Ask Matt: ‘The Sinner,’ Sci-Fi Reboots (‘Lost in Space’), ‘AGT’ Finale, ‘Night Shift,’ ‘Bosch,’ More

The Sinner - Bill Pullman, Jessica Biel
Peter Kramer/USA Network

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, so we won’t be addressing upcoming storylines here unless it’s already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] (or use the form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter @TVGMMattRoush. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.


When Every Old Futuristic Show Is New Again

Question: With all the interest in sci-fi and action reboots/remakes, is there any chance some other shows might be redone like Lost in Space, Firefly, Babylon 5, Stargate, First Wave, Farscape, Fantastic Voyage—and any chance they might be on regular networks or cable, not streaming or premium channels? (I’m paying $180 and change with no pay channels, and like most, I feel cable costs are WAY out of control, and now the networks want us to pay more for “streaming only” shows.) — Brian

Matt Roush: Given current trends, I’d never rule out any of these shows making a comeback, and Lost in Space is already underway for a 2018 return—albeit on Netflix, the shiny new destination for so much TV development these days, unfair as that may seem for those still feeling the pain of those monthly cable bills. (Look up “cutting the cord,” you’ll see why that’s a phenomenon.) I still hear from Farscape fans on Twitter and elsewhere who haven’t given up hope of a return to that wondrous world, and I’m sure there are campaigns for some if not all of the others. Sci-fi/fantasy can be a tricky prospect for the major broadcast networks, unless Marvel and DC are attached to the project, so it’s much more likely you’ll see the majority of any of this activity happening on cable, if you’re lucky, but even more so on services like Amazon, which is still seeking an epic-scaled genre hit, or Netflix, Hulu, etc. I expect once Star Trek: Discovery launches later this month on CBS All Acce$$ we’ll be hearing even more complaints about the shift of this sort of programming toward pay TV.

The Sinner - Jessica Biel

Keeping Company With The Sinner

Question: What have you heard about Jessica Biel’s show The Sinner? I seem to be the only one of my friends/family who watches it. Very erotic and bordering on soft porn. Too bad Bill Pullman is not around to garner kudos for his performance. — Sharon

Matt Roush: Honest mistake with that last comment. I’m happy to report that Bill Pullman is very much around to accept your praise, and if USA renews The Sinner for a second season, he’ll still be the focus as Detective Ambrose pursues an entirely new investigation. Pullman is often mistaken for the late Bill Paxton, who died while CBS’s version of Training Day was airing last season. As for The Sinner, the eight-episode first season will wrap a week from Wednesday (Sept. 20), and I’m not sure when a decision will be made on a second go-round. My review of The Sinner emphasized the show’s grim nature and bleak tone, not so much its sexualized content. Maybe I’m desensitized after watching HBO’s The Deuce, but I didn’t pick up on the soft-porn erotica of such a disturbing psychological mystery.

Talent Finale and Jewish Holidays

Question: Why is the finale of America’s Got Talent going to be (wrongly!) on the first night of Rosh Hashana, a Jewish High Holy Day? One cannot watch TV then. After watching an entire season, I shall have to miss the finale. It’s not fair, not nice and just plain wrong! — Sheila

Matt Roush: With Rosh Hashana and (at the end of the month) Yom Kippur both occurring during the transition of the summer and fall TV seasons, this sort of conflict was probably inevitable, however regrettable. If it helps, NBC is repeating the Talent finale on Friday, Sept. 22 (possibly after nightfall, when the holiday ends). And not being familiar enough with Jewish tradition (being a mainline Protestant), would it be wrong to set the DVR in advance or suggest watching online afterward or On Demand once you’re able?

More Nights for Shift?

Question: When I watched The Night Shift last week, it seemed more like a series finale and not a season finale. Is there any word yet if it will be back next summer? I really enjoy the show & have watched since season 1. Thanks for any info you can give me. It is really appreciated. — Terri

Matt Roush: Shows like these seem to live in a perpetual on-the-bubble state. NBC hasn’t yet announced if The Night Shift will be back for a fifth season, and I don’t know why it wouldn’t, but if it doesn’t, I’m glad to know it ended in such a way as to not feel like a total cliffhanger. That’s when fans get really upset.


Interpreting Bosch

Question: I’m a big fan of Bosch on Amazon. Your quoting the line “I’ll cut your strings and leave you drooling in a chair” in your Season 2 review led me here. Could you kindly tell me what that means, especially for “strings”? — MI

Matt Roush: Can’t say I’d ever heard this particular phrase before, either, but it struck me as one of those fanciful CopSpeak warnings like we used to get from Sipowicz on NYPD Blue when Bochco, Milch & Co. were trying to find inventive ways around profanity limitations (which don’t really exist on Amazon). Given that the line began, “You ever come near my family again …,” you have to believe that cutting one’s “strings” would be beyond painful. (I’m thinking “strings” as “muscles-tendons” or something possibly more intimate in nature. Whatever would leave you drooling and without the capacity for walking.)

Rescue Denis Leary From His TV Hiatus

Question: Does Denis Leary have anything in the pipeline? I have enjoyed all the shows he was involved with. — GZ

Matt Roush: Nothing for TV just yet, as far as I can tell, but Leary will be publishing a book this fall: Why We Don’t Suck (And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches), a sequel to his 2008 tome, Why We Suck. He’ll be going on a performance/book tour this fall to promote the new volume, at which time maybe we’ll learn more about what he has in development. Which we hope will not suck.


That’s all for now, and we’ll pick up the conversation again soon, though I’ll be taking a brief break for Labor Day. Thanks as always for reading, and 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), and you can also submit questions via the handy form below.