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September 2, 2015

Talking TV Podcasts: 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Glee,' 'Big Bang,' 'Mad Men' and more

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 14th 2010 11:45AM
There's big news on the podcast front: We've finally defeated a sound-quality problem that has affected the podcast since it began.

My podcasting partner Ryan McGee and I are proud to say that the 'Talking TV with Ryan & Ryan' podcast has never sounded better.

We aren't any smarter, but hey, at least it won't hurt your ears!

Feast upon the audio quality of this week's two podcasts:

- In Podcast 1, we discussed Sunday's 'Mad Men' episode, 'The Summer Man,' with Myles McNutt of the excellent site Cultural Learnings. Big thanks to Myles for helping us solve that sound-quality problem!

- In Podcast 2, we discuss new and returning shows such as 'Boardwalk Empire' (my interview with creator Terence Winter is here), 'Game of Thrones' (which HBO previewed on Sunday), 'Rubicon' (I wrote about how that AMC drama has gotten really good here), 'How I Met Your Mother,' 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'Glee.'

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or if you'd like to access the podcast in a different way, you can download or listen to the audio files on this site.

Fall Preview: Part 3

'Mad Men' - 'The Summer Man'

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Catching up on the podcasts - really enjoying the discussions, so thanks Mo and Ryan and Guests. re-Mad Men. Loved the Swimming Pool episode - we needed to see Don take a hard look at himself, especially after the death of Anna. Henry is starting to lose his patience - like how he smashed up Don's boxes in the garage. I think Henry will dump Betty soon. But a reconciliation between Don and Betty seems out of character for Don at this point, and not something these writers would force just to keep Betty around.

I have not read the GoT books, but when I saw the GoT teaser it immediately made me think of how well HBO did with Rome and that "this could be my new Rome!" Although Rome was a historical fiction and not fantasy it's of similar scope and complexity, and certainly they created "another world" in terms of the customs and social norms. I am not expecting to watch GoT for the sword fighting, but for the characters and intrigue.

Based on its experience with True Blood, HBO possibly has a handle on navigating the bitey waters of fandom that is/is not willing to accept that a TV show is not the literal depiction of the novels. The show runners and the writer all indicate that HBO is treating the source material with great respect, which is all fans can really expect (imho).

September 16 2010 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

Agreed, the GoT producers have a big job in keeping fans happy and also making the story compelling to those with no stake in the books. It's a lot to take on but so far I've no reason to think they're not at least giving it a solid effort.

Agreed, Sareeta, re GoT. I've even been a little hesitant to use the word 'fantasy' when I write about the show -- I don't want to scare off potential viewers who may assume that it's a cheesefest in which wizards use magic whenever the plot needs to move forward. It's so not like that, and I like HBO's promo spots so far -- they're not cheesy! Thank goodness.

Don't know about Enlightened, but I hope Mildred Pierce can be good on its own and that I won't be comparing it too much to the iconic Joan Crawford film the whole time. The book is quite good though, if overheated. I'm interested to see what they do with it.

Fingers crossed for Rubicon Season 2! I'll be writing more about that show this week, btw.

September 15 2010 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mo Ryan's comment
Craig Ranapia

I'm really looking forward to 'Mildred Pierce' - if nothing else, Kate Winslett is a reliably solid actress (even in films that don't work at all for me, like 'The Reader' and 'Revolutionary Road'). And Todd Haynes' 'Far from Heaven' was visually sumptuous, and managed to take a rather campy melodrama and give it a dash of contemporary edge that bodes well.

September 18 2010 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm so glad you discussed Game of Thrones. I liked the behind the scenes video because it felt like a gift to fans of the books more than an introduction to the TV show. However, the quick shots of the major characters went by too quickly for newcomers to really grasp who these people are and what the story is about. I hope the swords, medieval costumes, and term "fantasy" doesn't scare away potential viewers. I think next time they should really emphasize the best part of the series: the story and characters.

I really want this show to succeed for fans of the books, but I hope they find a way to make it a new experience for us, not just a retelling of the story we read.

What do you think of the other new HBO series that were in the video---Enlightened and Mildred Pierce? From the clips they showed, I am not excited about the main character in Enlightened. She seems like a character who is too loud and obnoxious to hold my attention. However, I may give it a try because Laura Dern is a very good actress and this is HBO after all. Mildred Pierce looks really interesting. If it is as good as it looks, I imagine there will be plenty more Emmy noms next year for HBO.

I'm already a huge fan of Rubicon. I'm glad you took the time to discuss this series, because I was under the impression that the ratings are not very promising. Also, a lot of people complain about the slow pace or the characters. Funny thing is I love the pace and the characters are some of the most real and interesting people I've seen on TV in a long time. I hope AMC renews it for another season because they have a real gem.

September 14 2010 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Craig Ranapia

Great podcast, and you managed to finger the one big concern I have about fan reaction to 'Game of Thrones' -- I've been re-reading the books, and inevitably there will have to be enormous liberties taken with the source material to make it work as television. Good film and television adaptations of books are not transcripts for the very simple reason that you can do things on the printed page that you just can't on screen.

Here's my personal example. I'm a massive James Ellroy fan, and it's a considerable understatement to say I was sceptical about the film of 'LA Confidential'. How the hell were they going to bring Elroy's dense, knotty tale of all-consuming sleaze and corruption extending over years and a cast of hundreds to the screen? Very smartly, co-writers Curtis Hansen and Brian Helgeland didn't even try -- they cut away most of the subplots and supporting characters and (IMO0 not only captured the heart of the book but made a splendid film in its own right.

In a perverse way the people behind GoT, are facing a very similar (and difficult) balancing act Russell Davies and Julie Gardner had reviving 'Doctor Who' after eighteen years. They were well aware pure fan service just wasn't going to work, but at the same time you don't want to flip the bird to a very passionate fandom. Managing expectations -- and delivering good work - is hard, but I really hope GoT breaks, and breaks big.

September 14 2010 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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