TV chat: The cloning problem on television

Demián Bichir and Diane Kruger in “The Bridge.’’
FX Network
Demián Bichir and Diane Kruger in “The Bridge.’’

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

Q. I’m getting the feeling TV is becoming repetitive. “Ray Donovan” is original, but shows like “The Bridge” and “Low Winter Sun” — haven’t we seen these stories before? How many serial killers on TV are there nowadays?

A. I hear you. There is definitely a cloning problem on TV (and in the movies, for that matter). And yet I don’t mind seeing an idea done again — IF it’s done well. Even the idea behind “The Sopranos” wasn’t entirely original. But the execution was. I’m tired of serial killer series, but I still find “The Bridge” very engaging and, at moments, revelatory. It’s a serial killer drama, but it’s also a cultural essay. Wait, did I just call a show an “essay”? Oy.

Q. You liked “The Bridge”?


A. I did. A lot. I think Diane Kruger’s performance is . . . iffy. She plays a woman with Asperger’s syndrome, and she PLAYS it. But everything else about the show is strong, especially Demián Bichir as a Mexican cop. It’s one of those murder stories that widens out to be a look at a particular spot in the world — in this case, the border between Juarez and El Paso.

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Q. I’m enjoying “The Killing.”

A. Me too — after a bum season, it has pulled itself together nicely. “The Killing” is a lot like “The Bridge,” although the weather is quite different in either show. The street kid culture of rainy Seattle is a great world to explore.

Q. Do you get a preview of “Breaking Bad”?

A. I will get the premiere, but probably not for a while. And I seriously doubt AMC will be sending out the finale in advance. Interestingly, the “Breaking Bad” series finale will air against Showtime’s big return of “Homeland” and the premiere of its new “Masters of Sex” on Sept. 29. And the week before, the “Dexter” series finale will air against the Emmys. Traffic jam city.


Q. “Luther” news?

A. The show is returning for another short season on Sept. 3 on BBC America. And there’s vague talk of a prequel movie, although that would need to be before Alice, which would be [frowny face].

Q. From what I’m hearing there is building buzz for an Emmy nomination for Michael Cudlitz of “Southland.”

A. That would be nice. Somehow, though, it seems unlikely. There are so many worthy contenders this year, and only a few slots, particularly on the drama side of things. And I just can’t imagine that after all this time, the Emmys would suddenly pay attention to “Southland,” especially since it’s over. I do think, however, that Tatiana Maslany from “Orphan Black” just might make it and get a nomination. That groundswell has been pretty swell.

Q. Is “Orphan Black” worth it?


A. Yes. It’s not “quality drama” like what you find on AMC, HBO, and Showtime. It’s more sci-fi genre-y. But it’s still a lot of fun and Maslany is extraordinary.

Q. Is all hope lost for “Happy Endings” getting picked up by another network?

A. Yes, all hope officially lost. The actors’ contracts have expired and they are free to take other jobs — which they will, since they are all so talented. The makers of “New Girl” have already said that they want Damon Wayans Jr. back for an arc. He was a roommate in the original pilot, but had to leave for “Happy Endings.” That would be fun. A tiny silver lining. And Eliza Coupe is great. Check out her little Funny or Die series “Frenemies.” She is so evil!

Q. Should I give “The Network” another chance? I do like certain elements, and Jane Fonda.

A. I love it that you call it “The Network”! An appropriate mistake, since the show — “The Newsroom” — has some roots in the movie “Network.” It’s back, and I’ve seen the first four episodes. I’m of two minds about that show. On the one hand, I like the ideas that flow through it. And Jeff Daniels is good. On the other hand, I find some of the characters and the way they talk very irritating. So hyper intelligent and sanctimonious. Especially Alison Pill’s character, Maggie. Ick.

Q. Any other summer series coming out that we should be excited about? The fall premieres seem like a long way off.

A. “The Bridge,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Ray Donovan” are all great new additions for the summer. Coming, with potential: “Low Winter Sun” on AMC, “Broadchurch” on BBC America, and “The White Queen” on Starz.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at