Matt Roush


Monday TV: Acorn's Anzac Girls, HBO's Hunted: War Against Gays in Russia

Anzac Girls

For those who simply can't wait for the next season of PBS's Call the Midwife — and I'm right there with you, pining for those good ladies of midwifery — a band of hardy World War I nurses from Down Under might just be the ticket. Over the next six Mondays, streaming service Acorn TV is importing the Australian miniseries ANZAC Girls, which takes a similar approach of mixing sentimental period romance with harsh life-and-death trauma.

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Ask Matt: Big Bang, Homeland, Utopia, Mysteries of Laura, Midseason TV, Sons of Anarchy, and More

Jim Parsons

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

Question: Let me preface this by saying The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite shows, and I have been with them since Day 1, but after watching the premiere episodes on the first Monday of the season, I see a very disturbing trend. Sheldon is rapidly becoming the next Fonzie/Urkel. In the early days of the show, Sheldon was odd but likeable, and you always rooted for him. Now as he is being written, he is becoming more and more obnoxious, as evidenced in the way he treated Amy and the others in the two episodes last week. When shows have a breakout star like Jim Parsons, that person becomes the go-to guy in almost every episode, at the expense of the remaining cast members. Am I wrong in my assessment, or do you think a little less Sheldon and maybe a little nicer Sheldon would be better for the show and the audience? — Terry

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Weekend TV: Homeland, Survivor's Remorse, Mulaney

Rupert Friend, Claire Danes

If last season (and the last parts of the season before) left you wanting to run away from Showtime's Homeland, the good news is that it's safe to come back. The show may never again achieve the intensely suspenseful and emotional heights of year one, with its psychosexual tango between Carrie and the enigmatic war hero/possible terrorist tool Brody, and I'm still not convinced that basket-case analyst Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) should be posted anywhere hotter than Antarctica. But this Emmy-winning international spy thriller suddenly feels much more topical and urgent again in its fourth season, where the only remaining remnant of the Brody storyline is the infant daughter — a ginger baby, naturally (hauntingly Damian Lewis in aspect) — whom Carrie bore after witnessing the father's cruel fate.

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New Season Reviews: Gracepoint, A to Z, Bad Judge; Also, a Bitter-Sweets Bones

David Tennant, Anna Gunn

The best stories tend to convey universal truths with, presumably, a universal appeal. But I'm still having trouble with Fox's not-quite-new mystery drama that I keep calling Gracechurch — an inadvertent mash-up of its actual title (Gracepoint) and that of the superb British series it so slavishly copies: Broadchurch, a BBC America import that was No. 3 on my Top 10 list of 2013. (Here's my initial review of the original.)

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Stalker: Run, Don't Walk (All the Way to Nashville)

Dylan McDermott, Maggie Q

TV really doesn't get much uglier or more cynical than CBS's Stalker (Wednesday, 10/9c), a crass and calculated attempt to keep the Criminal Minds crowd appeased for yet another hour of tacky, icky violence — disproportionately perpetrated against unfortunate women — presented within a glum, indifferently acted formula.

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New Season Reviews: Selfie, Manhattan Love Story, PBS's Makers On Women in Comedy

John Cho, Karen Gillan

How I'd love it if any of this season's dismal new wave of romantic comedies, all vying to be the next How I Met Your Mother, made me LOL. Sadly, I'm more inclined to search for a "cringe" emoticon, especially where ABC's two new Tuesday night entries are concerned.

The less objectionable is Selfie (8/7c), a strained attempt to update Pygmalion to the Instagram era, but coming off more like My Fair Lucy — because this Eliza Doolittle, here called Eliza Dooley (Doctor Who's Karen Gillan), is silly and vapid beyond belief or tolerance. read more

Ask Matt: Good Wife, Parenthood, Gotham, Murder, Castle, Scorpion, Forever and More

Matt Czuchry

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

Question: Just when I thought The Good Wife couldn't top Season 5, Season 6 is off to a humdinger of a start! I certainly didn't see Cary's arrest coming, and I can't wait to find out what they have in store for us next. Matt Czuchry is terrific, and I'm thrilled he's getting this opportunity for a meaty storyline. As opposed to a show such as The Vampire Diaries, which tore through so much plot I stopped caring (no one stays dead, so where are the stakes?), The Good Wife earns its twists and turns, and only gets better with each game-changer. I've thoroughly enjoyed it from the get-go, but in the last year, it has vaulted to the top of my can't-miss shows. As we all know, many programs decline after the first few seasons and limp to the finish line. NCIS became a big hit a few years into its run, but I'm not sure it grew creatively. (That's not a slight — I don't watch it, so I genuinely don't know.) I can't think of another show that has risen to such glorious new artistic heights in Season 5 and onward the way The Good Wife has. Can you? — Keira

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Weekend TV: Amazon's Brilliant Transparent, Simpsons Death and Family Guy Crossover

Jeffrey Tambor

Mort Pfefferman's entire life has been an identity crisis. A divorced dad of three grown, though not always grown-up, children, melancholy Mort is truly at ease only when in the heretofore secret guise of his feminine alter ego, Maura. In a flashback from 20 years earlier, Maura laments, "No one's ever seen me except me" — a situation that's about to change as the funky younger Pfeffermans slowly get to know the truth about their trans parent in Amazon's Transparent (get it?), creator Jill Soloway's deeply felt, intensely human comedy. This series (available on Amazon Instant Prime starting Friday) should do for Amazon, reputation-wise, what House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black achieved for Netflix. It's at least their equal, with the feel and tone of... read more

New Season Review: Going Along With Murder

Viola Davis

If Grey's Anatomy is an oversexed St. Elsewhere, and Scandal a frenzied object lesson on how to put the woo-woo in The West Wing, then the latest Shondaland extravaganza, ABC's juicy legal melodrama How To Get Away With Murder (10/9c), is The Paper Chase on steroids. This instantly addictive thriller appears to have been written on... read more

New Season in Review: Black-ish a Truly Modern Family

Black-ish

Comedies with an actual point of view are as rare as they are welcome — especially in a fall awash in mediocre new cookie-cutter romantic comedies. Even in a better season, ABC's provocative and very funny Black-ish (9:30/8:30c) would stand out for its broad and biting satire of an uneasily post racial society seen through a very modern-family prism. (It's also about time ABC scheduled a smart family comedy after its multiple-Emmy-winning champ Modern Family.)

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