Ask Matt: Diagnosis Confused Over 'The Resident,' Plus 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,' 'Murphy Brown' Reboot, 'Middle' Emmy Chances, 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 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. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.
Can The Resident’s Physicians Heal Themselves?
Question: I see that there are still fence-walkers on Fox’s The Resident. I've been locked in since the first episode, but I see the other points of view. I really like the characters and the diversity and Matt Czuchry's know-it-all (he really seems to) doctor, but where it is on the razor's (scalpel’s?) edge for me is with the Chief Surgeon played by Bruce Greenwood. He is such a terrible doctor (putting aside the hand tremor that would/should end his medical career) for trying to cover things up, but the fact that so many others at the hospital are going along, either out of fear or manipulation or threat, undermines everything else that works so well on the show. It simply can't go on and be realistic.
It's not only over-the-top absurd, but the show has actually poured gasoline on this fire by adding a second character, played by Melina Kanakaredes, who seems to be his distaff twin in bad/unethical behavior. I love both of them as actors, but as characters, they're reprehensible and walking ads for NOT following their Hippocratic oaths. I would say the same to the show's writers: First, do no harm. This is a terrific new series and I'm in for the long haul, but not if they want to play out things as is and keep having those two characters involved in lawsuit-of-the week type behavior at the expense of patients dying on the show—and killing off their nascent viewership. — Michael
Also, football makes TV exciting leading up to Super Bowl 2018.
Matt Roush: This reaction fascinates me, because I’ve been there myself, trying to justify whether to keep watching something while weighing the balance of what I like and don’t like about an uneven series. I’m not sure there’s a cure, though, for Michael’s objections to the show’s premise, which is all about Conrad (Czuchry) and his team of renegades taking on a dangerously, even murderously corrupt system. Take away the villains—and I agree they’re presented in absurdly melodramatic and hissable fashion—and you’re left with just another hospital show, which is a problem in a season that already has one breakout medical drama in ABC’s superior The Good Doctor. I gave this one a few weeks, but as much as I like Czuchry and some of the rest of the cast, I decided to bail after the January 29 episode. It introduced a cartoonish adversary in a cost-cutting consultant whose attitude was so obviously “pick the wrong side of every argument” that even though I know the issues regarding health care-for-profits are real, there’s got to be a better way to tell those stories.
Will Murphy Be Joined By Her FYI Pals?
Question: In the Murphy Brown reboot, will any of the original cast other than Candice Bergen be returning, or will she be surrounded by a totally new costars at work and on the home front? — Paul
Matt Roush: That remains to be seen. There have been reports that some of her co-stars have been approached about returning, but nothing is officially announced yet. The revival is still being developed, and won’t air until sometime next season. It’s hard to imagine we won’t see return appearances by Corky or Frank or Miles—or maybe even Lily Tomlin as Kay Carter-Shepley (from the show’s later and lesser years)—but I’d be surprised if FYI still exists in its former newsmagazine form. It was never 60 Minutes, and I’d like to see Murphy forging her path in today’s even crazier media maelstrom.
Plus, 'Party of Five,' 'Facts of Life,' and more keep on coming.
Singing Crazy’s Praises
Question: If Rachel Bloom were the sole reason for the creative success of The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I would still eagerly watch every episode. However, the entire cast is impressive. Most sing and dance as if this show was on Broadway! The acting is flawless by all involved. The scripts are always clever and super-sharp. From the latest episode, the office supply closet metaphors were hilarious. I will never think about a highlighter or sticky note the same way again! — Fred
Matt Roush: With only two episodes left this season, I couldn’t resist running this valentine—if only to call attention to this week’s episode, which opens with one of the funniest musical numbers since Paula’s ABBA tribute and salute to the first you-know-what she ever saw. And the opening credits number is not to be believed. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is as creative as its cast is talented, and it’s worth noting that much of the ensemble has significant musical-theater chops, including both Joshes: Vincent Rodriguez III (Josh Chan) and David Hull (White Josh), and most notably Donna Lynne Champlin (Paula), who I was familiar with for her Broadway appearances in the non-musical Hollywood Arms but especially in her bravura performance as Pirelli in John Doyle’s unforgettable 2005-06 revival of Sweeney Todd. (How can that be 12 years ago?) I’m going to miss this when it wraps next week, but it’s astonishing how much they pack into 13 episodes.
Rachel Bloom's talent and creativity is only one of the many reasons you need to watch 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.'
Could The Middle Break Through the Emmy Clutter?
Question: What is the process for a TV show and/or their cast to get nominated for an Emmy? Any chance a show like The Middle or Eden Sher would ever be considered for nomination? Both the show and her character are amazing. It seems that year after year it becomes the same shows or actors which seemed to have run their course (such as Modern Family and many of its cast). — Steve
Matt Roush: This is an interesting way to approach a Frequently Asked Question. The process is simple: Shows and actors nominate themselves (or the studio/network does), and The Middle is always in that mix. But it’s a mighty big pool that’s only growing deeper with product by the year, so it becomes ever more difficult for shows and actors to break through. The Emmys and the TV Academy are rightly criticized for going back to the same shows and performers for way too long, and I’m afraid that The Middle has been passed over so frequently it’s unlikely that will be remedied during this last lovely season. (But it’s also a fact that Modern Family has pretty much fallen off the Emmy radar as well, after its dominant first seasons.)
Paul Bettany dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
Does The Crown Watch The Crown?
Question: I did not watch Season 1 of The Crown, but heard so much about it I decided to give it a try. I have now finished Season 1 and am on to Season 2. I'm addicted. I too will miss Claire Foy and Matt Smith, but can't wait to see the story progress. I was just wondering how it is being received by the British Royalty, since there seems to be a skeleton or two in the closet. — Jackie
Matt Roush: That’s a favorite topic among royal watchers, and good luck getting confirmation on that one. Given that The Crown is a rather warts-and-all dramatization of the current regime, I’d bet the royals are keeping it at arm’s length at least, although gossip columns have speculated that Prince Andrew and his wife are fans. And surely Meghan Markle has sampled it, don't you think?
NBC’s Midseason Muddle
Question: Any idea when Shades of Blue returns to NBC? I thought it was supposed to be on Sundays at 10/9c, but NBC announced the return of Timeless for that slot (on March 11). What is the point of airing Timeless Sundays at 10/9c instead of an earlier time slot? Also, since Will & Grace is almost done with its 16-episode run, any idea what NBC slots for Thursday at 9/8c? My guess would be Marlon. — Erin
Matt Roush: I try not to get ahead of networks’ scheduling decisions, so haven’t a clue when Shades of Blue will be back. I agree the J Lo crime drama may be more suitable for the late Sunday slot than Timeless, but NBC wasn’t likely to return the time-travel adventure to the Monday time period where it struggled last season. And with Dick Wolf’s Chicago shows taking up so much real estate, the worse option would have been to dump it on Fridays, which would have been a kiss of death. I expect NBC will either schedule Shades of Blue in very late spring or possibly as a summer replacement. And hard to say how NBC will fill Will & Grace’s time period. There are already two new comedies heading to the night: the Mindy Kaling-produced Champions (8:30.7:30c) and A.P. Bio (9:30/8:30c). Marlon doesn’t sound like the best fit on what, with the loss of The Good Place and Will & Grace, is shaping up to be an awfully mixed bag of comedy that will likely keep me parked on CBS most Thursdays in the spring.
Question: I just caught up with Amazon Prime's Fearless. I don't remember seeing anything about this British/American series. Although I found some of it a bit campy, I was still captivated. I'm glad regular series were boring me so that I bumped into this compelling whodunit. I doubt that a season 2 is in the cards? 4.5 stars. — Vicki
Matt Roush: I’m a fan of Helen McCrory, but this one got by me during the ongoing streaming glut. Regardless, no decision appears to have been made yet by ITV, but if there is more, I’d expect Amazon Prime to pick it up.
Network re-branding has its pluses and minuses.
Question: What happened to the Spike TV channel? Looks like the station is gone. Are we losing the channel? — Joyce
Matt Roush: Spike is now the Paramount Network, and should be right where the previous version was on your cable lineup. Some elements of Spike remain—Lip Sync Battle and Cops (though perhaps not as frequently as before), but the impetus here is on premium-quality original programming, including the ongoing Waco limited series and next month’s launch of a series version of Heathers.
That’s all for now. 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.