Ask Matt: The ‘Hawaii’ Exit and What It Means for Reboots, ‘Grey’s’ Crossovers and Losing Alex, Showtime After ‘Ray’ & More

Hawaii Five-0 cast
Karen Neal/CBS
Hawaii Five-0

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.

Why Did CBS Pull the Plug on Hawaii?

Question: I just learned that Hawaii Five-O will air its final episode on April 3. I want to know why it has been canceled. The articles say it has been a hit since its first episode 10 years ago. It is well written and a wonderful show. It makes no sense to have a show that is so good and has great ratings to be canceled. I am sure there are lots of people out there who will want to know the reason why this wonderful show is being canceled. — Mary

Matt Roush: Networks don’t always feel compelled to give a “why” when it comes time to ending a long run, but it usually has a lot to do with the business of show. While Hawaii is popular, and does well in the international market, any show becomes increasingly expensive over the long haul when it comes to renewing contracts, and already the show has shed many of its original players. According to the industry trades, stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan‘s contracts were up, and the last time this was the case, there was much speculation that O’Loughlin would walk away in part because of on-set injuries. He stayed for another couple of years, but some trade reporters have suggested that this time, enough was enough, and while the network may have considered continuing the show with a new lead, they eventually decided this was a proper time to end.

No fan likes to see a favorite show go off the air — CBS has lost at least two this season, with Criminal Minds recently signing off — but with the current exception of SVU and Grey’s Anatomy, no show lasts forever. (And who’s to say if Magnum P.I. sticks around for a while that you won’t see some of the Hawaii crew from time to time?)

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Could the Hawaii Exit Be the End of Reboots?

Question: Just hearing about the reboot of Hawaii Five-0 ending. Never watched that show (my Dad does for some reason), but I’m wondering could this be the beginning of the end of reboots of classic iconic shows? My dad tells me it hasn’t had the best ratings, and I know the Magnum P.I. and MacGyver ones aren’t exactly giving their originals a run for their money in popularity. It seems like this trend could at least be slowing down if not anything else. — Steven

Matt Roush: The end of Hawaii wasn’t really about ratings, although it’s true enough that CBS’s surplus of new shows built around old titles has lost some of its momentum. But I’m afraid the trend is far from over. A quick survey of network pilots in contention for next season include quite a number of titles based on either old TV shows or familiar movie/book franchises. A lot of this has to do with network TV’s need to rely on familiar titles and concepts to break through the clutter by offering shows that might at the very least prompt an “a-ha” from viewers. Among the pilots in the mix: ABC’s thirtysomething(else), CBS’s The Equalizer with Queen Latifah, Clarice (based on The Silence of the Lambs) and The Lincoln Lawyer, plus The CW’s new takes on Kung Fu, Superman & Lois and Walker (with Supernatural‘s Jared Padalecki).

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A Throwback to the Original Hawaii

Question: So the current Hawaii Five-0 series is ending after 10 seasons due at least partially to star Alex O’Loughlin’s medical issues. Matt, have you been of the opinion that the ORIGINAL Hawaii Five-0 series (yes, the one with the late Jack Lord) was driven into the ground? After all, it ran for TWELVE seasons. — Chris S

Matt Roush: I don’t really have an opinion, as the run of that show was a bit before my time (not as a viewer — I remember when it was on — but before I was on the beat). But I think it’s fair to say that it was time for the original series to go back in 1980, especially after James MacArthur (the original Danno) finally tired of the gig the season before the end, and ratings began to droop. It happens to the best of them.

Sick of Crossovers

Question: Why are Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy crossing over almost every week? I am faithful to Grey’s, but I do not watch Station 19. It seems I’m missing half of every situation. Can’t they go back to separating the shows? — MaryEllen

Matt Roush: This issue has come up before and has become especially noticeable lately (as in the recent blizzard episodes). I suppose you could blame the success of Dick Wolf‘s One Chicago lineup, where the medical, police and firefighter storylines regularly overlap. That, and ABC’s hope to make Station 19 a hit by tying it ever more closely to the enduring Grey’s. It annoys me, too, because I only have time in my life for one of these shows, and for whatever reason, I’m not giving up Grey’s just yet. But honestly, I’ve found it’s not that difficult to just look at a patient entering from a Station 19 storyline (like the bear-mauling victim) and just see them as another Grey’s patient for whom we weren’t around when the paramedics found them.

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Is Alex’s Departure the Last Straw for Grey’s?

Question: Amid all the bad and/or sad news this week of Hawaii 5-0′s end along with America Ferrera exiting Superstore, I believe the time has come to talk about the end of another long-time hit that I have continued to watch but this time may have jumped the shark — namely Grey’s Anatomy. With Justin Chambers‘ exit as Karev being profiled this week, this leaves Meredith as the only remaining member of the original interns. Combine this with the totally ridiculous plot lines Shonda Rhimes‘ team continues to spin and endlessly repeats about who will be sleeping with whom next has worn thin. Namely, Teddy’s cheating on Owen because she suspects that he may be the father of another child lest maybe she should realize this was before they finally got together and is just another example of manufacturing unrealistic plot lines. Frankly, I would like to see more plots centering on the hospital patients.

Also, what is up with NBC suddenly giving multi-year orders for their shows? Is this an attempt to lock in actors or what? If so, to me this is a refreshing change of pace. — JV

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Matt Roush: By now, any Grey’s fan has such a long history of rolling their eyes at the ridiculous romantic complications that I’ve found I can live with the groans — and I certainly groaned when Teddy went back to Koracick. The departure of Alex is, for me, a bigger deal — and tossing this off in a single episode (where it has been reported he may not appear except in flashbacks) feels like disservice. Although I’ll wait to see how they handle it Thursday. Still, for the character to just walk away (whatever the circumstances) doesn’t feel like a proper exit strategy for such a core character. He’ll be missed.

About NBC’s multi-season renewals (and they’re not alone in this): There are likely myriad reasons — some business, some creative — for these deals to be made, in part to keep powerful producers like Dick Wolf on board and happy, and sometimes to lock in talent for the long haul and to show public support for a hit, and also so the writers and producers can plan stories over an extended period without fear of cancellation.

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The Fallout from Dropping Ray Donovan

Question: I would like to thank Showtime for being able to lower my expensive cable bill every month. The only reason I have Showtime is Ray Donovan. I will discontinue, but only after a hopefully wrap-up episode. Do you think that will happen? Would like to thank the whole cast for a wonderful show. — Nancy P

Question: In these times where every TV/cable show is vying for viewership, Showtime did a big F.U. to its loyal viewers when it stupidly canceled Ray Donovan and didn’t let it wrap up storylines. I’ve heard from MANY Showtime viewers that they will be sending their own F.U. to Showtime by turning it off. So, I hope Showtime is happy to lose many viewers. — Susan W

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Matt Roush: When I get multiple submissions like these, you can’t help but wonder if Showtime will need to do some damage control here — like possibly producing a movie-length (or miniseries-style) wrap-up to the series, as has been rumored since the unexpectedly abrupt cancellation following Ray’s Season 7 finale. As I’ve noted before, I felt the series was running out of steam, but after this long, fans (especially when they’re also loyal subscribers) expect a proper ending to a show they’ve devoted so much time to.

And Finally…

Question: Just a comment on Sanditon and Masterpieces adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. I realize the ending was not what some would have wanted, but it was rooted in reality. I believe Jane Austen, herself, was unlucky in love. She chose to write. Perhaps Charlotte will, too. — Diane H

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Matt Roush: That’s a lovely sentiment, though it probably won’t assuage the legion of romantics who still wish for more. Thanks, though, for trying.

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.