Ask Matt: 'One Day' and the Emmys, 'Americans' Finale, 'Chew' Cancellation, Life After 'Roseanne'
Welcome back—after a longer-than-usual break—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—although the column will be off again next Tuesday as Matt heads to the Midwest for a family reunion.
Could One Day Have Its Day in the Emmy Sun?
Question: With Veep out of the Emmy race this year, do you think there's a glimmer of hope that One Day At A Time will get some recognition this year? If not in the comedy series category, then at least for the stellar performances of Justina Machado and Rita Moreno. I loved Season 1, but Season 2, particularly the season finale, knocked my socks off. I would love to see those two ladies (and the show itself) nominated. — Jack
Matt Roush: I would love for One Day and its stars to break through this year. I’d even put odds on the wonderful Moreno to add a supporting comedy actress Emmy to her EGOT shelf if she gets nominated. While there does seem to be a bit of a groundswell for this reinvented version of the Norman Lear sitcom classic, keep in mind that as with every series category, comedy or drama, it’s an ever more crowded Emmy field. Still, even if all of last year’s eligible nominees repeat (which tends to happen), the absence of Netflix’s Master of None leaves a second open slot. Don’t be surprised if that void is filled by an HBO favorite (Insecure? Barry?) or possibly by Netflix’s own GLOW. Should One Day at a Time make the cut, it would be a happy day indeed.
Praise for the End of The Americans
Question: I wanted to compliment the writers of The Americans for the perfect ending. It was a nail-biting experience, waiting to see what Stan would do, but it was very emotional and a brilliant ending! — Sheila, Wisconsin
Matt Roush: Couldn’t agree more. This aired during my break, but I was able to screen it before I left and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Such a sad finish, but appropriately so. [Spoilers Ahead] I imagine Stan’s decision to let his former bestie Philip go, along with Elizabeth and Paige, after their tense confrontation may have disappointed some who had hoped for a more traditional comeuppance for these Russian spies. But the sense of loss was devastating once Elizabeth and Philip realized Paige wouldn’t be joining them on their exodus to the motherland. This was the right sort of ending for a remarkable series that specialized in moral ambiguity.
Question: In The Americans, whatever happened to Philip's other son in Russia? Was that ever addressed? — Mary
Matt Roush: I’d add that to several plot points that were left to our imagination. We know (if memory serves) that Mischa returned to Russia after Gabriel convinced him not to force his way into his biological father’s family. And now that Philip and Elizabeth have left their own offspring behind, maybe reconciling with this young man would be the start of a new family unit. But that’s another story for another time.
The Chew Cancellation Not Easy to Digest
Question: As if we don’t have enough news shows already on TV from early morning, afternoon and late at night, now they are canceling The Chew, which was a breath of fresh air. To replace it with another hour of ABC’s Good Morning America is absolutely ridiculous. Why not take The View off and put Good Morning America on then? The View is absolutely not interesting at all. — Grace
Matt Roush: Amid the many prime-time cancellations I’m still getting mail about, this surprise axing of a daytime staple generated by far the most comments in my mailbag when I returned from vacation. Many made a similar suggestion of pulling The View (which is, as you’d expect, a polarizing show) in favor of The Chew—and I agree it’s a peculiar strategy to extend the GMA franchise into the afternoon. But ABC obviously sees an advertising and business upside in expanding the GMA footprint the way NBC has done with Today, so while I wouldn’t discourage anyone from complaining to the network via mail or social media, this appears to be a done deal. One mitigating factor would be to include Chew-like cooking segments in the afternoon hour, considering how fluffy GMA tends to get, even by the second hour of the morning show. ABC hasn’t announced the format of what is basically a Good Afternoon America show, so maybe there’s a way to salvage this situation.
Life After Roseanne on Roseanne
Question: Why can't the accomplished, devoted cast and crew of ABC’s canceled Roseanne stay and do a show of their own without her? They could call it The Conners. They just have to deal with the Roseanne character’s death, by heart attack or accident or whatever/ I think the rest of the cast will do fine. — Sandy
Matt Roush: That’s certainly the prevailing theory of how ABC could address this hole in its prime-time schedule and the unexpected collapse of its biggest midseason hit. As I’m answering this, no announcements have yet been made, with one possible sticking point being that the network would likely not proceed if Roseanne Barr profits (through creative and ownership rights for the original series) from any spinoff. There are unconfirmed reports that Roseanne might willingly forgo her profit participation to allow the show to go on, so we’ll see how that all plays out. But there is precedent for writing out a show’s title star and moving forward—see the transition from Valerie to The Hogan Family back in the 1980s. This is a bit more revolutionary, given how Roseanne is the brand and set the tone for her show. But she has also proven time and again that she’s her own worst enemy, so only has herself to blame for this debacle.
Mourning a Fallen Chicago Hero
Question: [Chicago P.D. Spoiler Alert] I’m still crying after the premature, completely unnecessary, untimely death of Detective Alvin Olinsky of Chicago P.D. In my opinion, Al was the lifeblood of the show! Hank’s go to guy, everyone’s man for the answers. So then why would they kill him off? Couldn’t they just let him retire & walk off into the sunset? Get back together with his wife after all they’ve been through? Keep the door open for a return if need be? Can you please find out their thought process on this? I’m still crying. — Lisa
Matt Roush: It’s probably cold comfort to be told this was a creative decision made by producers, who saw this tragic twist as a way to up the stakes for Voight in the season ahead. As I noted at the time the episode aired last month, the calculated risk of killing off a favorite character can be justified for dramatic reasons if the death has long-lasting emotional impact. In this case, it would appear that’s the case. I’m sorry, though, for your loss.
In Defense of 13 Reasons’ Second Round
Question: I want to let you know I was disappointed in your review of the second season of 13 Reasons Why. As a therapist, I was very greatly moved by this entire series. I felt that many poignant and timely topics were touched on (in no particular order): Suicidality, rape (the aftermath for both perpetrators and victim), school counselor (and school) unpreparedness, unresolved grief and trauma, bullying and cruel behavior, peer pressure and approval seeking, violence, criminal behavior, gun violence, teen sexuality, drug use, legal proceedings (dragging victims through the mud) and light sentencing of perpetrators.
And I could go on. I was particularly interested to watch the after piece/episode that the actors, writers and producer did on the topics covered. Did you get a chance to watch this last episode? If you did not, you may revise your opinion of this show after watching it, as it brought it all together for me. — Dr. Susan Grove
Matt Roush: I appreciate your take on this, and there’s no doubt the issues dealt with by this series are important and relevant. But a critic’s job is not to judge shows only on their message but on the effectiveness of the dramatic approach, and that’s where the second season of 13 Reasons Why failed miserably for me. Whereas the first season had the strong hook of Hannah’s tapes revealing the motivations behind her tragic suicide, the second season felt (to me) repetitive, painfully overlong, obvious and unconvincing—from Clay’s conversations with Hannah’s absurdly persistent ghost to the way the trial was heavy-handedly depicted. In my expanded online review, I did single out Tyler’s storyline, as he began to envision retaliating at gunpoint as payback for his graphic bullying, as a strong subplot. But I also stand by saying it was too little too late, and I can’t imagine a circumstance in which I’d subject myself to suffering through a third season. Netflix did not make the “after” episode available for review in advance, and I did not watch. 13 hours spent in this show’s company felt like homework enough.
A Double Take on Summer Scheduling
Question: I've been looking forward to Take Two since it was announced. Love the premise, love Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibrian, would love for this to have as long of a life as Castle did. My question: What do you make of ABC's decision to start airing it in June, rather than holding it for the fall? Is it bad sign that ABC is worried it can't hold up in a busier fall season? Or is it good that ABC wants to get it in front of people ASAP? I can't remember a similar situation in recent years, which leaves me a little perplexed and concerned. Also, do you know how many episodes will air? — Sam
Matt Roush: Given today’s year-round programming needs, I wouldn’t necessarily see it as a demotion that ABC has initially pegged this light mystery from the creator of Castle for a summer tryout. (It’s an international co-production, so ABC is sharing the costs with overseas partners.) Having seen a few episodes, I’d have to say ABC is making the right call with this one. It’s not just light, it’s pretty much weightless. And the premise couldn’t be cornier or more clichéd. Most escapist crime dramas eventually air an episode where an actor tags along behind the crime-fighting hero for research. That’s the entire premise of Take Two, a gender-reversed twist on Castle with Bilson (as a disgraced former TV cop) using her on-set “expertise” to butt in on private-eye Cibrian’s cases. It’s harmless enough, and I could see it running a while because of the international tie-ins. But I’m betting that as ABC continues to seek something to fill the void left by the departure of Castle, it will have better luck with the Nathan Fillion vehicle The Rookie in the fall.
That’s all for now—and until next Friday, as I’ll be away again at the start of next week. 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.