<p>Chris O'Dowd and Michael McKean in &quot;Family Tree.&quot;</p>

Chris O'Dowd and Michael McKean in "Family Tree."

Credit: HBO

Review: Christopher Guest turns slightly sincere with HBO's 'Family Tree'

HitFix
B+
Readers
B+
Chris O'Dowd plays the rare Guest straight man hero in a comedy about genealogy
Christopher Guest has spent much of his brilliant career exploring the fine line between stupid and clever, as one his bandmates in “This Is Spinal Tap” put it. The characters in the Guest school of improvised mockumentary comedy are inevitably delusional about something, whether their talent, their level of celebrity, or their romantic life. Yet even though his movies — notably “Spinal Tap” (directed by Rob Reiner but co-written by Reiner, Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer) and his late ‘90s/early ‘00s trio of “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind” — feature ridiculous, oblivious people, there’s almost always something real at the heart of their delusions. The band in “Spinal Tap” is a middle-aged joke, but they have enough musical skill that Guest, McKean and Shearer have been able to mount multiple tours as their British alter egos. The community theater musical in “Waiting for Guffman” is terrible, and yet in certain numbers you can see the germ of an idea that could be great if it were given to someone with greater skill than these enthusiastic klutzes.
 
“Family Tree,” the new HBO comedy Guest co-created with frequent collaborator Jim Piddock (it debuts Sunday night at 10:30), is something different. It features the usual assortment of Guest-ian foolish dreamers — many of them played by Guest repertory players like McKean, Piddock, Fred Willard and Ed Begley Jr. — and a familiar degree of absurdity. But at its center is a character the likes of which Guest hasn’t had much use for since his very first film, 1989’s “The Big Picture”: a sane, sensible hero.
 
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<p>F. Murray Abraham and Mandy Patinkin should have a lot of time to square off in &quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;season 3 now that Abraham has been made a regular castmember.</p>

F. Murray Abraham and Mandy Patinkin should have a lot of time to square off in "Homeland" season 3 now that Abraham has been made a regular castmember.

Credit: Showtime

Exclusive: 'Homeland' adds F. Murray Abraham and Sarita Choudhury as regulars

Two familiar faces should give Mandy Patinkin's Saul even more to do in season 3

We don't know much yet about "Homeland" season 3, which will debut on September 29, but we know that season 2 ended with Mandy Patinkin's Saul as acting director of the CIA after most of the high level officers were blown up by Abu Nazir's people.

And now I can exclusively report that the season will have two new regulars, both with ties to Saul: F. Murray Abraham as retired black ops specialist Dar Adal, and Sarita Choudhury as Saul's estranged wife Mira. Both have been promoted from guest star status.

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<p>&quot;The Office&quot;&nbsp;co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey.</p>

"The Office" co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey.

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: 'The Office' stars Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey answer fan questions

Which character are they most like? And which character would win a battle royale to the death?

With only two episodes of "The Office" left to go — another hour-long one tonight at 9 (featuring some terrific Jim and Dwight stuff), and then what is for now a 75-minute episode (and could get longer) next Thursday — I'm feeling awfully nostalgic about our time spent at Dunder-Mifflin, and so are a lot of the actors.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a behind-the-scenes clip of Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey providing a tour of the set. Today, it's time for another exclusive with Fischer and Kinsey, this time answering fan questions about which "Office" character they most resemble, what it was like filming romantic scenes and, most importantly, which "Office" character would survive a winner-take-all tournament to the death. (Both women very quickly arrive at the same conclusion.)

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 180: 'Family Tree,' Upfronts, 'Mad Men' & more

Dan and Alan also talk about the finales of 'The Americans,' 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Happy Endings'

The

Better late and long than never? Outside concerns delayed this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast until today, but we're pretty sure it's it's one of the longest we've ever done, and previews what should be a two-podcast week next week. We review HBO's "Family Tree," preview the network upfronts, break down some recent finales and do our usual "Mad Men" analysis. WARNING: Dan drops a cuss word in the middle of the "Mad Men" segment, while we're discussing good ol' Bob Benson.

The lineup:

"Family Tree" (00:01:00 - 00:14:35)
Upfronts Preview (00:14:35 - 00:47:00)
"Parks and Recreation" (00:47:00 - 01:02:20)
"Happy Endings" (01:02:25 - 01:10:45)
"The Americans" (01:10:50 - 01:26:00)
"Mad Men" (01:26:25 - 01:48:30)

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>Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader in &quot;The Mindy Project.&quot;</p>

Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader in "The Mindy Project."

Credit: FOX

Review: 'The Mindy Project' - 'Frat Party'

Casey has big news, Mindy hangs out with college kids, and Bill Hader returns

A review of last night's "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as I live in a furnished apartment right across the street from the Holocaust Museum...

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<p>Max Greenfield and Merritt Wever in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Max Greenfield and Merritt Wever in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Winston's Birthday'

Jess and Nick are distracted by her father, and Schmidt scares away Elizabeth again

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as the school goat hangs himself...

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<p>TV&nbsp;Tattle lives &mdash; now at HitFix!</p>

TV Tattle lives — now at HitFix!

HitFix partners with TV Tattle to bring popular TV news blog back to life

Same site, same editor, slightly new location

For the last 13 years, one of my favorite stops on my daily circuit around the internet was TV Tattle, a TV news blog run by Norman Weiss. Even in the age of Twitter, TV Tattle remained a valuable repository of the day's most interesting bits of TV news and commentary, and when Norman chose one of my pieces — particularly on a subject that many, many critics and reporters had written about — I still felt the sense of professional pride I did in the blog's early days, when "Who did Tattle Boy pick today?" became a competitive party game among most of the critics I knew.

Even in the age of Twitter, Tattle remained a hugely valuable resource, as Norman would inevitably catch a lot of good reads each day I might have otherwise missed. So when he announced last month that the site was shutting down — which he later explained was due to a struggle to generate ad revenue — I was hugely disappointed. Many people on Twitter asked if I could recommend a similar site to fill the void, but none existed that I was aware of.

That's why I'm incredibly pleased to announce that HitFix has partnered with Norman to bring TV Tattle back to life. Starting today — right now, in fact — you can find TV Tattle at HitFix.com/tvtattle, or through its original URL, TVTattle.com. Nothing changes about the site; Norman has full editorial independence to pick whatever links he likes. We wanted Tattle to continue to exist as it always has.

We don't have the power to uncancel shows most of the time, but we did have the ability to uncancel TV Tattle. Sounds good to me.

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<p>On &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother,&quot;&nbsp;Robin (Cobie Smulders)&nbsp;goes digging.</p>

On "How I Met Your Mother," Robin (Cobie Smulders) goes digging.

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Something Old'

Robin goes in search of a sign about her marriage, and Barney bonds with Robin Sr.

A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as we keep the gorilla suit and the wig...

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<p>Jason Gann as &quot;Wilfred.&quot;</p>

Jason Gann as "Wilfred."

Credit: FX

FX's 'Wilfred' to return in June, alone

With no 'Louie' til 2014, man-meets-dog comedy will fly solo on Thursday nights

For the last two summers, "Wilfred" has been one half of a fascinating, dark comedy pairing on Thursday nights on FX, leading in to "Louie." But with Louis CK deciding to keep his series off the air for all of 2013, "Wilfred" will have to go it alone this summer.

FX announced today that "Wilfred" will return for its third season on Thursday, June 20 at 10. For the first two weeks of the season, we'll get back-to-back original episodes at 10 and 10:30, followed by a week off for the Fourth of July, followed by the show shifting to a once a week schedule Thursdays at 10.

When I spoke with FX executives in January, they suggested they might have a new comedy ready in time to pair with "Wilfred," but FX says it's not likely at this point that anything new will be airing at 10:30 later in the summer. (It may be that the launching of the comedy-centric FXX spin-off channel made this a lower priority than it was at the start of the year.)

The new season will bring back the full cast, plus recurring guests Chris Klein, Mary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam, along with some new guest stars like Gina Gershon, Angela Kinsey and Lance Reddick. This will be the show's first season without David Zuckerman as showrunner, as he took a step back to let writer/producers Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne take the job.

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<p>On &quot;Mad Men,&quot;&nbsp;Don (Jon Hamm)&nbsp;and Roger (John Slattery)&nbsp;wait for an important meeting.</p>

On "Mad Men," Don (Jon Hamm) and Roger (John Slattery) wait for an important meeting.

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Mad Men' - 'For Immediate Release'

A series of impulsive decisions shake up the agency in the season's best hour to date

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I'm not working the slide rule...

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