<p>Henry Cavill of &quot;Man of Steel&quot;</p>

Henry Cavill of "Man of Steel"

Credit: Warner Brothers

'Man of Steel' Set Visit: Superman battles in Smallville streets

HitFix was in Illinois in 2011 on the set of Zack Snyder's film
It's late-August 2011 and a titanic struggle is underway on the main street of Smallville, Kansas.
 
It's hard to identify all of the featured combatants. 
 
Superman, of course, is easy enough to recognize, even if his garb is radically altered from when last he graced the big screen. 
 
Who is Superman fighting? 
 
That's a bit more complicated. His primary adversary currently appears to be a man in a motion capture suit with an attachment that suggests that he'll ultimately be far larger than what the naked eye can currently see. 
 
In the moment, it looks like Superman is not getting the best of this exchange. He's pinned back uncomfortably in a furrow in the concrete and he's being pummeled something fierce. Antje Traue's Kryptonian Fiora is also involved in the skirmish, but she's less tantalizing than the unknown MoCap man.
 
"This particular character we're not going to name for you, because we want it to be a surprise," teases "Man of Steel" producer Chuck Roven. 
 
That doesn't stop the journalists on the film's set from speculating, but I won't share any of those guesses, just in case we got it right. Over the course of a day of production, we may or may not have posited every single villain in the DC Comics universe and offered those suggestions to various producers, technicians, extras and interested locals without even a nod of confirmation or a shake of disagreement. The Superman universe is all about the hero's myriad powers, but on the set of "Man of Steel," enhanced strength, X-Ray vision and flight all pale in comparison to a higher power, that of producer Christopher Nolan. Although he's still in production on "The Dark Knight Rises" and isn't literally on the "Man of Steel" set, his secret-loving presence is felt and evoked at every turn in the form of The Nolan Clause, a gag order that seems only to have become more potent thanks to the Earth's sun and our gravity. 
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 184

Dan and Alan talk 'Arrested Development,' 'The Killing' and Summer Rewatch

The

Happy Wednesday, Boys and Girls!
 
Sepinwall has finally finished watching all 15 installments of "Arrested Development," so it's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
This week's podcast is pretty straight-forward: We talk a lot about "Arrested Development," a lot about "Mad Men" and just a bit about Sunday's third season premiere of AMC's "The Killing."
 
And then we announce this summer's Rewatch, which is a little bit different this year.
 
A warning: Next week's podcast is also likely to be non-Monday, due to my schedule this time. So stay tuned on Twitter for specifics.
 
And now...
 
Today's breakdown:
"The Killing" (00:01:15 - 00:12:55)
"Arrested Development" (00:13:00 - 00:47:55)
"Mad Men" (00:48:00 - 01:09:25)
Summer Rewatch Announcement (01:09:30 - 01:14:05)

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

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<p>David Cross and Jason Bateman of &quot;Arrested Development&quot;</p>

David Cross and Jason Bateman of "Arrested Development"

Credit: Mike Yarish/Netfix

TV Review: 'Arrested Development' Season 4 brings laughter and lulls to Netflix

HitFix
B+
Readers
B+
Some episodes shine, while others fall flat
I skipped the communal madness of marathoning "House of Cards" when it premiered on Netflix earlier this year. I've still only seen six or seven episodes, though I like it enough that I'll certainly finish it this summer. It's a project I'm happy to undertake.
 
I also skipped the communal self-abuse of marathoning "Hemlock Grove" when it premiered on Netflix a couple months later. I may finish that one as well some day, but more out of my usual much-discussed completist sensibilities than any enjoyment.
 
Apparently, however, there was something forcing me to watch 15 episodes of "Arrested Development" Season 4 in only 15 hours. I queued up the first episode at seconds after midnight Pacific Time, as East Coasters on Twitter were still ranting about their inability to read clearly written premiere announcements. Poor East Coasters. I ran through eight episodes before passing out at 5 a.m. and then at 10:30 a.m. I was back to watching for the remaining seven.
 
That was a lot of "Arrested Development" in a very short period of time.
 
And it was much, much more "Arrested Development" than anybody had any reason to expect. Netflix initially announced a 10 episode season knowing that they were planning on making at least 13 and then those 13 became 15 episodes when all was said and done. But even saying that Season 4 of "Arrested Development" is 15 episodes is a distinct undersell. When it aired on FOX, "Arrested Development" episodes had a network-standard running time of 22-ish minutes. Netflix doesn't care. Without any ad-load, it's the Wild West out there and the shortest of the new episodes is 28 minutes and the longest is 37 minutes. An additional six or seven episodes of material is just squishing out of the sides of what's here, like the melted filling of an ice cream sandwich.
 
That was a lot of "Arrested Development" in a very short period of time.
 
One of the major causes of American obesity is, of course, and Netflix’s original programming has become like the Las Vegas buffet of entertainment options, and not the cheap, skuzzy buffets that you might get at the end of The Strip. I'm talking about the buffet at The Wynn or the Beluga, where you're paying $40-ish and the dining experience becomes one of simultaneous gustatory delight and personal recklessness. Yes, you *could* just concentrate on the top-tier seafood items, do only shrimp and crab legs, and walk out after a quick meal. But that's not what you're there for. That's not what you paid for. You paid for the Pan-Asian station and the pizza station and the prime rib and the dim sum and the seven kinds of pie.  You paid for the sensation of disgusting satiation. You paid not for the individual quality or merit of anything that you ate, but for the totality of an experience in which the availability of excess supersedes the illusion of free choice. 
 
I'm reasonably sure that on a level of intellectual appreciation, Netflix would do more honor to high quality shows like "House of Cards" and "Arrested Development" by parceling out the distribution. Let people digest each morsel, contemplate each idea. Drag viewers along for several weeks, even if not for the months that network shows require.
 
"That network shows require." Netflix doesn't want to be thought to be playing by network rules. While networks have been forced to provide more choice -- OnDemand, iTunes, online streaming, DVD releases, etc -- over the years, Netflix is all choice. Nobody's forcing you to watch any particular way. You might get pulled into marathoning because you're loving the show or because you're a sheep, but that's on you. And my very different approach to "House of Cards" and "Hemlock Grove" and "Arrested Development"  proves, at least somewhat, that the freedom isn't an illusion. If you don't care about the Internet ruining things for you, you can take six months to watch one show. Or you can do it in one or two breathless spurts. 
 
I don't think "House of Cards" has suffered from my delays and I really can't tell you if "Arrested Development" benefitted from my haste. 
 
Shrug. 
 
In its three years on FOX, I loved "Arrested Development." In its 15 episodes on Netflix, I found myself frustrated by the wide variation of my response. Attempting to give the whole season a grade is pure folly. Out of 15 episodes, there are four or five episodes I'd put in the "A" range. There were two or three episodes I'd put in the "C" range. And the majority of the episodes were variably uneven, hardly devoid of brilliance and the sort of hilarity that most currently running shows can't even approach, but usually diluted to an infuriating degree by the structure and lack of structure of the endeavor. 
 
For "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz and his talented team of writers, Season 4 rises and falls on that unusual pairing of self-imposed structure and self-denied limitations. At times, the 15 episodes work much better than you'd imagine they possibly could and at times they stumble on entirely avoidable obstacles.
 
More after the break. And yes, I already know that this is a rambling, loose, poorly edited review in which I'm going to complain about "Arrested Development" Season 4 being rambling, loose and poorly edited. Like Mitch Hurwitz, I am a victim of the freedom of the Internet. 
 
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<p>Poor Emma.</p>

Poor Emma.

Credit: A&E

A&E's 'Bates Motel' finale closes Season 1 - Are you psycho for it yet?

Something seems to be wrong with Norman Bates
Oh, "Bates Motel."
 
You came so close to me being really excited with how strongly you concluded your first season on Monday (May 20) night.
 
Yes, I've had reservations about "Bates Motel" from the very beginning. 
 
After four episodes, I was convinced I didn't like the show very much at all. I was fatigued by the human trafficking and the vast pot farms and the not-quite-"Twin Peaks" "This Is A Town With SECRETS" clumsiness and the "If this isn't leading up to 'Psycho' why are you ripping off 'Psycho'?" iconoclasm. 
 
But as the weeks progressed, I found myself more easily able to concentrate on the elements that were working effectively and either the show started de-emphasizing the things I wasn't liking, or maybe I just started de-emphasizing them in my mind. 
 
The finale, titled "Midnight," was full of things to recommend it, so I was feeling generous. 
 
And then, "Bates Motel" built what I was completely certain was going to be the season's last shot. I smiled and typed, "Excellent," as things faded to black.
 
And then the show had to go and spoil my happiness by tacking on a stupid bonus that left me concentrating on how frequently the storytellers have struggled to get out of their own way this season, gilding the lily of a great character study with superfluous details and filler plotlines. 
 
So close!
 
More thoughts on the "Bates Motel" finale after the break. Spoilers, obviously.
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 183

Dan and Alan talk 'Goodwin Games,' 'Motive,' 'Behind the Candelabra' and more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
After two lengthy podcasts last week outside of our normal Monday home, it's back to Monday for a much more business-as-usual Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We've got reviews of a bunch of summer dump shows that we don't particularly care about. We talk about HBO's "Behind the Candelabra," which we quite like. Because there were lots of lamentations last week, we talk about "New Girl." And we spend plenty of time on "Mad Men."
 
Next week, because of Memorial Day and the need to watch many episodes of "Arrested Development," we're probably going to podcast on Wednesday.
 
Here's today's breakdown:
"The Goodwin Games" (00:01:30 - 00:13:19)
"Motive" (00:13:20 - 00:22:35)
"Save Me" (00:22:37 - 00:34:20)
"Behind the Candelabra" (00:34:25 - 00:46:00)
"New Girl" (00:46:00 - 00:56:30)
"Saturday Night Live" (00:56:35 - 01:13:25)
"Mad Men" (01:15:45 - 01:44:00)

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

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

The "Nikita" finale

Credit: The CW

The 'Nikita' Season 3 finale sets the endgame in motion - How did it do?

Would Nikita kill the President or not?
Roughly once per season I like to check in on The CW's "Nikita."
 
It's a show I continue to watch largely because it's on on Fridays where I don't have any DVR conflicts, which isn't really a very good excuse for watching things unless you're a TV critic and a completist. And it's one of many CW shows that Sepinwall doesn't watch, so I like to keep vaguely in the loop, just in case it's urgent that somebody at HitFix know what's happening on "Nikita." It hasn't happened yet, but I keep waiting.
 
The third "Nikita" season wrapped up on Friday (May 17) with an episode I've already seen fans calling "shocking," but which left me really cold. I'd be contemplating dropping the show from my viewing roster, except that The CW has announced that "Nikita" has only a six-episode final season coming up at a TBD point next fall. I can stick it out for six more episodes, even if nothing about where the show is going seems especially interesting to me.
 
Click through for my thoughts on the finale and the season and then, assuming y'all have thoughts, you can chime in. If not? I'll know why I only write about "Nikita" once a year.
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 182

Dan and Alan talk upfronts, reality and 'The Office' finale

The

Happy Friday, Boys & Girls!
 
As promised, it's time for the week's second installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
After covering the first three upfronts on Tuesday's podcast, today it's CBS and The CW's turn. We also do an end-of-season installment of Dan's Reality Roundup and we talk for a goodly amount of time about "The Office" finale and the show as a whole. No, it's not a whole "Office"-dedicated podcast, but it's not a short segment. At all.
 
And we'll be back on Monday!
 
Today's breakdown:
CBS and The CW upfronts (00:00:55 - 00:30:10)
Dan's Reality Roundup (00:30:40 - 00:49:00)
"The Office" (00:49:00 - 01:38:00)

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

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<p>Kree and Candice of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Kree and Candice of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Finale Results - The Winner Is...

Kree or Candice? Join as as we wade through over two hours of filler.

It's finale night on "American Idol." 

We're at the end. 

In a little over two hours, we'll know the winner between Kree Harrison and Candice Glover. 

Yup. 2:07. That's how long we're gonna have to wait. 

That's a lot of filler, so you might as well join the conversation below!

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<p>&quot;Survivor: Caramoan&quot; winner John Cochran</p>

"Survivor: Caramoan" winner John Cochran

Credit: CBS

Interview: John Cochran discusses his 'Survivor: Caramoan' win

This season's shutout winner discusses his path to victory
Say what you will about whether or not returning players have an unfair advantage within the game of "Survivor," I can say with certainty that returning players make the best "Survivor" exit interviews.
 
If you think back on past seasons, folks like Coach and Russell Swan and Jonathan Penner have been responsible for my favorite post-elimination conversations, while highlights this season have come from veterans like Corinne Kaplan, Malcolm Freberg (a great interview when he was a newbie as well) and the always excitable Phillip Sheppard. 
 
The last of this season's exit interviews is, of course, with the season's well-deserving winner, John Cochran. Over 39 days, Cochran laid low when he had to, orchestrated big moves when he had to and, in a shocker, won challenges when he had to. And, perhaps of equal importance, Cochran worked his strategy without alienating anybody, which was his downfall in his first season and which was the downfall of fellow Top 3 finishers Dawn and Sherri.
 
And, not surprisingly, this one is a good interview as well, as Cochran discusses his feelings about the acrimonious Final Tribal Council, his now-famous Harvard Law essay on the "Survivor" Jury System, his "bipolar" approach to the game and, as a student of "Survivor" the ranking of his win within the "Survivor" pantheon.
 
Click through for the full interview. And I left in the first part because, darnit, it made me happy...
 
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<p>Candice is bigger than Kree.</p>

Candice is bigger than Kree.

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Finale Performances - Candice versus Kree

'Idol' begins to wind down a tough season with an hour of singing

"American Idol" is not a show known for restraint so let us, as we do every year, give thanks that FOX is not attempt to wring two hours out of the finale's performance night. Yes, tomorrow night's finale will be two-plus hours of excruciating largess, but on Wednesday (May 15), we should be treated to an hour of performances from two reasonably good singers. That should be pleasant, right?

OK, then!

Bring on Candice Glover and Kree Harrison!

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