American Horror Story Series, Episode Eight, Season 8: “Apocalypse” (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, our returning but newly, and for the first time, full panel of casual to serious horror fans (and rotating moderators!) – including moderator Nick; Sarah; Emily; Kallie; Eddie, who is new to the panel but not to the podcast; and, of course, Kylie, the Chief Couch Potato – gathered Around the Water Cooler to chat about the eighth season of American Horror Story, otherwise known as “Apocalypse.”  This is the eighth episode of an ongoing CPU! podcast series examining one of our favorite television programs throughout its anthology of various seasons depicting different and unique horror stories per season, and it was recorded in July 2019. If you have not watched American Horror Story: Apocalypse, 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

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” – American Horror Story Series, Episode Eight, Season 8 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, most recently on Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “American Horror Story,” a horror drama created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) that tells a new horror story each season while featuring recurring actors and ensemble players.  This season is subtitled “Apocalypse” and features the return of the witches from Coven (Season 3) as they battle the Antichrist from Murder House (Season 1) and attempt to prevent the apocalypse.

SYNOPSIS

In the near future, the Antichrist, Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), spurs the apocalypse by instigating nuclear warfare. The chosen survivors of the aftermath, including heiress Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), her personal assistant Mallory (Billie Lourd), hairstylist Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters), Gallant’s grandmother Evie (Joan Collins), talk-show host Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter), young adults Timothy Campbell (Kyle Allen) and Emily (Ash Santos), and others, take refuge in a fallout shelter named “Outpost 3,” run with an iron fist by Wilhemina Venable (Sarah Paulson) and Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates). Flashbacks to three years before the apocalypse reveal that “Outpost 3” was an all-boys warlock school led by headmaster John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson), which unknowingly harbored the Antichrist in hopes that he would rise as the first ever male Supreme. The witches’ council of Cordelia Goode (Paulson), Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga), and resurrected Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) are summoned and quickly discover how dangerous Michael is to their coven when faced with his evident powers, as he resurrects deceased witches Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) and Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts). The coven, with the aid of the warlocks, attempts to save humanity by discovering new witch Mallory’s intense powers and by learning more about Michael’s mysterious origins, in particular from Michael’s grandmother Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), and about how to defeat him to prevent the apocalypse.

When: Season 8 aired from September 12, 2018, to November 14, 2018, on FX, with a total of ten episodes.

Where: Each season focuses on a different locale.  This season, the action drifts primarily from “Outpost 3,” in some unknown and removed area in the post-apocalyptic landscape, to the Coven’s school for witches in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the haunted Murder House in Los Angeles, California. Other locations are visited, but these are the three primary settings this season.

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

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

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

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

Episode 1, Season 1, “Murder House”

Episode 2, Season 2, “Asylum”

Episode 3, Season 3, “Coven”

Episode 4, Season 4, “Freak Show”

Episode 5, Season 5, “Hotel”

Episode 6, Season 6, “Roanoke”

Episode 7, Season 7, “Cult”

In today’s episode, the eighth episode of this series, we cover Season 8, “Apocalypse.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties rotate among the members of our robust AHS panel.  To wit, Nick is back at the moderating mic to talk this eighth season, having most recently moderated the panel’s “Hotel” episode, along with returning panelists Sarah, Emily, and Kallie as well as a panelist new to the panel but not to the podcast (and me).  Our AHS panel is fully full for the first time, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic (or frightened)!

In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Apocalypse” season and our general impressions of the season’s success. Overall, the season induced more positive reactions from our panel as compared to the preceding season, “Cult,” with some panelists reacting more positively than others, though, naturally, each panelist offers a few individual bones to pick with the story’s events and a few Rubber Men to de-rubber while digesting this latest AHS season. Our panel, though, achieves palatable consensus and universal agreement with respect to a couple of elements of the season in this episode’s conversation: all six panelists proved elated to watch the return of the “Coven” and were also generally impressed by new AHS player Fern, who played Michael Langdon, the “Murder House” Antichrist. In fact, the panelists, by and large, cannot wait to see what else he has to offer in future AHS seasons.

This podcast was recorded in July 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Apocalypse” season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our The Good Place panel (and obvious Soul Squad) returns to the Water Cooler to process all of their forking feelings about Season 3, the now penultimate season, of the heady, critically acclaimed NBC comedy that tackles, in a manner not often witnessed on network television, the afterlife. Holy shirtballs! Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! American Horror Story Series panel generally agrees that the “Apocalypse” season falls squarely in the middle of the pack when discussing, comparing, and contrasting the overall quality of all existing AHS seasons. On the one hand, Season 8 crosses over the two most beloved casts – and by most beloved, I mean by the panel and by the general AHS fan community as a whole – and offers some truly outstanding “high highs,” including the reappearance of fan favorites, such as (SPOILER) the inimitable Lange, several long absent members of the AHS troupe from the “Murder House” cast, and, of course, the wickedly awesome entrance and general reappearance of all members of the adored Coven. On the other hand, the season also features some strange lows, such as an opening four episodes with characters none of the panelists truly grew to care about, for the most part and with the possible exception of Fern’s Michael; Lourd’s Mallory; and, to a lesser extent, Grossman’s Coco. Additionally, the introduction of Peters’ and Eichner’s Mutt and Jeff characters felt sorely out of place and, in light of the pastiche of those characters, served to handily undercut the good feelings stoked and nurtured by the fact of the crossover itself. Not to mention, the panel found the overarching story line this season to be confusing at times, particularly as key players portrayed several prominent characters from seasons past as well as new characters that the panel struggled to connect to and/or to identify with, such as Paulson’s Miss Venable, especially since Paulson plays other highly featured characters this season, like Cordelia Goode from the aforementioned “Coven” ensemble.

Though the panel excitedly anticipated the gutsy crossover potential of “Apocalypse,” as well as the return to some of AHS’ best forms this season, every panelist also reacted in a somewhat lackluster if not utterly confused manner to the direction and pacing of the story, as all panelists regarded it to be largely disjointed, at least until the “Coven” finally makes its appearance and apart from the magnetic Fern, easily voted the ensemble’s most valuable new player.  In fact, the buzzing build-up from the fan community and media toward this much ballyhooed event did not leave our panelists, at least, with an equivalent or satisfying payoff, as some of the ambitious setups, especially in the offered glimpses of the post-apocalyptic landscape, ultimately produced feelings of let-down when only loose ends from the first four episodes were never addressed in later episodes. In fact, it was the Coven and the Murder House cast members themselves and their performances that proved the ultimate praiseworthy draw for our panelists, rather than the Season 8 story itself. Plus, our panel did not love the season’s end as a general rule, feeling that the show was reaching for “Murder House” redux without the engaging elements that made that season – and, indeed, this whole series – what it was and what it has become in the intervening years.  In short, “Apocalypse” was a bit of a hodgepodge of the very best and the very worst of AHS, but, unlike the seventh season, “Apocalypse” more than compensated our devoted panelists and viewers with a high degree of entertainment value – and pure fun – in the end.

LOOKING AHEAD

Our next episode in this series will cover Season 9, “1984,” which premieres on September 18, 2019, at 10:00 PM on FX.  Thus, our AHS panel will return sometime after the Season 9 finale and then, again, after Season 10, since the horror anthology season has guaranteed longevity for two more seasons.  Stay tuned!

A THEME TO REMEMBER

In tribute to Michael, AHS’ own Antichrist, we link this ditty, an odd little theme used by the show and hearkening back to Season 1. An interesting theme for the son of the devil, no?

13 Reasons Why, Season 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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NOTE: This episode contains some strong language and direct discussion about the sensitive topics depicted on the show. Listener discretion is advised.

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 May 2019, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and conscientious TV fans – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Emily, and Jeremy (and no longer including Jenn, who jumped the shark as of this season) – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 2 of Netflix original 13 Reasons Why. If you have not watched any of 13 Reasons Why, 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 Rezmer
Keyboard: Kelsey Rezmer
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: “13 Reasons Why” – The Season 2 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “13 Reasons Why” is a drama-mystery web television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “13 Reasons Why,” adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix, revolves around a high school student, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), and his friend, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who committed suicide after suffering a series of demoralizing circumstances, brought on by select individuals at her school. A box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah before her suicide details thirteen reasons why she ended her life.

SYNOPSIS

Clay Jensen (Minnette) returns home from school to find a mysterious box lying on his porch. Inside, he discovers seven double-sided cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Langford), his classmate and unrequited love, who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. The series explores the fallout from the revelations on Hannah’s tapes.

When: Season 2 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on May 18, 2018, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action takes place in an unnamed, presumably Californian town (the series was shot in California) at fictional Liberty High School.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

CPU! has covered 13 Reasons Why since the series’ beginning. To listen to our Season 1 review, listen via the embedded link below or via our audio feed at Apple/iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

When 13 Reasons Why premiered on Netflix, so many CPU! core panelists advocated for a 13 Reasons Why panel, the Chief CP had to oblige and to subsequently draw lots, since we had more volunteers than actual room on the panel. Since that time, at least one panelist – Jenn – has jumped the shark after watching only a few episodes of the second season, though the rest of the panel, CPU! regulars Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Emily, and Jeremy, all returned to attempt to process Season 2 via what could only be described as a mixed bag of reactions.  In this episode, our remaining conscientious five, along with yours truly, the main moderator, parse through the thirteen new courtroom-based testimonies and three Polaroids of Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why and also delve into the continuing, ensuing controversies that this unflinching and graphic portrayal of social issues confronting today’s teens have wrought.

In the episode linked below, this panel spends considerable time with and meditates upon each of the deeply flawed characters motivating the story within 13 Reasons Why.  The panel also reacts to the continued debates and controversies arising from critical and popular reception of the series: is the show responsible social commentary or irresponsible revenge fantasy? Does the show glorify suicide, or does it provide a stark and necessary depiction of it in order to provoke needed conversation around signs and triggers?  Does the streaming network provide enough trigger warnings? Does the series attempt to tackle too many social issues at once, but only at a surface level, giving none of them a true exploration of said issues due to the sheer number of them, or is the show daring to tread roads where other series fear to go? Our eager and vocal panel participants may not have all the answers, but as with the world at large, some continued strong reactions are voiced during this longer-than-usual discussion.

For those who find it difficult to listen to discussion about sexual assault (rape), suicide, and the other heady topics bridged by this program, please note that we do discuss much of it directly and, in some instances, quite personally. Listener discretion is advised.

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our A Series of Unfortunate Events panel returns – for the last time – to the Water Cooler to discuss the final season of the quirky Netflix dark comedy (allegedly) made for children, i.e. Season 3. In our upcoming episode, we will also Look Back at the entirety of this popular adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s novels, which we have covered on the podcast since the show’s beginning, and we will examine its relative success (or lack thereof) as an overall series as well as say goodbye, both to the series and to each other (for now). Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) We presume that Tyler Down (Devin Druid) will be the focal subject of Season 3, given the ending scene of Season 2, in which Tyler (SPOILER) brings a gun to school with the intention of unloading it during the Spring Fling dance and following Monty’s brutal act toward Tyler in the Season 2 finale. How appropriate is it for the show to switch gears from a narrative largely about Hannah and sexual assault/mental health issues/suicide to Tyler and the theme of school shootings/violence? Will the show be able to handle this transition sensitively and to broach this issue with care and responsibility? Should the show even be going down this road?

2) Given Chloe’s Season 2 finale admission to Jessica (Alisha Boe) that she is pregnant, a result of non-consensual sex with Bryce (Justin Prentice), the panelists fear that the show might additionally try to tackle the subject of abortion at a time when such a fraught topic might be timely from a sociological and political perspective, even as the vehicle, 13 Reasons Why the series, might not be an appropriate vessel for such a divisive subject. Our panel is especially concerned, as the show originally, again, focused on Hannah as the central character, and as the series has not handled the topics originally depicted by the source novel as sensitively as it could have in these socially aware times. Will the show broach the subject of abortion? Should it?

3) The show seeded a narrative/theme for a supporting character, the Class President Marcus, an African-American male, in Season 2, in which he was blackmailed by Tyler and his new friend Cyrus into labeling Bryce a “rapist” at a public event. The audience is given a glimpse into Marcus’ home life, in which his father praises his hard work and intelligence, particularly in light of the fact that he and his family expect to experience hardship due to race; yet, the show explored this issue, in the panel’s estimation, rather superficially in Season 2. Will the show revisit this theme in Season 3, since we saw Marcus experience no consequences for his actions against Hannah, his on-the-stand perjury (or obfuscation of the whole truth) during the trial, and his wavering sense of morality in light of his behavior and choices?

4) The panel strongly reacted to the show’s handling of Clay’s individual mental health issues, given his profound grief over Hannah’s death, his full-fledged conversations with her “ghost,” and his coping mechanisms related to his pursuit of his private investigation of the revelations around Hannah discussed during the trial, to his reactions and relationship to Skye, and to his dynamic as well as his care and support of Justin (Brandon Flynn) during Justin’s rounds of heroin detox. Will the show more meaningfully revisit Clay’s own mental health journey? Will we be given a better explanation for the Hannah manifestation? Or, were Clay’s reactions and apparent state of mind only dependent upon his obsession with Hannah, in life and in death, and will they be forgotten now that Hannah and, therefore, Clay has “moved on?”

5) Will the show explain or explore how the school district’s defense attorney came to know so many personal details about the various witnesses called to testify in the trial? We can assume or presume that Bryce provided some information, but where did much of the intimate information come from, and how was it vetted, if at all? The trial felt like the consummate courtroom melodrama and, in some ways, represented some of the sloppiest storytelling of Season 2, as far as our panel is concerned.

6) How will Clay’s parents’ decision to adopt Justin play out in Season 3? Will they be as oblivious to Justin’s ongoing addiction as they are to their son’s mental health state?

7) Is there more of a history between Tyler and Monty than what we have already seen, and, if so, what is it? Will we learn more in Season 3?

8) Will the show use another “device” to tell the story, like the cassettes or the Polaroids, in Season 3? What will it be?

9) With Chloe’s pronouncement to Jessica that she is pregnant, and with Bryce’s announcement to Zach (Ross Butler) that he is transferring to a different school, will Bryce be forced to cancel those plans? Will he remain at Liberty? Or, will his parents try to pay Chloe off or otherwise keep her quiet?

10) Will our panel fully return to discuss Season 3? Much doubt was expressed about the idea of extending this series even further beyond its source material than previously accomplished via the second season, and the panelists, mostly, feel trepidation about the idea of the coming third season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

PARTING SHOTS

Universally, the CPU! 13 Reasons Why panelists feel that Season 2 of this controversial series is not as well executed as the first season. Without the reliable support of the source material, as the first season wholly adapted the one novel on which the series is based, the series’ second season struck our panelists as “forced,” “contrived,” superficial in its revisit of the issues that rendered the show such a water cooler TV topic in 2017, scattered in its attempt to tackle even more social issues than those originally addressed without being able to deeply or genuinely delve into them, “manipulative,” and, in some ways, more sensationalized in its depiction of sensitive issues, considering the strong negative response to the perceived sensationalism of the show’s first season. The panelists struggled most with the writing and narrative structure of Season 2, finding many of the plot choices and revelations about Hannah to be contradictory to what was learned in Season 1, which was based on the actual book, and in a way that did not add to her story. Panelists also panned some performances, particularly by some of the actors and actresses playing the parents, with the notable exceptions of the fabulous Kate Walsh and Brian d’Arcy James as Olivia and Andy Baker, Hannah’s parents, respectively. To that end, some of the episode direction suffered as a result, with choppy pacing and framing that felt as manipulative as the story being peddled in the series’ sophomore season, at least in our panel’s particular regard.

As a result, the panel no longer universally recommends 13 Reasons Why, at least beyond Season 1, as what many of the panelists enjoyed and lauded about the first season, especially the program’s ability to push the conversation about teen suicide, sexual assault, bullying, and other serious issues affecting today’s youth to the forefront, seemed watered down and worryingly “surface-level” in the second season.  In addition, the risky decision to renew an already shaky story structure for a third season leaves the panel with uneasy feelings, particularly as the show moves away from Hannah as a main focus and attempts to re-position the drama around problematic character Tyler and, presumably, the subject of school shootings as well as, quite possibly, teen pregnancy (and related issues), given Chloe’s circumstances. Thus, for anyone who has not watched this series, particularly Season 2, and is considering it, take this mixed-message recommendation for what it is: watch, and judge for yourself, but watch with caution all the same.

LOOKING AHEAD

13 Reasons Why was renewed for a third season, which is expected to drop later in 2019, though a tentative release date has not yet been announced by Netflix as of the date of this publication. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all 13 Reasons Why coverage, and this panel will, as such, hopefully return some time after the release of Season 3 to recap the new season. Until then!

Looking Back at Once Upon a Time: Part Two of the CPU! Goodbye to Once Upon a Time (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 2018, our Once Upon a Time panel – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – is Looking Back at the entirety of Once Upon a Time, in the second part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to this long-running, fantastical yarn of fractured if familiar fairy tales. As always, if you have not watched any of Once Upon a Time, be aware that there are, most definitely, 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!

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

PODCAST! – Looking Back: “Once Upon a Time” – The Goodbye Miniseries, Part 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Once Upon a Time” aired on network TV, specifically on ABC, for seven seasons, from 2011 to 2018.

What: “Once Upon a Time,” a fantasy drama wherein storybook and fairy tale characters are not only real but are living in this world, away from their enchanted kingdoms and worlds beyond reality, and how they all interrelate (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/once_upon_a_time/summary.html).

When: The show aired in its entirety from on ABC from 2011 to 2018.

Where:  The show is primarily set in fictional Storybrooke, Maine, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest,” the fairy tale kingdom from where most of the main characters originate. The action takes place primarily in present day, though there are flashbacks to the characters’ past lives, before they were whisked away to Storybrooke via curse wrought by the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parilla) and before they were made run-of-the-mill real world residents with serious bouts of amnesia. In Season 7, the show engages in a “soft reboot” of its story premise and is set in Hyperion Heights, a fictional neighborhood deep within the heart of very real Seattle, Washington, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest.” 

Why: Two primary reasons: one, Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves fantasy and fairy tales, and the Disney network green-lit a live action serial television program about fairy tale characters that they would probably own the rights to, if the characters weren’t already public domain. Two, the creators are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, two of the head writers of Lost. Whatever else may be said about the latter program, I don’t think anyone could argue that Lost wasn’t well written. All of our panel of enthusiastic Once fans found love for this program via one or both of those reasons themselves.

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

Couch Potatoes Unite!’s Complete Once Upon a Time Coverage

Season 3 Premiere (Neverland)

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Premiere

Season 3A – Neverland

Season 3B – Oz

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Finale

Season 4A – Frozen

Season 4B – Queens of Darkness

Season 5 Premiere (Dark Swan)

Season 5A – Dark Swan

Season 5B – The Underworld

Season 6A

Season 6B

Season 7A – Hyperion Heights, Part 1

Season 7B – Hyperion Heights, Part 2

Our super-bonded and magically cohesive Once panel – namely Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – could not leave Once Upon a Time behind forever without spending some quality time saying a long and (mostly) loving goodbye to this show, which has been in our lives for up to seven years. After our Season 7B discussion, the panel agreed to reconvene around the Water Cooler “once” again to discuss the show as a whole, including all of its ups and downs, for Part Two of our two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says goodbye to Once Upon a Time, which is extra emotional for us, as this show and panel was one of our very first three pilot panels! In this second part of this miniseries, our panelists reminisce about what we loved and what we did not like as much from OUAT’s seven seasons and about whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it was a bit of Disney re-purposed magic in a genie lamp – seemingly and fleetingly popular as, say, three wishes from said genie.  Listen to the newest and final chapter in CPU!’s ongoing Once Upon a Time podcast series, during which we look back, part and parcel, at the whole genie gig and at whether the show ultimately capitalized upon the endless #potential (#drink) provided by this collection of fractured fairy tales.  Do you agree with us? Or, do you have your own thoughts? Comment below!

This podcast was recorded in November 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the seventh season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, a new panel gets some hop-ons and gathers around the banana stand, er, the penthouse, er, the model home, er the Water Cooler to begin our three-part Arrested Development series. Listen as we blue ourselves laughing via the recitations of endless quotes while Looking Back at the original Fox run of this critically acclaimed sitcom, i.e. Seasons 1-3, in Part One of this latest series. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The Couch Potatoes Unite! Once Upon a Time panel generally recommends Once, particularly to Disney fans, to fantasy fans, to Lost fans, and to fans of guy-liner as a general rule.  The panelists agreeably view the seven Once seasons in ways best described via these pithy reviews:

Season 1: Best!

Season 2: Good! (With some liking it more than others)

Season 3: Neverland – Great! / Oz – Not So Great!

Season 4: Frozen – Bad! / Queens of Darkness – At Least It Wasn’t Frozen!

Season 5: Dark Swan – Uneven and Weird! / Underworld – The Land of Missed Opportunities and Sepia Tones!

Season 6: 6A – Hot Mess of Untold Stories! / 6B – As Good As Season 1!

Season 7: 7A – Better Than We Expected! / 7B – They Stuck the Landing!

Thus, the panelists universally caution that the show’s writing, story progression, and frequent failure to capitalize upon #potential (#drink) may be more frustrating to some compared to others, particularly if specific individuals would need to be talked into watching more than a few episodes in the first place. The panelists experience mixed reactions, however, to the notion of whether or not they were ready for the true end of Once Upon a Time. Most panelists, aside from Eddie and Chief CP Kylie, regret the lack of network support for at least one more season, but all panelists experienced a high level of satisfaction with the fates of some of our beloved characters, particularly those of Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and of Regina, who may have been the true heroes of the series all along, once these characters realized that “everyone writes their own story.” In the end, though, most if not all of the panelists are both happy and sad that OUAT is done, and while some of us might re-watch the series in future, none of us will be quite ready to do so for some time – which is not to say that the series is bad as much as the series traversed a messy, emotion-wrenching course that both engaged and frustrated in the end, a chemical mixture that might leave some of us satisfied with one viewing only. Of course, only time will tell. Plus, given that the twists are known in this eventuality, when watching a second time, some of the impact would definitely be lost upon re-watch. 

Once Upon a Time is currently available to stream on Netflix in its entirety.  Did you watch Once?  Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you thought of any or all of its seven seasons! And stay tuned!  Though our OUAT coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time.  In the meantime, from our Once panel of devoted fairy tale enthusiasts to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing Once Upon a Time series, which now officially comes to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

Image result for once upon a time last scene
It’s a happy beginning! Regina, formerly the Evil Queen, is crowned Good Queen of the Realms by her erstwhile nemeses, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas)
Who’s the Evil Queen in this lineup?
Our Once Upon a Time Panel
Left to right (the girls are just shorter): Kristen, Micah, Amie, Eddie, and Emily


Once Upon a Time, Season 7B: Part One of the CPU! Goodbye to Once Upon a Time (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in November 2018, our Once Upon a Time panel – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – returns to the Water Cooler to discuss the second half of Season 7 of Once Upon a Time, i.e. the series’ final season and including the so-called seventh season soft reboot of both premise and main cast, in the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to this long-running, fantastical yarn of fractured if familiar fairy tales. As always, if you have not watched any of Once Upon a Time, be aware that there are, most definitely, 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!

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