Ask Matt: The Glades, The Gates, Mad Men, Hawaii Five-0 and More!
Matt Passmore, The Glades
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Question: I am a long-time follower of your columns and reviews, and I just want to thank you for all the great series you have steered me toward over the years. The latest is Breaking Bad, which I never would have gone near if not for your raves. What an amazing show. Now I'm wondering if you have been watching The Glades and what you think of its development. Being from South Florida, I am always curious about shows located there. Most shows don't get the feel of the place (we won't even speak of that CSI show), but this one seems to be doing it right so far. And talk about someone coming out of left field: Where did this amazing guy Matt Passmore come from? Because I know he is Australian, I'll forgive his lack of a Chicago accent, but he has developed such an interesting and believable character (thank you also, writers) and is such a charismatic lead. After Lost, I never thought I could appreciate Kiele Sanchez in anything, but I am enjoying her performance as well. Thanks again for all the enjoyable hours of TV and please keep writing your columns! — Susan
Matt Roush: Well, thanks for that encouraging feedback. With The Glades, I'll fess up that I haven't seen every episode (which is one of the blessings of a show like this; it doesn't penalize the viewer who merely samples), but what I've seen I've liked. Especially Passmore, whose biggest previous credits include Australian standouts Underbelly (which has aired on DirectTV) and McLeod's Daughters. I enjoy his character's laid-back irreverence. It fits the funky swampy setting, which as you noted does feel more authentic than the Miami of you-know-what. It's a fun show, perfect for summer, much like the various USA Network hits — and can I just say, while we're plugging not-so-guilty summer pleasures, how much Covert Affairs is growing on me; fans won't want to miss this week's Christopher Gorham-"Auggie"-centric episode.
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Question: I just wanted to give a huge shout-out to John Slattery for his directing of last week's episode of Mad Men, "The Rejected." Even though he wasn't in front of the camera as much playing Roger, his humor and wit were certainly apparent behind the camera. From Pete's aggravation with the column in his office (although he did find it useful to butt his head against) to Peggy peeking her head over the top of the office window to peek at Don (somewhat like a little sister looking to see what trouble her big brother got into), these were moments that had me laughing out loud. Of course the biggest bit of humor is Don's new secretary. Kudos to Joan for finally putting the equivalent of a secretarial "chastity belt" on Don. She was intuitive enough to know that he had broken his rule about not getting involved with his secretary and was going to nip this in the bud for the time being. I look forward to seeing how Miss Blankenship and Don are going to interact together.
Slattery also handled very deftly the sobering moments, from Pete and Peggy's past to Don still going down a troubled path of trying to find out who this new single Don Draper is. I saw from the previews that Betty is back, which is good as I have missed her the past few episodes. I foresee a real confrontation coming between Don and Betty at some point this season, probably resulting in an Emmy-worthy episode for both Jon Hamm and January Jones when their characters finally get a chance to really vent at each other. Overall a great season so far. I would like to know your thoughts. — JG
Matt Roush: I'm filing this before seeing Sunday's episode, but I agree it will be good to revisit the Don-Betty estrangement, and I'm hoping something soon will shake Don from his mopey single-guy doldrums. I know and appreciate Mad Men too well to make any judgment calls this early in the season, because you really never know when a game-changing moment will suddenly emerge, but now that we're past those surreal holiday episodes (Don and Lane's drunken night on the town was so bizarre), I find myself dreading any Don Draper scene outside the office. So depressing to watch him in this funk. Wake up, man, and seize the '60s! Loved the Peggy and Pete moments in the last episode, and agree with the kudos on John Slattery's direction. I can only imagine what a fertile creative environment Mad Men is to work in.
Question: While watching the occasionally amusing MTV show The Hard Times of RJ Berger this summer, I am constantly being put in mind of the similar but superior show from across the pond, The Inbetweeners. Will we be getting another season of that show on BBC America any time during the upcoming TV season? It set such a high standard for raunchy teen sex comedies that poor RJ and company suffer by comparison. — Frank
Matt Roush: Agreed. When I watched the first few episodes of Hard Times (which telegraphs its approach to raunchy humor in its punny title), I couldn't help thinking about the hilarious Inbetweeners as well, and I tried not to let my Anglophile snobbery color my opinion too much. But Inbetweeners is such a riot, with much more well-defined characters and a real sense of heartbreak behind its outrageous humiliations. The good news: A new season is in the works, but no word yet on when BBC America will lock in a deal to bring the new episodes to the U.S. Probably just a matter of time. In the meantime, BBC America has scheduled a marathon of all 12 Inbetweeners episodes from the first two series for Sunday, September 12. If you missed it before, set your recorders immediately.
Question: I loved Alex O'Loughlin in Moonlight, and I loved the show's blend of crime, mystery and romance. Have you seen any of the new Hawaii Five-0? I'm trying to decide if I should try it out, but I worry that it will be too much of just a cop show, which I don't think I'd like. Does it have a fun side? Any romance? — Amanda
Matt Roush: More like "bromance," at least in the pilot, which is all anyone has seen at this point. The new Hawaii Five-0 is more of an action than "cop" show — the heroes form an anything-goes task force that operates almost outside the law — and takes full advantage of the island's native beauty, both natural and human. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before O'Loughlin gets a love interest if they haven't developed one for him already, but the real relationship that matters in the early going is the fractious bantering between his character of Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan's scene-stealing sidekick, "Danno." That's where the fun and humor come in during a pilot that otherwise is pretty violent and is fueled by tragedy and revenge.
Question: I'm loving The Gates on ABC. I really didn't think I would, expecting something like a paranormal Desperate Housewives. Instead, it's a mix of The Vampire Diaries, Moonlight and an oh-no-they-didn't mystery. I find myself reliving the episode throughout the week and eagerly awaiting Sunday nights. Any word yet on whether it'll survive to return again? As for Scoundrels, I'll ask the same question, even though I've been on the fence about it. Virginia Madsen is great, but the show as a whole didn't really grab my attention until the season finale. — Susan
Matt Roush: Unlike Rookie Blue, the Canadian import that clicked instantly and has already been renewed by ABC for (I'm presuming) next summer, neither of the new Sunday shows were quite as successful, although The Gates did at least generate some buzz for its mash-up of genres and it was my favorite of ABC's scripted summer series. I think you can forget about Scoundrels ever coming back, but no decision has been made yet (or so I hear) regarding The Gates' future. If it makes economic sense to bring it back, I'd think "maybe." But that's being hopeful.
Question: I was looking at the new TV schedule for the fall. Everything is very crowded this year. I just wonder why the TV networks refuse to put good shows on Saturday. I understand that they may think people will be doing other things and not look at TV. However, there have been many successful TV programs on Saturday night: Walker Texas Ranger, The District, and years ago, The Jackie Gleason Show all came on Saturday night. If my memory serves me right, I think All in the Family and The Jeffersons both aired on Saturday. It would help to spread out the shows and not load up so many shows on one or two days. I hope you can enlighten me. Keep writing your reviews. I love reading them. — Tanya
Matt Roush: Thanks. This subject comes up at least a few times a year, and those of us with long TV memories happily recall the days when hits flourished on Saturday nights: CBS through the '70s with shows like All in the Family, its spinoff The Jeffersons, as well as the Mary Tyler Moore-Bob Newhart-Carol Burnett trifecta, and on a smaller scale into the '90s with shows like Walker and Dr. Quinn. The last mega-hit show to air on Saturdays was The Golden Girls. But a plethora of viewing and entertainment options — pay cable, DVDs, video games, outside activities, you name it — gradually drained the pool of viewers watching TV live in prime time on Saturdays, and the demographics of whoever was left were not appealing enough to advertisers to support the expense of original scripted programming on the night. (Fridays are getting nearly as bad when it comes to launching successful new shows, but the networks keep trying, at least for now.) You make a good point about how so many weeknights are so crowded it would be nice to spread the wealth to other nights, but research tells the networks that moving shows to less-watched nights would likely be a death sentence. There's an element of a self-fulfilling prophecy here, but it does seem to reflect viewing (and non-viewing) habits in recent years.
Question: I have enjoyed watching the Canadian show Flashpoint this summer. Do you know if Flashpoint is being renewed again for next summer? — Carol
Matt Roush: When CBS' entertainment president Nina Tassler was asked this question last month at the TCA press tour, she would only say "maybe" and that no decision had yet been made. But this is a pretty low-risk proposition, and she also noted that, despite the quick failure of this summer's The Bridge, they were continuing to explore Canadian co-ventures. I'd be surprised if CBS doesn't pick up more episodes as they get made.
Question: There were two shows mentioned earlier this year as having pilots but I cannot find them anywhere on the new fall schedules. Can you tell me their fate? I was hoping to find them because the stars are from Without a Trace. One, True Blue with Poppy Montgomery, is a show about two cops who unite to solve a crime. And Chaos is a show, starring Eric Close, about a group of rogue CIA operatives. — Paul
Matt Roush: After some back-and-forth deal-making, Chaos was picked up by CBS for mid-season. (No air date yet.) Whereas True Blue was one of a number of crime-drama pilots developed by ABC, and appears not to have made the cut.
Question: I've finally finished the first season of Stargate: Universe, and I'm curious about your thoughts on it (and whether you thought it was worth watching, as I don't remember reading anything about your opinion of it). Stargate: SG-1 was much lighter and had a sense of humor that was usually near the surface, and we'll just pretend Atlantis was a bad dream. However, SG:U seems like an attempt to shoehorn the Stargate mythology into the dark style and brutal sensibilities of Battlestar Galactica. Don't get me wrong, I was entertained by the first season and will keep watching, but it's a departure from what the franchise was, and the melding of the SG mythos with the BSG style results in the proverbial machine that knows all the words but can't quite get the music right (if that makes any sense). However, I can't fault it for providing an unexpected reboot of the franchise, and if I only watched shows as good as BSG, then I wouldn't be watching much. Also, I said I'd watch when it comes back, but I guess that's making a pretty big assumption: Has it been renewed? — Mike
Matt Roush: Yes, it will be back, with the second season starting Sept. 28 — in a new Tuesday time slot, now that Fridays on Syfy have been turned over to wrestling this fall. (Don't get me started.) It's one of my so-far-fruitless goals to catch up with the second half of the Universe season before the new episodes begin. Your reaction of the show feels pretty spot-on to me. There's no question its tone is darker and harsher than the Stargate norm, and I got the sense many franchise fans were turned off by its relentlessly downbeat nature. I'm certainly intrigued by it, but the fact that so many episodes remain unwatched on my DVR tells me that either my priorities are out of whack or it's not a world I'm particularly eager to keep exploring. For now, though, keeping an open mind, and even if I end up jumping into the second season without completely finishing the first, I'll try to give it a shot.
Question: I've been getting a bit concerned about Being Human lately. It's gotten very dark this season as Mitchell has headed down a very scary path in the power vacuum after Harrick's death. It's bothered me that we've lost some of the whimsy that made me love the first season so much. I hope they lighten things up a bit as we go. I did thoroughly love the scene where Mitchell, stressed out by a long day of vampire taming and a really bad date, goes ape nuts because his favorite TV show has been moved. There's a vampire after my own heart. — Ann Marie
Matt Roush: Yes, the show is darker and (with those mad experimenting scientists) scarier this season, but I'm OK with that. The characters themselves remain so engaging and amusing, when they aren't being beaten down by their inner and sometimes outer demons, that I find the new conflicts in their lives (and afterlives) quite gripping. This is still among my favorite supernatural shows of the moment, and I hope Syfy's Americanized version doesn't diminish my appetite for this very original piece of dark brilliance.
That's all for now. Keep sending in those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and in the meantime, follow me on Twitter!
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