<p>Clear eyes, full hearts, better late than never:&nbsp;&quot;Friday Night Lights&quot; got its first drama series nomination for its final season.</p>

Clear eyes, full hearts, better late than never: "Friday Night Lights" got its first drama series nomination for its final season.

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

Emmys 2011: 'Parks and Recreation,' 'Friday Night Lights' signal more good than bad

'Justified,' Louis C.K. and some other surprise nominees outweigh the annoying ones

The glass half-empty view of the 2011 Emmy nominations (the full list is here): NBC's ridiculous "Harry's Law" now has as many nominations as "The Wire" ever got, and AMC's maddening "The Killing" now has three times as many nominations as "The Wire" ever got, while NBC's audacious, hilarious "Community" didn't get a single nomination for the second year in a row.

The glass half-full view of the 2011 Emmy nominations: "Friday Night Lights" and "Parks and Recreation" (aka the best drama and comedy on network TV)  were nominated for best drama and comedy, all the "Justified" castmembers who should have been nominated were (even though FX has an uneven track record with the Emmys), and Louis C.K. somehow got nominated for acting, writing and editing (albeit not all for the same show).

In other words, the Emmy voters are always going to do annoying things - especially in the nominating process, which leads to complacent thinking because no one has to have watched anything - but if you go into things prepared to grit your teeth, this year's Emmy nominations had more things to be pleasantly surprised about than things to incite a fist shake at the heavens.

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<p>Greg Cipes and Kristen Bell in &quot;Deadwood.&quot;</p>

Greg Cipes and Kristen Bell in "Deadwood."

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 1, Episode 7: 'Bullock Returns to the Camp' (Veterans edition)

The ex-lawman and the widow Garret get to know each other, and a pair of siblings cause trouble

We're continuing our trip back through the first season of David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood," and we're continuing to do it with two separate but largely identical posts: one for people who watched the whole series and want to be able to discuss it from beginning to end, and one for people who are just starting out and don't want to be spoiled with discussion that goes past the current episode. This is the former; click here for the newbie-safe version.

A review of episode 7, "Bullock Returns to the Camp," coming up just as soon as I congratulate you on your advanced thinking...

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<p>Greg Cipes and Kristen Bell in &quot;Deadwood.&quot;</p>

Greg Cipes and Kristen Bell in "Deadwood."

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 1, Episode 7: 'Bullock Returns to the Camp' (Newbies edition)

The ex-lawman and the widow Garret get to know each other, and a pair of siblings cause trouble

We're continuing our trip back through the first season of David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood," and we're continuing to do it with two separate but largely identical posts: one for people who watched the whole series and want to be able to discuss it from beginning to end, and one for people who are just starting out and don't want to be spoiled with discussion that goes past the current episode. This is the latter; click here for the veteran-friendly version.

A review of episode 7, "Bullock Returns to the Camp," coming up just as soon as I congratulate you on your advanced thinking...

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<p>How much do we remember &quot;Gilligan's Island&quot; because of the theme song?</p>

How much do we remember "Gilligan's Island" because of the theme song?

Credit: CBS

Introducing TSORIS, or when great theme songs happen to not-so-great shows

What series are most-remembered for their intro music?

Yesterday's news about the death of Sherwood Schwartz got me thinking again about one of my favorite subjects, and an area where Schwartz excelled like few producers in the history of the medium:

Theme songs.

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<p>Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in a gallery photo for the new season of &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in a gallery photo for the new season of "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Review: AMC's 'Breaking Bad' still brilliant in season 4

HitFix
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Readers
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The genius of the third season continues as Walt, Jesse and friends return

As a fan, it's what you wait for: those moments when potential turns into production, when raw talent gets harnessed and put to consistent, brilliant use. The sportswriter Bill Simmons calls it The Leap, but the phenomenon exists just as much in the world of entertainment: think Prince with "Purple Rain," or Chris Rock with his "Bring the Pain" special, or season 4 of "Seinfeld."

The pantheon-level TV dramas for the most part haven't needed to make The Leap. You knew that "The Sopranos," "The Wire," "Deadwood" and "Mad Men" were special by halfway through their first seasons, sometimes just after their pilot episodes.

"Breaking Bad," though, took its time. Took its time and steadily improved. Started as a strange but fascinating little show carried largely by a career-redefining performance from former "Malcolm in the Middle" dad Bryan Cranston as a cancer-afflicted chemistry teacher turned aspiring meth lord. Got better as its truncated first season went along, then began to truly find itself in its second season.

Then came the third season, and the level of confidence the creative team (led by writer Vince Gilligan) had developed in that second year turned into full-blown, marvelous audacity. Anything they wanted to do, it seems, they did, and did brilliantly.

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Interview: 'Breaking Bad' co-star Aaron Paul

Interview: 'Breaking Bad' co-star Aaron Paul

On speeches, Emmys, and season 3's big cliffhanger

The new season of "Breaking Baddebuts Sunday night at 10 on AMC, and it's terrific. I'm going to publish my review tomorrow, but I wanted to kick off four days of "Breaking Bad"-related coverage with the first of the three video interviews I conducted when I was in Albuquerque a few months back, this one with one of the show's two reigning Emmy winners: Aaron Paul.

Aaron and I spoke about how the show's third season was full of big speeches for Jesse Pinkman, the Emmy experience, what was going through his mind as he shot the dramatic final scene of that season, and more. I hope you enjoy it, and I apologize in advance for my shoddy FlipCam cinematography. A show as gorgeous as "Breaking Bad" deserves better camerawork than I was able to provide, but hopefully the conversation's entertaining in spite of that. (Worse comes to worst, just listen while looking at pictures of lolcats.)

<p>Warren Christie in &quot;Alphas.&quot;</p>

Warren Christie in "Alphas."

Credit: Syfy

'Alphas' - 'Pilot': Shoot to kill

What did everybody think of Syfy's new drama?

I published my review of Syfy's "Alphasthis morning. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the new superhero series? Is David Strathairn alone enough? Did you enjoy the various powers and limitations? The chemistry between the cast? 

As I said on today's podcast, this is a show I'm likely going to have to catch up on via marathon after I'm back from Comic-Con and press tour, but the pilot was promising enough that I'm going to make the effort at some point.

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 83: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Damages,' 'Alphas' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 83: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Damages,' 'Alphas' & more

Alan and Dan also discuss the latest 'Twin Peaks' and answer your letters

The

Welcome to what we hope will be the first of two episodes of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week: one a standard review show, and then an Emmy nominations discussion on Thursday. (And if you're a "Friday Night Lights" fan watching the show on NBC, you'll get a third bonus podcast with the all-"FNL" podcast Dan and I recorded in the winter.) Today's run-down:

"Alphas" -- 02:00 - 14:15
"Damages" -- 14:15 - 26:00
"Breaking Bad" -- 26:35 - 37:15
Listener Mail focusing more on TV/Film Actors -- 37:20 - 52:50
"Twin Peaks" -- 52:55 - 01:03:30
 
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.
<p>Scott Bakula, Ray Romano and Andre Braugher of &quot;Men of a Certain Age,&quot;&nbsp;which TNT will hopefully renew.</p>

Scott Bakula, Ray Romano and Andre Braugher of "Men of a Certain Age," which TNT will hopefully renew.

Credit: TNT

Dear TNT: Please save 'Men of a Certain Age'

A show too good to go away

To whom it may concern at TNT:

Last Wednesday night, I published my review of the season finale of "Men of a Certain Age," which was as much about the idea that it could be the last episode of the show ever as it was about the episode itself. Ultimately, I struck what I felt was a happy but resigned note. You gave us two seasons of this marvelous show, after all - a show whose charms are incredibly subtle (so subtle that I'm not always able to properly describe them, and I love the show) in an era where only the noisiest and/or most high-concept shows seem to be breaking through, a show built around three men who were aging out of the infamous 18-49 year-old demographic even as the series began - when it would be easy to imagine you nice people rejecting the pitch in the first place, or thanking Ray Romano and Mike Royce for their time after the first season's modest ratings. I wanted more, but two years seemed improbable enough that I was bracing myself to leap straight over to the Acceptance stage of grief in the event you didn't order a third season.

But in the days since the finale aired, I haven't been able to get "Men" entirely out of my head.

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<p>Malik Yoba, Azita Ghanizada and David Strathairn in &quot;Alphas.&quot;</p>

Malik Yoba, Azita Ghanizada and David Strathairn in "Alphas."

Credit: Syfy

Review: Syfy's 'Alphas' a solid superhero story

HitFix
B-
Readers
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David Strathairn, Malik Yoba lead a promising cast

"Heroes" ultimately turned out to be a terrible show, but its initial success - and the way that certain viewers stuck with it long after it became clear just how terrible it was - suggested there was a significant appetite for that kind of TV show. So expect other networks to keep trying with superhero series until the next one hits. (And then for the networks to try even harder to copy that one.)

"Alphas," which debuts tonight at 10 on Syfy, was originally developed for ABC back in the height of "Heroes" mania. ABC execs apparently didn't feel comfortable  with the idea at the time (though those same execs tried and failed with "No Ordinary Family" this past season), and eventually the script filtered its way on down to Syfy.

And the pilot is promising enough to make you understand why the project was able to escape years in development hell.

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