Matt Roush


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: 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: You often hear ...

Question:
You often hear about stars wanting more money and, in one way or another, causing the change and/or demise of a program, but I had never heard about the financial finagling between production company and broadcast company (are those the right "parties" to charge?). That is, until Buffy the Vampire Slayer jumped networks. I'm sure there are heated negotiations each time a contract comes up, but BtVS was the first time that I have ever taken notice. Was there something different about those negotiations? Or was it the fact that BtVS was popular, and actually changed stations? — David

Matt:
Buffy's situation is indeed unique, caught in the middle of a financial skirmish between a network (WB) and studio (20th Century Fox Television), ending in the show being sold to a different higher bidder (UPN). The show's high media and cult profile no doubt made this public tug-of-war more noticeable than most. But it did illuminate one of the inescapable realities of prime-time TV: ... read more

Question: 24 is my favorite ...

Question:
24 is my favorite show. Can you tell me what your opinions are of 24 and give me some spoilers on the next "day"? — Henry

Matt:
First off, I don't want people to expect "spoilers" in this column. As a professional reviewer, I am duty bound to the best of my ability not to give secrets away. That said, 24 was my favorite show of last season as well. I think no show was as ambitious and as successful at realizing those ambitions as this full-out, ticking-clock suspense thriller. I loved watching it, and can't wait to be put through the wringer again.

All I can tell you of the new "day" in Jack Bauer's life is that it picks up a year or so later, with David Palmer now the president calling Jack back into action. Jack apparently has left the ICU and is estranged from his daughter Kim. But when bad things happen, good guys can't just sit on the sidelines, can they? The 24-hour clock begins this time at 8 am, not midnight, and beyond that, I hope to be as surprised as you.

My

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Question: Over the last year ...

Question:
Over the last year or so TV Guide has been doing its Top 50 lists. While I have disagreed with many of your choices (a character from Taxi?! Who watches that show, let alone knows those characters, anymore? Seinfeld beating I Love Lucy as best series of all time?), I am curious about how TV Guide chooses their top 50. Is it one or two people? Fifty people?

Matt:
These Top (or sometimes Bottom) 50 lists are mostly group efforts. The editors, reporters — and, yes, critic — of the magazine decide on a topic, compile and compare their individual choices, and then engage in the torturous process or narrowing the list and deciding on an order. This is anything but an exact science, and we each win and lose battles along the way. If there's any way to clarify and/or justify what we do, we make our best effort to pay homage to TV's past while not taking the best of current TV for granted. Personally, I'm not completely satisfied with any of our lists. And neither is any one ... 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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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: What can you tell ...

Question:
What can you tell me about this epic mini-series Taken that will be airing on Sci Fi? I saw a commercial and I'm intrigued. — Sean

Matt:
I'm intrigued as well. This 20-hour multigenerational drama about alien abduction (with Steven Spielberg among the producers) is a hugely ambitious undertaking. Only HBO (with Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon) has produced multi-parters on such a scale lately. Sci Fi will air the entire series over two weeks in December, and I certainly hope it lives up to its billing. If the audience doesn't support it, we have no right to gripe about the puny two-parters everyone else calls a miniseries these days.

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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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