Matt Roush


Question: Now that the ...

Question:
Now that the amazingly talented Joss Whedon has a third show in production (Firefly) to go with the awesome and perenially underrated Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, any fears that he's spreading himself too thin to keep up the quality while overseeing all of this? I know that there were major changes in the head people at Angel last season. What's up with the revolving door and are there still plans for a BBC spinoff for Giles (Anthony Stewart Head)? — Carol

Matt:
The limited series for Giles has been put on the back burner for the exact reason you note here: Joss is overwhelmed. Anyone who values Whedon's work worries that he's overextending himself this season (shades of David E. Kelley). His Buffy cohort Marti Noxon's pregnancy, and his Angel partner David Greenwalt's departure for ABC's midseason drama Miracles, left Whedon juggling a lot more work, even as his ambitious and unusual Firefly was being launched. So far, I like what I've seen of Buffy and Angel
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Roush Rave

The morgue the merrier. Any worries that CBS's CSI brand would be diluted by the spin-off CSI: Miami (Mondays, 10 pm/ET) were dispelled by the engrossing-and on occasion, just plain gross-premiere episode about the mysteries surrounding the downing of a corporate jet. The capable stars, David Caruso and Kim Delaney, squabble over but never upstage the evidence. Among the supporting cast, Khandi Alexander gives intriguing shadings to the coroner who carries on one-sided conversations with her inanimate charges. Finally, CBS has delivered a powerful (if formulaic) dramatic nightcap to its one successful comedy night. read more

Generation Sap Oldies Are Goodies on American Dreams

If only NBC's tunefully nostalgic American Dreams could settle for just being likable and entertaining, which it often is.

But like the syrupy promos that oversell its virtues, this '60s-era family drama (Sundays, 8 pm/ET) is plagued with self-importance. The Pryors, a bustling Irish-Catholic brood from West Philadelphia, might as well be blacksmiths given how relentlessly and obviously they hammer home the show's familiar themes of working-class aspirations in a turbulent era.

"Maybe that wasn't really my dream... Kennedy says it's time for new dreams and new frontiers," preaches J.J. (Will Estes), the high-school jock son who wants to quit football. "I don't want to be one of those people that nothing special ever happens to," moons teenage daughter Meg (Brittany Snow), an adorable ingenue who's about to be discovered by the TV camera on American Bandstand.

"When did my dream be read more

Question: I heard that the ...

Question:
I heard that the Sci Fi channel was going to be showing reruns of Roswell. Do you know when they're going to start? — Katie

Matt:
Plans are for all three seasons of the series to be shown, in order, weeknights at 6 pm/ET starting in January. Enjoy.

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Question: In the upcoming ...

Question:
In the upcoming season of Alias, the role of Sydney's mother will be played by an actress named Lena Olin. Any relation to Ken Olin (Michael of thirtysomething), who I believe is a producer on Alias and has a recurring guest-starring role? — Danielle

Matt:
No relation. Lena Olin is an acclaimed European actress (Chocolat and, most memorably, co-starring with Daniel Day Lewis in The Unbearable Lightness of Being). Ken, as you mentioned, is the American star-turned-executive producer, who directed last night's season premiere. His wife, incidentally, is former thirtysomething Emmy winner Patricia Wettig, who appeared in the premiere as Sydney's CIA shrink.

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Question: Do you know if WB's ...

Question:
Do you know if WB's contract for Angel expires at the end of this season like Buffy's did at the end of the 2000-2001 season? What are the odds of UPN still picking it up? — Harvey

Matt:
The future of both shows is a little hazy right now. If Sarah Michelle Gellar leaves Buffy when her contract is up after this season, will it continue without her? (The producers seem willing to try, although they'll have to convince me why they should.) WB seems determined to kill Angel with its new Sunday time period, so its contract with the studio is almost a moot issue. If WB releases Angel, then UPN may want to acquire it as a brand-name lure, as it did with Buffy. I personally would like one more year of a Buffy-Angel Tuesday combo on whatever network. I'm not sure it's in the cards, though.

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Question: I was watching the ...

Question:
I was watching the Emmys and noticed that Fox's Futurama won the award for best animated series. It was kind of a surprise since the show itself did not have many episodes last season. Do you think The Simpsons has lost steam and is on the brink of going off television after this upcoming fall season? — Emily

Matt:
All it takes is one good episode to score an animated Emmy win in the series category. But what a vote of confidence to Futurama, which is only on this season's schedule because Fox airs it so infrequently there is a whole season's worth of episodes on the shelf. As for The Simpsons, I find it very uneven — inevitable given how long it has been on the air and how accustomed we have become to it — but it's still capable of surprise and delight. Rumors circulated about its eventual demise last season, and creator Matt Groening was quick to pipe up that it's not over until he and the rest of his gang say so. Fox will keep it on the air as long as they're willing ... read more

Question: Why isn't Terry ...

Question:
Why isn't Terry Farrell listed in the cast for Becker? I don't see how they can interact in the diner without Reggie. She was great in her role. Is she written out of the cast, and if so, was it because of money? Did she want to leave? What the heck happened? — Peter

Matt:
From all accounts, the actress was as surprised as you at her sudden termination at the end of last season. With the show moving to a new night (Sundays at 8 pm/ET), the producers seem to have decided to shake things up and pair Becker instead with his new neighbor (Nancy Travis). I don't imagine the show's fans will be pleased with this. How this affects the scenes in the diner or even if the diner set will be used remains to be seen. If, in fact, anyone is still watching after the show moves away from its cushy Monday time period. I have my doubts.

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Question: Is Dark Angel ...

Question:
Is Dark Angel coming back this season? — Daniel

Matt:
I've received many such questions, and the answer is: no. Fox pulled the plug after two seasons. The move to Friday was probably fatal for this ambitious and rather costly cult series, which began promisingly but (to me) faltered in its second year as it added too many characters and tangents into what once was a rather thrilling and streamlined female Fugitive series.

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Question: More of a comment ...

Question:
More of a comment than a question. I just wanted to compliment you on your work during the lengthy E! Countdown to the Emmys coverage on Sunday. In obviously uncomfortable weather conditions and defending your choices with aplomb in spirited debate with Tom O'Neil, you came off beautifully. By the way, in the wrap-up comments at the end of the show when you two were cut off by Jules Asner and Todd Newton, I longed for the two of you to have a Siskel-Ebert program devoted to just your comments and analysis. Any chance of E! doing that with you two next year? Or how about a half-hour weekly show in which you and Wanda discuss TV of the previous week? Could be a keeper. — Matt

Matt:
Very nice of you to say so. (And I promise I didn't write this one myself.) But I'm content with doing just so much on-TV analysis of TV. If I were to be on a channel like E! regularly, I would have to worry about perceptions of my objectivity. And there's no way I want to be inhibited in any
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