Sherlock Series, Episode One – Series 1 & 2 (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 in April 2017, our panel of enthusiastically Sherlocked Sherlockians — including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Kristin T — gathered around the water cooler to gush effusively about the first two series of the BBC-produced, internationally acclaimed, modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation, simply entitled Sherlock.  This is the first part of a CPU! podcast miniseries examining the thirteen available episodes of this widely popular and sparsely (but densely) produced drama.  If you have not watched any of Sherlock, 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!

Advertisements

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks and Around the Water Cooler: “Sherlock” Series 1 and 2 Recap (Sherlock Series, Episode One; MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for sherlock title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Sherlock” is a crime drama series based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories that airs on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the USA; it is currently on hiatus (should the producers decide to make more episodes, an ongoing mystery for this unique fandom).

What: “Sherlock” was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. The series is set in the present day, while a one-off special features a Victorian period fantasy resembling the original Holmes stories.

When: Series One aired in the USA from October 27, 2010, to November 7, 2010, while Series Two aired from January 1, 2012, to January 15, 2012, on public broadcasting or PBS.

Where: This show is primarily set in London, England, United Kingdom, with occasional visits to London’s surrounds.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though it bears mentioning that Sherlock may very well be the most popular and most requested panel/show to discuss since the inception of this humble little podcast and aside from (as previously published) Stranger Things.

How – as in How Was It?

The CPU! “First Look” 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 [limited] 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 [even fewer] 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.

Sherlock = 5, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch) solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr John Watson (Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and others are at first suspicious of Holmes, over time his exceptional intellect and bold powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson’s blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.

Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes’ conflict with nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital, occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson’s landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes’ elder brother Mycroft.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Do you follow our CPU! social media accounts?  Did you ever see a posting or advertisement for panelists at large to join this panel?  No, you didn’t.  Because so many CPU! core panelists advocated for a Sherlock panel, I had to oblige and subsequently draw lots, since we had more volunteers than actual room on the panel – we have limits around here; it’s easier on the ears and on the Chief CP’s editing efforts.

With that kind of popular appeal, I was again afforded the opportunity to appreciate the luxury of demand and (fairly) select a sampling of those requesting to discuss Sherlock to form this panel of CPU! faithful.  The winners were some of our most frequent panelists, including Kristen (L), Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer as well as occasional TV viewer (and Spencer’s significant other), Kristin T, returning after a long absence since the conclusion of our Downton Abbey series.  In this episode, these enthusiastic six begin a lavish and effusive singing of praises for this widely acclaimed and internationally honored modern adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes canon.

In the episode linked below, this panel spent most of the chat gushing about this series’ first and second seasons (or series, if you’re British). There was little bad or negative to say because everyone universally agreed that Sherlock is television of the highest quality, from performances to writing to direction to every other facet available. The panelists noted, unanimously, that while there are relatively weaker episodes within the thirteen total episodes produced, Sherlock’s weakest efforts are far superior to the strongest examples of other shows on television currently.  In fact, our resident Sherlockians agree that the narrative is woven tightly, with a loving eye to adaptive detail spearheaded by recognized “Sherlock” expert Gatiss at the helm; that the visual presence from art direction to cinematography is perfection; and that the performances are no less than stellar, garnering nominations for BAFTAs, Emmys, and a Golden Globe as well as some bona fide wins.  If you are part of the Sherlock fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your commonly held adoration for this sparsely produced but richly produced international juggernaut.  With all that said, have I convinced you to listen via the embedded link below?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play 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!  Next Wednesday, two panelists will return to Look Back at a criminally underrated five season crime drama that aired on CBS and evolved into so much more, including a high octane action adventure story as well as high concept science fiction: Person of Interest.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Our CPU! Sherlock panelists are “Sher-locked” over Sherlock and indubitably recommend watching this show to anyone who breathes – or, at least, to anyone who watches and enjoys television.  Period.  The general consensus among the panelists is that this well crafted, well written, well directed, and well performed piece offers “something for everyone” and can appeal to young and old, man and woman, and everything in between.  What’s more, any self-respecting Sherlock Holmes fan will no doubt marvel, as several Holmes fans on this panel have, at the excellence of this series, including the loving attention to detail hailing from the source material. The only caution raised by the panel is that any new viewer will have to learn patience to appreciate Sherlock, as new series are created as the show-runners and cast have time.  Also, a standard series contains only three film-length episodes generally, aside from the solitary Christmas special produced after Series 3.  The creators certainly know how to keep their audience coming back for more, though, and the panel universally agrees that each return to a new series is well worth the wait (and the watch – and re-watch!).

LOOKING AHEAD

The CPU! Sherlock panel will return later this spring to address – probably even more excitedly – Series 3 and 4 of this acclaimed program.  In the meantime, Series 4 finished airing in the USA earlier in 2017, though no announcement related to a potential Series 5 has yet been made, if it will be made at all.  Still, should the BBC and/or Gatiss and Moffat succeed in collecting the cast and crew for another go-round, CPU! will undoubtedly pounce upon such potential future developments!  Until that time, Sherlock is available on the Netflix streaming service to be watched repeatedly and  to one’s heart’s content (and Series 4 is set to be released to the streaming library in question on May 15, 2017). Stay tuned for Episode Two in this CPU! series, coming soon!

Upcoming Schedule!

Image result for upcoming schedule

Due to lives behind the podcasts (so many life reasons!), this week’s episode will be released tomorrow night! Our next four weeks of podcasts look like this:

This week: Sherlock Series, Episode One, Series 1-2 (Thursday).

Next week: Looking Back at Person of Interest (Wednesday)

The following week: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Five, Marvel’s Iron Fist, Season 1 (Wednesday).

The week after that: It’s a surprise!  We have many surprises in store!

New episodes are coming down the pike, including new panels, such as for 13 Reasons Why, Sense8, and the Buffyverse, and new episodes from old panels, including How to Get Away with Murder, The Vampire Diaries, Grimm and the Full/er House Series.  Don’t miss them! Stay tuned!

Glee, 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 in April 2017, our “gleeful” panel preoccupied by New Directions – including Moderator Kylie, Sarah, Michael, and Emily – equally sing praises and hurl slushies while Looking Back at the six seasons of Glee, which aired from 2009 to 2015 on Fox. If you have not watched Glee, 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 “Glee” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for glee title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Glee,” a musical comedy-drama series that aired on Fox from 2009 to 2015.

What: “Glee,” a musical comedy about a high school show choir or “glee club,” the show choir members’ quest for acceptance of themselves and each other, their reflections on their place in the world and in their maturation, and their attempts to survive the minefield that is high school (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/glee/summary.html).

When: The show aired for six seasons, from 2009 to 2005, on Fox.

Where: The show is set in fictional McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, though, come Season 5, it also travels to New York City to follow some of the characters who have graduated high school since the series began.

Why: As a theatrical and musical person, and traditionally an eccentric in my own right, Glee initially appealed to the Chief CP on many levels – but why did I keep watching it? For that matter, why did my co-conspirators and co-panelists, all CPU! regulars of varying frequency, do the same?  We spend much of this “Looking Back” CPU! episode grappling with that very question.

How – as in How Do We Really Feel About This Show (in the End)?!

The Chief CP previously covered Glee, specifically in blog form.  Read prior entries via clicking the helpful hyperlinks below:

Around the Water Cooler: “Glee” – The Season 5 Premiere (SPOILERS)

Around the Water Cooler: “Glee” – “The Quarterback” and The End

Despite these two articles/reviews, I let Glee coverage readily lapse whilst I rebooted this site into a podcast plus (podcast with extra content).  It was easy for me to do so, in retrospect. Glee began as a refreshing new take on standard teen TV tropes, all while set to funky fresh (re)arrangements of pop, rock, country, rap, and Broadway classics. With an edgy underbelly punctuated by red and blue slushie tossing and the conniving sneer of Cheerios Coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), there was a lot to love about Glee when the program first premiered.  Unfortunately, the show’s over-commercialized propulsion to receptor of heightened generation-motivated scorn and ensuing infamy became the centrifugal force around which the writers geared plot and character development, such as it was, in seasons following the second.  It soon became a chore to keep going with the series, particularly just prior to and following the death of character Finn Hudson’s real-life counterpart, Cory Monteith.

So, after some time sitting on Glee here at CPU!while letting the show slowly drift down our “What We’re Watching Currently” list without too much in the way of regret, and after some rumblings from the CPU! faithful concerning the idea that, perhaps, the much ballyhooed and widely controversial (and divisive) series should become the subject of one of our podcast panels, your Chief CP dusted off the old vinyl covers of this manic, musical extravaganza and recruited some of those self-same faithful to staff the discussion. Thus, herein, familiar panelists Sarah, Michael, and Emily gather “around the water cooler” for a long, sometimes hard – and even unforgiving – look back at the iTunes-ready song stylings of TV/pop culture sensation Glee, and all that it had to offer, between Lea Michele’s closed-eye ballad belting to Heather Morris’ confident twerking, from Mr. Schu’s (Matthew Morrison) “butt chin” to Sue’s soft spot for the stalwart Becky, from Klaine and Frachel to Brittana and whatever other glib moniker could be ascribed to the new relationship of the week.  This podcast was recorded in April 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the Glee series, from “Don’t Stop Believin'” to the last tune, some song by One Republic that I’ve never heard of because I’m probably too old to be watching Glee. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play 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!  Next Wednesday, we’ll be launching a new mini-series around the water cooler, when we check in with a score of familiar voices and their effusive love and passion (not misplaced) for the international, sensational, representational BBC adaptation of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The first episode next week reviews the first two series (from 2010 and 2012, respectively).  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS & RECOMMENDATION

Our panel struggled, looking back and as a whole, with this once original, formerly fresh, and creatively campy show, as the series became so uneven, so by rote over the top, and so formulaic, in that it kept following the same formula that it created in season one, with less success, over and over and over again.  The panelists predominantly resigned themselves to the superficial when discussing appreciation (or lack thereof) for this musical show meditating upon increasingly rarer funny exchanges or the many forgotten songs, rearranged into palatable sound bytes and packaged with splendorous auto-tune.

The CPU! Glee panel, thus, struggles to recommend this series to anyone who would not appreciate the voluminous musical montages, tributes, rearrangements, and homages, and/or to anyone over the age of, say, 50.  In fact, it was generally agreed by all that the younger the better to watch and to potentially enjoy Glee, as its hyper or magical realism was played to increasingly tedious and preposterous effect, particularly as the show became more commercialized, merchandised, toured, and able to be downloaded for $0.99 per song.  Most of the panelists forewarn that anyone who undertakes Glee (who has not somehow sampled it in the past, for better or for worse) will find the pilot magical, the first season both engaging and endearing, and everything beyond that progressively disappointing if not outright infuriating.  With that warning in place – some panelists standing behind it more strongly than others – all original seasons of Glee are available on Netflix and on Amazon Prime.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you and don’t hurl slushies at us, whatever you do!

Doctor Who: The 2016 Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” and the Series 10 Preview (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 April 2017, our panel – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, and Sarah, while subtracting Amanda and adding CPU! regulars Hilary and Kyle – is Around the Water Cooler and recapping the 2016 Christmas Special of Doctor Who, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” as well as speculating upon Series 10, Peter Capaldi’s last as the titular Doctor. If you haven’t seen the series through the 2016 Christmas Special, 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!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: Doctor Who – “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” Review and the Series 10 Preview (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Doctor Who” airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America.  Series 10 will premiere on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at 9:00 PM.

What: “Doctor Who,” the long-running British science fiction show about an alien time and space traveler who gallivants across the universe with companions in an effort to save people and/or history and/or the universe itself.  The synopsis changes from Doctor to Doctor, but the above statement pretty much encapsulates all of them.

When: The 2016 Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” aired on December 25, 2016, at 9:00 PM on BBC America.

Where: The show is set literally everywhere in the whole universe at any given time, though not without the Doctor’s ship, the TARDIS, and some face of the man who pilots it.

Why:  Once upon a time (no, not that show), friends of the Chief CP said precisely this: “Why aren’t you watching Doctor Who?!  It’s science fiction, it’s British, it’s everything you love (short of vampires)!  Watch it! Do it!”  I started with the 2005 pilot of “Rose” and kept right on chugging. Now, I’m a fully converted Whovian, with an obsessive eye to both past, as in Classic, Who and the future incarnations of the “Madman in a Box;” I’ve joined a rotating roster of friends who are Whovians in their own right as we meet for another discussion “around the water cooler.” 

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

Welcome to the days leading up to a new season of Doctor Who! True to form, our CPU! “Who” panel of Kristen, Sarah, and Nick – less a panelist Amanda but adding familiar CPU! regulars Hilary and Kyle – plus the Chief CP, reconvened to dissect the 2016 Christmas special, including the stellar and interstellar as well as the parts that should really be exterminated.  We also take time to speculate upon the new companion, Bill (Pearl Mackie), and to guess at who might take over the titular Doctor’s two hearts, as Peter Capaldi made his departure the subject of an official announcement and effective during the 2017 Christmas special.

Give our latest Doctor Who rundown a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments – after all, the average rating of the panel regarding the latest Christmas special hovers around a 5.7.  We have many diverse reactions, though we pretty much agree that this latest entry in the Whoniverse does not wow. Do you agree?  Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, and expectations for Peter Capaldi’s (officially) final season as the enigmatic Doctor and his inevitable regeneration?  Can Alex Kingston or John Barrowman or Catherine Tate come back for more, as our original Who panelists continually hope?  What do you want?  What did you like?  What did you hate?  Tell us!  Tell them!

For previous CPU! Doctor Who episodes, check your podcast feeds or click the floating box up right within the header, the picture with the TV watcher, and search for those words!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play 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!  Next Wednesday, a new panel of old favorites gathers together to sing a jaunty tune while Looking Back at divisive tween favorite Glee – it might just be CPU!’s own attempt at a musical episode as we sing around the water cooler.  Or…it might not be. Stay tuned to find out!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions Are the New Questions

1) Is Gallifrey really back?  How is it back?  Is it only in existence at the end of the universe, where the Doctor met Me and Clara?  Or, is the confession dial some sort of inter-dimensional gateway?  Where is Gallifrey in current times and in current universes?  We need clarification.

ANSWER: The Christmas special did not answer this question, so we move it forward into the Series 10 list of questions.

2) Where did Missy go?  Will she be back?

ANSWER: We don’t know for sure where Missy went, but we know she will be back – plus, she’ll be encountering John Simm’s version of the Master from the David Tennant/Tenth Doctor era, as early press has spoiled.  When and how will all this transpire?  We have to wait and see in Series 10 (this question marches forward).

3) Can we see more of the Doctor’s most recent 24-year date with River Song?  The Christmas Special was universally the panel’s favorite episode.

ANSWER: So far, we only got a sideways reference to this glorious happenstance at the end of the 2016 Christmas special.  Our slowly more disappointed realization is that Alex Kingston and River Song may really be done…but we think showing us this 24 year interlude would make for a lovely anniversary special idea…

4) Who will the Doctor’s new companion be?

ANSWER: Her name is Bill, she will be played by Pearl Mackie, and she will be the first openly LGBT character in the Whoniverse.  That’s all we know so far…  Plus, Nardole (Matt Lucas) will be tagging along for awhile, apparently.

5) Stephen Moffat has announced that he will step down as show-runner after Series 10, and Broadchurch’s Chris Chibnall will take his place.  Unofficially, Peter Capaldi has suggested that Series 10 will also be his last as the Doctor.  Who could possibly be the new Doctor?  Feels too soon, doesn’t it?

ANSWER: Whether it’s too soon or not, it’s happening.  The search is on for a new Doctor, and the larger Whoniverse of Earth is wildly speculating – as is the CPU! Doctor Who podcast panel.  Listen to the episode for details (this question marches forward).

6) In the season premiere two-parter, when Davros tricked the Doctor into dosing him with regeneration energy, did that incident affect the Doctor in any way?  How many extra regeneration cycles does the Doctor have right now?

ANSWER: Still a question.  This Christmas special did not address much of the after effects of the Doctor’s last rides with Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), who is now playing Queen Victoria elsewhere.  Nor did it hint at much of his future.  It was very self-contained, in fact. So, this question moves forward.

New Questions

There are none!  “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” was merely an isolated episode whetting everyone’s whistle after a year-long Who absence.  Are your whistles whetted yet?  Get ready!  Allons-y!

PARTING SHOTS

The podcast panel’s reactions were, again, varied and diverse in response to the 2016 Christmas special, though ultimately underwhelmed universally.  One panelist continues to struggle with the 12th Doctor and the writing around him while others are less bothered by the Doctor’s actor but feel that the show during Peter Capaldi’s tenure has not been as engaging as the show during the tenures of David Tennant and/or Matt Smith.  The superhero theme of this Christmas special elicited such wide-ranging reactions of: “I didn’t mind it,” “I didn’t need it,” “It was forced,” “It was exposition heavy and continuity light,” “It was charming,” and “I’m just happy it was back.”  Many of the panelists, who are also on our superhero/comic book adaptation panels, enjoyed the comic book inspired Easter eggs hidden within the episode but also felt that some of the homage bend this episode utilized detracted from the “Doctor Whoness” of it all, given that so many other pop culture vehicles cater to the comic book crowd nowadays.  In any event, the entire panel with the (possible) exception of one and with the moderator and yours truly included, eagerly await the Series 10 premiere this Saturday.  As a reminder, Netflix and Hulu lost the rights to air the new series and the classic series, respectively, while it seems that Amazon Prime was able to pick up the revival series (subscription app Britbox, a joint venture by the BBC and iTV in Britain, offers Classic Who for $6.99 per month).  It continues to be wibbly wobbly and timey wimey in the Whoniverse as we speak!

LOOKING AHEAD

Doctor Who Series 10 premieres this Saturday, April 15, 2017, on BBC America (or BBC Regular, UK side, UK time zones apply).  The Doctor Who CPU! panel will reconvene following the season finale of Series 10.  We will report on reactions to the new series while prognosticating upon any announcements related to the new Doctor and the automatically renewed Series 11 under new executive producer Chris Chibnall, best known as the creator or Broadchurch.  Until then! 😉