<p>On &quot;Community,&quot;&nbsp;Abed has a &quot;Freaky Friday&quot;&nbsp;moment.</p>

On "Community," Abed has a "Freaky Friday" moment.

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Community' - 'Basic Human Anatomy'

Troy switches bodies with Abed in an episode written by Jim Rash

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as we have a murder mystery night during the day...

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<p>Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl)&nbsp;and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen)&nbsp;in a &quot;Hannibal&quot;&nbsp;webisode created from the unaired fourth episode.</p>

Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) in a "Hannibal" webisode created from the unaired fourth episode.

Credit: NBC

Controversial 'Hannibal' episode gets sliced into webisodes

NBC won't air episode 4, but key scenes are now available online

As we discussed last week, NBC is skipping the fourth episode of "Hannibal," and will jump straight to episode 5 tonight at 10. The official version of the story is that Bryan Fuller approached NBC and said he felt episode 4 — whose main plot involves Molly Shannon as a woman who trains children to kill other children — was inappropriate after the Boston bombings, though as Deadline pointed out, NBC had announced the scheduling change before the bombings, suggesting a pre-existing unease with the episode. (It's the only one of the first 6 that critics weren't sent in advance.) And as you'll see in the first video embedded below, Fuller says that the episode will be available in its entirety in other countries, but not America.

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<p>The cast of Amazon's &quot;Zombieland&quot;&nbsp;pilot.</p>

The cast of Amazon's "Zombieland" pilot.

Credit: Amazon

From 'Alpha House' to 'Zombieland': Will Amazon's crowd-sourced pilot experiment work?

Will this method be any more successful than the way the networks develop new shows?

Of the many dysfunctional, outdated aspects of the network TV business, the pilot process may be the most broken. Every year, dozens of very expensive pilots are produced in a short, identical window, with everyone fighting over the same tiny pool of actors, decisions being made in a rush based on limited data, often just on the gut instincts of a handful of people. Only a small handful will ever air, and only an even smaller handful of those will make it to a second season. It's an inefficient process in virtually every way.

Why do the network do it this way? Because, like so many other aspects of the business, this is how it's always been done, and it's hard to steer around this particular iceberg. The networks pay lip service to the idea of doing year-round development, for instance, to avoid the casting crunch, but it happens only in isolated cases.

One potential fix in the age of Hulu, iTunes, etc., would be to make all of the pilots available online for viewers to sample and offer feedback on. It's not an ideal solution — it would be a self-selecting sample that, by its very nature, would probably be more likely to watch shows online (where the networks don't make remotely as much money) than on TV — but it would still provide far more feedback than the networks get now, and possibly more useful feedback than the traditional network testing that inevitably give high marks to terrible shows featuring recognizable stars. But the networks can't or won't do that, because there are too many entities involved with too many egos to potentially bruise. Some pilots are so terrible they should never see the light of day, and no executive wants to be second-guessed if one of their pet shows gets lower marks than one they passed on.

Because Amazon hasn't spent decades making shows, it's not bound by tradition or unwritten rules. For some reason, Amazon chose to produce eight comedy pilots (six live-action, two animated, plus another six children's shows I won't be talking about here) at roughly the same time as the networks, and therefore had to draw on the same diluted talent pool. But once they were made, Amazon decided to open up the process to their potential audience, and crowd-source reaction to these pilots. You can watch all of them at AmazonOriginals.com, and then rate them and/or take a more detailed survey about what you liked and didn't like about each, which include:

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<p>Martha (Alison Wright)&nbsp;and &quot;Clark&quot;&nbsp;(Matthew Rhys)&nbsp;in &quot;The Americans.&quot;</p>

Martha (Alison Wright) and "Clark" (Matthew Rhys) in "The Americans."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Americans' - 'The Oath'

Philip has a question for Martha, and Nina has one for Stan

A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I like the maze part and the eating without eating part...

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<p>Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey taking a tour of &quot;The Office&quot;&nbsp;set.</p>

Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey taking a tour of "The Office" set.

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: 'The Office' stars Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey tour the set

Which parts of the Dunder-Mifflin office actually work?

One of the things I've always liked about the set of "The Office" is how functional it appears. The computers are all wired for internet, for instance, and the actors often talk about how they pay their bills, email friends and play games while they have to be in the background of someone else's scene. Not everything works, but if you were to find yourself in the middle of this anonymous building in Van Nuys (in the same complex that houses the show's writers and producers), you could be forgiven for mistaking it for an actual paper company branch office.

Production on this final season has already wrapped, but before everyone went home, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey filmed this video (exclusive to HitFix for a bit) providing a backstage tour of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton. The tour somehow runs out of steam before they get to the main bullpen, but the ladies stop by the restrooms, Toby's annex and the break room, providing trivia and old anecdotes along the way. Enjoy.

Only four episodes to go of this final season, with the next new one airing Thursday at 9 on NBC.

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<p>&quot;Duck Dynasty.&quot;</p>

"Duck Dynasty."

Credit: A&E

'Duck' blinders: When sitcom tropes and reality TV characters collide on 'Duck Dynasty'

How much reality is required for today's biggest 'unscripted' hits?

It's a popular trope in science fiction to ask at what level of artificiality does a person stop being a person. If you have a prosthetic leg, you're still you, but if you're down to only a few original organs — or if your brain gets put into a robot body — is that still the case?

I've found myself thinking of those questions, oddly, while watching some recent episodes of "Duck Dynasty." The reality show about a Louisiana family who sell duck hunting merchandise is a monster hit, drawing ratings — last week's episode attracted 8.6 million viewers and a whopping 3.9 rating among adults 18-49 — that puts it in the same neighborhood as the most popular shows on the broadcast networks. NBC would kill to have a sitcom do 2/3 as well as "Duck Dynasty." In fact, the only comedies on any networks doing those kinds of numbers are "Big Bang Theory," "Modern Family" and "Two and a Half Men."

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 178: 'Rectify,' Amazon pilots, 'Mad Men' & more

Dan and Alan also discuss the 'Suburgatory' finale and answer your mail

The

After last week's longest-ever Firewall & Iceberg Podcast episode, Dan and I were back to a more normal length — and the new normal apparently means 90+ minutes — in what would have been a light week if Amazon hadn't suddenly decided to crowdsource 80-billion new TV pilots. So we talked about those, and "Rectify," and "Mad Men" as usual, and also found time to post-mortem "Suburgatory" season 2 and answer a few letters.

The lineup:

"Rectify" (00:00:50 - 00:14:55)
Amazon pilots including "Zombieland," "Onion News Empire," "Browsers" and "Alpha House" (00:15:00 - 00:43:15)
Listener Mail: Changing episodic structure (00:43:35 - 00:51:05)
Listener Mail: Successful summer dumps (00:51:45 - 00:57:00)
"Suburgatory" finale (00:57:00 - 01:12:35)
"Mad Men" (01:12:40 - 01:36:10)

 

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.

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

<p>&quot;Happy Endings&quot; hero Max (Adam Pally) will get to compete in a gay pageant, after all.</p>

"Happy Endings" hero Max (Adam Pally) will get to compete in a gay pageant, after all.

Credit: ABC

ABC reschedules lost 'Happy Endings' episodes

Sitcom was one of many Friday shows bumped by news coverage from Boston

On Friday, developments in Boston were so crazy and fast-moving that it was unclear throughout the day which, if any, network primetime shows would actually air that night. For a brief window, it looked like "Happy Endings" was going to air another of its Friday double-features, and I posted a sneak preview clip (embedded again at the top of this post), but of course all the networks wound up pre-empting their primetime schedules to focus on what had happened in Watertown.

With the "Happy Endings" finale tentatively scheduled for this coming Friday, it was unclear what would happen to those two episodes set for last week. For a few days, the episodes were available on Hulu, iTunes, etc., and it looked like ABC might just skip airing them altogether. Today, though, it was decided to just slide the scheduling a week. So last week's episodes will now air this Friday at 8 & 8:30, and the season's final two episodes will air at the same time on Friday, May 3. Because of this, the episodes are no longer available online (though if you already bought them off of iTunes, score.) 

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<p>In &quot;Rectify,&quot;&nbsp;Daniel (Aden Young)&nbsp;faces the press after being released from prison.</p>

In "Rectify," Daniel (Aden Young) faces the press after being released from prison.

Credit: Sundance

Review: Sundance's 'Rectify' a slow but gripping story

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A Death Row prisoner readjusts to life after an unexpected release

"I hate to say it," Daniel Holden's stepbrother admits, by way of explaining why they've never gotten to know each other, "but we all thought he'd be dead by now, anyway."

This is the story of Daniel's life, and non-death, as depicted in the beautiful new Sundance Channel series "Rectify" (it debuts tonight at 9 with back-to-back episodes; the first three hours are already available On Demand). Convicted as a teenager for the rape and murder of his high school girlfriend, Daniel (played by Aden Young) has spent the last 19 years on Death Row, retreating further and further inward, preparing for the moment when he departs the earth once and for all.

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<p>Kristen Bell in the &quot;Veronica Mars&quot;&nbsp;episode &quot;A&nbsp;Trip to the Dentist.&quot;</p>

Kristen Bell in the "Veronica Mars" episode "A Trip to the Dentist."

Credit: UPN

Exclusive: 'Veronica Mars' movie brings in series veteran Diane Ruggiero

With Rob Thomas consumed with Kickstarter responsibilities, it helped to have a second voice

The "Veronica Mars" movie's reunions won't only take place in front of the camera. Rob Thomas needed help writing the script, so he recruited one of the show's original — and best — writers in Diane Ruggiero to do it with him.

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