Matt Roush


Question: I love The West ...

Question:
I love The West Wing's new season. It's fresh, funny, smart and unpredictable. It has been one of the best shows so far this season, not to mention the incredible performances by the entire cast. I think that this year Martin Sheen should carry home the elusive Emmy. Allison Janney won last year, but in this season she actually deserves it. Hopefully, Bartlet's final term will end as nicely as this season started. Nonetheless, I read your latest review and I have to disagree. If NBC decides to move forward with a new president in charge, it will be a risky move but not a total disaster. Every critic in town was appalled by David E. Kelley's choice of changing the entire cast of The Practice, even its leads, and then the man created a wonderful spin-off. James Spader was the best change executed by the fading Practice. I am just saying that maybe John Wells could be lucky enough to build a new White House. Of course the possibility of disaster is always there, but at ... read more

Question: I was wondering ...

Question:
I was wondering what your opinion was of the season premiere of Monk, without Bitty Schram as Sharona, and with Traylor Howard as Monk's new assistant. As someone who wants to be a TV critic herself, I feel that the show was lacking something that it originally had — mainly Sharona. So what do you think? — Elizabeth

Matt:
Sharona is definitely missed, but Monk did a creditable job introducing the new character, and I like the idea that they both sort of need each other. I'm going to watch a few more episodes to see how the relationship plays out before making an official judgment call. Monk returned with high ratings, so fans appear to be willing to forgive, if not forget, letting someone as good as Bitty Schram get away.

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Question: I haven't written ...

Question:
I haven't written in before, but I had to comment on the shows you listed as "I wouldn't miss for anything," which included Alias, 24, Lost, Desperate Housewives, The Amazing Race, Arrested Development, NYPD Blue and Without a Trace. I am married, but I feel like you are my TV soul mate. I don't want to sound like a kiss-up, but I couldn't agree more with your choices and I love the fact that you frequently write about these fabulous shows. I am just surprised that you left out one show that I know you and I both love — the incredibly witty and awesomely scripted Gilmore Girls! It is, in my opinion, the most cleverly written show on television. Lauren Graham is so very gifted and fun to watch. I know that you said the list goes on, but please tell me you accidentally left this show out of the "wouldn't miss" lineup! The only thing that I think they could focus on a little more is the Luke/Lorelai love connection. We've all been waiting so long and they have great

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Question: Say it isn't so! I ...

Question:
Say it isn't so! I heard that Boston Rob and Amber were going to be on the next Amazing Race. I can't say that I am looking forward to watching this reality/celebrity couple again; watching them on Survivor was enough. Besides, they've won their share of fame/fortune. Let someone else have a chance! — Jim

Matt:
As a rule, I'm not that fond of stunt casting on Amazing Race, either. The more everyday people, of all shapes, colors, ages and sizes, the better. But unlike Big Brother's annoying Allison, who I was thrilled didn't last long when they dropped her into the race for no good reason, I'm actually kind of intrigued about Rob and Amber showing if they have what it takes to survive in a competition that's less about scheming and manipulation and more about achievement and teamwork.

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Question: Please tell me ...

Question:
Please tell me something good about the future of American Dreams! I've heard rumblings that this might be the last season for this wonderful show. Any chance Jeff Zucker's affection for the show saves it yet again? — Julie

Matt:
Hard to say. I'm still pretty astonished that it survived into this season. One troubling sign is that, like so many marginally rated shows, American Dreams will be sitting out the February sweeps. (Which actually makes sense when you consider that nearly every Sunday has a major event: the Super Bowl, the Grammys, the Oscars.) The show will return in March with at least a month's worth of episodes, but it's unclear how many will be made this season. (Like last year, it will likely fall short of 22.) Bottom line: I'd say hope for the best but expect the worst. If there's any silver lining, it's that NBC's fortunes are such that they may stick with this because they have so many problems elsewhere.

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Question: I have to commend ...

Question:
I have to commend you on your comments about message boards. As a huge fan of Alias, I constantly went online to read reactions to the show. But I quickly realized that no one is going to be happy with what is aired. They could reshow the pilot and people would still complain. People spend more time watching shows to have something to nitpick online and put on their best critic impersonations instead of thoroughly enjoying the show. My question is this, though: Can we now finally lay to rest the question of Alias's ability to pull in an audience? This shows how Alias has finally been nurtured by ABC with a great time slot and a great lead-in. I was a naysayer of making us wait eight months for new episodes, but it has been worth it!! We have been greeted with some great story lines. It's one thing for Jack and Sloane to lie to Nadia, but now our Syd is getting in on the action. Do you think we can expect Alias to be shown January through May next year, and will other

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Question: This isn't really a ...

Question:
This isn't really a question. I just wanted to say that NBC's Committed is a definite hit with me. Having Tom Poston living in the closet is a hoot. And his having been a clown and having a friend who was also a clown (Bob Newhart) send him a cream pie in the mail, which he throws into his own face, and then for Bob to throw his pie at the wall, was so funny I couldn't stop giggling. Marni and Nate (Jennifer Finnigan and Josh Cooke) are also very funny, and so is the rest of the cast. I hope you will give this show a great review. — Charlotte B.

Matt:
I'm afraid I find the show a tough one to love, with the actors and writers pushing the jokes a little too hard. Still, I would concede that at least it's comically over-the-top. I can see why people might like it. As Jonathan writes: "I keep asking myself as I watch it, what the heck is wrong with these people? They are insane, and I think that's why I am really liking this show. It's different. It's not a fat guy married
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Question: Hey, I love the ...

Question:
Hey, I love the show Life as We Know It, and I was wondering when the show is going to be airing again. ABC didn't list the next episode of the show and I heard it's on another hiatus. Is the show being canceled or what? I love the show and I would hate to see it go. — Andy

Matt:
Sorry to break the news, but the show is pretty much toast. ABC hasn't ordered any episodes beyond the original 13, and I don't know if the last two unaired episodes will even be seen. I'm still baffled about why the network pitted the show, toward the end, against The O.C., which already has an established following of the very same target audience that Life was aimed at.

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Question: Glad to see you ...

Question:
Glad to see you enjoying MI-5 on A&E (or Spooks, as it's known in England). Every person I tell to watch one episode always gets hooked. How can you not, with all the tricks — edgy music, snappy and creative editing, fast-paced dialogue — to add to the drama of the script? I sometimes wish American shows would stick to a 10-to-12-episode season to give them time to put something like this together. I like Alias, but whatever is lacking over there I know I'll be able to fill with MI-5/Spooks. Do you think we could do a show like MI-5 here in America? — Anna

Matt:
Something like MI-5 is probably too dark and cynical to fly in the jingoistic times in which we live. We're more at ease, I think, with the turbocharged spy and espionage thrillers like Alias and 24, which aren't nearly as realistic (sometimes to their credit, sometimes not). And I can't imagine an American series writing out its lead hero as early in the show's run as MI-5 did by contriving such an ambiguous ... read more

Question: What's your ...

Question:
What's your opinion? As a gracefully aging baby boomer, I was initially impressed with Ryan Seacrest's involvement in so many projects and felt he was this generation's Dick Clark. But as I watch these poor, misguided star wannabes on American Idol, I'm very uncomfortable with what constitutes entertainment, i.e., watching the nationwide humiliation of very fragile human beings. Dick Clark has class and respect for people's efforts. Ryan could become his successor, in my humble opinion, if he raises his values and his standards and those of Idol's audience. — Carolyn G.

Matt:
The fact that Seacrest's syndicated daily talk show flamed out so quickly is a pretty clear sign his career is not likely to have the longevity and range of Dick Clark's. But to be fair, Clark came of age with television. Seacrest is operating in a far more complicated and competitive — and fickle and crass — environment. I'm not sure where Seacrest goes once Idol wears itself out, but from the ... read more

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