The Crown, Season 1: Part One of the “Catching Up on The Crown” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)





CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at our website: couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com.  In this episode, recorded in December 2018, our panel of regal CPU! faithful – moderator Krista, Spencer, Samantha, Kristin (T), and Chief CP Kylie – convenes for the first time around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss the first season of lush Netflix biopic The Crown, in this, Part One of our two-part “Catching Up on The Crown” Miniseries.  As always, if you have not watched any of The Crown, be aware that there are, most definitely, MAJOR SPOILERS (history be darned)! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

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PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks and Streaming Originals: “The Crown” – The Recap and Review of Season 1; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on The Crown” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Crown” is a historical drama and web/streaming series available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What:  “The Crown,” created and principally written by Peter Morgan, is
a biographical story about the reign of Her Royal Majesty (HRM) Queen Elizabeth II.

When: Season 1 was released to the Netflix streaming library on November 4, 2016, with a total of ten episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in the United Kingdom, England, and in London, where the Queen and the Royal Family by and large reside.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below!

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING. HOLY SMOKES!

**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it three episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

The Crown = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The Crown traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy, in Seasons 1 and 2) from her wedding in 1947 to Prince Philip (Matt Smith, in Seasons 1 and 2) through to the present day.

THOUGHTS

By popular request, though notably by established CPU! panelists and viewers, The Crown has, as of this publication, become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler!  Requesting CPU! panelists include moderator Krista, best known for her appearances on the Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Grace and Frankie panels as well as the erstwhile panels for British TV shows Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, and the recently published “The Tudors Vs. Wolf Hall;” Spencer, who hangs out most on our comic book adaptation panels; his wife Kristin T, who joined Spencer for Downton Abbey and Sherlock; Samantha, who joins Krista on the Grace and Frankie panel and who Looked Back at Gilmore Girls and Marvel’s Agent Carter, and me, your Chief CP, kicking back as a royally in-tune panelistWe gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” at this lush biopic, and in so doing, ruminate in-depth upon the production values, performances, and general historical accuracy of this show about a living monarch, with some modestly mixed reactions and unevenly engaged suspensions of disbelief.

Tonight’s episode is the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on Netflix in 2016.  In this episode, our panel reflects on and recaps Season 1 of The Crown, covering the period from the Queen’s marriage to Prince Philip to the disintegration of her sister, Princess Margaret’s (Vanessa Kirby), engagement to Group Captain Peter Townsend (Ben Miles) in 1955.

This episode was recorded in December 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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, schedule permitting, our Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler with a mid-season check-in, ready to respond and react to the first half of the fourteenth season of the long-running fantasy/horror drama.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The Crown is recommended by our CPU! panel to so-called Anglophiles; to fans of British/English history; to general history buffs; and to followers of the Royals.  The panelists mostly agree that the production values are notably expensive but predominantly worth the money, given the painstakingly remarkable recreations employed in costumes, art direction, and cinematography. The panelists also proffer that the performances are primarily good, particularly that of Foy, and that the first season (or series if you’re British) starts off slow but becomes more engaging as one continues watching. Chief CP Kylie found Season 1 to be almost laboriously slow for most of its run, even with an Anglophile predilection and disposition toward the history of the Commonwealth, and cautions that without love of something about the country, its history, or its monarchy, it might be difficult for such a viewer to stick with the series. 

The panelists additionally, by and large, struggle with Matt Smith’s depiction of Prince Philip, whether by virtue of performance, direction, and/or writing. They further wrestle with the overall historical accuracy – and inaccuracy – of depicted events and with some of the salacious overtones of the piece, as if the producers wanted to present this series as the definitive, if unofficial, authority on all things House of Windsor while, in the meantime, HRM the Queen has contradicted some of the filmed sequences in the press.  In any event, the panelists, particularly in lieu of the lush production values and of Foy’s performance, were universally enticed to continue watching the second season and will do so for future seasons to come as well, despite the cast changes, which we will discuss in Part Two of our miniseries.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Netflix renewed The Crown for third and fourth seasons, with the third season expected to release in 2019, though no tentative premiere date has yet been announced. CPU! will next visit The Crown for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries” this winter.  Our next The Crown episode will focus upon the second season of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for The Crown coverage going forward.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding The Crown as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!

Vs! – The Tudors Vs. Wolf Hall

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This episode represents the first “not live” version of our feature called “Vs,” wherein two shows, topics, characters, universes, themes, etc. are pitted against each other, and aspects of each side of the “Vs.” equation are debated by a panel; this feature was adapted from our LIVE! shows and provides our growing cadre of spicy Couch Potatoes a chance to engage in more formal debates – as opposed to our usual, informal “Water Cooler” discussions – about shows and programs that, perhaps, the podcast has already finished covering, about subjects that interest our panelists, about themes and topics that inspire and excite based on current viewing trends, and so on.

The Vs. panels will, most times, have an odd number of panelists in each session because the moderator will contribute to the debates but will also mainly be responsible for timekeeping, tallying winners, and, above all, tie breaking. Then, at the end of each debate, one side of the Vs. contest will be declared the winner in terms of overall success around the question or topic at hand!

What’s more, the plan is to couple the audio recording of this feature with some type of video recording, be it of the panelists themselves and/or of a slideshow or presentation with nice pictures and graphics; however, we will not have such video for this episode, though we may add one later, if the right software and/or set of circumstances come along. So, even though the recording mentions the potential video, there is no video, except our usual still picture version at YouTube. Sorry! Our ambition will hopefully be matched by good conversion software…someday! Or, next time, we’ll just remember to film it.

This episode’s Vs. match pits depictions of historical figures, success of execution of story arcs involving historical events, and success of the overall miniseries of Wolf Hall against what will primarily be the first two season of The Tudors.  Historically minded CPU! panelists Krista and Laurie, along with Moderator Chief CP Kylie, return to the Water Cooler to duke it out, ye merry olde style.

This podcast was recorded in September 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube, and, naturally, our website, couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com!  Our debate is, if we say so ourselves, entertaining and educational!  And if you have a topic you would like to see and/or hear us debate, let us know! Contact us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com, via our Guestbook here at the website, via our Facebook page, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Editor: Kylie Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Vs! – “The Tudors Vs. Wolf Hall”

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: CPU! panelists Krista and Laurie!

What: “The Tudors” Vs. “Wolf Hall,” the first “not live” version of our feature called “Vs,” wherein two shows, topics, characters, universes, themes, etc. are pitted against each other, and aspects of each side of the “Vs.” equation are debated by a panel. Our first couplet of shows up for debate are steeped in fictional accounts of English royal history, specifically of the House of Tudor and, even more specifically, of King Henry VIII.  

When: The Tudors aired on Showtime for four seasons from 2007 to 2010. Wolf Hall is a six-part miniseries that aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the United States in 2015.

Where: Both series are set in sixteenth century England, in the court and surrounds of King Henry VIII. You know – this chap?

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King Henry VIII

Why:   This new feature, adapted from our LIVE! shows, potentially provides our growing cadre of spicy Couch Potatoes a chance to engage in more formal debates – as opposed to our usual, informal “Water Cooler” discussions – about shows and programs that, perhaps, the podcast has already finished covering, about subjects that interest our panelists, about themes and topics that inspire and excite based on current viewing trends, and so on. The current topic was chosen by me, the Chief CP. I chose this topic because I was inspired by the miniseries Wolf Hall.  While watching it, the show that instantly came to mind in terms of similarity of topic and my brain’s automatic need to compare and contrast was The Tudors. And, if you didn’t already know, The Tudors happens to be the very first show about which I chose to write when I created the Couch Potatoes Unite! blog five years ago!  So, it seemed like a lovely, full circle dovetail, and an idea was verily born from there.

How – as in How’d It Go?

In this episode, we launch yet another new feature at CPU!  We’ve actually attempted this feature before; we usually reserve for it our live appearances, particularly for places like Comic Con, because it is ripe for spiciness and audience participation and interaction!  Well, as life goes, it occurred to yours truly, the Chief CP, that this format could also work for our regularly scheduled podcasting efforts, particularly when watching shows that remind us significantly of other television we’ve watched.  After all, originality is at a premium these days, even if presentations and executions vary in degrees of success.

The Vs. panels will, most times, have an odd number of panelists in each session. Why? Because the moderator, me for this episode, will contribute to the debates but will mainly be responsible for timekeeping, tallying winners, and, above all, tie breaking. Then, at the end of each debate, one side of the Vs. contest will be declared the winner in terms of overall success around the question or topic at hand! What’s more, the plan is to couple the audio recording of this feature with some type of video recording, be it of the panelists themselves and/or of a slideshow or presentation with nice pictures and graphics; however, we will not have such video for this episode, though we may add one later, if the right software and/or set of circumstances comes along. So, even though the recording mentions the potential video, there is no video, except our usual still picture version at YouTube. Sorry! Our ambition will hopefully be matched by good conversion software…someday! Or, next time, we’ll just remember to film it.

As such, this episode’s Vs. match pits depictions of historical figures, success of execution of story arcs involving historical events, and success of the overall series of Wolf Hall against what will primarily be the first two season of The Tudors, as Wolf Hall’s depiction of Henry VIII’s reign ended largely with the execution of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and the downfall of Thomas Cromwell, which is ultimately what ended the second season of The Tudors.  To parse out the success of these two series, historically minded CPU! panelists Krista and Laurie return to the Water Cooler to duke it out, ye merry olde style.

To ascertain the winning score – you can scroll down through this post, but it comes with qualifiers best explained by a listen, and the debate is both educational and spicy and so (presumably) also entertaining!  Which series won, and did we all survive in the end?  Take a listen!  This podcast episode was recorded in September 2018.

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 will stay across the pond as we launch a new Water Cooler panel. We will talk the first of the two existing seasons of the Netflix bio-drama concerning Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, namely The Crown, in the first episode of a two-part Catch-Up Miniseries moderated by Krista. Stay tuned!

THE FINAL SCORE: 

THE TUDORS: 3
WOLF HALL: 10

NEXT VS.!

CPU! is working on its next Vs. panel!  Details coming soon!

The Tudors is available to stream on Netflix.  Wolf Hall is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

If you have a topic you would like to see and/or hear us debate, let us know! Contact us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com, via our Guestbook here at the website, via our Facebook page, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Progress Report: Mid-Season Report Card for 2018-2019 Pilots

It’s that time of year!  Call it CPU!’s Holiday Present to you!  Or a New Year present! Time to check in on the progress of shows and see which shows are surviving this season and beyond on the major networks.  Is your show on the list? Did it survive cancellation? Read below.

Thanks to TVLine and other sources 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!

Also, in another noteworthy TV year, the networks have proven slow to cancel, while the streamers, particularly Netflix, have been quite merciless with some of the cuts.  Let’s see how it all shakes out in the wash.

A Million Little Things

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: James Roday (Psych), David Giuntoli (Grimm), Romany Malco (Weeds), Ron Livingston (Sex and the City), Christina Moses (The Originals), Christina Ochoa (Valor, Blood Drive), Allison Miller (Incorporated, Go On), Stephanie Szostak (Satisfaction), Lizzy Greene (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn), Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)

WHAT: They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Welcome to the 2018-2019 CPU! network pilot review!  We start off on a strong note, with a pick up for this drama from ABC, but also with a guilty admission by your Chief CP (author of these annual reviews).  Honestly, I’m personally most interested in David Giuntoli and everything about him – outside of a Grimm context, that is – more than I am interested in the basic premise of this plot.  I think this is the Alphabet’s attempt at an answer to ratings juggernaut and NBC success This Is Us; on the other hand, the cast seems strong.  Watching these two minutes also inspires some The Big Chill nostalgia with a modern, Millennial set of characters at the forefront, dealing with the evolution and metamorphosis of friendships into adulthood.  That idea, punctuated by the suicide that starts the series off, connects strongly with this viewer, and I can see some of our other Couch Potatoes also finding some interest in and connection to it.  The trailer left me feeling hopeful for the series, at any rate, so let’s give this one a try, our first pick up for the year.  Hooray for good signs and strong starts!

STATUS: On October 26, 2018, the network ordered a full season of 17 episodes, of which 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think renewal is a “safe bet” or “very likely” as a result of this show of support and modestly decent ratings.

CPU! STATUS: The podcast has received at least one request for coverage of this program, so this pick up is definite and permanent.  Not yet viewed.

Abby's

ABBY’S, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2019

WHO: Natalie Morales (Parks and Recreation), Neil Flynn (The Middle), Nelson Franklin (Veep), Jessica Chaffin (Search Party), Leonard Ouzts (Master of None), Kimia Behpoornia (Modern Family, Adam Ruins Everything)

WHAT: Set in the best bar in San Diego, home to good prices, great company and, of course, Abby. This unlicensed, makeshift bar nestled in her backyard is the opposite of everything annoying about today’s party scene. As the oddball cast of regulars will tell you, hanging out at Abby’s is a coveted honor. But once you’re in, you’re family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Without a trailer, this viewer is reluctant to get enthusiastically on board, but two things convinced me to take a look: it’s produced by Michael Schur – creator of The Good Place and Mose Schrute on The Office – and it’s filmed entirely outside.  Though it feels very Cheers-esque, with a female barkeep knowing everyone’s name, early upfront reviews seemed hopeful, so it’s worth a look.  A quick one, anyway.

The Alec Baldwin Show

THE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW, ABC

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9c

WHAT: The one-hour talker will showcase Baldwin’s in-depth conversations with compelling personalities.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The CPU! podcast does not talk about talk shows.  How do you feel about Alec Baldwin at the helm of a prime time talk show?

STATUS: In March 2018, the network ordered nine episodes, of which eight have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits believe renewal is a “long shot” or “very unlikely,” particularly given some legal troubles that titular talker Alec Baldwin has faced in recent months.

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a talk show, right?  We’ll cover it for this season in this Progress Report format only, however.

All American

ALL AMERICAN, The CW

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Daniel Ezra (The Missing), Taye Diggs (Private Practice), Cody Christian (Teen Wolf), Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why), Monet Mazur (Castle), Karimah Westbrook (Shameless, Aquarius), Michael Evans Behling

WHAT: When a rising high school football player from South L.A. is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds — Crenshaw and Beverly Hills — begin to collide. Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite the presence of always gorgeous Taye Diggs, this sports-ball drama feels incredibly trope-y, including hashed and rehashed concepts of several TV and film properties past: poor, urban kid of color finding himself in a rich, largely white district; the story about a kid who has nothing but talent, heart, and a bit of luck with the offer to test his prowess on a suburban high school football team; and so on.  The trailer does not “wow” in its presentation of these recycled story concepts, and none of the actors apart from Diggs inspire confidence that this property will offer stellar production value beyond the typical good looks of a made-for-the-CW cast.  Plus, our current roster of Couch Potatoes has currently and definitely shied away from TV about sports.  Seriously, way more nerd types and way less jock types populate our own ever-growing cast.  If you want to change that, though, please drop us a line.

STATUS: The network, in a cautious fashion, ordered a full season of 16 episodes, of which 8 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits give 50/50 odds to the possibility of renewal.

CPU! STATUS: We have heard zero buzz about this loosely-biographical sports-ball program.  Are you buzzing in an “All-American” way – or is it just Taye Diggs’ abs?  Let us know.  For now, we stay in the passing lane.

Charmed

CHARMED, The CW

WHEN: Sundays at 9/8c

WHO: Sarah Jeffery (Shades of Blue), Melonie Diaz (The Breaks), Madeleine Mantock (The Tomorrow People), Rupert Evans (Man in the High Castle), Ser’Darius Blain (Survivor’s Remorse, Jane by Design), Charlie Gillespie (Degrassi: Next Class), Ellen Tamaki

WHAT: After the tragic death of their mother, three sisters in a college town are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  Networks: “What do we want?” Answering themselves: “More reboots!” “When do we want them?” “Now! Because we literally have no other ideas!”  Charmed, the original starring Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, and later Rose McGowan, was a WB staple for eight seasons, now airs frequently in syndication, and enjoys a healthy streaming afterlife.  Charmed has already been requested as a possible “Looking Back” candidate for the podcast because its loyal fan base endures to this day.  Charmed was a show that this viewer watched voraciously and enthusiastically in its original run.  It was a bit cheesy at times and occasionally suffered from the mismatch of acting talent among the women playing the Halliwell/Matthews sisters, but it was reliable, interesting, and sort of kooky in an entertaining way for a long time.  Like all the other major networks and some streaming outlets, WB offspring The CW could not wait to look into past properties for its own go at a rebooted show from an earlier success, so here, we have Charmed Redux with a new set of sisters exercising a new era of The Power of Three.  I can’t help feeling that this reboot is near blasphemy at its core, given that the original was pretty well loved and still enjoys a loyal, continuing fan devotion.  Plus, the actresses playing the sisters are nowhere near equal to the four who played the Halliwells/Matthews, even if the original four could not be described as amazing performers themselves.  This reboot also seems to be an even darker take, with mom’s death being characterized as outright murder from the jump.  Still, sheer morbid curiosity, a love of fantasy (and supernatural fantasy to boot), and a “can’t look away” feeling propel me to say that CPU! has little choice but to pick this up.  Though you better bet that this will be a “Look Back to Look Forward” setup, and that the two versions of the series will be hotly compared and contrasted by feisty and spicy Couch Potatoes.  Mark my words, gentle reader: the Power of Three may not set you free.

STATUS: On November 8, 2018, the network ordered a full season of 22 episodes, of which 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think renewal chances hover at 50 percent, however.

CPU! STATUS: The podcast has received requests from Viewers Like You as well as some of our resident panelists to cover Charmed in a “Look Back to Look Forward” series, as I expected would likely happen.  Expect a CPU! trademark look at Charmed and its varied and sorted history in the spring or summer of 2019.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

The Code

THE CODE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Anna Wood (Falling Water, Reckless), Ato Essandoh (Chicago Med), Phillipa Soo (Broadway’sHamilton), Raffi Barsoumian (The Vampire Diaries)

WHAT: The military’s brightest minds take on our country’s toughest challenges, inside the courtroom and out, where each attorney is trained as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, an investigator — and a Marine.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, and there is scant information available for this drama, which, mind you, is a military drama and a seeming holdover from the rash of military dramas that debuted last season on the networks, most of which were ultimately canceled.  Plus, Mira Sorvino was attached to this program as its lead for awhile before leaving the role, which is not typically a great sign, and there is very little to be excited about when reviewing the cast list or plot synopsis, so we’ll leave this code non-cracked this season.

The Conners

THE CONNERS, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8/7c

WHO: John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman

WHAT: In the Roseanne spinoff, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before after a sudden turn of events. The iconic family — Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. — grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns — with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Last season, CPU! picked up the Roseanne revival based on the fact that several of our Couch Potatoes, the Chief among them, enjoyed the original series, more or less, and were curious to see how this particular family would weather the reboot/revival treatment.  Though many of us have not yet watched, the ratings seemed to speak for themselves – but then so did Roseanne Barr via her Twitter account.  All politics aside, Roseanne has always been an “x” factor, erratic and sometimes harmful to the public in how she has chosen to wield her influence, but no one can deny that Roseanne would not have been what it was without her.  Now, in a move that sounds, smells, and tastes a bit like “cash grab,” notwithstanding the advocacy for the jobs of those that would otherwise not have had them without Roseanne’s poor life choices (and prejudicial views) mucking up the works, the Alphabet is moving forward with what would ultimately be a spin-off, sans the titular matriarch.  On the one hand, it could be compelling: the rest of the cast are no slouches, especially Laurie Metcalf, and the character of Darlene, particularly, has always served as an interesting focal point for the show.  On the other hand, if the writers don’t hit this one out of the park straight from the dugout, it will not survive all of this melee and ado and will become a truly unfortunate, if not tragic footnote in entertainment history.  The real question is: would this footnote be any more unfortunate or tragic than the original ending, including Dan’s purported death following the family winning the lottery?  CPU! is willing to bet probably not, and we believe the network sees this whole game playing out the same way, so, in the end, we’re left asking “why not?”  Again, it could also be sheer morbid curiosity.  Time, and the rest of the Conners, will tell.

STATUS: The network ordered a season of 11 episodes, of which 8 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think renewal is a “sure thing” or “all but guaranteed,” as it was widely reported that ABC has entered into renewal negotiations with the show’s producers as of October 2018, and as the spin-off/sequel enjoys the network’s second highest ratings after Grey’s Anatomy.

CPU! STATUS: The interest in the various iterations of Roseanne and her family has been mild, but there is interest.  CPU! will cover all iterations at some point, though it may be later rather than sooner.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

The Cool Kids

THE COOL KIDS, Fox

WHEN: Fridays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Vicki Lawrence (Great News, Mama’s Family), David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show), Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace), Martin Mull (Roseanne)

WHAT: Three guy friends in a retirement community are the top dogs until they’re blown out of the water by the newest member of the community, a female rebel whose ready to challenge their place.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. To cut to the chase, if it wasn’t for this cast, I am not willing to bet that either this viewer or fellow potential panelists would find this sitcom premise potentially amusing.  Most of us are not in the target audience, and there are some very flat moments in this trailer that should have offered more and better laughs with the players in this cast.  But, holy wow, look at this cast!  Vicki Lawrence! Leslie Jordan! David Alan Grier! And the erstwhile Colonel Mustard himself, Martin Mull!  They’re charming, they’re funny, they’re veterans – but do they have chemistry, and can a sitcom about residents of a retirement community be potentially appealing to the average and/or typical listeners of podcasts?  The conundrum we face here is why we are so hesitant to be as totally cool as these alleged kids.

STATUS: On October 19, 2018, the network ordered a full season of 22 episodes, of which 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think there is a “safe bet” that the show will be renewed.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Dancing With the Stars: Juniors

DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS, ABC

WHAT: The offshoot will pair celebrity kids with professional junior ballroom dancers to perform choreographed routines, which will be judged by a panel that will include renowned ballroom experts.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  CPU! does not dance along with reality competition shows on our podcast, at least for now.  But, this one’s new this year, so we list it.  Godspeed, DWTS fans!

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 9, 2018, after a total of 9 episodes.  There is no word yet as to whether this DTWS offshoot will be renewed, but the pundits say “long shot” or “very unlikely.”

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a reality competition show, right?  Still, we’ll track it for its first year.  It’s what we do. (Also, how many reality game shows do we really need?)

The Enemy Within

THE ENEMY WITHIN, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: February 25, 2019

WHO: Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Morris Chestnut (Rosewood), Raza Jaffrey (Code Black), Kelli Garner (Pan Am)

WHAT: In spy-hunting thriller, Erica Shepherd is a brilliant former CIA operative, now known as the most notorious traitor in American history serving life in a Supermax prison. Against every fiber of his being but with nowhere else to turn, FBI Agent Will Keaton enlists Shepherd to help track down a fiercely dangerous and elusive criminal she knows all too well.

Watch trailer here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite the presence of gorgeous Morris Chestnut, and even with a trailer, this particular mid-season thriller feels very hackneyed in terms of its premise, all around, and the snapshot of performances seen here falls sadly flat.  Some early reviews compare this show to Homeland or The Blacklist: Espionage, neither of which resemble current CPU! discussion subjects or ones requested by our panelists and potential panelists.  Really, it’s a show that I can see several of us wanting to like – because we’ve liked something like it before – but not being able to go the distance because it will not be as good as similar properties from which it is heavily borrowing its influence and tone.  If buzz or steam picks up around this mid-season entry, we’ll be open to reviewing our high standards, but for now, we pass.

Fam

FAM, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: January 10, 2019

WHO: Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Odessa Adlon (Nashville), Tone Bell (Disjointed), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Mr. Robot), Sheryl Lee Ralph (One Mississippi, Instant Mom)

WHAT: A woman’s dreams of an upstanding life with her new fiancé and his upstanding family are dashed when her younger train wreck half-sister comes to live with her to escape their train wreck of a father.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer for this show and very little information to go on to determine whether or not this program is worth a watch; not even TV pundits with connections have been given a glimpse, but then again, it’s CBS, and they’ve become kind of idiosyncratic as far as the major networks go – and not in a good way.  A few of us at CPU! just spent the last few seasons of The Vampire Diaries NOT watching Nina Dobrev, so she certainly would not be the primary draw here, but as the situational premise of this situation comedy is pretty thin, I am not convinced that it would be enticing to most of the potatoes I know.  If they start talking about it positively, though, we can always rethink the logic.

FBI

FBI, CBS

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Missy Peregrym (Rookie Blue), Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), Zeeko Zaki (Valor, 24: Legacy), Ebonée Noel (Still Star-Crossed), Sela Ward (CSI: NY)

WHAT: The Dick Wolf-produced drama explores the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite a decently packaged trailer and a potentially unusual and compelling turn by Missy Peregrym in the lead role, if Dick Wolf has his stamp on this, it will likely be a crime-of-the-week, neatly wrapped up in an episode (or two) procedural show, this time exploring the inner workings of one of the federal law enforcement agencies.  We are not covering procedural TV (much) here at CPU!, and when we do, we’ll have to recruit a reviewer or moderator to do it because this Chief CP likely won’t be watching, at least not without an interesting gimmick to make it seem different from others of its genre.  I can’t imagine this to be something entirely different than Law & Order and its franchise of shows, even if this series is, also, not entirely the same.  CPU! will pass for now.

STATUS: On October 11, 2018, the network ordered a full season of an unknown number of episodes, though it will be greater than the initial order of 13 episodes, of which 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think there is a “safe bet” or a “very likely” chance of renewal.

CPU! STATUS: The talk lines are silent.  Maybe our podcaster roster and/or listeners don’t want to be wiretapped?  Bad joke.  Procedural TV does not fare well in our corner currently.  If you want to change that, drop us a line.

The Fix

THE FIX, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 18, 2019

WHO: Robin Tunney (The Mentalist), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Ten Days in the Valley, Lost), Mouzam Makkar (The Exorcist), Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash), Merrin Dungey (Big Little Lies, The Resident), Scott Cohen (Gilmore Girls), Marc Blucas (Underground, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Adam Rayner (Tyrant), Alex Saxon (The Fosters)

WHAT: Follows an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in Washington. Eight years later when this same celebrity is under suspicion for another murder, Maya Travis is lured back to the DA’s office for another chance at justice.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast is teeming with familiar faces from large and small screen (was that Robin Givens in the trailer?), this show seems (un)remarkably like a romanticized version of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial given a fantasy makeover, wherein the put-upon district attorney who failed her job the first time gets a second chance to re-try the case, with a different fact pattern in which to dig her bared teeth.  Since the executive producer is Marcia Clark, one of the DA’s who lost the criminal trial of the disgraced ex-NFL star and, therefore, probably felt like she failed at life for many decades to come, the premise of this show, still more, smacks of the playing out of her own revenge fantasy, one in which she can finally take down the elusive defendant who broke her career and her spirit.  OJ was probably guilty, but hey, I guess the glove didn’t fit or something.  I lived through the debacle that was that trial, when it created and fueled the news glut we still enjoy today (without so much internet) and which divided the nation again/still by race and by class.  While the trial itself inspired a critical examination of the judicial system, I, frankly, do not need to live through a fantasized version of the same story, this time delving into an “It’s a Wonderful Life” concept of do-overs to redeem the poor, put-upon, plucky, but intelligent DA who couldn’t get her conviction in the end.  I also worry that the character played by the erstwhile Mr. Eko from Lost could become a caricature quickly if not handled properly and with sympathy, given the obvious parallel to real life that he presents.  All in all, suspension of disbelief would certainly be difficult for this particular potato’s personal palate, but if you watch and disagree, let us know.  My curiosity simply isn’t morbid enough to need this fix.

God Friended Me

GOD FRIENDED ME, CBS

WHEN: Sundays at 8/7c (beginning Oct. 7)

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor), Joe Morton (Scandal), Violett Beane (The Flash), Javicia Leslie (MacGyver), Suraj Sharma (Homeland)

WHAT: Questions of faith, existence and science are explored in this dramedy about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is “friended” by God on social media. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Now, maybe I’m feeling really vulnerable right now, but I teared up at the trailer, which means this one got to me in 3-4 minutes, and that’s not something to sneeze at when doing the quick math here.  Properties with pure religious motifs have not fared well on prime time network television in recent years, but perhaps what makes this one a bit different is that the show will attempt to explore the tough but meaningful subject of faith and the spiritual through more of a focused dialogue, beginning with the main character who runs a podcast about atheism.  Adding in the social media spin for today’s modern audiences, this premise teases something potentially fresh and original without becoming too preachy.  In fact, the show may become the kind of feel-good comedy – and discussion of hope – that today’s audiences crave in these testy times of geopolitical conflict.  Plus, I found the main characters to be largely winning – one of them is the sometime Jessie Quick from CPU! fave The Flash – so, all in all, it feels like this program deserves a leap of faith.  Friend request accepted.

STATUS: On October 19, 2018, the network ordered a full season of an unknown number of episodes; 11 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits give this series’ renewal chances 50/50 odds.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Grand Hotel

GRAND HOTEL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: June 17, 2019

WHO: Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids), Demian Bichir (The Bridge), Chris Warren (The Fosters), Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game), Shalim Ortiz (Heroes), Denyse Tontz (The Fosters), Bryan Craig (General Hospital), Lincoln Younes (Home and Away), Justina Adorno (Seven Seconds), Anne Winters (13 Reasons Why), Feliz Ramirez

WHAT: Set in the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. Charismatic Santiago Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success. Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Produced by former Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria, this new sudsy soap screams telenovela for the now, with sex, sex, sex oozing from its Miami infused pores, a regular scandal (no, not that Scandal) in the making for the Disney-owned Alphabet network.  This will probably be a guilty, or not so guilty, pleasure for quite a few viewers, with an attractive cast, a colorful backdrop, and shocking secrets regularly revealed to appalled but enthralled gasps, but unless requested otherwise, CPU! will back away slowly, since soaps we cover are few and far between.  We will instead remember that the real Grand Hotel is on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  Granted, the clientele is probably very different all around.  All jokes aside, though, this show honestly has potential for success but is not the typical fare that appeals to too many of the CPU! Couch Potatoes.  Maybe they will surprise me, though.  You can request our coverage too, though, viewer – and did you know that you, too, could become one of our panelists?  Sign our guestbook to inquire as to how.

Happy Together

HAPPY TOGETHER, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl, Happy Endings), Amber Stevens West (Ghosted, The Carmichael Show), Felix Mallard (Neighbours), Stephnie Weir (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Chris Parnell (Grown-ish, SNL), Victor Williams (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A 30-something couple, tired of their mundane life, start to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when a young pop star who is drawn to their super normal suburban life, moves in.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Canned laughter.  Pauses for the canned laughter.  Pregnant pauses.  Dozing.  That last one was me; I’m the one dozing.  This new sitcom seems like a one-note joke that cannot possibly sustain over 22 episodes, much less several additional seasons, and will probably get old in one.  It’s clear that this new program wants to rely on Damon Wayans, Jr.’s considerable charm and comedic timing, but he simply doesn’t have THAT much charm and comedic timing to overcome the ham and cheese on rye flavoring this bland soupy sauce of a sitcom is serving up.  Sure, we all want to be young and hip again, but how tired is the “we’re boring, so this cool rock star will make us cool too” trope?  I did not laugh once watching the trailer, and with such a recycled and rehashed premise, I don’t see anyone at CPU! (or beyond) requesting our in-depth discussion about this show.  Look, Damon’s dad had to try a few times to get a sitcom that lasted too.  Genetics or something, right?

STATUS: The network ordered 13 episodes and declined to order more as of November 2018; 11 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits believe this series’ renewal chances hover at “long shot” or “unlikely,” given the network’s reticence to order more episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Frankly, I am surprised that this show has a shot at all.  No one has watched a first episode around here, but the preview kind of said it all, and, most notably, no one is talking about it.  Anywhere.

I Feel Bad

I FEEL BAD, NBC

WHO: Sarayu Blue (No Tomorrow), Paul Adelstein (Private Practice), Zach Cherry (Crashing, Search Party), James Buckley (The Inbetweeners), Johnny Pemberton (Superstore), Aisling Bea

WHAT: Emet is a mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter who is just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But that’s OK, right? Nobody can have it all and do it perfectly.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  First, the executive producer is Amy Poehler.  Win.  Second, sure the situations in this comedy probably have been done (and done, and done) elsewhere, but how many times have they been done honestly, with the kind of in-your-face humor that resonates?  Also win.  The Peacock has really made a comeback recently, at least in the comedy department, by choosing smart comedies with familiar premises but fresh elements developing those premises to something better than they might otherwise be.  Sarayu Blue and Paul Adelstein have clear chemistry; her parents will no doubt be the comic underdogs; and the social commentary will be relevant and up to date, unlike the last sitcom we reviewed in this pilot entry.  Perhaps, this “pick up” is somewhat inspired by a trailer that made me laugh, as opposed to the one that just failed at that basic task, but isn’t that what a sitcom should be – a show that makes the viewer laugh?  It’s worth a look, at least, because I can tell that this show already has a better chance of sustaining beyond one season than most in its genre.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 27, 2018, after a total of 13 episodes.  The pundits think this series’ renewal chances are a “long shot” or “unlikely.”

CPU! STATUS: Frankly, I am surprised that this show doesn’t have a better shot.  There has been some modest positive feedback from the CPU! inner circles, and while the show has been labeled “not as funny as some,” the general reaction is that it is still funny.  The Peacock indicated that it would make a decision at a later date regarding renewal, which means it all comes down to money and potential next season pilots.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

In the Dark

IN THE DARK, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: January 24, 2019

WHO: Perry Mattfeld (Shameless), Rich Sommer (Mad Men), Kathleen York (The Client List, The West Wing), Derek Webster (NCIS: New Orleans), Brooke Markham (Foursome), Keston John (My Kitchen Rules)

WHAT: A blind woman is the only “witness” to the murder of her drug-dealing friend. After the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at the guide dog school owned by her overprotective parents.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The trailer was apparently only screened at up-fronts, but this not-so-connected viewer needs a trailer to make an unbiased assessment of this show.  Without one, and given the above premise description, it sounds like a schmaltzy hodgepodge of lovable dog, inspiring tale of rising to meet the challenges of adversity, and murder-mystery procedural rolled into a saccharine goo.  Plus, there is no one in the cast that offers a draw, and it’s on the CW, which struggles outside of the fantasy/science fiction genre sometimes.  If buzz, accolades, or steam say this dark show is full of unexpected light, we might reconsider, but right now, this viewer offers a solid “meh,” and we unitedly move on.

The InBetwen

THE INBETWEEN, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Some reports say January 2019; others say Spring 2019

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Harriet Dyer (Australia’s Love Child), Paul Blackthorne (Arrow), Anne-Marie Johnson (In the Heat of the Night), Cindy Luna (The Last Ship), Chad James Buchanan (Star)

WHAT: Cassie Bishop can see and communicate with the dead, helping them with their unresolved problems, whether she likes it or not. When her longtime friend Det. Tom Hackett and his new partner, former FBI Agent Damien Asante, need help solving a darkly puzzling murder, Cassie agrees to use her abilities. Despite her reluctance, she may have found a way to keep her demons at bay, all while solving some of the city’s most challenging cases.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  This new drama sounds like a cross between The Sixth Sense and garden variety procedural crime/murder mystery television, but new fantasy appears to be rather limited this season, and that’s what the CP’s live for around here (this Chief CP does, anyway).  Plus, Paul Blackthorne left CPU! covered Arrow to come be on this show, so we’ll give it a chance.  If the bend is more procedural than serial drama, though, we might lose interest, but we’ll see how this one shakes out in the end.

The Kids Are Alright

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight), Caleb Foote (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Giani Versace), Christopher Paul Richards (Me, Myself & I), Jack Gore (Electric Dreams), Sawyer Barth (Public Morals), Sam Straley, Andy Walken, Santino Barnard

WHAT: Set in the 1970s, the ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.”

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The Wonder Years meets That 70s Show with a dash of Modern Family and maybe All in the Family as well as Eight is Enough thrown into the mix to become The Kids Are Alright, which, incidentally, was the working title of That 70s Show. Though I wanted to like what this teaser trailer was serving, this new sitcom boasts much in the way of ham-fisted nostalgia, in spades, coupled with forced parallelism to our modern times, while depending on what seems to be a lackluster cast of mostly unknown quantities trying, hard, to elicit laughs.  It even has voice-over narration in the way Daniel Stern’s Kevin Arnold talked over the younger Fred Savage version of the character’s antics in The Wonder Years.  Perhaps, there is potential to appeal to viewers hungry for this type of on-the-nose comedy, and if there is something we’re missing here, you can always tell us, but again, nothing struck as particularly funny as much as “all been done before” while watching the trailer, so we’re not willing to say this one’s alright, at least for now.

STATUS: The network ordered 22 episodes and ordered an additional episode in December 2018; 8 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal is a “safe bet” or “very likely,” given the network’s confidence so far in the series.

CPU! STATUS: There is tons of TV to watch right now, and no one has talked about it, requested podcast coverage, or otherwise made mention.  I don’t know if these kids are alright are not, but I have not been convinced to pass the “pass.”  There are several opportunities, though…feel free to take one yourself by commenting on this post.

Legacies

LEGACIES, The CW

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Davis (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Rose Russell (The Originals), Quincy Fouse (The Goldbergs), Kaylee Bryant (Santa Clarita Diet), Jenny Boyd

WHAT: The Vampire Diaries and Originals spinoff follows the next generation of supernatural beings at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, including Klaus Mikaelson’s daughter, 17-year-old Hope Mikaelson; Alaric Saltzman’s twins, Lizzie and Josie Saltzman; and other young adults come of age in the most unconventional way possible, nurtured to be their best selves in spite of their worst impulses. Will these young witches, vampires and werewolves become the heroes they want to be — or the villains they were born to be?

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  CPU! includes fans who talked for several episodes about The Vampire Diaries and another panel will be finishing up ongoing water cooler coverage of The Originals in the very near future, now that the series has recently ended.  I imagine, therefore, that a chunk of us will want to check out this spin-off of the Vampire Diaries universe, if for no other reason than that any one of us might have a tough time letting said universe go for good.  Still, it would be a tall order to imagine that any of these characters, or their portraying actors, will be as interesting as the leading casts of either TVD or The Originals, but since the theme of the season seems to be morbid curiosity, we’ll just carry that with us as we give this new entry in the annals of vampire/supernatural fantasy fiction a try (and even if Alaric’s school is the supernatural Hogwarts).  Plus, we might see guest appearances by anyone from either of the two casts, so, morbid curiosity for the win!

STATUS: The network cautiously and in a staggered fashion ordered a full season of 16 episodes; 7 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits give renewal odds in the 50/50 category, though the show is faring better than its parent spin-off, The Originals, did in its final season…

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, primarily because our fans of The Vampire Diaries universe expressed in the last related podcast episode that they felt somewhat burnt out by this corner of their various fandoms. Still, after time passes…who knows?

Magnum P.I.

MAGNUM P.I., CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Jay Hernandez (Scandal, Last Resort), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), Stephen Hill (Luke Cage, Boardwalk Empire)

WHAT: An update of the classic television series set in Hawaii, the show follows Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Do you see Tom Selleck anywhere?  Do you?!?!  The answer to this question is the same answer to the question, “Will you be watching this latest reboot?” From the network that also brought us reboots of Hawaii Five-O and MacGyver – and, hell, of the entire 1980s – we now have a reboot of Magnum PI. Rebooted theme song included.  I didn’t watch much of the original and can’t imagine watching a less awesome actor than Tom Selleck taking on the part of the titular Magnum.  Call me crotchety, but this reboot madness is, well, madness.  Of course, wait until you read just a bit further.

We pass, by the way.

STATUS: The network ordered a full season of an unknown number of episodes on October 19, 2018; 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal chances are squarely at fifty percent.

CPU! STATUS: We have had one request to talk about this show, which may later spark a “Look Back to Look Forward” series about this latest reboot/remake.  There is no clamoring currently, but Jay Hernandez seems to leave viewers weak in the knees. Still, with this request, that means we must change the status to “very hesitantly pick up, not yet viewed.”  We are a podcast by the people, for the people, after all. 

Manifest

MANIFEST, NBC

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time), Melissa Roxburgh (Valor), J.R. Ramirez (Jessica Jones, Power), Athena Karkanis (Zoo), Parveen Kaur (Beyond), Luna Blaise (Fresh Off the Boat), Jack Messina

WHAT: When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Though the Peacock network may yet be trying for its next Lost, like so many other networks, ABC included, have tried before it, and though the trailer was not the best packaged presentation to tease the mystery being offered here, this new drama does offer some areas of interest, though this viewer’s immediate question was: “Did they fly over the Bermuda Triangle?”  Our Once Upon a Time panelists might be interested in the quick return of top-billed Josh Dallas, the once upon a time Prince Charming from the recently ended ABC fantasy.  Our Marvel’s Defenders panel may recognize J.R. Ramirez from the second season of Jessica Jones.  Ultimately, though, the core mystery is intriguing: where did the plane go, and why didn’t they age?  Though my vote is Bermuda Triangle voodoo, or maybe alien kidnapping, I’m intrigued enough to want to watch to learn the answers.

STATUS: On October 18, 2018, the network ordered additional episodes, bringing the first full season grand total to 16; 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits believe it is a safe bet that the show will be renewed (and, to the extent that we wear the pundit mantle, we agree).

CPU! STATUS: Manifest has been requested as a podcast candidate, and there has been some fairly emphatic buzz about this show – not Lost level buzz but unmistakable buzz, nonetheless.  Expect to see a Manifest podcast panel in the future.

Murphy Brown

MURPHY BROWN, CBS

WHO: Original stars Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud, plus Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey), Jake McDorman (Limitless, Greek), Nik Dodani (Atypical)

WHAT: Bergen reprises her role as the investigative journalist, who returns to a world of cable news, social media, fake news, and a very different political and cultural climate.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s madness, I tell you!  But, hey, do you see Candice Bergen?  Do you?!?!  Well…that is the question, you got your answer, and so on, etc. que sera, fin. Of all the reboots to reboot, this one couldn’t be more appropriate or timely for today’s geopolitical circus, which, frankly, depresses this CP regardless of on which side of the aisle you prefer to hang your hat.  Back in the day, Murphy Brown was a hard-hitting situation comedy that challenged the tenets passing for the conservatism heading the country and the bumbling silence of the liberal answer, all while also holding the media complex, then far less complex, accountable for their contribution to the insanity.  Now, the world is a lot more insane, and, frankly, I could use Murphy’s brand of loyalty to the truth and skewering sarcasm to make me feel better about the state of things.  Though the reboot moves on without the inimitable Charles Kimbrough and the now deceased Robert Pastorelli, two ingredients we might end up missing more than we think, I believe the world is more ready for an older, sassier Murphy than they are for a Magnum PI who is not Tom Selleck.  Dan Quayle, eat your heart out!  Mike Pence: brace yourself!

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 20, 2018, after a total of 13 episodes.  Though the network has gone on record to indicate that the Eye is considering renewal, chances are not good (“long shot,” “unlikely”).  The ratings have been erratic, and the political platform of this program, though well placed in the George HW Bush era, might not land as deftly in the Trumpian era of American politics and media, particularly given the public’s widely varying regard for the press, currently.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Neighborhood

THE NEIGHBORHOOD, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8/7c

WHO: Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls), Sheaun McKinney (Great News), Marcel Spears (The Mayor), Tichina Arnold (Survivor’s Remorse), Hank Greenspan

WHAT: The nicest guy in the Midwest moves his family into a tough neighborhood in L.A. where not everyone appreciates his extreme neighborliness.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  With only a 30 second teaser available to assess this new comedy, this viewer is not particularly hopeful or confident that things will be all that good in this neighborhood.  Still, Cedric the Entertainer is reliably funny, and Max Greenfield’s sense of comedic timing (the erstwhile Schmidt on recently ended New Girl, of course) could be the winning ingredient, while lightly poking fun at some sociological phenomena of this day and age that will cross some important social and cultural boundaries.  Or, it could just be a hot mess, since Max was a last minute recasting, particularly if it relies on a traditional sitcom format, laugh track included, to elicit viewer laughs.  Still, we’ve given other pick ups to shows with less going for them, so why not?

STATUS: On October 19, 2018, the Eye ordered the “back 9” and brought the program’s full first season episode total to 22; 11 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits say renewal is likely.

CPU! STATUS: The CPU! Podcast received a request to cover this show in podcast format, so this pick up is definite and permanent.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

New Amsterdam

NEW AMSTERDAM, NBC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Janet Montgomery (Salem), Freema Agyeman (Sense8, Doctor Who), Anupam Kher (Sense8), Tyler Labine (Reaper), Jocko Sims (The Last Ship)

WHAT: Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, the medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Okay, I’ll grant you: it’s another medical drama, which CPU! doesn’t cover much, and there are few genres that rely so heavily on formulaic tropes as the medical drama (outside of procedural TV).  Yet, there’s something a bit different about this medical drama, at least given what was presented in the trailer.  And NBC is on fire this coming season with some intriguing pilots and orders to season that sort of break mold – so why shouldn’t their selection for a medical drama be different, even if they might be looking to find their next ER, which was a tent pole staple of evening TV on this very network for nearly two decades.  The doctor in the lead has cancer, is appointed director of medicine at the oldest hospital in the nation, and wants to disrupt the system enough to get the hospital to return focus to actual medicine and not upon speedy service and expensive billing.  And really – isn’t that what we all want? Sure, this one could descend rapidly into schmaltz, but I don’t know.  There’s something a bit bolder here than the normal medical drama, and I think I’m here for it.  Let’s see if other Couch Potatoes feel the same.

STATUS: On October 10, 2018, the Peacock ordered the “back 9” of this drama, marking a full season of 22 episodes; 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  Yet, there is no consensus about predictions related to chances of renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Passage

THE PASSAGE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 14, 2019

WHO: Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Pitch), Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), Brianne Howey (The Exorcist), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), Saniyya Sidney (American Horror Story: Roanoke), Jamie McShane (Bloodline), Caroline Chikezie (The Shannara Chronicles)

WHAT: Based on author Justin Cronin’s best‐selling trilogy of the same name, the drama centers around a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race. The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy Bellafonte, who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment and Brad Wolgast, the Federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though this CP thinks she might actually want to read these books first after watching the trailer, I am all sorts of intrigued by the story – which feels very movie-like, by the way, in terms of tension and mystery – being presented by The Passage.  First, I think Zach Morris is no longer the worst, for reals, though.  Mark-Paul Gosselaar seems to be putting forth a compelling effort in the lead character role for this show and more of a compelling effort than I’ve seen him put forth recently.  Second, what a tangled web of moral ambiguity we’re about to watch!  No wonder these books were bestsellers.  This show presents a heck of a lot of science fiction fueled potential, and that’s what we love here at CPU!, so pick this one up we shall – seems like easy passage to me.

Proven Innocent

PROVEN INNOCENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: February 15, 2019

WHO: Rachelle Lefevre (Under the Dome), Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Kelsey Grammer (Boss), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Riley Smith (Frequency, Nashville), Nikki M. James (BrainDead), Clare O’Connor (Easy)

WHAT: A legal drama set in an wrongful conviction firm. Led by a fierce and fearless female lawyer with a hunger for justice, the team reopens investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent that were “proven” guilty.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. There are medical dramas, and then there are legal dramas.  No TV season can be without 20 of each.  Though the trailer here presented a premise that promises to be manipulative and somewhat force-fed, this viewer is drawn to cast members this time out, particularly Russell Hornsby, who we loved on Grimm; Kelsey Grammer, who is more than a mere Boss; and Vincent Kartheiser, married to Alexis Bledel and sometime supporting star of Mad Men and Angel.  I will give this one a try for them, but if this drama falls into a nebulous sticky goo of manipulative feel-good lawyer-type stuff, it won’t last – for us or for the viewing public, at least not in an entertainment complex saturated with vehicles just like it.

The Red Line

THE RED LINE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2019

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Noah Wyle (ER), Noel Fisher (Shameless), Michael Patrick Thornton (Private Practice), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Ballers, Hand of God), Vinny Chhibber (NoTomorrow), Aliyah Royale, Howard Charles (The Musketeers), Elizabeth Laidlaw (Boss)

WHAT: After a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, we follow three vastly different families that all have connections with the case as the story is told from each perspective.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. There is no trailer available to watch for the TV pundits, so judging from the scant synopsis offered above, this particular new vehicle has the potential to be Crash, the TV show.  Or, perhaps it’s another go at Shots Fired, a limited series that aired on Fox and was canceled after one season of low ratings.  As easy on the eyes as Noah Wyle is, and as happy as we are to see him back on TV, there simply isn’t enough to go on to establish a connection beyond what seems visibly recycled.  If buzz, accolades, or steam start steaming up the joint, we’ll happily reconsider.  We’re really quite flexible around here.  There’s nothing preventing us from doing our yoga while we couch potato, you know.

Rel

REL, Fox

WHEN: Sundays at 9:30/8:30c (beginning Sept. 30)

WHO: Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Sinbad (A Different World, The Sinbad Show), Jordan L. Jones, Jessica “Jess Hilarious” Moore

WHAT: Lil Rel, a prideful, self-made success who lives by the code to “always believe in yourself and great things will come,” finds that attitude put to the test when he learns his wife is having an affair with his own barber. He tries to rebuild his life post-divorce as a long-distance single father on the South Side of Chicago who’s on a quest for love, respect and a new barber.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Holy crap!  It’s Sinbad!  Sinbad aside, though, Lil Rel feels a tad, a smidge, a smudge, a whit, an iota….you get the drift….just like a wannabe Tyler Perry or maybe an Eddie Murphy, the one of Nutty Professor days, without actually being all that funny.  I might not be in the target audience for this comedy, which I can respect, but this viewer also thinks that this new comedy might be trying too hard for laughs like some other new sitcoms on this list.  Anyway, I only laughed once at the trailer – at Sinbad – and just don’t feel that this show’s worth the look, but if you can convince us otherwise, by all means.  Give it a go.

STATUS: It looks as though Fox initially ordered 13 episodes; 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal is a long shot.

CPU! STATUS: The critics have not been kind to this sitcom, and the ratings have been altogether poor.  No one is talking about this comedy around the united couch potatoes, so we think we made the correct initial call.  Feel free to talk us out of it – if you can.

The Rookie

THE ROOKIE, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Nathan Fillion (Castle), Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter), Eric Winter (Rosewood, Witches of East End), Richard T. Jones (Wisdom of the Crowd), Mercedes Mason (Fear the Walking Dead), Afton Williamson (The Night Of, Banshee), Titus Makin (The Path, Pretty Little Liars), Alyssa Diaz (Ray Donovan, Zoo)

WHAT: Starting over isn’t easy, especially for small town guy John Nolan who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being an LAPD officer. As the force’s oldest rookie, he’s met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can’t keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he’ll be risking lives including his own. But if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humor to give him an edge, he may just become a success in this new chapter of his life.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As much as a return of Nathan Fillion to prime-time TV is a sight for sore eyes no matter how you slice and dice this particular puree, unfortunately, he’s returning in a cop drama.  And while it is a cop drama with a twist, where he plays an older rookie being judged by younger members of the police force (and command), the trailer seems to indicate that, ultimately, it’s still a cop drama.  I think people will watch this show for him – this viewer momentarily contemplated it – and it might even do well.  Unfortunately, apart from the erstwhile Captain Mal, the erstwhile Captain Hammer, and the erstwhile Castle, not a captain, there is very little that connects for this particular potato, and I’m pretty doubtful the current CPU! panelist lineup will fare much better.  With all that said, we wish Mr. Fillion all the best and may be influenced to change our minds with the right amount of water cooler buzz.  Or, just contact us!  We like that.

STATUS: In November 2018, the Alphabet network ordered a full season, bring the first season’s episode total to 20; 8 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal is likely.

CPU! STATUS: No one’s requested or talked about this show yet.  We want to watch Nathan Fillion most of the time.  Give us reasons why this time should be no exception, cop show or no cop show.

Roswell New Mexico

ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: January 15, 2019

WHO: Jeanine Mason (Grey’s Anatomy), Nathan Parsons (The Originals), Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars), Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries), Heather Hemmens (Hellcats), Lily Cowles (BrainDead), Michael Vlamis (New Girl), Trevor St. John (Containment), Karan Oberoi (Notorious, NCIS)

WHAT: After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.

Trailer available at TVLine’s YouTube channel (here).

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  Oh, hey, CW, I see you.  You’re beefing up, not one, but two of the WB’s oldest, most cult-adored properties for this coming season, eh?  Even though you’ve traditionally done better than your big brother networks at aiming for the original and then sticking with it until you’ve bled it dry?  Unlike Charmed, Roswell has more of a cult following even than some of the WB’s – and the CW’s – most cult-y audience favorites.  It lasted for only a few seasons in its original run, but those that are in the Roswell fan club speak highly of it.  While I never caught that one, though I can’t say why for sure, as Roswell is the kind of vehicle typically up this viewer’s normal alley of weird and wacky sci-fi TV, and considering that this potato and CPU! in its early days gave Star-Crossed, a very Roswell-like science fiction romance that was canceled quickly by the CW, a chance, I do know that a few of our resident Couch Potatoes are big fans of the first version of this alien love story.  Will they be of this reboot?  Well, we will very hesitantly pick this one up and have what will, no doubt, be another judgmental look back to look forward series.  We may even talk about the Charmed reboot and this one in succession.  I will say that what this reboot has going for it more than anything else: Nathan Parsons.  He has romantic lead potential not fully tapped or explored so far, typically because his characters are short-lived, and he has acted in other popular genre entries like True Blood and The Originals.  So, the show is worth a wary look.  A very wary look.

Schooled

SCHOOLED, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: January 9, 2019

WHO: AJ Michalka, Tim Meadows and Bryan Callen (The Goldbergs)

WHAT: Set in 1990-something, the Goldbergs spinoff follows the hilarious teachers of William Penn Academy, who, despite their eccentricities and crazy personal lives, are heroes to their students.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now.  CPU! is not currently covering The Goldbergs, either on the podcast or in blog format, so before we consider even looking into a spin-off of said flashback comedy, which propels us from 80s to 90s, no less, we would want to take a look at the comedy that “schooled” this one into being.  We’ll keep an eye on it, though, given its spin-off status, and see how it fares.

Single Parents

SINGLE PARENTS, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Taran Killam (SNL), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), Kimrie Lewis (Scandal), Jake Choi (Hawaii Five-O, Younger), Marlow Barkley, Tyler Wladis, Devin Trey Campbell, Grace Hazelett, Sadie Hazelett

WHAT: Follows a group of single parents as they lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this sitcom actually has some solid potential to sustain, and more than some of the other new sitcom entries on the season, given some welcome use of sarcasm and irony to tell the jokes, the people who will find this funniest will, no doubt, be in the group referenced by the title, or at least parents in general, which this potato cannot currently claim to be.  If any parental panelist sprung forward, though, and said that they would like to talk about this one, I would probably quickly change my mind about this “pass.”  Honestly, the funniest characters may be everyone but Taran Killam’s, but there were some sincere laughs in the trailer, and that bodes well for these single parents all around – just think what 22 minutes might bring.  This is not a hard pass; it’s merely a practical one, that a little peer pressure could probably turn around.  Are you picking up what I’m putting down, potatoes?

STATUS: On October 17, 2018, ABC ordered a back ten, bringing the first season episode total to 23; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: One CPU! panelist has offered an almost glowing recommendation (and request) to talk Elizabeth Merriwether’s new show on the podcast, and in the wake of the vacuum left by a departed New Girl, we cannot fight the logic.  Changing this status to “Pick Up.”

The Village

THE VILLAGE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 12, 2019

WHO: LorraineToussaint (Rosewood), Michaela McManus (Seal Team), Warren Christie (The Resident, Chicago Fire), Moran Atias (The Resident, Tyrant), Daren Kagasoff (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Grace Van Dien (Greenhouse Academy), Dominic Chianese (The Sopranos), Jerod Haynes (Southside With You), Frankie Faison (Banshee, The Wire)

WHAT: Follows the residents of a Brooklyn apartment building who have built a bonded family of friends and neighbors. Sarah’s a nurse and single mom raising a creative teen; Gabe’s a young law student who got a much older and unexpected roommate; Ava must secure the future of her young, U.S.-born son when ICE comes knocking; Nick’s a veteran who’s returned from war; and the heart and soul of the building, Ron and Patricia, have captivating tales all their own.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  With no trailer publicly available, we of the lowly Michigan-based podcast have to rely on early reviews of the trailer – which are decidedly mixed.  What also seems decidedly true is that the Peacock might be searching for its next This Is Us, which would be great, if This Is Us wasn’t still on the air.  Honestly, maybe there are some feel-good or just feeling stories told well in this new drama, but, to this viewer and based on synopsis alone, it has the potential for saccharine, predictable storytelling that could descend into manipulative melodrama quickly.  If I am wrong, tell me.  I’m okay to be wrong.  We have to be ruthless with our choices around here, though, so unless buzz and water-cooler steam percolates from the hotness of this show, we will detour away from this village.

Whiskey Cavalier

WHISKEY CAVALIER, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: February 27, 2019

WHO: Scott Foley (Scandal), Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids, Ugly Betty), Tyler James Williams (The Walking Dead), Vir Das (Go Goa Gone)

WHAT: Follows the adventures of tough but tender FBI super-agent Will Chase (codename: “Whiskey Cavalier”). Following an emotional break-up, Chase is assigned to work with badass CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: “Fiery Tribune”). Together, they lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  I did not want to like this.  I did NOT want to like this.  It started off with some definite ham and cheese on rye with the overly fuzzy and tender-hearted main character who moonlights by day as an agent of the FBI – and oh my, how Scott Foley has aged (*fans self at the thirty second mark of the trailer*) – but as I continued to watch said trailer, I found that the presentation navigated into territory previously tread by, say, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Alias, Castle, and a pinch of The X-Files but in a way that felt fresh and new.  Plus, this show and Scott’s character have a catchy code name; it’s rare that the title charms, but charms it has done.  By the end of the trailer, I found myself ensconced in the witty repartee of the two main characters, who have real chemistry, even though I wasn’t expecting a high-octane government agent premise to be pockmarked with some sardonic romantic comedy.  It is because of this unexpected wit and twisty working that I find myself wanting to see more.  Go watch the few minutes worth of a sample, and tell me you don’t agree.  Is Mr. Foley married, though?

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

Disenchantment (Netflix) – They had me at “Futurama but for fantasy rather than sci-fi.”

The latest animated series from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is basically Futurama but for fantasy rather than sci-fi. Abbi Jacobson, Nat Faxon, and Eric Andre head a vocal cast that also includes Futurama vets Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, and Tress MacNeille.

STATUS: The streaming giant ordered a full season of 22 episodes, 10 were released on August 17, 2018, with the remaining 12 slated for some time in 2019.  Netflix has already renewed this program for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Innocents (Netflix) – “British,” “supernatural,” and “teen drama” are all pretty much up the podcast’s alley.

Guy Pearce stars in this British supernatural teen drama.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on August 24, 2018.  There has been no word regarding the potential of renewal for additional seasons.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime) – All I saw was “The Office’s John Krasinski,” but I do enjoy a good Jack Ryan story.

In the first TV series based on Tom Clancy’s books, The Office‘s John Krasinski plays a modern-day version of the titular CIA analyst—previously portrayed on screen by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine—as he embarks on his first field assignment that finds him attempting to thwart a terrorist attack. Lost vets Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland created and produce the eight-episode series, which also stars Wendell Pierce and Abbie Cornish. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) directs the opening episode, while others are helmed by Dan Sackheim (The Americans). The series has already been renewed for a 2nd season.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on August 31, 2018.  Amazon renewed this series for a Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but this series was requested for podcast coverage, and with John Krasinski starring in it, how can I resist?  This pick-up is definite and permanent.

Mayans M.C. (FX): The original “Sons of Anarchy” has been a recommended panel for some time, now, so we’ll keep an eye on this spin-off and see if our resident “Sons” fans feel as passionate about it.

Sons of Anarchy spinoff stars JD Pardo, Edward James Olmos, Clayton Cardenas, Sarah Bolger, Michael Irby, and Richard Cabral.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on November 6, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.  FX renewed the Sons of Anarchy spin-off for a Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Purge (USA): Though we should probably make sure we’ve watched all of the movie franchise first…

Yes, it’s a series adaptation of the Purge movie franchise set within the same universe, where all crime is legal for a 12-hour period each year.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on November 6, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.  USA renewed this series for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Kidding (Showtime): The Chief CP is a huge fan of Michel Gondry and has seen a few early teasers for this show.  I’m sold on all of the elements, from director to cast to premise.

It’s the first TV show from quirky film/video director Michel Gondry, who reunites with his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind star Jim Carrey (himself returning to TV as a regular in a scripted, non-sketch TV series for the first time since 1984’s The Duck Factory). Carrey plays Mr. Pickles, the increasingly troubled host of a beloved children’s television series that looks like a cross between Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Muppet Show. The terrific cast also includes Catherine Keener, Judy Greer, Frank Langella, and Justin Kirk. Gondry is a producer and directs multiple episodes of the series—you’ll definitely notice his handiwork in the trailer—which was created by Weeds writer Dave Holstein.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on November 11, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.  Showtime renewed this Michel Gondry vehicle for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The First (Hulu): Solid potential between premise and cast, and we like science fiction around here.

A co-production between Hulu and the UK’s Channel 4, the latest series from House of Cards creator Beau Willimon takes place in the near future as it follows the development of the first human space mission to Mars. Sean Penn (in his first regular TV role) and Natascha McElhone head a cast that also features James Ransone, Oded Fehr, Hannah Ware, and Lisa Gay Hamilton.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on September 14, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Forever (Amazon Prime): Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph were two of the most solid SNL character players.  That reminds me, I need to catch up on “Portlandia.”

Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph star as a married couple attempting to break out of their boring, suburban rut in a new Amazon comedy series from Master of None co-creator Alan Yang and 30 Rock‘s Matt Hubbard. Catherine Keener and Noah Robbins also star.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on September 14, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Camping (HBO): All I saw was “David Tennant.”  Hearts hearts hearts.  I don’t even care what it’s about. (I hope it doesn’t suck).  Though Jennifer Garner was Sydney Bristow, and that’s pretty good too.

This adaptation of the British comedy series about a group of old friends on a back-to-nature group holiday at a lackluster campsite comes from the team behind HBO’s Girls, including creator Lena Dunham and producer Jenni Konner. Jennifer Garner (in her first regular TV role since Alias) and David Tennant lead a cast that also includes Juliette Lewis, Arturo Del Puerto, Brett Gelman, Ione Skye, and Bridget Everett.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 2, 2018, after a total of 8 episodes.  HBO has not discussed the future of this series.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix): It’s the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” reboot, so there will probably be a look back to look forward series.  Plus, it’s got an early renewal.  That’s some brass, Netflix.

Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka stars as Archie Comics character Sabrina Spellman (aka Sabrina the Teenage Witch) in this Greg Berlanti-produced series that was originally developed as a spinoff from Riverdale for that show’s network, The CW. (Both shows were developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.) Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis, Bronson Pinchot, and Ross Lynch also star. Netflix has already renewed the show for a second season.

STATUS: Season 1 was released on October 26, 2018, with a total of 10 episodes. Netflix subsequently released a holiday special for this show on December 14, 2018.  In addition, Netflix renewed this wildly popular new take on the Sabrina Spellman character for a Season 2, expected to release on April 5, 2019, and, as of December 18, 2018, for Seasons 3 and 4 as well!

CPU! STATUS: In our December 19, 2018, publication of CPU!, an episode devoted to A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2, it was announced that CPU! will officially be embarking upon a series devoted to one of the premiere Water Cooler shows of the year, coming soon (likely to be recorded spring or summer, 2019). It is my hope that the podcast series will a) be a “Look Back to Look Forward” affair, including the fluffier Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and that b) there will some cross-over potential with our, also, newly announced panel for Riverdale, which has been confirmed to be set in the same universe, both in the comics and on screen.  Stay tuned for all this nerdy, darkly comic goodness!

Homecoming (Amazon Prime): This has got a crazy good cast and stellar producer cred; plus, we’ll check out this podcast in solidarity.

Based on the hit Gimlet Media fiction podcast of the same name, this psychological thriller comes from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and stars Julia Roberts, Sissy Spacek, Bobby Cannavale, Shea Whigham, Dermot Mulroney, Stephan James, and Alex Karpovsky. A second season will stream next year.

STATUS: The first season of 10 episodes was released on November 2, 2018.  Since Amazon ordered two seasons off the bat, this show was automatically renewed for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Kominsky Method (Netflix): Though Chuck Lorre needs to work on his overall sense of humor, at least for this couch potato’s edification, I think Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin earn a look.

The latest series from producer Chuck Lorre (who previously developed the short-lived Disjointed for the streaming service) is a single-camera comedy starring Michael Douglas as a Hollywood acting coach. Alan Arkin co-stars as his longtime agent and friend, while Nancy Travis plays a divorcée who enrolls in his acting class. Lisa Edelstein will also have a recurring guest role.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on November 16, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Added to the List!

Haunting of Hill House (Netflix) 

STATUS: The “limited” season of 10 episodes was released on October 12, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities, since it has been labeled a “limited series.”

CPU! STATUS: This other premiere Water Cooler series has also been highly requested at the podcast.  Stay tuned!

Others on radar: Good Omens and The Lord of the Rings series in development at Amazon; a “Narnia” series at Netflix; The Dark Crystal: the Age of Resistance at Netflix; Watership Down at Netflix; The Witcher at Netflix; The Chronicles of Narnia at Netflix; The Wheel of Time at Amazon; His Dark Materials at BBC/HBO; The Watch (BBC); Conan at Amazon; The Dark Tower at Amazon; Cursed at Amazon.

-*-

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next week, Couch Potatoes Unite! with start the New Year 2019 with our first ever non-live “Vs.” discussion, pitting The Tudors v. Wolf Hall. Stay tuned for the royal madness and spicy-ethness!

CPU! Holiday Greetings, 2018!

CPU! final-01

A new podcast “mini-sode” of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com.  In this tiny mini-sode, recorded in December 2018, CPU! regular panelists Nick, Sarah, Spencer, Kristin T, Krista, Kelsey, Selene, Amie, Eddie, and Samantha along with Chief Couch Potato Kylie, wish all of our humble podcast’s listeners warm holiday greetings and the happiest of coming new years! We also tease upcoming events and episodes, since Couch Potatoes Unite! will be taking a holiday break this week and next – though on January 2, we will publish our annual Mid-Season Progress Report blog post looking at new pilots and premieres for the 2018-2019 viewing season and will resume new episodes talking the latest and greatest TV on January 9, 2019! Until then, if there are other shows you’re interested in our podcast covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like – and always feel free to say hello! Buh-bye!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Featuring: “A Christmas Adventure (Part 2)” by TRG Banks, licensed in the public domain:

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/TRG_Banks/TRG_Banks_Christmas_Album/A_Christmas_adventure_Part_2

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

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 December 2018, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and Unfortunate TV fans – including moderator Nick, Kristen, Kelsey, Jenn, Selene, and Kylie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 2 of Unfortunate hit and Netflix original program A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you have not watched any of said Unfortunate Events, 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!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington