sanctioned special teams of sorts in which the staff collect and maintain artifacts with magical or otherworldly qualities such as Alice’s mirror which is a prison for Alice because Alice went psycho. Or Icarus’ wings, which imbued the wear the ability to fly. Or HG Wells’ time machine (and spoiler alert, it’s not who you think it is).

Along the way, the team expands, but their adventures, at their core, remained the same but stayed interesting and excited. There are so many sub stories and plots you can do with magical objects and these writers do such a good job.

But this is my intro, not my farewell, so I’m stopping here to bring you the list of characters.

The Warehouse (CG)- because it is too a character

Artie (Saul Rubinek) – the boss, team leader, father-figure

Ms. Fredrickson (CCH Pounder) – Artie’s boss

Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelley) – Team A, and really, you can’t really separate them. They’re inseparable.

Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) and Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) – Team B, who really is Team A-2, and you can’t really separate them either.

Leena (Genelle Williams) – bless her

There is one other character who I consider part of the team even though they weren’t always there, and that is HG Wells.

They all have their quirks and the chemistry they have together, on screen, is awesome. They really made this show what it is. Stay tuned for my recaps, because you know they’re coming!