Matt Roush


Ask Matt: Robin Williams, Playing Approval Matrix, Comics and Arrow, and More

Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: With the passing of the legendary TV talents Robin Williams and James Garner, don't you think it would be remiss if the upcoming Emmys didn't do a clips tribute to both of them? Awards shows have an unfortunate habit of dedicating chunks of time to a theme or subject that either makes no sense or ends up really boring. But these two gentlemen, who broke character boundaries and were excellent actors outside their niche personas, deserve special recognition. I just hope the producers of that upcoming show have the smarts to do something special, outside of the "In Memoriam" roll call. Your thoughts? — Karen

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Legends Review: All About the Bean

Sean Bean

Unlike poor Ned Stark, whom he played in Game of Thrones' first season, Sean Bean won't be losing his head anytime soon as Martin Odum, the rugged chameleon hero of TNT's Legends (Wednesday, 9/8c). Losing his mind, however, might be an occupational hazard.

The best parts of this otherwise disappointingly generic spy thriller depict Bean burrowing into Martin's psyche as a (what else, and wait for it) legendary FBI deep-cover operative, who commits so fully to his carefully manufactured false identities, or "legends," that he signs alimony checks with his alias's name. His unsteady sense of self only gets more confused when a hooded stranger warns him that Martin isn't even really Martin, that "everything about him is fake."

Yes, in case you haven't guessed, this special agent is apparently Bourne again, and if Legends itself falls short of instant-icon status (despite producers with Homeland and 24 among their credits), it's no fault of Bean's, who is riveting as he occasionally morphs into character before his colleagues' amazed eyes.

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Ask Matt: Glee, Good Wife, Person of Interest, Emmys and Law & Order

Lea Michele

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Question: I am really disappointed that Glee is returning to McKinley and that they are adding more characters to fill out their already shortened final season. The last few seasons of Glee have been less than stellar, but the last handful of episodes set in New York were awesome. Give me New York and throw McKinley away for good. Even with the cliché that was Rachel going from student to Broadway star to TV star almost overnight, I enjoyed watching the more adult struggles of these characters. Now I feel betrayed, like someone dangled the proverbial carrot and then took it away. With 12 episodes left, I want them to focus on the original glee-clubbers following their dreams into the adult world. Sigh. Is this a thing with Ryan Murphy, where his shows start strong for a few seasons and then implode at the end? I hated the last few seasons of Nip/Tuck. — Olivia

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Weekend Review: The Knick, Outlander

Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

Cinemax, the scruffy bastard stepchild of HBO, is the perfect home for Steven Soderbergh's harrowing hospital melodrama The Knick (Friday, 10/9c), which depicts 1900s New York City as a vivid Dickensian nightmare. Though described by the series' severely flawed doctor hero John Thackery (a ravaged and mustachioed Clive Owen) as "a time of endless possibility," this Age of Progress has its limitations, with primitive ...
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Ask Matt: Outlander, Orange and Emmys, Shonda Times Three, and More

Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: I was wondering if you've had a chance to preview the Outlander series, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. I'm a big fan of the books and I'm hoping that the series will be faithful to the story. Do you have any insight you could share? - Elizabeth

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Thursday Review: SundanceTV's The Honorable Woman and Rectify

Maggie Gyllenhaal

If SundanceTV's The Honorable Woman were any timelier in its geopolitical drama, most specifically of the Israeli-Palestinian variety, it would bleed newsprint. But it's the emotional intricacies of this rewardingly complex and brilliantly acted eight-part miniseries (Thursdays, 10/9c) that resonate timelessly, grounded by Maggie Gyllenhaal's impassioned, extraordinary performance as the title character, idealistic Anglo-Israeli philanthropist and newly appointed Baroness Nessa Stein.

Gyllenhaal brings layers upon layers of crisp elegance, prideful steel, profound sorrow and ultimately an aching vulnerability to Nessa. We share her angry despair as her lofty goals — most notably, wiring the West Bank in a lucrative but controversial contract for high-speed Internet as part of her family foundation's crusade for reconciliation — are steadily shattered by shady compromises and sinister secrets stemming from her mysterious abduction in Gaza eight years earlier.

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Weekend Review: I'll Take Manhattan

Manhattan

Remember when nostalgia used to signify a comforting escape into the past? It hasn't been the same since Mad Men took us beneath the surface glamour to expose the grim consequences of chasing and selling the American dream. WGN America's bold new period drama Manhattan (Sunday, 9/8c) goes even further, eschewing the romantic veneer altogether in a gritty story of scientific mavericks operating in extreme circumstances. Looking back at a bygone time (World War II) with a jaundiced eye, the ambitious Manhattan is far more serious in intent than the channel's more recent effort at historical-fiction original programming, the lurid Salem.

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Critic's Notebook: Fox at TCA

Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor

Gotham City to the rescue? Fox certainly hopes Gotham, its dark and stylish noir set in the corrupt, broken pre-Batman metropolis, will revive the fortunes of a network undergoing one of its most significant leadership transitions. (The architect of this fall's schedule, Kevin Reilly, stepped down in late May, and Dana Walden and Gary Newman, the Fox Studio heads who will take over network oversight in a more streamlined operation, won't start their new positions until the end of the month.)

The Gotham panel was the first and most impressive new-series presentation on Fox's day at the TCA press tour. (For more Fox news, go here.) With its revisionist twist on Batman mythology as it spills out origin stories featuring various supervillains-to-be, Gotham is the buzziest show on Fox's fall slate — airing on Mondays alongside breakout hit Sleepy Hollow won't hurt — but it's not without risk. read more

Ask Matt: Men Getting Married, 24, Blacklist, TNT Shows and the Emmys

Jon Cryer, Ashton Kutcher

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: I have never been a fan of Two and a Half Men (tried to watch it years ago, but the only thing I found funny was Conchata Ferrell) and never understood how it has stayed on the air for so long. I saw that creator Chuck Lorre is planning on the main storyline next season to be about the two main characters (Walden and Alan, both heterosexual) "marrying" each other in order for Walden to achieve his goal of adopting a child. To me, I find this appalling on so many levels. Gay men and women (and their straight allies) have fought for so long for equal marriage rights, so having two straight men "marry" just seems like a mockery for those fighting for marriage equality. I am a little ashamed of Lorre even coming up with this idea (particularly as his biggest star, Jim Parsons, on his biggest show, The Big Bang Theory, is gay). Your thoughts? — Tim in Atlanta

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Critic's Notebook: The CW at TCA

Grant Gustin

The broader the better. Give it to The CW, the little network that could be forgiven for having had a Rodney Dangerfield complex in past seasons, as it enjoys a rare moment of critical goodwill. You'd almost think we were back in the glory days of The WB — whose sole remaining remnant on the current slate is Supernatural, which brought its stars out for a 10th-season victory lap. Though The CW is only launching two new shows this fall (in October), they're two of the very best... read more

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