Matt Roush


Ask Matt: Deaths on Family Guy and Person of Interest, Scandal, Grey's

Family Guy

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

Question: Where do you stand on the decision of Family Guy's writers to kill off Brian Griffin? When the Nov. 24 episode ended without him coming back to life, it hit me and many, many other viewers like a ton of bricks. I'd like to believe this isn't permanent, like the eventual retirement of Mrs. Krabappel ...
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Ask Matt: Grey's Anatomy, Person of Interest, Nashville, Homeland, NCIS

Clarke Peters and Taraji P. Henson

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Question: I've decided it's time to ask you how would you like to see Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) leave Grey's Anatomy. This might come up more often as the season nears an end in May, but I can't stop thinking about it. While I love Cristina and aspire to be as fierce as she is, I think they should kill her off, but not in a mean way — in a way that could build a great emotional arc for Kevin McKidd (Owen). I think they should have one more romp in the sack where she gets pregnant and he convinces her to keep the baby this time, only to lose Cristina during the birth! I know I sound all evil genius right now, but I think that would give Owen more issues than he can handle and I think it will bring all those close to Cristina (especially Meredith) to a level of respecting Cristina's initial decision to never have kids. Just my thoughts. I think her exit will be flawless. Shonda Rhimes is a TV goddess and I'm sure will make us all proud. — Erica

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Weekend Playlist: Doctor Who and Other TV Legends (Burnett, Cosby), Plus: Red John!

Matt Smith, David Tennant

Who knew? Few could have foreseen the enduring success of Doctor Who given its inauspicious origins a half-century ago — a fascinating story of pluck, luck and imagination delightfully rendered in An Adventure in Space and Time, a new TV movie (Friday, 9/8c) airing as part of BBC America's 50th-anniversary Who celebration this weekend.

You don't have to be a Whovian to appreciate this jaunty re-creation of a simpler, scrappier time in TV history. A "year-ometer" (cute touch) dials back to 1963, when the staid BBC's brash new head of drama, Canadian showman Sydney Newman (a marvelously uncouth Brian Cox), greenlights a new sci-fi serial to appeal to kids and fickle sports fans. With a miniscule budget, an overheated "broom cupboard" of a studio and an edict of "no tin robots or BEM (bug-eyed monsters)," Newman appoints an unorthodox team to realize his vision: Verity Lambert (Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine), an ambitious pioneering female producer, and Waris Hussein (Sacha Dhawan), a novice Indian director.

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The Monday Playlist: A Night for Moms (Mabley and Mom), Who's Turning 50

Moms Mabley

With her floppy hat and flapping gums, Jackie "Moms" Mabley is mostly remembered these days for her outrageous appearances on late-'60s and '70s-era variety and talk shows, as mainstream as Ed Sullivan and as of-the-moment as the Smothers Brothers, performing racy and politically barbed stand-up routines whose sting was couched in a dirty-old-lady's guise.

Among those influenced by Mabley was Whoopi Goldberg, who performed an homage to the comedian early in her own career. In the HBO documentary Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley (Monday, 9/8c), the View personality directs and participates in this tribute to the pioneering comic's life and legacy, with TV clips and audio excerpts (enhanced with crude animation) from her many comedy albums, which hold up surprisingly well. read more

Ask Matt: Scandal, Walking Dead, NCIS, Elementary, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Joe Morton

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Question: I started watching Scandal from the start, when it was simply a problem-of-the-week plot mixed in with a little soap opera with Olivia and the President. They lost me a little bit last year when they temporarily dropped that element to completely focus on the soap opera element when the president was shot. With the addition of the B613 storyline (and possible new Harrison storyline), I feel the show has lost its focus. I was highly enjoying Lisa Kudrow's story and performance only to have the show dragged down by B613's machinations and apparent manipulation of Quinn. I get the fear the show could be the political Love Boat where the guest stars get all the meaty storylines, but I watch shows like Strike Back for my spy action and adventure. Have these writers learned nothing from the mistakes countless shows including Alias and recently Revenge have made with these over-the-top secret maniacal agencies? — Brian

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The Weekend Playlist: Amazon's Alpha House, Almost Human

Alpha House

There's another serious new player in the ever-expanding universe of online original-content providers (see: Netflix and Hulu) — and happily, Amazon's entry into this suddenly cluttered marketplace is not just seriously funny, but it's as bracingly timely as the latest exasperating political headline.

Alpha House (three episodes bow Friday on amazon.com, with future episodes available to Amazon Prime subscribers) is satire at its most blistering and biting, delivered by a master of the trade: Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau, whose contempt for political cynicism, venality and hypocrisy doesn't keep the jaded protagonists of this bawdy, brazen comedy from being great company. The setting is a Washington, D.C., row house, home away from home for four Republican senators, led by the fearlessly outrageous John Goodman as a good-old-boy/former football star who's outraged to discover he won't be able to coast through his next election. (His new opponent: a legendary Duke coach. As someone observes: "You're like a retired god. He's active.")

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The Thursday Playlist: Ground Floor Works the Sitcom Formula

John C. McGinley, Skylar Astin

The "upstairs downstairs" framework we've come to love on Downton Abbey translates fairly well to the world of corporate workplace romantic comedy in TBS's Ground Floor, a likable if decidedly modest bauble from sitcom vets Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town) and Greg Malins (Friends), working in the too-often-disparaged mode of traditional multi-camera comedy. (The first two episodes air back-to-back Thursday starting at 10/9c.)

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Ask Matt: Good Wife, Sleepy Hollow, Spinoffs, S.H.I.E.L.D., Chicago Fire

Nicole Beharie, Tom Mison

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

Question: Last Sunday's "Hitting the Fan" episode of The Good Wife lived up to the hype. It was a game changer, but I guess it left me feeling slimed. Alicia has always taken a righteous position and walked a fine ethical line. On Sunday, I feel like she fell off a cliff — not only was she a party to trying to download files which I'm not sure is illegal but certainly not ethical (notwithstanding the ends-justify-the-means argument), but she also seemed gleeful about Peter using his political position to her gain. As Will seemed so right to point out, she seems to have no idea how bad she has become. This is not the good wife that I have been watching. What were your thoughts? — Megan

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The Thursday Playlist: Sundance's Haunting Returned a French Halloween Treat

Clotilde Hesme and Pierre Perrier

You were maybe expecting monsters on Halloween? Less than a week after NBC so disastrously attempted to "re-imagine" Dracula, cable's Sundance Channel scores again — in a year that has already given us the exceptional Top of the Lake and Rectify — by subtly yet audaciously flipping the zombie thriller in the eight-part French import The Returned (with English subtitles). In this quietly creepy and profoundly unsettling supernatural mystery (Thursday, 9/8c), the undead are portrayed not as Walking Dead-style flesh-eaters but as deeply and unmistakably flesh-and-blood human.

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The Tuesday Playlist: War of the Worlds at 75, Women of Interest, Naked Vegas

Orson Welles

Today's history lesson: You shouldn't always believe what you hear. Long before TV, let alone social media like Twitter and Facebook, the medium of radio held sway over the public consciousness — and more to the point, the collective imagination — in a way that now seems hard for many to fathom. One visionary who understood its potential and power was Orson Welles, "prodigy and provocateur," who at the astonishingly precocious age of 23 triggered a Halloween eve panic in 1938 with his innovative and infamous CBS Radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds.

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