Gotham – Season 3B, “Mad City/Heroes Rise” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in June 2017, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3B, containing the end of arc “Mad City” as well as arc “Heroes Rise,” of Gotham. If you have not watched any of Gotham, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Episode sponsored by: Heritage Theatre Group

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Gotham,” The Season 3 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP

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Check out HTG’s 2017 Season, opening July 13, 2017!

For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!

CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Gotham” is a crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Batman franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs fall through spring, formerly Mondays at 8:00 PM on Fox, though the show is being moved to a similar time slot on Thursdays this fall.

What: “Gotham,” a crime series developed by Bruno Heller and primarily based upon the characters of to-be Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), the real life identity of Batman. As originally conceived, the series would have served as a straightforward story of Gordon’s early days on the Gotham City Police Department. The idea evolved not only to include the Wayne character but also to tell the origin stories of several Batman villains, including the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Poison Ivy (Maggie Geha), Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange, and the Joker.

SYNOPSIS

A new recruit in the Gotham City Police Department named James Gordon (McKenzie) is paired with veteran detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) to solve one of Gotham City’s highest-profile cases: the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. During his investigation, Gordon meets the Waynes’ son Bruce (Mazouz), who is now in the care of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Bruce, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming Batman.

When: The Season Three finale aired on Monday, June 5, 2017, at 8:00 PM.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Gotham City, the primary setting of the Batman franchise.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episodes embedded below!

As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2014-2015 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“This is one of the most anticipated pilots of the new season, by critics, fans, and this blogger.  First, as a DC girl, Batman is my second favorite of their properties, after Superman, of course. Second, picking up the story from this prequel point is potentially brilliant; this could be must-see TV for a long time to come, folding in a Smallville like examination of the rise of Batman and the foes he fights, all from the perception of to-be Commissioner Gordon.  I’m super excited for this one and can’t wait to see a full episode.

I asked some fellow panelists to join me in evaluating how effective Gotham is in its storytelling muster and how successful it has been serving as the “prequel” it has become. Scroll down, and take a listen!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

If you haven’t caught up on CPU!’s Gotham coverage, which we’ve been covering (more or less) since its auspicious beginnings, listen via the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-2A

Season 2B, The Wrath of the Villains

 

Season 3A, Mad City

Our Gotham panel, now consisting of Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick, previously compared notes on the first half of the third season and spent time in so-called “Mad City,” with some trepidation and frustration as we considered the success or lack thereof of the following plot developments: the Bruce Wayne clone (we hated it), the Court of Owls (we were confused by it), Jim’s struggle with identity and with his love for an engaged Lee (Morena Baccarin; we hated it), Mayor Oswald Kabelput and his Chief of Staff Edward Nygma (we loved it), and the introduction of Jervis Tetch aka The Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel; we struggled with it), as well as the aftermath following the villains’ so-called wrath in season two.  We now discuss Gotham’s wrap up of “Mad City” as well as the “Heroes Rise” arc, in which we see the return of Joker-Not-Joker Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), the Riddler come into his new name, the Court of Owls wreak diseased havoc on the city it has sworn to puppeteer, the Penguin implode, the introduction of Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), and a number of character progressions that, somehow, did not feature Jim Gordon as much as it should have.  How did the panel like this second half of the third season?  Listen to the embedded link below to find out.

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the third season and all episodes that have aired to date. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we launch a five-part “Looking Back” retrospective, in this, the twentieth anniversary of the premiere, of CPU! favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, by rights, its spin-off Angel.  The first episode will feature discussion about the first three seasons of “Buffy.”  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions/Predictions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Penguin and Riddler have a falling out, which motivates them toward their most sociopathically driven selves?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Surprisingly, Penguin and Riddler stayed friends, supporting each other on occasion in this half of the season.  Penguin ended up in Arkham after confessing to the murder of Galavan to cover for Jim. Strange brainwashed him (if you want to call it that) into submission; Penguin ended up finding his real dad (played by Paul Reubens), who had fallen victim to a gold-digging former waitress and her sociopathic children. When the presence of a biological son emerged, the new wife poisoned Penguin’s father, who seemed to understand Penguin as no other could.  This murder, once discovered by Oswald, brought out the old Penguin, rather suddenly and menacingly. In the meantime, when Lee began to ask questions about the deceased Miss Kringle not picking up her paychecks, making Jim aware that there was a possible crime to solve, Nygma embraced his most Riddler-esque tendencies and staged riddle-filled capers and committed more murders before Jim finally caught him, clearing Jim’s name and landing Nygma in Arkham.  The moral is: Penguin and Riddler found their psychoses independently of one another, which is a shame because they are infinitely watchable together.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Well…it seems their mutual affection and cordial friendship have taken a controversial turn.  Penguin, as it turns out, develops a romantic devotion to Edward after Ed offers Penguin some admiration and validation for achieving victory in running for mayor despite being a well-known criminal mastermind, enthralled as Ed is by Penguin’s ability to manipulate the people of Gotham.  In the meantime, Ed only has eyes for women, specifically any and all women who bear more than a passing resemblance to Miss Kringle, the GCPD employee with an affinity for poodle skirts that he strangled in season 2. When Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) informs Ed of Penguin’s misplaced devotion in an effort to start trouble, a devotion which causes Penguin to order a hit on the Kringle doppelganger Isabella, who could very well have been Ed’s sociopath soulmate, Edward vows to destroy good old Oswald in revenge.  I imagine Ed’s penchant for riddles and a war with Penguin are going to get him where he needs to go to be the fully realized Riddler, while Penguin is pretty much Penguin, angling for power and acceptance but struggling to attain and keep it, the thematic undercurrent of this particular antagonist. The panel hopes that a war between these future arch-villains would be great, but we’re more than a little worried about the ability of this show’s writers to capitalize upon their own potential.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: Ed’s gone full-on Riddler, and the two arch-villains’ enmity has peaked.  The show allowed the war: Ed works with Barbara, Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), and Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) to try to take down Penguin. Ed eventually gives up on those yokels and shoots Penguin, leaving him for dead, which gives him enough guilt, reluctant confidence, and logic loops to ascend? descend? toward adopting the official moniker of “The Riddler.”  Penguin, nursed back to health and the world of the living by a surprisingly botanical Ivy, declares his revenge, complicated by his love and devotion for Ed. Penguin manipulates Ed’s slavish devotion to completeness and detail – and his ego – such that Penguin freezes Ed, with the help of Mr. Freeze, noting that the chunk of ice known as “The Riddler” would feature prominently as a centerpiece in his to-be-opened Iceberg Lounge.  The podcast panel generally approves of most of this story-line and can’t wait to see “The Riddler” get out of the ice and cause his puzzling and enigmatic mayhem, with Penguin, Gotham City, and everyone.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Riddler’s riddles get more complex and mind-twisting?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Riddler’s caper riddles, as he began to frame Jim for the murder of a police officer, were potentially more complex.  Mind-twisting? Eh.  Marginally more mind-twisting, perhaps.
NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Though Ed told fewer riddles in this half season, his ire has been irked (see above).  We can only imagine what a provoked and forlorn Ed might riddle when the riddles finally and continuously come.
ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: He got there!  He just needed a worthy adversary…which he finds in “Foxy” Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) and secondarily in Penguin.  Now, if only Batman was around…
3) REPEAT PARTIAL QUESTION: What is the takeaway from Jerome, the Joker-not-Joker? Is he alive or really dead?
ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: During this half of the season, Jerome is most definitely considered dead, preserved in one of Hugo Strange’s reanimation tubes in Indian Hill, which, though run by Wayne Enterprises, is located in the basement of Arkham Asylum.  
NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: The Gotham social media accounts have been foretelling the return of Jerome…
ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 3: Dude was dead, but a devoted and brilliant acolyte named Dwight finds a way of reviving him, almost as improbably as Hugo Strange’s version of resurrection.  Either way, Jerome seems here to stay now…what does it all mean?  He’s in Arkham currently, so…

4) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the writers going to treat the nascent Ivy character (who the podcast panel presumes will be Poison Ivy) better?

ANSWER  AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Well…this answer is in the eye of the beholder.  Ivy was starting to grow plants in this half of the season and helped Selina and Bruce in some of their escapades, but the pundits have announced that the show is recasting the part. Ivy will apparently be older and sexier, like the Poison Ivy most people know.  The panel is at a loss as to how this could be rendered believable in the story, especially as the writers are not batting at any kind of decent percentage right now in terms of consistency with the source material or, even, with following any of the rules they set up for themselves in this version of the Batman mythology.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Is making her randomly grow into an awkward, teenage sexpot via the touch of an Indian Hill escapee with the power to make things rapidly age and to drain life constitute treating her better?  Listen to the podcast episode for our panel’s verdict.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: Ivy’s on the struggle bus; she’s strange, awkward, and not especially better as a teenage sexpot.  The panel struggles still…

5) REPEAT QUESTION: How will the Court of Owls be explained in the larger context?

ANSWER: The Court of Owls contains members of Gotham City’s oldest families and functions as a sort of secret ruling elite, present to steer the City away from trends or personages that would serve to harm it.  The Court has existed as long as the City has existed, for centuries.  We additionally learn that the Court was created by a Shaman (played by Raymond Barry), who has also lived for centuries.  He appears to be a mentored apprentice of Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon’s Head, officially a Batman villain (and not a Green Arrow villain, sorry Arrow fans).  The Shaman intervenes, but it is acknowledged in this half season that the Court also created the Bruce Clone for the purpose of distracting Bruce’s life compatriots, like Alfred (Sean Pertwee), while the Court kidnaps Bruce and subjects him to brainwashing courtesy of the Shaman.  In so doing, Bruce is conditioned to act on behalf of the Court to be the official purveyor of laying waste to Gotham City in its crime-ridden and corrupt state and, presumably, to assume a place on the Court. Listen to the podcast for details.
6) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Bruce have his inspiration to be Batman?  And how will that happen if he didn’t see bats when he fell into the cave?
ANSWER: Still waiting… And it’s concerning.  Bruce Clone isn’t on the path to be Batman, but Bruce, after his trials with the Shaman and Ra’s (and his League of Shadows), is already dipping his baby toes into vigilante crime fighting – with billowing black trench coat, ski mask, and the ability to quickly climb sides of buildings to boot…and yet, no bats, much to the chagrin of the podcast panel (listen to the episode for details…and rants).

7) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Selina have her inspiration to be Catwoman?  She can wait awhile, but since everyone is finding themselves much sooner than they should be, the writers might as well give Selina the idea to be a cat. Maybe she’ll take whatever drug Ivy’s got going on and get all sexy feline on us.

ANSWER: Still waiting… but she does test Tabby’s whip at the end of the season and is quite the prodigy with it.  Plus, Bruce Clone pushes her out of a tall building, and she lands, all Michelle Pfeiffer-like, askew while being licked by 30 different alley cats, though she is ultimately saved by friend Ivy’s plant penchant. Panelists Hilary and Nick are concerned about the Tim Burton-esque approach and the possible supernatural implications of this obvious homage/callback scene, but it does seem to indicate Selina’s forward progression toward a more feline state of mind in the short-term future…
8) Who is the leader of the Court of Owls, the shadowy figure with a ring like Jim Gordon’s father?  Is this person his actual father, alive after being thought long dead?  If not his father, does Jim know him?  Does the audience?
ANSWER: He is not the Court’s leader, but he is Jim’s Uncle Frank (James Remar), who like Jim’s dad formerly, is a prominent member of the Court.  We learn that Jim and Uncle Frank were estranged following the death of Jim’s father — and, for good reason, because <SPOILER!> Uncle Frank killed Jim’s dad at the behest of the Court. The audience was not introduced to this character prior to Season 3.
9) Will we see Fish Mooney and Hugo Strange again?  Will Dr. Strange cure Fish’s ailment(s)?  Will he give her a personality makeover?
ANSWER: Yes to both.  Hugo (BD Wong) returns, wrangled by the Court of Owls to weaponize the virus spawned by Jervis Tetch’s sister Alice, transforming it into a gas that can be disbursed in large quantities over the City.  Hugo does not really have time to cure Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) because <SPOILER!> a Jim Gordon affected by this same virus kills her when she attempts to steal the antidote to leverage against the City.  So, whether all of her ailments might have been cured seems to be moot.  The panel can only hope that Fish is dead for good.
10) Where did all of the Indian Hill escapees go?  Were any of them truly progenitors of future Batman villains?
ANSWER: Still unanswered but for two such escapees.  Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow) was hiding out in the Arctic, as he was without his suit and had nowhere else he could go where he would also survive.  Firefly/Bridget was hanging out downtown, abetting some small crimes for a typical street thug type.  As for the rest of the Indian Hill escapees – we presume they are back in Arkham, dead at the hands of Jim Gordon, or in the wind.
11) Will Edward Nygma make his transformation to full Riddler in the coming half season? Will we see a full-blown rivalry and war between Mayor Penguin and Ed, along with Ed’s allies of Barbara Kean, Tabitha Galavan, and Butch Gilzean?
ANSWER: Oh boy did he!  All of these hoped for developments came to pass in spectacular ways, and the whole panel appreciates this part of the story the best, in terms of consensus and averages.  Listen to the podcast for details.
12) Why should we care about Barbara anymore?  Or Tabitha?  Or Butch?  Their ambition is boring, particularly since Barbara remains as off-putting as ever.
ANSWER: Well…Barbara nurses grand designs of being a crime mogul and sees herself using Ed to achieve those aims, particularly when it comes to dethroning Penguin, who was acting as mayor and crime lord all at the same time.  Babs achieves this result temporarily, owing to Riddler’s cleverness and identity crisis and her ability to play people off each other.  Tabby, who I think is meant to be Babs’ girlfriend, and Butch, who I think is meant to be Tabby’s boyfriend? Or maybe bestie…really, I’ve lost track.  Anyway, they are mostly helping Riddler to oust Penguin, though this aid is begrudging given the fact that Ed cut off Tabby’s hand in the last half season. When Riddler is officially out of the picture courtesy of a vengeful Penguin, Tabby and Babs come to blows, culminating with Tabby electrocuting Barbara but not before Babs shoots Butch, point blank, in the head…who is subsequently revealed to be Cyrus Gold, who notably does not die from this conspicuous wound.  Batman fans should sense where this is headed…
13) Where did the Bruce Clone go, and why would he come back?  Will the show provide any sort of explanation as to when and how – and why – the clone was created?  Did the Court of Owls commission his creation?  For what purpose?
ANSWER: The Court indeed commissioned the Clone’s creation, with the help of Hugo Strange, all for the purpose of substituting for Bruce while Bruce is brainwashed in a secret ninja facility.  The Court formerly housed Bruce Clone at its Ruling Council’s headquarters until such time as the Court enacted their plan to kidnap Bruce.
14) Will we see the Mad Hatter again?
ANSWER: We saw him once or twice.  Ole’ Jervis is still hanging out in Arkham Asylum, occasionally manipulating gullible visitors like Lee Tompkins.
15) Who will be the primary villain(s) in Season 3B?
ANSWER: In this order – Jerome, Riddler, Barbara, Court of Owls (with secondary contributions by Penguin/Ivy/Freeze/Firefly, the Executioner aka Captain Barnes at the behest of the Court, and Fish Mooney).
16) Is Lee, who was splattered by an infected Mario’s blood when Jim shot him, in danger of contracting the random blood infection that affected Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) and Mario Falcone?
ANSWER: She was not endangered by the blood spatter (apparently) – just by her own stupidity and blind rage at Jim and susceptibility to Mad Hatter’s manipulations – SINCE SHE INJECTED HERSELF WITH THE VIRUS.  The podcast panel ranks this among the worst plot developments of the whole show.
17) Will we see Valerie Vale again?  I don’t think any panel member has a need for it.
ANSWER: Val may very well be scared off by all of the nonsense.
18) Will Lee be able to reconcile with Jim now that Jim shot Mario and killed him?  Will Jim face retribution from Carmine?
ANSWER: Jim momentarily faces Carmine Falcone’s retribution when Carmine orders Victor Zsasz to take Jim out.  Lee pleads with Carmine to call off the hit when she realizes that Mario was affected by the Tetch virus, after speaking to a brain-addled Captain Barnes, and presumably, as Carmine later notes, because Lee still loves Jim.  Hypocritically, Lee struggles for her own reconciliation with Jim until Jervis Tetch convinces her manipulatively that she is, in fact, to blame for Mario’s death, leading her to test the theory by executing the aforementioned injection (hashtag shaking our heads).  Only after Jim obtains the antidote from Lucius and helps to save the city from the Court does Lee achieve some kind of detente with her former love(r), though she leaves the City in the process, presumably because Morena Baccarin is slated to appear in a new show with a pilot to air this fall.

19) The adventures of Ivy: will she stop killing the plants she professes to love?

ANSWER: She does not kill any of her pet plants in this third season back half, so that’s in the right direction on the road to progress?  Maybe?

20) What is the crystal owl that Selina stole from the secure vault of the Court of Owls?

ANSWER: It is one of several crystal owls depicting a map of Gotham City, on which is marked the secret locations of Court bases.  This map is only revealed if light is shined directly through the owls.

21) Why should we care to meet Selina’s mom?

ANSWER: Only to realize that Selina has mommy/abandonment issues.  Mom is a plot device, appearing long enough to try to con/bribe Bruce Wayne into giving her and her bookie/possible lover money. Bruce does so only to protect Selina from her mother’s lies, despite knowing exactly what is happening, which pisses Selina off royally when she finds out the truth.  She breaks up with Bruce (if they were labeled prior to the point) because she feels he is not honest with her; she also continues to despise her mom.

New Questions
1) Is Joker-Not-Joker Jerome really Proto-Joker, and will we see him again in Season 4?
2) Will Riddler escape his freezing cage?  (All panelists predict yes…or there will be hell to pay.)
3) Will Bruce finally see freaking bats already?
4) Will Ra’s al Ghul be the “Big Bad” of Season 4?  What is the prophecy to which he referred, and what does it mean for Bruce?
5) Will Selina go full on Catgirl in Season 4?
6) Is Fish dead once and for all?  Is Barbara?  Or, are they going to do the detestably unthinkable and change Barbara into Harley Quinn, despite not being named Harleen Quinzell and despite not being a psychiatrist at Arkham (though Joker-Not-Joker Jerome is in Arkham right now…hm…)?
7) Where did Hugo Strange end up nowadays?
8) Is the Court of Owls truly defunct?  Or, are they the DC equivalent of Hydra in the Marvel universe?
9) If Butch is really Cyrus Gold, how Solomon Grundy will we see him get in the coming season?
10) What will it mean for Gotham when Penguin opens the Iceberg Lounge?
11) Is Bruce Clone Batman’s Bizarro equivalent, Batzarro?  Or, will he die?  Did he die? The panel is universally against crossing DC comic concepts when just the Batman franchise seems difficult for this writing and producing team to wrangle.
12) Generally speaking, and notably, our Gotham panel is loathe to ask further questions or to make predictions because the writers, in their quest to be unpredictable and “non-canon,” have taken the story to wild places with little satisfying payoff for the viewer in the end.  Everyone is sort of bracing themselves for the coming season while cherishing the few truly enjoyable nuggets about this show, mainly in character/performances.

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Gotham panel reached a remarkable turning point with the show this half season: a wide variety of opinions traveling from higher highs to the lowest of lows. Panelist Nick finds the show entertaining and is less bothered by the adaptive story points, though he is more bothered by some of the writing choices and inconsistencies. Panelists Spencer, Kyle, and Kylie identify moments they truly love and moments they truly hate but continue to enjoy watching the show, even if reacting to the show in these podcast episodes has repeatedly proven to be the very definition of “cautionary tale.” Panelist Hilary continues to mostly hate the direction of the show but likes to talk about it, so she persists without jumping the shark, reluctantly.  There is a sense that, perhaps, the writers took ours (and others’) advice of last time: the Joker-Not-Joker story thread was inspired by one of the more famous comic book story lines, for example, and there was sincere focus on some of the best aspects of the show, particularly surrounding Penguin and Riddler.  The show survived to be renewed, at any rate, and none of the panel is ready to jump the shark, so in the “make it or break it” ultimatum of last time, Gotham ultimately made it. even somewhat convincingly.

The previous unrest among the panelists, however, given the writers’ track record to date, still produces a variety of emotions and trust issues, preventing most if not all panel members from being able to recommend watching the show, in good conscience, to anyone, at least for now.  The panel is still open to a story that seems to follow a consistent set of rules, no matter how much of a deviation it might be from the Batman comics or franchise proper, as long as the writers do not continue to change the direction of the show to compensate for “Twitter reaction.”  In fact, most of the panel find this half of the third season to be the show’s new high point, even as it also contained some low points. The panelists, as such, continue to advise the writers to revisit not only the Batman comics but also their original blueprint for the show and to adhere to a structure and story continuity for the show that rightly capitalizes upon the amazing – and the strongest – performances of the cast, which the panel universally agrees are good if not phenomenal.  Also, the writers should continue to track their own continuity and not turn what is one of the tightest and most enjoyed (and most widely known) comic book properties into an absurdist’s take on the story, or they will alienate viewers and, thereafter, cause declining ratings and waning network support.

LOOKING AHEAD

Gotham has been renewed for Season 4, which is slated to premiere on Fox on Thursday, September 28, 2017, at 8:00 PM; in fact, Fox will be broadcasting the program on Thursday nights instead of Mondays this coming season.  The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth mid-season finale, which will likely air in or around December 2017. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Gotham coverage.  Until then!

DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Six, 2016-2017 Mid-Season Roundup of “Arrow,” Season Five; “The Flash,” Season Three; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two; and “Supergirl,” Season Two (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and newly full DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something completely different and highly experimental here at CPU!  Because it was difficult to get everyone together during the mid-season hiatuses (hiati?) due to holidays and jobs and families and a penchant for community theater on this panel, we decided to check in with each other in advance of season’s end–when we would visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show.  This episode is cobbled together in a bit of a different format for this mid-season roundup of all four shows at once.  To wit, your main moderator and Chief CP met with each panelist individually to obtain his/her current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Five of ArrowSeason Three of The Flashand Season Two of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Also, because of the separation and the splicing together of individual interviews, Kylie decided to play a tricksy hobbitses version–Couch Potatoes Unite!’s version–of “The Newlywed Game.”  Just how well do our nerdiest panel contributors know each other? And how would they anticipate their responses to some key questions and potential opinions concerning our favorite current four show TV universe? Take a listen and see.

The episode segments were recorded with our newly full DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and adding (for the first time) frequent CPU! panelist Nick – in February and in March 2017 for this, our sixth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 6, the 2016-2017 DCTU Panel’s Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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“Moderated” by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and – brand spanking new to the panel but never to CPU! – Nick, plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator. So, basically, there is no reason to have a Marvel and DC distinction at CPU! anymore – the DCTU and Marvel Defenders panelists are the same people (and probably the most bonded of all the CPU! panels in their respective nerddom(s) as a result).

What: “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: 

  • Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8:00 PM; Season Five premiered on October 5, 2016.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season Three premiered on October 4, 2016.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow currently airs Tuesdays at 9:00 PM; Season Two premiered on October 13, 2016.
  • Supergirl airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season Two premiered – on the CW for the first time – on October 10, 2016.

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Star City (Arrow), Central City (The Flash), National City (Supergirl), and throughout space and time (“Legends”).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full via the handy embedded links below.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the sixth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Our first episode covered the first two seasons of Arrow, our second episode covered Arrow’s third and fourth seasons, our third episode covered the first two seasons of The Flash, our fourth episode covered the first season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and our fifth episode covered the first season of Supergirl. Listen to each episode here:

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

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

DCTU Series, Episode 3, “The Flash,” Seasons One and Two

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

DCTU Series, Episode 5, “Supergirl,” Season One

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and newly full DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something completely different and highly experimental here at CPU!  Because it was difficult to get everyone together during the mid-season hiatuses (hiati?) due to holidays and jobs and families and a penchant for community theater on this panel, we decided to check in with each other in advance of season’s end–when we would visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show.  This episode is cobbled together in a bit of a different format for this mid-season roundup of all four shows at once.  To wit, your main moderator and Chief CP met with each panelist individually to obtain his/her current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Five of Arrow, Season Three of The Flash, and Season Two of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Also, because of the separation and the splicing together of individual interviews, I decided to play a tricksy hobbitses version–Couch Potatoes Unite!’s version–of “The Newlywed Game.”  Just how well do our nerdiest panel contributors know each other? And how would they anticipate their responses to some key questions and potential opinions concerning our favorite current four show TV universe? Take a listen below and see.

This particular CPU! episode’s components were recorded in February and in March 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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! Our next episode will introduce a new panel to the CPU! water cooler, as we cover the first season of the wildly popular Netflix original series Stranger Things.  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS & QUESTIONS

These typical “Water Cooler” sections will take the bench for this entry because, frankly, I’ve had enough work to do to edit the audio portion of this episode.  We will revisit “Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations” and the “Parting Shots” pieces of these entries when we cover the four shows individually, for their full seasons, at the end of the season.

LOOKING AHEAD

All four DCTU shows were issued early renewals for new seasons by the CW, so our DCTU panel will stick around for awhile.  In the meantime, all four shows returned from their mid-season hiatuses and are currently airing second halves of their seasons (Arrow returned on February 1, 2017; The Flash on January 24, 2017; Legends on January 24, 2017; and Supergirl on January 23, 2017).  The DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the water cooler at season’s end, releasing four new episodes throughout the summer, one for each show, to recap the current season in full and as one big happy panel.  Until then!

 

 

DC Television Universe Series, Episode Five, “Supergirl,” Season One (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in November 2016, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Kristen – reconvenes and gathers Around the Water Cooler for the fifth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 1 of the third Arrowverse spin-off, Supergirl. If you have not watched any of Supergirl, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks and Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 5, “Supergirl” – Season One, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for supergirl title card first season

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Supergirl” is a superhero action-adventure drama based on the DC Comics character Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, which currently airs on the CW fall to spring Mondays at 8:00 PM (though it initially premiered on CBS during the 2015-2016 season).

What: “Supergirl,” a series developed television series developed by Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti, and Andrew Kreisberg (the latter two having previously created Arrow and The Flash) and starring Melissa Benoist in the title role.  This series is considered a spin-off from Arrow and is part of the so-called “Arrowverse.” Supergirl is a costumed super-heroine who is the cousin to Superman and one of the last surviving Kryptonians.

When: Season One aired on CBS from October 26, 2015, to April 18, 2016.  Season Two premiered on October 10, 2016, on the CW and is currently airing but will not be discussed until a later “DCTU Series” episode.

Where: The action is primarily set in the fictional National City, presumably a West Coast location in the DC Comics Universe.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the 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:

Pro: Melissa Benoist doesn’t offend me.  As the erstwhile Marley on Glee, she’s actually the only [new] New Direction-er that didn’t annoy the pants off me.  Pro: Dr. Lexie Gray (Chyler Leigh) plays Kara Zor-El’s adopted sister, and her departure was one of a series of missteps that paved my shark-jumping abandonment of Grey’s Anatomy. I missed her.  I do believe the “adopted sister” motif deviates from the canon slightly, but then again, Supergirl does not enjoy the consistency of the threads underlying the Man of Steel’s long history.  Pro: James “Jimmy” Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) is black.  Hey, that doesn’t often happen.  Pro: this is not Smallville’s version of the same character.  I despised their take on Supergirl and the actress who played her.  Con: this seems very teen drama relatively speaking; despite Kara being 24, according to the synopsis, Marley grows into her cape in her own version of Smallville? Could get very old very quickly and be a bit too derivative of the Superman tellings.  Con: Ally McBeal herself (Calista Flockhart), post-face-lift and scary contacts, plays the editor.  Con: who could they possibly stunt cast as cousin Kal-El, i.e. Supes the Man himself? Because they should stunt cast him, even though they’ve already said they won’t.  I think they must (is that who Dean Cain is playing…someone freaking page Tom Welling already!?  Or, Henry Cavill if one must).  The pros outweigh the cons as far as adding it to my already miles long list, plus it’s a DC property, so I’m along for the ride.  I just hope that the earnestness that Melissa Benoist brings to her roles renders her a convincing “Kara Zor-El.”

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING.  HOLY SMOKES!

**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing.  I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens.  There are things I like, and things I don’t.  We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it three episodes.  Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together.  No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys.  It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

Supergirl = 4.1, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Kara Zor-El (Benoist) was sent to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton as a 13-year-old by her parents Zor-El (Robert Gant) and Alura (Laura Benanti). Alura gave her instructions to protect her infant cousin Kal-El, and informed her that she, like her cousin, would have extraordinary powers under Earth’s yellow sun. Kara’s spacecraft was knocked off course by a shock wave from Krypton’s explosion and forced into the Phantom Zone, where it stayed for 24 years. During this period, time stopped for Kara, and when the spacecraft eventually escaped the Phantom Zone, she still appeared to be a 13-year-old girl. By the time the spacecraft crash landed on Earth, Kal-El had grown up and become Superman. After helping her out of the craft, Superman took Kara to be adopted by his friends, the Danvers family. The series begins eleven years later, when the now 24-year-old Kara is learning to embrace her powers after previously hiding them.

In the first season, Kara Danvers becomes Supergirl. Having hid her powers for more than a decade, believing that Earth didn’t need another hero, Kara is forced to reveal her powers to thwart an unexpected disaster, setting her on her own journey of heroism as National City’s protector.  Kara discovers that hundreds of the criminals her mother prosecuted as a judge on Krypton are hiding on Earth, including her mother’s twin sister Astra (also played by Benanti) and Astra’s husband Non (Chris Vance), who seek to rule the world. After briefly becoming suspicious of the true agenda of her boss, Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), she and her adoptive sister, Alex Danvers (Leigh), secretly discover that Henshaw is actually a benevolent alien refugee, J’onn J’onzz, who has resided on Earth for over fifty years after escaping a holocaust on his home world of Mars. J’onn infiltrated the government’s militaristic anti-alien organization, the DEO, to reform the organization, to watch over both Alex and Kara, and to guide the latter in the use of her powers due to his experience with his own abilities. Kara is also being targeted by Earth’s criminals as the result of her being related to Superman and, later on, encounters an emerging community of meta-humans and individuals from parallel universes. In the process, Kara accumulates her own rogues gallery, which seeks to defeat and destroy her. She is aided by a few close friends and family who guard her secrets—most notably her cousin’s longtime friend, James Olsen (Brooks)—which also serves as a major plot in high tech mogul Maxwell Lord’s (Peter Facinelli) scheme to expose Kara’s identity.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

This is the fifth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Our first episode covered the first two seasons of Arrow, our second episode covered Arrow’s third and fourth seasons, our third episode covered the first two seasons of The Flash, and out fourth episode covered the first season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Listen to each episode here:

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

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

DCTU Series, Episode 3, “The Flash,” Seasons One and Two

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

As discussed previously, since the Arrowverse/DC Television Universe is so closely interrelated, what with all of the spin-offs and character crossovers, it seemed like a universe ripe for the podcasting here at CPU!, especially since so many of our most frequent panelists are comic book/superhero franchise fans.  After all, it’s safe to assume that we would have started covering Arrow or The Flash individually, but since it was expected that the same panelists would keep coming back to discuss these shows, and since the shows themselves share an expanding universe that used to cross networks, though not so anymore, your friendly neighborhood Chief Couch Potato figured, “Why not make it a series?”

Thus, our DC Television Universe Series (or DCTU Series) was born.  All of our DCTU panelists should be familiar voices, though after recent roster changes, the returning panelists after Episode 4 are Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and newest panelist Kristen (though she is not new to CPU! by any stretch) for this fifth episode of our DCTU series, in which we cover season one of Supergirl.

In this episode, the panel is generally complimentary about Supergirl, regarding it to be a stronger show than another DCTU entry, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and good enough to be nearly tied (in terms of quality) with universe originator Arrow. Several of the panelists are quick to point out some minor flaws in the story progression and possible CBS influence on the show, particularly in the romantic comedy/Devil Wears Prada vibes created by the interplay between Kara and Cat Grant (Flockhart), but are universal in their appreciation of Benoist’s portrayal of the title character.  Her winning charisma and “adorkable” pastiche, and, indeed, her earnestness, sold everyone convincingly and left each panelist feeling the show to be at least mildly enjoyable if not out and out binge-able TV.  Of course, these reactions are not taking into account the current season.  The CW is airing new episodes of the program’s second season presently; Supergirl is on its mid-season hiatus, but CPU! will evaluate Supergirl’s second season progress in future episodes.

In the meantime, this particular CPU! episode was recorded in November 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first season of Supergirl. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

PS, to settle a debate within the podcast, Supergirl the film came out in 1984. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released in 1987.  I relied on the fact that I was alive during the time when citing those facts. 😉  Though, granted, it wasn’t released 40 years but 32 years ago. I never claimed that math was my strong suit. 😉

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! Our next episode will kick off CPU!’s mid-season revisits of the fall to spring dramas we cover, beginning with Marvel: Agents of SHIELD and the first half of the fourth season, focusing on “Ghost Rider.”  In addition, the mid-season “Progress Report” tracking the longevity of pilots introduced or to be introduced this 2016-2017 season will be published on Tuesday, January 3, 2017! Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Supergirl is recommended to fans of comic books, particularly from the DC universe, and of the character of Supergirl/Kara Zor-El (or even Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent); to fans of the other Arrowverse shows (particularly since the crossovers started even when Supergirl was on CBS); to fans of comic books who can also tolerate romantic comedy formulas, as the first season is somewhat derivative of rom-com tropes; and to young girls and female fans who champion “girl power” and who might find a solid idol in Kara Danvers/Zor-El aka Supergirl.  The panelists universally felt that the quality of Supergirl vies with the quality of Arrow and handily surpasses that of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, which was released in the same season, though at mid-season and on the CW. All in all, the panel was generally complimentary toward this series and believes most who sit down to watch it will find something to like about it, regardless of whether or not those who do are fans of comic books or adaptations of said comic books.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Supergirl is currently airing its second season; the mid-season finale of Season Two aired on November 28, 2016, on the CW. The show will return from its mid-season hiatus on January 23, 2017.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode will be our DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, which will check on the progress of all four Arrowverse shows–Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl–and which will publish after the New Year, schedule permitting. Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the DCTU podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!🙂

DC Television Universe, Episode Four, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season One, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in November 2016, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and adding (for the first time) frequent CPU! panelist Kristen while subtracting panelist Jen – reconvenes and gathers Around the Water Cooler for the fourth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 1 of the second Arrowverse spin-off, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. If you have not watched any of Legends, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!