Matt Roush


Weekend Review: About a Boy, Fisher Sneak Peeks, Downton Finale

Minnie Driver, David Walton, Banjamin Stockham

This week's gold-medal question: Can NBC reverse its spotty track record when it comes to using the ratings boost of the Olympics to launch new programs? (Remember the Summer 2012 debacle when the network interrupted the flow of London's Closing Ceremony to inflict Animal Practice on an unwilling captive audience?)

The news is better this weekend, during the closing nights of the Games. The comedies getting a sneak peek are considerably more entertaining than Animal Practice — what wouldn't be? — and they won't air until after that night's Olympics packages are finished.

First up is NBC's best new comedy of the season (including the star-driven disappointments that flopped on Thursdays this fall): About a Boy, airing Saturday night at approximately 11/10c before moving to its regular time period next Tuesday at 9/8c. This charmingly offbeat ... read more

Critic's Notebook: Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show Debut

Jimmy Fallon

Some things you just can't do from Beautiful Downtown Burbank. On the first night of a reinvented, relocated Tonight Show now starring Jimmy Fallon from the heart of New York City, U2 took to the Top of the Rock — 30 Rock, that is — to perform "Invisible" with the glittery Manhattan skyline gloriously visible behind them.

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Ask Matt: True Detective, Olympics, Ralph Waite, Teen Wolf, Justified

Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: True Detective is by far my new favorite show! The acting, storyline, intensity (especially last week's episode on Feb. 9) is incredible! 
I've heard that this is just a miniseries. However, with the good ratings and reviews as it is getting, any word on a possible renewal of a second season? - Mike

Matt Roush: Though it hasn't been officially renewed yet, that seems to be just a formality at this point, especially since HBO has signed the show's creator Nic Pizzolatto to a two-year deal. Which means more True Detective, although whatever happens, it will be a very different True Detective in seasons to come. Because this is one of those franchises that occupies the territory somewhere between miniseries and anthology, not unlike American Horror Story but potentially with less of a repertory ensemble feel. If/when True Detective returns, it will be with new stars, new characters, a new locale and new focus, so don't get too attached to Rust Cohle and Marty Hart, although I understand why you would be.

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Weekend TV Review: Give These Shows a Medal!

Benedict Cumberbatch

While the Olympians continue to dominate the TV spotlight in Sochi, another gathering of championship talent takes a bow in the weekend's other gold-medal event: PBS's Great Performances presentation of National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage (Friday, 9/8c, check tvguide.com listings).

Laurence Olivier led the National Theatre upon its founding in 1963, and he and other luminaries are seen in vintage clips from past productions, interspersed throughout a dazzling evening of live re-enactments and tantalizing excerpts from landmark plays, including Angels in America, Stuff Happens, The History Boys and War Horse. Fans of Downton Abbey will delight to see the Dowager Countess Maggie Smith in her 1964 prime, vamping in ... read more

Tuesday TV: Not Just the Olympics

Frontline: Syria’s Second Front

I'm beginning to hear in my mailbag from those whose reaction to slaloms, snowboarding and skating isn't so much "Oh my!" as "Oh no!" (And we're not talking Apolo.) Personally, I love dipping in and out of the Winter Games, and NBC is giving us plenty of opportunity — not just in the network's prime-time package, but with live online streaming and selected live events (in decidedly not prime-time hours) on cable outlets including NBCSN.

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Ask Matt: Big Bang and Football, Psych, The Following, Bones, Enlisted

The Big Bang Theory

Question: I read that CBS won the bidding for an exclusive Thursday night NFL game package starting next season. I'm wondering what that means for The Big Bang Theory. It would seem to be an odd choice to disrupt the most popular show on TV from its prime-time slot, even though there's no denying football's ratings, either. How do you think CBS will handle this? Will Big Bang move to a new night, or maybe use it as a lead-in to the football? Or will they maybe hold the show back to start its season run after the eight weeks of football are over and thereby cut down on the number of reruns the show airs. Any ideas? — Chris read more

Weekend Review: The Walking Dead, Beatles Tribute, PBS' Lady

Chandler Riggs

Things have gotten so bleak on AMC's The Walking Dead that it's not always easy to tell the walking wounded from the actual zombies. Which is part of the point as the fourth season resumes with the beleaguered survivors of the prison battle scattered to the winds — so much so that in this week's episode (Sunday, 9/8c), written by Robert Kirkman ... read more

Ask Matt: Mindy, S.H.I.E.L.D., Blacklist, Intelligence, Super Bowl Ads

Chris Messina, Mindy Kaling

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: What do you think the chance is for The Mindy Project to be renewed for a third season? I have been watching it since the beginning and think that the end of "The Desert" episode gave the show some good material and direction for the rest of the season. It has become so funny, and the chemistry between Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina is great. I would hate for this show to not get a chance to show what it can do. I'm not sure how long a show has to be on the air to be syndicated, but I think that would help the ratings, too. — Meg

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Thursday Review: A Parks and Rec Farewell, Comedy Legends on Men

Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones

Emotions have been running high lately on NBC's best Thursday comedies. Saying goodbye to beloved characters can have that effect. Last week, Community sent Abed's playmate Troy (Donald Glover) off to sail the world with LeVar Burton, but not before staging one last epic stunt that turned Greendale into Lava World. This week, the focus shifts to a more grounded yet fictional Indiana — where, incidentally, there is an actual Greendale (I grew up there) — as Pawnee prepares a going-away bash for Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) on Parks and Recreation that may not be as surreal as Community's but compensates with a reservoir of genuine emotion and character-rich moments. read more

Wednesday Review: Harry Connick Idol-atry, BBC America's Fleming

Harry Connick Jr.

Who dat? Only the best thing to happen to American Idol in this post—Simon Cowell era.

Harry Connick Jr. may not be as instantly recognizable as his fellow Idol panelists Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, but in a world where too many reality-show judges act more like cheerleaders (yes, The Voice, this even applies to you), this New Orleans crooner and accomplished cutup has what I'd call (apologies to Cowell) the X — or expert — factor. He's exceptionally entertaining, extremely knowledgeable and expansively personable — even when his explosive opinions earn him the labels  "Hatchet Harry" and "Harsh Harry" from the kinder, gentler Lopez and the occasional disgruntled contestant. But how can you not love an Idol judge who hates the word pitchy and refuses to be wowed by caterwauling vocal gymnastics?

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