iTunes PODCAST – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on June 7, 2015, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Sarah, Nick, and Andrew–is Around the Water Cooler, Streaming Originals, and taking a First Look at the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you have not watched Kimmy, 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!

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PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks – “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – Season One (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Who:  “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” a situation comedy about a woman who, along with three other women, is rescued from an underground bunker in rural Indiana after being kidnapped or otherwise stuck inside for fifteen years as member of a doomsday cult, the leader of which convinced them that the world had ended, and that the apocalypse had come.  Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, The Office) decides to start her life over in New York City, out of time and out of place.  Hilarity ensues.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety on Netflix on March 6, 2015.

Where: The action is set in and around New York City, though there are occasional flashbacks to the bunker, which is in Indiana, and a trial takes place in the Hoosier state as well.

Why: The show was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the producer/creative team responsible for giving us 30 Rock, of which I’m a huge fan.  In addition, I enjoyed Ellie Kemper quite a bit in The Office and in the movie Bridesmaids, as she’s got great comedic timing, so I knew there was a high potential for hilarity.  This show was on my list of pilots to watch for the 2014-2015 season and was originally slated to air on NBC, but when Netflix picked it up instead, it was an easy choice to switch over.

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.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt = **** – by consensus of the podcast panel

SYNOPSIS

The heroine of the title, Kimmy Schmidt, is one of five women to emerge from an underground bunker in Indiana, having been, in some respects, unwitting members of a doomsday cult.  The five women were trapped in this bunker, with their religious leader Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, for fifteen years; Kimmy and her bunker-mates emerge into the twenty-first century while still stuck in the twentieth.  Brimming with endless optimism and a healthy dose of girl power, and after being interviewed by Matt Lauer on The Today Show, Kimmy decides to start her brand new life away from small town Indiana by setting up in New York City.  She luckily finds a rent controlled, in a manner of speaking, apartment with a fabulous new roommate named Titus Andromedon (D’Fwan from 30 Rock, Tituss Burgess) and an aging hippie landlord named Lillian, played by – happiest of all surprises – character actress Carol Kane.  She secures a job as a nanny with a ridiculously rich Park Avenue family, the Voorhees, the matriarch of which is boss from hell and new best friend Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock/Ally McBeal). Mostly, Kimmy finds herself full of optimism but is otherwise a struggling fish out of water and out of time, as she attempts to create an adult life for herself, having lost such a significant part of her childhood to the spartan and strange life of the bunker.

THOUGHTS

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt blew up the internet when it was first released, which is not surprising, because it’s extremely funny, particularly in how it catches the viewer off guard with its wacky humor, witty dialogue (no doubt spearheaded by Fey), stunt casting, and generally zany but positive tone.  In fact, it reminded this viewer of 30 Rock on uppers. Thinking I was not alone in my estimation of the show, I decided to ask a group of panelists what their thoughts were.  Most of the panel thought the show was hilarious but could use some improvements, but all were interested to see how it might develop in the impending second season.  Give this brand new podcast episode a listen, and comment on what you think below!

RECOMMENDATION

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is recommended to anyone who enjoys crazy comedies that don’t follow formulas, anyone who enjoys Tina Fey’s humor (which should really be all of America), anyone who liked 30 Rock or The Office, anyone who likes Jane Krakowski, and anyone who likes Carol Kane, which should, again, really be all of America.  Tina and Carol are national treasures.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was automatically renewed for a second season, as the deal with Netflix in adopting the program from NBC included a two season order for the show.  The second season is expected to premiere in spring 2016, though no official premiere date has yet been announced.  Until next year!

iTunes PODCAST – Downton Abbey (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on June 7, 2015, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, and Stacey–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing season 5 of Downton Abbey. If you are not caught up on Downton, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler – Downton Abbey – The Season 5 Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Downton Abbey,” airs on public TV, specifically on PBS, Winter Sundays at 9:00 PM.

What: “Downton Abbey,” the story of the life and times of a fictional lord, his family, his servants, and his estate in Yorkshire, England, in the early twentieth century (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/synopsis.html).

When: The season five finale aired on PBS, Sunday, March 1, 2015, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom.  The most recent season was set in the mid to late 1920s, the Jazz Age.

Why: I am an Anglophile through and through, and people were gushing about this show.  I also enjoy Dame Maggie Smith in just about everything, and her turn as the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley, aficionado of acidic one-liners, is worth the watch alone.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

For a recap of season 4, read here.

Another season of Downton Abbey has come and gone and, with it, another look into the lushness of the English aristocracy in the early twentieth century.  Our glimpses into the Crawleys this year, though less tragic overall, were still met with scandal and uneasy speculation into the status of the upper class as the modern world approached. Many characters dallied with love, both of a taboo and socially acceptable nature, while others were forced to accept the rise of the middle class, even as the aristocracy’s otherwise insulated niche crumbled with the passing of time.  Though the fourth season offered a maudlin sense of rebuilding in the wake of deaths of two major characters, the fifth unevenly addressed each character’s metaphysical struggle to hang onto something familiar, to some sense of safety, as the world around them changed.  To wit, rest in peace, poor Isis.

All of the characters, from the servants’ quarters to the drawing rooms, experienced some level of change and upheaval this season, to various degrees of storytelling success.  While this fifth season lacked some emotional power, a plethora of touching moments as well as moments during which the viewer was left questioning or cringing remained.  As a result, I asked a panel of fellow Couch Potatoes how they felt about the fifth season of Downton Abbey “Around the Water Cooler,” or, perhaps, more appropriately, around the tea table; in this discussion, we examine each of the main characters and speculate upon what their journeys might look like in the sixth season, which was announced to be the series’ last.

This podcast was recorded on June 7, 2015. Listen and let us know what you think; comment below as to whether you agree or disagree.

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) What was Edith (Laura Carmichael) thinking?  And will her parents find out?  Will her grandmother and aunt find out that she has summoned her baby to Downton?

Answer: Everyone found out eventually about Edith’s child but Mary, which was deliberate on the part of Robert and Cora.  Edith has simply fallen in love with her daughter, now named Marigold, and can’t bear the thought of being parted from her.  As we discuss in the podcast, it seems that Marigold, who is now a ward of the Abbey, has become meaning and purpose for Edith’s life.

2) Who will Mary (Michelle Dockery) choose in the end?  I vote the firecracker critic of the upper classes, but the childhood friend, Tony, is nice too.

Answer: Mary chose neither of these suitors.  She engaged in a scandalous weekender with Tony but ultimately decided, after bedding with him, that he was not for her.  The other man has since left the country or at least the countryside, but a third potential dalliance has emerged at the end of the season that Mary seems to fancy.  Will she now be drawn to him?

3) Will Bates’ (Brendan Coyle and Joanna Froggatt) rash actions come back to haunt him?  He’s a nice man with an astounding capacity for anger and darkness.

Answer: Both Mr. and Mrs. Bates are now under suspicion of the murder of Mr. Green, Tony’s valet, who raped Mrs. Bates in the fourth season, after taking turns being under suspicion by the authorities all season.  Did either of them really commit the murder, though?

4) Carson and Mrs. Hughes (Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan) are so cute.  Let’s see something come of that!

Answer: CARSON PROPOSED, AND HUGHES SAID YES!  Let’s hope this union stays happy.

5) Who is Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) really?

Answer: She knew Barrow as a child and was caught stealing from a previous employer when she fell on hard times, though she admitted her offense and served some time for it.  She admitted all of this to Cora.  In addition, Barrow seemed to accept Baxter’s overtures of help for his own troubles by the end of the season.  Molesley is also quite taken with her.

6) Will Rose’s (Lily James) illicit affair resurface?

Answer: Her affair with the African American gentleman in the fourth season was not mentioned once this season, though she did end up marrying a Jewish gentleman named Atticus.  She’s allegedly moving to America, as the actress portraying her, Lily James, has entered the world of film acting.

7) Where does the family go from here?

Answer: They still seem to be fumbling toward the future, powerless to stop the onslaught of time.  What will finally become of the Crawleys by the end of the next and last season?

New Questions – Raised by the Podcast Panel

1) Will Mary find out about Marigold?  Will Mary and Edith ever reconcile their differences?

2) Will Mary finally settle on a suitor, whether the driver in the Christmas special or someone else?  Or, will she finally take solace in her own independence, since she’s been helping to run Downton with her father and brother-in-law, Tom Branson (Allen Leech)?

3) Did Branson really take Sybbie and move to America?

4) Who really killed Mr. Green?  Will the Bates finally be acquitted?  Will they be able to have a happy ending?

5) Will Daisy (Sophie McShera) continue her education with Molesley (Kevin Doyle)?  Or, will she want to move away as others have to better herself?  Or, will she finally consent to run the farm with her father-in-law?

6) Is Barrow (Rob James-Collier) turning over a new leaf?

7) Are Rose and Atticus gone for good?

8) When will the show begin next season?  Will we see the effects of the stock market crash of 1929 in the USA, and will it have an effect on Downton, as Cora’s money may very well be tied up in the American markets?

9) Will the Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) survive the series?  Will she or Cousin Isobel (Penelope Wilton) live out their days as best friends, or will they consent to winter courtships in the end?

10) Where will our family finally land in the end?

PARTING SHOTS:

By consensus of the panel, Downton Abbey still doesn’t have the same level of storytelling quality as it did in its first few seasons, but the stories of some our characters remain compelling, even as others fall flat.  The characters are endlessly interesting, eternally English (minus Cora), and the art direction, cinematography, and costumes are breathtaking.  How will the series end and pay off loyal viewers?  What can we hope to see next year?  Our podcast panel mostly wanted any end to make logical sense for our characters and, hopefully, to be ultimately happy.  Some even wanted to see an epilogue or time jump to have a glimpse into the later lives of our characters.  Whatever happens, we will all be tuning into to watch the swan song of Downton Abbey.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Downton Abbey was renewed for a sixth and final season/series slated to premiere in the United States on PBS on January 4, 2016.

Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard for Shows Covered By This Blog (Long-Running)

Based on reliable sources, including TVLine, the A.V. Club, and TV Guide, here are the current statuses of shows covered by this blog.  This list does not include up and coming shows to be reviewed or shows not listed on the “What I’m Currently Watching” page (such as The Simpsons).

This particular list comprises the End of Season Scorecard for Long-Running shows covered by this blog, as this viewer is behind in the whole TV watching department. Keep in mind that, as a one-woman operation, I’m still finishing up shows I’m watching, and there are reviews coming, but for now, I offer you the skinny on favorites this season.

2014-2015 TV Season (Active Currently)

*True Blood (HBO, Summer Sundays at 9:00 PM)

Season Seven was its last.  The Series Finale aired in August 2014.  Review to come.

*Witches of East End (Lifetime, Summer Sundays at 9:00 PM)

Canceled.  Review to Come.

*Bones (FOX, Fall Thursdays at 8:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Eleven.

*Sleepy Hollow (FOX, Fall Mondays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Three.

*New Girl (FOX, Fall Tuesdays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Five.

*The Mindy Project (FOX, Fall Tuesdays at 9:30 PM)

Canceled by FOX but picked up by Hulu and Renewed as a Hulu Original for Season Four.

*Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC, Fall Tuesdays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Three.

*Person of Interest (CBS, Fall Tuesdays at 10:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Five.

*Glee (FOX, Premiering Midseason)

Series Finale Aired March 20, 2015.

*Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, Fall Thursdays at 8:00 PM)

Jumped the shark.  Review to come.

*Once Upon a Time (ABC, Fall Sundays at 8:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Five.

*Revenge (ABC, Fall Sundays at 10:00 PM)

Officially Canceled.  Review to Come.  Series Finale Aired May 10, 2015.

*The Vampire Diaries (CW, Fall Thursdays at 8:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Seven, despite the fact that Nina Dobrev – the lead – left the show.

*The Originals (CW, Fall Mondays at 8:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Three.

*Supernatural (CW, Fall Tuesdays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Eleven.

*American Horror Story (FX, Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Five.  Without Jessica Lange.

*Reign (CW, Fall Thursdays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Three.

*Grimm (NBC, Fall Fridays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Five.

*Doctor Who (BBC America, Currently on Hiatus)

Series 8 concluded with the Christmas Special on December 25, 2014.  Officially Renewed for Series Nine to premiere in August 2015.

*Downton Abbey (PBS, Winter Sundays at 9:00 PM)

Season Six will be its last.  Premieres in January 2016.

*Resurrection (ABC, Fall Sundays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Canceled.  Review to come.

*About a Boy (NBC, Fall Tuesdays at 9:30 PM)

Officially Canceled.  Review to come.

*The 100 (CW, Fall Wednesdays at 9:00 PM)

Officially Renewed for Season Three.

*Fargo (FX, On Hiatus)

Renewed for Season 2

*Game of Thrones (HBO, Spring Sundays at 9:00 PM)

Season 5 currently airing.  Officially Renewed for Season Six.

—–

Stay tuned!  As the summer progresses, I will share the roster of new pilots coming to the networks and what appeals!  For now, summer is a great time to catch up on TV. There will be blogs and podcasts galore.  So I hope!

Progress Report: End of Season Report Card for 2014-2015 Pilots

Though I’m behind on TV, you don’t have to be!  Below is handy report card on the status of piloted programs scheduled to premiere sometime during the 2014-2015 season, based on the Fall Selection entry published in the summer, as of the end of the official viewing season.  I will also follow up with an end of season report card for long-running series covered by this blog.

Piloted series previously reported as canceled have been deleted from the list.  The Mid-Season Report Card can be read here.

Thanks to TVLine for helping a girl out.

A.D.

A.D., NBC

PREMIERE DATE | 2015

WHEN | Midseason

WHAT | The 12-episode miniseries picks up where History’s The Bible left off. In the dark days after Jesus’ betrayal and death, a perfect storm brews in the Holy Land, fueled by social injustice, Roman military oppression and religious unrest. High priests and the Herod dynasty vie for power. Zealot revolutionaries turn to violence to regain what they believe is their promised land. And in the face of terrible odds and brutal persecution, the small band of Jesus’ disciples stand against the combined might of Rome and their own local authorities. In a generation of rebellion, war, famine, and carnage, who can they trust? Who should they fear? Will tomorrow bring a violent death? For many, it does … but others survive, and as the storm around them breaks, the fate of Israel, of Rome and of their faith is decided.

I initially passed on this Biblical miniseries, being that it’s really not my cup of tea.  But to each his or her own.  I prefer English Breakfast.

STATUS: It is still currently airing.  Episode 10  of twelve will air this Sunday.  No renewal decision has yet been announced, but ever reliable TVLine.com is calling renewal a “long shot.”

Allegiance

Allegiance, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | 2015

WHEN | Midseason

WHO | Hope Davis (The Newsroom), Scott Cohen (The Carrie Diaries, Necessary Roughness), Gavin Stenhouse (the UK’s Iconicles), Margarita Levieva (Revenge), Kenneth Choi (Ironside), Annie Ilonzeh (Arrow), Morgan Spector (Person of Interest)

WHAT | Thriller revolving around the O’Connor family and their son Alex, a decorated American war hero and CIA analyst who is a true patriot and loves his country and family. Unbeknownst to him, both of his parents and his sister are part of a dormant Russian sleeper cell that has just been reactivated. Once the parents are reluctantly pulled back in, the stakes rise as they are coerced into spying on their own son and turning him against his country.

I initially passed on a TV show that blends The Americans with Mr. and Mrs. Smith and brings retro nostalgia for the Cold War once again to the forefront.

STATUS: Officially canceled.

American Crime

American Crime, ABC

PREMIERE DATE | March 15, 2015

WHO | Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Timothy Hutton (Leverage), Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy), W. Earl Brown (Deadwood), Penelope Ann Miller (Mistresses), Richard Cabral

WHAT | Set in California’s Central Valley, it centers on a racially charged murder and the subsequent trial, which are examined through the personal lives of the players involved. The case takes on greater meaning in the community, bringing to the forefront America’s hardened views on race, class and gender politics.

I hesitantly picked up this show, fearing it might be derivative of the film Crash, which was controversial and somewhat manipulative in its Best Picture winning presentation.  I have not watched any episodes yet, but it seems to be critically well received.

STATUS: Officially renewed.

Aquarius, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | May 28, 2015

WHO | David Duchovny (Californication)

WHAT | The “event” series follows a 1960s cop who is tracking serial killer Charles Manson’s rise to popularity.

PICKUP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick up.  This may just be morbid curiosity on my part, and I don’t know how I feel about a series that documents a serial killer’s rise to popularity when that killer is still alive.  Also, I was not aware that Californication is apparently over.  I do, however, love David Duchovny thanks to his stint as Mulder, and the subject of Manson’s cult like following is somewhat fascinating given its time, at the heyday of peace and love.  Also, the program has a catchy title.  This could be bad, but I think I want to give it a shot.

The Astronaut Wives Club, ABC

PREMIERE DATE | 2015

WHEN | Midseason

WHO | JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Once Upon a Time, Better With You, Gossip Girl), Odette Annable (House), Azure Parsons (True Detective), Zoe Boyle (Downton Abbey, Sons of Anarchy), Desmond Harrington (Dexter, Gossip Girl), Erin Cummings (Spartacus: Blood & Sand), Dominique McElligott (Hell on Wheels), Bret Harrison (Reaper), Aaron McCusker (Shameless, Dexter), Joel Johnstone (The Newsroom), Kenneth Mitchell (Switched at Birth, Jericho)

WHAT | Chronicles the lives of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo mission crews’ spouses.

PICKUP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I think this is a remake of a film; even if it’s not, it sounds like a cross between Apollo 13 and The First Wives Club.  If it is reviewed well, I might reconsider, as I do have some interest in the space program.  Yet, I feel this is going to be a dated throwback to decades gone by, complete with gossip and wifely fretting over the husbands that risk their lives to go into space, which doesn’t do much for me.

Backstrom

Backstrom, Fox

PREMIERE DATE | January 22, 2015

WHO | Rainn Wilson (The Office), Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer), Dennis Haysbert (24), Page Kennedy, Beatrice Rosen (Blue Mountain State), Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Genevieve Angelson (House of Lies)

WHAT | Offensive, irascible Detective Everett Backstrom tries, and fails, to change his self-destructive behavior while leading his team, the Serious Crimes Unit, as they navigate Portland’s most sensitive cases.

I initially picked up this new showcase for the erstwhile Dwight Schrute, Rainn Wilson, thinking that between him and the fact that it was created by the man responsible for Bones, it was worth a shot.  I have not watched any episodes of this program yet.

STATUS: Officially canceled. Because it’s a FOX show, I’m going to check it out and see if it really merited cancellation or not.  After all, we know their track record. 

Battle Creek

Battle Creek, CBS

PREMIERE DATE | March 1, 2015

WHEN | Sundays

WHO | Dean Winters (Law & Order: SVU), Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas), Kal Penn (House), Janet McTeer (The White Queen), Damon Herriman (Justified), Aubrey Dollar, Edward Fordham Jr.

WHAT | Two detectives with very different worldviews are teamed up and must answer the question: Are cynicism, guile and deception enough to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, Mich., in the face of a complete lack of resources; or is the exact opposite true — it takes naïveté, trust and a boatload of resources?

I initially picked up this procedural cop drama because Battle Creek is a city in my home state of Michigan.  That was basically the only reason.  I haven’t seen any of this program yet.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  I will still check it out – morbid curiosity.

Black-ish

Black-ish, ABC

WHEN | Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO | Anthony Anderson (Guys With Kids), Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends), Yara Shahidi (Scandal), recurring star Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)

WHAT | An upper-middle class black man struggles to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old-school father and his own assimilated, color-blind kids.

I initially passed on this culturally-based sitcom that takes elements of the Bernie Mac Show and sets them in the suburbs.  I might have to change my mind.

STATUS: Officially renewed.

Bordertown

Bordertown, Fox

PREMIERE DATE | 2016

WHO | Nicholas Gonzalez, Alex Borstein, Missi Pyle, Judah Friedlander, Efren Ramirez

WHAT | A satirical look at the cultural shifts taking place in America. Exploring family, politics and everything in between with a cross-cultural wink, the series centers on two very different families living in a fictional Southwest desert town on the U.S. – Mexico border.

PICKUP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Again, a culturally relevant, now animated sitcom will be introduced by Fox.  I don’t really gravitate toward adult cartoons beyond the mainstays like The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy, but if the show garners good reviews and/or readings, I may reconsider.

Constantine

Constantine, NBC

WHO | Matt Ryan, Lucy Griffiths (True Blood), Harold Perrineau (Lost)

WHAT | Based on the characters in DC Comics’ stories about John Constantine, an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond.

I initially picked up this comic adaptation of DC’s Hellblazer, given its Friday fright night aspects that reminded me of The Exorcist, Supernatural, etc.  

STATUS: Officially canceled.  I still plan to watch it; there was a bunch of groundswell and cult support for it.

CRISTELA

Cristela, ABC

WHEN | Fridays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO | Cristela Alonzo, Carlos Ponce, Terri Hoyos, Andrew Leeds, Sam McMurray

WHAT | In her sixth year of law school, Cristela is finally on the brink of landing her first big (unpaid) internship at a prestigious law firm. The only problem is that her pursuit of success is more ambitious than her traditional Mexican-American family thinks is appropriate. She’s stuck straddling the old culture she’s trying to modernize at home with her working-class family and the modern world she’s trying to embrace in her professional career.

I initially passed on what seemed to be George Lopez’s prior sitcom meets Family Matters.

STATUS: Officially canceled.

CSI: Cyber

CSI: Cyber, CBS

PREMIERE DATE | March 4, 2015

WHEN | Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO | Patricia Arquette (Medium), Gil Bellows (Ally McBeal)

WHAT | Centers on Avery Ryan, Special Agent in Charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI in Quantico, VA. Ryan is tasked with solving high-octane crimes that start in the mind, live on-line, and play out into the real world.

I initially passed on yet another version of CSI because I don’t watch any CSIs and probably never will.  Procedurals are not my bag, sadly.

STATUS: Officially renewed.

Emerald City

Emerald City, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | ?

WHEN | This one has disappeared from the grids.  Even though NBC ordered it to series, reports from August 2014 show that NBC canceled that order, though the show creators were looking to sell it elsewhere.

WHAT | The “event” series is a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz that includes lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A headstrong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on a journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.

I initially picked up this dark re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, but NBC stopped production, according to my research.  It’s really too bad.  I’m always game for a re-imagining like Once Upon a Time.  Unfortunately, I will remove this show from the list.

Empire

Empire, Fox

PREMIERE DATE | January 7, 2015

WHO | Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson (Person of Interest), Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Malik Yoba (Revolution, Alphas), Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Kaitlin Doubleday, recurring player Gabourey Sidibe (American Horror Story: Coven)

WHAT | A unique family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire and centering on music mogul Lucious Lyon.

I initially picked up this high stakes drama about a hip hop mogul’s family and his ambitions for his legacy, feeling the King Lear undertones in the story.  This show has become something of a runaway success for the Fox Network.  I haven’t seen any of the program yet.

STATUS: Officially renewed.