<p>Holt McCallany in &quot;Lights Out.&quot;</p>

Holt McCallany in "Lights Out."

Credit: FX

Interview: 'Lights Out' showrunner Warren Leight on the series finale

Why couldn't the boxing drama find an audience?

Though tonight's "Lights Out" episode wound up working quite well as a series finale for the low-rated series (you can read my review here), executive producer Warren Leight certainly didn't plan it that way. The entire season was written and produced before a single episode aired, so Leight and company had no way of knowing that it would be the only season they got to do.

Shortly after FX announced the cancellation, I e-mailed Leight a few questions about the series, including his theories on why it didn't work out, some insight into a few unanswered questions like what Barry Word and Hal Brennan were up to, what stories he might have told in the second season, and more. After the jump, his answers...

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<p>New &quot;Top Chef Masters&quot;&nbsp;host Curtis Stone chats up the cheftestants.</p>

New "Top Chef Masters" host Curtis Stone chats up the cheftestants.

Credit: Bravo

Review: Bravo's 'Top Chef Masters' revamps for season 3

A more familiar format brings less familiar chefs

The latest edition of "Top Chef" ended last Wednesday, and this Wednesday at 11, Bravo offers up the third round of "Top Chef Masters," which should be followed by another season of "Top Chef Just Desserts," which will then be followed by yet another "Top Chef" Coke Classic, and on and on, as part of Bravo's plan to eventually program some version of the cooking competition franchise not only year-round, but possibly every minute of every day. (Get ready for "Top Chef Salad Shooters," coming your way in 2014!)

And with this new iteration of "Top Chef Masters," the gap in style between original and spin-off has shrunk to the point where "Masters" may as well just be another regular season of the show.

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<p>Decisions, decisions... do you watch the final &quot;Friday Night Lights&quot;&nbsp;season on DVD today or wait until it debuts on NBC next week?</p>

Decisions, decisions... do you watch the final "Friday Night Lights" season on DVD today or wait until it debuts on NBC next week?

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

Reminder: 'Friday Night Lights' season 5 debuts on DVD

Final season available 10 days before it debuts on NBC

Just a reminder that the second leg of the "Friday Night Lightsseason 5 release schedule takes place today, when the entire final season is released on DVD, several months after the season premiered on DirecTV but 10 days before any of the episodes air on NBC. (And several months before the finale airs on NBC, obviously.) 

Not long after this weird/backwards release schedule was announced, I decided the best way to deal with it would be to wait for the NBC airings to bump up the publish date of each of my reviews. But if you intend to start marathoning season 5 starting today - and I would not blame you, since after a sluggish start it's another fantastic seasons for one of my all-time favorites - you'll just have to go back and look at the section of the site that has all my "FNL" reviews. (Right now, that link takes you to the page with the most recent reviews; the season 5 stuff starts on the second page with "Expectations." Once I start changing the publish date to coincide with the NBC airings, things may seem out of order for a while, so just look for the right episode title.) 

Also, let me make this the first - and hopefully only required - request about the comments. Because there was a desire to do only one version of each review - allowing the latecomers to see how the DirecTV (and in this case DVD) folk reacted to each episode as they saw it, I'm going to ask everyone to step very lightly about spoilers. Some of you will have seen all the episodes before you begin (or resume) commenting, while others will be watching them one week at a time on NBC. So please limit your comments only to events up to the episode you're currently discussing. Do not reveal or even hint at any plot details from episodes that have yet to air on NBC. We want to let everyone who is watching on their own weird schedule thanks to the NBC/DirecTV/DVD split to be as surprised by things as we were. Thanks.

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<p>&quot;United States of Tara&quot;&nbsp;sibs Marshall (Keir Gilchrist)&nbsp;and Kate (Brie Larson)&nbsp;enjoy a peaceful moment.</p>

"United States of Tara" sibs Marshall (Keir Gilchrist) and Kate (Brie Larson) enjoy a peaceful moment.

Credit: Showtime

'United States of Tara' - 'Crackerjack': Substitute teacher

The alters cause problems for Tara at school, and Kate finds a way out

As I said last week, because I've seen the entire third season of "United States of Tara," I don't know how much I'll be writing every week, but I'll try to at least have a few thoughts on each episode to at least provide a jumping-off point for discussion. A quick review of episode two coming up just as soon as we share sweatpants...

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<p>&quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;star Zachary Levi.</p>

"Chuck" star Zachary Levi.

Credit: NBC

Interview: 'Chuck' star Zachary Levi on Hulu, ratings and Comic-Con

Winning the Best in Show poll was nice, but renewal still shaky

"Chuck" star Zachary Levi has always had a deep and abiding love for the show's fans. During the Subway campaign to save the show at the end of season 2, Levi led a group of several hundred fans to a local Subway. When Fienberg and I somehow failed to get a single audience question in at the last San Diego Comic-Con "Chuck" panel, the only person more upset than the two of us was Levi, because he loves hearing from the fans and interacting with them.

So a few hours after it was announced that "Chuck" had won Hulu's Best in Show fan tournament, I got on the phone with Levi to get his reaction to the news, and also to gauge his feelings about where the show stands in terms of renewal. (A few months ago, when the show was consistently averaging a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 year-old demographic, I thought it was a lock to come back. These days, it's averaging about a 1.7, putting the show once again on the bubble.) During a break from filming this season's 23rd episode, Levi had mixed emotions about the result, given the show's familiar precarious position, and we talked about where things stand, what he's enjoyed about doing this latest season, and what his Comic-Con plans are, whether or not renewal comes.

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<p>Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper in &quot;The Kennedys.&quot;</p>

Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper in "The Kennedys."

Credit: Reelz

'The Killing,' 'The Borgias,' 'Camelot' & 'The Kennedys' all have strong premiere ratings

A good weekend for original cable dramas

TV ratings are usually Fienberg's domain, but given the large number of prominent cable shows that debuted over the weekend - almost all of them to ratings that had to make their respective channels happy - I'm going to do a quick write-up on the premiere numbers for "Camelot," "The Killing," "The Borgias" and "The Kennedys."

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 67: 'Lights Out,' 'Breaking In,' 'Top Chef Masters' and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 67: 'Lights Out,' 'Breaking In,' 'Top Chef Masters' and more

Alan and Dan also review 'Workaholics' and answer your mail


It's Monday, which means it's time for a new Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I say goodbye to "Lights Out," review a pair of new sitcoms and the revamped "Top Chef Masters," and answer some of your questions. The run-down: 

WonderCon -- 00:50 - 04:45
"Lights Out" -- 04:45 - 21:30
"Breaking In" -- 21:35 - 31:40
"Workaholics" -- 31:45 - 38:35
"Top Chef Masters" -- 38:40 - 50:20
Listener Mail, "Community" -- 50:25 - 56:51
Listener Mail, Product Placements -- 56:55 - 01:04:40
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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<p>Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer in &quot;Win Win.&quot;</p>

Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer in "Win Win."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

At the movies: Reviewing 'Win Win'

Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan and company are terrific in another Jersey underdog story from Tom McCarthy

Because I spend so much time covering TV, and because I'm father to two young kids, I don't get to see movies in theaters very often anymore. Some movies, though, I make the extra effort for, and "Win Win" was kind of a perfect storm to get me out of the house and into a cramped seat at the local art house theater.

Among other reasons: 1)It's the third film by actor-turned-director Tom McCarthy, whose first two films ("The Station Agent" and "The Visitor" were both fantastic). 2)Its cast features a bunch of actors whom I find can generally do no wrong in my eyes, including Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Bobby Cannavale and (in a small but pivotal role) current "Justified" villainess Margo Martindale. 3)It's set in New Jersey (though most of it shot on Long Island for tax reasons). 4)While the film tackles many subjects and tones, among the many genres it encompasses is the underdog sports movie, and if you don't know what a sucker I am for those, you haven't been reading me for too long.

So I was hyped to see "Win Win" (which my HitFix colleague Greg Ellwood really enjoyed when it played at Sundance) going in, and the movie absolutely lived up to my expectations. In some ways, it surpassed them. If you happen to be heading to the cinema sometime soon and it's playing in your area, I highly, highly recommend it. But if you want to know a little more than that blanket endorsement, I'm going to write a bit more about the film and why I loved it - with some minimal premise-establishing spoilers (the kind you'd read in your average pre-release review, not the kind I'd put in my after-the-fact review of an episode of TV), though those of you who have seen the movie should feel free to discuss it in detail in the comments - just as soon as you slap me in the head...

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<p>&quot;Chuck&quot; swept through most of its Hulu competition the way the Giant Blonde She-Male swept through Thailand.</p>

"Chuck" swept through most of its Hulu competition the way the Giant Blonde She-Male swept through Thailand.

Credit: NBC

And the winner of Hulu's Best in Show is... 'Chuck'

Nerd spy-fi series crushes 'Dexter' in contest's final round

And so we've come to the end of Hulu's Best in Show contest, and the winner is a show that's near and dear to many (but not all) of you around these parts: "Chuck." 

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<p>Brent Sexton and Michelle Forbes in &quot;The Killing.&quot;</p>

Brent Sexton and Michelle Forbes in "The Killing."

Credit: AMC

'The Killing' - 'Pilot/The Cage': Trunk music

A 13-episode murder mystery airs its opening chapters

I offered up my review of "The Killing" on Friday. Now I have a few specific thoughts on the series' first two episodes, coming up just as soon as I raise my kid on vending machines...

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