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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 146: 'Coma,' 'Outlaw Country,' 'The Newsroom' & 'Breaking Bad'

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 146: 'Coma,' 'Outlaw Country,' 'The Newsroom' & 'Breaking Bad'

Dan and Alan also answer your mail


It's an Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week, as Dan and I review a miniseries (A&E's "Coma"), a busted pilot that somehow aired (FX's "Outlaw Country"), "The Newsroom" finale, and another episode of "Breaking Bad," while also finding an excuse to analyze both "Boy Meets World" and "Charles in Charge." 

The line-up: 

"Coma" (00:00:40 - 00:12:05)
"Outlaw Country" (00:12:10 - 00:25:50)
"The Newsroom" (00:25:50 - 00:45:00)
Listener Mail - Devolving Characters (00:45:20 - 00:54:00)
Listener Mail - "Survivor" returnees (00:54:00 - 01:00:40)
"Breaking Bad" (01:00:40 - 01:25:30)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>Florence + The Machine</p>

Florence + The Machine

Florence + The Machine plan year-long hiatus between albums

Watch Kelly Clarkson's cover of 'Shake It Out'

As the campaign for “Ceremonials” winds down, Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine revealed that she plans to take a year off before starting work on a follow-up to the 2011 album.

Of course, that break has a ways to go before it starts since she and her band mates are among the headliners at the Austin (Texas) City Limits festival on Oct. 12. It’s been a season of festivals for F&TM: They played Lollapalooza earlier this montn and just played the Reading and Leeds festivals in England.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Alanis Morissette's &quot;Havoc and Bright Lights&quot;</p>

Alanis Morissette's "Havoc and Bright Lights"

Album Review: Alanis Morissette gets touchy feely on new album, 'Havoc And Bright Lights'

She mixes the message and affirmations with a beat you can dance to

Despite living a life in the public eye ever since “Jagged Little Pill” shot her into the limelight 17 years ago, Alanis Morissette has admirably kept her wounds open for all to see, as well as shared her joys. She seems amazingly aware of every emotion that flickers though her as fleeting as it may be and has no trepidation or judgment of them, only observation.

She has plenty of joy and pain to share on the musically diverse “Havoc And Bright Lights,” produced by Guy Sigsworth and Joe Chiccarelli, and out Aug. 28. Since her last album, 2008’s “Flavors of Entanglement,” Morissette has married and become a mom and both of those experiences deeply inform “Havoc.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&quot;Ernest &amp;&nbsp;Celestine&quot;</p>

"Ernest & Celestine"

Credit: GKIDS

GKIDS picks up 'Ernest & Celestine' for a fall 2013 release (UPDATED)

But the indie studio still has a lot to play with this year

Strike one potential animated contender from the list (which was just updated this morning). You might recall that Guy was a big fan of Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner's "Ernest & Celestine" at Cannes, offering that it's "schooled in the gentle economy of picture-book storytelling: its words are witty and well-chosen, yes, but it's the delicate visual construction of its parallel worlds that invites the most scrutiny and empathy." He then went on to declare that it deserved US exposure.

Well, it looks to get it, as hero to the independent animated film community GKIDS has just announced acquisition of the title. But it won't be bowing it in this year's race. It's being held for fall 2013, where it should be considered formidable amongst whatever usual usual studio fare will surely be in the conversation. The film is officially set for a North American debut at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival, but I'm hoping it might pop up at Telluride first. That's where I discovered "Chico & Rita" a year before GKIDS picked up that unassuming but beautiful ditty, which went on to nail down an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film last year.

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Fabio Viviani

 Fabio Viviani

Credit: Bravo

'Life After Top Chef' to follow Spike, Fabio, Richard and Jen

Fan favorites invite cameras into their lives
Ever wonder what happened to the "Top Chef" second-rans after a season ends? Bravo intends to tell you about at least a few of them with “Life After Top Chef,” premiering Wed. Oct. 3 at 10 p.m. ET. The show follows Richard Blais in Atlanta, Jen Carroll in Philadelphia, Spike Mendelsohn in D.C., and Fabio Viviani in Los Angeles as they continue to heat things up, from opening their own restaurants to expanding franchises and establishing their brands. For a sneak peek visit Below, keep reading for a refresher on who you'll be seeing -- and what they'll be doing.
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<p>Usher in &quot;Dive&quot;</p>

Usher in "Dive"

Watch: Usher goes deep in hot new music video for 'Dive'

You'll wish you were in the same boat

Usher knows from sexy and he takes it to a new depths in his video for “Dive,” the latest single from his excellent “Looking 4 Myself” album. The song, which features Usher singing in his upper register, is sultry and sweet at the same time, like Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose,” but with a lot more sexual imagery.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jeff Daniels and Terry Crews in &quot;The Newsroom&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

Jeff Daniels and Terry Crews in "The Newsroom" season finale.

Credit: AMC

Season finale review: 'The Newsroom' - 'The Greater Fool'

Will reacts badly to the magazine article, and Don has a proposal for Maggie

A review of "The Newsroom" season finale coming up just as soon as I show you my recipe for beef stew...

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' announces its viewers' choice contestant

Kyle Massey, Carson Kressley and Sabrina Bryan were up for the job

 So, the news is out. On “Good Morning America” today, the winner of the all-stars viewers' choice vote for the 13th celebrity to join the “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” cast is Sabrina Bryan. That meant Kyle Massey and Carson Kressley were sent packing, unless ABC chooses to lure them over for guest appearances. She will be joined by professional partner Louis Van Amstel, who returns for his ninth season.

“Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” and “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” return this season with new surprises and all the performance elements viewers have come to know and love: “Macy’s Stars of Dance” features some of the best choreographers and performers from the different styles of dance who offer viewers performances that represent the peak of achievement in their genres. The show also welcomes the return of the “AT&T Spotlight Performance,” which features and celebrates people whose lives have been changed forever by dance. AT&T is helping in the search to find these performers by allowing fans to nominate potential dancers. 
Also new this year is “After Party: Dancing with the Stars,” a 15-20 minute live show that takes place online at, Facebook and YouTube immediately following each Monday night performance episode. This original online video show will feature a host, a panel of dance experts, show talent and celebrity guests breaking down the highlights of the night and answering questions via Twitter, Facebook and 
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<p>Daniel&nbsp;Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Off the Carpet: Getting out the vote

On the Oscars in an election year

The most important piece you're going to read on the awards season right now is Sasha Stone's "The Oscars in an Election Year" over at Awards Daily. Even if you chafe against her politics (with which I am personally aligned), you can't argue against the fact that she nails a certain truth: socio-political environment will impact reaction to art.

That's what's so great about movies, books, paintings, songs, etc. They are as much a direct reflection of the times as they are a nebulous Rorschach for them. Involuntary extrapolation can be as significant as clear-eyed reaction to a straight-forward treatise. And in an environment as heated, tense and divided as this, the art that escapes the cauldron is bound to be, if not willfully profound, then a fascinating looking glass, at the very least.

I hopped on iChat with Stone last week to chew on this idea a bit and do something I've been meaning to do for a while: really dig through the history of election years and the Oscars. Much of what follows is owed to that conversation and the ideas that came out of it. It's a fool's errand to try and tie any given election year down to the Best Picture winner, of course, but it certainly makes for intriguing considerations.

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<p>I recently took aim at the 'Robocop' remake on Twitter, and the reaction across the Internet suggests there is a real hunger for early spoilers on certain projects.</p>

I recently took aim at the 'Robocop' remake on Twitter, and the reaction across the Internet suggests there is a real hunger for early spoilers on certain projects.

Credit: Orion Pictures

The Vacation Read: What do you think of the state of online movie reporting?

We kick off our vacation with a request for you, the readers, to run things this week

Yes, that's right… I'm on vacation.

Right now, my family and I are on a private jet traveling the globe and having amazing adventures.  Or we're at my house and laying around in the pool.  Whichever version makes you happy, feel free to picture that.  The point is, I'm taking a week away from writing here at HitFix to relax before we start the insane crush of work that kicks off with our coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6.

In the meantime, I'm going to be publishing a topic for conversation every day between now and when I come back, and I am going to ask you guys to carry the weight here.  I've said in many place, during podcasts and in articles and even in person, that I consider all of this a conversation.  It doesn't work in a vacuum.  It doesn't work if it's just me talking at you.  You are an essential part of the equation, and that's why I want this week to work a little different.

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<p>'Who are you calling ugly?'</p>

'Who are you calling ugly?'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Our second look at 'The Dark Knight Rises' digs into the bad and the ugly

After a ridiculous delay, we wrap our revisit of the summer's biggest sequel

Yes, that took longer than I promised.

Yes, I should stop mentioning a deadline if there's any chance at all I'm going to miss it.

On that note, let's dig back in.  The first piece I published covered only one third of the characters I wanted to discuss.  I broke them all down according to the broad archetypes of "The Good," "The Bad," and "The Ugly."  Based on the comments section, I think some of you missed the point I was making.  This isn't a re-review where I'm using "The Bad" and "The Ugly" to point out flaws in the film.  Instead, I'm looking at "The Bad" as people who are motivated only by their own desires, who are willing to hurt others to get what they want.  And with "The Ugly," I'm talking about people who fall into some grey middle zone between good and bad, people who can occasionally do the right thing but who are often driven to do the wrong things.  I think those characters are the most fun to write and to watch because they get to have all the shameless fun of being a bad guy and all the cathartic release of being a good guy.

Hopefully after you read today's conclusion, you'll see what I meant, and I want to thank you guys for both being patient and for being such an active part of the conversation once I finally posted the first piece.  I want to challenge you to participate even more next week while I'm on vacation, but more on that later this morning.

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<p>Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Say My Name'

Mike plots his exit strategy, but Walt doesn't want Jesse to go

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I want to live in a world without Coca-Cola...

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