<p>Frank (William H. Macy)&nbsp;uses his youngest son in the &quot;Shameless&quot;&nbsp;season 2 premiere.</p>

Frank (William H. Macy) uses his youngest son in the "Shameless" season 2 premiere.

Credit: Showtime

'Shameless' - 'Summertime': The running woman

Debbie runs a daycare, Frank runs from a debt, and Fiona just runs

I posted my review of the early part of "Shamelessseason 2 earlier this week. Now it's your turn. How did you feel about the shift from winter into summer? Were any of the 5 fans of "Lone Star" happy to see James Wolk? Did you miss Steve? Did Frank reach a new low with what happened with Liam? And would you, like me, not object to an ongoing story arc where Fiona returns to track & field full-time? 

In terms of ongoing coverage plans, my feeling from last year and from what I saw of these first four episodes is that "Shameless" is a show better served by me dipping in and out on and only writing something if an episode is notably different from the ones before or after. That said, I'm going to be watching the whole season, so I may do weekly (or bi-weekly) open threads for the episodes, depending on the level of interest.

What did everybody else think of the premiere? 

<p>Even Hugh Laurie doesn't know if &quot;House&quot;&nbsp;will be back next season.</p>

Even Hugh Laurie doesn't know if "House" will be back next season.

Credit: FOX

Press tour analysis: FOX has 'Fringe,' 'House,' 'Terra Nova' decisions to make

Many shows have their fates up in the air as we head into the season's second half

There are press tour executive sessions full of announcements about renewals and cancellations, hirings and firings - news, in other words. Then there are sessions like the one FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly just conducted, in which he left the fate of many shows and people - including "House," "Fringe," "Terra Nova," Ryan Seacrest and "X Factor" host Steve Jones - up in the air, while only clarifying the future (or lack therefor) of "Allen Gregory," which is kaput.

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<p>Nick Offerman wrote an upcoming &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;&nbsp;episode.</p>

Nick Offerman wrote an upcoming "Parks and Recreation" episode.

Credit: NBC

Interview: Nick Offerman on writing a 'Parks and Recreation' script

Which of Ron Swanson's co-workers did he most enjoy writing for?
At NBC's press tour party last night, I ran into Nick Offerman from "Parks and Recreation," who mentioned that he had written an upcoming episode for the show (the 18th out of 22 for the season). Given that Offerman, like Ron Effing Swanson, seems to be superhumanly competent at everything else, the idea of him writing a script for the show intrigued me. So we talked for a few minutes about how this happened, his writing experience, his secret dreams for writing Ron Swanson, and which other character he most enjoyed writing for.
 
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<p>On &quot;Chuck,&quot;&nbsp;Casey (Adam Baldwin)&nbsp;doesn't appreciate Verbanski's gift.</p>

On "Chuck," Casey (Adam Baldwin) doesn't appreciate Verbanski's gift.

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Kept Man': The spy who cared for me

Verbanski returns for Casey, Sarah has a scare, and Jeffster are onto something
A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I drop some bombs on Edwardian convention...
 
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<p>Donald Glover and Danny Pudi on &quot;Community,&quot;&nbsp;whose fate remains up in the air at NBC.</p>

Donald Glover and Danny Pudi on "Community," whose fate remains up in the air at NBC.

Credit: NBC

Press tour analysis: NBC chairman talks 'Community,' 'Smash' and the benefits of cable

Greenblatt is blunt about the current state of the Peacock

At press tours past, NBC executives have set new records for the amount of lipstick one can apply to a pig. Season after season, press tour after press tour, NBC's ratings dipped, but Jeff Zucker and then his various lieutenants found one way or another to come out and - usually with the help of bar graphs and eight dozen press releases - suggest that things were much better than we all thought, and that the Peacock was a half-step away from relevance again.

Friday morning at the tour, Robert Greenblatt came out and called the pig a pig.

"We had a really bad fall," he said without hesitation or embarrassment.

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<p>Alec Baldwin will be back next season if &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;is.</p>

Alec Baldwin will be back next season if "30 Rock" is.

Credit: NBC

Alec Baldwin extends '30 Rock' contract, says NBC chairman

Despite earlier threats, Emmy winner will be back next season if comedy is

If "30 Rock" returns to NBC next season, Alec Baldwin will return with it.

Though the Emmy-winning actor has stated publicly in the past that he might want to leave the series after his contract finished, whether to return to movies or move into politics, NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that Baldwin had already extended his contract through next season, pending renewal. The deal was closed in the fall, Greenblatt said.

"30 Rock" returns to NBC's schedule for its sixth season this Thursday night at 8. The show was held for mid-season because Tina Fey went on maternity leave, and because NBC had a comedy surplus and a timeslot deficit. Given its Emmy wins, critical praise and decent (by NBC standards) ratings, it is very likely to be back next season - and now will have Baldwin along with Fey and the others.

<p>Danny Pudi as Evil Abed on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>
<br />

Danny Pudi as Evil Abed on "Community."


Credit: NBC

Why I'll miss 'Community': Because we are about to enter the darkest timeline

The show leaves NBC's schedule for a while after tonight, so let's get evil!

Okay, tonight's the night, "Community" fans. NBC is about to rerun the last episode of the show that's currently scheduled to air on the network. While we know the remaining 12 episodes are going to air sometime, somewhere(*), for the moment, "Community" disappears from our televisions. 

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<p>Josh Lawson, Kristen Bell, Don Cheadle,&nbsp;Dawn Olivieri and Ben Schwartz in Showtime's &quot;House of Lies.&quot;</p>

Josh Lawson, Kristen Bell, Don Cheadle, Dawn Olivieri and Ben Schwartz in Showtime's "House of Lies."

Credit: Showtime

Review: Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell are hustling in Showtime's 'House of Lies'

HitFix
B-
Readers
C+
Comedy about management consultants has strong leads but needs to work on its perspective
A few years back, Matthew Carnahan created a series that couldn't have seemed more timely. In FX's "Dirt," Courteney Cox played the editor of a celebrity tabloid, and the show came on just as gossip was beginning to drive most entertainment news (and news, period, in some cases). But "Dirt" never seemed to know what kind of show it wanted to be when it grew up, and Cox's character wavered between villainous and virtuous.
 
"House of Lies," Carnahan's new Showtime dramedy (it premieres Sunday night at 10), also feels incredibly timely. In this age of Occupy Wall Street, it's a show ostensibly lampooning the 1%, as we follow a team of management consultants who travel around the country trying to fix - or, at least, hustle fees out of - one large, inhumane corporation after another.
 
And while it's more entertaining than "Dirt" - thanks primarily to the chemistry of a cast headed by Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell - it suffers from the same wobbly sense of tone and direction. It's in the right place and the right time, but it's not necessarily the right show.
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<p>Josh Lucas as Mitch McDeere in the new &quot;The Firm.&quot;</p>

Josh Lucas as Mitch McDeere in the new "The Firm."

Credit: NBC

Review: NBC puts Josh Lucas in 'The Firm'

HitFix
C
Readers
C
Belated sequel to Cruise/Grisham legal thriller falls flat

Watching the two-hour pilot episode of NBC's "The Firm" (Sunday at 9 p.m.), my mind was filled with many questions, such as:

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<p>Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle)&nbsp;and his Anna (Joanne Froggatt)&nbsp;in season 2 of &quot;Downton Abbey.&quot;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) and his Anna (Joanne Froggatt) in season 2 of "Downton Abbey."

 

Credit: ITV

Review: 'Downton Abbey' returns to PBS for season 2

HitFix
B+
Readers
B+
Class barriers start to come down, but the storytelling gets soapier
It happens all the time: someone will ask me to suggest a new show to watch, and I'll name a title and start describing it, and about 10 seconds in, the other person's face will curl up and they'll say, "Oh, I'm sure it's great, but I don't want to watch a show about high school football," or "I don't want to watch a show about a guy who cooks crystal meth," or "I don't want to watch a show with spaceships and robots and clones." And I'll shake my head and lament that they won't be able to see what I saw in "Friday Night Lights," "Breaking Bad" and "Battlestar Galactica."
 
But even I'm not immune to that line of thinking, as I discovered last year when PBS' "Masterpiece Classic" debuted "Downton Abbey," a drama about the masters and servants at a large English country estate in the years leading up to World War I. The social mores and problems of the landed gentry have never held any interest for me, and when faced with a crush of other material to watch with more appealing subject matter, I passed on "Downton" and moved on. Even rapturous reviews from most of my fellow critics wasn't enough to sway me, and I imagine they would have looked at me the same disappointment I feel at the people who didn't want to get to know Coach and Mrs. Coach.
 
Then on a whim one sleepless night a few months after the series debuted in America, I put on the first episode just to see what I was missing. And I kept watching all through the night and into the next day, eventually coming to three conclusions:
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