FX's "Terriers" debuted tonight, and hopefully my review - or the involvement of people like Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James (whom I recently interviewed) or Shawn Ryan and Ted Griffin (ditto) or Tim Minear - convinced you to give it a shot. Some specific thoughts on the pilot episode coming up just as soon as I get into fisticuffs with a Little League team...
The buddy detective show gets off to a strong start
A bunch of familiar faces return for the two-part season finale
Maggie Q is strong, but this critic's patience for 'Nikita' remakes is weak
As consumers of popular culture, we all have our blind spots and biases - certain kinds of stories we aren’t interested in under any circumstances due to the subject matter, no matter how much we might like it in spite of that.
“Friday Night Lights” has struggled for years to get an audience, in part because many of the people who would enjoy the show’s nuanced characterization and commentary on small-town life want no part of a show about high school football. Fienberg refused for years to watch “The Shield” because he doesn’t like cop shows. One of my favorite blogs, A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago, had a discussion the other day prompted by one of its writers saying he didn’t care how good everyone said “Sons of Anarchy” was, “I just can't get past the fact that I'm not interested in watching a show about a motorcycle club.”
It happens. Sometimes people will look past their blind spots - Dan eventually watched, and loved, “The Shield” after being badgered about it for years - and sometimes they won’t.
And sometimes blind spots aren’t inherent, but are developed over time, as I realized when I sat down to watch the CW’s new spy drama “Nikita,” which debuts tomorrow at 9 p.m.
Jax struggles to cope with Abel's kidnapping in the third season premiere
"Sons of Anarchy" returned tonight. I posted my broad review of the season's early episodes yesterday, and an interview with creator Kurt Sutter last week. Now it's time to get into the nitty-gritty of the premiere, with spoilers coming up just as soon as I sell you some magazines...
Tyson/Shakur documentary starts strong, then runs out of time
The advantage to "30 for 30" having a regular timeslot is that it's easier to remember when the films are on, to recommend them to other people, etc. The disadvantage is that this new batch of films are all debuting at the same time my schedule is getting bogged down with fall premiere work. So unless a particular film is especially noteworthy (i.e., "Two Escobars" or "No Crossover" or "Winning Time"), my plan is to do brief reviews of each after they air with a few observations, and then open things up for discussion. Some thoughts on Reggie Rock Bythewood's "One Night in Vegas" coming up just as soon as I figure out the difference between Tupac and Six-Pack...
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 34: 'Sons of Anarchy,' 'Terriers,' 'Hellcats,' 'Nikita' & 'Mad Men'
Dan's away, so special guest host Mo Ryan helps Alan out this week
Happy Tuesday, boys and girls, and this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is an unusual one, in that Iceberg wasn't available. Dan's out of the country on special assignment (I'm posting this to both blogs because the podcast's RSS feed is tied to Dan's blog), and because this is a relatively busy week (four notable premieres), I didn't want to miss a show. So I recruited Mo Ryan, who recently left the Chicago Tribune to be the senior TV critic for AOL (you can find her new blog here), to fill in for the episode, which features the following segments:
Alan welcomes special guest co-host Maureen Ryan from AOL to fill in for Dan (0:00-3:07)
"Sons of Anarchy" season 3 (3:07-15:30)
Mo yells at Alan about "Supernatural" (25:59-27:22)
Mo's fall favorites (37:28-39:44)
"Mad Men" (39:44-1:01:01)
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.
From "Cutthroat Bitch" to a normal sister
For the last few years, Anne Dudek was one of the more ubiquitous faces on television, even though she didn't have a regular job. Instead, she bounced around three different series at once, playing the ambitious Amber Volakis (better known as "Cutthroat Bitch") on "House," Betty Draper's best friend Francine on "Mad Men" and Alby's number one wife Lura on "Big Love." In all three roles, Dudek always left me wanting more, and I still believe the "House" producers made a big mistake picking any of the other three fellowship candidates over Amber.
Now she has a regular gig on USA's "Covert Affairs," and while the role of Piper Perabo's civilian sister Danielle isn't as colorful or prominent as I might have hoped for when I heard she was going to be on a spy drama, she seems happy with the change of pace it offers. And after hanging around on the series' margins for most of its first season, Danielle finally moves closer to the center in tonight's episode, where the two sisters take a trip to Niagara Falls together, only for Annie's spy life to again intrude on her personal life.
Back when I was at press tour, I sat down with Dudek to talk about her triple-threat years, the appeal of playing somebody normal, the challenges of being a 5'10" actress, and more, all after the jump...
Buddy comedy + hard-boiled detective fiction = terrific new show
Hank Dolworth, the private eye hero of FX’s terrific new drama “Terriers” (tomorrow at 10 p.m., FX), is asked if he’s a stupid man.
“I graduated fourth grade okay,” Hank insists.
Hank (Donal Logue from “Grounded for Life”) is not stupid, but nor is he an exceptionally brilliant detective. He just knows his limitations. He and partner Britt Pollack (Michael Raymond-James) are bottom-feeding detectives in Ocean Beach, CA, working without a license - “We find that by not working with one, we never have to worry about losing them,” Hank explains - or much of a plan. Their key assets are Hank’s pickup truck, the cop buddies who will still talk to him since he lost his badge for being a drunk, and the skills Britt picked up in his previous life as a thief. Their own lawyer, who throws them most of their work, dismisses them as small-time.
“We grow two sizes, we might make small-time," Britt acknowledges.
Catching up on posts from the weekend
Though the number of comments in this week's "Mad Men" review might suggest otherwise, I know a lot of you were far away from your computers over the holiday weekend, so I wanted to offer a quick rundown of posts you might have missed while you were barbecuing, at the beach or whatever it is you might be up to on a long weekend. Starting from Friday (since I know lots of people try to extend the weekend from three days to four):
A list of fall premiere dates for notable new and returning shows.
An in-depth interview with "Community" creator Dan Harmon about the show's evolution over season one.
My review of the brilliant Jon Hamm/Elisabeth Moss duet on "Mad Men."
My review of "Sons of Anarchy" season three.
My review of the final episode of "Firefly."
That is all. Resume partying. (Or, rather, resume party recuperation.)
Joss Whedon writes and directs the series' last - and strangest - episode
We're at the final regular stop on our summer trip through Joss Whedon's outer space Western "Firefly," but not the last stop, period, since I'll have at least a few things to say about the movie a week from today. In the meantime, a review of the final episode of the TV show itself coming up just as soon as I rub soup in my hair...