Ask Matt: ‘One Day’ Cancellation, March Madness, Nathan Fillion as ‘The Rookie,’ ‘This Is Us’ and More

ABC/Eric McCandless

Welcome 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.

Could There Be Another Day for One Day?

Question: MATT! What are we going to do about Netflix and the idiotic decision to cancel One Day at a Time???? I don’t understand what they based this decision on. This is the one reboot that is not only as good as the original, one could say that it is even better! What is the likelihood that another network, even a broadcast network, will pick up a show that already has three seasons under its belt? — Felicia

Matt Roush: To quote One Day’s legendary creator Norman Lear in a tweet, “At my age [96], I can testify you are never too old to have your heart broken.” And you’d think even I’d be used to it after covering the industry for so many years, but this cancellation hurts more than most. Obviously because the show and performances are so good—how Rita Moreno (as a legend among equals) was not nominated for an Emmy is beyond me—but also because of its representation of Latinx and LGBTQ characters and its smart, sensitive handling of issues including addiction and depression while still managing to be funny, warm and wonderfully entertaining.

Netflix was unusually open in expressing its regret that “not enough people watched to justify another season”—although with Netflix it’s never exactly clear how many watched or what the metric for success is. Naturally, there’s an online campaign to keep the show going (#SAVEODAAT), and celebrities including Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda have weighed in—I love how he tweeted to ABC that it “looks like a perfect fit to me” for that network’s diverse family-sitcom lineup (and I agree). The show’s studio (Sony) is reportedly shopping it to other platforms, but the flow usually works the other way, for a streaming service to pick up a broadcast castoff. Should One Day find its way to old-school media and actually succeed, wouldn’t that be great? Stranger things have happened.

Mad About March Madness

Question: With all the sports channels available, why does college basketball take over the regular networks in March? Meaning if you don’t like basketball, which I and most women DONT, YOU HAVE NOTHING ON TV TO WATCH. — Elsie

Matt Roush: Really? Nothing? The NCAA’s first and second rounds only affect CBS (on Thursdays and Fridays for two weeks) and the Turner networks (truTV, TNT, TBS), which lets all of the games be seen by fans across the country when so many teams are still engaged in the tournament. Still, it’s pretty easy to avoid if it’s not your thing. There are quite a few other channels out there. But to your broader question, while indeed there are many outlets devoted solely to sports, the broadcast networks still bid for contracts on certain sports to stay in the business, because sports TV is lucrative—and the NCAA tournament is a CBS tradition. (I was more upset when the Final Four games started airing on cable—it’s back on CBS this year—because old habits die hard.) Being a Hoosier, I have a natural affinity for college basketball—even when (like this year) IU doesn’t make the cut—but even so, to generalize that most women don’t like this (or any) sport is an obvious overreach. I get that any interruption of one’s favorite shows is annoying, but “March Madness” is a bona fide event and deserves exposure on as wide a platform as possible.

Is Rookie the Best Use of Nathan’s Talents?

Question: Regarding The Rookie: I haven’t seen any talk about Nathan Fillion’s talent for comedy. I try to read all your columns. Anyway, I cringe to watch him as The Rookie when he was so perfect in the role of Castle. I know that actors don’t want to be typecast, but I feel he’s not showing his potential in this Rookie role. Castle was my favorite show until it was removed. Your opinion? — Granny

Matt Roush: I get where you’re coming from, and there’s no question that the lighter touch required on Castle suited his considerable comedy chops better than this more earnest procedural. But I also feel that there’s an innate likability and vulnerability to the way Nathan Fillion plays Rookie’s John Nolan, as he tries to start over at middle age with the cards stacked against him. Shows end and an actor’s career goes on, and it’s understandable that you’d prefer one role to another, especially if the aspects of his talent you enjoy most aren’t fully on display here. When the time comes for him to put his badge away, maybe he’ll go back to comedy and you’ll be more satisfied.

This Is a Rant

Question: Who is coming up with the stories in This Is Us? In what world does someone just walk into a dance studio and begin dancing in an empty studio? No one who has ever danced anywhere would be so rude. And what studio would hire a teacher who hasn’t danced for 20 years? None. This entire story line is ludicrous. Last week’s episode of watching that family spend 26 hours in the waiting room was so boring I almost turned it off. And then to finally have Kate and Toby meet their baby, only to not even put their hands into the portholes to touch him until after they whined on the sidelines, made me want to scream. I am so over this made-up drama. — Sharon

Matt Roush: Please find me a drama that isn’t “made up,” I’d be curious to see what that’s like. I’m thinking what you’re really objecting to is how contrived some of the storylines are—and I’m mostly with you when it comes to the conflict with Beth (the fledgling dance teacher) and husband Randall over their diverging career/family needs. But I’ll take issue with your boredom over the vigil for the premature arrival of Kate and Toby’s baby. While I groaned when Kevin’s alcoholic relapse and the chill between Beth and Randall became distractions during such a tense time, I empathized with Rebecca flashing back to losing Jack in the hospital, and felt the despair and fear of these new parents as they looked upon their vulnerable, tiny infant for the first time.

What I still love about This Is Us for all of its flaws is the passionate reaction, positive and negative, it gets out of viewers. Some hated the Vietnam storyline with the brothers, others (like me) thought it was a series high point. But it bothers me that the venom pours out so strongly, when so few dramas (network or otherwise) even attempt to tell stories on this emotional level. I cut it a lot of slack and still look forward to it more weeks than not. But seriously, Beth and Randall? GET OVER IT.

Pulling for the Sinner Star

Question: I was very glad to hear that USA’s The Sinner has been renewed. I think Bill Pullman has done an amazing job portraying Detective Harry Ambrose. Why has he not been considered for an Emmy? Do you think his performance is Emmy worthy? — Norb, College Station, TX

Matt Roush: I was also glad to see The Sinner is coming back, this time with Matt Bomer at the core of the new mystery. Bill Pullman is definitely (and almost always) worth considering, but even in the limited-series field—where for the first season he was entered in the supporting category, curiously—the competition can be stiff. And while I admire the brooding role he plays in this dark crime anthology, it’s a very internalized performance, not as showy as the sort of acting that tends to get nominated. I certainly wouldn’t have objected to him getting a nod last year, but also wasn’t surprised to see him passed over for higher-profile projects like The Assassination of Gianni Versace (which received three nominations in the category), The Looming Tower, Jesus Christ Superstar and—the winner—Jeff Daniels’ memorable villain in Godless.

Lightning Round

Question: I think it’s a shame that The Black Donnellys never made it to a second season, because not enough people knew about it. I think if they had known, it would have been great. Is there any chance for a season 2 of Black Donnellys?-Jim

Matt Roush: I try never to say never, but there are so many strikes against this one. For those who have no idea what The Black Donnellys is, the NBC drama focused on four brothers involved with organized crime in the Hell’s Kitchen area, and aired very briefly in 2007 (with the back half of its only season released online because of poor ratings). With such a short run, and having aired so long ago with no sign of life, it’s beyond unlikely that anyone would give this a second chance or a second season. It’s probably best to look at this one as a “limited series” by default, if not design.

Question: On the March 11 episode of Magnum P.I., was the barber played by the original T.C.?-William

Matt Roush: Yes, good catch. That was Roger E. Mosley playing John Booky, a Vietnam vet who offers advice along with his cuts. Don’t know if we’ll see him again, but that was a nice callback to the show’s origins.

Question: Is there any word on when the next season of Bosch will return? Also, have you heard of any Western (like Godless) shows forthcoming? — Vicki

Matt Roush: The good news: Amazon Prime Video has set the fifth season of Bosch (a personal favorite) to premiere April 19. As for TV Westerns, they’re still a rare breed anymore. Beyond the return for a second and final season of AMC’s The Son (April 24) and the impending movie version/finale of HBO’s Deadwood, which is possibly more godless than the terrific Godless, I’m coming up mostly empty right now.

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 with your question.