Ask Matt: What Does the Future Hold for ‘Will Trent’? Plus Viewer Impatience, Cancellation Remorse & More
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 most Tuesdays and very occasional Fridays.
Staying Hopeful for Will Trent
Question: In your opinion, does Will Trent stand a chance of being renewed for a second season? I always feel like I’m the “Kiss of Death” when it comes to shows I really like. For me, this one’s a keeper. We need more Betty!! — Ronnie M.
Matt Roush: At this moment, I tend to look at every network show that hasn’t been automatically renewed as being “on the bubble,” but with Will Trent, I’m cautiously quite hopeful that its midseason run will continue into a second season. It’s a good fit for now with the Rookie shows on Tuesdays, a quirky alternative to CBS’s FBI trilogy. There seems to be just enough positive buzz around this series, inspired (loosely) by Karin Slaughter’s exceptional novels, and “Bad Bitch Betty” (as the chihuahua was dubbed last week) is, without doubt, a keeper. Though nothing like the Will of the books, physically anyway, Ramón Rodríguez has won me over, and Erika Christensen is perfect as his troubled soulmate, Angie. The rest of the cast is fine, even when the detective B-stories lean toward the generic. This is solid entertainment, and I hope ABC sticks with it. (Worst case, if it doesn’t come back, we still have a new Will Trent novel, After That Night, to anticipate this summer.)
The TV Waiting Game
Question: I’m just wondering what happened to HBO‘s White House Plumbers? I remember first hearing about it last year but never saw it in listings, though I was happily surprised when I saw it in this season’s “mid-season premiere” highlights for March (date TBA) but still haven’t seen it come up. I’m hoping HBO didn’t ceremoniously cancel it before it even premiered, as I’m reading they’ve done to quite a lot of shows. If you have any insight into what’s going on with this show, please let me know. – Dava S.
Matt Roush: I get the nervousness these days, when projects are shelved before they’re released or scrubbed from streaming sites when you might have expected certain shows always to be available. But that’s not the deal here. This Watergate-inspired docuseries, starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux as the hapless masterminds of the break-in, can still be seen in HBO brand promos, and while a premiere date hasn’t been announced, you’re likely to be able to see it as soon as May. I imagine HBO is holding it back so it doesn’t have to compete for attention with the astounding final season of Succession.
Question: I was wondering what CBS has done with Superfan? I was so excited when it was announced, but there has been no news about it, and their website says “coming this fall” … of 2022! Are they still moving forward with it? — Greg
Matt Roush: This musical game show is still shown as active on the network’s press site, and episodes are in the can, so while again no announcement has yet been made, I’m assuming this could be launched as part of CBS’s summer lineup, which as usual will be front-loaded with non-scripted programming. (It’s also possible, with guild strikes a possibility in the next few months, that the networks are stockpiling original shows to have something to air if new seasons of scripted series are delayed.) Sometimes you just need to be patient, because networks only reveal premiere dates when they’re ready to. Superfan, for those unaware of the premise, is a game show in which self-professed fans of musical superstars are challenged to prove just how much they know about talents including (in the first season) LL Cool J, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Pitbull, Kelsea Ballerini, and Little Big Town.
Why No Specifics?
Question: This isn’t a big complaint, but it is annoying. Apple TV+, and now Netflix (with Murder Mystery 2), are advertising upcoming shows with trailers that end with “Streaming Soon.” Any idea why these services aren’t giving actual dates when they show the trailers? — Tom
Matt Roush: If you’re watching these ads on traditional TV networks, the situation is that in many cases, the networks and their affiliates shy away from allowing competitors to put specific air dates and times in their announcements. (I’ve had letters express surprise even to see streaming and/or cable shows advertised on rival networks.) I’m not sure the rules are set in stone, and I could see why Disney-owned Hulu might get away with putting premiere dates on ads airing on Disney-owned ABC, for instance. But mostly, these “coming soon” ads are hoping you’ll follow through and seek out the air dates online.
Longing for More
Question: Longmire was so popular during the pandemic, and it’s an incredible show. With how popular Yellowstone is, among other Western-themed series, is there a chance we could ever see the show again, or spin-offs? — Carol D.
Matt Roush: I know better than to ever say never, and from what I’ve read, the creators and actors have expressed a willingness to return, either in series or TV-movie form, should the stars and finances align. It’s probably more a rights issue at this stage, and with a library of six seasons, Netflix (which picked up the show for the final three years) probably isn’t chomping at the proverbial bit to make more. There are obviously plenty more stories to be told, but at present I’m not aware of any activity.
Question: Prime Video’s Three Pines was one of my absolute favorite shows ever, and I just learned it will not be back. Any chance someone else will pick it up? — Andrea L.
Matt Roush: The odds for this seem a bit long because it’s more typical for a streamer to pick up a castoff from cable or network than it is for another streamer or outlet to rescue a show that a streamer dropped. In this case, from all I saw at the time the cancellation was announced, this seems to have been more a financial than a creative decision, which could prove an impediment going forward. But as you’re probably aware, the first season of Three Pines barely scratched the surface of the many novels Louise Penny has written about Chief Inspector Gamache, so it’s possible someone else will take a shot at them. Let’s hope so.
On a similar topic, Carole of Minden, Nevada wrote in to complain: “I just finished watching Three Pines. I was telling friends how good the show was as I watched it and then – it ended. I had to send retractions of my recommendation. It was obviously set up for a second season with so many unanswered scenarios, like that wasn’t a kill shot to Alfred Molina‘s inspector, Pierre’s getaway, etc. But it’s canceled! I have gotten into the habit of checking if a show has an ‘ending’ before I watch them as it seems so easy to make a show with no or a stupid ending. But I like Alfred Molina and didn’t do so with this series. I wish I had.”
Matt again: As I’ve often noted and decried before, producer/writers risk alienating future audiences with their insistence of ending seasons with cliffhangers like this when there’s no guarantee of another season. (It’s a cheap trick more often than not even when the show has been renewed.) I get that shows can’t resolve every loose end, nor should they, but this left a particularly sour note for Three Pines viewers who would already be disappointed by not getting more episodes. (Though I should note, as is the case with Will Trent and Longmire, that whatever happens with the series, there is a bounty of terrific books with these characters to enjoy. Yay, reading.)
And Finally …
Comment: Not a question, but I was reading one of your daily notebooks, and saw the 50th anniversary of the soap The Young and the Restless, referencing Eric Braeden. I remember watching him on The Rat Patrol as a teenager. Since then, I have gone to college, gotten married, had a successful career, RETIRED from that career, and celebrated my 50th wedding anniversary. And this guy is still showing up to work every day? Good for him. — Rick C., Covington, Louisiana
Matt Roush: And good for you while we’re at it. Here’s to longevity, and to a career that even included a role in the blockbuster Titanic as John Jacob Astor IV, though The Young and the Restless has been Braden’s regular home for more than 40 years.
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.)