Matt Roush


Lipstick Lawyers No Personality Needed To Join This Girls Club

Who'd have thought we'd miss the exasperating over-quirkiness of Ally McBeal so soon? In girls club (Fox, Mondays, 9 pm/ET), creator David E. Kelley has veered too far in the opposite direction.

This bland drama's idea of diversity is for each of its lead characters to have different color hair: blond (Gretchen Mol), brunet (Chyler Leigh) and redhead (Kathleen Robertson). If some week they were to get dye jobs, it would be impossible to know who's who.

My patience for this derivative, poorly cast mopefest reached its limit midway through the second episode, when Lynne (Mol) counsels Jeannie (Robertson) on her "makeup issues." Is this a legal drama or Fashion Emergency?

At the San Francisco firm of Mascara, Blush & Conditioner — um, make that Myers, Berry, Cherry & Fitch — these ambitious rookies battle their own insecurities while dealing with office politics and sexist & read more

Question: Greetings from ...

Question:
Greetings from Mexico. I just want to know why Quantum Leap got canceled back in 1993. I love that show so much (in my opinion, it's the best ever). What are your thoughts on the show? (I agree with you on Six Feet Under. That show is so overrated.) — Adrian

Matt:
NBC bounced the show around a lot, but even so, a four-year run is pretty good for a prime-time network fantasy series that played like an anthology. I always enjoyed it, and thought Scott Bakula (now on Enterprise) and Dean Stockwell were great together. The good news for you is that cable's Sci Fi Channel is reviving the concept for a new series next year.

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Question: I was just curious ...

Question:
I was just curious if USA Network's Combat Missions was going to be coming back this season. — Marshall

Matt:
At this point, no. But Mark Burnett (Survivor), whose show this was, is still working with USA on the next Eco-Challenge series, which is currently in production in Fiji for broadcast probably in the spring.

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Question: There are some ...

Question:
There are some reports that indicate Buffy the Vampire Slayer may continue next season even if Sarah Michelle Gellar does not renew her contract. Do you think it's possible to continue without Buffy? How do you think it would work? I would greatly appreciate your opinion! I love your column!! — Sherri

Matt:
Well, thanks. Joss Whedon has said it's possible, but I just don't know if it's probable or practical to continue without Sarah. I hope it doesn't come to this, but the Scoobys could rally around a new leader, and certainly Dawn's supernatural background could take on new shadings in a post-Buffy universe. I think Michelle Trachtenberg is really growing into her part, but I fear it would be a tough sell for many (including myself) to accept a Dawn the Vampire Slayer series. A new slayer from outside Sunnydale could be another possibility, merging this show and Angel yet another (but this is pure speculation). Truth is, the franchise has lots of life left in it, but ... read more

Question: I've heard that ...

Question:
I've heard that Alias and 24 are going to be "toned down" (read dumbed down) this season at the request of their respective networks. The new Alias opening voice-over seems to be a move in this direction. If true, what effect do you think this will have on the shows' relative qualities? And I hope it isn't true that on 24, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has left CTU. The CTU backdrop and underlying "advanced" technology was actually quite accurate (within the confines of not revealing the actual capabilities we have) and served as a major subject on the message boards. Without that the show could easily become another "dumbed down" also-ran. Can you supply any more general details about the season? — K

Matt:
I'm sure both shows are doing whatever possible to be more inviting to a larger audience, but from what I've seen so far (opening credits notwithstanding — and I kind of like this year's Alias opener), both shows are as smart and as addictive as ever. I've seen the
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Question: As a big fan of ...

Question:
As a big fan of Buffy and James Marsters, I'd like to know what we should expect from him this season. More brooding angst? And how do you think Buffy will react? — Sandra

Matt:
I don't see how he can brood any more than he's already doing in his current state of madness. But the possibilities are endless for this great character, and I would imagine Buffy will continue to react to him with the same sort of ambivalence, attraction and repulsion that has defined their controversial relationship from the start. (By the way, my bad in the recent Dispatch on Buffy when I described the "smoking" cross at the end of the Oct. 1 episode. Of course it was Spike's skin that was smoldering as he draped himself over the cross. Still an unforgettable image.)

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Question: Is ABC's The Mole ...

Question:
Is ABC's The Mole going to return this season? — Dana

Matt:
Very likely, and I certainly hope so. It's my favorite reality series next to CBS's The Amazing Race. However, its initial comeback will be in the form of (ugh) a celebrity version, which is being developed for possible airing sometime in early 2003. Whether ABC will greenlight a new season with non-famous contestants remains to be seen. But given the network's recent misfortunes, what has ABC got to lose? Unfortunately, host Anderson Cooper won't be back. He has returned to TV journalism on CNN, which wouldn't look kindly on his moonlighting on a reality game show.

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Roush Rant

It hardly seems fitting to kick a show when it's down, but ABC's Push, Nevada (Thursdays, 9 pm/ET) asked for it. Poorly conceived and then cynically programmed in a death slot in vain hopes it would become a cult media sensation, this pretentious Twin Peaks rip-off grows more tiresome by the week, justifying the inevitable ratings collapse when killer competition set in. Except for Derek Cecil's droll and hardworking performance as an earnest IRS agent, everything about this show is a self-conscious put-on. Will it last long enough for play-along viewers to find and win the missing loot? That's the real mystery. read more

Question: What happened to ...

Question:
What happened to Sex and the City? I have looked for it but it has disappeared. — Sarah

Matt:
This summer's season, shorter than usual because of Sarah Jessica Parker's pregnancy, is over. I would imagine the next (and maybe final) season will air next summer.

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Question: Will ABC show a ...

Question:
Will ABC show a repeat of the Alias season premiere (Sept. 29) anytime soon or do I have to wait until they cycle through the entire season? — Annie

Matt:
I've been told Alias will not be "repurposed" on the ABC Family cable channel with a second weekly run this season, as was done last year. So you'll have to wait until ABC schedules a rerun. No date yet, but I would imagine it would be among the first to be replayed after the November sweeps are over and the networks revert back to occasional repeats.

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