Talking TV With Ryan and Ryan

Mo's here with television writer creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach ("Lost," "Boomtown," "Medium," "The Middleman"), and they talk about television's past, present and future for 102 minutes (108 would have been better, admittedly). 

To see the post by Javier wrote that kicked off the whole discussion, go here. Shows mentioned in the wide-ranging discussion include "Louie," "Babylon 5," "The X-Files," "The Twilight Zone," "Game of Thrones," "The Middleman," "The Shield," "Friday Night Lights," "Battlestar Galactica," "The Guild," "Rectify," "Banshee," "The Walking Dead," "Roots," "Star Trek," "Spartacus" (of course) and "Law and Order." No spoilers. A few time codes/guideposts (all times are approximate):

00 - 43: The various contributions that writers, showrunners and directors make. Post-production and digital innovation and their effect on storytelling. 

44 - 48: An upcoming "Middleman" crowdfunding initiative (fans of comic books, the TV show and Amber Benson, don't miss this part).

49 - 67: Serialization, mythology, tone, viewpoint and theme and how they can unify a show. 

68 - 83: Blockbuster television, the rise of genre television and television's return to event-based programming. 

83 - end: The very early days of "Lost" and what it was like to be in on that creative process. 

Be sure to subscribe to the new feed for the podcast here if you like to listen on iTunes. You'll see plenty of ways in each post to stream or download MP3s if you hate iTunes with the same passion that Javi detests the idea that TV's quality was raised by refugees from the film world. 

Also, we have an email for the podcast now! Click here to email us questions for future podcasts.

Direct download: Javi.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 11:34pm EST
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Give attention, "Spartacus" fans. We would break words with you. Find hand in possession of beverage, set mind to purpose and turn ears to epic finale podcast. Words will be spoken, hearts will be lifted, memories will be shared and such tributes will ensure that the Bringer of Rain, the Undefeated Gaul and all the gods of the arena shall not pass from memory. 

All right, that's about as much "Spartacus"-speak as I can manage right now. But Ryan McGee and I are very excited to mark the series finale of Starz's "Spartacus" with an extensive interview with the show's creator. For more than an hour, executive producer Steven DeKnight talks about how he and the show's creative team approached the final installment of the epic drama, the challenges of wrapping up various' characters arcs, the underlying themes of the drama and many other details about what you saw in "Victory." We also review many high points and memorable moments from the show's history, and we discuss various elements of the fans response the show elicited over the past three years. If you've got questions about the last season or the finale, they're probably answered here, or in Ryan's interview with DeKnight over at the AV Club. [By the way, earlier in the season, I spoke to DeKnight, as well as cast members Todd Lasance (Caesar) and Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), and those interviews is here]. 

At the tail end of the DeKnight interview, he also discussed a show he is developing for Starz, the military sci-fi drama "Incursion." I am very excited about that project and DeKnight revealed some key information about it in that part of the interview. 

For the final 20 minutes or so of the podcast, Ryan and I discussed our own reactions to the "Spartacus" finale, which I also wrote about at Huffington Post (that post also contains highlights of the DeKnight interview). Ryan's write up of "Victory" can be found here as well, and with that, we bid a fond farewell to "Spartacus," a badass, bloody, emotionally resonant show that accomplished a great deal in its short but eventful life. Gratitude! 

Be sure to subscribe to the new feed for the podcast here if you like to listen on iTunes. You'll see plenty of ways in each post to stream or download MP3s if you hate iTunes as much as the Roman senators hate the Bringer of Rain.

Direct download: Spartacus_Finale_Podcast.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 8:12pm EST
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Hello, it's  Mo here again, with a podcast featuring the men of Spartacus. 

These interviews were recorded in late January, just before a Spartacus retrospective panel at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For the first half of the podcast, I spoke to Liam McIntyre and Todd Lasance, who play Spartacus and Julius Caesar in the new season. They discussed the men's motivations, their methods and why, for both characters, the battle between the slaves and the Romans is a fight to the death. We also discuss the fact that history is something of a spoiler in this regard, in that it's pretty clear that Caesar lived past this era in his life. But Lasance assures fans that Caesar will go through many "epic" and insane moments before the series comes to a close. 

McIntyre also talks about Spartacus' mindset and priorities this season, and about the dark tone of the early episodes. There's also a brief discussion of the training regimes both men had to keep up in order to keep up the show's buff 'n' brawny image.

In the second half of the podcast, creator and executive producer Steven DeKnight talked about the things he tried to achieve with the Starz drama's final go-round. We didn't discuss upcoming plot points in detail, but we did talk things that have transpired in the first three episodes of "War of the Damned," including Naevia's shift in attitude, the arrival of the pirates, the difficult leadership challenges faced by Crassus, Caesar and Spartacus and other events that took place episodes that have already aired. We also discussed the issue of violence in popular culture and why some people find it difficult to see past the show's reputation for blood and breasts and to appreciate the challenging, subversive critique of power that lies at the heart of the drama. 

Put ears to purpose and attend the words of these warriors! Be sure to subscribe to the new feed for the podcast here if you like to listen on iTunes. You'll see plenty of ways in each post to stream or download MP3s if you hate iTunes as much as Naevia hates showing mercy to Romans.


Direct download: New_Spartacus_3_guys.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 7:06pm EST
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Mo Ryan and Ryan McGee are here with two deep dives into two shows.

0:00 - 20:47: The Following

20:47 - End: Spartacus: War Of The Damned

Music: "I Follow The Sun", The Beatles

Be sure to subscribe to the new feed for the podcast here if you like to listen on iTunes. You'll see plenty of ways in each post to stream or download MP3s if you hate iTunes with the same passion that Ryan hates math.

Direct download: spartyfollowing.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 12:18pm EST
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Hello all, this is Mo. Ryan and I are creating a lot of Fall TV podcasts for you in the next couple of weeks. But now for something completely different. 

On Thursday, Sept. 20, New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum tweeted the theory that much of the most interesting drama of the last decade or so had been about middle-aged men and teen girls; many of the most interesting shows, she noted, had featured "two contrasting forms of adolescence." My instant reaction: Relevant to my interests. I invited Emily on the podcast to talk about that theory and much more. 

On Twitter, we also got into a discussion with several other critics and Twitterers about shows like "Felicity" and the idea that calling a show "just a soap opera" is, for some people, a condescending insult. That drives me a little bit nuts because every scripted drama is full of contrivances and most engage in some kind of melodrama. In our podcast discussion, we talked about what kinds of contrivances and melodramatic moves are considered "good" or worthy, and what kind are considered "bad" or unimportant. We also talked about when the mixing genres and formulas starts to weird people out, and which shows get relegated to the margins while others get to be more central to the discussion of the Golden Age of Television. 

Some of the shows that came up were "Buffy," "The Sopranos," "Boardwalk Empire," "Battlestar Galactica," "Gilmore Girls," "Breaking Bad," "Once and Again" and of course "Spartacus." But there were dozens that we mentioned in this free-ranging discussion of cultural hierarchies, criticism, characters' power struggles and why "Friday Night Lights" successfully crossed so many boundaries. 

Oh, and we also talked about shows that make us cry and how much we think about whether to bring that up in reviews. Enjoy! 

UPDATE: The podcast cuts off after I make a comment about my husband introducing me to "Buffy," around the 49-minute mark. I should have noted the somewhat abrupt ending in my introductory remarks -- I meant to do that but forgot. Sorry about that! In any event, at that point we ran out of time and had to end the podcast. A few of you have asked me if you missed anything after that point, but don't worry, you didn't. Again. sorry for the abrupt ending. I'm still working on my podcast production skills. 

Be sure to subscribe to the new feed for the podcast here if you like to listen on iTunes. You'll see plenty of ways in each post to stream or download MP3s if you hate iTunes with the same passion that Mo and Emily hate unfair dismissals of shows that explore emotional intimacy.

Direct download: emily_nussbaum.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 12:19pm EST
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Mo Ryan and Ryan McGee are back, this time with Elio Garcia from Westeros along for the "Mad Men" portion of the podcast.

Today's breakdown:

The end of "Spartacus": 0:00 - 13:35

"Push Girls": 13:35 - 20:02

"Supernatural": 20:02 - 31:38

"Mad Men": 31:38 - 51:27

"Game of Thrones": 51-27 - End

Be sure to subscribe to the new feed for the podcast here if you like to listen on iTunes. You'll see plenty of ways in each post to stream or download MP3s if you hate iTunes with the same passion that Tyrion hates his new position in King's Landing.

Music: "Until The End of The World," U2

Here is the show's RSS feed.

Direct download: pushspartyoffthethrone.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 9:57pm EST
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