iTunes PODCAST – – – – The X-Files (The X-Phile Super-Fan Edition; MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of experts–including moderator Kylie, Sarah, Nick, Hilary, and Kyle–gathered together to wrap up our “Looking Back” series focused upon The X-Files by having our longest, most geeked out discussion to date.  Our talk covers the show’s Expanded Universe as well as our “best of” lists of episodes across several categories and all nine seasons of the series. This is the fourth episode of a five part CPU! podcast series examining one of our favorite television programs in advance of the revival miniseries to premiere on FOX in January 2016. If you have not watched any of the X-Files (and I mean, any of it!), be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS. Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Stay tuned for the fifth (and final…for now) episode of our X-Files series, to be released in or around March 2016, in which we sit around the water cooler and recap and reflect upon the six-episode revival miniseries, slated to premiere on Fox on January 24, 2016.  If you have been following our X-Files series, be sure to reconnect with us then!  Stay tuned!  Keep listening!  Keep watching!

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PODCAST! – Looking Back at “The X-Files” (The X-Phile Super Fan Edition/Expanded Universe Round-Up/Panel Rankings; MAJOR SPOILERS)

x-files-title-card

THE SPECS:

Who: “The X-Files,” a cult science fiction horror drama that aired on the Fox network from 1993-2002 (and that garnered millions of ratings, despite its cult flavor).

What: “The X-Files” revolves around FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating so-called X-Files, i.e. marginalized, unsolved cases outside of the FBI mainstream involving paranormal and/or extraterrestrial phenomena, as well as the government conspiracy to hide the truth about those phenomena.

SYNOPSIS

Agent Mulder wholeheartedly believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal, while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to apply scientific analysis to Mulder’s discoveries for the purpose of debunking his work and steering him back toward the FBI mainstream, in which he was initially a gifted profiler on the fast track. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger government conspiracy and conflict and come to trust only each other. They develop a close relationship, which begins as a platonic friendship but becomes a romance by the end of the series. Episodes consist of so-called mythology story arcs, devoted to the larger, nefarious conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials (and their apparently hostile aims) as well as “monster of the week” episodes, i.e. standalone episodes exploring subjects of horror, science fiction, humanism, and, at times, humor.

The main story arc involves the agents’ efforts to uncover a government conspiracy to hide the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth and their sinister collaboration with those governments. Mysterious men comprising a shadow element within the U.S. government, known as “The Syndicate,” are the major villains in the series. They are usually represented by The Smoking Man (William B. Davis), a ruthless killer, masterful politician, negotiator, and the series’ principal antagonist, though the viewer learns of other characters directly and indirectly attached to the Syndicate. The characters assigned to investigate the X-Files throughout the series report to FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi).

When: The show aired in its entirety from 1993-2002 on the Fox network.

Where: The show is set primarily at FBI Headquarters (particularly in the basement) in Washington, DC, but the agents investigate X-Files all over the country and sometimes overseas and/or across international borders.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found The X-Files series. They are all personal and occasionally touching.

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

Have you heard?! In January 2016, Fox will begin airing a revival miniseries bringing back our two favorite agents, Mulder and Scully, and some of their allies and enemies for six brand new episodes, and the first brand new episodes in fourteen years, of the The X-Files! Quivering with anticipation, I knew CPU! would have to review the miniseries, as the original X-Files series is one of this viewer’s all time favorite shows, but to do so seemed silly without first covering that original series in-depth. Since I know a few people in my life who love the X-Files as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true X-Files scholars, in what has become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at the show that fuels our respective imaginations and tugs at our TV-loving hearts. The first three episodes of this series reviewed the nine seasons of the original show.  Have you listened to them yet?

Looking Back at Seasons 1-3

Looking Back at Seasons 4-6

Looking Back at Seasons 7-9

In this fourth podcast episode of CPU!’s X-Files series, our panel – Sarah, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and moderator Kylie – take our X-Files geekdom to a whole new echelon of super-fandom, as we closely examine the expanded universe (the films, graphic novels, and games) and – in keeping with the New Year festivities – provide our definitive top ten lists of our favorite and least favorite episodes of all time. including our favorite myth-arc and monster of the week episodes separately, in addition to what we considered to be the scariest, grossest, and funniest episodes of the series. If you love the series as much as we do, this will be a great podcast to listen to as we cover the gamut of all that is good – and that is relatively not as good – of one of our all-time favorite shows.

We also take a moment to offer some feedback and reflection on what we hope for the miniseries, scheduled to premiere on Fox on January 24, 2016.  Will you be watching?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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!

And stay tuned – the fifth part of this five-part series, which will be recorded in or around February or March of 2016, will focus exclusively on the panel’s reactions to the miniseries restart and what we think of it.  To wet your whistle, have you seen this awesome 20-minute featurette published by the show’s producers? You don’t want to miss it!!

RECOMMENDATION

The X-Files is recommended to anyone who loves science fiction and/or horror and doesn’t mind a bit of both at the same time. As we discuss in the podcast, this series broke ground for so many other series to come, not the least of which include Lost, Supernatural, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Bones, and other popular shows for which writers and creators learned their trade working on this series originally. This show has a bit of everything, including a dynamic chemistry between its two leads, who have appeared on other series separately, such as Californication, Hannibal, Twin Peaks, and Crisis. Really, if you love television, and you have somehow missed this series, you should make time forThe X-Files – you will not be disappointed in the overall journey and entertainment value that this well written, well performed series provides, whether you enjoy large serial story arcs that provide more questions than answers and keep you guessing or standalone episodes that tell a new and interesting story each week. This series has both, which may be one of the secrets to its overall success. The entire series is available at all of the streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Watch it: you won’t regret it!

Progress Report: Midseason Report Card for 2015-2016 Pilots

 

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

 

Thanks to TVLine for helping a girl out.

American Horror Story: Hotel

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL, FX

PREMIERE DATE | TBA

WHEN | TBA

WHO | Lady Gaga, Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, Chloe Sevigny, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, Max Greenfield, Denis O’Hare, Cheyenne Jackson

WHAT | The latest edition of the horror anthology series goes inside a hotel and features a love triangle between Bomer, Gaga and Wittrock’s characters.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick-Up.  I haven’t watched Freak Show yet, and I’m more than chagrined that we are down a Jessica Lange and up a Lady Gaga (who frakking gets top billing no less).  Also, Ryan Murphy’s shows suffer late life.  I loved Horror House and Coven and enjoyed Asylum, albeit less than the other seasons.  Of course, it’s still on my watch list. Even if I might regret it like a “Bad Romance.”

STATUS: In season.  American Horror Story was renewed for a sixth season by F/X in November 2015, which will premiere Fall 2016.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Angel From Hell

ANGEL FROM HELL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE | January 7, 2016

WHEN | Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO | Jane Lynch (Glee), Maggie Lawson (Psych), Kyle Bornheimer (Family Tools), Kevin Pollak (Mom)

WHAT | When Amy enters Allison’s life and claims to be her guardian angel, they form an unlikely friendship and Allison can’t be sure if Amy is an angel or just nuts.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube Channel and TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  Honestly, the plot/comedic situation seems pretty thin, and the main character is not as likable as some, but more Jane Lynch on my small screen with less spastic singing tweens and teens around her could be a very good thing.  She’s funny, but is she enough to carry this show?  It might be worth it to check it out, since the idea of Jane Lynch as anyone’s guardian angel is almost too delicious to pass up.

STATUS: Only a pilot has aired.  The official premiere date has been moved to mid-season.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris

BEST TIME EVER WITH NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | Sept. 15

WHEN | Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO | Neil Patrick Harris

WHAT | A live one-hour show, complete with stunts, skits, pranks, audience interaction, musical numbers, giveaways and unlimited surprises.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As much as I love NPH, a variety show?  With Neil Patrick Harris, but a variety show?  I might tune in if I have the time and inclination, but a) the blog does not cover “reality” shows, game shows, or sketch shows (except the retro view of Saturday Night Live), and b) I don’t love this type of TV.  I suppose if I was going to watch a variety show, NPH is as good a host as any, but…I’m not going to watch a variety show.  It’s an interesting grab at retro nostalgia, though, and good for NBC for trying to experiment.  I wish it success, even if I won’t be watching.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  NBC canceled NPH’s variety show in December 2015.

CPU! Status: We don’t cover variety shows.

Blindspot

BLINDSPOT, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | Sept. 21

WHEN | Mondays at 10/9c

WHO | Jaimie Alexander (Thor), Sullivan Stapleton (Strike Back), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Broadchurch), Ashley Johnson (The Killing)

WHAT | A beautiful woman, with no memories of her past, is found naked in Times Square with her body fully covered in intricate tattoos. Her discovery sets off a vast and complex mystery that immediately ignites the attention of the FBI who begin to follow the road map on her body to reveal a larger conspiracy of crime while bringing her closer to discovering the truth about her identity.

Trailer Available at NBC.com or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

(INITIAL) VERDICT: Pass.  I may change my mind if the show gains momentum, but here are my thoughts. While the premise is certainly intriguing, insofar as a random woman in Times Square with tattoos is somewhat interesting, the way the trailer teased the story reminded me of Memento meets The Terminator.  This mystery could be jaw-dropping, or it could fall flat, depending upon what the mystery is.  Yet, neither of the lead actors were likable enough in the trailer to draw me in, and unless this mystery carries with it a DaVinci Code proportioned revelation, I would find myself growing weary of it pretty quickly. Plus, I have so much TV to watch.  Again, if the show gets buzz, critical accolades, or otherwise gains steam, I might change my mind.  I can do that.

STATUS: In season with a full season order, and officially renewed for season two!

CPU! STATUS: The show has buzz and accolades and steam.  It has officially been picked up by CPU! (and added to a very long list).

Blood & Oil

BLOOD & OIL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE | Sept. 27

WHEN | Sundays at 9/8c

WHO | Don Johnson (Nash Bridges, Miami Vice), Scott Michael Foster (Chasing Life), Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl), Rebecca Rittenhouse (Red Band Society), India de Beaufort (Jane By Design), Delroy Lindo (Believe), Caitlin Carver (The Fosters), Yani Gellman (Pretty Little Liars), Amber Valletta (Revenge)

WHAT | Billy and Cody Lefever dream of a new life beyond their working class roots and move to “The Bakken” in North Dakota, booming after the biggest oil discovery in American history. They’re soon pitted against a ruthless tycoon who forces them to bet big and put everything on the line, including their marriage.

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  You know who I think will like this show?  Texans.  Republicans. Fans of Don Johnson.  Most of those cross-sections overlap, so any combination thereof.  I’m one of those bleeding heart liberals from Michigan, and Don doesn’t do it for me.  It’s very much a new Dallas for the 2010s, with more sex and balls-to-the-wall capitalism.  It might be very successful, but I already know it’s not my cup of tea.

STATUS: Ended.  After a season order reduction from 13 to 10, the alphabet network put the cancellation cork in Blood & Oil.  Officially cancelled.

CPU! STATUS: Called it.

Bordertown

Bordertown, Fox

PREMIERE DATE |January 3, 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.

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

PICKUP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As a holdover pilot from last season, my opinion remains the same. 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, and the constant delays don’t leave me with votes of confidence for this one.  I may be surprised.

The Catch

THE CATCH, ABC

PREMIERE DATE | March 24, 2016

WHEN | Midseason

WHO | Mireille Enos (The Killing),Damon Dayoub (NCIS), Bethany Joy Lenz (One Tree Hill), Rose Rollins (The L Word), Alimi Ballard, Jacky Ido, Jay Hayden, Elvy Yost

WHAT | A thriller centered on the strong, successful Alice Martin. She’s a fraud investigator who’s about to be the victim of fraud by her fiancé. Between her cases, she is determined to find him before it ruins her career.

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  This looks like another Shonda Rimes entry, pitting a con artist against a fraud investigator.  Which is to say, I think the show was created by someone else but is being produced by Shondaland.  I am currently Shonda-free, having jumped the shark on Grey’s Anatomy, and I have not become involved with Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder. I am just starting to feel that there is a definite formula to shows produced by Shondaland, most of which have a steamy, soap opera vibe.  I have occasionally chosen to check out shows of that type, but my interest in this show was not piqued by the trailer, so I pass.

Chicago Med

CHICAGO MED, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | Nov. 17

WHEN | Tuesdays at 9/8

WHO | S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order), Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), Yaya DaCosta (Ugly Betty), Nick Gehlfuss (Shameless), Oliver Platt (Fargo)

WHAT | The Chicago Fire spinoff follows the day-to-day chaos of the city’s most bustling hospital and the courageous team of doctors who hold it together. They will tackle unique new cases inspired by topical events, forging fiery relationships in the pulse-pounding pandemonium of the emergency room, and through it all, familiar faces from the ChicagoP.D. and Fire departments will intertwine as this third team of Windy City heroes hits the ground running.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Another medical drama?  Another Chicago Fire spin off?  While there is no trailer, I’m getting definite E.R. and Chicago Hope deja vu.  Maybe it will work for some, but it’s not original enough to entice me.  I had to be talked into watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Maybe someone will talk me into watching this.  Or not.

STATUS: In season.  Because it just premiered, it is too early to tell its prognosis.

CPU! STATUS: No change.

Coach

COACH, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | TBA

WHEN | Midseason

WHO | Craig. T Nelson

WHAT | This follow-up to the ’90s sitcom picks up 18 years later and find Nelson’s Hayden Fox interrupting his retirement to become assistant coach to his own grown son, who is the new head coach at an Ivy League school in Pennsylvania that is just starting up a new team.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  What the what?!  Seriously?!!  I think this resurrection smacks of a lack of originality in Hollywood – I blame Fox, with their 24 and X-Files reboots (even though I watched/will watch both of those).  I didn’t really watch the original Coach.  I will not watch the new one until I watch the old one, but let me know how it is.  I have morbid curiosity.

STATUS: Officially canceled prior to premiere.  As of September 1, 2015, the Peacock axed this reboot due to “creative differences.”

CPU! STATUS: Not mad.

Code Black

CODE BLACK, CBS

PREMIERE DATE | Sept. 30

WHEN | Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO | Marcia Gay Harden (Trophy Wife), Bonnie Somerville (Cashmere Mafia), Raza Jaffrey (Smash), Luis Guzman (How to Make It in America), Melanie Kannokada, Harry M. Ford, Ben Hollingsworth (Cult, The Tomorrow People), William Allen Young

WHAT | Inspired by the festival award-winning documentary of the same name, this medical drama is set in the busiest and most notorious ER in the nation – L.A. County Hospital – where the extraordinary staff struggle in the face of a broken system to protect their ideals and the patients who need them the most.

Trailer Available at TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Yet another medical drama, CBS-style.  I didn’t watch this trailer…because medical drama.  Talk me into it.

STATUS: In season.  TV pundits like TVLine find its fate “too early to tell.”

CPU! STATUS: The same.

Containment

CONTAINMENT, The CW

PREMIERE DATE | TBA

WHEN | Midseason

WHO | Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries), Claudia Black (The Originals, Farscape), David Gyasi (Interstellar), Christina Moses (Starship: Apocalypse), Kristen Gutoskie (Beaver Falls), George Young (Casualty), Hanna Mangan Lawrence (Spartacus: War of the Damned) and Trevor St. John (One Life to Live)

WHAT | When a mysterious and deadly epidemic breaks out in Atlanta, a vast urban quarantine is quickly enforced, forcing those stuck on the inside to fight for their lives while local and federal officials desperately search for a cure.

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  While this new show looks like a TV version of Outbreak for the 2010s, it is created and produced by Julie Plec, the CW’s darling who created The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and The Tomorrow People.  There were also some fairly compelling performances in the short teaser that made me think this program would be an intense thrill ride. Because I trust the producer, I will check it out.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, The CW

PREMIERE DATE | Oct. 19

WHEN | Mondays at 8/7

WHO | Rachel Bloom (Robot Chicken)

WHAT | Bloom stars as Rebecca, a successful, driven and possibly crazy young woman who impulsively gives up everything — her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan, included — in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness in that exotic hotbed of romance and adventure: West Covina, Calif.

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  On the strength of the trailer alone, I choose to pick up this show. The premise sounds very close to other rom-com fair, such as Sleepless in Seattle, or even Felicity with an extremely charismatic lead actress and comedic vs. dramatic pastiche – though, in this situation, it would be like what would happen if Felicity dated Ben in high school first, broke up with him, and then followed him to New York.  Except that this woman is following her ex-beau to California.

Look – if there are musical numbers like there are in the trailer, I will love this to the ends of time. In fact, that better be a thing.  There are not enough musical romantic comedies about crazy lovesick women on TV.  Plus, Rachel Bloom proved herself to be infinitely watchable in this five minute teaser.  And I really liked her outfits.  Excellent trailing, CW.

Seriously, I really hope the musical numbers are included.

STATUS: In season.  TV pundits are calling renewal “a long shot.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but will still watch it, regardless of its fate.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

iTunes PODCAST – – – The X-Files (Seasons 7-9, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of experts–including moderator Kylie, Sarah, Nick, Hilary, and Kyle–gathered together for a longer than usual discussion in which we were Looking Back and reminiscing about seasons seven through nine of The X-Files. This is the third episode of a five part CPU! podcast series examining one of our favorite television programs in advance of the revival miniseries to premiere on FOX in January 2016. If you have not watched any of the X-Files (and I mean, any of it!), be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS. Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Stay tuned for the fourth episode of our series, to be released next week, in which we provide definitive “best of” lists across several categories for all nine seasons of the show!  If you are an X-Files geek, you won’t want to miss it!

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “The X-Files” (Seasons 7-9; MAJOR SPOILERS) + Cult TV! (#5) + The Best Written TV (#26) + TIME’s All TIME 100 +The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Favorites (#3)

x-files-title-card

THE SPECS:

Who: “The X-Files,” a cult science fiction horror drama that aired on the Fox network from 1993-2002 (and that garnered millions of ratings, despite its cult flavor).

What: “The X-Files” revolves around FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating so-called X-Files, i.e. marginalized, unsolved cases outside of the FBI mainstream involving paranormal and/or extraterrestrial phenomena, as well as the government conspiracy to hide the truth about those phenomena.

SYNOPSIS

Agent Mulder wholeheartedly believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal, while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to apply scientific analysis to Mulder’s discoveries for the purpose of debunking his work and steering him back toward the FBI mainstream, in which he was initially a gifted profiler on the fast track. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger government conspiracy and conflict and come to trust only each other. They develop a close relationship, which begins as a platonic friendship but becomes a romance by the end of the series. Episodes consist of so-called mythology story arcs, devoted to the larger, nefarious conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials (and their apparently hostile aims) as well as “monster of the week” episodes, i.e. standalone episodes exploring subjects of horror, science fiction, humanism, and, at times, humor.

The main story arc involves the agents’ efforts to uncover a government conspiracy to hide the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth and their sinister collaboration with those governments. Mysterious men comprising a shadow element within the U.S. government, known as “The Syndicate,” are the major villains in the series. They are usually represented by The Smoking Man (William B. Davis), a ruthless killer, masterful politician, negotiator, and the series’ principal antagonist, though the viewer learns of other characters directly and indirectly attached to the Syndicate. The characters assigned to investigate the X-Files throughout the series report to FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi).

When: The show aired in its entirety from 1993-2002 on the Fox network.

Where: The show is set primarily at FBI Headquarters (particularly in the basement) in Washington, DC, but the agents investigate X-Files all over the country and sometimes overseas and/or across international borders.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found The X-Files series. They are all personal and occasionally touching.

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

Have you heard?! In January 2016, Fox will begin airing a revival miniseries bringing back our two favorite agents, Mulder and Scully, and some of their allies and enemies for six brand new episodes, and the first brand new episodes in fourteen years, of the The X-Files! Quivering with anticipation, I knew CPU! would have to review the miniseries, as the original X-Files series is one of this viewer’s all time favorite shows, but to do so seemed silly without first covering that original series in-depth. Since I know a few people in my life who love the X-Files as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true X-Files scholars, in what has become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at the show that fuels our respective imaginations and tugs at our TV-loving hearts. The first three episodes of this series will review the nine seasons of the original show, while the fourth episode will delve into the expanded universe, including films, spin-offs, and comics, as well as each individual panelist’s favorite and least favorite episodes from the series, among other categories. In the fifth episode, the panel will convene to discuss the miniseries and all of its hoped for glory – will it be a return to X-Files form, fourteen years after its initial departure from our TV screens? Or, will it be more like Season 9 or, worse, the film I Want to Believe? The panelists remain hopeful that it’s the former and not the latter, though some are more confident than others.

In this third podcast episode of CPU!’s X-Files series, our panel – Sarah, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and moderator Kylie – take a look back at the last three seasons, seven through nine, covering the period of The X-Files when the program was meandering toward its inevitable finish line, light on the character of Mulder overall but heavy on the denouement and, some say, the decline in both viewership and story quality. We discuss our favorites and least favorites within each of these last seasons as well as our general impressions of each season’s success.

To wit, Season Seven was the last to feature David Duchovny as a full-time series regular.  In Season Eight, Duchovny and the character of Mulder were on the show part time, while an agent named John Doggett (Robert Patrick) was assigned to the X-Files with Scully to seek out the missing Mulder after he had been abducted by aliens.  In Season Nine, Duchovny departed for all but the series finale; Gillian Anderson led the cast, but her character, Scully, worked out of Quantico, the FBI training academy, while Doggett and his new partner, Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), assumed lead investigation duties of the X-Files, supervised by AD Skinner but monitored with suspicion by now Deputy Director Kersh (James Pickens Jr.) and others.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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!

And stay tuned for episode four of this podcast series, otherwise known as CPU!’s X-Philes Compendium, or Looking Back at the X-Files: The Geek Edition.  In that fourth part of our five part discussion, our illustrious panel of X-Files scholars will discuss the expanded universe arising out of the show in-depth and will cap off our look back at the primary series by offering our definitive top ten (or thereabouts) lists of episodes that scared us, grossed us out, made us laugh, engaged us in the mythology, and piqued our interest in the standalone Monster of the Week episodes as well as our definitive list of our least favorite and favorite X-Files episodes of all time.  If you are a super-fan of the show like each of the panelists, you won’t want to miss part four, to be released next week! Until then!

RECOMMENDATION

The X-Files is recommended to anyone who loves science fiction and/or horror and doesn’t mind a bit of both at the same time. As we discuss in the podcast, this series broke ground for so many other series to come, not the least of which include Lost, Supernatural, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Bones, and other popular shows for which writers and creators learned their trade working on this series originally. This show has a bit of everything, including a dynamic chemistry between its two leads, who have appeared on other series separately, such as Californication, Hannibal, Twin Peaks, and Crisis. Really, if you love television, and you have somehow missed this series, you should make time forThe X-Files – you will not be disappointed in the overall journey and entertainment value that this well written, well performed series provides, whether you enjoy large serial story arcs that provide more questions than answers and keep you guessing or standalone episodes that tell a new and interesting story each week. This series has both, which may be one of the secrets to its overall success. The entire series is available at all of the streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Watch it: you won’t regret it!

Around the Water Cooler: “Sleepy Hollow,” Reflecting Upon and Recapping Season Two (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: “Sleepy Hollow” airs on network TV, specifically on FOX, Fall Thursdays at 9:00 PM – though it has recently been moved to Fridays for the winter half of the season (oh no!).

What: “Sleepy Hollow,” part supernatural thriller, part historical fiction, part revisionist fiction, part cop drama. It’s got a little something for everyone.

SYNOPSIS

Nicole Beharie plays Sleepy Hollow sheriff’s deputy Abbie Mills, who witnesses the murder of her partner and sheriff by the Headless Horseman, an unidentified figure that Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) decapitated (in this show’s backdrop) during his service in the Revolutionary War.  Crane is also pulled into the present, being apparently tied by blood to the Horseman thanks to his wife Katrina, who he comes to learn was a witch.

Abbie and Crane work together to search for clues and history behind the Horseman’s rise and related supernatural events occurring in Sleepy Hollow. What they piece together, with the help of some magical artifacts, Abbie’s own personal history of seeing a possible demon as a child, and Crane’s memory, is that the Headless Horseman is, in fact, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Death, to be specific – and that his coming heralds the arrival of the other three. The Horseman seeks reunion with his head to bring about conditions suitable for the arrival of his compatriots, and Crane and Abbie realize that their destinies are intertwined with each other, with this faceless horror, and with the town called Sleepy Hollow.

When: Season Two aired from September 22, 2014, to February 23, 2015, to the overall tune of eighteen episodes.

Where: The show is set in what is now known to be Sleepy Hollow, New York (formerly North Tarrytown).

Why: Sleepy Hollow – Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, in their colonial times regalia and context, thrust into the present? That premise alone doesn’t fascinate you?

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

Do you have Sympathy for the Devil yet?  This viewer, your Chief Couch Potato, is not sure I do.

After a tantalizingly well-woven first season, reviewed here, I was only too eager to get back to the world of Sleepy Hollow, particularly after what could only be called a whopper of a season one finale.  Plus, John Noble joined the regular cast, and I am a big fan of his work on Fringe as Walter Bishop (and, I guess, the Lord of the Rings trilogy as Denethor).  His appearance as Henry, aka Jeremy, the resurrected son of Ichabod and Katrina and, apparently, the Horseman of War breathed a tsunami of high octane energy into an already kinetic first season.  This viewer could not wait to find out what season two offered.

Unfortunately, our Sleepy Hollow heroes and the backdrop of their story fell victim to somewhat of a sophomore slump, which is actually unsurprising if not predictably disappointing, given the level of intensity buoying the first season.  The second season, which was five episodes longer than the first for a grand total of eighteen thanks to a late additional order by Fox, suffered from a chaotic presentation, in which it was clear that while the writers and producers may have known where to drive the show in the first half of the season, the second half lost its way, almost as if fumbling for a new direction as it was filmed – and may have cost the show ratings in the process.  Fortunately, Fox stuck with the show for now, renewing it for a third season, which is currently in progress, but TV pundits are prognosticating that renewal for a fourth season is a “long shot.” This viewer, always behind, is caught up through season two only – and today’s reflections and mini-recap will be focusing on just the second season.  Notably, though this viewer attempted to draft panelists for an ongoing podcast, no interest was shown but for one person.  I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad sign, for the show or for the podcast.  More popular shows tend to draw in more panelists, kind of like CPU!’s own mini-ratings system, so the prognosis can’t be great, no matter how one rattles the head from a headless body at the situation.  Not to mention the fact that Fox has moved the show to Fridays for the winter half of the season – a move that typically spells trouble, unless the show finds success by premiering on one of two nights during which TV is least watched by the masses.

In this entry, this viewer will review some of the major plot points, with more or less detail as I see fit.  To be perfectly frank, Sleepy Hollow is as much about the odd coupling between Ichabod and Abbie, which is also rooted in a seed of blossoming friendship and comradeship, as it is about the witnesses’ search for whatever will help them stave off the end of days, the Apocalypse, the doom and gloom prophesied by the biblical Book of Revelations.  Therefore, several episodes can be summarized by the following formula: 1) Ichabod grumbles about some modern contrivance that does not make sense to him; 2) Abbie laughs or offers sidelong glances at her own personal Rip Van Winkle; 3) Abbie gets serious as a heart attack about their next quest or step in their mission; 4) Jenny tries to have fun but is caught up in the ride and worries for the safety of her sister; 5) the characters quest for items that will help them or fight off demons that haunt them.  The largest story events appear to happen during sweeps and at finale points.  So, the following is less recap and more summary, but there are still spoilers of the major-ish level to follow.

Season Two – A Very Summarized Recap

Season Two began with Ichabod buried alive and Abbie trapped in Purgatory. What’s more, the fate of Jenny, Abbie’s sister, who also saw the demon Moloch as a child, was uncertain.  Henry had free reign to terrorize Sleepy Hollow, while his mom, Katrina, was held captive by the Headless Horseman, Death, who is revealed to be Abraham, the man she was to wed before meeting Ichabod during their colonial lives together. Ichabod’s first mission is to free Abbie from Purgatory, after she agreed to stay there, soul for a soul, to replace Katrina .  Katrina was resurrected at the end of the first season to stop Henry, though she failed. While the challenge is formidable, Ichabod is able to save Abbie, just as she realizes she is being wooed by Moloch with a myriad of temptations, which would serve his plans and stop the witnesses from interfering with them, as trapping Abbie in Purgatory for eternity would have been the demon’s easy answer.

With Abbie’s return, she realizes that the witnesses, sister Jenny included, are at war with literally War, Death, and the demon controlling them. Several early episodes in season two deal with our character’s quests to track down knowledge, talismans, and other artifacts to aid their mission. In the meantime, Henry, who is also part witch, casts dark spells on the town with the aim of wreaking havoc, as is his horseman duty, in service to Moloch, while Katrina schemes to free herself from Abraham, who continues to dote on the woman who would have been his wife with a mixture of jealousy and obsession.

A new character is introduced this season in the form of Nick Hawley (Matt Barr), a bounty hunter who seeks out many of the same artifacts hunted by Ichabod and Abbie.  Jenny knows Nick from her own less than savory history, and it is a history that she and Nick share (along with some other interests and, occasionally, a bed), but Nick seems to have instant chemistry and an easy spark with her sister, which creates an interesting if ultimately unexplored tension.  When Nick appeared, this viewer was initially lukewarm to the introduction of a new character, but he manages to provide some competent comic relief, particularly when his character’s cynicism is pitted against Ichabod’s ongoing fish-out-of-water foibles, what with being over 200 years old and thrust into a future to which he must adjust.

Several of the early season two episodes also experiment with a “monster of the week” format, pioneered by shows like The X-Files but perfected by programs with crossover appeal like Supernatural.  Several of these monsters are servants of Moloch in some form or another or are summoned by Henry or Abraham, as they continue their onslaught against the witnesses and try to invoke the End Days, though the Weeping Lady is apparently the ghost of a woman who would have married Ichabod, had he not met Katrina.  She appears in the fifth episode, sprinkling more back story on the apparently controversial love affair between Ichabod and Katrina.

Irving (Orlando Jones) also returns, though he spends a large portion of the first half of the season in an asylum in the aftermath of the possession of his daughter by Moloch, having traded his soul for her safety.  In this way, Henry, Moloch’s servant as the Horseman of War and in addition to being a witch, is able to pervert Irving’s good soul more and to magically induce him into servitude, which puts Irving at odds with his friends.  At one point, Henry convinces Irving to take the lives of either or both witnesses, which Irving agrees to do, though it is initially unclear whether he is under the duress of a spell or whether he chooses to further harm his friends.  In any event, his actions, in a convoluted episode or two, result in what appears to be his death rather than the death of either Abbie or Ichabod, but death is a bit more temporary in this universe.  As season two trundles toward the mid-season finale, many elements of the story grow fuzzy and unclear; in fact, this is when our hitherto gripping tale starts to meander on its path toward Apocalypse or the prevention of it.

In one episode, Moloch attempts to reenter this realm by somehow becoming Katrina’s unborn child, indoctrinated by a spell of Henry’s with the help of Abraham – though whether or not Ichabod is the father of this unholy seed is unclear.  The pregnancy gestates quickly, but Abbie and Ichabod are able to stop the culmination of the spell.  This event seems to predispose Katrina to favoring the safety and love of her live son, the one she thought she lost to binding magic spells and evil before Moloch resurrected him.  It’s difficult to reconcile her sudden favoring of Henry, given all he’s done, but perhaps, Moloch’s antics inspire guilt via temptation.  In the meantime, Abbie and Jenny also discover the truth of their mother’s disappearance when they encounter her ghost in the asylum housing Irving while investigating its apparent haunting.  Unfortunately, the girls seem predisposed to be at the mercy of their dangerous fate, as they are directly descended from the maid who serviced Katrina in colonial times, Grace Dixon, who was also a witch.  The episode is touching, but their mother warns them of impending danger, doomed to follow the sisters throughout their lives, a truth their mother saw through disturbing visions of Moloch, which caused her committal to the asylum.

The end of midseason depicts a confusing turn of events, in which a special sword, the Sword of Methuselah, is identified as the only weapon that can defeat Moloch.  Yet, the sword can only be used if the wielder is accepting of the ultimate sacrifice: self-sacrifice, or the wielder’s death.  For the latter quarter of the season’s first half, the viewer watches Henry doubting his filial allegiance to Moloch, his surrogate father, in favor of Katrina, the doting mother.  Though Henry spares no hatred for his dad, Ichabod, he retains loyalty to his mom, from which he inherited his magical powers.  In the meantime, Ichabod and Katrina’s relationship deteriorates given their differences involving Henry, with Ichabod accepting that Henry/Jeremy may have to be killed to prevent the coming onslaught and Katrina fighting for a magical solution to save their son.  This tension culminates in an epic confrontation, during which Katrina reveals to Abraham that she has no feelings of love for him and during which Henry, when he’s lost key powers bestowed to him by Moloch, is nothing more than a pawn to be used to Moloch’s will, much to Henry’s bewilderment and disappointment.  At this point, Henry/Jeremy/War becomes more of a self-preservationist, yet once Ichabod retrieves the sword of Methuselah, he offers to thwart Moloch, to end his son’s servitude to him.  Henry seems moved by the fact that his father still fights for him, so much so that he ultimately wrests the sword magically from his father and kills Moloch himself.  While Henry survives this gesture, having received immortality from Moloch when he became the Horseman of War, his powers seem greatly weakened.

Henry’s foray into selflessness sparks a definitive change in Katrina, who no longer seems moved by love for Ichabod.  She offers to restore Abraham’s humanity, while efforts of Moloch and Henry weaken the gate to Purgatory and unleash the demons within.  A suspicious angel named Orion turns up as well, and this viewer is suddenly reminded of Supernatural.  This angel is apparently a wayward son like many of the angels who encounter Sam and Dean Winchester; he seeks the power of the horsemen in order to pass judgment on humanity, starting with Katrina, who endeavors to perform a ritual to free Abraham from his servitude as the Horseman of Death.  Abbie and Ichabod fend off this ambitious angel and his designs, while Katrina’s efforts spur disagreement between Ichabod and her further, and they take some sort of equivalent of “a break,” in the grand tradition of Ross Geller, which sets them up for a meet-cute of sorts in the episode “Pittura Infamante,” one of the lowest points of the season.  The episode might have been interesting if Sleepy Hollow’s writers and producers had not worked so hard to create a serial story and overarching goal for our heroes – this episode deviated it from markedly, unless the serial arc itself died with Moloch at the point of Methuselah’s sword.  As did “Kali Yuga,” which provided some character history for Nick, although, at this point, this viewer did not feel that the character had been around enough or omnipresent enough to warrant a backstory, especially a backstory that does not seem to dovetail our heroes’ own trajectories.  Perhaps, some reveal about Nick has occurred in season three, if he still appears, that shows he’s more interconnected to our witnesses, other than as an occasional booty call for Jenny, but by the time of “Kali Yuga,” you learn that he’s an orphan and Lost Boy of sorts who found his way to a group of supernatural treasure hunters via a godmother with demonic undercurrents.

The witnesses later encounter a warlock named Solomon Kent, who, like Ichabod, is a man out of time.  He orchestrated the Salem Witch Trials by framing a member of his coven, a woman he loved, according to the show’s mythology, apparently to distract others from his own powerful magic, including a Grimoire that everyone sets their sights on in episode fifteen.  Ichabod and Katrina, still frosty, have been discussing the limits of Katrina’s magic; by this episode, she’s tapped out, finding the most basic spells difficult.  Abbie believes the Grimoire will help revive her.  In the meantime, Henry, who resides in a hotel, defeated and processing his actions toward Moloch, seems to have lost his way.  What’s more, Abbie, Jenny, and Ichabod try to suss out the cause or motivation behind Irving’s resurrection, as he reappears somewhat by surprise and, apparently, out of Henry’s once devious clutches.  By the end of this episode, however, Irving helps the team to defeat the warlock Kent but then stows the Grimoire, bringing it, in the end, to Henry in the wood near the opening of Purgatory, not out of Henry’s influence after all.  Henry, after encountering some drug dealers and meting out his own justice toward them, decides to forage ahead with new plans of his own, and the viewer learns that Irving’s resurrection and duplicitous actions are magically directed by Henry.

Abbie and Ichabod, by the end of the season, discover a secret chamber replete with a holographic projection of Thomas Jefferson in a previously undiscovered layer of tunnels under Sleepy Hollow.  This chamber allegedly holds vast secrets and knowledge that can help the witnesses; however, the old tunnels also house “Reavers,” reminding this viewer suddenly of Firefly, which consume unlucky explorers who discover their previously hidden depths.  In this same episode, Jenny discovers Irving’s double agenda when he secretly steals artifacts.  Irving explains to Jenny that a magical rune facilitating his resurrection allows his evil side to spring forth, and he begs that Jenny help him to usher his wife and daughter out of Sleepy Hollow for good and their safety.  Henry appears to his mother in a dream and convinces her that their purposes align, though a spell manifested in the dream has real life consequences.  While Henry attempts to summon a cult of witches, with his mother as a chief member under his spell (so the viewer is meant to think), Irving attempts to kill Jenny, and Ichabod and Abbie attempt to subvert Henry, as they are newly aware of his odious intents.  In the end, Henry’s attempts to ring a magical bell to summon strong magical powers and the spirits of Katrina’s former coven is thwarted by the witnesses; he is rendered mortal in this battle.  What’s more, after a crafty distraction by Ichabod, Abbie manages to shoot mortal Henry in the chest.  Though his mother attempts to heal him magically, Henry says it is too late.  He asks Katrina to call him Jeremy and forgives his father – even calls him “father” – before disintegrating into ash.

Katrina, stricken by grief over the death of her son and darker than ever, casts a spell with the aim of being transported to the past, so that she can effect a change to the future.  Her efforts result in Abbie also being magically transported to the past, at the time when Ichabod was a soldier in George Washington’s army, while Katrina works to assure the victory of the Horseman of Death in the season finale.  Abbie spends much of this episode attempting to convince Ichabod that she is from the future, and that they are friends ordained to do everything they can to prevent the Apocalypse.  At one point, she is mistaken for a slave woman (colonial times!) and is put in jail, but Ichabod is convinced to let her out when a soldier describes the earliest activities of the Headless Horseman.

Future Katrina finds Headless Abraham and essentially joins forces with him, fearing the tales about Abbie and seemingly jealous of Abbie’s influence over Ichabod.  In order to convince Ichabod of who she is, Abbie appeals to Ichabod to visit Benjamin Franklin, who confirms her stories and tales.  Abbie also reveals that there is a witch teamed with the Headless Horseman who is opposing them but shies away from identifying who, until savvy Franklin consults his books and deduces the witch to be Katrina.  Franklin warns that nothing will save Katrina, driven as she is by guilt over Henry, and advises that Abbie get herself back to the future in the best Marty McFly tradition.  Franklin reminds Abbie of Grace Dixon, her ancestor who is also a witch.

Though Franklin offers his almanac to Ichabod and Abbie’s service, the Horseman appears and manages to decapitate Franklin (this viewer is unsure if this event is taking place in the year that Franklin was said to have died, though it may be worth further research).  This event shocks Ichabod into believing that Abbie was lying all along, so he throws her in jail anew.  Abbie admits that Katrina is the witch plotting against them and advises Ichabod that she will reveal a pregnancy, as Katrina worked the spell to appear in time before Henry was born.

When Ichabod returns home to Katrina, she tries to kill Ichabod from behind, though soldiers interrupt her progress, not without Ichabod noticing Katrina’s use of the Grimoire and mixing potions that he knows are to be for a pregnant woman.  Ichabod secures Abbie’s confiscated cell phone and somehow manages to turn it on, which strikes this viewer as being quite clever for a Revolutionary War hero (deus ex machina alert) where he discovers photographs and a video proving their friendship.  Abbie slays the general who mistrusts her and escapes jail. Ichabod and Abbie make for Grace Dixon’s home, while Katrina uses magic to track them down.

The finale ends with Ichabod’s efforts to fight off his wife and the Headless Horseman while Grace and Abbie work the spell that will restore her to current times.  Though Abbie fears that Ichabod will be slain by the Horseman before the spell can be finished, as all great dramas aspire to do, she completes her spell in the nick of time, and she and Katrina are shuttled forward to the point at which Katrina cast the time traveling spell.  Frustrated and perverted by either Henry’s magic and/or what is ultimately her dark heart, Katrina attempts to magically dispose of Abbie, but Ichabod intervenes and stabs his wife with a knife that she attempted to magically hurl at Abbie.  Katrina dies as her son did.  Jenny and Irving also appear, and Irving announces that with Henry’s death, his soul has been released.  Ichabod is consumed by momentary grief at the deaths of his known family, but he commits to Abbie that he is ready for the battles ahead.

The deaths of Henry and Katrina are both shocking and sad for the character of Ichabod, and the season finale was interesting, particularly given the role reversal between Abbie and Ichabod, but it lacked the power and surprise of the twists learned in the first season finale.  In fact, in some ways, these last two episodes were relatively anticlimactic when compared to all that came before them.  At the end of the season, it left this viewer somewhat worried for the future of the show.

Season Two Reactions without Season Three spoilers

When Sleepy Hollow was picked up by CPU! and premiered, I thought the premise was interesting but could not fathom how a long-term story could be eked out of the source legend from whence the series got its name, as it is a fairly simple fable with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. When the Headless Horseman became a horseman of the Apocalypse, my interest was piqued and my imagination excited by the thought of where the series could go, coupled with Ichabod’s fish-out-of-water humor and the easy chemistry between Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, the latter of which has only become more likable as the series progresses.  The problem is, the writers and producers have veered speedily away from their initial trajectory.  The Horseman of War is dead – will another arise? Is the Headless Horseman still a threat?  Moloch was the puppeteer behind both of the horsemen.  Did his death prevent the end of days?

Also, the forced drama between Ichabod and Katrina was somewhat yawn-inducing if not outright disappointing this season, and though she died, and her death caused this viewer to feel sorry for Ichabod, I will not miss her.  It almost felt like the writers were scrambling for something to fill those extra five episodes that they might not have been expecting to get but then lost track of their own goals for the story in the excitement of receiving a season extension.  Perhaps it’s the fate of all TV production teams nowadays, to write for always impending cancellation whether merited or not, but season two felt like an end to the series that took the scenic route to get to its point, while season one was a pleasantly surprising straight drive toward an impressive and engaging destination.

Where can season three go now?  As of the publication of this entry, eight of eighteen episodes have aired, and this previously gripping if still moderately entertaining show is struggling for ratings.  What this signifies to this viewer is that the show was at its best with a thirteen episode season, which allowed the writers to center and concentrate on meatier, more cohesively connected story and less filler episodes, particularly for characters who are recurring at best.  Unfortunately, the damage might have already been done: new viewers might be confused by what’s going on, and viewers who have watched from the beginning might be increasingly disillusioned and finding other TV to watch.

The writers should remember that the initial season felt much like National Treasure or The Da Vinci Code, with the witnesses’ search for aids, both person and thing, to help them in their quest.  This search also had a level of urgency that added intensity to the proceedings and came with unexpected twists that engaged and tantalized.  This viewer hopes that the third season finds a story arc again and one that connects to the alleged Apocalypse.  It’s the witnesses’ reason for being and is, this viewer believed, the premise of the show, which should not be forgotten or overly convoluted.  If other shows – Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel – have taught us anything, it’s that some bloody evil genius is always up for ending the world.

This viewer will keep watching, and CPU! will visit the third season sometime after it ends.  If you are current with the show, comment on this post and tell us what you think (though label any spoilers you might discuss).  Has the show improved – or, is it good and lost, off its track, and beyond the point of saving?  To this viewer, there’s always hope but for the fact that the show airs on finicky Fox – and the show runners would also do well to hope but be aware of their show’s hosting network’s history, particularly given the recent move to Fridays on the network’s winter schedule.  It’s a tough TV landscape out there, and the first season created high expectations that have not been met so far, at least not by season two.

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

OLD QUESTIONS

1) Will John Noble remain part of the cast? He has become one of my favorite actors, particularly given his run as Walter Bishop on Fringe. Now that War is upon us, though, it seems he should be the one to play that horseman – he could bring so much depth and dimension to that role. Make him a series regular!!

Answer: He was made a series regular for season two!  But now he’s dead, so that regular status was short lived.  It’s too bad, really.  He was one of the best parts of the season.

2) How will Ichabod save Katrina? How will he save Abbie?

Answer: Katrina saves herself by escaping from Abraham/the Headless Horseman’s clutches, though she was pregnant with the nearly resurrected demon Moloch at the time, so “escape” is really more “she was let go,” and I think via distraction of Henry’s if memory serves. Ichabod and Abbie sort of mutually save the latter from Purgatory; Abbie resists temptation by Moloch, but Ichabod breaks into Purgatory in and saves Abbie’s soul.

3) Is Jenny really dead?! I hope not!

Answer: She is alive and kicking.  She’s hearty, that one.

4) How far behind are Famine or Pestilence at this point?! Have they already risen?

Answer: Still a question!

5) What happens if all Four Horsemen ride?

Answer: Still a question!

6) Why is Ichabod obsessed with new smartphones but can’t be open to more contemporary clothes?

Answer: I think he’s obsessed with workmanship or something.  What’s more impressive is that he can work a smart phone when he’s the 1780ish version of Ichabod.

7) Do the witnesses have secret abilities beyond the hidden messages and clues left for them?

Answer: Abbie’s ancestor is a witch – maybe she has latent magical powers?  So far, there’s nothing more special about them than status and the ability to get their hands on some nifty collections of the Founding Fathers.

8) Can be there be more spot-on musical montages? “Sympathy for the Devil” was a perfect choice to open and close this show’s season…

Answer: There were NO spot-on musical montages in season two. Perhaps, the show should consider resurrecting those too.

NEW QUESTIONS

1) Where does the show go now?  Are we still talking Apocalypse?  If so, who’s running it?

2) Will Ichabod recover from what I imagine will be considerable grief?

3) Will Nick Hawley still appear?  I don’t think he should be made a regular.

4) What are these other “impending battles” that Abbie and Ichabod will have to contend with?

5) Does getting Katrina out of the way mean that Ichabod and Abbie will explore a romantic dynamic of their odd coupling?  I mean…there are quite a few other tropes being explored, why not add this one?

6) Where’s Headless nowadays?  Will another Horseman of War arise?

7) Will the show save itself from its own impending Apocalypse?

PARTING SHOTS

While it’s still fun to watch out-of-time Ichabod struggle with current technology and the fast pace of the much more modern world in which he finds himself, season two left this viewer feeling doubtful about whether this show is “must see TV,” unlike the feeling inspired by the first season’s conclusion.  The twists and urgency of season one were lost in season two, and many of what were obviously intended to be the most dramatic moments were entertaining but without the intensity and gripping/captivating quality of the series’ beginning.  What is clear to this viewer is that the writers lost control of their own story somewhat in this program’s sophomore season, and if they don’t get a hold of the reins again, Sleepy Hollow could gallop erratically toward a precipice without the ability to stop its own demise.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Sleepy Hollow is currently in its third season but is on mid-season hiatus, eight produced episodes having aired.   The series will return on February 5, 2016, and will air the rest of its season in a Friday night slot, battling mainstays like Grimm for similar audiences.  A full second season of eighteen episodes was ordered, but there is no word yet on renewal. Pundits’ prognoses are not favorable, calling renewal a “long shot,” which is fair given the network’s schedule shuffling to the so-called “death slot.”  Let’s hope Sleepy Hollow finds its way back to its impressive initial glory again, if it even has the time, at this point, to correct its course.

iTunes PODCAST – – The X-Files (Seasons 4-6, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of experts–including moderator Kylie, Sarah, Nick, Hilary, and Kyle–gathered together for a longer than usual discussion in which we were Looking Back and reminiscing about seasons four through six of The X-Files. This is the second episode of a five part CPU! podcast series examining one of our favorite television programs in advance of the revival miniseries to premiere on FOX in January 2016. If you have not watched any of the X-Files (and I mean, any of it!), be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS. Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Stay tuned next week for Episode 3 of our X-Files Looking Back series, in which we cover Seasons 7-9!