Supernatural, Season 15A (MAJOR SPOILERS)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at our website: couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2020, our continuously consistent panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen S, Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn K – is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 15A (following the mid-season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers Winchester, angel Castiel, and the return of Chuck himself. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

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

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 15 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for supernatural season 15 title

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, fall to spring 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: The Season 15 premiere aired on October 10, 2019, 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 of 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/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and Spotify (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons 9, 10, and 11

Season 12A

Season 12B

Season 13A

Season 13B

Season 14A

Season 14B

Our Super-CPU! panel has happily remained constant since its last meeting, and all panelists proved ready and raring as ever to talk about the first half of the officially final (😭) season, Season 15, of Supernatural with the force of hell unleashed upon earth.  Thus, panelists Nick, Jen (S), Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn (K), along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), and find ourselves at the CPU! Water Cooler, and/or the nearest purveyor of homemade pies, animatedly discussing major plot points from, and ruminating upon the success of, the first half of Season 15.  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 2020, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of Season 15 of Supernatural. 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 Apple/iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , find us on Google Play, or on Spotify (!) to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our currently longest running panel, our Orange is the New Black panel, returns to the Water Cooler a final time to talk the Netflix original series’ final season, Season 7, and to Look Back at the entire show as a whole, as what was originally going to be a two-part goodbye series was reduced to one episode because we’ve really covered all of the show in our piecemeal discussions over the years. Stay tuned, then, for our goodbye to the Ladies of Litchfield – next week!

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?

NEW ANSWER: I guess we will find out in less than six months’ time! *tear* And I’m sure Kansas will remind them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer 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 AND FINAL ANSWER: Michael Prime is out! With Chuck/God opening the rift into Hell in the fourteenth season finale, all of Hell’s locked doors opened along with them, including the door to the Cage. Michael/Adam isn’t so mind-addled anymore and finds himself catching up on a lot of his deity dad’s more suspicious activities in Season 15, many of which disappoint him, to say the least. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?!

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, including those about the Spear/Lance. 

5) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?

NEW-ISH ANSWER: The Spear/Lance remains broken, but Adam-Michael is out of the Cage. Since it’s his weapon…really, should we care about the Spear/Lance anymore? Eh, Supernatural writers? Bueller?

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

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: So far, Sam has not tapped into the allegedly dormant powers he received from Prince of Hell Azazel. But we’ve got 12 more episodes to address this question.

7) REPEAT QUESTION: How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel (Misha Collins) or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

REPEAT ANSWER: When Jack (Alexander Calvert) temporarily loses his life in Season 14 (listen to the podcast episode about Season 14A for details), and his soul first appears in Heaven, the Empty barges into the largely unguarded ethereal plane, given the near extinction of available angels to monitor its sterile white corridors and dreamy memory locations, looking to claim Jack’s soul due to his nephilim status.  Cas, however, offers himself back to the Empty in exchange for the Empty releasing its clutches on Jack. The Empty agrees to this deal but notes that the entity will return for Cas only when he is truly happy and would be truly hurt by the Empty’s act of returning Cas to the abyss. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “we do not care about the Empty in the slightest,” to 10 being “we must care because we know the Empty is about to start some next-level stuff,” we are probably (still) at an 8.5 in the “caring about the Empty” spectrum.

Plus, at the end of the fourteenth series finale (SPOILER), Jack (who is snuffed from existence by Chuck/God); Billie the Reaper; and the shadow that we theorize is either Lucifer or the Empty Nothing-Man himself, is standing in the Empty’s void, ultimately fulfilling the Empty’s early-season wish. Something tells us this is all going to come to a head in Season 15, and that the payoff will be anything but Empty in the end, but this eventuality does leave Cas’ deal with the Empty Nothing-Man somewhat moot, now, doesn’t it? Or, does it?

8) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions that are without answers at this time.

9) REPEAT QUESTION: Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean in the first half of the fourteenth season?

REPEAT ANSWER: We have a feeling that this answer is ultimately part of the endgame for the series, and that we will not know said answer until the show is about to be done.

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

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions without answers.

11) REPEAT QUESTION: Is the Shedim an abandoned concept, with the quick death of Asmodeus?

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: The panel voted in the Season 14A episode that the writers forgot about the Shedim.  Still, we will keep asking the question until the writers track back to this tidbit of Asmodeus-inspired information.

12) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they break this world’s Michael, still stuck in Adam the half brother and locked in Hell’s Cage, out of his prison?  Even though Lucifer drove him mad?

NEW ANSWER: They, as in the brothers Winchester and Cas, do not, but Chuck/God does when he opens the rift to Hell in the fourteenth season finale. We would guess that this action is a bit of an accident, done with reckless abandon in a childish fit of impudence, as Chuck is really unlikable this season, being compared by his sister Amara even (see below) to a petulant child. Listen to the podcast episode for the panel’s reactions as we remove this question from the list.

13) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we see Heaven collapse next season?

NEW-ISH ANSWER: No, and the panel is starting to believe that we will not because what about all the human souls? Personally, I, the Chief CP, think that Heaven still has some part to play in this series’ final hours.

14) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Chuck/God return to help arbiter these extra-worldly conflicts? He might have to return to create more angels, to resurrect any that have been lost, and/or to help quell the conflict with AW Michael.  Will Amara/the Darkness return with him?

NEW-ISH ANSWER: Chuck/God (guest: Rob Benedict) returns in the fourteenth season finale, except he does not appear to be acting totally like himself or, at least, like the “himself” we have come to sort of know over the course of the series. Chuck stops Jack dead (literally) in his tracks (some grandfather he is) and then smites Jack when he is unable to convince Sam or Dean to do it for him. He then gets really upset that Sam and Dean get really upset by Chuck/God’s whims and actions. In the end, Chuck decides to destroy the world that he created by starting his own apocalypse, complete with the literal uncorking of Hell, which is where we find ourselves at the beginning of the season.

Meanwhile, Amara is really hanging out in Reno – that wasn’t a fib – and Chuck/God nurses a lasting wound from his Equalizer gun, which he tried to give Sam and Dean to off Jack with in the Season 14 finale, only to experience Sam shooting Chuck with it instead in an effort to spare Jack. It seems this lasting wound creates a link between Chuck and Sam, which provides Sam with vision-like insight into Chuck’s master plans, most of which revolve around ending his grand “Supernatural” story by inducing the brothers Winchester to kill each other. The visions/dreams themselves herald a surprising number of examples of Sam looking evil, either possessed (likely by Lucifer) and/or using abilities that can only be Azazel’s latent Prince of Hell energy imbued into Sam when Azazel originally killed mother Mary. The panel no longer believes that Chuck is Amara or vice versa, or that Chuck has been replaced by a wily Empty Nothing-Man or a wily Lucifer. Chuck is being a full-on dick, though; he’s “hellbent” on ending his story about his favorite Winchesters and possibly on starting a new story in a new dimension, showing his utter lack of interest in the Apocalypse World spillover, the plight of the few remaining angels, or what’s become of Michael, from Apocalypse World or this one. In fact, for Chuck, he seems to harbor a vendetta against Sam and Dean, and no one can figure out why his bonnet is so full of bees, but the brothers respond by declaring war on God, and as of the fifteenth mid-season finale, Chuck is only too happy to oblige Team Free Will. Listen to the podcast episode for details. Yes, even more details.

15) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the show explain how it is that nephilim are stronger than the angels (or archangels, in some circumstances) that sire them?

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, the show has provided no further explanation surrounding Sam’s Season 13 research findings concerning nephilim.  

16) REPEAT QUESTION: The panel predicts that Lucifer’s return is all but guaranteed. How will this resourceful archangel emerge? Did he escape when the Empty’s back was turned, while the Empty was making deals with Cas in Heaven in exchange for Jack’s soul? Or, will he take a page from Cas’ book and piss off the Empty enough to convince the grumpy being to eject him as the Empty did Castiel? Or, are Nick and Lucifer connected in unexpected ways, given that Nick was possessed by Lucifer so many different times and for so long? Does Jack get his powers back quickly enough to help his expired father exit the deep dark? The possibilities as to the how feel endless, even if the panel sees Lucifer’s return as a foregone conclusion.

NEW ANSWER: So…Chuck sets an interesting precedent in the first half of this season. He resurrects Demon Lilith for the purpose of snatching the Equalizer back from the Winchesters and for hearkening what angels remain to his side. Now, Adam-Michael puts a swift end to Lilith’s time out of the Empty, but if Chuck can pluck her from the Nothingness Void, he can pluck anyone – his eldest son, fallen archangel Lucifer, included. Why he would WANT to do so, when they are destined to be angel oil and holy water, is beyond our ability to guess, but it seems counting Lucifer out – particularly since he’s one of Supernatural’s greatest of hits – seems premature at this point.

17) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Sam be forced to end Rowena’s life, as Billie the Reaper aka the New Death prophesied in Season 13? Will we see this eventuality this season?

NEW AND FINAL ANSWER: Rowena (guest: Ruth Connell) sacrifices herself to close Hell’s rift in Episode 3, but this is powerful dark magic, requiring blood as its magical price. She realizes, as she relies upon her apprentice witch, Sam’s, stalwart help with her spell, that it is this moment that Billie prophesied: Rowena reasons that Sam must make this sacrifice for her, by running her through with the sacrificial blade, and this is how Rowena’s Earthly life comes to an end and Death’s prophecy is realized. Don’t count this ginger out, though. She quickly claims the Throne of Hell, where she was always destined to go, and has a lovely reunion with the boys when they come to Hell seeking Adam-Michael in the Cage. Deal one point to Team Fate.

18) REPEAT QUESTION: What does Naomi mean when she indicates that Heaven’s gates are open, including those closed in Season 9 via the Winchesters’ efforts? How many gates are there, and what function do they serve? Does this signal Heaven’s collapse, after all? Will human souls escape? Will monsters and/or demons try to get inside? Will Lucifer? Will AW Michael?

REPEAT ANSWER: All answers without questions, since Naomi is missing in action, her fate largely a question at least to our panel, as the number of angels continues to dwindle.

19) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the Empty come to claim Cas? What could make Cas so happy in that amount of time as to entice the Empty’s sense of vengeance against his nemesis, Castiel?

REPEAT ANSWER: No. So far, the Empty has not come a-calling for Cas. Plus, Jack is actually in the Empty’s void in the fourteenth season finale. Therefore, how can the Empty insist upon the fulfillment of Cas’ sacrificial promise as made in Season 14? There are twelve episodes left to answer this question, we surmise, but the panel remains ever-curious about the character and concept of the Empty.

20) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the Empty’s creation and/or manifestation as a being be explained?

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, no joy.

21) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Heaven be stabilized if it does not collapse?

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, Heaven is still functioning but is more vulnerable than ever, since there are even less original angels to protect it, aside from some problematic creations of Jack’s that have not yet emerged from their perch on high; we do not know if these human-turned-angel attempts on Jack’s part are, as such, working models or not.

22) REPEAT QUESTION: How did Chuck/God and Amara/the Darkness come to exist? Will Supernatural tackle this divine subject?

REPEAT ANSWER: Not so far.

23) REPEAT QUESTION: Is Dark Kaia’s Spear the Spear of Destiny? Or, is the Spear the equivalent of Michael’s Spear that was broken in Prime World, as we learned in Season 12?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions without answers.

24) Is the Empty a version of Purgatory for angels and demons? Somebody needs to provide a better explanation for the Empty.

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, no one has.

25) REPEAT QUESTION: Does the AW or The Bad Place have an Empty? Or, is the Empty the same for all dimensions?

REPEAT ANSWER: Unknown, and we probably will not find out the answer to this question at this point, since AW Michael no longer exists. We keep the question on the list, however, because of the panel’s enduring curiosity about the Empty.

26) Is the Chuck/God we see in the fourteenth season finale really Chuck/God or someone wearing his face, such as Amara or Lucifer?

ANSWER: Our panel thinks this is Chuck/God in the proverbial (biblical?) flesh, all pretenses about prophets and his love for his creations and characters aside. We hope that this is not true, so we’ll keep this question alive awhile longer.

27) How will Sam and Dean escape the onslaught of converging demons we see in the fourteenth season finale?

ANSWER: With a little help from Rowena. After attempting to enlist help from people in the nearby town and after a demon named Belphegor (Calvert), possessing Jack’s body, attempts to use the brothers Winchester to his advantage for the purpose of gaining the throne of Hell, it is Rowena, sacrificing herself in fulfillment of Billie’s prophecy by asking Sam to take her life as a blood contribution to her powerful spell to close the rift to Hell, made possible by Chuck/God himself, that finally stops the demonic onslaught. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

28) What is Billie doing in the Empty (as of the fourteenth season finale)?

ANSWER: Unknown…so far.

29) Who is the shadow in the Empty really?

ANSWER: Currently unknown but Chief CP Kylie advances a fancy theory in tonight’s episode: could the Empty be progenitor to God and Amara? After all, from where does light and darkness come? NOTHINGNESS…LIKE THE EMPTY! That is my current prediction. Let’s see what comes of it.

30) Will we see the return of demonic favorites, such as Azazel, the Yellow-Eyed Demon? Or Crowley even?

ANSWER: It remains to be seen…panelist Jenn K votes for Azazel, while several panelists are hoping for a brief cameo by Mark A. Sheppard’s infamous Fergus Crowley, who left the show after Season 12.

31) Will John Winchester return a final time?

ANSWER: It remains to be seen…but we think Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a good sport.

32) Mary (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) is killed by an overreaching and angelically charged Jack near the end of the season. Is she really gone for good?

ANSWER: She hasn’t come back (yet)…

33) How will it all end? Will Sam and Dean survive, or will they die? Together? Separately? Will Baby survive? Will Cas?

ANSWER: Those are the million-dollar, Chuck only knows questions.

34) Will Heaven and Hell still exist by the end of the series?

ANSWER: We’ll tell you when we get there.

35) Can Jared and Jensen go shirtless at least once in the final season? Kthxbai.

ANSWER: TAKE IT OFF, BOYS!

New Questions

We don’t have any new questions. The only questions that remain are old questions. But hey – Michael/Adam is back. We have a feeling the answers are coming…in twelve episodes or less.

PARTING SHOTS

Our Supernatural panel continues to express some consensus of opinion about the most recent SPN half season in this latest episode.  Most panelists regard this overall season as enjoyable, with the writers’ obvious winks and nods to Supernatural’s long history turning some of the presentation into a tongue-in-cheek meta narrative facilitated by none other than God himself.  One panelist thought the season was slow to start but has only improved and become more intriguing, as this record-breaking series winds to its inevitable close. 

Ultimately, however, all of the panelists are excited (and, in most cases, relieved) to see what comes next, to get answers to long-held questions, and to see what the end has in store for our beloved Sam, Dean, and Castiel. The panel members remain steadfastly loyal to the show we’ve watched so long and are sincerely hoping the writers pull out some unexpected surprises while paying off, in a satisfying way, some of the mythology and story devices that they have been seeding now for several seasons. Plus, the panelists continue to appreciate if not adore the show’s good writing moments, the consistent acting, and the natural and long nurtured quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast, in some cases more than others). In this way, the panel remains entertained as ever and can’t wait to see what Chuck and Team Free Will have in store for this long-running series’ final episodes. Carry On, Wayward Sons! The end is nigh. (The Heavens will truly weep on the day of this specific series finale, I can tell you.)

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural returns from its mid-season hiatus tomorrow, Thursday, January 16, 2020, at 8:00 PM on the CW. In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the fifteenth season – THE SERIES 😭 – finale, likely sometime in or around Summer 2020. Stay tuned! Until then!

Progress Report: Mid-Season Report Card for 2019-2020 Pilots

Image result for progress report

It’s that time of year!  Call it CPU!’s Holiday Present to you!  Or a New Year present! Time to check in on the progress of shows and see which shows are surviving this season and beyond on the major networks.  Is your show on the list? Did it survive cancellation? Read below.

Thanks to TVLine and other sources for helping a girl out. Note: this is a compilation of internet research from TV pundits and watchdogs. The information is as accurate as the internet can provide as of the date of this publication.

*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!

36th Annual PaleyFest - "Parks and Recreation" 10th Anniversary Reunion, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Mar 2019

9-1-1: LONE STAR, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sunday, Jan. 19, following the NFC Championship, and continuing Monday, Jan. 20

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 8/7c

WHO: Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation)

WHAT: In this 9-1-1 spinoff, a sophisticated New York cop relocates to Austin, Texas, with his son. There, he must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for Now.  Welcome to the 2019-2020 CPU! network pilot review, always full of snark and real talk about upcoming TV from your friendly neighborhood TV podcast!  We start off with a bit of a by, and really, this comes down to the fact that CPU! initially passed the parent show of this would-be spin-off, 9-1-1, a show that has since been requested (though slowly and in a lukewarm-type fashion) by members of the CPU! corps. Our rule about spin-offs here is that we have to cover the parent show before we watch the spin-off, so there is your answer about whether we pick up or pass. We merely pass for now, without prejudice. But hey, Rob Lowe, what’s shaking?

__

All Rise

ALL RISE, CBS

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Simone Missick (Luke Cage), Wilson Bethel (Hart of Dixie), Jessica Camacho (The Flash), Marg Helgenberger (CSI), J. Alex Brinson, Lindsay Mendez, Ruthie Ann Miles

WHAT: A drama that follows the dedicated, chaotic, hopeful, and sometimes absurd lives of judges, prosecutors, and public defenders as they work with bailiffs, clerks, and cops to get justice for the people of Los Angeles amidst a flawed legal system.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. As TV lovers like you and I know by now, the TV landscape is awash with legal dramas (or comedy-dramas, in this case), and it would take something special for a new legal drama to set it apart from the rather trope-laden pond of courtroom properties just like it. That’s where your friendly neighborhood Chief CP is hoping that a few superheroes and meta-humans save the genre from floundering in this new entry at the Eye. While the trailer presents yet another trope studded landscape of feisty judge upends the flat and boring world turnings of the legal system, it’s the cast populating this landscape that is going to inspire at least this Couch Potato to take a look-see. And let’s see – you have Misty Knight from Luke Cage, Bullseye from Daredevil, and Gypsy from The Flash. That’s three people from three shows that have been covered heavily here at CPU!, and they’re all very good at their jobs based on what we’ve seen so far – and when the writing services them well. Simone Missick alone packs a lot of charisma into her sass in the brief trailer, and I think it’s worth at least a viewing to see if this new show can really rise to the top of its overplayed cousins. What do you think?

__

STATUS: On October 22, 2019, CBS ordered a full season, bringing the first season episode total to 18 (with 5 additional episodes added to an initial 13); 11 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits, including our favorite TVLine, think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

__

Not Just Me Fox

ALMOST FAMILY (fka Not Just Me), Fox

TIME SLOT: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Brittany Snow (American Dreams), Emily Osment (Young & Hungry), Megalyn Echikunwoke (Damien, Arrow), Timothy Hutton (The Haunting of Hill House, How to Get Away With Murder), Mo McRae (Empire, Pitch), Victoria Cartagena (Manifest, Gotham), Mustafa Elzein

WHAT: An only child finds her life turned upside down when her father reveals that, over the course of his prize-winning career as a pioneering fertility doctor, he used his own sperm to conceive upwards of a hundred children, including two new sisters. As these three young women slowly embrace their new reality, they will attempt to form an nontraditional bond as sisters, even as they must welcome a tidal wave of new siblings into their rapidly expanding family. 

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. On the one hand, this new drama from Fox gets points for an original premise. Original premises on TV are so rare these days, though I think the revival/reboot trend is starting to correct somewhat. On the other hand, this premise betrays a few problematic foundations that are really going to have to appeal to new viewers in order for the show to be successful in terms of ratings, and upon my viewing of the trailer, I just don’t know if those foundations entice this Couch Potato to do the thing. I anticipate a personal struggle with a concept that asks the viewer to sympathize with Timothy Hutton’s unethical fertility doctor. In addition, the newfound siblings concept provides some human interest but also starts to smack of The Odd Couple meets Charmed without magic. And where can this story go? Will it be something akin to the viewer and the characters meeting a new sibling each week and going on wacky adventures railing against their secretly unethical fertility doctor father? If the show gains steam or recommendations, Couch Potatoes Unite! always reconsiders, but I, personally (notice I’m using a lot of first person pronouns in this review), felt a bit icky watching the trailer and don’t know if I can make the leap to being almost good with watching this. For now, at least.

__

STATUS: Fox has not boosted the series order for this show, and ratings are generally low. Though initial reports seemed to indicate that this series was pulled from Fox’s mid-season lineup, other sources show that Fox intends to air episodes initially ordered. The pundits think renewal possibilities are a long shot. Eight of an apparent eleven ordered episodes have aired at the time of this publication.

CPU! STATUS: I suspect that savvy television viewers have experienced some of the same reactions I did while watching this trailer; of course, the show may have other problems. Since we passed this one, we are unlikely to change our minds in order to explore what other problems might exist for this approximate family.

__

Baker and the Beauty ABC

__

THE BAKER AND THE BEAUTY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2020

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Nathalie Kelley (Dynasty), Victor Rasuk (Stalker)

WHAT: Daniel Garcia is working in the family bakery and doing everything that his loving Cuban parents and siblings expect him to do, but on a wild Miami night, he meets Noa Hamilton, an international superstar and fashion mogul, and his life moves into the spotlight. Will this unlikely couple upend their lives to be together and pull their families into a culture clash?

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. This sounds like another trope-filled soap opera, where a lovable and potentially handsome schlub meets a beautiful famous actress, and they fall in love. It’s Notting Hill with a bakery, not a bookstore. Also, the Chief CP is not a fan of Nathalie Kelley, to whom some of our Couch Potatoes were first exposed on The Vampire Diaries (CPU! passed on the Dynasty remake, and I still feel we made the right choice). Again, recommendations tend to change our minds, and there might be some of our cast of Couch Potatoes interested in this type of television, but without a trailer and given the premise and the cast, this is pretty much an all-around get-out-of-dodge pass.

__

Batwoman The CW

__

BATWOMAN, The CW

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8/7c

WHO: Ruby Rose (Arrowverse “Elseworlds” crossover), Dougray Scott (Snatch, Hemlock Grove), Rachel Skarsten (Reign), Meagan Tandy (Teen Wolf), Camrus Johnson (Marvel’s Luke Cage), Nicole Kang (YOU), Elizabeth Anweis (9-1-1, NCIS: LA)

WHAT: Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence – but don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though many of our DCTU panel won’t like it, this is an automatic Pick Up for our CPU! DCTU Series panel, as Batwoman will be an Arrowverse entry, designed to fill the hole left by the flagship series, Arrow, when it takes its series bow at mid-season following the Crisis on Infinite Earths mega-crossover event coming in December. None of our panelists loved the “Batwoman” entry in last year’s Elseworlds crossover, but we didn’t all hate it either. If the show’s writers can do justice to Gotham City and can breathe new life into Kate Kane’s version of the character and member of the Bat-Family, cynicism might sway to positivism. We won’t know until the series premieres in October.

__

STATUS: In October 2019, the CW granted this newest addition to the so-called Arrowverse (will they change the name after Arrow is done?) a full-season order, bringing the first season episode total to 22; 9 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet, and, frankly, so do we.

CPU! STATUS: This show will be reviewed in Summer 2020 by our DCTU Series podcast panel, replacing the departing Arrow among our annual reviews. This panel will not be doing a “Mid-Season Roundup” this year, so wait you’ll have to do.

__

Image result for bh90210

__

BH90210, Fox

WHO: Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering

WHAT: The series will focus on the original cast members of Beverly Hills, 90210 — Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling, and Shannen Doherty — playing heightened, fictionalized versions of themselves. Having parted ways 19 years after the original series ended, they reunite to get a reboot up and running and must reconcile their new lives with the complications of their histories together.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. On the one hand, this could be a cheeky, fresh experiment in the TV reboot scientific method. On the other hand, this could also be the desperate gambit of 50 year old (plus) former TV stars trying to recapture their glory days and the height of their individual stardom (I’m looking at you, Tori Spelling). The CPU! roster is filled with secret and not-so-secret fans of at least the original Beverly Hills, 90210, and some have already sampled this nothing-more-than-guilty-pleasure fare this summer with somewhat lukewarm results. Is the show as delicious as the food always seemed to be at the Peach Pit? How will it feel without Luke Perry, the popular erstwhile Dylan McKay, who passed away earlier this year (RIP, I’m still heartbroken). Have you watched it? Tell us all about it.

__

STATUS: Officially canceled! Fox canceled this meta-revival on November 7, 2019. All produced six episodes aired. The series finale aired on September 11, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: It’s only six episodes, and we know that some of our podcast corps watched it. We’ll still look in and talk about it, maybe coupled with a Look Back at the original Beverly Hills 90210. The nostalgia factor will be sick!

__

Bless the Harts Fox

BLESS THE HARTS, Fox

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: The voices of Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jillian Bell, Ike Barinholtz

WHAT: The animated comedy follows a group of Southerners who are always “broke as a joke” and struggling for the American dream of status and wealth. What they don’t realize is that they’re already rich… in friends, family and laughter.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Despite the all-star power voice cast, this new series in Fox’s Sunday Animated line-up feels like King of the Hill without the heart of Texas and Mike Judge to make the show, you know, actually funny. If you think we should change our tune, drop us a line, but we don’t think this new show is blessed enough with originality to entice, particularly following superior entries about dysfunctional families (The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers) already filling Fox’s Sunday nights. Biscuits or no biscuits, we move on.

__

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! On October 18, 2019, Fox renewed one of its new animated series for a second season, though the network has not appeared to have extended the initial order for the season. Nine of 13 ordered episodes have aired as of the time of this publication.

CPU! STATUS: We have heard nothing about it, and even if the network may be confident about it, none of our podcast panelists or panelists-adjacent have mentioned it. We need more to change our minds from our initial pass, bless them.

__

Bluff City Law NBC

BLUFF CITY LAW, NBC

WHO: Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue), Caitlin McGee (Grey’s Anatomy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Barry Sloane (Six, Revenge), Michael Luwoye (The Gifted), Stony Blyden (Edge of Seventeen), Jayne Atkinson (House of Cards), Scott Shepherd (True Detective), MaameYaa Boafo

WHAT: This series follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis law firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases. Led by legendary lawyer Elijah Strait and his brilliant daughter, Sydney Keller, they take on the toughest David-and-Goliath cases while navigating their complicated relationship.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. The second legal drama of the list proves to be more trope-filled than the first. This time, instead of a feisty judge, we get to watch a feisty civil rights lawyer change the world with her dad, Jimmy Smits, but with less comedy. For those who love this kind of TV, or for fans of NYPD Blue, this show will no doubt appeal, but for this set of Couch Potatoes, I believe it would be a stretch to get them on board, particularly when the family drama aspect could send this one straight into saccharine/manipulative territory. If buzz or steam gets the request lines hopping, though, we could be persuaded to change our initial stances. No bluffs!

__

STATUS: On October 18, 2019, it was reported that the show wrapped production on the initial ten episodes ordered, and that the Peacock was not planning to order more; the final produced episode aired on November 25, 2019.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a long shot, i.e. “very unlikely,” at this point.

CPU! STATUS: We know some loyal listeners and chatters who have watched this Jimmy Smits series, but we haven’t heard promising reviews, and the network’s lack of confidence in the project is truly underwhelming at best. We will remain in our passing lane until the law convinces us that this likely one and out series is worth the watch, despite its limited run. We’re not even bluffing.

__

Bob Hearts ABishola CBS

BOB ❤ ABISHOLA, CBS

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly), Folake Olowofoyeku (Transparent), Christine Ebersole (Madam Secretary), Matt Jones (Mom), Maribeth Monroe (The Good Place, Workaholics), Shola Adewusi, Barry Shabaka Henley, Travis Wolfe, Jr.

WHAT: After having a heart attack, a middle-aged sock businessman from Detroit unexpectedly falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, and sets his sights on getting her to give him a chance.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Honestly, this trailer won this Couch Potato over by the end of its two minutes. The two leads are surprisingly winning, particularly Folake Olowofoyeku. In addition, the trailer left me wondering what would happen with the earnest sock businessman’s attempts to woo an unassuming Nigerian nurse. Plus, the show is set in Detroit, a mere stone’s throw from our home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We “heart” some of the original feel of this series, especially since this rom-com throws some of the genre’s more formulaic elements right out the old bus window.

__

STATUS: On October 22, 2019, the Eye ordered a back nine, bringing the suspected first season episode total to 22; 11 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think there is a 50/50 shot at renewal, as both critical and ratings responses are middling.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

__

Broke CBS

BROKE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Jaime Camil (Jane the Virgin), Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Natasha Leggero (Another Period), Izzy Diaz (Snowfall), Antonio Corbo

WHAT: When an outrageously wealthy trust fund baby is cut off by his father, he and his wife move into her estranged sister’s Reseda home, forcing the two siblings to reconnect.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. It’s a riches to rags story, which this Couch Potato assumes is the Eye’s attempt to capitalize upon the growing success of outgoing Pop! charmer Schitt’s Creek, and while that notion might be noble, the ingredients here don’t mix together well enough to have the charm of the Canadian export that’s become so widely regarded and popular. Pauley Perrette is grating with her brand of “in your face” (allegedly) comedic line delivery, and Jaime Camil, as handsome as he is, is essentially playing a transplanted version of Rogelio from Jane the Virgin. Plus, the audience laughter, whether canned or not, sounded a little too forced to be sincere. Since Broke will not break any molds in this genre, with this type of story conceit, we’ll pass, unless the request lines tell us to give it a chance. You know how to get a hold of us.

__

Carol's Second Act CBS

CAROL’S SECOND ACT, CBS

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Patricia Heaton (The Middle, Everybody Loves Raymond), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), Ito Aghayere (Elementary), Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Baby Daddy), Sabrina Jalees

WHAT: After raising her two children and retiring from teaching, Carol Chambers embarks on a unique second act: pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. As lovable as Patricia Heaton always seems to be, and though this premise shows some small modicum of potential, two conceits undercut this comedy upon first review. First, and clearly, it’s going to focus heavily upon the generational divide between the Baby Boomer intern and her cohort of Millennial/Post-Millennial interns, and that type of humor stands to get old fast, particularly as it is so overdone lately. Second, there’s a cop drama on ABC that is kind of doing the same thing, but in cop-land and with Nathan Fillion at its helm. This comedy, thus, seems somewhat derivative, potential aside, and it would depend upon the balance of the hackneyed and the fresh that could determine this show’s future success. If it’s requested, we would be more apt to change our mind on this one, even, than on some of the other entries on which I’ve said that, especially because, well, Patricia Heaton, but for now, this second act doesn’t wow.

__

STATUS: On October 22, 2019, CBS ordered an additional five episodes, bringing the anticipated first season episode total to 18; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet; however, in October 2019, two female writers accused executive producer David Hunt of sexual harassment and potential retaliation for complaining of the harassment (notably, Hunt is married to star Patricia Heaton). This press may not bode well for the show, so I am downgrading renewal chances to 50/50, as I think some of the pundits, TVLine included, are not factoring for controversy.

CPU! STATUS: Unfortunately, the report of these allegations will certainly and personally prevent me from watching the show, on top of my already lukewarm response at the top of season review. In addition, literally no one in the CPU! sphere has reported watching this show. It’s time to take a bow on this second act because we just don’t think it’s worth it.

__

Council of Dads NBC

COUNCIL OF DADS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 2020

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Clive Standen (Taken), Sarah Wayne Callies (Colony, The Walking Dead), Tom Everett Scott (13 Reasons Why, Southland), J. August Richards (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Michele Weaver (Love Is___), Michael O’Neill (Scandal, Rectify), Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why), Emjay Anthony (Rake), Thalia Tran, Blue Chapman

WHAT: When Scott, a loving father of four, has his entire life’s plan thrown into upheaval by a cancer diagnosis, he calls on a few of his closest allies to step in as back-up dads for every stage of his growing family’s life. Scott assembles a trusted group of role models who agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s amazing family through all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer — just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Honestly, a trailer would be helpful for this one. Reading the synopsis, one can glean a certain amount of heart in the premise, but this couch potato worries that the show itself might fall into the Hallmark movie/manipulative drama column, even if the content might be remarkably easy to relate to, given the fact that devastating illness can affect so many families. There are also a few enticing names in the cast. Still, premise alone doesn’t sell it. So, we offer our usual cautionary disclaimer around the ability of buzz and steam to persuade our council’s collective decision otherwise, but, for now, we must be merciless and pass. There are tons of options out there to consider.

__

Deputy Fox

DEPUTY, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 2, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Stephen Dorff (True Detective), Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin), Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town), Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow), Mark Moses (Desperate Housewives), Siena Goines (Grey’s Anatomy, Jericho), Shane Paul McGhie (Sacred Lies

WHAT: When the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff dies, an arcane rule forged back in the Wild West thrusts the most unlikely man into the job: a fifth-generation lawman, more comfortable taking down bad guys than navigating a sea of politics. He leads a skilled team of ambitious and complicated human beings who won’t rest until justice is served.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or Fox’s YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. This CP suspects that this show will find an audience. I do not believe the audience will be Couch Potatoes Unite! participants, listeners, and followers, but it will find an audience. This new program offers a compelling genre-mashing premise where Western meets cop procedural, with a saltier Stephen Dorff playing a lawman who hearkens back to the cowboys of yore and yesteryear. Still, procedural TV has a tough time here at CPU!; not many request or clamor for it, especially as the TV landscape is rife with similar ilk. Still, this series will probably stand out because of its slightly Western motif and because of the acting pedigree of the cast, if this well cut trailer is any indication. CPU! is open to requests, but we pass for now because we don’t expect the interest from people who unite with us. You can tell us we’re wrong – if you’re nice, that is.

__

Duncanville Fox

DUNCANVILLE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: February 16, 2020

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: The voices of Amy Poehler, Ty Burrell, Rashida Jones, Wiz Khalifa, Riki Lindhome

WHAT: The animated comedy revolves around a 15-year-old boy named Duncan and his friends and family — including his mother, Annie, who is constantly trying to prevent her son from ruining his life.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Again, scant information, no trailer, and a (mostly) lack of interest in talking serial animated comedy leaves this reviewer unmotivated to explore this additional entry in Fox’s animated lineup, despite the presence of perennial CPU! talker and listener fave Amy Poehler. If you think we’re missing out with our snap judgments, you know how to get a hold of us.

__

Emergence ABC

EMERGENCE, ABC

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Alexa Swinton (Billions), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Owain Yeoman (The Mentalist), Robert Bailey Jr. (The Night Shift), Zabryna Guevara (New Amsterdam)

WHAT: In this genre thriller, a police chief takes in a young child that she finds near the site of a mysterious accident, only to learn that the child has no memory of what happened. The investigation draws her into a conspiracy larger than she ever imagined, and the child’s identity is at the center of it all.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though the premise draws obvious science fiction and horror comparisons, such as to Firestarter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The X-Files, the intrigue created by the fairly simple premise and a cast of reliably solid performers (some of whom are not listed above), including lead Allison Tolman, the breakout in the first season of the television version of Fargo, make this an early front-runner for CPU!’s growing list of fall pick-ups as well as for possible podcaster and viewer interest. Is it aliens? A government conspiracy? A supernaturally endowed child? The answers might stem from well-worn tropes, but this show could also surprise us all, so it emerges as an entry on the long CPU! list.

__

STATUS: It appears that 13 episodes have been ordered, 9 of which have aired as of the publication of this post.  The pundits are prognosticating a 50 percent probability of renewal, as the show is critically acclaimed, but the ratings run middle of the road.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

__

Evil CBS

EVIL, CBS

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 10/9c

WHO: Katja Herbers (Westworld), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Michael Emerson (Person of Interest), Kurt Fuller (Supernatural), Brooklyn Shuck, Skylar Gray, Maddy Crocco, Dalya Knapp

WHAT: A psychological mystery that examines science vs. religion and the origins of evil, the series from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King focuses on a skeptical female forensic psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter to investigate and assess the Church’s backlog of supposed miracles, demonic possessions, and unexplained phenomena.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Enthusiastically Pick Up. This pure mystery series, a rare genre by itself, offers an intriguing and mostly original premise, even if the undertone definitely reverberates echoes of The Exorcist. Yet, this new program also boasts a compelling cast, including Katja Herbers from Westworld, Mike Colter from Luke Cage, and one of TV’s best character actors, Michael Emerson from Lost and Person of Interest, all of which have been covered by CPU! in the past (except Lost…but it’s on the list), in addition to a producer pedigree that encourages a level of trust in its potential quality. Plus, it does not seem to lack for scares in the psychological thriller department, which would no doubt further appeal to horror buffs, both on and off our team of united couch potatoes. Michael Emerson’s appearance in the trailer alone had this CP shouting “yeah!” to no one in particular, and so the enthusiasm for this Pick Up is legit. Besides, who doesn’t love a good story about demonic possession? Also, mad props to the Eye for taking a risk on a genre show that normally doesn’t appear on that network. This choice feels more good than evil, but we shall see.

__

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! On October 22, 2019, CBS announced the series renewal. Thirteen episodes were ordered for this first season; ten have aired as of the publication of this post.

CPU! STATUS: The CPU! and social media water coolers have been buzzing about this show with mostly positive reviews. What we can we tell you? Sometimes, we just have a (not so evil) eye for this sort of thing. (This means our Pick Up is permanent.)

__

FBI Most Wanted CBS

FBI: MOST WANTED, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: January 7, 2020

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), Alana De La Garza (Law & Order), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Game of Thrones), Kellan Lutz (Twilight), Roxy Sternberg (Emerald City), Nathaniel Arcand

WHAT: A spin-off of FBI centered on the Fugitive Task Force of the FBI that tracks and captures the notorious criminals on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. CPU! passed on the parent show of this spin-off, FBI, last year. It’s procedural TV by procedural guru Dick Wolf, best known for the Law & Order franchise of procedural television. FBI is relatively well-rated and popular, but the show has not resonated with our resident potatoes. Additionally, if we passed on the show from whence this series spun, we also feel compelled to pass on that which was spun itself, especially since no one has requested our opinion about said spinning series to date. You can, but we have a feeling we know that it’s not your most wanted.

__

Filthy Rich Fox

FILTHY RICH, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), Gerald McRaney (This Is Us), Aubrey Dollar (Battle Creek), Corey Cott (The Good Fight), Mark L. Young (The Comeback), Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me)

WHAT: When the patriarch of a mega-rich Southern family (famed for creating a wildly successful Christian television network) dies in a plane crash, his wife and family are stunned to learn that he fathered three illegitimate children, all of whom are written into his will.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. In the grand tradition of fare like Dallas and Dynasty (the original, to be sure), Fox offers this new sudsy soap with rich people at the forefront mixed with all the scandal and guilty-pleasure inducing backdrop of televangelism and the antebellum lilts of the South, including the requisite homage to Gone with the Wind. Hilariously, the show is created/produced by the makers of Empire and The Help, so there is a small iota of curiosity to entice here. Plus, the presence of an older but no less fabulous Kim Cattrall, the erstwhile Samantha that oozed Sex in her City, leads this pack. Still, the premise sounds very similar to Fox’s Almost Family, also being introduced this season (see above), with the soap angle to propel it forward into Desperate Housewives and the aforementioned Dallas/Dynasty territories, and so it seems like Fox is throwing the idea of illegitimate children around every chance it can get. We passed on the other one and feel it only fair to pass on this one also, but if you think we need to cover more suds and find this candidate suitable to that purpose, drop us a line.

__

ABC New Shows 2019

FOR LIFE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: February 11, 2020

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Nicholas Pinnock (Counterpart), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), Joy Bryant (Parenthood), Glenn Fleshler (Billions), Dorian Missick (Southland), Tyla Harris (Six), Mary Stuart Masterson (Blindspot), Boris McGiver (House of Cards)

WHAT: A legal drama inspired by the life of Isaac Wright, Jr. about a prisoner who becomes a lawyer, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. His quest for freedom is driven by his desperate desire to get back to the family he loves and reclaim the life that was stolen from him.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Though this seems like less of the same-old in legal dramas, it’s still a legal drama in a TV sea well over-saturated by them, this season especially. We might reconsider with the release of a trailer, but for now, it’s hard to be intrigued by yet another courtroom motif. Plus, no member of this cast is by themselves a draw, so we’ll wait for someone to give this one life by recommending it to us. For now, we move on in our own lives.

__

The Great North Fox

THE GREAT NORTH, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: The voices of Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate, Megan Mullally, Paul Rust, Aparna Nancherla, Will Forte, Dulcé Sloan

WHAT: The animated comedy follows the Alaskan adventures of the Tobin family, as single dad Beef does his best to keep his weird bunch of kids close, especially as the artistic dreams of his only daughter, Judy, lead her away from the family fishing boat and into the glamorous world of the local mall.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Fox is also going hog-wild this year with upping its animation game. Still, this animated entry shows more possibility than other new selections, even without a trailer to more fully and thoroughly evaluate it. First, the voice cast contains one of the funniest married couples on the planet in Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly, who people might know from shows like Parks & Recreation and Will & Grace, respectively. On top of that, the setting is Alaska, and the premise feels a bit more original and fresh, even as it could also be the cartoon version of Northern Exposure. All of the above is enough to warrant a tiny look-see but no promises from the not-so-great north.

__

Indebted NBC

INDEBTED, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: February 6, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Adam Pally (Happy Endings), Abby Elliott (Saturday Night Live), Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why), Fran Drescher (The Nanny)

WHAT: Young parents Dave and Rebecca are ready to reclaim their life after years of diapers and sleepless nights; however, things take an unexpected turn when Dave’s parents show up unannounced and broke.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Though this CP wants Adam Pally to find some TV success in a vehicle where his brand of comedy can shine a bit more, and even if TV standbys Steven Weber and Fran Drescher have come out to play here, without a trailer, this premise feels wafer thin. Plus, the Peacock is pushing it to mid-season, which means the show would really have to entice to be successful, through cast chemistry, unexpected situations, or performer appeal. It’s hard to imagine any of those possibilities right now with what we know, but if you think we need to cultivate a bit more in the imagination department, we would be indebted to you for your recommendation. Prove our snap judgments wrong!

__

Katy Keene The CW

KATY KEENE, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: February 6, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8/7c

WHO: Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Ashleigh Murray (Riverdale), Jonny Beauchamp (Penny Dreadful), Julia Chan (Saving Hope), Camille Hyde (American Vandal), Lucien Laviscount (Scream Queens), Zane Holtz (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Make It or Break It), Katherine LaNasa (Imposters, Satisfaction)

WHAT: In a timeless New York City, as enchanting as Riverdale is moody, aspiring fashion designer Katy Keene meets Josie McCoy, fresh off the bus to chase her musical dreams. Their world is populated with kindred-spirit starving artists, including mysterious socialite Pepper Smith and Broadway-bound performer Jorge Lopez — and his drag queen alter ego, Ginger. While their climb to the top is rife with obstacles, this found family will stop at nothing to see their names in lights.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or the CW’s YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Later this fall, CPU! will start ongoing Water Cooler coverage of Riverdale. Since this is a spin-off of said dark and twisty reckoning of the Archie Comics, including the Pussycats’ own Josie as one of the cast of characters, we expect our panel to have at least a passing interest in this new chapter. Alternatively, Riverdale has quite the following in general; will fans of that show be interested enough to watch Lucy Hale’s Katy Keene? Time will tell, so we’ll very hesitantly add it to our burgeoning list of TV tantalizers. Next!

__

The Kenan Show NBC

THE KENAN SHOW, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven), Punam Patel, Dani Lockett, Dannah Lockett 

WHAT: In this family comedy, Kenan Thompson strives to be a super dad to his two adorable girls while simultaneously balancing his job and a father-in-law who “helps” in the most inappropriate ways.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. While it is about time that Kenan Thompson returns to scripted TV from his long tenure as sketch comedian on Saturday Night Live, and while he is more than deserving of an eponymous comedy, we are not sure that this is the eponymous comedy that is going to keep his career going, unless his biggest fans are the generators of decent ratings to keep this sitcom afloat. This thin premise rings bells echoing My Wife & Kids, or, depending upon Kenan’s delivery, The Bernie Mac Show, but with a Xennial approach to the parental side of this equation. No trailer makes the selling difficult, but if you’re a Kenan Thompson fan and want us to reconsider, send us the messages.

__

KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS, ABC

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8/7c

WHO: Tiffany Haddish (Host)

WHAT: A new iteration of the classic variety show, featuring a mix of in-studio segments and taped pieces from across the country, all set in front of a live studio audience.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. CPU! does not cover variety shows, but as it’s a new network entry this season, we’ll keep a limited eye on it this year. Bill Cosby hosted the original. Let’s hope Tiffany Haddish can make everyone forget that.

__

STATUS: It appears that 11 episodes have been ordered, 8 of which have aired by the publication of this post, though more might have been ordered by the Alphabet without it being reported anywhere from which we can glean the information.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a variety show, right?

__

Lincoln NBC

LINCOLN LINCOLN RHYME: HUNT FOR THE BONE COLLECTOR, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: January 10, 2020

TIME SLOT: Fridays at 8/7c

WHO: Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Arielle Kebbel (Midnight, Texas), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Brían F. O’Byrne (Nightflyers), Tate Ellington (Quantico), Courtney Grosbeck (The Bold and the Beautiful), Brooke Lyons (Life Sentence), Ramses Jimenez, Roslyn Ruff

WHAT: Based on Jeffery Deaver’s novel The Bone Collector, this crime drama centers on former NYPD detective and forensic genius Lincoln Rhyme, who was seriously injured by a notorious serial killer. He and young officer Amelia Sachs join forces to crack the city’s most confounding cases while racing to take down the enigmatic Bone Collector who brought them together.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Two aspects of the description of this new show present a minimum of intrigue and desire to check it out, despite no teaser or trailer to clinch the sale. First, though this drama stands to be rather procedural in nature, there is an interesting overarching thread in the fact that the main character was injured by a serial killer, meaning there is a larger vendetta/ax-to-grind arc that could present some compelling story twists. Second, Russell Hornsby offered an air of genuineness on erstwhile cult fantasy series Grimm, and has been searching for a series to stick since, so this couch potato, at least, wants to see what he can make of this heady premise. Plus, “Bone Collector” sounds so ominous. The crimes of the week might become rote and boring, but the serial killer angle might give this mystery drama a slight edge in crime/procedural fare, despite airwaves saturation. So, we’ll add it to our collection of new pickups based upon our (mostly) informed TV instincts.

__

mixed-ish ABC

MIXED-ISH, ABC

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Arica Himmel, Mark-Paul Gosselaar (The Passage, Pitch), Tika Sumpter (The Haves and the Have Nots), Ethan Childress, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Christina Anthony

WHAT: In this black-ish spin-off, a young Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ’80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. 

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. CPU! is not currently covering black-ish on the podcast, and it has not been requested in all the years of the show’s existence, which mostly overlap the existence of our podcast. Should the parent show ever be requested for podcast discussion, by listener or by willing participant, we will reevaluate adding its spin-off to a potential series of discussions. For now, we’ll leave this one be, even if we expect the quality and the skewering comedic social commentary to transfer from original to spun series.

__

STATUS: On October 28, 2019, ABC picked up this sitcom for a full season order of 22 episodes; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: We still want someone to request that we discuss (or for us to make time to watch) black-ish first.

__

Nancy Drew The CW

NANCY DREW, The CW

TIME SLOT: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Newcomer Kennedy McMann, Scott Wolf (The Night Shift, Party of Five), Leah Lewis (Charmed, The Good Doctor), Tunji Kasim (Nearly Famous), Maddison Jaizani (Into the Badlands), Alex Saxon (The Fosters), Alvina August (Siren, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), guest star Pamela Sue Martin (Nancy Drew)

WHAT: Set in the summer after her high school graduation,18-year-old Nancy Drew thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college, but when a family tragedy holds her back another year, she finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation — and along the way, uncovers secrets that run deeper than she ever imagined.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Though it’s somewhat amusingly curious that the CW is digging through the well of decades-old fictional properties, such as Archie Comics and now this series of mystery novellas popular with young adult girls the world over, and though the acting is not particularly compelling in the available trailer, and though the cast is relatively unknown, sheer morbid curiosity coupled with the last few seconds of the trailer lead this CP to believe that there might be some slight interest in this show. Whether that interest sustains will depend largely upon how the show mixes Nancy’s mystery-of-the-week motif, which is expected if the show follows the books, with the possibly supernatural spin the CW version seems to be taking with the classic character. Also, how will the heroine be updated for the Millennial and Post-Millennial set, and will the character still work in a modern backdrop? These are worthy questions that merit a deeper look…at least for a few episodes.

__

STATUS: On October 25, 2019, the CW ordered a full season of 22 episodes; 9 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, though we have heard some minimal buzz about this show, along the lines of “guilty pleasure.” Stay tuned.

__

neXt Fox

neXt, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: John Slattery (Mad Men), Eve Harlow (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Michael Mosley (Sirens), Jason Butler Harner (Ozark), Elizabeth Cappuccino (Jessica Jones), Fernanda Andrade, Aaron Moten, Gerardo Celasco, Evan Whitten

WHAT: A Silicon Valley pioneer discovers that one of his own creations — a powerful A.I. — might spell global catastrophe and teams up with a cyber-crime agent to fight a villain unlike anything we’ve ever seen, one whose greatest weapon against us is ourselves.  

Trailer available at the Fox’s YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Oh sure, science fiction revolving around sentient artificial intelligence has been done before and has been arguably done to death. From The Terminator to Person of Interest, from 2001: A Space Odyssey (and its sequel, 2010) to Westworld, the world will never want for the fear that robots will someday turn against us, as humans attempt to play God by creating them in the first place. What makes this upcoming series potentially compelling TV is that, first, it is being billed as an event (read: limited) series, giving it a theoretically tight number of episodes within which to tell its story. Second, the culprit AI is a clear homage to Amazon’s Alexa product, which should add an element of real-world suspension of disbelief to this science fiction sub-genre. Plus, John Slattery is always a fun guy to watch on the small screen. Amazon’s already taking over the world – why shouldn’t its calming AI Alexa, named Iliza in this series, do the same and then turn on us all? What would happen if it did? Nothing good can come of this, that’s what we know from stories like it, but the premise and devices used here definitely intrigue the mind around this oft-employed story concept, so much so that we want to know what’s neXt.

__

Outmatched Fox

OUTMATCHED, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 23, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Maggie Lawson (Psych), Jason Biggs (Orange Is the New Black), Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken), Connor Kalopsis, Ashley Boettcher, Jack Stanton, Oakley Bull

WHAT: A family comedy about a blue-collar couple in South Jersey trying to get by and raise four kids, three of whom just happen to be certified geniuses.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. When a trailer must rely on canned laughter to convince a potential viewer that the show is funny, chances are, the show is not that funny. This premise raises a thousand questions, many of which stem from a basic understanding of biology and genetics. How does a family with under-achieving parents sire three “certified geniuses?” Why does the fourth child not benefit from this genetic selection? Also, one will necessarily need to find Jason Biggs funny to enjoy this show, and this CP is not one of those ones. He has a very specific comedic delivery that I do not expect will serve to carry this show for long, even if some of the situations of the sitcom peddled here stand to seem marginally unique, with three crazy smart children in the house – none of whom prove to be funny on their own, by the way. We think the show’s execution is outmatched by the ambition of its premise, so we’ll go throw darts at a photo of Albert Einstein in our respective basements and move on.

__

Image result for pandora tv show

PANDORA, CW

WHAT: Set in the year 2199, a resourceful young woman has lost everything but finds a new life at Earth’s Space Training Academy where she and her friends learn to defend the galaxy from threats, both alien and human. When secrets about the nature of her own identity begin to surface, she must uncover the truth about whether she will be humanity’s savior or the instrument of its destruction.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. This is a summer series that has already premiered on the CW, to very little publicity fanfare and to abysmal critical response. Still, it’s science fiction with a CW flare, and so it might be a potential guilty pleasure for nerds, which, of course, several of the resident couch potatoes self-style themselves. It seems cancellation is looming, unless the CW wants to fill a summer slate, but the premise showed some promise, so we’ll add it to the list.

__

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on October 1, 2019, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed (and a little surprised).

__

Perfect Harmony NBC

PERFECT HARMONY, NBC

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Tymberlee Hill (Marry Me), Rizwan Manji (The Magicians), Will Greenberg (Wrecked), Geno Segers (Banshee), newcomer Spencer Allport

WHAT: When former Princeton music professor Arthur Cochran unexpectedly stumbles into choir practice at a small-town church, he finds a group of singers that are out of tune in more ways than one. Despite the ultimate clash of sensibilities, Arthur and his newfound cohorts may just be the perfect mix of individuals to help each other reinvent and rediscover a little happiness, just when they all need it most.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Take Mr. Holland’s Opus, add a healthy dose of Sister Act, a splash of True Blood (without the vampires and fantasy), and a sprinkle of Glee, and one might be singing perfect harmony upon listening to the sounds of this new series. Though the comedy feels somewhat hackneyed, the jokes occasionally more flat than sharp, and the premise highly derivative, Bradley Whitford brings a potential snarky wit to the proceedings that could offer some smiles, not to mention some brash scripting, bleeps included, that render this an unusual movement in the network TV suite. NBC has been taking more risks in recent years, so we will reward the Peacock by sampling the sounds of this small-town choir. It could be a lighthearted, easy-to-watch, pleasant comedy drama. It could also be dissonant dreck, but we are willing to risk a bit of our signature time to find out which it becomes in the end.

__

STATUS: It appears that 13 episodes were ordered for this first season, 10 of which aired by the publication of this post. The pundits give 50/50 odds for renewal of this series.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

__

Prodigal Son Fox

PRODIGAL SON, Fox

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex), Bellamy Young (Scandal), Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire), Halston Sage (The Orville), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls), Aurora Perrineau (Chasing Life), Frank Harts (The Path, Billions

WHAT: Malcolm Bright knows how killers think. Why? His father was one of the best, a notorious serial killer called “The Surgeon.” That’s why Bright is the best criminal psychologist around; murder is the family business. He uses his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve crimes, while dealing with a somewhat manipulative mother, an annoyingly normal sister, a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, and his own constantly evolving neuroses.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though there seems to be a fair few copycats around solving serial killer arcs on the networks this season, this entry appears to be of the highest caliber of quality, perhaps more than others like it, owing to the casting of Michael Sheen as one of the serial killers in question. Plus, it has TV uber-producer Greg Berlanti’s stamp on it, who might be single-handedly responsible for most of the CW’s line-up and some of the related entries on Netflix. The intrigue in this drama stems from the relationship between serial killer and son, as the latter attempts to separate himself from his father’s psychoses by working as a criminal psychologist and by possibly struggling against psychoses of his own. The psychological layers of this thriller promise a good mystery yarn, and though the story echoes, in small ways, The Silence of the Lambs, and though it could devolve into crime-of-the-week procedural fare, the central relationship is the enticement to watch here. And watch we prodigally shall.

__

STATUS: On October 7, 2019, Fox ordered a full season of 22 episodes; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: This show has been requested for podcast coverage, making CPU!’s Prodigal Pick Up an enduring thing.

__

Stumptown ABC

STUMPTOWN, ABC

TIME SLOT: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Jake Johnson (New Girl), Michael Ealy (Secrets and Lies, Almost Human), Camryn Manheim (The Practice), Adrian Martinez (No Activity), Cole Sibus, Tantoo Cardinal

WHAT: Based on the Stumptown graphic novel series, the show follows Dex Parios as a strong, assertive, and sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, gambling debt, and a brother to take care of in Portland, Oregon. Her military intelligence skills make her a great P.I., but her unapologetic style puts her in the firing line of hardcore criminals and not quite in alliance with the police.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. This Pick Up represents why trailers can be so important. This new series from the Mouse House/Alphabet Network is based on a graphic novel series (apparently), and though it capitalizes upon the gruff/imperfect cop trope pockmarking the TV landscape, the main character is a) a female and b) played by Cobie Smulders, who has cultivated a diverse resume since her stint on How I Met Your Mother. Her wisecracking ways draw the Pick Up, even if the procedural pattern makes said pick-up the hesitant variety. It’s not much to stump us, really.

__

STATUS: On October 28, 2019, ABC ordered a full season, but the episode order itself has not yet been disclosed, though some internet sources project the total to 17; 9 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

__

Sunnyside NBC

SUNNYSIDE, NBC

WHO: Kal Penn (Designated Survivor), Diana Maria Riva (Man With a Plan), Joel Kim Booster (Shrill), Kiran Deol (How to Get Away With Murder, The Mindy Project), Poppy Liu (Law & Order: SVU, New Amsterdam), Moses Storm (Arrested Development), Samba Schutte

WHAT: Former New York City Councilman Garrett Modi finds his calling when he is hired by a diverse group of hopefuls who dream of becoming American citizens, giving him a new sense of purpose and a chance for redemption, as long as he remembers where he came from.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Michael Schur created this one. Since he also created The Good Place, a CPU! favorite, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, on the list of CPU! discussion candidates, he earns an attempt at viewing. In addition, the comedy here arises from timely and important social commentary while not taking itself too seriously, and the Chinese members of this motley crew proved to be the most ridiculous and, therefore, the most hilarious in the trailer. Though this CP worries that the show might use stereotypes to fuel the humor, we also trust Schur’s deft and sunny sensibilities to navigate this modern and murky terrain. Serve it up.

__

STATUS: Officially canceled! The Peacock yanked the series from its schedule on October 15, 2019, and burned off remaining episodes at NBC.com/the NBC streaming app. The series finale aired on December 5, 2019, after a total of 11 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: So, we occasionally get one wrong. We picked this one up based mostly upon Michael Schur, but perhaps, this comedy does not resonate in this climate of sociopolitical upheaval, particularly around the topic of immigration. Critical consensus was decidedly low, noting the timely subject matter and a good cast, but indicating that these elements could not quite gel in a satisfying way. Critics further suggested that the show settled in the superficial, without taking a more skewering aim at the subject matter, especially in light of the times. In any event, CPU! is now going to change our verdict to Pass. With it being the first canceled series of the season, it seems like there are other, better TV shows to watch out there; plus, cancellation after three or four aired episodes does not inspire confidence on a satisfying one-and-out season (and you know we give a lot of chances in this regard).

__

Tommy CBS

TOMMY, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: February 6, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 10/9c

WHO: Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie, The Sopranos), Michael Chernus (Patriot, Orange Is the New Black), Adelaide Clemens (Rectify), Russell G. Jones (The Americans), Joseph Lyle Taylor (Sneaky Pete), Olivia Lucy Phillip

WHAT: When a former high-ranking NYPD officer becomes the first female Chief of Police for Los Angeles, she uses her unflinching honesty and hardball tactics to navigate the social, political, and national security issues that converge with enforcing the law.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Fans of Edie Falco from her prior projects will probably be delighted to see this show and her triumphant return to the small screen. Yet, this is yet another crime show, and we have already commented on the network overflow in this genre. A female police chief of a major metropolitan police force would certainly make for interesting social commentary, but this series could also be manipulative in overplaying that premise, even with Falco’s skilled, no-nonsense delivery and performance. If this show garners buzz, steam, and general water cooler percolation, we will reconsider – especially for Edie’s sake – but for now, we are not ready to take on this series in our expansive force of tubular TV talk.

__

The Unicorn CBS

THE UNICORN, CBS

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Walton Goggins (Justified, Vice Principals), Rob Corddry (Ballers), Michaela Watkins (Casual), Omar Benson Miller (CSI: Miami), Maya Lynne Robinson (The Conners), Ruby Jay, Makenzie Moss

WHAT: A tight-knit group of friends and family help a widower move on following the most difficult year of his life, which includes being an ill-equipped but devoted single parent to his two daughters, and taking the major step of dating where, to his shock, he’s a hot commodity.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. The trailer provided some moments of convincing comedy, and the title is magical (though it has very little to do with actual unicorns), but the jokes and the cast chemistry largely fell flat in the teasing two minutes. Also, this premise, while potentially cute, could also wear thin quickly if the comedy spins into a woman-of-the-week set-up that doesn’t resolve after a time, with a clear front-runner emerging for the widower main character. In addition, the show might rely too much on the sass of the lead character’s two daughters to propel the laughs. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but they also don’t often make for enticing TV. If you think our judgment to be too snap and too dismissive of elusive mystical creatures, drop us a line. We’ll reconsider.

__

STATUS: On October 22, 2019, CBS ordered a back five, with a projected first season total of 18 first season episodes; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities reside in the 50/50 odds camp.

CPU! STATUS: No one in the United Couch Potatoes’ close personal circles seems to be watching this show. Unless we hear more of an enthusiastic response from those close and personal, we’ll be our own sort of unicorns and stay in the passing lane.

__

ABC New Shows 2019

UNITED WE FALL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2020

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Will Sasso (MADtv), Christina Vidal (Code Black), Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live), newcomer Emma Grace Helton

WHAT: A family sitcom that follows the trials and tribulations of Jo and Bill, parents of two young kids, as they try to make it day-to-day as a functioning family. Bill’s very judgmental live-in mother and Jo’s large Latinx Catholic family will never hesitate to let our couple know they’re seemingly screwing up, but Bill and Jo will always have each other’s backs, united against everyone – other parents, teachers, doctors, specialists, coaches, co-workers and especially their kids.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Fans of Will Sasso might find this new vehicle of his engaging, and this particular couch potato has boundless love for Jane Curtin, but this sitcom set-up also feels somewhat overly tried and true. Without a trailer to assess if the cast has chemistry and the premise potential, we can’t reasonably find the will to unite for this one. Thus, we remain united against it. Unless you can convince us to switch our uniting ways. At least we’ll always be Couch Potatoes Unite!

__

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist NBC

ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: January 7, 2020

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 9/8c at midseason

WHO: Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Skylar Astin (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Ground Floor), Lauren Graham (Parenthood, Gilmore Girls), Alex Newell (Glee), Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth), Peter Gallagher (The O.C., Covert Affairs), John Clarence Stewart (Luke Cage)

WHAT: Zoey Clarke is a whip-smart computer coder forging her way in San Francisco. After an unusual event she starts to hear the innermost wants and desires of the people around her through songs. At first, she questions her own sanity but soon realizes this unwanted curse may just be an incredibly wonderful gift.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. With a cast of credible stars and a fresh, original premise dosed by a whiff of fantasy, color us intrigued. Not to mention the potential for personal playlist inspiration – the musical tie to a potentially supernatural motif may render this one of the most original new network entries this season. We hope the potential of this extraordinary idea sounds like sweet music to our ears.

__

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

NOS4A2 (AMC): Zachary Quinto plays a vampire. Though the ratings aren’t promising, how can we resist? (Released June 2, 2019)

Abby Arcane returns home to Marais, Louisiana, to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus, where she develops a bond with disgraced scientist Alec Holland. After Holland tragically dies, Arcane discovers the mysteries of the swamp, and that Holland may not be dead after all. Yes, that title is pronounced “Nosferatu,” and, yes, it’s based on the 2013 novel by Joe Hill (aka Stephen King’s son). AMC’s latest original series stars Zachary Quinto as an evil vampire who feasts on souls and has a bad habit of abducting children and forcing them to spend their lives in an alternate fantasy universe known as Christmasland. (And that’s not a good thing, regardless of how you feel about Christmas.) The only person who appears to have any chance at stopping him is a young artist (Ashleigh Cummings) with a supernatural ability to find lost things.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on July 28, 2019, after a total of ten episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Los Espookys (HBO): Fred Armisen creates and directs a Spanish-language show about something to do with a love of horror. It sounds too wacky not to take a look. (Released June 14, 2019)

Fred Armisen’s latest comedy series is different in one major way…it’s a (mostly) Spanish-language show. Armisen co-created the series and produces, though he is just a recurring guest star on screen; the main cast consists of Ana Fabrega, Julio Torres, Cassandra Ciangherotti and Bernardo Velasco, who play a group of friends who “turn their love for horror into a peculiar business” in a stranger, alternate version of present-day Mexico City.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on July 19, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Euphoria (HBO): Trailers suggest a stylized and in-your-face look at today’s youth culture. (Released June 16, 2019)

Adapted from an Israeli series and produced by Drake (among others), this ensemble high school drama comes from writer Sam Levinson and stars Zendaya, rapper Brian Bradley (aka Stro), Maude Apatow, Storm Reid, and Eric Dane.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on August 4, 2019, after a total of 8 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Years and Years (HBO): Emma Thompson, creator Russell T. Davies, and glowing reviews make this one a curiosity to behold. (Released June 24, 2019)

This six-episode BBC production centers on an extended British family (which includes a politician played by Emma Thompson) in Manchester, beginning with one particularly important night in 2019—and then following the implications of those events into the future over the next 15 years. (Spoiler alert: Trump gets re-elected.) The miniseries comes from Russell T. Davies (A Very English ScandalDoctor WhoQueer as Folk) and also stars Anne Reid, Rory Kinnear, Russell Tovey, and Jessica Hynes (Spaced). 

STATUS: The season finale aired on June 18, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal; creator Russell T. Davies has stated that he intends this series to be a “one-off” or miniseries.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has had at least one request for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

The Rook (Starz): British supernatural spies! (Released June 30, 2019)

Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson, Olivia Munn, Adrian Lester, and James D’Arcy star in an adaptation of Daniel O’Malley’s novel about a secret British spy service for people with paranormal abilities.

STATUS: The season finale aired on August 18, 2019, after a total of 8 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal; most outlets are labeling it a “miniseries.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Veronica Mars – Reboot (Hulu): Kristen Bell returns to where it all began, and we have a few secret marshmallows roaming our couches. (Released July 19, 2019)

The beloved series, which ran from 2004-2007 on UPN and The CW, already received a Kickstarter-funded sequel film in 2014. Now, the series moves to Hulu for a brand-new season (set in the present day) that finds Veronica (Kristen Bell) caught in a new (and darker) murder mystery during spring break in Neptune. Much of the original cast returns in some capacity, including Enrico Colantoni, Ryan Hansen, Jason Dohring, Francis Capra, Percy Daggs, Max Greenfield, and Ken Marino, while new faces include Patton Oswalt, J.K. Simmons, Dawnn Lewis, Mary McDonnell, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. The writing staff includes Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All eight episodes are available to stream today.

STATUS: The Season 4 finale aired on July 19, 2019, after a total of 8 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal; most reports indicate that Hulu has no current plans to order additional seasons.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Another Life (Netflix): Katee Sackhoff returns to TV science fiction, and BSG fans are all around us. Plus, CW’s most recent Superman, Tyler Hoechlin! (Released July 25, 2019)

Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff returns to outer space as an astronaut in search of alien intelligence in a new series from Killjoys writer Aaron Martin. Selma Blair, Justin Chatwin, Jessica Camacho, and Tyler Hoechlin also star.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Netflix released all ten available episodes on July 25, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Boys (Amazon Prime): This show has already been requested as a podcast candidate multiple times over! Also, it was created by Eric Kripke, who also created “Supernatural!” (Released July 26, 2019)

Producers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen bring another one of Preacher creator Garth Ennis’ comic books to the small screen—this time, for Amazon. Supernatural‘s Eric Kripke serves as creator and show-runner for this eight-episode first season, which stars Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, the leader of a group of vigilantes who target corrupt superheroes. Elisabeth Shue, Chace Crawford, Jennifer Esposito, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, and Jessie T. Usher fill out the cast, and Simon Pegg will also appear—though not as the character who was originally drawn in the comics to look like him. Amazon has already renewed the series for a second season.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released all eight available episodes on July 26, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has received several requests for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

Pennyworth (Epix): It’s billed as a prequel to Fox’s “Gotham,” which we’ve talked at length about around here. Can Alfred make for compelling TV by himself, without Bruce Wayne/Batman? That remains to be seen. (Released July 28, 2019)

Interested in Batman’s butler’s origin story? Then you’ll have to figure out if Epix is included in your cable package. (Also: Do you have cable?) This 10-episode, series (a prequel to Fox’s Gotham) is set in an alternate version of 1960s London and follows former British SAS soldier Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) as he forms a security company with young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge). The series comes from Gotham‘s Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon and also stars Paloma Faith, Jason Flemyng, and Polly Walker.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on September 29, 2019, after a total of ten episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Hulu): The TV remake of a beloved romantic comedy film has already been requested for podcast chatter. (Released July 31, 2019)

This 10-episode adaptation of the classic 1994 rom-com comes from Mindy Kaling and Matt Warburton (who worked with Kaling on The Mindy Project). Nathalie Emmanuel (replacing the originally cast Jessica Williams) heads a cast that also includes Brandon Mychal Smith, Rebecca Rittenhouse, and John Reynolds, while the original film’s star Andie MacDowell will also appear (in a different role).

STATUS: Billed as a miniseries, this remake of the the 90s classic rom-com is unlikely to be renewed. The finale aired on September 11, 2019, after a total of ten episodes.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has had at least one request for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

Wu Assassins (Netflix): Supernatural assassins using martial arts! It’s the kind of international genre mash-up we like to sample. (Released August 8, 2019)

Iko Uwais (The Raid) heads the cast as a chef turned super-powered assassin in this martial arts fantasy series set in present-day San Francisco.

STATUS: Netflix released the ten available episodes on August 8, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Why Women Kill (CBS All Access): A three-period piece with a high-powered female cast inspires killer curiosity. Also, Marc Cherry created it, so it’s bound to have a few good twists.(Released August 15, 2019)

Streaming series from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry is another darkly comedic drama that follows three different betrayed wives in three time periods: the 1960s, the ’80s, and the present day. Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste head a cast that also features Jack Davenport, Reid Scott, Sam Jaeger, and Alexandra Daddario.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on October 17, 2019, after a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Carnival Row (Amazon Prime): A world of steampunk/Victorian splendor, populated by faeries, and featuring a cast of film genre favorites like Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne, the show has already been compared to “Game of Thrones,” “His Dark Materials,” and a splash of “Dungeons and Dragons.” Plus, we love our fantasy. (Released August 30, 2019)

Eight-episode fantasy series comes from Rene Echevarria (Teen WolfThe 4400) and Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim) and is set in a “neo-Victorian” city inhabited by both humans and mythological creatures, with the latter group having limited rights as immigrants. Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne head the cast. Jon Amiel replaces the original director, Paul McGuigan, who departed the project near the start of production.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released the 8 available episodes on August 30, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: The premiere was viewed. There is some interest in it going forward, but the interest is cautious/tepid, as the cinematography and casting were praised, but the story felt dense. Further viewing will determine further interest.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix): We have had our eyes on this for awhile, with several of the original “Dark Crystal” film fans on the roster and news of an all-star voice cast. Plus, puppets only – no CGI! (Released August 30, 2019)

The 1982 Jim Henson/Frank Oz film The Dark Crystal serves as the inspiration for this new Netflix series from director Louis Leterrier and The Jim Henson Company. Resistance is a prequel set many years before the original story but once again uses only puppets (and no CGI) to tell a (darker than you might think) fantasy story set on the planet Thra, where races include the elfin Gelflings, the mean Skeksis, and the magical Mystics. The terrific voice cast is led by Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nathalie Emmanuel, and also includes Mark Hamill, Andy Samberg, Simon Pegg, Keegan-Michael Key, Helena Bonham Carter, Caitriona Balfe, Eddie Izzard, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alicia Vikander, and more.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on June 18, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has had at least one request for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

The I-Land (Netflix): It’s basically Netflix’s answer to “Lost” but as a miniseries. We’d like to check for polar bears and smoke monsters. (Releases September 12, 2019)

The latest take on the Lost formula finds 10 people stranded on a tropical island with no memory of who they are or how they got there and facing a challenging path to get back home. The seven-episode series from Neil LaBute stars Kate Bosworth, Alex Pettyfer, and Natalie Martinez.

STATUS: Netflix released the seven available episodes on November 12, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal, but Netflix did market this one as a “limited series.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but critical consensus is decidedly poor. What do you think, Couch Potatoes?

Undone (Amazon Prime): It’s animated, science fiction, and by the creator of “BoJack Horseman.” And it just sounds neat! (Releases September 13, 2019)

The second adult animated series from BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg (co-created with Kate Purdy, a writer on BoJack) is darker and more experimental in nature. Featuring a much more realistic animation style, the series follows Alma (Rosa Salazar), a 28-year-old Texan who nearly dies in a car accident. When she recovers, she realizes that she can experience time in a new way, and she uses that ability to investigate the death of her father (Bob Odenkirk).

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released the eight available episodes on September 13, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Criminal (Netflix): David Tennant! Hearts Hearts Hearts! Also, Netflix experimenting in cop dramas sounds rather interesting! (Releases September 20, 2019)

A bit of an experiment for Netflix, Criminal changes up the typical cop drama in several ways. For one thing: each episode takes place entirely during an interrogation between police investigators and a suspected criminal, and not all of those interrogations will take place in English. The 12-part series will be divided in four parts, with each taking place in a different country (UK, France, Spain, and Germany) and language, utilizing not only different casts but also different writers, directors, and producers. Nicholas Pinnock, David Tennant, and Hayley Atwell head the cast of the UK episodes, while American audiences may be more familiar with the behind-the-scenes talent of the other portions, including The Returned director Frederic Mermoud participating in the France segments, and Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel contributing to the German episodes.

STATUS: Netflix released the twelve episodes of this four-part anthology series on September 20, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Creepshow (Shudder): We don’t know how we’ll watch it, but this horror anthology is getting a fair amount of buzz. (Releases September 26, 2019)

The streaming service’s high-profile newcomer is a horror anthology inspired by the 1982 George Romero film written by Stephen King (and its sequel). Giancarlo Esposito, Tobin Bell, Adrienne Barbeau, Tricia Helfer, Jeffrey Combs, Big Boi, Kid Cudi, Bruce Davison, Dana Gould, David Arquette, and DJ Qualls are among the familiar faces you’ll see. Each of the six episodes will feature two different stories; tonight’s premiere includes an adaptation of the Stephen King story “Gray Matter.”

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on October 31, 2019, after six two-part episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Politician (Netflix): Ryan Murphy’s newest outing, also anthology, also featuring an all-star cast, but now on Netflix. The synopsis intrigues, as his shows always seem to do.(Releases September 27, 2019)

Ryan Murphy’s first Netflix original series (which has already been renewed for a 2nd season) is an hour-long dark comedy anthology focusing on a different (fictitious) political race each season, though each one will involve a wealthy and ambitious Santa Barbara resident played by Ben Platt, beginning with his quest to become student body president of his high school. As with any Murphy show, there’s a huge, impressive cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Dylan McDermott, Lucy Boynton, Zoey Deutch, Bette Midler, Judith Light, Bob Balaban, January Jones, and Laura Dreyfuss are just some of the faces you’ll see this year. The series was originally reported to include musical numbers, though that no longer appears to be the case.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Netflix released the eight available episodes on September 27, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has multiple requests for podcast coverage, with a growing sense of steam. Not yet viewed.

Raising Dion (Netflix): The synopsis mentioned supernatural abilities. <shrug> (Releases October 4, 2019)

A single mother raises a young son who begins to demonstrate supernatural abilities in this 10-episode adaptation of Dennis Liu’s comic book. Alisha Wainwright, Ja’Siah Young, Michael B. Jordan, and Jason Ritter star.

STATUS: Netflix released the nine available episodes on October 4, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Living with Yourself (Netflix): It stars Paul Rudd. Everyone loves Paul Rudd! (Releases October 18, 2019)

Paul Rudd plays dual roles in this eight-episode comedy about a man who undergoes a cutting-edge treatment to become a better person—and winds up literally being replaced by a better version of himself. Former Daily Show writer Timothy Greenberg created the series and wrote all eight episodes, which are directed by the team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine).

STATUS: Netflix released the eight available episodes on October 18, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Modern Love (Amazon Prime): The cast impresses, and the details of this anthology series are vague. Color us intrigued. (Releases October 18, 2019)

Based on the New York Times column of the same name, Amazon’s new episodic anthology series comes from writer-director John Carney (Once). Each half-hour episode tells a self-contained story based on a past column, and will feature stars like Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, John Slattery, Sofia Boutella, Catherine Keener, Gary Carr, Brandon Victor Dixon, Andrew Scott, Cristin Milioti, Shea Whigham, Andy Garcia, and Dev Patel, while directors (aside from Carney) include Sharon Horgan and Emmy Rossum.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released the eight available episodes of this series on October 18, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Watchmen (HBO): A new “Watchmen” story that we’ve had our eyes on for a long time, it is being created by a “Lost” creator and features a dynamite cast. (Releases October 20, 2019)

Previously adapted into a 2009 feature film, Alan Moore’s comic book series now comes to the small screen in a very loose adaptation (described as a “remix”) from Lost‘s Damon Lindelof that moves the story forward by decades. The series is set in an alternate-history, present-day United States in which superheroes have been outlawed, the internet doesn’t exist, Robert Redford is president (yes, Redford actually appears in the series), and the country is facing major racial unrest. Regina King, Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons, Frances Fisher, Tim Blake Nelson, Jean Smart, Tom Mison, and Louis Gosset Jr. star, while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide the music.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 15, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Catherine the Great (HBO): Helen Mirren plays the titular Russian empress in this miniseries. It’s bound to be at least well-acted. (Releases October 21, 2019)

A four-part co-production with the UK’s Sky, this historical drama stars Helen Mirren as the titular Russian empress, who ruled for much of the 18th century. The series focuses on the later years of her reign, marked by her affair with Grigory Potemkin (Jason Clarke). The series comes from Nigel Williams, who previously wrote the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries Elizabeth I (also starring Mirren). Rory Kinnear, Joseph Quinn, Richard Roxburgh, and Gina McKee also star.

STATUS: The series finale aired on HBO on November 11, 2019, after a total of 4 episodes. This show has only ever been labeled a miniseries and is, therefore, not subject to renewal or cancellation.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

His Dark Materials (HBO): We’ve had our eyes on this one awhile; this book series is a favorite of the Chief CP. (Premieres November 4, 2019)

Will HBO’s latest fantasy series fill the Iron Throne-shaped hole in your TV heart? A co-production with the BBC that has already been renewed for a second season, His Dark Materials marks the second major attempt to adapt Philip Pullman’s fantasy book trilogy known for its exploration of weighty themes (including, controversially, religion) and talking animal daemons, following a poorly received 2007 feature film, The Golden Compass. That same book (along with a bit of material from Pullman’s recently launched prequel trilogy The Book of Dust) serves as the underlying story for this ambitious eight-episode first season, which comes from Jack Thorne (The FadesThis Is England) and director Tom Hooper (The King’s SpeechCats). Dafne Keen (Logan), Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Clarke Peters head the cast.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on December 22, 2019, with a total of 8 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP watched the first two episodes and really hopes people want to talk about it. It’s very cool and a faithful adaptation. I will be watching it regardless!

Forky Asks a Question (Disney+): Did you even watch “Toy Story 4?” It’s a spork that sounds like Buster from “Arrested Development.” He has very existential questions to ask! (Releases November 12, 2019)

Pixar’s first series for the Disney+ streaming service features Forky, the Tony Hale-voiced character (who is technically a spork) introduced in Toy Story 4.

STATUS: Ten total episodes were ordered for this series, eight of which have been released as of the date of this publication. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: At three to five minutes per episode, it was easy to sample three or four of the episode of this series of Pixar shorts, which is a fun foray into getting to know the newest Toy Story favorite, the Tony Hale-voiced Forky, who is really a spork, but who’s counting? It doesn’t appear that Disney+ or Pixar plans to release more episodes, but they also have not labeled these ten as the only ten to be produced, so we will keep an eye out for a while longer.

The Mandalorian (Disney+): The “Star Wars” universe comes to TV. We’re not sure, but curiosity will probably kill this cat. (Releases November 12, 2019)

The first-ever live-action series set in the Star Wars universe comes from Jon Favreau, though he won’t direct any of the first season’s eight episodes. (Instead, directors include Taika Waititi, Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow, and Bryce Dallas Howard.) Narcos star Pedro Pascal plays the titular character, a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy sometime during the gap between the sixth and seventh Star Wars films. Joining him in the cast are Nick Nolte, Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, and filmmaker Werner Herzog (who plays a villain, naturally). Expect a more character-driven, smaller-scope approach rather than constant action and expensive special effects—and prior knowledge of Star Wars is not a prerequisite to following the story. New episodes stream weekly.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Eight total episodes were produced for Season 1, all of which have officially been released as of December 27, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, though many in the CPU! inner circle have. The reviews coming from all around are rather mixed, Baby Yoda aside, but no one has actually requested to talk about it. Curiouser and curiouser, yes?

The Witcher (Netflix): We’ve had our eye on this one awhile – and on Henry Cavill! (Releases December 20, 2019)

Henry Cavill stars as monster hunter Geralt of Rivia in this series adaptation of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s epic fantasy novels, previously adapted into a widely praised videogame series. Expect some new characters who have never appeared in print or in the games as well as a bathtub scene which most certainly does appear in the most recent game. All eight episodes stream today, and the show has already been renewed for a 2nd season.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Eight total episodes were produced for Season 1, all of which were released on December 20, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: This Chief CP watched the premiere; it was a bit confusing, but the show allegedly improves beyond the first episode. We imagine that podcast requests are forthcoming – it is very new, and we’ve just been through some holidays.

Messiah (Netflix): Who doesn’t like a good procedural mixed with religious overtones? It’s like Agnes of God after she had the baby. (Releases January 1, 2020)

In this Mark Burnett-produced thriller, Michelle Monaghan stars as a CIA agent who investigates a charismatic cult leader (Mehdi Dehbi) claiming to be the son of God. James McTeigue directs.

Dracula (Netflix): 1) Vampires. 2) The most famous vampire. 3) The creative team behind “Sherlock.” Aren’t you convinced? (Releases January 4, 2020)

The creative team behind Sherlock (Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat) offers a new take on another literary figure: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A co-production with the BBC (which gets the series a few days earlier), the new series is set in Victorian London (and Transylvania) and will span just three episodes for its first season, though each is feature-length. Claes Bang (The SquareBorgen) stars as Count Dracula, and he’s joined in the cast by Dolly Wells, Joanna Scanlan, Morfydd Clark, and Gatiss (who co-wrote each of the three episodes with Moffat).

Sanditon (PBS): It’s a miniseries adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. Who doesn’t like Jane Austen? (Releases January 12, 2020)

Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel set in an early 19th century seaside village comes to the small screen in an adaptation from Andrew Davies (Les MisérablesMr. Selfridge). Rose Williams, Theo James, Anne Reid, Kris Marshall, and Crystal Clarke star. The series already aired last fall in the UK, where it seemed to divide critics. Two episodes air back-to-back tonight.

The Outsider (HBO): Stephen King adaptations are hot right now. (Releases January 12, 2020)

HBO’s 10-episode adaptation of Stephen King’s 2018 horror novel stars Ben Mendelsohn as a detective investigating the brutal murder of an 11-year-old boy found in the Georgia woods. Jason Bateman, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp, Mare Winningham, Paddy Considine, and Julianne Nicholson also star. Two episodes air back-to-back tonight.

The New Pope (HBO): Lots of early buzz about this miniseries starring Jude Law and John Malkovich. (Releases January 14, 2020)

Director Paolo Sorrentino’s nine-episode sequel to his 2017 miniseries The Young Pope returns star Jude Law and finds John Malkovich’s Sir John Brannox taking over the papal throne. Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson guest, because why not.

Avenue 5 (HBO): Captain Dr. House just sounds neat. (Releases January 19, 2020)

Veep creator Armando Iannucci returns to HBO for his next foul-mouthed comedy series, a sci-fi satire set four decades in the future aboard a luxury tourist vessel in space. Captaining that ship is Hugh Laurie, and he’s joined in the cast by Josh Gad, Zach Woods, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kyle Bornheimer, and Star Trek: Voyager‘s Ethan Phillips.

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access): This series is already earmarked for the “Star Trek 50+ Series” podcast panel. (Premieres January 23, 2020)

Patrick Stewart returns as Starfleet’s all-time greatest captain (hey, we’re just stating facts) in a new series that picks up over two decades after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its various film spinoffs. Filling out the main cast are Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, and Harry Treadaway, but you’ll also see some familiar faces from TNG (and Voyager), including Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes (who also directs several episodes), Marina Sirtis, and Jeri Ryan. Novelist Michael Chabon is among the writers and serves as showrunner for the 10-episode season, which is not a miniseries as originally believed, and has in fact already been renewed for a second season.

Locke & Key (Netflix): “Keys with supernatural powers” was the draw. We’ve never read the book but are willing to give the story a chance, given Mr. Cuse’s involvement. (Premieres February 7, 2020)

After numerous failed attempts (by Hulu and Fox, among others) to bring Joe Hill’s graphic novel series to the small screen over the past decade, Locke & Key finally found a home at Netflix. This 10-episode first season retains the writer/producer of the previous failed pilot (Lost vet Carlton Cuse, joined by Meredith Averill) but features a new cast led by Jackson Robert Scott, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Darby Stanchfield, and Bill Heck. The story features a mother of three children, a murdered husband, and a set of keys that provide supernatural powers—and bring with them great danger.

High Fidelity (Hulu): Can it be as good as the original film? Morbid curiosity drives us to find out. (Premieres February 14, 2020)

Originally ordered for Disney+ but moved to the older-skewing Hulu, this series adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel (previously adapted into a 2000 feature film by Stephen Frears) stars Zoe Kravitz as a gender-reversed version of the book’s main character, an obsessive record store owner who revisits five of her exes on a quest for self-improvement. Jake Lacy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and David H. Holmes also star. All 10 episodes stream today.

War of the Worlds (Epix): It’s a classic. (Premieres February 16, 2020)

This eight-part adaptation of H.G. Wells’s classic tale of alien invasion transports the story to present-day Europe (and features aliens from another galaxy rather than Mars). Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern, Léa Drucker, and Natasha Little head the cast. [Note that although this version aired in Europe in 2019, it is different from (and unrelated to) the BBC version that also aired in 2019.]

Dispatches from Elsewhere (AMC): The premise intrigues, and they got Sally Field. Seems like a win-win. (Premieres March 1, 2020)

Jason Segel returns to television for the first time since How I Met Your Mother with this mysterious anthology series which he also created and produces. The 10 hourlong episodes find four ordinary people challenged to uncover a mystery hiding within their city (Philadelphia)—a concept based loosely on the real-life, San Francisco-based alternate reality game called Games of Nonchalance. Sally Field, Andre 3000, Richard E. Grant, and Eve Lindley also star. Another new episode airs Monday night at 10p, the show’s regular timeslot going forward.

The Plot Against America (HBO): It’s a timely alternate history series. (Premieres March 16, 2020)

David Simon’s latest HBO project is a six-part adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2004 novel that imagines an alternate American history in which Charles Lindbergh is elected president in 1940, leading America on a path toward facism. Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Morgan Spector, and Zoe Kazan head the cast.

Others on radar: The Lord of the Rings series in development at Amazon; The Chronicles of Narnia at Netflix; The Wheel of Time at Amazon; The Watch (BBC); Conan at Amazon; The Dark Tower at Amazon; Cursed at Amazon; the Loki and Scarlet Witch properties in development at Disney+.

-*-

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next week, Couch Potatoes Unite! will start the New Year 2020 with a triumphant return by our Doctor Who panel to the Water Cooler to recap Series 11 and the 2019 New Year Special, as Series 12 and the 2020 New Year Special gets underway. Stay tuned for the wibby wobbly timey-wimey of it all!

DC Television Universe, Episode 22, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Season 4 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

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 November 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU Series panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the twenty-second episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 4 of the Arrowverse’s second spin-off, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. If you have not watched any of Legends, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

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

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 22, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” – Season 4, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for legends of tomorrow season 4 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

SYNOPSIS

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

When: Season 4 aired on the CW from October 22, 2018, to May 20, 2019, with a total of 16 episodes.

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

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

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

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

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

DCTU Series, Episode 4, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 1

DCTU Series, Episode 7, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 2

DCTU Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2018-2019

In our last DCTU episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – continued addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by discussing the fourth season of Supergirl. Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler for the fourth and final time this year to talk the fourth season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, in the twenty-second episode of our DCTU series.  

Thus, tonight’s episode features another spicy, although more agreeable than usual, discussion of Legends’ latest season.  The discussion is less spicy than normal because this season maintained its good standing with a focused story thread, which our panelists either found slightly better or slightly worse than the third season, depending upon each panelist’s perspective, in addition to the continued complete and total embrace of the campy quality of storytelling in general, as the writers and producers seemed to realize that the show works better as “wacky adventures through time” coupled with an overarching story rather than merely one or the other. Furthermore, the show once again features new characters that were, in and of themselves, sometimes more compelling than some other characters that have appeared on the show and/or that have come and gone from the cast roster.  The panel, in fact, remains in agreement that Legends improved so much, the show now ranks as the favorite or second favorite of the four Arrowverse shows for each panelist.

This particular episode was recorded in November 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our Apple/iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , find us on Google Play, or on Spotify (!) to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday is the day before Thanksgiving, so CPU! is going on holiday! We plan to re-run our latest Doctor Who episodes, as our Who panel prepares to reunite in advance of the “early 2020” release of Series 12, featuring the Doctor as female, with our hot take on Jodie Whittaker’s first series, the eleventh, as the titular doctor. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Does Amaya’s (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) interference in her own history cause any ripple effects?  Is it the same Amaya that returns to the Waverider? If so, what if she carries on with Nate and becomes pregnant?  Time (ahem) will tell here, we expect.

NEW ANSWER: Amaya, it seems, is back in Zambesi as she always planned. Instead, the Waverider encounters a shape-shifter by the name of Charlie, also played by Richardson-Sellers, who, through happenstance of proximity to the ship as well as other magical interferences, ends up getting stuck in Amaya’s form, though with a distinctive Charlie look. Listen to the podcast episode for reactions to this development.

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

ANSWER: We meet all manner of magical creatures: unicorns, minotaurs, weird werewolf-like creatures, dwarfs, trolls, dragons, and so on. A taste of Hellblazer emerges in the back half of the season after Ray Palmer aka The Atom is possessed by Constantine’s nemesis, in the form of his former lover, Desmond. The demon’s name is Neron, and he uses Ray as a pawn to tempt Constantine to hell. Constantine obliges this bait to save Ray but encounters all manner of hell-spawn from his past, including the soul he lost over which he has the most regrets: Astra, whose spirit has grown to adulthood in Hell. The Legends essentially spend their season tracking down these magical creatures, which have breached the plane of magical existence, to contain them, as they cause all kinds of havoc, including a particularly zealous fairy godmother. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

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

ANSWER: It is not. It is Charlie in Amaya’s form, but she joins the team anyway.

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

ANSWER: So far, Rip Hunter appears to be really, truly, and in all senses permanently dead.

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

ANSWER: So far, Damien Darkh appears to be truly dead, though he is a wily sorcerer type. Maybe Constantine will encounter him in Hell in the next season?

6) Ray Palmer gives Nora Darhrk her father’s time stone with the intention of enabling her to escape from Time Bureau incarceration.  Courtney Ford, Routh’s real life wife and the actress behind Nora, has been promoted to series regular for Season 4.  How will Nora reappear next season?  Since the two characters seemed to have some chemistry, owing to their real life marriage, will there be romance for Ray in the future?

ANSWER: Nora runs for awhile but, ultimately, at Ray’s behest, turns herself into the Time Bureau to make amends for her misdeeds as well as her father’s, as he was none too nice. Also, it is clear that Ray and Nora have mutual crushing feelings on each other, so art imitates life and vice versa on the Legends of Tomorrow – today!

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

ANSWER: Jonah Hex does not return in Season 4. Instead, Zari gets it on with Nate Heywood aka Steel (Nick Zano), although they appear to legitimately care about each other. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

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

ANSWER: Vandal Savage makes an odd cameo reappearance. Swamp Thing gets a few non-sly or subtle references in a spirited episode in which the Legends, Constantine included, have to pose as camp counselors. Other than that, the Legends stay trim and focused upon their decidedly non-DC magical obstacles.

9) An actress named Ramona Young will be portraying “Alaska Yu,” who does not seem to have a clear DC counterpart, in Season 4.  What clues will the show reveal about this new character?

ANSWER: The character’s name is actually Mona Wu. She’s very into fairy tales and, through happenstance via sandwich delivery, becomes a caretaker for the magical prisoners housed by the Time Bureau; that is, until she gets scratched by a werewolf-like creature called a kaupe and succumbs to the curse of wolfie transformations. Unfortunately, she also becomes the panel’s least-liked new addition to the Legends fold. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) If Neron is the Big Bad on “Legends,” will we be meeting any Green Lanterns or related? How did John Constantine (Matt Ryan) piss him off?

ANSWER: No Green Lanterns visit the Legends in Season 4. Constantine pissed Neron off by sending him to be imprisoned in hell in the first place with his awesome sorcery skills. Neron holds grudges and likes revenge. Same story, different day.

11) What is Biff, er, Henry Heywood’s (guest: Tom Wilson) master plan? Capture magical fugitives…and then what? What is the top secret plan to which he keeps referring?

ANSWER: It turns out that Biff, er, Hank just wants to build an amusement park in homage to his son, Nate’s, childhood fantasy of a theme park featuring magical creatures that bears no resemblance to any Mouse House or Jurassic type park. Unfortunately, he’s too cryptic for that information to come out until the end of the season and just seems like an ultra-focused, cold father type that leaves Nate feeling unloved. Same story, different day.

11) Why is Mona Wu a thing? What is her purpose? What is Gary’s purpose for that matter?

ANSWER: None of the panel can ascertain these answers, and we are bothered by the thought. The panel generally found Mona only (in some cases) good in small doses, and some of our panel also rumbles that Gary is worth about as much in the long run. Ultimately, her purpose was to care for magical creatures until she became one, and then the Legends adopt her like a stray cat, as they are wont to do with any super-powered being they encounter. The trouble is, her value-added is negligible at best. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

12) Will Nate Heywood aka Steel ever leave bureaucracy and rejoin the Waverider team?

ANSWER: He will, and he does. The magical creature problem becomes more personal when his crush, Zari, gets intimately involved and after the presumed (SPOILER) death of his dad. That’s a watch the season type answer, though, as Nate’s character progression develops over the course of the whole season.

13) Why is Desmond’s death a fixed point in time? Why is Neron, wearing Desmond’s face, interested in Hank Heywood?

ANSWER: Desmond/Neron’s evolution becomes a call to Constantine to join the Legends as well as to save souls that Neron threatens, leaving Constantine with no choice but to allow history to stay its course. Neron sees Hank as a personal pawn, someone to manipulate to gain access to the Time Bureau and the Legends. Unfortunately, it is Neron who destroys Hank in the end.

New Questions

1) Will Season 5 be all Hellblazer come alive, since the Season 4 finale features coins related to souls of real, historical serial killers and general scourges to humanity that Constantine’s treasured Astra may somehow unleash on this world/Constantine with help from forces in Hell aiming to seek vengeance against the sorcerer?

2) What happens to Zari now that the timeline has been changed? Will she find the Legends again? Will she find Nate? Do they have the sort of clandestine love that would allow them to transcend such obstacles?

3) It has been announced that Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford are leaving the show, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, after the fifth season. What swansong will the writers provide for The Atom and Nora Dahrk, especially since the writers have been under-utilizing the Atom quite a bit over the last couple of seasons?

4) The panel grows weary of Ava (Jes Macallan) and Sara. Why must the show force obstacles into this relationship when they have enough supernatural, extraterrestrial, and out-of-time obstacles to contend with in the end?

5) What happened to that dragon?

6) Will Mona be a returning character? The panel votes no. The panel also votes to give Gary a bit less, unless he wants to dress in the Flash costume some more and interact with a shocked Barry Allen from Central City, present day.

7) In fact, it would be a fun scene if Oliver Queen, Barry, and Kara Danvers got to see the Legends’ take on them, circa the Legends Season 4 finale. Make it happen, writers!

PARTING SHOTS

Our DCTU panel continues to recommend DC’s Legends of Tomorrow provisionally, generally regarding Season 4 to be almost as good as (or, in panelist Kyle’s opinion better than) Season 3, the panel’s vote for best or second best of all of the Legends seasons to date. In fact, some panelists no longer think that a potential viewer needs to be a comic book fan, DC or otherwise, to enjoy the show, nor would such a viewer need to appreciate Doctor Who, as the show has consciously moved away from the obvious parallels to the latter, particularly with the elimination of the Rip Hunter character in Season 3.  On the other hand, some panelists feel that to truly appreciate the Legends, one must already be invested in the other Arrowverse shows, at least marginally, to understand the references and in-jokes constantly cracked on this romp of an adventure.

The panelists additionally continue to opine that the writers and producers have finally reached a suave and entertaining balance between “campy adventure of the week” and solid, season-long story around which the characters can compellingly unify while consciously embracing those aspects of the story that, though silly, set Legends apart from the other shows in the Arrowverse.  To that end, Legends remains the favorite of the four shows for half of the panel; plus, the panel feels that the writers have proven that they know what they’ve got, and how to tell the story with what they’ve got consistently, given the entertaining and engaging Season 4, which features panel favorite Matt Ryan/John Constantine as a series regular as well as a fresh story thread. Thus, all panelists sustain both hopeful and excited anticipation for what Season 5 may bring, particularly with the promise that Constantine is sticking around, even as the panelists almost expected, if not wished for, cancellation following the second season – which is quite the turnaround indeed.

LOOKING AHEAD

The fourth season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is slated to premiere on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at 9:00 PM on the CW.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode, our twenty-third in the series, will focus upon the mightily foreshadowed, much supersized, magnificently large, massively touted crossover event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which our panel will discuss after the New Year and after the conclusion of the event..  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the DCTU podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!

(Adios To) Jane the Virgin, a Retrospective Miniseries, Part Three: Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

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 September 2019, some of our not-so-virginal (keep it clean!) panelists – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Samantha, Emily S, and Emily D – reconvened Around the Water Cooler for Part Three of our three-part (Adios To) Jane the Virgin Retrospective Miniseries, in which we Look Back at the CW comedy-drama/satirical telenovela.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 5 while Looking Back at the whole of Jane the Virgin! If you have not watched any of Jane the Virgin, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

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

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Looking Back: “(Adios To) Jane the Virgin, a Retrospective Miniseries” – Part Three, Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for jane the virgin title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Jane the Virgin” is an American romantic comedy-drama and satirical telenovela, which aired on the CW for five seasons from 2014-2019.

What: Developed by Jennie Snyder Urman, Jane the Virgin is a loose adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, created by Perla Farías. The series stars Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a devout 23-year-old Latina virgin, who becomes pregnant after an accidental artificial insemination by her gynecologist.

SYNOPSIS

Set in Miami, Jane the Virgin details the surprising and dramatic events that take place in the life of Jane Gloriana Villanueva (Rodriguez), a hard-working and religious Venezuelan-American woman. Jane’s vow to save her virginity until marriage becomes complicated when a doctor mistakenly artificially inseminates her during a routine examination. To make matters worse, the biological father is a married man, a former playboy, and a cancer survivor, who is not only the new owner of the hotel where Jane works but was also her former teenage crush. In addition to adjusting to pregnancy and to subsequent motherhood, Jane is faced with questions about her professional future and the daunting prospect of choosing to be with either the father of her baby or her detective boyfriend.

When: Season 5 aired on the CW from March 27, 2019, until July 31, 2019, with a total of 19 episodes.

Where: The action is set in Miami, Florida. The time is present day (“ish,” relative to time of airing).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below! Chief Couch Potato Kylie previously passed on this show during the 2014 Fall Preview, though the full post is (apparently) archived. I mainly passed on the series because I was afraid that the show would approach the “Virgin” concept with some sort of hearkening to immaculate conception, thereby entering into tricky terrain for what was teased to primarily be a comedy. As I say in the first episode recording, however, I was very wrong in my initial assessment. And I’m okay to be so wrong!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

This is Part Three of our “(Adios To) Jane the Virgin” miniseries Looking Back at the five seasons of Jane the Virgin.  You can listen to Parts One and Two here and at our audio feeds (Apple/iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and now on Spotify!):

Seasons 1-2

Seasons 3-4

In this episode, we conclude our three-part Jane the Virgin retrospective, in light of the departure of the popular CW comedy-drama and (naturally said in Rogelio de la Vega’s voice) exceptional telenovela!  Kristen, Samantha, Emily S, and Emily D return to their relative seats “Around the Water Cooler” to finalize our Look Back at this satirical comedy-drama, which ended its five-season run this past summer, and in so doing, we ruminate in-depth upon the production values, performances, and general life affirmations of this bright, fresh, funny, and heartwarming homage to Latinx culture and the telenovelas popular within said culture.

Tonight’s episode is the third and final part of a three-part retrospective miniseries in which CPU! reminisces upon this audience-beloved, critically-acclaimed show.  In this episode, our panel reflects upon and recaps Season 5 of Jane the Virgin while Looking Back at the series as a whole.

This episode was recorded in September 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the fifth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our Apple/iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , find us on Google Play, or on Spotify (!) to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our Will & Grace panel returns to the Water Cooler, but it’s not all for the love of the shenanigans of Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen; in fact, unless hearts and minds change, this will be the final appearance of this panel at said Water Cooler – ever – and this is before the show has concluded.  Wondering what’s up with that little teaser? Stay tuned!

Lingering Questions

1) Why was there a different narrator for only one episode in Season 4?

2) Why did the show do a retrospective for Episode 99? They should have made the finale a two-parter, so says the majority of our retrospective panel.

RECOMMENDATION

Jane the Virgin is recommended by our CPU! panel to just about anyone; our panelists believe that this series presents a wide potential appeal to a large cross-section of audiences because of the way the show incorporates and weaves in a multitude of pop culture references as well as utilizes several genre styles to depict its sometimes outlandish and unexpected twists and turns.  This is also a family-friendly program because of its focus on family, though the show is additionally infused with tongue-in-cheek satire and subtle adult humor that most children will not pick up on, even as most adults will get, and potentially laugh at, the jokes. The panelists unanimously agree that the show is smartly written, with quick, engaging pacing; thoughtfully planned story arcs; and an ensemble cast that effuses electric chemistry, none of which is ever lost over the course of all five seasons, these two included. The panelists also proffer that, while later seasons might offer more emotionally impacting moments – especially the final season – the show, by and large, remains interesting, entertaining, and an overall joy to watch throughout all five of its seasons, even if some of the story lines spiral into tedium due to repetition and/or become so over-the-top in presentation because of the standard telenovela mechanic requiring constant twists. In fact, the panel expressed most enthusiasm regarding the moments in which such tropes were subverted by subtle, quieter plot progressions that surprised in how understated they were executed.  Nevertheless, the panel sees Jane the Virgin as solid, consistently entertaining television viewing that anyone of any creed, culture, gender, or otherwise could potentially enjoy, and the panel universally encourages at least one sincere attempt at viewing, in which you, gentle listener, can decide for yourself.