Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

What's W.R.O.N.G. with 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'?

Bland characters, forgettable stories and a tenuous connection to Marvel

<p>Should &quot;Marvel's Agents of&nbsp;S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;&nbsp;be leaning so heavily on Brett Dalton and Chloe Bennet?</p>

Should "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." be leaning so heavily on Brett Dalton and Chloe Bennet?

Credit: ABC

No new show arrived this fall with more expectations — or punctuation — than ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." It was a spin-off of the wildly successful Marvel Comics films. It had Joss Whedon attached as a co-creator (even if he wasn't going to be around much due to his Marvel movie commitments). ABC was so confident in the thing that it scheduled it opposite "NCIS" and built an entire night of all-new programming around it, under the belief that "S.H.I.E.L.D" would cast a powerful halo around any shows placed near it. It was going to be a blockbuster akin to "Avengers" or "Iron Man," drawing in viewers from all demographics — and enough of them who weren't already watching TV in that hour that it could stand on its own opposite TV's most-watched drama.

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'No Questions Asked'

The gang tries to delete a text from Lily's phone before it's too late

<p>Jason Segel and Cobie Smulders in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Jason Segel and Cobie Smulders in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

A quick review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as the editor of Bazooka Joe comics rejects my joke...

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 208

Dan and Alan also discuss HBO's "Seduced and Abandoned"

The

Happy Monday, boys and girls! For two weeks in a row! It's an eclectic Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week, as Dan and I discuss a documentary (with some fictional elements) on HBO, a French zombie miniseries (if that's the right way to describe it) on Sundance, and check in on the great season of "The Good Wife" and an uneven but mostly good start to "Scandal" season 3.

Next week's gonna be either the long-promised all-"Breaking Bad" podcast, or it's going to be an hour heavily dependent on reader questions. Either way, the email link is below. Use it. Please.

The rundown:

"Seduced and Abandoned" (00:00:45 - 00:12:35)
"The Returned" (00:12:35 - 00:28:30)
Listener Mail: Screeners with unfinished FX (00:29:05 - 00:38:15)
"Scandal" (00:38:40 - 00:54:50)
"The Good Wife" (00:54:50 - 01:21:20)
 
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 questions for the podcast.

Cinemax renews 'Strike Back' for final season

One more year for the action drama that's always been better than it needed to be

<p>No need to surrender yet, boys:&nbsp;&quot;Strike Back&quot;&nbsp;is coming back for a final season.</p>

No need to surrender yet, boys: "Strike Back" is coming back for a final season.

Credit: Cinemax

The good news: Cinemax is bringing back its terrific action drama "Strike Back" for another season.

The bad news: it'll be the last one.

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Catherine'

Libby's pregnancy has a complication and Virginia's son rebels against her

<p>Nicholas D'Agosto and Lizzy Caplan in &quot;Masters of Sex.&quot;</p>

Nicholas D'Agosto and Lizzy Caplan in "Masters of Sex."

Credit: Showtime

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" — which Showtime recently renewed for a second season — coming up just as soon as I send you a dozen yellow roses...

Review: 'The Good Wife' - 'Hitting the Fan'

Will and Alicia go to war with each other after news of the new firm gets out

<p>Julianna Margulies and Jess Weixler in &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Julianna Margulies and Jess Weixler in "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

Earlier this week, I wrote about how terrific this season of "The Good Wife" has been, and tonight's episode was a cut above even what's come before. A few specific thoughts coming up just as soon as I put my pants on so we can have a quorum...

Review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'Isolation'

The plague brings anger from Tyreese, regret from Carol and sacrifice from Hershel

<p>Melissa McBridge as Carol in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Melissa McBridge as Carol in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I don't plan on much typing the next few days...

Review: 'Homeland' - 'The Yoga Play'

Carrie risks her cover to help Dana, and Saul goes hunting for geese

<p>Saul (Mandy Patinkin)&nbsp;goes hunting on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Saul (Mandy Patinkin) goes hunting on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I'd be worried if I was a duck...

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'The Old Ship of Zion'

Chalky fights back against Narcisse, Sally comes to town and Eli gets some news

<p>On &quot;Boardwalk Empire,&quot;&nbsp;Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams)&nbsp;makes a very public display against Dr. Narcisse.</p>

On "Boardwalk Empire," Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) makes a very public display against Dr. Narcisse.

Credit: HBO

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I mix myself a rum swizzle...

Series premiere talkback: 'Dracula'

What did everybody think of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the famous vampire?

<p>Jonathan Rhys Meyers IS&nbsp;&quot;Dracula&quot;... or Alexander Grayson, if you prefer.</p>

Jonathan Rhys Meyers IS "Dracula"... or Alexander Grayson, if you prefer.

Credit: NBC

Tonight, NBC unveiled its very strange take on "Dracula," with Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing Drac wreaking havoc in Victorian London while posing as an American alternate energy mogul named Alexander Grayson. I'm not saying the Dracula mythology should be immune from any sort of tweaking, but if you're going to make such a radical change, it ought to be more interesting than the original, and this is the exact opposite — which Fienberg explained at much greater length in his review. Now it's your turn. For those of you who tuned in, what did you think? Was this the spin on the Vlad the Impaler story you've been waiting for? Is Rhys Meyers hunky and/or charismatic enough that you don't care what accent he's speaking in? Would you prefer Renfield to be his familiar cockroach-eating self, or do you prefer this more refined, Ducksauce-flavored version played by Nonso Anozie? Did you find any of the supporting players interesting at all? Did the lightbulb demonstration just make you want to watch David Bowie's scenes as Tesla in "The Prestige"? And will you watch again? 

Have at it.

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