Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ask Brett - Why is 'Rizzoli & Isles' Ending? Thoughts on 'You're the Worst' Season 3! Weird Netflix Renewal Announcements? & More!

In this week's edition of Ask Brett, chief TV critic Brett Hense of TV-Recaps-Reviews discusses why TNT's Rizzoli & Isles is ending, the quick renewal for Netflix's Narcos, the return of FXX's You're the Worst and much more!

Q: Why is TNT's Rizzoli & Isles ending? I believe that all shows only have a finite amount of story necessary. But R&I was still strong in Season 7. The ratings were great too! So why is TNT bringing it to a close now? - Nick

The easiest answer - and perhaps the one you don't want to hear or believe - is that TNT is getting out of procedurals and developing darker, edgier shows that can make more noise - such as Animal Kingdom or the upcoming Good Behavior. The Turner brand is one of many currently undergoing a change in direction. New network president Kevin Reilly has been instrumental in that regard. He wants TNT and TBS to be taken as seriously as FX is in original programming. That's a lofty ambition. But more importantly, it means the network is abandoning most of its blue-skies programs. The network broke big in the first place because of those types of shows. But now, everyone is looking for the next big thing. That largely means darker dramas. Lightness can be very appealing in the hourlong format. But it just doesn't seem to be something TNT is interested in doing right now. Things might change in the future if this move doesn't work out. And it is a shame that Rizzoli & Isles got the ax despite some strong ratings. But it at least got to go out with a planned final season and a finale that could wrap everything up. And again, seven seasons is a healthy and respectable run for any show. That's a celebration no matter what.

Q: Loved the premiere of FXX's You're the Worst. But I can't seem to find your review of it anywhere. What did you think? Did you love it too? If not, just lie. - Corinne

Last Wednesday was a bit of a chaotic night for me. Considering I watch Mr. Robot live, I didn't get to the premiere of You're the Worst until much later in the week. But I do agree that the show came back strong. Season 2 had a very dark twist with Gretchen's depression. That story took the show to some new depths and it wasn't always funny along the way. And yet, the characters were continually impressive so I went on that journey with them. So now, it's interesting to see how the show comes back from that. Gretchen is ready to start therapy. But the premiere focused more on the declaration of love between Jimmy and Gretchen instead. It was a reaffirmation that both of them are ready to run away from this relationship as quickly as possible. However, they choose to stay and that's all the love they need right now. Plus, things are looking pretty precarious for Edgar and Lindsay. The main story was light but the subplots most definitely were not. Edgar going off his meds could have huge consequences later this season while Lindsay stabbing Paul is once again her failing to react to any situation in a rational or normal way. They are exciting twists. But I'm very curious to see where this season goes.

Q: Hulu's Difficult People airs its season finale this week. It hasn't been renewed yet, right? I don't remembering see that announcement. But it definitely should! This season was amazing for all 10 episodes. - Amber

Admittedly, I'm not caught up on this season of Difficult People. The first few episodes were strong but I fell behind and haven't been able to catch up yet. That being said Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner continue to be fantastic. They proved just how good they are as actors in Season 1. And this season has already added new depths to them. Some episodes were perhaps a bit too focused on celebrity cameos. That's a problem the show frequently finds itself in. But they are never distracting or take away too much from Billy and Julie or the main story. I'm also thinking that a Season 3 renewal is likely. I want to say the show was renewed for Season 2 before Season 1 finished. I could be mistaken with that. And yet, it still feels like an inevitability. Hulu is building up its brand. It already has a strong portfolio. Difficult People helps solidify its comedic sensibilities. Casual has gotten more critical acclaim. But it falls in the trap of a half hour show with more dramatic beats than comedic. Difficult People is funny in every second of screen time. That should be important to Hulu. I'm pretty sure Julie and Billy want to do more as well. So now, it's just waiting until the announcement finally comes out.

Q: Why does Netflix renew some shows quickly and make others wait for a long time? Narcos got an order for two more seasons just four days after dropping Season 2. Meanwhile, it took more than a month for Netflix to formally commit to Stranger Things (even though we all knew it was coming back after that first weekend). - Ben

The industry insider part of me thinks that Narcos got renewed so quickly in order to create more buzz for its current season. Considering Netflix doesn't release ratings, we have no idea how many people actually watched during its first weekend. But that theory doesn't completely gel with the two-season renewal. That only happens if the show is a hit and a network wants to secure its future for both the creative team and the audience. So I really don't know enough to definitively say anything. The Stranger Things situation was weird because everyone knew it was happening. There was no doubt about it. The creators basically said as much in every interview they gave. It was just Netflix foolishly doing something for no real reason. Perhaps they weren't expecting it to break out as much as it did. But that still doesn't explain why it took a month for a renewal when that buzz happened just days after release. Of course, we can't complain too much. This is all just semantics. We will be getting new seasons of Stranger Things and Narcos. It's a much more interesting discussion when it took many months for Netflix to decide if they wanted more episodes of Will Arnett's Flaked and Rob Schneider's Real Rob. With those renewals, it was clear the shows weren't watched as much as Netflix wanted. They were critically panned as well. And yet, Netflix wants to keep up its image as a place that doesn't cancel shows. So far, Hemlock Grove has been the only big cancellation. Sooner or later, the dam will burst and the executives will have to make those tough calls. It doesn't seem like we've hit that breaking point yet though.

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.