John Lithgow returns, and Robin tries to reconnect with a crush
Teresa's under attack from all sides on a tough day at the office
The cul-de-sac crew returns in an uneven episode
Gary Cole returns to help Chuck and Sarah undo a con job
Alan and Dan also review 'Talking Funny' and answer a bunch of listener mail
It's Monday, which means it's time for a new Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I wind up discussing an awful lot of HBO programming, check back in on the return of "Cougar Town," and answer your mail.
While my voice returned for this installment, we had some other technical difficulties that hopefully won't affect the flow of the finished product too much.
Sitcom returns tonight after a long hiatus
Tonight at 9:30, "Cougar Town" airs its first episode in six weeks, a special post-"Dancing with the Stars" airing before the show reclaims its usual timeslot this Wednesday night at 9:30.
If you're a fan of the show who didn't realize it was coming back tonight, that's understandable, as ABC's on-air promotion for the return has been minimal. But that's okay with "Cougar Town" co-creator Bill Lawrence, who says that in this age of DVRs and social media, on-air promotion for established shows is far less important than the viral marketing that producers of those shows can do. So during the long hiatus, Lawrence, co-creator Kevin Biegel and a number of the show's stars have taken to Twitter, and Facebook, and other corners of the web to both keep the show fresh in viewers' minds and make sure as many as possible were prepared for the return.
Lawrence and Biegel produced a series of videos for Vulture pitting the show's actors against its writers. They took to the Facebook page for Lawrence's previous show "Scrubs," producing videos featuring "Scrubs" alums to try to bring fans of that show to the new one. Tonight's episode, which was originally supposed to be the last one that aired before the hiatus (a primetime address by President Obama bumped it), at one point features a phone number that fans can call to talk to different members of the cast. Etc.
I spoke with Lawrence about his new role as guerrilla marketer of his own material in a long phone interview that was, I suppose, also a part of his campaign. We also talked about the recent "Community" shout-out to "Cougar Town," a few upcoming story ideas (it's towards the end, and there's a spoiler warning if you really don't want to know, but plot is largely besides the point on "Cougar Town"), the origins of Penny Can, Bill's alternate interpretation of "Seinfeld," and more.
What did everybody think of the prequel movie?
I offered my tepid review of "Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe" yesterday. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the prequel movie? Did it do right by Bruce Campbell and Sam? Or would you rather see him mixing it up with Michael, Fi and company in Miami when the new season begins?
Get to know Linden, the Larsens and Rosie as the mystery moves along
Lots of people, places and events to learn in the fantasy series' debut
"Game of Thrones" just made its long-anticipated debut on HBO tonight. I reviewed the first six episodes as a whole earlier in the week, and I posted an interview with George R.R. Martin on Friday. Now I have a review of the debut episode, coming up just as soon as I explain to you the meaning of a closed door in a whorehouse...
Prequel film doesn't live up to the potential
Not all sidekicks are created equal. Some eventually prove so popular or colorful that they eventually get their own solo spotlight, while others get stuck in the shadows of their famous partner. After a few decades, Robin got his own super-team and then his own title separate from what he does with Batman. On the other hand, there haven't been many efforts to detail the fictional standalone adventures of either Tonto, Dr. Watson or Art Garfunkel.
Sam Axe, the boozing, womanizing ex-Navy SEAL pal of "Burn Notice" hero Michael Westen, definitely fits the former category. If you had been at last summer's Comic-Con panel for the show - in which star Jeffrey Donovan stayed home so that Bruce Campbell could soak up his usual adulation from the fanboys and girls - you would think that "Burn Notice" was, in fact, largely about Sam, and that Michael and Fiona were the sidekicks.
It was at that Comic-Con panel that USA announced plans for "Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe," a prequel movie directed by Donovan, that airs Sunday night at 9, helping to bridge the gap between seasons of the popular spy show. The film tells the story of Sam's final SEAL mission in Colombia, and how trying to do the right thing turned him from a career military man into an unemployed Miami lounge lizard.