Full/er House Series, Episode Three: Fuller House, Season Two (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 June 2017, our slightly less “fuller” panel of fans of all things Tanner/Tanner-Fuller–including moderator Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Leslie, and Jenn–gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to discuss the second season of revival Netflix sequel series Fuller House in the third episode of CPU!’s Full/er House series (we previously looked back at original series Full House in episode one and recapped Season One of Fuller House in episode two).  If you have not watched any of Full House OR Fuller House, 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 & Streaming Originals: “Fuller House” – Season Two, the Full/er House Panel’s Review and Recap (Full/er House Series, Episode Three; MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for fuller house title

Moderator: Kristen

THE SPECS:

Who: “Fuller House,”an American family situation comedy and sequel to Full House, airing on the Netflix streaming service as an original series, which means, for the record, that it is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What:  The series centers around D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure), a veterinarian and widowed mother of three sons, whose sister and best friend—the mother to a teenage daughter—provide support in her sons’ upbringings by moving in with her and into D.J. and her sister’s childhood home.

SYNOPSIS

After the sudden death of D.J. Tanner-Fuller’s (Bure) husband, Tommy, who was fulfilling his hazardous duties as a firefighter, D.J. accepts the help of her sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and her best friend, Kimmy (Andrea Barber), as they move in to take part in raising D.J.’s three sons: 13-year-old Jackson (Michael Campion), 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger), and baby Tommy Jr. (Dashiell and Fox Messitt). Kimmy’s teenage daughter, Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), also moves in with D.J., Stephanie, Kimmy, and D.J.’s children.  Most of the Full House ensemble cast reprise their roles on Fuller House, either as regular cast members or in guest appearances, with the exception of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who alternated in the role of Michelle Tanner on Full House.

When: Season Two was released to streaming service Netflix on December 9, 2016, to the tune of thirteen episodes.

Where: The show is set in San Francisco, California.

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

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

So many CPU! regulars, including frequent CPU! contributor and panelist Kristen, love Full House and were particular excited by the Netflix revival of this long dormant sitcom, creating a brand new chapter for the series, which the streaming channel calls Fuller House. In fact, Kristen saw an opportunity for a new CPU! podcast series in which CPU! panelists look back at the program that started it all while looking forward “around the water cooler” as new seasons of the reboot are released.  Thus, herein we offer the third episode of our series covering the various versions of this sitcom, which we at CPU! are calling our “Full/er House” series.  Listen to our first episode, in which we Look Back at Full House, and our second episode, recapping Season One of Fuller House, via the embedded links below:

Full/er House Series, Episode One: Looking Back at “Full House”

Full/er House Series, Episode Two: “Fuller House,” Season One

In addition, lacking the ability to fully appreciate Full House (and Fuller House) age-wise by a few years, the Chief CP steps aside from the moderating microphone once again, so that Kristen may serve as main moderator with the kind of enthusiasm this juggernaut of nostalgia deserves. Kristen is, in turn, rejoined by series panelists Andrew, Amie, Leslie, and Jenn in this third episode of our “Full/er House” series, in which we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments from the second season of the rebootwhich the panel generally felt was a vast improvement over the first season.  Take a listen to the episode if you have watched the season and gauge whether you agree or disagree.

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations portrayed in the second season of Fuller House. 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, CPU! continues its merry parade of end of season recaps when our How to Get Away with Murder panel returns to the Water Cooler after a year’s hiatus to chat Season 3 of the Shonda Rimes produced thriller.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Will Michelle, aka Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, ever return to the show? (And why are they so snooty about it…it launched their careers, and the ability they had to start an alleged fashion empire?)

2) Will we see any of Michelle’s friends?

3) Will the show tackle any issues, like teen suicide, LGBT+ acceptance, or other contemporary hot button issues in the future?

4) Why did DJ become annoying, according to the panel?

5) Will New Kids on the Block return every season?

6) Will we see any other past characters, like Vicki, Danny’s former girlfriend?  For that matter, will we ever see the character’s actual wife again?

7) Will DJ end up with either Matt or Steve?

PARTING SHOTS

Fuller House is recommended by the entire Full/er House panel, mainly for the nostalgic appeal and “turn your brain off” level of entertainment resulting from the perennially saccharine premise of this well-loved cast and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of its “aw, shucks” humor. Most of the panelists would hesitate to recommend the show to anyone who has not seen the original Full House series, though all of the panelists thought that season two proved to be a vast improvement over the often forced and always over-the-top antics of the first season.  In fact, most if not all panelists advocate, particularly to those who gave up on the revival after that rocky first season in question, giving the show a second chance if one claims membership in the Full House fandom but struggled through season one or with the idea of attempting to consume the second season.  The panelists also felt that, though this sequel series brings the ham and cheese on rye like its source series in all the ooey gooey (but ultimately right) ways, Fuller House remains solid sitcom entertainment: easily binged, easily digested, minimal heartburn or regret. In fact, all current panelists enthusiastically and wholeheartedly look forward to season three.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix renewed Fuller House for a third season, which will receive an increased order of 18 episodes and which will be broken into halves in terms of airing schedule, with the first half premiering on the thirtieth anniversary of the original series, September 22, 2017.  CPU!’s next Full/er House episode, which will focus on this third seasonwill likely record and publish some time after the third season wraps.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the Full/er House podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review (give us stars – many of them!).  Thank you!🙂

American Horror Story Series, Episode Six, Season Six: “Roanoke” (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, our newly expanded panel of casual to serious horror fans (and rotating moderators!)–including moderator Sarah, Nick, and Kylie, as well as new panelist Emily and new CPU! panelist Kallie–gathered Around the Water Cooler to chat about the sixth season of American Horror Story, otherwise known as “Roanoke.”  This is the sixth episode of an ongoing CPU! podcast series examining one of our favorite television programs throughout its anthology of various seasons depicting different and unique horror stories per season, and it was recorded in June 2017. If you have not watched American Horror Story: Roanoke, 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: “American Horror Story: Roanoke” (American Horror Story Series, Episode 6, Season 6; MAJOR SPOILERS)

american-horror-story-title-poster.jpg

Moderator: Sarah

THE SPECS:

Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM.

What: “American Horror Story,” a horror drama created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) that tells a new horror story each season while featuring recurring actors and ensemble players.  This season is subtitled “Roanoke;” is set in Roanoke Island, North Carolina, during the year 2016; and focuses upon paranormal events that occur at an isolated farmhouse.

SYNOPSIS

In 2015, Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe), her husband Matt Miller (André Holland), and Matt’s sister Lee Harris (Adina Porter) appear on a documentary called My Roanoke Nightmare to recount a series of supernatural events that happened to them after Shelby and Matt relocated from Los Angeles to North Carolina following a miscarriage. In love with the country surrounding the farmhouse in question, they buy it at auction, but after they move in, the family has a terrifying experience, as their house is on land where the original Roanoke Colony allegedly moved after its famous disappearance, led by witch Scathach; Thomasin White, known as The Butcher; and her followers. Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson) is the actress who portrays Shelby during the reenactment sections of My Roanoke Nightmare, while Dominic Banks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Monet Tumusiime (Angela Bassett) portray Matt and Lee, respectively. The Butcher is played by Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates); her son, Ambrose White, by Dylan (Wes Bentley); and the founder of the house, Edward Philippe Mott, by Rory Monahan (Evan Peters). Elias Cunningham, the previous owner of the house, is portrayed by William van Henderson (Denis O’Hare) and Scathach by an unknown actress (Lady Gaga).

In 2016, after the huge success of My Roanoke Nightmare, the producer of the series, Sidney Aaron James (Cheyenne Jackson), decides to give life to a second season of the series: Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell, bringing back to the house the Millers and the actors who re-enacted the experiences of the family.  The “Roanoke” season primarily spans 2015 and 2016, with dramatized flashbacks, via the My Roanoke Nightmare documentary, set in the 1500s, 1700’s, and 1990’s and an epilogue set in the near future.

When: Season Six aired from September 14, 2016, to November 16, 2016, on FX.

Where: Each season focuses on a different locale.  This season, the action is set largely in Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

Why:  Nick and Sarah, two CPU! regulars, proposed that CPU! publish an American Horror Story podcast series, being big fans of the show, and your Chief CP, who has previously covered this program on the CPU! blog and enjoys the show quite a bit, agreed wholeheartedly to the idea. Thus, welcome to our new CPU! series revolving around AHS, with each episode in the series focusing on one season of the show.  The series started at the beginning and will be ongoing as long as AHS stays on the air!

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

American Horror Story is a groundbreaking horror anthology series that airs on FX.  Not only did this program render the horror genre mainstream television fare, it also propelled anthology formats to popularity.  The show is widely watched and a tent pole for FX, becoming a Halloween/fall-time cable staple of disturbing imagery and grotesque scares.

Two of CPU!’s frequent panelists, and one of our resident married couples, Nick and Sarah, are big fans of the show and, as noted above, proposed that CPU! start a series discussing AHS throughout its seasons.  We have already published our first episode in this series, chatting the first season of AHS, widely known as “Murder House;” the second episode discussing the second season, “Asylum;” the third episode discussing the third season, “Coven;” the fourth episode discussing the fourth season, “Freak Show;” and the fifth episode discussing the fifth season, “Hotel.” Listen here:

American Horror Story Series, Episode 1, Season 1, “Murder House”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 2, Season 2, “Asylum”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 3, Season 3, “Coven”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 4, Season 4, “Freak Show”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 5, Season 5, “Hotel”

In today’s episode, the sixth episode of this series, we cover Season Six, “Roanoke.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties will rotate among the members of our small but robust AHS panel; Sarah is back at the moderating mic to talk this sixth season.  In addition, we have opened up the panel to include other panelists, as it was announced that FX renewed American Horror Story for an additional three seasons, through Season Nine!  Thus, in this “Roanoke” chapter, newly addicted CPU! panelist Emily joins the ranks as does a brand new CPU! panelist – Kallie!

In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Roanoke” season and our general impressions of the season’s success.  I should warn you, gentle listener, that we experienced some technical difficulties during the recording of this episode – we were able to save much of the conversation, but even with my best editing skills behind me, there are a couple of funny spots.  Most of the conversation is preserved, though, and we just chalked it all up to being haunted by Scathach, the Witch of the Wood.  STOP HAUNTING US, WITCH!  We recorded three other episodes in the same week without incident.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT!

Read on beyond the episode link below for some explanatory information and bonus content!  Because we refuse to let the Witch of the Wood get us down!

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Roanoke” season. 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, our “Full/er House Series” panel returns, somewhat slimmer but always enthusiastic, to break down the Fuller goings-on of the show’s second season. Stay tuned!

BONUS CONTENT

Unfortunately, the Witch of the Wood created so much havoc, we have to – I mean are happy to! – print some bonus content.  Fortunately, the episode is mostly preserved, as is the gist of what we were saying, and fortunately, we love that we have grown up enough to think of bonus content to share with you lovely listeners, so, without further adieu, um…”Bonus Content!”  Yay!! Bonus!

The Standard CPU! Character Question that Changes with Each Show We Do

As we discuss the character breakdown, the panelists identified thus, despite the audio hiccups…which are edited out, but then so is some of that portion of the discussion (listen to the podcast episode for the full description):

Nick: “All the good ones.”
Kylie: Flora
Kallie: “All the good ones” and “Scathach!” (I’m pretty sure that latter was for Sarah’s benefit)
Emily: “All the good ones”
Sarah: Matt (he was not good)

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Secret Murder Capital of the World?

At the end of the episode, Emily talks about the two sister nurse ghosts/serial killers in the “Roanoke” season, who murder patients with first letters of first names corresponding to each letter of the word “Murder” but who die (and become ghosts trapped on the land) before they can achieve the last “r.”  She references the fact that the two nurses are based upon two real life serial killers, “The Lethal Lovers,” from CPU!’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan (!), lesbian lovers who committed murders using names and the letters of the word “Murder,” just like in the show, but in some form of romantic testament to each other.  Mainstream pop culture news picked up this story as the AHS season broke (links posted below) – as it turns out, though, Emily’s grandmother drove these women home from work, where they all worked together, around the time of their killing sprees!! One is currently housed in a Michigan correctional facility, and one is in federal prison in Florida.  Below is some additional linkage information, and we may explore this topic further in a future episode of CPU!, given its hometown associations (maybe our recording was being haunted by the victims of these people! Yikes!).

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood, Wikipedia

Gwen Graham and Cathy Woods (mugshots).jpg

MTV News

The Huffington Post

New York Times, December 6, 1988 (The Original News Story)

LOOKING AHEAD

Our next episode in this series will cover Season Seven, though the release date and “subtitle” have not been released as of the time of the publication of this post.  What we do know about the seventh season is that it will be closely related to the 2016 United States Presidential Election, a true horror show that, in some ways, we are still living through, even as we speak…  Thus, our AHS panel will return sometime after the Season 7 finale and then, again, after Seasons 8 and 9, since the horror anthology season has guaranteed longevity for three more seasons.  Stay tuned!

Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard, 2016-2017 Pilots

Image result for progress report

Here it is – the end of season tally sheet for new network shows for 2016-2017 pilots!  I must say…the networks waited for it but are being far more ruthless this year, all told…or maybe not ruthless enough!

Also, stay tuned for the Progress Report discussing long-running shows covered by this blog!

Thanks as always to TVLine for helping a girl out.

24: Legacy

24: LEGACY, Fox

WHO: Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead), Ashley Thomas (Black Mirror), Jimmy Smits (Sons of Anarchy), Miranda Otto (Homeland), Teddy Sears (The Flash), Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Anna Diop (The Messengers), Coral Pena (Blue Bloods), Charlie Hofheimer (Mad Men), Sheila Vand (State of Affairs)

WHAT: Featuring an all-new cast of characters, the series centers on a military hero who encounters a troubled return to the U.S., compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Well, we don’t start the 2016-2017 preview well out of the gate, do we?  Hear me out.  I was incredibly devoted to the original 24and I also watched 24: Live Another Daywhich revived the 24 concept for an additional thirteen-episode event series. As I said in the latter review (click on the links), what made 24 work for this viewer in the end was one element: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer.  24 became what it was because of its charismatic lead, who played a character besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives. Without Kiefer, and despite the “real time” ticking clock gimmick, I felt pretty certain that I would have stopped watching 24 long before it ended.  The writing was, at times, all over the place, the catastrophes and dangers were increasingly more preposterous, and the tension without Kiefer was flat, as evidenced by the first few episodes of “Live Another Day,” which were largely Jack-less.

So, now we have a new 24 after a year or more of rumors that a reboot was coming. There’s a new conflicted lead and a few other familiar faces, like Jimmy Smits and Eowyn.  But there is absolutely nothing new about this show other than the sheer lack of Jack Bauer. From what can be viewed of the previews, Corey Hawkins, despite his Walking Dead cred, does not offer the same engagement that Kiefer Sutherland did. He’s just another guy, besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives.  Will he be as good as Kiefer?  Arguably, no. Kiefer did it first and did it well.  Who would want to top it?  And if they are not going to top it, what’s the point of watching it?

Perhaps, the trailer wasn’t well put together.  Or, perhaps people need their ticking clock fix.  I’m not ready to jump on board another 24 hours of terrorist plots and gunfire without a solid reason to do so, and I’m also reasonably grumbly that nothing original in Hollywood seems to be the status quo, though the lack of originality largely avoided television for a time. I guess that time is over.

If buzz or ratings give me a reason to doubt, I may reconsider. Right now, this just seems like a stale rehashing with new folks.  Thumbs down (for now).

STATUS: Officially canceled!  Fox ultimately canceled this half reboot, half revival after struggling ratings on June 7, 2017.  The series finale aired on April 17, 2017 – full 12 episode season aired.  Reports are noting that the network plans to attempt another reboot of 24, effectively creating a miniseries, as “Legacy” ultimately became, at a later time.

CPU! STATUS: Status change to Pass outright.  Who watched this reboot?  Are we being too hard on this series, given our initial misgivings and its (now confirmed) cancellation?  Convince us otherwise in the comments below.

American Housewife

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly), Carly Hughes, Ali Wong (Black Box, Are You There, Chelsea?), Diedrich Bader (Veep), Julia Butters (Transparent), Johnny Sequoyah (Believe), Daniel DiMaggio (Supergirl)

WHAT: A family comedy narrated by Katie, a strong-willed mother, raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” wives and their “perfect” offspring.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  I am not currently a wife, and I don’t have children. Traditional “family” sitcoms and other safe comedy fare tend to turn me off.  Based upon the strength of the trailer for this show, however, and the excellent comedic delivery of Katy Mixon, I actually think I might test the suburbs of American Housewife.  It checks off a few TV tropes, including the rich/skinny girls versus less endowed/fat girl motif, but it also mixes a few formulae together, seemingly, which might yield a new formula of fresh and funny.  Then again, it could be one of those jokes that wears thin if told too often, but I won’t know until I watch.  The “spanx” diatribe alone made me smile, though, so it’s worth a look-see.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 23, 2017, with a total of 23 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

APB

A.P.B., Fox

WHO: Natalie Martinez (Secrets and Lies), Justin Kirk (Weeds), Ernie Hudson (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Eric Winter (Witches of East End), Caitlin Stasey (Reign), Taylor Handley (The O.C.), Tamberla Perry (Boss)

WHAT: A tech billionaire purchases a troubled police precinct in the wake of a loved one’s murder, but can this eccentric and enigmatic figure’s cutting edge approach fix the broken ways of these blue blooded veterans?

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  Maybe I’m in a generous mood on the day I reviewed this trailer, but this show is mildly intriguing.  While I think it has the potential, as all cop shows do, to veer into procedural territory, the lead character is incredibly charismatic, and the gimmick involves him introducing an app into the Chicago streets that allows normal citizens to report crimes on the spot.  Coupled with the futuristic, expensive technology he brings in, there is actually potential for this show to be at least somewhat engrossing. How long can it sustain, though?  Will it be told episodically, with story lines resolved after each hour of rich boy hi-jinks and cop resistance like a procedural/”crime of the week” show, or will there be an underlying thread pushing it forward? My guess is, since the premise includes the lead character becoming involved with the police because his friend was gunned down, that there will definitely be a connecting thread.  How strong that thread is will depend upon how they balance the premise with the hi-jinks.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  Fox let this one go on “Bloody Thursday,” i.e. May 11, 2017.  The series finale aired on April 24, 2017 – full 12 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but will still view, at least for a couple of episodes.

The Blacklist: Redemption

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, NBC

WHO | Famke Janssen (How to Get Away With Murder), Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Edi Gathegi (The Blacklist), Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable)

WHAT | Undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave, the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  The Blacklist has been on my “to-watch” list for some time now. I have a few members of my inner circle who are devoted fans and praise it highly, and I do plan to watch it someday (and maybe even to cover it at CPU!).  Since this new entry is a spin-off of The Blacklist, however, I am not prepared to watch or cover it until I watch the original series.  If that happens in this next season, we’ll keep you posted.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The series finale aired on April 13, 2017 – full 8 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Status change to full Pass, given that the spin-off was a non-starter, and I still haven’t watched the original – though the original Blacklist remains on the watch list.

Bull

BULL, CBS

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio

WHAT: A drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw as the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Part of me wants to like this show, featuring a charismatic Michael Weatherly as an arrogant psychologist who can read juries and other court personnel in order to suss out cases, a character loosely based on Dr. Phil (yes, that Dr. Phil).  On the other hand, I was also somewhat turned off by the fact that he is an arrogant psychologist going toe to toe with arrogant defendants and arrogant attorneys. This show seems to offer a formulaic courtroom premise with a fancy gimmick, a shrink who can read people (and an algorithm of his making) to sway the outcomes of cases. Since shrinks aren’t always better than lawyers, and since the premise seems thin – along with the likability of the main character – I am inclined to let this one go by.  If the show gains buzz, accolades, or steam, I may reconsider.  But even as there were some enticing moments in this trailer, most of it rubbed me the wrong way.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The season one finale aired on May 23, 2017, for a total of 23 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: I (still) have heard literally nothing about this show since its premiere, either from the CPU! regulars or from the media, to convince me or CPU! to start watching.  If you like “Bull,” tell us in the comments and why.  For now, it stays passed.

Chicago Justice

CHICAGO JUSTICE, NBC

WHO: Philip Winchester (The Player), Carl Weathers (Rocky), Joelle Carter (Justified), Ryan-James Hatanaka

WHAT: Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigates heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, which is not a good sign.  In any event, this seems to be another procedural in the grand tradition of NBC produced procedural TV like Law and Order, and this viewer does not enjoy watching procedurals; or, it’s another courtroom drama resting on that formula.  Give me fantasy!  Give me escapism!  Don’t give me dramatic re-tellings with a realistic twinge.  If I hear something new, unusual, or enticing about it prior to its premiere, I’ll let you know, but this is not the kind of thing I normally watch, and there is nothing convincing me to start watching it.  Moving on.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  NBC canceled this latest “Chicago” entry on May 24, 2017.  The series finale aired on May 14, 2017 – full 13 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: While the Chief CP does not plan to view or to blog/podcast about this series, we do have at least one CPU! contributor interested in possible blog coverage of the “Chicago” gaggle of programs.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Conviction

CONVICTION, ABC

WHO: Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter), Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY), Shawn Ashmore (The Following), Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead), Manny Montana (Graceland), Merrin Dungey (Alias, Once Upon a Time), Daniel DiTomasso (Witches of East End)

WHAT: Tells the story of Carter Morrison, the brilliant but ne’er-do-well daughter of a former U.S. president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Let us all take a moment to get our pop culture bearings.  Agent Carter is some sort of devil-may-care type who is bribed by Tag, Rachel’s young boyfriend on Friends, to head some fictional agency investigating the wrongfully accused.  Phew. Okay.  After watching the trailer, this viewer was unimpressed by something that seems to have a message but little else going for it.  The premise feels somewhat schmaltzy, manipulative even, and quite thin, and the concept behind the premise screams procedural with some sexy television antics on the side for, you know, reasons.  Honestly, as I watched, I felt like it had all been done before.  So, I can’t see doing it again.  Also, it just makes me want to watch Agent Carter more, which I haven’t yet been able to see. The television obsessed never has enough time. Anyway, sorry ABC and the folks behind this show.  If the ratings or the buzz suggest otherwise, I’ll take a gander but not until then.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The series finale aired on January 29, 2017 – full 13 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: If what came through in the teaser trailer was essentially the norm for all episodes, the fate of this show is unsurprising.  I hope Hayley Atwell finds a home somewhere, but this vehicle seemed to be a poor quality one, at least judging by the trailer, which is like the network’s sales pitch for the show. Of course, I am not certain that the Alphabet should have canceled Agent Carter, but that’s another story.

Designated Survivor

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Kiefer Sutherland (24), Maggie Q (Nikita), Kal Penn (House), Italia Ricci (Chasing Life), Natasha McElhone (Californication), Adan Canto (The Following), LaMonica Garrett (Sons of Anarchy), Tanner Buchanan (The Fosters)

WHAT: Centers on a lower level United States Cabinet member who is suddenly handed the presidency after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick up.  So, THIS is why Kiefer Sutherland can’t be on 24: Legacy! He’s too busy being a Designated Survivor…The trailer boasts high moments that create chills (mushroom clouds over DC!) and low moments that create squinty faces (Kal Penn’s character telling Kiefer to quit), but because the premise has, to this viewer’s knowledge, never been done before (a low level Cabinet member who must suddenly be president), and based upon the fact that Kiefer is so supremely watchable, and further acknowledging the fact that he has moved on from 24, I feel like this could be a very good program to choose for viewing in the coming season and possibly better than the aforementioned 24: Legacy, given that Jack Bauer is in this one.  I mean, I know that’s not his name, but that’s what I choose to think. The trailer leaves me with the feeling that this is movie quality television, at any rate; hopefully, it doesn’t descend into melodramatics.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season 1 finale aired on May 21, 2017, with a total of 21 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Downward Dog

DOWNWARD DOG, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: May 17, 2017

WHO: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Mo Collins (Parks and Recreation), Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart

WHAT: Based on the web series of the same name, it follows a down-on-her-luck woman named Nan whose devoted dog speaks its mind in confessional-style interviews.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I think this might be my um…no of the season.  As much as I like Allison Tolman (her turn in Fargo was quite good, don’tcha know?), and as much as I related to a lonely thirty-something woman with a pet, I feel strongly that those who would find this show funny are dog-lovers who enjoy those weird anthropomorphized mouths on animals.  I love dogs but not enough to watch a whole season of a dog’s commentary, no matter how heartfelt, and I think the show MIGHT be racist to cats (I have a cat).  There were a couple of funny jokes in the trailer, but most of it landed with a thud.  It’s an animal buddy comedy; I don’t see how it could be funny after more than a few episodes (or roughly the number of episodes equivalent to a standard movie length).  Also, who is running the alleged web series – and who is watching it?

STATUS: Currently airing; the sixth episode of eight confirmed and ordered episodes airs on the day this post goes to publication.  There is no word yet on whether or not this series will be renewed.

CPU! STATUS: The critics seem to favor this sleeper mid-season entry on the Alphabet network, but I stand by the initial verdict, especially since no one I know is talking about it.

Emerald City

EMERALD CITY, NBC

WHO | Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), Florence Kasumba, Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

WHAT | The “event” series is a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz that includes lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A headstrong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on a journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. This show has been delayed two seasons, but at least this time, we have an actual promotional snapshot and what looks like a cast.  I’ve picked it up for the past two falls; I will keep picking it up until if and when it gets dropped or finally airs. Let’s hope it’s the latter, as CPU! will remain committed to this dark re-imagining of Oz for as long as it’s a possibility. Let’s make it happen, NBC!  Third time’s the charm!

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The Peacock swung the ax toward the troubled Oz adaptation on May 4, 2017.  The series finale aired on March 3, 2017 – full 10 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but several CPU!ers have voiced support for this series, so a podcast will likely eventually be recorded and published, most likely in a “Looking Back” episode or possible new feature format likely to be rolled out this summer. Stay tuned!

The Exorcist

THE EXORCIST, Fox

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Geena Davis (Grey’s Anatomy), Brianne Howey (Scream Queens), Hannah Kasulka (The Fosters), Alfonso Herrera (Sense8), Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone), Kurt Egyiawan (Beasts of No Nation)

WHAT: A modern reinvention inspired by William Blatty’s original 1971 book, the propulsive, serialized psychological thriller follows two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the face of true evil.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though horror is a tricky genre for me (I have acute overactive imagination syndrome) and though I managed to avoid The Exorcist film until I was an adult, as I think it’s still a scary idea and premise, the original film influenced many excellent horror movie and TV tropes that are still used and reused today.  So, why not transfer the original concept to the small screen?  The only question is whether or not such a concept, originally distilled to the two hours or so for a film, can sustain over the course of several episodes, much less several seasons?  There is only one way to find out. I am ready to confront these demons, along with their updated special effects.  But will be there be rotating heads and the vomiting of pea soup?

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on December 16, 2016, with a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Frequency

FREQUENCY, The CW

WHO: Peyton List (The Flash, The Tomorrow People), Riley Smith (Nashville), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Lenny Jacobson (Nurse Jackie), Anthony Ruivivar (Banshee, American Horror Story), Devin Kelley (Resurrection), Daniel Bonjour (The Walking Dead)

WHAT: In this reimagining of the New Line Cinema film, a female police detective discovers she is able to speak via ham radio with her estranged father, also a detective, who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder, but unintended consequences of the “butterfly effect” wreak havoc in the present day.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now. To be honest, the trailer is pretty compelling, and despite the fact that I am not a fan of Peyton List (I have watched or watch both The Tomorrow People and The Flash and have been turned off by her both times), even though the CW sure seems to be, I am reserving the pick up until I see the original film, which I never have.  I have a video game based on the film which I have never played either.  So, like Limitless, I feel that I need at least the baseline before giving the television show serious consideration.  Once I see the film, Ms. List aside, I will revisit the idea of watching the show.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The CW did not pursue a second season order for this big to small screen adaptation as of May 8, 2017.  The series finale aired on January 25, 2017 – full 14 episode season aired.  The CW also released an epilogue, to tie off loose ends to the story, exclusively to its website.

CPU! STATUS: I do still want to watch the movie and may check into some of the episodes at a later date depending upon how that goes; the Chief CP still doesn’t love Peyton List, though, for the record.

The Good Place

THE GOOD PLACE, NBC

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (CSI: Cyber), Manny Jacinto (The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story), William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden

WHAT: Follows Eleanor, a New Jersey woman who comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. She decides to turn over a new leaf by learning what it actually means to be “good” or “bad,” and then trying to make up for her past behavior.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. On the strength of the trailer, and the fact that Veronica Mars/Ana from Frozen is playing the lead with Kristen Bell’s best comedic timing, I think anyone would be remiss to pass on this new sitcom.  The premise is unique, casting Ted Danson as the “Good Place’s” resident bureaucrat is inspired, and frankly, I had to stifle laughter every few seconds as I sat awkwardly in a public waiting room watching the trailer.  The substitute uses for various curse words as delivered by Bell warrant the look-see alone. More than any other show on this list so far, I am quite excited to check this one out! Hopefully, cancel-happy NBC will allow this one the chance to find its groove – though, arguably, the groove will be there from the pilot, if the trailer is any indication.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The first season finale aired on January 19, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but really want to as soon as possible.

The Great Indoors

THE GREAT INDOORS, CBS

WHO: Joel McHale (Community), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass), Stephen Fry (Bones), Susannah Fielding, Shaun Brown, Chris Williams, Christine Ko

WHAT: An adventure reporter must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Oh look.  The first real sitcom to make fun of the generation gap between Gen X/Y and Millennials, and CBS of all networks grabs onto it.  Which means that most of the CPU!’ers will relate to the Joel McHale character, but many of them will find the supporting characters clueless and annoying.  Like I do.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will laugh along with their TV representatives at how antiquated ideals like spending time in the outdoors and using pen and paper to write stories, rather than Twitter and Tweets, are.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will be offended by the exaggerated depictions of their generation, unless they are open to seeing the humor. I’m sure this will probably find an audience, but I just can’t see being in it (and the canned laughter didn’t help its cause). Also, I guess this means we won’t be seeing McHale on another season of The X-Files anytime soon.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The series finale aired on May 8, 2017 – full 22 episode season aired – though the show received the cancellation ax blow a few days later.

CPU! STATUS: Still not interested.  The Chief CP is generationally offended, ok?

Great News

GREAT NEWS, NBC

WHO: Briga Heelan (Undateable), Andrea Martin (Difficult People), Adam Campbell (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mixology), Kimrie Lewis-Davis (Scandal), John Michael Higgins (Wilfred), Horatio Sanz (SNL)

WHAT: An already inseparable mother/daughter relationship becomes more complicated when mom accepts an internship at her daughter’s workplace.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Aside from the fact that no trailer exists to even attempt to convince viewers that the premise is potentially funny and not so recycled, the premise is so recycled and potentially rather unfunny!  A codependent mother and daughter team spend even more time together at work.  That’s what this is about.  Add to that very few recognizable names in the cast (weirdly, Horatio Sanz is the most familiar to me, and that’s not necessarily a good thing), and what you have is an easily avoidable sitcom. Also, NBC, the most cancel happy of all the networks currently, has been especially unkind to its new sitcoms in recent years.  There is literally no reason to invest in this one based purely on a photograph, a cast list, and an extremely precarious sitcom foundation.  Someone talk me into it.  It’s the yearly challenge!

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season 1 finale aired on May 23, 2017, with a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP is probably going to opt for less great news, but there is some interest from the CPU! core concerning this show.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Imaginary Mary

IMAGINARY MARY, ABC

WHO: Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg, Growing Up Fisher), Stephen Schneider (You’re the Worst), Nicholas Coombe (iZombie), Matreya Scarrwener (Canada’s Detective McLean: Ties That Bind), Jillian Bell (Eastbound & Down), Erica Tremblay and the voice of SNL vet Rachel Dratch

WHAT: Centers on a thirtysomething bachelorette whose life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though the premise of this sitcom seems a bit more clever than some of the other offerings of this pilot season, my reaction still falls into the “pass” category. First, I only laughed once at the trailer, and it was most certainly not at the imaginary friend but at the husband when he was talking to his kids about Dharma when Dharma wasn’t there. Second, I’ve never been wild about Jenna Elfman – Dharma & Greg was saccharine and lacking something to which this viewer could relate, so I never watched more than a few episodes.  While the character of Mary may be different than Dharma, there is still an infused essence of Elfman that leaves me feeling “meh” about the proceedings.  Also, honestly, though there might have been entertainment potential to the later-in-life confirmed bachelorette finding true love with a family man motif by itself, adding the tiny imaginary friend creature made me think the character would be more sad than funny and potentially in need of some good counseling.  Sorry, Dharma. On with the list.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The Alphabet reduced the episode order from 13 to 9 and then swiftly canceled the series on May 11, 2017.  The series finale (and ninth episode) aired on May 30, 2017.

CPU! STATUS: No change in our initial “pass” verdict.

Kevin Can Wait

KEVIN CAN WAIT, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c, moving to 8/7c on Oct. 24

WHO: Kevin James (The King of Queens), Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital), Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey), Ryan Cartwright (Alphas, Bones), Lenny Venito (The Neighbors), Gary Valentine (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A newly retired police officer looking forward to spending more quality time with his wife and three kids discovers he faces much tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Um…no.  This is the definitive “um…no” of the season.  Unless there’s more than one.  Anyway, first, let’s rap about the enigma that is Kevin James.  Someone somewhere out there obviously finds him funny.  I never have.  Not once.  Not even a little bit. Second, let’s pause for a moment to appreciate just how similar this new show is to James’ star-making sitcom, The King of Queens.  Did CBS air that one too?  I don’t remember.  Be that as it may, this version does not have Leah Remini, which is the only reason The King of Queens was ever funny, and, frankly, the odds of funny happening on the previous show were arguably slim.  I think The King of Queens lasted as long as it did because of the chemistry between Remini and James.  Erinn Hayes doesn’t quite cut the mustard in terms of appealing chemistry with the wisecracking but stout every-man, at least from the extended trailer available. Which means James is left hanging out there to carry the comedy by himself, and, frankly, I just don’t think such a feat is possible for him. Of course, lots of people found Two and Half Men funny, even when Charlie Sheen was still on it.  I believe fans of that sitcom will find something to like here. Unfortunately, I didn’t like that one or The King of Queens, so I’m really left with one choice.  Next, please.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 8, 2017, with a total of 24 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Um…no?  Did you not hear me the first time?  Plus, no one I know is watching it.  Prove me wrong!

EDIT: Why God…why?!

Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON, Fox

WHEN: Wednesdays at 8/7c

WHO: Damon Wayans, Sr., Jordana Brewster (Dallas), Keesha Sharp (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson), Kevin Rahm (Mad Men), Clayne Crawford (Rectify), Johnathan Fernandez (Younger, Girls), Chandler Kinney

WHAT: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Would you believe that I have never once seen a Lethal Weapon movie?  It’s true.  No particular reason for it; I just haven’t found myself in a position to watch or to want to watch any of those movies, of which there are several. Now, the films had Mel Gibson (pre-crazy times) and Danny Glover.  This show has Damon Wayans and some charming Southern gentleman filling those rather hefty boots. Before this viewer would feel comfortable with this selection, I feel I have to wear the original boots first before trying on the newfangled pair.  If buzz and accolades and steam swarm around this TV remake, I will, of course, make arrangements to get caught up.  If it’s enjoyable, let CPU! know (that’s why we have a Guestbook!).

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The season finale aired on March 15, 2017, with a total of 18 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP still wants to watch the original movie first.  I know, I know, I’m so behind the times.  I own it.

MacGyver

MACGYVER, CBS

WHEN: Fridays at 8/7c

WHO: Lucas Till (X-Men), George Eads (CSI), Justin Hires (Rush Hour), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)

WHAT: A re-imagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. What the hell?  Oh, CBS.  Say it ain’t so!  That’s two remakes in a row!  At least, insofar as Kevin Can Wait seems to be a remake of The King of Queens.  So, in order for this show to be successful, anyone older than, say, 30 will have to be okay with a MacGyver that is not played by Richard Dean Anderson.  And anyone younger than 30 will have to be taken in by the premise of a man who is so resourceful, he can get himself out of most sticky wickets with a mere paper clip and some chewing gum.  As one of the over 30 crowd, I am somewhat turned off by this entry into CBS’ lineup.  I was no die hard fan of the original MacGyver, but I am pretty sure that half the appeal was Anderson’s crooked smile and rockin’ 80s mullet.  He was resourceful AND charismatic. Lucas Till, TV’s younger face of this older character, doesn’t offer much in the way of charisma.  Either that or the trailer was edited terribly.  I don’t think it’s the editing, though, and, therefore, I don’t think this will end well.  On the other hand, and surprisingly, Hawaii Five-O survived for a while.  Someone convince me, and maybe CPU! and this viewer will reconsider.  Not until then.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on April 14, 2017, with a total of 21 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: We can’t even, as the kids are saying.  There has been no buzz in CPU!’s circles, and I fully believe we’d miss Richard Dean Anderson too much; one CPU!er checked in and was less than flattering about it. Do you watch MacGyver? Tell us about it in the comments.

Making History

MAKING HISTORY, Fox

WHO: Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Yassir Lester (The Carmichael Show)

WHAT: Three friends find a way to travel through time for truth, justice, and riches, which complicates their lives in 2016. They visit some of the greatest moments of the past as they try to resolve their personal problems, while history and pop culture comically collide.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Okay…this has the potential to be exceedingly stupid.  On the other hand, it could ultimately be sheer creative genius.  The time machine is a giant duffel bag. There is somewhat of a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure edge to the proceedings, but the main characters are college professors.  And one of them is played by Adam Pally, the erstwhile Peter from The Mindy Project, a character who grew on me thanks to the winning bro-ski comedic timing of Pally himself.  Plus, the premise is extremely original, or mostly original, at least for network TV, so I think it’s worth giving it a shot.  Fox – you be good to this one! Unless it’s stupid.  I’ll let you know.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The series finale aired on May 21, 2017 – full 9 episode season aired (I believe the episode order was reduced…or never increased…anyway, the reason is obvs).

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but I still kinda’ wanna’…and probably will…and will probably regret it…

Man With A Plan

MAN WITH A PLAN, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Matt Cook (Clipped), Grace Kaufman (The Last Ship), Jessica Chaffin (Episodes), Hala Finley, Matthew McCann

WHAT: A contractor whose wife goes back to work starts spending more time with his kids and discovers the truth every parent eventually realizes: His little angels are maniacs.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. I…um…hm.  So, first of all, I think the Eye network is panicking.  Most of its mainstay sitcoms have either ended or are probably nearing their end (case in point, The Big Bang Theory and the afore named Two and a Half Men), as many of the sitcom entries on this list so far have been CBS pickups.

Now…the problems.  The cast list above glaringly omits the presence of Jenna Fischer, none other than Pam from The Office, herself.  Which isn’t saying much because she is clearly the straight man in the comedy and offered nothing funny in the trailer.  So, then we have Matt LeBlanc.  I’m sorry to have to be the one to say this, Matt, if you’re reading. I’m a big fan of Friends, which may be coloring my perspective of what I saw, but to me, Matt is playing the “grown up” version of Joey.  As in, what if Joey had quit acting and was put in the position of being the primary caregiver for his three children that he had with a nice, normal wife in the interim since Friends ended?  The line delivery is more deliberate; the motions more affected by age (LeBlanc should be around 50 by my estimation), but to me, it’s Joey. He’s Joey.  This is Joey, in 2016, with a family. Which might be okay if we didn’t already know that Joey by himself is not as effective as Joey with the rest of the Friends – which the spin-off Joey taught us.  I love Matt LeBlanc and Jenna Fischer, but this TV show, aside from it being another saccharine family sitcom, is Joey with kids.  I can’t do it.  Someone talk me into it?  I want to be talked into this one.  Out of my love for Matt LeBlanc.

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a CPU!er that Jenna Fischer is not in the above cast list because her part was recast due to lack of chemistry with Matt LeBlanc.  Unfortunately, no updated trailer exists; hence, the confusion, as the original trailer still has Jenna in it. Also, the recast occurred recently (and I start compiling this article over the month of July).  So!  The recast doesn’t convince me to start watching it, however.  The trailer largely focused on Matt and his character…and I still don’t think it will work based upon the fact that he brings the Joey as noted above, but thanks birdie on my shoulder, all the same!🙂

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 15, 2017, with a total of 22 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Who’s watching?  How’s Joey doing?  How YOU doin’? We need feedback.

Marlon

MARLON, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: August 16, 2017

WHO: Marlon Wayans (In Living Color), Essence Atkins (Are We There Yet?), Bresha Webb (Truth Be Told), Diallo Riddle (Silicon Valley)

WHAT: Loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans’ life, this multi-camera comedy centers on an inappropriate but loving father (Wayans) committed to successfully co-parenting with his polar opposite ex-wife.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. From the skeletal thin premise, what I’m reading is one part My Wife and Kids (oh hey, older brother Damon, already doing some stuff, only the wife was married to him on the show); one part The Bernie Mac Show (father not uncle, but close); and one part every Wayans brother comedy ever made.  I have no trailer to entice, and I’m positive there will be people sold on the concept of this one, but I, once again, pass.  Sheesh – there are so many sitcoms coming out this year.  And not very good ones, mostly and seemingly.

The Mick

THE MICK, Fox

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Sofia Black D’Elia (Gossip Girl), Carla Jimenez, Thomas Barbusca, Jack Stanton

WHAT: A hard-living, foul mouthed woman moves to affluent Greenwich, Conn., to raise the spoiled kids of her wealthy sister who has fled the country to avoid a federal indictment. She quickly learns what the rest of us already know — other people’s children are awful.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Another sitcom?!  And this one doesn’t bring charm like Making History, the other Fox comedy offering reviewed so far.  I think this show is meant to give Kaitlin Olson a chance to capitalize on a strength she cultivated on It’s Always Sunny.  The problem is that there was not a single funny moment in the trailer.  This is another version of the poor person in a rich world trope, and this viewer predicts that the joke will get old very quickly.  It didn’t even sustain in the trailer’s three minutes. Thumbs very much down here.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The season finale aired on May 2, 2017, with a total of 16 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: No one at CPU! is talking about it.  No buzz is swarming around the show from the Chief CP’s trusted circles.  Are you watching The Mick?  Let us know and why in the comments.

Midnight Texas

3rd Rock from the Sun, 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 June 2017, our medium sized but out of this world panel – including Moderator Kylie, Nick, Michael, and new panelist Penny – discuss the spacey antics of four zany alien characters researching the puny humans of Earth while Looking Back at the six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun, which aired from 1996 to 2001 on NBC. If you have not watched “3rd Rock,” 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 “3rd Rock from the Sun” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “3rd Rock from the Sun,” a situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1996 to 2001.

What: Created by Bonnie and Terry Turner, the show depicts four extraterrestrials who are on an expedition to Earth, which they consider to be a very insignificant planet, and who pose as a human family to observe the behavior of human beings.

SYNOPSIS

“3rd Rock” revolves around an extraterrestrial research expedition attempting to live as a normal human family in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, said to be outside of Cleveland, where they live in an attic apartment. Humor is principally derived from the aliens’ attempts to study human society and, because they live as humans themselves while on Earth, to understand the human condition. In later episodes, they are more accustomed to Earth and often are more interested in their human lives than in their mission.

Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) is a professor of anthropology at (fictional) Pendelton State University, and many of the issues with which the four aliens struggle stem from her work and observations. Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), the High Commander and leader of the expedition, is the family provider as a physics professor at Pendelton (with Ian Lithgow, John Lithgow’s oldest son, playing one of his less successful students). Information officer and oldest member of the crew Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been given the body of a teenager and is forced to enroll in high school (later college), leaving security officer Sally (Kristen Johnston) and “the one with the transmitter in his head,” Harry (French Stewart) to spend their lives as 20-somethings hanging out at home and bouncing through short-term jobs. The family often communicates through Harry with their off-world (and usually unseen) boss, the Big Giant Head, who when he finally visits Earth, appears in the body of William Shatner.

When: The show aired for six seasons, from 1996 to 2001, on NBC.

Where: The show is primarily set in fictional Rutherford, Ohio.

Why: Listen to the podcast episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found 3rd Rock from the Sun.

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

Once upon a time, Netflix hosted some classic sitcoms to ingest and to consume on a whim, as one does while on Netflix.  Once upon a time, Netflix changed its library (on an annoyingly monthly basis), and many of those sitcoms left the streaming service.  During one such brief window of time between content shuffles, the Chief CP chanced upon the program du jour and used said chance to rediscover 3rd Rock, which, of course, rendered the show eligible to be the next CPU! “Looking Back” candidate.  While finding new appreciation for the zany antics of the four main characters and of, arguably, Dr. Albright, I wondered if others would care to look back at a show that was more often than not over the top, thanks to the daring comedic performance of Lithgow, while remaining insightful about the human condition in a somewhat timeless way, using the perspective of “other” or “the naive” to comment upon mundane human foibles.

Fortunately, a medium sized panel of new and old voices at CPU! – including frequent panelist Nick, “Looking Back” expert Michael, and brand new panelist Penny – were willing to huddle up in our allegedly too small, allegedly attic, alleged apartment to do just that. Thus, in this current “Look Back,” we reminisce about the show that cemented John Lithgow’s legacy/storied career within the annals of pop culture; revived the career of original Not for Primetime Player Jane Curtin; and launched the career of indie actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in addition to providing a veritable playground for able character actors like Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, and Wayne Knight in which to have fun and freedom with this spacey tale. We talk about the whimsical, the farcical, and the out of this world quality of the theatrical 3rd Rock, an unusual sitcom entry for the late 90s pastiche, in that it hearkened back to gimmicky comedies of yesteryear like Alf or Bewitched.  We also offer our own appreciation for a sitcom that has managed to stay both funny and relevant, despite the fact that it is approximately twenty years old.

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations throughout the six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our American Horror Story Series panel returns (we hope! we strive! take two!) to talk the cable horror anthology series with a newly expanded panel, a new moderator (who moderated on this series panel before), and a new, detailed examination of the latest and arguably most terrifying AHS chapter to date, subtitled “Roanoke.”  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

3rd Rock does not typically make “Best Of” television lists nor does it merit a solid ranking from most of the CPU! panelists in this episode with the exception of one.  Yet, all of the panelists would recommend this hammy and cheesy comedy to anyone looking to laugh. The common sentiment: the humor holds up, thanks in no small part to Lithgow’s otherworldly performance as the needy but knowing High Commander Dick, and remains timely and relevant, even by today’s questionably wavering standards.  The execution is not without occasional flaws, but all panelists agree that laughs ensue regularly, and some of the nerdier panelists highlight Easter Eggs for science fiction fans sprinkled throughout the episodes.  In addition, the chemistry of the four main actors playing family Solomon is solid, and the supporting actors, particularly Jane Curtin, may be the unsung heroes of the entire piece, offering priceless reactions to the four awkward but lovable aliens in disguise.  Our 3rd Rock panel recommends this sitcom most to those who appreciate theatrical acting – as it is used to great effect in this sitcom space – and to those who enjoy “Must See TV” from the past.  Though it may not trump more solid Peacock offerings from the era, such as Seinfeld or Friends, the panel believes that anyone could enjoy 3rd Rock from the Sun, even if the show might seem like a time capsule of the 90s at choice intervals. Unfortunately, this sitcom is not available to stream on any of the typical sites; it can be purchased to stream (Prime notwithstanding) at Amazon.com.  Still, if laughs are what you’re looking for, 3rd Rock may very well be worth some monetary investment – especially the episodes with the erstwhile Captain Kirk – but you don’t have to take our word for it.