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SpoilerTVs Weekly Round Table: 40th Edition

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Hello everyone and welcome to another WRT! A less busy week for us but we`ve still got enough juicy stories to discuss with you. This week I`m (MK) joined by SpoilerTV writers: Abi (AB), Jaz (JZ), Yon (SJ), Lisa (LM), Jessica (JN), Laura B (DL), Gina (GK), Beth (BW), Claire (CS), Katherine (KM) and Rachel (RW). As always feel free to join the discussion in the comment section down below

1. Ryan Murphy`s move to Netflix is creating trouble for his current FX anthologies. Lewinsky canceled, Feud still uncast and Katrina on hold? Is this Netflix related or is Murphy just failing at multitasking?

CS: Definitely think that he’s juggling too many balls in the air. It is already starting to affect the quality of his shows.

JH: I think he's not fantastic at juggling, but I also believe there are other things going on behind the scenes. As long as I'm getting my AHS seasons on time though, he can juggle all he wants! I'm not too concerned about the quality at this point because it's been all over the place for its entire run anyways.

PF: I think it's a combo of both. It's going to be a fluid situation. When you move shingles like that projects will change and come and go.

SD: I think it’s a little bit of both. Ryan’s been fine with juggling multiple shows on the same network, but now he’s being pulled in two different directions. Plus, whatever he has going on at Netflix he just might be more interested in than these shows. Given his history of starting new shows after his previous one(s) just barely started, I think his attention tends to keep focused on the newest things, leaving the shows in the dust.

SJ: I very much think it's a case of struggling to multi-task. Ryan always has really brilliant, creative ideas and plans for things that he wants to do, but seeing it come to fruition is a completely different thing altogether. he's no Berlanti or Shonda with a well-oiled team behind him to keep things all running smoothly. In an ideal world, I think he'd be better served just focussing on AH8 + 911, and when they're all mapped out etc, then turn his attention to other projects. Unfortunately though with how fast things move BTS, that type of time just doesn't exist anymore.

2. Killing Eve got renewed ahead of its premiere. What are your thoughts on this type of renewals ahead of the show`s premiere?

JC: Usually I think renew ahead of a show airing is a bit presumptuous but in this case, especially I don't mind because it's deserved. Also, with an actress like Sandra Oh, you're pretty safe.

JH: I think it's an extremely risky move, but sometimes it's a case of when you know, you know. I've got no doubt that Killing Eve is going going to be an international success, so I'm fully behind this decision. Overall, must of these premature renewals seem to have been a good call.

PF: No big deal. It's from a series of books so more material is there. People at BBC must have liked it. Better to make everyone happy sooner. Easier to get the next season up and running smoothly.

SD: I’m always wary when a show gets renewed before it’s even premiered. I know it shows the confidence a network has in the show, which makes it more enticing to viewers to watch it, but it doesn’t always say a lot about how high of quality the show is, at least going forward. Maybe the premiere is great, but episodes after can tumble, which means the ratings will tumble as well. But it could really go either way. Maybe it is as great as they think and it deserves a renewal.

SJ: I think it depends on the show. Killing Eve has had a lot of deserved praise in the run-up to its premiere, and with the material and people behind it, BBC obviously has a massive belief in the show. Hopefully, the ratings will do it justice because you only have to look at the likes of Vinyl, which have gotten renewals based on minimal praise & then the show's turned out to be such a massive flop that the Network ends up going back on the renewal and canceling.

BW: I think it is great when a show is renewed ahead of time because there is security there so it is easier to get invested. That is the problem with a lot of new shows for me nowadays, I want to get invested but then I see their numbers and wait for renewal news before I go any further.

JN: While it can be extremely risky for broadcast networks to renew a show before they air, cable dramas and comedies’ chances of renewals aren’t strictly tied to ratings-based performances. With all the great buzz and praise Killing Eve has been getting from critics along with proven capabilities of Sandra Oh, renewing this show for a second season was probably a no-brainer.

AO: I think feedback from the early screening of the show was the push BBC-A needed. It doesn't look like a costly production but, I could be wrong. A second season gives it more room to explore and wrap consistently if need.

3. THR posted a piece about the negative effect The Good Doctor portrayal of Autism has. Do you agree or did they cross the line too far?

MK: I`m really torn on this topic. While The Good Doctor does a great job on widening people`s views, we have to be realistic and open to say that Shaun`s adaptation went a bit too smooth and that it takes away just as much as it gives.

CS: I completely agree with THR’s piece. I have a beautiful 20-year-old son, Ryan. He is smart, could program a computer at age 10, loves Nascar, Gravity Falls, and Disney. When he goes to Disney World he makes friends with the crew and characters. He also has autism. He does well but will never go to college, have a career, leave home or have a family of his own. To our family, shows like Atypical or Good Doctor are hurtful and painful to watch. They are completely unrealistic but so are superhero shows. It is tv. It is just especially frustrating when people expect my son to be like autistic people they see on tv or the movies. We’ve endured more nasty comments and hateful stares and much worse over the past 20 years than I care to remember. So I know mine is a biased opinion but I loved the THR article. When it comes to disabilities the media should be more careful at how they deal with them. I’m sure there are people with autism like Sean on GD but it is such a minuscule part of those diagnosed that it is almost laughable. I even meet people who ask me if I’ll take Ryan to a casino when he’s 21 to count cards like in Rainman. Ironically that portrayal of autism was much more realistic, in my opinion.

JH: I'm pretty much on board with THR's article. While it's great that the show is encouraging us to treat people with autism as equals and not judge their abilities based on the fact that they have autism, Sean Murphy is an extremely high functioning autistic person and he is by no means the typical case when it comes to people with autism. I would like to believe that society as a whole is able to make that distinction, but clearly, that is not the case. Many people who have never been exposed to someone who is autistic now have an unrealistic perception of what autism looks like and won't bother to actually research the truth.

PF: Obviously mental issues and disabilities are sensitive issues, but this show is not overdoing it in its portrayals. It's not making fun, it's not ridiculing, it's not overdoing it. I think if anything it helps the discussion, showing autistic folks can be all along the spectrum and productive members of society.

SD: I actually agree with this article. I think it’s a wonderful thing to bring more people with disabilities to light on the screen, but there should be a balance that shows the … Yes, I’m going to use the word spectrum of differences, and autism is one of those that have a very, very large spectrum. As a former psychology student, I was upset when the Diagnostics and Statistics manual erased all of the different diagnoses under the autism umbrella and just combined them all into Autism Spectrum Disorder because there are differences between them. Now it seems like Hollywood is just following that one type, which they have always had a habit of doing. It’s like they glamorize diseases and only show the good parts. But there was one portrayal of autism I thought was realistic and great and that was Max on Parenthood. It was brutal, but it was real and portrayed lovingly. Hollywood does have an obsession with showing people with “superpowers” because they want to create a unique character that people will want to watch, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s realistic. And I think it does more harm than good when they do that because it makes people who aren’t familiar with these disorders think that is the reality.

JN: I’m torn over The Good Doctor’s portrayal of autism. On the one hand, it’s bringing mainstream attention to a disability that is rarely portrayed on television. The article by The Hollywood Reporter mentions characters like The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and Sherlock’s Sherlock Holmes as examples of characters that perpetuate the stereotype of awkward white male geniuses. However, the creators of The Big Bang Theory have persistently denied Sheldon being on the spectrum – even though Jim Parsons believes Sheldon has Autism Spectrum Disorder and portrays the character as such – and Benedict Cumberbatch said in an interview his portrayal of Sherlock can be read as either autistic, sociopathic or both. So while both of these characters are portrayed as potentially autistic by the actors, The Good Doctor’s Shaun Murphy is really the only one of the three that has been officially diagnosed with autism. Just because a character is an awkward white male genius doesn’t necessarily make him or her autistic, and The Good Doctor attempts to show the struggles someone who is officially diagnosed with autism faces on a daily basis, both in the workplace and his or her personal life.
On the other hand, The Good Doctor’s Shaun Murphy’s autism is depicted as some sort of superpower. While savant syndrome is rare, only 1 in 10 to 200 of people with autism have savant syndrome to some degree. With Hollywood’s continued portrayal of all autistic characters being extremely high functioning, it can lead to people wrongly assuming everyone with autism has savant-like abilities. People may end up believing that the autistic characters they see on television are the norm, when really there is a whole spectrum of those who are dealing with the disabilities. I felt that Parenthood, a series that focused on the Braverman family, did an exceptional job at showcasing at portraying the realities of autism. The character of Max was diagnosed with Asperger’s early on the series, and the subsequent six seasons followed his struggle. Max wasn’t some savant; he was a kid that had trouble communicating with others and anger issues but also loved insects and photography. I feel that Max is the epitome of how Hollywood should portray autism.

AO: I read the THR article and somewhat agreed with some of its concerns especially since its coming from experts that deal with autism. I have said this before about Shaun Murphy and the spectrum he represents on the show. Every autism story is different, and personally, I identify more with Shaun because my nephew is precisely like Shaun. He attends G&T classes in a public school, and he is super smart, a voracious reader and researcher and truly exceptional. He wants to be an astronaut but ultimately understands the various social hurdles he will be facing through the journey to this career. He will badger you with complex questions and will not stop trying to find solutions to problems that don't need answers at the moment, but you end up being grateful that he kept at it. I get and understand entirely why some feel like the show sensationalizes one aspect of autism, but there are those who watch and feel represented. All this is not to say that TV shows shouldn't do better to open up space to others with different spectrums and tell the stories as truthfully as they can. Years ago we were discussing Parenthood and its depiction of Max which was groundbreaking, but many others didn't see representation. These discussions are essential and should be ongoing because every family is in their unique situation.

4. With May Sweeps just around the corner predict One development happening?

CS: A wedding on the Middle. :D

JH: This is kinda cheating since we already know Arizona and April won't return next season, but I have predictions on how they will leave. I think Arizona is going to choose to move to New York so she and Sofia can be closer to Cali, and I think April is going to go somewhere with Koracick.

PF: Someone will have their heart broken!, By someone in a coma!! DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!!

SD: I’ll make one prediction about one show, and it’s probably wrong, but I think The Thinker on The Flash is going to be taken out sooner than we thought and Harry’s going to end up corrupted by his thinking cap and the focus is going to turn to stopping/saving him.

SJ: Oliver/Felicity go through their yearly relationship crisis where one of them turns their back on the other, and then just in time for the season finale all is resolved & everyone lives happily ever after. With all of Shield's talk of invincibility, it wouldn't surprise me if one of the main characters does end up being killed off, because that's just the type of show Shield is. Maybe also a Mon El/Kara reunion on Supergirl.

BW: I am predicting that Casey and Dawson on Chicago Fire are going to find out they have a little on the way.

JN: With May Sweeps just around the corner, I’m going to predict that Amelia on Grey’s Anatomy is pregnant. I know the show already sort of explored this storyline with April realizing she was pregnant as she and Jackson were getting divorced, but I still believe want Amelia to be pregnant. For the past several episodes Amelia and Owen have been hooking up, and she threw up in last week’s episode. Amelia had an incredibly heartbreaking pregnancy storyline on Private Practice, so it would be interesting to see how that experience would affect the second pregnancy.

Hope you've enjoyed this edition and join the discussion in the comment section. Till next week. . .

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