Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

Interview: 'Justified' showrunner Graham Yost on villains, arcs and life without Mags

'It takes two big men to fill Margo's shoes,' he says

<p>Neal McDonough on &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Neal McDonough on "Justified."

Credit: FX
On the last day of press tour, I sat down with "Justified" showrunner Graham Yost to talk about the show's third season. Given that the season was going to premiere two days later, I knew I wasn't going to have the time to transcribe the interview then, so I geared it to go after tonight's episode (you can read my review of that here), which introduced Mykelti Williamson as the second of our two major new villains, Ellstin Limehouse, and guest-starred Carla Gugino as a U.S. Marshal who very closely resembled the one Gugino played on "Karen Sisco."
 
Yost and I talked about villains new and old — including the gaping hole that Margo Martindale left as Mags — about the show's evolution to be serialized even in episodes that might once upon a time have been standalone, and about Elmore Leonard's new book "Raylan," which is partly Leonard's adaptation of "Justified" season 2, and partly contains stories that Yost in turn adapted for season 3.

'Justified' - 'Cut Ties': Karen Sisco, I presume?

Carla Gugino and Mykelti Williamson stop by a packed episode

<p>Timothy Olyphant and Carla Gugino in &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Timothy Olyphant and Carla Gugino in "Justified."

Credit: FX

"Justified" just aired its second episode of the season. I interviewed Graham Yost about where we are at this point with our heroes and villains, and I have a review of this episode coming up just as soon as I need a spot...

Review: Kiefer Sutherland and son look for patterns in FOX's 'Touch'

Drama gets off to good start, but can 'Heroes' creator Tim Kring make it work long-term?

HitFix
B-
Readers
B+
<p>David Mazouz and Kiefer Sutherland in &quot;Touch.&quot;</p>

David Mazouz and Kiefer Sutherland in "Touch."

Credit: FOX

In the new FOX drama "Touch," Kiefer Sutherland plays a single dad whose son Jake — diagnosed for much of his life as severely autistic — is revealed to have a special, near-superhuman ability to identify and manipulate the patterns in the universe that appear to most of us to be a series of isolated, random events.

And if I were to look at the premiere episode of "Touch" the way everyone other than Jake views the world — and the way that FOX is treating it, by airing it after "American Idol" tomorrow night at 9, separated by almost two months from when the rest of the series will air on Mondays at 9 starting March 19 — then it's an interesting, emotionally manipulative but still effective hour of television.
 
But my job asks me to look at TV shows the way Jake looks at everything. There are almost always patterns and connections to spot, whether how some piece of a pilot episode may be tough to duplicate week after week, or how one writer may repeat the same tricks over and over from show to show.
 
And in that case, knowing what I know about "Touch" creator Tim Kring — and seeing the many commonalities between this show and his work on NBC's "Heroes" — makes me much less optimistic about the new series' future than I might be if I couldn't recognize the order lurking within the chaos.

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 2

With money, time and inspiration, the series delivers its strongest season

<p>Morgan introduces the most famous Jeffster!&nbsp;performance of all time in the &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;season 2 finale.</p>

Morgan introduces the most famous Jeffster! performance of all time in the "Chuck" season 2 finale.

Credit: NBC
The "Chuck" series finale — for real this time — airs Friday night at 8 on NBC, and we're spending this week preparing for the end with a 5-part interview I did with the show's creators, Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz. Yesterday, we talked about the show's origins and the truncated first season. Today, it's time to discuss what everyone considers to be the show's creative peak: season two, when they had a full-season order practically from the start (though even that caused problems), when they had their full budget and full cast, and when they started to hit the jackpot with guest stars.

'Shameless' - 'I'll Light A Candle For You Every Day': Finders keepers?

Did Frank and Fiona both go too far last night?

<p>William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on &quot;Shameless.&quot;</p>

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on "Shameless."

Credit: Showtime

A quick review of last night's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I misspell my name on a loan application...

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 1

Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz talk about the show's origins and that truncated first season

<p>Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC
"Chuck" ends its improbable 5-season run with back-to-back episodes this Friday at 8 & 9 p.m. on NBC. This will be, by my count, at least the sixth different time that creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz have had to conclude the series, but where all the previous finales were followed by unexpected renewals or extensions, this one's the absolute, no doubt about it finish.
 
When I was in California earlier this month for press tour, I went over to the Warner Bros. lot to interview Fedak and Schwartz (and then just Fedak after a certain point, since Schwartz has responsibilities to a bunch of shows at the moment) and look back over the life of one of my favorite series. It's a very long interview — the transcript is about 16,000 words — so I'm breaking it up into five parts, roughly covering one season each day. (Though as you'll see, we bounce back and forth in time a lot.) Today, we're covering the show's origins through the abrupt end of the first season when the writers strike shut down production.
 
So buckle up, and let's head back to those very early days when Schwartz was still running "The O.C.," Yvonne Strahovski's last name was still spelled Strzechowski, and the fan community believed Adam Baldwin would always be the hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne. (Some still believe this, by the way, and that's okay.)

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Bullet Train': Eternal sunshine of the Sarah mind

Sarah suffers Intersect side effects, while Jeffster have to show their heroic sides

<p>Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski)&nbsp;gets loose on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) gets loose on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

A review of tonight's "Chuck" — the last episode before next week's two-hour finale — coming up just as soon as I think better when I'm blowing up avocados...

'30 Rock' - 'Idiots Are People Two!': Mercury rising

Kelsey Grammer, James Marsden and Denise Richards swing by, but Liz and Jack are the show

<p>Denise Richards and Tracy Morgan on &quot;30 Rock.&quot;</p>

Denise Richards and Tracy Morgan on "30 Rock."

Credit: NBC

A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as Teri Polo and Ving Rhames call me at home...

'Unsupervised' - 'Pilot: Risky business

What did everybody think of the new FX animated comedy?

<p>The kids of &quot;Unsupervised.&quot;</p>

The kids of "Unsupervised."

Credit: FX

I posted my review of FX's "Unsupervised" this morning. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think on this kinder, somewhat gentler spin on "Beavis & Butt-Head" from the "Always Sunny" guys? Did you like Gary and Joel? Did you find it funnier than I did? Do you prefer Kristen Bell's voiceover work here or on "Gossip Girl"? And given all the "Archer" love around here, are you going to stick around just because one airs after the other? 

Have at it.

'Archer' - 'The Man from Jupiter': Burt Reynolds is the bomb

The '70s icon goes driving with Sterling in the third season premiere

<p>Archer gets to know guest star Burt Reynolds in the season premiere.</p>

Archer gets to know guest star Burt Reynolds in the season premiere.

Credit: FX

Earlier today, I posted an interview with "Archer" co-star Judy Greer. The season premiere just finished, and I loved how it made use of Burt Reynolds. There are times when it can feel awkward when a show spends an episode sucking up to a very special guest star, but it worked here because so much of Archer's personality - and so much of the show's approach to action - feels inspired by all those movies Reynolds did in the '70s and early '80s when he was the biggest movie star in the world.

As always, my coverage of the series is going to be intermittent (I tend to watch it in chunks, often well after individual episodes have aired), but fire away with your thoughts on the premiere.

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