Q: I liked the PBS series "Victoria." It seemed to end rather abruptly. Are there plans to continue it?
A: A representative for "Masterpiece," which has carried installments of the Queen Victoria drama, said recently only that it "is on hiatus and we'll confirm future plans as we learn them." The three seasons so far have left a great deal of Victoria's story yet to tell (including the death of her husband, Albert). And writer Daisy Goodwin said months ago that she was working on scripts for a fourth season. But Jenna Coleman, who plays Victoria, reportedly said more recently that the series is taking a break. And there have been many questions about how it might proceed, including whether — like that other royals drama, "The Crown" — "Victoria" will have to recast as the characters age.
He's just Opie
Q: Ron Howard's character on "The Andy Griffith Show" was called Opie. I believe Opie is a nickname. If true, what was the real name?
A: According to everything I can find, the real name was indeed Opie. Two explanations for the name have been offered. One is it came from Opal Taft "Opie" Cates, a bandleader and radio star who was admired by both Sheldon Leonard, producer of Griffith's show, and by Griffith himself. The online Encyclopedia of Arkansas says Leonard had worked on a radio show with Cates and "Cates' son recalled that Leonard contacted his father to request permission to use his first name in the show." Another claim, though, is that Opie Shelton, a childhood friend of Griffith and at one time the president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, inspired the boy's name.
'Robin Hood' played out?
Q: I love and see all Robin Hood movies and really enjoyed the 2018 version! Loved the story, cast, amazing setting and special effects! There really was a coherent story! So why did it not have legs?
A: The heavily promoted version starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx failed to draw large audiences even on its opening weekend. Reviews were poor (only 15% were positive, according to Rotten Tomatoes) and regular moviegoers who actually saw it were also less than enthusiastic on RT. Looper.com wondered as well if the often-told Robin Hood story just wasn't fresh enough — a 2010 version fared far better than 2018's but not well enough to justify its enormous budget — and whether competition at the multiplex was just too intense. (Other titles at the time included "Ralph Breaks the Internet" and "Creed II.")
Q: Ratings for "Madam Secretary" declined because it became too liberal. The same happened to the return of "Murphy Brown." Most people want to be entertained. We don't want to be lectured to by liberal Hollywood!!
A: TV offers plenty of shows that don't fit this notion, so you had choices other than "Madam Secretary." Some viewers like to think now and then while watching TV. There's no question that "Madam Secretary" had a liberal bent; it also tried to get us to look at modern issues — and did it without the smugness that marred "Murphy Brown" during both of its runs.