Matt Roush


Ask Matt: Race on Sleepy Hollow, Person of Interest, plus Grey's, Glee, Good Wife

Nicole Beharie

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

Question: What are your thoughts on the awareness of people in the TV industry regarding the perception that it's always the non-white characters that are killed off shows? It seems impossible to me that those in charge don't see this phenomenon as a problem, and yet, consistently, that seems to be what happens. That reality is so pervasive for me that when I watched the pilot for Sleepy Hollow, my thought as what looked to be the two main characters — a well-known white, male actor (Clancy Brown) and a young, unknown-to-me African-American actress (Nicole Beharie) — approached the spooky, abandoned farm house was, "Seriously, Show? Already you're going to kill off the black actor?" read more

Monday Review: Six by Sondheim

America Ferrera, James Lapine

Few love words as passionately as Broadway's master composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, but there's one word that makes him cringe: "Hummable," a quality some (erroneously) find lacking in his challenging, rewarding scores. "Drives me up the wall," he growls.

Which is why it's such an ironic delight when Sondheim performs as part of a new staging of his autobiographical "Opening Doors" production number (from the initially flop musical Merrily We Roll Along), playing a producer who bullies a team of young songwriters to conjure a "humm-umm-able melody."

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Review: NBC's Live The Sound of Music

Sound of Music Live

When The Sound of Music sang, it soared. And scored, attracting an astounding 18.5 million viewers Thursday during NBC's ambitious three-hour live broadcast of the enduring Rodgers & Hammerstein classic. Climb every ratings mountain, indeed.

With stunning sets and backdrops, generally gorgeous and enjoyable singing — Those nuns! Those kids! — and fluid direction that attempted to minimize the vacuum effect of people performing to an otherwise empty and hollow-sounding soundstage, this was a pleasurable one-night-only stunt that felt like a major TV event. Trust me, there will be more where this came from. (Let's start casting The King and I now.)

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Wednesday Review: Mob City, Kristie, Arrow's Flash-y Newbie

Ed Burns

A deluxe if derivative wallow in crime awaits viewers of TNT's Mob City (Wednesday, 9/8c) a six-hour primer in film noir attitude from The Walking Dead's Frank Darabont that's as sleek as the brilliantine in "fixer" Milo Ventimiglia's impeccably styled hair. Saturated in neon hues and evocative shadows, this limited-run series (airing in two-hour blocks over three Wednesdays) is gorgeous to behold even when it lays on the noir trappings awfully thick.

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

Family Guy

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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

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

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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