Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 167: 'The Americans,' 'House of Cards,' '30 Rock' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'Do No Harm' and the 'Parenthood' and 'Fringe' finales

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Happy Monday, boys and girls! Dan is back from Sundance, which means it's time for our first Firewall & Iceberg Podcast in a while, a packed episode featuring discussion of shows new ("The Americans," "House of Cards," "Do No Harm") and old (the legacy of "30 Rock," the finales of "Fringe" and "Parenthood"), plus some other miscellany (Dan's thoughts on the films he saw at Sundance, and our reaction to the end of last week's "The Office"). The lineup: 

Sundance (00:00:50 - 00:4:30)
"The Americans" (00:04:40 - 00:15:55)
"Do No Harm" (00:15:55 - 00:29:20)
"House of Cards" (00:29:25 - 00:51:30)
"30 Rock" Pre-Finale Retrospective (00:51:35 - 01:10:25)
"Fringe" Finale (01:10:50 - 01:21:20)
"Parenthood" Finale" (01:21:25 - 01:35:25)
"The Office" (01:35:30 - 01:41:50)
 
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: 'The Good Wife' - 'The Seven Day Rule'

Alicia gets an offer, Louis Canning goes after his money and the firm battles Neil Gross again

<p>Josh Charles as Will in &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Josh Charles as Will in "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

A quick review of last night's "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as I insist our children be raised Jewish...

Review: 'Shameless' - 'May I Trim Your Hedges?'

Lip and Fiona set honey traps, Jimmy has a wedding and Frank hits new lows in a great episode

<p>On &quot;Shameless,&quot;&nbsp;Frank (William H. Macy)&nbsp;plays barber.</p>

On "Shameless," Frank (William H. Macy) plays barber.

Credit: Showtime

A quick review of tonight's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I give you a coupon for a free ham...

Review: 'Girls' - 'Bad Friend'

Hannah and Elijah experiment with drugs, and Marnie learns about art

<p>Lena Dunham and Andrew Rannells in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Lena Dunham and Andrew Rannells in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

A review of tonight's "Girls" — which HBO officially renewed on Friday — coming up just as soon as I punch someone who's been on a Disney Channel show...

'House of Cards' star Kevin Spacey on his return to television (sort of)

25 years after 'Wiseguy,' two-time Oscar winner stars in Netflix original drama

<p>Kevin Spacey in &quot;House of Cards.&quot;</p>

Kevin Spacey in "House of Cards."

Credit: Netflix
It’s been 25 years since Kevin Spacey was last in a weekly role on a television series, when he made CBS viewers sit up, take notice, and ask, “Who the heck is that guy?” with his performance as “Wiseguy” villain Mel Profitt, a charismatic crime boss with an unhealthy relationship with his sister and a drug addiction he hid by shooting up between his toes. (“The toes knows,” he would say while giggling, in a line I can still hear in my head a quarter century later.)
 
Technically, the two-time Oscar winner still hasn’t returned to television, as his newest role — as Francis Underwood, the ruthless, silver-tongued House Majority Whip in the new political drama “House of Cards” — is appearing exclusively as part of Netflix’s streaming video service. (All 13 episodes of the first season will be posted on Friday, Feb. 1.) But the series was made in the style of a premium cable drama, even though Spacey, writer Beau Willimon (adapting the early ‘90s British miniseries of the same name, which starred Ian Richardson as Francis), director David Fincher and much of the cast (notably Robin Wright as Francis’ calculating wife Claire) have little to no experience working in television.
 
I spoke with Spacey about his return to the format that launched his career, the advantage of playing the same character over a long period of time, and more.

HBO renews 'Girls' for season 3

Lena Dunham comedy will get 12 episodes next time around

<p>&quot;Girls&quot;&nbsp;stars Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke and Allison Williams will be back for a third season.</p>

"Girls" stars Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke and Allison Williams will be back for a third season.

Credit: HBO

It's official: HBO has ordered a third season of "Girls."

The comedy's producers have been talking for a while like the third season was already a done deal — earlier this week, star/creator/producer Lena Dunham told Alec Baldwin on a podcast that the third season would film in some of the studio space "30 Rock" was vacating — but the actual announcement didn't come until this afternoon.

By conventional ratings measures, "Girls" doesn't look so spectacular, as the season 2 premiere only drew 866,000 for its first telecast, and only 1.6 million viewers over multiple airings that night. But in total, across many platforms (including HBOGo), more than 3.8 million have watched that episode so far. Besides, HBO doesn't really rely on conventional ratings measures — or on ratings at all — but on things that will drive subscriptions, enhance the company's brand, etc. And "Girls" has been a huge critical success, has won several awards (including a pair of Golden Globes earlier this month) and is a show that people are talking about — whether they like it or hate it.

The third season will consist of 12 episodes, as opposed to the 10 for the first two seasons. The third episode of season 2 airs Sunday night at 9 on HBO.

Review: 'The Office - 'Customer Loyalty'

Jim and Pam's argument leads to a major change for the series

<p>Pam (Jenna Fischer)&nbsp;gets upset on &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Pam (Jenna Fischer) gets upset on "The Office."

Credit: NBC

A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I crack the Dunder Code...

Review: '30 Rock' - 'A Goon's Deed in a Weary World'

Jack, Liz and Kenneth get happy endings in the series' penultimate episode

<p>Jack McBrayer as Kenneth in &quot;30 Rock.&quot;</p>

Jack McBrayer as Kenneth in "30 Rock."

Credit: NBC

A review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I've seen the porn version of "Transformers"...

'Last Resort' co-creator Shawn Ryan on the series finale, 'Beverly Hills Cop' and more

Where would the ABC submarine drama have gone if this wasn't the last episode?

<p>Andre Braugher in the &quot;Last Resort&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Andre Braugher in the "Last Resort" series finale.

Credit: ABC

"Last Resort" just aired its series finale, and I have a few thoughts on how things ended, and then a long interview with co-creator Shawn Ryan about these 13 episodes — and, at the end, about his "Beverly Hills Cop" pilot for CBS — all coming up just as soon as I ask who Jay-Z is...

Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Women in Garbage'

Leslie battles Pawnee sexism, Ron and Ann babysit Diane's girls, and Tom learns about basketball

<p>On &quot;Parks and Recreation,&quot;&nbsp;Andy (Chris Pratt) shows off his basketball skills.</p>

On "Parks and Recreation," Andy (Chris Pratt) shows off his basketball skills.

Credit: NBC

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I text you about Michael Stipe...

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