Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 169

Dan and Alan talk 'Zero Hour,' 'Cult,' 'Scandal' and more

The

Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!
 
I was out of the country on Monday and traveling back yesterday, so it's time for a delayed mid-week installment of The Firewall & Iceberg podcast. 
 
[As Sepinwall warns, there won't be a podcast next week. I'll probably remind y'all. But... yeah.]
 
By pushing a tiny bit of material from next week into this podcast, we got to discuss both of midseason's craziest [awful] new shows in "Zero Hour" and "Cult." We also discussed HBO's weekend Beyonce doc and answered a few questions, including one that let us talk for a long time about the current season of "Scandal." Oh and after taking a while off, we reinstated a favorite podcast segment: Why NBC Sucks Now.
 
Here's today's breakdown...
"Zero Hour" (00:01:10 - 00:13:40)
"Cult" (00:13:40 - 00:28:30)
"Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream" (00:28:30 - 00:36:25)
NBC's return to suckage (00:36:25 - 00:53:50)
Listener Mail - The Rise of "Scandal" (00:55:05 - 01:11:30)
Listener Mail - Who gets to end shows? (01:11:30 - 01:18:20)
Listener Mail - post-Super Bowl "Elementary" (01:18:25 - 01:24:30)

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.

'Beautiful Creatures' star Jeremy Irons discusses Young Adult supernatural romance, skipping 'Twilight'

'Beautiful Creatures' star Jeremy Irons discusses Young Adult supernatural romance, skipping 'Twilight'

Will the 'Reversal of Fortune' Oscar winner stick with the genre?
Jeremy Irons has an Oscar and an Emmy and a Tony, but he's never seen any of the "Twilight" movies. That's not especially surprising, I suppose, but those are definitely four facts about Jeremy Irons.
 
I learned the "Twilight" info by asking Irons about his exposure to the Young Adult supernatural romance genre, which he becomes a part of with the release of "Beautiful Creatures." It turns out that Irons wasn't necessarily a fan of the genre before signing on to Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel, but he was wooed by the script and by the opportunity to work with an all-star cast including Emma Thompson and Viola Davis.
 
In "Beautiful Creatures," Irons plays Macon Ravenwood, a seemingly ageless caster of astounding power, power he only occasionally feels the need to show off.
 
In a conversation last weekend, Irons discusses Macon's magical aptitude, his relationship with the film's young co-stars and he gets "offended" by my question about the "long" scenes he shares with his esteemed co-stars.
 
He also talks about whether or not he's going to be a fan of the genre going forward.
 
Full interview above.
 
You can also check out my interviews with "Beautiful Creatures" co-stars Emmy Rossum and Viola Davis.
 
"Beautiful Creatures" opens on February 14.
 
Viola Davis discusses her reimagined 'Beautiful Creatures' role and doing 'Ender's Game' simultaneously

Viola Davis discusses her reimagined 'Beautiful Creatures' role and doing 'Ender's Game' simultaneously

'The Help' star didn't want to play another maid
When Viola Davis was initially cast as sassy, ultra-faithful South Carolina housekeeper Amma in "Beautiful Creatures," I initially had some concerns. Fortunately, so did Davis.
 
"I didn't want to be in a movie placed in 2013, in the South, where I was a character in servitude. I think that that needs to be redefined," Davis told me when we sat down last weekend.
 
Fortunately, the Amma in Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel only has vestigial links to the original Amma and ultimately has much more in common with the book's Marian Ashcroft, though she's not exactly Marian either.
 
"I'm thankful it was a reimagining of a character," the two-time Oscar nominee told me.
 
When I was on the "Beautiful Creatures" set last summer, Davis wasn't able to talk to the small group of press, a product of a frenzied schedule that had her simultaneously going back and forth between production on "Beautiful Creatures" and "Ender's Game."
 
In our conversation, Davis remembers that frenzied production pace, discusses the pressures that either do or don't come from being the first actor cast on a movie and talks about going back to her own roots to play this new version of Amma.
 
Check out the full interview above, especially if you want to hear Viola Davis say "ginormous."
 
You can also watch my interview with "Beautiful Creatures" co-star Emmy Rossum and stick around over the next few days for a slew of additional interviews from the film.
 
"Beautiful Creatures" opens on February 14.
'Beautiful Creatures' star Emmy Rossum discusses Ridley's new style, future

'Beautiful Creatures' star Emmy Rossum discusses Ridley's new style, future

'Shameless' star enjoyed playing the bad girl
In Richard LaGravenese's "Beautiful Creatures," Emmy Rossum's Ridley Duchannes captures the essence of the character from Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's bestselling YA novel, while making dramatic and effective external changes. 
 
Gone is the lollypop-sucking Lolita with the pink streaks in her hair and the cosplay wardrobe. Instead, the character has a still-sexy Old Hollywood glamour that makes the linkage between Ridley's dark caster powers as a man-luring siren and the fact that retro movie starlets were also called sirens. 
 
I sat down with Rossum last weekend and we discussed Ridley's big screen makeover and her inspirations, as well as a new scene that explores Ridley's Claiming, the moment she became a dark caster.
 
I was a bit less successful in getting Rossum to go along with my attempted thematic linkage between Ridley and Fiona, her character on Showtime's "Shameless." Not all reportorial tangents can be successful and I still insist this one makes sense.
 
Finally, Rossum seems excited about exploring Ridley's progression in potential sequels, though she gives away a plot point from the new book in Garcia and Stohl's saga. She does, however, offer a helpful "spoiler warning."
 
Check out the full interview above.
 
Stay tuned over the next week for more interests with the stars of "Beautiful Creatures," including Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis.
 
"Beautiful Creatures" opens on February 14.
<p>Lazaro waits pensively on &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Lazaro waits pensively on "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Hollywood Round, Part 2

More quality time with the 'Idol' men from Hollywood

On Wednesday night, we spent a lot of time with the "American Idol" Men. Too much time, if you ask me. Hollywood Week used to be a highlight of the "Idol" schedule, but Wednesday's show was a mess that didn't leave me appreciating a single singer on a particularly high level.

But maybe Thursday's show will be better as we trim the masculine side of the "Idol" field...

Click through...

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<p>Hollywood Week on &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Hollywood Week on "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Hollywood Round, Part 1

Auditions are over... Let the madness begin!

I'm feeling OK about Season 12 of "American Idol" so far. How about y'all? 

No, I haven't felt like the audition episodes suggested talent unparalleled in the show's history, but it seemed like there was some talent. And, more importantly, it felt like the new judging panel had personality and a particular chemistry, even if that chemistry was vaguely toxic. After two years with Wacky Cypher Steven Tyler and Sexy Cypher Jennifer Lopez, I'll even endorse the cringe-worthy tension between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, plus the "How the heck did I come to be stuck in the middle of this?" benign coolness of Keith Urban. 

How will that chemistry evolve in Hollywood? Let's find out!

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<p>Dominic Monaghan of &quot;Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan&quot;</p>

Dominic Monaghan of "Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan"

Credit: BBC America

Interview: Dominic Monaghan talks BBC America's 'Wild Things' and the lizard he wants next

What makes a good or bad nature show for the 'Lost' star?
It's tempting to look at BBC America's "Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan" and compare his new creepy, crawly adversaries to creatures that Dominic Monaghan has battled in scripted projects like "Lost" and "Lord of the Rings" and "X Men Origins: Wolverine."
 
That would be an inappropriate comparison.
 
Yes, "Wild Things" finds Monaghan face-to-face with reticulated pythons, ultra-poisonous spiders, venom-spewing beetles and, nastiest of all, terrestrial leaches. And yes, some viewers would, if they found themselves in Monaghan's shoes, be using those shoes to squish more than a few of his new co-stars.
 
But for Monaghan, these creatures and critters aren't objects of fear and disgust. They're subject to respect and admiration and, assuming nothing strangles him or nothing poisonous bites him, each of the wild things opens a pathway for education. 
 
I sat down with Monaghan at the Television Critics Association press tour a couple weeks back to talk about "Wild Things," which is part nature documentary, part extreme travelogue and part exploration into the fascinations and passions of one actor-and-enthusiast. 
 
It's an in-depth interview about one of the pleasant TV surprises of the spring. Click through for the full conversation... 

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 168

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 168

Dan and Alan talk Super Bowl, 'Monday Mornings,' 'Community,' 'Smash' and more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! 
 
I hope your post-Super Bowl hangovers have passed, because it's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
In this week's podcast, we talk extensively about the Super Bowl, including the commercials, the halftime show and the blackout. We talk about Monday's premiere of the TNT's "Monday Mornings," as well as the variably successful returns of NBC's "Smash" and "Community" and AMC's "The Walking Dead."
 
And we dedicate much more time to the "30 Rock" finale, including answering a handful of Listener Mail queries. 
 
Here's the breakdown:
Super Bowl XLVII (00:00:55 - 23:20)
"Monday Mornings" (00:23:20 - 00:35:10)
"Smash" (00:35:10 - 00:46:40)
"Community" (00:46:40 - 00:56:15)
"The Walking Dead" (00:56:20 - 01:03:10)
Listener Mail - Kareem's Thoughts on "Girls" (01:03:30 - 01:09:45)
"30 Rock" finale (01:09:45 - 01:37:10)

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.

<p>Super Bowl XLVII!!!!</p>

Super Bowl XLVII!!!!

Credit: AP

Super Bowl XLVII Live-Blog - The commercials, the trailers and maybe some football

Forget the 49ers and Ravens, follow the game beyond the game

Welcome to HitFix's Super Bowl XLVII live-blog. 

Unlike last year, when I grew increasingly tense and frustrated at the Patriots' inability to put the Giants away (and ensuing defeat), I don't have an extreme rooting interest in Sunday's (Feb. 3) Big Game. I was born in the Bay Area and half-rooted for the 49ers growing up (half-rooting for the Saints as well), so that's where I'm rooting tonight. But I won't get worked up either way.

So click through and follow my full Super Bowl live-blog, which will mostly ignore the football and concentrate on the big commercials and trailers and whatnot.

Weight in and critique the advertisements!

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Jason Isaacs talks 'Sweetwater,' Lucius Malfoy and returning to TV

Jason Isaacs talks 'Sweetwater,' Lucius Malfoy and returning to TV

Sundance interview includes much discussion of sympathetic villains
PARK CITY, UTAH - Jason Isaacs is an extremely nice guy who makes an extremely evil guy when circumstances require.
 
The "Awake" and "Brotherhood" star was battling a near-total vocal outage when we talked at last month's Sundance Film Festival, but he fought through the hoarseness to discuss his dark turn in "Sweetwater."
 
In the Miller Brothers' not-exactly-Western, Isaacs plays self-appointed prophet Josiah, who rules a small frontier fiefdom with the alleged word of God and an iron fist. A man of faith, Josiah is also heavily invested in worldly goods, including land, multiple wives and a band new mahogany desk from British Honduras. This all causes him to run afoul of the initially passive, but increasingly vengeful, Sarah (January Jones).
 
Josiah is not a good guy, but to hear Isaacs describe him, he's not exactly a bad guy either. Then again, Isaacs has a deep and abiding sympathy for Lucious Malfoy, the dastardly Death Eater he played in the Harry Potter franchise.
 
In our Sundance conversation, Isaacs discusses the fine art of playing villains without thinking of them as villains. He also talks about his love for Apple products and -- this will be exciting for fans of the short-lived "Awake" -- his desire to get back into TV this year. In fact, he says he's weighing several TV offers. 
 
Check out the full interview above...