Ask Matt: Dimming ‘GLOW,’ More ‘Stumptown’ and ‘Dancing’ Backlash, ‘Animaniacs’
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.
Is That All There Is for GLOW?
Question: I was devastated to see that Netflix canceled GLOW. It was original, empowering and brilliantly produced. The cast was superb. I was surprised that there was no Emmy buzz around Gayle Rankin (Sheila the She Wolf) after Season 3, in addition to the crazy talented Betty Gilpin. Is there any way another streamer, like Hulu or Amazon Prime, could keep producing it? — Bobi
Matt Roush: This is another sad production casualty of the pandemic, and I still hope the show can eventually come to a proper conclusion. Given that GLOW was already planning for the fourth season to be the last, I wouldn’t count on another streamer or platform to step in. Let’s just hope the PTB at Netflix listened when co-star Marc Maron wisely suggested that when it’s safe and possible to film this particular show again, that a two-hour movie wrap-up or a similar attempt at closure can be produced. Netflix has done it before, and in the case of a show this beloved and respected in the industry, why not try?
Losing Stumptown the Last Straw
Comment: I was just reading the Returning Favorites issue of TV Guide Magazine and see that Stumptown has been canceled. Well, this cancellation just ended my relationship with network television. Stumptown was the only reason I kept my $200-a-month cable subscription, which I’ll be canceling later today. Stumptown was a breath of fresh air and it seems that whenever a good program with a talented cast arrives, it is canceled after one season. This was just the last straw so… goodbye network TV and hello streaming! — Linda P
Matt Roush: Hate to break it to you, but streamers also cancel shows, sometimes even after just one season, but it rarely gets as much attention as a broadcast cancellation. That said, if you’re shifting your financial resources to streaming, you can still enjoy first-run network shows on a variety of platforms (Hulu, Peacock, CBS All Access).
Question: I especially enjoyed Stumptown and found the rather flawed characters interesting — the actors were perfect — always a fan of anything Michael Ealy does, and it was nice to see Cobie Smulders in a different kind of role. Is it finally defunct? No word anywhere of anyone picking it up, like Netflix? Netflix has Absentia [editor’s note: This is on Amazon Prime, not Netflix] and this show (to me) could easily fit it to that genre. — Gail
Matt Roush: As others have written in to complain, this cancellation is more frustrating to fans than many because ABC got their hopes up by renewing the show before reneging. I’m not aware of anyone biting as the studio reportedly has shopped the property around, and given current uncertainties in the industry and beyond, I’m not surprised. Which isn’t to say something won’t happen, we’ll just have to wait and see. And I didn’t correct Gail’s mistake about Absentia‘s home base to embarrass her, just to illustrate how confusing it is with all the platforms out there to keep them all straight.
Fans Are Still Dancing Mad
Comment: I have my differences with Dancing With the Stars: their scoring system, their guest hosts, their ultimate winners, but I never argued with the virtues of Tom Bergeron. Now there is a fly in the otherwise lumpy potato salad: Tyra Banks. As wonderful as she may be, she is a terrible host, an awful dresser and an egoist. Everything is about her. I know she is a producer, but can’t she listen to the public and bring Tom back? I watch for the dancing, not for the host. — Claire
Matt Roush: I know we’ve covered this ground multiple times already, before and since the new season of Dancing premiered, but if I’m to reflect the current state of my e-mailbox, this at least gave me a juicy metaphor (fly in the lumpy potato salad!) to savor. Claire’s point that she watches “for the dancing, not for the host” may help explain why Dancing’s ratings haven’t suffered this season despite the host backlash, but have actually improved. (This could also have something to do with the fact that viewers are craving this sort of upbeat escapist TV right now, and also that Dancing hasn’t faced competition from NBC’s The Voice until next Monday.) Bottom line: I don’t see ABC reversing course at this point, but feel free to aim your complaints at the network. Numbers aside, this still feels like a broken show to me.
Tooned Up on Hulu
Question: Seeing how it’s a Warner Bros. property, why does Hulu have the streaming rights to the Animaniacs revival and not HBO Max? — Alex
Matt Roush: The simplest answer: Money. The much anticipated Animaniacs reboot, which premieres Nov. 20, was announced back in 2018 as part of a deal in which Hulu would stream multiple seasons of various WB animated shows (including Tiny Toon Adventures and Pinky and the Brain). While it might sense for a new Animaniacs to air on WarnerMedia’s high-profile new HBO Max streamer, studios are also in the business of monetizing their assets by producing and leasing their shows to other platforms, even those outside their ever-expanding corporate umbrellas.
Question: Any word on when or whether Animal Kingdom will return? — Donald
Matt Roush: Whether: Yes. When: Can’t say. The TNT drama was among many that had to shut down production midway through its most recent season, delaying what would probably have been a summer premiere. It has been reported that Animal Kingdom has gone back to work, so when it’s ready to go, TNT will schedule it, presumably in 2021. Whether they’ll hold it back until next summer, when it typically airs, remains to be seen.
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.