Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 169: 'Zero Hour,' 'Cult,' 'Scandal' & more

Dan and Alan also review Beyonce's HBO documentary, discuss the dire state of NBC and ask: who gets to end a show?

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Travel has impacted the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast schedule of late. Dan was in London earlier this week, so you get a Wednesday show, and I'll be on vacation next week, which means no show at all. But in this one, we discuss "Zero Hour," "Cult," Beyonce, "Scandal," Super Bowl showcases and more. The lineup: 

"Zero Hour" (00:01:10 - 00:13:40)
"Cult" (00:13:40 - 00:28:30)
"Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream" (00:28:30 - 00:36:25)
NBC's return to suckage (00:36:25 - 00:53:50)
Listener Mail - The Rise of "Scandal" (00:55:05 - 01:11:30)
Listener Mail - Who gets to end shows? (01:11:30 - 01:18:20)
Listener Mail - post-Super Bowl "Elementary" (01:18:25 - 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.

Review: ABC's 'Zero Hour' isn't quite terrible enough

Anthony Edwards series embraces the crazy, but only occasionally

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<p>Anthony Edwards and friends (and clocks)&nbsp;in &quot;Zero Hour.&quot;</p>

Anthony Edwards and friends (and clocks) in "Zero Hour."

Credit: ABC

Truly terrible television can be a work of art unto itself. Much as we can love the emotional wallop of "Friday Night Lights," the warmth of "The Cosby Show" or the intricate humor of "Arrested Development," it's possible to feel a great deal of affection for transcendently bad TV like "Pink Lady and Jeff" or "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer." Those were bad shows, but they were almost epic in their badness, and that's preferable to the great middle in which a lot of TV exists.

I will say this for ABC's "Zero Hour," which debuts tomorrow night at 8: it will never, ever, be confused with quality, and I'm not even sure I want to watch another episode after the pilot, but there are moments where it is — intentionally or not — more fun than all but a handful of new shows to debut this season. Long after I've forgotten "Made in Jersey," "Deception" or even a reasonably good show like "Ben and Kate," I'm going to remember the bugnuts absurdity of "Zero Hour," the greatest show ever made about evil Nazi clocks. If anything, I wish it were dumber more often.

Review: 'Justified' - 'Foot Chase'

Raylan and Shelby team up, Colton has a self-control problem, and Boyd makes Ava an offer

<p>On &quot;Justified,&quot;&nbsp;Boyd (Walton Goggins)&nbsp;isn't happy to visit Raylan (Timothy Olyphant)&nbsp;and Shelby (Jim Beaver).</p>

On "Justified," Boyd (Walton Goggins) isn't happy to visit Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Shelby (Jim Beaver).

Credit: FX

A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I fail the third and sixth grades...

Review: 'Cougar Town' - 'Restless'

Jules can't sleep, Grayson can't kiss, and Andy cashes in all his sex coupons

<p>Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins in &quot;Cougar Town.&quot;</p>

Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins in "Cougar Town."

Credit: TBS

A quick review of tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I distract you with shoe talk...

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Bad Crazy'

Ted struggles to get rid of Jeanette, while Robin keeps a secret from Lily for a very long time

<p>Abby Elliott and Josh Radnor in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Abby Elliott and Josh Radnor in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I talk to the ghost of Marilyn Monroe's cat...

Mid-season premiere review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'The Suicide King'

The action slows down as the zombie drama returns from hiatus

<p>Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

"The Walking Dead" is back from its mid-season hiatus, and I have a review of tonight's episode coming up just as soon as I'm the first brother in history that breaks into prison...

Review: 'Enlightened' - 'The Ghost Is Seen'

Mike White and Molly Shannon shine in a Tyler-centric episode

<p>Timm Sharp and Mike White in &quot;Enlightened.&quot;</p>

Timm Sharp and Mike White in "Enlightened."

Credit: HBO

A quick review of tonight's "Enlightened" coming up just as soon as we go back to my place in Yucaipa...

Review: 'Girls' - 'One Man's Trash'

Hannah and Patrick Wilson get to know each other in an unusual episode

<p>Lena Dunham as Hannah in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Lena Dunham as Hannah in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I play the body drums...

Christina Applegate quits 'Up All Night'

How many revamps can one sitcom endure?

<p>Christina Applegate on &quot;Up All Night.&quot;</p>

Christina Applegate on "Up All Night."

Credit: NBC

Christina Applegate has quit "Up All Night," which means it's time once again to keep track of all the many, many, many changes that have been made since NBC debuted the sitcom a season and a half ago:

Review: 'The Office' - 'Couples Discount'

Ed Helms returns, but do even 'The Office' writers know what a terrible character Andy's become?

<p>Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper in &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper in "The Office."

Credit: NBC

A quick review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as we go outside to play catch...

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