Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
'HIMYM' wraps a season that was more fitfully funny than consistent
Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan and an Estonian juggler who vaguely resembles Neil Patrick Harris on 'How I Met Your Mother'
In one of our earliest podcasts, Sepinwall raised the idea, suggested by somebody on his blog, that it might be a good idea for "How I Met Your Mother
" to set an end date, a la "Lost."
That way, the writers would be able to plan out their final seasons leading up to exactly the perfect ending of their choosing and that would yield an unimpeachable finale
, a la "Lost." [Heh. Heh.]
I mocked the idea at the time.
After watching Monday's (May 24) "How I Met Your Mother" season finale, I'm rethinking that position. That "How I Met Your Mother" has lost the thread of what the show was originally about isn't a problem for me.
Shows need the ability to evolve and change and I never thought it was fair to make "How I Met Your Mother" stick to some timetable of when Josh Radnor's Ted was going to meet the woman who'd eventually bear his children.
What I want, speaking only for myself here and your results may vary, is that the show find and solidify some core around which the wackiness can spin. "How I Met Your Mother" just completed a season in which the thread of Ted's search for his future baby mama was removed almost entirely and without that stitching, the show unraveled.
Now "HIMYM" is Craig Thomas and Carter Bays' sweater to knit however they want, but this year's version of the sweater was the sort of present that I probably wouldn't wear out in public (not that I'd ever miss an episode).
More thoughts on the "How I Met Your Mother" finale, promising not to mention the stupid threat/stitching/sweater metaphor ever again, after the break...
One of the most innovative shows in TV history isn't leaving at its peak
Millions of DVRs across the nation will wake up on Tuesday morning feeling an odd weight lifted from their shoulders. [Disclaimer: The Fien Print is aware that DVRs don't sleep, nor do they feel the pressure of their central and irreplaceable role in many of our lives.]
I'm not going to get all nostalgic on you and try to write some sort of "It's the End of an Era" manifesto, but I'm also not immune to the general significance of "Lost," "24" and the "Law & Order" Mothership all ending within 24 hours. [Plus, if you want to extend another 72 hours, we'll get the series finale
of "FlashForward," not that anybody cares.]
Using the same cop-out I invoked yesterday with "Lost," I'm not really going to do an elaborate "24" tribute. If I didn't cover my respect and admiration for the show in my Best of the Decade posting for "24,"
it probably wasn't worth saying. And certainly nothing in the show's current eighth season has done anything to enhance my appreciation. If you want to honor "24," check out that post. This post here is a realistic assessment of where "24" is as it wraps up its eighth season on Monday (May 24) night.
That doesn't mean "24" is going out with a total whimper, but those expecting a bang aren't correctly understand the way "24" works.
Some thoughts on the departure of FOX's "24," with general spoilers but not specific spoilers, after the break... Feel free to come back after the episode ends...
The Fien Print already wrote a long tribute to 'Lost,' but also this silly parody script
Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly and Terry O'Quinn of 'Lost'
Stop me if you've heard this already...
Sunday (May 23) night is the finale of "Lost
It's a confusing night for ABC. On one hand, the network and the "Lost" creators made the right creative choice in setting an end date, which certainly helped Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse with the storytelling, but also probably halted the viewer erosion that was taking place at the time. But on the other hand, it did such a fine job halting said viewer erosion that "Lost" is leaving the air as one of ABC's highest rated dramas, particularly in the 18-49 demo. It's been a while since a series had its finale while retaining this high a level of popularity.
That's *part* of why Sunday is more of a phenomenon, particularly on my Twitter feed, than when something like "E.R." or "The West Wing" (or even "The Wire" or "The Sopranos") went off the air.
I'm not going to wax rhapsodic about "Lost" now. I did that in my Best of the Decade post
(I've rearranged half of the list in my mind since then) in December.
For tonight's episode, I'm gonna be watching over at AOL headquarters before recording my reactions for the Instant Dharma videocast (I'd have guested sooner, but "American Idol" commitments tie me down most Wednesday nights). Meanwhile, Sepinwall will be prepping HitFix's first finale recap for posting late, late tonight, while Drew McWeeny will be watching and prepping for HitFix's second finale recap posting early tomorrow morning. And if I have enough to say, maybe I'll do my own recap tomorrow, which is unlikely since I also have to say similarly little about the series finale of "24." And rest assured that Sepinwall and I will probably dedicate plenty of time to "Lost" in this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
In lieu of a "Lost" tribute, I'm just gonna link again to "Uncharted," a little tribute/parody/script-y thing I wrote one Sunday afternoon after the third season finale. It's not a masterpiece, but I still think it's cute.
Click through for the embedded version of the script or, if that doesn't work, check out the "Uncharted" direct link
The first two-time 'Survivor' winner talks strategy, Russell and more
Sandra Diaz-Twine of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
Over 20 seasons, more than 300 contestants have played "Survivor." By our mathematically imprecise calculations, only 19 of them have won the million dollar top prize.
And only one of those contestants has won twice.
It's no wonder that Sandra Diaz-Twine dubbed herself Queen of "Survivor" on Sunday (May 16) night after the "Heroes vs. Villains
" jury picked her over Parvati Shallow as the show's latest Sole Survivor. Coupled with her "Pearl Islands" win, Sandra is an unlikely, but difficult-to-dispute candidate for the title of the game's greatest player.
HitFix caught up with Sandra to discuss why she expected Parvati to win, how losing her alliance helped her play better and which two players she'd want to play "Survivor" against in the future.
'Fans vs. Favorites' winner talks about her record-breaking 'Survivor' tenure
Parvati Shallow of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
Although Parvati Shallow finished sixth in "Survivor: Cook Islands," many fans dismissed her as a one-trick flirting pony. Those fans were surprised when Parvati was invited back for the "Fans vs. Favorites" season and even more surprised when she orchestrated a series of blindsides and power moves leading to a well-deserved million dollar win.
This season's "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
" featured four former winners. Draw your own conclusions, but the two male ex-champs -- J.T. and Tom -- were categorized as Heroes, while the two female ex-champs -- Parvati and Sandra -- were categorized as Villains. And, draw your own conclusions again, the two male Heroes were eliminated relatively early, while Sandra and Parvati both faced the jury with a chance to become the first repeat winner in "Survivor" history.
Despite a season in which she dominated Immunity challenges, was the power-behind-the-throne to Russell and created one of the season's most memorable moments when she shattered the Heroes tribe with the skillful dissemination of two Immunity Idols, Parvati came up short in the voting in Sunday's (May 16) finale.
HitFix caught up with Parvati to finishing second, her record 114 days in "Survivor" and her relationship with "pet dragon" Russell...
Full interview after the break...
The notorious Villain discusses the flaws with 'Survivor' and his discarded strategy
Russell Hantz of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
Love him or hate him, Russell
Hantz has been the face of CBS' "Survivor
" for the past two seasons.
Bullying, occasionally abusive, diabolically manipulative and bizarrely adroit at finding poorly hidden Immunity Idols, Russell has bulldozed his way to the final jury on two occasions and left angrily without the million dollars on both occasions.
To some fans, Russell is one of the game's legendary players, an example of how even the most repellent personality can dominate the game with guile, intensity and force-of-will. To other fans, Russell is a beneficiary of the over-saturation of Immunity Idols on "Survivor" and the perfect example of a player who understands one part of the game -- lasting 39 days -- flawlessly, but remains utterly clueless about the second part of the game -- successfully convincing nine people you voted out to name you Sole Survivor. Enough people fall into the first camp that Russell won an online vote for the most popular player in "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
," giving him $100,000 and some solace after getting shut out in the jury vote.
HitFix caught up with a still-bitter Russell the morning after the "Heroes vs. Villains" finale to discuss his season, his disappointment and the under-the-radar strategy he never got to employ.
Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall discuss Upfronts Week, plus 'Lost' and 'The Good Guys'
Alex O'Loughlin remembers again why he signed on for 'Hawaii 5-0.'
Happy Wednesday and welcome to this week's special Upfronts Supersized Firewall & Iceberg Podcast
For only the second time in our podcasting history, Firewall & Iceberg crossed the hour mark this week, but with four networks worth of upfronts
discussion, we really didn't have much of a choice. Heck, we even skipped over "American Idol" entirely. But we couldn't skip "Lost
" and we didn't want to ignore the premiere of FOX's "Good Guys," so the time was necessary.
Here's this week's slate:
Network Upfronts -- NBC, FOX, ABC and then CBS -- 01:45 - 43:45
FOX's "The Good Guys" -- 43:45 - 49:40
ABC's "Lost" -- 49:40 - 01:01:45
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 here's this week's podcast...
What happened to the Black Widow? And why is she sure she nearly won?
Jerry Manthey of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
In the second season of "Survivor
," Jerri Manthey
wasn't a very nice woman. She was, in fact, rather evil.
Jerri earned the nickname The Black Widow, but she also earned only an eighth place finish. Brought back for the first "Survivor" All-Stars season, she seemed to revel in being hated, but it led only to a 10th place finish.
It wasn't surprising that Jerri was categorized as a Villain for "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
," but instead of living up to that moniker, a different Jerri emerged. She was quieter and less confrontational and although it seemed as if she was wishy-washy and waffling, she also kept finding herself as the swing vote in one circumstance after another.
This new Jerri wasn't necessarily as TV-friendly as The Black Widow. Instead, she made no enemies and, probably as a result, she stuck around until the finale. Jerri finished an impressive fourth after Russell decided to stick with Parvati in the Top Three.
HitFix caught up with Jerri and discussed her change in demeanor, her relationship with Russell and why she'd have won if she'd made it to the jury.
Bradley Whitford, Colin Hanks and a mustache share top-billing
Colin Hanks, Bradley Whitford, mustache
It doesn't happen often, but occasionally an appendage can hijack an entire panel at the Television Critics Association press tour.
At our last panel for "Hung," euphemisms flew fast and furious as a room of respectable reporters tried to avoid accosting the stars of an HBO pseudo-comedy with the word "penis."
Nobody needed to be that coy at January's panel for FOX's "The Good Guys
." We hadn't seen the show and most of us hadn't read the script furnished by the network. We had little sense of the show's style or substance, so we discussed what we had in front of us and by that I'm referring to Bradley Whitford
I can't help but feel like our obsession with Whitford's facial hair led directly to FOX's decision to make the mustache into an equally billed third co-star in much of the "Good Guys" advertising.
Premiering on Wednesday (May 19) in a slightly weird audition episode *before* "American Idol" (rather than the post-"Idol" strategy FOX employed to launch "Glee" last spring), "Good Guys" feels a little raw and unformed in its pilot incarnation, but it doesn't lack for charm and wit.
[More of a review of "Good Guys" after the break...]
How much of his weakness was an act? And what does Colby really think of Russell?
Colby Donaldson of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
It had a chance of becoming one of the great "Survivor" ironic twists:
In the show's second season, Colby
Donaldson had one of the classic complete "Survivor" performances, combining psychical domination with universal likability and remaining so true to his word that he essentially handed the million dollars to Tina Wesson.
In "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
," on the other hand, Colby looked tired and apathetic. He made an early alliance with Tom Westman and Stephenie LaGrossa, but watched his friends get picked off one after another. Not only was he failing in challenges, but he was so weak that somehow one Hero after another was perceived as a greater threat and was voted off first. It looked like an embarrassing turn for the Hero, but if the name of the game in "Survivor" is, well, surviving, Colby implausibly kept his torch lit.
As a result, Colby entered Sunday's (May 16) "Survivor" finale knowing that if he could somehow grab an Immunity or two, he'd be facing a jury made up largely of his former tribemates and, after losing his perfect season, he'd somehow be triumphant in this most imperfect season.
It didn't happen.
Colby lost a tight Immunity challenge and was voted out, becoming the season-to-last member of the season's jury. As he told viewers after his snuffing, maybe a "Survivor" win just isn't his destiny.
The day after the finale, HitFix caught up with Colby and learned how much of his weakness was strategy, why he came to respect Sandra and why he's unlikely to come to respect Russell.
Click through for the full interview...