Progress Report: Post-February Sweeps, 2017-2018 Pilots

It’s time for a progress report for the new pilots – long-running shows covered by this blog will be addressed at end of season in June! Where are the new shows (that are left), and how are they doing nowadays?  Read below to find out!

Thanks as always to TVLine and to other sources for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with last season, a growing number of CPU! members may find shows initially passed by the CPU! Chief and choose to review them.  CPU! readers will be informed if the show’s status changes regarding coverage as the season progresses through the handy CPU! Progress Reports, and all written reviews will be published!

9-1-1

9-1-1, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 3, 2018

WHO: Angela Bassett (American Horror Story)

WHAT: A fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders — cops, paramedics, firefighters — the people who put their lives on the line to save others.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  A few thoughts on this first entry, numerically titled and, therefore, ahead of the alphabet. While we at CPU! are big fans of Ms. Bassett, being that we’ve watched her on American Horror Story for several seasons and greatly enjoy her contributions to the horror anthology juggernaut, the fact is that with so little information to go on for this mid-season entry on Fox’s new lineup, we are hard pressed to adopt this title for our pick-up list.  There is no trailer, the description is thin, and, frankly, it sounds potentially procedural in nature, if not a recycling and/or rehashing of medical and law enforcement dramas currently all over network and cable TV.  What we’re saying is: it doesn’t sound original, no matter how much caliber Angela Bassett may add to it.  So, we start with a pass.  Bodes well, eh?

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  Nine of ten ordered episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.

CPU! STATUS: There has been some modest percolation and rumblings of praise for this show, but no one has specifically requested it as a podcast candidate.  We’ll keep an eye on it.

9JKL

9JKL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 2

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains), David Walton (About a Boy), Liza Lapira (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23), Matt Murray (Rookie Blue), Linda Lavin (The Good Wife), Elliott Gould (Ray Donovan), Albert Tsai (Dr. Ken)

WHAT: A family comedy inspired by a time in Mark Feuerstein’s adult life when he lived in apartment 9K in the building he grew up in, sandwiched between his parents’ apartment, 9J, and his brother, sister-in-law and their baby’s apartment, 9L, and his attempts to set boundaries with his intrusive but well-meaning family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This feels like a very borderline situation for a situation comedy, in terms of actual, successful laughter, as far as this Couch Potato (CP) is concerned.  Though apparently derived from real-life sources, namely Mark Feuerstein’s real life, the teaser trailer offers several repetitive jokes and a mixed bag in terms of comedic presentation.  But for each low, including Mark himself, who keeps trying for comedy but somehow isn’t able to achieve it as easily as others, there is at least one or two highs, namely the actors playing his parents.  In fact, it’s the casting this time around that is giving me the urge to at least try an episode or two and see if a half hour is better than a couple of minutes.  David Walton’s brand of “dudebro” is extremely watchable, owing to the nuances of the underrated but erstwhile About a Boy alum’s particular oeuvre of comedic timing, and veterans Linda Lavin and Elliott Gould are money players in the comedy genre – they are bound to eke out a few laughs.  The trailer doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but there’s no harm in taking this one for a whirl and seeing what happens.

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on February 5, 2018, with a total of 16 episodes, but no renewal/cancellation announcement has yet been made.  TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Alex, Inc.

ALEX, INC., ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 28, 2018

WHO: Zach Braff (Scrubs), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Tiya Sircar (The Good Place), Hillary Anne Matthews (New Girl)

WHAT: Based on the podcast of the same name, Alex Schuman is an inquisitive journalist, husband, and father who dives headfirst into the brave new world of entrepreneurship when he quits his stable job and starts his own business.

Trailer Available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Honestly, much of this pick up is in podcast solidarity.  It’s a TV show based upon a podcast.  ONE CAN DREAM, RIGHT?!  In less selfish news, though the premise of this show may appeal most strongly to a narrow but cultivated set of hipster Millennials…Zach Braff.  Zach Braff is all you need to know.  Who doesn’t find Zach Braff funny? (If you answer “me,” I’m calling shenanigans!).  It’s time for his post-Scrubs TV revival to take shape, and what better time and with what better vehicle than this?  Also, this premise and dose of edgy observational humor is the kind of real life funny that actually plays as funny, even in a two minute trailer, though, perhaps, I’m jaded by the previous trailer.  Or, perhaps, I’m cautiously optimistic.  Then again, this could fail on its merits because podcasts are still fairly niche in terms of audience, and it’s hard to see how TV would build upon that.  Not that we know anything about that around here, or anything.

A.P. Bio

A.P. BIO, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: February 1, 2018 (special preview)

WHO: Patton Oswalt (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Mary Sohn (Teachers), Lyric Lewis (The CW’s MADtv), Aparna Brielle (Grimm), Nick Peine (Office Christmas Party), Tom Bennett (Drunk History: UK), Jacob McCarthy

WHAT: A hilariously cynical Ivy League professor loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school biology teacher where he imposes his unorthodox teaching style and uses the kids to plot out revenge on those who wronged him.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  This is a new spin on the “reluctant school teacher” trope, but the premise outlined in the available trailer resonates like recycled sitcom, in many regards, with updated motifs like social media “cat-fishing” – encouraged by a teacher, no less – and possibly slightly more erudite potty humor. Describing the main character as “hilariously cynical” is being far too generous, however.  Apparently from the creative and collective former and current SNL minds of Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels, a brilliant but irascible teacher in the vein of the brilliant but irascible Dr. House (from House) fails to achieve tenure in the Ivies and ends up teaching high school.  The premise by itself is a struggle to buy into without more information but so is the likability of the main character – or even the UN-likability.  Mostly, the character is bland, and it’s hard to know how the audience should relate to the teacher when he’s so two-dimensional, at least until he develops his inevitable sensitivity and inspiration from teaching today’s advanced placement biology students – development not shown in the teaser, for the record.  In all honesty, throughout the viewing of this trailer, I kept thinking that teachers don’t need additional pressure from politicians and parents based upon a fictional representation that is more to hate than to love, and in these sociopolitical and cultural times, where the slightest of mascots can render unintended influences on those of us living real life, the entire joke behind the premise doesn’t quite land, at least not for this CP. If you take a gander and disagree, let us know.  We’re willing to change (and have)!

STATUS: The show officially premiered on March 1, 2018, after three episodes were released to streaming platforms beginning on February 1.  Critical response is largely middling to negative. TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: The critics mostly say this show is not that funny.  That’s how the Chief CP felt watching the two-minute teaser; however, “Always Sunny…” fans seem to be finding this one with mixed reactions.  We’ll keep an eye on it.

Black Lightning

BLACK LIGHTNING, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: January 16, 2018

WHO: Cress Williams (Hart of Dixie), Nafessa Williams (Code Black), China Anne McClain (House of Payne), Christine Adams (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

WHAT: Jefferson Pierce made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s a comic book show.  CPU!’s comic book core (or corps?) will likely step up to the plate for this one, particularly if it is folded into the crossover potential of the Arrowverse, making it a likely additional entry for our DCTU panel.  The trailer shows some influence by Marvel’s Luke Cage but also the broader, moodier tones of the DC film franchise as a whole, ringing with more gravitas than even Arrow when it first began.  How will it all come out in the wash?  We’ll be there to find out.

STATUS: Eight of a total of thirteen episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.  TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.  Popular response (i.e. internet reaction) has been highly mixed.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Brave

THE BRAVE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Mike Vogel (Under the Dome), Anne Heche (Save Me, Men in Trees), Tate Ellington (Quantico), Demetrius Grosse (Westworld, Justified), Noah Mills (2 Broke Girls), Sofia Pernas (Jane the Virgin), Hadi Tabbal, Natacha Karam

WHAT: A heart-pounding look into the complex world of our bravest military heroes who make personal sacrifices while executing the most challenging and dangerous missions behind enemy lines.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Military-themed dramas seem to be the type of show en vogue on network television this coming season.  More on that later.  While there could be some potentially tense and riveting drama rooted in The Brave (formerly For God and Country), whether this show decides to focus on missions by episode or over the course of a season, this program rings as somewhat procedural in nature given the fact that we would be watching military task forces or units solve potential international crises, short or long term. The question that comes to mind is how would that premise, in either framework, sustain, repetitively and over the course of a season?   It appears, from the trailer, that the driving force of the show will be “how do they do it?” rather than “how does it fit within the larger picture?”  Lacking a gimmick, like 24’s real time motif, the premise as it stands is underwhelming.  Plus, this CP is not an overall fan of Anne Heche, because reasons, and is also wary of how the “enemies” behind enemy lines might be portrayed, given current climates in our country. If this show earns some critical acclaim or popular steam, we may revise our stance, but for now, there is little likely to attract our merry band of podcasters.  If you watch and like this show and want us to cover it, send us a comment or an email (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com).

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on January 29, 2018, with a total of 13 episodes, but no renewal/cancellation announcement has yet been made.  TV pundits believe this freshman series resides squarely on the bubble of cancellation, with a long shot at best at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: No change.  Though military dramas seemed to be the trend of the season, most if not all of them are generally low-rated and are living precariously on the bubble.  There is no reason for CPU! to change its mind, and no one seems to be talking about this one.

By the Book

BY THE BOOK, LIVING BIBLICALLY, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: February 5, 2018 February 26, 2018

WHO: Jay R. Ferguson (The Real O’Neals), David Krumholtz (Numb3rs), Ian Gomez (Supergirl, Cougar Town), Lindsey Kraft (Getting On), Tony Rock (Everybody Hates Chris), Camryn Manheim (Ghost Whisperer)

WHAT: A modern day man at a crossroads in his life decides to live according to the Bible. Based on the bestselling book by A.J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Aside from the fact that there is no teaser trailer to expand upon this brief premise description, this sounds rather Hallmark channel at its core.  No judgments as much as cursory observations, and while this CP sees the potential of an audience for this program, especially given CBS’ core viewership, this is not the type of drama (is it even a drama?) that entices here at Couch Potatoes Unite!  If you want us to start covering it, though, let us know.  For now, we’ve got enough and better established TV watching commitments to keep us busy.

STATUS: Three of a total of twelve episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.  TV pundits believe it is too early to predict chances at renewal or cancellation.

CPU! STATUS: We have heard literally nothing about it and believe our initial assessment is accurate enough to keep us in the “pass” column.

Champions

CHAMPIONS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 8, 2018

WHO: Anders Holm (The Mindy Project), Andy Favreau (Aquarius), JJ Totah (Liv and Maddie), Nina Wadia, Mouzam Makkar, recurring player Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project)

WHAT: The single-cam comedy centers on Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition who lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Kaling), one of his old high school flings.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Your CPU! Chief CP likes The Mindy Project; we’ve intermittently covered the show here at CPU! because I and a couple other Couch Potatoes enjoy the unique comedic chops of Mindy Kaling, the erstwhile Kelly Kapoor from The Office and Mindy Lahiri on the previously mentioned TMP.  It’s nice to see that she will land squarely on her feet upon conclusion of TMP, which is going into its final, Hulu-airing season, its sixth.  Still, this situation comedy does not spark interest, her presence and one of her former Mindy Lahiri beaus aside.  The premise is sort of like Three Men and a Baby, if there were only two men and if the baby was a teenager.  There is no trailer to judge writing or performance, and aside from Kaling, there isn’t much draw from a prior project side of the coin to entice in lieu of the pencil-thin premise.  It has the potential to be smart if Kaling writes for the show; it also has the potential to be a locker-room driven comedy, given the notion that the main character owns a gym.  There are too many “ifs” to inspire views.  As always, let us know if we are wrong.  I don’t think we are.

STATUS: It premiered two weeks ago!  It’s too early to tell!

CPU! STATUS: Same.

the-crossing

THE CROSSING, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: April 2, 2018

WHO: Steve Zahn (Mad Dogs), Sandrine Holt (MacGyver, House of Cards), Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome), Jay Karnes (The Shield), Simone Kessell (Of Kings and Prophets), Grant Harvey (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Kelly Missal (One Life to Live), Marcuis W. Harris (Vice Principals), Rick Gomez (Justified), Tommy Bastow (EastEnders), John D’Leo, Rob Campbell, Bailey Skodje, Luc Roderique

WHAT: Refugees from a war-torn country start showing up to seek asylum in an American town. Only the country these people are from is America and the war they are fleeing is 250 years in the future. The local sheriff with a past, a federal agent, and a mother in search of her missing refugee daughter drive this allegory with a surprising conspiracy at the center.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  The trailer teases some interesting mysteries – what are these futuristic refugees fleeing?  How do they have powers?  Are they friend or foe?  Are they human?  There is some potential science fiction, making the premise potentially attractive to CPU! panelists.  There was nothing particularly impressive about the trailer presentation, yet the intrigue is palpable.  Plus, the description refers to both allegory and conspiracy.  Just what will we be watching?  Only one way to find out.  Interestingly, as the trailer started, this CP fleetingly thought, “This is like Lost, in reverse maybe.”  The trailer then connected the show to Lost by crediting the network as the broadcaster of both.  On the nose, then, ABC is seeking its next Lost.  There is nothing in the trailer suggesting that The Crossing will be such a contender to compare to the venerable and controversial preceding drama, but maybe today’s cynical TV audiences will be surprised.

Deception

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Edie Falco (The Sopranos), Anthony Edwards (ER), Miles Gaston Villanueva (The Young and the Restless), Gus Halper (Power, Public Morals), Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Julianne Nicholson (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Constance Marie (Switched at Birth), Heather Graham (Scrubs), Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy), Mark Moses (Mad Men), Larry Cedar (Deadwood), Kate Beahan (Mistresses), Carlos Gomez (Madam Secretary), James DuMont (American Horror Story, Treme)

WHAT: The inaugural installment of the eight-episode anthology series focuses on Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted in 1996 of murdering their parents and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Yawn.  Yet another entry in the Law and Order franchise.  Your Chief CP could not even watch the trailer – it’s clear that Dick Wolf and company want to get a crack at the popularity of the American Crime Story anthology series currently doing well on Fox/FX.  Also, there are too many procedural programs and not enough time.  We do have some slight interest expressed in Law and Order coverage, but it will take planning to cover the decades and spin-offs associated with this franchise.  Also, the Menendez murders are just not that interesting a concept.  If you would like to vote away our massive cynicism here, you need only comment, email, etc.

STATUS: Eight episodes were ordered by the Peacock for the first season of this anthology series; the first season finale aired on November 14, 2017.  No announcement regarding the show’s “true” future has yet been made, and pundits seem hesitant to make predictions either way, though measurements seem to indicate that this program is a “stable performer,” ratings-wise.

CPU! STATUS: Still yawning.

Life Sentence

LIFE SENTENCE, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: March 7, 2018

WHO: Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Elliot Knight (American Gothic), Dylan Walsh (Unforgettable), Gillian Vigman (New Girl), Brooke Lyons (iZombie), Carlos PenaVega (Grease: Live, Big Time Rush), Jayson Blair (Young & Hungry)

WHAT: When a young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.”

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  In many ways, the concept of this show feels like a tweaking of No Tomorrow, recently canceled by the very same network.  Instead, the person dying receives a new lease on life, rather than a guarantee of death and a need to fulfill a bucket list, and must deal with the aftermath of the trying times of poor health, including the effect of those times on family and loved ones.  There are many aspects to potentially like about this show, including unblemished, standard-beauty type members of the cast. At the same time, it also feels very by rote and potentially manipulative.  Perhaps, if the trailer had offered something in the way of darker edges or conflict other than the sheer buffoonery of the main character’s family, it would entice more.  As it stands, this show seems to be another chapter in the TV annals of “ain’t life funny” TV.  Still, I think it will probably find an audience, and, perhaps, people who have dealt with similar situations will find it funny.  We’ll keep an eye on it, to see if it gains traction or steam.

STATUS: It premiered two weeks ago!  It’s too early to tell.

CPU! STATUS: Same.

Marvel's Inhumans

MARVEL’S INHUMANS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Two-hour premiere Sept. 29 at 8/7c

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Serinda Swan (Graceland), Ken Leung (Lost), Ellen Woglom (Outlaw), Eme Ikwuakor (Extant), Isabelle Cornish (Home and Away), Mike Moh (Empire), Sonya Balmores (Beyond the Break)

WHAT: The eight-episode series will explore the never-before-told epic adventure of Black Bolt and the royal family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Ramsey Snow/Bolton lives!  Just kidding.  The Chief CP does not know enough about Marvel to understand how this fits into the overall scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including story lines started on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Still, with the overall interest in comic book adaptations from our nerdy core/corps of panelists, I can’t imagine us not podcasting about it someday.  The trailer is somewhat interesting – if somewhat confusing all at the same time.  But look!  Stories about enhanced people!  Our bread and butter, yes?

STATUS: ABC ordered 8 episodes, all of which have aired; the first season finale aired on November 10, 2017.  No announcement pertaining to the inhumans’ fates has been made.  TV pundits think renewal is a “long shot” based upon low ratings and negative critical reception.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, though, notably, no one has talked about it.

The Mayor

THE MAYOR, ABC

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party), Lea Michele (Scream Queens), Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple, Community), Bernard Jones (Meet the Browns), Marcel Spears

WHAT: When an outspoken, idealistic rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, he surprises everyone (including himself) when he has a natural knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Quite honestly, this might be one of the most promising new comedies to hit network TV this coming season, and this is one of the shows the Chief CP is most excited about.  While I am no great fan of Lea Michele, I can’t think of a more timely, more relevant premise for a situation comedy than this.  Check it: a rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt, achieves it beyond his wildest expectations despite the fact that he’s probably not qualified for it, and political hi-jinks ensue.  Remind you of anything?  Only now, the jokes come from real life and from the other side of the widespread divide skewering American society.  This is not a political statement; if anything, it’s important to present both sides to all people, and fictionalized though this may be, I think it will find a cross-cultural, cross-generational audience, with a smart premise and decent satire bolstering it, who will see what is being reflecting in it and appreciate the voices informing it.  Bravo to the creators for putting it out there, and bravo to the Alphabet network for endorsing it.

STATUS: Nine of eleven confirmed to be ordered episodes have aired; however, the Alphabet network pulled the show from its schedule on January 4, 2018.

CPU! STATUS: Though the preview promised some laughs, the show was ultimately low rated, leading to an unofficial early ax for the sitcom.  There is no word as to whether remaining episodes will air.  This CP’s guess is that, perhaps, running for political office as a publicity stunt hit a little too close to the heart in today’s climate.  We might check in just to see if the show brought laughs.  We will keep you posted, including regarding any announcement of an official cancellation.

Then there is this article: http://tvline.com/2018/01/08/the-mayor-cancelled-season-2-abc/

Me, Myself & I

ME, MYSELF & I, CBS

WHO: Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), John Larroquette (The Librarians), Brian Unger (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Sharon Lawrence (Rizzoli & Isles, NYPD Blue), Kelen Coleman (Big Little Lies), Jaleel White (Family Matters), Jack Dylan Grazer, Skylar Gray, Christopher Paul Richards, Mandell Maughan, Reylynn Caster

WHAT: A single-camera comedy examining one man’s life over a 50-year span. The show will focus on three distinct periods in his life — as a 14-year-old in 1991, a 40-year-old in present day, and a 65-year-old in 2042.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As funny as Bobby Moynihan can be and as John Larroquette always is, this sitcom and premise feel like a comedic re-purposing of This Is Us for the Eye network. Nevertheless, in viewing the trailer, this CP nursed hope that there was something truly novel that would drawn the viewer in – personally, I think the target audiences that will likely resonate with this most are steeped in Baby Boomers and Generation X.  The Chief CP is a late-stage member of the latter, as is the Bobby Moynihan version of the character, but it’s hard to see what the show is going for beyond an examination of choices, regrets, and satisfaction, which I think someone with more life years lived will relate to best.  The trailer offered some smiles but not many, though it’s nice to see Steve Urkel out of retirement.  We’ll monitor its progress, but our initial impressions are lukewarm at best.

STATUS: CBS ordered 13 episodes but pulled the series from the fall schedule after the sixth episode due to low ratings, which signals that the show has been all but canceled.  The Eye intends to air the full season at a later date; when and if the official cancellation announcement is made, CPU! will report it here.

CPU! STATUS: With such a ringing endorsement from CBS, we confidently continue to pass on this show.

The Orville

THE ORVILLE, Fox

WHO: Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle), Scott Grimes (ER), Peter Macon (Shameless), J Lee (Family Guy), Halston Sage (Crisis)

WHAT: Set 300 years in the future, the hourlong dramedy follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship in Earth’s interstellar Fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.

Catch up on Hulu or at FoxNow.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Another intriguing comedic entry in Fox’s nerd-friendly comedy lineup!  In the grand tradition of vehicles like Galaxy Quest, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and every Family Guy parody of anything science fiction ever, Seth McFarlane has now created this Star Trek-like homage to futuristic space exploration.  It could very well be stupid – more of a Peter Griffin than a Stewie or a Brian, say – but it could also be uproariously amusing, and there are CPU! regulars who will likely gravitate toward the popcorn adventures of the ship to which the title refers.  The description of this program classifies it as a “dramedy.”  Hopefully, it is more “medy” than “dram.”

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The Season One finale aired on December 7, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not all CPU!ers have viewed this new Fox show, but some resident CPU!ers already requested coverage of this show on the podcast, so this “pick up” is definite and permanent.  Stay tuned!

The Resident

THE RESIDENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 21, 2018

WHO: Manish Dayal (Halt and Catch Fire, 90210), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Bruce Greenwood (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Shaunette Wilson (Billions)

WHAT: An idealistic young doctor begins his first day under the supervision of a tough, brilliant senior resident who pulls the curtain back on all of the good and evil in modern day medicine.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Here cometh another medical drama, this time to Fox, with Logan from Gilmore Girls and Amanda/Emily from Revenge in featured roles.  This feels like a watered down House, with a main character that lacks the deduction skills of Dr. House and plays more like the Burgess Meredith character from Rocky: tough but fair, brilliant but principled, honest but abrasive, and so on, who is there to motivate young residents as they get their toes wet in patient care.  Personally, this CP tires of the proliferation of medical dramas and, therefore, passes on this one, but if it merits another look, let us know.

STATUS: Nine of a total of fourteen episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.  TV pundits believe it is too early to predict chances at renewal or cancellation.

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a medical drama, right?

Reverie

REVERIE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 6, 2018

WHO: Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest), Dennis Haysbert (24), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes), Kathryn Morris (Cold Case), Jessica Lu (Awkward)

WHAT: A grounded and dramatic thriller about a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  The hesitancy comes from two primary reasons: there is no trailer, currently, and Sarah Shahi just hailed from Person of Interest, all about an omnipresent and omniscient AI, a possible evolutionary step for VR.  After all, what does “advanced virtual reality program” mean?  Are we looking at something drawing from influences like Minority Report?  And really, answering these questions is the only reason, apart from the erstwhile Shaw, that we’d give this one a look-see, as it hints at a flavor of science fiction without being committal to the genre, popular with the CPU! roster.  If the vagueness and mystery do not pay off well, though, we’ll probably drop it like a rock.

STATUS: It premiered two weeks ago!  It’s too early to tell.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Rise

RISE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 13, 2018

WHO: Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Rosie Perez (Search Party, Lipstick Jungle), Marley Shelton (The Lottery), Rarmian Newton (The Family), Amy Forsyth (The Path), Casey Johnson (G.L.O.W.), Shirley Rumierk, Joe Tippett, Ted Sutherland, Taylor Richardson, Damon J. Gillespie, recurring player Shannon Purser (Stranger Things)

WHAT: Centers on a high school drama teacher and family man whose passion for the program and his students galvanizes the entire working class town. Based on Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High, which itself is based on real-life drama teacher Lou Volpe.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  I think we might be picking up shows too benevolently this season. Honestly, with so little to go on, this CP is feeling vibes of Glee, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dead Poets Society, and other, similar ilk with high school drama now as the central focus. Still, you may have noticed that the CPU! core is a theatrical bunch, so I feel compelled to look in on this one, even though the premise feels like a trope, based on a true life person or not.  Thoughts?

STATUS: It premiered last week!  It’s too early to tell.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Roseanne

ROSEANNE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 27, 2018

WHO: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, Sarah Chalke

WHAT: An eight-episode present-day revival that will find the Conner family dealing with the economic challenges of living pay check to pay check in 2018.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  What can we say?  Curiosity may yet kill this cat.  Roseanne is an acknowledged sitcom classic, even though the title star was/is notoriously “in your face” and uneven, most times at the same time.  Still, CPU! regulars have already requested this one, so expect to see a “Look Back to Look Forward” series akin to our “Full/er House” series some time in 2018.  At the very least, we want to see how the hell they explain away the presence of both Beckys and Dan’s status in general.  Plus, we expect some pointed political banter from our favorite Midwest family matriarch, as only she can deliver.  Expectations are high, Roseanne Barr.  Expectations are high.

SEAL Team

SEAL TEAM, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 27

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: David Boreanaz (Bones), Jessica Paré (Mad Men), Max Thieriot (Bates Motel), Neil Brown Jr. (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY), Toni Trucks (Franklin & Bash)

WHAT: Follows the professional and personal lives of the most elite unit of Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high stakes missions our country can ask of them.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This show is essentially CBS’ contribution to a small but marked military drama fad this season (see also The Brave).  Really, the only reason this CP is even considering checking in – as the drama feels much like a 24 situation or a story in which the patriarch works a dangerous job and is gone all the time – is David Boreanaz.  Once Angel/us, once Seely Booth, now a Navy SEAL; though the drama could become melodrama easily here, David earns the chance.  He’s very popular at CPU!  Or, maybe it’s just the Chief’s unabashed crush on him.

STATUS: CBS ordered a full season of 22 episodes, 15 of which have aired at the time of this post, but no announcement has been made to “seal” the series’ future.  TV pundits are calling renewal a “safe bet,” however, because David Boreanaz is just a successful TV leading man type guy.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but we will regardless, because several of us have permanent crushes on David Boreanaz (#AngelnBooth4lyfe).

Splitting Up Together

SPLITTING UP TOGETHER, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 27, 2018

WHO: Jenna Fischer (The Office), Oliver Hudson (Nashville), Diane Farr (Numb3rs, Rescue Me), Lindsay Price (Lipstick Jungle), Bobby Lee, Olivia Keville, Van Crosby, Sander Thomas

WHAT: Based upon the original Danish series created by Mette Heeno, the single-cam comedy is the story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Pam’s back.  She’s not married to Jim.  She was married to Oliver Hudson (on the show).  Now, they’re getting divorced…which apparently gets them hot for being married to each other again.  The premise is somewhat bland, even if slightly influenced by our modern times, but it will require some winning performances by the two adult leads to work long term.  Unfortunately, this is not subject matter that entices your friendly neighborhood CP’s typically.  We’ll keep an eye on it, as there is some quality and thought behind it, but it’s not a comedy we are sold on just yet.

S.W.A.T.

S.W.A.T., CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Nov. 2

WHEN: Thursdays at 10/9c (after football concludes)

WHO: Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Jay Harrington (Code Black, Better Off Ted), Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel), Peter Onorati (Murder in the First), Lina Esco (Kingdom), Alex Russell, Stephanie Sigman

WHAT: A locally born and bred S.W.A.T. sergeant is torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers when he’s tasked to run a specialized tactical unit that is the last stop in law enforcement in Los Angeles. Inspired by the film of the same name.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Hey, it’s Better Off Ted!  But seriously.  The Chief CP never watched the film on which this show is based and really has no interest in doing so.  This is a standard cop action drama, set in a standard metropolitan location (Los Angeles), with some standard high octane police-related tropes powering said drama and some possible social commentary powering the emotion (cops versus non-cops, etc.).  There is nothing remarkable about this trailer or any of the events and aspects contained therein; this show has a very specific target audience, most of which CPU! does not currently fall into, much as we try to expand our base and palate.  We welcome new members all the time and all suggestions, but currently, this show will not find a viewing audience here.

STATUS: Seventeen ordered episodes seem confirmed, fourteen of which have aired, but no renewal announcement has been made.  TV pundits give this series a 50/50 shot for renewal.

CPU! STATUS: The ratings are somewhat low, and no CPU!er has once mentioned it.  We will continue to keep our palates tight on this one (did that sound dirty?  I think it did!).

Ten Days in the Valley

TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9

WHO: Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Erika Christensen (Parenthood), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (American Odyssey, Hunted), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Felix Solis (The Good Wife), Francois Battiste (The Family, The Good Wife), Currie Graham (Westworld, Longmire), Nelson Lee (NCIS: New Orleans, The Night Shift), Abigail Pniowsky (Arrival), Josh Randall (Pitch, Quarry), Ali Stroker (Glee), Ella Thomas (Ballers, NCIS: Los Angeles), Beth Triffon (Dr. Ken, The Middle), Mark L. Young (Code Black)

WHAT: The ten-episode series centers on TV producer Jane Sadler, whose young daughter goes missing, mirroring the cop drama she produces.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast boasts some modestly heavy TV hitters, with the erstwhile “Closer” and Mrs. Kevin Bacon in the lead role, in some ways, this premise and story elements play like reality TV, though the plot is, as far as this CP knows, fiction.  This is clearly the type of show that will be trying for twists, even as they feel not as twisty as they should or, perhaps, over the top twisty and, therefore, tedious.  It may also be hard to sympathize with the main character if her poor choices and writing of teleplays based on dangerous information prompt some copycat to endanger the safety of her child.  Ultimately, the trailer suggests that this is yet another mystery based upon child kidnapping.  Take that as you will, but it does not entice so far.  It’s a limited series, but we’ll keep an eye on it, as we always do.

STATUS:  The Alphabet ordered 10 episodes but pulled the series from the fall schedule after the fourth episode due to low ratings, which signals that the show has been all but canceled.  The season (likely series) finale aired on January 6, 2018, after ABC burned off remaining ordered episodes; when and if the official cancellation announcement is made, CPU! will report it here.

CPU! STATUS: Sometimes, we just know how to call these things.

Grey's Anatomy Spinoff

UNTITLED GREY’S ANATOMY SPINOFF, STATION 19, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 22, 2018

WHO: Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood). The cast also includes Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood) as Andy Herrera, Grey Damon (Aquarius) as Jack Gibson, Barrett Doss (Marvel’s Iron Fist) as Victoria Hughes, Alberto Frezza (Dead of Summer) as Ryan Tanner, Jay Hayden (The Catch) as Travis Montgomery, Okieriete Onaodowan (Broadway’s Hamilton) as Dean Miller, Danielle Savre (Too Close To Home) as Maya Bishop and Miguel Sandoval (Medium) as Capt. Pruitt Herrera.

WHAT: Set in a Seattle firehouse, it follows a group of heroic firefighters, from the captain to the newest recruits, as they risk their lives and their hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  So, it was probably inevitable that Shonda Rimes and the ABC Network would attempt to franchise (with spin-offs) the successful-still-beyond-belief Grey’s Anatomy, especially since the latter program is going into its fourteenth season, despite improbable odds and a rotational cast roster.  Unfortunately, CPU! will not be along for this ride.  The project has no title, no trailer, and very little information to go on.  Plus, we jumped the shark on Grey’s a few seasons ago.  Now, there are some CPU!ers who still watch and may revive our dormant Grey’s Anatomy coverage via podcast; if they do, and if this untitled projects gets off the ground in more than teasers and thin premise descriptions, we will cross the bridge of coverage.  For now, we are not interested, for all the logical reasons outlined above.

Valor

VALOR, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 9

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow), Christina Ochoa (Animal Kingdom), Charlie Barnett (Secrets and Lies, Chicago Fire), Nigel Thatch (American Dreams), Corbin Reid (How to Get Away with Murder), Melissa Roxburgh (Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow), W. Tré Davis

WHAT: The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a US Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions. The drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks to a failed mission involving one of the first female pilots in the unit, ultimately uncovering layers of personal and government/military secrets, and leading to a season-long plan to rescue a group of MIA soldiers.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  For our third military-related entry this season, the CW enters the foray with a more mystery-specific pass involving an army unit, layers of conspiracy, and potentially poor character choices, all with CW-young and beautiful faces populating the drama.  There are no known or well established acting quantities in this equation, and the drama feels somewhat hollow, even superficial, at best.  The only reason CPU! is checking in on one of these dramas is for its lead actor, which can be a determinate but is not applicable in this instance.  If this show gains some kind of traction or steam or acclaim, we will reconsider, but for now, this is a confident pass.

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on January 29, 2018, after a total of 13 episodes.  No valorous announcements of future seasons (or lack of) have been made.  TV pundits think renewal is a “long shot” based upon low ratings and negative critical reception.

CPU! STATUS: The military dramas just aren’t making it, and we’re, frankly, kind of okay with that.

Will & Grace - Season 1

WILL & GRACE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 28

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally

WHAT: Twelve-episode revival of the popular 1998-2006 comedy series.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Enthusiastic Pick Up.  Not only is the meta musical trailer (how fascinatingly satirical and relevant, she says in her best judgmental Karen voice – or maybe Will’s voice, I could see him commenting in this way) amazingly put together, showcasing a cast of four that reclaimed the exact beats of the characters they stopped playing in 2006, NBC has already ordered a few more episodes and a second season.  Plus, the Chief CP is a big fan, as are several resident CP’s and supporters.  We already have a few requesting it for podcast consumption.  On top of that, the original Will & Grace was years ahead of its time, normalizing LGBTQ+ conversations and culture in ways that will feel comfortable, even homey now, as the wider world, with the exception of some pockets, is more accepting.  At the apex of this exciting new revival among the fad of revivals: Jack and Karen.  I repeat, Jack and Karen.  They say what we’re all thinking because they’re drunk and/or high and/or rich and/or self-involved and/or, perhaps, not entirely sane and stable.  Sounds like the perfect time for their comeback, and for a “Looking Back to Look Forward” series at CPU! on the subject.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 10 AND Season 11!  Fourteen of a total of 16 ordered episodes have aired.

CPU! STATUS: Resident CPU!ers already requested coverage of this show on the podcast as a “Looking Back to Look Forward” series, so this “pick up” is definite and permanent.  Stay tuned!

Young Sheldon

YOUNG SHELDON, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sneak preview on Monday, Sept. 25 at 8:30 pm

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c (beginning Nov. 2 after football concludes)

WHO: Iain Armitage (Big Little Lies), Zoe Perry (The Family), Annie Potts (The Fosters), Lance Barber (The Comeback), Raegan Revord (Modern Family), Montana Jordan, narrator Jim Parsons

WHAT: The single-camera Big Bang Theory prequel follows Sheldon Cooper at the age of 9, living with his family in East Texas and going to high school.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now.  No one can deny the popularity of Big Bang Theory; it’s been on a CPU! catch-up list for a while, and we have some interest in it percolating within the CPU! roster of panelists.  Yet, not many of us are ready to talk about it yet, so it seems premature to enter into watching a prequel about the popular character, played by Jim Parsons, and his particularly brand of eccentricity blossoming from a young age.  We will keep an eye on this show and possibly create a series coupled with BBT, but for now, we will wait and see how such a prequel spin-off fares while the parent show still airs.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  Fifteen of 22 confirmed to be ordered episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.

CPU! STATUS: We would want to watch and cover BBT on the podcast before visiting this spin-off; however, we’ll keep an eye on the freshman series’ progress this season.

The following is a link to all premiere dates for shows covered beyond the main networks: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-premiere-dates

Non-Broadcast Network Pick-Ups

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS) – picked up when announced last season, but premiere delayed to Fall 2017.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The Season One finale aired on CBS Streaming Service “All Access” on February 11, 2018, after a total of 16 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: A Star Trek comprehensive “Look Back to Look Forward” series is being planned for 2018 or 2019, so this show will eventually be included as part of the line-up, in which CPU! will discuss all existing Star Trek programs in an extended series.  Stay tuned!

Mindhunter (Netflix) – David Fincher’s newest addition to the streaming service, with the following synopsis:

David Fincher’s latest Netflix original series (following House of Cards) stars Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff as FBI agents who solve murders with advice gleaned from interviews of imprisoned serial killers. The 1979-set series also stars Anna Torv, and is based on the real-life work of FBI veteran John Douglas, who served as the inspiration for the Jack Crawford character in the various Hannibal Lecter books as well as for Jason Gideon on Criminal Minds. Fincher directs the pilot, Charlize Theron is a producer, and Joe Penhall (The Road) writes the adaptation of Douglas’s book.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! Netflix released the entirety of Season 1 (10 episodes) on October 13, 2017.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Alias Grace (Netflix) – Netflix’s answer to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a Margaret Atwood adaptation:

The second major Margaret Atwood adaptation to hit the small screen this year (following Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale), this six-episode miniseries is inspired by the true story of a shocking double murder in a remote Canadian town in 1843. The series is written by Sarah Polley (Away From Her) and directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol). Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin, Kerr Logan, Zachary Levi, and David Cronenberg (yes, the one you’re thinking of) star.

STATUS: Classified as a miniseries, Netflix released the six episodes of this program on November 3, 2017.  Because it is a miniseries, continuation is not expected, but we will keep an eye on any news regarding this program for this TV season.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Future Man (Hulu):

Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Hulu’s new comedy series follows a janitor (Josh Hutcherson) who suddenly finds himself charged with the task of traveling through time to save the human race. Eliza Coupe, Derek Wilson, Haley Joel Osment, Keith David, Glenne Headly, and Ed Begley Jr. also star.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  Hulu released Season One (13 episodes) on November 14, 2017. 

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu): There is very little information about this property other than some limited internet chatter, but we are comic book prone.

Adapted from the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Hulu’s first Marvel series comes from Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and centers on six diverse teenagers who unite around a common foe: their parents.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The Season One finale aired on January 9, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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Gotham: Season 4A, “A Dark Knight” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in February 2018, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4A, covering the arc entitled “A Dark Night,” 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!

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Gotham,” the Season 4 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for gotham season 3 title

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, currently on Thursdays at 8:00 PM on Fox.

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). Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Bruce, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming Batman.

When: Season Four premiered on Thursday, September 21, 2017, at 8:00 PM.

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

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

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

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

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

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

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

Seasons 1-2A

Season 2B, The Wrath of the Villains

Season 3A, Mad City

Season 3B, Mad City/Heroes Rise

Our Gotham panel, now consisting of Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick, previously compared notes on the second half of the third season and spent time in so-called “Mad City” as well as ruminated upon the “Heroes Rise” arc, with various levels of trepidation and frustration, as we considered the success or lack thereof of the following plot developments: the return of Jerome Valeska, the Joker-Not-Joker (we loved it); the Riddler’s embrace of his Riddler identity (we loved it); the Court of Owls releasing the Tetch virus in gaseous form over Gotham City (we hated it); the implosion of the Penguin (we always love him); the introduction of Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig; we were confused by it); and the continued stagnation of the Jim Gordon character, given all of these other distractions (we struggled with it).  We now discuss the first half of Gotham’s fourth season, encompassing the arc entitled “A Dark Knight,” which introduces Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed), daughter of Carmine Falcone, as a new player vying for control of Gotham City’s criminal underworld, currently under Penguin’s thumb and under the thumb of his “Pax Penguina,” a plan that forces the police to look away from criminals under Penguin’s “official” licenses; the Riddler’s perceived loss of his intellectual sharpness after being melted from the ice in Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge; Bruce Wayne’s dabbling in vigilantism and subsequent spiral into darkness, despite Alfred’s struggle to prevent otherwise; the plots of Ra’s al Ghul, presumably preparing Bruce to be his successor; the new criminal alliance between Selina Kyle, Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), and Barbara Kean (Erin Richards); Harvey Bullock’s (Donal Logue) fall from grace and Jim Gordon’s ascension to captain of the central office of the GCPD; Lee Thompkins’ (Morena Baccarin) new role as gang boss who also happens to treat her charges medically; the introduction of Solomon Grundy, formerly Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell); and the appearance of new criminal sociopath Professor Pyg (Michael Cerveris).  How did the panel like this first half of the fourth season?  Listen to the embedded link below to find out

This podcast was recorded in February 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the fourth season and all episodes that have aired to date. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Thursday (as we work to return our equipment troubles to peak form), we launch a new panel ready to laugh about the Netflix situation comedy concerning septuagenarians and reluctant friends facing drastic new life changes in Grace and Frankie.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions/Predictions

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

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

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

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

ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: Ed’s number one fan, Myrtle, manages to unfreeze him from the titular iceberg in the Iceberg Lounge, but the effect of being flash frozen leaves Ed somewhat brain-addled himself.  He loses his sharpness of wit and intellect, at least temporarily, and cannot seem to evoke muscle memory related to the formulation, remembering, and/or deduction of the answers to the most basic, child-inspired riddles.  While Myrtle patiently nurses Ed back to some semblance of health (and pays for her devotion at the end of the barrel of one of Victor Zsasz’s well-aimed guns), Penguin, who reunites with a vengeful Ed fleetingly, decides not to kill him, figuring Ed’s apparent lack of smarts and presumed ensuing suffering, as he grapples with losing what made him arguably exceptional, to be the greater revenge than Ed’s out and out murder.  So, I guess that’s something.  Also, I think Penguin and Riddler are now, finally and officially, enemies or, at least, competitors… Thus, it may be time to abandon this question.

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

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Riddler’s caper riddles, as he began to frame Jim for the murder of a police officer, were potentially more complex.  Mind-twisting? Eh.  Marginally more mind-twisting, perhaps.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Though Ed told fewer riddles in this half season, his ire has been irked (see above).  We can only imagine what a provoked and forlorn Ed might riddle when the riddles finally and continuously come.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: He got there!  He just needed a worthy adversary…which he finds in “Foxy” Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) and secondarily in Penguin.  Now, if only Batman was around…

NOT SO FAST!  ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: As stated above, Ed suffers a minor cognitive setback as a result of being frozen by Mr. Freeze’s icy weaponry.  Lee informs Edward, however, that there is nothing physically wrong with his brain, and that his condition is presumably psychological, a fact made evident by the reemergence of Edward’s schizophrenic struggle with his Riddler identity, who returns to talk to him from the other side of the mirror again.  The panel expects a full return of the Riddler any day now, as long as he is able to sort out his feelings for Lee, even if she sorts them out for him.

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

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

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

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

NOT SO FAST!  ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: Ivy tries to help Penguin in the face of competitors who challenge his position, as the one and only crime boss in Gotham City, and of wavering police involvement, but he mistreats her, owing to the fact that she is kind of needy and not that bright.  As a result, Ivy decides to ally with a gang who tries to take down Penguin’s “Pax Penguina” license scheme by taking Penguin down himself and robs some sort of potion store or apothecary, in which the audience sees her drinking some of the inventory.  Plus, the producers have announced, through the typical TV pundits, that the part of Ivy is again being recast and will soon be played by Peyton List (Frequency, The Tomorrow People), a dire prospect for this Chief CP.  Moreover, panelist Spencer believes that the first episode returning from the mid-season hiatus will address Ivy’s newest transformation.  What the hell is going on with this character, you ask?  We ask the same question, repeatedly apparently.  Sadly, we also currently have no answer, so this particularly question and answer section grows and grows – in confusion and in length – and presumably like Ivy’s plants, if she ever gets that botanically savvy in the end.

5) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Bruce have his inspiration to be Batman?  And how will that happen if he didn’t see bats when he fell into the cave?

ANSWER: Still waiting… And it’s concerning.  Bruce, after his trials with the Shaman and Ra’s (and his League of Shadows) in Season 3, starts Season 4 by dipping his baby toes into vigilante crime fighting – with billowing black trench coat, balaclava, and the ability to quickly climb sides of buildings to boot – and, with a little help from Lucius Fox, who creates some conveniently fashioned bulletproof armor to protect Bruce’s adolescent bod.  Unfortunately, however, Ra’s distracts Bruce via his own side plot to ensure that Bruce will inherit the embalming knife of Demon’s Head status, thereby rendering Bruce Ra’s’ successor.  Thus, via manipulation and threat against another adolescent only trying to help and, in so doing, to befriend Bruce, Bruce ends up stabbing Ra’s with the knife, and it seems the seemingly immortal character of Ra’s wastes away into dust and ash as a result of the knife piercing his flesh.  Bruce takes his decision to murder Ra’s, even in an attempt to protect his friend (who Ra’s kills anyway), hard and descends into a dark void of guilt, self-pity, and belated grief for his dead parents, replete with hard partying and spoiled billionaire brat behavior. All the while, the young Mr. Wayne turns his back on his initial attempts at vigilantism and all while still seeing no bats, much to the chagrin of the podcast panel (listen to the episode for details…and rants).

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

ANSWER: Still waiting… but she continues to learn whipping skills from Tabitha and is quite the prodigy with this unusual weapon.  Also, she displays cat-like reflexes while walking the edges of rooftops and seems to be significantly smarter than gal pals and partners in crime, Tabitha and Barbara.  Yet, inspiration is fleeting for all of our junior Gotham characters so far, and this fleetingness disturbs the CPU! Gotham panel greatly.

7) Is Joker-Not-Joker Jerome really Proto-Joker, and will we see him again in Season 4?

ANSWER: This question forms the subject of some significant debate in this podcast episode.  Panelists Kyle and Spencer wholeheartedly believe that the producers, as well as Cameron Monaghan, the portraying actor behind Jerome Valeska, have gone on record to say that Jerome is not the actual Joker, and that the audience is slated to see the character and individual who would become the Joker in the coming half season.  Panelist Hilary, with some hesitant agreement by Nick and Kylie, feels that the rumored protesting of Jerome-as-Joker is a red herring or deflection from the fact that he really is the Joker or some early version of him, given the fact that Mr. Monaghan is really one of the best almost-Jokers (and real Jokers) our panel of Batman fans has ever watched.  In short, this is still a question, but we will see Jerome in Season 4B because we saw him in Season 4A talking to Penguin through the wall joining their adjacent cells in Arkham.

8) Will Riddler escape his freezing cage?  (All panelists predict yes…or there will be hell to pay.)

ANSWER: Owing to the efforts of the so-called “Riddlerette,” Edward’s numero-uno fan Myrtle, the madly-in-love devotee melts the Iceberg ice and breaks Edward free from his frozen entrapment, though the side effects are plentiful, and the risk to Myrtle’s short-lived life astronomically high.  In short, Ed’s back in the land of the non-frozen, and Myrtle is pushing up daisies, on order from Penguin to the delightedly homicidal Victor Zsasz.

9) Will Bruce finally see freaking bats already?

ANSWER: As we answer above…no.  Not yet.  Apparently not ever.  We are wondering if the Gotham people realize they are supposed to be making a Batman prequel…

10) Will Ra’s al Ghul be the “Big Bad” of Season 4?  What is the prophecy to which he referred, and what does it mean for Bruce?

ANSWER: If there is a Big Bad, or a character who can earn such a moniker, in Season 4, it is most likely Sofia Falcone, who manages to manipulate just about everyone she meets, leading her to steal the reigns of the criminal underworld right out from the volatile clutches of crafty but helplessly lonely Oswald Cobblepot.  The aforementioned prophecy, we presume, is one which forecasts Bruce, somehow, as the successor of Ra’s al Ghul, an individual somehow fit to inherit immortality and the powers of the Lazarus Pit from whomever holds the ancient embalming knife.  Yet, the word “prophecy” is not mentioned once in this season, and we are not even sure if Ra’s al Ghul is here or gone, so this question may be moot or simply no longer applicable in the end.

11) Will Selina go full on Catgirl in Season 4?

ANSWER: She has not so far, but she has made progress.  She’s got ambition, she’s got whip skills, and she’s got brains and survival instinct more finely honed than the brains and instincts of her partners, Babs and Tabby.  Except, now the Twisted Sisters are working for Sofia, so who knows what this alliance might mean to Selina’s progress toward feline felon.

12) Is Fish dead once and for all?  Is Barbara?  Or, are they going to do the detestably unthinkable and change Barbara into Harley Quinn, despite not being named Harleen Quinzell and despite not being a psychiatrist at Arkham (though Joker-Not-Joker Jerome is in Arkham right now…hm…)?

ANSWER: Panelist Spencer remains unconvinced, given Fish’s proclivity for resurrection in prior seasons, that Fish is for good and all dead.  Chief CP Kylie’s money is on Fish’s permanent death, rendered final by Jim Gordon in Season 3.  In related news, Barbara benefits from an unspoken alliance with Ra’s al Ghul and the almighty Lazarus Pit, which brings her back from the brink after Tabitha electrocutes Babs in Season 3.  There was previously a heavily floated rumor that the show was going to introduce a proto-Harley, but so far, the producers and writers have steered clear of such an introduction, likely due to the fact that DC parent company Warner Brothers is developing a film devoted solely to the character of Harley Quinn.  The panel breathes heavy sighs of relief and praises Warner Brothers’ interference for once – Gotham does not need nor would it benefit from the skewed introduction-for-the-sake-of-it of Harley Quinn.

13) Where did Hugo Strange end up nowadays?

ANSWER: In the wind, presumably, as he has not appeared so far in Season 4.

14) Is the Court of Owls truly defunct?  Or, are they the DC equivalent of Hydra in the Marvel universe?

ANSWER: It was established in Season 3 that Ra’s al Ghul somehow formed the Court.  Ra’s now appears to also be defunct, so if there is anyone carrying on the work of the Court of Owls currently, the audience does not know it.

15) If Butch is really Cyrus Gold, how Solomon Grundy will we see him get in the coming season?

ANSWER: We will seem become 100% Solomon Grundy, in fact.  Those who found Butch aka Cyrus shot in the head dump him into Slaughter Swamp, a polluted pond forever altered by waste from Indian Hill.  When he emerges, he is fully zombie Solomon and later overhears the song that inspires the adoption of his name.  Butch is so Solomon, it turns out, that he occasionally experiences flashes of cogent Butch-ness, at least following a few good blows to the head.  Tabby discovers this potential pitfall when pitted against Solomon Grundy in what would become Lee’s underground fighting ring and later attempts to test this discovery and return Butch to full Butch flavor by beating Solomon over the head with a few choice solid objects.  In fact, when we last see Solomon, he seems to be Butch again and calling after the spent “Tabby,” despite his Solomon Grundy appearance, after she attempts to beat Butch back to the forefront of Grundy’s mind.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) What will it mean for Gotham when Penguin opens the Iceberg Lounge?

ANSWER: Mostly, the Lounge provides safe haven for Penguin’s lieutenants and those criminals registered under Penguin’s licenses as well as Penguin’s staunchest allies, chief among them Harvey Bullock.  The Lounge is still standing and still flourishing, at least so far, though Penguin is thrown into Arkham during the mid-season finale, and Sofia’s reward for Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina’s alliance is to give her back the Lounge, which was under Babs’ control in Season 3.  Barbara essentially sucks at running businesses, though, legitimate or otherwise, so it’s not looking good for the Lounge these days.

17) Is Bruce Clone Batman’s Bizarro equivalent, Batzarro?  Or, will he die?  Did he die? The panel is universally against crossing DC comic concepts when just the Batman franchise seems difficult for this writing and producing team to wrangle.

ANSWER: Still a question and one we hope never finds an answer.  The panel is happy and excited by the prospect of never having to watch Bruce Clone again.

18) Generally speaking, and notably, our Gotham panel is loathe to ask further questions or to make predictions because the writers, in their quest to be unpredictable and “non-canon,” have taken the story to wild places with little satisfying payoff for the viewer in the end.  Everyone is sort of bracing themselves for the coming season while cherishing the few truly enjoyable nuggets about this show, mainly in character/performances.

ANSWER: This is still true.  Though the panel feels that Season 4A improves upon and corrects for several of the ills of many of Gotham’s past half seasons, the writers and producers have also proven themselves to be less than adept at capitalizing upon story momentum or developments that offer some sense of logic and/or dovetailing with the Batman canon, even as the show and its creators profess to be off canon.  This creates strong feelings in our panelists and makes for consistently spicy discussion.  Panelist Spencer offers a whole gas tank analogy in the latest podcast episode…

New Questions

1) Where is Scarecrow?  Jonathan Crane achieves his full transition in this most recent half season, but what happened to him?  Was he caught and returned to Arkham Asylum?  Is he at large?  Where did he go?  Especially since the producers are also re-casting this part.  What the hell is going on with the Scarecrow character?

2) How long will it take for Bruce to realize that he is spiraling and circling the drain known as rock bottom.  How much time must the audience wait for Bruce to find Alfred again?

3) Will Jim Gordon be able to maintain his position as captain of the Central GCPD without betraying his secret alliance and/or dalliance with the plotting Sofia Falcone?

4) Will we see Fish Mooney again?  The panel votes no and hopes she is dead for good and for real.

5) What is Sofia Falcone’s endgame, and how long will she hang onto to her position as leader of the underworld?  Will we watch her become her comic-inspired identity, The Hangman?

6) Is Ra’s al Ghul actually dead?  What was with his interchange with Barbara in prison?  Why did her hand glow?  Is his essence in the embalming knife?  Is it in Barbara’s hand?  Is it actually in Bruce, a reflection of his current darkness?  Has Bruce achieved the status of “successor to the Demon’s Head?”

7) Will the Riddler persona reemerge from the vexed and confused Edward Nygma?  Soon?

8) Is Jerome Valeska actually the Joker?  Or, is he the model for a watchful new individual who will be inspired by and who will adopt a Jerome-esque version of the Joker persona?  What will Penguin and Jerome do together after joining forces in Arkham?  Will they involve other well-known inmates in their plot(s)?

9) Will Lee and Jim reunite, and how?  Will Barbara Gordon be conceived on this show, and who will be her mother – Barbara Kean, even though she is crazy in this show, or Lee?

10) Will Ed make a play for Lee?  Will her (inevitable, one would hope) rejection of him lead to the reemergence of the Riddler identity?

11) Is Professor Pyg actually dead?  Alternatively, the producers have allegedly said that Michael Cerveris’ Pyg is not the true Pyg.  If he is not, who is, and will we see him?

12) What happened to the young orphan cared for by Penguin, the boy known as Martin?  Will he become a factor in the future, assuming Victor Zsasz hid him as promised and as requested by Penguin?

13) Will we see Tommy Elliott, Bruce’s old/new friend, show some indication of his future Hush persona?

14) Did Tabitha succeed in jogging what is left of Butch out of Solomon Grundy’s addled brain?

15) Will Jim succeed in bringing Harvey back to the fold?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Gotham panel and all of its panelists continue to identify moments truly loved and moments truly hated while watching and while discussing the first half of Season 4 in this latest podcast episode, though the panel also universally feels that the show and its story progression improved dramatically in this season’s first half compared to what emerged from the third season.  Most panelists, in fact, continue to enjoy watching the show, even if reacting to the show in these podcast episodes has repeatedly proven to be the very definition of “cautionary tale.” Panelist Hilary continues to mostly hate the direction of the show but likes to talk about it, so she persists without jumping the shark, reluctantly, and has resolved (finally) to change her mindset, preferring to focus on the moments that giver her positive “Batman” feels.  Simultaneously, other panelists, like panelist Nick, grow more impatient with the show’s “two steps forward, four steps back” approach to character progression, an approach which proves more frustrating than titillating or, minimally, entertaining.  Still, all panelists persevere, finding our discussions about the controlled disorder of Gotham endlessly engaging, even when the show itself is not, and if we do say so ourselves.

Further, the previous unrest among the panelists, given the writers’ track record to date, still produces a variety of emotions and trust issues, preventing most if not all panel members from being able to recommend watching the show, in good conscience, to anyone, at least for now.  The panel is still open to a story that seems to follow a consistent set of rules, no matter how much of a deviation it might be from the Batman comics or franchise proper, as long as the writers do not continue to change the direction of the show to compensate for “Twitter reaction.”  In fact, most of the panel finds this half of the fourth season to be the show’s new high point, even as it, still, contained some low points. The panelists, as such, continue to advise the writers to revisit not only the Batman comics but also their original blueprint for the show and to adhere to a structure and story continuity for the show that rightly capitalizes upon the amazing – and the strongest – performances of the cast, which the panel universally agrees are good if not phenomenal.  Also, the writers should continue to track their own continuity and not turn what is one of the tightest and most enjoyed (and most widely known) comic book properties into an absurdist’s take on the story, or they will alienate viewers and, thereafter, cause declining ratings and waning network support.  Finally, the panelists encourage the writers/producers not to squander the story momentum of the first half of Season 4 – or the goodwill the story’s better direction earned with many of the show’s loyal viewers.  After all, there is something to be said for retaining a loyal and devoted audience in this competitive age of a saturated entertainment complex, on big and on small screens alike, and the Gotham writers and producers would do well to keep these concepts in mind when writing for the next go-round – particularly considering the core base of Batman fans no doubt following the show’s progress.

LOOKING AHEAD

Gotham returns from mid-Season 4 hiatus on March 1, 2018. The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2018. The network’s decision about whether or not Gotham will be renewed has not yet been announced as of the publication of this post, but pundits see a 50/50 chance for renewal (and rightly so) based upon current ratings and show progress.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Gotham coverage. Until then!

Progress Report: Mid-Season Report Card for 2017-2018 Pilots

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

Thanks to TVLine and other sources for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with last season, a growing number of CPU! members may find shows initially passed by the CPU! Chief and choose to review them.  CPU! readers will be informed if the show’s status changes regarding coverage as the season progresses through the handy CPU! Progress Reports, and all written reviews will be published!

9-1-1

9-1-1, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 3, 2018

WHO: Angela Bassett (American Horror Story)

WHAT: A fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders — cops, paramedics, firefighters — the people who put their lives on the line to save others.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  A few thoughts on this first entry, numerically titled and, therefore, ahead of the alphabet. While we at CPU! are big fans of Ms. Bassett, being that we’ve watched her on American Horror Story for several seasons and greatly enjoy her contributions to the horror anthology juggernaut, the fact is that with so little information to go on for this mid-season entry on Fox’s new lineup, we are hard pressed to adopt this title for our pick-up list.  There is no trailer, the description is thin, and, frankly, it sounds potentially procedural in nature, if not a recycling and/or rehashing of medical and law enforcement dramas currently all over network and cable TV.  What we’re saying is: it doesn’t sound original, no matter how much caliber Angela Bassett may add to it.  So, we start with a pass.  Bodes well, eh?

9JKL

9JKL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 2

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains), David Walton (About a Boy), Liza Lapira (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23), Matt Murray (Rookie Blue), Linda Lavin (The Good Wife), Elliott Gould (Ray Donovan), Albert Tsai (Dr. Ken)

WHAT: A family comedy inspired by a time in Mark Feuerstein’s adult life when he lived in apartment 9K in the building he grew up in, sandwiched between his parents’ apartment, 9J, and his brother, sister-in-law and their baby’s apartment, 9L, and his attempts to set boundaries with his intrusive but well-meaning family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This feels like a very borderline situation for a situation comedy, in terms of actual, successful laughter, as far as this Couch Potato (CP) is concerned.  Though apparently derived from real-life sources, namely Mark Feuerstein’s real life, the teaser trailer offers several repetitive jokes and a mixed bag in terms of comedic presentation.  But for each low, including Mark himself, who keeps trying for comedy but somehow isn’t able to achieve it as easily as others, there is at least one or two highs, namely the actors playing his parents.  In fact, it’s the casting this time around that is giving me the urge to at least try an episode or two and see if a half hour is better than a couple of minutes.  David Walton’s brand of “dudebro” is extremely watchable, owing to the nuances of the underrated but erstwhile About a Boy alum’s particular oeuvre of comedic timing, and veterans Linda Lavin and Elliott Gould are money players in the comedy genre – they are bound to eke out a few laughs.  The trailer doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but there’s no harm in taking this one for a whirl and seeing what happens.

STATUS: CBS ordered a full season of 16 episodes, 12 of which have aired, but no renewal/cancellation announcement has yet been made.  TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Alex, Inc.

ALEX, INC., ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Zach Braff (Scrubs), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Tiya Sircar (The Good Place), Hillary Anne Matthews (New Girl)

WHAT: Based on the podcast of the same name, Alex Schuman is an inquisitive journalist, husband, and father who dives headfirst into the brave new world of entrepreneurship when he quits his stable job and starts his own business.

Trailer Available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Honestly, much of this pick up is in podcast solidarity.  It’s a TV show based upon a podcast.  ONE CAN DREAM, RIGHT?!  In less selfish news, though the premise of this show may appeal most strongly to a narrow but cultivated set of hipster Millennials…Zach Braff.  Zach Braff is all you need to know.  Who doesn’t find Zach Braff funny? (If you answer “me,” I’m calling shenanigans!).  It’s time for his post-Scrubs TV revival to take shape, and what better time and with what better vehicle than this?  Also, this premise and dose of edgy observational humor is the kind of real life funny that actually plays as funny, even in a two minute trailer, though, perhaps, I’m jaded by the previous trailer.  Or, perhaps, I’m cautiously optimistic.  Then again, this could fail on its merits because podcasts are still fairly niche in terms of audience, and it’s hard to see how TV would build upon that.  Not that we know anything about that around here, or anything.

A.P. Bio

A.P. BIO, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: February 1, 2018 (special preview)

WHO: Patton Oswalt (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Mary Sohn (Teachers), Lyric Lewis (The CW’s MADtv), Aparna Brielle (Grimm), Nick Peine (Office Christmas Party), Tom Bennett (Drunk History: UK), Jacob McCarthy

WHAT: A hilariously cynical Ivy League professor loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school biology teacher where he imposes his unorthodox teaching style and uses the kids to plot out revenge on those who wronged him.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  This is a new spin on the “reluctant school teacher” trope, but the premise outlined in the available trailer resonates like recycled sitcom, in many regards, with updated motifs like social media “cat-fishing” – encouraged by a teacher, no less – and possibly slightly more erudite potty humor. Describing the main character as “hilariously cynical” is being far too generous, however.  Apparently from the creative and collective former and current SNL minds of Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels, a brilliant but irascible teacher in the vein of the brilliant but irascible Dr. House (from House) fails to achieve tenure in the Ivies and ends up teaching high school.  The premise by itself is a struggle to buy into without more information but so is the likability of the main character – or even the UN-likability.  Mostly, the character is bland, and it’s hard to know how the audience should relate to the teacher when he’s so two-dimensional, at least until he develops his inevitable sensitivity and inspiration from teaching today’s advanced placement biology students – development not shown in the teaser, for the record.  In all honesty, throughout the viewing of this trailer, I kept thinking that teachers don’t need additional pressure from politicians and parents based upon a fictional representation that is more to hate than to love, and in these sociopolitical and cultural times, where the slightest of mascots can render unintended influences on those of us living real life, the entire joke behind the premise doesn’t quite land, at least not for this CP. If you take a gander and disagree, let us know.  We’re willing to change (and have)!

Black Lightning

BLACK LIGHTNING, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: January 16, 2018

WHO: Cress Williams (Hart of Dixie), Nafessa Williams (Code Black), China Anne McClain (House of Payne), Christine Adams (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

WHAT: Jefferson Pierce made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s a comic book show.  CPU!’s comic book core (or corps?) will likely step up to the plate for this one, particularly if it is folded into the crossover potential of the Arrowverse, making it a likely additional entry for our DCTU panel.  The trailer shows some influence by Marvel’s Luke Cage but also the broader, moodier tones of the DC film franchise as a whole, ringing with more gravitas than even Arrow when it first began.  How will it all come out in the wash?  We’ll be there to find out.

The Brave

THE BRAVE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Mike Vogel (Under the Dome), Anne Heche (Save Me, Men in Trees), Tate Ellington (Quantico), Demetrius Grosse (Westworld, Justified), Noah Mills (2 Broke Girls), Sofia Pernas (Jane the Virgin), Hadi Tabbal, Natacha Karam

WHAT: A heart-pounding look into the complex world of our bravest military heroes who make personal sacrifices while executing the most challenging and dangerous missions behind enemy lines.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Military-themed dramas seem to be the type of show en vogue on network television this coming season.  More on that later.  While there could be some potentially tense and riveting drama rooted in The Brave (formerly For God and Country), whether this show decides to focus on missions by episode or over the course of a season, this program rings as somewhat procedural in nature given the fact that we would be watching military task forces or units solve potential international crises, short or long term. The question that comes to mind is how would that premise, in either framework, sustain, repetitively and over the course of a season?   It appears, from the trailer, that the driving force of the show will be “how do they do it?” rather than “how does it fit within the larger picture?”  Lacking a gimmick, like 24’s real time motif, the premise as it stands is underwhelming.  Plus, this CP is not an overall fan of Anne Heche, because reasons, and is also wary of how the “enemies” behind enemy lines might be portrayed, given current climates in our country. If this show earns some critical acclaim or popular steam, we may revise our stance, but for now, there is little likely to attract our merry band of podcasters.  If you watch and like this show and want us to cover it, send us a comment or an email (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com).

STATUS: NBC announced that it would not be ordering the “back 9,” meaning that the first season will be no more than 13 episodes.  To date, nine episodes have aired.  TV pundits also give this program a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: No change.  Though military dramas seemed to be the trend of the season, most if not all of them are generally low-rated and are living precariously on the bubble.  There is no reason for CPU! to change its mind, and no one seems to be talking about this one.

By the Book

BY THE BOOK, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: February 5, 2018

WHO: Jay R. Ferguson (The Real O’Neals), David Krumholtz (Numb3rs), Ian Gomez (Supergirl, Cougar Town), Lindsey Kraft (Getting On), Tony Rock (Everybody Hates Chris), Camryn Manheim (Ghost Whisperer)

WHAT: A modern day man at a crossroads in his life decides to live according to the Bible. Based on the bestselling book by A.J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Aside from the fact that there is no teaser trailer to expand upon this brief premise description, this sounds rather Hallmark channel at its core.  No judgments as much as cursory observations, and while this CP sees the potential of an audience for this program, especially given CBS’ core viewership, this is not the type of drama (is it even a drama?) that entices here at Couch Potatoes Unite!  If you want us to start covering it, though, let us know.  For now, we’ve got enough and better established TV watching commitments to keep us busy.

Champions

CHAMPIONS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Anders Holm (The Mindy Project), Andy Favreau (Aquarius), JJ Totah (Liv and Maddie), Nina Wadia, Mouzam Makkar, recurring player Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project)

WHAT: The single-cam comedy centers on Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition who lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Kaling), one of his old high school flings.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Your CPU! Chief CP likes The Mindy Project; we’ve intermittently covered the show here at CPU! because I and a couple other Couch Potatoes enjoy the unique comedic chops of Mindy Kaling, the erstwhile Kelly Kapoor from The Office and Mindy Lahiri on the previously mentioned TMP.  It’s nice to see that she will land squarely on her feet upon conclusion of TMP, which is going into its final, Hulu-airing season, its sixth.  Still, this situation comedy does not spark interest, her presence and one of her former Mindy Lahiri beaus aside.  The premise is sort of like Three Men and a Baby, if there were only two men and if the baby was a teenager.  There is no trailer to judge writing or performance, and aside from Kaling, there isn’t much draw from a prior project side of the coin to entice in lieu of the pencil-thin premise.  It has the potential to be smart if Kaling writes for the show; it also has the potential to be a locker-room driven comedy, given the notion that the main character owns a gym.  There are too many “ifs” to inspire views.  As always, let us know if we are wrong.  I don’t think we are.

the-crossing

THE CROSSING, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Steve Zahn (Mad Dogs), Sandrine Holt (MacGyver, House of Cards), Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome), Jay Karnes (The Shield), Simone Kessell (Of Kings and Prophets), Grant Harvey (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Kelly Missal (One Life to Live), Marcuis W. Harris (Vice Principals), Rick Gomez (Justified), Tommy Bastow (EastEnders), John D’Leo, Rob Campbell, Bailey Skodje, Luc Roderique

WHAT: Refugees from a war-torn country start showing up to seek asylum in an American town. Only the country these people are from is America and the war they are fleeing is 250 years in the future. The local sheriff with a past, a federal agent, and a mother in search of her missing refugee daughter drive this allegory with a surprising conspiracy at the center.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  The trailer teases some interesting mysteries – what are these futuristic refugees fleeing?  How do they have powers?  Are they friend or foe?  Are they human?  There is some potential science fiction, making the premise potentially attractive to CPU! panelists.  There was nothing particularly impressive about the trailer presentation, yet the intrigue is palpable.  Plus, the description refers to both allegory and conspiracy.  Just what will we be watching?  Only one way to find out.  Interestingly, as the trailer started, this CP fleetingly thought, “This is like Lost, in reverse maybe.”  The trailer then connected the show to Lost by crediting the network as the broadcaster of both.  On the nose, then, ABC is seeking its next Lost.  There is nothing in the trailer suggesting that The Crossing will be such a contender to compare to the venerable and controversial preceding drama, but maybe today’s cynical TV audiences will be surprised.

Deception

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Edie Falco (The Sopranos), Anthony Edwards (ER), Miles Gaston Villanueva (The Young and the Restless), Gus Halper (Power, Public Morals), Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Julianne Nicholson (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Constance Marie (Switched at Birth), Heather Graham (Scrubs), Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy), Mark Moses (Mad Men), Larry Cedar (Deadwood), Kate Beahan (Mistresses), Carlos Gomez (Madam Secretary), James DuMont (American Horror Story, Treme)

WHAT: The inaugural installment of the eight-episode anthology series focuses on Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted in 1996 of murdering their parents and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Yawn.  Yet another entry in the Law and Order franchise.  Your Chief CP could not even watch the trailer – it’s clear that Dick Wolf and company want to get a crack at the popularity of the American Crime Story anthology series currently doing well on Fox/FX.  Also, there are too many procedural programs and not enough time.  We do have some slight interest expressed in Law and Order coverage, but it will take planning to cover the decades and spin-offs associated with this franchise.  Also, the Menendez murders are just not that interesting a concept.  If you would like to vote away our massive cynicism here, you need only comment, email, etc.

STATUS: Eight episodes were ordered by the Peacock for the first season of this anthology series; the first season finale aired on November 14, 2017.  No announcement regarding the show’s “true” future has yet been made, and pundits seem hesitant to make predictions either way, though measurements seem to indicate that this program is a “stable performer,” ratings-wise.

CPU! STATUS: Still yawning.

Life Sentence

LIFE SENTENCE, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Elliot Knight (American Gothic), Dylan Walsh (Unforgettable), Gillian Vigman (New Girl), Brooke Lyons (iZombie), Carlos PenaVega (Grease: Live, Big Time Rush), Jayson Blair (Young & Hungry)

WHAT: When a young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.”

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  In many ways, the concept of this show feels like a tweaking of No Tomorrow, recently canceled by the very same network.  Instead, the person dying receives a new lease on life, rather than a guarantee of death and a need to fulfill a bucket list, and must deal with the aftermath of the trying times of poor health, including the effect of those times on family and loved ones.  There are many aspects to potentially like about this show, including unblemished, standard-beauty type members of the cast. At the same time, it also feels very by rote and potentially manipulative.  Perhaps, if the trailer had offered something in the way of darker edges or conflict other than the sheer buffoonery of the main character’s family, it would entice more.  As it stands, this show seems to be another chapter in the TV annals of “ain’t life funny” TV.  Still, I think it will probably find an audience, and, perhaps, people who have dealt with similar situations will find it funny.  We’ll keep an eye on it, to see if it gains traction or steam.

Marvel's Inhumans

MARVEL’S INHUMANS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Two-hour premiere Sept. 29 at 8/7c

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Serinda Swan (Graceland), Ken Leung (Lost), Ellen Woglom (Outlaw), Eme Ikwuakor (Extant), Isabelle Cornish (Home and Away), Mike Moh (Empire), Sonya Balmores (Beyond the Break)

WHAT: The eight-episode series will explore the never-before-told epic adventure of Black Bolt and the royal family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Ramsey Snow/Bolton lives!  Just kidding.  The Chief CP does not know enough about Marvel to understand how this fits into the overall scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including story lines started on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Still, with the overall interest in comic book adaptations from our nerdy core/corps of panelists, I can’t imagine us not podcasting about it someday.  The trailer is somewhat interesting – if somewhat confusing all at the same time.  But look!  Stories about enhanced people!  Our bread and butter, yes?

STATUS: ABC ordered 8 episodes, all of which have aired; the first season finale aired on November 10, 2017.  No announcement pertaining to the inhumans’ fates has been made.  TV pundits think renewal is a “long shot” based upon low ratings and negative critical reception.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, though, notably, no one has talked about it.

The Mayor

THE MAYOR, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 3

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party), Lea Michele (Scream Queens), Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple, Community), Bernard Jones (Meet the Browns), Marcel Spears

WHAT: When an outspoken, idealistic rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, he surprises everyone (including himself) when he has a natural knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Quite honestly, this might be one of the most promising new comedies to hit network TV this coming season, and this is one of the shows the Chief CP is most excited about.  While I am no great fan of Lea Michele, I can’t think of a more timely, more relevant premise for a situation comedy than this.  Check it: a rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt, achieves it beyond his wildest expectations despite the fact that he’s probably not qualified for it, and political hi-jinks ensue.  Remind you of anything?  Only now, the jokes come from real life and from the other side of the widespread divide skewering American society.  This is not a political statement; if anything, it’s important to present both sides to all people, and fictionalized though this may be, I think it will find a cross-cultural, cross-generational audience, with a smart premise and decent satire bolstering it, who will see what is being reflecting in it and appreciate the voices informing it.  Bravo to the creators for putting it out there, and bravo to the Alphabet network for endorsing it.

STATUS: 11 episodes are confirmed to be ordered, 9 of which have aired.  No news on the renewal/cancellation front yet – TV pundits give this program a 50/50 chance at renewal.  Probably out of habit.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Me, Myself & I

ME, MYSELF & I, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Mondays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), John Larroquette (The Librarians), Brian Unger (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Sharon Lawrence (Rizzoli & Isles, NYPD Blue), Kelen Coleman (Big Little Lies), Jaleel White (Family Matters), Jack Dylan Grazer, Skylar Gray, Christopher Paul Richards, Mandell Maughan, Reylynn Caster

WHAT: A single-camera comedy examining one man’s life over a 50-year span. The show will focus on three distinct periods in his life — as a 14-year-old in 1991, a 40-year-old in present day, and a 65-year-old in 2042.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As funny as Bobby Moynihan can be and as John Larroquette always is, this sitcom and premise feel like a comedic re-purposing of This Is Us for the Eye network. Nevertheless, in viewing the trailer, this CP nursed hope that there was something truly novel that would drawn the viewer in – personally, I think the target audiences that will likely resonate with this most are steeped in Baby Boomers and Generation X.  The Chief CP is a late-stage member of the latter, as is the Bobby Moynihan version of the character, but it’s hard to see what the show is going for beyond an examination of choices, regrets, and satisfaction, which I think someone with more life years lived will relate to best.  The trailer offered some smiles but not many, though it’s nice to see Steve Urkel out of retirement.  We’ll monitor its progress, but our initial impressions are lukewarm at best.

STATUS: CBS ordered 13 episodes but pulled the series from the fall schedule after the sixth episode due to low ratings, which signals that the show has been all but canceled.  The Eye intends to air the full season at a later date; when and if the official cancellation announcement is made, CPU! will report it here.

CPU! STATUS: With such a ringing endorsement from CBS, we confidently continue to pass on this show.

The Orville

THE ORVILLE, Fox

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c (beginning Sept. 28)

WHO: Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle), Scott Grimes (ER), Peter Macon (Shameless), J Lee (Family Guy), Halston Sage (Crisis)

WHAT: Set 300 years in the future, the hourlong dramedy follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship in Earth’s interstellar Fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.

Catch up on Hulu or at FoxNow.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Another intriguing comedic entry in Fox’s nerd-friendly comedy lineup!  In the grand tradition of vehicles like Galaxy Quest, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and every Family Guy parody of anything science fiction ever, Seth McFarlane has now created this Star Trek-like homage to futuristic space exploration.  It could very well be stupid – more of a Peter Griffin than a Stewie or a Brian, say – but it could also be uproariously amusing, and there are CPU! regulars who will likely gravitate toward the popcorn adventures of the ship to which the title refers.  The description of this program classifies it as a “dramedy.”  Hopefully, it is more “medy” than “dram.”

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The Season One finale aired on December 7, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not all CPU!ers have viewed this new Fox show, but some resident CPU!ers already requested coverage of this show on the podcast, so this “pick up” is definite and permanent.  Stay tuned!

The Resident

THE RESIDENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 21, 2018

WHO: Manish Dayal (Halt and Catch Fire, 90210), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Bruce Greenwood (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Shaunette Wilson (Billions)

WHAT: An idealistic young doctor begins his first day under the supervision of a tough, brilliant senior resident who pulls the curtain back on all of the good and evil in modern day medicine.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Here cometh another medical drama, this time to Fox, with Logan from Gilmore Girls and Amanda/Emily from Revenge in featured roles.  This feels like a watered down House, with a main character that lacks the deduction skills of Dr. House and plays more like the Burgess Meredith character from Rocky: tough but fair, brilliant but principled, honest but abrasive, and so on, who is there to motivate young residents as they get their toes wet in patient care.  Personally, this CP tires of the proliferation of medical dramas and, therefore, passes on this one, but if it merits another look, let us know.

Reverie

REVERIE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 6, 2018

WHO: Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest), Dennis Haysbert (24), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes), Kathryn Morris (Cold Case), Jessica Lu (Awkward)

WHAT: A grounded and dramatic thriller about a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  The hesitancy comes from two primary reasons: there is no trailer, currently, and Sarah Shahi just hailed from Person of Interest, all about an omnipresent and omniscient AI, a possible evolutionary step for VR.  After all, what does “advanced virtual reality program” mean?  Are we looking at something drawing from influences like Minority Report?  And really, answering these questions is the only reason, apart from the erstwhile Shaw, that we’d give this one a look-see, as it hints at a flavor of science fiction without being committal to the genre, popular with the CPU! roster.  If the vagueness and mystery do not pay off well, though, we’ll probably drop it like a rock.

Rise

RISE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 13, 2018

WHO: Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Rosie Perez (Search Party, Lipstick Jungle), Marley Shelton (The Lottery), Rarmian Newton (The Family), Amy Forsyth (The Path), Casey Johnson (G.L.O.W.), Shirley Rumierk, Joe Tippett, Ted Sutherland, Taylor Richardson, Damon J. Gillespie, recurring player Shannon Purser (Stranger Things)

WHAT: Centers on a high school drama teacher and family man whose passion for the program and his students galvanizes the entire working class town. Based on Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High, which itself is based on real-life drama teacher Lou Volpe.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  I think we might be picking up shows too benevolently this season. Honestly, with so little to go on, this CP is feeling vibes of Glee, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dead Poets Society, and other, similar ilk with high school drama now as the central focus. Still, you may have noticed that the CPU! core is a theatrical bunch, so I feel compelled to look in on this one, even though the premise feels like a trope, based on a true life person or not.  Thoughts?

Roseanne

ROSEANNE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 27, 2018

WHO: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, Sarah Chalke

WHAT: An eight-episode present-day revival that will find the Conner family dealing with the economic challenges of living pay check to pay check in 2018.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  What can we say?  Curiosity may yet kill this cat.  Roseanne is an acknowledged sitcom classic, even though the title star was/is notoriously “in your face” and uneven, most times at the same time.  Still, CPU! regulars have already requested this one, so expect to see a “Look Back to Look Forward” series akin to our “Full/er House” series some time in 2018.  At the very least, we want to see how the hell they explain away the presence of both Beckys and Dan’s status in general.  Plus, we expect some pointed political banter from our favorite Midwest family matriarch, as only she can deliver.  Expectations are high, Roseanne Barr.  Expectations are high.

SEAL Team

SEAL TEAM, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 27

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: David Boreanaz (Bones), Jessica Paré (Mad Men), Max Thieriot (Bates Motel), Neil Brown Jr. (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY), Toni Trucks (Franklin & Bash)

WHAT: Follows the professional and personal lives of the most elite unit of Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high stakes missions our country can ask of them.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  This show is essentially CBS’ contribution to a small but marked military drama fad this season (see also The Brave).  Really, the only reason this CP is even considering checking in – as the drama feels much like a 24 situation or a story in which the patriarch works a dangerous job and is gone all the time – is David Boreanaz.  Once Angel/us, once Seely Booth, now a Navy SEAL; though the drama could become melodrama easily here, David earns the chance.  He’s very popular at CPU!  Or, maybe it’s just the Chief’s unabashed crush on him.

STATUS: CBS ordered a full season of 22 episodes, 9 of which have aired, but no announcement has been made to “seal” the series’ future.  And you know what? TV pundits give this one a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but we will regardless, because several of us have permanent crushes on David Boreanaz (#AngelnBooth4lyfe).

Splitting Up Together

SPLITTING UP TOGETHER, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 2018

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Jenna Fischer (The Office), Oliver Hudson (Nashville), Diane Farr (Numb3rs, Rescue Me), Lindsay Price (Lipstick Jungle), Bobby Lee, Olivia Keville, Van Crosby, Sander Thomas

WHAT: Based upon the original Danish series created by Mette Heeno, the single-cam comedy is the story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Pam’s back.  She’s not married to Jim.  She was married to Oliver Hudson (on the show).  Now, they’re getting divorced…which apparently gets them hot for being married to each other again.  The premise is somewhat bland, even if slightly influenced by our modern times, but it will require some winning performances by the two adult leads to work long term.  Unfortunately, this is not subject matter that entices your friendly neighborhood CP’s typically.  We’ll keep an eye on it, as there is some quality and thought behind it, but it’s not a comedy we are sold on just yet.

S.W.A.T.

S.W.A.T., CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Nov. 2

WHEN: Thursdays at 10/9c (after football concludes)

WHO: Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Jay Harrington (Code Black, Better Off Ted), Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel), Peter Onorati (Murder in the First), Lina Esco (Kingdom), Alex Russell, Stephanie Sigman

WHAT: A locally born and bred S.W.A.T. sergeant is torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers when he’s tasked to run a specialized tactical unit that is the last stop in law enforcement in Los Angeles. Inspired by the film of the same name.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Hey, it’s Better Off Ted!  But seriously.  The Chief CP never watched the film on which this show is based and really has no interest in doing so.  This is a standard cop action drama, set in a standard metropolitan location (Los Angeles), with some standard high octane police-related tropes powering said drama and some possible social commentary powering the emotion (cops versus non-cops, etc.).  There is nothing remarkable about this trailer or any of the events and aspects contained therein; this show has a very specific target audience, most of which CPU! does not currently fall into, much as we try to expand our base and palate.  We welcome new members all the time and all suggestions, but currently, this show will not find a viewing audience here.

STATUS: Twelve ordered episodes seem confirmed, eight of which have aired, but no renewal announcement has been made.  TV pundits believe it is “too early” to make predictions about renewal chances.

CPU! STATUS: The ratings are somewhat low, and no CPU!er has once mentioned it.  We will continue to keep our palates tight on this one (did that sound dirty?  I think it did!).

Ten Days in the Valley

TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9

WHO: Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Erika Christensen (Parenthood), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (American Odyssey, Hunted), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Felix Solis (The Good Wife), Francois Battiste (The Family, The Good Wife), Currie Graham (Westworld, Longmire), Nelson Lee (NCIS: New Orleans, The Night Shift), Abigail Pniowsky (Arrival), Josh Randall (Pitch, Quarry), Ali Stroker (Glee), Ella Thomas (Ballers, NCIS: Los Angeles), Beth Triffon (Dr. Ken, The Middle), Mark L. Young (Code Black)

WHAT: The ten-episode series centers on TV producer Jane Sadler, whose young daughter goes missing, mirroring the cop drama she produces.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast boasts some modestly heavy TV hitters, with the erstwhile “Closer” and Mrs. Kevin Bacon in the lead role, in some ways, this premise and story elements play like reality TV, though the plot is, as far as this CP knows, fiction.  This is clearly the type of show that will be trying for twists, even as they feel not as twisty as they should or, perhaps, over the top twisty and, therefore, tedious.  It may also be hard to sympathize with the main character if her poor choices and writing of teleplays based on dangerous information prompt some copycat to endanger the safety of her child.  Ultimately, the trailer suggests that this is yet another mystery based upon child kidnapping.  Take that as you will, but it does not entice so far.  It’s a limited series, but we’ll keep an eye on it, as we always do.

STATUS:  The Alphabet ordered 10 episodes but pulled the series from the fall schedule after the fourth episode due to low ratings, which signals that the show has been all but canceled.  ABC will burn off remaining episodes on Saturdays beginning December 16, 2017; when and if the official cancellation announcement is made, CPU! will report it here.

CPU! STATUS: Sometimes, we just know how to call these things.

Grey's Anatomy Spinoff

UNTITLED GREY’S ANATOMY SPINOFF, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood)

WHAT: Set in a Seattle firehouse, it follows a group of heroic firefighters, from the captain to the newest recruits, as they risk their lives and their hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  So, it was probably inevitable that Shonda Rimes and the ABC Network would attempt to franchise (with spin-offs) the successful-still-beyond-belief Grey’s Anatomy, especially since the latter program is going into its fourteenth season, despite improbable odds and a rotational cast roster.  Unfortunately, CPU! will not be along for this ride.  The project has no title, no trailer, and very little information to go on.  Plus, we jumped the shark on Grey’s a few seasons ago.  Now, there are some CPU!ers who still watch and may revive our dormant Grey’s Anatomy coverage via podcast; if they do, and if this untitled projects gets off the ground in more than teasers and thin premise descriptions, we will cross the bridge of coverage.  For now, we are not interested, for all the logical reasons outlined above.

Valor

VALOR, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 9

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow), Christina Ochoa (Animal Kingdom), Charlie Barnett (Secrets and Lies, Chicago Fire), Nigel Thatch (American Dreams), Corbin Reid (How to Get Away with Murder), Melissa Roxburgh (Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow), W. Tré Davis

WHAT: The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a US Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions. The drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks to a failed mission involving one of the first female pilots in the unit, ultimately uncovering layers of personal and government/military secrets, and leading to a season-long plan to rescue a group of MIA soldiers.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  For our third military-related entry this season, the CW enters the foray with a more mystery-specific pass involving an army unit, layers of conspiracy, and potentially poor character choices, all with CW-young and beautiful faces populating the drama.  There are no known or well established acting quantities in this equation, and the drama feels somewhat hollow, even superficial, at best.  The only reason CPU! is checking in on one of these dramas is for its lead actor, which can be a determinate but is not applicable in this instance.  If this show gains some kind of traction or steam or acclaim, we will reconsider, but for now, this is a confident pass.

STATUS: The CW ordered 13 confirmed episodes, 9 of which have aired.  No valorous announcements of future seasons (or lack of) have been made.  TV pundits think renewal is a “long shot” based upon low ratings and negative critical reception.

CPU! STATUS: The military dramas just aren’t making it, and we’re, frankly, kind of okay with that.

Will & Grace - Season 1

WILL & GRACE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 28

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally

WHAT: Twelve-episode revival of the popular 1998-2006 comedy series.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Enthusiastic Pick Up.  Not only is the meta musical trailer (how fascinatingly satirical and relevant, she says in her best judgmental Karen voice – or maybe Will’s voice, I could see him commenting in this way) amazingly put together, showcasing a cast of four that reclaimed the exact beats of the characters they stopped playing in 2006, NBC has already ordered a few more episodes and a second season.  Plus, the Chief CP is a big fan, as are several resident CP’s and supporters.  We already have a few requesting it for podcast consumption.  On top of that, the original Will & Grace was years ahead of its time, normalizing LGBTQ+ conversations and culture in ways that will feel comfortable, even homey now, as the wider world, with the exception of some pockets, is more accepting.  At the apex of this exciting new revival among the fad of revivals: Jack and Karen.  I repeat, Jack and Karen.  They say what we’re all thinking because they’re drunk and/or high and/or rich and/or self-involved and/or, perhaps, not entirely sane and stable.  Sounds like the perfect time for their comeback, and for a “Looking Back to Look Forward” series at CPU! on the subject.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 10!  Seven of a total of 16 ordered episodes have aired.

CPU! STATUS: Resident CPU!ers already requested coverage of this show on the podcast as a “Looking Back to Look Forward” series, so this “pick up” is definite and permanent.  Stay tuned!

Wisdom of the Crowd

WISDOM OF THE CROWD, CBS

WHO: Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Monica Potter (Parenthood), Richard T. Jones (American Horror Story, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Blake Lee (Mixology), Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones), Jake Matthews (Bosch)

WHAT: Inspired by the notion that a million minds are better than one, a tech innovator creates a cutting edge crowd-sourcing hub to solve his own daughter’s murder, as well as revolutionizing crime solving in San Francisco. Based on the Israeli format of the same name.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Last season, Fox introduced a show called A.P.B., which also involved an app and the ability of the crowd using the app to solve crimes.  This show was ultimately canceled, though CPU! picked it up (hesitantly) because the concept seemed novel at the time.  This show takes that concept and kicks it up a notch, transferring the power of the people to the solving of murders, with a central, high profile murder serving as the engine behind the crowd involvement.  Though we picked up the Fox show last season, it did not fare well.  Would a similarly themed show, granted with a bit more celebrity muscle in Jeremy Piven and Richard T. Jones, among others, fare better at the Eye?  It is definitely hard to say.  Though this show potentially executes the premise with a bit more refinery, as the Chief CP, I am loathe to lead viewers down the same path without some better numbers.  If this show gets ratings, acclaim, or any kind of critical traction, we will reconsider.  Right now, it looks like a second take at a different network, even if there is no one in common between the two programs.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  Eleven of 12 ordered episodes have aired.

CPU! STATUS: This show was canceled on November 27, 2017, in the wake of several sexual harassment/assault allegations raised against the show’s lead star, Jeremy Piven.  Though it was initially rated higher than some of CBS’ longer term mainstays, the show delivered middling to declining ratings as the season progressed.  As for CPU!, we stay firmly in our “Pass” camp based upon our read of the premise.  If you would like us to cover this show in a blog or podcast, send a message (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com or via social media), sign the guestbook, or leave a comment on this post.

Young Sheldon

YOUNG SHELDON, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sneak preview on Monday, Sept. 25 at 8:30 pm

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c (beginning Nov. 2 after football concludes)

WHO: Iain Armitage (Big Little Lies), Zoe Perry (The Family), Annie Potts (The Fosters), Lance Barber (The Comeback), Raegan Revord (Modern Family), Montana Jordan, narrator Jim Parsons

WHAT: The single-camera Big Bang Theory prequel follows Sheldon Cooper at the age of 9, living with his family in East Texas and going to high school.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now.  No one can deny the popularity of Big Bang Theory; it’s been on a CPU! catch-up list for a while, and we have some interest in it percolating within the CPU! roster of panelists.  Yet, not many of us are ready to talk about it yet, so it seems premature to enter into watching a prequel about the popular character, played by Jim Parsons, and his particularly brand of eccentricity blossoming from a young age.  We will keep an eye on this show and possibly create a series coupled with BBT, but for now, we will wait and see how such a prequel spin-off fares while the parent show still airs.

STATUS: CBS ordered a full season of 22 episodes, 9 of which have aired.  No renewal announcement has yet been made, but TV pundits think renewal of this Big Bang Theory spin-off is a “sure thing.”

CPU! STATUS: We would want to watch and cover BBT on the podcast before visiting this spin-off; however, we’ll keep an eye on the freshman series’ progress this season.

The following is a link to all premiere dates for shows covered beyond the main networks: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-premiere-dates

Non-Broadcast Network Pick-Ups

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS) – picked up when announced last season, but premiere delayed to Fall 2017.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! CBS ordered a full season of 15 episodes, 9 of which have aired on CBS’ paid streaming service, “All Access.”  

CPU! STATUS: A Star Trek comprehensive “Look Back to Look Forward” series is being planned for 2018 or 2019, so this show will eventually be included as part of the line-up, in which CPU! will discuss all existing Star Trek programs in an extended series.  Stay tuned!

Mindhunter (Netflix) – David Fincher’s newest addition to the streaming service, with the following synopsis:

David Fincher’s latest Netflix original series (following House of Cards) stars Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff as FBI agents who solve murders with advice gleaned from interviews of imprisoned serial killers. The 1979-set series also stars Anna Torv, and is based on the real-life work of FBI veteran John Douglas, who served as the inspiration for the Jack Crawford character in the various Hannibal Lecter books as well as for Jason Gideon on Criminal Minds. Fincher directs the pilot, Charlize Theron is a producer, and Joe Penhall (The Road) writes the adaptation of Douglas’s book.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! Netflix released the entirety of Season 1 (10 episodes) on October 13, 2017.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Alias Grace (Netflix) – Netflix’s answer to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a Margaret Atwood adaptation:

The second major Margaret Atwood adaptation to hit the small screen this year (following Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale), this six-episode miniseries is inspired by the true story of a shocking double murder in a remote Canadian town in 1843. The series is written by Sarah Polley (Away From Her) and directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol). Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin, Kerr Logan, Zachary Levi, and David Cronenberg (yes, the one you’re thinking of) star.

STATUS: Classified as a miniseries, Netflix released the six episodes of this program on November 3, 2017.  Because it is a miniseries, continuation is not expected, but we will keep an eye on any news regarding this program for this TV season.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Future Man (Hulu):

Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Hulu’s new comedy series follows a janitor (Josh Hutcherson) who suddenly finds himself charged with the task of traveling through time to save the human race. Eliza Coupe, Derek Wilson, Haley Joel Osment, Keith David, Glenne Headly, and Ed Begley Jr. also star.

STATUS: Hulu released Season One (13 episodes) on November 14, 2017.  No announcement has yet been made regarding the show’s future. 

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu): There is very little information about this property other than some limited internet chatter, but we are comic book prone.

Adapted from the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Hulu’s first Marvel series comes from Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and centers on six diverse teenagers who unite around a common foe: their parents.

STATUS: Hulu ordered ten episodes, six of which have been released on a mostly weekly basis on Tuesdays.  No announcements regarding subsequent seasons (or lack thereof) have yet been made.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

New Girl, Season 6 (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 September 2017, our small but robust panel of True Americans – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and adding (for the first time) frequent CPU! panelist Sarah, while subtracting panelist Kelsey – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 6 of quirky sitcom New Girl. If you have not watched any of New Girl, 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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “New Girl,” the Season Six Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “New Girl” airs on network TV, specifically on Fox, (typically) fall to spring Tuesdays.  Season Seven, the series’ upcoming final season, will not premiere until 2018.

What: “New Girl,” a situation comedy about goofy but lovable teacher (some have described her as ‘adorkable’) Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel), who, after finding out that her boyfriend cheated on her, answers a Craig’s List ad and ends up living in a loft with three others guys, including metrosexual, yuppie womanizer Schmidt (Max Greenfield); grumpy but down-to-earth bartender Nick (Jake Johnson); and eccentric but loyal radio producer Winston (Lamorne Morris).  Also interwoven into this mix is Jess’ childhood friend CeCe (Hannah Simone), a deadpan model who has more street smarts than Jess but tends to make poorer choices (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/new_girl/summary.html).

When: Season Six aired from September 20, 2016, to April 4, 2017, on Fox.

Where: The show is set in Los Angeles, California, primarily in the loft itself.

Why: Chief CP Kylie found this show on Netflix, having had some interest in it when it was first advertised because I love Zooey Deschanel, but for some reason, I wasn’t able to catch it when it was on, and I didn’t place priority on it because it seemed like an updated rehashing of Friends for the Millennial generation.  Yet, so many people, both trusted friends and critics alike, said it was funny; therefore, once it became available on Netflix, I binge watched the first two seasons before watching it in real – or almost real – time. For this latest CPU! podcast episode, a changed complement of fellow New Girl fans joined me around the water cooler to recap New Girl Season Six.

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

CPU! previously covered New Girl in both blog and podcast format.  To catch up on prior coverage, click some handy hyper or otherwise embedded links for your reading and listening pleasure, provided below:

Season 3: Read here

Seasons 4 & 5

We experienced a roster change on this panel since our last episode.  CPU! Panelist Kelsey departed this panel, having essentially jumped the shark on the show, at least for podcast purposes (though she remains on other active CPU! panels, specifically Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and The 100)Kristen, however, returns to the Water Cooler to continue chatting about this sitcom and is now joined by frequent CPU! regular Sarah for this episode, in which we cover Season Six of New Girl.

Our small but robust panel of True Americans ultimately struggles through the latest season’s antics of Jess, Nick, Schmidt, Winston, and CeCe.  We cover notable situations from the sixth season, as the show continues to toy with the compatibility and ongoing sexual tension between Nick and Jess, explores the relative diversity of tastes of newlyweds Schmidt and CeCe, and evolves the strange but no less endearing coupling of Winston and Aly.  Our panel’s particular level of devotion to this quirky sitcom is definitely on the wane, which we discuss at length in the embedded episode below, though we are both excited by and hopeful for the epilogue eight episodes of Season Seven, green-lit by the Fox network and slated to premiere in 2018.

This particular episode was recorded in September 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points, comedic situations, jokes, and sight gags of Season Six of New Girl. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, a new panel visits the Water Cooler to discuss a Netflix original series, an adaptation of a popular series of young adult novels, namely A Series of Unfortunate Events, moderated by frequent CPU! panelist Nick!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
Old Questions
1) What will CeCe and Schmidt’s marriage look like?
ANSWER: Surprisingly functional.  Despite the fact that they do not apparently have enough money to buy decent property in Los Angeles – and, really, who does? – and despite the fact that Schmidt’s interior design taste is impeccable, while CeCe’s could use some of Schmidt’s guidance (as long as he acknowledges her desires and choices), this couple works well together and remains interesting, even though they are married on a sitcom.  Plus – SPOILER – they find themselves on the brink of family expansion!  All this is to say that Schmidt and CeCe’s marriage is decidedly: normal.
2) Will Winston and Aly’s romance last?  Can they have a spin-off?  They’re too cute.
ANSWER: If engagement means lasting romance, then the answer is yes!  Winston proposes to Aly – he begins a multi-part plan (is it 21 parts?) to implement this proposal until Jess coaches him away from that approach.  Her persuasion, in addition to the usual comedic, complicated circumstances following Winston’s next-level awkwardness, do not prevent Winston from dressing up in a furry costume to memorialize how Winston and Aly first met, of course, since the proposal had to be all Winston in the end.
3) Is Megan Fox coming back for season six to play Reagan?  (Can she not?) Are we really about to watch a love triangle between Jess, Nick, and Reagan?
ANSWER: Sadly, she did.  Sadly, we did.  Fortunately, as Nick manages to complete his first novel with characters drawn heavily from his own subconscious, he soon realizes – and by soon, I mean by the end of the season – that he and Reagan do not belong together, while he and Jess do.  He tries to abandon Reagan on a train, of course, in his all-Nick fashion.  Fortunately, Reagan receives a huge promotion at her pharmaceutical company, so she appears to be officially copacetic with the breakup and officially gone for good.  To that, Kylie the Chief CP says, “Good riddance!”
4) If Jess and Nick get back together, can it be new and fresh?  The panel says: “will they or won’t they, and just move on!”
ANSWER: Still a question.  Jess and Nick’s inevitable re-coupling literally occurs within the final few minutes of the final episode of the season.  What is more, in this upcoming epilogue seventh season, the show is going to time jump to three years into the future.  So…what is “new and fresh,” eh?  Perhaps, with only eight episodes officially left to air, it no longer matters.
5) Will CeCe and Schmidt get pregnant?
ANSWER: Yes! In the final episode of the season, we learn, and so does the whole loft through what could only be construed as several violations of HIPAA, that CeCe is pregnant.  They are both elated, and so are we all.
6) Will Nick and Jess hook up and get pregnant?  Or experience a pregnancy scare?
ANSWER: Nick and Jess do not have any romantic entanglements, of an accidental or on purpose nature, until the final episode of the season – so no hook-ups and no potential baby-making consequences of said hook-ups.  Though Nick as a scared potential new father is still a legitimate story idea for the show, who knows what we will be watching in Season Seven?
7) What happened to the apartment down the hall?  Does Schmidt own it?  Are CeCe and Schmidt going to move into it?
ANSWER: Schmidt presumably sold that puppy when he and CeCe bought Jaipur Aviv, their quaint LA fixer upper, because that apartment faded out of the picture faster than Coach.
8) What is Schmidt’s first name already?!
ANSWER: In an anticlimactic reveal that feels mostly like lazy writing, according to universal consensus of the podcast panel, Schmidt’s first name is – drum roll, please – Winston…  Via a decision made in college, as Winston Bishop is the original Winston, Schmidt decided to go by “Schmidt” to avoid confusion.  Of course, this season, he wants to drop the pretenses when he receives a promotion at work and to aspire to loftier nomenclature.  No one is more chagrined than Winston Bishop, except for maybe the CPU! New Girl panel.
New Questions
1) With an impending time jump, where will all of our characters be as the final eight episodes commence? Will Nick and Jess be together still?  Will Nick and Jess get married?  Will Winston and Aly still be together?  Will we see their wedding, or are we bypassing Winston’s inevitable nuptials?  What will CeCe and Schmidt’s adorable child be, look like, and be named?  Will they get pregnant again?
2) Will Jess still be principal of the hippie new age school?
3) Will CeCe’s Boys be a successful modeling agency?  Will she take care of the children, or…?
4) …Will Schmidt quit his high-powered ad executive job and be a stay-at-home dad?
5) Will Winston and Aly still be police officers?
6) What will happen to the loft?
7) Will Ferguson still be kickin’ it, for feline realz, y’all?
8) Will Coach return for any part of this next season?
9) Will we see any old and/or beloved recurring characters?
10) How will the series end?
PARTING SHOTS
For this panel of New Girl fans, the “adorkable” Jess and her lofty pals still bring some laughs but not as freshly or as often as they did when this sitcom premiered.  Even though this show started as a contemporary and relevant situation comedy that mixes a few atypical character archetypes into a wildly flavorful (and crunchy) salad of laughs, the lettuce has been wilting since Nick and Jess’ pairing in season three, as the story toyed with coupling Jess and Nick for such an ultimately short-lived and unsatisfying period. The marriage of CeCe and Schmidt offers an interesting new dynamic to the group, especially since they continue to be present in the loft in the sixth season while renovations of their new house commence, but the writers and executive producers still have the uphill task of keeping the show feeling new and interesting, especially as the network ordered the upcoming final, truncated season to tie off loose ends.  In fact, some subtle signs of staleness and boredom from repetitive and routine storytelling have definitely settled in, as the panel notes in this podcast episode; the mission of the writers is to give this talented cast of performers and the characters they portray something more intelligent to do in the final season and to end the series on the highest and most feel-good note possible for these five quirky but enjoyably entertaining friends.
LOOKING AHEAD

New Girl was renewed for an eight-episode Season 7, which will be its final season. The season premiere date has not yet been announced.  CPU! will revisit New Girl following the airing of Season Seven with a combined recap of the seventh season and a retrospective “Looking Back” discussion.  Stay tuned to CPU! for future New Girl coverage and announcements as they become available.

CPU! LIVE!: CPU! Turns 100! Plus Our “Top 5” Current TV Recommendations!

couchpotatoesunite

LIVE PODCAST! – Inspired by the movie High Fidelity, and CPU!’s very own Nick, today’s episode returns to our LIVE! format with our Top 5 feature.  Top 5 channels panel members’ best Rob Gordons by asking them to come up with their own top 5 TV shows or TV-related items around a painstakingly chosen theme.  Then, as a group, the panelists are forced to come up with a consensus, using their individual lists as starting points, that represents the panel at large.  It makes for some feisty discussion, depending upon the topic.  The consensus top 5 will be presented in the podcast description, which is kind of a big spoiler, but then you’re here to listen to the podcast episode and all of the meaty, juicy discussion (and potential arguments)….right?

Our Top 5 du jour? In honor of our 100th episode, CPU! provides a brief but heady debate surrounding five of our most frequent panelists’ Top 5 TV recommendations, courtesy of Moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Hilary, Sarah, and Krista.  The debate was spicy – we have a diverse bunch of panelists, some nerdier than others, with different preferences.  How’d we fare?  Take a listen!

This podcast was live streamed on October 2, 2017, with associated video as part of Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater; this is the audio recording of the event! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube, and, naturally, our website, couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com!

Editor: Kylie Piette
Social Media Graphics: Krista Pennington
Episode Sponsored By: Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater