<p>Steve Zahn and Lucia Micarelli in &quot;Treme.&quot;</p>

Steve Zahn and Lucia Micarelli in "Treme."

Credit: HBO

Review: HBO's 'Treme' returns for season 2

Slow and steady progress from the great love letter to New Orleans

As we return to the post-Katrina New Orleans of "Treme" for the start of season two (Sunday night at 10 on HBO), things are in many ways much better for the musicians, chefs and other locals we met in the drama's first season.

Itinerant trombonist Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce) decides the time is right to form and front his own band, while his ex-wife LaDonna (Khandi Alexander) coincidentally decides to expand her bar's business by adding live music. Trouble-making DJ Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn) tries to start a record label to promote his love of the city's bounce music, while his violinist friend Annie (Lucia Micarelli) finally starts establishing herself in the local music scene. Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters) gets to work patching up the home that was destroyed in the storm, while his trumpet-playing son Delmond (Rob Brown) sets out to reinvent his sound and, in the process, reconnect with his New Orleans roots.

Most of these characters have moved past mere survival now. Their lives have found some level of post-Katrina equilibrium, and now they're all looking to build something. It's an attitude exemplified by one of this season's two new characters, Nelson Hidalgo (Jon Seda), a carpetbagger from Texas looking to get rich by helping to reconstruct the devastated city.

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<p>Craig T. Nelson on &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Craig T. Nelson on "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

'Parenthood' - 'Hard Times Come Again No More': The play's the thing

Lots of laughter and tears in the season 2 finale

A review of the "Parenthood" season two finale coming up just as soon as I take you to the junkyard...

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<p>Lena Headey in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Lena Headey in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

HBO renews 'Game of Thrones'

Fantasy series opens to good, not great ratings, but gets second season

The last time HBO debuted a new drama series with "Boardwalk Empire," it renewed it two days after the premiere, day the initial ratings came in. HBO has now stuck to that pattern with "Game of Thrones," announcing a second season this morning, not long after final numbers for Sunday night's premiere (which I reviewed here) became available.

The key difference is that, where "Boardwalk" opened with the kind of strong ratings that made renewal a formality, "Thrones" had a good-but-not-great opening audience.

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<p>Tara (Toni Collette)&nbsp;as Shoshana on &quot;United States of Tara.&quot;</p>

Tara (Toni Collette) as Shoshana on "United States of Tara."

Credit: Showtime

'United States of Tara' - 'Wheels': Long live the king

Charmaine gives birth, and Tara lays down the law for the alters

A quick review of tonight's "United States of Tara" coming up just as soon as my suitcase bursts into consciousness...

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<p>Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your&nbsp;Mother.&quot;</p>

Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Hopeless': Crazy Jerry's vices are insaaaaaane!!!

John Lithgow returns, and Robin tries to reconnect with a crush

A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I'm a professional Scotch taster...

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<p>Jennifer Beals and Jason Clarke in &quot;The Chicago Code.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Beals and Jason Clarke in "The Chicago Code."

Credit: FOX

'The Chicago Code' - 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre': No confidence?

Teresa's under attack from all sides on a tough day at the office

A review of tonight's "The Chicago Code" coming up just as soon as I wear a bullet-proof vest as a fashion statement...

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<p>Busy Philipps and Brian Van Holt in &quot;Cougar Town.&quot;</p>

Busy Philipps and Brian Van Holt in "Cougar Town."

Credit: ABC

'Cougar Town' - 'Walls': Penny can for your thoughts?

The cul-de-sac crew returns in an uneven episode

"Cougar Town" is back, boys and girls. Earlier today, I posted an interview with co-creator Bill Lawrence, and now I have a quick review of tonight's episode coming up just as soon as I carry on the message of .38 Special...

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<p>Yvonne Strahovski, Gary Cole and Zachary Levi on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Yvonne Strahovski, Gary Cole and Zachary Levi on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Wedding Planner': Father of the bride

Gary Cole returns to help Chuck and Sarah undo a con job

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as we do a spy high-five...

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 69: 'Cougar Town,' 'Treme,' 'Cinema Verite' and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 69: 'Cougar Town,' 'Treme,' 'Cinema Verite' and more

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 run-down: 

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
HBO's "Treme" -- 48:30 - 01:01:20
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>The &quot;Cougar Town&quot;&nbsp;gang returns tonight at 9:30. </p>

The "Cougar Town" gang returns tonight at 9:30.

Credit: ABC

Interview: 'Cougar Town' producer Bill Lawrence on Penny Can, viral marketing and more

Sitcom returns tonight after a long hiatus

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.

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