Ask Matt: Paying the Price for ‘Good Fight,’ Shipping ‘The 100,’ Ghosting ‘Ghosted’ and More
Welcome back 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.
How Many Streams Is Too Many?
Question: I read my TV Guide Magazine cover to cover the day it arrives. I have TiVo and watch a huge amount of TV. I am an artist and have the set on while I work. After reading your column about The Good Fight and Christine Baranski being shut out of the Emmy nominations, I think it is definitely because CBS has greedily shut out much of the viewing public with their CBS All Access pay wall. I watched all of The Good Wife and was VERY disappointed by being “shut out” of The Good Fight!! I am an active 74 years old and on Social Security. I have managed to get Netflix, but I do not have the resources to sign up for all the streaming services (Hulu, CBS All Access, Epix, Amazon Prime, etc, etc.). I am sorry not to be able to see the new Star Trek, but I cannot print my own money to get these programs. I am most pissed at CBS because I think they jumped on a bandwagon and I think it is out of pure GREED.
I would like it if all these streaming services could work together to offer a senior citizen discount or discount for lower income folks, maybe through AARP or the Auto Club or both, for those of us who are very interested in the programming but suffer limited income. So I guess my question is: Why don’t you get someone working on that!!? — Karen
Matt Roush: This recurring complaint is only going to intensify as more outlets (Disney in particular) develop their own off-network subscription services in an attempt to compete with the scale of competitors like Netflix. There obviously is a limit to how many of these services any ordinary person will be able to fit into their budget, even if they forego cable (as many have already done) for this new way of consuming TV on multiple platforms. I don’t know where (of if) it will end, and when it eventually reaches critical mass—some would say we’re already there—if there will ever be a la carte or discount options to make it all more affordable.
There are of course free trials for most of these, and the option to sign up just long enough to binge-watch the shows of your choice or purchasing a show online. But the inescapable fact is that free commercial TV in a world where so many of us skip past commercials isn’t as sustainable as it used to be, and it’s going to cost us one way or the other to keep up with the best programming.
Two more thoughts, regarding The Good Fight in particular: Being on a premium service probably wasn’t the main factor in the show being passed over for Emmys. Shows on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. do just fine. It may just be one show too many in a glut of distinguished dramas. And this one wouldn’t be the same series if it were airing on CBS. It’s a lot more “adult” in its language and situations, and its political outspokenness would almost certainly have to be tamed if it were airing on a commercial broadcast network.
Is The 100 Teasing Its Shippers?
Question: I am loving The 100 and think it is one of the best written shows out there. Great themes, characters and the actors are beyond any expectations. However, I am getting increasingly frustrated with the way the writers play with the “shippers.” Specifically, Bellamy and Clarke. Every season ends with them together. We did not create the Bellamy Clarke love affair. The show has led us there. There is NOTHING platonic in the camera angles, lingering looks and focused touches between Bellamy and Clarke. You want platonic? Look at Clarke and Monty or Jasper. But then the writers come out and talk about how Bellamy and Clarke are NON-romantic soulmates. If that is the case, write them that way! Stop being coy and playing with the fans. So, my question is: What is the responsibility of the writers? They lead us to ship these characters strongly, shouldn’t they follow thru with it? If not, why lead us there? — Jane
Matt Roush: I’ve fallen a bit behind on this show so can’t speak to recent particulars, but this issue of when or whether to resolve the sexual/romantic tension between a show’s lead characters is hardly new—and the high stakes and dire consequences of everything that happens on The 100 present more obstacles than the typical TV show. The responsibility of the writers is only to tell the story the way they choose to tell it, not to pander to any fan pressure. Eventually, you might get the payoff you desire. But the flip-side argument tends to be that once you develop an actual romance between these kinds of characters, there’s a fear the thrill will be gone. If it comes off feeling like they’re creating complications for complications’ sake, though, that’s a cause for complaint.
Haunted by the Failure of Ghosted
Question: So Fox just ghosted Ghosted? I’ll say upfront that I REALLY wanted to like this show. Fantastic cast, interesting premise. Lousy execution. But Fox treating it like a red-headed stepchild didn’t help it in the least. Pulled from the schedule with no notice or explanation (that I heard, at least). It then miraculously re-appeared three months later with a complete overhaul. Now they hardly ever went into the field, added a bunch of pointless characters, and tried too hard to be The Office. They did seem to be building to something, but then the more interesting plots never went anywhere. To add insult to injury, the last episode aired was obviously from much earlier in the season and then… nothing. I think it’s safe to say there won’t be a season 2 since I’m not even sure they finished season 1.
Also, what’s up with CBS throwing a new episode of Elementary on Sunday night in addition to their regular Monday slot? If they weren’t already renewed, I’d be worried CBS was trying to burn them off. — Woody
Matt Roush: It’s fair to say that Ghosted was a fun idea that never quite achieved its goals, and Fox did it no favor with the scheduling. And yes, it’s not returning. It’s almost as if it never existed. Regarding Elementary: Looks to me like that double run was to get all the episodes in before the summer schedule transitions to fall in roughly a month from now. (Wouldn’t it have made more sense, though, to air them back-to-back on a Monday, where fans are now expecting to see the show?)
Thankful for Four Seasons of Last Man
Question: Regarding the cancellation of The Last Man on Earth, I really liked the show, watched every episode and am disappointed at its demise. However, that show did everything it possibly could to guarantee not having a broad audience! The characters were not conventional and the lead was the most self-centered and grating person Will Forte could possibly portray. Only viewers who watched every single episode would see anything commendable within Tandy. Four years was a gift. — Michael
Matt Roush: Thanks for the reality check. I’m betting that few were more surprised than Will Forte and his team that this oddball show survived as long as it did.
And Finally …
Question: Is the show Take Two just a one-time summer series? — Daniel
Matt Roush: Too soon to tell. It’s not burning up the summer ratings, but few things are, so it’s hard to know what the bar for renewal might be. This seems like perfect summer fluff for the off-season, so I’d be a bit surprised if ABC didn’t try to keep it around for next summer.
Question: When will Heartland Series 11 be shown? In my opinion, it’s the best show on TV. A family show that covers many topics without being violent, without foul language, shows beautiful views, and the people are real and one feels you really know them. I wish there were more shows like this on TV. Very disappointed in Yellowstone with Kevin Costner. — Dolly
Matt Roush: UP TV confirms the new season of the Canadian-produced series will appear on the network, and the UP Faith & Family streaming service, in 2019. And it could hardly be further removed from Yellowstone, that’s for sure. Think of that one as Heartless-land.
That’s all for now. 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. Please include a first name in your question.