Progress Report: Post-February Sweeps, 2015-2016 Pilots

Hey!  CPU! is starting to catch up as we pump out podcasts and rev up with reviews. Catching up means we have a greater ability to stay on top of the TV news.  Just in time, as the networks are starting to hand out renewal and cancellation notices a bit more frequently.  Plus, there have been updated premiere dates released lately.  So, it’s time for a quarterly progress report for the new pilots (long-running shows covered by this blog will be addressed at end of season)! Where are the new shows (that are left), and how are they doing nowadays?  Read below to find out!

And for those of you looking for this week’s new CPU! PODCAST!, the podcasts will be in re-runs for the next two weeks as we work on some exciting new developments for CPU! This week, courtesy of WordPress’ Sticky Post feature, we are re-running our Gotham podcast published last week, as Gotham returns with new episodes to Fox on February 29, 2016! Revisit that podcast for all things early Bruce Wayne/Jim Gordon (it’s at the top of the Home page).  Our next new podcast episode will be about Marvel’s Daredevil, and it will be published on March 9, 2016!  Stay tuned!  Keep listening!  Keep watching! Buh-bye!

Oh, and thanks to TVLine for helping a girl out.

American Horror Story: Hotel

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL, FX

PREMIERE DATE | On hiatus, fully aired.

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: This season has ended.  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?

(INITIAL) 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: Officially canceled.  The Eye canceled this Jane Lynch sitcom after airing only five episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Because so few episodes aired, with no word as to when remaining filmed episodes might be, and despite the presence of the always funny Jane Lynch, CPU! will, with some regret, change the initial verdict of hesitantly pick-up to pass in the interest of devoting time to other TV possibilities with arguable longevity.  Sorry, Jane Lynch.

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).

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.

STATUS: In season, having finally premiered after several delays.  TV pundits say it’s too early to tell about renewal possibilities, and, in truth, CPU! has heard virtually no buzz on the interwebs or on the street about this show.

CPU! STATUS: As a result, not exactly convinced to watch or cover it.

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: Officially renewed for season two by the Peacock.

CPU! STATUS: No change.  It’s still a medical drama, and no one’s tried to talk me into watching it…

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.  TVLine thinks renewal is a “safe bet,” but no announcement has yet been made.

CPU! STATUS: The same.  Again, no one’s trying to talk me into it…

Containment

CONTAINMENT, The CW

PREMIERE DATE | April 19, 2016

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.  TVLine upgraded its prognosis of renewal to “could go either way,” as the network – and critics – have been pretty vocally supportive of this show, especially during the winter TCA Press Conferences.

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

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

iTunes PODCAST – Gotham (Seasons 1-2A; 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 January 30, 2016, our eager panel of Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Jen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Seasons 1-2A, with particular emphasis on Season 2, i.e. all aired episodes to date, of Gotham. If you have not watched any of Gotham, 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! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Around the Water Cooler – “Gotham” (Recapping Season One and Ruminating on Season Two; MAJOR SPOILERS)

pilot-gotham-title-card

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Gotham” is a crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Batman franchise/DC Comic Universe, which currently airs on FOX, fall/spring Mondays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Gotham,” a crime series developed by Bruno Heller and primarily based upon the characters of to-be Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), the real life identity of Batman. As originally conceived, the series would have served as a straightforward story of Gordon’s early days on the Gotham City Police Department. The idea evolved not only to include the Wayne character but also to tell the origin stories of several Batman villains, including the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) Poison Ivy, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strangeand the Joker.

When: Season One aired on FOX from September 22, 2014, to May 4, 2015.  FOX is currently airing Season Two, which premiered on September 21, 2015.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Gotham City, the primary setting of the Batman franchise.

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

As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2014-2015 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“This is one of the most anticipated pilots of the new season, by critics, fans, and this blogger.  First, as a DC girl, Batman is my second favorite of their properties, after Superman, of course. Second, picking up the story from this prequel point is potentially brilliant; this could be must-see TV for a long time to come, folding in a Smallville like examination of the rise of Batman and the foes he fights, all from the perception of to-be Commissioner Gordon.  I’m super excited for this one and can’t wait to see a full episode.

Now, I’ve seen some episodes – all of them to date, in fact – and asked some fellow panelists to join me in evaluating how effective Gotham is in its storytelling muster and how successful it has been serving as the “prequel” it has become. Scroll down, and take a listen!

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.

Gotham = As of the first season: 3.3, by average of the podcast panel.  As of the second season: 4.4, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

A new recruit in the Gotham City Police Department named James Gordon (McKenzie) is paired with veteran detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) to solve one of Gotham City’s highest-profile cases: the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. During his investigation, Gordon meets the Waynes’ son Bruce (Mazouz) who is now in the care of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Meeting the younger Wayne further compels Gordon to catch the mysterious killer. Along the way, Gordon becomes involved with Gotham’s Mafia families and associates, including gangster Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Don Carmine Falcone (John Doman), and Don Salvatore Maroni (David Zayas). Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Bruce, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming Batman.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Gotham was one of the most eagerly anticipated, if not the most eagerly anticipated, new shows from the 2014-2015 season.  It was also one of the most eagerly anticipated new shows from this podcast moderator/TV blogger/CPU! Chief Couch Potato, as noted above. Batman constitutes one of my most favorite comic book properties (aside from Superman); I’ve followed the Caped Crusader’s exploits throughout comics, graphic novels, television, and film.  So, it was a no-brainer when it came to tuning in, and a few good friends and fellow Batman fans in my life joined me around the water cooler with the same mindset and eagerness in tow.

As it turns out, though, Gotham got off to a bumpy start but has since vastly improved, and our brand new CPU! podcast panel, featuring three familiar voices and one brand new voice, viewed this new addition to the Batman zeitgeist with various perspectives that intersected even as they differed. This podcast was recorded in January 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of both first and second seasons, including all episodes that have aired to date. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Our next podcast episode will be about the Netflix original, Marvel’s Daredevil!

Questions Going Forward
1) Was Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) really meant to be Batgirl’s mother?  Now that her character is in a coma, what will her character do, if anything, in the future?
2) Is Dr. Thompkins’ (Morena Baccarin) prospective baby going to be Barbara Gordon, the girl who would be Batgirl?  Are Lee and Jim going to name the baby after crazy Barbara?
3) Will Penguin and Riddler have a falling out, which motivates them toward their most sociopathically driven selves?
4) Will Riddler’s riddles get more complex and mind-twisting?
5) What will we see of Mr. Freeze’s back story?  Who will be playing that character?
6) What will we learn of Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin’s back story when Paul Reubens plays Mr. Cobblepot, Sr., in the second half of the season?
7) What is the takeaway from Jerome, the Joker-not-Joker?  Is he alive or really dead?  Was he taken to Hugo Strange’s basement laboratory at Wayne Enterprises?  Is he really the Joker nascent or is he the inspiration for the real Joker?  If he is not the Joker, is the show advocating that the real Joker is a copycat?  Where is the real Joker, if so?  Is he similarly aged to Bruce Wayne?
8) Will Theo Galavan (James Frain) be back after his umbrella-pierced corpse was shipped to Dr. Strange’s underground laboratory?  Will he become comic villain Azrael?  Or, Solomon Grundy, as some fans theorize?
9) Was comic villain Hush introduced, or will he be introduced?
10) Are the writers going to treat the nascent Ivy character (who the podcast panel presumes will be Poison Ivy) better?
11) Will we see any more villains, such as Killer Croc?
12) Will we see the Graysons and Baby Dick (who would be Robin) again?
13) What’s on the hard drive that Alfred smashed in what will become the Batcave?  What will Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) find and/or share with Bruce?
14) Will we see more of Bruce’s training – especially his physical training?
15) Will the writers continue to smooth out the obvious kinks?

RECOMMENDATION

Gotham is recommended to fans of comic books, particularly from the DC universe, and the Batman franchise, but our panel cautions against walking into Gotham with any kind of preconceived prejudices or devotion to all that has come before within the Batman mythology.  While the show draws amply from the comic book universe that inspired it, the program also deviates quite a bit too, telling a story that, the podcast panel agrees, should not be viewed as Batman canon but, rather, as a high quality new take on some familiar stories.  The panel also agrees, universally, that the strength of the show lies in its aim to tell the back stories and origin trajectories of our favorite villains, including Penguin and Riddler.  One podcast panelist surmised that, perhaps, the Gotham writers are not true fans of the source material and do not know it enough to write appreciably for these characters, but all the panelists agreed that the writers/producers seem to be listening to the fans and working to improve the initial flaws of the show, to the point that at least some members of the panel find themselves addicted to this program.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Gotham is currently mid-season two and on winter hiatus, slated to return with new episodes on February 29, 2016.  While a third season renewal has not yet been announced, most TV pundits believe the show is a safe bet to be renewed.  As always, CPU! will keep you posted.

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3A; 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 February 7, 2016, our small but robust panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3A of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, 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: “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 3 Mid-Season Recap & Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

agents-of-shield-season-3-logo-900x500

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, Tuesdays at 9:00 PM, though it is currently on mid-season hiatus.

What: “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: The season 3 premiere aired on ABC, Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of the Marvel property it recently acquired.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

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

We recently published our first podcast about this series, which reviewed season one, recapped season two, and ruminated on the progress of season three.  If you would like to catch up, here’s the YouTube link:

Since our first Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. podcast and, really, any true revisit of the series was a long-time coming for CPU!, we made up for lost time, and the fact that so much had happened in the episodes following our last podcast, by reconvening mid-season. Thus, our S.H.I.E.L.D. podcast panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, decided to check in on the series and to dissect what has happened, including the several colossal plot developments in the mid-season finale.  We also decided to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments, since our favorite agents are in various states of rebuilding and recovery following some unexpected deaths and another visit to the alien world through the portal.  The last three to four episodes of the first half of season three were especially jam-packed; our panel delves into the meat of those episodes thoroughly. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded on February 7, 2015.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, and/or our iTunes channel to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  And remember, new episodes and blog posts come out weekly!

Old Questions

1) Why does Lash leave Skye/Daisy alone?

ANSWER: Unclear but presumably because Lash, who is Andrew (Blair Underwood) in real life, recognizes her.  Also, Skye/Daisy (Chloe Bennett) is legitimately alien, unlike many Inhumans who are simply reacting to the crystal dust in the atmosphere.

2) What is the ATCU’s true mission?

ANSWER: Roz (Constance Zimmer) believed that it was to contain Inhumans and other “special” people and responsibly put them in stasis, possibly affording ATCU’s scientists the opportunity to “cure” them, which is different than S.H.I.E.L.D.’s traditional courses of action.  As it turns out, however, ATCU is really one of many legitimate faces of the heads of Hydra, which also surprised Roz, who was unaware of that fact.

3) Will Fitz/Simmons rescue Will from the alien planet?  And if they do, how will it affect their tentative romance?

ANSWER: Fitz (Iain de Castecker) volunteered to return to the alien planet, under duress by Ward (Brett Dalton), who would have forced Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) to return to help him find what he was looking for (and to help him get back) if Fitz didn’t go – and Ward convinced Fitz to do this by allowing him to listen to Simmons being tortured in the next room.  While it looked as though he might save Will, he and Coulson (Clark Gregg) discovered that Will was occupied by the unidentified alien in the desert that Will and Gemma previously feared, so Fitz shot the Will-infested creature with a flare gun.  In the meantime, Coulson, with his bionic hand and a thirst for revenge after the death of Roz, strangled Ward to death by crushing his neck.  Yet, Ward’s body was sneakily occupied by the spirit of the unidentified alien, and he returned to Earth behind the others.  Thus, Will has died, and we do see Fitz reunite with Simmons after returning from the alien planet and, presumably, informing her of the tragic news amidst embrace.  The love triangle that could have been is, therefore, currently defunct, but we have not yet seen the aftermath or effect this news has/will have on Simmons and/or her relationship to Fitz.

4) Will we learn about the secret society and how far back the knowledge of this alien portal goes?

ANSWER: All we know right now is that the secret society is yet another head of Hydra or related to Hydra in some way, and that the knowledge reaches back for centuries, based upon some connections that Fitz and Simmons found in some old books.  We also know that there is a Hydra symbol shaped structure on the alien planet, and that the character played by Powers Boothe seems to think that the alien planet is the source of power and knowledge that Hydra has been seeking since its inception.  Other than that, no other blanks have been filled.

5) Will we learn which planet it is?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

6) Will we learn what’s out in the desert?

ANSWER: A hostile alien being, but we do not know its true form.  We only know that it occupies Ward’s presumably lifeless body currently.

7) Will Coulson learn about Roz’s true motives?

ANSWER: He learned about ATCU, and the connection to Hydra, but he also learned that Roz truly believed that ATCU was doing good work, as she talked about the loss of her husband, who died of a fatal disease, and how she joined ATCU to apply its principles to fighting the likes of, for example, cancer.  We learned that Coulson and Roz had fallen in love, despite their initial cat-and-mouse spy agency competition and sexual tension, and that Coulson was wracked with grief and anger when Hydra agents took out Roz.

8) Does Ward even matter anymore?

ANSWER: Well, he does NOW!  Except he’s not really Ward.  WHAT WILL IT ALL MEAN?!

9) Who is Powers Boothe’s character, and what is his true mission?

ANSWER: We only know that he is a member of the “old guard” of Hydra and has a lot of knowledge about the organization’s history and mission.  It is still unclear how he fits into the picture, but he was definitely after whatever was on the alien planet, though not even he knows what that might be – is it the alien being?  The Hydra structure?  Or, is there something more to that planet?

10) Will S.H.I.E.L.D. – or Lance (Nick Hunter) – ever catch up to Ward?

ANSWER: And how, only it was Coulson who got Ward in the end, and he got what he thought was his revenge by crushing Ward’s neck with his mechanical hand.

11) Will Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) accept S.H.I.E.L.D.’s protection (and calm down)?

ANSWER: He seemed to calm down, so much so that he was added into the mission as S.H.I.E.L.D. chased Ward (and Fitz/Simmons) back to the castle with the alien portal.

12) Will the Inhuman program be successful, and what will be its purpose?

ANSWER: So far, the Inhuman program seems to augment S.H.I.E.L.D’s larger mission, but Skye/Daisy is looking after only Lincoln and the guy who could manipulate metal that they found at the beginning of the season.  Future story lines will no doubt flush out this task force.

13) Can Lash/Andrew be saved?

ANSWER: His fate is undecided – it looks like he died, but we didn’t really see it, and it was left open ended.

14) Can Mack (Henry Simmons) get more to do?

ANSWER: And how.  Because May (Ming-Na Wen) was emotionally compromised by the discovery that Lash is Andrew, Coulson placed Mack temporarily in charge while Coulson chased down Ward with a vendetta for Roz’s death on the brain.  Mack was insecure but ultimately an able leader, though May helped him out a bit.

Questions Going Forward

1) Will Ward/Not Ward use any lingering sense of Ward-ness (his memories, his feelings for Daisy, his skills, his grudges, etc.) while occupied by the alien being, or will this new Ward be a whole new animal reflective of the being within?

2) What is the alien being’s endgame?

3) What or where is the alien planet?  Is it the Cree home world?  Is it somewhere else? Are there any other occupants on that planet besides the alien being, or did it kill everyone off all over the planet?

4) Is the alien being the true face of Hydra/did it create Hydra?

5) What was the Hydra-symbol shaped structure on the alien planet?  Did the alien being live in it?

6) Have other alien beings inhabited other human visitors and found their way back to Earth?  Or, is the Ward/Not Ward alien being the first one?

7) Does the alien being plan to destroy Earth?  Why?

8) Who are the Cree after all?

9) Is Andrew/Lash actually dead?

10) Where will May’s head be when the second half of the season starts?

11) Who is the Powers Boothe character (beyond what we know), and is the Ward/Not Ward being what he was after in the end?

12) Will Daisy learn to fly?  Soon?

13) When is the Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki)/Lance spin-off supposed to start, and would it be worth watching?

14) Does the alien being have any plans for Hydra?  Is it aware of Hydra?

15) What will happen with Daisy’s Inhuman task force?

16) What will the aftermath of Will’s death be for Fitz/Simmons?  How will they evolve? Will they evolve?

17) How will the new Captain America movie and the events depicted therein affect our characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

18) What is the alien being’s true form?

PARTING SHOTS

Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just keeps getting better; the entire podcast panel still believes that it’s become one of the most satisfying, action-packed “superhero” dramas currently on television, more or less – in fact, there was consensus, in that we think the third season is the best so far. Even if the panelists vary in whether we think this show is “can’t miss” appointment television, we’re still eager to see what happens next. Plus, the show is moving along at a great clip, with engaging story arcs for its characters.  It’s worth tuning in, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing.

LOOKING AHEAD:

A full season of this program was ordered upon renewal, and both our podcast panel and other TV pundits believe that renewal for a fourth season is a safe bet, though no official announcement has yet been made.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns from its mid-season hiatus on March 8, 2016. The podcast panel will revisit this program at the end of season, so keep checking back with CPU! for all the latest blog posts and podcast episodes.

Coming next week: CPU!’s first look at the TV show Gotham.

iTunes PODCAST – Once Upon a Time (Season 5A, Dark Swan, 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 January 17, 2016, our Once Upon a Time panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Eddie, and Amie–returns to the Water Cooler to discuss the first half of season five of Once Upon a Time – i.e. the “Dark Swan” arc. If you are not caught up on Once, 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!