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TV chat: Letterman and Fallon, sans audience

Jimmy Fallon in the empty studio where his show is taped in New York.

Lloyd Bishop/NBC via AP

Jimmy Fallon in the empty studio where his show is taped in New York.

Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert chatted with readers last Thursday on Boston.com. Here are excerpts.

Q. Bravo to David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon for their shows last Monday night during Sandy. It was both strange and compelling television.

A. Agreed. It was a great idea to go ahead without an audience. The episodes reminded me of the live episodes of shows like “30 Rock” and “ER,” as they brought us closer to the raw reality of what these guys do, unsweetened.

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Q. What is your take on the “Up All Night” format change?

A. It’s bizarre. The recent decision to make the show a multi-camera sitcom isn’t going to change the fact that it’s ill-conceived and poorly written. NBC is mysteriously driven to make “Up All Night” work. I hope they succeed — I like the cast — but I suspect they won’t.

Q. I love the new show “Nashville” and especially the beautiful Connie Britton, but I feel there are too many story lines.

A. I like it, too. I haven’t been having trouble with the number of plots. It’s a nighttime soap, so it is by definition going to be relatively busy. But I find it well-written enough to keep all the plotlines and characters clear.

Q. Any word on how “Last Resort” is doing? I’m surprised at just how good a show that is!

A. It’s not been doing very well, I’m afraid. I would say it’s “on the bubble.” It’s such an interesting idea, but I think the unfolding of the story line has been a bit messy. It doesn’t welcome new viewers. It’s getting only
6-7 million live viewers. Not great for a Thursday night show on ABC.

Q. The story line of “Last Resort” is both messy and, in many instances, predictable. Many characters are also predictable: mutinous crew, surly officers, noble officers, sleazy islanders, sexy bartender, etc. I’m just not seeing much to intrigue in this show.

A. You speak the less generous view, for sure. I admire the ambition of the story line — even while it is messy. And I think Andre Braugher is great as such a Big Character. His eyes are crazy on that show.

Q. “Community”? Hello?

A. Have you not heard? It’s back on Feb. 7 — a Thursday.

Q. Many of the characters on “Boardwalk Empire” are over-the-top cliches.

A. True, most of the gangsters are, especially Bobby Cannavale’s Gyp. And they are the least interesting people on the show. I prefer Richard Harrow, Margaret, Owen, Nucky . . . the ones who aren’t just all about the business.

Q. What is going on with “Law & Order: SVU”? I’m just about to throw in the towel on it.

A. I threw in the towel on that show a few years back. The writing is embarrassing, the way the detectives break all the rules. Those cases of the week — oy yoy yoy.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGil
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