Matt Roush


Views of a Crime Boomtown Tells An Old Story A New Way

However many millions of crime stories there are in our naked cities, sometimes it feels we've heard them all-though rarely told with the ingenuity and humanity of NBC's Boomtown (Sundays, 10 pm/ET), the fall's best new series.

A provocative and emotionally gripping experiment that sounds more complicated than it really is, Boomtown reminds me of what it was like 12 years ago when we first witnessed the possibilities of Law & Order, which dared to split a legal narrative into two halves.

Set in Los Angeles, Boomtown takes that approach several steps further, immersing us in the personal lives and shifting points of view of a set of characters: beat cops, detectives, a sympathetic paramedic, an ambitious district attorney and the driven reporter with whom he's having an affair.

The show also plays with time, occasionally backtracking to let us see events unfold from a suspect's or victim's perspective. There's a continual sense read more

Question: Why do you think ...

Question:
Why do you think Buffy hasn't been nominated for any major Emmy categories? Do you think if it was on Fox or the bigger networks they would have had a nomination by now? — Sharon

Matt:
To be fair, Buffy has earned at least one major writing Emmy nomination for Joss Whedon (for "Hush"). But the woeful lack of nominations for the cast, and for the show itself, is due in part to Buffy being a fantasy series — only The X-Files in recent years has been regarded as a serious contender — with an undeniably outlandish title.

Being on WB and UPN doesn't help. WB can't get nominations even for the much more mainstream quality shows like Gilmore Girls and Felicity. Balloting snafus aside, the Emmy establishment should be ashamed for having ignored last season's instant-classic musical episode. If "Once More With Feeling" had aired, say, on ultra-hip HBO, it would be a front-runner.


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Question: I didn't like Joey ...

Question:
I didn't like Joey falling in love with Rachel because in the end I want her with Ross, but I've heard many people like the twist. What do you think of the twist and who do you want to win her heart? Thanks! — Mary

Matt:
I liked the complication of the storyline, but was glad the producers didn't stretch it out too long — although it did make for a pretty fantastic cliffhanger. (I'm very anxious to see Thursday's episode, which hasn't yet been made available for review.) Like you, I hope that Rachel and Ross come to a meeting of minds, and hearts.

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Question: With the ...

Question:
With the cancellation of my favorite show Witchblade, where have all the strong, independent, female heroes gone? Can fans make a difference in bringing back a show they love? — Lynn

Matt:
Given the uproar over the premature deaths of Witchblade and Farscape in the last few weeks, I would be crazy to underestimate the impact of these protests. They're fascinating to observe, and the media are paying attention. But as for strong female heroes, are you not watching the fabulous Alias? Or (see below) Buffy? If not, you're missing some of the most fascinating and entertaining TV around.

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Question: Just wondering if ...

Question:
Just wondering if Philly is off the air since Kim Delaney is now on CSI: Miami? We enjoyed the show. — Lori

Matt:
Philly was canceled — prematurely, in my opinion (it got better as it went on). But honestly, Kim is probably better off on this new show. ABC is in such doldrums that Philly probably would have lived its entire existence straddling the fence of potential cancellation. CSI: Miami is a guaranteed brand-name and time-period hit, and it should be interesting to watch her in action with a fellow NYPD Blue veteran (David Caruso).

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Question: What was your ...

Question:
What was your feeling on The Lathe of Heaven on A&#038E? Although I know this was a remake of another movie, I don't remember if the original had the same title. This movie seemed to be a pathetic, boring, and even politically correct remake of the original, which included both alien invasions and race tensions (in the original the main charactor turned everyone gray — no more color line). How did you like this version, and how do you think it compares to the original? How do you feel about remakes that try to be inoffensive to everyone and are politically correct? — Glenn

Matt:
I can answer your last question. Remakes that try to please everyone usually end up pleasing no one, and that appears to have been the case with this movie. The timing of its airing coincided with my personal Fall Preview madness, so once I heard from other corners that it was pretty dull stuff, I passed on it. Your comments convince me I did the right thing.

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Question: Why is Elisabeth ...

Question:
Why is Elisabeth Rohm still on Law &#038 Order? While I'm sure she is a very nice person, she has single-handedly ruined the show for me with her automaton performances. I had heard another actress (Robin Christopher) was set to replace her, but I still see Rohm in ads for the show. Why won't Dick Wolf rectify his casting mistake here? I suppose I should just be thankful Dianne Wiest is gone. I always admired her as an actress, but she seemed to sleep through her part on L&#038O. Why can't we lose Rohm, too? — Karen

Matt:
I received several questions about this, all citing the same Robin Christopher casting rumor. I checked with a source on the show who insists this never was a reality, and there is no imminent change in the role Rohm is occupying so inadequately (my words). Anything's possible, of course, given this show's famous revolving door. But I have been as unsparing as anyone in criticizing the casting of Rohm, who's more wooden then the courtroom benches. She
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Question: It's time to ...

Question:
It's time to reconsider your calling Law &#038 Order: Criminal Intent a "weak Columbo clone." Vincent D'Onofrio's Robert Goren is the most interesting detective to ever hit TV since I've been watching (1950s). He makes us think in every episode, and amazingly we get to see him think too. He has formed the most interesting and challenging combination of Holmes, Columbo, Fletcher, Poirot and even Peter Gunn (good-looking). Try the show again and see if all his fans aren't right! — Diane

Matt:
I promise to check in and see how it's developing, even though that time period is so wildly overcrowded (first priorities: Sopranos and Alias and even Malcolm, which had an off year). CI is doing quite well without my support, though. I guess I just find D'Onofrio's arrogant style rather off-putting, and the structure of most episodes less than intriguing. I find it hard to care. But it's probably not deserving of cheap shots, either.

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Question: Since you were so ...

Question:
Since you were so critical of The X-Files in its final season, if a movie is made what do you think can be done to atone for the mistakes made? What do you hope to see? — Eric

Matt:
I think mistakes were made even in the first film, which was too heavily reliant on the mythology storylines. I think what a new X-Files feature needs to be is a flat-out horror thriller — aliens are OK, but not conspiracy theories — in which Mulder and Scully are center stage. Doggett can make a cameo, and Reyes... Who cares? I want to re-experience the sense of wonder and terror that the show captured at its peak, and also, of course, the humor.

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Question: I was looking to ...

Question:
I was looking to get ahead, so I logged on and found the Fall Preview. I was disappointed that the shows that I might be interested in didn't have TV Guide's opinion listed (CSI: Miami). Will these be posted to the site? Whenever I purchased the preview, I looked forward to TV Guide's outlook. And who writes those? I've always wondered because they're usually correct in the end. Thanks. — Paul

Matt:
Thanks, Paul. I think. I'm hoping you went out and bought the actual issue. TV Guide Online, for various reasons, initially published only the text of 10 Fall Preview highlights, but now has that information up under each series in the ShowGuide. As for CSI: Miami, our opinion on the idea of the show is enthusiastic, but we haven't actually seen a full episode of the series beyond the backdoor pilot that aired as a regular CSI episode in May. I'm still waiting to see an episode with Kim Delaney joining the rest of the cast, at which time I'll make my feelings known.
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