Ask Matt: ‘Madam Secretary’ in an Election Year, ‘Med’ Shedding Docs, ‘Game of Thrones’ and More
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 theform at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.
Will We Get to See Madam Secretary Run for President?
Question: Do you think the fact that we’re heading into a presidential election year will have an impact on whether Madam Secretary is renewed? And if so, do you think that works in favor of renewal or against? I can make both arguments. In favor of renewal: Keep the show on the air because it capitalizes on people’s increased attention on the world of politics while providing a cathartic, somewhat idealized version of the world. (Yes, they deal with tough issues, but for the most part things tend to get wrapped up fairly peacefully in an episode or two.) Against renewal: People will be sick of politics and won’t choose a political show as their go-to entertainment. It’s one of my favorite shows, so I personally am hoping for renewal. There’s tons of territory to mine with a McCord presidential campaign. — Kirsten
Matt Roush: You’ve laid out the arguments very well, and I could see it going either way, though I’m with you that the show has earned the right to produce a sixth season showing Elizabeth (Téa Leoni) running for the highest office, and I’d be OK should CBS announce ahead of time that this would be the show’s end game (if that indeed is the case). Taking it off the air without warning at this point seems disrespectful, though I also get that with her leaving the State Department for the presidential campaign, the story of her days as “Madam Secretary” are now behind her, making for a fitting end to the series — if CBS had announced it as such. For now, I’ll stay cautiously optimistic that we’ll get at least one more season of one of the few CBS dramas that doesn’t feel like a carbon copy of everything else on the lineup.
As for whether Madam Secretary is the right show for these times, including during what is bound to be a bruising year for real-life politics on TV, why not. It lets us dream of how things might be in a slightly less insane world.
This Doctor’s Departure Makes Us Sick
Matt Roush: Yes, it’s true, and I’m as surprised as you are that they would cut one of the most appealing characters, and actors, from that ensemble. Shows like these shed regular characters all the time — look at Grey’s Anatomy — but this seems more arbitrary than most. (He’s not alone; Med is also cutting Norma Kuhling, who plays Ava Bekker, and Chicago P.D. will lose Jon Seda‘s long-running character of Antonio Dawson.)
Who’ll Win the Game of Thrones?
Question: I don’t know what’s in the Game of Thrones books and I don’t read any spoilers. From listening to the actors on talk shows, it seems like there will be a surprise ending. I want Aegon Targaryen, but I’m picking King Gendry and Queen Arya. So who do you think will sit on the iron throne? — Maria
Matt Roush: That’s the kazillion-dollar question, isn’t it? And one I can’t even begin to address until we see who survived the Battle of Winterfell on Sunday. Here’s the thing: Even for those of us who have read the books, it’s a guessing game, because George R.R. Martin (who wrote the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels that inspired the show) has yet to finish his concluding volume. Since last season, the HBO series has been charting its own path, finally bringing characters together who’ve been stuck in ruts in Martin’s sprawling tomes and moving them toward this exciting finish. I actually like one theory suggesting that when the dust settles, the Iron Throne will be destroyed and a new world order will be established in Westeros. I like your prediction, though, and I guess my answer is A.B.C. (As in: Anyone But Cersei — love to hate that evil villainess, but if she wins the war, will it have been worth fighting?)
There’s Only One Perry Mason — Or Is There?
Question: I’ve been hearing about this new Perry Mason reboot and I just shook my head. I mean, they tried this before and it was gone after 15 episodes, and the character had been brought to life before Raymond Burr with multiple flop movies in the ’30s. I don’t think the universe wants anyone to be Perry Mason but Raymond Burr, lol. — Ella
Matt Roush: If HBO’s take on the classic character were a straight-up remake, with Perry in the courtroom each episode (like the short-lived 1970s remake with Monte Markham), I’d tend to agree with you. Not wanting to pre-judge, I’ll confess to being very intrigued with the premise of the series, starring The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys in an origin story set in 1930s, when Perry is a down-on-his-heels private investigator, which sounds more film noir than case-of-the-week. Without doubt, Raymond Burr owns the role of Perry Mason in his most iconic form, and I’d resist any attempt to redo that version. But why not give this new twist on a favorite character a shot?
Why JAG 2.0 Would Be Completely Different
Question: Regarding all the heightened speculation about the possibility of a JAG reboot: the latest TV Guide Magazine has an interview with David James Elliott. He makes some intriguing comments. The result of the coin flip will (finally!) be revealed. His character of Harm is no longer practicing law; he’s now second in command on an aircraft carrier. And he would not say no to a JAG reboot, adding, “there’s no end of story possibilities on the carrier-intrigue, world affairs. It could be Star Trek at sea.” So it sounds to me that JAG 2.0 and The Code (and the three NCIS series) could easily co-exist in the same universe, and characters from all four and maybe five of CBS’s military-themed procedurals could conveniently cross over, the way characters do in NBC’s Chicago-shared universe, and The CW’s superhero universe. Me, I’ve got my fingers crossed. — Maurice
Matt Roush: Me, I just spiraled into a mild depression at the thought of so many same-sounding shows airing on one network. You may be right that there’s room for all, though The Code still has to prove itself. And I’m not resisting a return to the JAG universe, especially if it were more about life on a carrier, which would at least be a more novel premise than just relocating JAG to some other city.
Question: Is Longmire ever coming back to Netflix? — Steve
Matt Roush: No. The sixth season was announced and filmed and aired in 2017 as a final season, and given that A&E canceled it after three, fans were lucky to get those last three seasons. It’s always possible someone could revive the franchise for a movie or limited series, but I’m not aware of any movement on that front. Sometimes you just have to accept that when a show’s over, it’s over.
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.