Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

'Boardwalk Empire' - 'A Return to Normalcy': Leave the gun, take the apple?

New alliances are formed and the election results are announced in a fascinating finale

<p>Jimmy (Michael Pitt)&nbsp;and Nucky (Steve Buscemi)&nbsp;have words in the &quot;Boardwalk Empire&quot;&nbsp;finale.</p>

Jimmy (Michael Pitt) and Nucky (Steve Buscemi) have words in the "Boardwalk Empire" finale.

Credit: HBO/Abbot Genser

"Boardwalk Empire" has wrapped up its outstanding first season, and I have a review of the finale coming up just as soon as I get the rag...

'The Walking Dead' - 'TS-19': Paradise lost?

The CDC provides some shelter in a rushed but often compelling season finale

<p>Andrew Lincoln and Noah Emmerich of 'Walking Dead'</p>

Andrew Lincoln and Noah Emmerich of 'Walking Dead'

Credit: AMC

A review of "The Walking Dead" season one finale coming up just as soon as I'm in Italy or France...

'Dexter' - 'Hop a Freighter': Don't tase me, Robocop

A frustrating follow-up to recent episodes reminds why "Dexter" can't have nice things

<p>Deb (Jennifer Carpenter)&nbsp;has a theory on &quot;Dexter.&quot;</p>

Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) has a theory on "Dexter."

Credit: Showtime

A quick review of tonight's "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I buy you a knife...

Interview: 'Men of a Certain Age' star Ray Romano

On this year's stories, the strengths of his co-stars, and when he accepted that he was an actor

<p>Ray Romano on &quot;Men of a Certain Age.&quot;</p>

Ray Romano on "Men of a Certain Age."

Credit: TNT

Though people who paid close attention to his work in the quieter moments of "Everybody Loves Raymond" shouldn't have been surprised that Ray Romano could act, his work on the first season of TNT's "Men of a Certain Age" still felt like a revelation. (You can find my reviews of those episodes here.) On the dramedy about three best friends struggling to deal with approaching 50, Romano worked opposite one of the all-time powerhouse actors on TV in Andre Braugher, plus a guy who's no slouch himself in Scott Bakula. Yet as anxiety-ridden, gambling-addicted party store owner Joe, it was Romano who consistently gave the show's most compelling dramatic performance. (If anything, it was "Homicide" alum Braugher getting the biggest laughs.)

The series, which Romano co-created with friend and "Raymond" writing alum Mike Royce, returns for its second season on Monday at 10 p.m. with more small but interesting stories about what you do when the best years of your life are long behind you, and Romano continues his excellent work as both star and writer. I spoke with him recently about the kinds of stories he wanted to tell this year, the strengths of his co-stars, and the point at which he accepted that he was a good actor.

DVR Alert: AMC to rerun 'Breaking Bad' seasons 1-3 on Wednesdays late night

Catch up on one of TV's best dramas

<p>Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in the early days of &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in the early days of "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

The new season of "Breaking Bad" won't debut until sometime next summer, but if you're feeling a jones for Mr. White and Jesse Pinkman - or if you somehow missed out on one of the best dramas on TV and have been looking for a way to catch up that doesn't involve DVDs (especially since the season 3 set doesn't even have a release date yet) - then AMC has a DVR-friendly option for you.

Starting next Wednesday/Thursday at 12:30 a.m., the channel is going to rerun two episodes of the show back-to-back every week into March. There's not a specific timeslot, because they'll be airing after that Wednesday's latenight movie (next week is 12:30, the week after 1:30), but you'll be getting all three seasons of the show in a manageable period of time.

And to whet your appetite, whether you're a veteran of the series or someone new, here's the opening scene from the pilot episode. (From the very start, Vince Gilligan and company have specialized in providing the most kick-ass pre-credits sequences on television.) Enjoy.
 

'30 Rock' - 'Chain Reaction of Mental Anguish': I am a protein

A flawed but funny episode

<p>Will Forte returned to &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;as Jenna's boyfriend Paul.</p>

Will Forte returned to "30 Rock" as Jenna's boyfriend Paul.

Credit: NBC

A quick review of tonight's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I share a problem with the mute elevator operator at my men's club...

'Community' - 'Mixology Certification': You're the man now, shaggy dog story!

Troy turns 21 in a dark but surprisingly sweet episode

<p>The study group goes to a bar on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

The study group goes to a bar on "Community."

Credit: NBC

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I need an accent...

'The Office' - 'China': Win in the end

Michael vs. Oscar, Pam vs. Dwight and Andy vs. Darryl in a nice bounce-back episode

<p>Oscar (Oscar Nunez)&nbsp;tries to prove a point on &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Oscar (Oscar Nunez) tries to prove a point on "The Office."

Credit: NBC

I tend to review the NBC Thursday comedies in order unless I've seen one in advance, or unless one of them is a particular stand-out in some way. And since I said only two weeks (and one episode) ago that I was done reviewing "The Office" until they did an episode I actually enjoyed, and since I'm now interested in reviewing this one, I figure it deserves to jump the queue. Some thoughts on "China" coming up just as soon as I understand pirate code...

IFC to get a whole lot funnier with 'Larry Sanders Show,' 'Ben Stiller Show' and other '90s comedy repeats

Channel also adding 'Action' and 'Mr. Show with Bob and David'

<p>Hey now!&nbsp;&quot;The Larry Sanders Show&quot;&nbsp;repeats are coming to IFC.</p>

Hey now! "The Larry Sanders Show" repeats are coming to IFC.

Credit: HBO

IFC was already on my happy list for putting repeats of "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared" into a rotation that already included "Arrested Development" and "Monty Python's Flying Circus," and now the channel is adding even more awesome comedy reruns. 

Starting January 3rd, "The Larry Sanders Show" (the seminal HBO comedy starring Garry Shandling as a neurotic late-night talk show host and Jeffrey Tambor as his idiot sidekick) will go into heavy IFC rotation, airing Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11 p.m. Two nights later, "The Ben Stiller Show" (a short-lived FOX sketch comedy series that gave early breaks to Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk and Andy Dick) begins airing Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m., and on January the 7th, "Mr. Show with Bob and David" (Odenkirk and David Cross' avant garde HBO sketch show) begins a run Fridays at 11:30 p.m.

IFC also announced that reruns of "Action!" - the short-lived FOX comedy starring Jay Mohr as a vicious, foul-mouthed movie executive - will come to the channel towards the end of 2011.

There's a lot of overlap in the talent for these shows, particularly the first three. Judd Apatow wrote on both "Ben Stiller" and "Larry Sanders," Odenkirk acted on all three and worked with Cross on "Stiller" and "Mr. Show," etc. And there's an obvious spiritual kinship between "Larry Sanders" and "Action." I enjoyed all those shows to varying degrees - I still quote from various "Ben Stiller Show" sketches nearly 20 years after FOX canceled it - and am using this occasion as an excuse to embed some of my favorite scenes from each that were available on YouTube: 

'Terriers' - 'Hail Mary': The big finish

Underdog private eye drama ends its superb first season on a high note

<p>Donal Logue on &quot;Terriers.&quot;</p>

Donal Logue on "Terriers."

Credit: FX

And so the first - and hopefully not only - season of "Terriers" has come to an end. (And if you missed the creative team's thank-you letter to fans, it's here.) My review of the finale coming up just as soon as there's a PB&J out on me...

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