Ask Matt: Saying Goodbye to ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘Succession,’ ‘Jeopardy! Masters,’ ‘NCIS: LA’ Finale & More

Brendan Hunt, Brett Goldstein, Nick Mohammed, and Jason Sudeikis in the 'Ted Lasso' Season 3 finale
Apple TV+
Ted Lasso

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.

Why the Ted Lasso Backlash?

Question: Why all the hate for Ted Lasso this season? I’ve seen so many articles ripping the show apart lately. Is it as great and fresh as it was in Season 1? No, but is it trash? Also, no. What gives? — Sharon C.

Matt Roush: Some of the commentary I saw did at times seem like piling on, and while I tended (in the spirit of Ted) to accentuate the positive even when I found many of the Season 3 episodes way overlong and several of the subplots subpar (Keeley’s PR business most egregiously, Barbara aside), my take on the backlash is that in Ted Lasso’s desire to bring positive outcomes to nearly all of its characters — and a resounding humiliation for its arch-villain, Rupert — the show lost much of whatever edge it once had. In conversations I’ve had since the (series?) finale aired, I’ve come to understand that many Ted fans, unlike the show’s harshest critics, were perfectly satisfied being perfectly satisfied by the sentimental, sweet resolution. But will I be rooting for the show this year as I have in the past at the Emmys? Afraid not. This year I’m betting on and hoping for Abbott Elementary to come out on top, which would be the first win for a broadcast network since Modern Family ended its streak in 2014.

Mrs. Maisel’s More Marvelous Signoff

Comment: Just a few thoughts on the finales of Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: While the Ted Lasso writers tied up all the loose ends in a satisfying manner, they sacrificed the last episode to do it. What I mean is that the finale had many fewer than usual funny moments so they could squeeze in all the conclusions of the plots and subplots. On the other hand, Mrs. Maisel, using flash-forward scenes in several earlier episodes, did much of their “tying loose ends up” in earlier episodes, so that the finale was as funny as the rest. And I know that you at least once criticized how much screen time was being given to Maisel’s minor characters, to me it was always a joy to watch the four parents do their thing. Those four actors all deserve recognition, though I know there isn’t room in the awards shows for them. — D.P.

Matt Roush: These are fair points. After a fourth season that I felt treaded water on too familiar ground and delayed for too long the gratification of seeing its heroine succeed, the final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel met almost all of my expectations. For me, the high point was the episode revolving around Susie’s Friars’ Club roast, but the finale was also terrific as we finally witnessed Midge’s big break and her final reconciliation with Susie. The flash-forwards throughout the season were cleverly designed to tease us and create new mysteries that were all smartly resolved. Regarding Midge’s and Joel’s parents: I love these performers as well, but I found the writing this season often let them down, reducing them to the level of squalling children that was beneath their dignity. I get that this is a comedy, but some of the situations Abe, Rose, Moishe and Shirley found themselves in were just too silly and broad for my taste.

An Alternate Succession Scenario

Comment: The sole possible improvement to the Succession finale would have been if Greg had been made CEO. That would have helped slide it over the razor’s edge between greatness and perfection — Ryan M.

Matt Roush: Yes, I’m aware this was a popular alternate theory, and while it might have been funnier and almost as cruel if eternal lackey Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) had won the race, for the writers to give the top job to the ever-obsequious Tom Wambsgans (the brilliant Matthew Macfadyen) carried much more devastating emotional weight. That final shot of Tom and pregnant wife Shiv (Sarah Snook) in the limo was unforgettable, neither feeling any sense of triumph or warmth as they looked into a bleak future — him as Matsson’s debased puppet and her hanging on to a vestige of power in a loveless marriage.

Jeopardy’s Master-piece Theater

Question: I absolutely loved Jeopardy! Masters. It was wonderful to watch the outstanding gameplay and knowledge of the contestants, the smooth hosting by the perfect host for this event, Ken Jennings; and the respect, fun, humor, and camaraderie among all of the participants. Do you think there will be more of this type of event? — Cindy G, Harrisburg, PA

Matt Roush: Absolutely. Ken even said on air that finalists James Holzhauer, Mattea Roach, and Matt Amodio would return for the next edition of Jeopardy! Masters — and they’ll be joined (per the podcast) by the winner of this year’s Tournament of Champions, the winner of the show’s Invitational Tournament, and a producer’s wild-card choice. I tend to worry that Jeopardy! may eventually overdo it with the stunts and special new tournaments, but this inaugural edition of Masters was the show at its best.

Cheering Million’s Bittersweet Ending

Comment: The final episode of A Million Little Things was very sad, but also funny, touching, and very human. It showed the importance of personal reactions to grief, final choices, and a life-goes-on hope for the future. While no one wanted Gary to die, they did an amazing job for the last episode. It did not deserve the TV Guide Magazine “Jeers.” Our reaction to the ending is, again, what the show was about: Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to. Everyone connected with this show should receive an award. — Kathy

Matt Roush: Read Damian Holbrook’s “Jeer” a little more carefully and you’ll see it was actually a backhanded “Cheer,” in essence praising the show for jerking its tears too well. (The text reads: “Jeers to A Million Little Things for shattering us into a million pieces. We’re still ugly crying after the stunning May 3 finale on ABC.”) Just this weekend, a month to the day after it aired, I was still hearing friends talk about how wrecked, moved, and impressed they were by the show’s beyond-bittersweet finale.

NCIS: L.A. Left the Door Open for More

Question: NCIS: L.A.‘s finale was pretty good. I adored Hetty’s note to Callen, I loved the special guest stars that showed up at the end, and I appreciate the open-endedness of all of it. Think it’s possible we’ll one day get a movie on Paramount+ covering the new search for Hetty? – Maria

Matt Roush: I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Given that LL Cool J isn’t even retiring the Sam Hanna character — which he’ll be reprising as a recurring guest star next season on NCIS: Hawai’i — I could easily foresee a reunion special and/or more character crossovers on the remaining shows in the franchise. If a movie sequel does someday happen, let’s hope it’s available on CBS so as not to disappoint the fans who may still not be part of the streaming world.

And Finally …

A personal thanks to all of those who wrote in following our recent discussion of franchises, like 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star, where the original and its spinoff ended up on different networks. Quite a few mentioned how when ABC canceled The Bionic Woman in 1977, its final season aired on NBC while the original The Six Million Dollar Man remained on ABC. (In another oddity, Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks continued to play their characters, Oscar Goldman and Dr. Rudy Wells, on both shows.) Similarly, when Diff’rent Strokes moved from NBC to ABC for its final season in 1985-86, its spinoff The Facts of Life continued to flourish on NBC. This is still a pretty rare occurrence, though.

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.)