<p>Dia Frampton of 'The Voice'</p>
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Dia Frampton of 'The Voice'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' - Team Christina vs. Team Blake

'The Voice' goes live with 8 quarterfinals performances

Does anybody else feel like they're pretty much making it up as they go along on "The Voice"?

Before the show premiered, the hype was all about the Blind Auditions. Those lasted for all of two episodes. Then there were the Battle episodes, which somehow stretched a total of 16 performances over four episodes of the most padded TV programming imaginable. And starting tonight (June 7)? Well, NBC's calling Tuesday's show the start of the Quarter-Finals, but other than a couple vague and confusing videos, it's been impossible to know what to expect from the two-hour live episode. That makes life hard on your Friendly Neighborhood Recapper.

It turns out that we're getting performances from two teams tonight. Team Christina's Wailing Divas will go up against Team Blake's Insecure Hipsters. I think I'm going to recap the episode like I'd recap any "American Idol" performance episode, but I'm as clueless about what tonight's episode entails as y'all are. So click through for... something.

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<p>Kyle MacLachlan of 'Twin Peaks'</p>
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Kyle MacLachlan of 'Twin Peaks'

Credit: ABC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 77

Dan and Alan talk 'Twin Peaks,' 'Switched at Birth,' 'X-Men' and more

The

Happy Late Monday/ Early Tuesday, Boys & Girls.
 
We apologize for the late posting of this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, but Sepinwall was in the air in transit to Los Angeles and we actually got the opportunity to do a rare podcast recorded together and in-person.
 
This week marks the beginning of our summer re-watch of "Twin Peaks." We also talked about the ABC Family drama "Switched at Birth," touched on "X-Men: First Class" and answered a couple pieces of Listener Mail.
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Switched at Birth" -- 01:40 - 12:00
"X-Men: First Class" -- 12:00 - 19:40
Listener Mail: Showkillers -- 19:50 - 30:50
Listener Mail: Empty Cups -- 31:00 - 34:20
"Twin Peaks" Re-Watch -- 34:25 - 01:02:00

 

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 here's the podcast...

 

<p>Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano of 'Switched at Birth'</p>
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Katie Leclerc and Vanessa Marano of 'Switched at Birth'

Credit: ABC Family

TV Review: ABC Family's 'Switched at Birth'

New drama skips sensationalism to cover some interesting terrain
In our podcast last week, Sepinwall and I discussed how difficult it sometimes is for a network to have a clear brand identity, while simultaneous fulfilling a mandate as a broadcaster. A point I made is that cable networks, with their ability to narrowcast rather than broadcast, should (and usually do) have a far easier time clarifying their brand identity.
 
That isn't always the case, even on cable. TNT would have a hard time explaining how "The Closer," "Men of a Certain Age," "Falling Skies" and "Franklin & Bash" all belong wedged under the same programming umbrella. 
 
There are no such issues at ABC Family, which has a brand as clear and focused as any on cable. Yes, I've made a big deal about the network's occasionally conflicted approach to its young teenage audience, the gap between sexy, edgier trash ("trash," in this case, not necessarily meant as a pejorative) like "Pretty Little Liars" and preachier offerings like "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" or, in certain awkward moments, "Make It or Break It," which may straddle the line as well as anything on ABC Family's schedule (now that "Greek" is sadly departed). 
 
ABC Family's brand is so strong that they're launching four fairly different new shows this summer and all four -- "Switched at Birth," "State of Georgia," "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" and "The Lying Game" - seem to be programs that could only air on ABC Family. [And several of the four seem destined to outdraw anything airing on The CW, which is content to be ABC Family's buzzier broadcast equivalent.]
 
First to come off the assembly line is "Switched at Birth," which takes an initially sensationalistic premise and treats it with dignity and attention to detail. Although it's thematically clunky and occasionally dramatically stagnant, "Switched At Birth" is carried by a slew of likable performances and an admirable respect for its myriad complications. I wouldn't say that I "enjoyed" to two episodes I watched, but I was interested in the way the storytelling unfolded.
 
Click through for a full review of "Switched At Birth."
 
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<p>MTV Movie Awards host Jason Sudeikis</p>
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MTV Movie Awards host Jason Sudeikis

Credit: MTV

MTV Movie Awards 2011 Live-Blog

Jason Sudeikis hosts a 'Twilight'-filled evening of Golden Popcorn Buckets

Before we begin the live-blogging festivities associated with Sunday (June 5) night's MTV Movie Awards, I should make a confession: I don't know how to spell Jason Sudeikis' last name. He doesn't know how to spell my last name either, but he's not live-blogging my live-blogging of his performance hosting the 2011 MTV Movie Awards, so he's unlikely to be humiliated. 

Fortunately, I've got "Sudeikis" on my cut-and-paste clipboard, so let's get this live-blog started! Drop by and comment during the show...

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<p>Tyler Poser of 'Teen Wolf'</p>
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Tyler Poser of 'Teen Wolf'

Credit: MTV

TV Review: MTV's 'Teen Wolf'

Bland, pretty reboot is no 'Vampire Diaries' and no Michael J. Fox 'Teen Wolf'
I don't want it to consume my entire review, but since I've been ranting about it for nearly a year at this point, I'm absolutely comfortable with allowing it to consume my entire intro:
 
If you want to make a serious drama about counselors and kids at a summer camp, ending with a triumphant and straight-faced victory at their annual color wars competition? That's fine. It just doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter. But don't call your project "Meatballs."
 
If you have a Mitch Albom-style tear-jerker you want to do focusing on a wealthy, obnoxious businessman who returns to university in order to encourage his son to progress his education? That's fine. It just doesn't matter. But don't call your project "Back to School."
 
If you have an epic outer space western about a gang of rag-tag underdogs who attempt to save a princess, in which the main hero discovers he has a shared family history with the main villain, a man in a dark helmet, with a dark cape? And you want to tell an unwinking Joseph Campbell-style journey? Well, you may have to deal with George Lucas' lawyers, but you won't get a quibble from me. But you know what I'd prefer you not do? Don't call your project "Spaceballs."
 
I don't think my requests here are unreasonable.
 
If you wish to latch onto what you imagine to be a marketable title of a project from my youth like a mindless parasite, at least show a wee bit of respect to the audience whose insatiable nostalgia you're catering to or counting on. Don't keep one or two names and a tiny part of the backdrop while totally overhauling the tone, mythology or structure. If you need to do that, why not just give your characters original names and give your project its own title. Why not roll the dice on your own ability to be creative in titling and promoting your series and allowing it to stand on its own four paws without risking the ire of bitter Gen Y-ers with blogs? Oh right. You can't, because your entire project is the fruit of creative laziness to begin with and you're counting on a familiar name to do what originality and freshness might have done in the past.
 
In short: Yo, MTV. If you want to remake "Teen Wolf," please respect that the original movie was a loosely structured horror-comedy about a likable Everyman who comes from a family with an Everywolf past and who uses his new-found lycanthropic skills to play basketball and do theater, but eventually learns self-confidence without howling at the moon. I'm pretty wedded to the specifics of the 1985 Michael J. Fox feature, but I acknowledge that accommodations probably need to be made to bring the story to the 21st Century. With that in mind, as long as you understand that the reason "Teen Wolf" was a hit was its absurd comic charm and the goofball transformation of its diminutive Canadian leading man, we'll be aces. Oh and if you could also make sure that the main character has an adorable female friend named "Boof," that would probably also be ideal.
 
Because, you see, it's not like the world has a shortage of werewolf stories with a tortured, dramatic backdrop. Suddenly discovering that every full moon you get hairy, fangy and violent could be a disturbing transformation. I wouldn't deny that for a second. That's just not what "Teen Wolf" is. "Teen Wolf" is about learning you have a family curse and using that curse to slam dunk a basketball, purchase beer by the keg, surf on the roof of a van and grab the boob of the previously unobtainable cheerleader, before realizing that you're cool enough and assertive enough to do all of those things as a less hirsute Canuck. That is what the primary ethos of "Teen Wolf" is. If you don't get that, you're making something that isn't "Teen Wolf." 
 
It's possible that what you're spiritually remaking is the 1957 Michael Landon classic "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," which wasn't a silly comedy and also had a catchy and easily re-digestible name that's probably equally meaningless to MTV's core demographic of 15-year-old pregnant teens. It's a minor irony that in 2011, the title of "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" -- a drama in its original incarnation -- probably conveys only comedy, while "Teen Wolf" -- a comedy in its original incarnation -- has been deemed viable as a drama, but MTV's core demo doesn't understand irony particularly well. Either way, you're not remaking "Teen Wolf." So why not drop the one or two similar character names and, of course, the title and see if your project can seduce viewers on its own merits? After all, it's obvious that you don't especially like or respect "Teen Wolf," so how do you think it makes you look to rely so heavily on the title of something you clearly feel superior to? 
 
That's it for that. MTV's "Teen Wolf," which premieres on Sunday (June 5) night after the MTV Movie Awards isn't "Teen Wolf." It isn't even "Teen Wolf For a New Generation" unless MTV is convinced that the "new generation" doesn't have a sense of humor. It's MTV misappropriating an established title because buying a title and its possible brand visibility is easier and cheaper than convincing viewers to watch "Lacrosse Lupus" or "WereStud" or "9021Oooooooooo" or "Pretty Little Lycans." 
 
Having dedicated my entire intro to making it clear what MTV's "Teen Wolf" isn't, click through for a review that may get into what MTV's Teen Wolf" actually is.
 
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<p>Rob Corddry of 'Childrens Hospital'</p>
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Rob Corddry of 'Childrens Hospital'

Credit: Adult Swim

HitFix Interview: Rob Corddry talks 'Childrens Hospital'

Season Three of the irreverent comedy begins on Thursday
Childrens Hospital is a terrible place to get your kid treated, but the satirical series of the same name has become a reliable source of irreverent laughter and a welcome outlet for mockery-starved fans of shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "House."
 
Originally developed for TheWB.com and then migrated over to Adult Swim for its second season, "Childrens Hospital" remains slightly under-the-radar, or at least more under-the-radar than you'd expect for a show that stars Rob Corddry, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino and Megan Mullally, Malin Åkerman and Henry Winkler, with an impressive assortment of guest stars including Jon Hamm, Ernie Hudson and Nick Offerman. Airing on the Internet or late-night cable will do that.
 
"Childrens Hospital" -- named for Dr. Childrens, hence the editor-thwarting lack of apostrophe -- returns for its third season on Thursday (June 2) night with its usually high quotient of fake blood and genre-tweaking wackiness. If you've ever watched a medical drama before, it won't take you long to catch on.
 
I got on the phone with series creator and co-star Corddry to chat about what viewers can expect.
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<p>Tyler Posey of 'Teen Wolf'</p>
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Tyler Posey of 'Teen Wolf'

Credit: MTV

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 76

Dan and Alan talk 'Teen Wolf,' 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Killing' and make an announcement

The

 
Happy Tuesday, Boys and Girls. After taking Memorial Day off, it's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
On this week's podcast, we've got reviews for TNT's "Franklin & Bash" and MTV's "Teen Wolf." We also check in on "Men of a Certain Age," "The Killing" and "Game of Thrones." We also answered some Listener Mail and, at the very end of the podcast, we reveal the show that's going to be this summer's Firewall & Iceberg podcast re-view. Whee!
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Teen Wolf" -- 01:50 - 14:15
"Franklin & Bash" -- 14:20 - 21:30
"Men of a Certain Age" -- 21:30 - 28:05
Listener Mail: Network Branding -- 28:20 - 34:45
Listener Mail: Shows with many finales -- 34:50 - 41:00
Listener Mail: Same actors playing multiple roles on shows -- 41:00 - 44:45
"Game of Thrones" -- 45:20 - 55:10
"The Killing" -- 55:20 - 01:05:25
The Grand Summer-Rewatch Announcement -- 01:05:30 - 01:09:00

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 here's the podcast...

 

<p>Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Malcolm McDowell and Breckin Meyer of 'Franklin &amp; Bash'</p>
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Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Malcolm McDowell and Breckin Meyer of 'Franklin & Bash'

Credit: TNT

TV Review: TNT's 'Franklin & Bash'

Breckin Meyer, Mark-Paul Gosselaar series isn't satisfying as comedy or legal drama
As part of the upfront chaos that peaked last month, the Big 5 networks (or Big 4 + The CW, depending on how you keep track) canceled dozens upon dozens of shows to make room for dozens upon dozens of fresh-faced pilots, as part of the reliable The Devil You Don't Know Could Draw Higher Ratings Than The Devil You Do Know ethos that fuels the industry unless you happen to be "Fringe" or "Chuck."
 
[Check out the Funeral Plans for 2010-2011's Network TV Freshman Casualties gallery Sepinwall and I threw together...]
 
Many of the departed shows had fans, vocal fans, people willing to spew great gouts of vitriol in the direction of anonymous network suits for having the temerity to cancel a "Chicago Code" or a "V." Although it was among the most empirically popular shows to get the axe -- using Nielsen measurement, because otherwise we're relying purely on anecdote -- "The Defenders" has inspired minimal lamentation.
 
"The Defenders" wasn't a great show and it didn't re-write the rules of the legal procedural, but it was a surprisingly pleasant dramedy about two likable rogues (Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell) who practiced law on the edge. Half ambulance chasers, half bleeding hearts, they took an oddball assortment of cases tied to no particular branch of legal expertise and they reliably won, because they were willing to do whatever was necessary to help their clients. They wouldn't exactly break the law, but they'd definitely push the edge of the legal envelop, turning every case into the sort of circus that probably had real lawyers in the audience cringing. Sometimes the cases were interesting and occasionally the Vegas setting added value (even if they stopped shooting in Sin City after the pilot), but what carried "The Defenders" was the strong chemistry between Belushi and O'Connell, the -- God, I hate this word and its rampant overuse -- "bromance" between the two characters, a mixture of bickering and mutual respect which, in a show with mixed-gender leads, would have spawned endless will-they/won't-they speculation. Like I said, "The Defenders" wasn't the sort of show that I'd ever get worked up enough over to truly mourn its passing (much less write about on a regular basis), but it was in a category with "Castle" and "Hawaii Five-0" of network procedurals I DVR and contentedly watched while doing a couple other things. 
 
Plowing through five episodes of TNT's "Franklin & Bash," including rewatching the pilot and third episodes that I first watched back in December, the thought that most frequently came to my mind was, "Geez. This is making me miss 'The Defenders.'"
 
All of the things that "The Defenders," and specifically Belushi and O'Connell, did to downplay the annoying and superficially quirky aspects of the main characters and their practice, "Franklin & Bash" eschews. It's "The Defenders" shot through what the writers hope will come across as a youthful filter. It doesn't work.Too many of the characters in "Franklin & Bash" are stuck in obnoxious ruts and the cases-of-the-week aren't fresh enough to compensate. The result is a broad, sloppy series that actually would have played better on TNT's corporate sibling TBS. You know what would have played better on TNT? That's right. "The Defenders."
 
More on "Franklin & Bash" after the break...
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<p>Jewel and Kara DioGuardio of 'Platinum Hit'</p>
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Jewel and Kara DioGuardio of 'Platinum Hit'

Credit: Bravo

TV Review: Bravo's 'Platinum Hit'

Jewel and Kara DioGuardi don't make beautiful music in this songwriting competition
[This review's gonna be a short one, but otherwise HitFix won't have any coverage of the premiere of "Platinum Hit." And that would be a true tragedy.]
 
Bravo and I, we have an understanding. Bravo makes shows that work within the various tiers of the Bravo formula and I politely ignore Bravo shows if they don't involve the hasty preparation of food. I skip anything involving housewives from across the country or elaborately contrived docu-drama showcases for people in professions utilized only by the wealthy, but I at least sample the network's various interchangeable competition shows built around the formula that the Magical Elves production team brought to "Top Chef."
 
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<p>Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Cat Deeley of 'So You Think You Can Dance'</p>
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Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Cat Deeley of 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Credit: FOX

Our Fantasy 'Idol' champ is crowned... On to Fantasy 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Think you have what it takes to spot America's favorite dancer?
HitFix made its first foray into Reality Fantasy Leagues with our "American Idol" showdown and we feel pretty great with how that experiment went.
 
In all, we had roughly 1000 players in our HitFix Open League for "American Idol," in which the top prize was an 11-inch MacBook Air.
 
Enthusiastic congratulations to our winner, Amy Weiss.
 
Our champ writes in, "I'm from Chicago and I'm 23. My friend Danny (who first introduced me to HitFix a couple of years ago and is an absolute uberfan--he finished 6th) set up a league and invited some friends. A few of us probably took it a little too seriously and had some intense instant message discussions on Thursdays while we each debated what to do. Ultimately, every week I would try to synthesize the general sentiments of the Idol blogosphere and trust my own intuition. I was lucky to put myself in a pretty good spot after the top 13 and didn't make many moves unless I was sure they were necessary. I had a lot of fun playing and it ended up being much more successful than my fantasy baseball team!"
 
Amy's bracket had the eliminated contestant properly positioned for seven of 10 single-elimination weeks and nailed both eliminated contestants in the double-elimination week caused by Casey Abrams and The Judges' Save.
 
HitFix had a number of Featured Players including past contestants Phil Stacey and Melinda Doolittle, plus several established "Idol" pundits. Not to toot my own horn, but I pretty much dominated the Featured Players category. No, I'm not particularly awesome (I only finished 25th overall) but, I did have Scotty McCreery slotted as my winner from the day the competition opened. That probably helped.
 
Because Fantasy "American Idol" did so well, HitFix is expanding our fantasy roster with Fantasy "So You Think You Can Dance." The new season began on Thursday night and Liane Bonin Starr will be providing regular recaps for HitFix. We're still a couple weeks away from the announcement of the "SYTYCD" Top 20 and the weekly eliminations, but our fantasy league is now open. I plan to do FAR worse in this league.