Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ask Brett - Too Many Final Season Announcements? 'Bates Motel's Great but Unexpected Casting? 'BoJack' Emmy Snub?

In this week's edition of Ask Brett, chief TV critic of TV-Recaps-Reviews Brett Hense discusses the numerous final season announcements from Comic-Con, Rihanna's casting on Bates Motel, the current state of late night talk show hosts, and much more!

Q: It's been a rough few days for me. So many of my favorite shows announced that they were ending next season. The Vampire Diaries! Bates Motel! Teen Wolf! Any advice on how to cope? - Jeri

Last week really did seem to emphasize final season announcements. But it's also important that all of these shows are going out on their own terms. It's so depressing when shows last for much longer than they should or are canceled before they can finish their story. So I would say, celebrate these shows and what they've meant to you. The creative teams and the fans will celebrate the satisfaction of getting a complete story. And those three shows are hardly the only ones ending over the next year. Several of my favorites are coming to a close as well - including The Leftovers, Rectify, Orphan Black and Switched at Birth. But again, just remember how rewarding a viewing experience they have all been. Cherish those memories and remain excited for a great ending to come.

Q: Rihanna is playing Marion Crane on Bates Motel!!!!!! That's such great and unexpected casting! Who would have thought Bates Motel - a small show on A&E - would have one of the biggest stories from Comic-Con? - Maggie

It really was such a surprising moment to come from last week - to the point that it almost overshadowed the fact that it will be the final season of the show. At first, I was taken aback by the casting. Rihanna, really? And then, I remembered that she has been making a significant push into acting over the past few years. With some great writing, she could be fantastic. That's exciting. I haven't watched the show since its first season. I've heard it got significantly better in the years since. Rihanna's casting has piqued my interest. So, I might need to get caught up on the drama now.

Q: BoJack Horseman is fantastic this season! Why aren't people talking about it more? Thankfully, it was renewed for another year. But why wasn't it nominated for an Emmy? - Jon

I'm probably not the right person to be asking this question considering I'm one of the many people who have not watched the show. The most recent season that debuted last Friday definitely was talked about amongst the critical community a lot over the weekend. I've seen images, gifs and jokes on Twitter that make me want to watch the show. It's just difficult to find the time with everything else going on right now. 

In regards to the Emmy part of the question, it is curious why it was snubbed for Animated Program again. And yet, which of the actual nominees would you take off the list? Archer, Bob's Burgers, Phineas and Ferb Last Day of Summer, South Park and The Simpsons is a strong field. Yes, most of those are aging shows. It would be nice for the field to embrace newer and fresher series. But again, those animated programs are still pretty noteworthy with their most recent seasons.

Q: I was a faithful viewer of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. But now, John Oliver is the only late night host I watch -- and he's only on once a week! Colbert has really struggled with his CBS show. His live shows have been better but that's largely been because of the gimmick in bringing the Comedy Central guys back again. Are there any late night hosts I'm missing out on? - Seth

I have to agree that John Oliver is the successor to Jon Stewart for the title of late night king. He was on hiatus for the past few weeks. But his response to the Republican National Convention was the one I most desperately needed to see - and he didn't disappoint on Sunday night. I also agree with Stephen Colbert struggling to find his comedic voice on the CBS show. This past week was probably his best week yet. However, its three most noteworthy moments - Stephen Colbert reviving his old personality, Jon Stewart returning to the desk, and going live for the week - won't be a part of the DNA of the CBS show moving forward. They were stunts for the conventions and will go away as soon as this week is over with. That's the hook and it has been successful for the last week. It has allowed Colbert to be more fun. But how much of that energy and inspired comedic commentary will continue to be a fixture moving forward? CBS is committed to Colbert. He'll have time to figure things out. But the thing is, he's had time to find his new voice. And nothing has really seemed to be working. That's a major problem especially when discussing the current state of late night shows. But again, Oliver is doing terrific work. So is Samantha Bee on TBS' Full Frontal. Those are just once a week shows though. They are phenomenal half-hours. But if you're looking for a nightly show to watch, I really would recommend Seth Meyers who has been doing some fantastic work covering this election.

Q: I read that James Corden's Carpool Karaoke segments were being turned into a regular reality series. At first, that seemed like such a smart idea. And then, I read that it's going to air on Apple Music! What is that? I've never heard of it before. Plus, Corden isn't even going to be hosting the thing. Do the producers even realize that so much of the appeal is his reactions? - Kelly

I too was perplexed when it was announced Tuesday afternoon that the Carpool Karaoke series was brought by Apple Music. Apparently, it's a new rising streaming platform trying to break into the world that has a number of other music-themed projects - both scripted and unscripted - in development. Of course, the world really doesn't need another streaming platform joining the original content race right now. There's too many choices as is. How many people will actively seek this out - especially when it seems likely Corden will continue the segments on The Late Late Show?

And yet, being on a streaming platform could really allow the show to vary its approach more so than being on a traditional network. The segments have worked well in the past by being around 10-15 minutes. There's simply no way to stretch that out to half an hour without losing some of the magic of the concept. That would almost be too strenuous and weird. Of course, it may already be lame in comparison considering Corden isn't hosting and we don't know who'll replace him. The demands of the late night talk show are likely to blame - though he is being credited as an executive producer on the series. But it should be interesting to see if the viral aspects of the program will be able to bring attention to an emerging platform that desperately needs viewers in order to survive.

Brett Hense is the chief TV critic and founder of TV-Recaps-Reviews. He has been writing about television professionally for five years now. To be featured in a future edition of "Ask Brett," make sure to email your inquiries to Make sure to put "Ask Brett" in the subject line. Or you can leave a comment on this page or the site's official Twitter and Facebook pages.