Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall
Dan and Alan also review 'Ben and Kate' and 'The Neighbors'
The TV season is here! The TV season is here! Of course, new shows have been debuting for a couple of weeks now, but there's still plenty to talk about in the first of this week's two Firewall & Iceberg Podcast episodes, starting with all the Emmy results and then moving onto new show reviews. We should be back on Thursday to talk "Last Resort" and the rest of the week.
Emmys (00:01:10 - 00:38:20)
"Vegas" (00:52:30 - 01:02:00)
The 'Will & Grace' guys don't realize how unpleasant one of their stand-ins is
David Krumholtz and Michael Urie in "Partners."
One of the cardinal rules of writing is "write what you know," and one of the easiest ways to do that is to infuse some of your personality into one or more of the characters you write. It's a very old TV tradition to have main characters based on one of the writers, from Rob Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (modeled on Carl Reiner, who was even going to play him at one stage of development) to Andy Sipowicz on "NYPD Blue" (whose demons were shared by David Milch) to Jess Day on "New Girl" (who even wears the same glasses as Liz Meriwether). If the show works, the creator even gets extra credit for being similar to a character the audience has grown to love.
But when an autobiographical show or character doesn't work? Then you have something really ugly, like "Love & War" (where, legend has it, creator Diane English had to fire Susan Dey for being woefully unfunny as a character English had based on herself), or like CBS' new "Partners."
These are the best new comedies of the fall season
"The Mindy Project" & "Ben and Kate."
On last week's phenomenal episode of FX's "Louie," director David Lynch played a veteran talk show producer training Louie for a shot at succeeding David Letterman. At one point, Lynch needs proof that Louie is actually funny, and demands that Louie make him laugh on the count of 3. Louie flinches once, then twice, and Lynch warns him that the next countdown will be the last, and Louie wins a reprieve by bursting into a string of falsetto nonsense that in no way resembles his actual comic style, but pleases Lynch. It's not until later in the episode that Louie finally relaxes and gets the confidence to be as funny on-camera as he knows he can be.
It was a night of unexpected drama winners and repeaters everywhere else
"Homeland" star Damian Lewis was one of the night's more surprising Emmy winners.
I always say that the easiest way to win an Emmy is to have already won an Emmy, and the 2012 Emmy Awards seemed to be going out of their way to prove me right. Twenty-five awards were handed out over the three-hour ceremony, and only eight of them went to people or shows that hadn't won an Emmy before. The first seven in a row went to past winners, and eight of the first nine.
The more things change, the more they don't
David Chang and Janette (Kim Dickens) in the "Tremé" season premiere.
"Tremé" is back for its third season (and has been renewed for a fourth). I reviewed the season as a whole earlier this week, and in it noted that I'm only going to do brief write-ups of each episode until the finale, mainly providing you folks with a forum to discuss the show, because I've found over time it doesn't lend itself incredibly well to chapter-by-chapter dissections, especially when I've read to the end before you've opened the book. But I have a few specific thoughts on the season premiere coming up just as soon as I get a hairstyle that's, like, not a hairstyle...
Nucky goes to New York, Chalky teaches his daughter a lesson, and Gyp buys some gas
Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White in "Boardwalk Empire."
A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I am face to face with paradox...
The Doctor and the Ponds spend a lot of time together during a slow invasion
Arthur Darvill, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in "Doctor Who."
A review of tonight's "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I mock your log...
New Orleans musical drama's producers have 'half a loaf' to finish their story
HBO has ordered a fourth and final season of "Tremé," co-starring Rob Brown.
HBO has ordered a fourth and final season of "Tremé." It's just unclear how long that season will be.
Can 'Downton Abbey' or 'Homeland' stop a 'Mad Men' five-peat?
Will the Emmy voters again kiss the "Mad Men" ring?
Time for Dan and I to wrap up our Emmy picks for who should and will win all the major categories with Outstanding Drama Series.
'The Shield' alum is playing another villain on the new CBS period drama
Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis in "Vegas."
CBS' upcoming drama "Vegas"
(it debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m.) is notable for a few reasons. One, it's the first regular TV job for Dennis Quaid, who plays legendary real-life Las Vegas sheriff Ralph Lamb. Two, it's a period piece, starting off in 1960 as the city begins its transformation from frontier town to the Vegas we know today. And three, it co-stars Michael Chiklis
as Lamb's opposite number, mobster Vincent Savino. After trying out a more heroic persona with the short-lived "No Ordinary Family," this is Chiklis in a part much closer to his iconic role from "The Shield" as dirty cop Vic Mackey, and he's excellent.
I spoke with Chiklis about how CBS president Nina Tassler helped make the job more appealing, about working with Quaid and producers Nicholas Pileggi and Greg Walker, and about what he thinks Vic is up to these days.