The CW announced its Fall 2014 premiere dates, once again kicking things off in early October and giving the new drama "The Flash" as big an introductory boost as possible.
Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls.
On Tuesday's video show, we reviewed "Tyrant" and "Taxi Brooklyn" and we also discussed the second season of "Orphan Black."
So none of that is in this podcast.
Fortunately, there's still lots to discuss. We didn't go two-and-a-half hours like last week, but we filled an hour with reviews of "Reckless" and "The Leftovers," plus a couple pieces of Listener Mail and, of course, our weekly celebration of "Friday Night Lights" Season 2.
Due to timing and whatnot, I had to record my side of the podcast in the echo chamber of the HitFix offices, so I sound extra-hollow. Apologies, as always.
"Reckless" (00:00:55 - 00:12:00)
"The Leftovers" (00:12:00 - 00:31:10)
Listener Mail - Trans Characters on TV (00:31:30 - 38:30)
Listener Mail - Desert Island Showrunners (00:38:35 - 00:44:30)
"Friday Night Lights" Season 2 - (00:44:40 - 01:01:20)
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 or subscribe on IHeartRadio.]
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, June 24, 2014.
A 200th episode special for "America's Got Talent" delivered diminished numbers to NBC and contributed to another dip for "The Night Shift," though NBC still cruised to victory on Tuesday night.
Only CBS' procedural repeats came close to NBC overall and nothing could approach the network among young viewers, though ABC's "Celebrity Wife Swap" topped "The Night Shift" in the key demo.
On to the numbers...
In reviews, podcasts and tweets, it has become common in recent years for me to lament the influx of British and Australian actors masquerading as Americans, all perpetrating the same flat, generic accents as if Americans all come from the same state, which is no state at all, but rather some nether-region dialect coaches call Mid-Atlantic or something.
I take semi-feigned umbrage at this infiltration and I am, indeed, a bit irked that a good 75 percent of the Brits and Aussies are trapped by exhaustively studied, but ultimately affectless accent work that leads them to give robotic performances they'd never tolerate from themselves in their native tongues.
Yes, I get my hackles up, but I know it isn't actually important.
The rise in work for Aussie and British actors is largely linked to the expanding TV universe, and even if this most recent upfronts season saw an encouraging uptick in TV shows with African-American leading characters, I think we can all look at the TV landscape and agree that in the multi-billion year history of our Earth, this is probably the greatest time in history to be a Caucasian man looking for TV work.
That's why when I see people earnestly complain -- Not many people... Trolls, mostly -- that they can't watch "Orange Is The New Black" because it's anti-male and the men are all one-dimensional, I get caught in a giggle loop that can last for minutes at a time.
The thing about white male representation on TV is that if you accidentally find one show in which the white guys are douches, you probably don't want to complain about it, because there are the other 100 shows out there. Whiteness on TV is represented in all of its myriad shadings. Sometimes white guys are heroes. Sometimes white guys are villains. There are gay white guys and straight white guys and white guys in every imaginable profession.
Other than fact-based based projects about actual, verifiable white people, it is never incumbent upon a film or TV show to "cast white," because if you don't cast a white guy in one project, you can safely guarantee that the next project with a potentially Caucasian lead will be right around the corner and Hollywood is far more committed to the quest for square-jawed white guys than geologists are to finding petroleum or astronomers are to finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
Now, though, I want you to look across the TV landscape for depictions of Middle Eastern men. You'll find them. They're not totally invisible. They're largely terrorists or characters who get confused with terrorists and try to be heroic in order to disprove stereotypes. Not all, but mostly. There are a handful of Middle Eastern cast regulars on procedurals and whatnot. They're out there. A few. It's not a particularly diverse set of representations, but they exist.
Now, though, look across the TV landscape for shows in which the unquestioned lead, the top-of-the-call-sheet role, is written specifically for a male (or female, for that matter) of Middle Eastern heritage.
Fast National ratings for Monday, June 23, 2014.
"American Ninja Warrior" continues to develop as a summer hit for NBC, leading the network to a Monday win among young viewers, while "24: Live Another Day" dipped in the demo but rose overall, helping FOX win in total viewers.
Among other notables, FOX's "MasterChef" was down an insignificant amount, ABC's "Mistresses" was up an insignificant amount and The CW's "Beauty and the Beast" was generally insignificant (and down a hair in viewers).
On to the numbers...
Confirming what we pretty much already knew, FOX announced on Monday afternoon that Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. will return as "American Idol" judges for next spring's 14th installment.
The network also cleared up the general lack of suspense surrounding Ryan Seacrest and his return. Short version? Yes. Ryan Seacrest will maintain his place as "American Idol" Designated Continuity.
The premiere of TNT's "The Last Ship" outdrew ABC's "Rising Star" launch on Sunday (June 22) night, but all other programming was overshadowed by the record-setting numbers for USA-Portugal soccer.
Yes, America. We love battleships and soccer simultaneously now.
Is "The Girlfriend Experience" about to become the new "Fargo"?
Starz announced on Monday (June 23) that it has ordered a somewhat fascinating -- in concept, if TBD in terms of execution -- 13-part anthology series based on Steven Soderbergh's 2009 indie.
Fast National ratings for Sunday, June 22, 2014.
A special Sunday night airing of "America's Got Talent" did its job for NBC, carrying the network to Sunday wins in most measures and helping curb enthusiasm for ABC's heavily promoted "Rising Star" premiere.
The live nature, at least for much of the country, of the "Rising Star" premiere makes it very difficult to gauge the singing competition's actual audience on Sunday and ABC has already said that time zone adjusted figures will be available this morning. As soon as those numbers are available, this story will be updated. It seems likely both that actual numbers will be a bit higher, but also that the "Rising Star" premiere ratings will fall short of "huge."
[UPDATE: After ABC announced reporters to hold off on grand pronouncements on the success or failure of "Rising Star" until the network got adjusted Fast Nationals, the ratings are in and... "Rising Star" had the exact same numbers post-adjustment, basically. The two-hour block averaged 5.1 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49.]
Other than the "America's Got Talent"/"Rising Star" showdown (and an underwhelming Sunday premiere for "Wipeout"), Sunday's only notable was the [network] series finale for "Enlisted," which sunk below a million viewers and did a series low in the key demo.
On to the numbers...
Earlier this month -- I've been bogged down with Emmy galleries for 10 days -- FOX hosted what the network called a "Tastemakers" screening of the new drama pilot "Gotham." Basically, that means "reporters and some talent" got to see the "Gotham" pilot at events in New York and LA.
I've already tweeted this and I'll go into more depth when I start my Take Me To The Pilots series next week, but I like the "Gotham" pilot. I have no clue what the show looks like by the eighth or ninth episode and I fear the five or six seasons of delayed gratification, but I think it's a well-made pilot and most of the stars -- particularly Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue and, in a minor surprise, Jada Pinkett Smith -- are quite solid.
A lot of the credit has to go to pilot director Danny Cannon, who worked with series creator Bruno Heller from the earliest stages and gives "Gotham" a look that blends realism with a comic book aesthetic, without being so dangerously ambitious that subsequent episodes are sure to let us down.
After the screening, I had a long conversation with "CSI" and "Judge Dredd" veteran Cannon about creating the look of "Gotham," replicating that look on a weekly basis and the staging of certain iconic franchise moments. We also talked about the inevitable frustration of a Batman series without Batman and the famous Batman villain he's looking forward to bringing to the show.
[The only spoiler in this interview discusses the opening scene of the pilot, which is the formative event Young Bruce Wayne's life. If you've seen ANY "Batman" story, you know what scene I'm talking about. If somehow you haven't... Well, it only spoils the first five minutes of the pilot.]
Keep going for the full Q&A... "Gotham" will air Mondays at 8 p.m. this fall on FOX...