<p>Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams in &quot;Suits.&quot;</p>

Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams in "Suits."

Credit: USA

Review: USA's 'Suits' a flat legal drama

HitFix
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Readers
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Another slick but empty USA series

USA has established an odd little tradition in recent years where most of its new series debut with extra-long episodes. On the one hand, I understand that a channel whose motto is "Characters Welcome" would want to give its new shows bonus time to establish those characters from the outset. But on the other, USA shows are designed to be light, easy-to-digest fare - even when they're not airing in the summer, they feel like they should be - and these super-sized opening portions usually feel a bit too leaden for that.

Rarely, though, have I had as hard a time getting through an inflated USA pilot than I did through all 73 minutes (90 minutes when you factor in commercials) of "Suits," the new legal drama that debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. after "Burn Notice."

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<p>I've actually borrowed my grading philosophy from Senor Chang.</p>

I've actually borrowed my grading philosophy from Senor Chang.

Credit: NBC

Making the grade

A few thoughts on a new addition to the site

You may have noticed a new addition to the blog - to all of HitFix, in fact - in the past couple of weeks: letter grades. I've received so many questions about them in the comments of various blog posts, in emails and on Twitter, that I think the easiest thing to do is a short post explaining why we're doing this, how it's going to work, etc.

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<p>Toni Collette as Alice on &quot;United States of Tara.&quot;</p>

Toni Collette as Alice on "United States of Tara."

Credit: Showtime

If I had an Emmy ballot 2011: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy

A thin field still leaves room for the women of 'Parks and Recreation,' '30 Rock' and more

Welcome to part seven of our journey through the Emmy ballot on HitFix. Once again, Fienberg and I are approaching each category from two directions, with Dan as the pragmatist and me as the optimist. So as we move onto the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy category, Dan has his usual exhaustive photo gallery of potential nominees, starting with the most likely candidates before eventually moving onto a bit of wish fulfillment, while after the jump, I continue to pretend that I'm a voting member of the TV Academy and have to pick six nominees for this category. (And, again, actors determine what category to submit themselves in, or whether to submit at all. You can download the full performers list here.)

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<p>Michelle Borth and Terry Chen in &quot;Combat Hospital.&quot;</p>

Michelle Borth and Terry Chen in "Combat Hospital."

Credit: ABC

'Combat Hospital' - 'Welcome to Kandahar': Meatball surgery

What did everybody think of ABC's new summer drama?

I had neither the time nor the interest for a full review of ABC's "Combat Hospital," though Dan and I did discuss the show - a Canadian import medical drama set on a military base in Kandahar in 2006 - on yesterday's podcast. Short version is that it's a competent but generic hospital show with some interesting actors (Elias Koteas, Michelle Borth) who don't get anything revelatory to do, and a setting that differentiates the show a bit from other hospital shows but not as much as it probably should. Not bad, but not something I'm going to be rushing back to watch.

But for anybody else who happened to tune in, what did you think?

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<p>Louis CK&nbsp;in &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>

Louis CK in "Louie."

Credit: FX

Review: FX's 'Louie' returns for season 2, darker and smarter than ever

HitFix
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Readers
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Louis C.K.'s one-man operation is back and strong

You ask any comedian why they went into the profession, and 8 or 9 times out of 10 you'll hear stories of melancholy, of feeling like an outsider, of turning to comedy out of some need for attention or approval, and of the frustrating realization that even that attention often isn't enough.

It's a familiar story, one that's been told in interviews and fictionalized often in the past, but rarely has the whole tears of a clown thing been rendered better than on FX's "Louie." Returning for a second season Thursday night at 10:30, it's either the saddest funny show I've ever seen or the funniest sad show.

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<p>With Bryan Cranston taking the Emmy year off, is Jon Hamm the favorite?</p>

With Bryan Cranston taking the Emmy year off, is Jon Hamm the favorite?

Credit: AMC

If I had an Emmy ballot 2011: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

Celebrating the men of 'Terriers,' 'Mad Men' and more

Welcome to part six of our journey through the Emmy ballot on HitFix. Once again, Fienberg and I are approaching each category from two directions, with Dan as the pragmatist and me as the optimist. So as we move onto the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama category, Dan has his usual exhaustive photo gallery of potential nominees, starting with the most likely candidates before eventually moving onto a bit of wish fulfillment, while after the jump, I continue to pretend that I'm a voting member of the TV Academy and have to pick six nominees for this category. (And, again, actors determine what category to submit themselves in, or whether to submit at all. You can download the full performers list here.)

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<p>Toni Collette in the &quot;United States of Tara&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Toni Collette in the "United States of Tara" series finale.

Credit: Showtime

'United States of Tara' - 'The Good Parts': Please tell me who I am

The series ends well, if not as planned

And so "United States of Tara" has come to an unplanned but still very effective end. My review of the series finale coming up just as soon as I own the world's first combination strip club and pancake house...

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 79: 'Game of Thrones' & 'The Killing' finales and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 79: 'Game of Thrones' & 'The Killing' finales and more

Dan and Alan also review 'Combat Hospital' and take on episode 3 of 'Twin Peaks'

The

Time for what may be the first of two episodes of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week. I say "may" only because our technical problems have been so hellacious of late that I'm not sure Dan or I have the heart to try two podcasts in one week. But at the very least, we got in a very long discussion of the finales of "The Killing" and "Game of Thrones," plus more "Twin Peaks" and a review of ABC's "Combat Hospita."  The run-down:

ABC's "Combat Hospital" -- 02:00 - 10:10
"Twin Peaks" -- 10:15 - 33:10
The "Game of Thrones" finale -- 33:15 - 53:30
The "Killing" finale -- 53:30 - 01:25:00
 
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 at sepinwall@hitfix.com and/or dan@hitfix.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.
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<p>Harley (Steve Earle)&nbsp;and Annie (Lucia Micarelli)&nbsp;in &quot;Treme.&quot;</p>

Harley (Steve Earle) and Annie (Lucia Micarelli) in "Treme."

Credit: HBO

'Treme' - 'What Is New Orleans?': Let's stay together

The city's light and dark sides are very much on display in a George Pelecanos-scripted episode

A review of tonight's "Treme" coming up just as soon as I put y'all on a need-to-know basis...

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<p>Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance)&nbsp;ponders the state of affairs in the &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) ponders the state of affairs in the "Game of Thrones" season finale.

Credit: HBO

'Game of Thrones' - 'Fire & Blood': Reviewing the season finale

The finale doubles as a thrilling prologue for season 2

"Game of Thrones" just wrapped up its terrific first season, and I have a review of the finale coming up (and, for anyone who DVR'ed "The Killing" finale but hasn't seen it yet, I briefly discuss my opinion of it in a non-spoiler-y fashion), just as soon as I favor my fingers...

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