<p>BoJack Horseman &amp; You&#39;re the Worst</p>

BoJack Horseman & You're the Worst

'You're the Worst' & BoJack Horseman': Tragedy + comedy = time well spent

Two summer treats that find the pathos inside the absurdity, and vice versa

Reviewing a new TV show usually comes out to about 50 percent analysis of what's there, 50 percent psychic projection of what the show might become past the episode(s) you've seen. With comedy, the balance tilts heavily towards the psychic end of things, because so few comedies start out strongly, and you have to make an informed guess as to what mediocre pilot will turn out to be great like "Parks and Recreation," and what will settle for being crass like "2 Broke Girls."

Even having more episodes beyond the pilot isn't always a help. Back in January, for instance, Comedy Central sent out the first two "Broad City"s to critics. They were clever and seemed to have a distinctive voice, but it was a busy time of year, and I moved on to other things. Then my friends kept raving about it, I watched the rest of the season over the summer, and fell hard for the rest of it. (Really, it's clearly becoming great as early as episode 3.)

Even in this era of Too Much Good TV, summer is still a reasonable time to catch up on things I've missed like that, and to stick with shows that didn't necessarily wow me at first. In two recent instances, that patience has paid off terrifically — and in ways that are eerily similar — as I stuck with FX's "You're the Worst" and Netflix's "BoJack Horseman" until they turned out to be much more impressive than they seemed at first.

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<p>Ted Levine in &quot;The Bridge.&quot;</p>

Ted Levine in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Bridge' - 'Rakshasa'

The Chopper takes Sonya to the desert, while things get rough at Red Ridge

A review of tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I turn up the relaxing strings...

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<p>Hand of God</p>

Hand of God

Credit: Amazon

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 244: 'Boardwalk Empire,' Amazon pilots & more

Dan and Alan also discuss Starz's 'The Chair,' Every Simpsons Ever & Comedy Central's hot streak


Happy Wednesday, boys and girls! Labor Day and our need to catch up on some stuff pushed this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast back a day, but it's a hefty one. We touch on the return of Chris Moore to TV with Starz's "The Chair" (and lament the absence of John Gulager's bathtub from primetime), preview the final season of "Boardwalk Empire," discuss the five new Amazon pilots, look back on the fun that was Every "Simpsons" Ever, and talk about Comedy Central's current hot streak in primetime. And we hope it all sounds coherent despite Skype being The Worst Thing Ever for much of the call. (Remember how we used to say that discussing Dustin Hoffman's Emmy chances for "Luck" was barred by the Skype gods? Today, it was a random digression about Kristen Bell's "Pulse.")

NOTE: Despite recording 90 minutes of conversation, the Skype gods were being so unkind to us that we had to ditch our weekly Friday Night Lights segment.  We're as awful as the murder plot this week. Sorry. We'll discuss episodes 12 & 13 next week, and then 14 & 15 the following week to close out season 2.

The rundown:

"The Chair" (00:00:40 - 00:16:35)
"Boardwalk Empire" (00:16:38 - 00:25:45)
Amazon Pilots (00:25:50 - 01:05:00)
Listener Mail - FXX's "Simpsons" Marathon (01:05:00 - 01:21:45)
Listener Mail - Comedy Central (01:21:55 - 01:28:15)

As always, send questions to firewalliceberg@hitfix.com. 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, subscribe on IHeartRadio or stream it on Dan's blog.

There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.

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<p>Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire</p>

Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire

Credit: HBO

'Boardwalk Empire' creator Terence Winter previews final season

The beginning and end of Prohibition will bookend the HBO gangster drama

Usually, I wait until the end of each "Boardwalk Empire" season to speak with creator Terence Winter about all that happened. In the case of the gangster drama's fifth season, which debuts Sunday at 9 on HBO, a preliminary conversation was necessary. Not only is this going to be the show's final season — earlier than Winter had maybe once intended, but the one he wanted after realizing the direction he had taken the story — but it leaps seven years into the future for Nucky, Chalky, Margaret and the other surviving characters, landing them in 1931. Atlantic City and the rest of the country are still mired in the Great Depression, while Nucky and many of his partners are hearing rumblings that Prohibition may be repealed soon.

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From John Oliver to Halle Berry: Winners and losers of summer TV 2014

From John Oliver to Halle Berry: Winners and losers of summer TV 2014

Where did 'Sharknado 2,' Every Simpsons Ever and 'Outlander' fall?

What a strange and often wonderful summer this was in television. It was a summer where Halle Berry couldn't find viewers on CBS, while NBC built a stable schedule out of discards, imports and long- discarded reality shows. HBO introduced a show that seemed to generate equal levels of adoration and scorn, while FXX finally found a purpose by making millions of "Simpsons" fans happy.  

Fall TV starts getting in gear next week with the returns of "Boardwalk Empire," "Sons of Anarchy" and more. So before we get too bogged down in fall premieres, Fienberg and I wanted to look back at the winners and losers of this unpredictable summer season.

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<p>Michael Sheen and Christian Borle in Masters of Sex</p>

Michael Sheen and Christian Borle in Masters of Sex

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Mirror, Mirror'

Virginia and Bill begin exploring sexual dysfunction, while a figure from Bill's past returns

A review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I try a special tonic straight from India...

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<p>The Cosmopolitans</p>

The Cosmopolitans

Credit: Amazon

Amazon hits some bumps with its third pilot season

Less to be excited about than in the second batch of pilots

Amazon keeps accelerating the pace and output of its "pilot season" process. The original batch of Amazon pilots were presented to the public in April of last year; of those, only "Alpha House" (which got renewed for a second season) and "Betas" (which remains in limbo) got picked up. The second batch of pilots were unveiled less than a year later, and Amazon ordered almost all of them — other than "Rebels," the pro football comedy that no one seemed to like — to series. That was in February, and while none of those new shows has debuted — "Transparent," the best of the bunch, will premiere all of its episodes, Netflix-style, on September 26 — Amazon yesterday unveiled its third pilot season, even as there's already news about casting for the fourth wave of Amazon pilots. At this rate, they may be ordering some shows before a word's even been written, and traveling back in time to cancel others before the creator has even thought of the idea.

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

Diane Kruger in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Bridge' - 'Goliath'

The lead director of 'The Fall' gives the show a different look this week

A few quick thoughts on tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I blame my orthodics...

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<p>The Sopranos final scene</p>

The Sopranos final scene

Credit: HBO

David Chase finally answers the 'Is Tony Soprano dead?' question (or not)

Will Chase's clipped, cryptic response finally put the matter to rest?

"The Sopranos" creator David Chase has finally — out of frustration more than anything else — answered the "Is Tony dead?" question.

Well, sort of. UPDATE: And even much less definitively than it seemed at first. See below.

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Uncanceled Showdown final pits 'Jericho' vs. 'Almost Human'

Uncanceled Showdown final pits 'Jericho' vs. 'Almost Human'

Can android fans somehow hold off the peanut lovers?

Well, this is not necessarily the final match-up we were expecting when the Uncanceled Showdown brackets were set up, but the competition has come down to two shows: "Almost Human," which held off a late charge from "Freaks and Geeks" to win the One-Season Wonder field, versus "Jericho," which crushed all comers, including the once-mighty "Firefly" and its browncoat fans.

That is, of course, part of the fun of a thought experiment like this. "Firefly" seemed an obvious finalist, but it turns out that the same fans who convinced CBS to uncancel "Jericho" in the first place were able to stomp everyone in their path. "Almost Human," meanwhile, was one of a large group of shows we were considering for the lower seeds on that side of the bracket (look for "Rubicon," "Better Off Ted," "Karen Sisco" and more in Uncanceled Showdown 2: The Uncancelling, sometime in 2015!); it could just as easily have been, say, "The Chicago Code" in that 10 seed, and then who knows how that bracket might have turned out? Still, when in doubt on any internet-based pop culture poll, it's safest to bet on the sci-fi show, even over something as beloved as "Freaks and Geeks."

So go vote for your favorite if you have one left (or vote against the one whose victory would annoy you most). You have until Thursday, August 28 at noon Pacific to cast a vote; the winner will be announced that day.

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