Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard, 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 have mercilessly swung the end of season ax, leaving a bloody mess in their respective wakes.  Thus, it’s time for the End of Season progress report for the new pilots introduced this season (long-running shows covered by this blog will be addressed shortly)! Where are the new shows (that are left), and how are they doing nowadays? Read below to find out!

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

American Horror Story: Hotel

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL, FX

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 ended on January 13, 2016.  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, though I did recently watch Freak Show.  And I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone thought, but that’s the subject of a future podcast!

Blindspot

BLINDSPOT, NBC

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.

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: Officially renewed for season two!  The season one finale aired on May 23, 2016.

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, so it’s not yet viewed).

Bordertown

Bordertown, Fox

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

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

PICKUP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  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: Officially canceled as of May 12, 2016.  The series finale aired on May 22, 2016.

CPU! STATUS: How can this decision be surprising?  It took forever to get on the schedule, had no buzz, and I actually saw a few minutes of one episode – it was not funny.  Adios, mi amigos.

The Catch

THE CATCH, ABC

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.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass (by CPU! Chief Kylie).  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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The first season finale aired on May 19, 2016.

CPU! STATUS: This show is likely to be covered by CPU! moderator and panelist Kristen. Stay tuned to CPU! for future developments.

Chicago Med

CHICAGO MED, NBC

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.  The season one finale aired on May 18, 2016.

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

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.

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: Officially renewed for season 2!  The first season finale aired on February 24, 2016.

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

Containment

CONTAINMENT, The CW

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.

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.

STATUS: Officially canceled as of May 12, 2016, though it is still in season and will likely be allowed to finish airing.

CPU! STATUS: Because it was touted as a limited series from the beginning (with the possibility and/or room to do more, should the opportunity arise), I will still look into it and see if it holds my interest.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, The CW

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.

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: Officially renewed for season 2!  The first season finale aired on April 18, 2016.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but extremely happy I will have the chance.  Those who have watched it extol its virtues quite highly.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

iTunes PODCAST – Desperate Housewives, Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on May 16, 2016, our panel of potentially Desperate Housewives – including Moderator Eddie, Kylie, and Jen – talk all things Wisteria Lane while Looking Back at the eight seasons of the program Desperate Housewives (which aired from 2004 to 2012 on ABC). If you have not watched Desperate Housewives, 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! – Looking Back at “Desperate Housewives” (MAJOR SPOILERS) + The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Favorite Shows (#100)

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Moderator: Eddie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Desperate Housewives,” a comedy-drama and mystery series that aired for eight seasons on ABC from 2004-2012.

What: Created and produced by Marc Cherry and ABC Studios, Desperate Housewives follows the lives of a group of women who live in a suburban neighborhood, Wisteria Lane, as seen through the eyes of their late friend and neighbor.

SYNOPSIS

The story line of Desperate Housewives covers thirteen years of the women’s lives over eight seasons, set between the years 2004–2008 and later 2013–2017 (the story arc included a 5-year passage of time, as well as flashbacks ranging from the 1980s to the 2020s). They work through domestic struggles and family life, while facing the secrets, crimes, and mysteries hidden behind the doors of their — at the surface — beautiful and seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood. The series features an ensemble cast, headed by Teri Hatcher as Susan Mayer, Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, Marcia Cross as Bree Van de Kamp, and Eva Longoria as Gabrielle Solis. Brenda Strong narrates the series as the late Mary Alice Young, appearing sporadically in flashbacks or dream sequences.

When: The show aired for eight seasons from 2004 to 2012 on ABC.

Where: The show is set on Wisteria Lane, a street in the fictional town of Fairview in the fictional Eagle State.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Desperate Housewives.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

As things sometimes happen around here, when contemplating how to cover a show like Desperate Housewives, Chief Couch Potato Kylie had to make some decisions.  This is a show I did watch but also one I ultimately jumped the shark while watching, without finishing, which is something I rarely do. Also, the CPU! podcast panelists are sometimes like a micro sample of the TV-watching public at large: they know what they like to watch, and they’re not afraid to say it!  Thus, as I contemplated, puzzling how to serve Desperate Housewives fairly and in a way listeners might actually enjoy, I soon realized what I had to do.

I know of no bigger fan of this program than frequent panelist Eddie (featured on our Orange is the New Black, How to Get Away with Murder, Once Upon a Time, and True Blood panels), whose passion for the ladies of Wisteria Lane is unrivaled in my personal sphere of acquaintances, friends, and loved ones. Thus, I recruited Eddie to take the reins in moderating this panel, his unbridled passion in tow, as he leads our “Looking Back” discussion about the Housewives, while I sit back and contribute as a regular old panelist along with frequent CPU! panelist Jen.

This podcast was recorded in May 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover significant plot points that occur throughout all eight seasons. 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!

Also: we now have Instagram! (@couchpotatoesunite) and a Pinterest (@cpupodcast). Find us there, if these social media platforms rock your respective socks.  We plan to get groovy on the interwebs elsewhere very soon as well – subscribe, follow, like, and review to stay on top of our newest developments.

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we’ll be around the water cooler and discussing British mystery drama Broadchurch, starring David Tennant.  You won’t want to miss it!  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Desperate Housewives is recommended to anyone who enjoys a purely guilty pleasure and television that does not make you think too hard or too much while watching it.  The panel thought soap opera fans would most love the Housewives, including aficionados of ilk like Dynasty, St. Elsewhere, and Melrose Place, though even the stoutest and most fanatical panelists (i.e. everyone but me) acknowledged that the show’s quality declines after the fourth season, owing to the infamous “tornado” and “time jump.”  Still, all the panelists agree that the actresses who play the Housewives give stellar performances and render the show enticing, even when the writing doesn’t match their considerable talents. Desperate Housewives is available to stream on Hulu Plus.  For those who need sudsy and sexy TV in their lives, Desperate Housewives is a can’t-miss!

Meet the (New-ish) Moderator – Edgar (Eddie)!

We here at Couch Potatoes Unite! just keep right on expanding, for the love of all things TV!  You have already heard several voices, old and continually new, on our podcasts! Well, some of those voices have expressed desire to expand beyond their roles as panelists, and Chief Couch Potato Kylie is only too happy to oblige. As a result, from time to time, some of the voices will grab hold of the reins of moderating our panel-based podcast episodes.

Another of our regular podcast panelists, and my current fellow written reviewer/blogger, wanted to moderate a podcast, and his first effort will be published tomorrow.  For now, read all about him (his info is already accessible on the About page, reachable by the little square box in the upper left of the header).

INTRODUCING EDGAR (EDDIE)!

Edgar is from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He works for Spectrum Health currently and enjoys musical theater. Edgar loves TV. What’s more, he likes to analyze TV – thus, a podcast panelist and TV reviewer was born!

Edgar enjoys trying to figure out what TV writers are thinking when they craft their shows. To wit, some of Edgar’s favorites include Sense8, Lost, and Once Upon a Time, basically shows that offer mystery that Edgar can analyze and figure out, as he likes to be one step ahead of the show.

Edgar is very excited to be a team member of Couch Potatoes Unite! You can hear his voice on the CPU! podcasts for Once Upon a Time, Orange is the New Black, How to Get Away with Murder, and the one-time “Looking Back” podcast about True Blood (so far!). Stay tuned for his turn at the microphone moderating the “Looking Back” podcast episode covering Desperate Housewives!

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iTunes PODCAST – Downton Abbey, The Looking Back Edition (Part Two of the CPU! Goodbye to Downton, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on May 7, 2016, our panel of Downton Abbey enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Krista, Stacey, Spencer, and Kristin T – gathered together one final time around the tea table for a deep-dive discussion in which we were Looking Back at all six seasons (which aired from 2010 to 2016 on PBS) of the beloved English drama, in the second part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to Downton. If you have not watched any of Downton, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

 

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Downton Abbey” (The CPU! Goodbye to Downton, Part Two, MAJOR SPOILERS) + The Best Written TV (#43) + The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Favorites (#44)

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Downton Abbey,” aired in the United States on public TV, specifically on PBS, from 2010-2016.

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

When: The show aired in its entirety on PBS or public broadcasting from 2010 to 2016.

Where: The show is set Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, and spans the years 1912-1926.

Why: Downton Abbey is so popular among the CPU! panelists who have covered it, we couldn’t say goodbye with just one podcast episode.  In addition, Downton Abbey has been influential enough in its time to make two best-of lists being covered by CPU!  So, we felt we really needed one more deep-dive discussion and one more tip of the hat to say a proper goodbye to this wonderful drama.

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

Couch Potatoes Unite!’s Complete Downton Abbey Coverage

Season Four’s Written Recap

Season Five’s Podcast

Season Six’s Podcast

Our Downton Abbey panel of fans and enthusiasts of varying degrees – Kristen (L), Krista, Stacey, Spencer and Kristin T. – could not leave Downton behind forever without spending quality time saying a long and (mostly) loving goodbye to this show, which has been in our lives for six years. After our season/series 6 discussion, we decided to reconvene to discuss the show as a whole, including all of its ups and the occasional downs, for part two of our two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says goodbye to this fantastic program. In this second part, our panelists delve deep, reminiscing about what we loved and we did not like as much from Downton’s six seasons and about whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it was a bit of lightning in a bottle, appropriate for the first half of the 2010s, even as the show hearkened back 90 years.

This second part of our two-part Downton goodbye was recorded on May 7, 2016, and there are, without doubt, major spoilers.  Give it a listen, and tell us what you think!

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!

Also: we now have Instagram! (@couchpotatoesunite) and a Pinterest (@cpupodcast). Find us there, if these social media platforms rock your respective socks.  We plan to get groovy on the interwebs elsewhere very soon as well – subscribe, follow, like, and review to stay on top of our newest developments.

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we will be publishing another “Looking Back” episode, this time reminiscing about sudsy formerly Sunday soap opera Desperate Housewives, featuring some familiar voices and a brand new moderator (while CPU! Chief CP Kylie sits in as a panelist, for an unusual twist). Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Our Downton Abbey panel recommends the show to lovers of period dramas; one panelist called the show “the right way to do a period drama.”  The panel also recommends Downton to Anglophiles, whether you live in England or not, as well as to those who simply appreciate quality television and quality drama, as Downton is replete with beautiful cinematography, settings, and costumes; high quality performances; and attention to detail with respect to history. Those who do not enjoy slower-moving, deliberative dramas like Downton will probably not enjoy it.  Most of the panel also felt that the show is best lived through once, unless the second viewing is with someone watching it for the first time, though one panelist thought she might revisit it in years to come.  In any event, all of the panelists enjoyed the six-season and fourteen-year journey of these characters, and if you have any proclivity toward shows of similar ilk, you likely will too.  The entire series is available to stream on Amazon Prime (season six has not yet been released to the service, though).

Did you watch Downton?  Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you thought of any or all of its six seasons!  And stay tuned!  Though our Downton coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time.  CPU! has some great plans to expand our panel formats in new and exciting ways. Details coming soon (as we work them out)! 🙂

 

iTunes PODCAST – DC Television Universe, Episode One, Arrow (Seasons One and Two, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in May 2016, our Gotham panel, members of which are all DC comic book enthusiasts in their own right, reunites – including moderator Kylie, Jen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – and gathers Around the Water Cooler for the first ever episode of our DC Television Universe (or DCTU) ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Seasons 1-2 of the show that set this universe in motion, Arrow. If you have not watched any of Arrow, 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!