<p>The cast of &quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

The cast of "Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Monday Nights

How will 'The Blacklist,' 'Mom' and 'Sleepy Hollow' impact your life?
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
 
MONDAY NIGHTS
 
8:00 p.m.
ABC: "Dancing with the Stars"
CBS: "How I Met Your Mother," "We Are Men"
The CW: "Hart of Dixie"
FOX: "Bones"/"Almost Human"
NBC: "The Voice"
 
9:00 p.m.
ABC: "Dancing with the Stars"
CBS: "2 Broke Girls," "Mom"
The CW: "Beauty and the Beast"
NBC: "The Voice"
 
10:00 p.m.
ABC: "Castle"
CBS: "Hostages"
 
 
What's Changed: After Sunday's really dull schedule and limited alterations, Mondays are somewhat overhauled. At least ABC is keeping things simple with "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Bachelor." NBC's got "The Voice," but after using the reality hit to unsuccessfully launch "Smash," "NBC" thought it had a genuine hit with "Revolution" this year, but after a spring of declines, "Revolution" is off to fend for itself on Wednesdays and the James Spader thriller "The Blacklist" is at 10 p.m. CBS is using "How I Met Your Mother" and "2 Broke Girls" to launch a pair of new comedies in "We Are Men" and "Mom," while "Hawaii Five-0" has been shipped off to Fridays in favor of an innovative, by CBS standards, revolving limited drama wheel of "Hostages" and then "Intelligence." Similarly, FOX will shift "Bones" to Fridays post-baseball and will then go with two new dramas in "Almost Human" and "Sleepy Hollow," at least until "The Following" returns at midseason, at which point anything could happen. And, finally, The CW has shifted "Hart of Dixie" back to Mondays, where it will be paired with the totally incompatible "Beauty and the Beast."
 
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: On the surface, it would be fair to assume that the basics of the ratings race won't change. "Dancing with the Stars" will, barring a big drop, keep ABC in first overall, while "The Voice" will, barring a big drop, keep NBC in first overall. It's unlikely that "Dancing" will fall enough for any shifting to ensue there, though that franchise continues to skew older and older with each passing installment. Probably for one season, "Dancing" might get a bump -- or at least "Dancing" might stabilize -- as ABC rolls results into a lone Monday telecast. As for "The Voice," the perception is that NBC's singing show is on the upswing and FOX's "American Idol" is on the downswing and while that isn't untrue, the audience for "The Voice" loves the spinning chairs and likes every subsequent step progressively less to the point where recent live shows have been basically on par with spring performance installments of "Idol." While that's not a glowing trend, there's no reason to think the spinning chairs will decline any time in the near future, especially with the revolving mentor panel keeping things semi-fresh. Similarly, if it's any good, "The Blacklist" should be able to do what "Revolution" has been doing in recent weeks, which is "good enough." If it's not good, NBC has several midseason dramas ready to fill in there. CBS is the network taking the big risks, which will either lead to big rewards or create several gaping holes. "We Are Men" doesn't seem like an especially smooth companion to the final season of "How I Met Your Mother," but CBS has several midseason comedies -- "Bad Teacher" and "Friends with Better Lives" -- that might be more compatible if it fails. "Mom," on the other hand, looks like a good, broad match for "2 Broke Girls" and, if successful, could boost either the off-brand "Hostages" or the on-brand "Intelligence" as the season progresses. And The CW's Monday was such a disaster last year that almost anything will be an improvement, with "Hart of Dixie" sure to outdraw what "Gossip Girl" and "Carrie Diaries" did last year. The CW's decision to renew "Beauty and the Beast" was already slightly silly, but the choice to put the sure-to-struggle drama on Mondays guarantees what could be a big collapse.
 
My Predicted DVR: It's funny that in the 8 p.m. hour, the show guaranteed to have DVR space is The CW's pleasing-and-low-pressure "Hart of Dixie," which isn't "Gilmore Girls," or even "Bunheads," but it remains an effective-enough version of the old WB formula. I'll probably suffer through the last season of "How I Met Your Mother," while watching the FOX dramas on Hulu (or "Almost Human" proves worthwhile). The 9 p.m. hour has become really soft, suddenly. I continue to actively hate half of "2 Broke Girls" and to only periodically enjoy the other half, but it'll keep its DVR space, while I'll be able to give "Sleepy Hollow" a while to either settle into its lunacy, or to spiral further out of control. I'll keep watching "Castle" at 10 p.m. and I'm sure either "The Blacklist" or "Hostages" will claim my second 10 p.m. DVR slot, though it may take a few weeks of Hulu co-viewing to determine which one I drop. Or maybe "The Blacklist" and "Hostages" will both be awesome and I'll have to figure out a full Hulu/OnDemand rotation. Or maybe they'll both stink and I'll be able to do other things. Hope springs eternal!
 
How have the new schedules impacted your Mondays?
 
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<p>ADHD Producer Hend Baghdady, Wolvesmouth Chef Craig Thornton and Head of ADHD Nick Weidenfeld</p>

ADHD Producer Hend Baghdady, Wolvesmouth Chef Craig Thornton and Head of ADHD Nick Weidenfeld

Credit: FOX

FOX teams with Craig Thornton's Wolvesmouth to tease Animation Domination HD

Seven courses of delicious food, plus 'Axe Cop'
FOX's long-gestating Animation Domination HD block will launch on July 27 with the comedies "Axe Cop" and "High School USA!," but FOX began the promotional rollout for the late-night block this past week with a series of high profile dinners at the ADHD offices.
 
The dinners were run by Los Angeles chef Craig Thornton's Wolvemouth. You can read all about Thornton and Wolvesden in this rather exhaustive New Yorker profile. To appreciate the challenge Thornton and his culinary cast faced at the ADHD office, you have to know that while the ADHD offices include room after room of brand, spanking new computers that represent the epicenter and totality of the animation operations, they don't include any kind of true kitchen space.
 
ADHD moved into its Sunset Blvd digs earlier this spring after extensive renovations to a space that can feature as many as 110 workers. Each upcoming show has its own computer space, while a high-ceilinged library features both coffee table-style art books and vintage early addition Hardy Boys mysteries. Previous in-house dining endeavors in the ADHD offices seem to have been limited by the power of two microwaves, but Thornton's team came equipped with a small deep-frier and toaster ovens and they were able to produce a seven-course meal that I assure you that I could never produce with all the deep-friers and to toaster ovens in the world.
 
Calling it "a weird partnership that you wouldn't expect," Thornton explained that he knew ADHD head Nick Weidenfeld from multiple Wolvesden meals and relished the opportunity to create a dinner that embodied the spirit of the yet-to-premiere ADHD, while also playing off the limitations to the kitchen space.
 
The non-edible highlight of the evening was a screening of the first installment of "Axe Cop," which Widenfeld boasted "never left the building" in its production process. If you know the conceit behind "Axe Cop" -- it comes from the mind of six-year-old Malachai Nicolle and adheres to exactly the loopy internal logic that implies -- you're likely to be amused by the animated result, which features a fine lead voice performance by a certain "Parks and Recreation" star who will go uncredited for confusing contractual reasons.
 
I'll have more on "Axe Cop" and ADHD when we get a little closer to premiere, but for now, I thought I'd use this blog as an Instagram page to post some iPhone photos of the Wolvesmouth meal, along with complete descriptions of the myriad ingredients and preparations. [These pictures are from last Wednesday night's dinner, which was followed by five subsequent dinners...]
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Hannah Ware of &quot;Betrayal&quot;</p>

Hannah Ware of "Betrayal"

Credit: ABC

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Sunday Nights

Will ABC's 'Betrayal' shake things up? Ummm... No.
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
 
SUNDAY NIGHTS
 
7:00 p.m.
ABC: "America's Funniest Home Videos"
CBS: "60 Minutes"
FOX: "The OT"
NBC: NFL Pre-Game
 
8:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Once Upon a Time"
CBS: "The Amazing Race"
FOX: "The Simpsons," "Bob's Burgers"
NBC: Sunday Night Football
 
9 p.m.
ABC: "Revenge"
CBS: "The Good Wife"
FOX: "Family Guy," "American Dad"
NBC: Sunday Night Football
 
10 p.m.
ABC: "Betrayal"
NBC: Sunday Night Football
 
 
What's Changed: Very little. Apologies for starting this project with the most boring night of the week. CBS' Sunday is untouched. NBC is still airing football. Other than not announcing anything animated for the 7 p.m. hour, FOX's Animation Domination isn't going anywhere. For the fall, the only new show is ABC's "Betrayal," which looks to capitalize on a "Revenge" lead-in that doesn't exist as the bloom continues to fall from that former rose. Things might get a bit more interesting in the spring when FOX is likely to introduce "Murder Police" and NBC will premiere the J.J. Abrams drama "Believe" and the Dermot Mulroney thriller "Crisis." I mean... Dermot Mulroney! Sunday will never be the same. But until that time, Sunday will be very much the same.
 
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: It isn't. NBC will dominate all fall, while CBS will remain a competitive second in total viewers. In weeks with NFL overrun, people will complain, but CBS will also be a solid second in the 18-49 demographic, unless the overrun games were on FOX.  It's hard to know what it would take for "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" to halt the viewer erosion that didn't really set in last fall, but became increasingly problematic as the spring progressed. Some people had enthusiastic words about the "Revenge" finale, but with Mike Kelly departing, is it already too late? And will the thought of a Peter Pan-heavy season really reinvigorate "Once Upon a Time"? Yeah. Probably not. With no star power, a weak lead-in and a ton of competition from both network rivals and cable, "Betrayal" is dead. It has no chance at success at all. If ABC had faith in "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" as a full-run series, rather than as a fill-in for the mothership, the network could have aired that at 9 p.m. and pushed "Revenge" to 10 and sacrificed "Betrayal" on Thursdays at 8 p.m. where nothing works anyway. Or, more logical still, ABC could have renewed "Body of Proof" and aired it at 10 p.m. on Sundays, where it would have done poorly, but almost certainly would have done better than "Betrayal" will do. I'm not ready to predict that "Betrayal" is going to be the first show cancelled, because ABC has let a bunch of weak shows air a bunch of episodes in this time slot, but I can't think of any new show on any network that has less chance of success.

My Predicted DVR: In the fall, things will remain unchanged. I'll still recap "Amazing Race" on ET, so that I can DVR FOX's 8 p.m. block and "Once Upon a Time," which remains just tantalizing enough that I'm not ready to quit. I'll stick with "The Good Wife" at 9 p.m. and then record "Revenge" in the fall, just to see how a new showrunner changes things. Assuming that "Revenge" continues with its Season 2 morass, I'll drop it at midseason for "Believe," which may or may not be good, but at least has a pedigree that demands some attention. I watch cable stuff at 10 p.m., either live or DVRed from 7 p.m. on East Coast feeds, but I'll give "Crisis" a couple episodes. 
 
How have the new schedules impacted your Sundays?
 
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<p>Zack Snyder</p>

Zack Snyder

Credit: AP

Zack Snyder makes Superman his own on the 'Man of Steel' set

'300' and 'Watchmen' director discusses the pressure he feels now
Dave's Tavern on Central Avenue in Plano, Illinois remains entirely unscathed after the disaster that has hit the rest of the town's main drag. 
 
As discussed in its own story, production on "Man of Steel" has turned Plano into Smallville, Kansas and, in turn, Smallville, Kansas has been turned into Ground Zero in a clash-of-the-titans-style conflict between Superman (Henry Cavill) and an assortment of rival Kryptonians and other mystery adversaries. 
 
Outside, the air is thick with the smell of well-supervised pyrotechnics, to say nothing of the usual summer heat. Squib detonations, gunfire and swarming helicopters present their own cacophony.
 
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<p>Henry Cavill of &quot;Man of Steel&quot;</p>

Henry Cavill of "Man of Steel"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Henry Cavill channels Superman on the 'Man of Steel' set

'The Tudors' star chats with reporters about his DC Comics hero
When "Man of Steel" hits theaters on June 14, 2013, it's possible that Superman will make saving the world appear effortless, but on August 29, 2011, Earth's greatest superhero is sweating. 
 
That's not a criticism of the artist sometimes known as Clark Kent or Kal-El. Even the coolest of customers would wilt under the oppressive late-summer heat on the Plano, Illinois set of the DC Comics adaptation. And it's not like Superman is just sitting under an umbrella chilling and sipping a super-mojito. 
 
With background debris exploding into flame, Superman keeps trying to escape from a seemingly Kryptonian adversary, but every time he thinks he's gotten free, he gets dragged back in, possibly tearing up bits of the road as he goes. To create the illusion of a preternaturally strong tug of war, star Henry Cavill is attached to a harness and the harness is attached to a crane. Between the effort and the costume and the temperature, the scene might as well be taking place in an oven and between shots, an assistant rushes out to pat the Man of Steel down with a Mountain Dew-colored towel. It's an illusion-destroying act of charity. 
 
Initially, it looks like a simple shot and Cavill very politely declines hydration, but after enthusiastic director Zack Snyder requests more and more takes, the actor is soon cooling down with a bag of ice.
 
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<p>Henry Cavill of &quot;Man of Steel&quot;</p>

Henry Cavill of "Man of Steel"

Credit: Warner Brothers

'Man of Steel' Set Visit: Superman battles in Smallville streets

HitFix was in Illinois in 2011 on the set of Zack Snyder's film
It's late-August 2011 and a titanic struggle is underway on the main street of Smallville, Kansas.
 
It's hard to identify all of the featured combatants. 
 
Superman, of course, is easy enough to recognize, even if his garb is radically altered from when last he graced the big screen. 
 
Who is Superman fighting? 
 
That's a bit more complicated. His primary adversary currently appears to be a man in a motion capture suit with an attachment that suggests that he'll ultimately be far larger than what the naked eye can currently see. 
 
In the moment, it looks like Superman is not getting the best of this exchange. He's pinned back uncomfortably in a furrow in the concrete and he's being pummeled something fierce. Antje Traue's Kryptonian Fiora is also involved in the skirmish, but she's less tantalizing than the unknown MoCap man.
 
"This particular character we're not going to name for you, because we want it to be a surprise," teases "Man of Steel" producer Chuck Roven. 
 
That doesn't stop the journalists on the film's set from speculating, but I won't share any of those guesses, just in case we got it right. Over the course of a day of production, we may or may not have posited every single villain in the DC Comics universe and offered those suggestions to various producers, technicians, extras and interested locals without even a nod of confirmation or a shake of disagreement. The Superman universe is all about the hero's myriad powers, but on the set of "Man of Steel," enhanced strength, X-Ray vision and flight all pale in comparison to a higher power, that of producer Christopher Nolan. Although he's still in production on "The Dark Knight Rises" and isn't literally on the "Man of Steel" set, his secret-loving presence is felt and evoked at every turn in the form of The Nolan Clause, a gag order that seems only to have become more potent thanks to the Earth's sun and our gravity. 
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 184

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 184

Dan and Alan talk 'Arrested Development,' 'The Killing' and Summer Rewatch

The

Happy Wednesday, Boys and Girls!
 
Sepinwall has finally finished watching all 15 installments of "Arrested Development," so it's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
This week's podcast is pretty straight-forward: We talk a lot about "Arrested Development," a lot about "Mad Men" and just a bit about Sunday's third season premiere of AMC's "The Killing."
 
And then we announce this summer's Rewatch, which is a little bit different this year.
 
A warning: Next week's podcast is also likely to be non-Monday, due to my schedule this time. So stay tuned on Twitter for specifics.
 
And now...
 
Today's breakdown:
"The Killing" (00:01:15 - 00:12:55)
"Arrested Development" (00:13:00 - 00:47:55)
"Mad Men" (00:48:00 - 01:09:25)
Summer Rewatch Announcement (01:09:30 - 01:14:05)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>David Cross and Jason Bateman of &quot;Arrested Development&quot;</p>

David Cross and Jason Bateman of "Arrested Development"

Credit: Mike Yarish/Netfix

TV Review: 'Arrested Development' Season 4 brings laughter and lulls to Netflix

HitFix
B+
Readers
B+
Some episodes shine, while others fall flat
I skipped the communal madness of marathoning "House of Cards" when it premiered on Netflix earlier this year. I've still only seen six or seven episodes, though I like it enough that I'll certainly finish it this summer. It's a project I'm happy to undertake.
 
I also skipped the communal self-abuse of marathoning "Hemlock Grove" when it premiered on Netflix a couple months later. I may finish that one as well some day, but more out of my usual much-discussed completist sensibilities than any enjoyment.
 
Apparently, however, there was something forcing me to watch 15 episodes of "Arrested Development" Season 4 in only 15 hours. I queued up the first episode at seconds after midnight Pacific Time, as East Coasters on Twitter were still ranting about their inability to read clearly written premiere announcements. Poor East Coasters. I ran through eight episodes before passing out at 5 a.m. and then at 10:30 a.m. I was back to watching for the remaining seven.
 
That was a lot of "Arrested Development" in a very short period of time.
 
And it was much, much more "Arrested Development" than anybody had any reason to expect. Netflix initially announced a 10 episode season knowing that they were planning on making at least 13 and then those 13 became 15 episodes when all was said and done. But even saying that Season 4 of "Arrested Development" is 15 episodes is a distinct undersell. When it aired on FOX, "Arrested Development" episodes had a network-standard running time of 22-ish minutes. Netflix doesn't care. Without any ad-load, it's the Wild West out there and the shortest of the new episodes is 28 minutes and the longest is 37 minutes. An additional six or seven episodes of material is just squishing out of the sides of what's here, like the melted filling of an ice cream sandwich.
 
That was a lot of "Arrested Development" in a very short period of time.
 
One of the major causes of American obesity is, of course, and Netflix’s original programming has become like the Las Vegas buffet of entertainment options, and not the cheap, skuzzy buffets that you might get at the end of The Strip. I'm talking about the buffet at The Wynn or the Beluga, where you're paying $40-ish and the dining experience becomes one of simultaneous gustatory delight and personal recklessness. Yes, you *could* just concentrate on the top-tier seafood items, do only shrimp and crab legs, and walk out after a quick meal. But that's not what you're there for. That's not what you paid for. You paid for the Pan-Asian station and the pizza station and the prime rib and the dim sum and the seven kinds of pie.  You paid for the sensation of disgusting satiation. You paid not for the individual quality or merit of anything that you ate, but for the totality of an experience in which the availability of excess supersedes the illusion of free choice. 
 
I'm reasonably sure that on a level of intellectual appreciation, Netflix would do more honor to high quality shows like "House of Cards" and "Arrested Development" by parceling out the distribution. Let people digest each morsel, contemplate each idea. Drag viewers along for several weeks, even if not for the months that network shows require.
 
"That network shows require." Netflix doesn't want to be thought to be playing by network rules. While networks have been forced to provide more choice -- OnDemand, iTunes, online streaming, DVD releases, etc -- over the years, Netflix is all choice. Nobody's forcing you to watch any particular way. You might get pulled into marathoning because you're loving the show or because you're a sheep, but that's on you. And my very different approach to "House of Cards" and "Hemlock Grove" and "Arrested Development"  proves, at least somewhat, that the freedom isn't an illusion. If you don't care about the Internet ruining things for you, you can take six months to watch one show. Or you can do it in one or two breathless spurts. 
 
I don't think "House of Cards" has suffered from my delays and I really can't tell you if "Arrested Development" benefitted from my haste. 
 
Shrug. 
 
In its three years on FOX, I loved "Arrested Development." In its 15 episodes on Netflix, I found myself frustrated by the wide variation of my response. Attempting to give the whole season a grade is pure folly. Out of 15 episodes, there are four or five episodes I'd put in the "A" range. There were two or three episodes I'd put in the "C" range. And the majority of the episodes were variably uneven, hardly devoid of brilliance and the sort of hilarity that most currently running shows can't even approach, but usually diluted to an infuriating degree by the structure and lack of structure of the endeavor. 
 
For "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz and his talented team of writers, Season 4 rises and falls on that unusual pairing of self-imposed structure and self-denied limitations. At times, the 15 episodes work much better than you'd imagine they possibly could and at times they stumble on entirely avoidable obstacles.
 
More after the break. And yes, I already know that this is a rambling, loose, poorly edited review in which I'm going to complain about "Arrested Development" Season 4 being rambling, loose and poorly edited. Like Mitch Hurwitz, I am a victim of the freedom of the Internet. 
 
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<p>Poor Emma.</p>

Poor Emma.

Credit: A&E

A&E's 'Bates Motel' finale closes Season 1 - Are you psycho for it yet?

Something seems to be wrong with Norman Bates
Oh, "Bates Motel."
 
You came so close to me being really excited with how strongly you concluded your first season on Monday (May 20) night.
 
Yes, I've had reservations about "Bates Motel" from the very beginning. 
 
After four episodes, I was convinced I didn't like the show very much at all. I was fatigued by the human trafficking and the vast pot farms and the not-quite-"Twin Peaks" "This Is A Town With SECRETS" clumsiness and the "If this isn't leading up to 'Psycho' why are you ripping off 'Psycho'?" iconoclasm. 
 
But as the weeks progressed, I found myself more easily able to concentrate on the elements that were working effectively and either the show started de-emphasizing the things I wasn't liking, or maybe I just started de-emphasizing them in my mind. 
 
The finale, titled "Midnight," was full of things to recommend it, so I was feeling generous. 
 
And then, "Bates Motel" built what I was completely certain was going to be the season's last shot. I smiled and typed, "Excellent," as things faded to black.
 
And then the show had to go and spoil my happiness by tacking on a stupid bonus that left me concentrating on how frequently the storytellers have struggled to get out of their own way this season, gilding the lily of a great character study with superfluous details and filler plotlines. 
 
So close!
 
More thoughts on the "Bates Motel" finale after the break. Spoilers, obviously.
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 183

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 183

Dan and Alan talk 'Goodwin Games,' 'Motive,' 'Behind the Candelabra' and more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
After two lengthy podcasts last week outside of our normal Monday home, it's back to Monday for a much more business-as-usual Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We've got reviews of a bunch of summer dump shows that we don't particularly care about. We talk about HBO's "Behind the Candelabra," which we quite like. Because there were lots of lamentations last week, we talk about "New Girl." And we spend plenty of time on "Mad Men."
 
Next week, because of Memorial Day and the need to watch many episodes of "Arrested Development," we're probably going to podcast on Wednesday.
 
Here's today's breakdown:
"The Goodwin Games" (00:01:30 - 00:13:19)
"Motive" (00:13:20 - 00:22:35)
"Save Me" (00:22:37 - 00:34:20)
"Behind the Candelabra" (00:34:25 - 00:46:00)
"New Girl" (00:46:00 - 00:56:30)
"Saturday Night Live" (00:56:35 - 01:13:25)
"Mad Men" (01:15:45 - 01:44:00)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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