Netflix in the Ring With Wrestling, ‘Law & Order’s Good Old Days & More

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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]. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays.

Does Netflix’s WWE Deal Make Sense?

Question: Is Netflix‘s $5 billion deal to stream WWE’s Monday Night Raw beginning in 2025 over the course of 10 years a good business deal? — Michael

Matt Roush: Boy, are you barking up the wrong tree. I’m not a business journalist and you could fill my interest in pro wrestling in a thimble. That said, I would never underestimate Netflix as well as the enduring popularity of the WWE franchise, regardless of whether I share it. The scandal involving WWE’s former majority owner Vince McMahon notwithstanding — a story that broke just days after this deal was announced — this seems like a natural fit. Netflix declared its enthusiasm in this interview with Deadline, emphasizing the upside of having a “great entertainment product … that we can have on 52 weeks a year” while expanding WWE’s global reach.

Where Are Law & Order’s Familiar Faces?

Question: Although I’m glad that Law & Order is back, I find I don’t enjoy it as much. Why isn’t there a medical examiner? Why isn’t a psychologist or psychiatrist ever consulted? Olivet or Skoda appeared on about a third of the episodes. Why don’t we ever see a CSI? I loved John Cariani as Beck. Why haven’t they brought back some of the regular guest defense attorneys like Tovah Feldshuh’s Danielle Melnick or Peter Jacobson’s Randy Dworkin (loved him!)? And why don’t they occasionally get a well-known guest star? I’m almost past caring. — Doris B.

Matt Roush: Doesn’t sound like you’re all that thrilled to have the show back, at least not in its current and still transitional form. (If you hadn’t heard, Sam Waterston is retiring as Jack McCoy later this month.) Can’t really address the “why’s” on your wish list with any specificity except to point out that Law & Order has always fed on a large pool of busy New York actors, and since the reboot (after more than a decade’s hiatus) the producers may be looking for fresh faces. (Although when is Tovah Feldshuh not welcome anywhere?) I don’t watch the series regularly enough anymore to reinforce the observation that the supporting cast of recurring consultants is MIA, but if they are, it could also have something to do with budgetary constraints affecting almost every network TV show these days. On the plus side, I’m pleased so far with what I’ve seen of Reid Scott joining the detective squad this season.

Is Jeopardy! Cheapened by Too Many Tournaments?

Comment: Building on Eileen’s letter from the last Ask Matt column wondering where the new Jeopardy! contestants are, I agree that the constant tide of tournaments cheapens the format. It used to be win or go home for the contestants, so the tournaments were special. It’s now like baseball adding wildcards; it just cheapens the World Series. And it’s reached the point where I’m getting tired of seeing “super players” over and over again, even the ones I once rooted for. Plus, there is a personal dimension. I lost on Jeopardy! 30 years ago but took some pride knowing that just getting on an episode was an achievement. It took a while, but I came to terms with it. Now I want to know where is the Season 8 Second Chance tournament? — Rick C.

Matt Roush: I’d say you’ve earned your sour grapes. And while I sympathize and to a point agree that this season’s emphasis on tournaments featuring previous players (for whatever reason) is not a good development, I’m not going to advocate for going back decades. There’s a limit, and I hope this season that Jeopardy! has discovered it.

Remembering Buffy’s Dancing Demon

Comment: Nowhere — NOWHERE — in the obituaries and tributes to Hinton Battle do they ever mention Buffy‘s musical episode. It’s a travesty, I tell you. A travesty! — Linda P.

Matt Roush: You may not have looked deep enough into some of the stories, including ours. But on a cursory search, most tributes I saw did mention his appearance as the dancing demon in the classic “Once More, With Feeling” episode. We Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans might wish this milestone was more prominently featured, but Battle’s greatest success was on Broadway, where he won three Tonys. So I can’t really blame his eulogists for emphasizing that, even if means turning the landmark Buffy episode into more of a footnote.

Put Miss Scarlet in the Five-Timers’ Club

Question: Any word on renewal of Miss Scarlet and the Duke? I know the current season hasn’t finished airing, but I binged it on PBS Passport where they’ve posted all the episodes. The way they left it, I hope there’s another season! — Paula

Matt Roush: We might have become spoiled, since the current Season 4 was announced before we’d even seen Season 3 of the enjoyable period mystery. But it’s still a tad early by most standards, and while there’s no word about renewal yet, I’d expect good news soon. Maybe when PBS meets the press at the Television Critics Association next week.

And Finally …

Question: A few months ago, I watched Country Hearts on UPtv. The ending left a lot up in the air. Do you know if there is (or was) a sequel? — Shirley D.

Matt Roush: According to UPtv, a sequel (Country Hearts Christmas) aired during the most recent holiday season. It’s currently available on the UP Faith & Family streaming service.

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 X (formerly Twitter) @TVGMMattRoush. (Please include a first name with your question.)

 



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