Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 248

Dan and Alan review 'Black-ish,' 'How To Get Away With Murder,' 'Transparent' and more


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls. 

Time for this week's installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. 

Last week we doubled things up so that we could both spend an hour wrapping up our "Friday Night Lights" Summer Rewatch, but also so that we could get a head-start on this week's reviewing. 

That means that this podcast contains reviews of new shows including ABC's "Black-ish," ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder" and Amazon's "Transparent." Although we didn't give it a full review, we reminded y'all that "Key & Peele" returns on Wednesday.

And we also answered one piece of Listener Mail about recent TV coverage of the NFL and we discussed Sunday's "Good Wife" premiere and Monday's "Sleepy Hollow" return.

So that's plenty for one podcast. We may need to double up again next week...

Here's today's breakdown:
"Black-ish" (00:01:55 - 00:11:30)
"Key & Peele" (00:11:35 - 00:14:30)
"How To Get Away With Murder" (00:14:30 - 00:29:15)
"Transparent" (00:29:15 - 00:46:05)
Listener Mail - Recent NFL Coverage (00:46:25 - 52:30)
"Good Wife" premiere (00:53:25 - 01:03:45)
"Sleepy Hollow" premiere (01:03:45 - 01:16:55)

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 or subscribe on IHeartRadio.] 


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



Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion' rock Monday like a hurricane, 'Sleepy Hollow' is drowsy

'The Big Bang Theory' has a huge Monday return for CBS

Fast National ratings for Monday, September 22, 2014.

Even airing outside of its normal Thursday home, "The Big Bang Theory" had a huge launch on Monday, combining with a strong premiere for "Scorpion" to help CBS snatch the Monday ratings crown from NBC, at least overall.

"Big Bang Theory" helped push "The Voice" to a relatively low fall launch, though "Blacklist" returned with big numbers to dominate the "Under the Dome" finale and carry NBC to a win among young viewers.

Over on FOX, the exhaustively promoted premiere of "Gotham" did reasonably big numbers, especially in the key demo, but the return of "Sleepy Hollow" after a nine-month absence was somewhat soft. 

Finally, the night's other major debut was ABC's sneak of "Forever," which drew well below the normal "Castle" ratings for its time period.

Stay tuned for more analysis later when Final Live+Same Day ratings become available.

Now, on to the Fast National numbers...

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'Gotham' co-star Cory Michael Smith discusses slowly building to The Riddler

'Gotham' co-star Cory Michael Smith discusses slowly building to The Riddler

Actor says Edward Nygma is a long way from his villainous destiny

Given the limited amount of time he's featured in the pilot for "Gotham," Cory Michael Smith is appearing in a lot of the FOX drama's publicity.

In fact, chances are good that if Smith were just playing any old character working in the Gotham Police Department, you'd merely think the guy was a little bit quirky, a little bit weird, a little bit mysterious. Dare I say you might call the character a bit of an...

No. Don't use the word "enigma." 

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<p>LeGarrette Blount of the Pittsburgh Steelers</p>

LeGarrette Blount of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: 'Madam Secretary' premiere overshadowed by Super Bowl rematch, Steelers-Panthers

CBS leads Sunday overall, but NBC wins the key demo

Fast National ratings for Sunday, September 21, 2014.

CBS' overrun from a Broncos-Seahawks overtime Super Bowl rematch and NBC's Sunday Night Football telecast dominated primetime in all measures, overshadowing CBS' premieres for "Madam Secretary" and "The Good Wife."

In preliminary numbers, "Madam Secretary" got a good sampling with 14.28 million viewers, but did only a lackluster 1.9 key demo rating, while "The Good Wife" then sunk to 9.95 million and a 1.3 key demo rating, but since football extended roughly 64 minutes into CBS primetime for much of the country each total includes four minutes of the previous program and everybody should know better than to take much stock in the Fast National numbers.

I'll have more analysis either this afternoon with Finals, or bundled into Monday night ratings analysis tomorrow afternoon.

On to the Fast National numbers...

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<p>Katharine McPhee</p>

Katharine McPhee

Credit: AP

Interview: 'Scorpion' star Katharine McPhee on stunts, fictional motherhood and her 'Smash' Tony loss

'American Idol' veteran hopes her CBS drama doesn't let her sing

Going back to my failure to get on-board with the Soul Patrol, I'm accustomed to supporting Katharine McPhee in ill-fated circumstances.

It's no wonder, then, that we're simpatico when it comes to Karen Cartwright losing the Tony to Ivy Lynn.

"That's a great question," McPhee says when I inquire about her disappointment regarding this fictional theater award. "I wanted Karen to win!"

"[M]y heart kind of like broke for her," McPhee admits. "I'm like, 'Really? She ends up with this loser guy who goes to jail and she can't even win the Tony?' And she has to have this nasty catfight with a girl who she could have potentially had a great relationship with? And she can't win the Tony. At least she got to play Marilyn for a little bit."

McPhee's two-year run on "Smash" taught her many lessons, which we discussed in July when we sat down to talk about her new CBS drama "Scorpion," premiering on Monday (September 22) night. The buzzy NBC musical shaped her approach to subsequent acting roles and also impacted what she was looking for in pilots when she looked at scripts last spring.

In "Scorpion," McPhee plays Paige, who begins as a diner waitress trying her best to raise a wildly introverted young genius. Through an odd set of circumstances, she comes to meet Elyes Gabel's Walter O'Brien and his rag-tag team of socially maladjusted whiz-kids and this somehow leads to car chases and a massive stunt involving an airplane.

In our conversation, McPhee talks about what attracted her to Paige and the challenges of playing both a young mother and also playing the "normal" character in a show about prodigies. 

She explains how much, or how little, she got to do in those huge stunt scenes and admits that she has no clue what "Hit List" was actually about.

Oh and how long before her "Scorpion" character takes the gang out karaoke singing? Or at admits her life-long dream has been music? McPhee hopes it's a while.

Check out the full interview...

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<p>&quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

"Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Producer Ken Olin on 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 and getting Timothy Busfield naked

Director discusses the different templates that make 'Sleepy Hollow' unique

WILMINGTON, NC. Ken Olin's giant dog has the run of his office in the gloriously air-conditioned oasis that is the "Sleepy Hollow" production offices at EUE/Screen Gems Studios.

This is a fact I had forgotten until I went back to the recording of my interview with Olin and discovered that the audio is a fine conversation with a steady background of occasionally deafening panting. 

While "Sleepy Hollow" production has the run of large chunks of Wilmington, plus a variety of outdoor environments, EUE/Screen Gems Studios is the home to several stages housing a variety of regular interiors, as well as frequently repurposed sets like the tunnels and caves and caverns and various subterranean chambers that our characters constantly seem to find themselves navigating. [You can check out some non-spoilery pictures from the various stages here, as well as the photo of a dog who is NOT Olin's dog.]

The production offices are largely Olin's domain.

TV viewers of a certain age will perhaps always think of Olin as Michael Steadman from "thirtysomething" or, for those with a love of the esoteric and quickly canceled, Cameron Quinn from "EZ Streets." However, he's been directing since "thirty something" and for around 15 years that's been his primary gig. He has been a director and a directing producer on "Alias," "Brothers & Sisters" and "The Mob Doctor."

He's now director and executive producer on "Sleepy Hollow," helming a trio of episodes -- "Bad Blood," "The Sin Eater" and "Blood Moon" -- last season and Monday's (September 22) Season 2 premiere. 

The premiere reunites Olin with "thirtysomething" veteran Timothy Busfield, who plays Benjamin Franklin in which is apparently a rather revealing turn. Olin immediately lights up talking about this latest collaboration with his longtime friend. [Like Olin, Busfield is also a steadily working director and producer, who happened to be local because of his work in those capacities on ABC's midseason drama "Secrets and Lies." Peter Horton has taken the same career path, with his own midseason drama as producer and director, making one wonder what, exactly, was in the water on "thirtysomething."]

During my day on the "Sleepy Hollow" set, I chatted with Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Noble, Katia Winter, Lyndie Greenwood and Matt Barr, but I relished the chance to talk to Olin, because I love the nuts-and-bolts perspective on the process. And also because of the air-conditioning.

In the conversation, Olin talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the early production start and the 18-episode order for this "Sleepy Hollow" season, as well as the unique challenges that "Sleepy Hollow" presents that he's never experienced before.

He also explains why getting Timothy Busfield naked was a career high point.

Check out the full interview...

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<p>Nicole Beharie of &quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

Nicole Beharie of "Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Nicole Beharie on 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 and North Carolina summer heat

What will a new boss and new bounty hunter mean for Abbie?

WILMINGTON, NC. I sit down with "Sleepy Hollow" star Nicole Beharie at the end of a long day on the FOX series' North Carolina set and a cumulative sympathy has set in.

I'd talked to Tom Mison about his heavy coat.

I'd chatted with Katia Winter as she scratched at welts acquired on a night shooting in the woods.

I'd spoken to EP Ken Olin in the air-conditioned production offices as he explained the difficulties facing the stars in the muggy Southern environment.

And I experienced the tiniest taste of the "Sleepy Hollow" experience as an extra in an airless bar that started off comfortable and became rather less-so as the takes began to add up.

Normally, network TV shows are in production from the late summer through the early spring, but part of the reward for its early Season 2 pickup meant that "Sleepy Hollow" got to resume production in the late spring and plow through the entirety of the North Carolina summer. 

Perhaps that's why as late afternoon rolled around and Nicole Beharie sat down, my inquisitive instincts didn't go to the plight Abbie Mills found herself in at the end of Season 1. Yes, finding yourself in Purgatory after an act of self-sacrifice involving your time-traveling partner and his witchy wife is uncomfortable, but is it any worse than finding yourself in August in North Carolina in a leather jacket because you're pretending it's actually autumn in New York?

As with my interview with Tom Mison, a lot of my conversation with Beharie is predicated on the rather safe assumption that at some point -- they were on Episode 8 when I was there -- Abbie is extricated or extricates herself from where we left her in the finale. I don't know how. I don't know when. Beharie didn't say. 

She does, however, discuss how Ichabod's lie involving the map to Purgatory creates some trust issues and hints at the fresh dynamics brought up by new characters Sheriff Leena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey) and Nick Hawley (Matt Barr). 

Beharie also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of both the heat and the early ramp-up to Season 2 production and how comfortable she is or isn't feeling in her second season as a TV regular. 

Season 2 of "Sleepy Hollow" finally begins this Monday, September 22 at 9 p.m. on FOX.

Full interview below...

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<p>Ryan Phillippe of &quot;Secrets and Lies&quot;</p>

Ryan Phillippe of "Secrets and Lies"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '14: ABC's 'Secrets and Lies'

No, it's not based on the Mike Leigh movie. Yes, it has Ryan Phillippe.

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 247

Dan and Alan review 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion,' 'Forever' and 'Madam Secretary'


Happy Friday, Boys & Girls! 

Bonus Firewall & Iceberg Podcast time!

On Tuesday, we reviewed "The Mysteries of Laura" and "Red Band Society," but now we're starting to get into the meat of new series premieres.

In this podcast, we review "Madam Secretary," "Gotham," "Scorpion" and "Forever," which is to say all of your key new shows premiering on Monday, I think?

We also answered a bit of Listener Mail, providing a public service. 

And we discussed Thursday's season finale for "You're the Worst," which we hope will be brought back for a second season.

Today's breakdown:

"Madam Secretary" (00:01:10 - 00:11:40)
"Gotham" (00:11:40 - 00:23:25)
"Scorpion" (00:23:25 - 00:34:30)
"Forever" (00:34:30 - 00:44:20)
Listener Mail - How to Review a TV Show (00:44:35 - 00:52:00)
"You're the Worst" finale (00:52:00 - 01:06:55)

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 or subscribe on IHeartRadio.] 


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



Credit: DC Comics

'Supergirl' takes flight to CBS with a series commitment

Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler are writing the pilot

Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler's high profile "Supergirl" pilot has already found a home and its destination may just surprise you.

"Supergirl," which comes from Berlanti Productions and Warner Brothers TV, has received a series commitment from CBS, which is making a slightly surprisingly leap into the superhero world. 

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