<p>Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) on &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) on "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' - 'Crawl Space': Better off Ted

Walt and Jesse's circumstances change dramatically once again

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I feel sorry for your tastebuds...

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Margot Robbie and Kelli Garner in "Pan Am."
Margot Robbie and Kelli Garner in "Pan Am."
Credit: ABC

'Pan Am' - 'Pilot': The spy who served me

What did everybody think of the new ABC period drama?

I already posted my review of ABC's "Pan Am." Now it's your turn. Whether you're a fan of "Mad Men," watched "The Playboy Club" or not, what did you think of the new drama from Jack Orman, Tommy Schlamme and company? Were you surprised by the minimal amount of Christina Ricci? Did you like all the flashbacks, or would you rather the show stay in the passenger cabin? And will you be watching again?

Have at it.

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<p>Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams)&nbsp;ponders his next move on &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) ponders his next move on "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

'Boardwalk Empire' - '21': Dirty laundry

The Commodore and Jimmy come gunning for Nucky and Chalky

"Boardwalk Empire" is back for its second season. I posted my review of the first six episodes earlier this week, and I have specific thoughts on the premiere coming up just as soon as I grow up to be a fishmonger...

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<p>Craig Owens (James Corden) and The Doctor (Matt Smith) in &quot;Doctor Who.&quot;</p>

Craig Owens (James Corden) and The Doctor (Matt Smith) in "Doctor Who."

Credit: BBC

'Doctor Who' - 'Closing Time': Partners in parenting

The Doctor spends his final day with ex-roommate Craig

A quick review of tonight's "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I excrete a gas that makes people love me...

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Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie in "Pan Am."
Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie in "Pan Am."
Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Pan Am' has a promising maiden flight

HitFix
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Readers
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By far the better of this season's two new dramas set in the 'Mad Men' era

Every TV season brings with it a pair of somehow unrelated twins: shows developed at different networks, by different people, that are remarkably similar in subject matter and/or style, no matter how weirdly specific those things get. One year, the twins may be hospital dramas set in Chicago; another, it may be middle-aged men traveling back in time to relive their adolescence. Don't ask how/why this happens. It just does, always and always and always, and this year's unlikely twins are a pair of dramas set in the "Mad Men" era about women who have jobs that seemed glamorous at the time, that have seemed more demeaning through a modern lens, but are now the subject of shows that argue for them being liberating.

The first of those was NBC's "The Playboy Club," which debuted Monday night, was both terrible and terribly unconvincing in its feminist arguments, and which bombed royally. (Not that anyone should be shocked; the ratings "Mad Men" gets on AMC would get it canceled in a heartbeat by a network.) The second is ABC's "Pan Am," which debuts Sunday night at 10. It may not do any better commercially than "Playboy," but it's both a much better show and makes a much better case for women's lib.

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<p>Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester in &quot;Strike Back.&quot;</p>

Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester in "Strike Back."

Credit: Cinemax

Brothers in arms: Checking in on Cinemax's 'Strike Back'

The Friday night action series has turned out to be much better than it needs to be

Cinemax's "Strike Back" fell into an unfortunate scheduling nether-region in terms of reviewing, with the first episode debuting while I was recuperating from press tour (though Dan and I discussed it on the podcast), and the series really kicking into gear while I've been trying to stay afloat amidst the broadcast network premieres.

And that's a shame, because over the course of six episodes so far, I feel like the show has turned out to be far better than it needs to be.

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<p>Jennifer Ehle and Patrick Wilson in &quot;A&nbsp;Gifted Man.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Ehle and Patrick Wilson in "A Gifted Man."

Credit: CBS

'A Gifted Man' - 'Pilot': The ghost chatterer

What did everybody think of the new CBS medical drama?

Time constraints (on Dan's part) and a lack of enthusiasm (on mine) prevented either Fienberg or I from offering a written review of "A Gifted Man," but I did run my Margo Martindale interview this morning, and we discussed the show as the first segment on today's podcast. Not ideal, but premiere week is not an ideal time.

To sum things up, Dan really admired the way Jonathan Demme's direction of the pilot brought some grit and leavened the sap of the premise. I was less impressed by the direction and felt the show was tonally inconsistent, and didn't particularly believe Patrick Wilson in the scenes where he was playing his character as a cold bastard in need of change. (On the other hand, the scenes where he's with Jennifer Ehle or Mr. Noodle and opening himself up? He's terrific.) And both of us are skeptical about the show going forward.

Now it's your turn. For anyone who watched tonight, what did you think? You setting the season pass for this or not?

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<p>Walter (John Noble)&nbsp;has a sleepless night on &quot;Fringe.&quot;</p>

Walter (John Noble) has a sleepless night on "Fringe."

Credit: FOX

'Fringe' - 'Neither Here Nor There': It's the little things

Season 4 gets off to a bumpy start as the universe adjust to life without Peter

A quick review of the "Fringe" season 4 premiere coming up just as soon as I need to erase someone from time...

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<p>Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and the rest of the &quot;House of Lies&quot;&nbsp;cast.</p>

Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and the rest of the "House of Lies" cast.

Credit: Showtime

Exclusive: The 'House of Lies' cast gets down in a new promo

What's Don Cheadle making Kristen Bell wait for?

Premiere week for the 2011-12 TV season isn't officially over yet (it runs Monday-Sunday), but as you know if you've been reading my reviews, it hasn't been the most inspiring batch of new shows so far. Some hope will come in a week with the debut of Showtime's "Homeland" (which you can still watch the pilot of in its entirety here), but beyond that, most of the genuinely exciting shows seem to be coming at mid-season: NBC's "Awake" and "Smash: The Brian Williams Story," ABC's "Apartment 23" and "The River," etc.

Hopefully we can add Showtime's "House of Liesto that list. I still haven't seen the pilot for the new comedy - in which Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and Ben Schwartz are part of a team of cutthroat management consultants who will do anything in their pursuit of money - but that cast is great, Showtime president David Nevins promised it would be more overtly funny than most of the Showtime "comedies," and, well, the people involved with the show helped make this promo, which has made me laugh every single time I've seen it this week.

"House of Lies" may or may not pan out, but at least it's given the world Veronica Mars, Jean-Ralphio and Paul Rusesabagina getting down with their bad selves. Enjoy. 

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 95: 'A Gifted Man,' 'Pan Am,' 'Boardwalk Empire' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 95: 'A Gifted Man,' 'Pan Am,' 'Boardwalk Empire' & more

Dan and Alan also break down early season ratings and the season premieres of many returning comedies

The

Time for the second of yet another multi-episode week for the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I review a few more new network shows, check in on "Boardwalk Empire" and break down a lot of what we learned in the first week of the TV season. The rundown:

"A Gifted Man" -- 01:35 - 11:15
"Pan Am" -- 11:20 - 20:00
"Boardwalk Empire" -- 20:00 - 29:30
Early Season Ratings -- 29:30 - 44:00
"How I Met Your Mother: -- 44:10 - 48:40
"Glee" -- 48:40 - 55:15
"Modern Family" -- 55:26 - 01:01:20
"Community" -- 01:01:25 - 01:05:35
"Parks and Recreation" -- 01:05:40 - 01:11:55
"The Office" -- 01:12:00 - 01:18:55
 
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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