<p>Tom Selleck of CBS' 'Blue Bloods'</p>

Tom Selleck of CBS' 'Blue Bloods'

Credit: CBS

TV Review: CBS' 'Blue Bloods'

Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg lead a well-cast drama with some potential
This has been a bear of a week, TV-wise, right?
 
Between Monday and Thursday, the networks premiered 15 new shows. The only two that I didn't review were "Detroit 187," because nobody really needed my opinion on a generic cop drama that I'll never watch again, and "The Whole Truth," simply because I didn't have the time. My apologies to those two dramas if they happened to feel left out of this week's orgy of reviews.
 
After this week? Things calm down again. Unless I'm forgetting something (very possible), the only two new network shows to launch this fall are ABC's fun and appealing "No Ordinary Family" and ABC's surprisingly solid "Body of Proof," though the latter series doesn't even have a premiere date.
 
Because the networks aren't launching a single new show on Sunday nights this fall -- a fact I find odd, but only incidentally odd -- the final new series premiere of this chaotic, exhausting week is CBS' "Blue Bloods." Perhaps that distinction is why I'm going to bother doing a full review for "Blue Bloods," rather than just being satisfied with a four-word post along the likes of "'Blue Bloods' is OK."
 
On the surface, CBS' "Blue Bloods" has all of the pieces in place to be a very good or possibly great TV show. Based on the pilot, though, there's a sense that the folks involved may be content with merely "good." Certainly that should be enough to keep CBS viewers content at 10 p.m. on Fridays, since it's not like the audience coming out of "CSI: New York" at 9 p.m. will be demanding excellence.
 
Full review after the break...
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<p>Matt Nix</p>

Matt Nix

Watch: Matt Nix teases the return of 'The Good Guys'

How will things be different for Colin Hanks, Bradley Whitford and the mustache?
"The Good Guys" returns to FOX on Friday (Sept. 24) night, but perhaps the network would prefer you look at tonight's premiere as a new beginning, since audiences weren't exactly flocking to the action-comedy during its summer run.
 
The core of "The Good Guys" remains intact from the first nine episodes. It's still a Dallas-set cop show about put-upon detectives played by Colin Hanks, Bradley Whitford and Bradley Whitford's mustache. 
 
However, there have been some minor changes made to the show's tone, to its structure and to its cast of characters. 
 
We could tell you how things may look or feel different, but wouldn't you rather see how "Good Guys" creator Matt Nix explained things to HitFix?
 
Exactly...
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<p>Shannon Elkins of 'Survivor: Nicaragua'</p>

Shannon Elkins of 'Survivor: Nicaragua'

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Shannon Elkins talks 'Survivor: Nicaragua'

Sexist and homophobic or just misunderstood? Shannon tries to explain

It's usually pretty easy to forget the first couple contestants eliminated from "Survivor."

Shannon Elkins, second contestant booted from "Survivor: Nicaragua" is unlikely to be forgotten, at least for a while.
 
It's uncommon for a contestant to earn so much fan ire in such a short period of time, but Shannon had viewers accusing him of misogyny after the premiere, when he attempted to bond with Chase for the sole purpose of preventing another female winner, and then he made accusations of homophobia pretty easy after a strange Tribal Council confrontation with Sash during this Wednesday's (Sept. 22) episode.
 
I caught up with Shannon on Thursday morning and the Louisiana native wasn't quite contrite about what went down on his last night in the game, though he offered some measure of apology, while also attempting to put his comments, about both women and homosexuals, in context. Whether you buy his reasoning -- the beauty of keeping these interviews in Q&A form is that these are his words and you can make your own calls --- it's hard to deny that Shannon is a candid guy who doesn't see the point in holding back on his opinions.
 
Shannon's exit interview after the break... Note that Shannon's language is occasionally "colorful."
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<p>Tamara Taylor and TJ Thyne of 'Bones'</p>

Tamara Taylor and TJ Thyne of 'Bones'

Watch: Tamara Taylor & TJ Thyne talk 'Bones' Season 6

Find out what Cam and Hodgins have to say about the upcoming season

 When we left "Bones" last May, the characters were scattering in myriad directions, with Booth going off to war, Bones going off on a research trip and Hodgins and Angela heading off to Paris, pretty much leaving poor Cam all alone.

 
It probably shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that Thursday (Sept. 23) night's "Bones" premiere is all about getting the band back together with a mystery that requires each of them and their individual fields of expertise. 
 
Last week, I caught up with TJ Thyne and Tamara Taylor to discuss the "Bones" premiere and what's on tap for the season to come. 
 
This interview isn't hugely spoiler-y, but it does discuss some of the things that transpire in "The Mastodon in the Room," which is why I'm posting it on the late side. You can either watch before the episode to whet your appetite, or you can check out out after you've seen the premiere.
 
It's all good!
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<p>Kelli Garner and Sebastian Sozzi of 'My Generation'</p>

Kelli Garner and Sebastian Sozzi of 'My Generation'

Credit: ABC

TV Review: ABC's 'My Generation'

Poor writing, a silly misused stylistic conceit and some really unlikable characters combine
Michael Apted's "Up!" series of documentaries ranks as one of the great achievements in the history of film and television. It's almost impossible to underestimate its value as both a piece of cinema and a piece of cultural anthropology. If you haven't seen the films, which have checked in on the lives of a group of British children every seven years since they were seven, take a long weekend and watch the DVDs.
 
One of the things that critics have said as they watched the way that Neil and Nick and Tony and John and the rest evolved from kids to mature adults is that the "Up!" series crafted real human drama in a way that you could never script.
 
That's a memo that Noah Hawley, a professed fan of the "Up!" series probably got, but he decided to try anyway. 
 
And now, thanks to ABC's new mocku-dramedy "My Generation," he's a cautionary tale.
 
Although "My Generation" mimics a documentary style, it's a crushing disappointment in which every single moment rings false. It's as tone-deaf a pilot as you'll see this fall, though I suppose it will find a few fans, mostly among viewers who are literally the exact same age as the characters on-screen. [I'm five years older than they are, which ought to make me at least close enough to a demographic match, but apparently not-so-much.]
 
Full review of "My Generation" after the break...
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<p>'My Generation'</p>

'My Generation'

Credit: ABC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 38

Dan & Alan tear into 'Outsourced,' 'Feces My Dad Says,' 'My Generation' and more...

The

Happy Thursday, Boys and Girls. 

Welcome to what was supposed to be a Wednesday installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. We had tech issues both yesterday and today, but yesterday's tech issues were insurmountable, while today's tech issues were at least semi-surmountable. So surmount we did!
 
Since we missed out on yesterday, we backtracked a bit today and talked about the "American Idol" judging announcement and some early ratings returns. We also did quick reviews of the new Wednesday shows, before tearing into "Outsourced," "Feces My Dad Says" and "My Generation," Thursday's New Unholy Trinity. Since the Wednesday reviews were a little more jumbled together than usual, I've grouped them together in the breakdown. Nothing is especially spoiler-y.
 
The breakdown...
 
The "American Idol" judging announcement -- 01:40 - 08:30
Early ratings -- 08:30 - 19:25
After-the-fact reviews of new Wednesday shows -- 19:30 - 32:10
"My Generation" -- 32:15 - 37:20
"Feces My Dad Says" -- 37:22 - 42:35
"Outsourced" -- 42:40 - 48:05
"Blue Bloods" -- 49:15 - 52:05
 
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...
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<p>John Noble</p>

John Noble

Watch: John Noble talks 'Fringe' Season 3

'Fringe' star teases what's ahead for Walter and Walternate this season

Last month, I spent a long afternoon on the Vancouver set of FOX's "Fringe" chatting with much of the cast and even appearing as an extra in a key scene that I still can't discuss. 

 
I can tease that in said scene, I got to work with John Noble, the show's Emmy-worthy star. But more on that in the weeks to come.
 
Suffice to say, then, that I just interviewed Noble about his dual roles as Walter and Walternate on "Fringe," but helped by some fresh questions and Noble's status as one of the best, most thoughtful actors in the biz, my on-video chat was entirely different. That'll just mean that one interview won't usurp the other and you can look forward to twice the Noble!
 
Check out what TV's best mad scientist/alt-world dignitary had to say about Season 3 of "Fringe," which premieres on Thursday (Sept. 23) night on FOX.
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<p>The cast of NBC's 'Outsourced'</p>

The cast of NBC's 'Outsourced'

Credit: NBC

TV Review: NBC's 'Outsourced'

The fall's worst pilot traffics mostly in lazy Indian stereotypes and stale punchlines
Remember all of the rambling I did in my summer TV show reviews about how there are right and wrong ways to introduce characters?
 
I'll point you in the direction of NBC's "Outsourced" for how a poor character introduction can do irreparable damage to a show which probably would have been horrible either way.
 
In our opening scene, we meet Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport), fresh out of the management training program at Mid America Novelties. He arrives in the company's Kansas City offices and finds them evacuated, all the employees laid off and the call centers moved to India. His boss tells him that not only does he still have his job, but he's being bumped up to vice president. The only catch? He has to go to India to do his job.
 
Now, Todd is 25 years old with $40,000 in student loans (not that much, but whatever). We never hear mention of any person ties -- family, friends, girlfriend -- he has in the area. He's discovered that every single person in his department *but* him is suddenly out of work and he's being sent to a foreign country. And his reaction is to make a horrified and disgusted face as if this were the worst thing he could ever be forced to do in the history of the universe. He begins to make a grand and determined stand that he'd rather be unemployed than take an executive position in India, but finally, still grimacing and now resigned, he accepts this horrible fate.
 
Leaving aside how smarmy and unlikable Rappaport is in this moment -- he never recovers -- it's a choice that sets up everything to follow from "Outsourced." 
 
On one imaginary hand, you could have a show about a young American worker who's so grateful to have a job and so intrigued by the idea of moving to a foreign country that he embarks to India determined to eagerly experience a foreign country and having a professional adventure while he's still young enough to enjoy it. Maybe he doesn't love everything he discovers there, but he's constantly having his expectations challenged and he knows that when he returns to the States in a few years, he'll have the sort of stories and experiences you can't pay for. Some weeks he could laugh at the Indians. Some weeks they could laugh at him. Occasionally the writers would have to do a bit of research to learn something about the country they were setting their show in. I would watch this show.
 
Or you could have "Outsourced," where a sour-faced American initially reacts to India with repulsion and travels abroad to discover that every stereotype that he harbored about Indian culture in his sheltered, insular upbringing was exactly correct, that Indians are, indeed, a strange and weird people with food that gives normal people (white people) diarrhea. 
 
This character introduction is not why "Outsourced" is the fall's worst new show, but it's a tiny piece at the tip of the iceberg of why "Outsourced" is the fall's worst new show.
 
More after the break...
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<p>William Shatner of 'Feces My Dad Says'</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

William Shatner of 'Feces My Dad Says'

 

Credit: CBS

TV Review: CBS' '$#*! My Dad Says'

William Shatner comedy still isn't good, but the revised pilot is an improvement
There's a presumption amongst several publicists and friends and readers that I enjoy being mean, especially when it comes to shows I don't like. 
 
That's just plain false. I'm like the main character in NBC's "Mercy" in a line that appeared in the original pilot and was a centerpiece of the show's ad campaign but, if memory serves, was trimmed before the episode premiered. I don't look at bad shows and say, "You suck." I look at bad shows and say, "I want you to be *better*."
 
That was what I told my revised screener for CBS' "Feces My Dad Says" when I tossed it into my DVD player the other day.
 
And guess what?
 
It was!
 
I didn't laugh a single time at the new "Feces My Dad Says" pilot, the one viewers will get to see on Thursday (Sept. 23) night, but the improvement over the first pilot sent back in May was tremendous. Going into the revised pilot, "Feces" and NBC's "Outsourced" were neck-and-neck for the year's worst pilot and that's a title "Outsourced" now has completely to itself. That's no small thing.
 
In fact, facing "Outsourced" and "My Generation," I think I can actually say that "Feces My Dad Says" is now the best new show premiering on Thursday night.
 
Stop and reflect on that for a bit. 
 
The full review will be after the break...
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<p>The cast of CBS' 'The Defenders'</p>

The cast of CBS' 'The Defenders'

Credit: CBS

TV Review: CBS' 'The Defenders'

Set your expectations low and you might have fun with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell
Hollywood just can't take the Las Vegas Tourism Board at its word that what happens in Sin City is supposed to remain there. 
 
Quite the contrary, movies and TVs have done little to dissuade audiences from the notion that not only does what happens in Vegas most certainly translate well outside of Vegas, but it's also bigger, flashier and zanier than what happens any other place on Earth (especially Laughlin).
 
It isn't just that Las Vegas has the best options for bachelor parties and dead hooker burying -- though that's certainly true. But in recent years, TV has educated us that Las Vegas also has the best murders ("CSI"), the best medical cases ("dr. vegas") and now, thanks to CBS' "The Defenders," it's making its case for having the best legal altercations. And trust me, if I had my way, Vegas would also be the home to HitFix's second best TV writer, because I love me some Vegas.
 
I know people who hate Las Vegas -- Communists, Satanists and Vegans for the most part -- but you can't deny the basic supposition: Vegas is a good backdrop for drama, at least in theory. In execution? Well, that's where things get sticky. There's a reason "CSI" has aired over 225 episodes (and counting), while "dr. vegas" aired five episodes.
 
Will "The Defenders" be another "CSI" or another "dr. vegas"? That's a hard question for me to answer, especially since I kind liked "dr. vegas." I mean, Rob Lowe, Amy Adams and Tom Sizemore? What wasn't to like, America? What. Wasn't. To. Like?
 
[Full review of "The Defenders" after the break...]
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