Tag Archive: Maggie Lawson


Once a year at borg we ask: What makes a great screen heroine? It’s time for borg′s annual look at the Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines in film and television.  We’re highlighting the very best from a slate of fantastic heroines, with characteristics to learn from and root for.  Determined, decisive, loyal, brave, smart, fierce, strong, you’ll find no one here timid or weepy, but all rely on their individual skills to beat the odds and overcome any obstacle that comes their way.  Over the years we have expanded the list to include any tough, savvy, gritty character played by a woman, so villains are welcome here, too.  (Want to see previous years’ kickass genre heroines to see how 2021 compares?  Here are 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015). Some may be frazzled, put-upon, war-weary, or human, but all have fought, some against difficult circumstances, others against personal demons (literally, figuratively, or both), and some against gun and laser fire.  And they all showed what a tough, kick-ass, and often badass, character is about.

This year we add three superheroines, an amnesiac bounty hunter, four police detectives, a thief, a grifter, a hacker, 13 martial arts experts, three soldiers, a god, a duchess, two college students, three Russian assassins, a spy, an actress, a cyborg, a bartender, a forensics expert, a hitman, and a helicopter pilot, with eight characters we’ve seen in past years and 13 all-new characters we’ve never seen in any medium before–all in a roster split between 21 television and 13 movie characters. Credit goes to both the writers, costumers, and other creators of the characters and the actors and performers that brought them all to life.

These are the Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines of 2021:

Antonia Dreykov aka Taskmaster (Black Widow).  Was there a more intriguing, surprising, gut-wrenching character this year than Olga Kurylenko’s super-powered cyborg?  She was one of the best costumed villains this year and certainly the most sympathetic, leaving the question: Where does she go from here? (Disney)

Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop).  Daniella Pineda’s spin on this classic sci-fi character couldn’t have been better.  Always eager, always excitable, always refreshing, as she pursued the dramatic journey to discover who she really is. (Netflix)

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Review by C.J. Bunce

When you think of your favorite Christmas movies, you probably think of Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or even Die Hard.  But maybe you don’t.  What about movies that aren’t big-budget blockbusters, that never made it to the big screen and in fact weren’t intended for a theater release?  I’ll Be Home for Christmas Movies is a look at a subset of holiday films that might be thought of as the unsung heroes of Christmas: Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.  The genre has a niche fandom, a fandom whose creations are about lost romance, conjuring a magical spirit, featuring locales of finely decked halls, strings of lights, and rafters of evergreen–and lots of happy people, at least by the end.  They also feature some favorite actors from other genres.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s a rare thing.  For more than 50 years TV series have fought back after cancellation to snatch a TV movie or several (see The Incredible Hulk and Veronica Mars) or holiday special (see Columbo, Kojak, The Brady Bunch, and a lot of classic TV) or moved to another network (see Medium and Community) or extra seasons years later (see Twin Peaks and The X-Files) or even a big screen movie (see Serenity) but rarely capture the spark of the original.  Let Psych join Longmire and Leverage as the rare exception.  The second “sequel to a sequel,” Psych 3: This is Gus, arriving this weekend on Peacock, is a marked improvement on the first two movies, showing that James Roday (now reclaiming his real name as James Roday Rodriguez) and Dulé Hill′s hilarious crime fighting duo “still got it.”  Better yet, the entire gameplay of the storytelling is back, thanks to creator, writer, and showrunner Steve Franks giving fans a lighthearted mystery just as witty and silly and fun as an original episode from Psych′s eight-season run.

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This is Gus

Welcome news for fans of Psych is a new trailer (below) for the second sequel to a sequel, Psych 3: This is Gus It looks even more like the series than last year’s fun drama we first discussed here at borg, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (the first new original movie to premiere on NBC’s Peacock streaming service), and Psych 3 will also premiere on Peacock–in a few weeks.  The movie, the third of six sequels that creator/showrunner Steve Franks said he plans to make, switches focus from Timothy Omundson′s character Lassiter aka Lassie to Dulé Hill′s Burton Guster, aka Ovaltine Jenkins aka Hollabackatcha aka Domo Arigato, etc., whose new wife has some secrets for Team Psych to uncover.  Best of all, the movie is less than a month away.  Who doesn’t need a good laugh?  Everyone is back: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Kurt Fuller, and Corbin Bernsen, and, of course, Tears for Fears′ own Curt Smith.

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Welcome news for fans of Psych is a new trailer (below) for the second movie sequel in what is expected to be a series of movies we first discussed here at borg a whole strange month ago.  The movie has the quite apt and humorous title, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, and it’s expected to arrive with the general release of the free Peacock streaming service app coming your way on or shortly after July 15 (Peacock will also have a pay “premium content” version).  The movie, the second of six sequels that creator/showrunner Steve Franks said he plans to make, will focus on Timothy Omundson′s character Lassiter aka Lassie.  Omundson suffered a stroke in 2017 (watch a great interview with him below) and the story will in part mirror his real-life comeback.

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Psych series

If you’re looking for a show to pep up your day as you go about all your activities, we have the perfect series with a good level of humor, smart writing, and some great actors.  It’s Psych Play it all day, every day in your house, as something to sit down to solve a whodunnit, or check in as you walk past your TV set, or just have the good music and characters bantering about as your own background soundtrack as you get things done, work or play.  And play find-the-pineapple–yep, there is a pineapple hidden in every episode (we found all but one).  All 120 episodes are now streaming on Amazon Prime, the series airs weekdays on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel, and USA Network just announced a marathon beginning this week, easy to catch for anyone with basic cable or the network app.

Billed as the Super-sized Psychtacular Binge-a-thon or as Shawn calls it, the Suck It COVID-19 Binge-a-Thon, the marathon on USA Network is the biggest Psych marathon in the network’s history.  All eight seasons will air weekly this month, starting this coming Wednesday, April 8, at 9 p.m. Central.  Airing from 2006 to 2014, the series starred James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a fake psychic detective who runs a psychic detective agency with his pal Burton “Gus” Guster, played by Dulé Hill.  The duo is brought in by the Santa Barbara police department after Shawn convinces Chief Vick (played by Kirsten Nelson) and two key detectives, Juliet (played by Maggie Lawson) and Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (played by Tim Omundson), that he has psychic powers.  He actually doesn’t have psychic powers, but his uncanny, Sherlock Holmesian powers of perception may as well be psychic.  And to top it off, the cast is rounded out by Corbin Bernsen as Shawn’s ex-cop dad–who knew Bernsen could be the perfect comedic straight man for a series?

Psych banner

Will we hear more about the second Psych movie in production, titled Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, with new face Joel McHale and Jimmi Simpson back from the grave as Mary, and Kurt Fuller as fun-loving coroner Woody?  It’s expected to premiere as the first film on a new NBC streaming service later this year–something to look forward to!  Every fan of the series will be happy to hear updates from Omundson, who took a break from acting due to a stroke.  He’ll join Roday, Hill, Lawson, Nelson, and Bernsen in the new movie, and all month long, sharing their favorite Psych moments and memories as part of the marathon.

Here’s a new video update from currently sheltering-at-home Shawn and Gus:

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Even after 121 episodes, from 2006 to 2015, Psych fans couldn’t get enough.  Earlier this year USA Network announced a reunion show and the long wait is almost over.  Psych: The Movie is less than two weeks away.  James Roday is back as Shawn Spencer with his sidekick of many names, Dulé Hill, as Burton “Sillypants Jackson” Guster.  Corbin Bernsen, Kirsten Nelson, Maggie Lawson, and Kurt Fuller are also expected back, and somehow Jimmi Simpson will return as Mary.  Look for Zachary Levi as a villain, and Jazmyn Simon, Ralph Macchio, and Charlotte Flair are also set to appear in the special. Psych creator Steve Franks co-wrote the movie with James Roday and will direct.  Series co-star Tim Omundson, who played Lassiter, suffered a stroke and so it looks like he will only have one scene in the show.  But if all goes well, there may be more made-for-TV movies down the road.

But while you’re waiting for the movie, why not check out the book?  What?  You didn’t know there was a book?  Many of the most diehard “Psych-os” (what the fans call themselves) may not realize Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster have their own 290 page guide for wannabe Private Eyes.  It’s the aptly named Psych’s Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified, by Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster (and Chad Gervich*), and it’s just the thing for fans to refresh their memories of some of the best comic banter ever dressed up as a detective show.  Shawn tries very hard to write a professional book, and well, fails at that, but not after much encouragement from Juliet “Jules” O’Hara and corrections and opposition from Guster.

Fans will appreciate that the book is, of course, dedicated to actor Billy Zane, and it features a foreword by Tears for Fears frontman Curt Smith.  Look for hundreds of callbacks to the series, and an entire volume of Shawn re-interpreting things he may or may not have overheard at the police station and during his many cases closed successfully for the Santa Barbara Police Department.  Plus some advice from Henry Spencer (SBPD ret.) and Detective Carlton Lassiter.  There’s even a twice-baked potato recipe from Mr. Yang.

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Even after 121 episodes, from 2006 to 2015, Psych fans couldn’t get enough.  Earlier this year USA Network announced a reunion show and it will air in December.  The cast was featured in a panel at San Diego Comic-Con yesterday, generating great buzz and fan excitement for the holiday show, titled Psych: The Movie.  The only down beat is that co-star Tim Omundson, who played Lassiter on the series, suffered a stroke and so it looks like he will only have one scene in the show.  But if all goes well, there may be more made-for-TV movies down the road.

Corbin Bernsen, Kirsten Nelson, Maggie Lawson, and Kurt Fuller will be back, and big news: somehow Jimmi Simpson will return as Mary.  Look for Zachary Levi as a villain, and Jazmyn Simon, Ralph Macchio, and Charlotte Flair are also set to appear in the special.  Psych creator Steve Franks co-wrote the movie with James Roday and will direct.

Check out this great teaser with James Roday and Dulé Hill for Psych: The Movie:

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Eliza Dushku Tru Calling

Between 2003 and 2005, Fox aired one of the best supernatural thrillers to date. Fans of Eliza Dushku, missing her superb performance as vampire slayer Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, could get their fix with Tru Calling.  After years of sitting on the shelf Tru Calling is finally being re-broadcast Wednesday nights on the Chiller cable network.

Eliza Dushku’s first starring vehicle of her post-Buffy days, Tru Calling had an excellent sci-fi premise, Medium meets Groundhog Day.  Medical student Tru (Dushku) gets a part-time job in the morgue and discovers that the recently deceased can ask for her help, causing her to relive their final days, in the hopes of saving their lives or solving their murders.

Tru Calling is one of those forgotten series that made our borg.com10 TV series that didn’t make it (but should have)” list back in 2011.   Lots better than Dushku’s role on Dollhouse, Tru Calling also was the first time we noticed many current genre favorites.  Tru’s co-worker mentor in the morgue was played by The Hangover‘s Zach GalifianakisMatt Bomer (White Collar, Chuck, Space Station 76) played Tru’s boyfriend.  But several more actors were barely known then, and featured in guest spots on the show.

Tru Calling

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Fall TV banner

Now that the major networks have revealed their new TV series for the Fall line-up, what of the new series is worth adding to your must-watch list?  While we’re curious about the new offerings from the cable networks, we see many reasons to at least try out the pilot for several series, based on the genre, the subject, or the inclusion of some of our favorite actors.  We previewed Marvel’s Agents of Shield last week from ABC, and no other series looks to have as much appeal for genre fans as more Joss Whedon and Marvel characters.  But we’ve found 15 of the two dozen new series that have some reason to take notice, many with trailers that have been released with the announcements.  But be warned, despite some great actors, many of these previews look pretty bad and we’re only posting the trailers for you to judge for yourself.  if you want to save time, go directly to the previews for Almost Human, The Michael J. Fox Show, Dracula, and Sleepy Hollow, which look like the best of the new series the Fall has to offer–at least from the networks.

ABC

Moving past Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the reason you might give Back in the Game a try is because of the lead, Psych’s Maggie Lawson, as well as James Caan.  It looks like a comedy version of Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve.  As much as we like Lawson and Caan, we’ll probably skip this one.  Check it out for yourself:

[removed from YouTube by network]

ABC also has a spinoff of its Once Upon a Time series, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland We gave Once Upon a Time a try in its first season and it held our interest for several episodes because of series lead Jennifer Morrison, but an Alice in Wonderland spinoff?  The trailer makes this look better than Once upon a Time and it looks like more of a sequel than a real tie-in to Once Upon a Time.  And it does have John Lithgow playing the White Rabbit.  Check it out:

[removed from YouTube by network]

NBC

The only reason we’ll mention Welcome to the Family is because of lead Mary McCormack, who we loved on In Plain Sight.  Other than that it looks like just another Parenthood series with an overdone culture-clash theme.  Here’s the trailer:

[removed from YouTube by network]

Michael J. Fox is returning to TV with The Michael J. Fox Show.  On paper the description of this show looked almost cringe-worthy:  a series about a celebrity named Mike returning to TV who left to deal with his Parkinson’s.   But then you watch the trailer and only Michael J. Fox could make this look hilarious.  This series may be a very big win:

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