Ask Matt: Can ‘Quantico’ Sustain? Plus: ‘Gotham’s Joker Issues, Theories on ‘Big Bang’s Future, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ 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, so we won’t be addressing upcoming storylines unless it’s common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] (or use the new form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter.
Question: I watched the second episode of Quantico thinking that there’s no way this story can play out in a satisfying way over the long term, even as I was getting sucked in. Part of me feels like I’ve been down this road before, with Revenge, for instance, where there was clearly a plan to start with, but past that, the show seemed to be pulling stuff out of its butt to continue. Have the Quanticans indicated that they have an outline and an end date in mind? Is this show going to be another argument in favor of the British TV system of less-is-more? — Jon
Matt Roush: Still early days yet, but I’m board for this first season for sure, especially after the second episode, which I found ridiculously enjoyable—emphasis perhaps on ridiculous at times, but as a sexy over-the-top thriller, I’m on board. My understanding is that the current storyline (the identity of the bomber, Alex’s fugitive status) will be resolved within the first season, and where it goes from there I haven’t a clue. It’s way too soon to start fretting about when and/or if it will run out of steam, but if anyone starts talking about “The Initiative” (Revenge fans will know what I mean), that’s when it will be time to worry. And perhaps flee.
Loving The Good Wife, But What’s Up With Cary?
Question: What a terrific season premiere of The Good Wife! I was disappointed in the second half of last season and in Matthew Goode’s departure, and wasn’t looking forward to another major political storyline. But pitting Eli against Peter and the fabulous Margo Martindale was a stroke of genius. The casting on this show remains the best on television, with Jane Curtin a very welcome guest, and Cush Jumbo another great addition. Her character feels a bit like a Kalinda replacement in some ways, but I’m okay with that. (I’m also trying to ignore the renewed offscreen Panjabi/Margulies drama, which remains baffling and unprofessional.) Finally, I’m very intrigued by the possibility that Cary’s early midlife crisis might lead to exploring his sexuality, since male bisexuality is so rarely seen on TV. (Homicide: Life on the Street was ahead of its time in so many ways!) There was an undercurrent in that last scene with the male associate that makes me think it wasn’t simply a throwaway moment of miscommunication, but I suppose time will tell. (P.S.: As an aside, have you seen recurring cast member Renee Elise Goldsberry onstage in Hamilton? She was excellent. I need to go back to NYC again soon and see that show a few more times at least. Great to see Leslie Odom with a plum role as well; he was so wasted on Smash. Granted, so was almost everyone.) — Keira
Matt Roush: And The Good Wife gets even better this week with the addition of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a new investigator. You won’t be just saying “Kalinda who?” but possibly even “Will who?” So far, am very impressed by Margo Martindale and Cush Jumbo, and I hope we see Jane Curtin return soon as the easily amused judge. (My only issue at the moment, as I have noted, is that it’s hard to imagine anyone with Peter’s baggage thinking he has a shot at joining Hillary’s presidential ticket.)
As for Cary: That may be wish fulfillment on your part, because I’ve very sensed that aspect of his character being a possibility. I think it may have been another way to illustrate his sense of alienation from both the younger and older members of his firm, that by reaching out to the young associate it was interpreted as a sexual move. We’ll see. And yes, I did see Hamilton, when it was still off-Broadway at the Public. It may be years before I can get back inside that door again, the show’s such a hot ticket, but everything about the show, including the cast, blew me away and I intend to listen to the brilliant score every chance I get.
Gotham‘s Joker Punchline
Question: [SPOILER ALERT if you’re not up to speed on Gotham] What do you think about Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome character being killed off on Gotham? I think that Bruno Heller and his writers made a big mistake in killing off Jerome and not letting him be the real Joker, instead having his death inspire copy cats for one of them to become the one and only real Joker. Cameron Monaghan did an excellent job playing Jerome, and he really embodied everything that made the Joker a sick and twisted villain. Was Cameron Monaghan being a series regular on Showtime’s Shameless one of the reasons why he couldn’t continue recurring on Gotham as Jerome? Jerome was one of the great things about Gotham (along with Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin), and I’m very disappointed that the writers on the show went with this direction on their own spin for the Joker’s origin story! — Chris
Matt Roush: Maybe this interview with Cameron Monaghan will put your mind at rest about this issue. I’ve already touted him as a candidate for a guest-actor Emmy nomination (probably a long shot, but well deserved), and while I’d have loved to see him stick around and develop the character the way Robin Lord Taylor has with the Penguin and Cory Michael Smith is doing as Nygma/Riddler, I respect the producers’ choice to go this way. The fact that Jerome is the catalyst for a future Joker to emerge is a testament to the character he created in just these few episodes. Also: Can you believe how much more interesting Barbara is as a villain?
Is Grey’s Better Without Derek?
Question: Going into Season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy, I was really skeptical given Derek’s death last spring. However, I must say two episodes in and I am really enjoying the season. In all honesty I haven’t missed Derek too much. What are your thoughts so far on the new season? — Alex
Matt Roush: Still a sore and rather divisive subject, I imagine, though I got several “Derek Who?” comments this week, so it seems the show has survived this latest loss without too much residual damage. And to be honest, I’m not missing him either, though I’m not sure that’s something to be happy or even relieved about. Something is missing from the show right now—I guess I’d call it heart—and the only thing I’m connecting with this season so far is Miranda Bailey’s transition into the Chief role. Otherwise, it all feels silly, weightless, shrill—speaking of which, couldn’t they have isolated April in a soundproof bubble last week? Watching Meredith cavort with her sisters (one of whom bores me and one of whom irritates me), I have to remind myself there are children in that house, barely heard or spoken of lately. So yeah, not really connecting. But still watching. Some habits die hard. Though not as hard as Derek.
Is a Decade of Big BangEnough?
Question: Do you think it is time for The Big Bang Theory to call it quits? So far this season has been lackluster at best quality-wise. More recently, ratings have taken a hit. With the show only renewed through Season 10 and the contracts of the main leads also up, should the show end next year? (Even NBC ended Friends after 10 seasons, regardless of its popularity.) In my opinion, I think 10 seasons is a great run, and it is always better to go out on top. — John
Matt Roush: I’m still getting a kick out of Big Bang most weeks, and slippage this late in a show’s run is hardly unusual (especially when it’s not in its regular time period for the first two months of the season), but I wouldn’t say it’s out of creative gas just yet. It’s pulling pretty incredible numbers even at this stage, especially when you consider the state of network TV. And the Amy-Sheldon estrangement should carry the characters through quite a bit of this year. But should they decide (I’d hope mutually) by the end of this season that next year will be the last, I’d definitely be at peace with that. I would hate to see the show get in the situation—should it come to this—where it tries to carry on without one or more of its principals, the way Two and a Half Men (also from Chuck Lorre) stumbled on after Charlie Sheen’s meltdown. When a show is this successful, especially nowadays, it’s a tricky call to know when to let it go. I don’t think it’s a necessity just yet to set the end date, but I’d be OK if they left us wanting just a little bit more instead of waiting till we’re begging them to leave.
Why Is Axl Back on The Middle?
Question: I’m sure I read last year when it wasn’t certain that The Middle would be renewed, that Charlie McDermott wouldn’t be coming back if it was renewed. What changed? — Frank
Matt Roush: The CBS comedy pilot he shot (Super Clyde) didn’t get picked up, and he was wise enough not to quit the day job that has been so good for him (and for us). I was always hoping that even if he did land a new series, that he’d still find time to drop by as Axl. Thankfully, that’s not an issue for this season.
No Decision Yet on Whispers?
Question: What’s the news concerning the 2nd series of The Whispers? Has it been given the chop or is there going to be a second series? — Jeremy
Matt Roush: Still in limbo as far as I can tell, and the more time passes, the odds for renewal would seem to diminish. When a decision is made, I would expect the news to go out more loudly than a whisper. So stay tuned.
That’s all for now, but we’ll pick up the conversation again soon, so keep sharing your thoughts on new and returning series and other TV matters. I can’t do this without your participation, so please send questions and comments about TV to [email protected] or shoot me a line on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush). Or submit your question via the handy form below: