Question: I just heard that "Riverdale" will be back with a new season. What about "Roswell, New Mexico"?
Answer: That will be a midseason offering on the CW, which in this case means around March or April 2021, or possibly later.
Because of the pandemic's effect on production, the network delayed launching what would have been its fall lineup most years until early 2021. For example, among returning shows: "Batwoman," with new star Javicia Leslie, will be on Jan. 17; "All American" on Jan. 18, "Riverdale" and "Nancy Drew" on Jan. 20, "Legacies" on Jan. 21, "Charmed" on Jan. 24, "Black Lightning" on Feb. 8, and "The Flash" on Feb. 23.
Besides "Roswell," shows held for midseason include "Supergirl," "In the Dark" and "DC's Legends of Tomorrow." And the network will have some new offerings, among them "Superman & Lois" (Feb. 23) and "Walker" (Jan. 21), a reboot of "Walker, Texas Ranger."
Question: CBS pre-empted the last two episodes of "Manhunt" (about the Atlanta Olympics bombing in 1996) recently for an election special. Are they going to finish showing these last two episodes in the miniseries?
Answer: Nov. 7 election coverage on TV came as news organizations declared Joe Biden had enough electoral votes to be the next president. (If you want to argue about those votes, this is not the place.) But the coverage pre-empted CBS' prime-time programming in just part of the country, with "Manhunt" airing on the West Coast. As a result, the network has not so far announced plans to reshow the episodes. It has made them available online at CBS.com and streaming at the CBS All Access site.
Question: I have read scathing, over-the-top reviews of really good movies such as "Les Miz" and was puzzled. Is any movie with Hugh Jackman less than very good? And that brought me to wonder, did "West Side Story" get bad reviews at the time, too?
Answer: The 1961 version of "West Side Story" had mostly positive reactions at the time of its release — but one notable exception was the formidable critic Pauline Kael. She called it "frenzied hokum" and a "hyped-up, slam-bang production" with dialogue that could be "painfully old-fashioned and mawkish." She didn't much care for the music or the dancing, either.
I have long argued that just about any production can expect to get at least one good review and one bad one. The Jackman "Les Miserables," for example, is at 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, not the worst score and one that indicates some critics liked it. (Some other Jackman movies score far worse.) Students in my film appreciation classes often disagree about the quality of various movies, including some acknowledged classics. But the real test is in how they back up their opinions; it is never enough to say something is good or bad if you cannot explain why you feel that way.
Question: One Memorial Day in the 1980s, a program about the building of the Vietnam War Memorial was shown on one of the major networks. It began with someone's idea that something should be done to honor the Vietnam War dead and then followed with the contest to pick the type of memorial, on to the building of it.
I was so moved by the story and I would love to see that film again. Can you identify the name and let me know where I might be able to see it or buy a copy?
Answer: After we talked about this some more, the movie proved to be "To Heal a Nation," a 1988 TV film starring Eric Roberts as Jan Scruggs, a Vietnam veteran whose efforts led to the building of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was released on VHS, and you can find it on YouTube and on DVD. But, unfortunately, the DVD I saw on Amazon appears to be an import that will not work in many U.S. players.
Question: I love watching "The Untouchables" on H&I. I wonder if the stories are based on factual events, and if Eliot Ness and the Untouchables were real characters or made up by Hollywood.
Answer: There really was a federal agent named Eliot Ness, and a squad called the Untouchables, whose pop-culture appeal inspired novels, TV series (the 1950s one starring Robert Stack and a 1990s version with Tom Amandes) and the Kevin Costner movie. But there was a lot of fiction in the various works, as well as in the original "Untouchables" book from Ness and writer Oscar Fraley.