Ask Matt: Rick Grimes & the Future of ‘Walking Dead,’ More Hallmark Wishes, ‘Crazy’ & ‘Blue Bloods’ Love
Welcome back to the Q&A with TV critic (also known to some TV fans as their “TV therapist”) Matt Roush, who’ll try to 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.
Dead and Yet Alive
Question: [Spoilers Ahead] About that Walking Dead bait and switch: So all the hype around Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) leaving the show was just in hopes we’d get worked up about a series of Walking Dead movies built around his character? Does that work for you? Do you feel they copped out with this approach? Even looking past the notion that, one assumes, Rick’s future somehow doesn’t include his daughter Judith (shown in the time-jump final scene) or Michonne, will anyone even care? Seems to me like the last gasp of a franchise that doesn’t know when to die. — Ronald M
Matt Roush: I wouldn’t call it a cop-out as much as a sell-out. Given the buildup, any death scenario that didn’t involve taking Negan down with him (which would be satisfying) would seem anticlimactic, and his preposterous long ride down memory lane on the most patient white horse ever—until it wasn’t—was a chore to behold, even by this show’s uneven standards. If the intent was to get our attention, AMC and the show succeeded. Beyond that, expanding the Walking Dead universe into a series of Rick Grimes movies has more than a whiff of desperation, and could diminish the franchise as well as further hobble the series he leaves behind. We know very little about the world that Rick has been transported to, and maybe that will breathe some life back into the Dead empire. These next three episodes leading to the midseason finale should help determine whether a post-Rick Walking Dead is still worth the effort.
I was about to add how much I’ll miss Maggie (Lauren Cohan) when her time comes, but watching her fall for Negan’s transparent head games—she now won’t kill him because he begged her to? (sheesh)—sort of softens that blow as well.
Time for a Gay Hallmark Yuletide?
Question: Following up on the question about the Hallmark holiday movies: I love all the movies even if they basically have the same storyline, but it’s 2018 going on 2019. Do you think they would ever have same-sex couples in these movies, because in reality these movies are just fluffy romance. — Aleana
Matt Roush: You’re probably more likely to see such a thing, though maybe not on the immediate horizon, on a more progressive outlet like Freeform (see: The Fosters) or Lifetime, which also offer numerous holiday movies each year. I know from experience that gay people enjoy schmaltz as much as anyone, including these Hallmark trifles, but the brand isn’t particularly known for diversity, or for tweaking a formula that so clearly works for them. (There are exceptions, but more for race than for sexual orientation, and even then, it’s a fairly vanilla world they’re showing.)
Crazy for Girlfriend
Question: Friday’s episode of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was the strongest yet this season. The actor who plays her little brother was perfect! Is it possible this show can earn an Emmy nomination again? Also, it’s hard to believe this gem is the lowest-rated show on broadcast and lower than many cable shows. — Fred
Matt Roush: Luca Padovan, the young actor who nailed it as Tucker Bunch (especially in his “I Want to Be a Child Star” number), is also quite good as the creepy main character’s neighbor on Lifetime’s You. Great stuff, I agree, and ratings aside—Crazy Ex finds much of its audience elsewhere than on Fridays at 9/8c—the show will likely never get the industry love it deserves. But at the very least, its music deserves attention every year, and I hope something from the score gets nominated. I can’t wait to see (and hear) what’s in store for the rest of Crazy’s so-far-terrific final season.
Blue About Bloods
Question: Blue Bloods is one of the best dramas on television. Excellent stories as well as acting. They are, however, never recognized by any of the awards committees. Why? — Roberta
Matt Roush: In this case, as with so many others, success will have to be its own reward. Blue Bloods more than holds its own on Fridays, and has for nine seasons, but you could name just about any solid network show that isn’t This Is Us—and I’ve lost count of how many times NCIS fans ask this question—and I’d have the same answer. Even the best-produced network procedurals aren’t on the radar of those giving out awards, who see these shows as too formula and not as innovative or buzz-worthy as the riskier and bolder shows found on cable, premium channels and especially streaming nowadays.
Connecting Sheldon Cooper to Adrian Monk
Question: How much of the Sheldon character on The Big Bang Theory has been coached to Jim Parsons and how much is Parsons’ acting himself? Tony Shalhoub created the character of Monk and the series was such a success, in large part, to Shalhoub’s interpretation. — Unsigned
Matt Roush: Surely the same can be said of Jim Parsons. His and Tony Shalhoub’s creations of these wonderfully eccentric characters represent character acting at the highest level. While the writers and directors of these series also deserve credit for having conceived such iconic roles, there’s a reason Parsons has four Emmys as Sheldon and Shalhoub three as Monk. Neither actor should be confused for the person they play—having seen both on Broadway in the last year (Parsons in The Boys in the Band, Shalhoub in a Tony-winning role in The Band’s Visit) only confirmed their range.
Is SEAL Team a Keeper?
Question: What’s your take on the future of SEAL Team for another season? I’ve been very impressed with the ensemble cast, writing, directing, style of filming, and even the music. It gets high marks as well for the realism. — Margo
Matt Roush: CBS tends to be quite loyal to its series, and any hour drama that makes it to a second season can usually count on having a fairly long shelf life. (While CBS yanked Scorpion after four, many shows on other networks don’t make it even that far.) So unless SEAL Team begins to noticeably tank, I’d expect you’ll have it around for a while, and David Boreanaz can chalk up another win in his long TV career.
And Finally …
Question: Do you know when Schitt’s Creek will return? So much talent in one show. — Adnil
Matt Roush: Can’t tell you how many people have let me know they’ve discovered this rollicking series—on Netflix, anyway. The good news for fans is that a special holiday episode of Schitt’s Creek will air Dec. 19, with a fifth season getting underway Jan. 16, airing back-to-back episodes on Wednesdays.
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.