Ask Matt: ‘Yellowstone,’ ‘Designated Survivor,’ the Emmys on TV 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.

Loose Ends on Yellowstone, Plus Loudest Voice and Baskets

Question: I am writing about last week’s (Aug. 7) episode of Yellowstone and maybe a show’s inattention to small but I think very relevant points. In this case, it was the Dutton family’s desire to not inform police of the violent episode in daughter Beth’s office but to handle it “in-house.” My point is that her assistant was also killed, and since he was relatively young I am sure he had some family and how are the Duttons going to handle explaining that to his family??? This apparently was not addressed at all but seems important to me.

Also, I apparently missed your review of The Loudest Voice on Showtime and wondered what your thoughts on this show are? To me, it is riveting and brilliant and both the series and Russell Crowe‘s performance should be Emmy-worthy next year. Finally, any parting info on why Baskets was canceled on FX; was it just ratings or a desire from the cast to move on? I really enjoyed this series. — JV

Matt Roush: I waited until watching this week’s episode to reply to your Yellowstone query, and was intrigued to note that Beth (Kelly Reilly) at least brought up the issue of how they’ll deal with the parents of her murdered assistant, Jason — to which John Dutton (Kevin Costner) characteristically growled, “Jason’s family is not my concern, sweetheart, you are.” For now, that’s where they’ve left it — maybe unsatisfying to someone who worries about loose ends and realism, but that’s TV for you. In high-stakes melodramas, expendable characters like Jason might as well be wearing Star Trek red shirts. I seriously doubt we’ll be attending his funeral, as the show has moved on to another violent chapter in the Duttons’ war with the Becks. (Regarding the comment earlier this week about Kelly Reilly being ignored at the Emmys, several readers pointed out that her work this and last week is especially deserving, when she was being savaged by intruders but didn’t stop fighting back and lashing out at her would-be assassins. That feels like her Emmy reel for sure.)

And since you asked, here’s my Loudest Voice review, and you’ll see we’re on the same page regarding Russell Crowe’s astonishing transformation into Roger Ailes. I have no doubt he’ll be an Emmy contender a week from now. Finally, if there was an explanation for Baskets’cancellation, I missed it. Because FX announced the end date after the fourth season had already begun, I figure this was more a business and ratings decision than anything creative, but to be honest, only in this peak-TV universe could a show this small and weird squeak out four whole seasons, which has to be looked at as a gift for its fans.

Why Didn’t Designated Survive?

Question: Why did Netflix change its mind on having Designated Survivor return? With so many shows that play to an audience that doesn’t require much intelligence to watch, DS was refreshing and allowed the viewer to use all of their brain to watch. — Unsigned

Matt Roush: Netflix keeps a very tight lid on information regarding decisions like these, and their mysterious algorithms seem to grow wary of many shows beyond a third season. (They’re also secretive when it comes to premiere dates, until they’re ready to go public, and viewership intel, and the list goes on.) I was surprised as well, because it hardly seems worth the effort to revive the show after ABC’s cancellation if they weren’t willing to keep it going a while longer. There may have been business reasons behind this as well, though, because moving from a full network season to a shorter streaming run changes the economics on a variety of levels.

Does No Host Mean the Emmys Get More Time to Honor TV?

Question: Regarding the question about Fox going hostless for the Emmys: The right host with a solid opening will boost ratings. However, I don’t think a ratings boost is the primary reason for Fox choosing to go hostless — assuming, like the Oscars last year, they didn’t ask a number of people and get repeatedly rebuffed, throw in the towel and go hostless out of necessity with a ticking clock. Fox’s ANNOUNCED reason for following the Oscars lead was to gain back 15 minutes (or more) at the opening of the show by NOT having a host and opening monologue, thereby giving itself all that extra time to honor a number of long running (and Emmy-winning) series which have ended their runs this year, like Game of Thrones (which I’m guessing will be honored by winning even more), Veep, The Big Bang Theory, etc. Whether they are to be believed is another question. — Michael

Matt Roush: The proof will be in the execution, I agree. The upside to a more streamlined Emmys will be if the show actually celebrates the year in TV, including the presumed tributes to the beloved shows that signed off this year. The more the Emmy show reflects the medium the awards are intended to honor, the more likely I am to be satisfied, ratings aside.

Waiting for Gomorrah

Question: Are we ever going to get to see Season 3 of Gomorrah? Season 3 came out over 18 months ago and season 4 was released in March. This show is one of my favorites and I know it is very popular oversea and just cannot understand the delay from Sundance. — Don

Matt Roush: The Italian crime drama appears to be caught in some sort of legal/financial limbo because of the bankruptcy of The Weinstein Company, which according to trade reports had U.S. rights to the third season. When I checked with reps at SundanceTV, they had nothing to announce. And it’s also possible the so-far-unseen seasons could go straight to Netflix, which is currently streaming the first two seasons for U.S. audiences. I imagine eventually we’ll get to see it all, just can’t say when or where.

And Finally …

Question: An episode on Justified dealt with a young girl, was it Eve from Last Man Standing? — Unsigned

Matt Roush: Not just an episode, but Kaitlyn Dever first came to most of our attention in a recurring role through multiple seasons (though most prominently in the excellent Mags Bennett Season 2) on one of my favorite FX dramas ever, playing Loretta McCready on Justified. She moved on to play Eve on Last Man Standing, where she still occasionally recurs, and has truly broken through this year as a star to watch in the feature film Booksmart. We can always say we knew (or saw) her when.

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.