Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 161: '1600 Penn,' CW catch-up and 'Dexter' & 'Homeland' finales

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 161: '1600 Penn,' CW catch-up and 'Dexter' & 'Homeland' finales

Dan brings Alan up to speed on 'Gossip Girl,' 'Arrow' and company


Time for an almost absurdly long episode of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, the first of two this week. We'll get to discussing our favorite shows of 2012 later in the week, but in the meantime, Dan and I reviewed NBC's "1600 Penn," Dan caught me up on recent developments on the CW, we talked about the Showtime finales and then did a long sports segment discussing both the Baseball Hall of Fame and my inability to walk away from a team.

The line-up: 

"1600 Penn" (00:01:10 - 00:14:20)
Dan's CW Roundup (00:14:25 - 00:30:35)
"Dexter" (00:30:55 - 00:45:10)
"Homeland" (00:45:10 - 01:17:00)
Sports Talk - Baseball Hall of Fame (01:17:30 - 01:36:15)
Sports Talk - Alan Loves the Knicks (01:36:20 - 01:43:10)
  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 questions for the podcast.
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'Breaking Bad' tops HitFix's First Annual Television Critics' Poll

'Breaking Bad' tops HitFix's First Annual Television Critics' Poll

What did a blue ribbon panel of the nation's top TV critics pick as their 10 favorite shows of 2012?

On Friday, I picked my top 10 shows of 2012. Later in the week, Dan's video will be running, and I'll also have a post listing the 10 shows that just as easily could have made the cut as many of the shows on my list.

Today, though, it's time to bring in a wider array of voice, as we introduce HitFix's First Annual Television Critics' Poll, in which we assembled several dozen of the nation's top TV critics and reporters and asked them to rank their 10 favorite shows of the year. Simple weighted vote — the #1 show on anyone's list was worth 10 points, the #10 worth 1 point, etc. — and a way to get a broader critical consensus of the year in television, in the same way that there are always year-end polls of movie and music critics.

As the headline says, "Breaking Bad" was the convincing winner of the poll. It's an interesting collection of shows, some of which are in my top 10, most of which will be in my top 20, but showing a diverse array of the kinds of great comedy and drama (and, once you get past the top 10, movies, miniseries, reality, etc.) to be found on TV today.

So go look at the poll, which includes not only the top 10, but all the shows that got votes (and you can click on each show to see who voted for it, and at what spot), as well as complete ballots from all the participating writers. And, as always, we welcome your input. What does everybody else think of the final results?

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<p>Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in a scene from the &quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;season finale. </p>

Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in a scene from the "Homeland" season finale.

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' producers on Brody's future, Saul's loyalties and more from season 2

Who will be back next season? Why didn't the CIA keep monitoring Brody's phone? Will Mandy sing?

"Look, these highly serialized dramas are a high-wire act, and occasionally on the wire, you're going to fall off," acknowledged "Homeland" executive producer Howard Gordon at the end of a long press conference call to discuss the Showtime drama's second season finale. "And if we did fall off this year now and then, I like to think we had a safety net under us, and that that net was our audience, who said they believed in us that we could get back up and cross to the other side. (What a completely convoluted metaphor!) But that was our hope for the finale: that people understood now why Nazir was doing what he was doing, why Brody was doing what he was doing, and what Carrie was thinking. We're very rigorous about that. Not to defend the show, but in our minds, we have answers to why everything happened. And hopefully we answered things a lot of the questions people had in the finale. And now we can start again in season 3 and begin the journey with everybody one more time."

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<p>Yvonne Strahovski and Michael C. Hall in a scene from the &quot;Dexter&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

Yvonne Strahovski and Michael C. Hall in a scene from the "Dexter" season finale.

Credit: Showtime

Season finale review: 'Dexter' - 'Surprise, Motherf---er!'

Dexter and LaGuerta make moves and counter-moves, while Hannah makes her own plan

A quick review of the "Dexter" season finale — and season 7 as a whole — coming up just as soon as I put on a diaper and come out as Baby New Year...

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<p>Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Season finale review: 'Homeland' - 'The Choice'

Carrie and Brody consider a future together, but how did the finale wrap things up?

A review of the "Homeland" season finale coming up just as soon as I apply to become your cabin boy...

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<p>Jenna Elfman, Bill Pullman and Martha MacIsaac in &quot;1600 Penn.&quot;</p>

Jenna Elfman, Bill Pullman and Martha MacIsaac in "1600 Penn."

Credit: NBC

Review: NBC's '1600 Penn' tries to make family comedy about the First Family

Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman and Josh Gad head to the White House

Early in the second episode of NBC's new sitcom "1600 Penn," the President of the United States himself, Dale Gilchrist, is in the Situation Room of the White House for a briefing on terrorism. Only all Gilchrist can think about is a secret that his oldest daughter Becca didn't tell him, and as he begins to realize that his military advisers also don't like to tell him things, he demands to know why.

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<p>&quot;Mad Men&quot;&nbsp;deserved another seat at the Top 10 table for the drama's fifth season.</p>

"Mad Men" deserved another seat at the Top 10 table for the drama's fifth season.

Credit: AMC

TV Top 10 of 2012: 'Mad Men,' 'Breaking Bad,' 'Parks and Recreation' & more

It was a much stronger year for veteran series than new ones

If you've been reading me a long time, you know I'm a complete wimp when it comes to making lists. Tell me to pick 10 shows, and I'll pick at least 11 — or, if I can, just do multiple lists. (I'm the guy who had to come up with seven different lists to break down the best of the '00s.)

For my list of the best TV shows of 2012, I actually stuck to 10 — and you can see and hear about all my choices in the video embedded at the top of this post — but only because I knew that I would be doing a longer written list next week, featuring my top 20 shows of the year. Like I said, wimp.

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<p>&quot;The Wire&quot;&nbsp;came up during my CNN&nbsp;appearance today.</p>

"The Wire" came up during my CNN appearance today.

Credit: HBO

What's Alan being watched on: More 'The Revolution Was Televised' link-blogging

Appearances on CNN, public radio and more

My largely improvised book tour for "The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever" made its first stop on television this morning, as I was a guest for a segment on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien." A good time was had by all (one of the panelists even wanted to continue the discussion during the commercial break), and it also provided me with an excuse to finally learn how to tie a half-Windsor knot. (My dad taught me the four-in-hand, and that's more or less where my tie education stopped.) If you want to see me in moving picture form, here I am: 

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<p>Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) gets his Heisenberg on in a &quot;Colbert Report&quot;&nbsp;mash-up of &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Downton Abbey.&quot;</p>

Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) gets his Heisenberg on in a "Colbert Report" mash-up of "Breaking Bad" and "Downton Abbey."

Credit: Comedy Central

This week in pop culture mash-ups: 'Breaking Bad' meets 'The Wire' & 'Downton Abbey'

Is it more fun to see 'Wire'-style credits, or Mr. Carson brewing illegal tea?

Pop culture mash-ups are fun. Pop culture mash-ups are easy to do. (Says the man who cooked up a "Mad Men"/"Watchmen" Tumblr in about five minutes back in the spring, then forgot it existed within days.) Doing a really great one, though, requires real creativity and attention to detail. 

Two recent "Breaking Bad" -related mash-ups illustrate this. On last night's "Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert had fun with reports that Michelle Obama had requested DVDs of "Downton Abbey" season 3 so she wouldn't have to wait for the show's American premiere on January 6. As payback, he said, he recruited recent guest Vince Gilligan and "Downton" co-stars Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter and Rob James-Collier to spoil the new season of "Breaking Bad" — or, rather, "Breaking Abbey" — for us.

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<p>Jessy Schram and Scott Speedman in &quot;Last Resort.&quot;</p>

Jessy Schram and Scott Speedman in "Last Resort."

Credit: ABC

Review: 'Last Resort' - 'Blue Water'

Sam and James go to Manila, while the Chinese make Marcus an offer

A quick review of tonight's "Last Resort" coming up just s soon as we're wearing matching gasmasks...

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