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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 102: Catching up on 'Homeland,' 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Prime Suspect' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 102: Catching up on 'Homeland,' 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Prime Suspect' & more

Alan and Dan also check in on 'The Walking Dead,' 'Parenthood,' 'The Good Wife' and 'Pan Am & answer your mail


The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast took a week off while I was sick, so we're back with an extra-long installment in which we catch up on a bunch of new and returning dramas now that we're several months into the TV season, and we also answer some mail and drop random references to Oscar Gamble's batting stance, Soul Glo and more.

The line-up: 

"Parenthood" -- 02:30 - 12:45
"Prime Suspect" -- 12:50 - 18:30
"Fringe" -- 18:35 - 26:00
"Good Wife" -- 26:10 - 34:45
"Boardwalk Empire" -- 34:50 - 42:20
"The Walking Dead" -- 42:25 - 48:05
"Pan Am" -- 48:05 - 57:50
"Homeland" -- 57:55 - 01:07:45
Listener Mail: Real actors vs. Characters -- 01:09:30 - 01:14:35
Listener Mail: Past TV moments if we'd had Twitter -- 01:14:45 - 01:21:15
Listener Mail: Reflections on "Scrubs" -- 01:21:30 - 01:28:20
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 at and/or if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.
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<p>Lady Gaga on &quot;X Factor&quot; U.K.</p>

Lady Gaga on "X Factor" U.K.

Lady Gaga's split with creative director Laurieann Gibson: make-or-break?

Artistic vision or diva behavior? Plus, 'Marry the Night' on U.K.'s 'X Factor'

Lady Gaga may have lost a vital limb, as it's been confirmed she's split with longtime creative director and choreographer Laurieann Gibson.

All-caps-inclined site MediaTakeOut reported the news last week that Mother Monster and Gibson had a "bitter fight," and that sources near the pair had insinuated the latter developed a big head, ever since she launched her E! reality show series "The Dance Scene" and got a second pump with BET's "Born to Dance." The Hollywood Reporter firmed with reps today that the two were dunzo.

Gibson had worked on routines for artists like JoJo and Danity Kane before she was linked with Gaga; she went on to choreograph Gaga's videos for "The Fame" and "The Fame Monster" (like "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance") as well as some like Katy Perry's "California Gurls" and Keri Hilson's "The Way You Love Me." As for "Born This Way," Gibson choreographed, and tried her hand at directing by co-helming "Judas" with Gaga and heading up "You and I."

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Listen: Rihanna's Jay-Z collab 'Talk That Talk' is a lot of hot air

Also: Does 'Drunk on Love' intoxicate you?

Much of Rihanna's "Talk That Talk" has leaked now, but among the tracks is one that's been much sought-after: her reunion with Jay-Z.

Hov appears on the title track to the set, and frankly, it's an elementary and mildly stupid contribution from the veteran rapper. While Ri-Ri and Jay-Z's combos on "Umbrella" and "Run This Town" had an it's-only-natural vibe, this sounds like a cut and paste of dull Hova bluster, the sole verse making a play on his 'Nets arena and "dome," the chest-puffery of a "singer slash actress" in his bedroom (and not, well, his wife) and eye-roll of a rhyme involving the bladder and peeing. Good one.

With that, I'm a mite disappointed that I think it's destined to be a hit, because that sloppy refrain still sticks to my head.

A bit better is "Drunk on Love," Rihanna's aforementioned utilization of the xx's "Intro" for it's chilled-out beat. The Bajan singer goes a little too new-agey -- stiffly formal, in a way. But the production pairs nicely with the simple lyricism.

"Talk That Talk" is out on Nov. 22 which (believe it or not) is next week, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, holy cow. Check out "You Da One," the new single that debuted last week. The first single is hit "We Found Love," which she will perform on "X Factor" this week on Thursday (Nov. 17).

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"RuPaul's Drag Race"

 "RuPaul's Drag Race"

Credit: Logo

Logo announces names of next season's 'RuPaul's Drag Race' competitors

This January the lucky 13 will vie for $100,000
RuPaul and Logo are prepping an all-new squad of 13 contestants for the fourth season of 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' which will begin airing in January 2012. These lucky sort-of ladies will be battling for a headlining spot on Logo's Drag Race Tour, a vacation courtesy of, a lifetime supply of NYX Cosmetics and, of course, a cash prize of $100,000. Best of all, they will win the title of America's Next Drag Superstar. Actually, the money is probably best of all, so scratch that.
"We challenged ourselves to make TV's most outrageous show even more outrageous,” said executive producer, RuPaul.  “And I'm happy to report we've succeeded." Now, we just have to wait until January. 
The following are the 13 season four “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants, with hashtags waiting for your Twitter feed (my early favorite: Sharon Needles): 
Alisa Summers Tampa, FL  #DragRaceAlisaSummers, @alisasummers
Chad Michaels  San Diego, CA  #DragRaceChadMichaels, @chadmichaels1
Dida Ritz Chicago, IL #DragRaceDidaRitz, @HelloDiDa
Jiggly Caliente  Queens, NY  #DragRaceJigglyCaliente, @JigglyCaliente
Kenya Michaels  Dorado, Puerto Rico  #DragRaceKenyaMichaels, @Kenya_Michaels
Lashauwn Beyond  Tampa, FL  #DragRaceLashauwnBeyond, @LashauwnBeyond 
Latrice Royale  Ft. Lauderdale, FL  #DragRaceLatriceRoyale, @LatriceRoyale
Madame LaQueer  Carolina, Puerto Rico  #DragRaceMadameLaQueer, @MadameLaQueer
Milan   New York, NY #DragRaceMilan, @DwayneMilan
Phi Phi O’Hara  Chicago, IL  #DragRacePhiPhiOhara, @PhiPhiOhara
The Princess  Chicago, IL  #DragRaceThePrincess, @TheDragPrincess
Sharon Needles  Pittsburgh, PA  #DragRaceSharonNeedles, @SHARON_NEEDLES
Willam  Los Angeles, CA  #DragRaceWillam, @willambelli
RuPaul is back for a fourth season, alongside judges Michelle Visage and Santino Rice, to decide who will “shante! stay!” or “sashay away” with a new batch of drag queens.  
Are you excited for a new season of "RuPaul's Drag Race"? Which competitor do you think has the most fabulous name?
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<p>Jennifer Lawrence is prepared to sacrifice herself to save her sister in the new trailer for Gary Ross's bigscreen adaptation of 'The Hunger Games'</p>

Jennifer Lawrence is prepared to sacrifice herself to save her sister in the new trailer for Gary Ross's bigscreen adaptation of 'The Hunger Games'

Credit: Lionsgate

Watch: Full-length 'Hunger Games' trailer gives us good look at Katniss Everdeen's world

Does Jennifer Lawrence look like the Girl on Fire to you?

Well, here it is.

I've gotten to the point where I was tuning out any and all talk about "The Hunger Games" because I didn't want to feel exhausted by the  movie before I ended up getting a chance to see it.

Today, I'm ready to take a look at the new trailer and finally get a real look at what it is that Gary Ross has done adapting this monster hit series of books into what Lionsgate hopes is going to be a monster hit series of films.

I watched the trailer twice this morning, and my reaction so far is that it looks like Ross has done it.  It's a tonally interesting bit of world building based on the footage we've seen here, and I'm really liking the sense of reality that the trailer establishes.  Jennifer Lawrence looks like she's going to be a strong presence as Katniss Everdeen, the girl who is chosen to compete in The Hunger Games, a gladiator battle to the death that's held once a year in The Capitol.  We get a glimpse of almost everyone in the trailer, including Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and, of course, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson as the two young men who represent different paths Katniss might take in her life.

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<p>Karine Vanasse, Michael Mosley and Margot Robbie on &quot;Pan Am.&quot;</p>

Karine Vanasse, Michael Mosley and Margot Robbie on "Pan Am."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: 'Pam Am,' 'The Good Wife' & 'Fringe'

Checking in on the latest episodes of some weekend dramas

Once again, it's time for a (late) morning round-up, with brief thoughts on, in order, "Pan Am," "The Good Wife" and "Fringe," all coming up just as soon as you check my Spider-Man fanny pack...

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The news comes to you when it drops

Just a note for In Contention readers. You'll note in the right sidebar a link to receive instant alerts for In Contention content. If you're not already registered at HitFix, you can do so here, and once you're signed up (many of you already are, so thanks for that), you can go to the custom alerts page here and select the elements of the site you'd like to feed your inbox on a consistent basis, including, as of today, the nonsense we crank out here at In Contention.

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<p>Leonardo&nbsp;DiCaprio in&nbsp;&quot;J.&nbsp;Edgar&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio in "J. Edgar"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Are J. Edgar’s contradictions a mirror for the country that created him?

New film fails to capture the man but does it reflect the soul of the nation?

J. Edgar Hoover, the man, has been described (at varying points) as controversial, enigmatic, megalomaniacal, a patriot, a zealot, a master of misinformation, paranoid, a visionary, corrupt and, ultimately, one of the most powerful men in U.S. history.

Clint Eastwood’s cinematic interpretation of Hoover’s life, “J. Edgar,” has inspired an equally mixed critical response (which may have resulted in this weekend’s soft box office returns). Ostensibly, the film means to deconstruct J. Edgar’s conflicting portrayals and, in doing so, paradoxically present an image of a complex but fully realized human being.

Yet, many critics have found that the subject simply floated out of Eastwood’s grasp. The film often reads as a series of disjointed vignettes, as if each scene is a separate paragraph lifted from Mr. Hoover’s own dictated autobiography and then interspersed with minor parenthetical adjustments and corrections made by those who were present at the events he is recalling.

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<p>Ewan McGregor and Cosmo in &quot;Beginners.&quot;</p>

Ewan McGregor and Cosmo in "Beginners."

Credit: Focus Features

Oscarweb Round-up: The year of the dog

Also: Hollywood homophobia and sexual subtext in 'Shame' and, er, 'Puss in Boots'

"The Artist" is looking an increasingly safe bet in any number of Oscar categories, but Best Supporting Actor isn't one of them, and it's all because Academy rules bar canine actors from competing. That's a tough break for the film's remarkable Jack Russell prodigy Uggy, who's no less deserving than some past human nominees in the category I could mention. Gregg Kilday contemplates this injustice. On a side note, meanwhile, what's up with the bumper crop of amazing movie dogs in 2011? Between Uggy, Laika in "Le Havre," Cosmo in "Beginners," Snowy in "Tintin," Skeletor in "50/50" and others, there are at least enough contenders to form a new Oscar category. [Hollywood Reporter]   

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<p>Marge and the kids turned into foodies - with help from Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali, among others -on last night's &quot;The Simpsons.&quot;</p>

Marge and the kids turned into foodies - with help from Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali, among others -on last night's "The Simpsons."

Credit: FOX

'The Simpsons' - 'The Food Wife': Don't meth with Marge

Marge and the kids become foodies, with help from Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay

Haven't written about "The Simpsons" since the renewal deal was closed last month, but last night's episode was both good and gives me an opportunity to discuss some things about the long lifespan of the series. Thoughts coming up just as soon as my ghost has to give me the Heimlich maneuver...

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<p>A detail from the UK quad poster of &quot;The Iron Lady.&quot;</p>

A detail from the UK quad poster of "The Iron Lady."

Credit: Film4

New 'Iron Lady' trailer, plus UK quad looks us in the eye

The pearls are still absolutely non-negotiable

[UPDATE: A new trailer has just been unveiled. I haven't watched it, so no comment, but it's embedded below.]

At last night's AMPAS tribute evening to Vanessa Redgrave (which I attended, and will write up in due course), the "Coriolanus" star was self-evidently the center of attention, but high-spirited, red-clad guest speaker Meryl Streep ran her close. The 16-time Oscar nominee is in London to begin the promotion trail for "The Iron Lady," which quietly began screening last week; whispers from the few who have seen it were being passed around the room as if they were MI5 files. I heard one "transformative," one "frightening" and one "high camp" -- the latter was applied as a compliment, by the way.

In a handy bit of timing, Film4 debuted this positively terrifying UK poster for the Margaret Thatcher biopic this morning, which certainly suggests marketers are approaching the project with a welcome sense of humor. My dream outcome for "The Iron Lady" is for it the pull the rug out from under us completely by emerging as some kind of burlesque political satire; I sense we're not going that far, but I do hope Streep's having fun. Check out the full poster after the jump.

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<p>Elizabeth Reaser talks about &quot;The Twilight Saga:&nbsp;Breaking Dawn&quot; and Jason Reitman's &quot;Young Adult.&quot;</p>

Elizabeth Reaser talks about "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" and Jason Reitman's "Young Adult."

'Breaking Dawn's' Elizabeth Reaser talks about the climactic scene in 'Young Adult'

Busy schedules for Reaser and 'Nurse Jackie's' Peter Facinelli

Let's be frank.  For Elizabeth Reaser and Peter Facinelli, being part of "The Twilight Saga" hasn't given them that much to do.  As Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Facinelli) and his wife Esme Cullen (Reaser), the two pros are usually background players to the drama following their on screen adopted "son" Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the love of his, um, life, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).  While that changes just a bit in "Breaking Dawn," it's given two of the more experienced members of the ensemble a different perspective on the fourth production in the series.

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