Ask Matt: Unnecessary Reboots (‘And Just Like That…) and Crossovers
Welcome to the Q&A with TV critic — also known to some TV fans as their “TV therapist” — Matt Roush, who’ll try to address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today’s vast TV landscape. (We know background music is too loud, but there’s always closed-captioning.)
One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone, so we won’t be addressing upcoming storylines here unless it’s already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] (or use the form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush). Look for Ask Matt columns on many Tuesdays and Fridays.
Our Sex (and the City) Drive Isn’t What It Used to Be
Question: [Spoiler alert] I reluctantly agreed with your negative review of the new Sex and the City sequel, And Just Like That … which left me cold and annoyed. Why come back only to spoil Carrie’s happily-ever-after with Mr. Big in such a dreary fashion? The rest of the group are mostly acting like idiots. I certainly expected more from Miranda than to make a fool out of herself the first day in class as she tried to impress her Black professor. I thought the worst thing about the reboot would be the absence of Kim Cattrall’s Samantha. I was wrong. Why did they even bother? — Arly
Matt Roush: These days, it’s all about the I.P. (“intellectual property”), and reviving this franchise was probably inevitable. Everything old is fair game anymore, and the premiere of And Just Like That … delivered the big audience HBO Max had hoped for, which is what counts in a time when it’s so hard for anything to breakthrough. Whether people will keep coming back is another story, but much the way Sex and the City helped put HBO on the map, they’re hoping the same is true for the streamer. I was skeptical going in because the network kept screeners from critics until the 11th hour — which I now somewhat get because of the big plot twist in the first episode, but this is also the sort of show that’s more or less critic-proof. So I’m on the fence about whether to hate-watch the rest of the season when so much else will be happening in January. I do, however, hope that this is the show’s last gasp.
Crossovers Making Viewers Cross
Question: Why do the networks run so many crossovers? I can understand it if they’re launching a spin-off but they’re getting out of control. I don’t record Station 19 or the new Law & Order: Organized Crime, so several times I’ve been left trying to figure out plots started or completed in Grey’s Anatomy or SVU. Enough with crossovers! — Janet
Matt Roush: I feel your pain. Expecting viewers to keep up with every show within a franchise is a perfect recipe for backlash. The least they could do is provide a brief recap, even of action from an episode that just aired, because the producers know not all of the fans of the mothership are bothering with the spinoff, although the intent here is to try to force viewers to do just that. Plus: It’s not cool.
A Christmas Carol Conundrum
Question: Why hasn’t one of the best Christmas movies ever been shown on TV this season? I am talking about the classic black-and-white 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim. I would have thought that TCM would have aired it but evidently not. — Unsigned
Matt Roush: There are as many opinions about which is the best Christmas Carol as there are versions of the Dickens classic. (I’m partial to the 1984 TV-movie version with George C. Scott, which can be streamed on Paramount+ and Hulu.) Turner Classic Movies seems to have thrown its weight behind another black-and-white adaptation, the 1938 film with Reginald Owen (airing Tuesday morning and again Friday at 10 pm/ET), but if you’re desperate to see the Alistair Sim version, it’s available for streaming on AMC+.
Foul Mouths and Frisky Femmes in Yellowstone and 1883
Question: Will the language in 1883 be as profane as that used in Yellowstone? I don’t watch it, but my wife does. And when I happen upon it, it’s not long before I hear the “f”-word or some variation. Then I hear it again, and again, and again. It seems gratuitous. — Don B, Rock Hill, S.C.
Matt Roush: Judging from the first two episodes, which is all I’ve seen so far of 1883, there is profanity — cowboys will be cowboys — but so far, none of the 19th-century females are swearing quite like Yellowstone’s Beth. It seems much less gratuitous than on Yellowstone, where it can sometimes feel like they’re trying to reach a quota of F-bombs. Still, this is a rough land and they’re going to talk rough when appropriate. These shows are rated TV-MA and they mean it. (I remain intrigued by how obsessed some viewers are with the language while apparently disregarding the level of violence on these shows, not that this is any less appropriate for the story Taylor Sheridan is telling.)
Question: Another observation about Yellowstone: In the seventh episode of Season 4, after all of the women were kicked out of the bunkhouse, Laramie was back in Walker’s bed when Lloyd brought the new guitar to Walker the next evening. No one even mentioned this violation of John and Rip’s new rule. Isn’t this another defiance by Walker to what Rip asks of him? Why has no one mentioned this violation by Laramie after she was kicked out? — Cheryl
Matt Roush: I’ve seen some suggestions that after John let Teeter back into the bunkhouse after she pleaded her case (quite effectively, by showing her brand) that this opened the door for some of the other gals to find their way back in. Again, cowboys will be cowboys, and until Lloyd made it a thing, most everyone seemed content to look the other way. At least they’ve buried the hatchet. For now.
And Finally …
Question: Will we ever see a reboot of the TV show The Wild Wild West? — Jon G
Matt Roush: What, the lousy 1999 film version with Will Smith and Kevin Kline wasn’t enough for you? This was a favorite show from my 1960s childhood, much like Lost in Space (which Netflix kind of ruined for me with its remake), and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone eventually taps into this for some kind of steampunk sci-fi/fantasy/Western hybrid lark. But I’m happy with my memories and I can wait. (If they do ever revive the show, they’d better keep the gimmick of the animated panels that freeze the cliffhanger at each act.)
That’s all for now, and this will be the last Ask Matt column until after the New Year. So let me thank all of those who wrote in during the year with their passion and curiosity, reconfirming my own love for the ever-expanding medium we think of as TV. Remember that we can’t do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to [email protected] or shoot me a line on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush), and you can also submit questions via the handy form below. (Please include a first name with your question.) Thanks again, Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!