Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, John Noble
Before we settle in for a nice long Thanksgiving weekend, some thoughts on a few of the TV shows and headlines that caught my eye over the last few days—some of which makes me thankful, some not so much.
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THANKS to Fox for suddenly making the midseason interesting with its bold scheduling moves in the new year — though NO THANKS to some of the side-effects (especially involving Fringe) and NO THANKS to breaking the news late on a Friday night, as if we somehow wouldn't take notice...
Zachary Quinto, Heroes
p>TV Guide's Senior Critic Matt Roush takes your TV questions. Have a rant, rave or burning question about your favorite show you'd like addressed? E-mail him here.
Question: What shall we do with Heroes? NBC must be asking itself the same question. Its first season, the show was a breakthrough hit, and then its season finale disappointed many. The abbreviated second season disappointed many more. Its producer publicly apologized for mistakes in that season. Then it comes back, supposedly rejuvenated and better than ever. NBC promotes the hell out of it and, almost unbelievably, viewership is down. The episodes that have aired so far have certainly been pretty good and even promising. I have to wonder if NBC made a blunder by airing the premiere against the Dancing with the Stars premiere. Maybe they should have come back a week earlier. Regardless, we need some explanation as to why the show can't get back on track to where it was in its best first season moments. My conclusion is that there was one colossal blunder made by the show's producers that has caused most of the problems, and that decision was to keep Sylar around after the first season. — Kelly H.
See Matt's response and questions on The Mentalist, Crash, Flashpoint and more after the jump.
Anna Friel and Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies
TV Guide's Senior Critic Matt Roush takes your TV questions. Have a rant, rave or burning question about your favorite show you'd like addressed? E-mail him here.
Question: I'm devastated, but not necessarily surprised, by the early ratings for Pushing Daisies. I thought it was risky of ABC to leave a show this fragile and unique off the air for so long and expect viewers to flock to its return. It's sad that something this unique, this creative and this original just can't "click" with a general public, but my hope is that the demos are decent enough that it will make it through at least 12 episodes and give us fans a proper, affectionate sign-off. — Andrew M.
Matt Roush: Let's not suggest the show be pushing up daisies just yet, though the opening numbers were dismaying. I can only hope ABC won't let this delightful show go down without a fight (the same argument I've been adopting lately for Fox's struggling Terminator series). But I agree the out-of-sight, out-of-mind argument has been devastating for this show in particular.
More on Daisies, the great Grey's debate and a look at the 24 prequel movie after the jump.
Question: There clearly must be something magical about Mondays. What is it with the insistence of every network to schedule all of their decent shows on Monday evening? In just the one night, I am expected to watch Prison Break, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother and now Chuck as well. Yet, come Wednesday, the schedule is about as interesting as Paris Hilton reading a book entitled "The Future of Plumbing". I can't be the only person who shares an interest in these same shows, so would it hurt to spread them out a bit, please, people?
Answer: The Monday battleground has been a very popular topic so far this season, and now that nearly everything is in place — with only NBC's My Own Worst Enemy (premiering next week) a no-show so far — the dilemma is becoming even more pronounced. I'm with you that a few of these shows should be given a chance elsewhere on the schedule, and Wednesdays would seem a likely option for both NBC and Fox. I'd love to see
Question: A lot has been mentioned by you and others about the overcrowding on Monday nights, especially in the 8 o'clock hour. Chuck and the CBS comedies are must-DVR's for me, but I also love Sarah Connor. My situation is further complicated by the fact that I work nights and thus don't have the option to watch one and record two. I would hate to see any of these shows canceled (either mid-season or before next year) because they were simply in the wrong time slot. With that foundation, I have a couple of related questions. First off, do networks take the level of competition into account when looking at a show's ratings and deciding whether to keep it or axe it? Also, how are the number of people who DVR a show counted? How about those who stream them online? Is there enough evidence out there to support streaming a show online later versus DVR-ing it when it comes to the effect on how a network views its survival chances?
Answer: It's all very complicated and still a work in
Question: I'm a huge fan of Dancing with the Stars. However, I need to vent. I have no problem with an 82-year-old woman being a participant of DWTS. I like old people — I am one myself. However, can you please get a message to Cloris Leachman for me? Tell her that I am embarrassed for her. Not because of her age, not because of her dancing skill, but because of her sophomoric actions that are not funny. — Ashley B.
Matt Roush: First off, don't fool yourself that ABC is doing anything to drum up business among the seniors. Nothing against them — some of my best friends and family members, etc. — but that demographic, you may have heard, isn't exactly advertiser-friendly, more's the pity. The issue, though, is Cloris, isn't it?
Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski
Question: I wanted to write to applaud the writers of The Office for taking the road less traveled. They have managed, it seems, to do something that most other shows have been too afraid to try: keeping their main romantic couple together and have their relationship be both happy and entertaining. Years upon years of TV watching have kept me waiting for the other shoe to drop for Jim and Pam, but The Office has handled their coupling with perfect care. What are your thoughts on Jim and Pam? And do you think that more shows will be willing to take this risk in the future? — Allyson
Matt Roush: Cue those who may think they're boring now that they're together, but I agree with you. I loved the proposal scene, especially in contrast to how miserable Angela is making Andy after his own ill-timed (and surely ill-fated) popping of the question.
Question: I've watched a lot of TV in my life, but I don't know that I've ever experienced a night as full of great TV as I did last Sunday. I'm not arguing it was the best TV I've ever seen, or even that any one series had its best episode ever, but as a combined lineup, I don't know that I've ever been more satisfied. I started with the return of The Amazing Race. The teams seem like they'll be a whole lot of fun this year, and they even seemed diverse enough that a half hour in I was still able to remember who was who. Then it was time to switch over to ABC's Desperate Housewives/Brothers & Sisters combo. This time jump really seems to have freshened things up on Housewives, and I hope the mystery surrounding Edie's creepy husband is worth our time. Brothers & Sisters had a strong start, and I found myself not really begrudging them the questionable plot twists the show took at the end of last season. Then I caught the replay of Mad Men. I believe they've raised the bar even higher ...
Question: I want your opinion on what I've noticed happening more and more on TV these days. It seems that many shows (Weeds, House and My Name Is Earl are the first three that come to mind) seem to be enjoying relative success and then, without explanation, someone (producers? creators? head writers?) decides to shake things up and change the format. On Weeds, the fourth season strayed very far away from the whole premise of suburban-mom-as-drug-dealer when Nancy and Company moved out of Agrestic/New Majestic to live on the California-Mexico border. On House, the whole staff gets disbanded and viewers have to watch way too many episodes of House berating and belittling new applicants as it strays way too far away from its main storyline of saving people with mysterious illnesses. (Oh, and when at least one of your new applicants is relatively famous, your audience can pretty much guess that he'd end up with the job). And then on My Name Is Earl, the whole list took a back seat last ...
Question: I recently purchased a lot of TV DVDs of returning series so I could "catch up" after these many months of mind-numbing programs like Greatest American Dog and I Survived a Japanese Game Show. After popping in a few discs, I noted something I had never really noticed before: the Warner Brothers logo on many shows not aired on the CW network (the old WB). Now, I know many studios produce series that are used by other networks. But the quality of the series in question makes me wonder why Warner ever let these titles slip by them. To highlight a few examples: Pushing Daisies on ABC, Chuck on NBC, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX, and both The Big Bang Theory and The New Adventures of Old Christine on CBS. These are all critic and fan favorites. And, sure, none of these would likely have had a chance of renewal (or a full season for that matter) on Warners' own network. But can you think of a time when one studio has produced so many, dare I say, hits for other ...