CBS has named English actor James Corden as the new host of "The Late Late Show," where he will succeed the departing Craig Ferguson sometime in 2015.
"The Leftovers" wrapped up its first season earlier this evening. A review of the finale coming up just as soon as we have different physiques...
A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I make this coin disappear...
"Boardwalk Empire" is back for its final season. I interviewed Terence Winter about the decision to end the show (and to move the action forward to 1931), and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I sail away on a turtle...
Reviewing a new TV show usually comes out to about 50 percent analysis of what's there, 50 percent psychic projection of what the show might become past the episode(s) you've seen. With comedy, the balance tilts heavily towards the psychic end of things, because so few comedies start out strongly, and you have to make an informed guess as to what mediocre pilot will turn out to be great like "Parks and Recreation," and what will settle for being crass like "2 Broke Girls."
Even having more episodes beyond the pilot isn't always a help. Back in January, for instance, Comedy Central sent out the first two "Broad City"s to critics. They were clever and seemed to have a distinctive voice, but it was a busy time of year, and I moved on to other things. Then my friends kept raving about it, I watched the rest of the season over the summer, and fell hard for the rest of it. (Really, it's clearly becoming great as early as episode 3.)
Even in this era of Too Much Good TV, summer is still a reasonable time to catch up on things I've missed like that, and to stick with shows that didn't necessarily wow me at first. In two recent instances, that patience has paid off terrifically — and in ways that are eerily similar — as I stuck with FX's "You're the Worst" and Netflix's "BoJack Horseman" until they turned out to be much more impressive than they seemed at first.
A review of tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I turn up the relaxing strings...
Happy Wednesday, boys and girls! Labor Day and our need to catch up on some stuff pushed this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast back a day, but it's a hefty one. We touch on the return of Chris Moore to TV with Starz's "The Chair" (and lament the absence of John Gulager's bathtub from primetime), preview the final season of "Boardwalk Empire," discuss the five new Amazon pilots, look back on the fun that was Every "Simpsons" Ever, and talk about Comedy Central's current hot streak in primetime. And we hope it all sounds coherent despite Skype being The Worst Thing Ever for much of the call. (Remember how we used to say that discussing Dustin Hoffman's Emmy chances for "Luck" was barred by the Skype gods? Today, it was a random digression about Kristen Bell's "Pulse.")
NOTE: Despite recording 90 minutes of conversation, the Skype gods were being so unkind to us that we had to ditch our weekly Friday Night Lights segment. We're as awful as the murder plot this week. Sorry. We'll discuss episodes 12 & 13 next week, and then 14 & 15 the following week to close out season 2.
As always, send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, subscribe on IHeartRadio or stream it on Dan's blog.
There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.
Usually, I wait until the end of each "Boardwalk Empire" season to speak with creator Terence Winter about all that happened. In the case of the gangster drama's fifth season, which debuts Sunday at 9 on HBO, a preliminary conversation was necessary. Not only is this going to be the show's final season — earlier than Winter had maybe once intended, but the one he wanted after realizing the direction he had taken the story — but it leaps seven years into the future for Nucky, Chalky, Margaret and the other surviving characters, landing them in 1931. Atlantic City and the rest of the country are still mired in the Great Depression, while Nucky and many of his partners are hearing rumblings that Prohibition may be repealed soon.
What a strange and often wonderful summer this was in television. It was a summer where Halle Berry couldn't find viewers on CBS, while NBC built a stable schedule out of discards, imports and long- discarded reality shows. HBO introduced a show that seemed to generate equal levels of adoration and scorn, while FXX finally found a purpose by making millions of "Simpsons" fans happy.
Fall TV starts getting in gear next week with the returns of "Boardwalk Empire," "Sons of Anarchy" and more. So before we get too bogged down in fall premieres, Fienberg and I wanted to look back at the winners and losers of this unpredictable summer season.
A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I try a special tonic straight from India...