Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 165

Dan and Alan talk TCA press tour, 'Girls,' 'Shameless' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! We're in Pasadena to record a new installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Actually, we're in Pasadena for the Television Critics Association press tour, but y'all probably knew that already.
In this week's installment, Sepinwall and I debrief after the first three-ish days of press tour and then we review a slew of cable shows including the new Cinemax drama "Banshee," HBO's "Girls" and "Enlightened" and Showtime's "Shameless."
It's unclear when we're gonna podcast next, but... it'll totally be "sometime."
Here's today's breakdown:
TCA Press Tour (00:01:20 - 00:34:55)
"Banshee" (00:35:10 - 00:43:20)
"Girls" (00:43:25 - 00:53:40)
"Enlightened" (00:53:45 - 00:59:29)
"Shameless" (00:59:30 - 01:10:50)


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>Chris Pine in &quot;Jack Ryan&quot;</p>

Chris Pine in "Jack Ryan"

Credit: Paramount

Set Visit Preview: Kenneth Branagh and Chris Pine are rebooting 'Jack Ryan'

Kevin Costner notes why Pine is perfect for the Tom Clancy hero
LONDON - If franchise rebooting were hip-hop, Jack Ryan would be the Sugar Hill Gang -- maybe not the first on the block, but certainly far enough ahead of the curve to look cool.
Tom Clancy's dogged CIA analyst, whose rise in the literary series would take him all the way to the White House, was played by a svelte Alec Baldwin in "Hunt For Red October," became Harrison Ford for a couple '90s hits and then was embodied by Ben Affleck in "Sum of All Fears."
It's early October in London and Jack Ryan is being rebirthed for a new generation under the careful watch of director Kenneth Branagh and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, as well as producer Mace Neufeld, who has had a hand in each of the franchise's previous incarnations.
Read Full Post
<p>Billy Burke of &quot;Revolution&quot;</p>

Billy Burke of "Revolution"

Credit: NBC

Press Tour: 'Revolution' producers promise the revolution will be televised this spring

Eric Kripke and J.J. Abrams promise big things post-hiatus
PASADENA, CA - Since NBC announced that "Revolution" would be wrapping up the first half of its debut season in November and that it wouldn't return until late March, those of us who write about TV for a living have been speculating that this lengthy delay would auger poorly for the season's big new hit. 
It turns out that the people who write the show itself aren't viewing the hiatus as a negative. Or at least that's what Eric Kripke and J.J. Abrams told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday (January 6) morning. 
Read Full Post
<p>Robert Greenblatt. And Crystal.</p>

Robert Greenblatt. And Crystal.

Credit: NBC

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: NBC Executive Session with Robert Greenblatt

Expect 'Up All Night,' 'Private Practice' and maybe 'Hannibal' questions

I like the picture accompanying this live-blog. It speaks to a more innocent time when NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt and Crystal the  Monkey were very much in love and hope for "Animal Practice" sprung eternal.


Good times.

There will be no Crystal at NBC's Sunday (January 6) executive session with Greenblatt, Paul Telegdy and Jennifer Salke, but Crystal's simian presence is sure to be replaced with a new-found sense of optimism at the network.

Click through for the full executive session live-blog...

Read Full Post
Press Tour: 'Magic City' teases James Caan's arrival and an ambitious Season 2

Press Tour: 'Magic City' teases James Caan's arrival and an ambitious Season 2

Mitch Glazer also promises a great Passover seder
PASADENA, CA - "Magic City" won't return to Starz until a yet-to-be-determined date in the summer, but the premium cable network unveiled the first teaser for the sultry 1950s-set Miami drama on Saturday (January 5) at the Television Critics Association press tour.
As you can tell from the teaser [above], a lot remains the same at the Miramar Playa, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Ike Evans trying to extricate himself from the mobbed-up grasp of Ben "The Butcher" Diamond, played by Golden Globe nominee Danny Huston. There's sex and violence and some of the most impressive production design on the small screen.
As you can also tell, there's a new gangster in town, James Caan's Sy Berman.
Read Full Post
<p>Freddie Highmore of &quot;Bates Motel&quot;</p>

Freddie Highmore of "Bates Motel"

Credit: A&E

Press Tour: 'Lost' veteran explains how much 'Psycho' is in A&E's 'Bates Motel'

Carlton Cuse is producing the Freddie Highmore/Vera Farmiga drama
[The following article contains spoilers for Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." I suppose it also contains spoilers for Gus Van Sant's "Psycho."]
PASADENA, CA - The eponymous central location in A&E's "Bates Motel" looks mighty familiar, from the grungy numbered rooms to the teetering manager's house atop a steep staircase. If you've been on the Universal Studios backlot tour north of Los Angeles, you'll know the place.
The main character in A&E's "Bates Motel" is named Norman Bates and there's much in Freddie Highmore's nervous, eager-to-please performance that will call back Tony Perkins' iconic work, which he then reprised in multiple sequels. 
The Norman Bates in "Bates Motel" has a somewhat co-dependent relationship with his mother and while she's played in the new drama by the full-of-life Vera Farmiga rather than being portrayed by a desiccated corpse in the basement, elements of the dynamic between Norman and his mom will be familiar.
Read Full Post

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 164

Dan and Alan talk 'Justified,' 'Deception,' 'Downton Abbey,' 'Bunheads' and more


Happy New Year, Boys & Girls!
It's our first 2013 installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Sepinwall is flying out to LA for the Television Critics Association press tour and we'll probably record multiple in-person podcasts in the next couple weeks. However, we decided that we didn't know when our first podcast window would be and there are too many shows premiering between Sunday and Tuesday and we didn't want to risk missing them. 
So this podcast is all reviews. Six of 'em! We talk about the new seasons of "Downton Abbey," "Justified," "Cougar Town" and "The Joe Schmo Show." We also check in on the midseason return of ABC Family's "Bunheads" and on the series premiere of NBC's "Deception." That's a fair amount to cover. 
Here's the breakdown:
"Downton Abbey" (00:02:08 - 00:18:45)
"Bunheads" (00:18:47 - 00:26:27)
"Deception" (00:26:28 - 00:33:20)
"Justified" (00:33:28 - 00:44:53)
"The Joe Schmo Show" (00:44:54 - 00:55:20)
"Cougar Town" (00:55:22 - 00:1:04:00)


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.

<p>Second 10 of 2012</p>

Second 10 of 2012

The Second 10 Best TV Shows of 2012 from The Fien Print

Zombies, vampires and handicappers all make the second cut
Last week, after already podcasting on it, I posted my Top 10 TV Shows of 2012 in friendly video format.
In case you've forgotten:
1) "Mad Men"
2) "Louie"
3) "On Freddie Roach"
4) "Treme"
5) "Parks and Recreation"
6) "Breaking Bad"
7) "Game of Thrones"
8) "Girls"
9) "ESPN's 30 for 30"
10) "The Hour"
At the time, I mentioned that I had a Second 10 coming at some point, because I always endeavor to be as much like Sepinwall as possible, structurally speaking. 
And at the time, I also mentioned that while my Top 8 was set in stone, the last two positions had a lot of competition. When you look at my Second 10, No. 11-15 all were part of an amorphous blob for those last two Top 10 positions and while I like the Top 10 I chose, I wouldn't have been much less happy with it if it had included two of those other shows. 
In fact, this Second 10? I like it a ton. These are some of my very, very favorites. As I look down the list, six of them have made previous Top 10s, including four that were in my Top 10 for 2011. But as much as I love this group of 10, it wasn't especially easy to cut *this* group down. I don't think there was as much ambiguity in my mind, but there were still at least five shows that I thought were every bit as deserving. Or maybe not "every bit as deserving," but a lot deserving.
So I made a list of 10 "Honorable Mentions." But that list became 20 Honorable Mentions. Then there were another five or six shows that I wanted to salute for improvement this past year. That means this story, while only containing blurbs for 10 shows, mentions at least 36. And the funny thing is that I can still think of more shows that I enjoy in a variety of different ways, shows that even with the parameters expanded this wide, I still couldn't include.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Anybody who says there's nothing good on TV is an idiot. Because I probably left out two or three of your favorite shows.
Click through for the list... I'm using HitFix's new pagination system because this is looooong and unlike when I write a 2000-word review of something like "Beauty and the Beast," this lends itself easily to splitting.
Read Full Post
From 'Smash' to 'Newsroom' - TV's Worst of 2012 from The Fien Print

From 'Smash' to 'Newsroom' - TV's Worst of 2012 from The Fien Print

Vampires, news anchors, thespians and aspiring stars make the Bottom 10
If you've listened to the Worst of 2012 Firewall & Iceberg Podcast that posted on Monday afternoon, you've heard several of these rants already and you also probably heard the rules that I set for my "Worst" lists.
The most important rule is that in order for a show to make my "Worst" list, I have to actually watch it. There's no point in me telling you that "Dance Moms" is awful, because what do I know? I've watched 10 minutes of "Dance Moms." That's not enough.
It's also not enough for me to have hated a pilot. The "Beauty and the Beast" pilot was the worst hour of TV that I watched in 2012, but five minutes into the second episode, I gave up. I understand that some of my colleagues don't play by these rules, but I've seen too many shows start off with awful pilots and then improve. "Neighbors" and "Chicago Fire" both were listed among my Worst New Shows of 2012. I kept watching "Neighbors" enough to see that it's an average and inoffensive comedy, not good enough for me to keep watching after four-ish episodes, but probably not bad enough to include in this gallery. And I actually found myself somewhat liking "Chicago Fire" after the first handful of episodes. It's not great, but it has a season pass on my DVR and I watch episodes while I'm folding laundry or building galleries like this one. 
Sometimes networks help me keep their shows in this gallery. If "Work It" had aired a full season, there's no chance I'd have watched it for long enough to justify its inclusion, but because ABC pulled the cross-dressing alleged comedy after the two episodes I watched, it has a place of dishonor here. CBS did roughly the same with "Partners," pulling the Monday dud just as it became too unbearable for me to watch.
Most of these are shows that I watch because I used to like them or shows that I regularly watch because they're simply too central to the ongoing dialogue in the industry that I cover for me to quit on them. And some of them are shows that I made sufficient commitment to that I figured I might as well see them to the end. 
There are three shows making repeat appearances from my Worst of 2011 Gallery. But there's only one show that's made my Worst Of... lists three years running.
Anyway... The gallery is below. Check it out!

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 163 - Worst of 2012

Dan and Alan discuss their least favorite TV shows of the year


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
Last week, Sepinwall & I celebrated TV's Best of 2012
As Santa Claus would tell you, it's pleasant to put together a "nice" list, but it's MUCH more fun to penalize the kids who have been naughty.
That's why we're dedicating what will probably be our last Firewall & Iceberg of 2012 to handing out lumps of coal. And there are plenty to go around.
And because we recorded this podcast on Friday, pretty much at the second that AMC announced the Glen Mazzara-free renewal for "The Walking Dead," we talked for a bit about the potential ramifications for the zombie drama. Since very little has changed or evolved in that particular story, I doubt that the segment will seem too outdated. 
The breakdown:
"The Walking Dead" without Glen Mazzara (00:01:00 - 00:10:55)
The Worst of 2012 (00:11:00 - 01:11:00)


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.