<p>Timothy Olyphant of 'Justified'&nbsp;</p>

Timothy Olyphant of 'Justified' 

Credit: FX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 7

Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall discuss 'The Pacific,' the Oscar telecast, '24' and more

The

 
Time for another Wednesday installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Last week, we warned you that *this* week's podcast was going to be a long one and we didn't lie. We chattered for 52 minutes this week, covering topics ranging from HBO's "The Pacific" to FX's "Justified" to the possible end of "24." Because Alan seemed to want to, we talked about Adam Scott leaving "Party Down" and we covered usual subjects like "American Idol" and "Lost."
 
As you saw last week, we now have a dedicated RSS feed set up for the podcast, but more importantly, the Podcast is also now available on the iTunes store. Search for "Firewall & Iceberg" and it will show up, complete with an aesthetically pleasing image courtesy of Mr. David J. Loehr. Or, you could just click this link and go straight to Firewall & Iceberg on the iTunes Store.
 
If you subscribed last week via iTunes to the simple RSS feed, we'd love you if you'd subscribe to the actual iTunes store podcast. It's still free, but we just assume they keep track of subscriptions there. Also, if you wanted to rate the podcast (positively!!!) and write little (positive!!!) reviews of the podcast on the iTunes store, we'd be greatly appreciative. 
 
So here's what we covered this week:
 
"American Idol" - 02:15 - 06:20
The Oscar telecast - 07:00 - 12:20
"The Pacific" - 13:24 - 20:25
"Winning Time" - 20:15 - 24:00
"Sons of Tucson" - 24:20 - 27:20
"Justified" - 27:30 - 31:15
The possible end of "24" - 31:20 - 37:00
Adam Scott leaving "Party Down" - 37:30 - 43:30
"Lost" - 43:50 - 50:46
 
And here's the podcast:
<p>&nbsp;James Badge Dale</p>

 James Badge Dale

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

HitFix Interview: James Badge Dale discusses HBO's 'The Pacific'

The '24' veteran talks basic training and the emotional weight of the World War II epic
Fans of FOX's "24" may not have vivid memories of anything that James Badge Dale's Chase did for the first 23 hours of Season 3, but they certainly remember the character's departure. Any time Jack Bauer uses an axe and chops off your hand to save the world? That's pretty memorable.
 
Since his season on "24," the 31-year-old actor has done theater in New York, had a recurring role on the short-lived "The Black Donnellys" and, if you were able to get past the A-listers around him, he had a pivotal part in the Oscar-winning thriller "The Departed."
 
Dale has probably his most formidable role to date as one of the three main stars of HBO's "The Pacific," the premium cable giant's follow-up to the epic "Band of Brothers" miniseries. Dale plays Robert Leckie, who served in the 1st Marine Division during World War II and whose memoir "Helmet for My Pillow" is considered one of the definitive first-hand accounts of the war on the Pacific Front. 
 
HitFix caught up with James Badge Dale, nearly ready to start filming the AMC series "Rubicon," last month in Beverly Hills to discuss "The Pacific" and the weight of being one of the stars of such a major undertaking...
 
Clock through...
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<p>Oscar hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin</p>

Oscar hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin

Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

TV Review: The 82nd Annual Academy Awards telecast

Predictable winners, strange pacing and so-so hosting led to a hit-and-miss Oscar telecast
It's hard to know why anybody would want to be the producer on the Academy Awards (or any other major award show, for that matter). You take over a bloated beast with too many entrenched elements, step into an unwinnable situation in which no matter how proudly you boast at your desire to change things or put a new stamp on the proceedings, one can safely assume that whatever you do differently will be chided and whatever you do the same will be mocked. It doesn't matter how unpredictable the awards happened to be, you're going to be accused of masterminding a predictable telecast. And so if you happen to get stuck with a show in which the winners are crushingly easy to anticipate? Well, you're doomed.
 
[Thoughts on the Oscar telecast after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley of 'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

 Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW

'Vampire Diaries' team talks 'Twilight,' toplessness and Twitter at PaleyFest

Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder keep the Paley crowd squealing
On "Lost," Ian Somerhalder's Boone was so vain that Shannon referred to him as God's Friggin' Gift To Humanity, though more than a couple female viewers were inclined to agree, non-ironically. 
 
On Saturday (March 6) night, Somerhalder took the stage at the William S. Paley Television Festival to the sort of shrieks that normally greet boy band heartthrobs, movie vampires or European soccer players in their nations of origin. He was funny and charming on the Paley Panel and probably generated a quantity of swooning which, for most mere mortals, would have counted as a good night's work.
 
But on Saturday night, God's Friggin' Gift to Humanity appeared to actually be Paul Wesley, Somerhalder's co-star on The CW's "The Vampire Diaries." A veteran of seemingly countless short-lived shows and TV guest spots (mostly as Paul Wasilewski), Wesley received by far the night's loudest ovation before taking his seat. 
 
Then, after the moderator finished his questions and opened things up to the floor, the first person with the microphone was a woman wearing a Team Stefan (Wesley's character) shirt and mentioning, without hesitation, that her twitter handle is @PaulWesleyLover. She'd travelled all the way from North Carolina to attend the PaleyFest event and after getting only a semi-answer to her inquiry regarding whether or not Wesley gets nervous before love scenes ("I'm more nervous now," he replied), she got something better.
 
Paul Wesley jumped down off the stage, gave her a big hug, several kisses on the cheek and posed for a picture. God's Friggin Gift to Humanity, indeed.
 
"I know what the next questions are going to be," cracked Nina Dobrev, who plays Elena and Katherine, two women separated by decades, but consistently stuck between dueling brothers Stefan and Damon.
 
Contrary to Dobrev's expectations, there were no more stage-hopping intimacies for the remainder of the panel, which was highlighted by discussion of Twilight, Twitter and Toplessness.
 
Click through for a full report...
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<p>&nbsp;Cirie of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'</p>

 Cirie of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Cirie Fields talks 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'

Three-time 'Survivor' veteran talks alliance-building and why Coach may be a Hero
I'll admit it: When Cirie Fields finished in fourth in "Survivor: Panama," I felt like she'd stumbled into such a high position, either through luck or by flying under the radar. 
 
It was only watching Cirie again on "Suvivor: Micronesia" that it became clear that it wasn't a coincidence how frequently Cirie kept finding herself on the right side of every alliance, having her voice heard in every vote. She only advanced one place further in that season, coming in behind Parvati and Amanda, but it was suddenly easier to appreciate one of the better social players in the game's history.
 
Of course, by the time Cirie signed on for her third tour of "Survivor" duty, there wasn't much of a chance she'd be able to be underestimated for a third time. Indeed, that's why when Alpha Males Tom and Colby sensed a threat on Thursday (March 4) night's "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains," they immediately turned their attentions on Cirie and with the help of some opportunistic voting from JT, they took the potential puppetmaster out of the game.
 
HitFix caught up with Cirie on Friday morning to talk about her alliance-making difficulties this time around, the advantages of being underestimated and why she never considered herself a Hero.
 
Click through...
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<p>&nbsp;Eddie Izzard</p>

 Eddie Izzard

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Live-Blogging the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards

Will Jeff Bridges and Mo'Nique take home hardware before Oscar Sunday?

With HitFix's awards guru Gregory Ellwood covering the Film Independent Spirit Awards from LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles, live-blogging responsibilities are all mine. Woot! Let the independent blogging begin...

8:01 p.m. PT Eddie Izzard begins the show by expressing disappointment in his initial round of applause. He also has *no* idea what the award show's name is. It's 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards. Allegedly.

8:03 p.m. Izzard goes off on a long ramble about how this is the 250th Film Independent Spirit Awards, something about the reason Ben Franklin's face is on a hundred dollar bill and how much the first indie movies cost. The audience is relatively quiet.

8:04 p.m. "Tonight is about love and envy, because as artists, we're all damaged people," he explains, promising that winners will be taken away to the orgy room, sponsored by Acura. He says that nominations plus time equal winners.

8:05 p.m. "Shame and fear, that's what we want to add to the proceedings," says Izzard, whose monologue is whizzing by *much* too quickly for the crowd at L.A. Live. He notes a new rule this evening: Winners get the trophy, but losers can also win the trophy, if the kill the winners. In fact, the awards themselves can be used as a weapon, but only by the winners. "I'm serious about this," Izzard cracks, before suggesting, only half-kidding, that he's lost them.

Some awards, perhaps, after the break...

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<p>&nbsp;Michael C. Hall and Julie Benz of 'Dexter'</p>

 Michael C. Hall and Julie Benz of 'Dexter'

Credit: Showtime

'Dexter' team discusses the finale shocker at PaleyFest

Michael C. Hall received a standing ovation from the Paley Festival crowd
The creative team behind Showtime's "Dexter" has only begun breaking story ideas for the killer drama's fifth season. 
 
Production won't begin until June and viewers won't see episodes until late summer/early fall.
 
That's an easy explanation for why Thursday (March 4) night's PaleyFest2010 panel for "Dexter" wasn't exactly awash in spoilers, or even coy hints of how the show is planning on following up on the shattering shocker that concluded the fourth season. It's a lot easier not to give anything away when you don't have anything to give away.
 
Fortunately, between that Season Four twist and star Michael C. Hall's cancer battle and Golden Globe win, there were plenty of things to entertain the packed house at the Saban Theater on Thursday.
 
[I'm going to put in a page break here, just in case you happen not to have seen "The Getaway," that rare game-changing finale that really will change the game for Dexter Morgan going forward... Seriously, spoilers ahoy...]
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<p>&nbsp;Dermot Mulroney</p>

 Dermot Mulroney

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 6

Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall talk 'Idol,' 'Lost' and 'Rockford Files' casting
Happy Wednesday, folks. It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast
 
Next week's podcast may end up being epic, as we discuss "The Pacific," "Justified," ESPN's "Winning Time," FOX's "Sons of Tucson" and more. 
 
This week? Still long, but in addition to our usual talking points -- "Idol," "Lost" and, to some degree, "The Office" -- we also talk "Big Love," "Life Unexpected" and, for the first time, pilot casting.
 
As part of our ongoing efforts to gradually improve this podcast and its availability, we now have a dedicated RSS feed -- Gracias, HitFix development staff! -- for this podcast.
 
So now you can take the feed -- http://www.hitfix.com/podcasts/fien-print.rss -- and you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. We're not in the iTunes store yet, because there are a few little tweaks that are being made, but hopefully we will be soon. Anyway, we think the feed is a big step towards added usability.
 
This week's podcast breakdown:
 
"American Idol" - 01:05 - 07:00
"Prime Suspect" and "Rockford Files" Casting - 07:05 - 18:00
"The Office" Baby Episode (no spoilers) 18:15 - 23:45
"The Marriage Ref" 23:50 - 27:30
"Big Love" 27:52 - 33:00
"Life Unexpected" 33:00 - 38:00 
"Lost" 38:00 - 48:00
 
And here's the podcast:
<p>&nbsp;'Parenthood'</p>

 'Parenthood'

Credit: NBC

TV Review: NBC's 'Parenthood'

It's a welcome return to primetime for Lauren Graham, Peter Krause and more
I don't quite get what the value of the "Parenthood" brand is to NBC.
 
It's a name associated with a 21-year-old feature film hit starring Steve Martin and also with a 20-year-old small screen dud starring Ed Begley Jr. That is to say that the youngest members of the key 18-49 demographic don't even relate to "Parenthood" as a pop culture title of note.
 
And even for people who care that "Parenthood" was a relatively well-received movie, even picking up a pair of Oscar nominations, there isn't even all that much connecting the new NBC dramedy "Parenthood" to either of its predecessors.
 
The 1989 film and 1990 television versions of "Parenthood" focused on a Midwestern brood named the Buckmans. The 2010 TV show is centered around the Bravermans, whose residence in the Bay Area seems to negate what was regionally distinctive about the brand in the first place.
 
I'm just wondering out loud why NBC decided to sell "Parenthood" around an old and somewhat unconnected title, rather than marketing a relatively winning show with a strong creative team and a tremendous cast. This is certainly a story about parenthood, but it's also a story about brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, but you don't see NBC attempting to glom onto those connections as titles. I can't imagine many viewers signing on for "Parenthood" because they liked something else with the same title a long time in the past, but I assume focus groups told NBC a different story (probably the same story they believed on brands like "Knight Rider" and "Bionic Woman").
 
A fuller review of NBC's new "Parenthood" -- beyond just its title, I mean --  after the break.
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<p>&nbsp;Jerry Seinfeld laughs his way through 'The Marriage Ref'</p>

 Jerry Seinfeld laughs his way through 'The Marriage Ref'

Credit: NBC

TV Review: NBC's 'The Marriage Ref'

New Jerry Seinfeld-produced comedy already felt too long in its half-an-hour preview
After plodding through the 30 minute preview of "The Marriage Ref" on Sunday (Feb. 28) night, will I be tuning in again on Thursday to inflict a full hour upon myself?
 
Hmmm...
 
I believe I'm going to steal the words of Danielle, the wife whose hubby wanted to give a place of honor to the stuffed corpse of his beloved dog Fonzie:
 
"I really... I really... I really... I really... I... I can't... I can't... I can't... I can't... I cannot. I cannot. Cannot. Have this in my house. Oh my God. I can't. Oh."
 
Lest one think that "The Marriage Ref" is the worst thing NBC has aired in the 10 p.m. hour this season, it is not. However, there wasn't a single second of the half-hour of forced mirth that gave me any desire to return for future enlightenment.
 
[A wee bit more thought on "The Marriage Ref" after the break...]
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