<p>Coach (Kyle Chandler)&nbsp;welcomes new wide receiver Hastings Ruckle (Grey Damon)&nbsp;to the team on &quot;Friday Night Lights.&quot;</p>

Coach (Kyle Chandler) welcomes new wide receiver Hastings Ruckle (Grey Damon) to the team on "Friday Night Lights."

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

Review: 'Friday Night Lights' season 5 debuts on DirecTV

It's great to be back in Dillon, even if the final season doesn't get off to the most compelling of starts

Early in the fifth and final season of “Friday Night Lights,” one player on the East Dillon Lions receives a stack of recruiting letters from some of the top college football programs in the country, while the players in general aren’t happy with what they feel is a lack of respect from the Texas high school football establishment. Both these developments would seem somewhat improbable, given that the Lions won only two games last season, and one of those came against the worst team in their district.

But I can’t begrudge the Lions their pride, nor the “Friday Night Lights” writers for trying out these storylines. This team wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a joke after the Dillon schools were redistricted, with all the good players gerrymandered into the other side of town. And the show wasn’t supposed to be around this long, not after the first two seasons drew cancellation-level ratings on NBC, with the final three existing only because DirecTV stepped in to play white knight.

(As usual, DirecTV has an exclusive window for the fall and early winter, with new episodes airing on The 101 Network Wednesdays at 9 p.m. starting this week. NBC will tentatively begin airing these same episodes in the summer.)

So given the show’s improbable survival, and that producer Jason Katims entered this season fairly confident it would be the last, I can’t begrudge him with trying out a few improbable story arcs for this victory lap year. This is a great show - one of the best dramas to ever air on network TV - and its creators and fans deserve some feel-good moments in the closing chapters, no?

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<p>Laura Bell Bundy and Cobie Smulders on last night's &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Laura Bell Bundy and Cobie Smulders on last night's "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Baby Talk': Who wants to name Mutombo?

Gender differences highlight a solid episode

A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I bring up Chucky right before bed...

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<p>Zachary Levi and Robert Englund in tonight's &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Zachary Levi and Robert Englund in tonight's "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Aisle of Terror': Stop! Or my mom will shoot!

Linda Hamilton and Robert Englund pay Chuck a visit on Halloween

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I find a baby encyclopedia...

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

"The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 43: 'The Walking Dead,' 'In Treatment,' 'Friday Night Lights' and more

The zombie apocalypse, scripted therapy, Texas high school football and more


No "Mad Men" for this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast? No problem, as Dan and I had tons of other things to discuss (so much, in fact, that we put off the "Boardwalk Empire" mid-season check-in for at least a week). We belatedly discussed "Sherlock," Dan watched "In Treatment" for the first time, we got our zombie on with "The Walking Dead," answered a bunch of reader mail and (at the end for the benefit of non-DirecTV viewers) previewed the fifth and final season of "Friday Night Lights." The rundown:

"Sherlock" -- 00:45 - 06:35
"In Treatment" -- 06:40 - 17:00
"The Walking Dead" -- 17:00 - 28:35
Reader Mail (on "Parks & Recreation," TV couples and the economics of American TV) -- 28:45 - 50:00
"Friday Night Lights" -- 50:00 - 59:30

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>Michael C. Hall and Julia Stiles on &quot;Dexter.&quot;</p>

Michael C. Hall and Julia Stiles on "Dexter."

Credit: Showtime

'Dexter ' - 'First Blood': Vince's dragon tattoo

Dexter tries to help Lumen get closure

Personal business kept me from doing a "Dexterpost last week, unfortunately. We're now a couple of episodes into Julia Stiles' mini-arc, and the combination of Lumen's presence and Dexter's ongoing Rita guilt has our man acting very reckless.

Some good stuff this week, including Lumen going through airport security, Harry showing Dexter the error of his ways and Masuka teaching Deb about the ways of body art. On the downside, the only reason I'm glad I didn't fast forward through all the Batista/Laguerta scenes is because it wound up tying back into the Quinn storyline.

What did everybody else think? 

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<p>Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in &quot;Sherlock.&quot;</p>

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in "Sherlock."

Credit: PBS

'Sherlock' - 'A Study in Pink': At Holmes in the 21st century

What did everybody think of the Sherlock Holmes update?

On Friday, I posted my review the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss contemporary version of "Sherlock." I unfortunately don't have time to do post-game reviews of the three installments, but the series is so much fun that I wanted to give you - whether you already saw the series when it aired in England(*) or you're seeing it for the first time tonight - a chance to discuss the ways in which Moffat and Gatiss brought Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Inspector Lastrade and the rest of the Holmes universe into the 21st century.

(*) Keeping in mind, as always, that the spoiler policy around here means that if something hasn't aired in America yet, we can't really talk about. Nothing but the vaguest mention of episodes two and three, okay? 

So what did everybody think of "A Study in Pink"?

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<p>Jimmy (Michael Pitt), Al Capone (Stephen Graham)&nbsp;and Johnny Torio (Greg Antonacci)&nbsp;consider a situation on &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Jimmy (Michael Pitt), Al Capone (Stephen Graham) and Johnny Torio (Greg Antonacci) consider a situation on "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

'Boardwalk Empire' - 'Family Limitation': Nucky vs. Lucky

Things get messy as Nucky and company are confronted with the truth about their lives

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I escape from the check...

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<p>Gabriel Byrne in &quot;In Treatment.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Gabriel Byrne in "In Treatment." 

Credit: HBO/Paul Schiraldi

Review: HBO's 'In Treatment' returns for season three

Gabriel Byrne's joined by a great new cast, but has the psychiatry drama outlived its usefulness?

There have been episodes of the HBO therapy drama "In Treatment" where either Dr. Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) or one of his patients comes into a session not ready to do the work. Either Paul's distracted from the latest mess in his very messy life, or the patient doesn't want to talk about what's really bothering them, or both. But more often than not, Paul is able to push through the barriers and take the conversation someplace interesting before their time is up.

That's kind of how I feel about "In Treatment" season three, which debuts Monday and Tuesday at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on HBO. After liking the first season and loving the second, I dove into the third and felt like something was off. Maybe it was the slight change in format, from five episodes a week (Paul with four patients, then Paul with his own shrink) down to four (three patients plus Paul in therapy). Maybe it was the rhythms of new showrunners Dan Futterman and Anya Epstein, who took over for Warren Leight, who himself took over for Rodrigo Garcia. (Both the amount and nature of these episodes understandably proves exhausting.) Or maybe it was that Futterman and Epstein were traveling without a road map, since this is the first season where the stories and characters weren't adapted from the Israeli series "Be'Tipul."

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<p>Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)&nbsp;and Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman)&nbsp;in present-day London.</p>

Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) in present-day London.

Credit: PBS

Review: 'Sherlock' comes to PBS

'Doctor Who' producer cleverly brings Holmes and Watson into the 21st century

The first question I had while watching “Sherlock,” a contemporary-set adaptation of Sherlock Holmes that PBS’ ‘Masterpiece Mystery” is debuting Sunday at 9 p.m., is what 21st century pop culture looks like if Holmes has just appeared on the scene.

“Sherlock,” created by “Doctor Who” producer Steven Moffat and actor/writer Mark Gatiss, exists in a world much like our own, where characters watch TV and listen to music, and where a killer can taunt Holmes (here played by Benedict Cumberbatch) by asking if he wants to phone a friend. Yet if Holmes and his methods are brand-new - and the London cops, as well as partner John Watson (Martin Freeman from the British “Office”), all act as if they’ve never seen anyone like him before - then is this a world without Dr. House, Gil Grissom, Temperance Brennan, Patrick Jane and all the other contemporary sleuths who owe a huge debt to Holmes’ superhuman powers of observation?

And conversely, given all these Holmes-ian investigators wandering around 21st century television in our world, what would be so special about watching Holmes and Dr. Watson in present day?

The answer: quite a bit, because Holmes remains a great character regardless of his imitators, and because Moffat and Gatiss have figured out how to translate him to today’s London without making it seem like a gimmick.

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<p>Kelsey Grammer stopped by &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;to help out Kenneth and Jenna.</p>

Kelsey Grammer stopped by "30 Rock" to help out Kenneth and Jenna.

Credit: NBC

'30 Rock' - 'Reaganing': The perfect game

The show goes back to being non-live, and to being really funny

A review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I go to a Penn and Teller show...

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