March Madness for college basketball is almost here, and the science of bracketology is filtering its way into all sorts of corners of the pop culture universe. Grantland is running a 32-person bracket to determine the greatest "Wire" character ever (though both "Wire" fan Mike Schur and The Bunk himself have raised objections to the way it's gone). Vulture is asking experts to help determine the greatest TV drama of the last 25 years (today it was "The X-Files" vs. "The West Wing").
For the third year in a row, Hulu is running its Best in Show competition, in which TV fans get to vote on a bracket of 32 current series. And for the second year in a row, I'm serving as the special guest judge, but in a different capacity from last year.
We are exactly one week away from the return of "Community" to NBC's primetime lineup, as the show starts all over again in its old Thursday at 8 timeslot on March 15. (Earlier that day, Hulu should be posting the archived stream of the "Community" PaleyFest panel I moderated, though I've already seen excerpts floating around on YouTube.) But since the show remains not on the air this week, it's time for one final installment in my weekly series on why I've missed the show during its absence.
A quick review of last night's "Happy Endings" coming up just as soon as I krump away this guilt...
A review of last night's "The River" — the strongest installment of the series so far — coming up just as soon as I deflect your schoolgirl crush...
A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I Fredo kiss you again...
A review of tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I wine-watch a documentary...
FX has renewed "Justified" for a fourth season, to air in early 2013.
The modern-day Western, starring Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, is in the middle of its third season, with the 8th out or 13 episodes airing tonight at 10. (It's one of my favorites of the season, for what it's worth; I was polishing off the review when the renewal news came in.)
"'Justified' is one of television’s best series and this season has reinforced that excellence,” FX vice-president of original programming Nick Grad said in a statement. “Graham Yost and his writing team continue to deliver compelling material and richly drawn characters brought to life by the brilliance of Timothy Olyphant and our terrific ensemble cast. Their work is validated by universal acclaim, awards, and ratings that have grown every year. We look forward to many more seasons to come.”
Yost in turn said, "There are many reasons all of us on 'Justified' are grateful to get a chance to do another season. We get to do more work with amazing actors, writers, producers, directors, musicians, editors and a jaw-droppingly talented crew. We get to keep doing a show that appeals to a wide demographic: people in Harlan, retired US Marshals, criminals (we honestly did hear that), and, most happily, our guide, our muse, Elmore Leonard. Best of all, we get to keep doing a show on FX (and while that may sound like craven ass-kissing, when you look at their roster, you can't help but feel grateful to be on that list)."
Through the first seven episodes, "Justified" season three is averaging 4.3 million viewers, up 8 percent over a year ago.
While "Glee" takes its annual spring break until April 10, FOX is trying something a little different on Tuesdays, with a four comedy line-up featuring "Raising Hope" moving to 8, "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" at 8:30, "New Girl" remaining at 9 and "Breaking In" returning from the dead at 9:30.
Dan and I discussed "Breaking In" on yesterday's podcast (short version: I still appreciate its references to things like "They Live" and "The Breakfast Club" but wish they would be turned into actual jokes), and I'll have a review of a sweet, change-of-pace "New Girl" up at 9:30. At the moment, though, I want to say a few words — and ask a question — about "Raising Hope."