USA TODAY's Critic's Corner chat takes place Monday afternoons, when we talk TV with fans.
Visit the USA TODAY Life page on Facebook at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, when Kelly Lawler will be answering questions live. However, you may email early questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet your questions to @klawls.
Here are recent questions and answers:
Why do ensemble comedies split the cast into groups of two or three actors and develop storylines around those interactions? Modern Family obviously has those divisions built in, but do cost savings result from this kind of production, which might explain its use on Brooklyn Nine-Nine?
This is more about storytelling than budgetary needs. Any series with a big ensemble needs to break it apart quite often in order to let supporting characters shine and find their own paths outside of the big group. Brooklyn Nine-Nine does this really well, and always finds unique pairings among the main cast, letting their characters' big personalities play off each other well. It doesn't always work: In the most recent season of Arrested Development, the stars' schedules meant most episodes centered on only one member of the Bluth family instead of a group, which was a mistake.
How is Fixer Upper: Behind the Design different from Fixer Upper?
The spin-off of HGTV's popular remodel and renovation series is more like a behind-the-scenes reel from Fixer Upper than an entirely new show. Behind the Design, which is a half-hour series instead of a full hour, takes a closer look at houses that have already been fixed up on the original series by Chip and Joanna Gaines, and delves further into the nitty-gritty details of the design. How did they decide on that shade of gray, knocking down that wall or including that piece of furniture? It also shows some parts of the renovation you didn't seen in the original episode, like a bathroom the cameras didn't visit before.
The second episode of ABC's Splitting Up Together is far superior to the mediocre pilot. Not only are the adult characters all relatable and have chemistry with one another, but the kids are all adorable too. Not an annoying one in the bunch! I have another ABC family comedy to enjoy.
Although I didn't love Splitting Up Together, it's great that you enjoyed the second episode. Second episodes are usually a much better indicator of the shape new series will take. The writers and actors get into a rhythm, the chemistry is usually better and the episode feels more representative than the pilot, which has to do a lot of work to set up the premise. Sometimes you get a show with a great first episode that completely craters in the second, but sometimes it's the opposite. I did not like the pilot of 30 Rock, but was drawn in by the second episode.
When is this American Crime Story season about Hurricane Katrina going to finally air? I had been reading about it before they made the Versace season.
Originally announced to be the follow-up to The People vs. O.J., a season about Hurricane Katrina has been delayed by script problems. The source material has changed as has the overall tone of the series, with creator Ryan Murphy saying in January at the Television Critics Association press tour that he wanted to do "a more intimate version of that story." But no official premiere date has been announced, and a season about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky may end up coming first.
Have you watched the new Netflix sitcom Alexa and Katie yet? I see that Tiffani Thiessen plays one of the moms in it and it looks like it’s aimed more at young teenagers than adults such as me.
I have not watched, but you are correct that it is not for adults. The series is part of Netflix's effort to lure in younger viewers and it is in the style of a Disney Channel sitcom. You can tell just from watching the trailer that it shares themes and story beats with Disney shows like Hannah Montana or Bizaardvark. It's about two young teens who are best friends, one of whom has cancer, and how they deal with that. Thiessen also stars.