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Popspotting #172: “American Horror Story” (Nov. 29, 2011)

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American Horror Story 500x200

Back in October, we took a quick look at four new fantasy shows, including “American Horror Story” on FX. Now that we’re eight episodes in, we take a deeper look at one of the darker shows on television. The series managed to make a strong first impression, but have co-creators and producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk been able to sustain a solid story? Does “American Horror Story” strike the right balance between mind-bending mysteries and satisfying answers?

While Connie Britton continues to impress, Dylan McDermott seems to be taking a back seat to other members of the large and growing ensemble. Can we expect more out of Alexandra Breckenridge? And what’s the deal with that Realtor?

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Popspotting #167: “Fringe of Anarchy” (Nov. 22, 2011)

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Fringe

In the past week, “Fringe” on FOX saw its fall finale, not to return until January 13, 2012, and the FX biker gang series “Sons of Anarchy” gave us a 90-minute episode to set the stage for the last three episodes of Season 4.

For better and worse, “Fringe” has given us more of the “monster of the week” format we saw in Season 1. And the question that kicked off this fourth season — “Where’s Peter?” — may still be a valid one. Will the second half of the story next year bring us back into the larger arc and bigger battle between universes?

And Jen declares this latest season of “Sons of Anarchy” her favorite, as everything comes to a head and threatens to fly apart. Did we ever really know Clay? Is there no way out for Tara? And Kurt Sutter reveals himself to be both a great showrunner and a great actor, as this latest season explores many of the SAMCRO members that started off as mere background.

Hell On Wheels on AMC

Popspotting #162: “Hell on Wheels” (Nov. 15, 2011)

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Hell On Wheels on AMC

For TV Tuesday, we take a look at the pilot of AMC’s latest original series, “Hell On Wheels.” Then, Jen brings us up to speed on the Food Network reality cooking show, “The Next Iron Chef.”

“Hell on Wheels” is AMC’s new original Western series that centers on former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, portrayed by Anson Mount, whose quest for vengeance has led him to Union Pacific’s westward construction of the first transcontinental railroad. Other stars include rapper Common, Colm Meaney, Dominique McElligott, Phil Burke, and Eddie Spears.

“The Next Iron Chef” is now in its fourth season, a reality cooking competition show that will pick the next culinary star to preside over Kitchen Stadium. Competitors this year are Anne Burrell, Michael Chiarello, Elizabeth Falkner, Alex Guarnaschelli, Chuck Hughes, Robert Irvine, Beau MacMillan, Spike Mendelsohn, Marcus Sameulsson, and Geoffrey Zakarian.

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Popspotting #157: “Walking Upon a Grimm Story” (Nov. 1, 2011)

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Grimm on NBC

For lovers of fantasy and horror, these are boom times on the boob tube. We’ve got everything from ghosts to zombies to wolves to wicked witches to talk about for TV Tuesday. Today we share our early takes on “American Horror Story” on FX, “Once Upon a Time” on ABC, “Grimm” on NBC, and the much-anticipated second season of “The Walking Dead” on AMC.

Breaking Bad Season 4 Poster

Popspotting #152: “Fringe” & “Breaking Bad”

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Breaking Bad Season 4 Poster

The fourth season of “Fringe” is well underway, while the fourth season of “Breaking Bad” has ended with a bang. Both are among our favorite shows on television right now. This week, after a quick check-in with other freshman series (rest in peace, “Free Agents,” but is “2 Broke Girls” back from the dead?), we focus in depth on the worlds of two Walts: Walter Bishop, and Walter White.

Suburgatory

Popspotting #147: “Suburgatory” & “Modern Family” (Oct. 18, 2011)

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Suburgatory

This week’s “TV Tuesday” brings our first takes on two more new fall shows: “Suburgatory” on ABC and “A Gifted Man” on CBS. One fares well, one does not. Then we update our reviews of “Free Agents,” “Pan Am,” and “Person of Interest,” for which Jen has already cast a replacement for Jim Caviezel.

Finally, prompted by our listeners, we dive into “Modern Family” as the third season of this family mockumentary series gets underway. How’d we like spending time with Claire and Phil, Gloria and Jay, and Cameron and Mitchell? Listen and find out. (Though we will say we’re even more charmed by their kids!)

For next week, we’ll focus on two of our favorite shows: “Fringe,” in the midst of its fourth season, and “Breaking Bad” and its unforgettable fourth season finale.

Pan Am on CBS

Popspotting #142: “Pan Am & NBC Comedies” (Oct. 4, 2011)

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Pan Am on CBS

This week we tackle another batch of new fall shows, including “Pan Am” (starring Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner, Margot Robbie, Karine Vanasse, Mike Vogel and Michael Mosley, Sundays on ABC), “Terra Nova” (Mondays on FOX), “Person of Interest” (Thursdays on CBS), and “Up All Night” (starring Wil Arnett and Christina Applegate, Thursdays on NBC).

We also pay tribute to our favorite half-hour comedy sitcoms on NBC, including “The Office,” “Parks & Recreation,” and “Community.” Alas, no “30 Rock” until next year!

Fringe

Popspotting #137: “Tube Talk” (Sept. 27, 2011)

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Fringe

With the new fall TV season underway, and several of our favorite returning shows chugging along, we adopt the “what we’re watching” format for our Tuesday podcast. We share quick takes and premature judgments on “2 Broke Girls,” “Free Agents,” “New Girl,” and “Prime Suspect.” Then we finally catch up with programs we love: “Fringe,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Breaking Bad.”

Our next TV Tuesday will cover another slate of new shows, and another batch of favorites, including NBC comedies. We know everyone has different tastes when it comes to TV, but we hopefully cover enough to keep things interesting.

And if not? Tell us what we should be watching!

Person of Interest

Popspotting #132: “New Fall TV Shows” (Sept. 20, 2011)

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Person of Interest

The new fall television season is upon us! And from Daniel B. in Boston comes the suggestion to take a day-by-day look at what’s coming up on the tube. Today we run through the Fall 2011 TV programming grid and make snap judgments about brand new shows on the major networks.

Some, like “Terra Nova” and “Person of Interest,” we saw at Comic-Con in July. Most we only know through press releases and great websites like TheFutonCritic.com” and EPGuides.com.” With little more than a one-line setup and the names of the leading cast, we weigh in on whether we’re likely to tune in.

Next week we’ll start to cover returning shows and share our first impressions on some new stuff. But we really want to talk about the shows you want to talk about, so be sure to let us know what you’re watching this fall!

Battlestar Galactica

Popspotting #127: “Battlestar Galactica” (Sept. 13, 2011)

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Battlestar Galactica

Before TV Tuesday shifts gears to track returning and new television shows, there’s one beloved series to which we had to pay tribute: “Battlestar Galactica.” Ronald D. Moore’s fantastic reimagining of the 1970s show debuted on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003 with a three-hour miniseries. It was a huge hit, serving as a backdoor pilot to inspire four seasons and over 70 episodes.

Jen was hesitant to dive into such deep science fiction waters, leaving Ryan to follow “Battlestar Galactica” in secret for almost a year. But finally, Jen, too, came to appreciate the brilliance of the series: universally human stories with fantastic characters and performances, merely in a science fiction wrapper.

It seems everyone has seen and loved “Battlestar Galactica,” and if you’re among its many fans, we’d love to hear what got you hooked. But if you’ve never watched the show, we urge you to at least start with the 2003 miniseries. We think you’ll be hooked.

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