Matt Roush


Question: Where are Whoopi ...

Question:
Where are Whoopi Goldberg and Bruce Vilanch on Hollywood Squares? I must have missed the first week of the season, but they are gone and I don't like the show anymore. — Judy W.

Matt:
The show changed hands behind the scenes. Henry Winkler's company, not Whoopi's, is now producing. I haven't been sampling it recently, but ejecting Whoopi from the center square is like (going back to the original) losing Paul Lynde and Charley Weaver in one fell swoop.

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Question: This quote from ...

Question:
This quote from your recent 24 review concerns me: "But you might grow a bit impatient when the focus is elsewhere: with the president, with a family preparing a wedding in which a mysterious Middle Easterner is the groom, or especially with Jack's daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), whose damsel-in-distress act wears thin as she flees a more homegrown form of terror." My favorite part of last season was watching multiple plots unfold. Are you implying this season's "B"-plots, so to speak, are weaker than last year's? Are the only valuable moments Jack's? Because then I'd be disappointed since I've been counting down since July. — Benji

Matt:
Not to worry. I still find the experience of watching 24 a total rush. I love the cross-cutting between stories as well. I was just anticipating likely criticism of some of the subplots, especially Kim's storyline, which seems pretty forced in comparison to what Jack finds himself going through. And I guess I do feel that the scenes
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Question: What shows would ...

Question:
What shows would you watch even if you didn't get paid to do it? — Kathy

Matt:
This season, I'd probably still choose more often than not to watch The Simpsons, Alias, The Sopranos, Boomtown, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Buffy and Angel, Raymond, both CSI shows, Gilmore Girls, Smallville, 24, NYPD Blue (just in case), Ed, The Bernie Mac Show, The Amazing Race, The West Wing, Friends, Scrubs, ER (old habits die hard), Without a Trace, Firefly, Monk, Saturday Night Live (for "Weekend Update"), The Daily Show (when I remember) and (when they're on) Farscape, South Park and PrimeTime Glick. The only shows I would classify as absolute "appointment TV" on that list right now — as in, I would be frantic to get my hands on a tape if I missed it: Alias, 24 and Buffy. Still, that's an unholy lot of TV, isn't it?

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Question: Wasn't there ...

Question:
Wasn't there another Law &#038 Order series that starred Rachel Ticotin and Jon Tenney? — Pam

Matt:
You're close, but back in 1993, Dick Wolf hadn't yet had the genius inspiration yet to put the words Law &#038 Order in front of each of his shows. What you're thinking of was an innovative but flawed drama titled Crime &#038 Punishment, which aired briefly in the spring of 1993. (Not to be confused with last summer's successful documentary/reality series, also from Wolf's company.) The gimmick of the first C&#038P involved jarring "interrogation" scenes in which people involved with the crime of the week spoke directly into the camera, answering questions from an unseen interviewer.

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Question: Help me to realize ...

Question:
Help me to realize I am not crazy. On the series finale of Felicity, her friend Elena was there at Noel's wedding with everyone. My question is: Didn't she die earlier in the season in a car wreck? I know there was that whole back-in-time thing going on, but I am pretty sure she died before that! — Julie

Matt:
You're not nuts. I'm struggling to remember the timeline myself, but between the writing and the editing of the final episode, a crucial scene was dropped in which back-in-time Felicity warned Elena (still alive in the past) to attend Duke University instead of Columbia University, thus averting her fatal car accident. When Felicity woke from her time-traveling dream in the finale, Elena being alive was intended to be a sort of Twilight Zone moment. (Boy, does this sound silly now.) Having lost that scene, Elena's appearance at the wedding was truly bizarre. I think we "jeered" it at the time as a major continuity lapse. But then, once Felicity started flirting ... read more

Question: Why is it that the ...

Question:
Why is it that the long-running drama The Practice has managed to retain its initial cast since the beginning of its run, but most other dramas (ER, Law &#038 Order, and NYPD Blue) seem to lose and gain cast members every other week? Is there something special about the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of this series, as opposed to other shows? Is it just a matter of time before The Practice loses one of its first original cast members? — Marcus

Matt:
Good question. I guess it depends on how long The Practice stays on the air (no end in sight), but I would imagine the actors know how good they have it on this juiciest of Kelley melodramas and aren't itching to leave just yet. Even in the doldrums, the show racks up Emmy nominations for its guest actors most years, so if it has peaked, actors still covet being cast on the show.

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Question: I was just curious ...

Question:
I was just curious as to your favorite Sunday-night shows. There are so many great shows on this season, I'm finding it hard to narrow them down. You have mentioned both Alias and Boomtown repeatedly in your columns, both of which are quickly becoming my favorites, but I was wondering how you felt about some of the other shows. And do you think that The Sopranos is giving us the kind of shows we deserve after such a long break? Does Sunday still belong to HBO? — Joi

Matt:
Sunday-night TV is the subject of my latest Roush Review in TV Guide, so we're pretty much on the same page (so to speak) when it comes to the Sunday logjam. Here's how a typical Sunday night goes for me. I start by watching (depending on mood) the Everwood replay on WB before prime time kicks in, then checking out 60 Minutes while watching my local market's replay of Enterprise at 7 (Wednesdays being so busy in their own right). At 8 pm, I'll be choosing soon between American Dreams and The Simpsons.
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Question: Last year, Amazing ...

Question:
Last year, Amazing Race 2 was shown on Wednesday with a second run on Friday nights on UPN. Did CBS sell the rights to Amazing Race 3 for a second run, and if so to whom? I am an avid fan of West Wing and Amazing Race 3. It's hard to pick one over the other. — Claudine S.

Matt:
If you're unable to watch and record different shows simultaneously, my sympathies. These days, I'd pick Race over West Wing, which has gotten so blasted preachy, and catch up with it in repeats. (Whereas once Amazing Race is over, it's over.) When Race 2 was repeated on UPN last season, that was basically an attempt at synergy because UPN now falls under the CBS/Viacom corporate umbrella. The numbers were very low for the Friday second run, so they're not trying it this year.

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Question: Where is the Nancy ...

Question:
Where is the Nancy Drew movie promised to run on Oct. 20? There is no mention of it in TV Guide. — F and K Olson

Matt:
ABC rescheduled it for Dec. 15. There's still talk that, if successful, it could develop into a series, although from what I saw, this college co-ed update would be better suited for WB. (Think Felicity, She Wrote.)

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Question: David Kelley's ...

Question:
David Kelley's shows are great. It is sad to see that Ally McBeal went off the air (though it lost its charm after that second season), but I still enjoy The Practice and hardly think it is off its prime. The actors are good and the writing is spectacular. It is one show in which I can understand what is going on. But what is your take on Boston Public? I like the show but I kind of think it's overdramatic. Do you think it can do well this season? What's your take on the new show girls club? — Amanda

Matt:
Though Boston Public goes way too over the top at times — farewell and good riddance to Kathy Baker's "hook lady" — I think it's Kelley's best show right now, and while its ratings aren't spectacular, it's doing fairly well for Fox on a crucial night. (girls club, on the other hand, is an instant dud, both creatively and in the ratings.) While Boston Public frequently overdoes it — being overly offensive then overly earnest, sometimes within the same hour — I find it
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