<p>Lennie James and Mark Strong are Detroit cops in &quot;Low Winter Sun.&quot;</p>

Lennie James and Mark Strong are Detroit cops in "Low Winter Sun."

Credit: AMC

Review: AMC's 'Low Winter Sun' a dark cop drama, but is it a deep one?

HitFix
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Readers
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Great performances from Mark Strong and Lennie James, but what's it all about?

The wave of quality cable dramas of the last decade has turned into a flood. Everyone's looking for their own "Sopranos," their own "Shield," their own "Mad Men." When you start factoring in streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu (which are both making their own programming and importing terrific shows from overseas), it's inarguable that there are more good dramas than at any point in the history of the medium.

But what's also become obvious of late is just how hard it is to make these shows work. Too many shows have been made under the mistaken belief that all you need to achieve greatness is to follow a familiar recipe. Take imposing character actors as leading men, add anti-heroes in a world full of moral ambiguity, a cinematic look, some colorful dialogue, and preferably some graphic violence, and your would-be "The Wire" will be baked in 35-40 minutes, right?

These shows have the appearance and texture of the greats of past and present, but there's something empty and unsatisfying about them. They tend to lack the ingredients you can't just buy at the store: a distinctive voice and a spark of mad genius. Sometimes, they succeed anyway (Showtime has already renewed "Ray Donovan" for a second season), and sometimes they fail (Starz just canceled "Magic City"), but their separation from the genuine article becomes unmistakable in time. They're the I Can't Believe It's Not Better dramas, and AMC may have another on its hands with "Low Winter Sun."

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<p>Kate Hudson, Larry David and Jon Hamm in &quot;Clear History.&quot;</p>

Kate Hudson, Larry David and Jon Hamm in "Clear History."

Credit: HBO

Review: Larry David in HBO's 'Clear History'

HitFix
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Readers
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Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson and friends come along for what's really an all-star edition of 'Curb'

When each season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ends, executives at HBO, and fans of the show, wait in earnest for Larry David to decide when or if he wants to make another one. My belief is that the gig is too much fun for David to entirely walk away from, but for 2013 he passed on doing more "Curb" in favor of writing and starring in "Clear History," an HBO film that debuts Saturday night at 9.

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<p>Diane Kruger as Sonya Cross in &quot;The Bridge.&quot;</p>

Diane Kruger as Sonya Cross in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Bridge' - 'The Beast'

Calaca pays Linder a visit, and Sonya gets the killer on the phone

A review of tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I get the Saran wrap...

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<p>Mireille Enos in &quot;The Killing.&quot;</p>

Mireille Enos in "The Killing."

Credit: AMC

Season finale review: 'The Killing'

Another case ends in disappointing fashion, though the journey was more interesting this time

A quick, belated review of "The Killing" season finale coming up just as soon as you interrupt my family bowling night...

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<p>David Tennant and Olivia Colman in &quot;Broadchurch.&quot;</p>

David Tennant and Olivia Colman in "Broadchurch."

Credit: BBC America

Review: BBC America's 'Broadchurch' a simple, devastating mystery

HitFix
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Readers
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David Tennant and Olivia Colman investigate mystery in a small seaside town

"You don't understand," Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller insists as she stares at a murdered child on the beach of the sleepy town she calls home. "I know that boy!"

Miller is one of the two heroes of "Broadchurch," a British crime series making its BBC America debut tonight at 10 p.m. Played by Olivia Colman, she's a Broadchurch lifer. She knows everyone in town, and assumes she knows everything around them; it's not possible that any of her friends or neighbors could be a killer. And yet as her partner and boss, new transplant Alec Hardy (David Tennant) keeps reminding her, anyone can become a killer, and the sandy corpse of young Danny Latimer is proof of that.

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<p>The &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;team of Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston in a recent appearance on Sundance Channel's &quot;The Writers' Room.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

The "Breaking Bad" team of Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston in a recent appearance on Sundance Channel's "The Writers' Room." 

Credit: Sundance

'Breaking Bad': Bryan Cranston and Vince Gilligan look back

How often have the star and creator disagreed about Walt? And how do they feel about the ending?
Eight hours to go. Eight more hours until we find out exactly what fate “Breaking Bad” has in store for Walter White. Eight more hours until we find out if creator Vince Gilligan can stick the landing on one of the most daring, breathtaking, awe-inspiring feats of dramatic gymnastics in television history. Eight more hours of watching Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris and company make us laugh, make us cry, and make us curl up into a terrified little ball. Eight hours doesn’t feel like nearly enough for this great show, does it?
 
I’ve seen the AMC drama’s final season premiere, which airs Sunday night at 9. It’s fantastic, as you might expect, but the ways in which it’s fantastic are better left discovered as you’re watching. (I’ll have, as usual, an episode review posted as soon as it’s done airing on the East Coast.) But before this last batch of episodes begins, I sat down with Gilligan and Emmy-winning star Bryan Cranston to discuss the rare instances when they disagreed about what was going on with Walt, about what kind of actor Walt himself has become in the series’ final days, and about how each of them feels about walking away from the best work either of them is likely ever going to do.
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<p>We're giving away free copies of &quot;The Revolution Was Televised&quot;&nbsp;to people who register for the site.</p>

We're giving away free copies of "The Revolution Was Televised" to people who register for the site.

Credit: Touchstone

Register at HitFix and win 'The Revolution Was Televised' for free!

We're giving away 10 signed paperbacks and 5 audiobook links

Want to win a signed copy of my book, "The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever?" Or would you like to get a free version of the audiobook, read in the dulcet tones of voice actor Joe Ochman? Well, now's your chance.

HitFix is in the midst of a registration drive, and this week we're giving away 10 signed paperbacks and 5 copies of the audiobook. It's very simple. Just go to register for an account here — and if you already have a HitFix account, clicking on that link will give you the option to update your info, which will automatically register you for the prize drawing. (That page also has a list of contest rules; it's only for U.S. residents, unfortunately.)

Register anytime between now and Sunday night and you're eligible for the books as your prize; a new giveaway will begin next Monday morning.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 195: Press tour, 'Breaking Bad,' 'Broadchurch,' 'Low Winter Sun' & more

Dan and Alan also discuss 'The O.C.' pilot on its 10th anniversary

The

Today's my last full day in California for press tour, which means the last in-person Firewall & Iceberg Podcast for quite some time, as Dan and I broke down the rest of the happenings among the TCA, reviewed BBC America's "Broadchurch," briefly discussed (with no spoilers) the "Breaking Bad" premiere and reviewed AMC's "Low Winter Sun." Then, even though "The Wonder Years" was next in our pilot queue, we couldn't resist celebrating the 10-year anniversary of "The O.C." with a discussion of that show's fabulous pilot. (We'll still do "The Wonder Years," but next week.) The rundown:

TCA Press Tour (00:02:20 - 00:38:50)
"Broadchurch" (00:39:30 - 00:51:15)
"Breaking Bad" (00:51:15 - 00:54:50)
"Low Winter Sun" (00:54:50 - 01:06:00)
The 10th Anniversary of "The O.C." (01:06:00 - 01:24:30)

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 questions for the podcast.
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<p>Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Olga Kurylenko in &quot;Magic City.&quot;</p>

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Olga Kurylenko in "Magic City."

Credit: Starz

Starz cancels 'Magic City' after 2 seasons

1950s period drama had the look of 'Mad Men,' but not the substance

Starz has canceled "Magic City," the drama set in and around a Miami resort hotel in the late 1950s.

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<p>Chris Pratt and Adam Brody teamed up for much of the final season of &quot;The O.C.&quot;</p>

Chris Pratt and Adam Brody teamed up for much of the final season of "The O.C."

Credit: FOX

'The O.C.,' 10 years later: J.J. Philbin looks back

The 'New Girl' writer was there for Taylor Townsend, Chris Pratt as Ché and much other silliness
By now, you’ve all surely taken large chunks of time today to read both parts of my interview with “The O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz, since tonight is the show’s 10th anniversary. If your appetite for Seth Cohen-related nostalgia hasn’t been sated by now, I also chatted that day with J.J. Philbin, who joined the writing staff midway through season 1 and stuck around all the way to the end, for all the marvelous silliness involving Ryan and Taylor Townsend, Chris Pratt as Ché, “Je Pense,” etc. Philbin’s now a writer on “New Girl,” but she was happy to walk down memory lane towards Newport Beach.
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