iTunes PODCAST – Gotham (Season 2B, MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 July 2016, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Jen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 2B, otherwise known as “The Wrath of the Villians,” 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!

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Gotham,” The Season 2 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Gotham” is a crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Batman franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs fall through spring on Fox; it is currently on hiatus.

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 Strange, and the Joker.

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. Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Bruce, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming Batman.

When: The Season Two finale aired on Monday, May 23, 2016, at 8:00 PM.

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 episodes embedded 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? – THOUGHTS

CPU! first covered Gotham earlier this year by catching up listeners on Season 1 and Season 2A, otherwise known as “The Rise of the Villains.”  If you haven’t caught up on CPU!’s Gotham coverage, listen via the embedded link below:

Seasons 1-2A

As our Gotham panel, consisting of Jen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer, discusses in that first podcast about the show, Gotham got off to a bumpy start but had since vastly improved in the second season’s first half, as it seemed to abandon the idea of organized crime warfare on Gotham City streets and concentrate more fully on the origin stories of Batman’s most enterprising arch nemeses.  In fact, the panel began to regard the program, this new addition to the Batman zeitgeist, with various perspectives that intersected even as they differed.  The panel now tackles the second half of the second season, dubbed by the show “The Wrath of the Villains,” and the consensus on the panel is that while the first half of the season was executed successfully if somewhat inconsistently, the season’s second half took a turn, and not necessarily for the better. The panel as a whole struggled to ascertain whose wrath we were actually watching, though Penguin and Riddler did seem arguably wrathful at times.  That is, when they weren’t locked up for long periods in the loony bin that is Arkham Asylum.  We also witnessed the rise of several more villains, not the least of which includes mad scientist Dr. Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong), for better or for worse.  How did the panel like the second season overall?  Listen to the embedded link below to find out.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second season and 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 catch CPU! up on three seasons of Supernatural, as it has been awhile since we discussed the adventures of the brothers Winchester.  Stay tuned for that!

And if you didn’t already know, CPU! is going live for the very first time on August 8! Keep your eye on the blog or any of the above social media sites for details!  Some have already been leaked via Facebook…more are to come!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
Old Questions
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?
ANSWER: Panelist Kyle insists that it’s true: the character of Barbara was meant to be Batgirl’s mother, but he believes that the producers have changed direction in that regard given the unpopularity of the character.  In the meantime, Barbara emerged from her coma thanks to the experiments in reanimating life conducted by Hugo Strange.  At first, she came to Jim’s aid while he was on the lam to suss out the Lady (Missy Gomez) in order to find out who ordered the hit on the Waynes, as the Lady once ran the contract killing black market.  When Jim rightfully decided that she was too crazy to keep around, Barbara joined up with the Penguin and didn’t do much else until the end of the season.
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?
ANSWER: According to the show, though it happened off screen and while Jim was in jail, wrongfully accused of killing a police officer after being framed by Edward Nygma, Lee lost the baby.  Panelist Kyle also predicted that this was a lie told by Bullock to Jim and possibly planted by Lee given the fact that Jim told Lee to leave him to rot in jail, as he felt guilty for his role in the murder of Theo Galavan (James Frain).  So, it’s possible that Lee still had a baby and a girl at that, but none of the panelists can figure out what motivation she would have for naming a possible baby Barbara, given the terrible potential source of the name.
3) Will Penguin and Riddler have a falling out, which motivates them toward their most sociopathically driven selves?
ANSWER: Surprisingly, Penguin and Riddler stayed friends, supporting each other on occasion in this half of the season.  Penguin ended up in Arkham after confessing to the murder of Galavan to cover for Jim.  Strange brainwashed him (if you want to call it that) into submission; Penguin ended up finding his real dad (played by Paul Reubens), who had fallen victim to a gold-digging former waitress and her sociopathic children. When the presence of a biological son emerged, the new wife poisoned Penguin’s father, who seemed to understand Penguin as no other could.  This murder, once discovered by Oswald, brought out the old Penguin, rather suddenly and menacingly. In the meantime, when Lee began to ask questions about the deceased Miss Kringle not picking up her paychecks, making Jim aware that there was a possible crime to solve, Nygma embraced his most Riddler-esque tendencies and staged riddle-filled capers and committed more murders before Jim finally caught him, clearing Jim’s name and landing Nygma in Arkham.  The moral is: Penguin and Riddler found their psychoses independently of one another, which is a shame because they are infinitely watchable together.
4) Will Riddler’s riddles get more complex and mind-twisting?
ANSWER: Riddler’s caper riddles, as he began to frame Jim for the murder of a police officer, were potentially more complex.  Mind-twisting?  Eh.  Marginally more mind-twisting, perhaps.
5) What will we see of Mr. Freeze’s back story?  Who will be playing that character?
ANSWER: Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze was played by Nathan Darrow, most well known by his role on House of Cards.  We saw his back story play out in the first couple of episodes of Season 2B, but as the podcast panel notes in our discussion covering this half of the season, we were primarily disappointed by how the show portrayed the creation and rise of Mr. Freeze.
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?
ANSWER: Well, first of all, Oswald’s bio-dad in this universe is named Elijah Van Dahl. He comes from a wealthy family of tailors.  He explains to the newly docile Penguin that he once fell in love with Penguin’s mom, a poorer girl, and wanted to run away with her, but his family scorned it.  Afraid of the loss of his comfort and all he ever knew, he elected to let Ms. Kabelput go, but he never knew that she had become pregnant.  Mr. Van Dahl only discovered his son when he met Oswald, standing at his mother’s grave after his release from Arkham and after Elijah learned of Gertrude’s death. We also learn that Oswald’s particular psychosis may be genetic, inherited from his paternal grandfather, and that Mr. Van Dahl has a heart condition. We further learn that he marries Grace, a former waitress, who is clearly after his money, though she is content to wait on his death as long as he provides for her and her two abominable grown-up children.  Grace, in fact, has been withholding Elijah’s heart medication so that he will die a slow death, but she speeds up the process when she learns that Elijah wants to leave Oswald the estate, after eavesdropping upon father and son’s private conversation and learning of Elijah’s plans.
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?
ANSWER: During this half of the season, Jerome is most definitely considered dead, preserved in one of Hugo Strange’s reanimation tubes in Indian Hill, which, though run by Wayne Enterprises, is located in the basement of Arkham Asylum.  The rest of the question, whether or not Jerome is the actual Joker, remains a question, though the viewer does not know what emerged from the crashed bus that the newly resurrected Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) drove away to escape from Arkham.  Panelist Kyle saw a flash of red hair, and Hugo Strange makes things come back to life, so….
8) Will Theo Galavan 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?
ANSWER: Galavan came back to life, but he couldn’t remember his real identity.  So, Dr. Strange set about programming the identity of Azrael, from the Book of the Order of St. Dumas, into Galavan’s brain.  As you might note from the podcast discussion, the panel was universally unhappy with the execution of this plot device as well.
9) Was comic villain Hush introduced, or will he be introduced?
ANSWER: He hasn’t been yet, and Panelist Kyle believes it would make the most sense to do so, since, outside of his villain identity, he is supposed to be one of young Bruce Wayne’s “friends.”
10) Are the writers going to treat the nascent Ivy character (who the podcast panel presumes will be Poison Ivy) better?
ANSWER: Well…this answer is in the eye of the beholder.  Ivy was starting to grow plants in this half of the season and helped Selina and Bruce in some of their escapades, but the pundits have announced that the show is recasting the part. Ivy will apparently be older and sexier, like the Poison Ivy most people know.  The panel is at a loss as to how this could be rendered believable in the story, especially as the writers are not batting at any kind of decent percentage right now in terms of consistency with the source material or, even, with following any of the rules they set up for themselves in this version of the Batman mythology.
11) Will we see any more villains, such as Killer Croc?
ANSWER: In fact, panelists Spencer and Kyle both saw what looked like Killer Croc emerge from the wrecked bus, but that was not until the end of the season.  We were also introduced to a nascent Clayface, who posed as Jim at the GCPD headquarters, but the panel was, again, greatly disappointed by the story of his creation.  Listen to the podcast for details.
12) Will we see the Graysons and Baby Dick (who would be Robin) again?
ANSWER: We did not see either the Graysons or Baby Dick during this half of the season.
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?
ANSWER: So far, all we learned from the hard drive is clues about a secret project known as Pinewood, which was the prior version of what became Indian Hill and was run by Hugo Strange.  This led Bruce to discover that Strange and his father, Thomas Wayne, were friends, and that Strange, for some reason, ordered the hit via the Lady and Matches Malone on the Waynes.  Through some additional sleuthing, accompanied by either Selina or Alfred, Bruce determined that Strange and Thomas did not see eye to eye about the tenets of scientific progress.  Bruce also learned that Strange’s actions are being dictated by a secret society in masks, a society that seems to hold the “real” power in Gotham City, which panelist Kyle predicts will be comic villains the Court of Owls.
14) Will we see more of Bruce’s training – especially his physical training?
ANSWER: Well, Bruce kind of abandoned the physical training for awhile.  After learning about Matches Malone and the hit taken out on his parents, he elected to go stay with Selina on the streets for awhile, much to Alfred’s chagrin.  When answers started to emerge from the hard drive, Alfred convinced Bruce to come back to the Manor, but Bruce was far more focused on the mystery than on his training, which disturbed quite a few of the panelists.
15) Will the writers continue to smooth out the obvious kinks?
ANSWER:  Quite the opposite.  The bed sheets were really ruffled in the back half of season two, and the panelists were in various states of displeasure about the cropping up of all new kinks, not the least of which includes reviled characters Barbara and Fish. The panelists address the writers directly in the podcast episode.
New Questions
1) What is the deal with the long-haired Bruce Wayne clone that we saw in the closing seconds of the season finale?  If he is truly a Bruce clone, with what time and/or energy did Strange make that possible, since Bruce was in Arkham for a relatively short space of time?  If he is Clayface, how did he escape jail after his antics at the GCPD?  If he’s none of these things, what the hell is he, and why are we going there?  Panelist Kyle also made a scary prediction: what if we just saw the creation of whomever will become the Joker because the writers decided to take the yin and yang concept underlying the characters of Batman and Joker too literally? Writers: if this clone will be the Joker, I will plotz.  Rants will be had, verbally and in writing.  As your Chief CP says in the podcast, there is ignoring canon, and then there is stomping and spitting on the canon.  Don’t be tempted to do the latter.
2) How will the Court of Owls be explained in the larger context?
3) What villains emerged from the bus?  There were definite glimpses of Killer Croc and possibly Jerome; also, casting of the Mad Hatter has been announced, and there was already a visual reference to the idea that Strange created the Hatter.  What will they do when they’re out?  Will there be other villains who are NOT created by Strange that we see?
4) Did Lee really have the baby and just lied to Harvey who told Jim that the baby was lost? If so, did she have a girl and name her Barbara?  If so, why the hell would she bother with that name?  If there is no baby or a boy or a girl not named Barbara, the show has some ‘splainin to do.  If there is no baby after all, maybe Lee will get pregnant again.  Will Jim and Lee reconcile?  How?
5) Will Riddler escape from Arkham in the end? And not be made the cartoon character/murderer that he has become?  Will he get some sort of purple and green ensemble for his wardrobe?  The panel also recommends a mask.
6) Is Azrael really dead?  The panel would be really sore if his death sticks.
7) Will Mr. Freeze, Firefly, and any of Strange’s other creations remain mindless goons with identities programmed into them by Strange, or will they emerge as the complex and varied rogues’ gallery that they become?
8) What will Penguin and his gang aim to do nowadays, especially after he and Butch (Drew Powell) blew up Azrael and after Penguin saw the newly alive Fish?
9) For that matter, what kind of havoc will Fish involve herself in, particularly with her new ability to bend people’s will at her touch?
10) Seriously, will we see Hush or Black Mask?  Are they people that Bruce already knows, such as friends from school?  Or, will the show change their origin stories, too?
11) Writers: explain the genesis of the newer, more femme fatale Ivy who suddenly becomes and looks older than Bruce, given the recent recasting of the role.  Warning: you have your work cut out for you.
12) When will Bruce have his inspiration to be Batman?  And how will that happen if he didn’t see bats when he fell into the cave?
13) When will Selina have her inspiration to be Catwoman?  She can wait awhile, but since everyone is finding themselves much sooner than they should be, the writers might as well give Selina the idea to be a cat. Maybe she’ll take whatever drug Ivy’s got going on and get all sexy feline on us.
14) Will Alfred start training Bruce again – or will Bruce seek his training from other sources?  He’s kind of at the age when he should be throwing more punches.  The panel feels that he needs to catch up to the anarchy around him.

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Gotham panel is seriously apprehensive about the future of this show.  There is a growing unrest among the panelists, given the writers’ propensity to ignore eighty years of material to write their own version of the Batman mythos.  While the panel would be open to a story that seems to follow a consistent set of rules, no matter how much of a deviation it might be from the Batman comics or franchise proper, there is a general perception that the writers changed the direction of the show to compensate for the fans’ overall negative reaction to the first season but overcompensated in their course correction, to the detriment of the logic and entertainment value of the story, particularly in the second season’s second half.  In fact, most of the panel see the first half of the second season as a high point and regard the third season as a “make it or break it” season for the continued success, in ratings and, thereby, in future renewals, of the show.  The panelists advise the writers to revisit not only the Batman comics but also their original blueprint for the show and to establish a structure and story line for the show that rightly capitalizes upon the amazing performances of the cast (which the panel universally agreed were good if not phenomenal).  Also, the writers need to track their own continuity and not turn what is one of the tightest and most enjoyed (and most widely known) comic book properties into an absurdist’s take on the story, or they will alienate viewers and, thereafter, cause declining ratings and waning network support – after all, they are on Fox.

LOOKING AHEAD

Gotham has been renewed for a third season, which is slated to premiere on Fox on Monday, September 19, 2016, at 8:00 PM.  The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the third mid-season finale, which will likely air in or around December 2016. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Gotham coverage.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3B; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 July 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all things Hydra, Inhuman, and Hive! 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 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays, though it is currently on 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 finale aired on ABC, Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

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)

CPU! began this season of Agents of SHIELD by publishing our first podcast about this series, which reviewed season one, recapped season two, and ruminated on the progress of season three; we then recorded a second podcast episode bridging the gap through the mid-season finale.  If you would like to catch up, click the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Midseason

Our SHIELD panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, recently convened once again to discuss Season 3B and all things Inhumanly Hive as well as to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments, since SHIELD was renewed for a fourth season by ABC. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the third season. 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 revisit Gotham and the second half of its second season, dubbed “The Wrath of the Villains!”  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

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

ANSWER: The secret society is, in fact, the root of what we know today as Hydra.  Part of Hydra’s existence is defined by the worship of the alien creature on the Planet, who we find out was exiled to the Planet by the Cree.  The secret society formed around the discovery of the portal, which is most likely Cree in origin, though nothing has been confirmed.  The secret society, for centuries, has engaged in a ritual in which sons of fathers were forced to draw lots (via selection stones) in order to determine who would “volunteer” to venture through the portal and search for the creature.  None came back alive until Ward/Not Ward (Brett Dalton), Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Fitz (Iain de Caestecker)/Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) orchestrated their respective escapes.

2) Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is?

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

3) Revisited: Will we learn what’s out in the desert?

ANSWER: The alien, which we learn was the first Inhuman ever to be created by the Cree alien race, was Hive.  Once an Earth-born human, the Cree experimented with terrogen crystals to create the first genetically mutated Inhuman, who had the power to “swarm” and affect the constitutions of other Inhumans and humans alike.  This being possessed the lifeless body of Ward after Will was killed and after Coulson strangled Ward on the Planet with his bionic hand.

4) Revisited: Who is Powers Boothe’s character, and what is his true mission?

ANSWER: Known as Malick, he became the de facto head of Hydra in this third season. His true mission, like all other Hydra heads before him, was to find Hive and bring him back through the portal, as Hydra officials worshiped the unknown Inhuman like a god (or maybe a devil).

5) Revisited: Will the Inhuman program be successful, and what will be its purpose?

ANSWER: This half season, Daisy (Chloe Bennett) was able to effect more of a program with metal manipulation guy, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), and a new discovery nicknamed “Yo-Yo” by Mack (Henry Simmons); however, not all of these individuals survived this season.

6) Revisited: Can Lash/Andrew be saved?

ANSWER: The short answer: no.  Though Lash/Andrew (Blair Underwood) survived and was squirreled away to the recesses of SHIELD’s headquarters after the mid-season finale, it turns out that Lash’s specific abilities were apparently ordained by some higher purpose, according to Lincoln; that purpose was to be able to cure Inhumans, specifically Daisy, who were held under the hypnotic “Sway” of Hive.  Sadly, Lash/Andrew completed his transformation and then was annihilated by the formidable Hive in one of many confrontations with the powerful being this season.

7) 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?

ANSWER: Hive Ward was most definitely a blend of Ward as well as all who Hive occupied before Ward came along.  Ward’s memories and feelings for Daisy did appear to affect Hive’s unusually strong Sway effect with Daisy; he seemed to favor her above all others.

8) What is the alien being’s endgame?

ANSWER: Once on Earth, Hive Ward’s mission was to create a new race of humans by attempting to make all humans Inhuman.

9) 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?

ANSWER: What or where the alien planet is remains a question, but it’s safe to say that Hive probably did kill everyone on the planet because he attempted, directly or indirectly, to do the same to Earth in season 3B.

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

ANSWER: Yes, Hive is the true face of Hydra, in the sense that Hydra was created partly in worship of Hive.  Thus, Hive indirectly created Hydra, though Hive was long exiled to the Planet by the Cree who created him.

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

ANSWER: Still a question without an answer.

12) 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?

ANSWER: As far as we know, Hive Ward is the only human possessed by an Inhuman to ever come to and from Earth, in either direction, because he was the first of his kind and the only one to be exiled to the Planet.  At least, so it appears.

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

ANSWER: Indirectly, Hive’s intention was to expose all humans to terrogen crystal gas in order to effect their “evolution” to Inhumans.  Many humans do not have the alien genetic marker to allow such a transformation without side effects, mainly death, and though Hive enlisted a scientist obsessed with human evolution (and artificial augmentation) to experiment with human DNA such that humans might be able to accept the terrogen gas mutation without death, the humans subject to these experiments became mindless neanderthals with strength and speed but no real ability and no trace of who they used to be.  Thus, if Hive had succeeded in exposing the globe to the gas, he would have annihilated most of the human population on Earth, but his aim was to create a society evolved like him, as he was once human and believed himself to be altogether superior to humans.

14) Who are the Cree after all?

ANSWER: All we know so far is that they are an alien race of beings not originally from Earth.

15) Is Andrew/Lash actually dead?

ANSWER: He was not as of the mid-season finale, but he is now.

16) Where will May’s (Ming-Na Wen) head be when the second half of the season starts?

ANSWER: She was largely dutiful to SHIELD and to Coulson, though she vehemently disagreed with Phil in how to handle Daisy after she was affected by Hive’s Sway.

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

ANSWER: As above, he became the de facto head of Hydra after all other known heads were destroyed.  Yes, Hive Ward was his true objective; he was tasked with bringing him back to Earth.

18) Will Daisy learn to fly?  Soon?

ANSWER: Yes. As of the season finale, Daisy was flying, “Quake” style, though this was presented in a time-jump epilogue, said to be occurring six months after the primary events of the season.

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

ANSWER: The purported spin-off was canceled by ABC prior to the network airing the pilot, so it doesn’t seem very worth watching.

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

ANSWER: Hive planned to rule Hydra, all humans, and the whole world.  Hive became aware of Hydra when it arrived on Earth and sized up Malick after Malick fed information to Hive in the early days of his return to Earth (he watched a lot of TV).

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

ANSWER: As of now, two of them have died, and Daisy is off the reservation as of the “six months later” epilogue, so it is safe to say that the task force was short lived, or it is on effective hiatus, though it did help fight Hive in the end.

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

ANSWER: Though Simmons very much missed Will, she allowed herself to explore a long overdue relationship with Fitz.  By the end of the season, they had done the horizontal mambo and come away without too much emotional fallout, so they seem to be well into romance territory.  Let them stay healthy and alive, Whedons!  We know the game!

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

ANSWER: There was mention of the so-called “Civil War” and the “Secovia Accords” on SHIELD, but the film’s events bore little overall effect on our television characters, but for mention of the need for Inhumans to “register” themselves.

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

ANSWER: He was once human but became a being that can swarm and possess others as well as affect Inhumans with his Sway.

New Questions

1) What happened in the six months prior to the third season time jump/epilogue?  How much could have really happened to change everything so much?

2) Is Daisy definitely “Quake” now?  What is her aim at this point?  Is she totally rogue?  Is she working undercover for SHIELD?  Is she off the reservation over mourning the loss of Lincoln?

3) If Coulson is no longer the director of SHIELD, who is?  Is May the new director? Why is Coulson no longer the director of SHIELD?  Did he break away over his personal (fatherly) feelings for Daisy or for another reason?

4) Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

5) Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

6) Will we be returning to some “the team chases Daisy” motif as we already experienced in season 2?  The panel is against this idea.

7) What or who will be the new “Big Bad” now that Hive has expired?

8) Is Hydra really gone?  It can’t be, right?  New heads and so forth?

9) Will Bobbi and/or Lance ever be brought back to the show, since their purported spin-off was axed before airing?

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, the podcast panel definitely feels that Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hit a show high point with season three; 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, though the season-ending time jump gave us a significant amount of pause. The body count in season three was high; the cast turnover was, therefore, also high; and there was definitely a sense of “Where can they go from here?” after the tense and engaging story of Hive and the origin of Hydra, especially as Hydra seems to be effectively benched in the show’s story lines.  There is also a sense that SHIELD is at a crossroads; the next season could be a “make it or break it” season for this program, since it seems, after years of following the Ward character through his many transformations, the story will need a new focal point. Will that new focal point be as engaging, as entertaining, and/or as satisfying as the last three seasons of Ward’s evolution and eventual demise?  That’s the question plaguing CPU!’s SHIELD panel today, particularly since the time jump epilogue seemed so anticlimactic in comparison to everything that came before it, but we all intend to keep watching at least a bit longer to find out the answer.  At the very least, the panel agrees that the show is moving along at a great (and better) clip than previous seasons, with engaging story arcs for its characters.  The panel still thinks it’s worth tuning in, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing.

LOOKING AHEAD

Marvel: Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fourth season, which is slated to premiere on ABC on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 10:00 PM.  The Marvel: Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth mid-season finale of SHIELD, which will likely air in or around December 2016.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – The Vampire Diaries (Season 7B, MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 July 2016, our less small but more robust panel– including moderator Kylie, Jen, Kelsey, and introducing Allie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 7B of The Vampire Diaries, including a vampire huntress, a mysterious Vault, and the season finale cliffhanger. If you have not watched any of The Vampire Diaries, 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: “The Vampire Diaries” – The Season 7 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Vampire Diaries” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, though it is currently on hiatus.  By the end of the 2015-2016 season, the show aired on Fridays at 8:00 PM.

What: “The Vampire Diaries,” a supernatural teen drama focused on a young woman, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), who becomes entangled with two brothers who are vampires–one a soulful, conflicted type who wants to repress his vampire urges to be more human; the other a sarcastic, ne’er-do-well who embraces the nature of his nocturnal condition, except for when his love for Elena interferes. In addition, these two vampire brothers were sired by Elena’s doppelganger, a vampire for the centuries named Katherine Pierce (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here:http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/vampire_diaries_the/summary.html).

When: The Season 7 finale aired on Friday, May 13, 2016, on the CW at 8:00 PM.

Where: The show is primarily set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Why: Two reasons: vampires and Ian Somerhalder, formerly of Lost and Smallville fame. CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves non-sparkly vampire television, and Ian Somerhalder is too beautiful a man not to find an excuse to watch.  My fellow panelists found the show due to the vampires as well, and at least thirty-three percent of them stayed for Ian…

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

Earlier this year, our Vampire Diaries panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing seasons five, six, and the first half of season seven.  To hear our thoughts, listen to the embedded link below:

Seasons 5-7A

Season Seven of TVD has finished airing, and our less small but continuously robust panel, including Jen, Kelsey, and new panel member Allie, reconvened to discuss the dysfunctional but smoldering brothers Salvatore and the rest of the motley crew hailing from fictional Mystic Falls.  Feast your ears and/or your fangs on this new episode, in which we cover major plot points from the second half of season seven, as the characters fast forward three years ahead to a time when all of their lives and previous relationships are made topsy-turvy by the introduction of a lethal vampire huntress with power over the Phoenix Stone.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or sire bond is frequently tested in TVD’s later seasons, we still have lots to think and talk about.  Give us a listen with your vampire super-hearing, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the seventh season. 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 revisit Marvel: Agents of SHIELD and the second half of its third season, which introduced the powerful Hive!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) What’s going on with the three year time jump in season seven?  Who’s hunting Stefan and Damon in that future?  Could it be that Nina Dobrev’s departure was somehow a long con, with Elena or Katherine a possible reemergence in this time jumped future, or is she off the show for good? How did our characters get there?  Are they all running from this mysterious hunter, or is the hunter just after the brothers Salvatore?  WHAT’S GOING ON?

ANSWER: The three year time jump ended up being the show’s device for fast forwarding through a self-induced coma that Damon (Ian Somerhalder) elected to undergo because he continued to mourn and to miss the comatose Elena (Dobrev), much to the chagrin of the other characters, particularly new best friend Bonnie (Kat Graham).  A vampire huntress named Reina hunts Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon in the future because she marks them with her blade, an enchanted weapon augmented by the Phoenix Stone. She is also imbued with special strength and speed, bestowed upon her by ancient shamans that sacrificed their lives to make her strong enough to hunt and to kill vampires with an ever-driving compulsion to stake those she marks with her enchanted sword.  So far, Dobrev’s departure does not seem like a con, short or long, though there are percolating rumors that she may appear in Season Eight. Though the actress who played Reina bore a startling resemblance to Dobrev, a fact upon which Damon idly commented without further explanation, she was neither Elena nor Katherine.  Our characters’ journey forward through the three years of the time jump is somewhat outlined by the second half of this season; they lived the time, much of which the viewer did not see (listen to the podcast).  Reina is primarily after vampires, including the brothers Salvatore, but those that know and love the brothers are caught up in their efforts to either run or to defeat Reina, in various ways, or to deal with something called the Armory, which houses a mysterious Vault.

2) Are we still going to have put up with watching the Heretics, even though Stefan and Damon have been drawn into the Phoenix Stone vampire hell?  Except for Valerie – how did she and Stefan decide to reconnect?  Do we care at all about Mary Louise, Nora, or Bo?

ANSWER: As it turns out, we did not have to watch most of the heretics for long.  Mary Louise is infected by experiments conducted at the Armory, which is apparently owned and/or run by Enzo’s (Michael Malarkey) family.  She is exposed to Reina’s blood, which makes her sick to the point of death.  Nora is eventually marked by Reina’s sword (or maybe she simply does not want to live without Mary Louise), so together, they choose to commit a Thelma and Louise type suicide, opting not to live without the other one.  Bo also falls victim to Reina; Julian, to the extent anyone cares about him, has his heart shown to him by Damon.  The show does not do much to explain how Stefan and Valerie reconnect, except to note that Stefan, once marked by Reina’s sword, runs from everyone he loves, including Caroline (Candice King), to keep them safe. Because Valerie continues to love Stefan from afar, she accompanies him on the lam. Once all the heretics die, Julian included, and realizing that Stefan does not truly love her, Valerie elects to see the world on her own and leaves Mystic Falls, alive but alone.

3) How is vampire Caroline even going to manage having Alaric’s (Matthew Davis) human but part-witch twins?  Stefan and Caroline clearly don’t stay together, as the time jump tells us.  How did that happen?  Why did that happen?  The panel is lukewarm to their coupling but aren’t opposed to it, either.

ANSWER: Magic.  The babies turn out to be siphons like their uncle Kai and drain the magic underlying Caroline’s vampirism.  Stefan enlists Valerie to help her, and Nora helps as well.  Stefan compels some doctors to help, and Caroline delivers the babies via C-section.  Stefan, marked by Reina’s sword, runs from Caroline to keep her safe (he runs for love rather than for lack of it), which Caroline neither knows nor understands until they reconnect in the time jumped future.

4) Bonnie and Enzo?  What’s that about? Why was Enzo even made a series regular?  The podcast panel struggles with Enzo – we sort of regard him as Diet Damon with a host of abandonment issues.

ANSWER: Bonnie becomes the target of the Armory because its leader, some distant relation of Enzo, wants to open the Vault within its bowels, which she discovers can only be opened by a Bennett witch.  Enzo protects Bonnie and, in so doing, falls in love with her and she with him.  This viewer estimates that Enzo was promoted to series regular in order to fill vacancies left by the characters of Jeremy and, in part, Tyler. Enzo adds the “ruggedly handsome” and/or “swarthy” element to the mix.  The podcast panel generally enjoyed Enzo more in the second half of the season, as the Armory, his relationship to Bonnie, and Damon’s plans involving Enzo ultimately gave the character some purpose again.

5) We love Matt (Zach Roerig), but we also think his character has become sad and hard to watch.  Fix this, writers.  He needs more purpose, or perhaps he should just join all of his supernatural friends.  It’s a wonder he’s survived this long.

ANSWER: Matt may have left the show.  In the last moments of the season, we see Matt getting into a truck and driving away from Mystic Falls.  What we find out is that somewhere within the three year span before the jump, Matt meets a fellow cop, a woman, who he connects with, teaches to hunt vampires, and then eventually proposes to marry. Unfortunately, Matt’s vendetta and anger against vampires spills over to even the brothers Salvatore.  At some point, Matt hunts vampires in the woods of Mystic Falls, only to accidentally shoot his bride to be.  Stefan discovers Matt’s grievous error and compels him to forget, but the trauma is so acute, the memories seep back to Matt’s consciousness.  Matt realizes that Mystic Falls may no longer be the home he knew, and he leaves.  Will he be back?

6) How are Stefan and Damon going to get out of the Phoenix Stone?  Are they in there together or separately?

ANSWER: Stefan explains that the hell crafted by the Phoenix Stone for him, which we didn’t see, involved him still being trapped at the bottom of the ocean.  Stefan explains that he was able to emerge from his hell and the Stone when he accepted his fate and stopped resisting the effects of the Stone.  Damon, on the other hand, flashes back to his human life, during the Civil War, at a time when he may have taken the lives of other humans.  He remains in his Groundhog Day hell, a repeated day of reliving their deaths, until Bonnie uses her magic to draw Damon out of the Stone. Stefan and Damon never encounter each other in the Stone.

7) What is Julian’s endgame now that Lily (Annie Wersching) is dead?  Will he still be around when the Salvatores come out of the stone (because we know they do)?  Is he the hunter in question?

ANSWER: Julian just wants to rule the town of Mystic Falls, living his fullest vampire self.  He also likes to stage cage matches between fighting vampires.  Damon eventually rips his heart out.  Julian was definitely not the hunter; he was not the Big Bad but a red herring for the greater problems and obstacles facing our core group of characters – Reina and the Armory.

8) Why does Stefan have so many loves of his life?  Who is the real love of his life?  He needs to pick one.  That’s why it’s called “THE” love of his life.  The panel had a hard time buying the fact of Valerie at all, though she may be the least annoying of the Heretics.

ANSWER: Still a question.  He maintains that he once loved Valerie and Elena, and that he currently loves Caroline.  Who can do the math?

9) Can Damon and/or Stefan remove their shirts more?  Kthxbai.

ANSWER: We had one shirtless Damon scene after he tried to enjoy being a vampire in order to quell his feelings of grief over Elena and his crazy mother and his emergence from the Phoenix Stone.  He had sexy times with another vampire and had his shirt off for like a whole ten seconds.  Keep it coming, writers.  It’s all you really got going for you, right now (ouch!).

New Questions

1) Will Matt return?  Will Tyler?  Will Jeremy?  Will Elena?

2) Is Season 8 the show’s last, considering that Ian Somerhalder has told the press that he can’t see doing more than eight seasons of the show (and the podcast panel can’t see the show surviving without Somerhalder/Damon)?

3) What is in the Vault?  What has possessed Damon and Enzo?

4) Why was Reina a red herring for Elena/Katherine?  Cheap shot, writers!

5) Will Alaric return?  Will his children return?  Will they be evil Children of the Corn, half siphon/half vampire children?

6) Are Damon and Enzo collecting bodies in sacrifice or in ritual to the thing from the Vault?  Is there a purpose to the warehouse of suspended but highly dead bodies?  Is the Vault thing controlling them, or are they acting of their own free will but in service of the thing in the Vault?

7) Are Damon, Stefan, and/or Enzo connected to the Vault thing somehow?  Or, is Bonnie connected to it?

8) Is the Vault thing something akin to the First Evil or the First Supernatural Something, a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural?

9) Are Caroline and Stefan really in it and together for the long haul?

PARTING SHOTS

The Vampire Diaries definitely has its best years behind it; the panel universally agrees that the second half of season seven was sloppy and underwhelming by the time the season finale aired, lacking the twists/turns for which these writers have traditionally been famous and, as a result, the emotional heft that those twists and turns provide.  There is also consensus that the time jump device was both annoying and too disjointed for the story that the writers ultimately chose to tell, and that the payoff lacked all around.  Most if not all of the panelists are ready for The Vampire Diaries to be done, though they are mildly hopeful by what the story of a possessed Damon and Enzo can bring.  Still, if Ian Somerhalder leaves the show, at which he has hinted in the press, then the producers and the network should accept that he is the show’s draw and call it good.  Also, if they do call it good, they should convince Nina Dobrev to come back long enough to awaken Elena from her coma. Let’s get a satisfying ending: Damon and Elena together, and everyone else in a place that makes sense.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Vampire Diaries has been renewed for an eighth season, which is slated to premiere on the CW on Friday, October 21, 2016, at 8:00 PM. The Vampire Diaries podcast panel will next reconvene following the eighth mid-season finale of TVD, which will likely air in or around December 2016.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional TVD coverage.  Until then!

Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “Telenovela” (Officially Canceled; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Reviewed by: Eddie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Telenovela” is a sitcom that aired on Winter Mondays during the 2015-2016 season on NBC.

What: “Telenovela,” a comedic behind-the-scenes look at a fictional telenovela (Spanish soap opera) shot in Miami, Florida, which follows the daily life of the show’s star (Eva Longoria) who does not speak Spanish, despite being the center of attention from the co-stars and crew.

When: The first season aired from December 7, 2015, to February 22, 2016, on NBC.  The finale was the program’s series finale, as the show was canceled after one season.

Where: The fictional show within the show is filmed in Miami, Florida.

Why: I missed seeing Eva Longoria on TV; Desperate Housewives is my favorite show!

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.

Telenovela = *

SYNOPSIS

Longoria’s Ana Sofia, the titular star of the long-running Las Leyes de Pasion, is thrown a curve ball when the network’s new boss (Chuck‘s Zachary Levi) casts her ex-husband as her male lead — without so much as a word of warning. Despite support from her costume-designer best friend Mimi (Diana Maria Riva) and insecure gay cast mate Gael (Jose Moreno Brooks), Ana Sofia starts spiraling, flashing back to a breakup that left her in a bathtub filled with tissues, listening to “All By Myself,” and eventually throwing a trashcan-overturning tantrum in front of a wall of autograph-seeking fans.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Telenovela brings back long time television star Eva Longoria to the small screen; she plays Ana Sofia Calderon, a lead actress on a telenovela. The premise is immediately interesting: Ana is a beautiful, sexy, and stubborn Latino who cannot speak Spanish; thus, being on a telenovela, or Spanish soap opera, proves difficult for her. With the help of her friend Mimi (Riva), Ana is able to do the job, but it becomes apparent that she is lucky she has good looks.

Ana starts the season in the middle of a major divorce from not only her husband in real life (outside of the show within the show) but also from her TV husband, Xavier Castillo (Jencarlos Canela), who returns to the telenovela.  Drama predictably ensues. Other friends try to teach Ana to sing and dance and to perform as she should on such a program. Outside of the telenovela, Ana’s other major best friend, her gay pal Gael Garnica (Brooks), attempts to make Ana realize that her real-life actions and choices are not always the best, though he is ironically worried about being fired from the telenovela because his abs do not pass muster. I mean, I think he has some nice abs, but he seems pretty worried about them throughout the season.

I was enticed to watch this show based on the fact that I miss seeing Eva Longoria on TV. My favorite show, and my love, is Desperate Housewives. Yet, I feel as though NBC tried to capitalize upon Eva’s fan love from Housewives so as to justify ordering Telenovela to pilot. Telenovela lacked in several elements, however. In fact, it lacked so much in all aspects that I fear writing a review explaining what it lacked could take hours to write.

Let’s focus upon the positive aspects of the show for now. Telenovela is a comedy at heart. Every episode made me laugh, which is good, but any show, even a sitcom, needs a defined and concrete plot, and an underlying plot thread was missing from this program. Every episode seemed to rehash what we already knew about the characters without giving them a story or evolution to advance forward. What made Telenovela awful in the end was that it offered no plot, and the characters we loved, like Mimi and Gael, were given no story arcs. Every episode offered a comedic situation that made sense, but in the end, none of the episodes connected.

Another simple but major issue that I had with the show: I did not like Ana. Eva Longoria’s character was funny, but she was not the breakout or most entertaining character on the show; she was clearly meant to be the star, but she did not lead the cast in entertainment value. When I watched, I wanted to see more of Gael and Mimi.  They stole the show; these characters lent purpose to the situations being depicted, and their story lines were overall better. Ana’s story line recycled tropes centered around divorced women struggling; they lacked originality.

In addition, I do not believe that many people know what a true telenovela is unless you LOVE TV, which I do, or unless you have a Latino grandmother who watches telenovelas still and cries every day because she fears that her fantasy lover may die. NBC, the writers, or the producers should have introduced a comedy that was fundamentally much more like a traditional telenovela; this sitcom version watered down the telenovela concept, and it got lost in translation, if you will. The creators’ or network’s approach seemed to be focused upon making a simple comedy without developing the angle of the comedy that made it unique, and though the show made me laugh, it was not executed well.

Overall, I feel that Telenovela offers little more than a quick Eva Longoria fix. I enjoyed the show, but I am not shocked that it was canceled.  I rated the show 1 star, but I would give it zero stars if I could because I thought that Mimi and Gael were the funniest part of the show, and that they should be given their own show instead. The rest of the show was lackluster or outright poor.  Honestly, in the end, the shirtless men proved to be the only reason I could get through this show.

RECOMMENDATION

I would not recommend this show to any TV lover like me, unless you hanker for poor plot lines that offer no connection or unless you want to stare at half naked men for a half hour at a time.  Like I said – the half naked men was the only reason I made it to the end of this poorly conceived, poorly executed sitcom.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Canceled!  Due to low ratings, NBC canceled Telenovela in May 2016.  Season One, comprising the entire series, is currently available to stream on Hulu; do so at your own risk, though!