<p>Chris Meloni of &quot;True Blood&quot;</p>

Chris Meloni of "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

TV Review: 'True Blood' makes an anemic Season 5 return

Too many characters, too many plotlines and minimal intrigue mar the HBO vampire dramedy
It's probably appropriate that "True Blood" makes me say and do and write stupid, out-of-character things. 
Like last summer, when I reviewed the fourth season premiere, I briefly convinced myself that it was totally OK that "True Blood" was a glib, bloody, utterly soulless enterprise, because Alan Ball didn't aspire to make a series of substance. I even took the blame upon myself and wrote, "I am at fault for wanting 'True Blood' to be more than it is."
I wrote those words, but it wasn't true. "True Blood" is at fault for not even being a good version of what it aspires to be, which is doubly bad, because what it aspires to be is so low-brow and trashy. And by failing to be effectively and deliciously low-brow and trashy, "True Blood" has had the odd effect of activating an inner puritanical streak that I didn't know I possessed. 
Last season, during the sixth or seventh lackluster sex scene between Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman, I actually found myself thinking, "Geez, maybe it's time for Anna Paquin to put on some clothing."
Those thoughts are not in character. Why would I ever think that? Why would Alan Ball want to make me think such awful thoughts?
Early in Season 5, during a sequence in which a newly born vampire zips around a house at accelerated speed, upending lamps and knocking over furniture, I actually found myself musing, "Geez. It's going to take a long time to clean up this mess." 
I'm not Martha Stewart. I'm not an especially neat person. And no matter how much of a mess is made on-screen in "True Blood," nobody is ever going to force me to restore order. And yet, in lieu of providing material for my enjoyment, Alan Ball triggered my vicarious OCD tendencies. 
Put a different way, what "True Blood" has managed to do, after four-plus seasons, is deaden my appetite for chaos and haphazard anarchy. 
A show about the most primal and basic of human desires has battered my poor, defenseless Id into submission.
If you hated the fourth season of "True Blood," with its overacting witches, neutered Erics and less-than-engaging Shifters, I'm here to provide the saddest of warnings: It doesn't get better.
[More after the break...]
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<p>Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts of IFC's &quot;Comedy Bang! Bang!&quot;</p>

Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts of IFC's "Comedy Bang! Bang!"

Credit: IFC

Interview: Reggie Watts flexes new muscles on 'Comedy Bang! Bang!'

He's Scott Aukerman's bandleader/sidekick and much more
Yesterday, I posted an interview with Scott Aukerman from February on the set of IFC's "Comedy Bang! Bang!"
If you read the interview, you know that originally, Aukerman's "Comedy Bang! Bang!" bandleader and sidekick Reggie Watts was going to be a part of the conversation, but he got pulled away just as I was about to direct my first question in his direction. [Disclosure: Watts' title may be "bandleader," but he's the band, so he's not really leading anybody else.]
Fortunately, even though Watts is a huge part of the "Comedy Bang! Bang!" team, performing in skits in addition to generating his unique brand of musical accompaniment, he made sure to carve out some time to return to the green room to chat with me. 
If you aren't familiar with Watts' music or his comedy or his musical comedy or his comedic musicality, I suggest you wander around YouTube and check out some clips. He's like Andy Kaufman if Andy Kaufman had a giant afro, a bushy beard, a penchant for suspenders and tons of musical talent. 
Most of this interview concentrates on Watts' work on "Comedy Bang! Bang!" and his previous attempts to find a proper small screen vehicle. In the actual interview, we talked a bit about his musical career, but HitFix's Katie Hasty had a lengthy subsequent interview with Watts that covers that material much better than I did.
Click through for the full Q&A. 
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Watch: Damon Lindelof discusses 'Prometheus,' 'Alien' and sequels

Watch: Damon Lindelof discusses 'Prometheus,' 'Alien' and sequels

'Lost' co-creator prepares fans for still more unanswered questions
LONDON - If you follow Damon Lindelof on Twitter, or if you've read any of the interviews he's done since "Lost" wrapped two years ago, you're aware that Lindelof knows what you think about him, be it positive or negative.
As a result, Lindelof also knows what you think about the idea that his new  film, "Prometheus," is designed as the first film in a contained series, meaning that the movie opening on Friday (June 8) raises as many questions as it answers.
Director Ridley Scott recruited Lindelof to give a new spin to a script by Jon Spaihts. That script was a straight-forward prequel to Scott's sci-fi landmark "Alien," but Lindelof's take turned "Prometheus" into a film that runs parallel to the time leading up to "Alien," but doesn't actually connect, at least not yet.
In a conversation filmed in a rover vehicle perched on a noisy corner of London's Covent Garden Lindelof discusses the progression of "Prometheus" out of the realm of a pure prequel and into its current form and argues in favor of "giving imaginative propriety to the fans" (that means not answering every question directly).
As was the case with my rover-set interview with Logan Marshall-Green, a couple of Lindelof's answers were rendered entirely unusable by reversing trucks and construction. Unfortunately, those answers included my Sepinwall prompted "Lost" question involving the people shooting at the outrigger. [No. Not really. I jokingly asked Lindelof about the outrigger after the cameras stopped rolling and his response was, "Sepinwall knows everything he needs to know about that."]
Stay tuned for my excellent, but slightly spoiler-y Ridley Scott interview either over the weekend or Monday. And check out my interviews with Logan Marshall-Green,  Charlize Theron & Guy Pearce and Noomi Rapace & Michael Fassbender.
"Prometheus" opens on Friday, June 8.


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<p>Scott Aukerman of &quot;Comedy Bang! Bang!&quot;</p>

Scott Aukerman of "Comedy Bang! Bang!"

Credit: IFC

Interview: 'Comedy Bang! Bang!' creator Scott Aukerman discusses bringing his podcast to IFC

Plus, 'Happy Endings' star Casey Wilson drops by for a chat
Back in February, I dropped by the Abso Lutely Productions studio in Hollywood to catch some filming for "Comedy Bang! Bang!" a new IFC take-off on the talk show format.
"Comedy Bang! Bang!" finds Scott Aukerman loosely adapting his popular podcast, which has become a must-visit for any comedy actor with a product to plug and a must-listen for anybody with an interest in the craft of comedy. While the podcast mixes traditional guest segments with in-character appearances from Aukerman's posse of laugh-generating chums, the IFC series is more of a 30-minute talk show parody, though it features many of the same guests who have become regulars on the podcast.
Early IFC episodes feature Amy Poehler and Zach Galifianakis playing themselves, while Reggie Watts is a regular fixture as Aukerman's bandleader. 
On the day I'm visiting, Aukerman and Watts are sitting in the show's cramped green room eating catering from Zankou Chicken, though neither is actually eating the famous chicken. Over the course of the wide-ranging interview, Aukerman remains the only constant, as Watts is pulled aside for work down in the retro hunting lodge-style set, while "Happy Endings" star Casey Wilson drops by in the middle of the conversation before going and shooting a very funny skit.
For the most part, though, it's me and and Aukerman discussing the process of adapting the podcast and his own skewed take on the talk show format.
"Comedy Bang! Bang!" finally premieres on Friday, June 8. 
Check out the full Q&A, complete with the Wilson cameo.

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Watch: Logan Marshall-Green talks 'Prometheus,' Ridley Scott and robot racism

Watch: Logan Marshall-Green talks 'Prometheus,' Ridley Scott and robot racism

Sci-fi fanboy and star discusses his own expectations for the movie
LONDON - I'm not going to lie to you: I see Logan Marshall-Green and I instantly start humming "Hide and Seek." But Marshall-Green is more than just Ryan Atwood's ill-fated brother Trey from "The O.C." (and a regular on ABC's "Traveler" and TNT's "Dark Blue"). 
In roundtable interviews before last week's London premiere of "Prometheus," the 35-year-old actor discussed his excitement for the project as a sci-fi fanboy and also talked up his fanboy credentials for fantasy and for theater. And before we sat down to talk about "Prometheus" and this big opportunity to work with Ridley Scott, we discussed our impressions of the Tate Modern's currently running Damien Hirst retrospective, which we'd both found the time to catch in the days leading up to the junket. Logan Marshall-Green is a Renaissance Man, y'all.
Sitting in one of the planetary rovers from "Prometheus," Marshall-Green talks about his own expectations for the movie as a genre fan and explains why his character, Dr. Charlie Holloway, has issues with Michael Fassbender's robot butler David. 
Disclosure: The rover was sitting in the heart of Covent Garden in London and due to construction noise and reversing trucks and other ambient distractions, a chunk of this interview was unusable. The same fate befell my interview with Damon Lindelof, which will post tomorrow morning and was shot in the same rover. 
Stay tuned for the Lindelof interview tomorrow and the spoiler-y Ridley Scott interview either over the weekend or Monday. And check out my interviews with Charlize Theron & Guy Pearce and Noomi Rapace & Michael Fassbender.
"Prometheus" opens on Friday, June 8.
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 133

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 133

Dan and Alan talk 'Saving Hope,' 'True Blood,' 'Buffy' and more


Happy Thursday, Boys & Girls.
Time for the promised bonus installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Just under the wire, we discuss Thursday's premiere of NBC's "Saving Hope." We also talk about IFC's "Comedy Bang Bang!" and "Bunk." I complain about HBO's "True Blood," while Sepinwall vows to never watch again unless I force him. We also briefly discuss the TCA Award nominations and then Alan shared some of his preferences in TV for kids.
And, finally, we talk about the "Witch" episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
This is probably our shortest podcast in a while, but combined with the 90+ minutes on Monday, that's still a lot of podcasting.
Today's breakdown:
"Saving Hope" (00:00:50 - 00:10:15)
"Comedy Bang Bang!" and "Bunk" (00:10:20 - 00:19:00)
"True Blood" (00:19:00 - 00:32:00)
TCA Award Nominations (00:32:00 - 00:42:25)
Alan's Kids' TV Roundup (00:42:35 - 00:49:25)

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Rewatch (00:49:30 - 01:03:45) 

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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Watch: Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace discuss their 'Prometheus' influences

Watch: Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace discuss their 'Prometheus' influences

Fassbender talks Peter O'Toole, while Rapace talks angels
LONDON - In Ridley Scott's new sci-fi epic "Prometheus," the characters played by Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace have a peculiar relationship.
On one hand, both characters are pondering their origins.
Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw is leading an outer space mission with a goal that's no less than tracing the roots of humanity.
Fassbender's David is an android, so he has no roots, but he's fascinated by the people who made him, whether he's studying advanced linguistics or watching and rewatching "Lawrence of Arabia" to mimick the mannerisms of the young Peter O'Toole.
On the other hand, Shaw is a woman of cross-carrying faith, while David is a pragmatic rationalist, no more able to understand faith than several other challenging human emotions.
Head-butting ensues.
Off-screen, Rapace and Fassbender's relationship is humor-driven and the two volleyed one-liners back-and-forth both before and after I sat down with them last week at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden. If that humorous rapport doesn't always come through in this interview, that's probably because I was attempting to ask a few serious questions relatively early on the morning after the film's premiere.
Also check out my conversation with Charlize Theron & Guy Pearce and stay tuned for interviews with Logan Marshall-Green, Damon Lindelof and Ridley Scott in the days to come.
"Prometheus" opens on Friday, June 8.
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<p>Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Cat Deeley of &quot;So You Think You Can Dance&quot;</p>

Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Cat Deeley of "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'So You Think You Can Dance' - Atlanta Auditions

What treasures would the judges find in the Dirty South?

Howdy, readers.

I'm back to live-blogging "So You Think You Can Dance."

I contemplated live-blogging last week's Los Angeles audition episode, but then I realized that live-blogging a two-hour episode in London keeps you up until after 3 a.m. and that just wasn't happening. But I watched the episode when I returned and there were actually a lot of terrific dancers showcased. It was, in fact, a far better structured episode than the premiere from two weeks ago.

How will this week's episode from Atlanta come out?

Let's see... After the break...

8:02 p.m. ET. We've got Debbie Allen as our guest judge. I wish they could just take Jesse Tyler Ferguson around on more auditions. He was really improved on last week's episode. He's definitely better and Toasty Oreos and he's also better than Adam Shankman who, fortunately, was probably in post-production on "Rock of Ages" when they did auditions. Lil C remains my favorite guest judge.

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Watch: Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce discuss Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'

Watch: Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce discuss Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'

Stars tease the art of playing mysterious characters
LONDON - It's tempting to just write, "Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce both play roles in Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'" and move on directly into the interview clip.
Ambiguity permeates every frame of Scott's sorta-kinda-semi-demi-"Alien" prequel and no two characters are more difficult to talk about than the roles played by Theron and Pearce.
Theron plays Meredith Vickers, a tightly wound authority figure (of some sort) on a mission to possibly trace the origins of human life in a deep, far-flung recess of the universe. Meredith has secrets.
Pearce plays Peter Weyland, whose name means something if you're a devotee of the "Alien" franchise and who featured in the viral marketing campaign for "Prometheus," but you may have noticed the the "Memento" star is nowhere to be seen in actual trailers for the feature. He has secrets.
Yeah. It's hard to have a conversation with Pearce and Theron about their "Prometheus" presence and you'll probably be pleased that when I sat down with the two actors in London last week, just hours after the film's gala Leicester Square premiere, we kept things general: In this interview, the stars discuss Ridley Scott's gifts as an actors' director, the scope of the film and, in oblique terms, the challenges of playing characters this murky. 
Stay tuned the rest of this week for a bunch more "Prometheus" video interviews, including conversations with Noomi Rapace & Michael Fassbender, Logan Marshall-Green and writer Damon Lindelof. I also had a good chat with Ridley Scott, but that interview contains a few spoilers, so I may hold it til early next week. 
"Prometheus" opens on Friday, June 8. 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 132

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 132

Dan and Alan talk 'Game of Thrones,' 'Mad Men' and 'Push Girls'


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
Firewall & Iceberg listeners (or fans) are in luck, because this is going to be a double podcast week!
In our regular Monday installment, we talk a little bit about Sundance's "Push Girls" and then a ton about "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men." So it's only three things we talk about and it's a full 90-minute episode.
And we didn't even get to this week's episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
"Buffy" will be folded into a Wednesday or Thursday podcast that will also include reviews of HBO's "True Blood," IFC's "Comedy Bang Bang!" and "Bunk," NBC's "Saving Hope" and possibly a couple other things.
Hopefully y'all won't mind the double-podcast week!
Here's Monday's breakdown:
"Push Girls" (00:03:05 - 00:10:05)
"Game of Thrones" (00:10:10 - 00:55:45)
"Mad Men" (00:55:50 - 01:31:00)

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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