Ask Matt: A Female ‘Genius,’ Mourning ‘Krypton,’ ‘Snowfall’ 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.
Show R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Female Geniuses
Question: Is the History network planning a new season of Genius? Maybe a woman this time? — Chelsea
Matt Roush: First, a necessary clarification. National Geographic Channel is home of the Genius franchise. But more to the point, after depicting the life stories of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, Nat Geo is turning to a female legend for its next Genius project: Aretha Franklin. Still no casting announced yet, but what a plum role that’s going to be. At the summer TCA press tour, network president Courteney Monroe explained that they had initially hoped to profile Frankenstein author Mary Shelley in a season of Genius, but couldn’t figure out how to develop it into a long-form miniseries. So Aretha will get the much-deserved spotlight in a series aiming for a 2020 premiere. R-E-S-P-E-C-T will be paid.
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Cancellation is Kryptonite for Cliffhangers
Question: While many fans are complaining about the story threads left frayed after Instinct‘s abrupt cancellation, and rightly so, that is nothing compared to all the cliffhangers left at the end of Krypton‘s season-turned-series finale. I mean, massive amounts of story left unanswered. I started watching as Super-Cynical-Man, but Krypton really grew on me. The fantastic Colin Salmon was a great addition. And I’ve never seen a show where the two leads beat the crap outta their (adult…very adult…time travel makes my head hurt…) kid and everyone cheered! While I wouldn’t be upset if Krypton‘s demise also meant Lobo’s spin-off also went down the drain, would it kill Syfy &/or WBE to do a wrap-up movie? (Probably, yes, it would.) I guess the lack of fan reaction to the cancellation is a big indication of exactly how bad the ratings were. — Woody
Matt Roush: All premature cancellations are tough — even the lowest-rated shows tend to have some sort of fan base — but it’s especially painful when it cuts short a fantasy series with this kind of mythology surrounding it. But you’re right. My mailbag is still flowing with reaction to the Instinct cancellation, and this is the first response I’ve received personally about Krypton — although my colleague Damian Holbrook did “Jeer” the move in the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide Magazine.
Snowfall‘s Political Powderkeg
Question: I know that the story and characters of FX’s Snowfall are fictional, but we also know of the Iran-Contra controversy of the time, so is it possible that [the late] John Singleton or someone may have known somebody from the CIA that gave him background into what was happening at the time? If so, this would be highly hypocritical of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” message to drugs at that time. — JV
Matt Roush: Hypocrisy in politics? What an idea! Snowfall was a deeply personal show for cocreator John Singleton, who grew up in the South Central area of L.A. where so much of Snowfall occurs. But the CIA subplot of the show, in which (fictional) agent Teddy McDonald is using proceeds from the drug trade to fund the Nicaraguan rebels, is based on consultation with experts, including some advisers who were used on another great FX show, The Americans.
That’s All They Wrote on Instinct
Question: One more question about Instinct: According to IMDb.com, there are two episodes which follow the “finale” which CBS isn’t showing. Is there any way for us to find and view them? I’m assuming some of the loose ends in the finale might be answered. You are so good at ferreting out answers to these questions! — Gwen
Matt Roush: Sorry to disappoint you, but CBS confirms that only 11 episodes were filmed (unlike 13 in the first season), so somebody’s math is off. There are no leftover episodes. (If there had been a surplus, CBS used to dump the episodes on Saturdays. But that won’t be happening here.)
Jason Meets Michael Myers on AHS
Question: Is American Horror Story ever returning? I’d swear I saw promos for a new season, then nothing. Or did the 2019 edition sneak by and I missed it? — Rick
Matt Roush: You haven’t missed it, although the promos are hard to miss. As in past seasons, the ninth version of AHS will premiere in the fall, taking us through Halloween — which is especially fitting this year, because American Horror Story: 1984 (no relation to George Orwell) is an homage to slasher horror movies in the tradition of Friday the 13th and Halloween. It’s set at a summer camp where counselors are on the menu for what appears to be an escaped mental patient named “Mr. Jingles.” You’ll see some familiar faces from the Ryan Murphy repertory company including AHS vets Emma Roberts, Cody Fern, Billy Lourd, and Leslie Grossman. The new season begins Sept. 18.
Already Sick of Fall TV Promos
Question: Is it just me or are there more promos for new shows than ever before? I have already been turned off of Bluff City Law and HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation due to saturation fatigue. — Sharon
Matt Roush: This is the time of year that tries many a viewer’s soul — at least those who don’t skip through or silence promos. To be fair, how are shows supposed to break through the clutter anymore if they don’t announce themselves? But it’s probably true that, because the broadcast networks are putting fewer new shows on in the fall anymore, you’re likely seeing more promos for individual series. (NBC only has three new titles in the fall, and Bluff City Law is its sole freshman fall drama.)
Ask Matt: The Hostless Emmys, 'Blood & Treasure' vs. 'Love Island,' Paranormal TV, 'Yellowstone' and More
Question: Will Blood & Treasure be back? — Dave
Matt Roush: Yes, CBS gave the globe-hopping action romp an early pickup for a second season, a rare bit of good news on the off-season front. Most of the networks’ scripted summer shows are still awaiting word, including The InBetween on NBC and Grand Hotel and Reef Break on ABC.
Question: When is Manifest coming back? — Unsigned
Matt Roush: NBC is holding the show for midseason, and the current game plan is for Manifest to return to its Monday time period in January after the aforementioned Bluff City Law finishes its initial tryout run. Stay tuned, though. Plans announced this far in advance have a way of changing, depending on how fall ratings play out.
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.