"Community" is back, boys and girls, and if you missed any of my cast and crew interviews over the summer, I talked with Donald Glover and Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Dan Harmon, the Russo brothers and Yvette Nicole Brown. (And I have one more to go after next week's episode airs.) As for the premiere itself, a review coming up just as soon as I put on my Spider-Man jammies...
Betty White helps out in the funny season two premiere
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 38: 'My Generation,' 'Outsourced,' '$#*! My Dad Says' and more new shows
A day later than expected, Dan and Alan conclude their fall preview
The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast fall preview concludes, a day later than planned (thanks to Internet problems on my end; sorry, folks), with Dan and I taking a belated look at last night's premieres, yesterday's "American Idol" news and some early ratings before looking ahead to the four new shows debuting tonight and tomorrow.
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.
The season two premiere leans a bit too heavily on formula
The dark side of Hank and Britt are on display in a great episode
What did everybody think of the Jim Belushi legal drama?
In lieu of a review of "The Defenders" - the pilot of which I enjoyed, even if it's not the kind of show I'll likely watch more than 2 or 3 times a season - I interviewed Jim Belushi, and got some good stories out of him about his brother, being a media punching bag, improvising in movies, and more.
So now that the show has aired, I'm curious what everyone who watched thought. Whatever your opinions of Belushi going in, how do you think he did here? Is anyone more likely than I am to make this appointment viewing?
What did everybody think of the Rob Morrow/Maura Tierney legal drama?
What did everybody think of the new JJ Abrams spy series?
What did everybody think of the new sitcom?
I never got around to writing a review of "Better With You," and due to massive technological fail on my end, I couldn't even discuss it on a podcast today. (Fienberg, at least, wrote something on the subject.) For the most part, the shows I've been skipping this week haven't been the ones I hated (see this, this and this today), but the ones I felt ambivalent about, and this one qualifies. I like a bunch of the actors (particularly JoAnna Garcia, Jennifer Finnigan, Debra Jo Rupp and Kurt Fuller), and it didn't grate the way either of the new Thursday sitcoms did, but nor did it make me laugh, or even smile, and that's a problem on a traditional multi-camera comedy with a laughtrack. It seems a weird fit with "The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town," and given that I usually don't have time for "The Middle" (which is much funnier), I can't see me finding the time for this within a week or two, if that.
What did everybody else think?
A leaden, predictable faux-documentary drama
Of the three terrible new shows debuting Thursday night, the ABC drama "My Generation" (which airs at 8) is the most disappointing. "$#*! My Dad Says" is a misguided cash-in project that nobody expected to be good, and hopes weren't much higher for "Outsourced." "My Generation," on the other hand, had an interesting creative pedigree and premise.
It's based on a Swedish series, and writer Noah Hawley's last show was the flawed but memorable cop show "The Unusuals," and the concept - a film crew that made an unreleased documentary about nine members of an Austin high school Class of 2000 returns to see what happened to them after a tumultuous decade that included 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Enron and more - had the potential to meld soap opera with national events in a way that felt like nothing else on television.
But the execution is just awful - leaden and predictable and eyeroll-inducing at nearly every turn.
And how on Earth is Randy still here?
Before I get to analyzing the completely anti-climactic news that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have been announced as new judges for the post-Simon Cowell era of "American Idol," something needs to be said:
Randy Jackson is the last original "Idol" judge standing.
Who among you in the show's glory years would have expected Randy to outlast Simon, or Paula, or even Ellen? Kara, sure. Dunkleman, absolutely. But with the show blowing up the judges' panel anyway in the wake of Simon quitting to do "X Factor" and Ellen realizing she was terrible at it, it's kinda staggering that the producers elected to keep Randy around, even for the sake of continuity. The guy has never added anything to the show, and now he'll get to remind you of how much less interesting he was than all the other people who left. (Annoying as Kara could be, at least she occasionally had an interesting insight, and it was also fun to see her insecurity about being new and unpopular get in the way of the point she was trying to make.)
And since Randy won't have much to offer but memories of past pitchiness, working it out and faces being sung off, do Tyler and Lopez have what it takes to help "Idol" survive without Simon?
Not seeing it, dawg. Sorry.