Ask Matt: Southland, TV Prequels, Hannibal, Grey's, Splash and More
Ben McKenzie | Photo Credits: Doug Hyun/TNT
Question: This is more a commentary than a question, but what are your thoughts on Southland? Ben McKenzie and Shawn Hatosy have recently landed new pilots, so it would appear that this will be the last season of the very fine cop show Southland. Yes, the show is an ensemble and could certainly go on without the two characters they portray, but it would be a different Southland without them, even with a cast as strong as one that includes Regina King and C. Thomas Howell. I suppose I could just be suffering from a degree of Cancellation Anxiety, but I think the signs are all there. That being said, instead of lamenting the probable loss of this wonderful TV show, I will simply be glad that TNT saw the virtue of picking it up when NBC so unceremoniously dropped it and be thankful the fans have had the last additional four seasons. If this is it for Southland, I will truly miss Michael Cudlitz, one of the best actors on TV. It is such a shame that this actor has not really got the attention deserved for his portrayal of the conflicted, deeply in the closet, former pill-addicted John Cooper. Whatever the fate of Southland, I hope we see lots more of him in the future. — Chris
Matt Roush: I agree on all of your points, especially the gratitude for having been given the chance to watch Southland develop and become a much better show on cable — a tighter focus on fewer characters made for a much stronger, memorable series — and the praise for Michael Cudlitz, who continues to find new depths and nuance in the John Cooper character. I just hope, whether this is the last season or not, that Cooper isn't left in a state of such existential despair as he appears to be in right now. (It's been an awfully bleak season for most of the characters — killing off Lydia's mom seemed like piling on, to be honest — which probably hasn't helped its commercial prospects.) But even with some of the actors lining up new projects just in case — can't blame them — the show isn't officially dead yet, though I'm not in denial about its chances. With Southland, we should just be thankful for every precious and gritty hour we get.
Question: I'm finding The Carrie Diaries a little bit too on the nose. Within the first 10 episodes, Carrie is already working at a fashion magazine in New York, drunk a cosmo, tried on a pair of Jimmy Choos and made self-referential comments about not wanting to be talking about sex and dating for the rest of her life. She just needs to have sex and start smoking and we have the Carrie we all know from Sex and the City. It's all too much, too quickly. Surely the show would have benefited from easing viewers into these "iconic" moments and play them out over the series. Rather than throw Carrie into New York within the first episode and working at a fashion magazine within the first 10, the show would have been better off to have Carrie writing for her school newspaper (maybe as an advice columnist) and perhaps as a Season 1 finale she goes to New York for the first time.
The great thing about a show like Smallville was that they eased viewers into each Superman milestone over 10 years. They earned each new power and each reference about Clark's future. The Carrie Diaries is similar to Smallville in that we know how the story ends. So why was Smallville so delicate with their iconic moments and The Carrie Diaries is just throwing everything up in the air? On the same note, will similar prequel shows, Hannibal and Bates Motel, both start referencing Chianti and showers respectively within their first episodes? Or do you think they'll earn their big moments? — Kevin