From John Oliver to Halle Berry: Winners and losers of summer TV 2014

From John Oliver to Halle Berry: Winners and losers of summer TV 2014

Where did 'Sharknado 2,' Every Simpsons Ever and 'Outlander' fall?

What a strange and often wonderful summer this was in television. It was a summer where Halle Berry couldn't find viewers on CBS, while NBC built a stable schedule out of discards, imports and long- discarded reality shows. HBO introduced a show that seemed to generate equal levels of adoration and scorn, while FXX finally found a purpose by making millions of "Simpsons" fans happy.  

Fall TV starts getting in gear next week with the returns of "Boardwalk Empire," "Sons of Anarchy" and more. So before we get too bogged down in fall premieres, Fienberg and I wanted to look back at the winners and losers of this unpredictable summer season.

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<p>Michael Sheen and Christian Borle in Masters of Sex</p>

Michael Sheen and Christian Borle in Masters of Sex

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Mirror, Mirror'

Virginia and Bill begin exploring sexual dysfunction, while a figure from Bill's past returns

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I try a special tonic straight from India...

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<p>The Cosmopolitans</p>

The Cosmopolitans

Credit: Amazon

Amazon hits some bumps with its third pilot season

Less to be excited about than in the second batch of pilots

Amazon keeps accelerating the pace and output of its "pilot season" process. The original batch of Amazon pilots were presented to the public in April of last year; of those, only "Alpha House" (which got renewed for a second season) and "Betas" (which remains in limbo) got picked up. The second batch of pilots were unveiled less than a year later, and Amazon ordered almost all of them — other than "Rebels," the pro football comedy that no one seemed to like — to series. That was in February, and while none of those new shows has debuted — "Transparent," the best of the bunch, will premiere all of its episodes, Netflix-style, on September 26 — Amazon yesterday unveiled its third pilot season, even as there's already news about casting for the fourth wave of Amazon pilots. At this rate, they may be ordering some shows before a word's even been written, and traveling back in time to cancel others before the creator has even thought of the idea.

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<p>Diane Kruger in &quot;The Bridge.&quot;</p>

Diane Kruger in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Bridge' - 'Goliath'

The lead director of 'The Fall' gives the show a different look this week

A few quick thoughts on tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I blame my orthodics...

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<p>The Sopranos final scene</p>

The Sopranos final scene

Credit: HBO

David Chase finally answers the 'Is Tony Soprano dead?' question (or not)

Will Chase's clipped, cryptic response finally put the matter to rest?

"The Sopranos" creator David Chase has finally — out of frustration more than anything else — answered the "Is Tony dead?" question.

Well, sort of. UPDATE: And even much less definitively than it seemed at first. See below.

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Uncanceled Showdown final pits 'Jericho' vs. 'Almost Human'

Uncanceled Showdown final pits 'Jericho' vs. 'Almost Human'

Can android fans somehow hold off the peanut lovers?

Well, this is not necessarily the final match-up we were expecting when the Uncanceled Showdown brackets were set up, but the competition has come down to two shows: "Almost Human," which held off a late charge from "Freaks and Geeks" to win the One-Season Wonder field, versus "Jericho," which crushed all comers, including the once-mighty "Firefly" and its browncoat fans.

That is, of course, part of the fun of a thought experiment like this. "Firefly" seemed an obvious finalist, but it turns out that the same fans who convinced CBS to uncancel "Jericho" in the first place were able to stomp everyone in their path. "Almost Human," meanwhile, was one of a large group of shows we were considering for the lower seeds on that side of the bracket (look for "Rubicon," "Better Off Ted," "Karen Sisco" and more in Uncanceled Showdown 2: The Uncancelling, sometime in 2015!); it could just as easily have been, say, "The Chicago Code" in that 10 seed, and then who knows how that bracket might have turned out? Still, when in doubt on any internet-based pop culture poll, it's safest to bet on the sci-fi show, even over something as beloved as "Freaks and Geeks."

So go vote for your favorite if you have one left (or vote against the one whose victory would annoy you most). You have until Thursday, August 28 at noon Pacific to cast a vote; the winner will be announced that day.

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<p>Garfunkel and Oates</p>

Garfunkel and Oates

Credit: IFC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 243: Emmys, 'Garfunkel and Oates' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'Rectify' season 2 and talk more 'Friday Night Lights'


Happy Tuesday, boys and girls! You want a lot of Emmy ranting from me and Dan on this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast? Boy, have you got it! We did about 45 minutes on all the Emmy predictability (and the many good moments in the show itself) before jumping over to catch up on IFC's "Garfunkel and Oates" and break down "Rectify" season 2, before shifting into the stretch of "Friday Night Lights" season 2 that began to remind us of the good show it was both before and after.

The rundown:

The 2014 Emmys (00:00:45 - 00:43:10)
"Garfunkel and Oates" (00:43:10 - 00:54:50)
"Rectify Season 2 (00:55:00 - 01:13:10)
"Friday Night Lights" Summer Rewatch (01:13:15 - 01:38:10)

As always, send questions to 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, download the MP3 file, subscribe on IHeartRadio or stream it on Dan's blog.

There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.

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<p>Ty Burrell wins an Emmy for Modern Family</p>

Ty Burrell wins an Emmy for Modern Family

Credit: AP

‘Breaking Bad’ & ‘Modern Family’ lead familiar Emmy winners list

Cranston beats McConaughey, 'Sherlock' somehow dominates movie category, 'Orange' largely ignored

The easiest way to win an Emmy is to have already won an Emmy, and rarely has that wisdom proved more true than at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, where "Breaking Bad" and "Modern Family" repeated last year's best drama and comedy series wins, and where you had to squint sometimes to find a person and/or show that hadn't accepted one of these trophies before.

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<p>Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen in Masters of Sex.</p>

Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen in Masters of Sex.

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Asterion'

Bill and Virginia's relationship evolves as they struggle to keep their clinic afloat

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as we pass Stalin's gift shop...

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<p>Chris Zylka and Sarah Margaret Qualley in The Lefovers</p>

Chris Zylka and Sarah Margaret Qualley in The Lefovers

Credit: HBO

Review: 'The Leftovers' - 'The Garveys at Their Best'

Kevin throws a party, Tommy confronts his past and Laurie has a doctor's appointment

A review of tonight's "The Leftovers" coming up just as soon as I get a Thug Life tattoo on my neck...

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