TV Review

Ben and Kate TV Review

This September, Fox’s new show, Ben and Kate, attempt to be the unique and quirky show of fall 2012 but end up just as bland as their title. Ben (Nate Faxon) and Kate (Dakota Johnson) play brother and sister. Ben is the annoying older brother who has never grown up and Kate is the younger sister who grew up a little too fast when she became pregnant at a young age. Now, with Kate trying to make ends meet for her daughter, and her brother always interrupting her life, she’s finding it’s a little hard to balance family, a love life and motherhood.

In the premiere episode, Ben rolls into town unexpected and barrages into Kate’s house unannounced while she is on a date. Kate immediately wants to know why he is in town disrupting her life once again. Instantaneously, Ben’s brotherly instincts kick in when he thinks  something is wrong with Kate’s boyfriend. But Ben— obsessed with his own love life— starts thinking of ways to crash his ex-girlfriends wedding.

Throughout all of the obnoxious things that Ben does to get what he wants, the audience ends up seeing a strong bond between Ben and Kate near the end of the show. While both characters end up being overly awkward instead of fun and quirky like FOX wanted them to appear, they both tend to get rather annoying very quickly. Even through all the strangeness, there is a small silver lining to this show. Ben and Kate showcase that when family members need each other then you stand behind them one hundred percent.
Ben overhears a conversation that Kate’s boyfriend is having and Ben sees a red flag. Instead of crashing the wedding, he rushes to get to Kate’s side. Once Kate realizes he hasn’t gone to the wedding, she makes sure he gets there even though she was against the idea from the beginning. While both characters appear to be selfish from the start, they both end up caring about each other more.
While Ben and Kate has potential to be a decent show, the pilot episode did not have the excitement I was expecting. The characters were very strange and at other times very irritating. The concept for the TV show is a good idea, and TV needs more shows centered around family,
but the cast and script brought nothing to the table this time around.
—Jenna Cusumano

pretty little liars

Pretty Little Liars, our guilty pleasure television series, hooked audiences with its chilling mysteries and enviable style. Last season ended with the revelation of who was behind all of the trouble for the Liars—Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna—and left everyone desperate for more.

With Mona revealed to be “A” and her placement in a mental institution, it seems that our four heroines should now be breathing a whole lot easier.  Well, think again, because this season premiere was all over the place!
This latest episode, which aired on Tuesday night, picks up five months after the last episode concluded. The girls are all back in Rosewood after a summer apart, but Emily is definitely not coping well with the discovery of Maya’s body from one of the cliffhanger’s last season. Her normally sweet and bright personality has been warped by a summer of too much partying, even blacking out from alcohol consumption. Emily’s blacking out complicates everything when the other girls discover her at Ali’s grave, which has been dug up, and she has zero recollection of who led her there. Emily, we know losing Maya was traumatic for you, but really, now you’re just making easy work for whoever is stirring all this muck around you!
We see a lot of swoon-worthy moments between Aria and Ezra and it looks as if Aria’s mother is beginning to get onboard with this relationship after all, even though it seems that it was the final straw in ending the marriage between Aria’s parents. We see a bit of Spencer and Toby loveliness and as a bonus, we get an eyeful of Toby’s wonderland of abs!
As for Hanna, she has kept a little nugget of information to herself these past few months. She has been visiting Mona in the mental facility!  Hanna, we know that you two used to be tight, but come on!  How can you stomach being in the same tiny, padded cell of a room with her!
Of course, nothing has changed for our Pretty Little Liars. With doubts about Garrett’s guilt in Ali’s murder, no leads on Maya’s death, the questions surrounding the dug up grave, and confusions about exactly how many “A’s” are present in Rosewood, there should be plenty of twists and turns to keep our girls busy and terrified for their lives, and us on the edges of our seats. Get ready because another season of Pretty Little Liars has begun!

-Amy Lauren

Duets cast

Singing competitions are the current trend and everyone wants in. ABC’s new show ‘Duets’ premiered on May 24, broadcasting new talent and a new twist into the rules of a singing competition.

Watch the season premiere here!

The rules are simple, there are four famous musicians, called “The Superstars,” and they pick two amateur singers that blend well with their voice. They will duet with each contestant and the performance will be ranked from 1 to 100 by the three judges that didn’t perform. The superstars of this show are Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles, and John Legend with host Quddus.

The two-hour program began with the four judges singing their rendition of “Let Me Entertain You” with backup dancers and marching band drummers making the performance truly entertaining. The first episode was fast paced as we didn’t really get a glimpse at an audition process and were quickly introduced to the each of the judges’ two team members. Here is a brief overview of the night in order of their rank on the leaderboard:

1. Coming out to first place of the night was Jennifer Nettles and amateur J Rome with the song “Tonight.” As the first performance of the night, feedback from the other judges were all positive and commended the two for sounding great together.

2. The second performer of the night, and now in second place, is John Legend with team member Johnny Grey as they sung “Ordinary People.” Although John critiqued the new singer for having a thin voice and doing too many riffs, the judges yet again gave nothing but positive comments.

3. Robin Thicke’s first teammate was Alexis Foster, a singer with a gospel esque style, and they sung the upbeat number “Magic.” Alexis’ awkward stage presence didn’t stop the other judges from standing up and dancing along to the performance.

4. A truly great find was made by Jennifer Nettles when she came across the amazing singer John Glosson in her hometown in Georgia. Arguably the best performance of the night, the two sang an emotional rendition of “Stay.”

Robin Thicke and Olivia Chisholm

5. In fifth place, we have Olivia Chisholme singing partner Robin Thicke’s hit song “Lost Without You.” Even though the two singer’s voices blended smoothly, the performance overall was lukewarm and not exciting.

6. John Legend and second teammate Bridget Carrington sang a great rendition of “Tonight (Best You Ever Had).” The duet was fantastic and definitely deserved to be higher up on the charts.

7. Kelly Clarkson ranked the bottom of the leaderboard with Jordin Meredith as they sung Kelly’s current hit “Stronger.” Both singers have great range and strong voices but they seemed to clash during this performance.

8. Jason Farol was the first to join Kelly’s team and they sang “Breaking Your Own Heart.” The crowd loved Jason and he has a lot of potential, but he was only okay and didn’t stand out among the other contestants.

None of the contestants will be eliminated this week and will get a second chance to perform on next week’s episode. Overall, the first episode of ‘Duets’ didn’t match up to the other popular singing competitions. Especially since America will not vote for the singers and will have no part in choosing who goes forward. This show has to deliver more in order to keep audiences interested.

Ivetta Babadjanian