Ask Matt: Serial-Killer Thrillers, CSI: NY and Criminal Minds Renewals
Hugh Dancy | Photo Credits: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Question: This TV mid-season has brought us three dramas about serial killers: The Following, Hannibal and Bates Motel. Why do competing networks often program similar TV shows? Remember the recent explosion of shows set in the 1960s (The Playboy Club, Pan Am, The Hour)? Last year we had the more successful slate of fantasy universe-meets-modern universe shows (Grimm, Once Upon a Time). What gives? Are the networks just waiting around for word of what their rivals are doing so that they can make a duplicate? Or is it all just coincidence? — Sam
Matt Roush: Usually coincidence, although sometimes these programming/development mini-trends can be traced to a desire to echo (or rip off) other happenings in the culture at large. The '60s boomlet, for instance, was widely seen as an attempt by the networks to make more commercial versions of Mad Men (didn't work). We're probably going to see this type of seemingly copycat programming occur with even more frequency, considering how many more outlets are in the original programming game — and because there's only so much originality and so many genres to go around. Besides, it's not like anyone would confuse Once Upon a Time with Grimm. Regarding the current so-called "serial-killer" trend, while on paper they may sound a lot alike, in execution and impact they're quite different: The Following is by and large a chase thriller (lopsided, because the good guys are so bumbling), Bates Motel is a psychosexual character study/mystery-soap about the making of a legendary killer, and Hannibal (like Bates Motel a prequel) is a procedural-with-a-twist, and the most artful of the lot, in which the killer is hiding in plain sight. These could be seen as variations on a theme, but they rarely hit the same notes, so the similarities are really in the mind of the beholder.
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Question: As an on-again, off-again fan of The Walking Dead, I was really expecting a high-end conclusion to Season 3, but I was disappointed that they did not kill off the Governor or have a better/closed conclusion to his arc. It reminded me of how the writers chickened out about killing Daniel on Revenge. I don't mind villains popping up here and there in the series, but when you have a sadistic character like the Governor, you want him dead. I would have rather liked if they decided to bring back the Governor in Season 5 instead of Season 4. It is like it's a continuing arc with Season 3, and we'll still be focusing more on the Governor vs. the prison instead of a new location, new villain, new arc. There wasn't a huge action/scene between Daryl and the Governor for killing his brother. As much as viewers hated Andrea, I think her death could have been handled better: Maybe give her a chance for redemption as she takes a bullet trying to protect the group, or get bitten while trying to protect them. Did the writers chicken out about killing the Governor? Could Andrea's death have been handled better?
Mini-question regarding Revenge: We know Aiden is the obvious choice/guess as the secret son of Victoria, but what is the theory of Nolan being the son? I know it is a long shot, but Nolan could have found out about Victoria a long time ago or while working for David Clarke. He could have lied to Emily about his past or made up his past. Crazy theory, but Revenge is a soap opera. — Aadil