Q: My family and I loved "The Alienist." We understand it was meant to be a limited series, but it was such a success with audiences and closed in an open-ended manner. Any possibility of a second season?
A: At this writing, there are no announced plans beyond the first season. Still, the show was indeed a big success for TNT. Newsweek's Emily Gaudette, while noting that the show was expensive and had behind-the-scenes challenges, said it was "one of the most visually engaging and transportive television series in recent memory." And author Caleb Carr has a sequel, "The Angel of Darkness," which provides possible material. So, maybe there will be more TV, too.
Did 'Nashville' fall off the map?
Q: What has happened to "Nashville?"
A: The drama, in its final season, has taken a break before beginning its last run of new episodes on June 7.
Q: Who was the first Asian-American or Asian actor to be included in the opening credits of a TV show? Was it Sammee Tong of "Bachelor Father" in 1957?
A: No. Anna May Wong was the first Asian-American lead in a TV series in 1951's "The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong," for the old DuMont network. Wong played the crime-solving owner of a chain of art galleries. Unfortunately, the series had a short run, and no one has found its episodes or its scripts.
Outstanding in his field
Q: I've been watching reruns of "Hunter," and Fred Dryer's face and name are very familiar. Was he a pro football player?
A: Yes. Dryer was a defensive end from 1973 to 1981, with the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams. He made it to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. He is also the only player to score two safeties in a game. He was taking acting lessons while still playing with the Rams. He had a recurring role as a sportscaster on "Cheers" (and at one time had been a contender to play Sam Malone) but found his biggest TV success as the Dirty Harry-like police detective Rick Hunter. "Hunter" ran from 1984 to 1991, with three reunion movies and short-lived 2003 revival.
Q: On all the old westerns, they may have used tea or apple juice for the whiskey, but the beer looked real. Was it?
A: Since an actor downing a beer for repeated takes might not be a good idea, tricks are used. Some productions used "near beer" — foamy but low in alcohol. Tea with carbonation added has also filled in for beer; a foamy head can be made with powdered egg whites and lemon juice. A prop company called Independent Studio Services puts labels of fictional beers on bottles of nonalcoholic beers or simply fills "beer" cans with water. The use of fictional brands avoids problems over what the beer-drinking TV characters might do.