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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 122: 'Magic City,' 'Scandal,' 'Nurse Jackie,' 'Mad Men' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 122: 'Magic City,' 'Scandal,' 'Nurse Jackie,' 'Mad Men' & more

Dan and Alan also review NBC's 'Best Friends Forever,' talk Dan Harmon vs. 'Community' and the 'Shameless' finale


"Mad Men" season means the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast will continue running long for a while, especially when we have a week filled with so many premieres, from shows we both like ("Scandal," "Nurse Jackie" season 4) to shows we're both apathetic about ("Best Friends Forever") to shows we're very much split on ("Magic City"). Plus, we delve into all the recent reports of a "Community" feud between Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase.

The line-up: 

"Best Friends Forever" (00:02:15 - 00:12:00)
"Scandal" (00:12:00 - 00:25:20)
"Magic City" (00:25:20 - 00:41:10)
"Nurse Jackie" (00:41:10 - 00:50:55)
Listener Mail: "Community" vs. Chevy Chase (00:51:15 - 00:59:45)
"Shameless" finale (00:59:45 - 01:10:45)
"Mad Men" (01:10:50 - 01:31:45)
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>Daniel Radcliffe may have been part of the commercial success of this spring's 'The Woman In Black,' but Hammer Films is betting they can lure viewers in for a follow-up as well.</p>

Daniel Radcliffe may have been part of the commercial success of this spring's 'The Woman In Black,' but Hammer Films is betting they can lure viewers in for a follow-up as well.

Credit: CBS Films/Hammer

Hammer's horror hit 'Woman In Black' gets next installment as company begins expanding

The classic horror studio starts to find its legs commercially and creatively

One of the great traditions of Hammer Studios is that when you have a hit, you make a follow-up.  As a result, I'm not shocked to hear that they announced today that Hammer is going to begin development on "The Woman In Black: Angels Of Death," the next installment in the story begun in their hit spring movie, "The Woman In Black."

Daniel Radcliffe's first major post-"Harry Potter" performance may have had something to do with the film's international success, but before there was a film, there was a book, and then there was a stage show, both of which were also very successful.  There was meat on the bones to begin with, and this wasn't just some cheap cash-in horror film.  Hammer's approach to film series has never been to just make the typical sequels, either, so it makes sense that they'd push the definition with this series as well.

For horror fans, the return of Hammer to the world of international production is a welcome event, and even if they did release the risible "The Resident," they also were part of the very well-made "Let Me In" and "Wake Wood," which both signaled that there were people involved in this new version of the veteran British company that were determined to try harder, who respected the legacy that their company represents.

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<p>Scotty McCreery</p>

Scotty McCreery

Credit: AP Photo

6 Things You Didn't See at the 2012 ACM Awards: Taylor Swift, Scotty McCreery

How are 'The Voice's' Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert celebrating their anniversary?

While most of the action took place on the stage for the Academy of Country Music Awards last night, there were some backstage moments that gave some insight into the artists’ off-stage life, including how reigning male and female vocalists of the year, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, plan to spend their one-year anniversary. (Relive the ACMs with our live blog)

*Taylor Swift, who snared the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year award, contemplated how to reward her adorable Scottish Fold cat, Meredith, who appeared in this video Swift made soliciting votes. “What should I give her? Milk or something to celebrate? Is that what they do?,” she asked reporters in the press room. Someone smartly suggested tuna, which seemed like a winner to Swift. “We should celebrate. The cat definitely helped with the viral video. I don’t think she knows that she helped, but I’m excited about it.” Swift added she is “intensely” writing the new record now, her follow-up to “Speak Now.”  “I hope it’s good. Keep your fingers crossed.. I would love it if it was good.” 

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<p>Katharine McPhee in &quot;Smash&quot;</p>

Katharine McPhee in "Smash"

Credit: NBC

'Smash' soundtrack will crash into stores on May 1

Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty, plus Nick Jonas and more

Music from the first season of “Smash” will come out May 1. Columbia Records, the same label that handles “Glee’s” audio output and has been putting the songs from each “Smash”episode on iTunes, will put out “The Music of ‘Smash:’ Season 1.”

The soundtrack, track listing below, will include many of the originals, penned for the show by Grammy winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and “Touch Me,” which OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder wrote specifically for Katharine McPhee’s character, Karen Cartwright. There are also covers of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” Colbie Caillat’s “Brighter Than The Sun,” and Florence + the Machine’s “Shake It Out.”

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<p>Whitney Houston in &quot;Sparkle&quot;</p>

Whitney Houston in "Sparkle"

Watch the first trailer from 'Sparkle,' Whitney Houston's cinematic swan song

Jordin Sparks and her 'sisters' answer to Houston's Emma, a mom with her own singing past

In my interview with Whitney Houston last fall, she spoke much of the themes of motherhood in her forthcoming remake of the 1976 film "Sparkle." In the first look at the film in the newly released trailer, it seems to feature a lot of that, and what it is to be a teenager and a rising star.

The film clip debuted this morning, featuring its namesake played by Jordin Sparks, plus other top cast like Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Tike Sumpter, Derek Luke and -- yup! -- Cee Lo Green. Houston appears as the Williams sisters' sassy mom, who considers her past as a rising star that never reached her potential.

The film promises to integrate music from the Motown era, plus new compositions from R. Kelly with input from executive producer Whitney Houston herself. The trailer doesn't indicate yet what the late singer's big number in the film will look like, but with all that talent, it's not a question "what" song, but just how many.

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<p>Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson on the set of &quot;The Avengers&quot;</p>
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Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson on the set of "The Avengers"

Credit: Disney/Marvel

Set Visit: Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson do battle in 'The Avengers'

HitFix was in NYC-by-way-of-Albuquerque to watch Hawkeye fight invaders
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The Santa Fe Railway Shops, a collection of mammoth warehouses, were designed to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
Once the city's largest employer, trains haven't run through the Santa Fe Railway Shops since 1970.
It's a tremendously evocative physical space that has become one of the centerpieces of Albuquerque's film production infrastructure.
Unused rail lines going nowhere approach the building, with its multiple stories of mismatched glass window panes, some green, some gray, some missing entirely, all lending the inside light a broken quality, at once artistic and derelict. That light is laden with particulates that are probably a mixture of soot, sawdust, regular dust and airborne rust from the crisscrossing steel girders supporting the building and the lines of precariously perched walkways and beams designed to allow for easy access to all parts of the locomotive in years long since past. 
You could pay the best art directors in the world budgets of untold millions and they would never be able to replicate the vastness, authenticity and ingrained character of the indoor area, which has become so disconnected from its original purpose and its original purpose so disconnected from our contemporary frame of reference that it could be anything or anywhere.
On a warm June day in 2011, "anywhere" is "Grand Central Station." 
Thanks to "The Avengers," one of the buildings of the Santa Fe Railway Shops has been transformed into a block of New York City, but it's immediately clear that something horrible has happened.
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<p>Joss Whedon on the set of &quot;The Avengers&quot;</p>
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Joss Whedon on the set of "The Avengers"

Credit: Disney/Marvel

Celebrating Joss Whedon's birthday on the set of 'The Avengers'

'Buffy,' 'Firefly' auteur shares his vision for his new Marvel epic
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Professional decorum dictates that there's almost never an appropriate time to sing to an interview subject.
[I would even accept the elimination of the "almost" from the previous sentence.]
But sometimes, Joss Whedon walks into a trailer of reporters and looks at the standard sea of digital and tape recorders and observes, "All of these for me? That's weird that you all got me the same thing for my birthday."
At that point, a collective serenade of "Happy Birthday" -- without advance warning, nobody paid the licensing fee -- becomes a muscle reflex as much as anything. 
The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly" auteur reaches us toward the end of a two-day June visit to the set of "The Avengers" in Albuquerque, arriving after the stars of the film, one and all, have spoken nothing but praise for his work on the Marvel project, particularly its script.
Tom Hiddleston, reprising his "Thor" role as the power-hungry Loki calls Whedon "a brilliant writer and a brilliant storyteller."
Chris Hemsworth -- Thor himself -- previously worked with Whedon on "Cabin in the Woods" and, like Hiddleston, he opts to repeat his superlatives, raving, "He's great, he's got a great sense of humor."
Jeremy Renner adds, "There's no bigger fan than Joss of this world and he's a really good writer and he had a massive task to write this movie and direct it, massive. I don't know anybody who could really write this and really put in all the stuff that he really wanted to put in, cause he honors all these characters so much."
Even Robert Downey Jr., who takes pride in his tendency toward on-set script revisions revisions, admits that "It wasn't broke, so it's not like we had to fix things," calling it a relief and adding, "It's nice when the car kinda drives all by itself."
We begin the interview by mentioning all of the praise for his work.
"And now it's my turn," the birthday boy says.
I don't need to tell Whedon fans that that quote is mock-bluster and that you'd be hard pressed to more self-deprecating storyteller, especially not one who has been handed the keys to the expensive luxury car that is "The Avengers," the crown jewel of Marvel's burgeoning movie empire. 
Whedon won't hesitate to admit the learning curve that a film of this scale has required. For example, he isn't shy about the reasons "The Avengers" was shot in 2D and will be post-converted to 3D. 
"We were going to shoot in 3D and everybody said, 'No, the new rigs move fast and they are small. It's all going to be great' and I shot the tag for 'Thor' in 3D with that setup and after we lost three and a half hours to lens changes and unknowable camera weirdness we decided to not do that," he admits.
But he's still glad to hear compliments from his stars.
"No, everybody seems to be on board," Whedon agrees. "I'm still working on it. I hope to finish it sometime before the DVD release. It's been very fluid, but it always is with a movie anyway and especially a movie where the perspective changes nine times every scene. I swore I would never make 'Serenity' again and here I am."
And at that "Serenity" reference, it's probably best to go to a somewhat trimmed version of the Q&A between Whedon and reporters on the "Avengers" set. 
Click through...
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<p>Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo on the set of &quot;The Avengers&quot;</p>
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Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo on the set of "The Avengers"

Credit: Disney/Marvel

Mark Ruffalo joins the Marvel family on the set of 'The Avengers'

The newest Hulk talks about his CGI makeover and getting Ed Norton's blessing
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - In April of 2012, fans will have had their appetites whetted for The Hulk and his appearance in Joss Whedon's "Avengers."
We'll have heard him roar. We'll have watched him slide down a New York City skyscraper, Iron Man clutched under his mammoth green arm. We'll have seen him stand in the middle of a ruined urban street surrounded by his fellow superheroes, assembled, as the Marvel parlance goes.
But it isn't April 2012. 
It's June of 2011 and Mark Ruffalo and his emerald alter ego are among the biggest mysteries for a small cadre of journalists who have been prowling the "Avengers" -- or "Group Hug" as all of the signs and badges read -- set for the better part of two days. 
We've seen hints of The Hulk. 
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Kim and Kroy

Spin-off here we come! Kim and Kroy set the scene for 'Don't Be Tardy For the Wedding'

Credit: Wilford Harewood/Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'All Pomp But No Circumstance'

It's all business (and bling) before the season finale

The season's penultimate episode isn't very eventful, but nearly all the ladies are working it. Phaedra's getting closer to her dreams of big time funeral business. Cynthia's almost ready to launch her modeling school. Kandi's still prepping her sex toy line. Nene contemplates moving to LA and looking for someone crazy enough to cast her alongside professional actors. (Hello, Ryan Murphy!) And Kim gets engaged (and a spin-off!)...

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<p>January Jones as Betty in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

January Jones as Betty in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

'Mad Men' - 'Tea Leaves': Harry and Draper go to White Castle

Betty, Roger and Peggy all deal with the threat of being replaced

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I have a resume up my sleeve...

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<p>Mark Wahlberg and a very dirty teddy bear co-star in Seth Macfarlane's summer comedy 'Ted'</p>

Mark Wahlberg and a very dirty teddy bear co-star in Seth Macfarlane's summer comedy 'Ted'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Watch: How dirty can one teddy bear talk in the trailer for Seth Macfarlane's 'Ted'?

Mark Wahlberg looks like he's turned it up to full weirdo for this one

I would not call myself Seth Macfarlane's biggest fan.

I'm not going to waste time beating up on "Family Guy," because at this point, either you like its scattershot approach to pop culture comedy, or you don't, and there's not really much of a chance someone's going to convince you to laugh or convince you not to laugh.  I think the show has settled into its own weird, icky groove, and I think it's a little funnier now than it was in the early days.  Part of that is that Seth Macfarlane has become more and more comfortable with the voice of the show, and at this point, it's carved out its own weird corner of the comedy world.

My favorite moment of his so far is his work in "Hellboy: The Golden Army," where I think he gives a genuinely great vocal performance.  His choices there make me laugh out loud, and I think he also finds some great strange notes to play in the film that are unexpected and wonderful.  That was the moment that convinced me not to underestimate Macfarlane, and over time, I think he's proven himself to be a very sharp wit when he's appearing as himself.

Also, he could buy and sell me a zillion times over.  So he's got that going for him.

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<p>Colin Farrell braces for some serious mind games in the remake of 'Total Recall'</p>

Colin Farrell braces for some serious mind games in the remake of 'Total Recall'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Watch: 'Total Recall' trailer plays close to original with smart new twists

Could this be a case of a remake that's actually worth remaking?

I am often surprised at the loyalty people display towards the 1990 "Total Recall."

It is a film with some great ideas embedded in it, many of which were either lifted from the Philip K. Dick short story, and some of which were created by Gary Goldman and Paul Verhoeven during the film's lengthy development process.

It is also a film that is bogged down by the baggage of its star, and there is no one on Earth who is ever going to convince me that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the right guy to play that part.  And as much as I adore the Verhoeven of "Robocop," I sort of hate the Verhoeven of "Recall."  I think it is one of the flat-out ugliest blockbusters of the '90s, fake and garish and dated the second it was released.

Looking at the trailer for the new "Total Recall," it's obvious that they started with the movie when building this remake.  This is not a new adaptation of the same story, no matter what they say, because so many of the elements that we see here were created for the film.  That's fine.  Even the title is a nod to the fact that they are directly remaking the film.

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