Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard, 2016-2017 Pilots

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Here it is – the end of season tally sheet for new network shows for 2016-2017 pilots!  I must say…the networks waited for it but are being far more ruthless this year, all told…or maybe not ruthless enough!

Also, stay tuned for the Progress Report discussing long-running shows covered by this blog!

Thanks as always to TVLine for helping a girl out.

24: Legacy

24: LEGACY, Fox

WHO: Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead), Ashley Thomas (Black Mirror), Jimmy Smits (Sons of Anarchy), Miranda Otto (Homeland), Teddy Sears (The Flash), Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Anna Diop (The Messengers), Coral Pena (Blue Bloods), Charlie Hofheimer (Mad Men), Sheila Vand (State of Affairs)

WHAT: Featuring an all-new cast of characters, the series centers on a military hero who encounters a troubled return to the U.S., compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Well, we don’t start the 2016-2017 preview well out of the gate, do we?  Hear me out.  I was incredibly devoted to the original 24and I also watched 24: Live Another Daywhich revived the 24 concept for an additional thirteen-episode event series. As I said in the latter review (click on the links), what made 24 work for this viewer in the end was one element: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer.  24 became what it was because of its charismatic lead, who played a character besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives. Without Kiefer, and despite the “real time” ticking clock gimmick, I felt pretty certain that I would have stopped watching 24 long before it ended.  The writing was, at times, all over the place, the catastrophes and dangers were increasingly more preposterous, and the tension without Kiefer was flat, as evidenced by the first few episodes of “Live Another Day,” which were largely Jack-less.

So, now we have a new 24 after a year or more of rumors that a reboot was coming. There’s a new conflicted lead and a few other familiar faces, like Jimmy Smits and Eowyn.  But there is absolutely nothing new about this show other than the sheer lack of Jack Bauer. From what can be viewed of the previews, Corey Hawkins, despite his Walking Dead cred, does not offer the same engagement that Kiefer Sutherland did. He’s just another guy, besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives.  Will he be as good as Kiefer?  Arguably, no. Kiefer did it first and did it well.  Who would want to top it?  And if they are not going to top it, what’s the point of watching it?

Perhaps, the trailer wasn’t well put together.  Or, perhaps people need their ticking clock fix.  I’m not ready to jump on board another 24 hours of terrorist plots and gunfire without a solid reason to do so, and I’m also reasonably grumbly that nothing original in Hollywood seems to be the status quo, though the lack of originality largely avoided television for a time. I guess that time is over.

If buzz or ratings give me a reason to doubt, I may reconsider. Right now, this just seems like a stale rehashing with new folks.  Thumbs down (for now).

STATUS: Officially canceled!  Fox ultimately canceled this half reboot, half revival after struggling ratings on June 7, 2017.  The series finale aired on April 17, 2017 – full 12 episode season aired.  Reports are noting that the network plans to attempt another reboot of 24, effectively creating a miniseries, as “Legacy” ultimately became, at a later time.

CPU! STATUS: Status change to Pass outright.  Who watched this reboot?  Are we being too hard on this series, given our initial misgivings and its (now confirmed) cancellation?  Convince us otherwise in the comments below.

American Housewife

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly), Carly Hughes, Ali Wong (Black Box, Are You There, Chelsea?), Diedrich Bader (Veep), Julia Butters (Transparent), Johnny Sequoyah (Believe), Daniel DiMaggio (Supergirl)

WHAT: A family comedy narrated by Katie, a strong-willed mother, raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” wives and their “perfect” offspring.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  I am not currently a wife, and I don’t have children. Traditional “family” sitcoms and other safe comedy fare tend to turn me off.  Based upon the strength of the trailer for this show, however, and the excellent comedic delivery of Katy Mixon, I actually think I might test the suburbs of American Housewife.  It checks off a few TV tropes, including the rich/skinny girls versus less endowed/fat girl motif, but it also mixes a few formulae together, seemingly, which might yield a new formula of fresh and funny.  Then again, it could be one of those jokes that wears thin if told too often, but I won’t know until I watch.  The “spanx” diatribe alone made me smile, though, so it’s worth a look-see.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 23, 2017, with a total of 23 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

APB

A.P.B., Fox

WHO: Natalie Martinez (Secrets and Lies), Justin Kirk (Weeds), Ernie Hudson (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Eric Winter (Witches of East End), Caitlin Stasey (Reign), Taylor Handley (The O.C.), Tamberla Perry (Boss)

WHAT: A tech billionaire purchases a troubled police precinct in the wake of a loved one’s murder, but can this eccentric and enigmatic figure’s cutting edge approach fix the broken ways of these blue blooded veterans?

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  Maybe I’m in a generous mood on the day I reviewed this trailer, but this show is mildly intriguing.  While I think it has the potential, as all cop shows do, to veer into procedural territory, the lead character is incredibly charismatic, and the gimmick involves him introducing an app into the Chicago streets that allows normal citizens to report crimes on the spot.  Coupled with the futuristic, expensive technology he brings in, there is actually potential for this show to be at least somewhat engrossing. How long can it sustain, though?  Will it be told episodically, with story lines resolved after each hour of rich boy hi-jinks and cop resistance like a procedural/”crime of the week” show, or will there be an underlying thread pushing it forward? My guess is, since the premise includes the lead character becoming involved with the police because his friend was gunned down, that there will definitely be a connecting thread.  How strong that thread is will depend upon how they balance the premise with the hi-jinks.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  Fox let this one go on “Bloody Thursday,” i.e. May 11, 2017.  The series finale aired on April 24, 2017 – full 12 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but will still view, at least for a couple of episodes.

The Blacklist: Redemption

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, NBC

WHO | Famke Janssen (How to Get Away With Murder), Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Edi Gathegi (The Blacklist), Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable)

WHAT | Undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave, the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  The Blacklist has been on my “to-watch” list for some time now. I have a few members of my inner circle who are devoted fans and praise it highly, and I do plan to watch it someday (and maybe even to cover it at CPU!).  Since this new entry is a spin-off of The Blacklist, however, I am not prepared to watch or cover it until I watch the original series.  If that happens in this next season, we’ll keep you posted.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The series finale aired on April 13, 2017 – full 8 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Status change to full Pass, given that the spin-off was a non-starter, and I still haven’t watched the original – though the original Blacklist remains on the watch list.

Bull

BULL, CBS

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio

WHAT: A drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw as the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Part of me wants to like this show, featuring a charismatic Michael Weatherly as an arrogant psychologist who can read juries and other court personnel in order to suss out cases, a character loosely based on Dr. Phil (yes, that Dr. Phil).  On the other hand, I was also somewhat turned off by the fact that he is an arrogant psychologist going toe to toe with arrogant defendants and arrogant attorneys. This show seems to offer a formulaic courtroom premise with a fancy gimmick, a shrink who can read people (and an algorithm of his making) to sway the outcomes of cases. Since shrinks aren’t always better than lawyers, and since the premise seems thin – along with the likability of the main character – I am inclined to let this one go by.  If the show gains buzz, accolades, or steam, I may reconsider.  But even as there were some enticing moments in this trailer, most of it rubbed me the wrong way.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The season one finale aired on May 23, 2017, for a total of 23 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: I (still) have heard literally nothing about this show since its premiere, either from the CPU! regulars or from the media, to convince me or CPU! to start watching.  If you like “Bull,” tell us in the comments and why.  For now, it stays passed.

Chicago Justice

CHICAGO JUSTICE, NBC

WHO: Philip Winchester (The Player), Carl Weathers (Rocky), Joelle Carter (Justified), Ryan-James Hatanaka

WHAT: Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigates heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, which is not a good sign.  In any event, this seems to be another procedural in the grand tradition of NBC produced procedural TV like Law and Order, and this viewer does not enjoy watching procedurals; or, it’s another courtroom drama resting on that formula.  Give me fantasy!  Give me escapism!  Don’t give me dramatic re-tellings with a realistic twinge.  If I hear something new, unusual, or enticing about it prior to its premiere, I’ll let you know, but this is not the kind of thing I normally watch, and there is nothing convincing me to start watching it.  Moving on.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  NBC canceled this latest “Chicago” entry on May 24, 2017.  The series finale aired on May 14, 2017 – full 13 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: While the Chief CP does not plan to view or to blog/podcast about this series, we do have at least one CPU! contributor interested in possible blog coverage of the “Chicago” gaggle of programs.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Conviction

CONVICTION, ABC

WHO: Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter), Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY), Shawn Ashmore (The Following), Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead), Manny Montana (Graceland), Merrin Dungey (Alias, Once Upon a Time), Daniel DiTomasso (Witches of East End)

WHAT: Tells the story of Carter Morrison, the brilliant but ne’er-do-well daughter of a former U.S. president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Let us all take a moment to get our pop culture bearings.  Agent Carter is some sort of devil-may-care type who is bribed by Tag, Rachel’s young boyfriend on Friends, to head some fictional agency investigating the wrongfully accused.  Phew. Okay.  After watching the trailer, this viewer was unimpressed by something that seems to have a message but little else going for it.  The premise feels somewhat schmaltzy, manipulative even, and quite thin, and the concept behind the premise screams procedural with some sexy television antics on the side for, you know, reasons.  Honestly, as I watched, I felt like it had all been done before.  So, I can’t see doing it again.  Also, it just makes me want to watch Agent Carter more, which I haven’t yet been able to see. The television obsessed never has enough time. Anyway, sorry ABC and the folks behind this show.  If the ratings or the buzz suggest otherwise, I’ll take a gander but not until then.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The series finale aired on January 29, 2017 – full 13 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: If what came through in the teaser trailer was essentially the norm for all episodes, the fate of this show is unsurprising.  I hope Hayley Atwell finds a home somewhere, but this vehicle seemed to be a poor quality one, at least judging by the trailer, which is like the network’s sales pitch for the show. Of course, I am not certain that the Alphabet should have canceled Agent Carter, but that’s another story.

Designated Survivor

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Kiefer Sutherland (24), Maggie Q (Nikita), Kal Penn (House), Italia Ricci (Chasing Life), Natasha McElhone (Californication), Adan Canto (The Following), LaMonica Garrett (Sons of Anarchy), Tanner Buchanan (The Fosters)

WHAT: Centers on a lower level United States Cabinet member who is suddenly handed the presidency after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick up.  So, THIS is why Kiefer Sutherland can’t be on 24: Legacy! He’s too busy being a Designated Survivor…The trailer boasts high moments that create chills (mushroom clouds over DC!) and low moments that create squinty faces (Kal Penn’s character telling Kiefer to quit), but because the premise has, to this viewer’s knowledge, never been done before (a low level Cabinet member who must suddenly be president), and based upon the fact that Kiefer is so supremely watchable, and further acknowledging the fact that he has moved on from 24, I feel like this could be a very good program to choose for viewing in the coming season and possibly better than the aforementioned 24: Legacy, given that Jack Bauer is in this one.  I mean, I know that’s not his name, but that’s what I choose to think. The trailer leaves me with the feeling that this is movie quality television, at any rate; hopefully, it doesn’t descend into melodramatics.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season 1 finale aired on May 21, 2017, with a total of 21 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Downward Dog

DOWNWARD DOG, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: May 17, 2017

WHO: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Mo Collins (Parks and Recreation), Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart

WHAT: Based on the web series of the same name, it follows a down-on-her-luck woman named Nan whose devoted dog speaks its mind in confessional-style interviews.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I think this might be my um…no of the season.  As much as I like Allison Tolman (her turn in Fargo was quite good, don’tcha know?), and as much as I related to a lonely thirty-something woman with a pet, I feel strongly that those who would find this show funny are dog-lovers who enjoy those weird anthropomorphized mouths on animals.  I love dogs but not enough to watch a whole season of a dog’s commentary, no matter how heartfelt, and I think the show MIGHT be racist to cats (I have a cat).  There were a couple of funny jokes in the trailer, but most of it landed with a thud.  It’s an animal buddy comedy; I don’t see how it could be funny after more than a few episodes (or roughly the number of episodes equivalent to a standard movie length).  Also, who is running the alleged web series – and who is watching it?

STATUS: Currently airing; the sixth episode of eight confirmed and ordered episodes airs on the day this post goes to publication.  There is no word yet on whether or not this series will be renewed.

CPU! STATUS: The critics seem to favor this sleeper mid-season entry on the Alphabet network, but I stand by the initial verdict, especially since no one I know is talking about it.

Emerald City

EMERALD CITY, NBC

WHO | Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), Florence Kasumba, Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

WHAT | The “event” series is a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz that includes lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A headstrong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on a journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. This show has been delayed two seasons, but at least this time, we have an actual promotional snapshot and what looks like a cast.  I’ve picked it up for the past two falls; I will keep picking it up until if and when it gets dropped or finally airs. Let’s hope it’s the latter, as CPU! will remain committed to this dark re-imagining of Oz for as long as it’s a possibility. Let’s make it happen, NBC!  Third time’s the charm!

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The Peacock swung the ax toward the troubled Oz adaptation on May 4, 2017.  The series finale aired on March 3, 2017 – full 10 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but several CPU!ers have voiced support for this series, so a podcast will likely eventually be recorded and published, most likely in a “Looking Back” episode or possible new feature format likely to be rolled out this summer. Stay tuned!

The Exorcist

THE EXORCIST, Fox

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Geena Davis (Grey’s Anatomy), Brianne Howey (Scream Queens), Hannah Kasulka (The Fosters), Alfonso Herrera (Sense8), Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone), Kurt Egyiawan (Beasts of No Nation)

WHAT: A modern reinvention inspired by William Blatty’s original 1971 book, the propulsive, serialized psychological thriller follows two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the face of true evil.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though horror is a tricky genre for me (I have acute overactive imagination syndrome) and though I managed to avoid The Exorcist film until I was an adult, as I think it’s still a scary idea and premise, the original film influenced many excellent horror movie and TV tropes that are still used and reused today.  So, why not transfer the original concept to the small screen?  The only question is whether or not such a concept, originally distilled to the two hours or so for a film, can sustain over the course of several episodes, much less several seasons?  There is only one way to find out. I am ready to confront these demons, along with their updated special effects.  But will be there be rotating heads and the vomiting of pea soup?

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on December 16, 2016, with a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Frequency

FREQUENCY, The CW

WHO: Peyton List (The Flash, The Tomorrow People), Riley Smith (Nashville), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Lenny Jacobson (Nurse Jackie), Anthony Ruivivar (Banshee, American Horror Story), Devin Kelley (Resurrection), Daniel Bonjour (The Walking Dead)

WHAT: In this reimagining of the New Line Cinema film, a female police detective discovers she is able to speak via ham radio with her estranged father, also a detective, who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder, but unintended consequences of the “butterfly effect” wreak havoc in the present day.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now. To be honest, the trailer is pretty compelling, and despite the fact that I am not a fan of Peyton List (I have watched or watch both The Tomorrow People and The Flash and have been turned off by her both times), even though the CW sure seems to be, I am reserving the pick up until I see the original film, which I never have.  I have a video game based on the film which I have never played either.  So, like Limitless, I feel that I need at least the baseline before giving the television show serious consideration.  Once I see the film, Ms. List aside, I will revisit the idea of watching the show.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The CW did not pursue a second season order for this big to small screen adaptation as of May 8, 2017.  The series finale aired on January 25, 2017 – full 14 episode season aired.  The CW also released an epilogue, to tie off loose ends to the story, exclusively to its website.

CPU! STATUS: I do still want to watch the movie and may check into some of the episodes at a later date depending upon how that goes; the Chief CP still doesn’t love Peyton List, though, for the record.

The Good Place

THE GOOD PLACE, NBC

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (CSI: Cyber), Manny Jacinto (The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story), William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden

WHAT: Follows Eleanor, a New Jersey woman who comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. She decides to turn over a new leaf by learning what it actually means to be “good” or “bad,” and then trying to make up for her past behavior.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. On the strength of the trailer, and the fact that Veronica Mars/Ana from Frozen is playing the lead with Kristen Bell’s best comedic timing, I think anyone would be remiss to pass on this new sitcom.  The premise is unique, casting Ted Danson as the “Good Place’s” resident bureaucrat is inspired, and frankly, I had to stifle laughter every few seconds as I sat awkwardly in a public waiting room watching the trailer.  The substitute uses for various curse words as delivered by Bell warrant the look-see alone. More than any other show on this list so far, I am quite excited to check this one out! Hopefully, cancel-happy NBC will allow this one the chance to find its groove – though, arguably, the groove will be there from the pilot, if the trailer is any indication.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The first season finale aired on January 19, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but really want to as soon as possible.

The Great Indoors

THE GREAT INDOORS, CBS

WHO: Joel McHale (Community), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass), Stephen Fry (Bones), Susannah Fielding, Shaun Brown, Chris Williams, Christine Ko

WHAT: An adventure reporter must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Oh look.  The first real sitcom to make fun of the generation gap between Gen X/Y and Millennials, and CBS of all networks grabs onto it.  Which means that most of the CPU!’ers will relate to the Joel McHale character, but many of them will find the supporting characters clueless and annoying.  Like I do.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will laugh along with their TV representatives at how antiquated ideals like spending time in the outdoors and using pen and paper to write stories, rather than Twitter and Tweets, are.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will be offended by the exaggerated depictions of their generation, unless they are open to seeing the humor. I’m sure this will probably find an audience, but I just can’t see being in it (and the canned laughter didn’t help its cause). Also, I guess this means we won’t be seeing McHale on another season of The X-Files anytime soon.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The series finale aired on May 8, 2017 – full 22 episode season aired – though the show received the cancellation ax blow a few days later.

CPU! STATUS: Still not interested.  The Chief CP is generationally offended, ok?

Great News

GREAT NEWS, NBC

WHO: Briga Heelan (Undateable), Andrea Martin (Difficult People), Adam Campbell (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mixology), Kimrie Lewis-Davis (Scandal), John Michael Higgins (Wilfred), Horatio Sanz (SNL)

WHAT: An already inseparable mother/daughter relationship becomes more complicated when mom accepts an internship at her daughter’s workplace.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Aside from the fact that no trailer exists to even attempt to convince viewers that the premise is potentially funny and not so recycled, the premise is so recycled and potentially rather unfunny!  A codependent mother and daughter team spend even more time together at work.  That’s what this is about.  Add to that very few recognizable names in the cast (weirdly, Horatio Sanz is the most familiar to me, and that’s not necessarily a good thing), and what you have is an easily avoidable sitcom. Also, NBC, the most cancel happy of all the networks currently, has been especially unkind to its new sitcoms in recent years.  There is literally no reason to invest in this one based purely on a photograph, a cast list, and an extremely precarious sitcom foundation.  Someone talk me into it.  It’s the yearly challenge!

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season 1 finale aired on May 23, 2017, with a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP is probably going to opt for less great news, but there is some interest from the CPU! core concerning this show.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Imaginary Mary

IMAGINARY MARY, ABC

WHO: Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg, Growing Up Fisher), Stephen Schneider (You’re the Worst), Nicholas Coombe (iZombie), Matreya Scarrwener (Canada’s Detective McLean: Ties That Bind), Jillian Bell (Eastbound & Down), Erica Tremblay and the voice of SNL vet Rachel Dratch

WHAT: Centers on a thirtysomething bachelorette whose life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though the premise of this sitcom seems a bit more clever than some of the other offerings of this pilot season, my reaction still falls into the “pass” category. First, I only laughed once at the trailer, and it was most certainly not at the imaginary friend but at the husband when he was talking to his kids about Dharma when Dharma wasn’t there. Second, I’ve never been wild about Jenna Elfman – Dharma & Greg was saccharine and lacking something to which this viewer could relate, so I never watched more than a few episodes.  While the character of Mary may be different than Dharma, there is still an infused essence of Elfman that leaves me feeling “meh” about the proceedings.  Also, honestly, though there might have been entertainment potential to the later-in-life confirmed bachelorette finding true love with a family man motif by itself, adding the tiny imaginary friend creature made me think the character would be more sad than funny and potentially in need of some good counseling.  Sorry, Dharma. On with the list.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The Alphabet reduced the episode order from 13 to 9 and then swiftly canceled the series on May 11, 2017.  The series finale (and ninth episode) aired on May 30, 2017.

CPU! STATUS: No change in our initial “pass” verdict.

Kevin Can Wait

KEVIN CAN WAIT, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c, moving to 8/7c on Oct. 24

WHO: Kevin James (The King of Queens), Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital), Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey), Ryan Cartwright (Alphas, Bones), Lenny Venito (The Neighbors), Gary Valentine (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A newly retired police officer looking forward to spending more quality time with his wife and three kids discovers he faces much tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Um…no.  This is the definitive “um…no” of the season.  Unless there’s more than one.  Anyway, first, let’s rap about the enigma that is Kevin James.  Someone somewhere out there obviously finds him funny.  I never have.  Not once.  Not even a little bit. Second, let’s pause for a moment to appreciate just how similar this new show is to James’ star-making sitcom, The King of Queens.  Did CBS air that one too?  I don’t remember.  Be that as it may, this version does not have Leah Remini, which is the only reason The King of Queens was ever funny, and, frankly, the odds of funny happening on the previous show were arguably slim.  I think The King of Queens lasted as long as it did because of the chemistry between Remini and James.  Erinn Hayes doesn’t quite cut the mustard in terms of appealing chemistry with the wisecracking but stout every-man, at least from the extended trailer available. Which means James is left hanging out there to carry the comedy by himself, and, frankly, I just don’t think such a feat is possible for him. Of course, lots of people found Two and Half Men funny, even when Charlie Sheen was still on it.  I believe fans of that sitcom will find something to like here. Unfortunately, I didn’t like that one or The King of Queens, so I’m really left with one choice.  Next, please.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 8, 2017, with a total of 24 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Um…no?  Did you not hear me the first time?  Plus, no one I know is watching it.  Prove me wrong!

EDIT: Why God…why?!

Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON, Fox

WHEN: Wednesdays at 8/7c

WHO: Damon Wayans, Sr., Jordana Brewster (Dallas), Keesha Sharp (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson), Kevin Rahm (Mad Men), Clayne Crawford (Rectify), Johnathan Fernandez (Younger, Girls), Chandler Kinney

WHAT: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Would you believe that I have never once seen a Lethal Weapon movie?  It’s true.  No particular reason for it; I just haven’t found myself in a position to watch or to want to watch any of those movies, of which there are several. Now, the films had Mel Gibson (pre-crazy times) and Danny Glover.  This show has Damon Wayans and some charming Southern gentleman filling those rather hefty boots. Before this viewer would feel comfortable with this selection, I feel I have to wear the original boots first before trying on the newfangled pair.  If buzz and accolades and steam swarm around this TV remake, I will, of course, make arrangements to get caught up.  If it’s enjoyable, let CPU! know (that’s why we have a Guestbook!).

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The season finale aired on March 15, 2017, with a total of 18 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP still wants to watch the original movie first.  I know, I know, I’m so behind the times.  I own it.

MacGyver

MACGYVER, CBS

WHEN: Fridays at 8/7c

WHO: Lucas Till (X-Men), George Eads (CSI), Justin Hires (Rush Hour), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)

WHAT: A re-imagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. What the hell?  Oh, CBS.  Say it ain’t so!  That’s two remakes in a row!  At least, insofar as Kevin Can Wait seems to be a remake of The King of Queens.  So, in order for this show to be successful, anyone older than, say, 30 will have to be okay with a MacGyver that is not played by Richard Dean Anderson.  And anyone younger than 30 will have to be taken in by the premise of a man who is so resourceful, he can get himself out of most sticky wickets with a mere paper clip and some chewing gum.  As one of the over 30 crowd, I am somewhat turned off by this entry into CBS’ lineup.  I was no die hard fan of the original MacGyver, but I am pretty sure that half the appeal was Anderson’s crooked smile and rockin’ 80s mullet.  He was resourceful AND charismatic. Lucas Till, TV’s younger face of this older character, doesn’t offer much in the way of charisma.  Either that or the trailer was edited terribly.  I don’t think it’s the editing, though, and, therefore, I don’t think this will end well.  On the other hand, and surprisingly, Hawaii Five-O survived for a while.  Someone convince me, and maybe CPU! and this viewer will reconsider.  Not until then.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on April 14, 2017, with a total of 21 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: We can’t even, as the kids are saying.  There has been no buzz in CPU!’s circles, and I fully believe we’d miss Richard Dean Anderson too much; one CPU!er checked in and was less than flattering about it. Do you watch MacGyver? Tell us about it in the comments.

Making History

MAKING HISTORY, Fox

WHO: Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Yassir Lester (The Carmichael Show)

WHAT: Three friends find a way to travel through time for truth, justice, and riches, which complicates their lives in 2016. They visit some of the greatest moments of the past as they try to resolve their personal problems, while history and pop culture comically collide.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Okay…this has the potential to be exceedingly stupid.  On the other hand, it could ultimately be sheer creative genius.  The time machine is a giant duffel bag. There is somewhat of a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure edge to the proceedings, but the main characters are college professors.  And one of them is played by Adam Pally, the erstwhile Peter from The Mindy Project, a character who grew on me thanks to the winning bro-ski comedic timing of Pally himself.  Plus, the premise is extremely original, or mostly original, at least for network TV, so I think it’s worth giving it a shot.  Fox – you be good to this one! Unless it’s stupid.  I’ll let you know.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The series finale aired on May 21, 2017 – full 9 episode season aired (I believe the episode order was reduced…or never increased…anyway, the reason is obvs).

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but I still kinda’ wanna’…and probably will…and will probably regret it…

Man With A Plan

MAN WITH A PLAN, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Matt Cook (Clipped), Grace Kaufman (The Last Ship), Jessica Chaffin (Episodes), Hala Finley, Matthew McCann

WHAT: A contractor whose wife goes back to work starts spending more time with his kids and discovers the truth every parent eventually realizes: His little angels are maniacs.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. I…um…hm.  So, first of all, I think the Eye network is panicking.  Most of its mainstay sitcoms have either ended or are probably nearing their end (case in point, The Big Bang Theory and the afore named Two and a Half Men), as many of the sitcom entries on this list so far have been CBS pickups.

Now…the problems.  The cast list above glaringly omits the presence of Jenna Fischer, none other than Pam from The Office, herself.  Which isn’t saying much because she is clearly the straight man in the comedy and offered nothing funny in the trailer.  So, then we have Matt LeBlanc.  I’m sorry to have to be the one to say this, Matt, if you’re reading. I’m a big fan of Friends, which may be coloring my perspective of what I saw, but to me, Matt is playing the “grown up” version of Joey.  As in, what if Joey had quit acting and was put in the position of being the primary caregiver for his three children that he had with a nice, normal wife in the interim since Friends ended?  The line delivery is more deliberate; the motions more affected by age (LeBlanc should be around 50 by my estimation), but to me, it’s Joey. He’s Joey.  This is Joey, in 2016, with a family. Which might be okay if we didn’t already know that Joey by himself is not as effective as Joey with the rest of the Friends – which the spin-off Joey taught us.  I love Matt LeBlanc and Jenna Fischer, but this TV show, aside from it being another saccharine family sitcom, is Joey with kids.  I can’t do it.  Someone talk me into it?  I want to be talked into this one.  Out of my love for Matt LeBlanc.

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a CPU!er that Jenna Fischer is not in the above cast list because her part was recast due to lack of chemistry with Matt LeBlanc.  Unfortunately, no updated trailer exists; hence, the confusion, as the original trailer still has Jenna in it. Also, the recast occurred recently (and I start compiling this article over the month of July).  So!  The recast doesn’t convince me to start watching it, however.  The trailer largely focused on Matt and his character…and I still don’t think it will work based upon the fact that he brings the Joey as noted above, but thanks birdie on my shoulder, all the same!🙂

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 15, 2017, with a total of 22 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Who’s watching?  How’s Joey doing?  How YOU doin’? We need feedback.

Marlon

MARLON, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: August 16, 2017

WHO: Marlon Wayans (In Living Color), Essence Atkins (Are We There Yet?), Bresha Webb (Truth Be Told), Diallo Riddle (Silicon Valley)

WHAT: Loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans’ life, this multi-camera comedy centers on an inappropriate but loving father (Wayans) committed to successfully co-parenting with his polar opposite ex-wife.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. From the skeletal thin premise, what I’m reading is one part My Wife and Kids (oh hey, older brother Damon, already doing some stuff, only the wife was married to him on the show); one part The Bernie Mac Show (father not uncle, but close); and one part every Wayans brother comedy ever made.  I have no trailer to entice, and I’m positive there will be people sold on the concept of this one, but I, once again, pass.  Sheesh – there are so many sitcoms coming out this year.  And not very good ones, mostly and seemingly.

The Mick

THE MICK, Fox

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Sofia Black D’Elia (Gossip Girl), Carla Jimenez, Thomas Barbusca, Jack Stanton

WHAT: A hard-living, foul mouthed woman moves to affluent Greenwich, Conn., to raise the spoiled kids of her wealthy sister who has fled the country to avoid a federal indictment. She quickly learns what the rest of us already know — other people’s children are awful.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Another sitcom?!  And this one doesn’t bring charm like Making History, the other Fox comedy offering reviewed so far.  I think this show is meant to give Kaitlin Olson a chance to capitalize on a strength she cultivated on It’s Always Sunny.  The problem is that there was not a single funny moment in the trailer.  This is another version of the poor person in a rich world trope, and this viewer predicts that the joke will get old very quickly.  It didn’t even sustain in the trailer’s three minutes. Thumbs very much down here.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The season finale aired on May 2, 2017, with a total of 16 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: No one at CPU! is talking about it.  No buzz is swarming around the show from the Chief CP’s trusted circles.  Are you watching The Mick?  Let us know and why in the comments.

Midnight Texas

iTunes PODCAST – Supernatural (Seasons 9-11, 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 July 2016, our panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen, Kelsey, and Allie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Seasons 9-11, with particular emphasis on Seasons 10 and 11, of Supernatural, from Metatron playing God to the world dominated by the Darkness, God’s mischievous sister. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – Reflections on Season Nine and Recapping Seasons Ten and Eleven (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, though it is currently on hiatus. During the 2015-2016 season, the show aired on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM.

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

When: Season Nine aired from October 8, 2013, to May 20, 2014; Season Ten aired from October 7, 2014, to May 20, 2015, and Season 11 aired from October 7, 2015, to May 25, 2016.

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.  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 new 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 different than 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.  How is the show faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons?  Read on.

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

It’s been a while since CPU! covered Supernatural, another of the Chief Couch Potato’s favorite shows.  As before, you can blame it on starting this whole podcast business.  Better yet – rather than assign blame, let’s just agree to make the show with the two demon and monster hunting brothers involved in epic Biblical battles a candidate for said podcast, especially since your main moderator is always playing catch-up, okay?!

To wit, hop into your ’67 Chevy Impala and turn the radio dial to this new CPU! podcast episode, to which this viewer invited a healthy sized panel, including CPU! regulars Nick, Jen, Kelsey, and Allie, all Super-fans in their own right. In so doing, we play catch up with the brothers Winchester, their guardian angel Castiel (Misha Collins), and the demonic King of Hell Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard), covering the time since CPU! last checked in on the ninth season.  We cover major plot points from seasons nine until eleven: from Metatron, the Scribe of God, playing God while angel Gadreel heals Sam from the inside in the aftermath of undergoing the demon trials to close the Gates of Hell, to Dean taking on the Mark of Cain to protect his brother and to overtake Metatron, to the removal of that Mark and the ensuing release of God’s sister, the Darkness.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond is sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over whilst pining for the brothers and/or Cas (well, I don’t think Nick is pining…unless there’s something we don’t know).  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of three seasons and some of the earlier seasons to boot. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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 podcast episode will replay our upcoming LIVE! Podcast, which will be LIVE at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on August 8, 2016, at 7:00 PM, and LIVE STREAMING at the CPU! Facebook page at the same time!  The video and audio will be republished as next week’s podcast episode both on the blog/YouTube channel and in our feed.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions from Prior Season Nine Coverage

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

ANSWER: Still unknown.

2) What will Dean do now?  And will Sam be saved again?  How many more trials do these brothers have to endure?

ANSWER: The short answer is that Crowley convinces Dean to obtain the First Blade and the Mark of Cain to be able to wield the Blade, both of which are in the possession of Cain, of Cain and Abel fame, who is still alive and still the First Murderer, bearing the cursed Mark as providence of God, or so he tells Dean and Crowley.  Crowley reasons that the Blade and the Mark would be powerful enough to stop Gadreel and Metatron.  Of course, Crowley also wants Dean to rid Hell of Abbaddon, so that the warmer, fuzzier King of Hell can reclaim his throne.  Dean makes good on all of these promises; listen to the podcast for additional details (also, watch season 9), though he does so at great cost.  In fact, the Mark of Cain’s effects lead Dean to succumb to darkness, a darkness that initially attempts to convert him into a demon, a battle within himself that he and Sam confront throughout Season Ten.  Gadreel is eventually expelled from Sam, and Metatron is ousted from his Heavenly throne to a less heavenly jail (until Cas breaks him free and takes his grace), with the help of a few angels and Cas along the way.  As far as trials: arguably, Sam and Dean sort of attract these challenges.  In fact, throughout seasons nine, ten, and eleven, the brothers are repeatedly asked to examine why they continually sacrifice the greater good to save a brother, particularly when either one of them has elected to sacrifice himself to save the greater good.  It’s probably the question they will most continue to wrestle with until the show finally ends.

3) Will they ever get their happy ending?

ANSWER: While the panel is in no particular rush for a series finale, especially after the stellar eleventh season, a season that hearkened back to the glory years of the first five seasons, it’s likely the brothers will not find peace until they are done.  That’s why Kansas tells them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

New Questions

1) Is the Mary Winchester that greets Dean in the dark wood an actually resurrected Mary, a gift given to Dean by Amara the Darkness in return for his efforts on her behalf?  Or, is she a ghost with a message?  Panelist Jen predicts that we will see a Mary, alive and well and back in her sons’ lives, and the panel by and large hopes that this is true.

2) Is Sam alive?  Of course he is.  Jared has top billing.  Or, will he end up dead in a spirit world or a heavenly plane or a hellish plane, from which Dean and Cas will have to save him anew?  Chief CP Kylie predicts that he is alive and will wake up in London with the Woman of Letters who shoots him.  What will happen to him there?  Who knows, but are humans anymore threatening than Lucifer or the Darkness?  None of the panel really feels the danger.

3) Who is the Woman of Letters, played by the actress who played Valerie on The Vampire Diaries, and why should we care about her other than her ill-guided decision to shoot Sam? Will this arc be remotely compelling after the awesomeness that was Season 11?

4) Where did Lucifer go after he was expelled from Cas’ vessel, and what will he do now that he’s out of the Cage (other than be played by Rick Springfield)?  Will Mark Pelligrino return next season to play Lucifer in his true form?  He’s popular among the panelists.

5) Will we ever see John Winchester, especially the one played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, on Supernatural again?  Wouldn’t it be great if he was hanging out in Heaven with Bobby? Or, if he came back to life like Mary (if she, in fact, came back to life)?

6) Panelist Kelsey wondered, if the Horseman Death was killed in Season Ten, removing the Mark of Cain and releasing the Darkness, how are people still able to die?  Will Billie the Reaper return?  Is she vying to be the New Death?  What is her damage in the end? Why does she have it out for the Winchesters?  So, they get a few extra chances at life – they’re dealing in destinies here.

7) Will Castiel be more relevant in the future?  The panel feels that he may have lost his way; what will his purpose be now that Lucifer was ejected from him?  God (i.e. Chuck the Prophet and auteur of the Supernatural saga within the show) and the Darkness left for a “family meeting:” what’s going on with Heaven?  How will the angels pick up the pieces?

8) Will Rowena, Crowley’s mom, be returning?  Why?  The panel is divided as to how they feel about her.

9) What is Crowley’s endgame at this point?  All the demons in hell gave over when Lucifer came back.  What is his purpose?  He’s not universally popular among our panel members.

10) 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?

PARTING SHOTS

The ayes have it: Supernatural is like a well oiled machine – it is a quality program with a cultivated, passionate cult fan base, even if the quality is not necessarily consistent in its late life; though, most of the panelists agree that Season 11 was the best season since the Kripke years (Seasons 1-5, when he was executive producer). Still, based on the latest season-ending cliffhanger, the looming risk for this show is that it all somehow becomes boring – a risk that seemed to take shape as reality in seasons nine and ten. Despite this risk, the panel agrees that Supernatural could never be completely unwatchable, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). There is nothing like it on TV right now, at any rate, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes, all members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime.  In fact, the entire panel plans to return to watch Season 12.  Carry On, Wayward Sons.

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural has been renewed for a twelfth season, which is slated to premiere on the CW on Thursday, October 13, 2016, at 9:00 PM. The Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the twelfth mid-season finale of Supernatural, which will likely air in or around December 2016. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional show coverage.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Gotham (Season 2B, 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 July 2016, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Jen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 2B, otherwise known as “The Wrath of the Villians,” 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!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Gotham,” The Season 2 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 on Fox; it is currently on hiatus.

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, 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). Meeting the younger Wayne further compels Gordon to catch the mysterious killer. 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 Two finale aired on Monday, May 23, 2016, 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.

Now, I’ve seen some episodes – all of them to date, in fact – and 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

CPU! first covered Gotham earlier this year by catching up listeners on Season 1 and Season 2A, otherwise known as “The Rise of the Villains.”  If you haven’t caught up on CPU!’s Gotham coverage, listen via the embedded link below:

Seasons 1-2A

As our Gotham panel, consisting of Jen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer, discusses in that first podcast about the show, Gotham got off to a bumpy start but had since vastly improved in the second season’s first half, as it seemed to abandon the idea of organized crime warfare on Gotham City streets and concentrate more fully on the origin stories of Batman’s most enterprising arch nemeses.  In fact, the panel began to regard the program, this new addition to the Batman zeitgeist, with various perspectives that intersected even as they differed.  The panel now tackles the second half of the second season, dubbed by the show “The Wrath of the Villains,” and the consensus on the panel is that while the first half of the season was executed successfully if somewhat inconsistently, the season’s second half took a turn, and not necessarily for the better. The panel as a whole struggled to ascertain whose wrath we were actually watching, though Penguin and Riddler did seem arguably wrathful at times.  That is, when they weren’t locked up for long periods in the loony bin that is Arkham Asylum.  We also witnessed the rise of several more villains, not the least of which includes mad scientist Dr. Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong), for better or for worse.  How did the panel like the second season overall?  Listen to the embedded link below to find out.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second 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), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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 podcast episode will catch CPU! up on three seasons of Supernatural, as it has been awhile since we discussed the adventures of the brothers Winchester.  Stay tuned for that!

And if you didn’t already know, CPU! is going live for the very first time on August 8! Keep your eye on the blog or any of the above social media sites for details!  Some have already been leaked via Facebook…more are to come!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
Old Questions
1) Was Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) really meant to be Batgirl’s mother?  Now that her character is in a coma, what will her character do, if anything, in the future?
ANSWER: Panelist Kyle insists that it’s true: the character of Barbara was meant to be Batgirl’s mother, but he believes that the producers have changed direction in that regard given the unpopularity of the character.  In the meantime, Barbara emerged from her coma thanks to the experiments in reanimating life conducted by Hugo Strange.  At first, she came to Jim’s aid while he was on the lam to suss out the Lady (Missy Gomez) in order to find out who ordered the hit on the Waynes, as the Lady once ran the contract killing black market.  When Jim rightfully decided that she was too crazy to keep around, Barbara joined up with the Penguin and didn’t do much else until the end of the season.
2) Is Dr. Thompkins’ (Morena Baccarin) prospective baby going to be Barbara Gordon, the girl who would be Batgirl?  Are Lee and Jim going to name the baby after crazy Barbara?
ANSWER: According to the show, though it happened off screen and while Jim was in jail, wrongfully accused of killing a police officer after being framed by Edward Nygma, Lee lost the baby.  Panelist Kyle also predicted that this was a lie told by Bullock to Jim and possibly planted by Lee given the fact that Jim told Lee to leave him to rot in jail, as he felt guilty for his role in the murder of Theo Galavan (James Frain).  So, it’s possible that Lee still had a baby and a girl at that, but none of the panelists can figure out what motivation she would have for naming a possible baby Barbara, given the terrible potential source of the name.
3) Will Penguin and Riddler have a falling out, which motivates them toward their most sociopathically driven selves?
ANSWER: 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.
4) Will Riddler’s riddles get more complex and mind-twisting?
ANSWER: 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.
5) What will we see of Mr. Freeze’s back story?  Who will be playing that character?
ANSWER: Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze was played by Nathan Darrow, most well known by his role on House of Cards.  We saw his back story play out in the first couple of episodes of Season 2B, but as the podcast panel notes in our discussion covering this half of the season, we were primarily disappointed by how the show portrayed the creation and rise of Mr. Freeze.
6) What will we learn of Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin’s back story when Paul Reubens plays Mr. Cobblepot, Sr., in the second half of the season?
ANSWER: Well, first of all, Oswald’s bio-dad in this universe is named Elijah Van Dahl. He comes from a wealthy family of tailors.  He explains to the newly docile Penguin that he once fell in love with Penguin’s mom, a poorer girl, and wanted to run away with her, but his family scorned it.  Afraid of the loss of his comfort and all he ever knew, he elected to let Ms. Kabelput go, but he never knew that she had become pregnant.  Mr. Van Dahl only discovered his son when he met Oswald, standing at his mother’s grave after his release from Arkham and after Elijah learned of Gertrude’s death. We also learn that Oswald’s particular psychosis may be genetic, inherited from his paternal grandfather, and that Mr. Van Dahl has a heart condition. We further learn that he marries Grace, a former waitress, who is clearly after his money, though she is content to wait on his death as long as he provides for her and her two abominable grown-up children.  Grace, in fact, has been withholding Elijah’s heart medication so that he will die a slow death, but she speeds up the process when she learns that Elijah wants to leave Oswald the estate, after eavesdropping upon father and son’s private conversation and learning of Elijah’s plans.
7) What is the takeaway from Jerome, the Joker-not-Joker?  Is he alive or really dead?  Was he taken to Hugo Strange’s basement laboratory at Wayne Enterprises?  Is he really the Joker nascent or is he the inspiration for the real Joker?  If he is not the Joker, is the show advocating that the real Joker is a copycat?  Where is the real Joker, if so?  Is he similarly aged to Bruce Wayne?
ANSWER: 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.  The rest of the question, whether or not Jerome is the actual Joker, remains a question, though the viewer does not know what emerged from the crashed bus that the newly resurrected Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) drove away to escape from Arkham.  Panelist Kyle saw a flash of red hair, and Hugo Strange makes things come back to life, so….
8) Will Theo Galavan be back after his umbrella-pierced corpse was shipped to Dr. Strange’s underground laboratory?  Will he become comic villain Azrael?  Or, Solomon Grundy, as some fans theorize?
ANSWER: Galavan came back to life, but he couldn’t remember his real identity.  So, Dr. Strange set about programming the identity of Azrael, from the Book of the Order of St. Dumas, into Galavan’s brain.  As you might note from the podcast discussion, the panel was universally unhappy with the execution of this plot device as well.
9) Was comic villain Hush introduced, or will he be introduced?
ANSWER: He hasn’t been yet, and Panelist Kyle believes it would make the most sense to do so, since, outside of his villain identity, he is supposed to be one of young Bruce Wayne’s “friends.”
10) Are the writers going to treat the nascent Ivy character (who the podcast panel presumes will be Poison Ivy) better?
ANSWER: 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.
11) Will we see any more villains, such as Killer Croc?
ANSWER: In fact, panelists Spencer and Kyle both saw what looked like Killer Croc emerge from the wrecked bus, but that was not until the end of the season.  We were also introduced to a nascent Clayface, who posed as Jim at the GCPD headquarters, but the panel was, again, greatly disappointed by the story of his creation.  Listen to the podcast for details.
12) Will we see the Graysons and Baby Dick (who would be Robin) again?
ANSWER: We did not see either the Graysons or Baby Dick during this half of the season.
13) What’s on the hard drive that Alfred smashed in what will become the Batcave?  What will Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) find and/or share with Bruce?
ANSWER: So far, all we learned from the hard drive is clues about a secret project known as Pinewood, which was the prior version of what became Indian Hill and was run by Hugo Strange.  This led Bruce to discover that Strange and his father, Thomas Wayne, were friends, and that Strange, for some reason, ordered the hit via the Lady and Matches Malone on the Waynes.  Through some additional sleuthing, accompanied by either Selina or Alfred, Bruce determined that Strange and Thomas did not see eye to eye about the tenets of scientific progress.  Bruce also learned that Strange’s actions are being dictated by a secret society in masks, a society that seems to hold the “real” power in Gotham City, which panelist Kyle predicts will be comic villains the Court of Owls.
14) Will we see more of Bruce’s training – especially his physical training?
ANSWER: Well, Bruce kind of abandoned the physical training for awhile.  After learning about Matches Malone and the hit taken out on his parents, he elected to go stay with Selina on the streets for awhile, much to Alfred’s chagrin.  When answers started to emerge from the hard drive, Alfred convinced Bruce to come back to the Manor, but Bruce was far more focused on the mystery than on his training, which disturbed quite a few of the panelists.
15) Will the writers continue to smooth out the obvious kinks?
ANSWER:  Quite the opposite.  The bed sheets were really ruffled in the back half of season two, and the panelists were in various states of displeasure about the cropping up of all new kinks, not the least of which includes reviled characters Barbara and Fish. The panelists address the writers directly in the podcast episode.
New Questions
1) What is the deal with the long-haired Bruce Wayne clone that we saw in the closing seconds of the season finale?  If he is truly a Bruce clone, with what time and/or energy did Strange make that possible, since Bruce was in Arkham for a relatively short space of time?  If he is Clayface, how did he escape jail after his antics at the GCPD?  If he’s none of these things, what the hell is he, and why are we going there?  Panelist Kyle also made a scary prediction: what if we just saw the creation of whomever will become the Joker because the writers decided to take the yin and yang concept underlying the characters of Batman and Joker too literally? Writers: if this clone will be the Joker, I will plotz.  Rants will be had, verbally and in writing.  As your Chief CP says in the podcast, there is ignoring canon, and then there is stomping and spitting on the canon.  Don’t be tempted to do the latter.
2) How will the Court of Owls be explained in the larger context?
3) What villains emerged from the bus?  There were definite glimpses of Killer Croc and possibly Jerome; also, casting of the Mad Hatter has been announced, and there was already a visual reference to the idea that Strange created the Hatter.  What will they do when they’re out?  Will there be other villains who are NOT created by Strange that we see?
4) Did Lee really have the baby and just lied to Harvey who told Jim that the baby was lost? If so, did she have a girl and name her Barbara?  If so, why the hell would she bother with that name?  If there is no baby or a boy or a girl not named Barbara, the show has some ‘splainin to do.  If there is no baby after all, maybe Lee will get pregnant again.  Will Jim and Lee reconcile?  How?
5) Will Riddler escape from Arkham in the end? And not be made the cartoon character/murderer that he has become?  Will he get some sort of purple and green ensemble for his wardrobe?  The panel also recommends a mask.
6) Is Azrael really dead?  The panel would be really sore if his death sticks.
7) Will Mr. Freeze, Firefly, and any of Strange’s other creations remain mindless goons with identities programmed into them by Strange, or will they emerge as the complex and varied rogues’ gallery that they become?
8) What will Penguin and his gang aim to do nowadays, especially after he and Butch (Drew Powell) blew up Azrael and after Penguin saw the newly alive Fish?
9) For that matter, what kind of havoc will Fish involve herself in, particularly with her new ability to bend people’s will at her touch?
10) Seriously, will we see Hush or Black Mask?  Are they people that Bruce already knows, such as friends from school?  Or, will the show change their origin stories, too?
11) Writers: explain the genesis of the newer, more femme fatale Ivy who suddenly becomes and looks older than Bruce, given the recent recasting of the role.  Warning: you have your work cut out for you.
12) 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?
13) 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.
14) Will Alfred start training Bruce again – or will Bruce seek his training from other sources?  He’s kind of at the age when he should be throwing more punches.  The panel feels that he needs to catch up to the anarchy around him.

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Gotham panel is seriously apprehensive about the future of this show.  There is a growing unrest among the panelists, given the writers’ propensity to ignore eighty years of material to write their own version of the Batman mythos.  While the panel would be 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, there is a general perception that the writers changed the direction of the show to compensate for the fans’ overall negative reaction to the first season but overcompensated in their course correction, to the detriment of the logic and entertainment value of the story, particularly in the second season’s second half.  In fact, most of the panel see the first half of the second season as a high point and regard the third season as a “make it or break it” season for the continued success, in ratings and, thereby, in future renewals, of the show.  The panelists advise the writers to revisit not only the Batman comics but also their original blueprint for the show and to establish a structure and story line for the show that rightly capitalizes upon the amazing performances of the cast (which the panel universally agreed were good if not phenomenal).  Also, the writers need 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 – after all, they are on Fox.

LOOKING AHEAD

Gotham has been renewed for a third season, which is slated to premiere on Fox on Monday, September 19, 2016, at 8:00 PM.  The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the third mid-season finale, which will likely air in or around December 2016. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Gotham coverage.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3B; 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 July 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all things Hydra, Inhuman, and Hive! If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, 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: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 3 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: The season 3 finale aired on ABC, Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of the Marvel property it recently acquired.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

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

CPU! began this season of Agents of SHIELD by publishing our first podcast about this series, which reviewed season one, recapped season two, and ruminated on the progress of season three; we then recorded a second podcast episode bridging the gap through the mid-season finale.  If you would like to catch up, click the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Midseason

Our SHIELD panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, recently convened once again to discuss Season 3B and all things Inhumanly Hive as well as to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments, since SHIELD was renewed for a fourth season by ABC. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the third season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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 podcast episode will revisit Gotham and the second half of its second season, dubbed “The Wrath of the Villains!”  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Revisited: Will we learn about the secret society and how far back the knowledge of this alien portal goes?

ANSWER: The secret society is, in fact, the root of what we know today as Hydra.  Part of Hydra’s existence is defined by the worship of the alien creature on the Planet, who we find out was exiled to the Planet by the Cree.  The secret society formed around the discovery of the portal, which is most likely Cree in origin, though nothing has been confirmed.  The secret society, for centuries, has engaged in a ritual in which sons of fathers were forced to draw lots (via selection stones) in order to determine who would “volunteer” to venture through the portal and search for the creature.  None came back alive until Ward/Not Ward (Brett Dalton), Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Fitz (Iain de Caestecker)/Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) orchestrated their respective escapes.

2) Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

3) Revisited: Will we learn what’s out in the desert?

ANSWER: The alien, which we learn was the first Inhuman ever to be created by the Cree alien race, was Hive.  Once an Earth-born human, the Cree experimented with terrogen crystals to create the first genetically mutated Inhuman, who had the power to “swarm” and affect the constitutions of other Inhumans and humans alike.  This being possessed the lifeless body of Ward after Will was killed and after Coulson strangled Ward on the Planet with his bionic hand.

4) Revisited: Who is Powers Boothe’s character, and what is his true mission?

ANSWER: Known as Malick, he became the de facto head of Hydra in this third season. His true mission, like all other Hydra heads before him, was to find Hive and bring him back through the portal, as Hydra officials worshiped the unknown Inhuman like a god (or maybe a devil).

5) Revisited: Will the Inhuman program be successful, and what will be its purpose?

ANSWER: This half season, Daisy (Chloe Bennett) was able to effect more of a program with metal manipulation guy, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), and a new discovery nicknamed “Yo-Yo” by Mack (Henry Simmons); however, not all of these individuals survived this season.

6) Revisited: Can Lash/Andrew be saved?

ANSWER: The short answer: no.  Though Lash/Andrew (Blair Underwood) survived and was squirreled away to the recesses of SHIELD’s headquarters after the mid-season finale, it turns out that Lash’s specific abilities were apparently ordained by some higher purpose, according to Lincoln; that purpose was to be able to cure Inhumans, specifically Daisy, who were held under the hypnotic “Sway” of Hive.  Sadly, Lash/Andrew completed his transformation and then was annihilated by the formidable Hive in one of many confrontations with the powerful being this season.

7) Will Ward/Not Ward use any lingering sense of Ward-ness (his memories, his feelings for Daisy, his skills, his grudges, etc.) while occupied by the alien being, or will this new Ward be a whole new animal reflective of the being within?

ANSWER: Hive Ward was most definitely a blend of Ward as well as all who Hive occupied before Ward came along.  Ward’s memories and feelings for Daisy did appear to affect Hive’s unusually strong Sway effect with Daisy; he seemed to favor her above all others.

8) What is the alien being’s endgame?

ANSWER: Once on Earth, Hive Ward’s mission was to create a new race of humans by attempting to make all humans Inhuman.

9) What or where is the alien planet?  Is it the Cree home world?  Is it somewhere else? Are there any other occupants on that planet besides the alien being, or did it kill everyone off all over the planet?

ANSWER: What or where the alien planet is remains a question, but it’s safe to say that Hive probably did kill everyone on the planet because he attempted, directly or indirectly, to do the same to Earth in season 3B.

10) Is the alien being the true face of Hydra/did it create Hydra?

ANSWER: Yes, Hive is the true face of Hydra, in the sense that Hydra was created partly in worship of Hive.  Thus, Hive indirectly created Hydra, though Hive was long exiled to the Planet by the Cree who created him.

11) What was the Hydra-symbol shaped structure on the alien planet?  Did the alien being live in it?

ANSWER: Still a question without an answer.

12) Have other alien beings inhabited other human visitors and found their way back to Earth?  Or, is the Ward/Not Ward alien being the first one?

ANSWER: As far as we know, Hive Ward is the only human possessed by an Inhuman to ever come to and from Earth, in either direction, because he was the first of his kind and the only one to be exiled to the Planet.  At least, so it appears.

13) Does the alien being plan to destroy Earth?  Why?

ANSWER: Indirectly, Hive’s intention was to expose all humans to terrogen crystal gas in order to effect their “evolution” to Inhumans.  Many humans do not have the alien genetic marker to allow such a transformation without side effects, mainly death, and though Hive enlisted a scientist obsessed with human evolution (and artificial augmentation) to experiment with human DNA such that humans might be able to accept the terrogen gas mutation without death, the humans subject to these experiments became mindless neanderthals with strength and speed but no real ability and no trace of who they used to be.  Thus, if Hive had succeeded in exposing the globe to the gas, he would have annihilated most of the human population on Earth, but his aim was to create a society evolved like him, as he was once human and believed himself to be altogether superior to humans.

14) Who are the Cree after all?

ANSWER: All we know so far is that they are an alien race of beings not originally from Earth.

15) Is Andrew/Lash actually dead?

ANSWER: He was not as of the mid-season finale, but he is now.

16) Where will May’s (Ming-Na Wen) head be when the second half of the season starts?

ANSWER: She was largely dutiful to SHIELD and to Coulson, though she vehemently disagreed with Phil in how to handle Daisy after she was affected by Hive’s Sway.

17) Who is the Powers Boothe character (beyond what we know), and is the Ward/Not Ward being what he was after in the end?

ANSWER: As above, he became the de facto head of Hydra after all other known heads were destroyed.  Yes, Hive Ward was his true objective; he was tasked with bringing him back to Earth.

18) Will Daisy learn to fly?  Soon?

ANSWER: Yes. As of the season finale, Daisy was flying, “Quake” style, though this was presented in a time-jump epilogue, said to be occurring six months after the primary events of the season.

19) When is the Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki)/Lance (Nick Blood) spin-off supposed to start, and would it be worth watching?

ANSWER: The purported spin-off was canceled by ABC prior to the network airing the pilot, so it doesn’t seem very worth watching.

20) Does the alien being have any plans for Hydra?  Is it aware of Hydra?

ANSWER: Hive planned to rule Hydra, all humans, and the whole world.  Hive became aware of Hydra when it arrived on Earth and sized up Malick after Malick fed information to Hive in the early days of his return to Earth (he watched a lot of TV).

21) What will happen with Daisy’s Inhuman task force?

ANSWER: As of now, two of them have died, and Daisy is off the reservation as of the “six months later” epilogue, so it is safe to say that the task force was short lived, or it is on effective hiatus, though it did help fight Hive in the end.

22) What will the aftermath of Will’s death be for Fitz/Simmons?  How will they evolve? Will they evolve?

ANSWER: Though Simmons very much missed Will, she allowed herself to explore a long overdue relationship with Fitz.  By the end of the season, they had done the horizontal mambo and come away without too much emotional fallout, so they seem to be well into romance territory.  Let them stay healthy and alive, Whedons!  We know the game!

23) How will the new Captain America movie and the events depicted therein affect our characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

ANSWER: There was mention of the so-called “Civil War” and the “Secovia Accords” on SHIELD, but the film’s events bore little overall effect on our television characters, but for mention of the need for Inhumans to “register” themselves.

24) What is the alien being’s true form?

ANSWER: He was once human but became a being that can swarm and possess others as well as affect Inhumans with his Sway.

New Questions

1) What happened in the six months prior to the third season time jump/epilogue?  How much could have really happened to change everything so much?

2) Is Daisy definitely “Quake” now?  What is her aim at this point?  Is she totally rogue?  Is she working undercover for SHIELD?  Is she off the reservation over mourning the loss of Lincoln?

3) If Coulson is no longer the director of SHIELD, who is?  Is May the new director? Why is Coulson no longer the director of SHIELD?  Did he break away over his personal (fatherly) feelings for Daisy or for another reason?

4) Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

5) Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

6) Will we be returning to some “the team chases Daisy” motif as we already experienced in season 2?  The panel is against this idea.

7) What or who will be the new “Big Bad” now that Hive has expired?

8) Is Hydra really gone?  It can’t be, right?  New heads and so forth?

9) Will Bobbi and/or Lance ever be brought back to the show, since their purported spin-off was axed before airing?

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, the podcast panel definitely feels that Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hit a show high point with season three; in fact, there was consensus, in that we think the third season is the best so far. Even if the panelists vary in whether we think this show is “can’t miss” appointment television, we’re still eager to see what happens next, though the season-ending time jump gave us a significant amount of pause. The body count in season three was high; the cast turnover was, therefore, also high; and there was definitely a sense of “Where can they go from here?” after the tense and engaging story of Hive and the origin of Hydra, especially as Hydra seems to be effectively benched in the show’s story lines.  There is also a sense that SHIELD is at a crossroads; the next season could be a “make it or break it” season for this program, since it seems, after years of following the Ward character through his many transformations, the story will need a new focal point. Will that new focal point be as engaging, as entertaining, and/or as satisfying as the last three seasons of Ward’s evolution and eventual demise?  That’s the question plaguing CPU!’s SHIELD panel today, particularly since the time jump epilogue seemed so anticlimactic in comparison to everything that came before it, but we all intend to keep watching at least a bit longer to find out the answer.  At the very least, the panel agrees that the show is moving along at a great (and better) clip than previous seasons, with engaging story arcs for its characters.  The panel still thinks it’s worth tuning in, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing.

LOOKING AHEAD

Marvel: Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fourth season, which is slated to premiere on ABC on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 10:00 PM.  The Marvel: Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth mid-season finale of SHIELD, which will likely air in or around December 2016.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!