Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 85: Comic-Con, 'Entourage,' 'Breaking Bad' and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 85: Comic-Con, 'Entourage,' 'Breaking Bad' and more

Dan and Alan also discuss CBS' 'Same Name' and the latest 'Twin Peaks'


Welcome to a special San Diego edition of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I preview Comic-Con, discuss "Entourage" (and somehow completely forget about the existence of the Comic-Con episode of "Entourage"), look back on the "Breaking Bad" premiere, and more.  The rundown:

Comic-Con -- 01:15 - 08:40
"Entourage" -- 08:40 - 18:30
"Same Name" -- 18:30 - 27:00
"Breaking Bad" -- 27:15 - 42:15
"Twin Peaks" -- 42:30 - 52:00
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 and/or 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>&quot;Queen &amp;&nbsp;Country&quot; spy Tara Chace has appeared in both comic books and prose novels.</p>

"Queen & Country" spy Tara Chace has appeared in both comic books and prose novels.

Credit: Oni Press

Which medium is right for the message?

On eve of Comic-Con, thoughts on characters that appear in multiple media

Comic-Con starts tomorrow, and before I head out to San Diego, I had a few idle (and unsurprisingly nerdy) thoughts on a subject that feels particularly germane, given the blending of comics, movies, TV, etc. at what was once primarily a convention about comic books:

What happens when characters from one medium cross over into another?

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<p>Got any questions for the &quot;Wilfred&quot;&nbsp;cast at Comic-Con?</p>

Got any questions for the "Wilfred" cast at Comic-Con?

Credit: FX

Comic-Con 2011 TV preview: Moderating 'Wilfred' and a lot more

Lots to do and see in San Diego later this week

Big doings in the world of TV - and film, and comics, etc., etc. - start up on Thursday, with the 2011 Comic-Con International in sunny San Diego.

I'll be heading out there to join the rest of team HitFix, then staying in California for the TV critics press tour, which begins a couple of days after Comic-Con ends. It's a very long road trip, but one that should be filled with lots of interesting shows, panels, interviews and random incidents.

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<p>Gus (Giancarlo Esposito)&nbsp;and Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui)&nbsp;ponder their next move on the &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;season premiere.</p>

Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) and Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui) ponder their next move on the "Breaking Bad" season premiere.

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' - 'Box Cutter': The waiting is the hardest part

Another masterclass of tension as Walt awaits Gus's counter-move

The long-awaited fourth season of "Breaking Bad" has finally begun. Earlier this week, I posted interviews with Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Betsy Brandt, a photographic tour of the show's sets and my overall review of the season's first three episodes. Now I have specific thoughts on "Box Cutter," the season premiere, coming up just as soon as we get matching Kenny Rogers t-shirts...

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<p>Larry went ice cream shopping on tonight's &quot;Curb Your Enthusiasm.&quot;</p>

Larry went ice cream shopping on tonight's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Credit: HBO

'Curb Your Enthusiasm' - 'The Safe House': A black and white issue

Larry and Leon's relationship comes under close scrutiny

I'm taking a couple of days off this week before I head out to California for the Comic-Con/press tour double feature, and since I didn't see tonight's "Curb Your Enthusiasmin advance, I don't have time to write much about it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), "The Safe House" was easily the weakest of the five I've seen so far (including the premiere, next week's episode, and two from later in the season), so I wouldn't have much to say even in another week. A couple of amusing isolated moments (the scene in the ER, for instance), but mostly an episode that was more awkward than funny, and where the individual pieces didn't seem to fit together very well.

What did everybody else think?

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<p>Fiona Shaw on &quot;True Blood.&quot;</p>

Fiona Shaw on "True Blood."

Credit: HBO

'True Blood' - 'I'm Alive and on Fire': Tie me up, tie me down

What's with all the bondage storylines this season?

You should know the drill with me and "True Bloodby now: I put up these posts so people can discuss the episode immediately without waiting for Leslie Gornstein's recap at our Monkeys as Critics blog (and/or for people who want to keep all their HitFix TV discussion here), and then I step out of your way, because y'all know how I feel about "True Blood."

One thing I'm slightly curious about this week, though, is where people stand with the show's tradition of storylines involving characters spending an extended period of time as someone else's helpless prisoner (Tara with Franklin, Lafayette in Eric's basement, Jason this year at Hot Shot, etc.), and, at times, rape victim. There seemed to be a lot of pushback against the Jason story last week, while others pointed out how often the show has done similar stories in the past (and will continue to do in the future, as we see here). Is it just that Alan Ball has done it once too many, or is there something people found particularly unpleasant about this one? 

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<p>&quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;co-star Betsy Brandt.</p>

"Breaking Bad" co-star Betsy Brandt.

Interview: 'Breaking Bad' co-star Betsy Brandt

It's not easy being Hank's wife

And now we come to the last of the three "Breaking Badinterviews I successfully(*) recorded on a trip to Albuquerque a couple of months ago. (Previously, I spoke with Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, and also posted my review of the new season and photos from a tour of the set.)

(*) Anna Gunn and I had a good conversation about Walt and Skyler's marriage, but technology was not my friend with that one, alas.

Our final subject: Betsy Brandt, whose Marie sometimes can get lost in the shuffle of a very testosterone-fueled show, but who becomes more prominent this season as Marie tries to deal with Hank's attitude post-shooting. We spoke about the evolution of Marie from the selfish klepto of season 1 to who she is now, about Brandt's off-camera friendship with Dean Norris, Marie's relationship with brother-in-law Walt, and more.

As with the previous video interviews, I apologize for the camerawork, and suggest that if it bothers you, just listen and open up a new browser to look at animated "Parks and Recreation" gifs.

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<p>Jack (John Barrowman)&nbsp;and Gwen (Eve Myles)&nbsp;go traveling in &quot;Torchwood:&nbsp;Miracle Day.&quot;</p>

Jack (John Barrowman) and Gwen (Eve Myles) go traveling in "Torchwood: Miracle Day."

Credit: Starz/BBC

'Torchwood: Miracle Day' - 'Rendition': Aches on a plane

Jack and Gwen run into trouble on a long cross-continental voyage

A review of tonight's "Torchwood: Miracle Day" coming up just as soon as I contribute to our cultural hegemony with a nice frosty cola...

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<p>Ray Romano got the &quot;Men of a Certain Age&quot; cancellation news on the golf course.</p>

Ray Romano got the "Men of a Certain Age" cancellation news on the golf course.

Credit: TNT

TNT cancels 'Men of a Certain Age,' take two: Talking with Mike Royce

The show's co-creator is proud of the 22 episodes he and Ray Romano got to make

Just got off the phone with "Men of a Certain Age" co-creator Mike Royce, whose mood was relatively upbeat in spite of TNT canceling the show this afternoon.

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<p>It was hard for &quot;Friday Night Lights&quot; showrunner to say goodbye to characters like Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and Jason Street (Scott Porter), but the story dictated it.</p>

It was hard for "Friday Night Lights" showrunner to say goodbye to characters like Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and Jason Street (Scott Porter), but the story dictated it.

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

Interview: 'Friday Night Lights' showrunner Jason Katims post-mortems the series finale

On saying goodbye to a town, a team and a whole lot of great actors
(NOTE: This interview was originally posted when the "FNL" finale aired on DirecTV in February.)
Jason Katims has had a lot longer to say goodbye to "Friday Night Lights" than the rest of us. The series' longtime showrunner already wrote or co-wrote two previous episodes - season 1's "State" and season 3's "Tomorrow Blues" - that might have had to serve as series finales if not for 11th-hour renewals from NBC and/or DirecTV, and he wrote the series finale, "Always," which wrapped production back in the summer and just finished airing on DirecTV's The 101 Network. (You can read my "Always" review here.)
The day before the finale aired, I spoke with Katims about letting go of these characters he's shepherded for five years, about opportunities missed, about the controversial season 2 murder plot, and about the many things that made "Friday Night Lights" so damn great.
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