Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of experts – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – gathered together to Look Back at and to reminisce about Seasons Four and Five of CPU! favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This is the second part of a five part CPU! podcast series examining two of our favorite television programs, Buffy and Angel, aka “The Buffy-Verse.” If you have not watched any of Buffy or Angel (and I mean, any!), be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Stay tuned for Episode 3 of our Buffy-Verse series, in which we cover Seasons 1-2 of Angel!

PODCAST! – Cult TV! and Best Of! and Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#49)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a cult supernatural, fantasy, action, and horror drama that aired on the Warner Bros. network, or “The WB,” from 1997 to 2001 and on the United Paramount Network, or “UPN,” from 2001-2003.

What: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as “Vampire Slayers” or simply “Slayers,” called or chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness.

SYNOPSIS

Buffy’s mystical calling endows her with powers that dramatically enhance physical strength, endurance, agility, healing, intuition, and that provide a limited degree of clairvoyance, usually in the form of prophetic dreams. She is known as a reluctant hero who wants to live a normal life; however, she learns to embrace her destiny as the vampire Slayer.  Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), a member of the Watchers’ Council, whose job is to train and guide the Slayers. Giles researches the supernatural creatures that Buffy must face, offers insights into their origins and advice on how to defeat them, and helps her stay in fighting form. Buffy is also helped by friends she meets at Sunnydale High School: Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon).

The cast of characters grows over the course of the series. A vampire with a soul, Angel (David Boreanaz), is Buffy’s love interest throughout the first three seasons. At Sunnydale High, Buffy meets several other students besides Willow and Xander willing to join her fight for good, an informal group eventually tagged the “Scooby Gang” or “Scoobies.” Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), the archetypal shallow cheerleader, reluctantly becomes involved. Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) – a fellow student, rock guitarist and werewolf – joins the group through his relationship with Willow. Anya (Emma Caulfield), a former vengeance demon (Anyanka) who specialized in avenging scorned women, becomes Xander’s lover after losing her powers and joins the group in season four. Spike (James Marsters), a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus (Angel) and one of Buffy’s major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers.  In fact, Buffy features dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor, and additional regular characters introduced in later seasons.

When: The show aired on the WB from 1997-2001 and on UPN from 2001-2003.

Where: The show is set primarily in fictional Sunnydale, California, home of one of the series’ fictional entrances to hell, otherwise known as “The Hellmouth.”

Why: Listen to the first episode of this podcast series for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  They are all personal and occasionally touching.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Buffy as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true Buffy-Verse scholars, in what has, again, become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at another couple of cult TV shows that fuel our respective imaginations and tug at our TV-loving hearts. In this five-part series, our panel – featuring CPU! regulars and semi-regulars Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – look back at Buffy and its spin-off Angel, reminiscing about two shows that have withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as two of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television series of all time.

We have already recorded one episode in this series, Looking Back at Buffy Seasons One, Two, and Three.  You can listen to that episode here or via our audio channels on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode One, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3

In this second episode of CPU!’s “Buffy-Verse” series, our panel discusses Seasons Four and Five of Buffy, covering the series’ middle years and the arguable apex of its popularity. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of these two seasons, which aired on Tuesday nights on the WB network.

In addition, with this series, CPU! is introducing yet another brand new feature, which sort of combines some old features into one handily titled, efficiently truncated format. You may have noticed that we tend to favor some “best of” lists around here.  Well, in this new feature, called “Best Of!,” we are going to handily provide, right here, right now for Buffy but otherwise within the content entry for each podcast episode, the list of all of the “best of” acclaims a show receives.  In addition, we will be compiling those lists on separate bonus pages of our website (accessible by the menu at the top left of the header).  We’re not ready for the pages, as in they are under construction, but when it comes to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s list of various acclaims accrued over the years, you’ll come to understand why this feature was introduced.

To wit, herein be the list of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Best Of!

  • #41 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
  • #2 on Empires “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #22 in 2016
  • #27 on The Hollywood Reporters “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #38 on TV Guide’s list of the “60 Best Series of All Time”
  • #38 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most celebrated cult TV shows and TV fandoms, as the show ranks at #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s 2009 and 2014 Top Cult TV lists and at #3 on TV Guide’s Top Cult TV list.  Plus, Buffy ranked #49 on TV Guide’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we’re back around the water cooler when our Marvel Agents of SHIELD panel, slightly larger and slightly more robust than before, reconvenes to dissect the jam-packed second half of Season 4.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who loves nerdy, cult science fiction and fantasy (and/or horror) series in the vein of Star Trek, The X-Files, and similar ilk and to any fan of Joss Whedon who hasn’t somehow discovered his first major and most critically and most popularly recognized work of screen fiction (beyond the vastly different film, for which he provided creative input and an early script later overruled by its producers).  As we discuss in this podcast series, this series broke ground for so many other series to come, including other popular shows for which writers and creators learned their trade working on this series originally, including shows like Once Upon a Time and even issue-based comedies, like the uneven but musical Glee. This show has a bit of everything, and, if you love solid, quality television – excellent television, in fact – and you have somehow missed this series, you should make time for Buffy. You will not be disappointed in the overall journey and entertainment value that this well written, well performed series provides.

The entire Buffy series is available to stream at only Hulu, currently. Watch it: you won’t regret it!

Sherlock Series, Episode Two – Series 3 & 4 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2017, our panel of enthusiastically Sherlocked Sherlockians — including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Kristin T — gathered around the water cooler once again to continue gushing, though in a slightly more tempered way, about the third and fourth series, and the intervening Christmas special, of the BBC-produced, internationally acclaimed, modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation, simply entitled Sherlock.  This is the second part of a CPU! podcast miniseries examining the thirteen available episodes of this widely popular and sparsely (but densely) produced drama.  If you have not watched any of Sherlock, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Sherlock” Series 3 and 4 Recap (Sherlock Series, Episode Two; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Sherlock” is a crime drama series based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories that airs on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the USA; it is currently on hiatus (should the producers decide to make more episodes, an ongoing mystery for this unique fandom).

What: “Sherlock” was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. The series is set in the present day, while a one-off special features a Victorian period fantasy resembling the original Holmes stories.

SYNOPSIS

Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch) solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr. John Watson (Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and others are at first suspicious of Holmes, over time his exceptional intellect and bold powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson’s blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.

Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes’ conflict with nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital, occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson’s landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes’ elder brother Mycroft.

When: Series Three aired in the USA from January 19, 2014, to February 2, 2014, while Series Four aired from January 1, 2017, to January 15, 2017, on public broadcasting or PBS.  An intervening Christmas special, “The Abominable Bride,” aired on January 1, 2016 (and was simulcast in movie theaters).

Where: This show is primarily set in London, England, United Kingdom, with occasional visits to London’s surrounds.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though it bears mentioning that Sherlock may very well be the most popular and most requested panel/show to discuss since the inception of this humble little podcast and aside from (as previously published) Stranger Things.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! recorded a first episode to this two-part miniseries covering the first two series/seasons of international smash hit, Sherlock. To catch up on what you missed, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Sherlock Series, Episode One, Seasons 1 and 2

In the episode linked below, our Sherlock panel – Kristen (L), Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer and Kristin T – enthusiastically return to the water cooler to sift through the highs and (twist!) occasional lows of the modernist Sherlock Holmes adaptation’s latest two seasons, “The Abominable Bride” included.  While the panel continues to gush about this series’ third season (or series, if you’re British), some of the panelists’ moods grew darker and more perplexed by the fourth season, which introduced characters and situations both derived from Sherlock Holmes canon but also originally created for the television series. Though the panel still believes that Sherlock is television of the highest quality, from performances to writing to direction to every other facet available, they also struggled, particularly, with Season 4, Episode 4, “The Final Problem,” which, when analyzed in totality, stands a real but, yet, suspiciously questionable chance of being the final episode of this beloved program. The panelists also reiterated, unanimously, that while there are relatively weaker episodes within the thirteen total episodes produced, Sherlock’s weakest efforts are far superior to the strongest examples of other shows on television currently.  In fact, our resident Sherlockians agree that the narrative remains woven tightly, with a loving eye to adaptive detail spearheaded by recognized “Sherlock” expert Gatiss at the helm; that the visual presence from art direction to cinematography continues to be perfection; and that the performances ring as no less than stellar.  If you are part of the Sherlock fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your commonly held adoration for this sparsely produced but richly produced international juggernaut, even if you have spicier thoughts about Season 4.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Buffy-verse panel returns to the Water Cooler for their second episode of a five-part series lovingly looking back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, in which they “slay” Seasons 4 and 5 of Buffy.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

The biggest question facing our intrepid and enthusiastic panel of Sherlockian devotees is whether the show will return.  Chief CP Kylie feels that “The Final Problem” may have been a “psych out” or a deft but convenient nod to the hiatus of the fictional character, before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle realized that the retirement of his beloved detective was premature.  This clever call back to the literary hiatus seeds well the show’s hiatus, given that it might be longer than usual, since Benedict Cumberbatch will be Doctor Strange for some years, Martin Freeman also continues to obtain roles large and small, and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are developing an adaptation of Dracula for the BBC. Still, other panelists are terrified that “The Final Problem” may be the last we hear of Sherlock forever, and on the note that Season 4 ended, they are not comfortable with that possibility.

Should the show return, however, the same panelists who fear that we may have watched the end are also apprehensive about how much non-canon character Eurus Holmes will figure into future episodes and whether Moriarty has any hope of miraculous resurrection – could he have tricked Sherlock the same way Sherlock tricked everyone else?  Time will only tell, and given the pattern of long hiatuses related to this show and the busy schedules of its stars and production team, we have nothing but time to speculate upon what might have been, what is, and what might be.

PARTING SHOTS

Our CPU! Sherlock panelists seem to be “shell-shocked” rather than “Sher-locked” over Sherlock following season 4, though each panelist continues to indubitably recommend watching this show to anyone who breathes – or, at least, to anyone who watches and enjoys television.  The general consensus among the panelists is that this well crafted, well written, well directed, and well performed piece offers “something for everyone” and can appeal to young and old, man and woman, and everything in between, even at its weakest moments, which are still stronger than the best other television shows have to offer.  What’s more, any self-respecting Sherlock Holmes fan will no doubt marvel, as several Holmes fans on this panel have, at the excellence of this series, including the loving attention to detail hailing from the source material, though the departures from the source will no doubt produced mixed reactions, as they have done for our CPU! Sherlock faithful.  Cautions raised by the panel: any new viewer will have to learn patience to appreciate Sherlock, as new series are created as the show-runners and cast have time, which apparently will be harder to come by in the short-term future.  Also, a standard series contains only three film-length episodes generally, aside from the excellent “Abominable Bride.”  In any event, the creators certainly know how to keep their audience coming back for more, and the panel universally agrees that each return to a new series is well worth the wait (and the watch – and re-watch!).

LOOKING AHEAD

Neither the show creators nor the network (BBC) have confirmed that Sherlock is, indeed, completely and permanently over.  In fact, all involved say they would like to potentially do more but are hampered by various other commitments, as listed above. Since there is no official word on whether or not we have watched the definitive end of Sherlock, we will assume (or at least hope) that there is more to come; however, the CPU! Sherlock panel will not reconvene until that happens, which may be for some years. Should the BBC and/or Gatiss and Moffat succeed in collecting the cast and crew for another go-round, CPU! will assuredly pounce upon such potential future developments! Until that time, Sherlock is available on the Netflix streaming service to be watched repeatedly and to one’s heart’s content.  As for CPU!, don’t worry: we cover many other shows in our podcast, available for your listening pleasure to tide you over in the meantime, and most of the Sherlock panelists are involved in other panels – check out the “What We’re Currently Watching” and the “List of All CPU! Panelists” pages in the menu to the upper left to scan for current and potential episodes you might want to hear; search using the menu in the upper right corner :).

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Is it…could it be…Holmes?!  Not exactly…but it is panelist Spencer, living the dream at the actual 221B Baker Street, London, England, where he and wife/fellow panelist Kristin T. are currently enjoying vacation (August 2017).  Safe travels, friends!

Upcoming Schedule!

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Due to technical difficulties during the processing of this week’s podcast episode, we must reluctantly, if at first we don’t succeed, try try again.  As a result, this week’s episode will be released tomorrow night! Our next four weeks of podcast episodes look like this:

This week: Sherlock Series, Episode 2, Sherlock Series 3 and 4 (Thursday).

Next week: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 2, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Seasons 4-5 (Wednesday)

The following week: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4B (Wednesday).

The week after that: CPU! Live! with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 3 (Monday, LIVE! on Facebook; Wednesday, publish on the audio feed)

New episodes are coming down the pike, including new panels, such as for Lemony Snicket’s Unfortunate Events and Sense8, and new episodes from old panels, including The Vampire Diaries, New Girl, The Originals, Orange is the New Black, Doctor Who, and the DCTU panel, with four episodes recapping Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. Don’t miss them! Stay tuned!

Progress Report: Fall TV Preview and Selection for 2017-2018 Shows (2017)

At this point, the primary TV viewing season is over, the summer viewing season in all its limited glory is in full swing, and the calendar has struck the month of August…which means less than a month until the fall TV season begins again!  Thus, it’s time to shop for new pilots! Since up-fronts were held in May, new TV offerings by networks and some cable outlets (as well as streaming networks) have been announced. It’s time to examine them closely and choose which will be added to the extremely extended lineup covered by this blog!

Thanks to TVLine for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with last season, a growing number of CPU! members may find shows initially passed by the CPU! Chief and choose to review them.  CPU! readers will be informed if the show’s status changes regarding coverage as the season progresses through the handy CPU! Progress Reports, and all written reviews will be published!

9-1-1

9-1-1, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Angela Bassett (American Horror Story)

WHAT: A fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders — cops, paramedics, firefighters — the people who put their lives on the line to save others.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  A few thoughts on this first entry, numerically titled and, therefore, ahead of the alphabet.  While we at CPU! are big fans of Ms. Bassett, being that we’ve watched her on American Horror Story for several seasons and greatly enjoy her contributions to the horror anthology juggernaut, the fact is that with so little information to go on for this mid-season entry on Fox’s new lineup, we are hard pressed to adopt this title for our pick-up list.  There is no trailer, the description is thin, and, frankly, it sounds potentially procedural in nature, if not a recycling and/or rehashing of medical and law enforcement dramas currently all over network and cable TV.  What we’re saying is: it doesn’t sound original, no matter how much caliber Angela Bassett may add to it.  So, we start with a pass.  Bodes well, eh?

9JKL

9JKL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 2

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains), David Walton (About a Boy), Liza Lapira (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23), Matt Murray (Rookie Blue), Linda Lavin (The Good Wife), Elliott Gould (Ray Donovan), Albert Tsai (Dr. Ken)

WHAT: A family comedy inspired by a time in Mark Feuerstein’s adult life when he lived in apartment 9K in the building he grew up in, sandwiched between his parents’ apartment, 9J, and his brother, sister-in-law and their baby’s apartment, 9L, and his attempts to set boundaries with his intrusive but well-meaning family.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This feels like a very borderline situation for a situation comedy, in terms of actual, successful laughter, as far as this Couch Potato (CP) is concerned.  Though apparently derived from real-life sources, namely Mark Feuerstein’s real life, the teaser trailer offers several repetitive jokes and a mixed bag in terms of comedic presentation.  But for each low, including Mark himself, who keeps trying for comedy but somehow isn’t able to achieve it as easily as others, there is at least one or two highs, namely the actors playing his parents.  In fact, it’s the casting this time around that is giving me the urge to at least try an episode or two and see if a half hour is better than a couple of minutes.  David Walton’s brand of “dudebro” is extremely watchable, owing to the nuances of the underrated but erstwhile About a Boy alum’s particular oeuvre of comedic timing, and veterans Linda Lavin and Elliott Gould are money players in the comedy genre – they are bound to eke out a few laughs.  The trailer doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but there’s no harm in taking this one for a whirl and seeing what happens.

Alex, Inc.

ALEX, INC., ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Zach Braff (Scrubs), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Tiya Sircar (The Good Place), Hillary Anne Matthews (New Girl)

WHAT: Based on the podcast of the same name, Alex Schuman is an inquisitive journalist, husband, and father who dives headfirst into the brave new world of entrepreneurship when he quits his stable job and starts his own business.

Trailer Available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Honestly, much of this pick up is in podcast solidarity.  It’s a TV show based upon a podcast.  ONE CAN DREAM, RIGHT?!  In less selfish news, though the premise of this show may appeal most strongly to a narrow but cultivated set of hipster Millennials…Zach Braff.  Zach Braff is all you need to know.  Who doesn’t find Zach Braff funny? (If you answer “me,” I’m calling shenanigans!).  It’s time for his post-Scrubs TV revival to take shape, and what better time and with what better vehicle than this?  Also, this premise and dose of edgy observational humor is the kind of real life funny that actually plays as funny, even in a two minute trailer, though, perhaps, I’m jaded by the previous trailer.  Or, perhaps, I’m cautiously optimistic.  Then again, this could fail on its merits because podcasts are still fairly niche in terms of audience, and it’s hard to see how TV would build upon that.  Not that we know anything about that around here, or anything.

A.P. Bio

A.P. BIO, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Patton Oswalt (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Mary Sohn (Teachers), Lyric Lewis (The CW’s MADtv), Aparna Brielle (Grimm), Nick Peine (Office Christmas Party), Tom Bennett (Drunk History: UK), Jacob McCarthy

WHAT: A hilariously cynical Ivy League professor loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school biology teacher where he imposes his unorthodox teaching style and uses the kids to plot out revenge on those who wronged him.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  This is a new spin on the “reluctant school teacher” trope, but the premise outlined in the available trailer resonates like recycled sitcom, in many regards, with updated motifs like social media “cat-fishing” – encouraged by a teacher, no less – and possibly slightly more erudite potty humor. Describing the main character as “hilariously cynical” is being far too generous, however.  Apparently from the creative and collective former and current SNL minds of Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels, a brilliant but irascible teacher in the vein of the brilliant but irascible Dr. House (from House) fails to achieve tenure in the Ivies and ends up teaching high school.  The premise by itself is a struggle to buy into without more information but so is the likability of the main character – or even the UN-likability.  Mostly, the character is bland, and it’s hard to know how the audience should relate to the teacher when he’s so two-dimensional, at least until he develops his inevitable sensitivity and inspiration from teaching today’s advanced placement biology students – development not shown in the teaser, for the record.  In all honesty, throughout the viewing of this trailer, I kept thinking that teachers don’t need additional pressure from politicians and parents based upon a fictional representation that is more to hate than to love, and in these sociopolitical and cultural times, where the slightest of mascots can render unintended influences on those of us living real life, the entire joke behind the premise doesn’t quite land, at least not for this CP. If you take a gander and disagree, let us know.  We’re willing to change (and have)!

Black Lightning

BLACK LIGHTNING, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Cress Williams (Hart of Dixie), Nafessa Williams (Code Black), China Anne McClain (House of Payne), Christine Adams (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

WHAT: Jefferson Pierce made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s a comic book show.  CPU!’s comic book core (or corps?) will likely step up to the plate for this one, particularly if it is folded into the crossover potential of the Arrowverse, making it a likely additional entry for our DCTU panel.  The trailer shows some influence by Marvel’s Luke Cage but also the broader, moodier tones of the DC film franchise as a whole, ringing with more gravitas than even Arrow when it first began.  How will it all come out in the wash?  We’ll be there to find out.

The Brave

THE BRAVE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Mike Vogel (Under the Dome), Anne Heche (Save Me, Men in Trees), Tate Ellington (Quantico), Demetrius Grosse (Westworld, Justified), Noah Mills (2 Broke Girls), Sofia Pernas (Jane the Virgin), Hadi Tabbal, Natacha Karam

WHAT: A heart-pounding look into the complex world of our bravest military heroes who make personal sacrifices while executing the most challenging and dangerous missions behind enemy lines.

Trailer Available at NBC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Military-themed dramas seem to be the type of show en vogue on network television this coming season.  More on that later.  While there could be some potentially tense and riveting drama rooted in The Brave (formerly For God and Country), whether this show decides to focus on missions by episode or over the course of a season, this program rings as somewhat procedural in nature given the fact that we would be watching military task forces or units solve potential international crises, short or long term. The question that comes to mind is how would that premise, in either framework, sustain, repetitively and over the course of a season?   It appears, from the trailer, that the driving force of the show will be “how do they do it?” rather than “how does it fit within the larger picture?”  Lacking a gimmick, like 24’s real time motif, the premise as it stands is underwhelming.  Plus, this CP is not an overall fan of Anne Heche, because reasons, and is also wary of how the “enemies” behind enemy lines might be portrayed, given current climates in our country. If this show earns some critical acclaim or popular steam, we may revise our stance, but for now, there is little likely to attract our merry band of podcasters.  If you watch and like this show and want us to cover it, send us a comment or an email (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com).

By the Book

BY THE BOOK, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Jay R. Ferguson (The Real O’Neals), David Krumholtz (Numb3rs), Ian Gomez (Supergirl, Cougar Town), Lindsey Kraft (Getting On), Tony Rock (Everybody Hates Chris), Camryn Manheim (Ghost Whisperer)

WHAT: A modern day man at a crossroads in his life decides to live according to the Bible. Based on the bestselling book by A.J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Aside from the fact that there is no teaser trailer to expand upon this brief premise description, this sounds rather Hallmark channel at its core.  No judgments as much as cursory observations, and while this CP sees the potential of an audience for this program, especially given CBS’ core viewership, this is not the type of drama (is it even a drama?) that entices here at Couch Potatoes Unite!  If you want us to start covering it, though, let us know.  For now, we’ve got enough and better established TV watching commitments to keep us busy.

Champions

CHAMPIONS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Anders Holm (The Mindy Project), Andy Favreau (Aquarius), JJ Totah (Liv and Maddie), Nina Wadia, Mouzam Makkar, recurring player Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project)

WHAT: The single-cam comedy centers on Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition who lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Kaling), one of his old high school flings.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Your CPU! Chief CP likes The Mindy Project; we’ve intermittently covered the show here at CPU! because I and a couple other Couch Potatoes enjoy the unique comedic chops of Mindy Kaling, the erstwhile Kelly Kapoor from The Office and Mindy Lahiri on the previously mentioned TMP.  It’s nice to see that she will land squarely on her feet upon conclusion of TMP, which is going into its final, Hulu-airing season, its sixth.  Still, this situation comedy does not spark interest, her presence and one of her former Mindy Lahiri beaus aside.  The premise is sort of like Three Men and a Baby, if there were only two men and if the baby was a teenager.  There is no trailer to judge writing or performance, and aside from Kaling, there isn’t much draw from a prior project side of the coin to entice in lieu of the pencil-thin premise.  It has the potential to be smart if Kaling writes for the show; it also has the potential to be a locker-room driven comedy, given the notion that the main character owns a gym.  There are too many “ifs” to inspire views.  As always, let us know if we are wrong.  I don’t think we are.

the-crossing

THE CROSSING, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Steve Zahn (Mad Dogs), Sandrine Holt (MacGyver, House of Cards), Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome), Jay Karnes (The Shield), Simone Kessell (Of Kings and Prophets), Grant Harvey (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Kelly Missal (One Life to Live), Marcuis W. Harris (Vice Principals), Rick Gomez (Justified), Tommy Bastow (EastEnders), John D’Leo, Rob Campbell, Bailey Skodje, Luc Roderique

WHAT: Refugees from a war-torn country start showing up to seek asylum in an American town. Only the country these people are from is America and the war they are fleeing is 250 years in the future. The local sheriff with a past, a federal agent, and a mother in search of her missing refugee daughter drive this allegory with a surprising conspiracy at the center.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  The trailer teases some interesting mysteries – what are these futuristic refugees fleeing?  How do they have powers?  Are they friend or foe?  Are they human?  There is some potential science fiction, making the premise potentially attractive to CPU! panelists.  There was nothing particularly impressive about the trailer presentation, yet the intrigue is palpable.  Plus, the description refers to both allegory and conspiracy.  Just what will we be watching?  Only one way to find out.  Interestingly, as the trailer started, this CP fleetingly thought, “This is like Lost, in reverse maybe.”  The trailer then connected the show to Lost by crediting the network as the broadcaster of both.  On the nose, then, ABC is seeking its next Lost.  There is nothing in the trailer suggesting that The Crossing will be such a contender to compare to the venerable and controversial preceding drama, but maybe today’s cynical TV audiences will be surprised.

Deception

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Edie Falco (The Sopranos), Anthony Edwards (ER), Miles Gaston Villanueva (The Young and the Restless), Gus Halper (Power, Public Morals), Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Julianne Nicholson (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Constance Marie (Switched at Birth), Heather Graham (Scrubs), Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy), Mark Moses (Mad Men), Larry Cedar (Deadwood), Kate Beahan (Mistresses), Carlos Gomez (Madam Secretary), James DuMont (American Horror Story, Treme)

WHAT: The inaugural installment of the eight-episode anthology series focuses on Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted in 1996 of murdering their parents and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Trailer Available at NBC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Yawn.  Yet another entry in the Law and Order franchise.  Your Chief CP could not even watch the trailer – it’s clear that Dick Wolf and company want to get a crack at the popularity of the American Crime Story anthology series currently doing well on Fox/FX.  Also, there are too many procedural programs and not enough time.  We do have some slight interest expressed in Law and Order coverage, but it will take planning to cover the decades and spin-offs associated with this franchise.  Also, the Menendez murders are just not that interesting a concept.  If you would like to vote away our massive cynicism here, you need only comment, email, etc.

Life Sentence

LIFE SENTENCE, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Elliot Knight (American Gothic), Dylan Walsh (Unforgettable), Gillian Vigman (New Girl), Brooke Lyons (iZombie), Carlos PenaVega (Grease: Live, Big Time Rush), Jayson Blair (Young & Hungry)

WHAT: When a young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.”

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  In many ways, the concept of this show feels like a tweaking of No Tomorrow, recently canceled by the very same network.  Instead, the person dying receives a new lease on life, rather than a guarantee of death and a need to fulfill a bucket list, and must deal with the aftermath of the trying times of poor health, including the effect of those times on family and loved ones.  There are many aspects to potentially like about this show, including unblemished, standard-beauty type members of the cast. At the same time, it also feels very by rote and potentially manipulative.  Perhaps, if the trailer had offered something in the way of darker edges or conflict other than the sheer buffoonery of the main character’s family, it would entice more.  As it stands, this show seems to be another chapter in the TV annals of “ain’t life funny” TV.  Still, I think it will probably find an audience, and, perhaps, people who have dealt with similar situations will find it funny.  We’ll keep an eye on it, to see if it gains traction or steam.

Marvel's Inhumans

MARVEL’S INHUMANS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Two-hour premiere Sept. 29 at 8/7c

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Serinda Swan (Graceland), Ken Leung (Lost), Ellen Woglom (Outlaw), Eme Ikwuakor (Extant), Isabelle Cornish (Home and Away), Mike Moh (Empire), Sonya Balmores (Beyond the Break)

WHAT: The eight-episode series will explore the never-before-told epic adventure of Black Bolt and the royal family.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Ramsey Snow/Bolton lives!  Just kidding.  The Chief CP does not know enough about Marvel to understand how this fits into the overall scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including story lines started on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Still, with the overall interest in comic book adaptations from our nerdy core/corps of panelists, I can’t imagine us not podcasting about it someday.  The trailer is somewhat interesting – if somewhat confusing all at the same time.  But look!  Stories about enhanced people!  Our bread and butter, yes?

The Mayor

THE MAYOR, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 3

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party), Lea Michele (Scream Queens), Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple, Community), Bernard Jones (Meet the Browns), Marcel Spears

WHAT: When an outspoken, idealistic rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, he surprises everyone (including himself) when he has a natural knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Quite honestly, this might be one of the most promising new comedies to hit network TV this coming season, and this is one of the shows the Chief CP is most excited about.  While I am no great fan of Lea Michele, I can’t think of a more timely, more relevant premise for a situation comedy than this.  Check it: a rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt, achieves it beyond his wildest expectations despite the fact that he’s probably not qualified for it, and political hi-jinks ensue.  Remind you of anything?  Only now, the jokes come from real life and from the other side of the widespread divide skewering American society.  This is not a political statement; if anything, it’s important to present both sides to all people, and fictionalized though this may be, I think it will find a cross-cultural, cross-generational audience, with a smart premise and decent satire bolstering it, who will see what is being reflecting in it and appreciate the voices informing it.  Bravo to the creators for putting it out there, and bravo to the Alphabet network for endorsing it.

Me, Myself & I

ME, MYSELF & I, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Mondays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), John Larroquette (The Librarians), Brian Unger (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Sharon Lawrence (Rizzoli & Isles, NYPD Blue), Kelen Coleman (Big Little Lies), Jaleel White (Family Matters), Jack Dylan Grazer, Skylar Gray, Christopher Paul Richards, Mandell Maughan, Reylynn Caster

WHAT: A single-camera comedy examining one man’s life over a 50-year span. The show will focus on three distinct periods in his life — as a 14-year-old in 1991, a 40-year-old in present day, and a 65-year-old in 2042.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As funny as Bobby Moynihan can be and as John Larroquette always is, this sitcom and premise feel like a comedic re-purposing of This Is Us for the Eye network. Nevertheless, in viewing the trailer, this CP nursed hope that there was something truly novel that would drawn the viewer in – personally, I think the target audiences that will likely resonate with this most are steeped in Baby Boomers and Generation X.  The Chief CP is a late-stage member of the latter, as is the Bobby Moynihan version of the character, but it’s hard to see what the show is going for beyond an examination of choices, regrets, and satisfaction, which I think someone with more life years lived will relate to best.  The trailer offered some smiles but not many, though it’s nice to see Steve Urkel out of retirement.  We’ll monitor its progress, but our initial impressions are lukewarm at best.

The Orville

THE ORVILLE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Special two-part series premiere Sunday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8/7c

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c (beginning Sept. 28)

WHO: Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle), Scott Grimes (ER), Peter Macon (Shameless), J Lee (Family Guy), Halston Sage (Crisis)

WHAT: Set 300 years in the future, the hourlong dramedy follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship in Earth’s interstellar Fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Another intriguing comedic entry in Fox’s nerd-friendly comedy lineup!  In the grand tradition of vehicles like Galaxy Quest, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and every Family Guy parody of anything science fiction ever, Seth McFarlane has now created this Star Trek-like homage to futuristic space exploration.  It could very well be stupid – more of a Peter Griffin than a Stewie or a Brian, say – but it could also be uproariously amusing, and there are CPU! regulars who will likely gravitate toward the popcorn adventures of the ship to which the title refers.  The description of this program classifies it as a “dramedy.”  Hopefully, it is more “medy” than “dram.”

The Resident

THE RESIDENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Manish Dayal (Halt and Catch Fire, 90210), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Bruce Greenwood (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Shaunette Wilson (Billions)

WHAT: An idealistic young doctor begins his first day under the supervision of a tough, brilliant senior resident who pulls the curtain back on all of the good and evil in modern day medicine.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Here cometh another medical drama, this time to Fox, with Logan from Gilmore Girls and Amanda/Emily from Revenge in featured roles.  This feels like a watered down House, with a main character that lacks the deduction skills of Dr. House and plays more like the Burgess Meredith character from Rocky: tough but fair, brilliant but principled, honest but abrasive, and so on, who is there to motivate young residents as they get their toes wet in patient care.  Personally, this CP tires of the proliferation of medical dramas and, therefore, passes on this one, but if it merits another look, let us know.

Reverie

REVERIE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest), Dennis Haysbert (24), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes), Kathryn Morris (Cold Case), Jessica Lu (Awkward)

WHAT: A grounded and dramatic thriller about a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  The hesitancy comes from two primary reasons: there is no trailer, currently, and Sarah Shahi just hailed from Person of Interest, all about an omnipresent and omniscient AI, a possible evolutionary step for VR.  After all, what does “advanced virtual reality program” mean?  Are we looking at something drawing from influences like Minority Report?  And really, answering these questions is the only reason, apart from the erstwhile Shaw, that we’d give this one a look-see, as it hints at a flavor of science fiction without being committal to the genre, popular with the CPU! roster.  If the vagueness and mystery do not pay off well, though, we’ll probably drop it like a rock.

Rise

RISE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Rosie Perez (Search Party, Lipstick Jungle), Marley Shelton (The Lottery), Rarmian Newton (The Family), Amy Forsyth (The Path), Casey Johnson (G.L.O.W.), Shirley Rumierk, Joe Tippett, Ted Sutherland, Taylor Richardson, Damon J. Gillespie, recurring player Shannon Purser (Stranger Things)

WHAT: Centers on a high school drama teacher and family man whose passion for the program and his students galvanizes the entire working class town. Based on Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High, which itself is based on real-life drama teacher Lou Volpe.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  I think we might be picking up shows too benevolently this season. Honestly, with so little to go on, this CP is feeling vibes of Glee, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dead Poets Society, and other, similar ilk with high school drama now as the central focus. Still, you may have noticed that the CPU! core is a theatrical bunch, so I feel compelled to look in on this one, even though the premise feels like a trope, based on a true life person or not.  Thoughts?

Roseanne

ROSEANNE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, Sarah Chalke

WHAT: An eight-episode present-day revival that will find the Conner family dealing with the economic challenges of living pay check to pay check in 2018.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  What can we say?  Curiosity may yet kill this cat.  Roseanne is an acknowledged sitcom classic, even though the title star was/is notoriously “in your face” and uneven, most times at the same time.  Still, CPU! regulars have already requested this one, so expect to see a “Look Back to Look Forward” series akin to our “Full/er House” series some time in 2018.  At the very least, we want to see how the hell they explain away the presence of both Beckys and Dan’s status in general.  Plus, we expect some pointed political banter from our favorite Midwest family matriarch, as only she can deliver.  Expectations are high, Roseanne Barr.  Expectations are high.

SEAL Team

SEAL TEAM, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 27

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: David Boreanaz (Bones), Jessica Paré (Mad Men), Max Thieriot (Bates Motel), Neil Brown Jr. (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY), Toni Trucks (Franklin & Bash)

WHAT: Follows the professional and personal lives of the most elite unit of Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high stakes missions our country can ask of them.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This show is essentially CBS’ contribution to a small but marked military drama fad this season (see also The Brave).  Really, the only reason this CP is even considering checking in – as the drama feels much like a 24 situation or a story in which the patriarch works a dangerous job and is gone all the time – is David Boreanaz.  Once Angel/us, once Seely Booth, now a Navy SEAL; though the drama could become melodrama easily here, David earns the chance.  He’s very popular at CPU!  Or, maybe it’s just the Chief’s unabashed crush on him.

Splitting Up Together

SPLITTING UP TOGETHER, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Jenna Fischer (The Office), Oliver Hudson (Nashville), Diane Farr (Numb3rs, Rescue Me), Lindsay Price (Lipstick Jungle), Bobby Lee, Olivia Keville, Van Crosby, Sander Thomas

WHAT: Based upon the original Danish series created by Mette Heeno, the single-cam comedy is the story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Pam’s back.  She’s not married to Jim.  She was married to Oliver Hudson (on the show).  Now, they’re getting divorced…which apparently gets them hot for being married to each other again.  The premise is somewhat bland, even if slightly influenced by our modern times, but it will require some winning performances by the two adult leads to work long term.  Unfortunately, this is not subject matter that entices your friendly neighborhood CP’s typically.  We’ll keep an eye on it, as there is some quality and thought behind it, but it’s not a comedy we are sold on just yet.

S.W.A.T.

S.W.A.T., CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Nov. 2

WHEN: Thursdays at 10/9c (after football concludes)

WHO: Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Jay Harrington (Code Black, Better Off Ted), Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel), Peter Onorati (Murder in the First), Lina Esco (Kingdom), Alex Russell, Stephanie Sigman

WHAT: A locally born and bred S.W.A.T. sergeant is torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers when he’s tasked to run a specialized tactical unit that is the last stop in law enforcement in Los Angeles. Inspired by the film of the same name.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Hey, it’s Better Off Ted!  But seriously.  The Chief CP never watched the film on which this show is based and really has no interest in doing so.  This is a standard cop action drama, set in a standard metropolitan location (Los Angeles), with some standard high octane police-related tropes powering said drama and some possible social commentary powering the emotion (cops versus non-cops, etc.).  There is nothing remarkable about this trailer or any of the events and aspects contained therein; this show has a very specific target audience, most of which CPU! does not currently fall into, much as we try to expand our base and palate.  We welcome new members all the time and all suggestions, but currently, this show will not find a viewing audience here.

Ten Days in the Valley

TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9

WHO: Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Erika Christensen (Parenthood), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (American Odyssey, Hunted), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Felix Solis (The Good Wife), Francois Battiste (The Family, The Good Wife), Currie Graham (Westworld, Longmire), Nelson Lee (NCIS: New Orleans, The Night Shift), Abigail Pniowsky (Arrival), Josh Randall (Pitch, Quarry), Ali Stroker (Glee), Ella Thomas (Ballers, NCIS: Los Angeles), Beth Triffon (Dr. Ken, The Middle), Mark L. Young (Code Black)

WHAT: The ten-episode series centers on TV producer Jane Sadler, whose young daughter goes missing, mirroring the cop drama she produces.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast boasts some modestly heavy TV hitters, with the erstwhile “Closer” and Mrs. Kevin Bacon in the lead role, in some ways, this premise and story elements play like reality TV, though the plot is, as far as this CP knows, fiction.  This is clearly the type of show that will be trying for twists, even as they feel not as twisty as they should or, perhaps, over the top twisty and, therefore, tedious.  It may also be hard to sympathize with the main character if her poor choices and writing of teleplays based on dangerous information prompt some copycat to endanger the safety of her child.  Ultimately, the trailer suggests that this is yet another mystery based upon child kidnapping.  Take that as you will, but it does not entice so far.  It’s a limited series, but we’ll keep an eye on it, as we always do.

Grey's Anatomy Spinoff

UNTITLED GREY’S ANATOMY SPINOFF, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood)

WHAT: Set in a Seattle firehouse, it follows a group of heroic firefighters, from the captain to the newest recruits, as they risk their lives and their hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  So, it was probably inevitable that Shonda Rimes and the ABC Network would attempt to franchise (with spin-offs) the successful-still-beyond-belief Grey’s Anatomy, especially since the latter program is going into its fourteenth season, despite improbable odds and a rotational cast roster.  Unfortunately, CPU! will not be along for this ride.  The project has no title, no trailer, and very little information to go on.  Plus, we jumped the shark on Grey’s a few seasons ago.  Now, there are some CPU!ers who still watch and may revive our dormant Grey’s Anatomy coverage via podcast; if they do, and if this untitled projects gets off the ground in more than teasers and thin premise descriptions, we will cross the bridge of coverage.  For now, we are not interested, for all the logical reasons outlined above.

Valor

VALOR, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 9

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow), Christina Ochoa (Animal Kingdom), Charlie Barnett (Secrets and Lies, Chicago Fire), Nigel Thatch (American Dreams), Corbin Reid (How to Get Away with Murder), Melissa Roxburgh (Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow), W. Tré Davis

WHAT: The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a US Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions. The drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks to a failed mission involving one of the first female pilots in the unit, ultimately uncovering layers of personal and government/military secrets, and leading to a season-long plan to rescue a group of MIA soldiers.

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  For our third military-related entry this season, the CW enters the foray with a more mystery-specific pass involving an army unit, layers of conspiracy, and potentially poor character choices, all with CW-young and beautiful faces populating the drama.  There are no known or well established acting quantities in this equation, and the drama feels somewhat hollow, even superficial, at best.  The only reason CPU! is checking in on one of these dramas is for its lead actor, which can be a determinate but is not applicable in this instance.  If this show gains some kind of traction or steam or acclaim, we will reconsider, but for now, this is a confident pass.

Will & Grace - Season 1

WILL & GRACE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 28

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally

WHAT: Twelve-episode revival of the popular 1998-2006 comedy series.

Trailer Available at here

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Enthusiastic Pick Up.  Not only is the meta musical trailer (how fascinatingly satirical and relevant, she says in her best judgmental Karen voice – or maybe Will’s voice, I could see him commenting in this way) amazingly put together, showcasing a cast of four that reclaimed the exact beats of the characters they stopped playing in 2006, NBC has already ordered a few more episodes and a second season.  Plus, the Chief CP is a big fan, as are several resident CP’s and supporters.  We already have a few requesting it for podcast consumption.  On top of that, the original Will & Grace was years ahead of its time, normalizing LGBTQ+ conversations and culture in ways that will feel comfortable, even homey now, as the wider world, with the exception of some pockets, is more accepting.  At the apex of this exciting new revival among the fad of revivals: Jack and Karen.  I repeat, Jack and Karen.  They say what we’re all thinking because they’re drunk and/or high and/or rich and/or self-involved and/or, perhaps, not entirely sane and stable.  Sounds like the perfect time for their comeback, and for a “Looking Back to Look Forward” series at CPU! on the subject.

Wisdom of the Crowd

WISDOM OF THE CROWD, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1 (at 8:30 pm after football)

WHEN: Sundays at 8/7c

WHO: Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Monica Potter (Parenthood), Richard T. Jones (American Horror Story, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Blake Lee (Mixology), Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones), Jake Matthews (Bosch)

WHAT: Inspired by the notion that a million minds are better than one, a tech innovator creates a cutting edge crowd-sourcing hub to solve his own daughter’s murder, as well as revolutionizing crime solving in San Francisco. Based on the Israeli format of the same name.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Last season, Fox introduced a show called A.P.B., which also involved an app and the ability of the crowd using the app to solve crimes.  This show was ultimately canceled, though CPU! picked it up (hesitantly) because the concept seemed novel at the time.  This show takes that concept and kicks it up a notch, transferring the power of the people to the solving of murders, with a central, high profile murder serving as the engine behind the crowd involvement.  Though we picked up the Fox show last season, it did not fare well.  Would a similarly themed show, granted with a bit more celebrity muscle in Jeremy Piven and Richard T. Jones, among others, fare better at the Eye?  It is definitely hard to say.  Though this show potentially executes the premise with a bit more refinery, as the Chief CP, I am loathe to lead viewers down the same path without some better numbers.  If this show gets ratings, acclaim, or any kind of critical traction, we will reconsider.  Right now, it looks like a second take at a different network, even if there is no one in common between the two programs.

Young Sheldon

YOUNG SHELDON, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sneak preview on Monday, Sept. 25 at 8:30 pm

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c (beginning Nov. 2 after football concludes)

WHO: Iain Armitage (Big Little Lies), Zoe Perry (The Family), Annie Potts (The Fosters), Lance Barber (The Comeback), Raegan Revord (Modern Family), Montana Jordan, narrator Jim Parsons

WHAT: The single-camera Big Bang Theory prequel follows Sheldon Cooper at the age of 9, living with his family in East Texas and going to high school.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now.  No one can deny the popularity of Big Bang Theory; it’s been on a CPU! catch-up list for a while, and we have some interest in it percolating within the CPU! roster of panelists.  Yet, not many of us are ready to talk about it yet, so it seems premature to enter into watching a prequel about the popular character, played by Jim Parsons, and his particularly brand of eccentricity blossoming from a young age.  We will keep an eye on this show and possibly create a series coupled with BBT, but for now, we will wait and see how such a prequel spin-off fares while the parent show still airs.

The following is a link to all premiere dates for shows covered beyond the main networks: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-premiere-dates

Non-Broadcast Network Pick-Ups

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS) – picked up when announced last season, but premiere delayed to Fall 2017.

Mindhunter (Netflix) – David Fincher’s newest addition to the streaming service, with the following synopsis:

David Fincher’s latest Netflix original series (following House of Cards) stars Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff as FBI agents who solve murders with advice gleaned from interviews of imprisoned serial killers. The 1979-set series also stars Anna Torv, and is based on the real-life work of FBI veteran John Douglas, who served as the inspiration for the Jack Crawford character in the various Hannibal Lecter books as well as for Jason Gideon on Criminal Minds. Fincher directs the pilot, Charlize Theron is a producer, and Joe Penhall (The Road) writes the adaptation of Douglas’s book.

Alias Grace (Netflix) – Netflix’s answer to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a Margaret Atwood adaptation:

The second major Margaret Atwood adaptation to hit the small screen this year (following Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale), this six-episode miniseries is inspired by the true story of a shocking double murder in a remote Canadian town in 1843. The series is written by Sarah Polley (Away From Her) and directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol). Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin, Kerr Logan, Zachary Levi, and David Cronenberg (yes, the one you’re thinking of) star.

Future Man (Hulu):

Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Hulu’s new comedy series follows a janitor (Josh Hutcherson) who suddenly finds himself charged with the task of traveling through time to save the human race. Eliza Coupe, Derek Wilson, Haley Joel Osment, Keith David, Glenne Headly, and Ed Begley Jr. also star.

Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu): There is very little information about this property other than some limited internet chatter, but we are comic book prone.

Adapted from the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Hulu’s first Marvel series comes from Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and centers on six diverse teenagers who unite around a common foe: their parents.

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There you have it!  We will add Pick Ups to the CPU! Watchlist and cover them in this blog or via our ever growing podcast. For those passed, if you think we should give them another chance, head on over to the comments section and sound off!  If you would like to be a guest blogger about any passed shows, send me a message, and we’ll talk terms!

In any event, I’m excited for the new stories to start.   TV is film with commitment, you know.

In short:

Picked Up

ABC

Alex, Inc.
The Crossing
Deception
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (hesitantly)
Marvel’s Inhumans
The Mayor
Roseanne

CBS

9JKL (very hesitantly)
SEAL Team (hesitantly)

Fox

Ghosted
The Gifted
L.A. to Vegas
The Orville

NBC

Good Girls (very hesitantly)
Reverie (hesitantly)
Rise (hesitantly)
Will & Grace (enthusiastically)

CW

Black Lightning

 

Passed

ABC

For the People
The Good Doctor
Splitting Up Together
Ten Days in the Valley
Grey’s Anatomy Spin-Off (Untitled)

CBS

By the Book
Instinct
Me, Myself & I
S.W.A.T.
Wisdom of the Crowd
Young Sheldon (for now)

Fox

9-1-1
The Resident

NBC

A.P. Bio
The Brave
Champions
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

CW

Dynasty
Life Sentence
Valor

 

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!

Supernatural (Season 12B, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2017, our panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen, Kelsey, Allie, and Jeremy – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 12B (following the season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, demon Crowley, and the ongoing shenanigans of Lucifer. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!