Ask Matt: Singing a Sad Heart Song Over ‘Zoey’
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.
Can Zoey’s Playlist Play On Somewhere?
Question: I’m just upset and can’t really think rationally about NBC canceling Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist after two seasons. I understand the ratings were low and NBC couldn’t make it work business-wise. But the reason this hurts is because the finale in particular did such a great job in presenting new creative directions for the series to go. There is so much narrative potential in watching Zoey and Max navigate his access to the power together, and I really want to see what’s next for them and the other characters. I often see you print mail from people who say they won’t watch shows until they’ve been renewed, or that they regret watching a show that ends on a cliffhanger. I don’t at all. The first half of this season was rough, but even in its bumpier moments, the show gave me so much joy. And even if this is the end, in no way do I regret a single minute I spent with this show, It is such a gift to have had this on the air at all that I’m going to be grateful for it whether it is able to continue or not.
But if you had to guess, what do you think the likelihood is that Zoey actually lands somewhere? I was reminded that Lionsgate was successfully able to relocate Nashville to CMT after ABC cancelled it. (Although given that they killed off Connie Britton’s character shortly afterward, maybe this isn’t the best example.) I had forgotten that Lionsgate did that, but it still feels like a long shot to me in this case. I’d love for it to happen, though. — Jake
Matt Roush: So would I. This just feels like another nail in network TV’s coffin. (Have I been watching too much vintage Dark Shadows?) Prodigal Son, The Unicorn, now the beloved Zoey — so often when the networks attempt something different, they just can’t or won’t find a way to make it work or stick. Do they want to lose me forever? (They won’t, but it seems like a good time to emote.) I’m hopeful, if not entirely confident, that the studio will find a new platform to keep Zoey and its brilliant cast singing and dancing — Hulu, where it’s already streaming, would make the most sense. But there are a lot of castoffs out there from this season that are looking for a new home, so who knows? This makes me sad. So maybe I’ll just watch In the Heights a dozen times this weekend to cheer up.
Feeling Blue About the Good Dr. Browne
Comment: I was just about to ask you to tell me PLEASE that the wonderful Antonia Thomas has not permanently left the cast of The Good Doctor where she played Claire Browne, but then saw that she has indeed left — her decision. Apparently, she thought it was a great character that had nowhere left to explore. WRONG! A bad move on her part, but I guess it’s too late to tell her. The TV series landscape is littered with actors who prematurely left a hit series for a “change of scenery” and were never heard from again. Sorry to see her go. This seems a strange post-pandemic situation on series TV, with a LOT of series regulars leaving renewed and popular series for one reason or another. For the ones I watch, like Antonia in The Good Doctor, she will be sorely missed. — Michael E
Matt Roush: I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of this appealing actress, who added an important emotional layer to this ensemble, but at least she got an affectionate farewell from her cast members — and even a hug from Shaun. If this trend of supporting players seeking new pastures is happening with increased frequency, it may be because there are so many more options out there now in this never-ending sea of multi-platform programming, though Michael is right that few shows have the visibility of a hit like The Good Doctor. And while Claire will be missed, these ensemble dramas are almost always in a state of evolution, whether because of creative decisions by the producer/writers or because actors want to try playing something new. (To me, the show made a bigger mistake in killing off Dr. Melendez a year ago.)
Say It Ain’t So, Bishop!
Question: What is wrong with those people at NCIS? They have a great program with a great cast and they mess it up!! Emily Wickersham is perfect in her role. Why write her out? I only hope the producers see the error of their ways and bring her back as a regular. Very disappointed. — Cyndi
Matt Roush: The good news is that they didn’t kill her off, so she could potentially return on occasion, if not as a full-time regular. And while the circumstances regarding Bishop’s (and Emily Wickersham’s) departure were a bit more ambiguous than the Good Doctor situation with Antonia Thomas, this didn’t seem like an acrimonious split, though it’s not entirely clear if it was a mutual decision. Seven seasons is a decent run for a supporting character like this, especially considering that not every NCIS fan was as enthusiastic as Cyndi about the agent hired to step into Ziva’s considerable shadow.
Grey’s Finale Felt Cathartic After a Year of COVID
Comment: Now that the COVID-shortened/inspired season of Grey’s Anatomy has ended, I thought I’d pipe in that I thoroughly enjoyed the season finale’s time shift. I think living something in real-time and then seeing the time in a fast-forward sense really brought home how quickly those vaccines were created and the emotional release once you were vaccinated. Will I re-watch this season on Netflix or whatever streamer it’s living on when I go to re-watch the later years? I honestly don’t know. But I’d like to think that this season of Grey’s Anatomy (and to some extent Station 19) helped me process the bonkers trauma that was life in the past year or so. — Veronica
Matt Roush: I was happy to read this, because while I agree with many that they let Meredith linger way too long in that schmaltzy beach limbo, I respect this medical drama’s decision to double down on the Covid storyline and the pandemic’s toll on the various doctors at Grey Sloan (and, of course, their patients). I fielded many complaints over the months from viewers who only wanted escape in their TV shows, not a constant reminder of the situation we were all living through. But if any show was going to face it head-on, it should be a show like Grey’s — although it will be nice to see them emerge from those hazmat-style head coverings next season. I thought the time jump in the finale gave us the catharsis we all needed, and with the exception of the Link-Amelia split, ending the season on a note of happiness and calm instead of throwing in an out-of-nowhere cliffhanger was most appreciated.
How Will Bachelor Nation Carry On Without Its Host?
Comment: I heard on the local morning news this morning that Chris Harrison is permanently ousted from any future hosting duties on any Bachelor shows. I am outraged by this. That man has done everything to atone for what he said in that stupid interview with Rachel Lindsay. Yes, he did hire a high-powered attorney a while back, but I think he was only protecting himself in the event that this would happen. I hope he sues everyone involved in this. I love Chris Harrison. He is the face of the Bachelor franchise. ABC and Warner Bros. will have to be very, very careful who they pick to replace Chris. Most Bachelor fans are not going to be happy about this news. So it will need to be someone very likeable and well known. And not David Spade. Big mistake having him host Bachelor in Paradise. This country will never heal if people can’t start forgiving. Not forgetting, FORGIVING. So sad! — Melinda B.
Matt Roush: An unfortunate situation all around, and while I have no love or respect for this franchise, I recognize that Chris Harrison was a passionate advocate for the brand that made him famous and, no doubt, wealthy. Whether he irreparably damaged his reputation during that controversy last season (which couldn’t have been more poorly timed) remains to be seen, but by naming David Spade as one of the revolving guest hosts for Bachelor in Paradise (along with Tituss Burgess, Lance Bass, and Lil Jon), ABC has made it pretty clear they consider that spinoff a joke. Which I guess it is. What isn’t a joke is the deep feelings fans have when changes like this are made. Many still haven’t gotten over ABC dumping Tom Bergeron from Dancing with the Stars after years of sterling service in favor of Tyra Banks.
Question: Wondering if you can let us know what is going on with Good Girls on NBC? It hasn’t been on for about a month now, but I saw that its season finale isn’t until July 22nd? — Natalie
Matt Roush: This has been a rough year for shows being subjected to inexplicably long hiatuses. With Good Girls, which is still waiting to learn if it’s getting a fifth season, it’s been on an erratic schedule since its March premiere, and recently was bumped off Sundays for the Billboard Music Awards and a variety of sports pre-emptions, including Olympics trials coverage the next few weekends. (Nothing is more important to NBC right now than the Olympics. Just saying.) The good news is that Good Girls is shifting to Thursdays starting June 24, and it looks like they’ll be stacking episodes some weeks to get the season finished just in time for the Olympics to start July 23.
Question: Succession: Will it ever be back? — Patty
Matt Roush: Yes, of course it will. The pandemic delayed this Emmy-winning drama for quite a while, but it’s reportedly on track to return this fall. Can’t wait.
Question: When is the season finale of Walker? — Sandra R
Matt Roush: Currently scheduled for August 12.
That’s all for now. We 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.)