Q: My wife watched a show called "The Royals" starring Elizabeth Hurley. Will this show return anytime soon and what station will it be on?
A: The series, about a fictional British royal family, will begin a run of new episodes on E! on Nov. 15. The network promises it will be "more outrageous than ever" while asking "Can Princess Eleanor and Prince Liam find out who killed King Simon?" You can find out more at eonline.com/shows/the_royals.
Q: On an Amazon.com commercial, the song "I Was Born Under a Wandering Star" is played. I believe it to be Lee Marvin singing, but from what movie or play is it from?
A: It is indeed Lee Marvin. He sang "Wand'rin' Star" in "Paint Your Wagon," an ill-considered screen adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe musical.
Q: My husband and I and many others would love to know why networks play loud music during shows, so loud that you can't hear what the actors are saying. It's very annoying.
A: You are not the only one to think so. I receive letters about this often and have been answering the question from time to time for more than 10 years now.
So let's look again at all the possible causes. Start with the desire to promote music that a show has paid for, or a belief that loud music adds to the drama of a scene. With the deadline demands for a TV show, the audio may have been mixed too hastily or sloppily.
Also investigate whether the quality of the audio in your set or home theater can keep up with the ever more sophisticated sound being used in shows. The TV's settings or placement of speakers may need adjusting. And, sometimes, the problem may be that older viewers are less accustomed to a loud music mix than younger viewers who grew up with it.
If the show is poorly mixed, there's not much you can change. In some cases, though, there may be relief. I've been helped by moving my speakers, so I am not sitting right next to one, or looking at my audio settings. CBS offers one such possible solution on its website:
"Occasionally, we have found that viewers who experience an overly loud background music playback sometimes have a stereo television and that the 'front surround' feature is activated. This would move the rear surround, usually music and sound effects, information to the main speakers.
"This can be corrected via your remote control, accessing MENU, and then the audio or sound profile. Set 'Front Surround' to 'OFF.' We have found that some cable remotes have crossover signals (for instance their DVR button) which activate the 'Front Surround' on the adjacent television set."
This is one solution, but it's not the panacea. Nor do I think there is one, since it would require a consistent commitment by producers, sound editors, studios, networks and TV set makers — and even then, other viewers might complain that the music had gotten too soft.