<p>James Wolk and Adam Pally on &quot;Happy Endings.&quot;</p>

James Wolk and Adam Pally on "Happy Endings."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: 'The Middle,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern Family' & 'Happy Endings'

Reviews of all four ABC Wednesday comedies

It's morning round-up time, with quick reviews of all four of ABC's Wednesday night comedies, going in chronological order — "The Middle," then "Suburgatory," "Modern Family" and "Happy Endings" — coming up just as soon as as I explain the reverse Andre the Giant to you...

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<p>Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Landlord': Send me on my way

Jess, Nick and Schmidt all struggle to read signals in an uncomfortable episode

A quick review of last night's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I paint a sexually-charged zero gravity tea ceremony in my closet...

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<p>Mark Harmon and Muse Watson in the 200th episode of &quot;NCIS.&quot;</p>

Mark Harmon and Muse Watson in the 200th episode of "NCIS."

Credit: CBS

'NCIS' - 'Life Before His Eyes': It's a wonderful life, Gibbs

In the series' 200th episode, Gibbs gets to explore paths untaken

I don't write about "NCIS" all that often because, as entertaining as it is, it doesn't particularly lend itself to episode-by-episode analysis. But I thought the occasion of its 200th episode last night merited attention, and I have a few thoughts on "Life Before His Eyes" coming up just as soon as we combine our snooping...

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<p>Amber (Mae Whitman)&nbsp;got a &quot;Parenthood&quot;&nbsp;promotion.</p>

Amber (Mae Whitman) got a "Parenthood" promotion.

Credit: NBC

'Parenthood' - 'Politics': Moving out and moving in

Amber gets a promotion, Dr. Joe finds a house and Zoe makes a change

A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I train for a year to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro...

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<p>Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson)&nbsp;works the grill on &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) works the grill on "Justified."

Credit: FX

'Justified' - 'The Devil You Know': Off to see the wizard

Dickie's on the run, Devil makes a move and Limehouse is waiting

A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I can sense a disturbance in the Force...

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<p>The cast of &quot;The River&quot;&nbsp;gets wet.</p>

The cast of "The River" gets wet.

Credit: ABC

'The River' - 'Magus/Marbeley': Beyond the valley of the dolls

Back-to-back episodes give a strong sense of what the horror series is about

"The River" just finished its two-hour premiere. I posted my review of the series yesterday, and I have a few specific thoughts on these two episodes coming up just as soon as the doll tree has friends in Sumatra...

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<p>Martin Short and Josh Radnor got into it last night on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Martin Short and Josh Radnor got into it last night on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'The Burning Beekeeper': The internet is for cheese

Marshall and Lily's housewarming party goes awry in a well-structured but unfunny episode

A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as my breath reeks of shredded carrots and deceit...

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<p>On &quot;Smash,&quot;&nbsp;Karen (Katharine McPhee)&nbsp;performs an after-hours audition for Derek (Jack Davenport).</p>

On "Smash," Karen (Katharine McPhee) performs an after-hours audition for Derek (Jack Davenport).

Credit: NBC

'Smash' - 'Pilot': Let me be your star

What did everybody think of NBC's new musical drama?

I posted my review of NBC's "Smash" on Friday, and a number of you weighed in on the show, having already watched it online. But I imagine some of you didn't get to see it until tonight's official premiere, and I'm curious what you guys thought of it. Did you like the songs, whether original or covers? (And once the songs shift into fantasy mode, would you prefer they stayed that way until the end, rather than toggling back and forth?) Do you have a favorite between Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty? Did you find the "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" number sexy or disturbing? (Several women I know who watched it initially thought something very bad was going to happen to Karen in that apartment.) And, most importantly, do you intend to keep watching? 

Though I didn't love the show, I find it interesting enough that I'm going to attempt some kind of weekly coverage. Some reviews may be longer than others, but there will at least be a venue for discussion of each episode. (No idea if NBC will be sending more out in advance past the first four; if not, don't expect posts until Tuesday morning sometime.) 

In the meantime, have at it.

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 114: 'Smash,' 'The River,' Super Bowl ads and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 114: 'Smash,' 'The River,' Super Bowl ads and more

Dan and Alan also answer letters about '30 Rock,' casting news and reality TV

The

The Super Bowl has ended, and since Dan and I couldn't agree on an acceptable wager, the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is the same as it ever was. We don't dwell on the game very much, but we do talk for a while about the underwhelming crop of commercials, before transitioning into reviews of NBC's "Smash" and ABC's "The River," and then a smattering of listener mail.

The line-up: 

Super Bowl commercials (01:15 - 20:40)
"Smash" (20:40 - 39:00)
"The River" (39:00 - 52:50)
Listener Mail - "30 Rock" (53:30 - 58:45)
Listener Mail - "Kid Nation" and stuff (58:45 - 01:05:45)
Listener Mail - Casting "exclusives" (01:06:25 - 01:13:25)
 
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;The River&quot;&nbsp;is about the search for Bruce Greenwood's Dr. Emmet Cole.</p>

"The River" is about the search for Bruce Greenwood's Dr. Emmet Cole.

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'The River' keeps the scares coming week after week

HitFix
B+
Readers
B-
Found-footage horror story from 'Paranormal Activity' creator works as a TV show

At first blush, horror is a genre that wouldn't seem to lend itself well to television. So much of what makes a scary story effective in a darkened movie theater shouldn't necessarily apply to a weekly series. You can maintain a sense of dread, or willingly suspend your disbelief about why the damn fools won't get out of the haunted house already, for two hours, but week after week for years? That's tougher.

But horror has had some past success on the small screen ("The X-Files," for instance, took more of its stylistic cues from horror than science-fiction), and we're in a mini-boom right now with AMC's "The Walking Dead" and FX's "American Horror Story." You can argue with how successfully each of those shows has tried to tell their ongoing stories — and even the "AHS" producers recognized they couldn't keep their story going past a single season, and will start over from scratch with a new idea and characters — but these are very big hits for their respective channels, and "Walking Dead" has a long-running comic book series to draw stories from for years to come.

And now comes "The River," the new ABC found-footage horror series from "Paranormal Activity" creator Oren Peli, which is debuting tomorrow night at 9. I watched the pilot months ago, was impressed by the level of suspense maintained throughout, yet wondered how on earth it would work as an ongoing series.

And having seen four additional hours since then (one of which will air after the pilot tomorrow night), I'm pleased to tell you that —for now, at least — it does work.

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