Tag Archives: Laura Leighton

The Melrose Place Podcast You Should Be Listening To and the Fashion of Melrose.

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Sibling Rivalry. Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton) and Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett)

This coming July marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of one of the biggest shows that aired in the 90’s – night time Spelling mega soap Melrose Place.  Iconic characters, scenes and quotes have stood the test of time and now, with all episodes streaming on Hulu, Melrose is in the middle of a current day resurgence with younger audiences hopping on the Melrose train, taking in the fashion and life that was L.A in the 90’s.

Early in January 2016, I with my big eyes, set out to write an e-book episode guide for Melrose Place.  Recaps, episode information, character relationships, location information and wardrobe evolution were all planned for every episode but sadly, I did not realize the size of the task in front of me.  With seven seasons, each containing 30 plus episodes (yes 30!  None of this 13 episodes bull with a mid season break!) I realized by five episodes into season one, this was just too much to get done.

But unlike me, two fans have happily taken it upon themselves to take on a very similar and equally daunting task.  L.A based couple Jenny and Dan Hill have begun, from season one, to re-watch each and every episode of Melrose Place and podcast their hilarious and witty episode recaps, currently on a week to week basis per episode for their website.

Dan, a co-host on The Dan & Kody Podcast, spoke to me via email about the project.

“I really fell in love with the re-watch podcast format where one or two people will watch a movie or TV show and analyze/ re-cap every aspect of the movie or show. I really wanted to find a show that my wife and I had a connection to, but haven’t seen much of. Melrose Place was the perfect fit.

I was 10 years old when Melrose Place first aired, but I remember sneaking to watch it without my parent’s permission with my sister. Growing up it was our guilty pleasure and I suspect there are many other like me who share this. Being 10, I was way too young to wrap my head around what was truly going on once the show got into the thick of things, but I held onto bits and pieces of a few story lines that I to this day find fascinating!” 

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Sydney (Laura Leighton) knows how it goes on Melrose Place

So just what story lines are Dan and Jenny looking forward to re-watching and recapping? For Dan, it’s Michael’s (Thomas Calabro) downward spiral into TV villain along with Kimberly’s (Marcia Cross) ‘psychotic shenanigans’ while for wife Jenny, it’s the complex run of ever evolving relationships between the characters.

When asked about podcast release time Dan says “With a 6 month old, we’re hoping to record and release one episode per week covering one episode of the show. This could be a 5 year run, but we’re up for the challenge! Maybe as our little one gets older it will become easier to record more frequently. We also want to sprinkle in episodes that spotlight one character where we break them down and cover their story arc.

Currently on season one (episode four is the latest update as of writing this post), the podcasts feature funny, entertaining and tongue-in-cheek recaps of the Melrose episode along with “moral of the episode” and “favorite 90’s moment” spots at the end of each cast which are must-listen to moments!

It’s great to see someone pick-up where I could not, with recapping Melrose Place!

Now, remember that episode guide book I was planning to write?  Well, the early stages of planning saw me making contact with Denise Wingate, the costume designer for 112 episodes of Melrose Place starting at Drawing The Line (S01E14) and finishing up at the very wonderful Dead Sisters Walking (S04E32).

Boasting a very impressive resume including Cruel Intentions, The Sweetest Thing and Wedding Crashers, Denise spoke to me about dressing some of our most beloved Melrose Place tenants.  With the book dead in the water and this being the 25th anniversary of the Melrose Place pilot episode, it’s only befitting I share with you our chat about all things 90’s power suits and wedding dresses bound for a watery cat fight!

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After being involved with over 100 episodes of Melrose Place that aired twenty years ago and then moving from production to production in the years after, it’s no surprise Denise’s memory is a little bit foggy when asked about some of the iconic outfits worn during the shows run. “I have to admit that half of the costumes I don’t even remember! It’s amazing how digital cameras and computers have changed how I document my work now!” she says before getting into how sourcing costumes back in the 1990’s was a lot more hard work than it is these days.

I used to take our Christmas hiatus and travel to Europe or Asia and tried to find some interesting fashions and fabrics and bring them back to use on the show. You  have to remember this was before the internet, so everything I sourced would have to be with my own eyes. Our stages were about 30 miles outside of Los Angeles and there wasn’t really any shops around so sometimes new jewelry or fashion designers would just ship me boxes of jewelry or clothing and I would buy what I liked and send back the rest.

And did working on one of the most watched shows at the time come with dressing regulations from cast and crew? “I don’t remember any rules or guidelines I had to adhere to from the producers. At the time I was on the show, the ratings were huge and the fashion was getting a lot of press, so they just figured if it isn’t broken don’t fix it. They pretty much let me do whatever I wanted. I had a great time!!!” Though the same can’t be said about Heather Locklear and a certain pink dress Denise had created for her “It was the most memorable outfit that I remember and it was a really tight form fitting lycra dress that I bought in Paris for Heather Locklear. At the last minute I decided to dye it this bright pink color, but unfortunately the dye wasn’t set and it turned her whole body bright pink. Oops! I don’t think she was too happy about that.

Oops indeed, though for the most part, Denise happily admits her time on Melrose Place dressing the cast was filled with fun times. “In real life Daphne Zuniga who played Jo and I were friends, so it was always fun shopping or doing fittings with her and I still run into Laura Leighton from time to time and it is always such a joy to see her!”

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Workplace rivals Alison and Amanda were specifically dressed in opposites.

So how about the characters themselves? When asked about Amanda’s entrance on the show in season one, Denise says she relished the chance to shake things up when it came to her D&D Advertising power wardrobe. “The dynamics of the show really changed when Heather Locklear joined the cast as Amanda. She was such a wonderful evil diva and we really pushed the envelope with her D&D wardrobe as at the time, most suits were a little slouchy and conservative as seen on Alison Campbell (Courtney Thorne-Smith). We kept making Amanda’s suits tighter and shorter and as Heather had such a great figure, she could really rock that short skirt look.” Denise also notes how Alison’s wardrobe became a little more dynamic when she took over the role as D&D President from Amanda “When Alison takes over, she too, started wearing “power suits” but she was a little more professional [about her look]. It wouldn’t have been her character to wear skirts as short as Amanda would wear them!”

Jane Mancini, fashion designer extraordinaire, was a fun challenge for Denise as Jane’s career (and Josie’s modelling background) allowed for the use of new designer fashion. “The character of Jane was fun, because we were able to really experiment with using up-and-coming, interesting designers on her. As Josie Bissett started her career as a model, she really knew how to wear clothes, and everything always looked fantastic on her. She was more classy than the other residents but stylized and it suited her character. I had a lot of fun creating her outfits every week and she just made my job so easy.”

That ‘easy’ that Denise talks about also comes up when talking about Laura Leighton’s Sydney Andrews who made the transition from bratty little sister to trashy hooker to sassy stripper to 60’s go-go girl to polished business woman throughout her time on the show. “When Sydney arrived on the scene, things really heated up and I just loved Laura Leighton as she was game for anything we put on her. She loved wearing the period, kooky outfits and managed to carry off even the craziest of outfits with a sense of humor and style not many people could get away with. I loved dressing Sydney just for the sheer absurdity of some of the costumes we chose!” And THAT wedding dress that Sydney wore that ended up in the Melrose Place pool? “I can’t remember the name of the shop the wedding dress came from (it’s no longer in business) I just remember that we needed multiples, I think a total of 5 for multiple takes. It ended up looking perfect though!”

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The iconic cat fight and the wedding dress.

And it wasn’t all about the ladies either as Denise is quick to point out. “The guys were pretty easy to dress and they already had their own specific styles and also very large closets, so we could just pull from those every week. I mean seriously, how many pairs of jeans and t-shirts did I need to buy Jake every week?!. That being said, all of the guys on the show were really nice and super fun and easy to work with.”

For more information about Dan and Jenny Hill’s Melrose Place podcast endeavor, or to download the podcast, hit their social media links below!

iTunes – https://goo.gl/1PZPcD
GooglePlay – https://goo.gl/cxtxjT
Stitcher – https://goo.gl/54w8PA
Website –https://themelroseplacepodcast.simplecast.fm                                                        Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MelrosePod/                                                                Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/melrosepod/                                                                      Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/melrosepod/

11 Things We Learned From Lifetime’s Unauthorized Melrose Place Story

The ladies of the original Melrose Place.
The ladies of the original Melrose Place.

From a pilot that was a massive hit to a slow burning season one to eventually becoming one of the hottest shows on the 90’s, Melrose Place cemented itself in pop culture history.  Loved it or hated it, you knew Melrose existed and the bed hopping, black mailing and crazy that went on.

But behind the on screen dramas, we got to learn a little more about our favorite 90’s guilty pleasure, the cast and the crew, thanks to Lifetime’s Unauthorized Melrose Place Story.  Check out the 11 things we all learnt from this tell-all…

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1: Grant Show was almost Brad Pitt

Having been name checked in 90210’s Unauthorized movie (Pitt at the time, lived with Jason Priestly before Priestly was cast on 90210) it was revealed Grant Show was originally intended to play the role of good looking bad guy J.D in Thelma and Louise but had to turn down the role due to his Melrose Place commitments.  The part of course went to Brad Pitt and kick started his big screen career.  Wise choice?

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2: The Melrose Place cast could have looked VERY different 

While Thomas Calabro (Michael Mancini), Josie Bissett (Jane Mancini), Grant Show (Jake Hansen), Doug Savant (Matt Fielding), Vanessa A Williams (Rhonda Blair) and Amy Locane (Sandy Harling) were already cast, it seems the role of good girl Alison Parker almost went to Courteney Cox (who was coming off Family Ties) instead of Courtney Thorne-Smith and before Tori Spelling selected Andrew Shue for the role of Billy Campbell (who knew Tori had a knack for casting?) Matthew Perry, Paul Rudd and Jason Bateman had all read for the role.

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3: Thomas Calabro was a major theater snob!

It was pointed out on several occasions that not only was Calabro a theatre actor but that he somewhat despised the shows early scripts, often mocking them and pointing out how much lesser the content was when compared to his previous stage work (ok, so season one and early season 2…he’s not wrong there!).  It was until his characters affair with Kimberly Shaw (Marcia Cross), which saw a new shady direction for the Michael, that he started to get into the part.

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4: Laura Leighton’s manager got her on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

We all know the cover – it’s now iconic – Laura Leighton, Josie Bissett and Heather Locklear looking all sexy with tousled hair and white tank tops and satin slips on the cover of Rolling Stones 1994 Hot Issue special…but it turns out, Courtney Thorne-Smith was originally in Leighton’s place and it wasn’t until Leighton’s then manager (who was also Heather Locklear and Bissett’s manager) suggested the two swap spots, ensuring Leighton (and her two other clients) made the cover. Thorne-Smith and Daphne Zuniga ended up being folded under the cover of the magazine.

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5: FOX and Darren Starr told no one about Matt’s gay kiss being cut from the show

What should have been history in the making (Savant’s Matt Fielding was the first ever gay character on prime-time network television) led to fan outrage as the the first ever on-screen gay kiss between Matt and his date Rob (Ty Miller) was cut from the Season 2 double episode finale – even though it had been filmed.  When the episode aired with the edited scene, no one from the cast inlcuding Savant had been told.

Side note – the actual kiss took place in front of Matt’s apartment door while Billy (Shue) watched on in surprise but in the unauthorized movie, the scene was set on a park bench and the two’s kiss was interrupted by a passing cars headlights. Either way, Matt finally got his kiss on screen!

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6: Josie Bissett, Daphne Zuniga and Courtney Thorne-Smith all asked for crazier story lines.

When going up against Amanda’s power bitch monologues, Sydney’s hooking-stripping-drug taking and Kimberly’s cray-cray, the other female actresses felt they needed their characters to go a little more into the dark side.  In the movie Thorne-Smith suggests Alison robs a bank while sleep walking, Zuniga recommends Jo becomes a serial killer and Bissett wants Jane to go all out crazy – but we can all safely assume none of those suggestions actually happened.  In the end, all three saw their characters get some more juicer story lines including stalking ex boyfriends, killing ex-boyfriends, dealing with stolen babies and pretending to be blind to win over an ex love!  Gotta love Melrose Place!

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7: Heather Locklear and Laura Leighton were originally hired for a handful of episodes

While Leighton was hired for three episodes as Jane’s bratty younger sister and Locklear was brought in for a few more for a guest-star ratings push, both actresses ended up securing themselves multi-season contracts.  Leighton came back in season two as a recurring then regular character until the season five finale (where Syd was unceremoniously run over by a car on her wedding day!) and Locklear maintained her guest-star status (and dark roots) until the end of the shows run at season 7.

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8: Andrew Shue has someone else to thank besides Tori Spelling for the role of Billy Campbell  

Actor Stephen Fanning (or Stephen Dale as oddly named in the movie) actually HAD the role of Billy Campbell when Melrose first began to shoot.  Scenes for the pilot were shot and promo photos taken, but according to the movie, the time between being cast and production beginning (which is being quoted as two months) Fanning lost his ‘hot body’ while with family in Canada, gaining a crap load of weight and thus being fired from the show – because Melrose had no room for fatties.  Fanning didn’t find out until he arrived on set to find Andrew Shue in his trailer!

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9: Vanessa A Williams was convinced she was going to stay on Melrose for more than a season

It’s the case of what-could-have-been or blind want, with season one actors Williams and Amy Locane both being booted by the end of the first season.  Convinced her and Savant’s Matt Fielding were the shows two edgiest characters i.e “the black chick and the gay guy” Williams, it seems was completely blind sided by her axing from the show.  She did however go onto bigger and better things like…the TV movie Ice Spiders and a recurring role on Chicago Hope.

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10: Laura Leighton and Doug Savant got married after Melrose Place

While not news to me, twitter was abuzz about finding out two of the shows stars were in fact married and are still to this day.  While the movie made note of the Thorne-Smith/Shue and Leighton/Grant Show’s off-screen romances, Leighton and Savant began dating (after her romance with Show ended and Savant had separated from his wife) and were married in 1998.

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11: The entire cast all got on well together off-screen

Unlike that which was shown in the 90210 movie (Jennie and Shannen car park fight!!), the entire cast of Melrose Place was shown to actually get along with each other off set.  There were no over-bearing egos or fights over wardrobe and even when Thorne-Smith and Zuniga were lost on the Rolling Stone cover (they barely battered an eye lid), Leighton called her manager demanding to know why.  Sadly, this really off-set the whole ‘unauthorized’ feel of the movie as there wasn’t really much drama to be told.

Regardless of how much the truth was stretched or how badly the Melrose time line was presented, we can all agree this Unauthorized movie reignited our love with Melrose Place.  I wonder how many are cracking out the DVD’s right now?

Melrose Place is Getting the Unauthorized Lifetime Movie Treatment

Laura Leighton (Sydney Andrews) on set with controversial guest star Traci Lords
Laura Leighton (Sydney Andrews) on set with controversial guest star Traci Lords

First it was Saved by the Bell, then Beverly Hills 90210 and now, Lifetime have added another 90’s soap to it’s “Unauthorized behind the scenes” movies in the form of the all bitching, all back stabbing, all bed hopping and all blackmailing Melrose Place.

Originally created as an ‘authentic’ and ‘grounded’ look at 20-somethings in Los Angeles, Melrose Place quickly amped up the heat and star power and become one of the most watched prime time soaps on the 1990’s, created stars out of some of it’s (then) lesser known cast, created a spin-off (Models Inc), produced a re-boot (CW’s Melrose Place lasted one season in 2010) and included guest stars from Loni Anderson to Linda Grey to Chad Lowe and Kathy Ireland.

According to US Weekly, shortly after announcing the 90210 movie, Lifetime quickly jumped on board with The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story which will draw from true stories and anecdotes from interviews with the original cast and crew, The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story will highlight the remarkable behind-the-scenes moments that shaped the series — from early casting drama and Heather Locklear arriving to ‘save’ Melrose Place to the actors begging its writers for even wilder story lines to make them fan favorites.

Did Josie Bissett (Jane Mancini) ask for Jane to get a backbone?

Or did Laura Leighton and Grant Show’s (Jake Hansen) real-life romance influence writers to hook up Jake and Sydney?

While most of the drama took place within the walls of 4616 Melrose Place (Sydney and Jane’s wedding dress cat fight – Kimberly blowing up the apartment building, Amanda having cancer, Kimberly stealing Jo’s baby…..) the show and it’s cast were often featured in and on the cover of tabloid magazines.  Andrew Shue (Billy Campbell) and Courteney Thorne-Smith (Alison Parker) dated, so did Laura Leighton and Grant Show (Leighton eventually married another former cast member Doug Savant – who played gay social worker Matt Fielding).  There was also the rocky marriage of permanent ‘special guest star’ Heather Locklear and her then-husband rocker Tommy Lee that dominated the headlines, porn star Traci Lords guest appearance and the mysterious case of Bold and The Beautiful star Hunter Tylo’s shock axing for falling pregnant before even filming one scene as Taylor McBride – a role that eventually went to Lisa Rinna (Tylo took Spelling TV to court and won).

The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story will focus on the original series run from 1992 to 1999 where cast members included Amy Locane (Sandy Harling), Daphne Zuniga (Jo Reynolds), Thomas Calabro (Michael Mancini), Patrick Muldoon (Richard Hart), Marcia Cross (Kimberly Shaw) and Kelly Rutherford (Megan Lewis) among many many other names.

No word on casting or just what exactly will be featured in this ‘tell-all’ or an air date.

Will you be tuning in?  What do you hope to see covered?

Pretty Little Liars’ Big ReveAl Is Coming

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Could it be true?  After 5 seasons, over 100 episodes, assorted deaths, mysterious text messages and many a red coat, it seems we are finally edging closer to discovering the real identity of Pretty Little Liars’ ‘Big A’.

We’ve been led down many a winding road with our liars only to be let down with mini A’s (Mona) and fake members of the A Team (Toby and Ezra) but now, it seems, we are heading towards the light.

That’s from PLL creator Marlene King who followed up with the following tweet:

PLL’s Keegan Allen (Toby Cavanaugh) has let it be known that when it comes to the identity of Big A….we’ve already seen them. It won’t be some random character that pops out of nowhere saying ‘surprise bitches’.

So who is Big A?  Or who could be Big A?

Everyone from lead characters Aria (Lucy Hale) and Hannah (Ashley Benson) to Ashley (Laura Leighton) and even the deceased Maya (Bianca Lawson) have all been tossed around the theory bin but it looks like we’re going to have to wait until the season 5 finale on March 24th for a very long awaited answer.

Who do you think is Big A?  Sound off in the comments below!

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesday nights on ABC Family (USA) and on Fox8 on Fridays (Australia)

Binge Worthy TV Shows

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I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about ‘binge TV viewing’ lately and it seems, every list, is as different from the other.  We all have our favorites, those we recommend to others and those we keep to ourselves as guilty pleasures.  With quite a few shows now on hiatus or heading into break, you may need something to keep your eyes on the screen so here’s my choice picks for ‘binge worthy television shows’.

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Breaking Bad: Without a doubt, Breaking Bad makes every binge worthy list.  It should.  It’s ridiculously good.  I never watched Walter White and Jesse Pinkman when Breaking Bad originally aired….yes I know that makes me a bad television blogger, but it was one of those shows I had to be talked into watching…and watch I did.  I binged on the entire series of Breaking Bad over the space of 2 months and am somewhat glad I was able to take in the entire story-line in one sitting.  Made me appreciate what was on offer and experience the build-up to that last season without beak.

Stars: Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn

Seasons 1-5 available on DVD

The Comeback: Season 1

The Comeback: Lisa Kudrow (post Friends) as a faded and jaded actress named Valerie Cherish who has allowed cameras follow her and her journey to reclaim her former spotlight.  A show that was well before it’s time and only really appreciated after it’s demise. Great to hear talk of a possible comeback for The Comeback!

Stars: Lisa Kudrow, Malin Ackerman and Kellan Lutz

Series one available on DVD

Melrose Place 2.0: Season 1. Bringing back the iconic apartment building with a handful of original tenants, Melrose Place 2.0 offers a rather guilty pleasure for binge viewing.  There's only 18 episodes in this single season that works around a whodunit murder of Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton) where most of the tenants currently residing in Melrose Place, plus those from her past, Michael Mancini and Amanda Woodward, are all suspects.  Season One available to buy on DVD via Amazon or you should be able to find a copy floating around eBay.

Melrose Place 2.0: The beauty here is that fans of the original series like to claim this re-boot never happened but for those new to the series, we’ve got an 18 episode single season that follows a       who-dun-it murder mystery of Melrose’s junkie landlord Sydney Andrews. Everyone is a suspect and it’s great to watch while playing drinking games (that mostly involve guzzling your wine anytime Ashlee Simpson appears to act or whenever a character from the original series pops up!)

Stars: Laura Leighton, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Calabro and Ashlee Simpson.

Series One available on DVD (from Amazon or eBay)

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The Chicago Code:  Jennifer Beals post The L Word as tough as nails Teresa Colvin, Chicago’s first female police superintendent who plans to bring to light the mass of political corruption currently polluting the town.  There’s connections to the Irish Mob, undercover cops, and this accents all-round.

Stars: Jennifer Beals,  Jason Clarke and Matt Lauria

Availability:  None as yet  😦

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Tim Daly and Laura Leighton. Source Provided

EYES: Tim Daly as a smarmy and cocky Harlan Judd, who is the head of J.R Investigations, a risk management firm that will bend all aspects of the law to get results.  His company is in financial crisis, his competitor wants to buy him out, there’s a mole within the company, his staff have secrets of their own and his love interest is a do-good lawyer who has issues looking the other way.  ABC shamefully only ever aired 5 episodes of this 12 episode first series back in 2005.

Stars: Tim Daly, AJ Langer, Laura Leighton and Natalie Zea

Series One is not available on DVD but can be found on YouTube.

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ORPHAN BLACK:  Fast paced sci-fi thriller that looks into the world of human cloning and accelerated human evolution through the eyes of young mother Sarah who’s world comes crashing down when she discovers she’s not as unique as she originally thought. Edge of your seat stuff that keeps knocking out reveals and epic scenes.

Stars: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Garvais and Dylan Bruce

Season one now available on DVD.

miranda_2433175bMiranda: Britt comedy at it’s best, Miranda Hart is an unlucky in love, bumbling and fumbling joke shop owner/operator who manages to give the crazy that goes on inside her head a life all it’s own and spreads it among those around her including her highly posh and overbearing mother, her vertically challenged best friend and co-worker and the man of her dreams who works down the road.

Stars: Miranda Hart and Tom Ellis

Seasons 1-3 available on DVD

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Dawson’s Creek: You can’t have a binge list that doesn’t include Dawson’s Creek.  It’s the mega 90’s teen drama that gave us James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson, Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams.  Joey has feelings for Dawson but Dawson is too interested in his movies to notice Joey, that is until new girl Jen Lindley comes along while Pacey is having secret meetings with his teacher.  Drama, ugly crying, teen sex…this has got it all.

Stars: James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson.

Seasons 1-6 available on DVD

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Nip/Tuck:  Christian loves drugs, money, women and sex.  His professional partner Sean McNamara loves his son, his wife and his professional career.  It’s the lives of two plastic surgeons trying to rule the roost, deal with their inner demons and still come out on top regardless of who they end up hurting.  One of the greats to come out of the 90’s/00’s period.

Stars: Julian McMahon, Dylan Walsh and Joely Richardson.

Seasons 1-6 Now available on DVD.

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Cougar Town:  Bad title, good comedy says it all.  Cougar Town feels very Scrubs with it’s humor (created by the same team) and as you watch through the seasons, you’ll see this great show evolve from it’s ‘cougar’ story line into a very tight and funny comedy around friends and family.  Don’t judge this show by it’s title!

Stars: Courteney Cox, Busy Phillipps, Christa Miller and Dan Byrd.

Seasons 1-4 now available on DVD.

Pretty Little Liars Season 4 Finale #AliTellsAll!

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PLL cast members including Tyler Blackburn, Lucy Hale and Laura Leighton

The series four finale of Pretty Little Liars is finally going to answer a lot of the questions hanging around Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) disappearance and subsequent reappearance.  It’s a story-line that has been floating around since episode one, season one of the show and now, four seasons later, it looks like dedicated fans will be getting some answers!

What will we learn? “Not everything,” producer Oliver Goldstick told  Zap2it on the red carpet at the show’s Paleyfest panel.  “We’ve got to leave something for Season 5, but you’ll get some very nice answers you’ve waited a long time for. You’ve waited 95 episodes to hear what happened that night and you’ll get some real definitive answers.”

The season 4 finale titled “A is for Answers” will see Alison finally reveal just what happened to her the night she disappeared.  We’ll find out who it was that buried Alison alive (it’s not the same person who attacked her!) and begin to question this persons motives for wanting Alison dead.  It’s a shock revelation that no one will see coming.

We’ll also get to find out more about where Alison has been hiding and what she’s been up-to since her initial disappearance and also, who knew that Alison was alive all along.

Pretty Little Liars season 4 finale airs tonight on ABCFamily

Pretty Little Liars Season 4 finale airs 7:30pm Friday on FOX8 in Australia!

Tyler Blackburn Returning to Pretty Little Liars

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Tyler Blackburn will be back as Caleb Rivers in Pretty Little Liars

ABC Family announced today that Tyler Blackburn will be returning to hit teen drama Pretty Little Liars after the cancellation of the drama spin-off Ravenswood in which Blackburn headlined.

Blackburn will be making a return to Rosewood early in the fifth season, back as a season regular though no real details have been released as to how and when his character – Caleb Rivers, will make his return, though Caleb is expected to be back in the lives of ex girlfriend Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) and her mother Ashley Marin (Laura Leighton).

What this means for Hanna and her relationship with Caleb remains unknown.  Since Caleb’s departure, Hanna hit a downward spiral and has been showing romantic interests in both Travis Hobbs (Luke Kleintank) and Detective Gabriel Holbrook (Sean Faris) much to her mothers dismay.

Pretty Little Liars executive producer Oliver Goldstick would only say that “it’s a lovely reunion.

ABC Family cancelled Ravenswood on Feb 14th after a lackluster first season that saw the spin-off fail to reach the same highs as Pretty Little Liars.

Pretty Little Liars Season 4 finale airs next Tuesday on ABC Family

Pretty Little Liars currently airs Friday nights on FOX8 in Australia.

My Love/Hate Relationships With Flawed Characters.

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Dexter Morgan, Jackie Peyton and Walter White

Having only just recently finished watching the entire run of Breaking Bad, a friend asked me what my thoughts were on the show and in particular the finale.  My first immediate response was “I hated Walt”.  Apparently that was a pretty natural response as my friend replied “You’re supposed to by the end”.  It got me thinking how I could become so involved and enamored with a show in which you literally despise the lead character for all the bad he or she does.

That said, this does this not apply to every character that expresses dark behavior.   Take for instance Dexter Morgan (Michael C Hall).  The guy is a serial killer (who only kills bad people) whose actions led to the death of his wife Rita (Julie Benz) and several other innocent people along the way (Doakes, his sister Deb and LaGuerta to name a few) yet we are rooting for him to evade the law and continue on his merry killing way while, watching Breaking Bad, all I wanted was for Hank to get his man and put Walter White (Bryan Cranston) away for good.

Nurse Jackie’s Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco) is another prime example of a love/hate relationship.  The pill popping superstar nurse all but ruined her marriage, her career and treated friends and co-workers like trash all while downing copious amounts of pills and having an illicit affair and all I wanted was for her to get what she had coming.  I disliked Jackie Peyton for all the horrible she brought to peoples lives.

Melrose Place's Sydney Andrews and Kimberly Shaw
Melrose Place’s Sydney Andrews and Kimberly Shaw

Yet going as far back as the 90’s with the Aaron Spelling soap Melrose Place.  Two of the show’s most devious characters Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton) and Dr. Kimberly Shaw (Marcia Cross) both slept and blackmailed and even bombed their way through a decent run of the series, but in true form, all I wanted for these crazy ladies was to come out on top.

What I can’t get my head around is what is the difference between Walter White and Dexter Morgan and Jackie Peyton and Sydney Andrews? Each are flawed, each have done inexplicable acts and yet i’m divided as to who I root for and whom I want to receive their comeuppance.

Part of it, I think, is because we go into a show, say like Dexter, knowing he is a serial killer.  There’s no surprise shock act that makes us question our feelings towards him.  Same applied to Kimberly and Sydney on Melrose Place.  The two made a splash on their entrance, letting us all know they were here to cause trouble, while on the other hand, when we meet Walter White, he’s a married science teacher who’s discovered he has cancer.  We want to resonate with his less than perfect life situations and we do….but then we witness his actions of atrocity (including poisoning a little boy) and suddenly we begin to question.

It’s this tickle on our emotions that makes characters like Walter White and Jackie Peyton so different from those like the Melrose duo, Dexter Morgan even American Horror Story Coven’s Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) or Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and Mad Men’s Don Draper (Jon Hamm).

Top OMG TV Moments of 2013

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There’s no denying that there has been some shocking and incredible “OMG” moments this year on television.  From Game of Thrones to The Walking Dead and Pretty Little Liars, these moments immediatley incur bouts of crying, laughing, anger, yelling and everything in between.  Check out my list of my top OMG moments from 2013!

RICK SENDS CAROL PACKING: The Walking Dead

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After admitting to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) that she was the one who killed Karen and Dave, Rick takes it upon himself to tell Carol (Melissa McBride), while out on a supply run, that she is no longer welcome to stay with the survivors within the camp grounds.   We’ve seen Carol, who has been a member of the group from the beginning, emerge as a strong player this season and Rick’s decision and her subsequent absence split fans right down the line.

TRAVIS AND LAURIE KISS: Cougar Town

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Travis (Dan Byrd) and Laurie (Busy Phillips) have always had a fun and flirty kind of relationship, but it’s always been that one where the guy likes the girl more than vice versa but when Laurie decides to explore her growing feelings for the teenage son of her best friend, it results in a rather awkward feeling kiss between the two.  We’d all been hanging for Travis to finally get his, but now it’s happened, most of us were wishing it didn’t.

THE BIG TWIST: Homeland

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Well were we all not played for fools!  Here we all are bitching and moaning about how bad Homeland had become.  We couldn’t figure out why or where such a great show had gone wrong.  Brody (Damien Lewis) was MIA and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) had Carrie (Claire Danes) committed to an asylum and we were getting too much focus on Dana only to have it all turn around and be revealed that Saul and Carrie were in fact working together all along in a bid to draw out a foe that could become an ally.

ASHLEY MARIN HITS DETECTIVE WILDEN WITH HER CAR: Pretty Little Liars

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Poor Ashley Marin (Laura Leighton) found herself on the receiving end of some unwanted harassment from an overly inquisitive Detective Wilden (Bryce Johnson) who demands that her daughter Hannah (Ashley Benson) keeps quiet about an indiscretion she witnessed involving him and a young lady.  never one to listen to demands, Ashley finds herself in a screaming match with Wilden before suddenly putting her foot to the pedal and throwing him over the bonnet of her car before speeding off!

THAT TAMPON SANDWICH: Orange Is The New Black

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New inmate Piper learnt the tough way not to piss off the lady who rules the prison kitchen!  When word get’s back to prison chef Red (Kate Mulgrew) that Piper (Taylor Schilling) has been less than impressed with the food on offer, Red takes it upon herself to ensure that Piper will never make comments like that again by serving her up a bloody tampon sandwich!  The scene itself was highly unsettling and intentionally confronting.

DEBRA MORGAN DIES: Dexter

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In the series finale, we knew someone was going to die.  Most of us expected it to be Dexter, or even Hannah, perhaps Quinn…it was never meant to be Dexter’s sister Deb.  After being involved in a shoot out with Oliver Saxon, Deb is wounded and is rushed to hospital.  The doctors all seems to think all should be ok but complications following the surgery lead Deb to have suffer a massive stroke leaving her in a permanent vegetative state.  It’s here Dexter lands the final blow, removing Deb off her life support effectively killing her.

RAYMOND DENIES BEING LIZ’S FATHER: The Blacklist

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It’s the theory that everyone seems to have – Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is actually Elizabeth Keen’s (Megan Boone’s) birth father.  It’s been hinted at right from the get go…his selecting her to be the only one he deals with, his wanting to know more about her life, his knowing certain things about her husband, but in the closing scenes of the final episode of the first series, Liz flat out asks Red over the phone “Are you my father?” to which Red replies “No.”

THE BOMB: Home and Away

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Known for it’s annual end of year shake-up, Home and Away offered up one heck of an explosion involving fan favourites and unexpected faces and leaving us not knowing who has survived.  After continuously butting heads with her boss Bianca (Lisa Gormley) and Bianca’s husband Heath (Dan Ewing) Jade (Tasma Walton) decides to get her revenge in the form of a bomb placed inside Bianca’s laptop bag.  We then spent the whole episode wondering when the bomb will go off as the bag changes hands numerous times before going off inside the hospital in which pregnant Ricky (Bonnie Sveen) is being treated.  Irene (Lynne Mcgranger), Bianca, Heath and Doctor Nate Cooper (Kyle Pryor) are also there when the bomb goes off.

HELENA CUTS OFF OLIVER’S TAIL: Orphan Black

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Things got a bit weird when it was revealed Neolution club owner and believer in self-directed evolution Oliver (David Richmond-Peck) was actually sporting a real life tail.  After coming to Sarah’s (Tatiana Maslany) aid while in a fight with Oliver, psychotic clone Helena wins the upper hand and swiftly chops Oliver’s tail off…then makes her way back to the dancefloor to partake in a rather ghastly dance with said tail still in her hands.

TULLY CHEATS ON HER GIRLFRIEND: Big Brother

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Fun and funky social media expert and lesbian Tully quickly turned into a sullen and sobbing mess after entering the Big Brother house.  She missed her girlfriend Tahlia but thankfully she had housemate Drew to lean on and talk to.  Quickly though that talking turned into sleeping in the same bed and sharing sneaky kisses when suddenly the two swapped secret “I love you” bombs leading to Tahlia to make a very public break-up via twitter.

MATT AND KIM’S FIRST ROOM REVEAL: The Block

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Not ones to be left hidden among the pack, West Australian couple Matt and Kim had planned to something controversial when it came to styling their first room – the guest bedroom.  Their inspiration?  Artist Jackson Pollock, he of the abstract expressionist movement (or paint splash era).  While the final result was clearly shocking, it was more ‘kids gone wild’ than Pollock admiration.

THE RED WEDDING: Game Of Thrones

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I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but even I found myself on YouTube watching the events that led to THAT video going viral showing fans reactions to the wedding as it aired.  While I may have no idea who was who or why everyone was being killed, but the red wedding sure stuck to it’s name after half the people in the room celebrating were slaughtered, including a very heavily pregnant woman!  “May the rivers run red with the blood of the non-believers.”

PLL’s Laura Leighton Joins a Worthy Cause

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Laura Leighton (c)ABCFamily 2012

You know i’m a sucker for all things Laura Leighton.  From Melrose Place to Pretty Little Liars and everything else in between, I’ve happily followed along admiring her work.  Now, Laura Leighton, along with daughter Lucy and son Jack are lending their time to a worthy cause that needs your help!

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Laura Leighton

The Pretty Little Liars star will be taking part in the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s NF Walk on October 20th in Los Angeles and is hoping to raise $10,000 for the worthy cause and supporting Team Blake: “Blake, a vibrant 13-year-old boy who loves to cook, paint, and play soccer, was diagnosed when he was 18 months old with NF1 and a brain tumor” 

NF Walk is national fundraising program of the Children’s Tumor Foundation that supports NF research, raises awareness, and provides support for individuals with NF and their families. An NF Walk brings together families, friends and neighbors for fun-filled events. Whether you have NF, know someone who does, or just want to show your support, come and join an NF Walk in your community.”

Laura’s goal of $10,000 is off to a healthy start but needs your help and donation.  You can view Laura’s personal donation page here where you can make a donation and also leave a message of support!  For those who will be there on October 20th may even catch a glimpse of the star participating in the walk too!

You can learn more about the NF Walk organization here Laura’s show Pretty Little Liars will have it’s annual Halloween episode airing on ABC Family Oct 22nd and airs in Australia on Foxtel – Fox8 Friday October 25th @ 7:30pm