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

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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

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PODCAST! – CPU! LIVE!: THE 100th EPISODE!!! – Top 5 Current TV Recommendations of a Frequent Five CPU! Panelists

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THIS EPISODE OF CPU! SPONSORED BY:

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: Frequent CPU! panelists Nick, Kyle, Hilary, Sarah, and Krista!

What: CPU!’s Top 5 Current TV Recommendations!

When: CPU! went LIVE! and live streamed at its Facebook page on October 2, 2017!

Where: CPU! went live with our friends at Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater in Cool City Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Why:  Because we like you!  Because we’re all hams!  Because we turned 100 in the space of two and approximately one half short years!  So, now we think we’re experts.  For the record, we already know we’re silly.

How – as in How’d It Go?

To remind our listeners new and old, 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.  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, and is embedded here and uploaded to our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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, schedules and health permitting, our DCTU panel will finally make its triumphant return to the proverbial Water Cooler, starting with what I am sure will be a spicy discussion about Season 2 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, in the first of four revisits to the Arrowverse in advance of and overlapping the new season premieres of the four shows comprising said TV universe.  If you’ve been following this series, or if you are a DC fan in general, you won’t want to miss it!  Stay tuned!

(The following embedded video also contains other segments of COM, to give you a flavor of the weekly improv and sketch comedy night).

CPU!S TOP 5 CURRENT TV RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The X-Files – “Season 11 to premiere in 2018.”
  2. Sherlock – “It’s not canceled yet!”
  3. Game of Thrones – “Billions watch it.”
  4. Orange is the New Black – “It’s so good. For most people.”
  5. Stranger Things – “One season dynamite.”

NEXT CPU! LIVE!

CPU! is returning to Grand Rapids Comic Con!  On October 21, 2017, at 4:00 PM we will be in Grand Gallery D in DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan, to launch another new feature in the general oeuvre of “Celebrity Death Match” in honor of two of the headlining guests at Con – our fan panel is entitled “Star Trek v. Star Wars: Battle of the Stars,” and will feature frequent and nerdy CPU! panelists Kristen, Nick, Kyle, Hilary, Sarah, and Spencer!  Stay tuned for all the details and marketing!

PANELIST PROFILES

Credits:

Editor: Kylie Piette
Social Media Marketing: Krista Pennington

Progress Report: Fall TV Preview and Selection for 2017-2018 Shows (2017)

At this point, the primary TV viewing season is over, the summer viewing season in all its limited glory is in full swing, and the calendar has struck the month of August…which means less than a month until the fall TV season begins again!  Thus, it’s time to shop for new pilots! Since up-fronts were held in May, new TV offerings by networks and some cable outlets (as well as streaming networks) have been announced. It’s time to examine them closely and choose which will be added to the extremely extended lineup covered by this blog!

Thanks to TVLine 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: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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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.

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: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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.

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

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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.

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

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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).

By the Book

BY THE BOOK, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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.

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

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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.

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.

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

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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?

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.

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

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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.

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.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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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.

The Orville

THE ORVILLE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Special two-part series premiere Sunday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8/7c

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.

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

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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.”

The Resident

THE RESIDENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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.

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

__

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: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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.

__

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: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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.

__

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: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

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

__

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.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

__

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.

Splitting Up Together

SPLITTING UP TOGETHER, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

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

__

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.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

__

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.

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.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel

__

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.

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.

__

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.

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

__

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.

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.

Trailer Available at here

__

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.

Wisdom of the Crowd

WISDOM OF THE CROWD, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1 (at 8:30 pm after football)

WHEN: Sundays at 8/7c

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.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

__

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.

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.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

__

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

-*-

There you have it!  We will add Pick Ups to the CPU! Watchlist and cover them in this blog or via our ever growing podcast. For those passed, if you think we should give them another chance, head on over to the comments section and sound off!  If you would like to be a guest blogger about any passed shows, send me a message, and we’ll talk terms!

In any event, I’m excited for the new stories to start.   TV is film with commitment, you know.

In short:

Picked Up

ABC

Alex, Inc.
The Crossing
Deception
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (hesitantly)
Marvel’s Inhumans
The Mayor
Roseanne

CBS

9JKL (very hesitantly)
SEAL Team (hesitantly)

Fox

Ghosted
The Gifted
L.A. to Vegas
The Orville

NBC

Good Girls (very hesitantly)
Reverie (hesitantly)
Rise (hesitantly)
Will & Grace (enthusiastically)

CW

Black Lightning

 

Passed

ABC

For the People
The Good Doctor
Splitting Up Together
Ten Days in the Valley
Grey’s Anatomy Spin-Off (Untitled)

CBS

By the Book
Instinct
Me, Myself & I
S.W.A.T.
Wisdom of the Crowd
Young Sheldon (for now)

Fox

9-1-1
The Resident

NBC

A.P. Bio
The Brave
Champions
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

CW

Dynasty
Life Sentence
Valor

 

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!

Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard for Shows Covered By This Blog (Long-Running)

Based on reliable sources, including TVLine, the A.V. Club, Wikipedia, and TV.com, here are the current statuses of shows covered by this blog.  This list does not include up and coming shows to be reviewed from the new season pilots list or shows not listed on the “What I’m Currently Watching” page.

This particular list comprises the End of Season Scorecard for Long-Running shows covered by this blog, with current statuses, upcoming premiere dates (if known), and other helpful information.  Shows that ended this year or recently that we have already covered have been removed from the list (such as Grimm).

New this year: A complete list of network renewals and cancellations, some cable networks included, at the bottom.  If your show is not being covered by CPU!, and you want it to be, leave a comment or contact us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com (or via Facebook/Twitter).  We would probably find a way to make it happen!

Orange is the New Black (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Seasons 5-7.  Season 5 premiered on June 9, 2017.

Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (PODCAST) – ABC

Renewed for Season 5.

Supernatural (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 13.  Season 13 will premiere on October 12, 2017.

Gotham (PODCAST) – Fox

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on September 21, 2017.

The Vampire Diaries (PODCAST) – CW

Ended 2017.  Season 8 was the show’s final season.  CPU! will be covering the show in a two-part goodbye series some time in the next few weeks.

Once Upon a Time (PODCAST) – ABC

Renewed for Season 7 (without Emma & half the original cast, but who’s counting?). Season 7 will premiere on October 6, 2017.

Marvel’s Luke Cage (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

Arrow (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 6.  Season 6 will premiere on October 12, 2017.

The Flash (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on October 10, 2017.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on October 10, 2017.

Supergirl (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on October 9, 2017.

Stranger Things (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2. Season 2 will be released on October 27, 2017.

Doctor Who (PODCAST) – BBC America

Renewed for Series 11.  Doctor Who will return on Christmas Day 2017.

Marvel’s Iron Fist (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

13 Reasons Why (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

American Horror Story (PODCAST) – FX

Renewed for Seasons 7, 8, and 9.  Season 7 will premiere on September 5, 2017.

Fuller House (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3 (and 18 episodes to be split into two parts).  The first half of Season 3 will be released on September 22, 2017.

How to Get Away with Murder (PODCAST) – ABC

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on September 28, 2017.

Sense8 (Currently in Blog format; transitioning to a PODCAST) – Netflix

Canceled, but the network commissioned a finale two-hour movie to be released some time in 2018.  CPU! will be covering both of the show’s available seasons in podcast format some time in the next few weeks.

The X-Files (PODCAST) – Fox

Renewed for Season 11.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

Marvel’s Daredevil (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3.

New Girl (PODCAST) – Fox

Renewed for (an abbreviated, eight episode) Season 7, which will be the final season.

Game of Thrones (PODCAST) – HBO

Renewed for Seasons 7 and 8, the latter of which will be the final season.  Season 7 premiered on July 15, 2017.

The Originals (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 5, which will be the final season.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 3 premiered on May 19, 2017.

The 100 (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 5.

Fargo – FX

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 3 premiered on April 19, 2017.

The Mindy Project – Hulu

Renewed for Season 6, which will be the final season.

Sleepy Hollow – Fox

Canceled.  Season 4 was the show’s final season.  Review or podcast to come.

Madam Secretary – CBS

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 premieres on October 8, 2017.

Bones – Fox

Ended 2017.  Season 12 was the show’s final season.  CPU! will be covering this show in a future “Looking Back” podcast episode.

Broadchurch (PODCAST) – BBC America

Ended 2017.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.  Season 3 premiered in the United States on June 28, 2017.

Revenge – ABC

Ended 2015.  Review (either blog or podcast) to come.

Reign – CW

Canceled.  Season 4 was the show’s final season.  Review (either blog or podcast) to come.

About a Boy – NBC

Ended 2015.  Review (either blog or podcast) to come.

Sherlock (PODCAST) – PBS

Series 4 aired from January 1-January 15, 2017.  Though possibility of a fifth series is being contemplated, no announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Network Shows and Other Shows Mentioned by CPU!ers

(does not include this year’s freshman series, currently covered shows, shows we’ve already covered and eliminated, or game and reality shows)

By Popular Demand

ABC

American Crime (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.

black-ish (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

The Catch (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Dr. Ken (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Fresh Off the Boat (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

The Goldbergs (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Seasons 5 & 6!

Grey’s Anatomy (CPU! jumped the shark)
Renewed for Season 14.

Last Man Standing (passed by CPU!)
Canceled. Season 6 is the show’s final season.

The Middle (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 9.

Mistresses (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 4 is the show’s final season.

Modern Family (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Seasons 9 & 10!

Quantico (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

The Real O’Neals (picked up CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Scandal (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 7, which will be the final season.

Secrets and Lies (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

CBS

2 Broke Girls (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 6 is the show’s final season.

American Gothic (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season (why wasn’t this on the initial network list? I have no answers).

The Big Bang Theory (picked up by CPU! late)
Renewed for Seasons 11 & 12!

Blue Bloods (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 8.

BrainDead (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season.  This also wasn’t on the initial network list. CBS!!!

Code Black (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Criminal Minds (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 13.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Elementary (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 6.

The Good Fight (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 2.

Hawaii Five-O (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 8.

Life in Pieces (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Mom (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

NCIS (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 15.

NCIS: Los Angeles (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 9.

NCIS: New Orleans (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

The Odd Couple (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.

Ransom (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season.  This also wasn’t on the initial network list. Maybe it’s TVLine’s fault?

Scorpion (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

Star Trek: Discovery (picked up by CPU!)
Premiering in fall 2017.

Superior Donuts (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season.  I don’t have a complete CBS list.

Zoo (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 3.

FOX

Bob’s Burgers (animated)
Renewed for Season 8.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

Empire (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

Family Guy (animated)
Renewed for Season 16.

The Last Man on Earth (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 4.

Lucifer (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Rosewood (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Scream Queens (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

The Simpsons (animated)
Renewed for Seasons 29 & 30!

Wayward Pines (picked up by CPU!)
No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

NBC

Aquarius (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

The Blacklist (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 5.

Blindspot (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

The Carmichael Show (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Chicago Fire (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 6.

Chicago Med (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Chicago P.D. (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

Law and Order: SVU (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 19.

The Night Shift (passed by CPU!)
No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Shades of Blue (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Superstore (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

iZombie (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

Jane the Virgin (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 4.

Current/Ongoing Shows Requested by CPU! Regulars for the Podcast

PBS

Call the Midwife
Renewed for Series 8 and 9!

BBC America

Orphan Black
Currently airing Season 5.  Season 5 is the show’s final season.

FXX

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Renewed for Seasons 13 and 14!

FX

The Americans
Renewed for Season 6, which will be the final season.

Feud
Renewed for Season 2

Netflix

The Crown
Renewed for Season 2

The OA
Renewed for Season 2

Peaky Blinders
Renewed for Series 4 and 5!

House of Cards
Renewed for Season 5

Anne with an E
Renewed for Season 2

Master of None
Season 2 premiered on May 12, 2017.  No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Showtime

Billions
Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on September 13, 2017.

Shameless
Renewed for Season 8

TNT

The Librarians
Renewed for Season 4

Will
Season 1 currently airing.  No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

USA

Mr. Robot
Renewed for Season 3

A&E

Bates Motel
Ended.  Season 5 was the show’s final season.

Pop

Schitt’s Creek
Renewed for Season 4

Starz

Outlander
Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on September 10, 2017.

American Gods
Renewed for Season 2

AMC

Better Call Saul
Renewed for Season 4

The Walking Dead
Renewed for Season 8.  Season 8 will premiere on October 22, 2017.

SyFy

The Magicians
Renewed for Season 3

Wynonna Earp
Renewed for Season 3

Amazon

The Man in the High Castle
Renewed for Season 3

Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale
Renewed for Season 2

That’s it, fellow Couch Potatoes!  Next up in the Progress Report series: the Fall Preview of 2017-2018 pilots.  My intention is to find a complete list, but if you’re interested in seeing what’s on the horizon for network TV, you’ll definitely want to Stay Tuned for our annual preview! 🙂

 

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

couchpotatoesunite

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

Episode sponsored by: Heritage Theatre Group

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

Image result for gotham season 3 title

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

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

For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!

CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

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

Seasons 1-2A

Season 2B, The Wrath of the Villains

 

Season 3A, Mad City

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

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

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

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

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions/Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PARTING SHOTS

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

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

LOOKING AHEAD

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

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

Image result for progress report

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

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

Thanks as always to TVLine for helping a girl out.

24: Legacy

24: LEGACY, Fox

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Housewife

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, ABC

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

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

APB

A.P.B., Fox

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

The Blacklist: Redemption

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, NBC

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Bull

BULL, CBS

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Chicago Justice

CHICAGO JUSTICE, NBC

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Conviction

CONVICTION, ABC

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Designated Survivor

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Downward Dog

DOWNWARD DOG, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: May 17, 2017

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Emerald City

EMERALD CITY, NBC

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

The Exorcist

THE EXORCIST, Fox

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Frequency

FREQUENCY, The CW

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

The Good Place

THE GOOD PLACE, NBC

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

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

The Great Indoors

THE GREAT INDOORS, CBS

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Great News

GREAT NEWS, NBC

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Imaginary Mary

IMAGINARY MARY, ABC

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Kevin Can Wait

KEVIN CAN WAIT, CBS

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

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

EDIT: Why God…why?!

Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON, Fox

WHEN: Wednesdays at 8/7c

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

MacGyver

MACGYVER, CBS

WHEN: Fridays at 8/7c

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Making History

MAKING HISTORY, Fox

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Man With A Plan

MAN WITH A PLAN, CBS

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

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

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

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

Marlon

MARLON, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: August 16, 2017

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

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

PICK UP OR PASS?

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

The Mick

THE MICK, Fox

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

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

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

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PICK UP OR PASS?

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

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

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

Midnight Texas