Ask Matt: Are Crossovers Special Anymore?

Law & Order: SVU Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay
Zach Dilgard/NBC
Law & Order Crossover

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] and follow me on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush). Look for Ask Matt columns on many Tuesdays and some Fridays.

Are Crossovers Helpful (or Harmful) to a Franchise?

Question: Do you know why crossover premieres have become so popular and common? And why are crossovers so overused? They used to be more special, but now they happen far too much and it can be hard for some of the newer shows in the franchise to stand on their own. — Adam D

Matt Roush: In this age of network franchising (FBI, Chicago, Law & Order, NCIS, etc.), crossovers are seen as a very promotable and generally profitable (ratings-wise) way to spike audience interest. I tend to agree that there are too many of them, but then that’s how I feel about most spinoffs in general. Enough already, try something new. That said, I’m not sure crossovers are all that damaging to a spinoff’s independent identity — such as it is — and I understand why NBC would start the season with a three-way Law & Order crossover. It got quite a bit of attention during a busy week. I just hope the new season of the rebooted mothership is more satisfying than the first.

Not Quite the Renaissance Man?

Question: I’ve been a fan of The Good Doctor since its beginning and of Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy. I’m also a fascinated fan of Leonardo on The CW. Freddie Highmore is brilliant in The Good Doctor but seems miscast in Leonardo. Do you think this will restrict his casting in other genres? — Jeff

Matt Roush: Check Freddie Highmore out as a young Norman Bates in Bates Motel. He has range and skills, but maybe not enough to convince us that he’s a police officer in Renaissance Italy. Every actor is entitled to a misstep once in a while — although being an executive producer of Leonardo, he may only have himself to blame for that one. The level of work he’s doing on The Good Doctor should set him up nicely for all kinds of projects. He’s also getting more involved in writing and producing, so I wouldn’t worry too much about his future.

Jaws Were Dropped Everywhere

Question: I watched Shark Tank Live and I hated it. You couldn’t hear the announcer. Are they going to do this again? I hope they don’t. — Paulette

Matt Roush: From the almost universal backlash, I feel confident in saying that was a one-time experiment.

Yearning for Dr. Quinn’s Heartwarming Medicine

Question: I saw the piece on Jane Seymour and her reflections on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, where she mentioned it would be great if they could do the series again, only at 30 years later. I think that is a fabulous idea and hopefully, she would be the same doctor, 30 years older in a small-type town. What do you think? — Sondra

Matt Roush: I’ve heard stranger ideas. Jane Seymour is still a bona fide TV star, and in a time when “Intellectual Property” is the most valuable coin in the realm, you’d think the channels specializing in this type of feel-good period programming could do worse than look into the rights for a revival.

Imagine Living There!

Question: What is and where is the large estate featured in the season premiere of FBI? — Philip F

Matt Roush: That grand location is Oheka Castle on Long Island in Huntington, N.Y., a French-style chateau where celebrity weddings (including that of Kevin Jonas) and even the occasional murder-mystery dinner has been staged. Nice digs, right?

And Finally …

Comment: In your most recent column, a correspondent accused Disney of hijacking ABC in favor of streaming and leaving “crappier” fare to people still watching the network. I realize this is probably in reference to the move of Dancing with the Stars, but I thought about this while watching the premiere of Abbott Elementary, which is proof to the contrary. I enjoyed this just as much or more than anything I’m watching on streaming right now, and its presence on the air is a credit to ABC. It really felt like they haven’t missed a beat from last season. I’m delighted to have it back. — Jake

Matt Roush: As am I. While the argument holds that these companies are denying the broadcast networks some of the more promising shows they’re developing, favoring streaming outlets like Disney+, Paramount+, Hulu, and Peacock, hope is not lost when an Abbott Elementary or a Ghosts hits their mark, finding a large and enthusiastic audience. And, in the case of Abbott, a few well-deserved Emmys.

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. (Please include a first name with your question.)