Latest Blog Posts

<p>Right after this photo, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg announced their intention to remake every Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy together.</p>

Right after this photo, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg announced their intention to remake every Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy together.

Credit: HitFix

Karl Urban and Simon Pegg talk about bringing some light to 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Plus how devoted do you have to be to be called a 'Trekkkie'?

Karl Urban and Simon Pegg are both valuable parts of the chemistry that drives the new "Star Trek" series.

Pegg was someone I already knew I liked enormously before "Star Trek" arrived, and it's interesting to see how JJ Abrams has turned Pegg into comic relief in two different franchises. The Scotty from these movies is a very different person than the Scotty we saw Doohan play for all those years. I have trouble imagining Doohan sprinting around a hangar trying to figure out how to open a door or getting sucked through a water pipe system. Pegg, though, is down for pretty much anything they throw at him, and he works his ass off to entertain in the new film.

Urban, on the other hand, is a guy who hadn't really come into focus for me until "Star Trek." I didn't dislike him or his work, but he didn't make the strongest impression as an actor, and I had trouble figuring out if he had much of a personality. Whoever first thought to have him read for Bones deserves a bonus, though, because he is perfect in the role. So far, I'd argue he's the greatest underutilized asset that the series has, and if they continue with more movies, I pray they give Urban more to do. He deserves it.

Read Full Post
"So You Think You Can Dance"

 "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: The talent's hot in Hollywood

The auditions for the 10th season are tough and the bar is high

"So You Think You Can Dance" returns for a tenth season, and aren't you glad? Apparently producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe is still stumping for a separate results episode each week, but for now I'm just happy to see some really great dancing back on television. Yes, thanks to Zendaya and Kellie Pickler we've definitely gotten some of that on "Dancing with the Stars," but "So You Think You Can Dance" raises the bar to a completely different level. Even better, that bar seems to be extraordinarily high this year. Judging from these Hollywood auditions, this might be a season in which anyone could be deserving of the win -- yes, that makes it harder for us to decide for whom to vote, but it should be a lot of fun to watch.

Read Full Post
<p>It was the &quot;New Girl&quot;&nbsp;kiss between Jess (Zooey Deschanel)&nbsp;and Nick (Jake Johnson)&nbsp;that spared season 2's creative surge.</p>

It was the "New Girl" kiss between Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) that spared season 2's creative surge.

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' creator Liz Meriwether on Nick and Jess, Schmidt's choice, and the fun of season 2

Has the show solved Winston yet? What stories would she redo?

"New Girl" was one of my favorite comedies on TV in 2012 (as I've said, if I had to make my top 10 list even a week later, it would've made the cut). It was actually even better in 2013, as a romance that I once was dreading when the show began hinting at it instead became the magnetic center of a series that had been satisfying but often uneven. I reviewed the season finale here, and I spoke with "New Girl" creator Liz Meriwether about how the show really found itself thanks to the Jess/Nick relationship, whether she feels they've solved Winston yet, what she'd like to do in season 3, and more, all coming up just as soon as the plan is to drop a badger on a priest...

Read Full Post
<p>Jess (Zooey Deschanel)&nbsp;and Nick (Jake Johnson)&nbsp;in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

Season finale review: 'New Girl' - 'Elaine's Big Day'

A badger gets loose at Cece's wedding, and Nick and Jess ponder their future

"New Girl" just concluded what's been a terrific second season. I spoke to creator Liz Meriwether about the finale, and about some big decisions along the way, and I have a quick review of the finale coming up just as soon as we make some pasta and really listen to my Coldplay bootleg from Rotterdam...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;I am... alone&quot;</p>

"I am... alone"

Credit: Columbia

Natalie Maines and new solo album 'Mother': Dixie Chick with a man's 'voice'

Watch the video to her cover of Eddie Vedder's 'Without You'

Natalie Maines released a new album today called "Mother," a mix of rock 'n' roll downers and uppers and some covers. "Without You," originally by Eddie Vedder, has Maines' voice at its core, laying bare some of those emotions that we haven't really tended to in the six years since the Dixie Chicks went on hiatus.

The video, out today too, is even more tame than the take, with a performance shots, some studio goofs, some hugs and fans and a few fashion shots that highlight her beautiful new 'do and her self-aware isolation.

(Watch the video exclusively at EW.)

OK, so let's unpackage the latter a little bit: this is Maines' first solo rodeo, which makes an exceptional job of highlighting her vocals. Even before the 'Chicks, Maines leaned rock and R&B, even as she performed in other country groups. Her choices on "Mother" -- including selections from Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd and her album producer Ben Harper -- here reflect an appreciation for range and drama, and yet the collection is mostly harmless.

Harmless, which is a word that many would never apply to Natalie Maines. It was 10 years ago that Maines criticized the then-president George W. Bush and protested the Iraq war; in the years that followed, she and her cohorts Emily Robison and Martie Maguire as the Dixie Chicks wore those political leaning and rejecting the rejectors with documentary "Shut Up and Sing." Maines refused to "back down" with acclaimed "Taking the Long Way" with its prominent 2006 single "Not Ready to Make Nice."

"It's a sad sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger," reads the lyrics to that song, which then points its way back to Maines and her new "Mother." The title and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" cover weren't selected out of total coincidence: in a way, it's yet another political statement. The Roger Waters tune is ultimately 1) about a rock star and his (single) mom 2) about overprotection and isolation and 3) exercises a skepticism on government and the governing majority.

These are all things Maines knows too well. What I find more interesting is that Maines sings "Mother" as a mother (of two) and a rock star, giving it a woman's sense of ownership and ideal. Single mothers in the '70s and Maines as a country singer with a liberal bent share difficulties as pariahs -- and also happen to be alienated females with a fast-tracked coming-of-age.

As the backlash of the Dixie Chicks continued throughout the 2000s, I had no doubt that some of it was fueled by their gender in the country marketplace. "Dixie Sluts" and "Ditzy Chicks" became choice insults from the era, for example, and they shielded attacks on their abilities as mothers and wives. Country killed Maines' country career, but on her new album Maines herself has scrapped country for rock, notably on songs penned by mostly men (though Maines co-writes, a Patty Griffin song is included and Maguire and Robison collaborate momentarily), in a male-dominated genre. Even though some songs can be interpreted mostly genderless, Maines again finds herself in a platform position not in spite of her gender, but because of it.

I find her voice and her "voice" powerful, even though "Mother" on the whole isn't a terribly strong record. Just like when she and the Dixie Chicks stirred up country homogeneity, I'm just glad she's there. 

The Dixie Chicks have been on hiatus from the studio for six years and from the road for three. Maguire and Robison continue to record under Court Yard Hounds and plan a new release this summer.

Read Full Post
"Back in the Game"

 "Back in the Game"

Credit: ABC

Watch the first trailer from ABC's sports sitcom 'Back in the Game'

See James Caan look grizzly in this new Wednesday comedy

"Back in the Game" comes to ABC Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. this fall, and is probably most notable for featuring James Caan in his most grizzled form. But really, the story is about Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson). She  was an All Star softball player until life threw her a few curve balls -- a baby, a lost college scholarship and a loser for a husband.

Read Full Post
"Killer Women"

"Killer Women"

Credit: ABC

Watch the first trailer of ABC's 'Killer Women' and its 'badass' lead

Tricia Helfer plays a tough Texas Ranger on this midseason show
ABC has a Texas Ranger procedural on the docket for midseason, "Killer Women." As this feisty trailer suggests, Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer) is committed to finding the truth and seeing justice served, but she's not afraid to break the rules. Or play tough. Or act like the boys, though some of the boys don't respect her. Sigh. The show is also produced by Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family"). 
Read Full Post

Jimmy Kimmel takes shots at advertisers, ABC, NBC, CBS for 11th year in a row

Jimmy Kimmel takes shots at advertisers, ABC, NBC, CBS for 11th year in a row

"The reason we're here," he told advertisers, "is because you are about to invest billions of dollars in a network that rolled a 400-lb. comedian off a diving board last week."

"Homeland's" Morena Baccerin is pregnant

Baccerin, who's currently filming Season 3, has confirmed she's expecting her first child with her husband of a year and a half.

Which ABC shows will likely take long breaks next season?
ABC boss Paul Lee mentioned "Grey's Anatomy," "Once Upon a Time" and "Scandal" as shows that may run for 12 weeks before taking a midseason hiatus.

ABC is a 4th-place network that doesn't think it's in 4th place
"ABC is the No. 1 television brand in America," says ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee, pointing to its strengths with shows like "Scandal" and "Once Upon a Time." Still, ABC is programming aggressively next season, in particular with its all-new Tuesday lineup that kicks off with Joss Whedon's "S.H.I.E.L.D." PLUS: Ranking ABC's new show trailers.

Report: Sarah Palin turned down a talk show offer from Mark Burnett
According to Newsmax, Palin declined to do a talk show because doing so would've forced her to move to either New York or Los Angeles.

"New Girl" became less whimsical for the better in Season 2
As Jon Caramanica notes, writers figured out that Zooey Deschanel's "charms lie not in her quirk but in her empathy and warmth. Deviation from the mean may be what fast-tracked Ms. Deschanel, but it was not a sustainable career plan. This season she's turned from mythical, unknowable creature to reliable rock." PLUS: Max Greenfield recounts working with Taylor Swift, and "New Girl" new hairstyles?

Connie Chung jumps out of a cake on "Maury"
Watch her celebrate her husband's 2,500th episode.

Claim: "Dancing" pros turned down offer for on-set injury prevention training
Two classically-trained dancers who are experts at preventing dancing injuries say their offer was rebuffed.

"The Mindy Project" is a pretty subversive sitcom
Mindy Kaling's character has slept with five guys, yet it's been no big deal. Nor has any of her interracial relationships. PLUS: Mindy has only dated white guys so far, and ranking all of Mindy's love interests.

"Big Bang's" big year attributed to an emphasis on relationships over science talk
Says Johnny Galecki: "I don't remember the last time Jim (Parsons) or I had one of those long, brain-wrenching, scientific-jargon speeches. It's not about that anymore; it's about how they relate to one another, as opposed to how they relate to science."

J.J. Abrams: I haven't watched every "Fringe" episode
The "Fringe" co-creator explains to Howard Stern and Jimmy Kimmel how his TV production company works -- he isn't as hands on with every "J.J. Abrams show." He didn't even watch every episode of "Fringe," despite being its co-creator. "There are a couple I didn't see," he says.

Ken Burns' to tackle "A Biography of Cancer" for PBS documentary series
Siddhartha Mukherjee's Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" will be adapted into a six-hour documentary.

"Kitchen Nightmares" stars use Facebook to fire back at critics
Amy and Samy Bouzaglatell have become social media sensations since Friday's episode, when Gordon Ramsay stormed out on them.

Perhaps NBC picks Seth Meyers because he lacked drama
Myers, says Nathan Rabin, "is a consummate comedy professional rather than a live-wire comic genius like Letterman or O'Brien." That likely means he, unlike Conan and Letterman, won't create any drama. He's a safe, solid choice. PLUS: Meyers wants Amy Poehler as his first guest.

"Breaking Amish" spinoff disappoints
"Breaking Amish: Brave New World" was down 44% from the "Breaking Amish" season finale.

Watch a preview of CW's "Whose Line is it Anyway?"
Hosted by Aisha Tyler and featuring mainstays "Whose Line" mainstays Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady.

"Arrested Development" was always ahead of its time
With its resurrection this month, the "Arrested" comeback is proving perfect for the GIF age. PLUS: Watch video of the "Arrested" banana stand.

"Doctor Who's" Jenna-Louise Coleman: I've never been on a date
Though she has a boyfriend, the 27-year-old admits never having gone out on a one-on-one date.

"Mad Men's" costume designer on Ted's "badass" bomber jacket
Janie Bryant says the bomber jacket is vintage. "We were talking about Ted last week and I think that he does try harder and I think that huge collar speaks to that element," she says. PLUS: Kevin Rahm didn't know Ted flew a plane until he read the script.

Steve Harvey teaches Dr. Phil how to dance

Watch Dr. Phil attempt to boogie.


Read Full Post

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 181

Dan and Alan talk upfronts, 'How I Met Your Mother' finale and more


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls. 
This is looking like a two-podcast week and here's the first. 
With upfronts for NBC, FOX and ABC on our dance card, we had plenty to talk about, but then we also had finales for "Community" and "How I Met Your Mother," as well as "Mad Men." 
So... Yeah. Busy busy!
Expect the second podcast on Friday, probably, when we'll be able to talk about CBS and The CW, plus the series finale of "The Office" and... maybe some other stuff.
Today's breakdown:
NBC, FOX and ABC Upfronts (00:03:10 - 00:51:30)
"Community" finale (00:51:45 - 01:00:40)
"How I Met Your Mother" finale (01:00:45 - 01:16:20)
"Mad Men" (01:16:55 - 01:44:20)

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.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

Read Full Post

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 181: Upfronts, 'Community,' 'How I Met Your Mother' & 'Mad Men'

Dan and Alan break down the first batch of fall schedules


It's Upfront Week here at the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, which means the first of what should be two installments. In this one, we discuss NBC, FOX and ABC, then get into the "Community" and "How I Met Your Mother" finales before breaking down the latest "Mad Men." Speaking of which, here is the promised photo of a young Cloris Leachman that we discussed during the "Mad Men" segment: 

The lineup:

NBC, FOX and ABC Upfronts (00:03:10 - 00:51:30)
"Community" finale (00:51:45 - 01:00:40)
"How I Met Your Mother" finale (01:00:45 - 01:16:20)
"Mad Men" (01:16:55 - 01:44:20)
In theory, we'll be back with another one on Friday to talk about CBS, the CW, and some more finales (including "New Girl" and "The Office").

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.

Read Full Post
<p>Clark Gregg, Brett Walton and Chloe Bennett in a scene from &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Clark Gregg, Brett Walton and Chloe Bennett in a scene from "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

Watch the full-length 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' trailer

Agent Coulson puts together a team that's 'not exactly a team'

ABC just finished its upfront presentation, and it saved the best — or, at least, the show everyone around here cares about the most by far — for last, concluding the show by bringing Joss Whedon on stage with Clark Gregg and the rest of the cast of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Joss described the show as about "what it's like to be an ordinary person in an increasingly extraordinary and unreal world," and warned his actors that they were about to be the subjects of "some really inappropriate fanfic," then introduced the 3-minute trailer for the series. 

Again, these are trailers and not actual pilots, and it's easier to make a quippy action show look good than to, say, try to make a riveting pilot for "Tremé." But as my first even slightly extended look at what Whedon (and Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen) intend to do with the Marvel universe on the small screen, it's an excellent start. Enjoy: 

Read Full Post
Watch the amazing, creepy video for Queens of the Stone Age's new 'Kalopsia'

Watch the amazing, creepy video for Queens of the Stone Age's new 'Kalopsia'

Go ahead and sample a third of the album, including 'I Appear Missing'

Queens of the Stone Age are two for two as far as affecting animated videos featuring crows pecking at the dead, gore and zombie-like wanderers. Today's new offering, the clip for fresh "Kalopsia," is an achievement in its movements; "I Appear Missing," which appeared last week, is a torture device in color.

Both kind of rule.

"Kalopsia" is "a condition wherein things appear more beautiful than they are," and Josh Homme's voice at least starts out rather beautifully. There's a lot of Bowie feel in this track, even when they open up the room and rock out.

Downer "I Appear Missing" is much more on-the-nose, equal parts depressing and cruelly enlightening. Plus Dave Grohl drums on it, so at least there's a big morbid smile behind it all, before you hit the ground.

That makes it three official studio samplings that are out in the open from QOTSA's new 10-track album "... Like Clockwork," out on June 4. Listen to "Kalopsia," "Missing" and first single "My God Is the Sun" below.

Read Full Post