<p>Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston in a scene from the &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;mid-season finale.</p>

Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston in a scene from the "Breaking Bad" mid-season finale.

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' creator Vince Gilligan on poetry books, time jumps and the end for Walter White

How much do Gilligan and his writers know about the series finale? And was Mike too sloppy?

There have been times when Vince Gilligan has known from the start of a "Breaking Bad" season exactly how it was going to end (the plane crash of season 2), and other times where he and his fellow writers have had to improvise (they realized midway through season 3 that the Cousins were too dangerous to plausibly hang around forever, and as a result killed them off and made Gus into the new big bad).

As Gilligan and his writing staff have begun work  on the final 8 episodes of the AMC drama, they're taking an approach that's a little from Column A and a little from Column B, where they have an idea of what's going to be happen but are open to changing that idea if something better comes along.

I spoke with Gilligan about planning the ending of the series, and also about several of the key developments of the first half of this final season, up through the final images of Sunday's mid-season finale.

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<p>Mindy Kaling in &quot;The Mindy Project.&quot;</p>

Mindy Kaling in "The Mindy Project."

Credit: FOX

Mindy Kaling on 'The Mindy Project,' 'The Office' and more

Kaling created and stars in the new FOX sitcom
Mindy Kaling is not exactly Kelly Kapoor, the character she's played for the last eight seasons of "The Office" (where she also served as a writer over that time). She's much smarter and more articulate and, at first glance, less vindictive. Nor is Kaling exactly Mindy Lahiri, the OB/GYN character she plays on the upcoming FOX sitcom "The Mindy Project," which she created and stars in. (It debuts on September 25, but the pilot is already streaming on Hulu.) But Kaling shares with her two alter egos an obsession with pop culture in general and romantic comedy in particular — she spends much of "The Mindy Project" pilot getting into trouble for assuming that life works exactly like a Meg Ryan movie — and an enthusiastic, fast-talking style.
I spoke with Kaling at the TV critics press tour about the new show, the old show, how "The Mindy Project" evolved from a "Bridget Jones"-style love triangle in the pilot to something else, being an Indian-American woman fronting (and producing) her own sitcom, and more.
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<p>Bryan Cranston in &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Mid-season finale review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Gliding Over All'

Walt and Lydia build up the business in the last new episode of 2012

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" — the last episode of 2012 — coming up just as soon as I get Queen for a Day and a 5K...

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<p>Karen Gillan and Matt Smith in &quot;Doctor Who.&quot;</p>

Karen Gillan and Matt Smith in "Doctor Who."

Credit: BBC

Season premiere review: 'Doctor Who' - 'Asylum of the Daleks'

The Doctor, Rory and Amy reunite to take on a familiar set of foes

"Doctor Who" is back for a new season, and I have a review of the premiere, "Asylum of the Daleks," coming up just as soon as I have an escape plan where I survive 4 seconds longer...

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<p>Garry Marshall and Louis C.K. in &quot;Louie.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Garry Marshall and Louis C.K. in "Louie." 

Credit: FX

Review: 'Louie' - 'Late Show (Part 1)'

A happy accident at 'The Tonight Show' leads to a huge opportunity

A quick review of last night's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I review a remote control right before murder-suiciding my whole family...

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<p>Jonathan Banks as Mike on &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Jonathan Banks as Mike on "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' co-star Jonathan Banks talks about Mike Ehrmantraut

A scheduling accident led to the role of a lifetime

Jonathan Banks has had a long, varied career, but he's never had a better role. He's done drama. He's done comedy. He's played good guys (most notably as FBI Agent Frank McPike on "Wiseguy") and heavies. But he's never had a role as nuanced, as memorable, as his gig on "Breaking Bad" as cop-turned-fixer Mike Ehrmantraut.

(Spoilers coming up immediately if you haven't seen this week's episode.)

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 146: 'Coma,' 'Outlaw Country,' 'The Newsroom' & 'Breaking Bad'

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 146: 'Coma,' 'Outlaw Country,' 'The Newsroom' & 'Breaking Bad'

Dan and Alan also answer your mail


It's an Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week, as Dan and I review a miniseries (A&E's "Coma"), a busted pilot that somehow aired (FX's "Outlaw Country"), "The Newsroom" finale, and another episode of "Breaking Bad," while also finding an excuse to analyze both "Boy Meets World" and "Charles in Charge." 

The line-up: 

"Coma" (00:00:40 - 00:12:05)
"Outlaw Country" (00:12:10 - 00:25:50)
"The Newsroom" (00:25:50 - 00:45:00)
Listener Mail - Devolving Characters (00:45:20 - 00:54:00)
Listener Mail - "Survivor" returnees (00:54:00 - 01:00:40)
"Breaking Bad" (01:00:40 - 01:25:30)
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.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>Jeff Daniels and Terry Crews in &quot;The Newsroom&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

Jeff Daniels and Terry Crews in "The Newsroom" season finale.

Credit: AMC

Season finale review: 'The Newsroom' - 'The Greater Fool'

Will reacts badly to the magazine article, and Don has a proposal for Maggie

A review of "The Newsroom" season finale coming up just as soon as I show you my recipe for beef stew...

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<p>Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Say My Name'

Mike plots his exit strategy, but Walt doesn't want Jesse to go

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I want to live in a world without Coca-Cola...

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<p>Louis C.K. and Chloe Sevigny in &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>

Louis C.K. and Chloe Sevigny in "Louie."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Louie' - 'Looking for Liz/Lilly Changes'

Louie searches for a former date and his older daughter

A quick review of tonight's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I speak Slovenian...

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