Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 150

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 150

Dan and Alan talk Emmys, 'Vegas,' 'Neighbors,' 'Mindy Project' and 'Ben and Kate'

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
It's time for the first of two installments of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week.
 
Today, we spend a long time debriefing from Sunday's Emmy Awards telecast, with its mixture of surprising and predictable awards. And then we review the premieres of "Ben and Kate," "The Mindy Project," "Vegas" and "Neighbors."
 
That takes us through Wednesday's new show premieres. We'll pick back up again on Thursday with reviews of a handful more new shows, plus thoughts on new seasons of "Dexter" and Emmy-winning "Homeland."
 
But here's today's breakdown:
Emmys (00:01:10 - 00:38:20)
"Ben and Kate" (00:38:45 - 00:45:20)
"The Mindy Project" (00:45:30 - 00:52:30)
"Vegas" (00:52:30 - 01:02:00)
"The Neighbors" (01:02:05 - 01:14:00)
 

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.

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<p>Jimmy Kimmel</p>

Jimmy Kimmel

Credit: ABC

2012 Emmy Awards Live-Blog

Join HitFix as we chatter through Sunday's Emmys telecast

It's Emmy night, kids! 

How pumped are we?

I've already watched two-plus hours of Red Carpet coverage.

And Sepinwall and I have already made our predictions.

But enough prelude... Let's get to the main event, hosted by Mr. Jimothy Kimmel.

Come say "Hi"! I'll try to join the comments at the commercial breaks if anybody is chatting...

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<p>Radha Mitchell of &quot;Red Widow&quot;</p>

Radha Mitchell of "Red Widow"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Red Widow'

Radha Mitchell stands out in a pilot better suited for cable

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]


Show:"Red Widow" (ABC) [Midseason]
The Pitch: "It's a semi-cinematic, female-driven thriller that probably belongs on cable in the vein of 'Missing' so when it's cancelled, we can claim it was a miniseries and gun for Emmy nominations in that way." Alternatively: "It's 'Scoundrels' only not funny. Wait. 'Scoundrels' wasn't funny either."
Quick Response: It's strange. I'm interested in "Red Widow," but my problem with it as a series is that the official ABC description of the series *begins* with a key event that happens more than two-thirds of the way into the pilot, an event that won't surprise anybody given the name of the show, but which is still drawn out and drawn out and drawn out so much that by the time the pilot ends, you're not unengaged, but you also don't have a clue what the series is. ABC has a long description of what happens as the show progresses with Radha Mitchell's eventually eponymous Marta -- Woman goes toe-to-toe with the mob after her husband is murdered -- which is probably because they've seen the Dutch series "Penoza" [which has me shaking my fist at the sky and yelling "MENDOZA!!!"], but what's here gives viewers very little to latch onto as an ongoing show. Just as people who watched "Missing" did so because Ashley Judd was a strong and compelling leading lady (and because the European settings were pretty), the key draw to "Red Widow" is going to be Radha Mitchell, who I've always felt was hampered as a movie actress by only getting Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts' leftovers. If you look over her resume, though, Mitchell has often been a solid leading lady and I think a good TV vehicle is a tremendous career improvement for her. [Don't get me started on my ongoing theory that there are only 10 actresses (possibly fewer) whose careers wouldn't be better off if they stopped making awful movies and committed to a good TV show.]  Whether "Red Widow" proves to be that vehicle, Mitchell keeps the pilot watchable at all times and she's got some fine character actors working around her, including Lee Tergesen and Rade Serbedzija. Pilot director Mark Pellington lays the atmosphere on thick and "Red Widow" looks fantastic, but what Pellington can't do is obscure the reality that Melissa Rosenberg has written a pilot script that either should be 15 or 20 minutes longer (and therefore probably on cable) or a script that could have been condensed easily into the opening 15 minutes of an alternative network pilot that actually got to the point with more directness. I just don't see how this story, told in this specific and deliberate way, can possibly succeed on ABC, either creatively or on ratings terms. To me, it feels like best case scenario, "Red Widow" fails on ABC, but is released as a very satisfying DVD set. Yay?
Desire To Watch Again: Because the first episode is entirely table-setting, I have a strong desire to see what the second episode of "Red Widow" will be, because presumably that'll be more illustrative of the ongoing series as a whole. Maybe. I'm not sure I endorse this is a method of pilot-making: Delivering a pilot exactly good enough to make viewers skeptically curious, rather than delivering something good enough for unqualified optimism. Really, this is the pilot you send to series after "Missing" is a hit. I mean, she's a butt-kicking woman who still says things like "I will protect my children at any cost." This isn't a pilot you send to series after "Missing" failed. Oh well. I'm sure they know what they're doing at ABC. [Disclaimer: Dan is not sure of any such thing, even if ABC is doing a bunch of encouraging things as well.]

 

Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Cult'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Next Caller'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Following'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Family Tools'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Infamous'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's '1600 Penn'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Zero Hour'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Do No Harm'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

 

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<p>Jeff Probst snuffs Zane's torch on &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Jeff Probst snuffs Zane's torch on "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Zane Knight talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

Why does this season's first bootee compare himself to DeLorean?
Zane Knight was the first contestant voted out on "Survivor: Philippines," but the 28-year-old Virginia compares himself to a DeLorean.
 
"You can make a bunch of cars and nobody'll know who you are, or you can make that one and they'll always remember you," Zane told me on Thursday morning following a "Survivor" elimination that was both swift and memorable.
 
Zane initially drew attention in the season premiere by making alliances with every member of his Matsing tribe and then by having those alliances outed behind his back. But it wasn't double (or quintuple) dealing that did Zane in. 
 
No. Matsing lost the season-opening Immunity Challenge and Zane, whose physical liabilities were at least partially responsible, immediately announced to his tribe that he was prepared to go. There was sufficient warmth for Zane that members of his tribe soon came to him and practically introduced the idea of voting out returning player Russell. Zane subtly pushed that idea with the added conspiratorial element of the suggestion that Russell might have an Immunity Idol. The plan, which would have been one of the most peculiar strategic reversals of fortune in "Survivor" history, very nearly worked before Matsing decided to give Russell a reprieve at Tribal Council.
 
Was the move brilliant? Well, no. It didn't work. Was it audacious? Absolutely and it contributed to a mighty entertaining season-opener.
 
In his exit interview, Zane discusses what went wrong with his strategy, why returning players mess with the pure "Survivor" game and why this is still his season.
 
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<p>Kalvin McManigle of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Kalvin McManigle of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Thursday - Auditions #4

Yup. More 'X Factor' auditions with Simon, Britney, Demi and L.A.

After Wednesday's 5-ish hours of recapping and live-blogging, it's almost a relief to only have one hour of "The X Factor" looming in front of me tonight.

So with that burgeoning excitement...

ALL ABOARD THE PANDA EXPRESS...

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Watch: 'Glee' stars Dean Geyer and Becca Tobin discuss their new characters

Watch: 'Glee' stars Dean Geyer and Becca Tobin discuss their new characters

The new 'Glee' actors aren't afraid of having their characters disliked
Dean Geyer's Brody and Becca Tobin's Kitty were first introduced in last Thursday's "Glee" premiere and it probably isn't shocking that some fans are a bit wary of the new characters.
 
Brody has already been positioned as a potential romantic impediment between Lea Michele's Rachel and Cory Monteith's Finn, making him a threat for fans invested in that core relationship.
 
Kitty, meanwhile, was introduced as the meanest of mean girls, a character seemingly designed to make viewers yearn for even the relative early kindnesses of Dianna Agron's Quinn.
 
Shortly before the "Glee" premiere, I sat down with Geyer and Tobin to discuss the potential of being disliked by Gleeks, at least initially.
 
Geyer, in particular, eagerly owns up to the idea that Brody might not instantly be loved, but explains that the character is part of an attempt to bring something "a little bit more adult" to "Glee."
 
And for her part, Tobin relates Kitty to her own days as a bit of a high school mean girl and promises that she'd begun to like her character a little more.
 
Check out the interview. As a bit of context, seconds before the camera started rolling, Geyer and Tobin were chatting and comparing ages. I believe they're both 26, so my initial question was to ask about stepping back in time to play high school and college students.
 
"Glee" airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. on FOX.
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<p>Angie of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Angie of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' Premiere - 'Survivor Smacked Me in the Chops'

How well would Lisa Whelchel and Jeff Kent hide their celebrity secrets?
Welcome to The Philippines. Jeff Probst arrives via power boat, because that's the way Jeff Probst rolls. Lots of islands. Lots of animals. Lots of storms. And... Lots of contestants, already divided into three tribes. Hi, Jeff Kent. "I've seen pressure," Kent says, hoping people won't recognize him. Better pray there are no second baseman groupies this season, Jeff! Zane has a Frankenstein's monster tattoo on his arm, because the monster picked a flower for the little girl (before strangling her). "I can strangle you or pick you a flower," Zane says. Blair Warner! Lisa tells us that she's different from Blair and that she doesn't plan on talking about "Facts of Life" all the time. Boo. I wanted to watch "Survivor: Lisa Talks About 'Facts of Life' All The Time." The castaways don't know that Mike Skupin, Russell Swan and Jonathan Penner are arriving via a different boat. Russell says he's smacking "Survivor" back this time. Jonathan is on fire to win and he can taste it and see it. And speaking of fire, Mike doesn't view falling into it as a failure and he's in love with being able to come back.
 
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<p>&nbsp;Your &quot;X Factor&quot; judges</p>

 Your "X Factor" judges

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Wednesday - Auditions #3

Which singers attract the attention of Britney, Demi and the other two?

Welcome to another week of "The X Factor."

Just a little warning: This live-blog will pause at 9:30 ET as I change over to live-blogging the season finale of "Big Brother." It'll resume again at 9:30 Pacific when I switch over from the "Survivor" premiere. Yup. Tonight's a triple-recap night. Check back tomorrow to see if I survived.

And now... On to Wednesday's "X Factor"...

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 149

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 149

Dan and Alan talk 'Treme,' 'Partners' and Emmys

The

Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!
 
After a day off for Rosh Hashanah, it's time for the regular, weekly installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
This week's installment is mostly dedicated to a ton of Emmy predictions blather. It's a lot of the same thing that Sepinwall and I have been doing in his predictions blog posts, only this time... It's with our voices! I'll leave it for you to decide if that's an improvement.
 
We also talk about the new season of HBO's "Treme" and we got a head start on Monday's premiere of CBS' "Partners."
 
Expect two podcasts next week as premieres kick into high gear!
 
Here's today's breakdown:
"Treme" (00:01:10 - 00:19:15)
"Partners" (00:20:00 - 00:29:45)
Emmy Predictions (00:29:50 - 01:23:45)
Listener Mail - First Show Cancelled (01:23:50 - 01:32:30)
 

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.] 

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

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Watch: Mary Murphy discusses the 'So You Think You Can Dance' season

Watch: Mary Murphy discusses the 'So You Think You Can Dance' season

Murphy explains why Cyrus earned his place in the finale
FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance" wraps up its ninth season on Tuesday (September 18) night with a pair of winners.
 
Either Cyrus or Chehon will be named America's Favorite Male Dancer and either Tiffany or Eliana will be crowned as America's Favorite Female Dancer.
 
Last Monday, I sat down with excitable "So You Think You Can Dance" judge Mary Murphy to discuss the season and the Final 4. 
 
Our conversation came before last Tuesday night's performance episode and Nigel Lythgoe's controversial decision to publicly tell Cyrus that he wouldn't be voting for him due to his relative lack of formal proficiency when compared to Chehon.
 
In the interview, Murphy and I talk extensively about the difference between "favorite" and "best" dancer and she explains her own perspective on what Cyrus has achieved this season.
 

Check it out... 

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