Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
Speed-Bumps, Double U-Turns and 'bamboons'... Oh my!
Brendon and Rachel of "The Amazing Race"
When "The Amazing Race
" wins its inevitable Emmys and people rant about the lazy and predictable choice that voters have made, I usually rush to the show's defense.
My argument is always that even if I sometimes prefer seasons of "Top Chef" or "Survivor" or "American Idol," the production scope of "Amazing Race" is on a totally different scale and that the show's technical excellence, particularly when it comes to editing, should never be underestimated.
I say that as a way to be nice and complimentary before getting to this:
Sunday (April 15) night's episode of "The Amazing Race" was an egregiously poorly edited episode of television. It was 40+ minutes of poor pacing and character choices, lousy continuity and confusing narrative progression. Tension was generated in perplexing ways and then defused. Finally, because of equally poor Race architecture, the editors had to practically give up, as the Leg was determined by a couple uninteresting tasks that were wedged into the last four minutes of the episode.
More after the break, but I really don't know how much effort I feel like putting into this...
This Monday's episode is a 'Firefly' reunion for Mal and Jayne
Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin on "Castle"
Nearly a decade has passed since Adam Baldwin
played the hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne on FOX's criminally short-lived "Firefly
Since that time, Baldwin hasn't exactly been absent from the small screen. He was a regular on "The Inside" and "Day Break." He did guest appearances on shows including "Angel" and "Stargate SG-1." There was also that little five-season run as John Casey on "Chuck," one of the few shows capable of giving "Firefly" a run when it comes to pure cult dedication.
But for all of those credits in the intervening years, there's still something instantly and specifically pleasing about seeing ABC press stills of Baldwin sharing the frame with Nathan Fillion
on this Monday's (April 16) "Castle
In Monday's episode, titled "Headhunters," Baldwin plays a gritty detective named Ethan Slaughter. There aren't many actors who can get away with playing a character named Detective Slaughter, but with Baldwin, it seems only fitting.
I chatted with Baldwin last week about reuniting with Fillion. I don't think you're going to be able to mistake the respect that exists between these two.
Click through for the full interview...
Love triangles, finale scope and classroom attendance talk from the series co-creator
Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder of "The Vampire Diaries"
Credit: The CW
I've been a big supporter of The CW's "Vampire Diaries" for a while now.
"Vampire Diaries" made my end-of-the-year Top 10 lists for both 2010 and 2011.
Somehow, though, I've never done a real 1-on-1 interview with either Julie Plec
or Kevin Williamson, the show's co-creators. And it's not like I haven't had questions that needed answering.
Consider that situation rectified here.
The story of high schooler Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and the two vampire brothers (Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) who love her started off twisty and has just become twistier in a third season that has introduced vampire-werewolf hybrids, expanded deeper into the world of witchcraft and introduced an expanding mythology that spans centuries and spans the globe.
Although "The Vampire Diaries" delivers the sort of jaw-dropping shocks that most shows save for finales and sweeps periods on a weekly basis, this season's finale is expected to be particularly epic, or at least that's what the stars have been telling folks.
I got on the phone with Julie Plec on Thursday to talk about this May's finale, resolving love triangles and whether or not anybody has been attending classes this year.
We also discussed Plec's Monday (April 16) appearance at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, where she will be chatting about the show's distinctive cinematography.
Click through for the full conversation.
The latest bootee discusses his million dollar chicken wings
Jay of "Survivor: One World"
If you're keeping score at home, "Survivor
: One World" may have done away with its Men vs Women twist long ago, but this is the fifth time in six weeks that a man has gone home.
Colton Cumbie orchestrated the elimination of Bill and Matt (and Monica, the only woman sent home in the last six weeks) and then Colton's body orchestrated his elimination. Since then, and since the abrupt Merge, a female alliance headed by Kim and Chelsea has sent Jonas and Mike packing.
This week's booted contestant was Jay
Byars, who wasn't the secondary target of the Salani alliance, but went packing when Troy played an Immunity Idol. Jay had a chance at his own Idol, but stepped down at the Immunity challenge in exchange for chicken wings.
As you might guess, Jay regrets that decision now.
In our exit interview, Jay discusses failed alliances, tasty dipping sauces and his partnership with Colton.
'Idol' producer says he's 'shocked' by the vote. Will viewers agree?
Hollie Cavanagh of "American Idol"
Earlier this afternoon, "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe tweeted the following: "Okay no BS I am truly shocked by tonight's #AmericanIdol result! #idon'tunderstand!"
Truly shocked, he says?
Color me a lighter shade of intrigue. Yes, Nigel may just be lying and trying to drum up a little hype for a show that really hasn't had anything resembling a shocking elimination this season.
But I'm taking him at his word and using a picture of Hollie Cavanagh with this recap. My live-blogs pictures go to people I assume won't be going home, because I don't like to spoil things, and if Nigel isn't lying and tonight's results are shocking, Hollie is the only contestant who can't possibly be going home, right? Because Hollie's elimination would be the LEAST shocking result imaginable. Right?
Let's find out...
Will Immunity Idols shake up the 'Survivor' gender split?
Kim of "Survivor: One World"
Pre-credit sequence. Bats! We're starting Wednesday's (April 11) episode with bats! It's gonna be a good week. Anyway, Day 23 at Tikiano. Jay is beginning to have prophetic dreams, which I had thought was Kat's thing. Poopy Pants and Troyzan discuss the reality of their gender situation. "Those kids are plotting to knock us out one-by-one," Poopy Pants says. Troyzan, however, doesn't want to hear it. He's convinced Mike was coming after him and that Mike was nothing more than another vote with the Women. Troyzan reminds us that he has an Immunity Idol of his own and he's prepared to switch things up if he needs to. Foreshadowing?
How will 'Idol' fill its two-hour block this week with only seven singers?
The "American Idol" Top 7
Back to LA, sports fans! Remind me to tell you all about the medical emergency that caused my 5:50 a.m. flight from Boston to be redirected through Denver.
But not tonight. Tonight, we celebrate this season's Top 7 and mourn a world without DeAndre Brackensick. In his absence, who will sing with a squeaky falsetto? Who will make the teenage girls squeal? Who will toss his hair with reckless abandon?
Based on song spoilers, it appears that Wednesday's (April 11) "American Idol" theme is Current Songs or Songs From The Past Three Years or maybe just Songs Dan Has Never Heard Before.
This could be a disaster... Click through!
How good an actor is Fake James Van Der Beek?
James Van Der Beek of "The B----- in Apartment 23"
It's the part he was born to play.
's new comedy "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23," James Van Der Beek
plays the best friend to Krysten Ritter's title character (she's the "bee," not the apartment). Van Der Beek's character is a actor and lothario, whose acting credits include "Dawson's Creek" and "Varsity Blues."
In many ways, Van Der Beek's character is a lot like the 35-year-old actor, right down to the overlapping resume and the not-entirely-common name of "James Van Der Beek."
There are, of course, plenty of differences.
Real James Van Der Beek is a family man with two kids, while Fake James Van Der Beek likes to capitalize on his fame, and Dawson flannel, for a slew of one-night stands.
Real James Van Der Beek has stretched his acting range with definitively not-Dawson roles in films like "The Rules of Attraction" and on TV on "Criminal Minds," but he has never been in a Guy Ritchie. Fake James Van Der Beek has been in a Guy Ritchie movie, but you'll have to wait a couple episodes to see clips.
I got on the phone this week to chat with Real James Van Der Beek about Fake James Van Der Beek and his new ABC comedy, which premieres on Wednesday (April 11) night.
Click through for the full interview...
Dan and Alan talk 'Girls,' 'NYC 22,' 'The B**** in Apartment 23' and more
Leelee Sobieski of "NYC 22"
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls
We weren't sure if we were gonna be able to whip up a podcast today -- I'm in New Hampshire and I have a cold -- but... we did!
And there's lots of positivity this week. Alan and I both really like HBO's "Girls" and one of us is very positive about ABC's "The Bee in Apartment 23." We also talked about this week's super "Mad Men
," reviewed CBS' "NYC 22
" and provided navel-gazing answers to a couple pieces of listener mail.
Here's Monday's breakdown:
"The Bee in Apartment 23" (00:01:10 - 00:14:45)
"NYC 22" (00:14:45 - 00:23:40)
"Girls" (00:23:40 - 00:39:15)
Listener Mail - David Simon Disapproves (00:39:30 - 00:48:15)
Listener Mail - Impact of outside feelings (00:48:15 - 00:54:10)
"Mad Men" (00:54:10 - 01:15:30)
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.
Tempers boil over and teams head to Africa to jump around
Rachel and Brendon jump around with Masai warriors on "The Amazing Race"
I'm visiting my family in New Hampshire for the start of Passover, but that doesn't mean I'm abdicating my recapping responsibilities while I'm away.
Normally, since my parents and I watch very different reality TV
offerings (they prefer series in which people purchase or renovate homes), I slink off to another room to watch my stories, accompanied only by the family German Shepherd, if she's feeling lonely.
On Sunday (April 8) night, though, I forced my parents to watch "The Amazing Race
." As sheer serendipity would have it, Sunday's Leg found the teams getting off to Tanzania, while my parents just returned from two weeks in Tanzania.
That's what I call kismet.
[Full recap, with spoilers, after the break...]