"Nurse Jackie" is beginning production on its seventh season this week, and Showtime announced today that this will also be the hospital dramedy's last.
In this Golden Glut of TV drama, it's hard for any new drama to break through and find an audience, because there are so many options out there (not to mention easy access to most of the great dramas of the previous 50 years). It's harder still for a show that has an audience and loses it to get those people back, no matter how good it becomes.
Case in point: FX's "The Bridge," the current belt-holder for Best Show You're Not Watching.
Happy Tuesday, boys and girls! Buckle up for a very long Firewall & Iceberg Podcast that runs the gamut, from our attempt to find anything redeeming in FOX's "Utopia," through some discussion of the "New Girl" & "Mindy Project" premieres, then into some important listener questions before we jump into "The Leftovers" finale and the start of the all-important "Friday Night Lights" volleyball arc. Only two episodes to go. Sigh.
As always, send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
I usually oppose the convention wisdom that says that bringing couples together ruins sitcoms, but even I couldn't ignore a coupling's devastating recent impact on one of my favorite sitcoms. Season 2 of "New Girl," which was mostly devoted to the flirtation between Zooey Descanel's Jess and Jake Johnson's Nick, was at times the best comedy on television. Season 3 of "New Girl," in which Jess and Nick were a firmly-established couple, was an absolute mess, until finally creator Liz Meriwether and her writers hit the eject button on the whole idea and had the relationship fall apart in the space of an episode.
CBS has named English actor James Corden as the new host of "The Late Late Show," where he will succeed the departing Craig Ferguson sometime in 2015.
"The Leftovers" wrapped up its first season earlier this evening. A review of the finale coming up just as soon as we have different physiques...
A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I make this coin disappear...
"Boardwalk Empire" is back for its final season. I interviewed Terence Winter about the decision to end the show (and to move the action forward to 1931), and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I sail away on a turtle...
Reviewing a new TV show usually comes out to about 50 percent analysis of what's there, 50 percent psychic projection of what the show might become past the episode(s) you've seen. With comedy, the balance tilts heavily towards the psychic end of things, because so few comedies start out strongly, and you have to make an informed guess as to what mediocre pilot will turn out to be great like "Parks and Recreation," and what will settle for being crass like "2 Broke Girls."
Even having more episodes beyond the pilot isn't always a help. Back in January, for instance, Comedy Central sent out the first two "Broad City"s to critics. They were clever and seemed to have a distinctive voice, but it was a busy time of year, and I moved on to other things. Then my friends kept raving about it, I watched the rest of the season over the summer, and fell hard for the rest of it. (Really, it's clearly becoming great as early as episode 3.)
Even in this era of Too Much Good TV, summer is still a reasonable time to catch up on things I've missed like that, and to stick with shows that didn't necessarily wow me at first. In two recent instances, that patience has paid off terrifically — and in ways that are eerily similar — as I stuck with FX's "You're the Worst" and Netflix's "BoJack Horseman" until they turned out to be much more impressive than they seemed at first.