<p>Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano of &quot;Switched at Birth&quot;</p>
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Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano of "Switched at Birth"

Credit: ABC Family

HitFix Interview: Creator Lizzy Weiss talks 'Switched at Birth'

ABC Family's hit drama resumes its first season on Tuesday
ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" was one of 2011's pleasant surprises.
 
The potentially tawdry tale of two teenage girls who discover they were [the title doesn't lie] switched at birth -- One's an aspiring artist raised by wealthy parents, one's a deaf basketball player raced by a blue collar single mom -- was rendered with enough sensitivity and nuance to earn a place on my Second 10 of 2011 list. 
 
In addition to being unexpectedly good, "Switched at Birth" also proved extremely successful for ABC Family, which gave the drama a back-22, bringing its first season to a whopping 32 episodes.
 
"Switched at Birth" returns on Tuesday (January 3) for the second block of episodes and I chatted with series creator Lizzy Weiss ("Blue Crush") about what's in store for Daphne (Katie Leclerc) and Bay (Vanessa Marano), their newly blended families and, of course, Emmett (Sean Berdy).
 
Click through for the full Q&A...
 
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Credit: Showtime

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 110

Dan and Alan review 'Work It,' 'Shameless,' 'Downton Abbey,' 'The Firm' and more

The

The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast leaps into 2012 with a busy show that includes reviews of "Work It," "Downton Abbey," "Shameless," "House of Lies" and "The Firm."
 
As if that's not enough, we fielded a little bit of Listener Mail.
 
And as if that weren't enough, we also spent WAY too long -- especially since this podcast was a Skype nightmare -- talking about the NFL MVP race and then the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. 
 
As a friendly reminder: The sports stuff is 100% backloaded to the end of what was already a regulation-lengthed podcast. It didn't take away from our TV talk time. It was just something we did at the end. We won't be offended if you don't listen.
 
And don't worry, we probably won't do any sports talk the next couple weeks, because we're going to be at Press Tour and there will still be premieres galore. But we'll be in the same place.
 
Anyway, here's the breakdown:
"Work It" (02:35 - 17:15)
"Downton Abbey" (17:20 - 27:20)
"The Firm" (27:25 - 38:20)
"Shameless" (38:30 - 47:55)
"House of Lies" (48:00 - 56:40)
Listener Mail - Reviewing shows projecting forward (57:00 - 01:04:10)
The NFL MVP Race (01:04:35 - 01:10:15)
The Baseball Hall of Fame (01:10:15 - 01:31:30)

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.] 

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 109 - Worst of 2011

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 109 - Worst of 2011

Dan and Alan go through the year's TV lowlights

The

Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!
 
In our final Firewall & Iceberg Podcast of 2011, Sepinwall and I celebrate the year's worst TV. While our "Best Of..." podcast had the structure of our respective Top 10s, this "Worst Of..." is just us going back and forth tearing into some of our least favorite shows of the year. 
 
We also reviewed HBO's "Angry Boys," which I liked a bit more than Alan did, but still didn't enjoy all that much.
 
As a warning, there are very few big spoilers in this podcast, *but* there was no way to talk about the "Dexter" finale and its awfulness without getting specific.
 
If you're a "Dexter" viewer, but haven't watched the end of this season, that discussion takes place between 48:00 and 52:50.
 
Here's the broad breakdown:
TV's Worst of 2011 (02:30 - 01:02:00)
"Angry Boys" (01:02:05 - 01:11:10)

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.] 

<p>Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin of &quot;Shameless&quot;</p>
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Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin of "Shameless"

Credit: Showtime

The Fien Print's TV Second 10 of 2011

Which shows just missed the cut for our critic's Top 10?
In case you've forgotten, here was my list of TV's Top 10 for 2011.
 
1) "Friday Night Lights"
2) "Breaking Bad"
3) "Downton Abbey"
4) "Parks & Recreation"
5) "Game of Thrones"
6) "Louie"
7) "Justified"
8) "Homeland"
9) "The Vampire Diaries"
10) "The Hour"
 
 
As I said when I posted my Top 10, after the Top 9, there were myriad shows that could have rounded out my list. 
 
Click through for my Second 10. As promised, after keeping my Top 10 to a sacred and unembellished 10, my Second 10 is full of cheats, including one thematic tie, one production block and one limited segment of a year that was otherwise kinda dismal.
 
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<p>&quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot; winner Sophie Clarke</p>

"Survivor: South Pacific" winner Sophie Clarke

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Sophie Clarke talks 'Survivor: South Pacific'

This season's winner talks about the difficulties of staying the course
Sophie Clarke didn't win the most challenges on "Survivor: South Pacific."
 
She wasn't hailed by the CBS promotional team with making the game's Biggest Move.
 
She didn't give herself a bombastic nickname.
 
She didn't cause drama at camp with her religious beliefs, nor did she start a showmance that set tabloid tongues wagging.
 
All Sophie did was follow Rudyard Kipling's edict about keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs. She became the centerpiece of an alliance on Day One and while Albert skittered about contemplating switching things up and Coach prayed on how to make every choice, Sophie stayed the course and steered the course of the game.
 
It didn't hurt that she won three Individual Immunities, including the all-important final Immunity challenge, knocking off the previously unbeatable Ozzy.
 
For her efforts, Sophie was rewarded with a decisive Jury vote and the million dollar prize as this season's "Survivor" champion. 
 
Click through for my full exit interview with Sophie, which came on the heels of a night of CBS fun and a long morning of promotional duties for the 22-year-old medical school student.
 
 
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<p>Coach of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
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Coach of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Benjamin 'Coach' Wade talks 'Survivor: South Pacific'

Why will The Dragonslayer never play 'Survivor' again?
The last time I talked to Benjamin Wade after a "Survivor" season, the man they call "Coach" was still wrestling with the identity crisis of being designated a "Villain" for the "Heroes vs. Villains" installment. 
 
Back then, Coach was talking up the party line of playing a game of honor and integrity, but for the season time, he was espousing those virtues after a shorter-than-desired "Survivor" run.
 
When I caught up with Coach this week, it was after he made it a full season on "Survivor: South Pacific," going all the way to Day 39 and seemingly creating a powerful tribal alliance unified around those honor-and-integrity principles. 
 
Coach finished second in the "Survivor: South Pacific" Jury vote and there was a feeling that may people on the Jury would have given him the million if he'd only admitted that at certain points this season, his honor and integrity gave way to a more traditionally cutthroat game.
 
In our exit interview, Coach talks about why he may not be cold-blooded enough to win "Survivor," what worked for him in this season and why he'll never play "Survivor" again.
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
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<p>The &quot;X Factor&quot; Top 3</p>
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The "X Factor" Top 3

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Finale Live-Blog: Top 3 Performances

Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro and Burrito Josh sing for their millions

Wow. It's the start of the "X Factor" finale. It seems like only 20 or 30 years ago that we started hearing all of the hype about "X Factor" traveling across the Atlantic and like only three or four years ago that FOX premiered the first audition episodes and now it's down to three. 

Tomorrow night, FOX and Simon Cowell are going to give a $5 million recording contract to one of three artists who haven't a chance on God's Green Earth of justifying a deal that big based on any empirical standards. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that Chris Rene, Burrito Josh or Melanie Amaro could possibly sell as many albums as Scotty McCreery, but will any of them sell as many albums as "The Voice" winner Javier Colon? Because go check out his sales figures. Or check out the sales figures for Dia Frampton. 

Anyway, though...

FINALE PERFORMANCES! After the break...

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The Fien Print's TV Top 10 of 2011

Where do 'Game of Thrones,' 'Justified' and other favorites fit in?
If you're a regular podcast listener, I already revealed my Top 10 of 2011 in this week's Firewall & Iceberg. If you're not... This'll be new for you. And even if you already know the listing, you haven't seen my Top 10 with studio-recorded voiceover and superior editing from our video guru Alex Dorn.
 
As I discussed on the podcast, my Top 9 was pretty easy to put together. Other than specific placement between No.6 and No.9, there was almost no deliberation at all. 
 
The issue arose at No.10, where I had five or six shows that I wanted to place in that position. If you're going to cheat -- SEPINWALL!!! -- it's easy to find an extra place for an extra show and I could have come up with thematic reasons to pair, for example, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Archer." If I'd had the chance to see the "Boardwalk Empire" finale before the list was locked, it might have also made a stronger case than it did when the season was unresolved still.
 
But no matter. I'm happy with the show that rounds out my Top 10 list and many of the shows I regretted excluding will appear in my Second 10 blog post later this week and darned if I'm not going to cheat to find a way to get 13 or 14 shows into that Second 10. 
 
This list has what I think is a good mixture of the various types of shows that made 2011 such a solid year on the small screen. I've got a couple comedies, a couple costume dramas, a couple thrillers, a fantasy, a sports drama and TV's *best* show about vampires and werewolves [Suck it, "True Blood"].
 
Anyway, sound off on my Top 10 below. I'll post my Second 10 on Friday, I think.
<p>Albert of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
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Albert of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Albert Destrade talks 'Survivor: South Pacific'

The season's third place finisher makes his case for the million
Although "Survivor" shifted to a three-person finale back in the "Cook Islands" season, Jury votes turned nearly every season into a two-castaway contest, leaving one finalist suffering the ignominy of a Jury shutout.
 
In the case of "Survivor: South Pacific," the castaway who left Sunday (December 18) night's finale voteless was Albert Destrade, who finished third behind Sophie Clarke and Coach.
 
Throughout the season, Albert never lacked for confidence and he headed into the final Tribal Council convinced he'd trounce his rivals and take the million.
 
Instead, Albert chatted with me on Monday morning still irked at the Jury shutout, but also irked at himself for not properly positioning himself as the season's mastermind, which he believes himself to be.
 
In our exit interview, Albert passionately makes his case for his influence on this "Survivor" season, while also lamenting the moves he didn't make that could have won the game for him.
 
Click through and see if you've been swayed to Albert's cause [Coach's exit interview tomorrow, followed by Sophie's the following day.]...
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 108 - Best of 2011

Dan and Alan go through the year's TV highlights

The

Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls.
 
It's time for our special Best of 2011 Podcast.
 
In this podcast, Alan and I discuss our Top 10 lists for the 2011 calendar year. Alan's Top 10 list is already up. Mine isn't. So I guess that makes it a surprise! Mine'll be up in video form in the next day or two.
 
Then, after a long discussion of the year's highlights, we spend a good chunk of time on the finale of "Homeland." It's a nice and extra-long podcast, which'll make up for the fact that next week's podcast -- Worst of 2011!!! -- also won't go up before Tuesday. 
 
As a caveat, I say "s***" once during this podcast. While that would barely earn this podcast a PG rating, we know some of you listen with impressionable youngsters. Or something.
 
Anyway...
 
Today's basic breakdown:
TV's Best of 2011 (04:15 - 01:13:00)
"Homeland" finale (01:13:15 - 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.]