Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
An entire episode of questions provided by the audience
As promised last week, it was an all-reader mail (listener mail?) edition of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week, in which Dan and I covered topics including, in order:
Mid-season scheduling changes at NBC & FOX: 1:40 - 15:38
The power of TV critics (or lack thereof): 15:38 - 18:40
The lack of fidelity to foreign languages on American TV: 18:40 - 23:51
TV show episodes that tower over the rest of their respective series: 23:51 - 30:19
Shows with storylines that go off the rail: 30:19 - 36:10
Thoughts on "Sports Night" and "The West Wing": 36:10 - 46:00
HDTV versus standard-def: 46:00 - 52:30
"Dexter" and the dangers of predictability: 52:30 - 1:01:36
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 email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Astor returns for an uneven but not uninteresting episode
A quick review of last night's "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I tell you where your kidney is...
Comic book creator Robert Kirkman pens a very strong episode
A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I stroll the streets of Atlanta with just my good intentions...
Characters find themselves transformed - and wonder if they wouldn't rather be like they used to
A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I grab a tripod...
Why 'American Idol' may have moved for 'Glee,' whether 'Fringe' can survive Fridays, and more
For most of the last decade, the TV season for FOX has followed a familiar, wildly successful pattern: debut a bunch of shows in the fall, struggle with low ratings and baseball interruptions, then dominate the ratings once "American Idol" starts airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in January.
That part of the FOX formula was nice, simple, uncomplicated and unstoppable. There might be ridiculous changes to the rest of the schedule - or changes promised but never fulfilled, like all those times they claimed "Bones" was gonna air on Fridays - but the "Idol" part remained a constant.
Nothing about "Idol" is constant anymore, though. Though still the number one show on TV last year, its ratings slipped from invulnerable and godlike to merely much better than everything else. Now the judging panel has had massive turnover, producer Nigel Lythgoe is back, and he's promising a lot of wacky (and so far silly) sounding changes, like eliminating the semi-final round and adding "challenges" for the contestants beyond "pick a song that won't bore the audience to death while trying to dance in rhythm to it."
So why not shake up the show's air pattern while we're at it? For years, the other networks have referred to "Idol" as the Death Star, but as we learned in the original "Star Wars," the Death Star can move, and in the complicated new mid-season schedule that FOX has announced - which includes "Idol" shifting over from Tuesday/Wednesday to a Wednesday/Thursday pattern - Thursday nights is apparently the equivalent of the fourth moon of Yavin.
Fienberg has all the details - including "Fringe" being banished to Fridays, "Human Target" getting a few post-"Idol" airings and "Bob's Burger" getting to air after "The Simpsons" - and after the jump I have some thoughts on the possible reasons behind and potential results of all these moves:
Callie Thorne returns to cause more trouble for Michael and Fi
A very quick review of last night's "Burn Notice" coming up just as soon as I have a loafer with a listening device...
A self-aware Olivia tries to help Alt-Broyles on the way home
A quick review of last night's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as a new church pops up...
Another airless episode in a season that's had too many of them
A review of last night's "The Office" - which might be moving out of the regular blog rotation - coming up just as soon as I own a decommissioned lighthouse...
Liz and Jack try to recreate the college experiences they didn't have in an uneven episode
A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I minor in Bible sexuality...
Jeff and Annie travel down a rabbit hole in a slight but fun episode
A review of last night's "Community" coming up just as soon as someone sends me a tiny, thoroughly underwhelming message...