<p>Bel (Romola Garai)&nbsp;and Freddie (Ben Whishaw)&nbsp;on &quot;The Hour.&quot;</p>

Bel (Romola Garai) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw) on "The Hour."

Credit: BBC

'The Hour' - 'Episode 3': The man who knows

Bel and Freddie get a taste of country life, while Mr. Kish lurks

I'm on vacation this week, but I did promise to put up a post for people to discuss the latest episode of "The Hour," which features various personal revelations at the large country estate, Freddie advancing on the mysterious Mr. Kish, and various other bits of mid-'50s British goodness. What did everybody else think of it?

<p>Stephen Tobolowsky (seen here in his &quot;Californication&quot;&nbsp;role)&nbsp;has more podcasts coming soon.</p>

Stephen Tobolowsky (seen here in his "Californication" role) has more podcasts coming soon.

Credit: Showtime

Interview: Stephen Tobolowsky on the state of The Tobolowsky Files

What's coming next in the character actor's audio memoirs?

(Reminder: I'm on vacation this week, but transcribed a few press tour interviews to keep the blog from going totally dark while I'm gone. I'll be back after Labor Day.)

In my Nick Offerman interview, I lamented that one of the downsides to a press tour party where a broadcast network invites the stars of its affiliated cable channels is that in a small and/or dark space, it can make the party all but impossible to work in. In a good space, though, it can give the party a very eclectic feel, one where there's someone unexpected and interesting to talk to around every corner. The combined CBS/CW/Showtime party at the latest tour was one of those, held in an outdoor space on a nice night, where even though I had a list of the actors scheduled to be there I still kept being surprised by who I bumped into.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the night was realizing I was standing at the bar next to Stephen Tobolowsky, character actor extraordinaire as well as writer and star of one of my favorite podcasts, The Tobolowsky Files, an ongoing audio memoir in which Tobolowsky tells stories from his life - some about showbiz, many not, all of them hilarious or moving in some way. I interviewed Tobolowsky and producer/co-host David Chen last summer, but I was glad to bump into the guy (and to meet his wife Ann, a frequent subject of Tobolowsky Files stories), and to catch up on the state of the podcast, which has had an irregular schedule of late while both Tobolowsky and Chen have been busy.(*)

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<p>Nick Offerman, seen here with Kate Flannery from &quot;The Office,&quot;&nbsp;and with his own mustache in a nascent stage.</p>

Nick Offerman, seen here with Kate Flannery from "The Office," and with his own mustache in a nascent stage.

Credit: NBC

Interview: 'Parks and Recreation' co-star Nick Offerman

On working with wife Megan Mullally, Patricia Clarkson as Tammy One, and more

(Reminder: I'm on vacation this week, but transcribed a few press tour interviews to keep the blog from going totally dark while I'm gone. I'll be back after Labor Day.) 

I've written before about how the nightly parties at press tour are this weird hybrid beast that's half-party, half-working event and not entirely conducive to either thing. Some of the venues are so crowded, dark and/or noisy that it's difficult to find people you might want to interview, and even harder to hear them if you do. NBC's shindig at this summer's tour - a party that featured talent not only from the broadcast network, but Bravo, Syfy, E! and most of the other channels in the new Comcast empire, and that took place in the very strange space that is The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel - was particularly tough to navigate.

Eventually, I realized that the only place where I could both breathe, see and hear was at the Bazaar entrance closest to the red carpet - which is where I happened to run into "Parks and Recreation" co-star (and soon-to-be TCA Awards host) Nick Offerman. Offerman not only plays my favorite character on one of my favorite shows at the moment, but is a fairly swell human being to boot. Most of the skills his "Parks" alter ego Ron Effing Swanson displays are abilities that the real Offerman can do. (Here's a link to the Offerman Woodshop, for instance.) d

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<p>Hopefully my vacation goes better than the Griswolds'.</p>

Hopefully my vacation goes better than the Griswolds'.

Vacation, all I ever wanted?

Your critic's taking a few end-of-summer days off

The summer's almost over, and TV is about to get really insane, so it's time for a long-overdue family vacation. I'll be putting the computer down (and, if I can help myself, the smartphone, tablet, etc.) for the next week, returning on Tuesday, September 6.

To keep the blog from going dark while I'm away, I have a handful of interviews I did at press tour (one of them involving the most awesome mustache in the universe) that will be posted periodically over the next few days. Also, I've already seen the next episodes of "The Hour," "Louie," "Breaking Bad" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and I have either short "what did you think?" posts (for "The Hour" and "Louie") or reviews (for "Breaking Bad" and "Curb") that should publish around the time each episode ends. (If you wait to see links on Twitter, keep in mind that dlvr.it can sometimes take up to an hour to auto-tweet a link, so for those four, just come around when the episodes end on the East Coast.) And my "Sons of Anarchy" season 4 review should be published sometime on Labor Day.

Whatever else happens or airs while I'm gone will be ignored.

Play nice while I'm away, folks, and when in doubt, remember the commenting rules.

<p>Jesse (Aaron Paul)&nbsp;backs up Gus (Giancarlo Esposito)&nbsp;on &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Jesse (Aaron Paul) backs up Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) on "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' - 'Problem Dog': In or out?

The season reaches a terrific mid-point

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I'm charged with misdemeanor trash burning...

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<p>River (Alex Kingston)&nbsp;and the Doctor (Matt Smith) have a moment on &quot;Doctor Who.&quot;</p>

River (Alex Kingston) and the Doctor (Matt Smith) have a moment on "Doctor Who."

Credit: BBC

'Doctor Who' - 'Let's Kill Hitler': Nobody puts Hitler in a cupboard!

The Doctor, Amy and Rory continue the search for River in a smashing mid-season premiere

"Doctor Who" is back to continue its sixth modern season. Earlier this week, I published my interview with showrunner Steven Moffat, which I highly recommend for serious "Who" fans, and I have a review of the mid-season premiere coming up just as soon as I memorize every room in the universe...

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<p>Esther (Alexa Havins)&nbsp;and Rex (Mekhi Phifer)&nbsp;brief a superior (John DeLancie)&nbsp;on &quot;Torchwood:&nbsp;Miracle Day.&quot;</p>

Esther (Alexa Havins) and Rex (Mekhi Phifer) brief a superior (John DeLancie) on "Torchwood: Miracle Day."

Credit: Starz/BBC

'Torchwood: Miracle Day' - 'End of the Road': Category 0?

Lots of exposition as the miracle plot resumes

After "Torchwood: Miracle Day" took a notable quality uptick last week with its Captain Jack in the '20s short story, the miracle storyline resumed tonight, and I was mostly reminded of how little I care about either the cause of or solution to this problem.

I'll be on vacation next week and haven't seen that episode yet, so we'll be back to talk about the finale in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'm mainly curious if there are people who are still enjoying "Miracle Day" - and, if so, why. Not judging, just wondering, given that the comments have slowed to a trickle and are almost uniformly negative.

On the plus side... Q!

<p>&quot;The Cut&quot;&nbsp;author George Pelecanos.</p>

"The Cut" author George Pelecanos.

Credit: Ian Allen

Interview: 'The Cut' author George Pelecanos

How does 'The Wire' writer compare his literary and TV work?

Over the course of my many reviews of "The Wire" and "Treme," I've frequently discussed the contributions of George Pelecanos, whom David Simon usually (but not always) asks to handle the most brutal deaths of the most beloved characters. (Pelecanos and I discussed this in an interview towards the end of my "Wire" season 3 reviews, and then again after he played Angel of Death in "Treme" season 2.)  But I've only ever discussed his other, more prolific career as a crime novelist in passing. With next week's publication of "The Cut," the first book in a planned new series about private investigator Spero Lucas, I decided it was time to turn the spotlight largely onto that part of his career.

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<p>Louis C.K. went to Afghanistan on tonight's &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>
<br />

Louis C.K. went to Afghanistan on tonight's "Louie."


Credit: FX

'Louie' - 'Duckling': Go, go, USO

Louie heads to Afghanistan to cheer up the troops

A quick review of tonight's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I put on some sunscreen...

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<p>Ryan (Elijah Wood)&nbsp;meets a strange man (Dwight Yoakam) on &quot;Wilfred.&quot;</p>

Ryan (Elijah Wood) meets a strange man (Dwight Yoakam) on "Wilfred."

Credit: FX

'Wilfred' - 'Doubt': They still call me Bruce

Dwight Yoakam sheds some light on Wilfred's past

A quick review of tonight's "Wilfred" coming up just as soon as I check the condom for leaks...

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