Ask Matt: Overlooked at the Emmys (‘Bosch,’ ‘Queen Sugar,’ ‘Suits’), Plus ‘Love Island,’ ‘Amazing Race,’ 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 the form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.
Why No Emmy Love for Bosch?
Question: Just saw your column on Emmy predictions and hopes for this year’s nominations, and I believe I have mentioned this to you before, but why don’t you mention Bosch, which should be nominated for Emmys? It’s one of the best shows on TV. — Cindy Q
Matt Roush: Even if I had unlimited space to mention every show that I wish could make the Emmy cut, I’d need to be a realist when analyzing the field. And as much as I enjoy Amazon’s Bosch (which I do, and regularly steer people toward it any chance I get), it falls into a category, the police drama, that rarely gets much traction at the Emmys anymore. While I do think Bosch raises the bar for a police procedural with its season-long arcs, and Titus Welliver is terrific as the embodiment of Michael Connelly’s iconic literary hero, it doesn’t transcend the genre in a way that I’d expect to get the attention of Emmy voters. Not when there are literally hundreds of series (and even more actors within them) vying for attention.
Because the Emmy nominations will be announced a week from today (July 16), I’m devoting the next part of the column to more questions that address what fans see as Emmy inequities. The answer is almost always the same, that the fields are so crowded that the odds of most shows (and their ensembles of actors) breaking through are incredibly steep. Here’s an exercise for you: Follow this link to this year’s official Emmy ballot and call up any category. The number of choices is staggering, and because it’s impossible for Academy members to have seen everything, only the highest-profile, most acclaimed or previously nominated shows and stars tend to have much of a chance. Though we always are happy to be surprised.
Question: The awards shows are geared to the regular networks and the streaming shows. There are some excellent series on OWN like The Haves and Have Nots and Queen Sugar. Some of the actors are superb. Why are they never nominated for the awards? — Joyce H
Matt Roush: I’ll concede that in a less insane environment a show like Queen Sugar, which is serious in approach and beautifully acted and produced, would have a chance, and be a smart choice in an industry looking to reward diverse content. The series’ creator, Ava DuVernay, has broken ground with an all-female directorial team, and she is likely to fare very well at the Emmys (I hope) with her Netflix miniseries When They See Us. There’s no satisfying answer to why shows and casts like these get overlooked, but for all of its virtues and success, Queen Sugar doesn’t tend to make a lot of noise. (From what I can tell, The Have and Have Nots didn’t even submit itself for an Emmy, understanding that it’s a guilty pleasure at best.)
Matt Roush: If it were ever to happen, it would have happened by now. I guess Suits will have to settle for love from its fans, and media champions including the cover story in the current issue of TV Guide Magazine.
No Love for Love Island
Question: When did CBS get into the pimp business? An island for people to hook up? (Note: Love Island begins a weeknight run on CBS tonight, and will air Mondays to Fridays through Aug. 7.) Seems all their summer shows are about sex between strangers. So when did they decide to lose their morals? — Flossie
Matt Roush: Best not to take these things so seriously — though it does amuse me that the most traditional and staid of the broadcast networks goes all in on something that’s seemingly so salacious. And maybe we can take heart in the fact that Fox’s attempt to resurrect Paradise Hotel earlier this year was a colossal flop, with its footprint on the schedule drastically reduced by the end. So maybe Love Island won’t play here, either, although it’s a big hit overseas — in the new season of Orange Is the New Black later this month, characters are shown binge-watching the U.K. version on Netflix. I expect it will meet expectations as a companion piece to the similarly indefensible Big Brother many nights, and will find an audience hungry for summer-TV mindlessness. But is it really any worse than buying into the wretched serial-dating fantasy of The Bachelor and Bachelorette? The happy news: No one’s forcing us to watch. And I won’t.
Racing to Redemption
Question: About 15 years ago, Colin and Christie made a big impression on me in The Amazing Race. They seemed to have such a toxic relationship, and it was very unpleasant to watch them, especially as they advanced to (I think) the finale. So, when they were announced as cast members on the latest season, I don’t think I’ve ever “ugh”-ed harder. Yet somehow, they emerged as an incredibly pleasant team that ended up as one of my favorites to win it all this year. (If anything, I rolled my eyes sometimes at their New Age-iness, but I’ll take that over constant shouting and bickering.) I kept waiting for something to happen that made the “real” Colin show up, and it never did (not even another challenge where a cow wasn’t cooperating with them). In fact, in the final episode, it was Colin who had to talk Christie down from getting irate with a cab driver! I think they (and some other teams) made this an excellent season of the show, despite my initial dread of the “reality stars” format. It was so nice to see that people can truly grow and mature and not continue to play into their “character.” This isn’t really a question, so much as pointing out that, despite the general negative feelings towards reality shows, some reality shows can be positive for not only the viewers but the participants as well. – Scott B.
Matt Roush: Disclosure: While I’ve long been a fan of The Amazing Race, I simply couldn’t make time to watch the latest season, falling toward the end of the regular season and the busy beginning of summer TV. But I’m glad to hear this, and I suspect Colin and Christie saw how they came off during their first run and decided to use their comeback to restore their image. Some reality “stars,” of course, only double down on outrageousness to get more airtime (see any Real Housewives from anywhere), but The Amazing Race has almost always been a cut above.
Defending Designated Survivor
Question: My wife and I found the new season of Designated Survivor to be superior to the two on network television, because the characters were drawn more deeply, the situations were more realistic (as was the language), and the scenes weren’t constrained by needing to hit commercial breaks. Do you know if has been renewed? And who can we contact to encourage renewal, please? — Paul
Matt Roush: I got quite a bit of mail after the first wave of criticism about Designated Survivor‘s suddenly potty-mouthed characters, many like Paul defending the show’s more “adult” content. (Which, to be honest, I sometimes found a bit contrived, as if they were showing off now that they were no longer subject to ABC’s censors.) I also found this season better focused and more dramatically engaging, and as previously noted, loved the addition of Julie White as Lorraine, President Kirkman’s hilarious (and undeniably profane) campaign manager. At present, Netflix has not announced a renewal, and you could reach out to them — although you’ve already voted by watching all the way through, and those metrics are all Netflix cares about. I’d be surprised if the show doesn’t return for at least one more season, given Netflix’s investment in bringing it back.
Question: When will Coroner with Serinda Swan be shown on U.S. television? — Peter
Matt Roush: Nothing’s been announced yet regarding U.S. distribution of this Canadian crime drama, which was recently renewed for a second season. NBCUniversal International Networks picked up rights to distribute the show to a number of European and Latin/South American countries and Australia, but the U.S. was not mentioned in an initial release. NBC could conceivably make the show available to one of NBC’s channels — or its upcoming streaming service (which will be ad-supported). Coroner also sounds like the sort of acquisition that WGN America leans on for its prime-time schedule, and with only eight episodes could work as a binge-watch on any of the streaming services, if not NBCUniversal’s. (I bet now that I’ve put this question out there, someone will be announcing something soon.)
Question: I was hoping to see Spotless resurface someplace but no luck. Any clue? — K and C
Matt Roush: I had to look this one up to be reminded that this French dramedy (currently available on Netflix) aired its one and only season on the now-defunct Esquire Network, which had announced a renewal before the network folded, so that never happened. Given that the series originally aired in 2015 and there has been no news about it since then, I’d think it’s a long shot for there to ever be more.
That’s all for now—and be aware that for much of the rest of the summer, this column will post less regularly. 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.