Matt Roush


A Cop with Insight Don't dis the ability of this new hero

There are two kinds of Steven Bochco crime dramas: the groundbreaking, heartrending ensemble shows (Hill Street Blues, the just-concluded NYPD Blue) and the more gimmicky experiments (the riveting Murder One, the ridiculous Cop Rock).

The intriguing but uneven Blind Justice is built around a high-concept gimmick. Blinded on the job in a scary opening-scene shoot-out, homicide detective Jim Dunbar (Ron Eldard, above, with seeing-eye dog Hank) fights his way back into the squad room. He's even allowed to carry a gun, which he (sigh) draws in the pilot.

Like Allison on NBC's Medium, Dunbar is a bit of a pariah, greeted at work with frosty skepticism. Everyone respects him, but no one wants to work with him. The beautiful detective (Marisol Nichols) who becomes his partner resents bein read more

A Cop with Insight Don't dis the ability of this new hero

There are two kinds of Steven Bochco crime dramas: the groundbreaking, heartrending ensemble shows (Hill Street Blues, the just-concluded NYPD Blue) and the more gimmicky experiments (the riveting Murder One, the ridiculous Cop Rock).

The intriguing but uneven Blind Justice is built around a high-concept gimmick. Blinded on the job in a scary opening-scene shoot-out, homicide detective Jim Dunbar (Ron Eldard, above, with seeing-eye dog Hank) fights his way back into the squad room. He's even allowed to carry a gun, which he (sigh) draws in the pilot.

Like Allison on NBC's Medium, Dunbar is a bit of a pariah, greeted at work with frosty skepticism. Everyone respects him, but no one wants to work with him. The beautiful detective (Marisol Nichols) who becomes his partner resents bein read more

Roush Rave

On Showtime's screamingly funny, raunchy showbiz satire Fat Actress (Mondays, 10 pm/ET), self-parody is the best revenge, as Kirstie Alley bravely and gleefully gets the last laugh on her own tabloid reputation as a vixen gone to seed. The former Cheers siren takes on sexist hypocrisy — how can she be too fat if John Goodman and Jason Alexander keep getting work? — while crudely spoofing Hollywood's obsession with weight. (A diet guru gives her advice on vomiting with style.) But when she takes a pitch meeting with NBC chief Jeff Zucker, I had to cringe. His tin ear for comedy has wrecked that network. She's better off on pay cable. read more

Roush Rave

On Showtime's screamingly funny, raunchy showbiz satire Fat Actress (Mondays, 10 pm/ET), self-parody is the best revenge, as Kirstie Alley bravely and gleefully gets the last laugh on her own tabloid reputation as a vixen gone to seed. The former Cheers siren takes on sexist hypocrisy — how can she be too fat if John Goodman and Jason Alexander keep getting work? — while crudely spoofing Hollywood's obsession with weight. (A diet guru gives her advice on vomiting with style.) But when she takes a pitch meeting with NBC chief Jeff Zucker, I had to cringe. His tin ear for comedy has wrecked that network. She's better off on pay cable. read more

Look, I'm sure few things in show...

Look, I'm sure few things in show biz are more challenging to pull off than a memorable Oscars show in a year with few memorable movies and no blockbusters of best-picture caliber.

I may have seen worse Oscar shows than this year's — don't press me on that — but I know I'll be hard-pressed a year from now to remember a single detail, joke, gaffe, winner, speech or gown from this year's unexceptional and at times seemingly endless snoozefest. Even the awkward gimmick of having all the nominees from "those other categories" — art direction, documentary short subject, etc. — appear on stage en masse or get their awards while seated didn't keep the show from running over three hours.

Chris Rock was a brash, but ultimately disappointing, choice for host. Because he wasn't as explosively hilarious as promised, he came off as a sour, nasty, no-class irritant. Yet he was still irreverent enough to get a rise out of the eternally humorless Se read more

Can I just say that I am already...

Can I just say that I am already officially in Project Runway withdrawal? Bravo's fashion-obsessed reality show was my reality-TV guilty pleasure of the winter, making up for the lackluster last running of The Amazing Race.

What a blast of fresh, creative air Project Runway was. Such great personalities, such wild designs. And while I cheered when wacky Jay won out Wednesday night over conniving mommy dearest Wendy Pepper and the elegant but ethically challenged Kara Saun — not since Dorothy's red slippers has such a fuss been made over shoes! — I had to agree with the momentarily speechless winner when Jay muttered, "That's nutty." Sure was.

I'm a complete fashion dunce, but who with a speck of sanity would be caught dead wearing anything Jay designed for that Fashion Week runway show? (I know, that's not the point.) Wasn't too read more

"Gay-o. It's OK-o."Sung to the...

"Gay-o. It's OK-o."

Sung to the tune of "The Banana Boat Song," this little ditty from The Simpsons' long-awaited gay-marriage episode pretty much summed up the state of TV last weekend. Characters came out of their suburban and/or cartoon closets on The Simpsons and on Desperate Housewives' Wisteria Lane on Sunday, Feb. 20, the same night Showtime's The L Word returned for a second sexually charged season.

The best and sharpest treatment, and certainly the funniest, was The Simpsons' take on the gay-marriage controversy, which in the show's wonderfully satirical twist was less about open minds than open pocketbooks — in particular, the large disposable incomes of so many gay couples. Saith the mayor: "We'll legalize gay money — er, marriage." The "Gay-o" song, part of a Springfield promotional read more

Question: Is it me or has ...

Question:
Is it me or has ABC's Complete Savages been canceled? To me at least, this was the best new sitcom of the year and one of only three that I watched. Am I the only one likely to miss it if it is indeed dead and gone? — Michael R.

Matt:
It's never a good sign when a show like this is pulled for sweeps, and like some of the other shows we've discussed above, Savages' original episode order has been cut. There are episodes yet to be aired which may resurface between the February and May sweeps, but there's little chance ABC will renew the series, which wasn't the greatest show ever but at least was more distinctive than most of the so-called comedies the network airs. (Probably doesn't help that this one isn't produced by ABC's in-house studio, Touchstone.) All of ABC's "TGIF" comedies are struggling, and beyond the corporate-synergy reason, I can't explain why this one was sacrificed first.

... read more

Question: Do things look good ...

Question:
Do things look good for a second season of Veronica Mars? I've never watched a UPN show before so I'm not clear on how they interpret lower ratings. Are Veronica's ratings too low even for UPN? — James

Matt:
The numbers could be better, but few UPN shows have generated the critical and media buzz of Veronica Mars. I'd be shocked if it didn't get a second season.

... read more

Question: I am a huge fan of ...

Question:
I am a huge fan of HBO's new series Unscripted. I know it's gotten mixed reviews from a lot of sources, but I wanted to know how you felt about this show. I think it's extremely entertaining and well acted, however I don't think it'll be returning for more than its 12-episode run. What are the chances of it coming back for a second season? — Lucas

Matt:
This show kind of grew on me, but it still seems unnecessarily derivative for a network that has a more successful and appealing show like Entourage, which covers much of the same ground. Unscripted wasn't helped by being yoked with Carnivale, which has an even more limited appeal. The ratings for both are dismal. But it's very rare for HBO to admit a mistake, and Unscripted isn't nearly the disaster of the last Clooney-Soderbergh collaboration, K Street, so it's possible it could survive, but I also wouldn't be surprised if HBO decides to just cut its losses with this one.

... read more

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