Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
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.
The return of "Cougar Town" -- 01:00 - 11:00
Listener Mail: Nudity -- 11:45 - 17:45
Listener Mail: The NY Times "Game of Thrones" review -- 17:50 - 26:05
Listener Mail: Industry info relating to opinions -- 26:25 - 30:30
HBO's "Talking Funny" -- 30:45 - 35:25
"Doctor Who" -- 35:25 - 39:00
HBO's "Cinema Verite" -- 39:10 - 48:20
" -- 48:30 - 01:01:20
And as always, feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com
if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.
Sitcom returns tonight after a long hiatus
The "Cougar Town" gang returns tonight at 9:30.
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.
Get to know Linden, the Larsens and Rosie as the mystery moves along
Linden (Mireille Enos) and her fiance Rick (Callum Keith Rennie) enjoy a quiet moment on "The Killing."
A review of tonight's "The Killing" coming up just as soon as I send you to a French gangster film that's 5 hours long...
What did everybody think of the prequel movie?
RonReaco Lee and Bruce Campbell in "Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe."
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?
Lots of people, places and events to learn in the fantasy series' debut
Bran Stark gets an archery lesson in the "Game of Thrones" premiere.
"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
Bruce Campbell in "Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe."
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.
The fifth and final season begins with some goodbyes and hellos
Landry enjoys his last night in Dillon on the "Friday Night Lights" premiere.
(I originally posted this review back when "Friday Night Lights" was doing its exclusive DirecTV run. The comments from that period have been preserved. For the sake of people who are watching the episodes as they air on NBC, I will ask anyone commenting from this point forward to only discuss plot events up to the episode in question. Do not discuss, or even allude to, anything that has yet to air on NBC. Thank you.)
"Friday Night Lights" is back on NBC, and I have a review of the season premiere coming up just as soon as water is meant to be in my brother's pants...
How does he expect newcomers to his books to understand the HBO fantasy drama?
George R.R. Martin has been living with the characters you'll see in Sunday night's premiere of HBO's "Game of Thrones" for 20 years now. The former TV writer ("Beauty and the Beast," "The Twilight Zone") started work on the first book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series of fantasy novels back in 1991, published the first in 1996, and ever since has been dealing with questions and suggestions about how the books might be adapted to the screen.
He doesn't have to wonder any more. "Game of Thrones" debuts Sunday at 9 p.m., and I thought it was terrific - and that's coming from the perspective of someone who, as I explained to Martin at the start of a long phone interview, hasn't read any of the books(*).
(*) And for that reason let me remind you the rules I laid out in that initial review, which is that plot spoilers from the first book or any of the future ones are not cool, and will be deleted. I want other Westeros newbies to have the same sense of discovery I did.
Martin and I talked about the challenge of adapting the books - about the fight for the throne of a kingdom in an alternate history version of England in the Middle Ages, known as Westeros - about casting so many of the pivotal roles, about ways in which the TV show might influence the later books, and a lot more. I even got a cathartic moment where I got to object to one particular quirk of Martin's writing style that's going to be an ongoing problem in my coverage of the show.
Liz and Kenneth hunt for Tracy, Jack and Jenna fix a movie, and Pete becomes an arm-wrestling champ
Jenna films a movie on "30 Rock."
A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I have a tattoo of a leprechaun vomiting on a book...
Pierce finds love, Britta finds hidden depth in Troy, and Abed solves a sitcom secret
Danny Pudi on "Community"
A review of last night's "Community" coming up just as soon as my heart is mad at my kidneys...