Ask Matt: Fond Farewell to ‘Mozart,’ Plus ‘Westworld,’ Reboots (‘Trading Spaces’), ‘Speechless’ 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.
The Day the (Classical) Music Died
Question: I am so sad to learn that Amazon isn’t going forward with more episodes of the wonderful Mozart in the Jungle. It’s such an original, sophisticated, romantic and delightful show. I love the characters, the glorious settings they traveled to in recent seasons (Venice! Japan!) and, of course, the classical music, of a sort you rarely get to see or hear anywhere else on TV. I won’t ask if anyone could come to its rescue—wouldn’t it be fun, though, if Netflix picked up a castoff from a key streaming competitor?—but what does the show’s cancellation say about the programming priorities of these streaming giants? – Nancy
Matt Roush: That cancellation was a real blow to me as well. I’ll especially miss the way Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal) says Hailey’s (High-Lay!) name with such gusto. Part of me is just grateful that Mozart lasted four seasons, more than it would likely have managed almost anywhere else, allowing us to see Hailey (Lola Kirke) make her transition from the oboe to conductor’s baton. Still, I wish the series were given at least a final coda to give a glimpse of what’s next for the orchestra and its colorful cast of characters. To address your question, it has been reported that Amazon’s goal going forward with original productions is to lean less on boutique niche programming like this and I Love Dick (to name another offbeat comedy that was scrapped after just one season) in favor of big-tent, high-concept spectaculars like the pricey Lord of the Rings project. Obviously, not everything they produce will be on that scale, and I’m happy to report that the fourth season of Amazon’s detective drama Bosch (available Friday) is as strong as ever. But it saddens me to think that rare gems like Mozart might have a tougher time finding a place on a platform like this.
What Could Have Been on Westworld
Question: I am so devastated. Did you know that according to Jonathan Nolan, he was hoping to cast Amy Acker in Season 2 of Westworld, but she got snapped up on The Gifted? She could have been on Westworld, but instead she’s playing just a worried mom. What a waste, Matt. What a waste. — Unsigned
Matt Roush: I did see that, and I am equally dismayed. I have started watching the new season of Westworld (premieres April 22), and she would be amazing on this mind-blowing series. I had hopes for The Gifted when it started, but they really aren’t using her to her full potential on that show.
Are Reboots and Revivals Here to Stay?
Question: How do you feel about all of the old show reboots going on? Certain ones, like Will & Grace, feel like they never really left, even though they were off the air for 10 years, and I must admit that Roseanne was funny and that I’m looking forward to Murphy Brown. Some, however, like the new Trading Spaces, should have been left in the past. The pacing of the show is so slow, and it just seems out of place with current home shows. They should have given it a new twist. I get that they have a built-in audience and the networks are bullish on them, but I’d still rather have new content. Do you think this trend is here to stay or will it be dead and over in a few years? — Greg C
Matt Roush: It’s harder than ever to predict the future of a landscape as volatile as the TV industry’s, but it’s pretty clear that revisiting TV’s past is going to be part of its present and future for a while to come. As network TV continues to fight for attention in a world of so many new platforms, it’s a logical impulse to see if familiar and beloved titles can be revived for a new audience and generation. If you can get the original cast back together (a rarer occurrence), so much the better. I agree some new ideas would be nice, or even more new twists on an old formula like The Good Doctor has accomplished. But I’m afraid we’re more likely, especially in the short term, to see a doubling down on the notion that everything old is new again.
Will Roseanne’s Success Silence Speechless?
Question: My favorite ABC sitcom is Speechless. I am a bit worried that the success of the Roseanne revival will convince ABC that they don’t need to renew it. After all, the Conners and DiMeos are very similar economically. For crying out loud, Jimmy’s college major was architecture, yet he works as an airport baggage claimer! What do you think? Am I being paranoid? Thank you! — Unsigned
Matt Roush: It’s understandable to be concerned, even more so since Speechless ended its second season early, but I’d like to think or at least hope that Roseanne’s resounding reception would make ABC even more amenable to the brand of family comedy that it and Speechless (and the outgoing The Middle) represent. Without knowing when or where Roseanne will be scheduled next season, I’d love to see ABC use the show to give a boost to something as deserving as Speechless.
A Second Trial Is Coming
Question: Was just wondering if you’ve heard anything about when the second season of NBC’s Trial & Error was supposed to premiere. It was one of my favorite shows last season and I’ve been eagerly waiting for its return. I haven’t seen any announcements, and with the end of the season a few months away, I’m starting to wonder if the no news is a bad thing. — Maria
Matt Roush: What great timing. The same week you posted this question, NBC has just announced that the second season, cleverly titled Trial & Error: Lady, Killer, will air as a summer series starting Thursday, July 19. While I’ll miss John Lithgow’s brilliant performance as the first-season defendant, I am very eager to see Kristin Chenoweth return to TV as the southern town’s flamboyant first lady, Lavinia Peck-Foster, accused of her husband’s bizarre murder. The legal team will be the same, just with a wacky new case. Can’t wait.
TV News Roundup: Chenoweth's 'Trial & Error' Debut, 'Mad About You' Revival, 'Donovan' Promotes Sarandon
Hallmark’s Hall of Channels
Question: I’ve seen a Hallmark ad that looks like there’s another Channel with their programs. There are two already. Am wondering what this channel will offer, looks like maybe older series and stories of theirs. I am very fond of Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Could this mean that series will be only shown on the new channel or just the older stories, with new offerings on the original channel. Looks like you have to call your cable carrier to have it installed. Would be sad not to be able to see new stories in this wonderful series. Thanks for helping me with this question. — Sylvia
Matt Roush: From what I can tell, some of this is yet to be determined as Hallmark establishes a third channel with Hallmark Drama, which launched last October and is expected to be an exclusive home for some movies and drama series. The service isn’t available yet on all cable systems, which is why Hallmark is encouraging its fans to contact their local operators. I’m told more Signed, Sealed, Delivered movies are in development, but no word yet on when or where they will be available, while repeats remain on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Lightning Round of FAQs
Question: Is there a chance that The Brave will return? What they replaced it with is shameful. And what about Shooter? Such good shows. — Kay
Matt Roush: Until NBC officially cancels it, there’s always a chance The Brave will come back for a second season. We’ll know more in May, when NBC announces its prime-time lineup for the next season. Shooter, which airs on USA, is already set to come back on June 21.
Question: I LOVE Nashville and hate to see it go. Do you think there is any chance another station/network will pick it up at the last minute? — Elaine
Matt Roush: We’ve covered this ground before, but with the back half of the second season now set to start on June 7, I’m sure this will come up again and again as fans deal with their separation anxiety. When a show and network announce a final season well in advance, that’s usually it. Enjoy the show while you can, and be glad they’re going out on their own steam. Nashville has already been rescued once, after ABC cut it loose following its fourth season. These last two seasons have been a gift, and CMT was a natural home for this musical drama (sharing costs with Hulu, which streams it a day later). But with an exit strategy already well in place, it’s very unlikely it will get a third lease on life. I know better than ever to say never, but in this case, it seems a pretty done deal.
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.