Television Q&A: ‘Kevin Can Wait,’ ‘Elementary’

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By Rich Heldenfels

Tribune News Service


You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: So, I’ve been watching “Kevin Can Wait” and was wondering what happened to his wife from last season? I obviously missed the episode where she passed away.

A: CBS has become a network where TV spouses don’t make it through the summer. Lately questions about what happened to Kevin Gable’s wife on “Kevin Can Wait” have been running second only to questions about what happened to Danny Reagan’s wife Linda on “Blue Bloods.” (To recap that answer, Amy Carlson, who played Linda, decided to leave “Blue Bloods” after the end of last season, and the new season began in the aftermath of Linda’s death in a helicopter accident. In other words: There was no “Linda dies” episode, however much fans believe they deserved one.)

On “Kevin,” the show’s makers decided to bump Leah Remini up from guest star to series regular opposite “Kevin’s” Kevin James; the two actors had a devoted TV following from their long run together on “King of Queens.” With Remini on board, the show decided to drop Erinn Hayes, who had played Kevin’s wife Donna. That led to Donna’s demise.

But – and here’s where “Kevin” fans were either confused, ticked off or both – while one CBS executive promised that Donna’s passing would be treated with “dignity and respect,” the second-season premiere had Kevin briefly feel the loss of Donna when a piece of mail arrived for her, then the revelation that she had died more than a year ago, and that was it. No cause of death was offered. Maybe she was in that helicopter with Linda Reagan.

Q: Can you tell us what happened to one of the best “thinking persons” shows on TV, “Elementary”? Hopefully it will return soon!

A: CBS has ordered another season of the modern-day Sherlock Holmes drama. But it is not in the lineup for the fall, and at this writing the network does not have a date set for its return.

Q: “Banshee” is by far some of the best TV I have ever seen. Why doesn’t Cinemax ever get any recognition for some great series?

A: Cinemax does get saluted when critics, audiences and awards-givers think it deserves it. “Banshee” may have gotten only one Emmy nomination, for visual effects, but it ran for four seasons, which isn’t bad. “The Knick,” another Cinemax series, lasted just two seasons – but over its run had nine Emmy nominations, two of them for directing (by Steven Soderbergh). According to reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 86 percent of reviews for the first season of “The Knick” were positive, as were 97 percent of the reviews for the second season – although the number of reviews dropped considerably, and “Banshee’s” high positive rating on RT is based on fewer reviews than “The Knick” had. As I have said before, there are so many TV shows spread across so many platforms that it is tough to get noticed, let alone to gather praise and prizes – especially when standards of greatness can vary from one viewer to the next.

Q: I believe that “Babylon 5” is, hands down, the best series so far in the Sci-Fi universe. The entire series was planned out in advance, and there was a great continuity from one season to the next. Any chance we’ll ever see it come out on Blu-ray?

A: The series, which originally aired in the ‘90s, has a passionate following. And fantasy shows such as this often get released and re-released for home viewing in every possible format because devoted fans will buy them all. But from what I have read in various discussions of the series, it may never get to Blu-ray because it would take a lot of expensive technical work to make the show look OK in high definition. That said, if it became clear that money could be made, I’d expect the release of a series. But that does not appear to be the case at this time.


(Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or [email protected] Letters may be edited. Individual replies are not guaranteed.)


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