Ask Matt: So Much 'Good' TV — But What About 'Behavior'? Plus, T.G.I.T. & Missing 'Pieces'
The cast of CBS' Life in Pieces
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.
Too Much "Good" TV?
Question: What is it with all the “Good” TV these days? No, I’m not talking about the overabundance of peak shows. Instead, I’m wondering whether producers or publicists have run out of titles without that word in them. Consider what’s been on air in the last few seasons alone. There’s The Good Wife (and The Good Fight, its sequel), The Good Place, The Good Doctor, The Good Cop (RIP on Netflix), Good Girls and Good Morning America. Just to name a few. Can’t anybody think of something else to call their shows? “Good” grief! — Aaron F.
Matt Roush: Not to mention the ambiguity in the word itself. Is it ironic—which is the case more often than not, although “good” changed its meaning when The Good Wife (a label Alicia fought against) became The Good Fight (representing a crusade against the insanity of our political times). But to your bigger, and more amusing, point. Originality only gets you so far when naming TV shows (see: FX’s Terriers), and simple hooks tend to win out. Oddly, while there may be a sameness to these titles, they also represent some of the best shows currently on air (The Good Place, The Good Doctor and The Good Fight in particular).
Could Anything Revive Behavior?
Question: Is there anything that could persuade producers of Good Behavior to bring it back for a finale season? I loved this show! Thrilling, sexy, at times deeply moving, ambiguous morality: What more do you want? I want more Good Behavior. — Bestim
Matt Roush: You wouldn’t have to convince the producers, who would be more than willing to keep this cult series going. While Good Behavior was in limbo before it was canceled, there was some talk that TNT might be able to green-light some sort of movie finale to provide closure, but alas, that never happened. I’m not aware that it’s being shopped anywhere, including to streaming (which can’t rescue everything), so maybe your best option for now is to pick up the book series by Blake Crouch.
Who Takes Home the Trophies?
Question: When a TV movie, limited series or series wins an award, who gets the statue(s)? Producers? Show-runners? Actors? Writers? Craft Services? (Just kidding about the last one). But seriously, I wondered about this when I watched Jesus Christ Superstar Live win best TV movie (huh?) at the Critics Choice Awards. Will any of the performers get a statue? They basically were the show. — Maurice
Matt Roush: Generally speaking, a series (or movie/limited series) award goes to the lead producer(s) and/or creator(s). I’m not sure how many statues are produced to give out to any individual show, because many have multiple executive producers/show-runners. At the more prestigious awards shows (Emmys, Oscars), writers have their own category. And in all cases, unless the star of the show was also its creator/producer, actors only get an award if they win their specific category. To address your “huh?” it seems appropriate to me for live performance specials like Jesus Christ Superstar (and any live musical or play broadcast on TV) to compete against TV-movies, which typically is among the weaker categories many years.
Shaking Up the T.G.I.T. Lineup
Question: Always enjoy your Ask Matt column. Regarding the recent discussion of the move of A Million Little Things to the post-Grey's Anatomy slot on Thursdays, here's one other possible angle. Now that Shonda Rhimes has cut her future development deal with Netflix, perhaps ABC is more interested in shows from show-runners who might create additional content for ABC instead of Netflix. — David in Houston
Matt Roush: No doubt. The initial question involved the short-term replacement of Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19 with A Million Little Things (as of this week), thus ending Shondaland’s stranglehold on ABC’s Thursday night. At some point, that was bound to happen, because Shonda Rhimes’ company will no longer be creating new product for the network—and all that’s left in the pipeline besides Grey’s are Station and the middling legal drama For the People (which will take over How to Get Away With Murder’s time period on March 7, the same night Station returns, restoring Thursday to an all-Shondaland night, at least for a while). The challenge for ABC, not yet met, is how to follow Grey’s with a show as impactful as Scandal (at least in its early years).
Giving Bernie Mac Its Due
Question: Recently I noticed reruns of The Bernie Mac Show popping up on multiple channels. I haven't seen it in years, but when I watched it, I remembered how much I loved it growing up. I know the show was pretty successful, being one of Fox's top sitcoms, with unbelievable rogues’ gallery of guest stars, some who you'd never see on TV today, and it even won a writing Emmy for its pilot and nabbed a few nominations throughout its run. Despite all this, I don't know why it isn't talked about more? It was very much the new Cosby Show of its time and paved the way for other black family comedies like Everybody Hates Chris and black-ish. I feel as though it’s overlooked now. — Rico
Matt Roush: I’m glad to think The Bernie Mac Show (2001-06) may be enjoying a renaissance through syndication or streaming (all five seasons are on Hulu). I wonder if Bernie Mac’s tragically premature death in 2008 at 50 may have contributed to the show’s relatively low profile, since he’s no longer around to promote this high point in his career. Also, while a five-season run is respectable, it’s not the sort of run that defines an era the way The Cosby Show did (or black-ish may yet do). But it’s highly recommended for anyone seeking a smart family comedy about a most reluctant father figure.
And Finally …
Question: Why isn’t CBS airing Life in Pieces this fall season, and will it be coming back at all? — Pete
Matt Roush: CBS will return Life in Pieces to the schedule sometime this midseason for its fourth year, but no word yet as to when. The family comedy was benched to give some new comedies—and one revival, Murphy Brown—a place on the fall schedule. This worked out well for The Neighborhood, but not so much for Happy Together (which ended its run this week), and I predict the same for the mediocre Fam (which took over Murphy’s Thursday time period last week). I imagine we’ll see Pieces show up sometime this spring—or at worst, as a summer replacement.
That’s it 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 with your question.