<p>The aesthetically challenged cast of &quot;Chicago Fire&quot;</p>

The aesthetically challenged cast of "Chicago Fire"

Credit: NBC

Interview: 'Chicago Fire' creators Derek Haas and Michael Brandt talk serialization, 'Rescue Me' and more

'Wanted' writers explain why this isn't a fire-of-the-week drama
NBC's "Chicago Fire" is being promoted as the new drama from Dick Wolf, but the firefighter saga doesn't necessarily feel like what some viewers might expect from the "Law & Order" guru.
 
While there have certainly been exceptions, Wolf's more successful shows have pioneered a procedural structure in which strong actors have played frequently interchangeable characters, about whom audiences have learned very little. 
 
"Chicago Fire," at least in its early going, is more about the men and women of Firehouse 51 than their professional emergencies. The concentration is on the ensemble -- featuring Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, Lauren German, Monica Raymund, Eamonn Walker, David Eigenberg and more -- rather than weekly infernos.
 
Much of that is certainly attributable to the approach taken by "Chicago Fire" creators Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, making their first foray onto the small screen in the midst of a feature career that includes the exceptional remake of "3:10 to Yuma" as well as the blockbuster adaptation of "Wanted."
 
I had a long chat with Haas and Brandt and, to be frank, I got a little myopic regarding the show's narrative approach and focused on that to the exception of a slew of other questions. So this interview goes into great depth on character-driven storytelling versus procedural storytelling, but maybe not as much depth on the rest of the series, which premieres on Wednesday night on NBC.
 
We also covered reshoots to the pilot, inevitable "Rescue Me" comparisons and... more about serialized, character-driven storytelling.
 
Check it out...
 
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<p>Amy and Daniel of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Amy and Daniel of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Amy & Daniel talk 'The Amazing Race'

What went wrong with the Indonesian cab?
Teams have made it all the way to the end of "The Amazing Race" only to have their million dollar prize yanked from their hands by less-than-intrepid cab drivers, so maybe we shouldn't feel too sorry for Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale.
 
After all, Amy & Daniel's "Amazing Race" run lasted all of two episodes.
 
In the season premiere, the competitive snowboarder (and double amputee) and her boyfriend (the executive director of an adaptive action sports organization) had the a big advantage heading to the Pit Stop, but opted to help a rival team find a clue, only to have that team catch and pass them in the home stretch. 
 
That act of altruism -- possibly misplaced in a race -- failed to yield any Race Karma, when Sunday's episode say Amy & Daniel take a disastrously ill-directed cab ride in Indonesia. As their driver repeatedly failed to find the location of the Detour, Amy & Daniel fell all the way from second to 10th and they were eliminated from the Race.
 
Yes, they lasted only two episodes, but it was hard not to feel sympathy for a pair that seemed strong, inspirational and generally good-natured. 
 
In this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview, Amy & Daniel discuss their doomed cab ride, including their attempts to correct their course. They also talk about the thought process behind assisting Abbie & Ryan in the opening Leg.
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
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Watch: Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton talk 'Raising Hope'

Watch: Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton talk 'Raising Hope'

Nakedness and playing a functional TV couple are discussed
Before last week's "Raising Hope" premiere, I posted my interviews with Lucas Neff and Shannon Woodward, which both offered terrific insights into the charms of one of TV's most underrated (and, sadly, underwatched) sitcoms. 
 
For more insight into the loopy appeal of "Raising Hope," check out my conversation with Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton.
 
I wasn't buttering the actors up when I started the interview by calling Burt and Virginia one of my favorite TV couples. They may not be Coach and Mrs. Coach, but when it comes to portraying a perfectly well-adjusted marriage in a sea of maladjustment, it doesn't get much better than the work turned in by Dillahunt and Plimpton.
 
In addition to discussing the secret to portraying a functional TV couple, the two actors discuss the joys of on-camera humiliation (and nakedness), as well as the pleasures of the "Raising Hope" ensemble cast. 
 
Check it out...
 
"Raising Hope" airs at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays on FOX.
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 153

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 153

Dan and Alan talk 'Arrow,' 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Walking Dead' and more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
 
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor Columbus Day can stop The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We have oodles to talk about, including reviews of "Arrow," "Beauty and the Beast," "Chicago Fire" and "Nashville," plus new seasons of "The Walking Dead" and a pair of FX comedies. We also talked about "Homeland," which we aren't guaranteeing will be a weekly thing, but for now... Sure.
 
Next week, it's possible we may end up doing a Tuesday podcast do to the sheer quantity of stuff that needs watching, plus a bit of travel on my part. 
 
But here's today's breakdown:
"Arrow" (00:01:10 - 00:15:00)
"Chicago Fire" (00:15:00 - 00:27:00)
"Nashville" (00:27:05 - 00:39:40)
"Beauty and the Beast" (00:39:45 - 47:40)
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (00:47:45 - 00:52:45)
"The League" (00:53:00 - 00:56:45)
"The Walking Dead" (00:56:50 - 01:07:00)
"Homeland" (01:07:45 - 01:20:45)

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>Natalie and Nadiya of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Natalie and Nadiya of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Long Hair Don't Care'

Indonesian cabdrivers produce a lot of drama
I guess Sunday (October 7) night's installment of "The Amazing Race" was meant to teach us all an unpleasant truth about overcoming adversity, right? And an unpleasant truth about what happens when you put your fate in the hands of strangers, right?
 
I'm trying to think of what else, if anything, I learned from the episode, which was pointlessly mis-titled "Long Hair, Don't Care." But this is all I've got: You can be as heroic as you want, proving yourself a deserving inspiration to thousands or millions, but in a race for a million dollars, sometimes all of the individual achievement in the world ceases to be relevant in the face of the outside forces of ineptitude. 
 
Sigh.
 
More after the break...
 
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Watch: Kevin Michael Richardson teases 'The Cleveland Show'

Watch: Kevin Michael Richardson teases 'The Cleveland Show'

Which voice is the hardest for the animation veteran?
One of the best ways to fill spaces in an article about Kevin Michael Richardson would be to list the myriad animated programs and features he's lent his distinctive and versatile voice to.
 
You've heard Richardson on "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," "ThunderCats," "Transformers: Prime," "American Dad," "The Boondocks," "Lilo & Stitch: The Series," "Teen Titans," "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!," "The Fairly OddParents," "Clerks: The Animated Series," "The PJs," "The Simpsons" and, honestly, too many shows to list.
 
"The Cleveland Show" returns to start its fourth season on Sunday, October 7, giving viewers plenty of opportunities to hear Richardson, who voices Cleveland Jr. and basically any random voices the producers need covered.
 
In this interview, Richardson teases the upcoming season of "The Cleveland Show" and discusses which of his endless reservoir of voices causes him the most difficulty. 
 
Check it out!
 
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Watch: Eugene Mirman, John Roberts and Dan Mintz talk 'Bob's Burgers'

Watch: Eugene Mirman, John Roberts and Dan Mintz talk 'Bob's Burgers'

Which star sings a HitFix song as Michael McDonald?
Two years ago, I sat down with Eugene Mirman, John Roberts and Kristen Schaal to discuss their yet-to-premiere animated comedy "Bob's Burgers."
 
 
I can't recommend it highly enough.
 
A few weeks ago, I walked into the interview room with Mirman (Gene on "Bob's Burgers") and Roberts (Linda) and they immediately recognized me from that bizarre interview. This time, Schaal was absent and Dan Mintz (unmistakably Tina) was in her place and it's possible that if you go back to the original conversation, a good percentage of the insanity came from her direction.
 
This interview isn't quite so crazy. But it has some moments of hilarity and it features Roberts singing a new HitFix-themed song in the style of Michael McDonald. 
 
"Bob's Burgers" airs Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on FOX.
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Watch: Rachael MacFarlane talks 'American Dad' and 'Hayley Sings'

Watch: Rachael MacFarlane talks 'American Dad' and 'Hayley Sings'

What was the inspiration for MacFarlane's new album?
It's been a big 2012 in the MacFarlane family.
 
Obviously, Seth had a big screen hit and was recently announced as the host of next spring's Oscars.
 
Sis Rachael, meanwhile, has continued with her vocal work as Hayley on "American Dad," but on September 25, she also released her first album, a collection of standards, plus rearranged '60s and '70s classics. Several tracks from the album were heard on last Sunday's "American Dad" premiere.
 
In this interview, MacFarlane discusses the style and inspiration for "Hayley Sings," as well as upcoming developments on "American Dad." 
 
"American Dad," of course, airs on Sunday nights at 9:30 on FOX.
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<p>Angie Layton of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

Angie Layton of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Angie Layton talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

Booted contestant talks cookies, cuddling and jealousy
When "Survivor" host Jeff Probst asked the members of the struggling Matsing tribe what they would change if they could, he probably didn't expect either of the responses he received.
 
Roxy Morris said that she wished her tribe could stop working so hard around camp. That wasn't the right answer and Roxy was voted out minutes later.
 
But Angie Layton's answer may be the one that lives on longest in "Survivor" lore.
 
"That we could have cookies," replied the 20-year-old former Miss Utah Teen USA.
 
Angie outlasted her cookies comment and she outlasted Roxy, who leveled charges that Angie and Malcolm were doing more at night than merely seeking comfort, but only by one episode. On Wednesday's (October 3) "Survivor," Matsing suffered another humiliating defeat and true power couple Malcolm and Denise decided that Russell's potential (but largely undisplayed) physical strength had more value than Angie's long-term loyalty.
 
In her exit interview, Angie stood by both her cookie comment -- a joke to lighten the mood, she insists -- and the nature of her relationship with Malcolm -- "mutual warmth," she insists. She also discusses her disappointment at Roxy spending an entire episode discussing her breasts. 
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
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<p>Who are these people?</p>

Who are these people?

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Thursday - Boot Camp #2

What dreams would Simon and company shatter?

On Wednesday, "The X Factor" said farewell to a bunch of people who weren't really very good and whose presence in Miami wasted FOX and Simon Cowell's money.

I don't pity Simon Cowell or FOX for losing a couple thousand dollars on hotel rooms for people like Dehydrated Trevor or That Awful Girl Who Sang Annie, but I do pity myself for having to dedicate an hour to pretending that said people were ever going to advance particularly far on "The X Factor."

Let's see what excitement will ensue in Thursday's episode!

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