Ask Matt: The New ‘Superman’ Series, Peacock Programming (‘Capture,’ ‘Psych’), ‘Alienist,’ ‘Yellowstone’ & 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. (We know background music is too loud, but there’s always closed-captioning.)
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 (@TVGMMattRoush). Look for Ask Matt columns on many Tuesdays and Fridays.
Will Superman & Lois Be Allowed to Stand on Its Own?
Question: I’m a huge Superman fan and looking forward to the new Superman & Lois show. Do you know if I can just start watching without knowing the other CW DC shows? I used to watch Arrow, then missed a series, and before I could catch up there was a glut of DC shows, all doing crossovers, etc. with some seriously convoluted storylines. I literally couldn’t catch up on them without a spare six months of watching non-stop. I’m hoping they don’t alienate Superman fans by assuming we’re all up to date on the DC shows. — Gavin S
Matt Roush: Judging from the premise, I’d think you’d be safe at least at the start to dig in and enjoy the show on its own merits. If it isn’t allowed to stand on its own, I’d consider it a failure. But realistically, Superman & Lois is one of many shows coming from the Berlanti/DC superhero factory, and especially since Supergirl is also part of this world — though won’t be returning until midseason, whenever that will be, considering most returning CW shows aren’t scheduled to even premiere until winter 2021 — and Supergirl has been tied in with the others during the epic crossovers, it’s unlikely viewers of the new Superman show will be spared overlap with the DC/CW veterans at some point. I hope concerns such as yours might inspire the producers to give this show in particular a bit more editorial independence.
Mixed Reviews for Peacock Programming
Question: The Capture on Peacock was very good paranoid TV anchored by two terrific performances and truly bingeable until a really really anticlimactic season ender in Episode 6 — which was all the more disorienting by the fact that IMDB shows the season as having 8 episodes. I had to go back and watch the last 20 minutes again, and I still said, “Really, all this for THAT?” Anyway, what’s with the discrepancy? — David F
Matt Roush: Any references to episodes beyond the first six must be referring to a second season of The Capture that has been commissioned, because the first season (which Peacock acquired after being shown last year on BBC One in the UK) was definitely only six episodes. And being wary of spoilers, I’ll only say (as suggested in my review overview of first-wave Peacock originals) that I had fewer issues than you did with the way the first season ended. It seemed in keeping with the moral ambiguity of the overall series and set up a second season very nicely with Rachel’s (Holliday Grainger) ultimate decision. Perhaps you were disappointed if you were expecting vindication and a takedown of the shadowy government programs, but knowing there will be more story to be told — and [SPOILER ALERT] Rachel will now be seeing events from the inside — has me eagerly awaiting a second chapter.
Question: I just watched the latest Psych movie — Psych 2: Lassie Come Home — on Peacock and I really enjoyed it and hope there is another movie planned by the cast. I did not see a review of the movie; did you watch and review it, and did you enjoy as much as I did? — Unsigned
Matt Roush: I wasn’t able to review all of the Peacock originals in the magazine, but did review Psych online in my aforementioned Peacock overview. Like you, I was entertained and happy to see the gang reunited and would be happy to see more. (I was especially amused by James Roday and his A Million Little Things co-star/love interest Allison Miller appearing together, and his sly dig at This Is Us.)
Why Rush The Alienist?
I’m wondering why TNT has decided to air two episodes each week of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness? Are they trying to run through it quickly, BINGE air it, get it OVER with, or what? Have you heard anything on it? I would bet/suspect that whatever they have in the pipeline to air AFTER it’s over will NOT be near as good (as rough as the subject matter is). — A.R.
Matt Roush: It’s entirely possible that TNT’s lineup from late August into fall will be pretty bleak if more series production doesn’t start gearing up soon. But the strategy behind airing back-to-back hours of Alienist over four weeks, instead of stretching it out over eight weeks, is to make it feel more of an “event” and to emphasize the fact that it’s actually a miniseries — the way book adaptations like this used to air — than a weekly episodic. Even so, I’m sure there are some viewers, conditioned to the streaming world, who wishes they could watch the entire Alienist sequel in a single sitting.
Banking on Dissatisfaction
Question: We saw Tyra Banks in action on America’s Got Talent and she was terrible. She was so boring that we would always fast-forward. She did not last very long. Tom Bergeron was the best part of Dancing with the Stars and we really like Erin Andrews, so with the selection of so-called “stars” that keeps getting worse (most of them we don’t even know) we will probably stop watching. — Carol B
Matt Roush: This sudden change is obviously a calculated risk, and ABC must be hoping to attract new (and possibly younger) viewers with this switcheroo, because it will definitely alienate the existing fan base, who from what I can tell are uniformly fans of Tom Bergeron. If the show can’t attract a more compelling caliber of “stars” for the next season than they’ve managed recently — and I beg them, no one from the world of politics or punditry — they could be in for some real trouble. Not that I’m prejudging Tyra, mind you. (Didn’t sample her much during her short America’s Got Talent tenure, but at the height of America’s Next Top Model, she was impressive, though this is an entirely different world, even when models participate.)
Cover Your Ears!
Question: I look forward to Ask Matt each week, though my question is more generic. I’m wondering if there is a standard when racier dialogue is said in front of child actors, or by the child themselves, how the shows handle that. I’ve always assumed it is filmed with a filler word when the child is there and then dubbed later so the child doesn’t actually hear it, but now I wonder. Can you shed some light? — Jim B
Matt Roush: The last time this question arose, it was in regards to the darkly comic FX series Breeders, in which we learned that when the parents erupted with profanity in front of the child actors playing their offspring, they used alternate dialogue and then filmed the stronger language separately. I’d like to think this is standard practice, although when the situation calls for a young actor to spout a profanity, often for comic or dramatic effect (as in Yellowstone recently, with the character of Kevin Costner’s grandson mimicking the salty-talking cowhands he’s growing up around), I’m not so sure.
Yee-haw for Yellowstone
Question: Why doesn’t Kevin Costner‘s show Yellowstone get more coverage? I think it’s one of the best shows currently on the air, with a fantastic ensemble and it addresses the important question of corporate profit and greed over old values like ranching and family. — Martin Garment, Palm Springs, CA
Matt Roush: Not to beat our own drum (although why not), this site has been quite consistent in its coverage of Paramount Network’s hit contemporary Western, with recaps and other articles, and my colleagues at TV Guide Magazine welcomed the show back with a full-page highlight, so it’s not like we’re ignoring it. (Last season, Paramount made many more episodes available to critics ahead of air, which made it easier for me to preview, although I kind of enjoy watching the show along with everyone else on Sundays this summer.) That said, if others aren’t paying attention, they should be. I’ve enjoyed the more leisurely pace of this season, although now that John Dutton (Costner) has declared, “Summer’s over,” and the conflict is escalating with the developers who want to build an airport and adjoining city on his land, I imagine things will get exciting again fairly soon. In many ways, without quite as much melodrama, Yellowstone feels more and more like a modern-day Dallas, though set in Montana.
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.