Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
Dean Pelton hosts his own 'Hunger Games' as the study group returns for senior year
Same actors, same characters, many returning crewmembers, but something's clearly missing
Joel McHale and Jim Rash in a scene from the "Community" season premiere.
The average TV viewer pays vastly less attention to what’s going on behind the scenes at their favorite shows than the average TV critic or reporter does. When there’s a major change in production, we write about it endlessly, but most of the audience neither knows nor cares.
There are special cases, though, and NBC’s “Community” — which belatedly returns for its fourth season tonight at 8 — is one of those. Not only is it one of the most self-referential shows in TV history — one of its main characters, Danny Pudi’s Abed, is essentially aware that he’s on a TV show, and comments on all the familiar tropes and archetypes the series plays with — but its creator Dan Harmon created an ongoing online dialogue with the comedy’s small but passionate collection of fans.
Phillip and Elizabeth have to go to extremes to plant a bug
On "The Americans," Phillip (Michael Rhys) makes his intentions plain.
A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I do something horribly masculine with reindeers and wood chopping...
On losing Chevy Chase, preparing for senior year and whether, in hindsight, they'd have chosen to succeed Dan Harmon
The "Community" producers are new, but the faces in front of the camera remain the same.
In succeeding “Community”
creator Dan Harmon
as showrunners of the NBC comedy, Moses Port
and David Guarascio
have been placed in a trickier position than most TV producers. First, it’s not often that a writer as singularly associated with a show as Harmon was with “Community” leaves it, whether voluntarily or because they were fired. Second, when it’s happened in the past with shows like “NYPD Blue” post-Milch, “The West Wing” post-Sorkin and “Gilmore Girls” post-Sherman-Palladino, the replacements have tended to be people who had already been working on the show and watching the creator at work. Port and Guarascio are comedy veterans who most recently worked on ABC’s “Happy Endings,” but their only prior affiliation with “Community” was as viewers of the show.
I spoke with them back in October
, when “Community” was supposed to debut on October 19 in a new Friday timeslot. Instead, it was held until tomorrow night, when it’ll be back in its familiary Thursday at 8 p.m. berth for a 13-episode fourth season that Port and Guarascio believe has a good chance of not being the end of the series.
When I was in LA last month, I sat down with them for an expansive discussion about the challenges of stepping in for Harmon, their reaction to Chevy Chase
’s abrupt exit late in the season (and how the show will deal with it), their take on where most of the characters are heading into season 4, their reaction to getting their very own Twitter spoof account, and a lot more.
What did everybody think of the NBC drama's return?
"Smash" has an "American Idol" team-up between Jennifer Hudson and Katharine McPhee.
I posted my review of the new season of "Smash" this morning. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the changes made by Josh Safran and company? If you were a fan last spring, did you enjoy these tweaks? If you were just hate-watching by the end, was this an improvement? (And do you want the show to improve?) Were you happy to have Jennifer Hudson around for a bit? Did you think her duet with Katharine McPhee did a good job of showcasing both "Idol" alums? Do you like the new musical, and did you find Jimmy charming or just a complete jerk?
I imagine there will be some rubbernecking for tonight, even among those of you who didn't like the show last season. Was there enough here to make you want to stick around?
Have at it.
Raylan and Boyd come face to face in a guest star-packed hour
On "Justified," Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) have their first encounter of the season.
A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I read a book about a Native American princess who controls invisible forest animals...
Mindy continues to suspect that B.J. Novak loves his female best friend
Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak in "The Mindy Project."
A review of tonight's "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as I contest a jaywalking ticket...
Nick and Jess deal with the aftermath of their kiss, and Cece goes to an Indian marriage convention
Cece (Hannah Simone) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) in "New Girl."
A quick review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I panic moonwalk away from you...
Many small fixes have been made, but the bigger problems remain the same
Katharine McPhee in "Smash."
Julia Houston, the playwright heroine of NBC’s “Smash” — and also the fictional stand-in for the show’s ousted creator, Theresa Rebeck — declares early in the musical drama’s new season (it returns tonight at 9 with back-to-back episodes) that she doesn’t like to read reviews of her work.
Paul Shaffer, Jason Priestley and friends highlight another trip to Canada
Robin Sparkles (Cobie Smulders) turns into Robin Daggers on "How I Met Your Mother."
A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I'm subject to a 50-meter restraining order...