Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 44: 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Chuck,' 'Modern Family,' '30 for 30' and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 44: 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Chuck,' 'Modern Family,' '30 for 30' and more

Alan and Dan check in on some of their favorite shows, as well as one current series that's falling out of favor for them

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It's check-in time on this Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. With no new series to review, Dan and I instead offer mid-season opinions on shows we love ("Boardwalk Empire") and shows we're finding a bit more problematic ("Modern Family"). The rundown:

"Chuck" -- 01:45 - 10:10
30 for 30 -- 10:20 - 20:45
"Modern Family" -- 20:55 - 29:25
Reader Mail -- 29:30 - 38:00
"Boardwalk Empire" 38:00 - 50:00

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 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>The zombies of &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

The zombies of "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

'The Walking Dead' scares up huge premiere numbers

More than 5 million viewers watch the zombie apocalypse series' debut

"All this arty-farty (stuff) aside," "The Walking Dead" writer/producer/director Frank Darabont told me back in the summer, "it’s really fun to see zombies in a show."

More than 5 million people agreed with Darabont on Sunday night, making "The Walking Dead" premiere (you can read my review of it here) the biggest hit in AMC history, and one of the bigger hits on cable, period.

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<p>Jennifer Beals and Jason Clarke in &quot;The Chicago Code.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Beals and Jason Clarke in "The Chicago Code."

Credit: FOX

Watch: 'The Chicago Code' teaser

FOX to premiere Shawn Ryan-produced cop drama in February

Last week, I talked to Shawn Ryan about how FOX changed the name of his upcoming cop drama from "Ride-Along" to "The Chicago Code." And with the finalized title came FOX's ability to start promoting the show, which they did frequently during yesterday's NFL and World Series coverage. "The Chicago Code" (and, as mentioned previously, I quite liked the pilot) is now set to debut in February, Mondays after "House." Here's the teaser that aired yesterday.

<p>Rick (Andrew Lincoln)&nbsp;in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

'The Walking Dead' - 'Days Gone Bye': The never-ending nightmare begins

Frank Darabont writes and directs a haunting pilot to the zombie apocalypse series

"The Walking Dead" debuted tonight. I offered a pre-season review on Friday, and now I have specific thoughts on the pilot episode, coming up just as soon as I respect the weapon...

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<p>Jack Huston as Richard Harrow on &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Jack Huston as Richard Harrow on "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

'Boardwalk Empire' - 'Home': The monster at the end of this show

In which Nucky and Jimmy reveal the scars that made them the men they are today

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I make Junior Beach Patrol...

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<p>Rick (Andrew Lincoln)&nbsp;wakes up to a horrific new world in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up to a horrific new world in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Review: AMC's 'The Walking Dead'

Zombie apocalyptic series gets off to a strong start thanks to Frank Darabont, then sags a bit

When you ask the creative team behind AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which debuts Sunday night at 10,  what differentiates their series from every other filmed zombie story, they’ll point to the fact that it is a series - that, like the Robert Kirkman comic books that inspired it, it is an ongoing, never-ending nightmare, as opposed to two hours of scares and out.

But an ongoing nightmare requires ongoing viewers, and therefore a show that stays strong as it goes along, if not one that gets better and better over time, and I’m not sold that “The Walking Dead” is that kind of show.

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<p>The &quot;Grey's Anatomy&quot;&nbsp;doctors consider a transplant.</p>

The "Grey's Anatomy" doctors consider a transplant.

Credit: ABC

'Grey's Anatomy' - 'These Arms of Mine': Audio-visual club

A documentary crew comes to Seattle Grace as part of the show's ongoing grief cycle

I haven't written about "Grey's Anatomy" this season, sticking to my belief that I enjoy the show more when I don't have to review it, and can therefore focus on the parts I enjoy and ignore the parts that I don't. That said, the Good "Grey's/Bad "Grey's" ratio has been overwhelmingly positive this year, as the show has done a very strong job depicting the aftermath of the shooting spree from the season finale, leaving very little time for the elements of the show I often find annoying. A lot of series might pull a stunt like that and then forget about it a few episodes later, or leave only a few characters traumatized by it, but here the shooting continues to have ripple effects on everyone.

Last night's episode used a documentary format that shows try from time to time. It can be incredibly effective (the black and white "M*A*S*H" episodes) or a distracting gimmick (the live "ER" episode, which was two stunts in one). This was one of the good uses of the device, as it was essentially still a "Grey's Anatomy" episode, but with the ability to go back and forth in time to show the patients and doctors in the time before and after the day being covered. Some good moments for everyone (Avery trapped with the crashing patient was a highlight, as was the entire Karev story), and the right mix of good and bad outcomes.

What did everybody think of the episode, and the season to date?

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<p>Kaitlin Olson on last night's &quot;It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.&quot;</p>

Kaitlin Olson on last night's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Credit: FX

'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' - 'Who Got Dee Pregnant?': A question of perspective

The McPoyles return for a wild Halloween spin on "Rashomon"

Last night's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" was the episode that FX screened for the crowd at Comic-Con back in July, and it's easy to understand why. The "Rashomon" gimmick, so tired on so many other shows, felt fresh and appropriately ridiculous when all the perspectives come from these very selfish, very stupid people. The costumes were great and misunderstood (like Charlie getting confused about the nature of the Phantom of the Opera), the McPoyles returned after a too-long absence, and this was one of the few shows in TV history where Dennis being the father seemed entirely possible. Many shows try to work around female castmembers getting pregnant; here, they've embraced it, and I look forward to seeing what disturbing things these people believe about pregnancy and childcare as the storyline continues.

What did everybody else think? And how have you felt about the season so far?

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<p>Erin (Ellie Kemper) goes bobbing for apples on &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Erin (Ellie Kemper) goes bobbing for apples on "The Office."

Credit: NBC

'The Office' - 'Costume Contest': Let's hear it for the rational consumer!

A fun but ultimately too-busy Halloween episode for the Scranton branch.

A review of tonight's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I discuss the extremes of the human physique...

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<p>The &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;gang dealt with a zombie attack on Halloween.</p>

The "Community" gang dealt with a zombie attack on Halloween.

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Epidemiology': Behind-the-scenes of zombie-land

The Halloween zombie movie parody took longer to put together than most episodes

We're going to do something a little different for this week's "Community." Rather than a straight review, I'm going to offer some behind-the-scenes tidbits about the conception of this episode - tidbits that, as I'll explain, would be more detailed if I wasn't a complete spaz. But I got to hang in the "Community" writers room for an afternoon while Dan Harmon and the staff worked on the outline for "Epidemiology," and I got to see a later draft of the script, and I got to interview Harmon about it (which we'll get back to in a moment), so rather than a review - and I did laugh a bunch of times, even after hearing most of the jokes in multiple stages previously - I've got some making-of tidbits, all coming up just as soon as I'm accidentally handsome in a costume...

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