Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
Melissa George plays a private spy looking for revenge
When Cinemax decided to follow big brother HBO into the scripted drama business, it kept things safe and simple with "Strike Back." It was a continuation of a pre-existing show from the U.K. (albeit one where most of the cast and producers were replaced for the Cinemax version), a mix of sex and violence that fit perfectly with what people subscribe to the channel for, and its ambitions are small and easily attainable.
"Strike Back" has turned out to be a real pleasure, and now Cinemax has aimed higher with its second drama, "Hunted" (it premieres Friday night at 10).It's a wholly original series, and while there's still action and nudity, the storytelling is far more complex. The training wheels are off now, and the result is a show that wobbles far more frequently than its predecessor, but one that can get into a groove that demonstrates the value of risk-taking.
Tessa's back from New York, and Chatswin is still very much the same
"Suburgatory" is back for a second season, and I have a quick review coming up just as soon as I delete all your "Californication"s off the DVR...
New 'Asylum' set-up brings back Jessica Lange and friends in new roles
"American Horror Story" was not a show I enjoyed at all in its first season, but I couldn't help admiring the decision its creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, made at the end of it. Having spent 13 episodes telling a story with a beginning, middle and end about a family who moves into a haunted house, dies, and becomes closer in death than they were in life, Murphy and Falchuk elected not to continue that story in the FX drama's new season. Instead, "American Horror Story" (it returns tonight at 10) will be that rarest of 21st century TV creatures: an anthology drama. Each season will tell a complete story, then start over from scratch, perhaps bringing along some actors (Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Zachary Quinto, Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson all return from last year, among others) but in entirely new roles.
Dan and Alan also review 'Emily Owens, M.D.,' 'Underemployed' and 'The Girl'
It's a very late in the day installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as Dan and I talk about shows returning and new, discuss the season's first cancellations and some other moves of note, and continue what's for now been a weekly "Homeland" segment.
"Emily Owens MD" (00:01:00 - 00:08:15)
"Underemployed" (00:08:20 - 00:16:15)
"Suburgatory" (00:16:15 - 00:23:45)
"American Horror Story" (00:23:50 - 00:32:20)
"Hunted" (00:32:25 - 00:44:15)
"The Girl" (00:44:20 - 00:54:40)
Early cancellations (00:54:40 - 01:05:20)
"X Factor" Hosts (01:05:25 - 01:10:35)
"Homeland" (01:10:40 - 01:23:30)
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, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
Marshall and Lily make the others play a game show
A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I send you to the British Columbia Military School For Boys...
Friends and former 'SNL' co-stars will reunite
Year after year, Tina Fey and/or Amy Poehler will pop up at the Emmys, the Golden Globes, or the Oscars and be so bright and funny and quick that they've outshone the actual host of the night. So the 2013 Golden Globes will cut out the middle man and just use Fey and Poehler as the co-hosts on January 13.
Fey and Poehler are longtime friends and frequent collaborators who have worked together at Second City, on "Saturday Night Live," and in the 2008 film "Baby Mama." Both also currently star in comedies on NBC (which will air the Globes), Fey in the final season of "30 Rock," and Poehler on "Parks and Recreation."
The promotion from presenter to host doesn't always go as smoothly as we might hope (witness Ricky Gervais on these same Globes), but the Fey/Poehler team has me genuinely excited to watch the ridiculous Golden Globes for the first time in forever.
Mamie Gummer wasted in show too hung up on teen angst in adult bodies
The idea that we carry the scars of high school into our adult lives is a familiar theme of 21st century television. On "The Office," Michael Scott was a man who never quite evolved past his lonely adolescent years, and "Grey's Anatomy" often draws parallels between life at the hospital and life in high school. (The characters even once had to go to prom together.)
The CW's new "Emily Owens, M.D." (it premieres tomorrow night at 9) takes that subtext and makes it into text — bold, 48-point font, underlined and highlighted text. Not only does one character tell surgical intern Emily (Mamie Gummer), "Hospital's totally like high school," not only is the hospital situated directly across the street from an actual high school (one of its students even calls Emily a loser in the opening scene), but Emily's high school nemesis Cassandra (Aja Naomi King) winds up as her new co-worker. We even get the scene familiar from every teen comedy ever made where a hospital veteran gives Emily an anthropological breakdown of all the cliques, putting them in high school terms: jocks are orthopedists, mean girls go into plastic surgery, geeks like neurology, etc.
The locals try something new, and Albert has a showdown at Indian practice
A quick review of tonight's "Tremé" coming up just as soon as I sacrifice a sock to the music gods...
It's a long, dark night for Carrie, Brody and Jessica
A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I forget my jack...
Van Alden and Gyp receive visitors and Nucky tries to play producer
A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I get you some Passover vodka...