Ask Matt: More Ghosts on ‘Ghosts’?

Ghosts Season 1 cast CBS
Bertrand Calmeau/CBS

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.

Here’s One Way Jay Can Interact with Those Ghosts

Question: Thank you so much for your recent SAG-AFTRA virtual roundtable with the Ghosts cast. What an absolute treat it was to get their insights and to see and hear their chemistry off-screen! Now, I know it’s early days yet, but hear me out: Do you think that, somewhere down the line, the writers might decide to kill off Jay and have him be part of the ghosts, and perhaps his sister Bela (the hilarious Punam Patel) moves in and continues the dynamic that Sam and Jay used to have? It feels like they could have been setting that up by having Bela be the first person besides Jay to know Sam’s secret, and this way, Utkarsh Ambudkar could finally interact with the other wonderful actors in the ensemble!! It’s much too soon to switch up the formula, of course, but perhaps as a Season 4 or 5 plot development? — Nicholas

Matt Roush: Heaven — or whatever this version of the afterlife represents — forbid! I love that Ghosts has tickled the imagination of so many viewers that they are pitching ideas like this, but what a downer that would be for Sam and Jay, even if they could remain in touch astrally. I also hope and trust this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Bela, but much as we all want someone as gifted and funny as Utkarsh to be able to mix it up with the rest of this wonderful group, I’ll trust the writers for now to find less drastic ways to shake things up. And many thanks for your feedback on the SAG-AFTRA Foundation panel, which was conducted several days before the show’s much-anticipated Season 2 renewal. It was a privilege to be asked, and a joy to spend an hour in their company. Their rapport was evident even over Zoom.

Can’t Imagine Sundays without PBS

Comment: I wanted to make an observation about a lineup of wonderful programming that is on TV right now without needing to subscribe to a streaming service or watch network reality shows or revamped game shows. It is called PBS. Sunday nights on PBS right now are a wealth of A+ entertainment. Around the World in 80 Days is top-notch viewing (is there anything in which David Tennant is not good?), followed by pitch-perfect All Creatures Great and Small and then Vienna Blood, which is a fascinating period detective series. I am so thankful for my PBS station being able to garner such excellent programming. Thank you and also to TV Guide Magazine for covering these series as they are shown. — Jane G

Matt Roush: PBS is and always has been a bright light in an often-blighted TV landscape. And while it is free, I hope you can divert some of the money you’re saving on streaming to support your local affiliate. Being a sustaining member of a PBS station (and NPR for that matter) is one of the best and most meaningful allocation of resources I could ever recommend. This is a particularly happy moment, it’s true, to have three entertaining series with such different tones forming PBS’ Sunday prime-time block (as always, check local listings because not every affiliate airs the national schedule in sync).

Hats Off!

Comment: Shame, shame. While watching the anthology series Women of the Movement about the Emmett Till murder, I was absolutely shocked to observe many men wearing hats while sitting inside the Church of God In Christ, where Emmett Till’s funeral took place. Men NEVER wore hats inside churches in 1955. Most people who watched the program probably didn’t even notice this blunder or even cared, but as a COGIC member here in Los Angeles, I care and I must speak out! Men always showed respect back then by removing their hats whether entering a church, someone’s home or even entering many buildings. The researchers really dropped the ball on this one! — Erlyne

Matt Roush: I defer to your knowledge and bow to your passion on this subject. Having recently seen the Broadway revival of Company in which it is asked, “Does anyone still wear a hat?” I admit this didn’t register with me when I watched the miniseries. But it makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

What Happened to the Missing Racers?

Question: After the long COVID-19 pause, two couples were brought back to the restart of The Amazing Race after being eliminated on the first run. But why weren’t the two gay black guys? — David M

Matt Roush: I also thought it was puzzling that the show didn’t make more of an effort to update viewers on why several of the teams opted out of returning to the race. An article from Parade sheds some light on the subject. Some of the reasons were happy ones — for Connie and Sam, their family like so many others grew during the pandemic lockdown, and she was pregnant when the rack started up; and for Anthony, who was racing with buddy/fellow hero Spencer, a job promotion kept him from taking the time off. For the aforementioned gay couple of Isaiah and Taylor, tragedy intervened when Taylor’s older brother passed away from COVID while they were in quarantine waiting to race again. And the Love Island couple of Caro and Ray broke up during the interim. Life happens. I don’t think anything has been announced, but I hope all of the teams who weren’t able to return and would like to come back get a chance in a future season.

What the Puck?

Question: Does the NHL want to lose fans??? We have our favorite team but enjoy watching all games. However, now we can’t even watch all of our favorite team’s games because the NHL has them on ESPN+. We pay extra for the “Sports Package” along with the “Full Package” for our cable viewing. Unfortunately, ESPN+ is not included in any package. You need to buy this as a separate package. So what is the NHL trying to do? I know I’m losing interest because I can’t always watch the games, so if they are trying to lose fans then they are on the right track! I can’t afford another sports package and I know a lot of people are with me there. So if they want fans to come back, don’t you think they should bring ALL of the games back to where we can watch them without buying anything? This Bruins fan does! – Unsigned

Matt Roush: For so many, the “plus” sign is an automatic “minus,” and the frustration among those who are unwilling or unable to sign up for these extras is off the charts. I don’t currently subscribe to sports packages beyond what’s immediately available, but I’ll take this viewer’s word about his current dilemma and will only comment that it seems to me that if you’re paying extra for a “full” package of a particular sport’s coverage as many do, no games from that sport should hide beyond yet another paywall. In this case, I get crying foul. Otherwise, I’ll replay the broken record that streaming services are the industry’s future and we’re all going to have to figure out how to adjust to that.

Disruptions in the Stream

Question: Do you feel as if streaming services like Paramount+ and Peacock will ever succeed if they keep thinking like network TV? Take for example, Paramount’s handling of 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown. They need to be more consistent with their scheduling of shows. For example, without notice on Jan 23, there was no episode of 1883. Why? Who knows. With Disney+, a person can count on a weekly show coming out EVERY week until the season is completed. Even HBO MAX, when they had a Gossip Girl split season, they had six consecutive episodes and THEN a break, which they announced. Paramount+ did the same thing with Mayor of Kingstown. If people can’t rely on a show coming on every week, they will tune out. Opinion? — Eddie G

Matt Roush: Here’s an opinion: We’re all so spoiled, though I’ll admit that when we’re paying for a streaming service, maybe we are justified in expecting a higher level of delivery. But why make such an almighty fuss over one week? (Two if you count the New Year’s weekend.) By all accounts, 1883 was a difficult and ambitious production turned around at a very quick pace, which may account for resting the show for a week so post-production could catch up. (That’s happening on many shows during the COVID era.) Maybe Paramount+ should have waited for the entire season to be in the can before starting to stream it, the way we have to wait for most shows on Netflix series and several other streaming platforms. But it’s also understandable why they wanted to get this on the air to coincide with the end of Yellowstone’s most recent season.

Beyond that, my records show that Mayor of Kingstown aired straight through without a break, even on the Christmas and New Year’s weekends. And you don’t provide any examples of lapses on Peacock, which I often feel does a disservice when it drops an entire show at once (like Dr. Death) instead of letting the anticipation build from week to week. All of which is to say that the streaming world is still very much a work in progress, and obviously it would be better if they didn’t skip a week while airing what is becoming one of the platform’s signature series.

And Finally …

Question: Will there be a Season 2 of Ordinary Joe? — Jackie

Matt Roush: We don’t know. And we may not know until spring, when NBC makes decisions on its fall lineup and which shows to bring back. Ordinary Joe is a classic “on the bubble” show and I hope something this ambitious and different gets another chance. But I’m preparing for the worst, so will be pleasantly surprised if all three Joes come back.

That’s all for now. 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.)