Television

Ask Matt: Can ‘Superman’ Avoid The CW Curse?


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Welcome to the Q&A with TV critic — also known to some TV fans as their “TV therapist” — Matt Roush, who’ll try to address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today’s vast TV landscape. (We know background music is too loud, but there’s always closed-captioning.)

One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone, so we won’t be addressing upcoming storylines here unless it’s already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] and follow me on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush). Look for Ask Matt columns on many Tuesdays and some Fridays.

More Powerful Than the Cancellation Locomotive?

Question: I was very much looking forward to the post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-riffing fourth season of TBS‘s Miracle Workers. So I was pretty surprised and dismayed when I went hunting for the Season 4 premiere on demand, only to find out its release has been indefinitely put on hold — especially as this decision came down a scant few weeks away from the original release date. (I had been absolutely crushed by Warner Bros. Discovery axing the release of Batgirl, but I hadn’t registered the fate of shows like Snowpiercer and didn’t realize that completed seasons of television could also be up for the tax write-off chopping block.)

My thoughts are now turning to Superman & Lois, my favorite superhero show to come out in decades. Season 3 is scheduled to premiere this March on The CW. But, like Miracle Workers, Superman & Lois is distributed by Warner Bros. Television. I know The CW is currently undergoing its own massive shifts, and I was fully prepared for season three of Superman & Lois to potentially be its last. While I’d be disappointed to see it go, three solid seasons of storytelling is nothing to sneeze at (especially in our current TV climate). But how worried do you reckon I should be that Superman & Lois’s third season may not even make it to our screens? — Pamela B.

Matt Roush: I get your anxiety, especially when you see the unprecedented fallout at the Turner networks, where shows already produced are being jettisoned and shopped elsewhere. While the Warner/Discovery conglomerate does produce Superman & Lois and the other DC shows, The CW is in a different sort of bind, with a new owner taking the network in a new (and cheaper) direction, which means cutting loose most of the legacy DC series. It’s too soon to know if Superman & Lois will suffer a similar fate, but you shouldn’t worry about whether it will air. The CW, even in its current state, hasn’t gone that far yet, and March 14 is a big night for the network, with Superman & Lois leading into the high-profile Gotham Knights. I figure the network’s new leaders can’t cancel everything, so maybe Superman & Lois will live on to fight another day. And if not, at least fans will get this new season to enjoy. [Update: Since this posting, DC Studios head James Gunn suggested Superman & Lois has “one or two more seasons left.”]

Putting the Bite on Showtime

Question: What can we do about Showtime not giving us a Season 2 of Let the Right One In? This show and its cast are phenomenal! There are so many bad shows in great time slots that keep getting renewed. Everyone needs to watch this show! — Rosemarie

Matt Roush: Sadly, we just learned that this vampire thriller (and less surprisingly, the dismal American Gigolo reboot) has fallen victim to another corporate consolidation, in this case Showtime being integrated into Paramount+ later this year. (Another casualty was a drama titled Three Women which had already been completed. So it’s not just happening with Warner/Discovery.) There’s the usual talk that Let the Right One In is being shopped to other platforms, and given how terrific those final episodes were, I hope there’s a taker. It’s just a brutal time in the TV business for shows, creators and fans left hanging in the wake of these tectonic shifts within giant corporations.

How Good Does This Doctor Need to Be to Get Noticed?

Question: Why hasn’t The Good Doctor received an award, an Emmy, whatever? It’s amazing. We watch every episode. The writing is great. Freddie Highmore is an amazing actor! The show needs an award, Freddie needs an award. How do we make it happen??? — Judith

Matt Roush: I’m afraid it’s out of our hands. (Although don’t hesitate to vote when the People’s Choice Awards come around.) Network dramas are pretty much invisible when it comes to industry recognition (the Emmys, the SAG Awards, etc.) and hospital dramas might as well not exist. The timing of this question, which has been raised before, may have been prompted by the recent episode (Jan. 23) in which Freddie Highmore’s character of Dr. Shaun Murphy waited nervously for the results of his pregnant wife Lea’s operation, reacting with unfettered joy and uncharacteristic hugs when it was successful. This very question (“Has Freddie ever won an Emmy?”) came up in my own household during that emotional scene, and I had to say no — although he has been nominated for several critics’ awards as recently as 2020 and 2021. The competition is always fierce, but I’d settle for a nomination. The work he’s doing is at a very high and tricky level, and it’s a shame that the genre works against him, as well as the stigma of airing on a network other than HBO or a streaming service.

Looking Beneath the Hood of American Auto

Question: I’d been seeing ads for American Auto, which I hadn’t heard of before, so we started watching on Peacock before Season 2 started. (Come on, anything with Ana Gasteyer is going to be good.) I love it. I mean, it’s not the best show (yet), and I just read that the ratings aren’t great. It reminds me so much of Superstore, though. Which of course has to be classed together with Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, and The Office. None of those were immediate hits, but NBC stuck with them, and the second season of each gave those shows a brand new life. I think they needed the first season to dip their toes in and test the water, make their adjustments, then come back strong. American Auto gave me so many laugh-out-loud moments. I’ll be honest, six episodes in, and I can’t say I feel any sort of attachment to any of the characters yet. I may be getting there, but I’m certain that going into Season 2, that’ll change for sure. I was just curious about your thoughts on the subject? — Mark

Matt Roush: Within your enthusiasm, I sense some ambivalence, and you got to the root of American Auto’s main problem when you admitted you hadn’t yet become attached to anyone in the cast. As good as Ana Gasteyer and most of the ensemble are, it’s a lot harder to relate to — or, more important, empathize with — these self-absorbed idiots in the C-suite of an embattled car company than it was to identify with the workers on Superstore (also from executive producer Justin Spitzer) and The Office or the oddballs of Parks and Rec. (This is probably closer in tone to the absurdist satire of 30 Rock, although seemingly even more cynical in spirit.) What I’ve seen so far of the second season hasn’t convinced me that there’s much if anything to warm up to. I laugh at some of the situations, performances, and writing, but watching it often feels like biting into something forbiddingly sour. Not exactly a recommendation, but Auto isn’t a lemon, either. I’m curious how it will fare on a network that has been challenged more than most in the prime-time comedy arena, the solid sampling for the Night Court reboot aside.

More Fauda, Please!

Question: Just binged Season 4 of Fauda on Netflix — one of the best, IMO — and that ending left me breathless. I know it’s an Israeli series, but would you happen to know if there is a fifth season planned or already shooting? Man, I hope so. Can’t end like that. — Michael E

Matt Roush: All I could find in a cursory search was some speculation that series creator Lior Raz is open to more seasons or even a Fauda movie. But when or whether any of that will come to be is probably a bit farther into the future. We had to wait quite a while for the most recent season, and I expect we’ll have another long wait for what comes next. I’d be surprised, though, if a show with this much global reach is over without them producing some sort of final chapter.

And Finally …

Comment: I just wanted to be one of the many to say how much I love All Creatures Great and Small on PBS Masterpiece. And specifically, how extraordinary the recent episode “Surviving Siegfried” was. Samuel West was absolutely riveting to watch. This show is incredibly well done. I don’t think you can find better TV than this. — Lea

Matt Roush: I’m with you. I look forward to this every week, and the episode in which Siegfried reflected on his past military trauma while tending with unusual sensitivity to a skittish horse was truly fine, touching drama. This isn’t the last we’ve seen of that horse, River, I’m told.

That’s all for now. We can’t do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to [email protected] or shoot me a line on Twitter @TVGMMattRoush. (Please include a first name with your question.)

 

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