TV Chat:

Is ‘Southie Rules’ the worst show on TV?

Walter and Jonathan in A&E’s “Southie Rules.”
Karolina Wojtasik
Walter and Jonathan in A&E’s “Southie Rules.”

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

Q. There’s nothing worse on TV than “Southie Rules.”

A. I want to agree. . . . But, then, well, “2 Broke Girls.” Still, “Southie Rules” is awful. The setups are forced. Showtime’s show “Shameless” does a similar thing as “Southie Rules,” but in Chicago and with a great scripts. It is so so so much better.

Q. Are you a fan of “Ripper Street” on BBC America?


A. Yes, very much so. It’s a procedural, but the Victorian setting and the primitive forensics make it all so much more interesting than you might expect. Also, Matthew Macfadyen is a great moral — but not too moral — center.

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Q. Where has “Grimm” gone?

A. “Grimm” will be back in March.

Q. “Smash” is finished right?

A. Hard to imagine it’s not. The ratings have been terrible — 3.3 million this week. That’s nothing for a major network drama that is relatively expensive to make. Poor NBC.


Q. Do you think Netflix is making a mistake by releasing all the new “Arrested Development” episodes at once in May? I feel like you can sign up for a free trial, watch them all, then cancel.

A. Right now, Netflix is trying to break new ground by bringing mainstream viewers over to streaming. They just want to break through that psychological barrier. By the way, I don’t like the idea of binge watching all the time. It should be a special thing. I like the communal aspect of weekly series. I’d hate to lose that as we move forward.

Q. “The Americans” is a great show. Hopefully the ratings are good and it’ll stick around for a while.

A. I agree, it’s excellent, and it has done fairly well. The premiere was a huge hit for FX, and while the numbers have dropped since then, they’ve remained quite solid when DVR and On Demand are taken into account. If the show stays suspenseful and dramatic, it will probably build viewers. That’s the pattern with FX shows, including “Sons of Anarchy” and “Justified.” (Exception: “Terriers.”)

Q. I love Felicity in it.


A. I was so convinced Keri Russell would be awful in “The Americans.” I was so wrong. She’s excellent.

Q. Have you seen Russell in “Waitress,” though? Awesome.

A. Yes, she was good in that. But “The Americans” doesn’t have a veneer of romantic dramedy like “Waitress.” So I was thinking she wouldn’t be able to muster up that hard-drama vibe. I was wrong.

Q. So, you didn’t think Keri Russell could act. Same for Ray Romano in drama. Same for Elisha Cuthbert. Now you’ve changed your mind on all of them. While I commend you for reconsidering, perhaps you tend to be a little harsh in your acting evaluations?

A. You may be right. But you may be wrong. I did think Russell could act, by the way. Loved her in “Felicity” and “Waitress,” but I couldn’t imagine her stepping outside of her usual genre. Same with the other two, although I still wonder if Cuthbert can do drama.

Q. Here’s my poem for today. I miss “30 Rock” and “Sherlock.”

A. Such a lovely little poem. (But don’t quit your day job.) (Although even if it were a good poem, I’d say don’t quit your day job. Poets make a dollar a year.) PBS’s “Sherlock” will be back for season 3, by the way. And speaking of Cumby (Benedict Cumberbatch), he’s in a new five-part HBO miniseries set before and during World War I that’s really powerful. It’s called “Parade’s End” and it airs next week.

Q. Kevin Spacey talking to the camera in “House of Cards” is pretty controversial, it seems.

A. It’s hard to break the fourth wall and do it well, but I think it works in “House of Cards.” Spacey pulls it off, and it fits in with the nature of his character, who is covering all the bases and trying to be in control. He’s the kind of guy who always acts as if he’s in his own movie.

Q. What about “Elementary”? Is it just a “Sherlock” wannabe?

A. That’s how I see it, but a lot of people are liking it. I think Jonny Lee Miller overacts in a bad way, and Lucy Liu underacts in a bad way. Plus the crimes of the week, like too many on TV in general, are lame. I watch the show, but it feels too CBS-y to be a good Sherlock.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.