Ask Matt: 'Zoey's Musical Predecessors, 'Criminal Minds' Finale, 'Briarpatch's Shifty Schedule
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 many Tuesdays and Fridays.
Zoey Plays a Familiar Tune
Question: I am interested in your opinion on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. To me, it feels kind of like a rip-off of one of my very favorite shows, Eli Stone. Zoey seems to be based on the premise of God Friended Me with song. I will continue to watch as I enjoy music-based TV shows. (I even liked Cop Rock!) Eli Stone was such a well-acted enjoyable show with great stories which was canceled too soon. And who could forget George Michael in the pilot-fantastic!!!! I myself have three brain aneurysms plus a brain surgery, lots of MRIs and unfortunately, I got none of Eli or Zoey's hallucinations. Go figure. — Carol
Matt Roush: The comparison to Eli Stone was made in an earlier column around the time NBC "sneak-peeked" the Zoey pilot in early January, and I get it to an extent. But calling this a "rip-off" seems extreme, since for all of its many qualities (I was a fan), Eli was not a success, so it's not like Zoey is riding anyone's coattails. In fact, it's so offbeat that it has to be considered something of a risk and should be celebrated as such. (My review should tell you where I stand; Zoey mostly thrills me.) Another difference is that Eli's hallucinations weren't exclusively musical, and there was a spiritual dimension to Eli's journey that is mostly lacking here — although in an upcoming episode, Zoey's neighbor Mo (the terrific Alex Newell) reveals a spiritual crisis, through song of course. Fantasy high concepts are rarely entirely original, but Zoey feels fresh enough for me to recommend it without reservation. Wishing you well with your medical issues, and thanks for writing.
Someone Was Missing from Criminal Minds' Finale
Question: OK, I had prepared myself for the last Criminal Minds episode. Watched it for years. It was well done except for one thing. Why in the world, if Penelope was being highlighted, did they not have Shemar Moore pop in to say, "You can't leave without saying goodbye to me, baby girl!"??? Instead of being a good ending, it could have been great! — P. Yates, Colorado
Matt Roush: According to our post-finale interview with Criminal Minds’ show-runner, they would have liked nothing better than to have Shemar Moore return as Morgan for just such a farewell moment. But he's otherwise engaged on S.W.A.T. and, according to Erica Messer, "we weren't able to pull that off." A pity for fans, but it truly is difficult to borrow actors from ongoing series, even for a short payoff scene.
Access to Picard, and Digging Fox’s Deputy
Question: I have a two-fer: (1) Since Star Trek: Picard is a product of Amazon Studios, I'm just wondering if those of us who don't want to pay to get CBS All Access but are Amazon Prime members will eventually get to see the series through our Amazon membership.
(2) What's your take on Fox's Deputy? We are really enjoying it, especially the relationship between the Chief and his driver/security detail, Bishop. — Gwen
Matt Roush: Taking them in order: (1) I don't know where you got your information, but Picard is not an Amazon production, it's from CBS Television Studios (formerly Paramount), as are all Star Trek-related series. The Trek library of past shows is currently available to Prime members, but not Discovery or Picard, which are exclusive to CBS All Access subscribers, and I'd be surprised if that changes anytime soon. The Access and Prime Video streaming services are basically rivals, and I'd be curious when Amazon's deal for streaming the Trek series expires if they won't become exclusive to CBS All Access. That's how the business tends to work these days. The landscape is constantly changing, making it difficult to predict the future, and it's possible the All Access Trek series will eventually be available on Amazon, but probably at a price.
(2) I like Stephen Dorff as the Deputy and agree that his relationship with Bishop (Bex Taylor-Klaus) is one of the most distinctive and enjoyable aspects of an otherwise generic (to me) police drama. The episodes I watched over the first month or so of the series seemed to keep hitting the same beats, which is how procedurals work but which also tends to cause me to lose interest. I'm a bit more intrigued by Edie Falco as another L.A. law enforcement figure, the outsider police chief they call Tommy on CBS, also on Thursdays.
The Patch Keeps Moving
Question: We've been watching Briarpatch, which has followed The Sinner on the USA Network. I've noticed that at least the next several episodes of Briarpatch are all over the place, including episode 4 at 7 a.m. Any idea why USA is doing this? — Mary
Matt Roush: I haven't been able to confirm episodes beyond the third, which was originally set to air this Thursday but instead will premiere Monday at 11 pm/10c, and here's what seems to have happened. Ratings for Briarpatch apparently dropped precipitously from week 1 to 2, not unusual for such a serialized and bizarre mystery, but which may have hastened the move outside of prime hours. The positive spin is that moving to Mondays will give Briarpatch a heftier lead-in from WWE Raw, although these shows don't seem to be all that compatible, Briarpatch's assets being more of the quirky and slow-burning sort (not the pro-wrestling norm). This new Monday slot is where Briarpatch will stay, more likely than not, with replays elsewhere on the schedule. I do recommend the upcoming third episode (already available for On Demand viewing), which introduces Alan Cumming's menacing villain, Clyde Brattle. I'm sorry if this doesn't catch on (see my positive review).
Gone but Not Forgotten in Hawaii
Question: What gives with Hawaii Five-0 and Jorge Garcia's character of Jerry Ortega? Jerry has not appeared in the show recently and I've not seen any explanation for his absence, and Jorge's name is no longer in the opening credits. The character brought a unique presence to the show and I miss him. — David S, Georgia
Matt Roush: Jerry's departure was explained in the season opener, and it's true he's no longer a regular on Hawaii Five-0, but since the character is still alive and well (though wounded), there's a likelihood for guest appearances. No explanation was given for Jorge Garcia's departure, but it's not uncommon for actors in supporting (and sometimes even lead) roles to seek other opportunities after several years.
Question: Do you think they will ever bring back Scandal as a daytime show or on another channel? — Cookee
Matt Roush: In syndication, maybe. But new episodes of Scandal? Almost certainly not. And should Shonda Rhimes decide to ever reboot the show, possibly with new scandalous characters (since most of the cast has moved on), it would likely end up on Netflix, not ABC, since that's where she has set up shop.
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.