<p>&quot;Marco Polo&quot;</p>

"Marco Polo"

Credit: Netflix

Interview: 'Marco Polo' producer Daniel Minahan talks naked kung fu, Netflix and spaghetti

'Game of Thrones' veteran comes Netflix's latest to his HBO favorite

The latest journey of Marco Polo has brought the 13th century Italian merchant into the world of 21st century digital entertainment with a dose of '70s kung fu and just a hint of premium cable fantasy.

"Marco Polo," which premiered on Friday (December 12) on Netflix, has been described as the streaming service's answer to "Game of Thrones," an expensive epic of warring armies, courtly intrigue and not-insignificant quantities of nudity.

Of course, I'm not making that comparison and neither is "Marco Polo" EP Daniel Minahan.

"The similarity is that there's court intrigue but I think that's about it," Minahan tells me. "I mean we're set in Mongolia and China; it's the story of a warlord rather than six different kingdoms vying for their throne. There's really big differences in the way 'Marco Polo,' the tone of it and the structure of it. I think the only thing that might be similar would be the scale of it, you know, the idea that we were creating this big spectacle. But that's just what it takes to re-create the Empire of the Kublai Khan."

But Minahan's presence as producer and director on "Marco Polo" pushes the comparison, since his directing credits including five "Game of Thrones" episodes, as well as installments of some of HBO's other acclaimed shows including "Six Feet Under" and "Deadwood."

"Marco Polo" represents Minahan's first time as an executive producer, as he's had the opportunity to help shape series creator John Fusco's vision on locations in Malaysia and Kazakhstan bringing, as he says, the Empire of Kublai Khan to life.

I chatted with Minahan this week about achieving the scope and realism of "Marco Polo," but also about the series' crazier moments, including a naked kung fu set piece that caps the second episode. We discussed the long process that led to the casting of Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy as Polo, plus the shaping of the 10-episode drama for Netflix's binge-friendly audience.

Check out the full Q&A below...

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<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Friday's "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Hooping It Up'

Basketball, biking and coconut delivery cause exhaustion in Manila

Once again, there were many things to recommend Friday (December 12) night's episode of "The Amazing Race."

Yes, it was an episode that drew much of its drama and I know lots of fans hate that kind of thing. There were travel blunders and accompanying hubris. There were clue reading miscues and clue misplacing blunders. 

But it was also a Leg that featured a few difficult tasks and that found all of the teams competing hard for a place in the Final 3, even risking their health in the Manila heat. There was dehydration and a contestant fighting through an injury.

It was close and competitive in the way that you want an "Amazing Race" Leg to be. 


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<p>Thursday&#39;s &quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

Thursday's "The Big Bang Theory"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' leads CBS Thursday, tiny 'Gracepoint' finale bump

No 200th episode bump for FOX's 'Bones'

Fast National ratings for Thursday, December 11, 2014.

With "The Big Bang Theory" leading the way, CBS won every second of primetime in basically every key measure on Thursday. Or course, CBS also had the Thursday Night Football preemptions in both St. Louis and Phoenix, but the network will still have won Thursday regardless.

There were few other notables on a slow Thursday.

"Gracepoint" got a very tiny overall bump for its finale, while FOX's "Bones" was actually down 20 percent in its 200th episode. "Bad Judge," "A to Z," "Vampire Diaries" and "Reign" were up by a negligible 0.1 over either their last Fast National or Live total.

On to the numbers...

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<p>The &quot;Gracepoint&quot; finale</p>

The "Gracepoint" finale

Credit: FOX

Post-Mortem: Co-showrunner Dan Futterman weighs in on the 'Gracepoint' killer reveal

Who did it, why they did it and what 'Gracepoint' Season 2 would be like

The event series run of FOX's "Gracepoint" ended on Thursday (December 11) night and if you don't wanna know whodunnit, you'd better stop reading... now.

OK, really, I'm about to talk about the finale and its aftermath before segueing into my post-mortem chat with co-showrunner Dan Futterman... So you've been warned.

Oh and I guess the conversation and article spoil "Broadchurch" as well. It's a somewhat specific focus. Apologies...

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<p>Sofia Vergara of &quot;Modern Family&quot;</p>

Sofia Vergara of "Modern Family"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Modern Family,' 'Criminal Minds' lead Wednesday as 'Arrow' dips

'Nashville' wins the 10 p.m. hour in the key demo

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, December 10, 2014.

"Criminal Minds" was Wednesday's most watched show, while "Modern Family" was tops in young viewers, leading CBS and ABC to split primetime.

All of ABC's comedies bounced back after slow performances last week, with "The Middle" even rising into a tie among young viewers with "The Goldbergs."

Meanwhile, The CW's "Arrow" was up from two episodes ago, but lost much of last week's "Flash" bump.

On to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;The Affair&quot;</p>

"The Affair"

Credit: Showtime

'The Affair,' 'Orange Is The New Black' lead 2015 Golden Globe TV nominations

'Fargo' and 'True Detective' are heading for a Movie/Miniseries showdown

Showtime's "The Affair" and Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" were among several TV shows receiving three nods as nominations for the 2015 Golden Globes were announced on Thursday (December 11) morning.

Also receiving three nominations on the series side were CBS' "The Good Wife" and Netflix's "House of Cards," though all of the shows competing for series crowns are behind FX's "Fargo" and HBO's "True Detective," which earned five and four nominations respectively and are heading for an epic showdown in the Movie/Miniseries field. 

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<p>Baylor of &quot;Survivor: San Juan Del Sur&quot;</p>

Baylor of "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: San Juan Del Sur' - 'Let's Make a Move'

A bum ankle takes one castaway to the brink

Pre-credit sequence. When we left things, Jon was confused. Upon returning to camp? Jaclyn is confused, going so far as to suggest that Alec might have voted for himself. Amidst this disarray, Natalie has decided that she's going to pretend that she blew the communication and thought she was part of the block voting Alec, not part of the Keith block. Baylor is impressed with Natalie's acting skills and Jon has accepted Natalie's line about not being talked to enough. The worry, at least for Jon, is that Keith could win Immunities and screw things up. The next morning, Natalie makes it clear to Keith that she saved him and he needs to stick with her and with Missy and Baylor. The plan is to target Jon. Again. 

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<p>Allison Tolman of &quot;Fargo&quot;</p>

Allison Tolman of "Fargo"

Credit: FX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 260 - Best of 2014 Edition


Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls. Time for the Best of 2014 installment of The Firewall & Iceberg.

If you've already read/watched our Top 10s or gone through the HitFix Critics' Poll, you pretty much know everything we're going to say in this podcast, but you've never heard us talk about them together on the same podcast. At least not all at once. At least not for this year.

So yeah, you know the drill here. 

We spoil some stuff about the shows we discuss. Maybe not the BIG things, but definitely some stuff, so just be cautious. We tip-toe some, but not entirely.

Today's breakdown:
Best of 2014 (00:00:30 - 01:17:50)

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.

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<p>Kirsten Dunst</p>

Kirsten Dunst

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

'Fargo' lands Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons for Season 2

FX's Emmy-winning anthology series will return in Fall 2015

Casting has officially begun in earnest for the second season of FX's "Fargo," which is officially set to begin production in Calgary in January.

The first two actors formally announced for the 10-episode anthology miniseries are Kirsten Dunst ("Bring It On") and Jesse Plemons, who appear to be set as the civilian side of the story, which will be set in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Luverne, Minnesota in 1979.

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TV Ratings: 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' Victoria's Secret lead Tuesday
Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' Victoria's Secret lead Tuesday

'Flash' retains last week's 'Arrow' crossover momentum

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

CBS' odd couple pairing of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show proved effective, pushing the network to victory both overall and among young viewers.

After last week's bump, NBC's "The Voice," "Marry Me" and "About a Boy" were all down, while the network also got weak numbers for its hour-long commercial for Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken."

There was better news, though, on FOX, where "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" were both up and also on The CW, where "The Flash" held onto last week's "Arrow" crossover gains. And for "Supernatural," it was the most watched episode in four years, since October 2010.

On to the numbers...

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