13 Reasons Why, Season One (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 May 2017, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and conscientious TV fans – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Jenn, Emily, and Jeremy – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 1 of runaway hit and Netflix original 13 Reasons Why. If you have not watched any of 13 Reasons Why, 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! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “13 Reasons Why” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for 13 reasons why title card

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “13 Reasons Why” is a drama-mystery web television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “13 Reasons Why,” adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix, revolves around a high school student, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), and his friend, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who committed suicide after suffering a series of demoralizing circumstances, brought on by select individuals at her school. A box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah before her suicide details thirteen reasons why she ended her life.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on March 31, 2017.

Where: The action takes place in an unnamed, presumably Californian town (the series was shot in California) at fictional Liberty High School.

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

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.

13 Reasons Why = 4.0, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Teenager Clay Jensen (Minnette) returns home from school to find a mysterious box lying on his porch. Inside, he discovers seven double-sided cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Langford), his classmate and unrequited love, who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Her instructions are clear: each person who receives a package is one of the reasons why she killed herself, and after each person has completed listening to the tapes, they must pass the package on to the next person. If anyone decides to break the chain, a separate set of tapes will be released to the public. Each tape is addressed to a select person in her school and details their involvement in her inevitable suicide.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

It seems like I am asking these questions quite often lately: 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, in what’s becoming a pattern around here, so many CPU! core panelists advocated for a 13 Reasons Why 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, as you know, and it’s easier on the ears and on the Chief CP’s editing efforts to observe those limits.

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 13 Reasons Why to form this panel of CPU! faithful.  The winners, if they can be labeled as such, since this is not the typical lighthearted CPU! panel covering the typical lighthearted CPU! fare, are all CPU! vets in their own right, namely Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Jenn, Emily, and Jeremy.  In this episode, these conscientious six parse through the thirteen cassette tape sides of 13 Reasons Why and also delve into the ensuing controversies that this unflinching and graphic portrayal of social issues confronting today’s teens has wrought.

In the episode linked below, this panel spends considerable time with and meditates upon each of the deeply flawed characters (Clay and Hannah included) motivating the story within 13 Reasons Why.  The panel also reacts to the most pertinent debates and controversies arising from this critical and popular reception of the series: is the show responsible social commentary or irresponsible revenge fantasy? Does the show glorify suicide, or does it provide a stark and necessary depiction of it in order to provoke needed conversation around signs and triggers?  Does the streaming network provide enough trigger warnings?  Does the concept of recording, what is essentially, a lengthy suicide note on cassette tape feel hokey and undermine the seriousness of the topic, or is it a device to bridge generational gaps underlying comprehension of what today’s teens face compared with the teens of yesteryear?  The Chief CP does not know if our eager but admittedly garage podcast of vocal participants has all the answers, but as with the world at large, some strong reactions are voiced during this longer-than-usual discussion.  I contemplated breaking it into parts but decided that this, likely our longest single episode to date, was best left whole.  Take that as you will.

For those who find it difficult to listen to discussion about sexual assault (rape), suicide, and the other heady topics bridged by this program, please note that we do discuss much of it.  We don’t go into graphic descriptions of what has already been shown, but our discussion may call up those images all the same.

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, our Grimm panel returns to the water cooler to recap the final season in the first of a two-part series in which we say goodbye to the long-running cult fantasy procedural drama. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

13 Reasons Why is recommended by our panel but with several caveats and disclaimers, not unlike the disclaimers that play starkly before each graphic episode of this in-your-face series.  Many of the panelists recommend this show for its ability to push the conversation about teen suicide, sexual assault, bullying, and other serious issues affecting today’s youth to the forefront.  Some of the panelists feel that the subject matter does not make it one of universal appeal for all potential audiences, while other panelists merely warn watching the show at one’s own risk, given some of the graphic portrayals previously mentioned, but encourage most if not all audiences to give it a chance.  Some panelists advise against binge watching the show, in light of its obviously heavy subject matter, while some panelists feel that the series could only be recommended to persons likely and reasonably able to handle said subject matter.  Some panelists also are reticent to recommend the show too readily for fear of over-hyping the series, when the show’s best impact will be (as it was for us) realized for viewers who walk into watching the episodes with zero preconceived expectations.  In any event, the panelists universally agree that the show was well performed, well adapted, and well directed; the almost unanimous “4” star rating by the panel (with one panelist awarding the show a 4.25) largely comes from two primary aspects: trepidation about whether a season two is really necessary and what would it look like, and concern that the show relies on manipulating the audience toward favoring some characters over others, particularly with some of the reasons described by the middle-episode tapes.  Again, for anyone who has not watched this series and is considering it, take this mixed-message recommendation for what it is: watch, and judge for yourself, but watch with caution all the same.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

13 Reasons Why was renewed for a second season in pretty short order, though a tentative release date has not yet been announced by Netflix, except that Season Two will likely drop in 2018.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all 13 Reasons Why coverage, and this panel will, as such, likely return some time after the release of season 2 to recap the new season in 2018. Until then!

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Bonus Content: Marvel’s Defenders Preview + Coming Soon @ CPU!

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A new podcast of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this BONUS mini-episode, recorded in May 2017, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer, i.e. the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel – spent time digesting the teaser trailer for “Marvel’s Defenders,” the miniseries causing all of the hullabaloo in the Marvel universe and the reason why this panel convened in the first place!  In addition, Kylie, the Chief Couch Potato, previews the upcoming schedule at CPU!  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! – Marvel’s Defenders Series, Bonus Content: “The Defenders” Miniseries Preview + Coming Soon at CPU!

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Despite prior advertisements to the contrary, this week’s episode, originally scheduled to be 13 Reasons Why, Season One, was preempted (to be published next week) in favor of this cheeky bonus content from our Marvel’s Defenders Series Panel! Our next four weeks of podcasts look like this:

Tonight: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Bonus Preview: The Defenders Teaser Trailer

Next week: 13 Reasons Why, Season 1

The following week: Grimm, Season 6

The week after that: Looking Back at Grimm

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

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Five, Marvel’s Iron Fist (Season One, 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 May 2017, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is back Around the Water Cooler as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel and is discussing Season 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist. If you have not watched any of Iron Fist (or its companion series, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage), 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! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode 5, “Marvel’s Iron Fist” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for iron fist title card

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s Iron Fist” is a web television series based upon the Marvel Comics character Iron Fist and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” created by Scott Buck, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the fourth in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. Finn Jones stars as Danny Rand aka Iron Fist, a martial arts expert with the ability to call upon the power of the sacred Iron Fist.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on March 17, 2017.

Where: The action is set primarily in the New York City, New York, borough of Manhattan, as depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though I will say that all of the panelists are fans of the Netflix original library and/or superhero/comic book based shows in their own right and have found themselves eagerly anticipating new entries in Netflix’s “Defenders” series of releases.  As a result, they’re committed to a CPU! series about same!

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.

Marvel’s Iron Fist = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Danny Rand (Jones) returns to New York City, after being presumed dead for 15 years, to reclaim his family company from Harold Meachum (David Wenham) and his children Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) and Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup). When a threat emerges, Rand must choose between his family’s legacy and his duties as the Iron Fist.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

As long-time listeners should know by now, CPU! is chock full of panelists with a proclivity for comic book and superhero TV shows and films, including your Chief CP. Our Marvel’s Defenders Series was born of this proclivity, as we have already covered the two available seasons of Daredevil, the one available season of Jessica Jones, and the one available season of Luke Cage.  Listen to the links below:

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode One, “Daredevil,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Two, “Jessica Jones,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Three, “Daredevil,” Season 2

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Four, “Luke Cage,” Season 1

As such, it was only right that we cover the next series in this universe, now the fourth in Netflix’s series of Marvel-centered shows leading up to a special “Defenders” miniseries, which will feature heroes like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage joining together to form a special force of the ilk of the Avengers or of the Justice League in the DC Universe. Thus, we bring you our first ever Iron Fist podcast – and the fifth episode of our Marvel’s Defenders Series – featuring Defenders panelists Nick, Kristen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer. While our panel has formed an entertaining bond centered around these Netflix superhero shows, the bond is tested with the variety of opinions expressed about Iron Fist, though the panel universally liked this series better than Luke Cage, despite the warm reception of critics to the latter and the lukewarm reception to the former.  The panelists also agree that Iron Fist is largely fun and far more engrossing than its predecessor “Defender’s” solo series, but the panel differs on how effective this fun ultimately was, with some panelists preferring Iron Fist to Jessica Jones and others liking Danny Rend less (though all except one agree that Daredevil remains the best of the four series).  Nevertheless, while the panel’s overall stance may be somewhat controversial, as audience reception to Iron Fist is equally varied, we do have our supporting reasons – to find out what they are, 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, a new panel will sit “around the water cooler” to tackle – in record time – controversial new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, based upon the novel of the same name.  Stay tuned for that and for some bonus content we recorded during our Iron Fist session…which should be published any day now (though not today)!

RECOMMENDATION

Iron Fist is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of comic books, particularly from the Marvel universe; fans of the various Defenders series; fans of the character; fans of kung fu and karate movies; and fans of epic fantasy along the lines of Star Wars or, more on the nose, stylized martial arts epics like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  The panel generally and universally agrees that Iron Fist is well-performed and aptly written and directed but for some noticeable execution flaws in pacing and in the fact that the panel feels Iron Fist Season 1, with its secondary focus upon the Hand, might have done better to come a bit earlier in the Defenders chronology–say, before Daredevil Season 2–given how the Hand was depicted in this series versus in Daredevil and given the fact that much of that depiction is open to interpretation. Still, the entire panel had fun watching this series and believes that some of the criticism from trade critics and viewers alike is harsh to the point of being unfair, as the panel uniformly asserts that many who find more than small faults with this series may have missed (or simply do not prefer) its tendency toward subtleties and foreshadowing.  They may also not understand or appreciate the fact that Jones is playing a childlike character in an adult’s body who is also meant to be a fish out of water – from an ethnic as well as a “this dimension, that dimension” perspective.  The panel, further, vehemently disagrees with the “white washing” controversy surrounding this show; while we acknowledge that white washing is prevalent in mainstream Hollywood and is a potential problem, Danny Rand as a character is white in the comics and is meant to be the “other” in the mystical village in which he spent his childhood as well as in Manhattan when he tries to reintroduce himself into his former life.  The entire panel, therefore, recommends re-watching with an open mind for those who struggled with some of these aspects and a first watch for those interested in the Defenders as a whole.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Iron Fist has not yet been renewed for a second season, though Netflix is no doubt preparing for its high profile release of The Defenders miniseries in August 2017 and may be waiting to gauge the reception to its much-hyped and long-in-the-making miniseries before planning futures for Iron Fist, considering that reception has been cooler to this series than to the other three overall.  CPU! will be following Iron Fist throughout its series run, though, as part of CPU!’s Marvel’s Defenders Series, so we will definitely return to podcast about a season two, should one be commissioned.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all Netflix/Marvel coverage.  In addition, the CPU! Marvel’s Defenders panel will return sometime after August 18, 2017, to review the first season of The Defenders in all of its splendiferous crossover glory.  Until then!

Person of Interest, Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 relevant persons of interest – including Moderator Kylie, Spencer, and Selene – pine wistfully while praising effusively and Looking Back at the five intense seasons of Person of Interest, which aired from 2011 to 2016 on CBS. If you have not watched Person of Interest, 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!