Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
After last Thursday's Save, the 'Idol' singers tackle two songs apiece
It's a night of Doubt Deja Vu on FOX's "American Idol."
For the second straight week, we're getting performances from this season's Top 7, following last week's shocking elimination and not-so-shocking save of Jessica Sanchez. And after we hear performances from the Top 7, we're gonna turn right around and hear another set of performances from the Top 7.
Yup. "Idol" is figuring we're gonna fit in 14 performances tonight.
Could be crazy.
Fans probably didn't get what they wanted, but what else is new?
I've said this to a number of people, so I might as well say it to you, Dear Readers:
I've watched every episode of The CW's "Ringer," but if I'd thought there was the slightest chance that the show could be renewed, I'd have quit watching months ago.
That sounds counter-intuitive and I know it doesn't line up with conventional wisdom about serialized TV from fans who have been burned so frequently that they refuse to tune in to any show without some assurance that it will be moving forward, that questions will be answered and resolution reached.
Nope. I kept watching "Ringer" because I knew The CW would air every episode, but it simultaneously felt like there was little risk of a not-particularly-cheap drama drawing barely over a million viewers would get a second season. I figured that if I could read those signs, the "Ringer" showrunners could read those signs and that, facing the end of the line after 22 episodes, the writers could figure out the story they really wanted to tell, condense it and take viewers to a satisfactory conclusion.
The more fool me.
Tuesday (April 17) night's "Ringer" finale, tamely titled "I'm the Good Twin," played as a brazen and irritating plea for a second season from a show that has done nothing, in terms of either quality or ratings, to earn any kind of reprieve from The CW.
I can imagine the show's fans -- there are a couple dozen of them out there -- getting stirred up to beg for another season, but that's only because the finale accomplished almost none of the things it hypothetically could have accomplished. While it left many things unresolved, I'm not sure that the pending issues for an imaginary season two are all that interesting, but that's all that fans were given.
More after the break...
The federal agents talk tent-building and teacher-playing
There are two very different approaches to touting your credentials as a federal agent on a reality TV show.
There's The Phillip Sheppard Method: The "Survivor" contestant announced his credentials as a former federal agent so early and so often and with such outspoken enthusiasm that his fellow contestants either doubted his background or doubted his sanity. He made it to the end of the season in part because Boston Rob knew he couldn't possibly win and carried him along.
Then there's The Jamie & Nary Method: The "Amazing Race" team decided they were going to tell their competition that they actually worked as teachers, rather than as federal agents. This strange plan sprung a leak when another team, border agents, began to suspect them of being in law enforcement. This led to fighting and variably passive aggressive hostilities, but not much else.
Jamie Graetz & Nary Ebeid were able to weather their difficulties with Art & JJ, but the federal agents were unable to overcome a multi-hour deficit and a Speed-Bump on last Sunday's (April 15) Leg of "The Amazing Race."
It was still a solid run for Jamie & Nary, who made it through more than half of the Race without internal bickering and definitely came out of FederalAgentGate looking saner than Art & JJ.
In their exit interview, Jamie and Nary discuss the strategy behind their professional obfuscation as well as the difficulties of the tent-building challenge that ultimately proved to be their undoing.
Click through for the full interview...
Dan and Alan talk 'Veep,' 'Justified' and 25 Years of FOX
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
It's another busy installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
This week, we talk about the "Justified" finale and Sunday's busy "Mad Men." We also review HBO's excellent "Veep" and chat about 25 Years of FOX.
And because that wasn't enough? Mail!
Next week's gonna be a bit lighter in terms of content, so mail is always appreciated. And maybe it'll be time for some sports talk...
Here's the podcast breakdown:
25 Years of FOX (00:00:40 - 00:22:00)
"Veep" (00:22:00 - 00:31:50)
Listener Mail - Ashley Judd's "puffy face" article (00:32:10 - 00:38:20)
Listener Mail - "The Office"/"Parks & Rec" (00:38:25 - 00:45:45)
Listener Mail - "Suburgatory" Emmy chances (00:46:00 - 00:50:30)
"Justified" finale (00:51:35 - 01:04:50)
Sunday's "Mad Men" (01:04:50 - 01:20:30)
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.
Speed-Bumps, Double U-Turns and 'bamboons'... Oh my!
When "The Amazing Race" wins its inevitable Emmys and people rant about the lazy and predictable choice that voters have made, I usually rush to the show's defense.
My argument is always that even if I sometimes prefer seasons of "Top Chef" or "Survivor" or "American Idol," the production scope of "Amazing Race" is on a totally different scale and that the show's technical excellence, particularly when it comes to editing, should never be underestimated.
I say that as a way to be nice and complimentary before getting to this:
Sunday (April 15) night's episode of "The Amazing Race" was an egregiously poorly edited episode of television. It was 40+ minutes of poor pacing and character choices, lousy continuity and confusing narrative progression. Tension was generated in perplexing ways and then defused. Finally, because of equally poor Race architecture, the editors had to practically give up, as the Leg was determined by a couple uninteresting tasks that were wedged into the last four minutes of the episode.
More after the break, but I really don't know how much effort I feel like putting into this...
This Monday's episode is a 'Firefly' reunion for Mal and Jayne
Nearly a decade has passed since Adam Baldwin played the hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne on FOX's criminally short-lived "Firefly."
Since that time, Baldwin hasn't exactly been absent from the small screen. He was a regular on "The Inside" and "Day Break." He did guest appearances on shows including "Angel" and "Stargate SG-1." There was also that little five-season run as John Casey on "Chuck," one of the few shows capable of giving "Firefly" a run when it comes to pure cult dedication.
But for all of those credits in the intervening years, there's still something instantly and specifically pleasing about seeing ABC press stills of Baldwin sharing the frame with Nathan Fillion on this Monday's (April 16) "Castle."
In Monday's episode, titled "Headhunters," Baldwin plays a gritty detective named Ethan Slaughter. There aren't many actors who can get away with playing a character named Detective Slaughter, but with Baldwin, it seems only fitting.
I chatted with Baldwin last week about reuniting with Fillion. I don't think you're going to be able to mistake the respect that exists between these two.
Click through for the full interview...
Love triangles, finale scope and classroom attendance talk from the series co-creator
I've been a big supporter of The CW's "Vampire Diaries" for a while now.
"Vampire Diaries" made my end-of-the-year Top 10 lists for both 2010 and 2011.
I've referred to "The Vampire Diaries" as the best drama on network TV and I've meant it.
Somehow, though, I've never done a real 1-on-1 interview with either Julie Plec or Kevin Williamson, the show's co-creators. And it's not like I haven't had questions that needed answering.
Consider that situation rectified here.
The story of high schooler Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and the two vampire brothers (Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) who love her started off twisty and has just become twistier in a third season that has introduced vampire-werewolf hybrids, expanded deeper into the world of witchcraft and introduced an expanding mythology that spans centuries and spans the globe.
Although "The Vampire Diaries" delivers the sort of jaw-dropping shocks that most shows save for finales and sweeps periods on a weekly basis, this season's finale is expected to be particularly epic, or at least that's what the stars have been telling folks.
I got on the phone with Julie Plec on Thursday to talk about this May's finale, resolving love triangles and whether or not anybody has been attending classes this year.
We also discussed Plec's Monday (April 16) appearance at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, where she will be chatting about the show's distinctive cinematography.
Click through for the full conversation.
The latest bootee discusses his million dollar chicken wings
If you're keeping score at home, "Survivor: One World" may have done away with its Men vs Women twist long ago, but this is the fifth time in six weeks that a man has gone home.
Colton Cumbie orchestrated the elimination of Bill and Matt (and Monica, the only woman sent home in the last six weeks) and then Colton's body orchestrated his elimination. Since then, and since the abrupt Merge, a female alliance headed by Kim and Chelsea has sent Jonas and Mike packing.
This week's booted contestant was Jay Byars, who wasn't the secondary target of the Salani alliance, but went packing when Troy played an Immunity Idol. Jay had a chance at his own Idol, but stepped down at the Immunity challenge in exchange for chicken wings.
As you might guess, Jay regrets that decision now.
In our exit interview, Jay discusses failed alliances, tasty dipping sauces and his partnership with Colton.
'Idol' producer says he's 'shocked' by the vote. Will viewers agree?
Earlier this afternoon, "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe tweeted the following: "Okay no BS I am truly shocked by tonight's #AmericanIdol result! #idon'tunderstand!"
Truly shocked, he says?
Color me a lighter shade of intrigue. Yes, Nigel may just be lying and trying to drum up a little hype for a show that really hasn't had anything resembling a shocking elimination this season.
But I'm taking him at his word and using a picture of Hollie Cavanagh with this recap. My live-blogs pictures go to people I assume won't be going home, because I don't like to spoil things, and if Nigel isn't lying and tonight's results are shocking, Hollie is the only contestant who can't possibly be going home, right? Because Hollie's elimination would be the LEAST shocking result imaginable. Right?
Let's find out...
Will Immunity Idols shake up the 'Survivor' gender split?
Pre-credit sequence. Bats! We're starting Wednesday's (April 11) episode with bats! It's gonna be a good week. Anyway, Day 23 at Tikiano. Jay is beginning to have prophetic dreams, which I had thought was Kat's thing. Poopy Pants and Troyzan discuss the reality of their gender situation. "Those kids are plotting to knock us out one-by-one," Poopy Pants says. Troyzan, however, doesn't want to hear it. He's convinced Mike was coming after him and that Mike was nothing more than another vote with the Women. Troyzan reminds us that he has an Immunity Idol of his own and he's prepared to switch things up if he needs to. Foreshadowing?