<p>Prez (Jim True-Frost)&nbsp;and Lt. Daniels (Lance Reddick)&nbsp;together on &quot;The Wire.&quot;</p>

Prez (Jim True-Frost) and Lt. Daniels (Lance Reddick) together on "The Wire."

Credit: HBO

'The Wire' Rewind: Season 3, Episode 9 - 'Slapstick' (Newbies edition)

Plans go awry for both cops and crooks.

Once again, we're spending Fridays this summer revisiting season three of "The Wire," the greatest TV drama of all time. (You can find my reviews of the other seasons on the siderail at my old blog.) And, as usual, we're doing it in two versions: one for people who have seen the show all the way through and want to be able to discuss it from beginning to end, and one for people who aren't as far along and don't want to be spoiled about anything after this episode. This is the newbie version; click here for the veteran-friendly one.

A review of episode nine, "Slapstick," coming up just as soon as I do the cookie first...

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<p>Will any of these four &quot;American Idol&quot;&nbsp;judges be on the show next season?</p>

Will any of these four "American Idol" judges be on the show next season?

Credit: FOX

'American Idol': The Ellen DeGeneres experiment ends abruptly

Comedian never fit in; are Randy and Kara next?

Ellen DeGeneres never fit in as a judge on "American Idol," but at least she had good sense to recognize that, which is why she's bowing out after only a single season even though she signed a multi-year contract.

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<p>Arliss Howard and James Badge Dale in AMC's &quot;Rubicon.&quot;</p>

Arliss Howard and James Badge Dale in AMC's "Rubicon."

Credit: AMC

Review: AMC's 'Rubicon'

Conspiracy thriller moves slowly but shows promise.

AMC hasn’t used the “TV for movie people” slogan in a while, but it absolutely applies to the channel’s three current series. “Mad Men” is not only set in the era from which AMC once upon a time drew most of its film library, but shows the same kind of classical filmmaking aesthetic. “Breaking Bad” often looks like a Coen brothers film, and its creator frequently references “Scarface” and “The Godfather” as inspiration.

And AMC’s latest series “Rubicon” (which debuts Sunday at 8 p.m.) is so devoted to the slow-burning, grey style of ‘70s paranoid conspiracy thrillers like “The Parallax View,” “All the President’s Men” or “The Conversation” that in one episode its hero actually meets a source in an underground D.C. parking garage, just like Robert Redford did with Deep Throat.

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<p>Can &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother&quot;&nbsp;suit up to greatness again in season six?</p>

Can "How I Met Your Mother" suit up to greatness again in season six?

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' creators promise a return to emotion and romance

Extended press tour interview provides hope sitcom can get back to its roots.

One of my favorite sitcoms of the last half-decade, CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," had what I felt was its weakest season last year, one that seemed to lack any kind of notable storytelling direction, or heart, and wasn't funny enough to make up for that.

Often when I come to press tour after a show I like has had an off-year, I want to see what the producers have to say about it. If they talk as if everything's still fine and dandy, I can brace myself for the decline to continue, and perhaps rapidly accelerate. If, on the other hand, they admit to seeing the same problems I did, then I know there's hope for a turnaround.

An hour-long conversation with "HIMYM" creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas filled me (and, I got the sense, the handful of other critics who were with me) with a whole lot of hope. They couldn't offer too many details about storylines (nor would I want to hear many of them), and it's entirely possible their execution will fall short of their ambition, but they talked throughout that hour about moving away from the standalone, disposable storylines of season five and returning to the series' more emotionally complicated roots.

An abridged transcript - which includes some vague (at times incredibly vague) spoilers for the sixth season (which debuts Sept. 20) - with some notes from me, coming up after the jump...

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<p>&quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;&nbsp;comes back on Sept. 7</p>

"Sons of Anarchy" comes back on Sept. 7

Credit: FX

Watch: 'Sons of Anarchy' season 3 trailer

Get pumped as SAMCRO rides again

The other day I gave a recap of Sunday's "Sons of Anarchy" panel at Comic-Con and mentioned the big ovation that a season two highlight reel got. Because I was busy getting ready to moderate the panel, I didn't pay particularly close enough attention to realize it wasn't old footage, but a trailer for the third season. (And, as mentioned in the previous post, I've seen the season three premiere, and it's terrific. Sept. 7 can't get here soon enough.) 

Click through to the full post to see the Comic-Con trailer. I think you'll like it as much as the people in Ballroom 20 did...

<p>Penny, Sheldon and Leonard went through some changes last season on &quot;The Big Bang Theory.&quot;</p>

Penny, Sheldon and Leonard went through some changes last season on "The Big Bang Theory."

Credit: CBS

Press tour: Love connections on 'The Big Bang Theory'

The producers and stars on Leonardy/Penny, Sheldon/Penny, Howard/Raj, etc.

As mentioned in my rundown of the CBS press tour schedule, "The Big Bang Theory" has been a presence for a few tours in a row. This time, though, the show has a new timeslot (Thursdays at 8), and there were enough changes this season - Leonard and Penny's relationship and break-up, Howard actually getting a girlfriend, Sheldon perhaps intending to date Mayim Bialik's character - to fill a fairly lively session, and then a brief chat afterwards with co-creator Bill Prady. Some highlights after the jump...

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<p>William Shatner from &quot;$#*! My Dad Says&quot;&nbsp;will be making an appearance on CBS' press tour day.</p>

William Shatner from "$#*! My Dad Says" will be making an appearance on CBS' press tour day.

Credit: CBS

A day in the life of press tour: CBS

Scene-stealers, moms and more on the first full day of TCA

The Television Critics Association summer press tour technically began yesterday with a series of set visits, but I spent the day in my hotel room catching up on DVDs and writing while Fienberg visited Wisteria Lane and whatnot. So for me, press tour really begins today with CBS' arrival at the tour hotel.

(If you still don't know what press tour is, my old breakdown is at NJ.com.)

I'd like to continue a tradition I started at the old blog a couple of tours ago by giving you a runthrough of what my schedule looks like on a given day. This will be the first tour since the late '90s where I'll be covering it with someone else (and I think Matt Seitz and I only had significant overlap on one or two tours), so it's unclear what stuff Fienberg will be writing about at The Fien Print blog, what I'll be covering here, what might go in the vault for later, etc. We'll see.

As for these schedule posts, I won't be doing it every day (previously I only did it for the broadcast network days), but when I have a moment or I have some thoughts in advance of the day, I'll give it a shot. So after the jump, the rundown on CBS...

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<p>Donald Glover and Danny Pudi on NBC's &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Donald Glover and Danny Pudi on NBC's "Community."

Credit: NBC

Watch: 'Community' stars Donald Glover & Danny Pudi talk about TV's funniest bromance

And how do their co-stars feel about them dominating the end of each episode?

I already recapped the raucous "Community" panel from Comic-Con, and shared one tidbit from my interview with Dan Harmon about the study group's new professor. Some of my other interviews will hold until closer to the show's late September premiere, but in the meantime, I wanted to share this video interview I did with the hilarious duo of Donald Glover and Danny Pudi.

If you haven't watched "Community," well... you should watch "Community." But if you do watch it, you know that Glover and Pudi have quickly become one of the funniest duos on television, as well as one of the most surprising. Even Harmon says he didn't intend for the two to become BFFs (if you watch the early episodes, Glover was mainly placed opposite Chevy Chase), but then he saw the two beat-boxing together during a red carpet interview and realized he had something brilliant on his hands. That led to the "Donde esta la biblioteca" rap, and to all the brilliant tags (the scenes that play over the closing credits) featuring Troy and Abed that followed it.

So after the jump, the interview in two parts, including Glover's discussion of how being friends with Abed has changed Troy, and both of them on how the other castmembers feel about them dominating the tag in each episode...

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<p>Mal (Nathan Fillion)&nbsp;finds a way out of a jam on &quot;Firefly.&quot;</p>

Mal (Nathan Fillion) finds a way out of a jam on "Firefly."

Credit: FOX

'Firefly' Rewind - Episode 8: 'Out of Gas'

One of the series' best episodes gives the origin of the Serenity crew.

Once again, we're spending Tuesdays this summer revisiting Joss Whedon's sci-fi Western "Firefly," and even though I'm burnt out from Comic-Con and swamped with TV critics press tour prep, I couldn't push the schedule since this week's episode is my favorite of the series, "Out of Gas." A review coming up just as soon as I give you all my caveats and addendums...

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<p>The cast of &quot;Scott Pilgrim.&quot;</p>

The cast of "Scott Pilgrim."

Firewall & Iceberg podcast, episode 27: Comic-Con, 'Rubicon,' press tour and 'Mad Men'

The calm between two storms, and much higher sound quality than last week.

The

 
Mistakes were made. Lessons were learned. Podcasts are not meant to be recorded inside of San Diego-bound cars. So this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast was recorded in the safety, quiet and calm of my hotel room for press tour, and Dan and I both sound much, much much better than last week.
 
This is actually a two-podcast day for me, as I talked about "Mad Men," Comic-Con and all things TV with Bill Simmons on the latest B.S. Report.
 
And here's the rundown of what Dan and I discussed: 

Intro and Comic-Con -- 00:00 - 14:05

Press Tour Preview -- 14:05 - 24:10

"Rubicon" -- 24:10 - 31:35

"Mad Men" - 31:35 - 48:52
 
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 at Dan's blog.