PODCAST! – Shark Jumpers Anonymous: “The 100” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Interviewer and Commentator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The 100″ is currently on hiatus; Season 5 of the series will premiere on the CW on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 9:00 PM.

What: “The 100,” a science fiction drama set nearly 100 years into the future.  According to the preliminary season one voice-over, in the fictional near future, Earth is ravaged by nuclear warfare, irradiating the planet’s surface. Survivors flee to space stations orbiting the Earth; 100 years into the future, the lives of the mere thousands of the survivors’ descendants aboard the “Ark” are threatened again, as the oxygen and life support reserves dwindle, and the machinery aboard the conglomeration of space stations degrades.  The only hope for the human race centers on the heartiness of 100 adolescent prisoners, chosen for their penchant for breaking the rules, who are sent to the planet’s surface to sniff out whether humanity can return to its original home and persevere. The 100 are a mixture of society’s elite and its most oppressed; the resulting stew becomes something very similar to Lord of the Flies – except, as the 100 accept and embrace their new-found freedom, they realize they are not alone.

SYNOPSIS

Humanity survives a nuclear holocaust in the fictional near future that irradiates the planet’s surface, sending what remains of the human race into space to fend for their lives aboard several international space stations, which are eventually joined together to become the “Ark.” One hundred years into the future, humanity is in danger once again, as the century-old machinery fails, and oxygen supplies dwindle.  The society aboard the Ark is run under strict rules and laws, including population control and discouragement of defiance of the ruling council and its decrees in any way.  The Council is comprised of, among others, Chancellor Thelonius Jaha (Isaiah Washington) and his Vice Chancellor Marcus Kane (Henry Ian Cusick).  They and the chief medical officer, Dr. Abigail Griffin (Paige Turco), decide to send 100 involuntary participants deemed criminals – adolescents incarcerated for various crimes, including illegal space walks and being an unauthorized second child – in order to test the viability of the planet’s surface to sustain human life. Unfortunately, some of the 100 include the chief medical officer’s daughter and the chancellor’s son, among others.  In addition, once the 100 reach the Earth’s surface, despite the fact that they wear bracelets monitoring their health and vital signs, most of them see their situation as a new lease on life and freedom and remove their bracelets in the hopes that the Ark will leave them for dead.  Only Abby’s daughter, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), fights to communicate with the Ark, while others are content to run wild in a new, anarchic society. These two schools of thought are at odds, even as the 100 confront unexpected inhabitants of the new old world.

When: Season Four aired from February 1, 2017, to May 24, 2017, on the CW.

Where: The action is set in two locations at the outset of the series: in space, aboard the fictitious space station amalgamation known as the “Ark,” and on Earth, in an unknown location at an unidentified crash site.  The adults eventually travel to Earth, foregoing the dying Ark, and set up a settlement, first called “Camp Jaha” and then “Arkadia.”

Why: The Chief CP is always on the hunt for good science fiction; this show offers less science and more fiction.  The podcast panelists who remain (for now) all found this program in diverse ways.  Listen to the episode for details.

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

CPU! last covered The 100 in 2017, just prior to the premiere of Season 4, by recapping the first three seasons to get our resident Couch Potatoes caught up on the show.  If you need to get caught up too, listen to the embedded link below:

The 100, Seasons 1-3

Unfortunately, coverage of The 100 on the podcast is about to go the way of the dodo.  The remaining panelists, Kelsey and Selene, find themselves at a Fonzie-inspired crossroads: an inability and sheer lack of desire to proceed forward in watching this latest entry in teen dystopian science fiction.  As such, though they fleetingly visited the Water Cooler in the past to talk about a show they once loved, they now inaugurate a new interview-style feature on CPU! entitled “Shark Jumpers Anonymous,” in which panelists – and about to be former-panelists – explain why they are making leaps and bounds over predatory fish (or like trees and leaving).  Answering a script of questions, the two panelists explain why they have stopped watching the show, while Chief CP Kylie justifies why she has continued to watch – and to modestly like – The 100, including a babbling, poorly recollected recap of major plot points from the fourth season.  Hey!  It’s hard when you’re out there, doing it on your own.

If you feel sorry for me – and love this show to boot – never fear.  You can join CPU! as a panelist, for this and for other shows.  Scroll down to “Looking Ahead” for the details!

In the meantime, give this latest CPU! episode a listen, with an ear to the ground and an eye toward the sky, and see if you agree or disagree with our spicy thoughts.  The interviews were recorded in March and in April 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of all seasons of The 100. 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! In our next episode, our “Full/er House Series” panel returns to the Water Cooler – smaller and also with sharks circling their vociferous but tenacious group – to recap Season 3 (both parts). Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Is Lexa’s essence, as preserved in ALIE’s construct known as the “City of Light,” truly gone?  Or, did she escape the oncoming onslaught of hostile and devoted chipped humans within the construct? If so, where did she go?

ANSWER: As Lexa did not appear in Season 4, it is presumed she is truly gone – though the Flame, which holds the remaining ALIE construct (and is the chip by which the Grounders choose a clan Commander) remains with Gaia, Indra’s daughter.  Could Lexa’s essence still be rolling around in that chip?  Considering that the actress moved on to appear in Fear of the Walking Dead, it is unlikely we will know the answer to that question any time soon.

2) Is the entire fourth season going to be centered on a hunt for decaying nuclear power plants?  How can Clarke (Taylor) and company possibly solve the conundrum described by ALIE’s creator, who posed that the nuclear power plants would implode within six months?

ANSWER: Fortunately, Clarke and the others realize quickly that there are too many reactors decaying and about to create “praimfaya,” or catastrophic destruction, to consider traversing the world or to hope to save everyone from annihilation.  Clarke and her mother (Turco) concentrate on a crazy plan to change regular human blood to radiation-resistant night-blood; Raven (Lindsey Morgan) concentrates on booting a dormant spaceship housed in one of the facilities formerly run by Becca, ALIE’s creator, in a crazy plan to use the ship to get to space as a plan Z for escaping the nuclear meltdown; and Clark and Jaha (Washington) concentrate on a crazy plan to find a bunker created by Earth’s previous civilization to withstand the nuclear catastrophe that occurred 100 years in the past.  The bunker can only house and sustain – with agroponic farming – 1200 occupants.  These three plot lines guide the season.

3) Are there human survivors in other parts of the former USA?  Other parts of the world? Will we meet any of them in this season?  Are there other Grounder clans (aside from Ice Nation, Treekru, etc.)?  Will we meet them?

ANSWER: We will never know for sure about survivors elsewhere in the world because praimfaya comes and goes.  Now, we can only know if there are on-surface survivors of the latest nuclear holocaust, in addition to a small group that flies in Raven’s space shuttle to space and to the 1200 representatives of the remaining clans, Skaikru included, led by Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) in the bunker.

4) Why should we care that the Earth is dying, given all of the violence and poor judgment of so many characters on this show?  The writers and producers have to convince several members of our panel to keep watching by giving us a reason to care.

ANSWER: The Chief CP ultimately sees the story being told as one of humanity’s perseverance and tenacity in the face of extinction, and perhaps, this main idea is the emotional connection that the writers are seeking to make with the viewing audience.  Yet, the death toll is so high on this show and so much more catastrophic (so far) compared to contemporaneous TV, like the superior Game of Thrones, it’s really, really hard to care or to be invested in any one or set of characters.  Everyone’s lives – and the fate of the planet – are always at stake, and that’s a lot of high octane tension that begins to wear on the viewer’s psyche after a time.

5) Will other characters die?  Will they all die?  Will they survive?  Will they have to go back to space to escape the failing nuclear power plants?

ANSWER: Other characters die in Season 4 (SPOILER: Jasper Jordan, played by Devon Bostick; Roan, played by Zach McGowan).  As of the Season 4 finale, Clarke is the only confirmed survivor.  And only a fraction of people, including Raven, Bellamy (Bob Morley), and Monty (Christopher Larkin) take the small shuttle found by Raven to space to escape the power reactors.

6) Does this show possibly have a fifth season in it?  Our panel votes not so much.

ANSWER: The network and the show’s producers disagree: Season 5 premieres this coming Tuesday.  But Chief CP Kylie is hard pressed to believe this show will survive to a Season 6.  Of course, this season’s renewal also surprised me, so what do I know?

New Questions

1) Who is in the spaceship that Clarke sees in the last five minutes in the Season 4 finale?

2) What kind of leader/Commander is Octavia?  Have all of the bunker inhabitants survived so far?  Will we see flashbacks to show us how everyone managed it?

3) Did our space flight group survive on the Ark remnant (was there enough oxygen for all that)?

4) Who is the little kid with Clarke?  Are there other on-surface survivors/night-bloods that emerged from praimfaya?

5) What is the show’s endgame?  Really?

6) Is it worth it to “ship” anyone anymore?

PARTING SHOTS

As we discussed last time we covered this show, The 100 seems to have burned bright and fast only to fizzle into wisps of smoke and ash, confronted as it is by a myriad of puzzling writing decisions that may have painted the show into a corner without chance for entertaining recovery.  Season 4 does fare better than Season 3, though this is only confirmed by Chief CP Kylie, as the other panelists jumped sharks. Panelists Kelsey and Selene cite many reasons for foregoing additional viewing, including a rocky foundation, relying on minimal and lacking character development as the writers and executive producer, Jason Rothenberg, drive quickly toward the main plot arcs without taking time to lay essential character groundwork.  All panelists recall a faltering third season, as several plot threads and character decisions remiss of logic established by the first two seasons create an impossible situation facing our characters as the season ends, with uneven pacing and egregious violence adding to the mess.  Our departing panelists lauded an original premise, even as the remaining panelist continues to struggle with its derivative influences.  Yet, as the Chief CP notes, the writers did – somewhat, though certainly not completely – absolve the show’s weaker aspects in Season 4 by focusing upon three, linear plot threads all aimed at the survival of the known populations of the human race, with an interesting season ending time jump that provided enough intrigue without testing the boundaries of suspension of disbelief.  Unfortunately, only Kylie is left standing as the show heads into Season 5…unless new panelists join.  Care to be one of them?

LOOKING AHEAD

The 100 was renewed for a fifth season, which is slated to premiere on the CW on April 24, 2018, at 9:00 PM.  Because the entire panel “jumped the shark” but for the Chief CP, CPU! will not return to the Water Cooler to discuss The 100 again, though Kylie, should she remain the last of the Couch Potatoes interested in the show, will provide a Moderator Post-Mortem following the series end.

Do you want CPU! to continue covering The 100 on the podcast?  If so, volunteer to be a panelist!  We are a podcast by the people for the people, or, for specifically the Couch Potatoes who wish to unite with us.  If you would like to join this panel (and bring a friend, as we need at least two to revive it), message us via Facebook or Twitter, via our website (couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com), or via email at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com.  Where ever you may be in the world, we are able to connect with you – via video conferencing or phone conferencing – or, if you want to submit a written review of the show, send it along!  In the meantime, CPU! will maintain surface coverage of goings-on in The 100’s universe, including reporting renewals or cancellations, until the series ends.  Stay tuned!

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Progress Report: Post-February Sweeps, 2017-2018 Pilots

It’s time for a progress report for the new pilots – long-running shows covered by this blog will be addressed at end of season in June! Where are the new shows (that are left), and how are they doing nowadays?  Read below to find out!

Thanks as always to TVLine and to other sources for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with last season, 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!

9-1-1

9-1-1, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 3, 2018

WHO: Angela Bassett (American Horror Story)

WHAT: A fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders — cops, paramedics, firefighters — the people who put their lives on the line to save others.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  A few thoughts on this first entry, numerically titled and, therefore, ahead of the alphabet. While we at CPU! are big fans of Ms. Bassett, being that we’ve watched her on American Horror Story for several seasons and greatly enjoy her contributions to the horror anthology juggernaut, the fact is that with so little information to go on for this mid-season entry on Fox’s new lineup, we are hard pressed to adopt this title for our pick-up list.  There is no trailer, the description is thin, and, frankly, it sounds potentially procedural in nature, if not a recycling and/or rehashing of medical and law enforcement dramas currently all over network and cable TV.  What we’re saying is: it doesn’t sound original, no matter how much caliber Angela Bassett may add to it.  So, we start with a pass.  Bodes well, eh?

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  Nine of ten ordered episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.

CPU! STATUS: There has been some modest percolation and rumblings of praise for this show, but no one has specifically requested it as a podcast candidate.  We’ll keep an eye on it.

9JKL

9JKL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 2

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains), David Walton (About a Boy), Liza Lapira (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23), Matt Murray (Rookie Blue), Linda Lavin (The Good Wife), Elliott Gould (Ray Donovan), Albert Tsai (Dr. Ken)

WHAT: A family comedy inspired by a time in Mark Feuerstein’s adult life when he lived in apartment 9K in the building he grew up in, sandwiched between his parents’ apartment, 9J, and his brother, sister-in-law and their baby’s apartment, 9L, and his attempts to set boundaries with his intrusive but well-meaning family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This feels like a very borderline situation for a situation comedy, in terms of actual, successful laughter, as far as this Couch Potato (CP) is concerned.  Though apparently derived from real-life sources, namely Mark Feuerstein’s real life, the teaser trailer offers several repetitive jokes and a mixed bag in terms of comedic presentation.  But for each low, including Mark himself, who keeps trying for comedy but somehow isn’t able to achieve it as easily as others, there is at least one or two highs, namely the actors playing his parents.  In fact, it’s the casting this time around that is giving me the urge to at least try an episode or two and see if a half hour is better than a couple of minutes.  David Walton’s brand of “dudebro” is extremely watchable, owing to the nuances of the underrated but erstwhile About a Boy alum’s particular oeuvre of comedic timing, and veterans Linda Lavin and Elliott Gould are money players in the comedy genre – they are bound to eke out a few laughs.  The trailer doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but there’s no harm in taking this one for a whirl and seeing what happens.

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on February 5, 2018, with a total of 16 episodes, but no renewal/cancellation announcement has yet been made.  TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Alex, Inc.

ALEX, INC., ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 28, 2018

WHO: Zach Braff (Scrubs), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Tiya Sircar (The Good Place), Hillary Anne Matthews (New Girl)

WHAT: Based on the podcast of the same name, Alex Schuman is an inquisitive journalist, husband, and father who dives headfirst into the brave new world of entrepreneurship when he quits his stable job and starts his own business.

Trailer Available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Honestly, much of this pick up is in podcast solidarity.  It’s a TV show based upon a podcast.  ONE CAN DREAM, RIGHT?!  In less selfish news, though the premise of this show may appeal most strongly to a narrow but cultivated set of hipster Millennials…Zach Braff.  Zach Braff is all you need to know.  Who doesn’t find Zach Braff funny? (If you answer “me,” I’m calling shenanigans!).  It’s time for his post-Scrubs TV revival to take shape, and what better time and with what better vehicle than this?  Also, this premise and dose of edgy observational humor is the kind of real life funny that actually plays as funny, even in a two minute trailer, though, perhaps, I’m jaded by the previous trailer.  Or, perhaps, I’m cautiously optimistic.  Then again, this could fail on its merits because podcasts are still fairly niche in terms of audience, and it’s hard to see how TV would build upon that.  Not that we know anything about that around here, or anything.

A.P. Bio

A.P. BIO, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: February 1, 2018 (special preview)

WHO: Patton Oswalt (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Mary Sohn (Teachers), Lyric Lewis (The CW’s MADtv), Aparna Brielle (Grimm), Nick Peine (Office Christmas Party), Tom Bennett (Drunk History: UK), Jacob McCarthy

WHAT: A hilariously cynical Ivy League professor loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school biology teacher where he imposes his unorthodox teaching style and uses the kids to plot out revenge on those who wronged him.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  This is a new spin on the “reluctant school teacher” trope, but the premise outlined in the available trailer resonates like recycled sitcom, in many regards, with updated motifs like social media “cat-fishing” – encouraged by a teacher, no less – and possibly slightly more erudite potty humor. Describing the main character as “hilariously cynical” is being far too generous, however.  Apparently from the creative and collective former and current SNL minds of Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels, a brilliant but irascible teacher in the vein of the brilliant but irascible Dr. House (from House) fails to achieve tenure in the Ivies and ends up teaching high school.  The premise by itself is a struggle to buy into without more information but so is the likability of the main character – or even the UN-likability.  Mostly, the character is bland, and it’s hard to know how the audience should relate to the teacher when he’s so two-dimensional, at least until he develops his inevitable sensitivity and inspiration from teaching today’s advanced placement biology students – development not shown in the teaser, for the record.  In all honesty, throughout the viewing of this trailer, I kept thinking that teachers don’t need additional pressure from politicians and parents based upon a fictional representation that is more to hate than to love, and in these sociopolitical and cultural times, where the slightest of mascots can render unintended influences on those of us living real life, the entire joke behind the premise doesn’t quite land, at least not for this CP. If you take a gander and disagree, let us know.  We’re willing to change (and have)!

STATUS: The show officially premiered on March 1, 2018, after three episodes were released to streaming platforms beginning on February 1.  Critical response is largely middling to negative. TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: The critics mostly say this show is not that funny.  That’s how the Chief CP felt watching the two-minute teaser; however, “Always Sunny…” fans seem to be finding this one with mixed reactions.  We’ll keep an eye on it.

Black Lightning

BLACK LIGHTNING, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: January 16, 2018

WHO: Cress Williams (Hart of Dixie), Nafessa Williams (Code Black), China Anne McClain (House of Payne), Christine Adams (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

WHAT: Jefferson Pierce made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s a comic book show.  CPU!’s comic book core (or corps?) will likely step up to the plate for this one, particularly if it is folded into the crossover potential of the Arrowverse, making it a likely additional entry for our DCTU panel.  The trailer shows some influence by Marvel’s Luke Cage but also the broader, moodier tones of the DC film franchise as a whole, ringing with more gravitas than even Arrow when it first began.  How will it all come out in the wash?  We’ll be there to find out.

STATUS: Eight of a total of thirteen episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.  TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.  Popular response (i.e. internet reaction) has been highly mixed.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Brave

THE BRAVE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Mike Vogel (Under the Dome), Anne Heche (Save Me, Men in Trees), Tate Ellington (Quantico), Demetrius Grosse (Westworld, Justified), Noah Mills (2 Broke Girls), Sofia Pernas (Jane the Virgin), Hadi Tabbal, Natacha Karam

WHAT: A heart-pounding look into the complex world of our bravest military heroes who make personal sacrifices while executing the most challenging and dangerous missions behind enemy lines.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Military-themed dramas seem to be the type of show en vogue on network television this coming season.  More on that later.  While there could be some potentially tense and riveting drama rooted in The Brave (formerly For God and Country), whether this show decides to focus on missions by episode or over the course of a season, this program rings as somewhat procedural in nature given the fact that we would be watching military task forces or units solve potential international crises, short or long term. The question that comes to mind is how would that premise, in either framework, sustain, repetitively and over the course of a season?   It appears, from the trailer, that the driving force of the show will be “how do they do it?” rather than “how does it fit within the larger picture?”  Lacking a gimmick, like 24’s real time motif, the premise as it stands is underwhelming.  Plus, this CP is not an overall fan of Anne Heche, because reasons, and is also wary of how the “enemies” behind enemy lines might be portrayed, given current climates in our country. If this show earns some critical acclaim or popular steam, we may revise our stance, but for now, there is little likely to attract our merry band of podcasters.  If you watch and like this show and want us to cover it, send us a comment or an email (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com).

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on January 29, 2018, with a total of 13 episodes, but no renewal/cancellation announcement has yet been made.  TV pundits believe this freshman series resides squarely on the bubble of cancellation, with a long shot at best at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: No change.  Though military dramas seemed to be the trend of the season, most if not all of them are generally low-rated and are living precariously on the bubble.  There is no reason for CPU! to change its mind, and no one seems to be talking about this one.

By the Book

BY THE BOOK, LIVING BIBLICALLY, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: February 5, 2018 February 26, 2018

WHO: Jay R. Ferguson (The Real O’Neals), David Krumholtz (Numb3rs), Ian Gomez (Supergirl, Cougar Town), Lindsey Kraft (Getting On), Tony Rock (Everybody Hates Chris), Camryn Manheim (Ghost Whisperer)

WHAT: A modern day man at a crossroads in his life decides to live according to the Bible. Based on the bestselling book by A.J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Aside from the fact that there is no teaser trailer to expand upon this brief premise description, this sounds rather Hallmark channel at its core.  No judgments as much as cursory observations, and while this CP sees the potential of an audience for this program, especially given CBS’ core viewership, this is not the type of drama (is it even a drama?) that entices here at Couch Potatoes Unite!  If you want us to start covering it, though, let us know.  For now, we’ve got enough and better established TV watching commitments to keep us busy.

STATUS: Three of a total of twelve episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.  TV pundits believe it is too early to predict chances at renewal or cancellation.

CPU! STATUS: We have heard literally nothing about it and believe our initial assessment is accurate enough to keep us in the “pass” column.

Champions

CHAMPIONS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 8, 2018

WHO: Anders Holm (The Mindy Project), Andy Favreau (Aquarius), JJ Totah (Liv and Maddie), Nina Wadia, Mouzam Makkar, recurring player Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project)

WHAT: The single-cam comedy centers on Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition who lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Kaling), one of his old high school flings.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Your CPU! Chief CP likes The Mindy Project; we’ve intermittently covered the show here at CPU! because I and a couple other Couch Potatoes enjoy the unique comedic chops of Mindy Kaling, the erstwhile Kelly Kapoor from The Office and Mindy Lahiri on the previously mentioned TMP.  It’s nice to see that she will land squarely on her feet upon conclusion of TMP, which is going into its final, Hulu-airing season, its sixth.  Still, this situation comedy does not spark interest, her presence and one of her former Mindy Lahiri beaus aside.  The premise is sort of like Three Men and a Baby, if there were only two men and if the baby was a teenager.  There is no trailer to judge writing or performance, and aside from Kaling, there isn’t much draw from a prior project side of the coin to entice in lieu of the pencil-thin premise.  It has the potential to be smart if Kaling writes for the show; it also has the potential to be a locker-room driven comedy, given the notion that the main character owns a gym.  There are too many “ifs” to inspire views.  As always, let us know if we are wrong.  I don’t think we are.

STATUS: It premiered two weeks ago!  It’s too early to tell!

CPU! STATUS: Same.

the-crossing

THE CROSSING, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: April 2, 2018

WHO: Steve Zahn (Mad Dogs), Sandrine Holt (MacGyver, House of Cards), Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome), Jay Karnes (The Shield), Simone Kessell (Of Kings and Prophets), Grant Harvey (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Kelly Missal (One Life to Live), Marcuis W. Harris (Vice Principals), Rick Gomez (Justified), Tommy Bastow (EastEnders), John D’Leo, Rob Campbell, Bailey Skodje, Luc Roderique

WHAT: Refugees from a war-torn country start showing up to seek asylum in an American town. Only the country these people are from is America and the war they are fleeing is 250 years in the future. The local sheriff with a past, a federal agent, and a mother in search of her missing refugee daughter drive this allegory with a surprising conspiracy at the center.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  The trailer teases some interesting mysteries – what are these futuristic refugees fleeing?  How do they have powers?  Are they friend or foe?  Are they human?  There is some potential science fiction, making the premise potentially attractive to CPU! panelists.  There was nothing particularly impressive about the trailer presentation, yet the intrigue is palpable.  Plus, the description refers to both allegory and conspiracy.  Just what will we be watching?  Only one way to find out.  Interestingly, as the trailer started, this CP fleetingly thought, “This is like Lost, in reverse maybe.”  The trailer then connected the show to Lost by crediting the network as the broadcaster of both.  On the nose, then, ABC is seeking its next Lost.  There is nothing in the trailer suggesting that The Crossing will be such a contender to compare to the venerable and controversial preceding drama, but maybe today’s cynical TV audiences will be surprised.

Deception

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Edie Falco (The Sopranos), Anthony Edwards (ER), Miles Gaston Villanueva (The Young and the Restless), Gus Halper (Power, Public Morals), Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Julianne Nicholson (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Constance Marie (Switched at Birth), Heather Graham (Scrubs), Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy), Mark Moses (Mad Men), Larry Cedar (Deadwood), Kate Beahan (Mistresses), Carlos Gomez (Madam Secretary), James DuMont (American Horror Story, Treme)

WHAT: The inaugural installment of the eight-episode anthology series focuses on Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted in 1996 of murdering their parents and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Yawn.  Yet another entry in the Law and Order franchise.  Your Chief CP could not even watch the trailer – it’s clear that Dick Wolf and company want to get a crack at the popularity of the American Crime Story anthology series currently doing well on Fox/FX.  Also, there are too many procedural programs and not enough time.  We do have some slight interest expressed in Law and Order coverage, but it will take planning to cover the decades and spin-offs associated with this franchise.  Also, the Menendez murders are just not that interesting a concept.  If you would like to vote away our massive cynicism here, you need only comment, email, etc.

STATUS: Eight episodes were ordered by the Peacock for the first season of this anthology series; the first season finale aired on November 14, 2017.  No announcement regarding the show’s “true” future has yet been made, and pundits seem hesitant to make predictions either way, though measurements seem to indicate that this program is a “stable performer,” ratings-wise.

CPU! STATUS: Still yawning.

Life Sentence

LIFE SENTENCE, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: March 7, 2018

WHO: Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Elliot Knight (American Gothic), Dylan Walsh (Unforgettable), Gillian Vigman (New Girl), Brooke Lyons (iZombie), Carlos PenaVega (Grease: Live, Big Time Rush), Jayson Blair (Young & Hungry)

WHAT: When a young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.”

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  In many ways, the concept of this show feels like a tweaking of No Tomorrow, recently canceled by the very same network.  Instead, the person dying receives a new lease on life, rather than a guarantee of death and a need to fulfill a bucket list, and must deal with the aftermath of the trying times of poor health, including the effect of those times on family and loved ones.  There are many aspects to potentially like about this show, including unblemished, standard-beauty type members of the cast. At the same time, it also feels very by rote and potentially manipulative.  Perhaps, if the trailer had offered something in the way of darker edges or conflict other than the sheer buffoonery of the main character’s family, it would entice more.  As it stands, this show seems to be another chapter in the TV annals of “ain’t life funny” TV.  Still, I think it will probably find an audience, and, perhaps, people who have dealt with similar situations will find it funny.  We’ll keep an eye on it, to see if it gains traction or steam.

STATUS: It premiered two weeks ago!  It’s too early to tell.

CPU! STATUS: Same.

Marvel's Inhumans

MARVEL’S INHUMANS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Two-hour premiere Sept. 29 at 8/7c

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Serinda Swan (Graceland), Ken Leung (Lost), Ellen Woglom (Outlaw), Eme Ikwuakor (Extant), Isabelle Cornish (Home and Away), Mike Moh (Empire), Sonya Balmores (Beyond the Break)

WHAT: The eight-episode series will explore the never-before-told epic adventure of Black Bolt and the royal family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Ramsey Snow/Bolton lives!  Just kidding.  The Chief CP does not know enough about Marvel to understand how this fits into the overall scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including story lines started on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Still, with the overall interest in comic book adaptations from our nerdy core/corps of panelists, I can’t imagine us not podcasting about it someday.  The trailer is somewhat interesting – if somewhat confusing all at the same time.  But look!  Stories about enhanced people!  Our bread and butter, yes?

STATUS: ABC ordered 8 episodes, all of which have aired; the first season finale aired on November 10, 2017.  No announcement pertaining to the inhumans’ fates has been made.  TV pundits think renewal is a “long shot” based upon low ratings and negative critical reception.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, though, notably, no one has talked about it.

The Mayor

THE MAYOR, ABC

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party), Lea Michele (Scream Queens), Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple, Community), Bernard Jones (Meet the Browns), Marcel Spears

WHAT: When an outspoken, idealistic rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, he surprises everyone (including himself) when he has a natural knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Quite honestly, this might be one of the most promising new comedies to hit network TV this coming season, and this is one of the shows the Chief CP is most excited about.  While I am no great fan of Lea Michele, I can’t think of a more timely, more relevant premise for a situation comedy than this.  Check it: a rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt, achieves it beyond his wildest expectations despite the fact that he’s probably not qualified for it, and political hi-jinks ensue.  Remind you of anything?  Only now, the jokes come from real life and from the other side of the widespread divide skewering American society.  This is not a political statement; if anything, it’s important to present both sides to all people, and fictionalized though this may be, I think it will find a cross-cultural, cross-generational audience, with a smart premise and decent satire bolstering it, who will see what is being reflecting in it and appreciate the voices informing it.  Bravo to the creators for putting it out there, and bravo to the Alphabet network for endorsing it.

STATUS: Nine of eleven confirmed to be ordered episodes have aired; however, the Alphabet network pulled the show from its schedule on January 4, 2018.

CPU! STATUS: Though the preview promised some laughs, the show was ultimately low rated, leading to an unofficial early ax for the sitcom.  There is no word as to whether remaining episodes will air.  This CP’s guess is that, perhaps, running for political office as a publicity stunt hit a little too close to the heart in today’s climate.  We might check in just to see if the show brought laughs.  We will keep you posted, including regarding any announcement of an official cancellation.

Then there is this article: http://tvline.com/2018/01/08/the-mayor-cancelled-season-2-abc/

Me, Myself & I

ME, MYSELF & I, CBS

WHO: Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), John Larroquette (The Librarians), Brian Unger (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Sharon Lawrence (Rizzoli & Isles, NYPD Blue), Kelen Coleman (Big Little Lies), Jaleel White (Family Matters), Jack Dylan Grazer, Skylar Gray, Christopher Paul Richards, Mandell Maughan, Reylynn Caster

WHAT: A single-camera comedy examining one man’s life over a 50-year span. The show will focus on three distinct periods in his life — as a 14-year-old in 1991, a 40-year-old in present day, and a 65-year-old in 2042.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As funny as Bobby Moynihan can be and as John Larroquette always is, this sitcom and premise feel like a comedic re-purposing of This Is Us for the Eye network. Nevertheless, in viewing the trailer, this CP nursed hope that there was something truly novel that would drawn the viewer in – personally, I think the target audiences that will likely resonate with this most are steeped in Baby Boomers and Generation X.  The Chief CP is a late-stage member of the latter, as is the Bobby Moynihan version of the character, but it’s hard to see what the show is going for beyond an examination of choices, regrets, and satisfaction, which I think someone with more life years lived will relate to best.  The trailer offered some smiles but not many, though it’s nice to see Steve Urkel out of retirement.  We’ll monitor its progress, but our initial impressions are lukewarm at best.

STATUS: CBS ordered 13 episodes but pulled the series from the fall schedule after the sixth episode due to low ratings, which signals that the show has been all but canceled.  The Eye intends to air the full season at a later date; when and if the official cancellation announcement is made, CPU! will report it here.

CPU! STATUS: With such a ringing endorsement from CBS, we confidently continue to pass on this show.

The Orville

THE ORVILLE, Fox

WHO: Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle), Scott Grimes (ER), Peter Macon (Shameless), J Lee (Family Guy), Halston Sage (Crisis)

WHAT: Set 300 years in the future, the hourlong dramedy follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship in Earth’s interstellar Fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.

Catch up on Hulu or at FoxNow.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Another intriguing comedic entry in Fox’s nerd-friendly comedy lineup!  In the grand tradition of vehicles like Galaxy Quest, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and every Family Guy parody of anything science fiction ever, Seth McFarlane has now created this Star Trek-like homage to futuristic space exploration.  It could very well be stupid – more of a Peter Griffin than a Stewie or a Brian, say – but it could also be uproariously amusing, and there are CPU! regulars who will likely gravitate toward the popcorn adventures of the ship to which the title refers.  The description of this program classifies it as a “dramedy.”  Hopefully, it is more “medy” than “dram.”

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The Season One finale aired on December 7, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not all CPU!ers have viewed this new Fox show, but some resident CPU!ers already requested coverage of this show on the podcast, so this “pick up” is definite and permanent.  Stay tuned!

The Resident

THE RESIDENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 21, 2018

WHO: Manish Dayal (Halt and Catch Fire, 90210), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Bruce Greenwood (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Shaunette Wilson (Billions)

WHAT: An idealistic young doctor begins his first day under the supervision of a tough, brilliant senior resident who pulls the curtain back on all of the good and evil in modern day medicine.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Here cometh another medical drama, this time to Fox, with Logan from Gilmore Girls and Amanda/Emily from Revenge in featured roles.  This feels like a watered down House, with a main character that lacks the deduction skills of Dr. House and plays more like the Burgess Meredith character from Rocky: tough but fair, brilliant but principled, honest but abrasive, and so on, who is there to motivate young residents as they get their toes wet in patient care.  Personally, this CP tires of the proliferation of medical dramas and, therefore, passes on this one, but if it merits another look, let us know.

STATUS: Nine of a total of fourteen episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.  TV pundits believe it is too early to predict chances at renewal or cancellation.

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a medical drama, right?

Reverie

REVERIE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 6, 2018

WHO: Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest), Dennis Haysbert (24), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes), Kathryn Morris (Cold Case), Jessica Lu (Awkward)

WHAT: A grounded and dramatic thriller about a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  The hesitancy comes from two primary reasons: there is no trailer, currently, and Sarah Shahi just hailed from Person of Interest, all about an omnipresent and omniscient AI, a possible evolutionary step for VR.  After all, what does “advanced virtual reality program” mean?  Are we looking at something drawing from influences like Minority Report?  And really, answering these questions is the only reason, apart from the erstwhile Shaw, that we’d give this one a look-see, as it hints at a flavor of science fiction without being committal to the genre, popular with the CPU! roster.  If the vagueness and mystery do not pay off well, though, we’ll probably drop it like a rock.

STATUS: It premiered two weeks ago!  It’s too early to tell.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Rise

RISE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 13, 2018

WHO: Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Rosie Perez (Search Party, Lipstick Jungle), Marley Shelton (The Lottery), Rarmian Newton (The Family), Amy Forsyth (The Path), Casey Johnson (G.L.O.W.), Shirley Rumierk, Joe Tippett, Ted Sutherland, Taylor Richardson, Damon J. Gillespie, recurring player Shannon Purser (Stranger Things)

WHAT: Centers on a high school drama teacher and family man whose passion for the program and his students galvanizes the entire working class town. Based on Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High, which itself is based on real-life drama teacher Lou Volpe.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  I think we might be picking up shows too benevolently this season. Honestly, with so little to go on, this CP is feeling vibes of Glee, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dead Poets Society, and other, similar ilk with high school drama now as the central focus. Still, you may have noticed that the CPU! core is a theatrical bunch, so I feel compelled to look in on this one, even though the premise feels like a trope, based on a true life person or not.  Thoughts?

STATUS: It premiered last week!  It’s too early to tell.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Roseanne

ROSEANNE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 27, 2018

WHO: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, Sarah Chalke

WHAT: An eight-episode present-day revival that will find the Conner family dealing with the economic challenges of living pay check to pay check in 2018.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  What can we say?  Curiosity may yet kill this cat.  Roseanne is an acknowledged sitcom classic, even though the title star was/is notoriously “in your face” and uneven, most times at the same time.  Still, CPU! regulars have already requested this one, so expect to see a “Look Back to Look Forward” series akin to our “Full/er House” series some time in 2018.  At the very least, we want to see how the hell they explain away the presence of both Beckys and Dan’s status in general.  Plus, we expect some pointed political banter from our favorite Midwest family matriarch, as only she can deliver.  Expectations are high, Roseanne Barr.  Expectations are high.

SEAL Team

SEAL TEAM, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 27

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: David Boreanaz (Bones), Jessica Paré (Mad Men), Max Thieriot (Bates Motel), Neil Brown Jr. (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY), Toni Trucks (Franklin & Bash)

WHAT: Follows the professional and personal lives of the most elite unit of Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high stakes missions our country can ask of them.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This show is essentially CBS’ contribution to a small but marked military drama fad this season (see also The Brave).  Really, the only reason this CP is even considering checking in – as the drama feels much like a 24 situation or a story in which the patriarch works a dangerous job and is gone all the time – is David Boreanaz.  Once Angel/us, once Seely Booth, now a Navy SEAL; though the drama could become melodrama easily here, David earns the chance.  He’s very popular at CPU!  Or, maybe it’s just the Chief’s unabashed crush on him.

STATUS: CBS ordered a full season of 22 episodes, 15 of which have aired at the time of this post, but no announcement has been made to “seal” the series’ future.  TV pundits are calling renewal a “safe bet,” however, because David Boreanaz is just a successful TV leading man type guy.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but we will regardless, because several of us have permanent crushes on David Boreanaz (#AngelnBooth4lyfe).

Splitting Up Together

SPLITTING UP TOGETHER, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 27, 2018

WHO: Jenna Fischer (The Office), Oliver Hudson (Nashville), Diane Farr (Numb3rs, Rescue Me), Lindsay Price (Lipstick Jungle), Bobby Lee, Olivia Keville, Van Crosby, Sander Thomas

WHAT: Based upon the original Danish series created by Mette Heeno, the single-cam comedy is the story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Pam’s back.  She’s not married to Jim.  She was married to Oliver Hudson (on the show).  Now, they’re getting divorced…which apparently gets them hot for being married to each other again.  The premise is somewhat bland, even if slightly influenced by our modern times, but it will require some winning performances by the two adult leads to work long term.  Unfortunately, this is not subject matter that entices your friendly neighborhood CP’s typically.  We’ll keep an eye on it, as there is some quality and thought behind it, but it’s not a comedy we are sold on just yet.

S.W.A.T.

S.W.A.T., CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Nov. 2

WHEN: Thursdays at 10/9c (after football concludes)

WHO: Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Jay Harrington (Code Black, Better Off Ted), Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel), Peter Onorati (Murder in the First), Lina Esco (Kingdom), Alex Russell, Stephanie Sigman

WHAT: A locally born and bred S.W.A.T. sergeant is torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers when he’s tasked to run a specialized tactical unit that is the last stop in law enforcement in Los Angeles. Inspired by the film of the same name.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Hey, it’s Better Off Ted!  But seriously.  The Chief CP never watched the film on which this show is based and really has no interest in doing so.  This is a standard cop action drama, set in a standard metropolitan location (Los Angeles), with some standard high octane police-related tropes powering said drama and some possible social commentary powering the emotion (cops versus non-cops, etc.).  There is nothing remarkable about this trailer or any of the events and aspects contained therein; this show has a very specific target audience, most of which CPU! does not currently fall into, much as we try to expand our base and palate.  We welcome new members all the time and all suggestions, but currently, this show will not find a viewing audience here.

STATUS: Seventeen ordered episodes seem confirmed, fourteen of which have aired, but no renewal announcement has been made.  TV pundits give this series a 50/50 shot for renewal.

CPU! STATUS: The ratings are somewhat low, and no CPU!er has once mentioned it.  We will continue to keep our palates tight on this one (did that sound dirty?  I think it did!).

Ten Days in the Valley

TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9

WHO: Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Erika Christensen (Parenthood), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (American Odyssey, Hunted), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Felix Solis (The Good Wife), Francois Battiste (The Family, The Good Wife), Currie Graham (Westworld, Longmire), Nelson Lee (NCIS: New Orleans, The Night Shift), Abigail Pniowsky (Arrival), Josh Randall (Pitch, Quarry), Ali Stroker (Glee), Ella Thomas (Ballers, NCIS: Los Angeles), Beth Triffon (Dr. Ken, The Middle), Mark L. Young (Code Black)

WHAT: The ten-episode series centers on TV producer Jane Sadler, whose young daughter goes missing, mirroring the cop drama she produces.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast boasts some modestly heavy TV hitters, with the erstwhile “Closer” and Mrs. Kevin Bacon in the lead role, in some ways, this premise and story elements play like reality TV, though the plot is, as far as this CP knows, fiction.  This is clearly the type of show that will be trying for twists, even as they feel not as twisty as they should or, perhaps, over the top twisty and, therefore, tedious.  It may also be hard to sympathize with the main character if her poor choices and writing of teleplays based on dangerous information prompt some copycat to endanger the safety of her child.  Ultimately, the trailer suggests that this is yet another mystery based upon child kidnapping.  Take that as you will, but it does not entice so far.  It’s a limited series, but we’ll keep an eye on it, as we always do.

STATUS:  The Alphabet ordered 10 episodes but pulled the series from the fall schedule after the fourth episode due to low ratings, which signals that the show has been all but canceled.  The season (likely series) finale aired on January 6, 2018, after ABC burned off remaining ordered episodes; when and if the official cancellation announcement is made, CPU! will report it here.

CPU! STATUS: Sometimes, we just know how to call these things.

Grey's Anatomy Spinoff

UNTITLED GREY’S ANATOMY SPINOFF, STATION 19, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 22, 2018

WHO: Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood). The cast also includes Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood) as Andy Herrera, Grey Damon (Aquarius) as Jack Gibson, Barrett Doss (Marvel’s Iron Fist) as Victoria Hughes, Alberto Frezza (Dead of Summer) as Ryan Tanner, Jay Hayden (The Catch) as Travis Montgomery, Okieriete Onaodowan (Broadway’s Hamilton) as Dean Miller, Danielle Savre (Too Close To Home) as Maya Bishop and Miguel Sandoval (Medium) as Capt. Pruitt Herrera.

WHAT: Set in a Seattle firehouse, it follows a group of heroic firefighters, from the captain to the newest recruits, as they risk their lives and their hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  So, it was probably inevitable that Shonda Rimes and the ABC Network would attempt to franchise (with spin-offs) the successful-still-beyond-belief Grey’s Anatomy, especially since the latter program is going into its fourteenth season, despite improbable odds and a rotational cast roster.  Unfortunately, CPU! will not be along for this ride.  The project has no title, no trailer, and very little information to go on.  Plus, we jumped the shark on Grey’s a few seasons ago.  Now, there are some CPU!ers who still watch and may revive our dormant Grey’s Anatomy coverage via podcast; if they do, and if this untitled projects gets off the ground in more than teasers and thin premise descriptions, we will cross the bridge of coverage.  For now, we are not interested, for all the logical reasons outlined above.

Valor

VALOR, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 9

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow), Christina Ochoa (Animal Kingdom), Charlie Barnett (Secrets and Lies, Chicago Fire), Nigel Thatch (American Dreams), Corbin Reid (How to Get Away with Murder), Melissa Roxburgh (Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow), W. Tré Davis

WHAT: The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a US Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions. The drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks to a failed mission involving one of the first female pilots in the unit, ultimately uncovering layers of personal and government/military secrets, and leading to a season-long plan to rescue a group of MIA soldiers.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  For our third military-related entry this season, the CW enters the foray with a more mystery-specific pass involving an army unit, layers of conspiracy, and potentially poor character choices, all with CW-young and beautiful faces populating the drama.  There are no known or well established acting quantities in this equation, and the drama feels somewhat hollow, even superficial, at best.  The only reason CPU! is checking in on one of these dramas is for its lead actor, which can be a determinate but is not applicable in this instance.  If this show gains some kind of traction or steam or acclaim, we will reconsider, but for now, this is a confident pass.

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on January 29, 2018, after a total of 13 episodes.  No valorous announcements of future seasons (or lack of) have been made.  TV pundits think renewal is a “long shot” based upon low ratings and negative critical reception.

CPU! STATUS: The military dramas just aren’t making it, and we’re, frankly, kind of okay with that.

Will & Grace - Season 1

WILL & GRACE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 28

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally

WHAT: Twelve-episode revival of the popular 1998-2006 comedy series.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Enthusiastic Pick Up.  Not only is the meta musical trailer (how fascinatingly satirical and relevant, she says in her best judgmental Karen voice – or maybe Will’s voice, I could see him commenting in this way) amazingly put together, showcasing a cast of four that reclaimed the exact beats of the characters they stopped playing in 2006, NBC has already ordered a few more episodes and a second season.  Plus, the Chief CP is a big fan, as are several resident CP’s and supporters.  We already have a few requesting it for podcast consumption.  On top of that, the original Will & Grace was years ahead of its time, normalizing LGBTQ+ conversations and culture in ways that will feel comfortable, even homey now, as the wider world, with the exception of some pockets, is more accepting.  At the apex of this exciting new revival among the fad of revivals: Jack and Karen.  I repeat, Jack and Karen.  They say what we’re all thinking because they’re drunk and/or high and/or rich and/or self-involved and/or, perhaps, not entirely sane and stable.  Sounds like the perfect time for their comeback, and for a “Looking Back to Look Forward” series at CPU! on the subject.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 10 AND Season 11!  Fourteen of a total of 16 ordered episodes have aired.

CPU! STATUS: Resident CPU!ers already requested coverage of this show on the podcast as a “Looking Back to Look Forward” series, so this “pick up” is definite and permanent.  Stay tuned!

Young Sheldon

YOUNG SHELDON, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sneak preview on Monday, Sept. 25 at 8:30 pm

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c (beginning Nov. 2 after football concludes)

WHO: Iain Armitage (Big Little Lies), Zoe Perry (The Family), Annie Potts (The Fosters), Lance Barber (The Comeback), Raegan Revord (Modern Family), Montana Jordan, narrator Jim Parsons

WHAT: The single-camera Big Bang Theory prequel follows Sheldon Cooper at the age of 9, living with his family in East Texas and going to high school.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now.  No one can deny the popularity of Big Bang Theory; it’s been on a CPU! catch-up list for a while, and we have some interest in it percolating within the CPU! roster of panelists.  Yet, not many of us are ready to talk about it yet, so it seems premature to enter into watching a prequel about the popular character, played by Jim Parsons, and his particularly brand of eccentricity blossoming from a young age.  We will keep an eye on this show and possibly create a series coupled with BBT, but for now, we will wait and see how such a prequel spin-off fares while the parent show still airs.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  Fifteen of 22 confirmed to be ordered episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.

CPU! STATUS: We would want to watch and cover BBT on the podcast before visiting this spin-off; however, we’ll keep an eye on the freshman series’ progress this season.

The following is a link to all premiere dates for shows covered beyond the main networks: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-premiere-dates

Non-Broadcast Network Pick-Ups

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS) – picked up when announced last season, but premiere delayed to Fall 2017.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The Season One finale aired on CBS Streaming Service “All Access” on February 11, 2018, after a total of 16 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: A Star Trek comprehensive “Look Back to Look Forward” series is being planned for 2018 or 2019, so this show will eventually be included as part of the line-up, in which CPU! will discuss all existing Star Trek programs in an extended series.  Stay tuned!

Mindhunter (Netflix) – David Fincher’s newest addition to the streaming service, with the following synopsis:

David Fincher’s latest Netflix original series (following House of Cards) stars Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff as FBI agents who solve murders with advice gleaned from interviews of imprisoned serial killers. The 1979-set series also stars Anna Torv, and is based on the real-life work of FBI veteran John Douglas, who served as the inspiration for the Jack Crawford character in the various Hannibal Lecter books as well as for Jason Gideon on Criminal Minds. Fincher directs the pilot, Charlize Theron is a producer, and Joe Penhall (The Road) writes the adaptation of Douglas’s book.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! Netflix released the entirety of Season 1 (10 episodes) on October 13, 2017.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Alias Grace (Netflix) – Netflix’s answer to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a Margaret Atwood adaptation:

The second major Margaret Atwood adaptation to hit the small screen this year (following Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale), this six-episode miniseries is inspired by the true story of a shocking double murder in a remote Canadian town in 1843. The series is written by Sarah Polley (Away From Her) and directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol). Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin, Kerr Logan, Zachary Levi, and David Cronenberg (yes, the one you’re thinking of) star.

STATUS: Classified as a miniseries, Netflix released the six episodes of this program on November 3, 2017.  Because it is a miniseries, continuation is not expected, but we will keep an eye on any news regarding this program for this TV season.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Future Man (Hulu):

Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Hulu’s new comedy series follows a janitor (Josh Hutcherson) who suddenly finds himself charged with the task of traveling through time to save the human race. Eliza Coupe, Derek Wilson, Haley Joel Osment, Keith David, Glenne Headly, and Ed Begley Jr. also star.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  Hulu released Season One (13 episodes) on November 14, 2017. 

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu): There is very little information about this property other than some limited internet chatter, but we are comic book prone.

Adapted from the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Hulu’s first Marvel series comes from Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and centers on six diverse teenagers who unite around a common foe: their parents.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The Season One finale aired on January 9, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Supernatural, Season 13A (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2018, we are down to half a panel, as one panelist departed CPU! for life’s greater journeys, and two panelists are taking personal “Supernatural” hiatuses until the end of season.  Thus, our (now half) panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, and Jen – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 13A (following the mid-season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, devil’s spawn Jack, and the ongoing shenanigans of Lucifer. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, 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: “Supernatural” – The Season 13 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW; this season, the show airs on Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Supernatural,” a drama depicting the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively), who are “hunters” of all supernatural ilk, be they demons, monsters, or angels on high, in a quest to save the world from things that go bump in the night, things that cause apocalypses, and things that are generally just out to get them (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/supernatural/summary.html).

When: Season 13 premiered on October 12, 2017, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas, and have, as late, holed up in a bunker, somewhere near their home town, formerly run by the Men of Letters, an organization of which they are legacy members.  The time is present day.

Why:  Oh so many seasons ago now, Chief CP Kylie followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a different spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents.  From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly dissimilar to the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke.  For CPU!’s ever-expanding podcast coverage of a growing number of shows, several CPU! members, all familiar voices to the CPU! loyal, jumped up to participate on this panel, even though many of them also express fatigue with the show from time to time.  How do they feel the show is faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons?  Take a listen below.

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

To catch up on our Super-coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons Nine, Ten, and Eleven

Season 12A
Season 12B

Our Super-CPU! panel experienced some changes since its last meeting.  One panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys, and two panelists are taking a temporary hiatus from this panel for personal reasons (what phase of the moon is it again?).  The remaining two panelists proved eager to talk about the first half of this unluckily numbered season and returned to the Water Cooler with gusto.  Thus, Nick and Jen, along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), as we discuss major plot points from, and ruminate upon the success of, the first half of Season Thirteen.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over whilst pining for the brothers and/or Cas (well, I don’t think Nick is pining…unless there’s something we don’t know).  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of Season Thirteen of this long-running series. 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! In our next episode, our Once Upon a Time panel definitively returns to the Water Cooler to digest the first half of the “softly rebooted” seventh season. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: How many miles are on the Impala after all this time?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they ever get their happy ending?

REPEAT ANSWER: While the panel is in no particular rush for a series finale, although maybe that’s less true nowadays, it’s likely the brothers will not find peace until they are done.  That’s why Kansas tells them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer (Mark Pelligrino) is out of the Cage, why can’t the archangel Michael, currently housed within long lost Winchester half brother Adam, escape from the Cage? Will we ever see Adam/Michael again?

NEW ANSWER: Well…we see a version of Michael this season, namely the Michael from “Apocalypse World,” where the archangel offed his brother Lucifer and now leads all angels in a war against demons and humans.  Does this mean we will also see a return of Adam/Michael in this dimension?  Chances of this being a tease are high, but the introduction of this New Michael could foretell a convergence of some heavenly forces we have previously met in order to stay the zealous New Michael’s blood lust.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: The Billie the Reaper question remains a question: is she aiming to be New Death? What is her true intention?  Or, is she a dutiful bureaucrat, operating status quo in the absence of her boss? Will she be successful in reaping Mary’s newly returned soul?  The brothers’?

ANSWER: We repeat this question because we found out the answer this half season.  All along, the Reapers seem to have been acting as dutiful bureaucrats, operating without a marshal or a supervisor in the wake of the death of Death.  Yet, Billie, who returns this season after Castiel (Misha Collins) permanently ends her reaping duties to save the brothers and Mary Winchester in Season Twelve, informs a temporarily dead Dean (listen to the podcast episode for details) that the first Reaper to die following the death of Death becomes the New Death.  So, Billie is now Death, presumably the Horseman Of, and fully comprehends new and old truths about which she had only presumptions and opinions before.  One of those truths: the Winchesters are “important,” according to all lore collected by her predecessor.  In fact, Death has a whole library about the Winchesters.  What does it all mean?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, Billie is committed to helping the Winchesters stay alive until their purpose, whatever that may be, is fulfilled.

5) Let’s talk about cosmic consequences.  At the end of the season, Castiel is stabbed in the back, in a karmic boomerang of epic proportion, by Lucifer, who uses Cas’ angel blade to get the drop on Cas, as Cas did on Billie the Reaper. We assume Cas will be back, even if his return is predictable and less impacting than it could be, given all of the deaths and rebirths on this show.  We just do not know how or if he will be the same Cas. Will we meet our Castiel again, resurrected once more by some force unknown?  Or, will we be watching an alternate universe version of him, since that universe has been blinked into existence by Jack the Nephilim (Alexander Calvert)?  Or, will Jack, who seems connected to Cas thanks to his in utero interaction with the angel, revive Cas himself?

ANSWER: The third guess is the charm.  Jack resurrects the Castiel we know and love with the sheer force of his awesome nephilim abilities.  In fact, Sam mentions, almost in an off-handed manner during one episode, that he learns “in the lore” that nephilim can become more powerful than the angels that sire them.  And since Jack is Lucifer’s offspring, and since Lucifer is one of the four archangels, Jack is especially full of juice of an unknown, mysterious, and highly dangerous proportion and power.  While sometimes his unfathomable power is difficult for him to control and causes Jack to do unspeakable things as he attempts to suss out whatever part of him is human, it also allows him to accomplish great and somewhat miraculous feats.  One such feat: in an effort to please Dean, from whom Jack seems determined to gain his trust and approval (in fact, Dean becomes Jack’s surrogate father in some respects, though Dean wants none of that), Jack awakens Cas, whose angel remains reside, sleeping, in The Empty, i.e. the nothingness where angels and demons go to die and where their essences remain in eternal slumber.  Cas then encounters the Keeper of the Empty, who dresses up like a Muppet-sounding version of Cas and who is also very annoyed by the fact that one of his charges is awake.  Cas, however, is crafty enough to know that the Keeper has a short fuse and works to irk him just enough that the Keeper acquiesces and bounces Cas out of the Empty and back into the Normal World, much to the brothers’ relief.  To that end, for right now, Cas seems to be the Cas we all know and love.  Will his brush with the Empty change him long-term?  The (half) panel predicts that he will be too distracted by Lucifer to meditate existentially on his brush with Angel Death.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Lucifer and Mary are currently trapped in that alternate universe.  Will we see them immediately in the next half season, or will we have to wait, as the producers and cast have confirmed that they live on in the world of a permanent war between angels and demons and mostly extinct humans?  Will we get to see Lucifer and Mary, the “buddy cop” years?  Will Mary punch Lucifer bunches, as panelist Kelsey wishes?  Will they survive?  What will happen to them?

ANSWER: We see glimpses of the “Lucifer and Mary: The Buddy Cop Years” show in Apocalypse World, almost immediately, until Lucifer and Mary encounter Apocalypse World’s version of Michael.  Lucifer has big plans to use Mary as leverage to bargain for his son, should he and Mary ever return to the land of the living, but Michael throws a wrench in that proceeding when Apocalypse World’s version of Prophet Kevin Tran, on Michael’s orders (and under duress), casts a heady prophet spell that siphons off much of Lucifer’s grace in order to reopen the rift between that world and Supernatural Prime world.  Lucifer, thinking quickly like the devil he is, jumps through the rift opening, which is available only temporarily, while Michael traps Mary in a body cage as he plans his next attempt at infiltrating this dimension.  Until fourth Prince of Hell Asmodeus interferes, Lucifer, on this side of the rift, appeals to Cas, talking tall tales of the new Michael, while Mary, still alive, remains trapped, at least until the mid-season finale cliffhanger.  Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

7) Crowley is dead as well, sacrificing his own life in exchange for a spell cast in an attempt to trap Lucifer in the alternate universe – only with Crowley’s death, Mark A. Sheppard also announced his departure from the show, so it seems the King of Hell is permanently pushing up demonic daisies.  Is this why Rowena is killed off?  Is she, in fact, killed off?  Or, did Rowena make a deal with the devil that allows her to survive? She’s been quite the survivor so far, after all.

ANSWER: Based upon a sizable clue from the improbably still alive Arthur Ketch, former British Man of Letters, who informs Sam and Dean that he was able to cheat death using a spell of the erstwhile King of Hell’s mum, we expect to see Rowena’s return any day now – and without the aid of Lucifer, as it turns out.

8) Jack the Nephilim – is he good, or is he evil?  Is he angel, or is he demon?  Is he a yellow eyed demon?  Is he a “prince of hell?”  Is he the “anti-Christ?” What does it mean to be a prince of hell?  We expect that Dean will want to lay him to waste immediately, while Sam will probably argue for the gray area and the possibility that he is not evil, given his angel grace and half humanness.  Will Jack have an effect on Sam?  Will Jack induce a return of Sam’s demonic abilities, originally imbued to him by a yellow eyed demon/Prince of Hell?  How will Jack affect the world at large, given that mere contractions bringing him into the world ripped a hole in space and time?

ANSWER: The panel believes that Jack is Chaotic Neutral, a sponge ready to soak up the next good or evil influence he encounters.  Fortunately, his first alliance is with the Winchester brothers, and though Dean wants anything but to waste time chasing after Lucifer’s spawn, Sam sees Jack as a means to an end and is willing to put in the time to ensure that Jack remains a force for good.  As far as we know, Jack is a nephilim: half angel, half human.  He could be a prince of hell; he could be an anti-Christ.  We do not know the full extent or the answers to the mystery of what exactly Jack is other than an archangel-sired nephilim with the potential to be even more powerful than his dad.  We also do not know what whatever he is in the end might mean to all of our beloved characters.  The panel was previously correct about the brothers’ initial reactions: Dean wants to off Jack in the off, while Sam plays the old “he’s just a kid” chestnut – a kid with tremendous ability to destroy the world, probably, but not without the compass-aligning influence of the Winchesters themselves.  The only effect Jack seems to have on either brother is to divide, at least temporarily.  Jack has not magically or divinely influenced Sam or Dean directly, though he is using his considerable abilities to, first, revive Cas from permanent Angel Death and, second, to find Mary.  Also, so far, Jack’s effect on the rest of the world is to cause a lot of fire and brimstone; he cannot control his abilities, and sometimes, his influence leads to dire consequences, such as accidental death of innocent bystanders.  Jack is trying to understand his new surroundings, and Sam does his best to help him.  Dean reluctantly comes around, but the panel is convinced that we are only getting a taste of what this all might mean in the end.

9) Will Jack be next season’s Big Bad?  Will Lucifer?  If neither of them are, who will be?

ANSWER: The panel predicts that Apocalypse World Michael will be the leading Big Bad, should he break through the dimensional barrier(s), though Asmodeus and his quest to break the Shedim, “Hell’s darkest creatures,” out of the pits will serve as a nice runner-up B-villain in the meantime, resemblance to Colonel Sanders be damned.  For now, Lucifer is taking a hiatus from pure evil in an attempt to warn the world or, specifically, Castiel about Michael and in an attempt to find and to take back his son.

10) The perennial question: will we see John Winchester this season?  And played by whom?  And will he be alive or dead?

ANSWER: Perennially unanswered…

11) How much of this alternate universe will we be dealing with, overall?  Will we continue to see alterna-Bobby (Jim Beaver)?  Will the apocalypse of that world spill into this one?  Will it cause another apocalypse on this side of the space/time tear?

ANSWER: So far, we’ve seen little of it, but we expect that the alternate universe’s influence on the regular universe will be felt in due course, if Apocalypse World’s Michael has any success in executing his invasion plans.  We’ll call this “still a question” and revisit it at the end of the season.

12) The Supernatural production team is currently in the process of creating another backdoor pilot and potential spin-off in the Wayward Sisters, featuring Jody the Sheriff as the lead character.  How will the road to producing that show, provided that the network approves a full season order, affect current Super events?

ANSWER: Episode 10, entitled “Wayward Sisters,” is the backdoor pilot in question, and the show devotes a sizable portion of the first half of the season to introducing previously unknown characters to the Supernatural universe, characters who will be “Wayward Sisters” themselves.  The ham-fisted introduction of these characters spurred some measure of disgust from present panelists, but, for the most part, we are holding our considerably judgmental opinions until we view the spin-off pilot and evolution of its story thereafter.  We will judge (of course we will!) at that time.

13) What is the current status of the American hunter system?  It seems that the Brits with mole mother Mary make efficient work of eliminating known hunters.  Does this mean that Sam and Dean will have to pick up the pieces by recruiting new hunters?  Training them?  Are we about to see a hunter training montage? Speaking of picking up the pieces, how will Sam and Dean go on?  Where will they be when the season premieres?

ANSWER: Sam and Dean still hunt but also find themselves babysitting Jack – or bringing him for Baby ride-along missions.  They have not encountered many other hunters but for Sheriff Jody and maybe one other.  In fact, they seem less concerned about the fates of hunters right now, though Dean, when the season begins, is left shaken and numb following the presumed deaths of Castiel and mother Mary.  Dean, as Dean does, continues hunting because it is what he knows and is with what he feels comfortable.  Sam hunts to support Dean but also because the world continues to turn, threatened by monsters, demons, and angels.  Seriously, though, Jack takes up quite a bit of Sam and Dean’s time.  One does not encounter the child of the Devil every day.

14) Panelist Jen asks again: where are God, aka Chuck the Prophet, and Amara, the Sister Darkness of God?  How are they doing?  Talk going well?  Hashed out their deity problems much?  Seeking some therapy?  Panelist Allie votes for getting a glimpse of some family counseling session with Chuck and Amara.

ANSWER: Though Jen still holds these questions near and dear to her heart, she says (in the podcast episode) that she has resigned herself to the idea that she probably will not see revisits from Chuck/God and Amara until the show’s final season, whenever that may be.  

15) A Prince of Hell named Ramiel held in his possession two intriguing items: Archangel Michael’s Spear or Lance and (wait for it) the Colt.  The Colt is currently broken, snapped in two by another Prince of Hell named Dagon, who Cas later snuffed.  Can the Colt be repaired?  By Sam?  How is the Colt powered?  Didn’t the Colt have a fixed number of bullets once upon a time?  More importantly, **where did the Colt go after Season 6?** How did Ramiel get a hold of it?  Why has the show not addressed the continuity of this gun?  Why was it brought back only to be broken?  WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING?!

ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, though the remnants of Michael’s spear/lance may come into play with the return of a version of Michael to the show, eh?

16) Also, the Spear/Lance is broken, I believe with Crowley’s help in that instance.  Will it be repaired, since Dean pockets the fragments?  Is it usable by anyone besides Michael? Dean is still a predestined Michael vessel – can he use it?  We repeat – will we ever see Michael out of the Cage again?

ANSWER: See answer #15.  These are all questions currently without answers – though the answers may be coming…

17) The Vampire Alpha dies in this season, owing to some clever British Men of Letter work.  Does this mean that all vampires die?  I know this is not The Originals, but what happens to the rest of the vampires in the event of the death of their alpha?

ANSWER: The panel assumes all vampires are dead; for the record, we have seen no vampires.  The only “old school” monsters the boys encounter this season are a shape-shifter, ghouls, ghosts, and witches.  We will call this “still a question,” though, because the show may later address the lack of vampires or other monster Alphas.  “May,” I said.

New Questions

1) Where is the “Bad Place?”  Are there really dinosaurs, Big-Feet, or Godzillas making footprints over there?  What made the giant lizard footprint in the mid-season finale?  How will Sam and Dean get back to the dimension/world they call home?  Will the “Wayward Sisters” have to be the ones to rescue them?

2) What side will Jack fall on in the end?  Will he defend the Winchesters until he cannot defend them anymore?  Or, will he align with his dad?  Or, will he align with a wild card third party, like Castiel, Apocalypse World Michael, or Asmodeus?

3) Just how much of the “Wayward Sisters” will we be watching on the parent show?  The panel votes, hopefully, not so much.

4) Is Michael from Apocalypse World truly the Big Bad of the season? Will he break through to this dimension?  Will he run up against Jack?  Will he break the “Shedim” out of hell?

5) Will Lucifer encounter his son?  Will Jack have to battle his dad? Will Jack be wooed by the lure of being with his actual father?  Or, will he remain true to Sam, Dean, and Cas?

6) What point or purpose does Prince of Hell Asmodeus really serve, if any at all?

7) Is the show trying to suggest that Jack might be Chuck/God’s successor, capable of creating other life, such as new angels, who are apparently becoming extinct?  How many angels, exactly, are left?  And why do they stupidly keep going after the Winchesters, Cas, or anyone else related to them?

8) Will Sam’s powers return?  He continues to obliquely reference them…

9) How will Jack return to this dimension, if at all?  Will he save mother Mary?  Will Mary keep him on the good side of “chaotic neutral?”  Will Sam and Dean reunite with their mother?  Will Mary survive all that Supernatural throws at her?

10) How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

11) How will Lucifer and Cas escape Asmodeus’ captivity – we assume they will?

12) Has Death, as in The Horseman Of, died before the Winchesters killed off the Death we knew and awoke the Darkness?  Is Billie the second “Death” or one of many?

13) Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean this half season?

14) When we will see Bobby and Rowena return (because, frankly, the question of “if” has been spoiled by the characters’ portraying actors)?

15) How are Jack and the previous “anti-Christ” who appeared in Season 5 related, if at all?  Is Jack truly an “anti-Christ?”

PARTING SHOTS

Our small but robust Supernatural half panel – i.e. those present in this latest episode, Nick and Jen – is encouraged by the mysteries, story threads, and new spins on some old horror tropes that we are viewing in Season Thirteen, after struggling with the show during what the panel deemed to be a choppy and somewhat disjointed twelfth season.  In fact, Season 13 offers enjoyable and even modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story, including the interactions between mother Mary and Lucifer, the wild card that is Lucifer’s son Jack, and the return of a version of archangel Michael who, in no small way, resembles the Lucifer with which we have grown acquainted over eight or more seasons.  All of these fresh takes are then coupled with the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more; therefore, it seems that the show is rebounding from the lulls of Season 12 quite nicely.  As such, the panel members all still agree that Supernatural could never be completely unwatchable, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). Though we are in the acknowledged winter of the program’s longevity, there remains nothing like Supernatural on TV right now, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes and barbs about things that strike us as strange – even for such a strange world as we have been watching for thirteen seasons – all members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we prepare to move into the second half of Season 13!

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was automatically ordered for a full season upon renewal and returned from its mid-season hiatus on January 18, 2018. Will it be renewed for a fourteenth season?  The February sweeps will no doubt provide a clear answer to that question.  In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel (and hopefully the entire panel) will next reconvene following the thirteenth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2018. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Twelve, “Crisis on Earth-X” Bonus Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the twelfth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  After specially requesting a separate recording to discuss (read: laud) the four episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event “Crisis on Earth-X,” our panel herein provides said bonus review and recap of the 2017 crossover of casts from CW series Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.  If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, 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 12, the DCTU Panel’s Bonus “Crisis on Earth-X” Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Crisis on Earth-X,” the four episode 2017 Arrowverse crossover event melding cast members from “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: The “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover began on November 27, 2017, with Supergirl (8:00 PM) and Arrow (9:00 PM), and concluded on November 28, 2017, with The Flash (8:00 PM) and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (9:00 PM).

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Central City (The Flash), and on the Earth That Shall Not Be Named, the 53rd Earth otherwise known as “X.”

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering this crossover separately, read on!

How – as in How Was It?

The Specially Formulated For Your Viewing Pleasure “Crisis” Crossover rating scale:

***** – HOLY SMOKES! This is the BEST. CROSSVER. EVER!!!!!

**** – Intriguing.  Please make more, CW/Arrowverse producers.  You get better each time, though you’re not perfect yet.

*** – It was fine/okay.  Nothing special.  There were parts I liked and parts I didn’t.  Allow me to explain.

** – Meh.  I was bored.  Nice idea, but the execution left something to be desired.

* – Not your best, Arrowverse.  Stop trying!

Crisis on Earth-X = 4.8, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

In “Crisis on Earth-X”, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West’s (Candice Patton) friends come to Central City for their wedding, only to be interrupted when villains from Earth-X disrupt the proceedings, led by Dark Arrow (spoiler…Stephen Amell), his Kryptonian wife Overgirl (spoiler…Melissa Benoist), and Prometheus.

THOUGHTS

This is the twelfth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we are covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 6, the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup

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

DCTU Series, Episode 8, “Supergirl,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 9, “The Flash,” Season Three

DCTU Series, Episode 10, “Arrow,” Season Five

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

Our cheeky and feisty and full DCTU panel, particularly panelist Spencer, specially requested a separate episode to discuss the four episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event “Crisis on Earth-X,” as perhaps you surmised if you listened to our last episode.  Why, might you ask?  Well, we might answer.  The panel, by and large, LOVED this crossover event so much; it was so jam-packed with all of the nerdy, DC Universe goodness, plus a staggering number of Easter Eggs and pop culture references outside of comic books (DC or otherwise), the panel felt a separate recording was necessary to digest all of the wonderful everything that came out of this particular “Crisis.”  Thus, our DCTU panelists talk about their passionately positive assessment of the crossover of casts from Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, schedule permitting, our Supernatural panel will return to the Water Cooler to discuss the first half of Season 13, as the long-running show already returned from this year’s winter hell-atus in its devilish way (if scheduling does not permit, our Once Upon a Time panel will appear instead to digest the “soft reboot” of Season 7)!  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS

Ultimately, our intrepid DCTU panel truly had very little bad to say about “Crisis on Earth-X.”  The general consensus was that this four episode event vastly improved over 2016’s multi-series crossover by finding better ways to incorporate main characters, by using the story to propel the plots of all four series forward, and by being so entertaining, well-paced, well-directed, well-written, and well-performed, watching it felt like watching a four-part film.  In fact, according to all panelists who saw Justice League in theaters this past fall, “Crisis” was everything “JL” should have been and was not – high praise for the TV event as well as a relatively harsh critique of the film that was supposed to help the DC film franchise continue the momentum of last summer’s hit, Wonder Woman.  I digress.

If any of our panelists, particularly Kristen and Hilary, found any flaws with this crossover awesomeness, it was in the rushed dual wedding that rounded out the end of the four episodes.  In fact, all of our panelists, your moderator and Chief CP included despite her deep and abiding love for the Green Arrow character as played by Stephen Amell, pretty much thought that Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) upstaging Barry and Iris’ second attempt at nuptials was a “dick move” no matter how the cookie crumbles.  Still, and aside from other extremely minor nitpicks, the panel cannot laud “Crisis” enough and highly recommends watching it to anyone who loves superhero/comic book adaptations, particularly from the DC universe, and to anyone who loves action television and cinema in general.  In addition, since the CW provides the opportunity to watch the four episodes separately from the four main series within which they aired, and since the episodes can largely be viewed and understood without needing to see episodes before or after them, the panel believes that anyone who has not watched the crossover and would want to watch it simply has no excuse or cause for delay, especially since the CW app is free to all. 

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

Supergirl: Monday, January 14, 2018, 8:00 PM
The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2018, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 9:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, February 12, 2018, 8:00 PM (Black Lightning is premiering in “Legends’” regular time slot; “Legends” will finish out its season in Supergirl’s time slot, and Supergirl will go on a second hiatus during this shuffle).

No announcements regarding any series renewal/cancellation ahead of next season have yet been made, as the Arrowverse was, earlier this fall, rocked with scandal with the discharge of Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied against him.  Renewals for Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are generally and confidently expected, while “Legends” was upgraded from bubble status recently and is earmarked as a “safe bet” for renewal.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will (truly) next convene around the CPU! water cooler at season’s end, releasing four new episodes throughout summer 2018, one for each show, to recap the current season in full.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Eleven, 2017-2018 Mid-Season Roundup of “Arrow,” Season Six; “The Flash,” Season Four; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Three; and “Supergirl,” 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 January 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the eleventh episode of our DCTU ongoing series. The panel was also subjected to (now for) something completely different – again – here at CPU!  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows, only this time we are talking together instead of separately and are not playing (exactly) our nerdy “Newlywed Game,” as we did last year.  We do play one game, and it reaches our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, without overselling it, of course!  Our panelists then, during this short mid-season hiatus, talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Six of Arrow, Season Four of The Flash, and Season Three of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, 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