Ask Matt: What’s With the Mediocre ‘Station 19’-‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Crossovers?
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. Look for Ask Matt columns on many Tuesdays and Fridays.
Comment: I’ve been a loyal Grey’s Anatomy fan since the pilot. I never claimed the show “jumped the shark” when someone was written off. (Though I did hate the way they handled writing off Alex.) But last week’s episode was the final straw for me. I’ve seen articles pointing to the show’s depressing embracing of the pandemic as causing a rating slide. I don’t think it’s COVID that’s killing the show. It’s everything else. I could handle Meredith struggling with COVID, but I’m sick of her dream scenes. The preview for next week confirms that’s still going to continue. Back in “the real world,“ it was unnecessarily depressing to simultaneously kill off both Andrew and a woman who never got to hold her baby. Yet I would continue watching if it wasn’t for the continuing mess of the crossovers.
I’m not interested in watching Station 19. I’m assuming there’s a large segment of viewers who feel the same way. Otherwise, they wouldn’t keep trying to ram the show down our throats. I had to read a recap of what happened on S19 before watching Grey’s. Something in the way it was handled left me cold. My eyes were very dry when Andrew died. It’s a shame because I like the actor and used to care about the character. On the other hand, maybe that also means that the writing or directing has deteriorated. I just don’t find myself caring about many of the scenes. If I learn in the future that the crossovers have ended, I might give Grey’s another shot. But for now, the fact that each episode starts off making me feel like I needed to watch another show leaves me too frustrated and resentful. — Beth (OD’d on Crossovers)
Matt Roush: What an interesting reason to break up with TV’s longest-running medical drama. Sounds like you also have a bad case of Grey’s fatigue, and I tend to agree that watching Meredith spend a whole season in some J. Crew Malibu limbo is seriously testing our patience, even when it’s fun to see faces like Patrick Dempsey’s again. But seriously, the crossovers! I’m with you that forcing viewers to watch a lesser spinoff to get the gist of what’s happening on the mothership is bad form. At least when the Chicago shows on NBC do it, they promote it as an event, whereas ABC is purposefully yoking Station 19 and Grey’s as often as they can. It was especially glaring this time, because much of Station 19 set up DeLuca’s heroic but ill-fated pursuit of the sex traffickers that led to his mortal injury. Stretching this out over two hours might also have blunted its emotional impact, because this isn’t the only viewer who wrote in to say they were left cold by the latest Grey’s tragedy. On the plus side, after such a downbeat comeback from hiatus, I’m even more convinced they’ll renew the show for at least one more year so it doesn’t end under the cloud of COVID.
Grey’s Still Commands the Watercooler
Question: When Alex Karev was written out last year, you posted my comments about Grey’s Anatomy giving male characters unhappier endings than their female counterparts. I revisit the topic with the show’s latest casualty. One headline stated only five main characters have died and I looked into that. The series has written off 18 actors listed in the opening credits (8 men, 10 women). Andrew DeLuca joins Derek Shepherd, Mark Sloan, Lexie Grey, and George O’Malley as the five (4 men, 1 woman) to die. Updating what I wrote last time, their endings were guided by what best serves storylines, but it continues to be an interesting statistic. The series still attracts viewers while the characters and their story arcs still spark discussion. With so many choices and time-shifted watching, how many other shows still compel ASAP-type viewing and next-day watercooler conversations, especially 17 seasons in? — Angelo
Matt Roush: I appreciate this approach. While I may be critical about some of the show’s choices this season (and certainly in the past), it is astounding that so many people still care. It’s a testament to the potent appeal of long-running episodic weekly TV, which is worth remembering when we’re all being distracted by the latest shiny new streaming object.
Where Did That New Blood Relative Go?
Question: Is the newly found Grandson Joe ever coming back on Blue Bloods? They introduced the character, then he’s gone. Is he coming back? — JB
Matt Roush: Joe (played by Will Hochman) is what’s considered a “recurring” character, not at this time part of the regular cast, and you’ll likely see him when an appropriate storyline dictates his return. Our reporter who covers the show tells me that Tom Selleck and the producers were impressed by Hochman, who was committed to another project after filming his initial arc. They’d like to have him back, though it may not be possible this season.
Not So Happy News
Question: Does Christopher Meloni going back to the Wolfverse (Law & Order: Organized Crime) mean we’ve seen the end of Syfy’s Happy? It was the most depraved and demented show I’ve ever seen, much less on basic cable, and I loved every minute of it (which probably says more about me than is necessary). After destroying Christmas and Easter, just imagine what they could do to Halloween! Or Mother’s Day, for that matter. With Meloni and Patton Oswalt (A.P. Bio) both in the Peacock’s nest, I’m hoping corporate synergy works in the viewers’ favor for once. — Woody
Matt Roush: Sorry to pass on the unhappy news that Happy! was not renewed beyond the second season. It would have been unlikely to continue anyway once Meloni committed to reprising his Elliot Stabler character as lead of the new spinoff. But boy, did he let his freak flag fly in that show.
The Revolving Door of NCIS Spinoffs
Question: Disappointing to hear of the end of NCIS: New Orleans. It remains my favorite. I suspect too many cast changes did not help. Any chance it will migrate to another network? — Gary J
Matt Roush: The NCIS franchise is made by and for CBS. These aren’t the sort of shows that get snapped up by rivals. Maybe if there was interest in producing more episodes for streaming on Paramount+, that would be the only lifeline. But as we’ve explained earlier in this space, CBS is known for jettisoning its crime dramas after a certain number of years (often seven) to keep refreshing the lineup. Speaking of which …
Question: With the rumored new NCIS: Hawaii spinoff, any chance David James Elliott would be cast? They kind of teased the possibility during the Season 11 episode when he and Catherine Bell repurposed their JAG characters. — Matt
Matt Roush: There’s always a chance. I won’t know what they’ve got in store for the Hawaii-based spinoff until they announce that it’s going forward (or not). It seems more likely to me that if they bring back Harm and Mac, it would be a for a JAG reboot to take advantage of the residual affection for the show that started it all. But anything’s possible, and having an established star at the helm would give it an immediate boost.
And Finally …
Matt Roush: All of the ABC game shows that were airing on Thursdays this winter — the celebrity Wheel of Fortune, The Chase and The Hustler‑have wrapped their seasons, making way for the return from hiatus last week of the regularly scheduled scripted shows. It may be too soon to know if any of these will return, where or when, but ABC obviously likes to lean on this genre to fill holes on the schedule, so I’d think at least a few of these may still have life in them. Although if the industry gets back to full speed when the pandemic wanes, ABC may not have quite as many holes to fill.
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.