Ask Matt: 'Young Sheldon' MIA, 'Major Crimes' Ending, Female Mortality on CBS ('Blue Bloods,' 'NCIS')
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.
Now You See Sheldon, Now You Don’t
Question: Why in the world did CBS decide to only show one episode of Young Sheldon and then not again for more than a month? My family and I love that show and were looking forward to episode 2 the following week, but seeing it won’t be on for a month just p---es us off and we aren't "as much" caring. — Melissa
Matt Roush: I’m betting that when Nov. 2 rolls around and Young Sheldon returns behind The Big Bang Theory, once CBS’s regular Thursday night schedule takes over from Thursday Night Football, that many of the 17 million who sampled Young Sheldon on Sept. 25 will be back. The whole idea behind that “preview” airing was to whet the appetite and expose the spinoff to the widest possible audience (following the heavily promoted “proposal” payoff on Big Bang). In that regard, CBS’s strategy paid off beautifully. Obviously it’s very rare if not unprecedented for a show to put that much space between its first and second episodes, but on the bright side, with Young Sheldon starting so late in the season, there won’t be as many repeats in Season 1.
And How About Sheldon’s Sister!
Question: I watched the preview of Young Sheldon, and I just fell in love with the little girl that plays his sister. She is a trip. Her comedic sense and timing are spot on. She had me laughing so hard my sides hurt and was a major bright spot in the show, even better than Sheldon. Where might we have seen her before, or is she new to TV? I'd even venture to say she could carry her own show. As for the rest of the cast, the brother is not needed, and I would bet like other shows if this one moves on, he will disappear. The father, he's just there, and the mother is another bright spot of course. These are just my thoughts, and what do I know, most of the shows I like get axed anyway. — Donald
Matt Roush: Well, Young Sheldon won’t be axed anytime soon. It has already been picked up for a full first season, to the surprise of absolutely no one. And the young scene-stealer you’re raving about is Raegan Revord, who plays Missy, Sheldon’s spunky twin. Up to now, Raegan has mostly played guest roles on shows, recurring as Megan on Modern Family, so this qualifies as her breakthrough. (I had no problem with Montana Jordan as older brother Georgie or Lance Barber as the dad, but there’s no question that the females in the Cooper home are keepers, and so is the precociously talented Iain Armitage in the title role.)
It’s a Crime to Lose Major Crimes
Question: I would have been happy to see Major Crimes go on and on, but with this week’s news that it is ending in January, it's had a great run (13 years between this and The Closer), so it's hard to complain, especially since it appears James Duff was given notice to wrap it properly. [Update: Duff later posted to Facebook to the effect that concluding the show was not his decision, and that he is currently directing the series finale, so presumably that means Kyra Sedgwick will likely not appear, and I hope he got enough warning to craft an actual series finale. I also wanted to add that while six seasons for Crimes is a good run, I think TNT is foolish to end its biggest-performing show if the creators and cast wanted to continue. I get that TNT has been under new leadership for a while, and that Major Crimes might not fit into the style of leadership that Kevin Reilly wants to focus on, but it’s still their #1 show, so why mess with success?] — JL
Matt Roush: With the departure of Major Crimes, TNT really is severing ties almost entirely with the mainstream fare that put the channel on the map. USA isn’t far behind, but this in particular will leave a real void (and I’m weighing in as someone who was never as attached to the spinoff as I was to The Closer). I'm not sure what all was behind this decision, but as you noted, much of the cast has been on the job since 2005, and that’s a mighty healthy run. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was as much a business as creative decision, and at least they were informed before they filmed the final episode, so there’s less chance we’ll be left hanging. But essentially yes, this is likely to be a real disappointment to fans.
No More Cursing, Island Is Returning
Question: One of my favorite shows is The Curse of Oak Island. Has it been canceled? I hope it’s returning. My question is when? I haven’t read or heard anything about this show. — Stephen
Question: When is The Curse of Oak Island going to return to the History Channel? — Alma
Matt Roush: In the last few weeks, I’ve received several questions about this series, one of History’s most popular. And just this Wednesday, History finally announced that Season 5 of Oak Island will premiere Nov. 7. I bring this up because I’m often asked about shows from this docu-reality genre, which tend to have very irregular schedules. I rarely address these queries unless there’s a specific air date, because there’s really no way to predict their comings and goings, and unless a cancellation has been confirmed (which doesn’t always happen, so yes, it’s confusing), you should just assume they’ll return when the network is ready.
On Life Expectancy for CBS Women
Question: Why is it with CBS shows in particular they always tend to kill off the women who leave the show? Is it lazy writing, gender bias or just the fact that it's easy? I think in particular of Michelle, Sam's wife, on NCIS: LA last year and now Linda on Blue Bloods, and it also happened on NCIS with both Vance's wife and Ziva as a way to write Tony out (who wasn't killed). These are not the main characters on the show. They could just be written out or not shown. Enough with the unnecessary killings of characters. Advance the plot some other way. — Amy
Matt Roush: I vote gender blindness more than bias. (And let’s not even get into the killing off of Erinn Hayes’ character on Kevin Can Wait, which was handled so callously it wasn’t the least bit funny.) Individually, some of these characters’ deaths can be justified because of the high stakes of the world their shows portray. Collectively, though, it does raise a red flag, and producers should think twice before adding to the body count. And there’s simply no excuse for not giving Ziva an ultimate happy ending in her own universe.
Continuity on Discovery
Question: Do you have any ideas of how much future Star Trek is going to be embedded into Star Trek: Discovery? By this, I mean inventions that were commonplace in Star Treks that weren't invented when the original Star Trek aired. The last episode of Discovery had the captain doing a site-to-site transport, that is to say, from one part of the ship to another. In the original Star Trek, Scotty (the best chief engineer in Starfleet ever) was reluctant to try, citing all the dangers of site-to-site transportation. While Discovery is taking place, Kirk, Scotty and the others are just going into Starfleet Academy training. Just because it happened in the Star Trek universe in the future doesn't mean the writers can use it in the past as an easy out. Agree? — Dewey
Matt Roush: I’ll admit, this question made my head hurt, although I was thrilled to see a comment about Discovery that had nothing to do with its delivery system. I am a Trek generalist, the furthest thing from a canon expert, so can only suggest that those currently crafting Discovery surely must know what time frame they’re operating in—a decade before the events in the first TV Star Trek series—and they should take precautions not to feature technology that wasn’t available to Kirk’s crew on the Enterprise. (Frankly, I’ll probably never know if they do.) The challenge being, of course, that contemporary production values are so much higher than they were for original Trek in the late 1960s that it’s tempting to show off, even at the risk of appearing out of sync with timeline continuity.
Question: Just a follow-up regarding the Discovery/CBS All Access situation: When my husband went to cancel All Access after our free preview, they gave us ANOTHER month of the service for free. Methinks a lot of fans felt the way we did, that we weren't paying a monthly fee for one show. – Veronica
Matt Roush: Makes sense to me that CBS would make it as easy and attractive as possible for consumers to access (as it were) this service. There’s still likely to be a significant drop-off when customers are eventually asked to pay, but as we’ve discussed before, one of the goals with Discovery and the other original programming on CBS All Access is to build awareness and get curious folks to at least check it out.
Would The Brave Be Better Off Elsewhere?
Question: What was NBC thinking putting The Brave after The Voice on Monday nights? Hasn’t NBC learned that putting scripted drama series after The Voice won't help launch new shows at all? Smash, Blindspot and Timeless all have declined in the ratings after great or decent starts after they premiered after The Voice. When will the network figure out that putting scripted dramas after The Voice won't work since all of them are incompatible? Why not put another reality show after The Voice, or have Hollywood Game Night air new episodes there in the fall? I think NBC would be wise to move The Brave to another night like on Fridays paired with Blindspot, which is a more compatible fit than being paired with The Voice! — Chris
Matt Roush: I’ll have to take issue with this generalization. Whatever benefit there still is in strategic scheduling, The Voice remains a potentially powerful lead-in. It helped launch The Blacklist and Blindspot successfully—the latter took a dive when it moved to Wednesdays and is now essentially being burned off on Fridays (returning Oct. 27). Timeless was a tougher sell, and what’s happening this fall is that more viewers are opting to check out The Good Doctor (can’t blame them), regardless of what reality competition they’re watching earlier. Doctor seems to be something of a self-starter, a true breakout. It’s still awfully early to write off The Brave, let alone moving it to the Friday graveyard. But your notion of pairing The Voice with another reality or game show is, economically speaking, reasonable. Though I get why NBC still sees that 10/9c hour as an attractive launching pad for a high-concept action drama.
That’s all for now, and we’ll pick up the conversation again soon. 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.