2010 Awards, Part 1

Ok, guys, we’re nearing 2011. That means it’s time to honor those best and worsts of 2010. With the help our readers, I present to you the first part of the 2010 Awards here on Raked.

As you can see, we’ve got a good mix of reader nominations (marked by an asterisk*) and my own. For the most part, I tried to keep the reader’s reasoning with the award, but if nothing was there (or if I have my own thoughts), I did add a little myself. Keep in mind that this is just for 2010, shows that aired during that time period. Unfortunately, that put some good shows out of the running that might’ve ended before the cutoff last year–but it also gave us a good selection of bad shows to destroy, too.

So without further ado…

The 2010 Awards!
Part 1

Best Use of an Underused Character: Caroline, The Vampire Diaries. Caroline was a pathetic, superficial, shallow sidekick in last season’s Vampire Diaries. Now she’s a badass vampire who’s gained confidence–and screen time. Definitely worth the transition.

* Best Animation: Community’s stop motion Christmas special. Can’t argue with this reader’s pick. A mixing of humbugs, humor, song, and creativity provided us with one great holiday treat.

* Best Leave of Absence: Olivia Wilde, House. I’ll leave this explanation to our reader: “I call this the best because she is left to do some awesome scifi movies [Tron Legacy, Cowboys and Aliens, Now aka im.mortal], and also it allowed Amber Tamblyn to take her spot for a bit.” As for me, I second this, if only to get Amber Tamblyn back on TV.

Best Badass I Should Be Watching: Nikita, Nikita. I’ve heard good things, and the commercials are really tempting. Why am I not watching? I have no reason.

* Best Zombies: The Walking Dead. A reader’s pick, and to be fair, I can’t help but agree. But in the interest of complete transparency, I also don’t know what other shows had zombies this year. 😉

* Best Guest Star: Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee. As much as I’m tired of hearing about her, I can’t deny that people loved Gwyneth on Glee.

Read more awards after the jump! Continue reading

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Q&A with Jeffrey Donovan & Gabrielle Anwar of ‘Burn Notice’

Last week, USA held a conference call with Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar of the cable juggernaut Burn Notice. It was a fun call, with a lot of interesting questions. Both Jeffrey and Gabrielle were genuinely nice and charming. If you’re interested in thoughts about possible USA series crossovers (Burn Notice and White Collar; wouldn’t that be fun?), Gabrielle’s thoughts on Fiona’s future, and what Jeffery thinks about action figures, check out the call below (and don’t forget, there’s more after the jump!).

Remember, tonight at 10 PM is the season finale of Burn Notice. Michael is mixing it up with a bomb-happy terrorist. According to the conference call, we might be seeing some locations other than Miami at the end of the episode, so keep your eyes open.

*****

First question I had, I just wondered if you could talk about, are you surprised at the success of this show?  And I know at times, for USA, the show is either competitive with NBC or sometimes even through passing and are you surprised with the following that it’s gotten over the years? – Media Blvd

J. Donovan: Well, I think that all you can hope for is that you make something that people want to watch and then somehow keep integrity while doing that.

And so I think we’re very happy with the ratings definitely.  I know we work really hard, so surprised, yes, we’re always surprised when anything succeeds in this day and age.

Okay, great.  And one for both of you, can you talk about your characters and just kind of the evolution that we’ve seen in your characters, and are you happy with where you guys have ended up with your characters?  And if you’re in charge of everything, where would you like to see them go I guess in the season or in the future?

G. Anwar: Do you think we’ve evolved?

I’m sure you could always do it better, I mean everybody’s got to have that feel for their character.

G. Anwar: I don’t know where we’re going, where are we going, Jeffrey?

J. Donovan: Well, I think that, I’ll speak for Gabrielle, I mean I know from talking with all the other cast mates, we’re very happy with where it’s going.  But sometimes Matt Nix and all the other writers keep us slightly in the character dark, not because they don’t trust us with the knowledge, but they’re just trying to figure it out as well along the way.

When you’re dealing with espionage and covert affairs, sometimes the secret is more exciting than the knowledge.  If we were both in charge, I would love a deeper insight into Michael’s past, that’s for me.  I don’t know about Gabrielle, what would you like?

G. Anwar: I’m quite happy with Fiona’s enigmatic state of being.  I don’t think I need to know more about, I’d love to know more about where you’re from, absolutely, but I quite like not knowing.  I don’t like to know who I am.

*****

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

Thursday Open Thread: Bauer vs. Westen

I can’t take credit for this open thread. One of my friends on Facebook actually had it as his status, and I thought it was a fantastic idea. So this one goes out to you, friend:

Michael Westen vs. Jack Bauer: Who would win?

Fight it out. I have never seen 24 (don’t hate me), and I’m a big Burn Notice fan, so I’m going to have to root for Michael Westen, but I want to hear who you think would win. And why. And who would you want to win, even if you don’t think they would?

And if you can think of a better badass who could knock them both cold, let me know that, too. Because that would be awesome.

So let it out in the comments, people!

*images from tv.yahoo.com

Burn Notice Giveaway!

What will Michael do now? See it starting tonight.

Get ready to get BURNED! The #1 show on cable returns with all new episodes. Don’t miss Tyne Daly & Clayne Crawford guest-starring in the Burn Notice winter premiere – “A Dark Road” – airing Thursday, January 21 at 10/9C. Become a Fan on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, and visit the Official Site to play Covert Ops: Vegas Heist (beginning 1/21) for a chance to win an all-new Hyundai Genesis Coupe!

You’ve got to go to those sites for details about the chance at the car, but I’m holding my own giveaway here on Raked.

Enter to win a Burn Notice tote filled with:

–        Season 1 & Season 2 DVDs

–        Burn Notice Branded Flashlight

–        Burn Notice Book: The End Game

–        Burn Notice T-Shirt

This prize pack is valued at $100 and is provided by USA Network. The contest is open to U.S. residents only, and entrants must be 18  years or older.

This is an awesome bag of stuff here. I’ll be jealous of the winner.

How to Enter:

This one’s easy. All you have to do is watch the premiere and come back here to tell me your favorite part of the episode in a comment. That’s it!

With all the action that goes on in this show–let alone the great guest star–I can’t imagine anyone will have trouble answering that question. Please note: There is only one entry per person for this giveaway.

Now, I know a lot of us our computer-fiends, so what if you don’t watch it live? Well, this contest is open until next Thursday, January 28, so you have a whole week to watch–but I highly recommend watching tonight!

I’ll be picking one commenter at random next Thursday as the totebag winner, so please make sure that when you write your answer, you include a way for me to contact you. Be sure to check your email, because if I don’t hear from you in a couple days, I’ll have to move on to a new winner.

And have fun watching Burn Notice tonight! And don’t forget: The White Collar giveaway is still open until the 26th, so hurry up and enter!

This contest is now closed and a winner has been notified.
Thanks for entering and for reading Raked Reviews!

Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless on ‘Burn Notice’

Bruce Campbell

image courtesy of USA

As a Burn Notice fan and a blogger, I realized that it’s kinda hard to write about this show. It’s so great. Every episode’s full of action and just fun to watch. What can you really complain about?

So it brought me to this: Why should I write about the show when the actors themselves can talk about it?

I was fortunate enough to sit in on a conference call with Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless. Bruce, you know, plays the very fun Sam, always with a drink in his hand (even the ones he might just make up). Then there’s Sharon, who plays Maddy, who loves her son more than anything, and won’t take anyone’s crap.

Sharon Gless

image courtesy of USA

So take a look below at the Q&A with Bruce and Sharon, where they talk about past projects (including Cagney and Lacey), their characters on Burn Notice, and even guest appearances by Tyne Daly! All just in time for the summer finale this Thursday night!

Keep in mind that this is a Q&A, so the questions might not be in the most fluid order. But enjoy, nonetheless! It’s a good read!

Bruce, I know that you played in Xena and Hercules as sort of a rogue who helped out the good guys as well. And Sharon, obviously you played Cagney, a bad-ass cop and she also knew her way around bad guys. So I was curious how these roles and others may have helped to cultivate the characters that you play on Burn Notice.

Bruce:: Go ahead, Sharon.

Sharon:: Well, the only bad guys I have to find my way around are Jeffrey and Bruce. I mean, my job on the show is the mother from hell. I don’t get involved in the heavy stuff like they do.

Bruce:: Sharon, your character is scarier than some of the bad guys.

You helped out in that case when Bruce got captured and you were sort of interrogating the one guy.

Sharon:: That’s right, I think that’s when Michael was captured…Right, that was very, very funny. It’s not often that I get to do one-upsmanship on Bruce Campbell.

Bruce:: What’s amazing is she turned out to be a very good interrogator and then who knew. I actually think we’re going to see in the scenes that come – because Sharon, you were also on a stakeout and you had to spot somebody. You had to be a lookout.

Sharon:: At the bingo game.

Bruce:: Right. So don’t kid yourself. You’re going to be an operative before too long maybe.

Sharon:: Okay, look out.

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

Burn Notice Summer Finale Giveaway!

We’re counting down. Before I realized it, the Burn Notice finale was upon us.

I know. I can hardly believe it. Didn’t this summer season just start? Well, the time just flew and now, we’re looking at the summer finale this Thursday night. But don’t worry. I’ve got something to ease your pain…

A Burn Notice giveaway!

A dangerous man from Fiona‘s past resurfaces in Miami after years of hiding, with deadly intentions. Teaming up with Fiona’s ruthless brother, Michael will do whatever it takes to save her… even if that means crossing a few lines. Don’t miss the Burn Notice summer finale — “Long Way Back” — Thursday at 9/8C! Season 3 will continue with eight all new episodes beginning in January, 2010. Follow Burn Notice on Twitter, Become a Fan on Facebook and Visit the Official Website.

Enter To Win:

Burn Notice Season 1 & 2 DVD

Burn Notice Novel

Burn Notice T-Shirt

How to Enter: Leave a comment below to telling me about your favorite Burn Notice scene. Come on. They’ve blown up a ton of stuff in this show. Which one blew you away? Or are you a romantic? Or maybe you just like hearing Sam talk about his drinks? Share share share. This is a required first entry.

Want additional entries?

  • Tweet about this contest, including a link to this post.
  • Blog about this contest, including a link to this post.

For these additional entries, you must come back and post a comment that you did it. Otherwise, I won’t know that you Tweeted or blogged! Include a link if you can. And don’t forget, any entries need a valid email address, or I can’t track you down to give you the prize!

Deadline: Here’s the kicker. This is a quick contest. I’ll be choosing one winner at random Thursday night, August 6, at midnight (EST). I’ll give the winner 24 hours to respond before I’ll move on to the next winner, so be sure to check your email first thing on Friday!

So enter fast! And tell your friends! After all, if you don’t win (and you might!), you can always watch those DVDs with them!

And don’t forget to watch the Burn Notice finale this Thursday night!

The contest is now closed.
Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations to the winner!

Leverage, Outbreak style

LEVERAGE: 2.03 “The Order 23 Job”

If this episode hadn’t had Eliot’s side plot, I think this would have been just an ok episode. It’s amazing how such a small side plot can really explode this episode into something great.

The idea behind this episode was great, taking over an entire floor to convince one man that he has a terrible disease. The psychological aspect really interested me. The fact that you can actually convince someone that they have symptoms when they don’t–almost the reverse of the placebo effect. The human body’s a funny thing.

I guess the only part that I would have wanted a little stronger was the setup to see that this was a bad guy. I mean, sure he was. He stole from all these people–their life savings–with little to no remorse! He stuns a nurse just to get the money for himself, not caring whether he takes a plague outside the hospital.

But most of the episodes start with a family’s sob story. It’s hard to see such a mass of people as “the underdog,” and if so many families gave their life savings, $400,000 doesn’t seem like a lot of money to go around. Somehow, it lost its personal touch.

Despite that, the adventure itself was good. I loved seeing Hardison and Eliot play bumbling cops. But what did we think of the mob aspect?

That was another issue. I realize that it gave Eliot and Hardison something to discover and deal with, but wasn’t it a bit strange to have the mob just kinda stuck in there with little to no development? Personally, it felt like it was a reason to make sure Eliot beat someone up in the episode.

But like I said, it was an ok episode. What made it great was Eliot’s side story.

There we had a window into Eliot’s past. Without saying it, we knew that Eliot was seeing himself in that kid’s bruised face. And he was seeing his own father in the man’s.

And I loved his threat. It reminded me of a particular Twitterer who commented that even the bad guys have standards. Even bad guys see child abusers as bad people. That was in response to a recent Burn Notice episode, but it certainly applies here. Sure, these “criminals” now have heart (well, for the most part), but they’re still against the law, and hitting kids is a bad thing. Please note: bad thing.

So hanging him over a stairwell? Nice. But it still didn’t shake him off. Why? Because he knows all the cops. He knows everyone. And who’s going to believe the clumsy kid? Especially when the father didn’t see that he was doing anything wrong, even when caught.

But having the real cop–even higher than a cop!–come to their house and talk to the kid, that was great. It was just a release, knowing he’d be taken care of. And having Eliot waiting outside in the car to make sure it all worked out–priceless.

So in the end, it was a fantastic episode. It reminded me of season one’s “The Stork Job,” where Parker finds an entire orphanage that reminded her of her own upbringing, where she went against the team just to make sure they were ok. (“Haagen-Dasz!”) It’s nice to get these glimpses into the past that these people are so close to protect and keep secret.

Anyway, I like these little delves into the past, and the creative hospital ploy. Very nice. Another episode next week!