Tag Archives: White Collar

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2012 Edition: The Outcasts, Part 3

28 Jan

This is my ranking of shows that I watched in 2012 – for the rules, see the intro;  so far we’re discussing shows that made my last list but not this one.

Here are even more shows that made last year’s list that didn’t make the cut this year.


Entourage and Ari

2011 Rank:  25

Never a great show, at times not really a good show, I still never really seriously considered stopping watching Entourage.  Maybe it’s because for the most part it was so light.  I don’t like when shows that should be heavier are needlessly light, but a show like Entourage never made any serious pretensions to reality or big issues and themes.  Of course, Entourage had two dark seasons which I still can’t decide if I liked or didn’t like, but either way, even when the show was kind of bad I never really minded spending half an hour with the gang.  I don’t think the show will be remembered particularly well, but I don’t think it will be remembered poorly either; I think it’s just likely to not be remembered much at all.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a huge shame, but I think then I’d like to get my two cents in and say, on the whole, I’m glad I watched the whole series of Entourage and I would do it again.

The Killing

Who killed this show?

2011 Rank:  23

Now here’s a show that makes me angry.  I was far too kind to it last year.  Unlike AMC failure Rubicon, which just slowly drifted apart after a promising start, The Killing spectacularly imploded at the end of its first season delivering an impressively terrible 1-2 punch of maybe having the worst final and penultimate episodes of a season of all time.  Yes, it was that bad, and the show jerked every viewer who watched around, leading to an end of season that hopefully will live on as a name of what not to do.  This on top of the fact that the main character had started violating police common sense, even by television standards, and basically after being fairly invested through most of the first season, I had basically no interest in watching the second season.  I watched the second season finale, just because, and it unsurprisingly didn’t make a ton of sense to me, but that’s fine.  I’m glad my chapter, and hopefully everyone’s, of The Killing is finished now.  I want to say it was a good run, but it wasn’t.  The best The Killing can do at this point is be responsible for launching Joel Kinnaman’s career.

White Collar

White Collar, Blue Tie

2011 Rank:  21

The last USA show!  Finally!  White Collar was a tad more serious than any of the other USA shows on this list.  It’s a nice show, and I think the two main actors do a fine job individually and together, but it’s held back, as everything is at USA, by the limitations of what dramas mean there; it’s going to follow a formula, and though there’s room in that formula for entertainment, there’s also a fairly low ceiling.  White Collar hits the ceiling sometimes but doesn’t break out of it.  I’ve also just kind of tailed off watching it as I have with my other USA shows; it’s not bad, it’s just not super compelling either.

Friday Night Lights

The early cast

2011 Ranking: 19

This is a show that I think has a chance to really grow in viewers’ appreciation after it’s already over.  A critical favorite from day 1, the show lagged in ratings, and shockingly was picked up in an unique arrangement by Direct TV for seasons four and five.  Even as the show was coming to a close it seemed like the internet was more and more excited about it.  I like the show; I think it’s a very good one, though I wasn’t nearly as upset as many that the show was leaving.  Stick this is the category of shows I like and admit are good but that I probably just don’t see eye to eye on as far as exactly how good.  The show dealt with interpersonal relationships very well, but it always felt forced and sometimes over the top; there was a lacking of subtlety of plot and dialogue it could have used.  Still, good show, always sad to see a good show go.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: James Rebhorn

2 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Known for playing WASP-y characters and authority figures, James Rebhorn is a character actor legend.  He’s spent thirty years acting in over 100 films and television shows, remarkably getting more busy as he’s gotten older.  Many words could be spilled on his fine film work, but we’ll concentration here on his television roles.

Rebhorn’s first role came in an episode of television show The Doctors in 1977.  He didn’t work for a couple of years, with his next role coming in an episode of Texasin 1981 and then in TV movies Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Libby (seriously a movie?) and Sessions.  He appeared in an episode of Guiding Light, as “Man on Phone” in TV movie “He’s Fired, She’s Hired” (I swear TV movies have the best names) and in ABC Weekend Special episode, “The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn.”  When TV mini-series ruled the world in the mid-80s, he appeared in small roles in Jeffrey Archer adaptation Kane and Abel and North and South.  He appeared in an episode of soap Search for Tomorrow and two episodes of Kate & Allie, Spenser: For Hire and The Equalizer.  He also appeared in TV movies Rockabye, A Deadly Business, and Kojak: The Price of Justice.  He finished the 1980s with roles in the Our Town episode of Great Performances, a role in ABC Afterschool Special “A Town’s Revenge” and in Kojak: Ariana (as a different character than in the previous Kojak).

He started the next decade with constant TV movie work as well with roles in kids classic Sarah, Plain and Tall, Plymouth, Dead or Alive: The Race for Gus Farace (Tony Danza played mobster Farace) and Kojak: Fatal Flaw (same role as in Kojak: Ariana).  He was in three episodes of Wiseguy, one Against the Law, and one I’ll Fly Away and yet more TV movies including Deadly Matrimony, J.F.K.: Reckless Youth, and Mistrial.  He was in episodes of The Adventures of Pete & Pete and The Wright Verdicts and TV miniseries The Buccaneers.  In the late 1990s, he worked in an episode of New York Undercover and in TV movie A Bright Shining Lie and in an episode of astronaut miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.  He also had the notable role of playing the district attorney in the final episode of Seinfeld who prosecutes the four main characters for violating their duty to rescue by watching a fat man get carjacked.  Rebhorn calls as witnesses to the stand various characters who Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer offended over the course of the show.

As the ‘00s began, Rebhorn appeared in two episodes of Now & Again, two episodes of The Practice, in one episode of UC: Undercover and in TV movie Amy & Isabelle.  He was in six episodes of Third Watch, two of David Morse led Hack and in TV miniseries Reversible Errors based on a Scott Turow novel and also starring William H. Macy and Tom Selleck.  He was a main cast member in 2006’s controversial The Book of Daniel, in which Daniel, played by Aidan Quinn is a Reverend who is addicted to painkillers and sees hallucinations of Jesus.  Rebhorn plays Daniel’s father.  He appeared in Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Candles on Bay Street starring Alicia Silverstone, in an episode of the short-lived The Knights of Prosperity, and in Larry McMurtry novel adaptation miniseries Comanche Moon on CBS.  He was a recurring character in Law & Order most notable for playing defense attorney Charles Garnett in five episodes.  He also played a serial killer in second season episode “Vengeance” and a doctor who participated in a botched lethal injection in season 18 episode “Executioner.”

He was in one Canterbury’s Law, two Boston Legals, and one Royal Pains.  He portrayed Dr. Kaplan in two episodes of 30 Rock, a dentist at whose office Tiny Fey meets British Wesley played by Michael Sheen.  Rebhorn co-starred in one-season Comedy Central series Big Lake with Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell.  He currently has a recurring role in USA’s White Collar as Reese Hughes, Peter and Neal’s boss in the FBI’s White Collar division.  He also appeared in the most recent episode of Homeland as Claire Daines character Carrie Mathison’s father.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Willie Garson

26 Oct

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Willie Garson is a TV veteran’s veteran, having worked in the medium regularly for a quarter century.  Garson’s acting career began with appearances in 1986 TV movie The Deliberate Stranger and with guest spots that year in Family Ties, Cheers and You Again?  Over the next year, he appeared in TV movie The Leftovers, an episode of American Playhouse, an episode of My Two Dads, and in two episodes as two different characters in Newhart.  In 1989, he was busy, making appearances in Make a Living, Coach, Peter Gunn, and Chicken Soup.  Around this time, he also appeared in seven episodes of Mr. Belvedere as Carl who was the oldest son, Kevin’s, best friend.

He began the ‘90s with spots on Booker and thirtysomething and as well as Twin Peaks before appearing in three episodes of Quantum Leap, two as Lee Harvey Oswald, as Sam Beckett tries to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Over the next couple of years, he showed up in Moon Over Miami, L.A. Law, Flying Blind, A League of Their Own (the short-lived TV series based on the movie), Renegade and TV movies Daybreak, Black Sheep and Ray Alexander: A Taste for Justice.  He appeared in two episodes of show-I-have-never-heard-of Pig Sty, before appearing in MadTV as Lee Harvey Oswald again and in episodes of Partners, Mad About You and Touched by an Angel and TV movie The Barefoot Executive.  Around this time, Garson appeared in the first of his two X-Files episodes.  He was a medical orderly in third season episode The Walk.

He continued the circuit the next year with episodes of VR.5, Caroline in the City, two of The Practice as D.A. Frank Shea, and two of Melrose Place.  He got his first main cast role in absolutely ridiculous one season comedy on Fox Ask Harriet that got five episodes before getting pulled.  I’m curious to read more about this, but in very short the show featured a sexist sports journalist who dresses in drag to get work as an advice columnist after being fired from his sports job.  Garson played a security guard in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and two different characters in two episodes of Ally McBeal.  He was in one Conrad Bloom and three Party of Fives.

He was in seven episodes of NYPD Blue as Henry Coffield, a loser and relative of Jimmy Smits’ Bobby Simone’s dead wife, and superintendent of the building that Simone inherits.  He was in a Friends, The One With the Girl Who Hits Joey, a Just Shoot Me, and an Early Edition and a Star Trek: Voyager.  He appeared in four episodes of Boy Meets World, including one as the minister who married Topanga and Cory.

He got his biggest role to date in 1998 as Stanford Blatch in Sex and the City.  Carrie’s best friend outside of the other three women on the show, Blatch is the only one other than the four main characters to occasionally receive his own storylines.  He is a gay talent agent who has known Carrie for many years and in the second Sex and the City movie gets married.

While he was working on Sex and the City, he was still busy elsewhere.  He appeared in his second X-Files episode, The Goldberg Variation, this time as Henry Weems.  Weems is a man who is exceptionally lucky, several times evading mobsters through bizarre acts of chance, and having been the only person to survive an airline crash that killed twenty.  He is trying to use his luck to treat a sick boy in his apartment building.  He also showed up in episodes of City of Angels (again, TV series based on movie), something called Hollywood Off-Ramp, two of Level 9, and ones of Spin City and Going to California.  He continued in two episodes of Special Unit 2, two appearances in TV miniseries Taken, single episodes of Greetings from Tuscon, All About the Andersons, TV movie Harry’s Girl, and an appearance in the minorly infamous furries episode of CSI.

He was in a Yes, Dear, a The Division, a Monk, a Wild Card and a Las Vegas.  He appeared in three episodes of Stargate: SGI as Marin Lloyd, a human from a non-Earth planet who desserted from his planet’s military when they were losing a war against another species.  He felt guilty about it, but was drugged by his fellow survivors so that he wouldn’t make trouble.  Eventually he helped start a campy TV show based on the Stargate program called Wormhole X-Treme!

He got another shot as a main cast member in HBO’s one season John from Cincinnati from Deadwood creator David Milch as Meyer Dickstein a lawyer and surf fan.  He had a cameo in David Alan Grier Comedy Central program Chocolate News as well as in a Wizards of Waverly Place, a Pushing Daisies and a Medium.

This all led to his biggest role to date, co-starring inUSA’s very successful White Collar as Mozzie.  Mozzie is main character Neal Caffrey’s best friend and long-time associate, and helps the team in weekly cons and with his contacts in the criminal world, for information.  He is a conspiracy theorist and calls FBI Agent Peter Burke “Suit” and his wife “Mrs. Suit.”  White Collar has been renewed for a fourth season.

Ranking the Shows I Watch – 21: White Collar

20 Sep

USA is showing up all over this list, but I believe this is its last appearance.  White Collar is a USA-style show about a federal agent and his partner, an ex-con who is helping out the FBI as part of a crazy special deal to suspend his sentence.  Basically, Neal Cafferty, a top class white collar criminal, master of cons, burglaries, forgeries and art theft among others, was a fugitive who top class FBI white collar agent Peter Burke chased after for years, before the show’s beginning.  Burke was the Tommy Lee Jones to Cafferty’s Harrison Ford.  Eventually, Burke gets his man, and due to a number of circumstances not worth explaining here, a unique Mod Squad like bargain is struck in which Cafferty will work for the FBI with an anklet around his, well, ankle, letting the feds know his location in case he leaves a set radius outside of the FBI office.  The two team up to solve all sorts of while collar crimes using Caffery’s knowledge and con-artist skills and Burke hard-nosed disciplined attitude, along with the help of Neil’s best friend, the eccentric Mozzie, who seems to be a bit of an expert on everything.

I love a good grift show. (who doesn’t?)  I’ve watched a good deal of Leverage, and a couple of Breakout Kings, but just short of the amount I’ve required to give either a spot on this list.  That said, White Collar is light and fluffy for a show about federal agents, but it’s a little bit more serious than some of USA’s shows, like Royals Pains or Psych, and it’s very well executed considering its set USA network limitations.  Individual episode plots are just about always nicely wrapped up in neat little packages, with, in USA fashion, little bits of continuing storyline slowly advanced throughout a season.

I couldn’t finish this article without noting one of the scene tropes I most enjoy in White Collar.  Occasionally, Neil and partner-in-crime (quite literally) Mozzie need to employ a grift for whatever end.  They talk about it, and rattle off a bunch or ridiculous names of grifts, such as the “Cannonball” or the “Lazy Susan,” which apparently any grifter worth his salt knows by name, and then one or the other will explain why that’s not suitable with a small snippet like , “too crowded,” or “don’t have a dog.”, before one of them will pick one and explain why it just might work.  It’s an exceptionally silly segment if you step back from it but also quite enjoyable in the moment.

Why It’s This High:  It’s probably the best USA show – it’s enjoyable every week, fun to watch, the chemistry between the two main characters is great, and as I said above, I love a good grift.

Why it’s not higher:  Some of the same factors that make USA shows have a floor of enjoyability, also give them a low ceiling – they’re fun to watch, but don’t have the depth required for greatness

Best Episode of Most Recent Seasons:   We’ll go with “Burke’s Seven” – It contains a couple of the great grifting tropes – a team – rather than the usual two man cons run on the show, and a character, FBI employee Peter, having to prove himself innocent of a frame job, through con – figuring out how a criminal stole Peter’s fingerprints to put them inside a gun which shot Mozzie so our heroes can clear his name to Peter’s boss, the always wonderful James Rebhorne.