Sense8, First Look & Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, (re)recorded in October 2018, our cluster of would-be homo-sensorium – moderator Kylie, Kelsey, Selene, and Chad – gathered together Around the Water Cooler to simultaneously take a First Look while Looking Back at canceled, high-concept Netflix science fiction series Sense8.  If you have not watched any of Sense8, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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

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PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Looking Back at “Sense8” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Sense8,” is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix. The series is comprised of two total seasons released sporadically on the streaming service from 2015-2018.

What:  “Sense8,” a science fiction drama created by the Wachowskis (The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas) and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5). The plot revolves around eight strangers from different parts of the world, who suddenly and inexplicably become mentally and emotionally linked, and explores themes of religion, politics, identity, gender, and sexuality.

When: The final episode of the series, a wrap-up finale film, was released on June 8, 2018.

Where: The action is set, quite literally, all over the world.

Why: Listen to the podcast episode (embedded link below) for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Sense8.

The first season was originally reviewed by CPU! Podcast Panelist Eddie in 2015.  You can read that review here.

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Sense8 = 4.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Sense8 tells the story of eight strangers: Will (Brian J. Smith), Riley (Tuppence Middleton), Capheus (Aml Ameen/Toby Onwumere), Sun (Doona Bae), Lito (Miguel Angel Silvestre), Kala (Tina Desai), Wolfgang (Max Riemelt), and Nomi (Jamie Clayton), each from a different culture and part of the world. While living their everyday lives, they suddenly have a vision of the violent death of a woman called Angelica (Darryl Hannah) and discover that they are ‘sensates:’ otherwise normal humans who are mentally and emotionally connected and who are able to communicate, sense, and use each other’s knowledge, language, and skills. While trying to live their lives and figure out how and why this connection has happened and what it means, they are aided by another sensate, Jonas (Naveen Andrews), who is trying to protect them from “Whispers” (Terrence Mann), another sensate, who is similarly empowered and who is hunting them down by tapping into their psychic link.

THOUGHTS

Sense8 came to the Chief CP’s attention by way of CPU! panelist Eddie, who submitted a glowing written review of the first season, linked above and published in 2015.  He was so passionate about the show, I decided to check out the show for myself, particularly given the presence of the erstwhile Sayid from Lost, Naveen Andrews, as well as Daryl Hannah, of all former mermaids, who figured relatively prominently in the story, according to the review.  As I began to watch and to discuss the series offline, other CPU! panelists also periodically expressed interest in talking about what was becoming decidedly a cult favorite, and so a CPU! panel was “birthed” from this expanding cluster.

Unfortunately, our Sense8 panel has had about as much luck getting the conversation to the listening public as the show has had remaining a viable, produced series by Netflix, as, much to the controversy and shock of its fan base, Sense8 was canceled by the streaming giant in 2017.  Panelists came and went with the show’s uncertain future becoming more certain.  In addition, and sadly, we had some meaty Sense8 recordings in the can as of summer 2017, but they became victim to the cataclysmic CPU! equipment failure of winter 2018 and were lost.  Fortunately, frequent CPU! panelists Kelsey and Selene along with newer (but not brand new) panelist Chad found it in their hearts to gather Around the Water Cooler once more to Look Back – while taking their second First Look – at a show for which these panelists repeatedly express effusive passion as well as regret regarding its seemingly sacrificial cancellation by Netflix.  Though this series ended its critically acclaimed (if allegedly expensive) run early, it clearly made an impression on our panelists, which they wistfully dissect in the episode below.

This podcast was (re)recorded in October 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points in Sense8. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  This Saturday, at 7:00 PM, CPU! is going live again!  There (hopefully) should be an in-person audience, and we will (hopefully) endeavor to live-stream the whole shindig once more to our Facebook page.  We’ll be back at Grand Rapids Comic Con at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with our spicy debate feature entitled “Vs,” when we go TREKKING THROUGH THE FINAL FRONTIER: THE CPU! VOYAGE INTO THE NEUTRAL ZONE!!! There, our 6 Trekkiest panelists will engage! in a multifaceted, multi-generational debate tackling the many entries in the universe of Star Trek. We will then publish an audio-only version next Wednesday, in our best rerun fashion. You won’t want to miss it! Here’s the link to the Facebook Event – plus, this panel will also seed a new ongoing Star Trek series panel for the podcast!  Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep abreast of all the details, but here’s the art for it for now!  Stay tuned!

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RECOMMENDATION
The panel enthusiastically, with all digits and vocal chords and shared senses, recommends Sense8, particularly to fans of the Wachowskis and their special oeuvre of high-concept storytelling; to fans of science fiction; to fans of inclusive TV; and to fans who will not be offended by sexual themes, violence, and/or coarse language.  The panel unanimously praised the performances, writing, direction, and overall production values of this show.  The panelists further believe that Sense8 is both exceptional and noteworthy for its originality, attention to detail, and focused (and achieved) goal of being an inclusive, all-encompassing tale that effectively, successfully, and without offense crosses racial, gender-based, sexual, religious, and other cultural lines/spectra.  In fact, they are simultaneously impressed with the breadth and scope of employed settings and locales; the carefully chosen, symbolic use of music (both source and thematic); and the unmitigated courage of telling a tale that delves deeply into philosophical, spiritual, cultural, and other realms, all of which may, unfortunately, have doomed the show to permanent cult status as well as indirectly induced its untimely demise.  All of the panelists also see this program as easily reviewed and watched again, despite some lingering questions and thirst for more story produced by the engaging overarching series framework, including the satisfying, if rushed, ending.  In any event, the show’s aesthetic imbues it with a potentially timeless charm, and the panel cannot recommend this unique series more highly, though the panelists also caution that a potential viewer’s heart might break, simply because the journey is so criminally short.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
Canceled!  Sense8 was canceled in 2017 by Netflix after two seasons, which are still both available to stream on the service.  Fortunately, due to fan outcry, after the second season proper ended on a whopper of a cliffhanger, the streaming giant commissioned a two-and-a-half hour wrap-up film, which was released on June 8, 2018, and which provided an ending that (mostly) satisfies, at least for our four devoted panelists, the Chief CP included.  Thus, as above, the panelists cannot help but glowingly recommend this series, given its complete beginning, middle, and end, even though some lingering questions and mysteries remain.  Of course, if Netflix goes the unlikely route of jumping on the revival/reboot train and decides to be charitable to this high-concept science fiction show that it previously canceled, CPU! will readily reconvene its resident cluster and resume coverage of the original and intelligent Sense8 anew.

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek” – Recapping Seasons 1 and 2; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek” is a Canadian sitcom, which airs on cable network POP in the United States, though it is currently on hiatus.

What:  “Schitt’s Creek,” created by Eugene Levy and Dan Levy, is based on a series of situations contrasting a once-rich family and their worldly big-city attitudes with sudden small-town living and the honest, down-to-earth, hard-working residents of fictional town Schitt’s Creek.

When: The first season aired from February 11, 2015, to May 6, 2015, and the second season aired from January 19, 2016, to March 29, 2016, on cable network POP in the United States (after first airing on the CBC in Canada), each with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in the fictional town of Schitt’s Creek, which we can only guess is somewhere in Ontario, Canada, since that is where the show is filmed.

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek = 4.8, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The series stars Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose, a wealthy video store magnate, and Catherine O’Hara as his wife Moira, a formerly successful soap star. The family loses their fortune when their business manager fails to pay their taxes. They are forced to rebuild their lives with their sole remaining asset: a small town named Schitt’s Creek which they had bought their son as a joke birthday gift years before. The story revolves around the family’s life living in two adjacent rooms of a rundown motel with their pampered twenty-something adult children, David and Alexis, played by Dan Levy and Annie Murphy, respectively.  The cast also features Chris Elliott, Jennifer Robertson, and Emily Hampshire as series regulars.

THOUGHTS

By popular request, though notably by established CPU! panelists and viewers, Schitt$ Creek has, as of this publication, become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler!  Requesting CPU! panelists include Nick, our panel silver medalist who likes to meditate in CPU!’s “nerdy” and “funny” realms; his wife Sarah, who joins him for talks about lots of shows as long as they are not comic book adaptations; Netflix and “Looking Back” aficionado Andrew; and Amy, who appeared once before around the Water Cooler to Look Back at Ally McBeal. These four and the Chief CP as moderator gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” at the first two seasons of this quirky comedy. In so doing, the panelists examine the Rose family dynamics and contributing personalities, laugh along with the folks the Roses meet in the town, and generally praise this show effusively. The panel generally finds the series to be as smart as it is subtly funny and unlike anything on typical American TV nowadays, despite the show’s clear influences (as the panel sees it) of Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Riches, and Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara’s prior projects, with a particular flavor of Waiting for Guffman contributing to the proceedings. Of course, in Schitt$ Creek, these influences mix together to form a special sauce – or, perhaps, chicken enchiladas – entirely of the show’s, and its creators’, own making.

Tonight’s episode is the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on United States cable network POP in 2015.  In this episode, our panel reflects on and recaps the first two seasons of Schitt$ Creek, reacting to the various quirky characters and notably hilarious situations in which they find themselves.

This episode was recorded in June 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first two seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Thursday, schedule permitting, our Series of Unfortunate Events panel returns to the Water Cooler to react to Season Two of Netflix’s adaptation of the Lemony Snicket novels.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Schitt$ Creek is universally recommended by our CPU! panel to fans of the actors in the cast, particularly of Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, and to fans of comparable and/or influential fare like Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Riches, and director/actor Christopher Guest’s feature films, in which Levy and O’Hara made many joint appearances.  The panelists agreed that anyone who watches this comedy “can get something out of it,” particularly whatever the viewer wants to get out of it, because the show is an easy, low-risk binge and, therefore, low commitment overall.  The humor is distinctly the show’s own and may not appeal to everyone; however, it is subtle and satirical all at the same time.  The characters have some caricature-like qualities but embody those qualities so completely, they become fully fleshed out personae for the viewer and accessible to anyone, regardless of background.  One panelist described the series as “surprising,” stating that he did not expect to like it as much as he did.  Additionally, the panel generally praises the comedic performances of the four main actors and the writing and generally characterizes the show as “better and better” the more one watches.   In any event, the panelists find the show “fun” and believe those who connect to it will have as much fun as we have had watching and discussing it so far!

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

The CBC and, therefore, POP renewed Schitt$ Creek for a fifth season, which is expected to premiere in January 2019, though no tentative premiere date has yet been announced. CPU! will next visit Schitt$ Creek for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries” following the release of Season 4 to Netflix, which currently has the streaming rights to the series and which has, in the past, released seasons of this show to its service in the fall.  Our next Schitt$ Creek episode will focus upon the third and fourth seasons of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for Schitt$ Creek coverage going forward.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding Schitt$ Creek as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “iZombie” – Recapping Seasons 1, 2, and 3; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on iZombie” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “iZombie” is a horror, crime/procedural, comedy-drama series that airs on the CW, typically during the spring.

What:  “iZombie,” developed by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, is a loose adaptation of the comic book series of the same name created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint.

When: Season One aired from March 14, 2015, to June 9, 2015, with a total of 13 episodes; Season Two aired from October 6, 2015, to April 12, 2016, with a total of 19 episodes; and Season Three aired from April 4, 2017, to June 27, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes, all on the CW.  

Where: The action is set primarily in Seattle, Washington – present day.

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

During the annual Fall TV Preview for the 2014-2015 season, CPU! Chief Kylie picked up this show for CPU!’s review.  When I picked it up, I said:

Okay, the name of the show is on the level of ridiculously stupid, and the rash of zombie-related fare is as overdone as vampires (though I enjoy vampires so much more than zombies). Also, this could cross heavily into procedural territory.  Yet, there is an interesting twist wherein the main character absorbs memories from brains she eats.  I have a feeling it might be better than the name lets on…then again…

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

iZombie = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Seattle medical resident Olivia “Liv” Moore (Rose McIver) is turned into a zombie while attending a boat party. She abandons her career and breaks up with her fiance, much to the disappointment and puzzlement of her family. She discovers that if she does not periodically satisfy her new appetite for brains, she starts turning into a stereotypical zombie, stupid and homicidal. Instead of feeding by killing innocent people, Liv decides to take a job at the King County morgue and to eat the brains of the corpses she autopsies. Her secret is guessed by her boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli). Ravi soon becomes Liv’s friend and confidant, and as a scientist, he is intrigued by her condition.

Liv finds out that whenever she eats a dead person’s brain, she temporarily inherits some of their personality traits and skills, and she experiences flashbacks of that person’s life. Those visions are generally triggered by sights (events or objects) or sounds (repeated sentences). In the case of murder victims, the flashbacks offer clues about the killer. Liv decides to use this new ability to help Police Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) solve crimes. Though she initially passes herself off as a psychic, Clive eventually learns the truth about her and zombies. Meanwhile, Ravi works to develop a cure for Liv’s affliction in the hope that one day she will be able to resume her former life.

THOUGHTS

A group of brave and brainy CPU! regular panelists were ready to get scratched and slightly gourmet to discuss another comic book adaptation with a decidedly cult following hanging out rather comfortably with several other comic book adaptations over on the CW network. Specifically, regular CPU! panelists Kristen, the reigning panel champ; vampire, supernatural, and SHIELD enthusiast Jen (going by Jen S. in this episode); and Original though Not Unfortunate, if she gives you 13 Reasons Why, panelist Jenn (going by Jenn K. in this episode), gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” at the first three seasons of iZombie. The panelists examine Liv’s initial foray into life as a member of the undead, Ravi’s discovery of her secret and work on a potential cure, and the friends and foes of the first season; to Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley), Liv’s on/off again fiance and boyfriend (and zombie), taking on the persona of “Chaos Killer;” and to all-zombie military contractor Fillmore Graves and the advent of zombie discrimination, as the Seattle population of zombies increases and becomes known to the decidedly disturbed non-zombie population of the Emerald City.

Ultimately, our CPU! faithful group of panelists thinks that iZombie is a unique, quirky, and fresh comedy-drama addition to the annals of burgeoning zombie fiction, even if it is nothing like fare in the vein of The Walking Dead.  In this episode, the first of a catch-up miniseries in which we chat about this show, our panel reflects on and recaps the first three seasons of iZombie, reacting to the various quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves, including Liv’s ingestion of “brains of the week,” which produces a decidedly procedural format underlying this program, albeit with a very specific twist.

This episode was recorded in June 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first three seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we offer the second of our two-part iZombie miniseries, in which we will recap Season 4, which will render CPU! officially caught up to the current season.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION
iZombie is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of zombie fiction with some crossover appeal who are not afraid to laugh, keeping in mind properties like Shaun of the Dead; to fans of genre fare like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which readily exploit nerd-core and offer pop culture winks and nods in happy ways; and to procedural TV with a twist, such as Bones, especially those that offer a heaping dose of dark comedy.  One panelist cautioned that if a zombie enthusiast is not willing to laugh at their beloved zombies in question, this show would likely not appeal to said enthusiast, particularly if said zombie fan remains purist to zombie fiction’s general horror roots.  Chief CP Kylie also compared the humor of Arrested Development to that of this show, in that iZombie is laden with innuendo and meta references and is self-aware without taking itself too seriously, which renders the show all the more charming   Further, the panel generally praises the performances of the main cast, particularly McIver, with her different affects signifying zombie brains of the week, and Kohli (Ravi is, unanimously, the panel’s favorite character) as well as the generally inventive writing, though the panel also agrees that there are better seasons than others.  In fact, the panelists describe the show as generally “solid” with a noted lull in the third season when the writers aimed for something more topical to current events, in on-the-nose allegory, rather than steering the story in a direction that flowed better within the world that had been organically established and developed up until that point.  In any event, our panel universally had and has great fun watching this series and believes that most with an open and slightly nerdy sense of humor will have fun watching it too.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
The CW renewed iZombie for a fifth and final season, which is expected to premiere in spring 2019 (no tentative premiere date has yet been announced). CPU! will next visit iZombie next week for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries;” the new episode will focus upon the fourth season of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for iZombie coverage going forward and through its announced conclusion following the fifth season.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding iZombie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

Battle Creek, First Look & Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, (re)recorded in May 2018, our group of motley Michiganders – moderator Kylie, Spencer, Laurie, and Chad –gathered together Around the Water Cooler to simultaneously take a First Look while Looking Back at canceled buddy cop comedy-drama Battle Creek.  If you have not watched any of Battle Creek, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Looking Back at “Battle Creek” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Battle Creek,” a comedy-drama that aired on CBS in 2015.

What: Created by Vince Gilligan and David Shore and starring Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters, the show followed the mismatched partnership of a police detective and a FBI agent in Battle Creek, Michigan.

When: The show aired for one season in 2015 on CBS.

Where: The show is set in Battle Creek, Michigan – present day.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Battle Creek.

During the annual Fall TV Preview for the 2014-2015 season, CPU! Chief Kylie picked up this show for CPU!’s review.  When I picked it up, I said:

Though I’m not much for procedural cop shows, this is about a town in Michigan, and that’s where I’m from.  The town itself is about 45 miles from me in Grand Rapids, and it’s the home of cereal brands like Kellogg’s and Post.  So, I’m curious enough to watch it.

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Battle Creek = 3.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

FBI Agent Milt Chamberlain (Duhamel) is transferred to Battle Creek from Detroit under mysterious circumstances, where he must work closely with the local police department, particularly hot-headed Detective Russ Agnew (Winters) and his motley band of fellow cops and co-workers, to solve local crimes.  The trouble is, Battle Creek, city of, is strapped for resources; Russ is threatened by the federal money backing Milt’s position, and perhaps by the agent’s easy good looks, while Russ and the rest of the Battle Creek PD must rely on ingenuity, intuition, and nerve to address the varied crimes committed in the “sleepy,” cereal-producing town of Battle Creek.

THOUGHTS

Your Chief CP originally nominated Battle Creek to inaugurate our yet-to-be-inaugurated “Canceled Corner” feature.  Imagine my surprise when not only a frequent CPU! panelist but two brand new panelists eagerly jumped up to chronicle the goings-on of one, low-rated, lowly little season of a show that has some pedigree behind it, even if it had little else, including network backing and support.  Specifically, regular CPU! panelist Spencer, who hangs out most on our comic book adaptation panels as well as the panels covering UK imports (can’t imagine why), and two brand new – and married – panelists, Laurie and Chad, gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” while “Looking Back” (we’re complicated around here!) at this unceremoniously canceled buddy cop dramedy from 2015.  Though this program came and went somewhat quickly, it clearly made an impression, which the panel wistfully dissects in the episode below.

This podcast was (re)recorded in May 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points in Battle Creek. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we launch a new panel “Around the Water Cooler” as some of our most frequent panelists and CW devotees put their brains together, though not as food, to catch up on iZombie, in the first part of a two-part miniseries for just that purpose.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION
The panel recommends Battle Creek particularly to fans of Dean Winters, who the panel unanimously agreed altogether makes the show; to fans of smaller towns, like the Cereal Capital of the World; and to fans of procedural TV but with a twist.  The panel lauded the effortless chemistry of the two leads, both with each other and with the rest of the ensemble, as well as the show’s somewhat hesitant but mostly successful attempts to tackle large, important social topics and the effects such issues pose to so-called small towns. Several of the panelists also see this program as easily reviewed and watched again.  Some have already done so but, in any event, the show’s aesthetic and winks and nods to the real life Battle Creek give it a potentially timeless charm.  Also, it’s got a great theme song that sounds like “Michigan.”  If you’re from the Mitten, you’ll get it.  Though the show’s only season is self-contained, the ending is rushed, no doubt influenced by the show’s early cancellation, despite its full season order.  The panel, therefore, qualifies its recommendation with caution, as what passes for a conclusion left the panel with a lack of easy satisfaction, which we expect would be a common reaction.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
Canceled!  Battle Creek was canceled after one season, and after only nine episodes had aired, by CBS. Fortunately, and at last check, the one season in question is available to stream on Netflix.  As always, be wary that the ending on this series is messy and somewhat rushed (“half-assed,” as one panelist called it), so while the panel generally recommends the show as above, the panelists do so with caution, given the less than satisfactory ending attached to the final moments of the series.

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “Grace and Frankie” – Recapping Seasons 1 and 2; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on Grace and Frankie” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

ADVISORY: Due to discussion of concepts like yam lube, we do make frank (but scientific) references to genitalia in this episode.  It’s the world of the show, people.

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grace and Frankie” is a comedy-drama web television and Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Grace and Frankie,” created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles of Grace and Frankie, two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce that they are in love and plan to get married. Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn co-star in supporting roles.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on May 8, 2015, and the second season was released in its entirety to Netflix on May 6, 2016, each with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in San Diego, California, and surrounding communities.

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Grace and Frankie = 4.1, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Grace (Fonda), a retired cosmetics mogul, and Frankie (Tomlin), a hippie art teacher, whose husbands, Robert (Sheen) and Sol (Waterston), are successful divorce lawyers in San Diego.  Grace and Frankie’s lives are turned upside down when Robert and Sol announce that they are in love with each other and are leaving their wives. Now, the women, who have never particularly liked each other, are forced to live together and must learn to unite and to cope with difficulties in their new lives as 70-something divorcees.

THOUGHTS

By popular request, though notably by frequent CPU! panelists and viewers unlikely to be in the intended target audience for this quirky comedy-drama, Grace and Frankie has become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler. Tonight’s episode is the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on Netflix in 2015.

Ultimately, our requesting CPU! faithful think that Grace and Frankie is a charming comedy about growing old gracefully – but also about growing up gracefully – in these, our modern times.  Plus, with this vocal clamoring for coverage of this program, our panel grew to be comprised of a variety of voices, namely four frequent panelists, including Kristen, the reigning panel champ; Krista, who finds herself drawn most to British television like Downton Abbey and Broadchurch and dramas like Orange is the New Black, How to Get Away with Murder, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Titus is a self-proclaimed drama queen!); Amie, most famous for her ongoing participation in our Once Upon a Time and 13 Reasons Why panels; and Samantha, who has joined us for our Gilmore Girls Life Series and for a Look Back at Marvel’s Agent Carter.  

In this episode, our panel reflects on and recaps the first two seasons of Grace and Frankie, reacting to the various quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves.  From husbands leaving their wives for each other, to the odd couple chemistry of 9 to 5 vets Fonda and Tomlin; from the melding of this peculiar Brady Bunch of offspring to the various significant others that connect to them; from “yes nights” to yam lube, our panel reacts to it all.

And because CPU! is always helpful – and because we wonder aloud in this episode about some of the inspirations for the situations depicted on this series – we offer you this handy link.  From farm to…well, you can read it for yourself (not an official sponsor):

This Stuff Is Real

This episode was recorded in March 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first two seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we offer the second of our two-part Grace and Frankie miniseries, in which we will recap Seasons 3 and 4, which will render CPU! officially caught up to the current season.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Grace and Frankie is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of the actors in the cast, particularly of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston, and to people who sincerely like to laugh.  Some of the panel cautions, however, that with frank discussion about lube (and later vibrators) as well as some salty language coming from these septuagenarians, not every potential viewer might find the show funny or be copacetic with the vernacular utilized therein.   Also, the panel generally praises the comedic performances of the four main actors and the writing while agreeing that there are better episodes than others; in fact, the panel voices a variety of reactions to the supporting characters, namely the four actors playing the grown up children of the couples in question.  In any event, our panel universally had great fun watching this series and believes that most with an open sense of humor will have fun watching it too.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Netflix released the fourth season of Grace and Frankie on January 19, 2018, and has renewed the show for a fifth season, though no tentative release date has yet been announced by the streaming giant.  Most pundits expect the show to return in 2019, in keeping with its traditional once per year release pattern.  CPU! will next visit Grace and Frankie next week for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries;” the new episode will focus upon the third and fourth seasons of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for ongoing Grace and Frankie coverage going forward.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding Grace and Frankie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂