Ask Matt: Too Many People on Gotham and Walking Dead, Too Few on Person Of Interest?
Note: This week's column is an abbreviated version of Ask Matt as I'm away for a short break. Please keep sending questions and comments to [email protected] in the interim.
Question: Person of Interest, Gotham, and The Walking Dead are three of my favorite shows. Lately, though, I have had some concerns about all three shows. Gotham and Walking Dead have too many characters. They are so over-populated that the main characters are getting very little airtime. Gotham, in particular, has so many villains that it is a wonder that the city survived long enough for Batman to grow up. Do they really need to throw every villain that was ever in a Batman comic book at Jim Gordon?
The Walking Dead had a few great episodes when they split the characters off last year. The quality varied depending on which group was featured. This year they keep adding characters on so that the main cast has become unwieldy. The writers seem to feel compelled to keep adding the characters from the comic books—did we really need the reverend?—and they are creating new characters that didn't appear in the graphic novels. The only way they seem to be willing to let characters go is by killing them off, which just seems silly. Even in the comics, some of the characters chose to leave the group.
Person of Interest has almost the opposite problem. I have really enjoyed the direction the show has taken. However, they are currently down to four people and a dog fighting a whole bunch of bad guys. Why is the Machine not recruiting new members to help their little group? At one point, it seemed like Root was establishing groups to provide support, but then that just sort of stopped. Thank you for letting me vent. — Kristi
Matt Roush: That's what I'm here for. And you make some fair points. Gotham can seem a bit unfocused in its sprawl of characters, as the show awkwardly tries to do the episodic thing while continuing the bigger arcs like Oswald/Penguin vs. Fish Mooney (and whenever those characters are center stage, I'm a happy camper). But I also understand the impulse, especially in a show's early days, of adopting the "more is more" theory of trying to make as much noise as possible. Maybe it will settle down in its second season, since there's little doubt it will be around for a while.
With Walking Dead, the problem is that as the core group of survivors continues their journey, many of their new acquaintances have not been particularly memorable (Noah being an exception). Having continued to steer clear of the comics, there are a few characters in the current entourage whose names I still can't remember, and whose deaths, if and when they occur, will likely have minimal impact for me. But I have no issue with the way new people come in and out of their lives. That seems quite realistic, as does the high body count.
And finally, my beloved Person of Interest. Now that Shaw is presumably out of commission for the foreseeable future, it's possible we'll see the team expand, although I like the way the show brings back characters from past missions to help when needed. I kind of like the vibe of such a small team of heroic vigilantes fighting a monolithic menace like Samaritan. Keeps me coming back.
Question: I enjoyed the recent Tom Selleck interview. He has been my favorite male actor for a long time (I have the Magnum, P.I. theme as my ringtone). I have wondered if they will ever have a flashback episode including the dead son to show what happened. I am surprised with a show on this long that this hasn't happened yet. Other long-running shows have gone back in time often to see what their characters were like. The only thing close was the recent episode where they closed Henry's old case. That and meeting Frank's wife he so still dearly loves. I was wondering if they would do something like that for the 100th episode, but that one was a mishmash that was shot out of order, but they wanted to tell then because of real-life cop problems in NYC. — Doug, Jacksonville, FL
Matt Roush: This isn't a spoiler column, so can't comment on what's to come. I haven't heard of any such plans, though revisiting the tragedy that preoccupied the family at the very start of the series would seem to be a fruitful avenue for a "very special" episode somewhere down the line. Or even, once the show decides to turn in its badge (no time soon, I'm sure), as a way to bring things full circle toward the end of the run, whenever that may be.
Question: I was one of those people who initially did not like the addition of Kitty to Elementary's cast. I know some people thought she was inserted too heavily into the stories, but other than her first couple of episodes, I do not think so. I quite liked her and did not think she took away too much from the other characters. And I loved how Watson and Kitty became friends. It is so nice to see two women becoming friends in a real way and not feeling anything romantic towards the male lead at all—it is all too rare in network television. I have to say I actually cried during the episode when Kitty left. I fear the way she left (having tortured her attacker and incidentally beating someone in part 1!) means she will not return. But I liked her and liked the way she fit into the Holmes world. — Shelley
Matt Roush: This is something of a minority opinion (although I have heard from a few other brave Kitty supporters), but I would agree that the best thing about her time on the show was the way she bonded with Watson instead of being a rival or antagonist spoiling for a catfight, so to speak. I still think it was a mistake to bring her in as a surrogate Watson while Joan was working separately from Sherlock. That was a lose-lose proposition from the start. Kitty didn't stand a chance. But while I wasn't sorry to see her go, I do think her final episode was an affecting one, including for Sherlock. So maybe it's worth keeping an open mind should she ever return. (Or not.)
That's all for now. Ask Matt will return later in February. Please send questions and comments to [email protected].