Q: I was excited to see a new show, "Yellowstone," that looked like a modern-day western. I could only stomach 15 minutes. We do not subscribe to Showtime or HBO because of the language in many of their programs; why does Paramount Network think it is OK?
A: About 30 years ago, one of my colleagues was outraged that a prime-time network show had a character saying, "You suck!" Clearly the standards are different, reflecting changes in the way many people talk in everyday life.
While broadcast television still hews to federal standards, cable does not. Premium channels such as HBO and Showtime, which viewers pay for directly, long ago got more explicit; in recent years a growing number of basic-cable stations such as AMC, FX, Syfy, USA and the Paramount Network broke the F-word barrier. Sera Gamble, co-creator of Syfy's "The Magicans," says, "We all just feel more like ourselves when we can use the word." You disagree. That just means that you have to be more selective in your TV viewing — and watch out when a show has a TV-MA rating in your program guide.
'Krypton' coy about Superman
Q: I have watched the entire "Krypton" series. I keep looking for when Superman would finally be on. Do you know if it will resume in the fall?
A: The Superman prequel is expected back on Syfy in 2019. Nerdist noted recently that the "Krypton" plot had erased Superman — though perhaps not permanently. Seg-El (grandfather of future Superman Kal-El) "wants to find a way to both save Krypton and make sure Kal-El comes into being," the report said. But Syfy.com noted that the show's makers are happy when "you watch the show for an episode or two and then you forget when Superman is going to show up."
'Trial & Error' looks familiar
Q: Watching "The Staircase" on Netflix I noticed there were many similarities with the first season of the NBC sitcom "Trial & Error." Is there any connection? When is the DVD of "Trial & Error" going be available?
A: The comedy, now in its second season (the first is available on DVD), was indeed inspired by the true-crime documentary. IndieWire.com's Hanh Nguyen called "Trial & Error's" references to "The Staircase" "flagrant and frequent." Nguyen said: "While knowledge of 'The Staircase' is not necessary to understand 'Trial & Error,' it can increase one's appreciation."
No more original 'Murphy' on DVD
Q: With a new season of "Murphy Brown" coming, what are the chances of more seasons of the original show being released on DVD or Blu-ray?
A: I do not know of any plans for discs beyond the show's first season, which reportedly did not sell well. And, as with some previous not-on-DVD shows, there is a problem with the music rights. Brett White of Decider.com noted that the show used different Motown tunes as its opening song and integrated songs into episodes; songs can't be cut or substituted, as some shows have done, because "oftentimes Murphy or one of the characters is also singing along with the music."