Doctor Who, Series/Season Ten (MAJOR SPOILERS)

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2018, our panel of stalwart Whovians – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Sarah, Hilary, and Kyle – is Around the Water Cooler and recapping Series/Season Ten of Doctor Who, i.e. Peter Capaldi’s last season as the titular Doctor. If you haven’t viewed the series through the 2017 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!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: Doctor Who – The Series/Season 10 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Doctor Who” airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America/BBC Worldwide, though it is currently on hiatus.

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:  Series 10 aired from April 15, 2017, through July 1, 2017, on BBC America/BBC Worldwide with a total of 12 episodes.

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 (or woman) 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 a new season of Doctor Who! With another full season under our belts, our “Who” panel of Kristen, Sarah, Nick, Kyle, Hilary, and Chief Couch Potato Kylie reconvened to discuss all things Series 10: the stellar and interstellar as well as the parts that should really be exterminated.  We, again, have many diverse thoughts about what we saw, including new companions Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas); the introduction of new villains (the Monks) and re-introductions of old villains (Daleks, Cybermen, and Ice Warriors, oh my!); and the return of what turns out to be several versions of the Master, including the version portrayed by John Simm as well as the fairer gendered incarnation known as “Missy,” played by Michelle Gomez.

Give our latest Doctor Who rundown a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments. Do you agree?  Do you disagree? 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 couch full of TV watching potatoes, 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, our Doctor Who panel returns – once more with feeling! – to the Water Cooler to dig deep into the most recent Christmas special, “Twice Upon a Time,” which notably centers on Peter Capaldi’s understated swansong: his version of the Doctor’s regeneration into controversial Thirteenth form Jodie Whittaker.  Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions Are the New Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?  Where is Gallifrey in current times and in current universes?  We need clarification.

(CURRENT) ANSWER: Series 10 did not answer this question, so we move it forward into the Series 11 list of questions.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Missy go?  Will she be back?

(DEFINITIVE) ANSWER: Missy went and got herself in trouble with a group of Time Lord like (but not Time Lord) aliens that were prepared to execute her.  Yet, River Song told Nardole to tell the Doctor that he better save his longtime best friend – or else, naturally.  So, the Doctor promises to the executing aliens that he will watch over Missy for 1000 years while she is locked up in a vault, hidden in the basement of some unnamed British University (maybe it’s called British University).  When we start the season, he is lording over that vault.  So, Missy is back.  Plus, she gets to have a run-in with her past Master generation, played by John Simm.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?

(DEFINITIVE) ANSWER: The new, Thirteenth, Doctor will be played by none other than Broadchurch’s Jodie Whittaker, marking the first time that the titular Doctor will be female in all 55 years of the show’s existence.  This announcement proved to be controversial as well as crucially and critically circumspect for the international legions of Whovians – some were more enthusiastic about this decision than others – but we might be over the hump of some of the initial ugliness, at least until Series 11 premieres.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: How many extra regeneration cycles does the Doctor have right now?

(CURRENT) ANSWER: Still a question, which moves forward.

New Questions

There are none!  We had more questions following our dissection of the 2017 Christmas special, so you should just listen to our next episode.  Are your whistles whetted yet?  Get ready!  Allons-y! Geronimo! Fantastic!

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Doctor Who podcast panel reactions were, again, varied and diverse when reviewing Series 10, with no universal or overriding feeling guiding the group.  Some panelists felt that Series 10 was stronger than Peter Capaldi’s other seasons, while others felt it was weaker, owing largely to whether or not each individual panelist personally connected to companion Bill.  The votes were literally split down the middle regarding Bill, with panelists Kylie, Nick, and Sarah feeling more enthusiastic about her, and panelists Kristen, Kyle, and Hilary less.  This then led to a philosophical discussion about Who regarding who on the show connects more in the moment for a viewer – Doctor, companion, or the combination of both/all – and how important companions are to the overall story and mythology.  If nothing else, the panel seemed to agree that this season was competently executed, though some panelists, in contrast, felt that some of the story situations were recycled variants of tales told already within Capaldi’s other/prior seasons. Happily, panelist Sarah found new love for the series upon realizing that she could understand and/or work through Capaldi’s Scottish brogue.

In any event, the podcast panel is cautiously intrigued about the upcoming season, with a new Doctor, new companions, and a new show-runner on the horizon, the latter of whom has teased leaving aside some of the classic/signature elements that have defined the series since its inception.  Some of the panelists are additionally looking forward to not spending as much time with the Daleks, Cybermen, and the Master, but the longer term Whovians note that too much change would also not be good, and that any of the frequent flyers should be revisited at some point in the future, even if not for awhile. The entire panel, of course, continues to eagerly hope for the (unlikely) return of River Song or Donna Noble – whatever may happen, though, the panelists remain excited to see what happens in the coming season, Series 11.

LOOKING AHEAD

Doctor Who Series 11 is expected to premiere via BBC Worldwide sometime this fall, though no official premiere date has yet been announced at the time of this publication. The Doctor Who CPU! panel will next reconvene following the season finale of Series 11, at which time we will report on reactions to the new series, the new Doctor, and the new executive producer, Chris Chibnall.  Until then! 😉

DC Television Universe, Episode Fourteen, Arrow, Season Six (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the fourteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 6 of the  Arrowverse namesake, Arrow. If you have not watched any of Arrow, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 14, “Arrow” – Season Six, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Arrow_season_6_title_card

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Arrow” is a superhero/action/crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Green Arrow franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs on the CW.

What: “Arrow,” a series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg that is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. The series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who, five years after being stranded on a hostile island, returns home to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Oliver Queen (Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City (now Star City), who spends five years shipwrecked on the mysterious island of Lian Yu. Upon his return to the city, he is reunited with his family, including his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) and friends. Oliver awkwardly survives his days back in the city by rekindling his relationships, while he spends his nights hunting down and sometimes killing wealthy criminals as a hooded vigilante. Thea, John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) assist Oliver in his crusade as does his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy); flashbacks show how Oliver spent his time and gained the skill-set that he uses as (now) the Green Arrow.

When: Season Six aired on the CW from October 12, 2017, to May 17, 2018.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Starling City, the primary setting of the Green Arrow franchise – though as of Season Four, the city was finally re-branded to be Star City like in the comic books.  The action does branch out in flashbacks to international locales, including Hong Kong, the Middle East, Russia, and a fictional island called Lian Yu.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first DCTU podcast episode, where our panel covers the first two seasons of Arrow, via the embedded link below!  It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie was hesitant to watch it, feeling somewhat loyal to Justin Hartley’s portrayal of the Green Arrow on Smallville, which ended in 2011, while Arrow premiered in 2012.  Also, the Chief CP is pretty leery of character fatigue in comic book properties of late, which may be the subject of a separate podcast or blog entry.  So, what finally convinced me to watch it in the end? Other than a few good recommendations from viewers like you, listen to that first podcast episode to find out the reasons why I finally picked up the show in the end.

What kept me watching, though, is a different question.  Try this on for size:

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How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the fourteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior Arrow episodes in the series (as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, though, older episodes will only be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header). Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 1, “Arrow,” Seasons One and Two

DCTU Series, Episode 2, “Arrow,” Seasons Three and Four

DCTU Series, Episode 10, “Arrow,” Season Five
DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2017
In our last episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – began addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by starting with the third season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.  Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk TV universe progenitor Arrow following another rocky, inconsistent, and somewhat bloated Season Six in, this, the thirteenth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein evaluates the success of the Green Arrow’s season nemeses: Cayden James (Michael Emerson), Ricardo “The Dragon” Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), Earth 2’s Laurel Lance aka Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), and Anatoly Knyazev (the analogue to the comics’ KGBeast); the tedious number of (sometime) Green Arrow sidekicks; the continued trials of Oliver Queen as Star City Mayor as the FBI zeroes in on his vigilante secret identity; and a season ending that, again, could either reset everything we know about the Arrowverse’s namesake show or could be another overwrought but ultimately anticlimactic finish to another largely anticlimactic season.  In fact, for most of the panel, the assignment to watch Arrow as part of this podcast series remains “begrudging” territory, as nearly all of the panel, at this point, struggles with Arrow, and their waning affinity for it, more than with any of the other Arrowverse entries. Unlike last season, however, most if not all of the panel is losing hope that the writers will find the story center again, return to the excellent story execution of the first two seasons, and breathe new energy into this now late-life series.
This particular episode was recorded in July 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season Six of Arrow. 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 Doctor Who panel returns to the Water Cooler after a long absence, ready to digest the most recent Series 10 while simultaneously anticipating the Doctor’s latest incarnation, with the departure of Peter Capaldi and the regeneration into controversial Thirteenth form Jodie Whittaker fully past-tense occurrences.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Who, if anyone, survives the destruction of Lian Yu by a suicidal Prometheus, since everyone but Ollie and his son William presumably stood on the island rigged with dynamite, triggered to explode by Prometheus’ “dead man switch” and self-imposed death, at the end of the fifth season?

ANSWER: The real question is who, if anyone, does not survive the Lian Yu explosion because, shockingly, the only seemingly confirmed casualties from the exploding island: Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), who died via buried land mine prior to the big explosion, and Prometheus, who offed himself in front of Ollie and William.  In other words, every single character that was on that island survives.  And they say miracles don’t exist.

2) Does Oliver choose to raise his son in the wake of this explosion, since William’s mother follows Ollie to the island after learning that William has been kidnapped by Prometheus?

ANSWER: Yes, Oliver chooses to raise William with Felicity’s (Rickards) help.  They have some adjustment pains at first, mostly because William is scared to lose his father after island explosions and the death of his mother just prior to those explosions, as well as learning that his dad is the Green Arrow, but they manage to do alright on the whole.

3) Presuming that Felicity survives the explosion, are Ollicity back on, in their on/off again relationship?  The panel, particularly panelist Kristen, votes that the writers pick one of the two statuses and stick with it for these charismatic and chemically engaging lovers.

ANSWER: As a matter of fact, Ollie encourages spur of the moment nuptials – by upstaging Barry Allen and his now wife Iris from The Flash in what any reasonable person would have to admit is a bit of a dick move – and weds Felicity in the “Crisis on Earth X” crossover episode, the ninth of the season, immediately following Barry and Iris’ “I Do’s.”  So, Ollicity is officially married, but this fact does not mean that the two lovers have left all the drama behind.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) Is Malcolm Merlyn truly dead?  Prior to the overall explosion of Lian Yu, Merlyn sacrifices himself by moving on to an old landmine in place of Thea (Holland), who triggers the mine during her rescue (after Prometheus and allies manage to kidnap Green Arrow’s entire posse and whisk them off to Lian Yu for the explosive season climax).  The show offers a scene in which we hear what is presumed to be the explosion of the landmine, but it occurs off screen, creating the possibility of a Merlyn who has once again escaped death.  If he does, will we learn how he did it?

ANSWER: So far, Merlyn is still presumed to be truly dead, as he does not appear in any of the Arrowverse shows this season.  Will he ever appear again, and will anyone explain how Merlyn might have escaped both a dormant land mine and an exploding island if he does?  The panel is at a loss to even predict any eventuality surrounding Merlyn at this point.

5) Is Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) back for good?  How will he affect Ollie/Green Arrow in future, now that he is presumably less psychopathic and Mirakuru-enhanced?

ANSWER: Deathstroke does not stick around, as DC parent company Warner Brothers pulled the rights to the character – again – at some point, either as a result of or in the wake of the Justice League movie.  Yet, Slade Wilson returns this season for the purpose of cashing in on his and Oliver’s shared history and of asking Ollie for his help in finding Slade’s son, Joe; unfortunately, Slade’s son was so affected by the loss of his father, he decides to become just like him.  Slade and Oliver confront a crime syndicate only to realize that Joe Wilson is the head of the outfit.  In addition, he moves, dresses, and acts much like a junior Deathstroke.  Joe reveals that he saw Slade commit murder long before he ingested Mirakuru, the drug that addled Slade’s brain and made him a villain in Season Two.  When Slade attempts to explain to his son that he was paid to take out the person in question, as he worked as a paid assassin at one point, Joe refuses to offer forgiveness, and the two fight until Oliver intervenes.  In addition, Joe informs Slade that Joe has a brother Grant, another son about which Slade never knew.  After Joe escapes, Slade leaves Oliver with the intent of finding both of his sons.  Slade also hopes that he can earn his sons’ forgiveness, though Slade does not leave Ollie without imparting a few words of wisdom to his old friend about Oliver’s relationship with his own son.

6) Will Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), the new Black Canary, survive her stint in the leather jacket and black mask – she was one of the posse on the exploding island?  Black Canaries have a high mortality rate on this show.

ANSWER: Dinah aka Black Canary the Third lives to fight another season – a whole other season.  She’s still flying around Star City, in other words, much to most of the panel’s chagrin.

7) Will we see the al Ghul sisters and the League of Assassins again?  Will Talia become more interesting and more like her comics counterpart?

ANSWER: Talia has not returned, so we assume that she remains as boring and as wooden as ever.  On the other hand, Nyssa returns to Star City, seeking Thea, who Nyssa says is the heir to the Ra’s title, given her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn’s, presumed death.  The only problem is, the League of Assassins has all but become non-existent, though some of its former legion unite to create the Thanatos Guild, a new ninja outfit that believes that Malcolm left Thea a key, in the form of a mathematically sealed cubic puzzle, to unlocking great treasures.  The Guild’s belief comes to pass; Malcolm, it seems, stored away a map to several other Lazarus Pits that apparently exist, and Thea, upon learning this truth, decides to leave Star City to seek their locations and to possibly right some of the wrongs committed by her father.  Yet, Thea’s departure also coincides with the departure of her portraying actor, Holland, who decided not to renew her contract option for the next season of the show.  The panel, incidentally, overwhelmingly feels that Thea’s permanent departure from Arrow is long overdue.

8) Now that the flashbacks and Ollie’s past have caught up to the events beginning the series in the first season, will the series continue to employ flashbacks to tell Oliver’s story?  Or, will the portions seen by the viewing audience finally all be in the present?

ANSWERS: While occasional flashbacks continue to appear in Season Six, they are largely few and far between.  The show and its writing and producing team apparently elected not to pursue the flashback storytelling structure that guided the overall framework of the first five seasons of the show.  As such, most of the events in every episode in Season Six occur in the present/the actual real-time setting of the characters and not in the past.

9) Which villains will we see next season?  Who will be the season “Big Bad?”  Will any of Green Arrow’s traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle is very concerned)?

ANSWER: The Big Bads initially appear to be Cayden James, Ricardo “The Dragon” Diaz, Black Siren, and KGBeast/Anatoly.  The Dragon is an actual Green Arrow villain, though, as panelist Kyle confirms, the Dragon we see on the show is “Dragon” in name only and nothing like the Dragon character in the comics.  What’s more, the Dragon double crosses the others, or, at least, James, to become the overarching villain on the season, though this move, from the vantage point of the show’s writers, turns out to be less than successful, according to the reviews of our DCTU panelists.

10) Did Artemis survive the Lian Yu explosion – and will she see the error of her ways and join Green Arrow’s team in good faith, provided that Oliver is in a forgiving mood?

ANSWER: Okay – so there was one confirmed death.  Artemis definitely seems to be truly dead, ultimately resulting in yet another wasted Green Arrow character.  Though none of the panelists suggested that they miss her.  And, really, how many characters have actually stayed dead (other than the Queens’ parents)?

11) Provided that Thea also survives the explosion, and despite donning the red hood for the fifth mid-season crossover episodes, is she done being Speedy for good?

ANSWER: Thea dons the “Speedy” hood one more time in Season Six for the purpose of rescuing Roy Harper aka Arsenal from the clutches of the Dragon’s minions, who capture him in order to suss out Green Arrow’s whereabouts, and all in the name of love for her fugitive boyfriend.  Roy left at the end of Season Three after pretending to the public that he was the “Arrow,” an earlier incarnation of Ollie’s secret identity, and in light of the fact that his portraying actor, Colton Haynes, elected to pursue other projects.  Once Roy is successfully rescued by an impetuous Thea and her brother, even as Roy notes that she’s wearing his outfit, Thea appears to hang up the red hood for good just prior to her departure with Nyssa (Roy leaves with Thea in the moment, though).

12) Does Oliver remain Green Arrow as Season Six begins?  How does he juggle mayoral duties with vigilante duties without a team?  Does he recruit even more new team members?

ANSWER: Fortunately, the number of Team Arrow members fluctuates throughout Season Six but never grows in number beyond the core team of Oliver, Felicity, Dig (Ramsay), Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Dinah, and Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum).  Also, though Ollie starts the season as Green Arrow, despite the ongoing suspicion of federal law enforcement officials that he is the Green Arrow, Oliver convinces then-fugitive Dig to don the green hood in order to deflect that suspicion, and so that Ollie can spend time balancing his duties as mayor as well as his new role as father to William.  This decision leads to some discord between the two longtime friends; Dig, who suffered degenerative nerve damage to his wrist in Season Five, becomes too used to being the Green Arrow or something and somehow uses his stint in the green spotlight as a sublimation and as compensation for frustrations about his own life.  When Dig slips up in the field because of his progressively worsening nerve damage, however, almost leading to injury of one of his teammates, Oliver takes back the Green Arrow mantle for the sake of practicality, leaving Dig to grow surprisingly resentful about Oliver’s return to vigilantism once Felicity and Curtis replicate the chip in Felicity’s back and implant this new cure into Dig’s wrist.  One of the leading sources of drama this season, in fact, is Oliver’s struggle to balance vigilante activities, mayoral duties, and being a stable parent to William, and this struggle leads to various other ramifications for Team Arrow, though whether or not the panel cares, in the end, about these ramifications is up for debate.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

13) Please bring back the salmon ladder.  We are sure that Ollie is stressed out and needs to work on his upper body.  Shirtless.

ANSWER:  There was no salmon ladder at all in Season Six.  WHAT IS GOING ON HERE, TEAM ARROW?!  Producers, writers, Stephen!  You’ve gotta use what you got!  You’re on shaky ground (listen to the episode for panelist rants on the subject)!

14) What is Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) end game on Arrow?

ANSWER: James seeks vengeance against Oliver because Cayden is led to believe that Oliver killed his son.  When Felicity and her hacker friend find evidence to show that Oliver was not in Star City at the time of his son’s murder, James decides instead to exact his revenge on the whole city by detonating a large bomb.  He does not get the chance, however, as Team Arrow successfully stops him.  While James is incarcerated, however, the Dragon gets the drop on him and, double crossing him, slits his throat.  Thus, Cayden’s game is ended in no way he planned.

15) For how long will Roy Harper/Arsenal (Colton Haynes) be back on Arrow, since his return to the show was announced in the media?

ANSWER: Roy Harper appears in 2 of 23 episodes in Season Six, when the Dragon’s men find him and torture him to get to Oliver and when Roy helps Thea realize her Thanatos Guild/League of Assassins destiny.  Yet, it was announced, again, in the media that Colton Haynes is returning to Arrow as a cast regular for Season Seven.  What can it all mean?  How will it happen?  That is one of the panel’s main questions going into the seventh season.

16) Did Warner Brothers/DC truly retract Arrow’s ability to use the character of Deathstroke again due to the Justice League film?  Is Manu Bennett gone indefinitely again?

ANSWER: The short answer to both questions is “yes.”  The panel universally agrees that corporate involvement in the Arrowverse has overwhelmingly adversely affected the universe’s four constituent series, particularly Arrow.

17) Will Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) end up having to stand trial for being the Green Arrow?

ANSWER: Yes, he stands trial, though master of disguise Christopher Chance (Wil Traval) appears during the hearing as Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and confesses that he is the Green Arrow, leading to an acquittal for Oliver, at least of the charges surrounding his vigilantism and, at least, briefly following the trial.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) The panel members, largely bereft of hope for improvement of the overall quality of Arrow, did not ruminate upon many questions going into Season Seven.  The biggest question on several panelists’ brains centers on why Roy Harper returns to Star City and how he reintegrates into the new team.

2) How will the show survive without Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne)?  Quentin (spoiler) dies at the end of the season after he takes a bullet for the team; his portraying actor left Arrow and joined the cast of a new show coming to NBC called The Inbetween. The panel reacted negatively to his departure, believing Mr. Blackthorne to be one of the most consistently engaging parts of the show throughout its lifespan, other than Oliver/Stephen Amell.

3) Oliver, in Iron Man fashion, announces to the Star City public in the season finale that he is the Green Arrow as part of a deal he makes with the FBI in order to guarantee the agency’s help in defeating the Dragon, in exchange for Ollie’s confession of illegal vigilante activity.  The last few moments of the finale find Ollie in federal prison.  Panelist Kyle has read that the first episodes of Season Seven will feature the “Longbow Hunters” and a widely panned story line from the comics called “Supermax.”  How long will the audience be forced to watch Oliver in prison?  What effect will these so-called “Hunters” present to Star City?

4) Will Dig take up the Green Arrow mantle once more while Oliver is in prison?

5) Will William follow the trajectory of Connor Hawke in the comics?  What is William’s purpose on the show, except to complicate Oliver’s life (and presuming he has a purpose)?

6) Will Black Siren return in Season Seven?  In what capacity?  Why would she care to do so if her almost family and almost father no longer exist?

7) Diaz survives his most recent encounter with Oliver and escapes; he even watches Oliver’s city-wide proclamation that he is the Green Arrow on television through gritted teeth.  It seems as though Diaz is tougher than the average crook, which is fueled by some precedent set by the comics-version of the Dragon.  Will Diaz return in Season Seven?  How will he affect Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow?  Will he somehow affiliate with the Longbow Hunters; will he make another attempt on Oliver’s life?  Or, is his character finished on Arrow?

8) Where does Anatoly go in the end?

9) Will we see more crossovers with the other Arrowverse properties – apart from mid-season – next season?

10) Will any of Green Arrow’s other traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle has all but lost hope)?

PARTING SHOTS

Our DCTU panel universally agrees that Arrow Season Six did not fare much better than Season Five in terms of storytelling quality.  The panelists opined that the season’s pacing and writing were choppy and disjointed, and many of the panelists describe Arrow and the obligation to watch it as a “slog.”  Though half of the panel saw potential in the four villains introduced this season, all panelists proved largely appalled that the Dragon a) as a routine mobster, proved to be such a challenge for Team Arrow, particularly Oliver, and b) outsmarted the other members of his alliance, the formation of which was never even slightly explained by any of the characters and/or dialogue, a huge oversight on the part of the show’s writers.  The panel continues to offer mixed reviews surrounding the Green Arrow’s sidekicks, with all panelists struggling to understand the purpose of each of them or why and how they continue to remain a team at all, what with all of the soap opera internal strife they seem to instigate. The panel members almost fully agree now, however, that Arrow continues to flounder and stumble, owing primarily to sloppy story mapping and despite the steady (and handsome) portrayal of the Green Arrow by Stephen Amell as well as the superb production values marking the Star City based quadrant of the multiverse.

LOOKING AHEAD

The seventh season of Arrow is slated to premiere on Monday, October 15, 2018, at 8:00 PM on the CW.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode, which will focus on the fourth season of The Flashwill publish in the fall, closer to that series’ season premiere date.  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 DCTU 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.  Thank you!🙂

DC Television Universe, Episode Thirteen, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Season Three, (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the thirteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 3 of the second Arrowverse spin-off, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. If you have not watched any of Legends, 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!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” – Season Three, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

DC's_Legends_of_Tomorrow_season_2_title_card

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” is a superhero/action-adventure drama centered on events and characters inspired by the DC Comic Universe, which airs on the CW.

What: “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” a series developed by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, and Phil Klemmer, which is based on characters from DC Comics. This series is considered a spin-off from Arrow and is part of the so-called “Arrowverse.”

SYNOPSIS

As the series starts, when Vandal Savage murders Time Master Rip Hunter’s (Arthur Darvill) family, he goes rogue. Intending to stop Savage, Rip recruits a team consisting of Ray Palmer / The Atom (Brandon Routh); Sara Lance / White Canary (Caity Lotz); Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), who together become the hero Firestorm; Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl; Carter Hall / Hawkman; Leonard Snart / Captain Cold; and Mick Rory / Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) to stop him. These so-called “legends” discover that the Time Masters are backing Savage in his domination of the world in 2166 in order to facilitate a successful repulsion of a Thanagarian invasion.  The adventures of the “Legends,” however, change each season, as do the members of the Legends themselves.

When: Season Three aired on the CW from October 10, 2017, to April 9, 2018, with a total of 18 episodes.

Where: The action is set in various locations throughout the DC Television Universe/Arrowverse and throughout time, as the heroes in this show travel through time and space in an attempt to stop villains who aim to alter significant events in the past, present, and future.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first Legends of Tomorrow podcast episode via the link below!  It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie previously picked up this show during the 2015 Fall Preview, noting:

True, it’s yet another comic book property in an entertainment complex completely inundated and saturated with them – super heroes are what’s cool nowadays.  True, the premise involves digging through the annals of the DC Comic Book Universe to put forth some of the company’s less omnipresent characters (The Atom, Firestorm, Hawkgirl, to name a few).  Yet: it also has Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller, and freaking Rory Pond – Arthur Darvill himself!…DC is behind in the comic book race against Marvel, and the company knows it…[it’s a] must watch.  It’s fate or something.

How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the thirteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior DC’s Legends of Tomorrow episodes in the series (as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, though, older episodes will only be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header). Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 4, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season One

DCTU Series, Episode 7, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2017
In our last episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – met at mid-season “Around the Water Cooler” to discuss the progress of the four Arrowverse shows to date as well as to talk the awesome, amazingly jaw-dropping four show crossover event, “Crisis on Earth X.”  Now, we begin addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” programs in order of the airing of each season finale, beginning with the third season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.  Thus, tonight’s episode features our spicy discussion of Legends’ junior season, in the twelfth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion, however, is less spicy than normal – the long and short of this lack of heat is that this season proved to be a tremendous improvement over the first two, with a focused story thread; a complete and total embrace of the campy quality of storytelling in general, as the writers and producers seemed to realize that the show works better as “wacky adventures through time” coupled with an overarching story rather than merely one or the other; and new characters – or re-introductions of old ones – that were, in and of themselves, more compelling than some other characters that have appeared on the show and/or that have come and gone from the cast roster.  The panel, in fact, largely agrees that Legends improved so much, the show now ranks as the favorite or second favorite of the four Arrowverse shows for each panelist, when last season, opinions waffled widely, with some panelists still ranking the show their least favorite of the four.
This particular episode was recorded in July 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season Three of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. 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 DCTU panel returns again to the proverbial Water Cooler to discuss Season 6 of Arrow, as our Arrowverse revisits continue.  Plus, this particular next episode will bring the much ballyhooed usual spice.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) It was announced that John Constantine (as played by Matt Ryan) will appear on Legends some time during Season 3.  In how many episodes will he appear, and what will be his purpose?  Will he be on the show for several episodes, as a recurring character?  Or, will he only appear once or twice as he did in Arrow?

ANSWER: John Constantine appears in four of the eighteen episodes released this season.  The character serves the purpose of warning Sara Lance (Lotz) and the rest of the Waverider team about the emerging presence of the demon Mallus (voiced by John Noble), who is being courted by Damien Darhrk (Neal McDonough) as a means by which to achieve ultimate power on Earth.  Constantine also attempts to help the Legends fight off Mallus with sorcery, though he is not ultimately successful.  Plus, he and Sara have themselves a bit of a romp when they find themselves stuck in 1969 after a child version of Nora Darhrk, possessed by Mallus, magically sends them there.  Constantine recurs for four episodes and was so successful and beloved in his four appearances that the show’s producers promoted Matt Ryan to a series regular for Season Four.  More Constantine = very happy DCTU panel!

2) It was also announced that Victor Garber will leave the show by the end of the season.  Will the character of Firestorm survive?  Will the show survive without Dr. Martin Stein, less Rip Hunter, and a nearly non-existent Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller)?

ANSWER: The character of Martin Stein, as played by Garber, does not survive the season.  Martin tries to separate himself and Jefferson “Jax” Jackson from the Firestorm matrix.  Unfortunately, his experiment goes awry, and he is gravely injured, though he is able to open a temporal portal gateway that takes several of the Arrowverse heroes to Earth X, an Earth where Nazis won World War II and control the world, and where many of our heroes encounter evil doppelganger versions of themselves.  Though Jax bonds with Martin in order to help him through the portal, Martin’s injuries are so severe that they also affect Jax.  In the end, Martin makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to save Jax: he separates himself from Jax, severs their link, and dies.

Subsequently, Jax, without a super-powered partner with a nuclear core matrix with which to bond, leaves Legends of Tomorrow at the end of the mid-season finale, though he makes a special appearance in the season finale and shares with his pals that five years have passed since he last saw the Legends, during which he fell in love, got married, and had a child of his own.  As for whether the show can survive without Martin Stein, less Rip Hunter, and nearly without Captain Cold, Victor Garber, Arthur Darvill, and Wentworth Miller have all officially departed Legends of Tomorrow and the Arrowverse as a whole as of the end of this season.  Garber returned to Broadway, Miller is taking a hiatus from performing, and Darvill is seeking/committed to other projects. The true test of whether the show can survive without these three performers and the characters they portray will be the fourth season, when none of them are expected to appear at any point.  Let’s see how it all fares.

3) If Amaya/Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Nate/Steel (Nick Zano) continue their love affair, does this mean that Nate is somehow grandfather to Amaya’s granddaughter, Mari/the new Vixen?

ANSWER: So far, the answer is no, though Amaya interferes with her timeline quite significantly by the end of Season Three.  In fact, in order to save the soul of her other granddaughter, Kuasa, who was resurrected by Damien Darhrk, Amaya chooses to return to Zambesi in the nineties by the season’s end to help her older self beat back the tribes that ultimately murder Mari and Kuasa’s mother.  She successfully does this and discovers that the older version of Amaya that she encounters apparently left the Legends and Nate and used the memory eraser device on herself, so that she would forget Nate.  At the end of the season, Amaya opts to remain in Zambesi and to return to her life, but Maisie Richardson-Sellers is expected to return in Season Four.  Does Amaya’s interference in her own history cause any ripple effects?  Is it the same Amaya that returns to the Waverider? If so, what if she carries on with Nate and becomes pregnant?  Time (ahem) will tell here, we expect.

4) Arthur Darvill is being converted to a “recurring” cast member and will not be part of the regular cast as he was for the first two seasons.  How much Rip will we see, and how will his new band of Time Masters, which he suggested in the second season finale that he planned to rebuild, interact with the Legends and the broken universe?

ANSWER: Rip appears in six of the eighteen released episodes this season.  Rip creates a so-called Time Bureau, which includes Time Agents, bureaucrats who not only repair the broken universe within five minutes in the season premiere but also dog the Legends for some time due to the fact that their Season Two antics cause continued anachronisms and broken time events throughout the universe that they have to repair.  Of course, the Legends insist on fixing their own mistakes, but the Legends have a habit of making things worse, so the Time Bureau bans them from engaging in anachronism fixing, though Sara, still the captain and stubborn as ever, does not listen to them.  One of the agents, Ava Sharpe, becomes particularly involved, not only with the attempting to hold back the Legends as a group but, specifically, with Sara.  Ahem, interactions, you see.  In addition, Rip is apprehended by his own Time Bureau for helping the Legends against Time Bureau directives; he escapes from the Bureau and stays away until Gorilla Grodd murders the Time Bureau Director, who ordered Rip’s imprisonment to begin with, rendering senior agent Ava in charge and allowing Rip to return to work. 

5) Will we see any of the Legion of Doom again (Reverse Flash, as played by Matt Letscher; Malcolm Merlyn, as played by John Barrowman; Damien Darhrk, as played by Neal McDonough; and Captain Cold)?

ANSWER: Reverse Flash is presumed dead.  Malcolm Merlyn is presumed dead.  Damien Darhrk functions as the primary villain this season, except when he summons the demon Mallus, which represents a more powerful threat.  Captain Cold from Earth Prime does not return, but we meet a friendlier, gay version of “Leo” Snart on Earth X, who uses a freeze gun but does not go by the moniker “Captain Cold.” Leo visits both the Legends and Team Flash on Earth Prime, after they help him and fellow members of the Resistance quell the Crisis on Earth X and before his and his portraying actor’s final departure from the Arrowverse.

6) Will Mick/Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) ever get to Aruba?

ANSWER: Mick happily starts the season in Aruba until Julius Caesar anachronistically interrupts his paradise.  Mick also ends the season in Aruba, grumpily, as he is accompanied by the other Legends, much to his chagrin.

7) Did the Legends encountering their past selves in the World War I era cause the aberrations and altered Earth they find in 2016?  Or, is this extremely altered timeline a product of all of their “Legend”-ary exploits?  How will they fix it?

ANSWER: The short answer is “yes.”  To both questions.  And the Legends do not fix the dramatically altered version of Earth that the Legends returned to in the second season finale. The Time Bureau accomplishes this feat quickly in the third season premiere.

8) Will Jonah Hex become a regular character, as is rumored?

ANSWER: Jonah Hex has not yet become a regular character, though he does appear in the third season finale.

9) Who is the new character being introduced – and is this person supposed to be another “Legend?”

ANSWER: The new character is Zari Tomaz, played by Tala Ashe.  She is a “hacktivist,” discovered by the Legends in the year 2042; she sticks around because she possesses a totem.  In fact, she bears the Wind totem and is supposed to be analogous to the DC Comics character Isis, though she does not yet appear to be going by that name – if she ever will, given the unfortunate use of the name in the real world.  She has now officially become one of the Legends as of the end of the third season.

10) Considering how “Flashpoint” was handled on The Flash last season, how much of the altered timeline will affect the other shows?  Will we see spillover into Arrow/Flash (I tend to give Supergirl a pass because she’s on Earth 23)?

ANSWER: The altered timeline imposes zero effect on the events, characters, or settings of any of the other three Arrowverse shows.

11) How much of Season 3 will involve the Legends restoring the timeline?

ANSWER: The timeline is primarily restored by the Time Bureau in the season premiere, though the Legends continue to track isolated anachronisms throughout much of the first half of the season.

12) For how long will John Constantine (Matt Ryan) be on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow?

ANSWER: As above, four episodes in Season Three, and he will become a series regular character in Season Four.

13) The media spoiled the intention to have Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) join “Legends,” at least temporarily, in the near future.  For how long?  What will be his purpose?

ANSWER: Wally West aka Kid Flash appears in eight of the eighteen released episodes of Season Three.  Rip tracks Wally down in China, where he is trying to heal from his breakup with Jessie Quick on The Flash.  Rip wants Wally to help him track down and to neutralize a Time Agent, so that Rip can retrieve his signature trench coat back from this pilfering bloke.  As a result, and after a drunken night of karaoke, Wally decides to join the Legends; however, at the end of the season, Lonsdale announced that he is not returning to the Arrowverse and is, in fact, likely retiring from acting altogether.  Thus, Wally West appears to no longer be a part of the Arrowverse, at least in the character’s most recent state.

14) Why are the “Legends” writers exploring the Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) story line on “Legends,” in the way they are exploring it, when the animated version seems to parallel the live-action version, only with Amaya’s granddaughter Mari at the fore?

ANSWER: As Season Three revolves particularly around elemental totems, one of which Amaya (and later Mari) possesses, as well as the back story and importance of such totems, the bulk of Season Three seems to present a compelling reason for including two separate Vixens in the universe.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

15) Will the baby Dominator that young Ray Palmer/The Atom (Brandon Routh) met as a child reappear as an adult and encounter adult Ray/the Legends again?

ANSWER: Not so far.  The Baby Dominator might return in future seasons, but he only appears once in Season Three.

16) What is Damien Darhrk (Neal McDonough) trying to do on “Legends?”  How is he related to Mallus, the demonic presence?

ANSWER: Per usual, Damien is trying to attain ultimate power.  In order to do so, he summons the demon Mallus, an all-powerful evil presence, but cannot bring him forth into this plane of existence without a sacrificial host body, which, for Damien, turns out to be his daughter Nora.  This is a decision he comes to regret.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

17) Will Constantine and Darhrk have to square off?  Will Zari (Tala Ashe) and Amaya have to square off against Mallus?

ANSWER: Constantine and Damien do not battle magically in Season Three, though the potential still exists for future seasons, depending upon Damien’s fate as of the Season Three finale.  Zari and Amaya do battle Mallus but not alone; the Legends obtain other totems (Earth, Fire, Water, Death) and become totem bearers themselves.  Combined, Zari, Amaya, Nate, Sara, Mick, and Wally face off against Mallus in a most unusual way and form.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

18) What did the Time Bureau do with Rip?

ANSWER: The Bureau imprisons him for awhile, but he escapes.

New Questions

1) With Constantine joining the Legends and announcing to the other characters that allowing Mallus to break through the magical plane imprisoning him weakened the barrier holding back other magical creatures, what kinds of other creatures will we see?  Will there be some Hellblazer meets the Legends of Tomorrow?  Are there really going to be unicorns and other mythical creatures, as panelists Kyle and the media have teased?  What sorts of situations will the Legends face?

2) What circumstances bring Amaya back to the Waverider?  Alternatively, is it really Amaya who returns…?

3) Is Rip Hunter really and truly dead?  In, like, the permanent sense?

4) Is Damien Darhrk truly dead, since he was possessed by Mallus, who was defeated by the Legends in the season finale?

5) Ray Palmer (Routh) gives Nora Darhrk her father’s time stone with the intention of enabling her to escape from Time Bureau incarceration.  Courtney Ford, Routh’s real life wife and the actress behind Nora, has been promoted to series regular for Season Four.  How will Nora reappear next season?  Since the two characters seemed to have some chemistry, owing to their real life marriage, will there be romance for Ray in the future?

6) There additionally seemed to be some flirtatious sparks between Zari and Jonah Hex.  Will we see more of Jonah in service to this budding flirtation?  Is there any chance, still or at all, of him becoming a regular character, next season or otherwise?

7) What other DC characters will visit this show next season?

8) An actress named Ramona Young will be portraying “Alaska Yu,” who does not seem to have a clear DC counterpart, in Season Four.  What clues will the show reveal about this new character?

PARTING SHOTS

Our DCTU panel nearly unanimously reinstates previously withdrawn recommendations for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and overwhelmingly designates Season Three to be the best of all of the Legends seasons to date. In fact, some panelists no longer think that a potential viewer needs to be a comic book fan, DC or otherwise, to enjoy the show, nor would such a viewer need to appreciate Doctor Who, as the show has consciously moved away from the obvious parallels to the latter, particularly with the elimination of the Rip Hunter character in Season Three.  The panelists additionally believe that the writers and producers have finally reached a suave and entertaining balance between “campy adventure of the week” and solid, season-long story around which the characters can compellingly unify while consciously embracing those aspects of the story that, though silly, set Legends apart from the other shows in the Arrowverse.  To that end, Legends has become the favorite of the four shows for half of the panel, which results in some worry as to whether or not the writers can now maintain this excellent pace and level of quality.  Still, with the return of panel favorite Matt Ryan/John Constantine as a series regular, the promotion of Jes Macallan (Ava) to series regular, and the fresh story thread introduced with each new season, all panelists have become both hopeful and excited for what Season Four may bring, even as the panelists almost expected, if not wished for, cancellation following the second season – which is quite the turnaround indeed.

LOOKING AHEAD

The fourth season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is slated to premiere on Monday, October 22, 2018, at 9:00 PM on the CW.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode, which will focus on the sixth season of Arrowwill go to publication next week.  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 DCTU 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.  Thank you!🙂

Progress Report: Fall TV Preview and Selection for 2018-2019 Shows (2018)

At this point, the primary TV viewing season is over, the summer viewing season in all its limited glory is in full swing, and the calendar has struck the month of August…which means less than a month until the fall TV season begins again!  Thus, it’s time to shop for new pilots! Since up-fronts were held in May, new TV offerings by networks and some cable outlets (as well as streaming networks) have been announced. It’s time to examine them closely and choose which will be added to the extremely extended lineup covered by this blog!

Thanks to TVLine for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with previous seasons, a growing number of CPU! members may find shows initially passed by the CPU! Chief and choose to review them.  CPU! readers will be informed if the show’s status changes regarding coverage as the season progresses through the handy CPU! Progress Reports, and all written reviews will be published!

A Million Little Things

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: James Roday (Psych), David Giuntoli (Grimm), Romany Malco (Weeds), Ron Livingston (Sex and the City), Christina Moses (The Originals), Christina Ochoa (Valor, Blood Drive), Allison Miller (Incorporated, Go On), Stephanie Szostak (Satisfaction), Lizzy Greene (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn), Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)

WHAT: They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Welcome to the 2018-2019 CPU! network pilot review!  We start off on a strong note, with a pick up for this drama from ABC, but also with a guilty admission by your Chief CP (author of these annual reviews).  Honestly, I’m personally most interested in David Giuntoli and everything about him – outside of a Grimm context, that is – more than I am interested in the basic premise of this plot.  I think this is the Alphabet’s attempt at an answer to ratings juggernaut and NBC success This Is Us; on the other hand, the cast seems strong.  Watching these two minutes also inspires some The Big Chill nostalgia with a modern, Millennial set of characters at the forefront, dealing with the evolution and metamorphosis of friendships into adulthood.  That idea, punctuated by the suicide that starts the series off, connects strongly with this viewer, and I can see some of our other Couch Potatoes also finding some interest in and connection to it.  The trailer left me feeling hopeful for the series, at any rate, so let’s give this one a try, our first pick up for the year.  Hooray for good signs and strong starts!

Abby's

ABBY’S, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Natalie Morales (Parks and Recreation), Neil Flynn (The Middle), Nelson Franklin (Veep), Jessica Chaffin (Search Party), Leonard Ouzts (Master of None), Kimia Behpoornia (Modern Family, Adam Ruins Everything)

WHAT: Set in the best bar in San Diego, home to good prices, great company and, of course, Abby. This unlicensed, makeshift bar nestled in her backyard is the opposite of everything annoying about today’s party scene. As the oddball cast of regulars will tell you, hanging out at Abby’s is a coveted honor. But once you’re in, you’re family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Without a trailer, this viewer is reluctant to get enthusiastically on board, but two things convinced me to take a look: it’s produced by Michael Schur – creator of The Good Place and Mose Schrute on The Office – and it’s filmed entirely outside.  Though it feels very Cheers-esque, with a female barkeep knowing everyone’s name, early upfront reviews seemed hopeful, so it’s worth a look.  A quick one, anyway.

The Alec Baldwin Show\

THE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 14

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9c

WHAT: The one-hour talker will showcase Baldwin’s in-depth conversations with compelling personalities.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The CPU! podcast does not talk about talk shows.  How do you feel about Alec Baldwin at the helm of a prime time talk show?

All American

ALL AMERICAN, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 10

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Daniel Ezra (The Missing), Taye Diggs (Private Practice), Cody Christian (Teen Wolf), Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why), Monet Mazur (Castle), Karimah Westbrook (Shameless, Aquarius), Michael Evans Behling

WHAT: When a rising high school football player from South L.A. is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds — Crenshaw and Beverly Hills — begin to collide. Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger.

Trailer available at the CW’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite the presence of always gorgeous Taye Diggs, this sports-ball drama feels incredibly trope-y, including hashed and rehashed concepts of several TV and film properties past: poor, urban kid of color finding himself in a rich, largely white district; the story about a kid who has nothing but talent, heart, and a bit of luck with the offer to test his prowess on a suburban high school football team; and so on.  The trailer does not “wow” in its presentation of these recycled story concepts, and none of the actors apart from Diggs inspire confidence that this property will offer stellar production value beyond the typical good looks of a made-for-the-CW cast.  Plus, our current roster of Couch Potatoes has currently and definitely shied away from TV about sports.  Seriously, way more nerd types and way less jock types populate our own ever-growing cast.  If you want to change that, though, please drop us a line.

Charmed

CHARMED, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 14

WHEN: Sundays at 9/8c

WHO: Sarah Jeffery (Shades of Blue), Melonie Diaz (The Breaks), Madeleine Mantock (The Tomorrow People), Rupert Evans (Man in the High Castle), Ser’Darius Blain (Survivor’s Remorse, Jane by Design), Charlie Gillespie (Degrassi: Next Class), Ellen Tamaki

WHAT: After the tragic death of their mother, three sisters in a college town are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.

Trailer available at the CW’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  Networks: “What do we want?” Answering themselves: “More reboots!” “When do we want them?” “Now! Because we literally have no other ideas!”  Charmed, the original starring Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, and later Rose McGowan, was a WB staple for eight seasons, now airs frequently in syndication, and enjoys a healthy streaming afterlife.  Charmed has already been requested as a possible “Looking Back” candidate for the podcast because its loyal fan base endures to this day.  Charmed was a show that this viewer watched voraciously and enthusiastically in its original run.  It was a bit cheesy at times and occasionally suffered from the mismatch of acting talent among the women playing the Halliwell/Matthews sisters, but it was reliable, interesting, and sort of kooky in an entertaining way for a long time.  Like all the other major networks and some streaming outlets, WB offspring The CW could not wait to look into past properties for its own go at a rebooted show from an earlier success, so here, we have Charmed Redux with a new set of sisters exercising a new era of The Power of Three.  I can’t help feeling that this reboot is near blasphemy at its core, given that the original was pretty well loved and still enjoys a loyal, continuing fan devotion.  Plus, the actresses playing the sisters are nowhere near equal to the four who played the Halliwells/Matthews, even if the original four could not be described as amazing performers themselves.  This reboot also seems to be an even darker take, with mom’s death being characterized as outright murder from the jump.  Still, sheer morbid curiosity, a love of fantasy (and supernatural fantasy to boot), and a “can’t look away” feeling propel me to say that CPU! has little choice but to pick this up.  Though you better bet that this will be a “Look Back to Look Forward” setup, and that the two versions of the series will be hotly compared and contrasted by feisty and spicy Couch Potatoes.  Mark my words, gentle reader: the Power of Three may not set you free.

The Code

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, and there is scant information available for this drama, which, mind you, is a military drama and a seeming holdover from the rash of military dramas that debuted last season on the networks, most of which were ultimately canceled.  Plus, Mira Sorvino was attached to this program as its lead for awhile before leaving the role, which is not typically a great sign, and there is very little to be excited about when reviewing the cast list or plot synopsis, so we’ll leave this code non-cracked this season.

The Conners

THE CONNERS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 16

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8/7c

WHO: John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman

WHAT: In the Roseanne spinoff, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before after a sudden turn of events. The iconic family — Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. — grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns — with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Last season, CPU! picked up the Roseanne revival based on the fact that several of our Couch Potatoes, the Chief among them, enjoyed the original series, more or less, and were curious to see how this particular family would weather the reboot/revival treatment.  Though many of us have not yet watched, the ratings seemed to speak for themselves – but then so did Roseanne Barr via her Twitter account.  All politics aside, Roseanne has always been an “x” factor, erratic and sometimes harmful to the public in how she has chosen to wield her influence, but no one can deny that Roseanne would not have been what it was without her.  Now, in a move that sounds, smells, and tastes a bit like “cash grab,” notwithstanding the advocacy for the jobs of those that would otherwise not have had them without Roseanne’s poor life choices (and prejudicial views) mucking up the works, the Alphabet is moving forward with what would ultimately be a spin-off, sans the titular matriarch.  On the one hand, it could be compelling: the rest of the cast are no slouches, especially Laurie Metcalf, and the character of Darlene, particularly, has always served as an interesting focal point for the show.  On the other hand, if the writers don’t hit this one out of the park straight from the dugout, it will not survive all of this melee and ado and will become a truly unfortunate, if not tragic footnote in entertainment history.  The real question is: would this footnote be any more unfortunate or tragic than the original ending, including Dan’s purported death following the family winning the lottery?  CPU! is willing to bet probably not, and we believe the network sees this whole game playing out the same way, so, in the end, we’re left asking “why not?”  Again, it could also be sheer morbid curiosity.  Time, and the rest of the Conners, will tell.

The Cool Kids

FBI

FBI, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Missy Peregrym (Rookie Blue), Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), Zeeko Zaki (Valor, 24: Legacy), Ebonée Noel (Still Star-Crossed), Sela Ward (CSI: NY)

WHAT: The Dick Wolf-produced drama explores the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite a decently packaged trailer and a potentially unusual and compelling turn by Missy Peregrym in the lead role, if Dick Wolf has his stamp on this, it will likely be a crime-of-the-week, neatly wrapped up in an episode (or two) procedural show, this time exploring the inner workings of one of the federal law enforcement agencies.  We are not covering procedural TV (much) here at CPU!, and when we do, we’ll have to recruit a reviewer or moderator to do it because this Chief CP likely won’t be watching, at least not without an interesting gimmick to make it seem different from others of its genre.  I can’t imagine this to be something entirely different than Law & Order and its franchise of shows, even if this series is, also, not entirely the same.  CPU! will pass for now.

The Fix

THE FIX, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Robin Tunney (The Mentalist), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Ten Days in the Valley, Lost), Mouzam Makkar (The Exorcist), Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash), Merrin Dungey (Big Little Lies, The Resident), Scott Cohen (Gilmore Girls), Marc Blucas (Underground, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Adam Rayner (Tyrant), Alex Saxon (The Fosters)

WHAT: Follows an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in Washington. Eight years later when this same celebrity is under suspicion for another murder, Maya Travis is lured back to the DA’s office for another chance at justice.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast is teeming with familiar faces from large and small screen (was that Robin Givens in the trailer?), this show seems (un)remarkably like a romanticized version of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial given a fantasy makeover, wherein the put-upon district attorney who failed her job the first time gets a second chance to re-try the case, with a different fact pattern in which to dig her bared teeth.  Since the executive producer is Marcia Clark, one of the DA’s who lost the criminal trial of the disgraced ex-NFL star and, therefore, probably felt like she failed at life for many decades to come, the premise of this show, still more, smacks of the playing out of her own revenge fantasy, one in which she can finally take down the elusive defendant who broke her career and her spirit.  OJ was probably guilty, but hey, I guess the glove didn’t fit or something.  I lived through the debacle that was that trial, when it created and fueled the news glut we still enjoy today (without so much internet) and which divided the nation again/still by race and by class.  While the trial itself inspired a critical examination of the judicial system, I, frankly, do not need to live through a fantasized version of the same story, this time delving into an “It’s a Wonderful Life” concept of do-overs to redeem the poor, put-upon, plucky, but intelligent DA who couldn’t get her conviction in the end.  I also worry that the character played by the erstwhile Mr. Eko from Lost could become a caricature quickly if not handled properly and with sympathy, given the obvious parallel to real life that he presents.  All in all, suspension of disbelief would certainly be difficult for this particular potato’s personal palate, but if you watch and disagree, let us know.  My curiosity simply isn’t morbid enough to need this fix.

God Friended Me

GOD FRIENDED ME, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 30 (at 8:30/7:30c)

WHEN: Sundays at 8/7c (beginning Oct. 7)

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor), Joe Morton (Scandal), Violett Beane (The Flash), Javicia Leslie (MacGyver), Suraj Sharma (Homeland)

WHAT: Questions of faith, existence and science are explored in this dramedy about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is “friended” by God on social media. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Now, maybe I’m feeling really vulnerable right now, but I teared up at the trailer, which means this one got to me in 3-4 minutes, and that’s not something to sneeze at when doing the quick math here.  Properties with pure religious motifs have not fared well on prime time network television in recent years, but perhaps what makes this one a bit different is that the show will attempt to explore the tough but meaningful subject of faith and the spiritual through more of a focused dialogue, beginning with the main character who runs a podcast about atheism.  Adding in the social media spin for today’s modern audiences, this premise teases something potentially fresh and original without becoming too preachy.  In fact, the show may become the kind of feel-good comedy – and discussion of hope – that today’s audiences crave in these testy times of geopolitical conflict.  Plus, I found the main characters to be largely winning – one of them is the sometime Jessie Quick from CPU! fave The Flash – so, all in all, it feels like this program deserves a leap of faith.  Friend request accepted.

Grand Hotel

GRAND HOTEL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids), Demian Bichir (The Bridge), Chris Warren (The Fosters), Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game), Shalim Ortiz (Heroes), Denyse Tontz (The Fosters), Bryan Craig (General Hospital), Lincoln Younes (Home and Away), Justina Adorno (Seven Seconds), Anne Winters (13 Reasons Why), Feliz Ramirez

WHAT: Set in the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. Charismatic Santiago Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success. Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Produced by former Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria, this new sudsy soap screams telenovela for the now, with sex, sex, sex oozing from its Miami infused pores, a regular scandal (no, not that Scandal) in the making for the Disney-owned Alphabet network.  This will probably be a guilty, or not so guilty, pleasure for quite a few viewers, with an attractive cast, a colorful backdrop, and shocking secrets regularly revealed to appalled but enthralled gasps, but unless requested otherwise, CPU! will back away slowly, since soaps we cover are few and far between.  We will instead remember that the real Grand Hotel is on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  Granted, the clientele is probably very different all around.  All jokes aside, though, this show honestly has potential for success but is not the typical fare that appeals to too many of the CPU! Couch Potatoes.  Maybe they will surprise me, though.  You can request our coverage too, though, viewer – and did you know that you, too, could become one of our panelists?  Sign our guestbook to inquire as to how.

Happy Together

HAPPY TOGETHER, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl, Happy Endings), Amber Stevens West (Ghosted, The Carmichael Show), Felix Mallard (Neighbours), Stephnie Weir (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Chris Parnell (Grown-ish, SNL), Victor Williams (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A 30-something couple, tired of their mundane life, start to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when a young pop star who is drawn to their super normal suburban life, moves in.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Canned laughter.  Pauses for the canned laughter.  Pregnant pauses.  Dozing.  That last one was me; I’m the one dozing.  This new sitcom seems like a one-note joke that cannot possibly sustain over 22 episodes, much less several additional seasons, and will probably get old in one.  It’s clear that this new program wants to rely on Damon Wayans, Jr.’s considerable charm and comedic timing, but he simply doesn’t have THAT much charm and comedic timing to overcome the ham and cheese on rye flavoring this bland soupy sauce of a sitcom is serving up.  Sure, we all want to be young and hip again, but how tired is the “we’re boring, so this cool rock star will make us cool too” trope?  I did not laugh once watching the trailer, and with such a recycled and rehashed premise, I don’t see anyone at CPU! (or beyond) requesting our in-depth discussion about this show.  Look, Damon’s dad had to try a few times to get a sitcom that lasted too.  Genetics or something, right?

I Feel Bad

I FEEL BAD, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 4

WHEN: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Sarayu Blue (No Tomorrow), Paul Adelstein (Private Practice), Zach Cherry (Crashing, Search Party), James Buckley (The Inbetweeners), Johnny Pemberton (Superstore), Aisling Bea

WHAT: Emet is a mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter who is just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But that’s OK, right? Nobody can have it all and do it perfectly.

Trailer available at NBC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  First, the executive producer is Amy Poehler.  Win.  Second, sure the situations in this comedy probably have been done (and done, and done) elsewhere, but how many times have they been done honestly, with the kind of in-your-face humor that resonates?  Also win.  The Peacock has really made a comeback recently, at least in the comedy department, by choosing smart comedies with familiar premises but fresh elements developing those premises to something better than they might otherwise be.  Sarayu Blue and Paul Adelstein have clear chemistry; her parents will no doubt be the comic underdogs; and the social commentary will be relevant and up to date, unlike the last sitcom we reviewed in this pilot entry.  Perhaps, this “pick up” is somewhat inspired by a trailer that made me laugh, as opposed to the one that just failed at that basic task, but isn’t that what a sitcom should be – a show that makes the viewer laugh?  It’s worth a look, at least, because I can tell that this show already has a better chance of sustaining beyond one season than most in its genre.

In the Dark

IN THE DARK, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Perry Mattfeld (Shameless), Rich Sommer (Mad Men), Kathleen York (The Client List, The West Wing), Derek Webster (NCIS: New Orleans), Brooke Markham (Foursome), Keston John (My Kitchen Rules)

WHAT: A blind woman is the only “witness” to the murder of her drug-dealing friend. After the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at the guide dog school owned by her overprotective parents.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The trailer was apparently only screened at up-fronts, but this not-so-connected viewer needs a trailer to make an unbiased assessment of this show.  Without one, and given the above premise description, it sounds like a schmaltzy hodgepodge of lovable dog, inspiring tale of rising to meet the challenges of adversity, and murder-mystery procedural rolled into a saccharine goo.  Plus, there is no one in the cast that offers a draw, and it’s on the CW, which struggles outside of the fantasy/science fiction genre sometimes.  If buzz, accolades, or steam say this dark show is full of unexpected light, we might reconsider, but right now, this viewer offers a solid “meh,” and we unitedly move on.

The InBetwen

THE INBETWEEN, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Harriet Dyer (Australia’s Love Child), Paul Blackthorne (Arrow), Anne-Marie Johnson (In the Heat of the Night), Cindy Luna (The Last Ship), Chad James Buchanan (Star)

WHAT: Cassie Bishop can see and communicate with the dead, helping them with their unresolved problems, whether she likes it or not. When her longtime friend Det. Tom Hackett and his new partner, former FBI Agent Damien Asante, need help solving a darkly puzzling murder, Cassie agrees to use her abilities. Despite her reluctance, she may have found a way to keep her demons at bay, all while solving some of the city’s most challenging cases.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  This new drama sounds like a cross between The Sixth Sense and garden variety procedural crime/murder mystery television, but new fantasy appears to be rather limited this season, and that’s what the CP’s live for around here (this Chief CP does, anyway).  Plus, Paul Blackthorne left CPU! covered Arrow to come be on this show, so we’ll give it a chance.  If the bend is more procedural than serial drama, though, we might lose interest, but we’ll see how this one shakes out in the end.

The Kids Are Alright

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 16

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight), Caleb Foote (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Giani Versace), Christopher Paul Richards (Me, Myself & I), Jack Gore (Electric Dreams), Sawyer Barth (Public Morals), Sam Straley, Andy Walken, Santino Barnard

WHAT: Set in the 1970s, the ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.”

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The Wonder Years meets That 70s Show with a dash of Modern Family and maybe All in the Family as well as Eight is Enough thrown into the mix to become The Kids Are Alright, which, incidentally, was the working title of That 70s Show. Though I wanted to like what this teaser trailer was serving, this new sitcom boasts much in the way of ham-fisted nostalgia, in spades, coupled with forced parallelism to our modern times, while depending on what seems to be a lackluster cast of mostly unknown quantities trying, hard, to elicit laughs.  It even has voice-over narration in the way Daniel Stern’s Kevin Arnold talked over the younger Fred Savage version of the character’s antics in The Wonder Years.  Perhaps, there is potential to appeal to viewers hungry for this type of on-the-nose comedy, and if there is something we’re missing here, you can always tell us, but again, nothing struck as particularly funny as much as “all been done before” while watching the trailer, so we’re not willing to say this one’s alright, at least for now.

Legacies4

LEGACIES, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 25

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Davis (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Rose Russell (The Originals), Quincy Fouse (The Goldbergs), Kaylee Bryant (Santa Clarita Diet), Jenny Boyd

WHAT: The Vampire Diaries and Originals spinoff follows the next generation of supernatural beings at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, including Klaus Mikaelson’s daughter, 17-year-old Hope Mikaelson; Alaric Saltzman’s twins, Lizzie and Josie Saltzman; and other young adults come of age in the most unconventional way possible, nurtured to be their best selves in spite of their worst impulses. Will these young witches, vampires and werewolves become the heroes they want to be — or the villains they were born to be?

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  CPU! includes fans who talked for several episodes about The Vampire Diaries and another panel will be finishing up ongoing water cooler coverage of The Originals in the very near future, now that the series has recently ended.  I imagine, therefore, that a chunk of us will want to check out this spin-off of the Vampire Diaries universe, if for no other reason than that any one of us might have a tough time letting said universe go for good.  Still, it would be a tall order to imagine that any of these characters, or their portraying actors, will be as interesting as the leading casts of either TVD or The Originals, but since the theme of the season seems to be morbid curiosity, we’ll just carry that with us as we give this new entry in the annals of vampire/supernatural fantasy fiction a try (and even if Alaric’s school is the supernatural Hogwarts).  Plus, we might see guest appearances by anyone from either of the two casts, so, morbid curiosity for the win!

Magnum P.I.

MAGNUM P.I., CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 24

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Jay Hernandez (Scandal, Last Resort), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), Stephen Hill (Luke Cage, Boardwalk Empire)

WHAT: An update of the classic television series set in Hawaii, the show follows Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Do you see Tom Selleck anywhere?  Do you?!?!  The answer to this question is the same answer to the question, “Will you be watching this latest reboot?” From the network that also brought us reboots of Hawaii Five-O and MacGyver – and, hell, of the entire 1980s – we now have a reboot of Magnum PI. Rebooted theme song included.  I didn’t watch much of the original and can’t imagine watching a less awesome actor than Tom Selleck taking on the part of the titular Magnum.  Call me crotchety, but this reboot madness is, well, madness.  Of course, wait until you read just a bit further.

We pass, by the way.

Manifest

MANIFEST, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 24

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time), Melissa Roxburgh (Valor), J.R. Ramirez (Jessica Jones, Power), Athena Karkanis (Zoo), Parveen Kaur (Beyond), Luna Blaise (Fresh Off the Boat), Jack Messina

WHAT: When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible.

Trailer available at NBC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Though the Peacock network may yet be trying for its next Lost, like so many other networks, ABC included, have tried before it, and though the trailer was not the best packaged presentation to tease the mystery being offered here, this new drama does offer some areas of interest, though this viewer’s immediate question was: “Did they fly over the Bermuda Triangle?”  Our Once Upon a Time panelists might be interested in the quick return of top-billed Josh Dallas, the once upon a time Prince Charming from the recently ended ABC fantasy.  Our Marvel’s Defenders panel may recognize J.R. Ramirez from the second season of Jessica Jones.  Ultimately, though, the core mystery is intriguing: where did the plane go, and why didn’t they age?  Though my vote is Bermuda Triangle voodoo, or maybe alien kidnapping, I’m intrigued enough to want to watch to learn the answers.

Murphy Brown

MURPHY BROWN, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 27

WHEN: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Original stars Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud, plus Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey), Jake McDorman (Limitless, Greek), Nik Dodani (Atypical)

WHAT: Bergen reprises her role as the investigative journalist, who returns to a world of cable news, social media, fake news, and a very different political and cultural climate.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s madness, I tell you!  But, hey, do you see Candice Bergen?  Do you?!?!  Well…that is the question, you got your answer, and so on, etc. que sera, fin. Of all the reboots to reboot, this one couldn’t be more appropriate or timely for today’s geopolitical circus, which, frankly, depresses this CP regardless of on which side of the aisle you prefer to hang your hat.  Back in the day, Murphy Brown was a hard-hitting situation comedy that challenged the tenets passing for the conservatism heading the country and the bumbling silence of the liberal answer, all while also holding the media complex, then far less complex, accountable for their contribution to the insanity.  Now, the world is a lot more insane, and, frankly, I could use Murphy’s brand of loyalty to the truth and skewering sarcasm to make me feel better about the state of things.  Though the reboot moves on without the inimitable Charles Kimbrough and the now deceased Robert Pastorelli, two ingredients we might end up missing more than we think, I believe the world is more ready for an older, sassier Murphy than they are for a Magnum PI who is not Tom Selleck.  Dan Quayle, eat your heart out!  Mike Pence: brace yourself!

The Neighborhood

THE NEIGHBORHOOD, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Mondays at 8/7c

WHO: Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls), Sheaun McKinney (Great News), Marcel Spears (The Mayor), Tichina Arnold (Survivor’s Remorse), Hank Greenspan

WHAT: The nicest guy in the Midwest moves his family into a tough neighborhood in L.A. where not everyone appreciates his extreme neighborliness.

Promo teaser available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  With only a 30 second teaser available to assess this new comedy, this viewer is not particularly hopeful or confident that things will be all that good in this neighborhood.  Still, Cedric the Entertainer is reliably funny, and Max Greenfield’s sense of comedic timing (the erstwhile Schmidt on recently ended New Girl, of course) could be the winning ingredient, while lightly poking fun at some sociological phenomena of this day and age that will cross some important social and cultural boundaries.  Or, it could just be a hot mess, since Max was a last minute recasting, particularly if it relies on a traditional sitcom format, laugh track included, to elicit viewer laughs.  Still, we’ve given other pick ups to shows with less going for them, so why not?

New Amsterdam

NEW AMSTERDAM, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Janet Montgomery (Salem), Freema Agyeman (Sense8, Doctor Who), Anupam Kher (Sense8), Tyler Labine (Reaper), Jocko Sims (The Last Ship)

WHAT: Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, the medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care.

Trailer available at NBC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Okay, I’ll grant you: it’s another medical drama, which CPU! doesn’t cover much, and there are few genres that rely so heavily on formulaic tropes as the medical drama (outside of procedural TV).  Yet, there’s something a bit different about this medical drama, at least given what was presented in the trailer.  And NBC is on fire this coming season with some intriguing pilots and orders to season that sort of break mold – so why shouldn’t their selection for a medical drama be different, even if they might be looking to find their next ER, which was a tent pole staple of evening TV on this very network for nearly two decades.  The doctor in the lead has cancer, is appointed director of medicine at the oldest hospital in the nation, and wants to disrupt the system enough to get the hospital to return focus to actual medicine and not upon speedy service and expensive billing.  And really – isn’t that what we all want? Sure, this one could descend rapidly into schmaltz, but I don’t know.  There’s something a bit bolder here than the normal medical drama, and I think I’m here for it.  Let’s see if other Couch Potatoes feel the same.

The Passage

THE PASSAGE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Pitch), Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), Brianne Howey (The Exorcist), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), Saniyya Sidney (American Horror Story: Roanoke), Jamie McShane (Bloodline), Caroline Chikezie (The Shannara Chronicles)

WHAT: Based on author Justin Cronin’s best‐selling trilogy of the same name, the drama centers around a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race. The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy Bellafonte, who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment and Brad Wolgast, the Federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though this CP thinks she might actually want to read these books first after watching the trailer, I am all sorts of intrigued by the story – which feels very movie-like, by the way, in terms of tension and mystery – being presented by The Passage.  First, I think Zach Morris is no longer the worst, for reals, though.  Mark-Paul Gosselaar seems to be putting forth a compelling effort in the lead character role for this show and more of a compelling effort than I’ve seen him put forth recently.  Second, what a tangled web of moral ambiguity we’re about to watch!  No wonder these books were bestsellers.  This show presents a heck of a lot of science fiction fueled potential, and that’s what we love here at CPU!, so pick this one up we shall – seems like easy passage to me.

Proven Innocent

PROVEN INNOCENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Rachelle Lefevre (Under the Dome), Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Kelsey Grammer (Boss), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Riley Smith (Frequency, Nashville), Nikki M. James (BrainDead), Clare O’Connor (Easy)

WHAT: A legal drama set in an wrongful conviction firm. Led by a fierce and fearless female lawyer with a hunger for justice, the team reopens investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent that were “proven” guilty.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. There are medical dramas, and then there are legal dramas.  No TV season can be without 20 of each.  Though the trailer here presented a premise that promises to be manipulative and somewhat force-fed, this viewer is drawn to cast members this time out, particularly Russell Hornsby, who we loved on Grimm; Kelsey Grammer, who is more than a mere Boss; and Vincent Kartheiser, married to Alexis Bledel and sometime supporting star of Mad Men and Angel.  I will give this one a try for them, but if this drama falls into a nebulous sticky goo of manipulative feel-good lawyer-type stuff, it won’t last – for us or for the viewing public, at least not in an entertainment complex saturated with vehicles just like it.

The Red Line

THE RED LINE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Noah Wyle (ER), Noel Fisher (Shameless), Michael Patrick Thornton (Private Practice), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Ballers, Hand of God), Vinny Chhibber (NoTomorrow), Aliyah Royale, Howard Charles (The Musketeers), Elizabeth Laidlaw (Boss)

WHAT: After a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, we follow three vastly different families that all have connections with the case as the story is told from each perspective.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. There is no trailer available to watch for the TV pundits, so judging from the scant synopsis offered above, this particular new vehicle has the potential to be Crash, the TV show.  Or, perhaps it’s another go at Shots Fired, a limited series that aired on Fox and was canceled after one season of low ratings.  As easy on the eyes as Noah Wyle is, and as happy as we are to see him back on TV, there simply isn’t enough to go on to establish a connection beyond what seems visibly recycled.  If buzz, accolades, or steam start steaming up the joint, we’ll happily reconsider.  We’re really quite flexible around here.  There’s nothing preventing us from doing our yoga while we couch potato, you know.

Rel