Ask Matt: 'Grey's Anatomy' and the Derek Debate, a 'Days' Dilemma, 'Sex' Appeal, 'Quantico', 'Major Crimes' and More
Welcome to the Q&A with TV critic (also known to some TV fans as their "TV therapist") Matt Roush, who'll address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today's vast TV landscape. One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone. Don't ask me what's going to happen on a show. I prefer to find out along with everyone else. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] (or use the new form added to the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter. [For those who've been asking, we'll likely resume the twice-a-week schedule after Labor Day.]
Question: Respectfully, I disagree about you being OK with Grey's Anatomy going on sans Derek. As a longtime MerDer fan, I will not be tuning in for S12. There is nothing for me to tune in for. MerDer is gone and without Derek, Meredith is an ordinary character. I have no interest in tuning in to watch a widow run a dormitory for her siblings. They are all adults, surgeons with respectable jobs. There's no reason they all have to live together. Frankly, I have always been bothered with how GA always crowded the (well paid) docs together in one house.
In any case, the show is now lacking a leading man and the lead couple. The other couples on the show just have no appeal for me, the new characters don't add anything to the show (why is Stef still on there?!) and the unrespectable, hurried ending they gave to Derek and to Patrick Dempsey (killing him off in a car crash while driving a Porsche when it is well known that Dempsey is a Porsche racer? Cruel) was the final straw. I do agree that ABC needs to put an end date on the show and soon. The longer it runs, the more cast members will leave and the show will be unrecognizable before long. — Barbara
Matt Roush: And the debate continues, probably until the very end of the long run of Grey's, whenever that will be. (And it won't be this season, or most likely next. Or, if you listen to ABC, maybe ever.) I let up on my own "enough already" crusade after witnessing Shonda Rhimes and Ellen Pompeo at their TCA panel, and am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, for now, regarding the upcoming season of Meredith's "rebirth."
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Amy, who wrote in to say:
"Call me crazy but I actually am fine with Derek's death. They did a good job of making him a jerk and having him gone from the show for most of the season. That being said, nothing would get me to give up on this show. I am a long-term fan. That definition means I do not 'jump ship on shows.' I have watched every episode of my favorites: ER, NYPD Blue, SVU, Gilmore Girls, Vampire Diaries, NCIS, Grey's. I am in for the long haul, and actually I do not have many complaints over the years concerning these shows. Did I love every storyline? Of course not, but I trusted them. TV shows are like anything else; there is good and bad. Writers cannot be 100 percent awesome all the time or no one would know when they are. I think it is pathetic that people are talking about the downfall of a show when it still gets pretty good ratings, which means people are watching."
To which I would add my kudos for loyalty, while also noting that there is no shame in breaking up with a long-running show if you're no longer getting enjoyment out of it. Like Amy, I'll probably stick with Grey's to the last drop (or death) because I've weathered so many ups and downs with these characters, and there's still enough going on that I care about to keep me watching.
But I eventually gave up on ER when the cast became not just unrecognizable but unbearable. And The Vampire Diaries lost me when they refused to let certain characters stay dead and the stakes, so to speak, just didn't feel worth it. And now that they've lost their leading lady, I'm not sure what's left there. But one of the great things about TV is the possibility of a comeback, and maybe Grey's will get over this latest hump as well. As we head into a new season of new and returning shows, I'll just repeat the old refrain: Stay tuned.
Question: Longtime reader here. I know this isn't your usual arena of expertise, but I've watched Days of Our Lives for as long as I can remember, and for the last couple of years, I've watched it exclusively on Hulu. I just noticed Hulu has posted a notice on their Days page that they will no longer stream the show after Aug. 15, 2015. Could you find out where else the show will be available and what's going on? I know it's silly to expect the convenience of the consumer to be taken into account in business decisions, but with streaming rights getting more and more complicated (aka lucrative), I hope I'm not going to miss the show I've watched for 30 years. Thank you for any clarification! — Phil
Matt Roush: As it happens, there is an answer to this. Starting this week, same-day episodes of Days of Our Lives will repeat each night at 8/7c exclusively on the Pop cable channel. You didn't make it clear why you'd abandoned watching the NBC broadcast for the Hulu streaming option, but if you're among the new breed of cord-cutters who no longer subscribe to cable or satellite, you may need to do some homework on how to access the Pop feed, or go back to NBC for your daily Days fix.
Question: Have you seen the Quantico pilot? Is it worth watching? — Farah
Matt Roush: As I reported from the ABC portion of the recent critics' press tour, Quantico was the dramatic standout from that network's new lineup, and it's one of the more promising pilots of the entire new season, one of the very few that made me eager to watch a second episode. (Which when I do I'll be sure and report whether it holds up.) The show has a great mystery hook, an appealing cast (most playing FBI trainees) and a solid time period on Sundays, so staying very hopeful on this one.
Question: I haven't watched Masters of Sex this year. Should I? — Elllveee (from Twitter)
Matt Roush: This question came in response to Showtime's Masters of Sex panel during the TCA press tour, during which the producers were grilled about how with this season's time jump, they had over-fictionalized some characters and events (mostly involving Virginia Johnson's grown children and her own personal life), making for unsatisfying drama that distracts us from the juicy reality of Masters and Johnson's achievements. I had tweeted, "Adding bad fiction (which producers couldn't justify/explain) to Masters of Sex docudrama suggests the show should end, not continue to Season 4," a renewal that Showtime had just announced to a less than enthusiastic reception. My answer to the "should I watch" question is predicated by the fact that I'm a few episodes behind right now (the old "too much TV" issue, plus I've been more committed to the summer's new shows, and TCA and other travel have kept me from keeping current with everything), but based on the first handful of episodes, I wasn't recommending it, though I am hearing the show is improving the more it's moving away from some of these bad fictional choices.
A sampling of other Twitter reaction on Masters of Sex: From Kevin: "I remember when this show was good." From CStorck: "They did what they had to do and the show is coming back into the best of it! Renewal all the way!" From Anita: "If they could just drop the Tessa (Virginia's daughter) storyline, I would give it a go for another season, but not for long." From Holly: "I think it should have ended after last season."
Continuing the Grey's conversation on when or whether to break up with a show, I keep reminding myself how riveted I was to Masters of Sex in the first season when it was more focused on their provocative research and the impact the sex study was having on their personal and professional lives. I'm not sure the series can ever get back to that vibe, but I'll try to ride it out at least to the end of this season. If I can ever find time to catch up.
Question: I started watching Major Crimes over the summer. I used to watch The Closer but stopped when that show ended.
I enjoy the banter between the older cast members and the crimes are entertaining. What consistently pulls me out of any real involvement with the show are the Rusty subplots. It almost feels like I am watching two separate shows: a procedural crime show and a teen drama. Why would the people in charge do this? The two formats together don't really work. Is the goal to appeal to a wider audience? I don't get it. — Kristine
Matt Roush: That character has been a deal-breaker for me as well, and explains why I check out the show on a very infrequent basis anymore. Rusty was introduced toward the very end of the Closer run in a storyline involving Brenda's nemesis Philip Stroh, and Rusty stayed with the spinoff as a way, I've always thought, to humanize Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), once she took the former teen male hustler under her wing and eventually adopted him. Watching him turn into Junior Crime Journalist in the recent season (or to be more honest, hearing about it) sounds like something more suitable for a Hardy Boys series than a Closer spinoff. So whether the goal was to bring in younger viewers and broaden the demographics for an aging franchise, I only know it and he turned off this fan of The Closer as well.
Question: What can you tell me about SVU's two-hour season premiere? — Shavawn
Matt Roush: A reminder that this isn't a spoiler column, but it has been widely reported by now that SVU will kick off its 17th (!) season with a classic "ripped from the headlines" premise borrowed from HBO's The Jinx and its central notorious figure, alleged killer Robert Durst (including the plot point of a confession caught on camera that could seal his fate). If the killer in this storyline looks familiar, it's because Dallas Roberts (who plays Alicia's brother on The Good Wife) is back as serial killer Dr. Yates, who was introduced in the SVU crossover with Dick Wolf's Chicago-based series. To further whet your appetite for the Sept. 23 premiere, you can watch the SVU trailer here.
That's all for now, but remember that I 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). Or submit your question via the form below: