Progress Report: Fall TV Preview and Selection for 2018-2019 Shows (2018)

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 previous seasons, 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!

A Million Little Things

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: James Roday (Psych), David Giuntoli (Grimm), Romany Malco (Weeds), Ron Livingston (Sex and the City), Christina Moses (The Originals), Christina Ochoa (Valor, Blood Drive), Allison Miller (Incorporated, Go On), Stephanie Szostak (Satisfaction), Lizzy Greene (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn), Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)

WHAT: They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Welcome to the 2018-2019 CPU! network pilot review!  We start off on a strong note, with a pick up for this drama from ABC, but also with a guilty admission by your Chief CP (author of these annual reviews).  Honestly, I’m personally most interested in David Giuntoli and everything about him – outside of a Grimm context, that is – more than I am interested in the basic premise of this plot.  I think this is the Alphabet’s attempt at an answer to ratings juggernaut and NBC success This Is Us; on the other hand, the cast seems strong.  Watching these two minutes also inspires some The Big Chill nostalgia with a modern, Millennial set of characters at the forefront, dealing with the evolution and metamorphosis of friendships into adulthood.  That idea, punctuated by the suicide that starts the series off, connects strongly with this viewer, and I can see some of our other Couch Potatoes also finding some interest in and connection to it.  The trailer left me feeling hopeful for the series, at any rate, so let’s give this one a try, our first pick up for the year.  Hooray for good signs and strong starts!

Abby's

ABBY’S, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Natalie Morales (Parks and Recreation), Neil Flynn (The Middle), Nelson Franklin (Veep), Jessica Chaffin (Search Party), Leonard Ouzts (Master of None), Kimia Behpoornia (Modern Family, Adam Ruins Everything)

WHAT: Set in the best bar in San Diego, home to good prices, great company and, of course, Abby. This unlicensed, makeshift bar nestled in her backyard is the opposite of everything annoying about today’s party scene. As the oddball cast of regulars will tell you, hanging out at Abby’s is a coveted honor. But once you’re in, you’re family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Without a trailer, this viewer is reluctant to get enthusiastically on board, but two things convinced me to take a look: it’s produced by Michael Schur – creator of The Good Place and Mose Schrute on The Office – and it’s filmed entirely outside.  Though it feels very Cheers-esque, with a female barkeep knowing everyone’s name, early upfront reviews seemed hopeful, so it’s worth a look.  A quick one, anyway.

The Alec Baldwin Show\

THE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 14

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9c

WHAT: The one-hour talker will showcase Baldwin’s in-depth conversations with compelling personalities.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The CPU! podcast does not talk about talk shows.  How do you feel about Alec Baldwin at the helm of a prime time talk show?

All American

ALL AMERICAN, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 10

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Daniel Ezra (The Missing), Taye Diggs (Private Practice), Cody Christian (Teen Wolf), Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why), Monet Mazur (Castle), Karimah Westbrook (Shameless, Aquarius), Michael Evans Behling

WHAT: When a rising high school football player from South L.A. is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds — Crenshaw and Beverly Hills — begin to collide. Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger.

Trailer available at the CW’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite the presence of always gorgeous Taye Diggs, this sports-ball drama feels incredibly trope-y, including hashed and rehashed concepts of several TV and film properties past: poor, urban kid of color finding himself in a rich, largely white district; the story about a kid who has nothing but talent, heart, and a bit of luck with the offer to test his prowess on a suburban high school football team; and so on.  The trailer does not “wow” in its presentation of these recycled story concepts, and none of the actors apart from Diggs inspire confidence that this property will offer stellar production value beyond the typical good looks of a made-for-the-CW cast.  Plus, our current roster of Couch Potatoes has currently and definitely shied away from TV about sports.  Seriously, way more nerd types and way less jock types populate our own ever-growing cast.  If you want to change that, though, please drop us a line.

Charmed

CHARMED, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 14

WHEN: Sundays at 9/8c

WHO: Sarah Jeffery (Shades of Blue), Melonie Diaz (The Breaks), Madeleine Mantock (The Tomorrow People), Rupert Evans (Man in the High Castle), Ser’Darius Blain (Survivor’s Remorse, Jane by Design), Charlie Gillespie (Degrassi: Next Class), Ellen Tamaki

WHAT: After the tragic death of their mother, three sisters in a college town are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.

Trailer available at the CW’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  Networks: “What do we want?” Answering themselves: “More reboots!” “When do we want them?” “Now! Because we literally have no other ideas!”  Charmed, the original starring Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, and later Rose McGowan, was a WB staple for eight seasons, now airs frequently in syndication, and enjoys a healthy streaming afterlife.  Charmed has already been requested as a possible “Looking Back” candidate for the podcast because its loyal fan base endures to this day.  Charmed was a show that this viewer watched voraciously and enthusiastically in its original run.  It was a bit cheesy at times and occasionally suffered from the mismatch of acting talent among the women playing the Halliwell/Matthews sisters, but it was reliable, interesting, and sort of kooky in an entertaining way for a long time.  Like all the other major networks and some streaming outlets, WB offspring The CW could not wait to look into past properties for its own go at a rebooted show from an earlier success, so here, we have Charmed Redux with a new set of sisters exercising a new era of The Power of Three.  I can’t help feeling that this reboot is near blasphemy at its core, given that the original was pretty well loved and still enjoys a loyal, continuing fan devotion.  Plus, the actresses playing the sisters are nowhere near equal to the four who played the Halliwells/Matthews, even if the original four could not be described as amazing performers themselves.  This reboot also seems to be an even darker take, with mom’s death being characterized as outright murder from the jump.  Still, sheer morbid curiosity, a love of fantasy (and supernatural fantasy to boot), and a “can’t look away” feeling propel me to say that CPU! has little choice but to pick this up.  Though you better bet that this will be a “Look Back to Look Forward” setup, and that the two versions of the series will be hotly compared and contrasted by feisty and spicy Couch Potatoes.  Mark my words, gentle reader: the Power of Three may not set you free.

The Code

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, and there is scant information available for this drama, which, mind you, is a military drama and a seeming holdover from the rash of military dramas that debuted last season on the networks, most of which were ultimately canceled.  Plus, Mira Sorvino was attached to this program as its lead for awhile before leaving the role, which is not typically a great sign, and there is very little to be excited about when reviewing the cast list or plot synopsis, so we’ll leave this code non-cracked this season.

The Conners

THE CONNERS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 16

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8/7c

WHO: John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman

WHAT: In the Roseanne spinoff, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before after a sudden turn of events. The iconic family — Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. — grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns — with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Last season, CPU! picked up the Roseanne revival based on the fact that several of our Couch Potatoes, the Chief among them, enjoyed the original series, more or less, and were curious to see how this particular family would weather the reboot/revival treatment.  Though many of us have not yet watched, the ratings seemed to speak for themselves – but then so did Roseanne Barr via her Twitter account.  All politics aside, Roseanne has always been an “x” factor, erratic and sometimes harmful to the public in how she has chosen to wield her influence, but no one can deny that Roseanne would not have been what it was without her.  Now, in a move that sounds, smells, and tastes a bit like “cash grab,” notwithstanding the advocacy for the jobs of those that would otherwise not have had them without Roseanne’s poor life choices (and prejudicial views) mucking up the works, the Alphabet is moving forward with what would ultimately be a spin-off, sans the titular matriarch.  On the one hand, it could be compelling: the rest of the cast are no slouches, especially Laurie Metcalf, and the character of Darlene, particularly, has always served as an interesting focal point for the show.  On the other hand, if the writers don’t hit this one out of the park straight from the dugout, it will not survive all of this melee and ado and will become a truly unfortunate, if not tragic footnote in entertainment history.  The real question is: would this footnote be any more unfortunate or tragic than the original ending, including Dan’s purported death following the family winning the lottery?  CPU! is willing to bet probably not, and we believe the network sees this whole game playing out the same way, so, in the end, we’re left asking “why not?”  Again, it could also be sheer morbid curiosity.  Time, and the rest of the Conners, will tell.

The Cool Kids

FBI

FBI, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Missy Peregrym (Rookie Blue), Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), Zeeko Zaki (Valor, 24: Legacy), Ebonée Noel (Still Star-Crossed), Sela Ward (CSI: NY)

WHAT: The Dick Wolf-produced drama explores the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite a decently packaged trailer and a potentially unusual and compelling turn by Missy Peregrym in the lead role, if Dick Wolf has his stamp on this, it will likely be a crime-of-the-week, neatly wrapped up in an episode (or two) procedural show, this time exploring the inner workings of one of the federal law enforcement agencies.  We are not covering procedural TV (much) here at CPU!, and when we do, we’ll have to recruit a reviewer or moderator to do it because this Chief CP likely won’t be watching, at least not without an interesting gimmick to make it seem different from others of its genre.  I can’t imagine this to be something entirely different than Law & Order and its franchise of shows, even if this series is, also, not entirely the same.  CPU! will pass for now.

The Fix

THE FIX, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Robin Tunney (The Mentalist), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Ten Days in the Valley, Lost), Mouzam Makkar (The Exorcist), Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash), Merrin Dungey (Big Little Lies, The Resident), Scott Cohen (Gilmore Girls), Marc Blucas (Underground, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Adam Rayner (Tyrant), Alex Saxon (The Fosters)

WHAT: Follows an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in Washington. Eight years later when this same celebrity is under suspicion for another murder, Maya Travis is lured back to the DA’s office for another chance at justice.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast is teeming with familiar faces from large and small screen (was that Robin Givens in the trailer?), this show seems (un)remarkably like a romanticized version of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial given a fantasy makeover, wherein the put-upon district attorney who failed her job the first time gets a second chance to re-try the case, with a different fact pattern in which to dig her bared teeth.  Since the executive producer is Marcia Clark, one of the DA’s who lost the criminal trial of the disgraced ex-NFL star and, therefore, probably felt like she failed at life for many decades to come, the premise of this show, still more, smacks of the playing out of her own revenge fantasy, one in which she can finally take down the elusive defendant who broke her career and her spirit.  OJ was probably guilty, but hey, I guess the glove didn’t fit or something.  I lived through the debacle that was that trial, when it created and fueled the news glut we still enjoy today (without so much internet) and which divided the nation again/still by race and by class.  While the trial itself inspired a critical examination of the judicial system, I, frankly, do not need to live through a fantasized version of the same story, this time delving into an “It’s a Wonderful Life” concept of do-overs to redeem the poor, put-upon, plucky, but intelligent DA who couldn’t get her conviction in the end.  I also worry that the character played by the erstwhile Mr. Eko from Lost could become a caricature quickly if not handled properly and with sympathy, given the obvious parallel to real life that he presents.  All in all, suspension of disbelief would certainly be difficult for this particular potato’s personal palate, but if you watch and disagree, let us know.  My curiosity simply isn’t morbid enough to need this fix.

God Friended Me

GOD FRIENDED ME, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 30 (at 8:30/7:30c)

WHEN: Sundays at 8/7c (beginning Oct. 7)

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor), Joe Morton (Scandal), Violett Beane (The Flash), Javicia Leslie (MacGyver), Suraj Sharma (Homeland)

WHAT: Questions of faith, existence and science are explored in this dramedy about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is “friended” by God on social media. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Now, maybe I’m feeling really vulnerable right now, but I teared up at the trailer, which means this one got to me in 3-4 minutes, and that’s not something to sneeze at when doing the quick math here.  Properties with pure religious motifs have not fared well on prime time network television in recent years, but perhaps what makes this one a bit different is that the show will attempt to explore the tough but meaningful subject of faith and the spiritual through more of a focused dialogue, beginning with the main character who runs a podcast about atheism.  Adding in the social media spin for today’s modern audiences, this premise teases something potentially fresh and original without becoming too preachy.  In fact, the show may become the kind of feel-good comedy – and discussion of hope – that today’s audiences crave in these testy times of geopolitical conflict.  Plus, I found the main characters to be largely winning – one of them is the sometime Jessie Quick from CPU! fave The Flash – so, all in all, it feels like this program deserves a leap of faith.  Friend request accepted.

Grand Hotel

GRAND HOTEL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids), Demian Bichir (The Bridge), Chris Warren (The Fosters), Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game), Shalim Ortiz (Heroes), Denyse Tontz (The Fosters), Bryan Craig (General Hospital), Lincoln Younes (Home and Away), Justina Adorno (Seven Seconds), Anne Winters (13 Reasons Why), Feliz Ramirez

WHAT: Set in the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. Charismatic Santiago Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success. Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Produced by former Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria, this new sudsy soap screams telenovela for the now, with sex, sex, sex oozing from its Miami infused pores, a regular scandal (no, not that Scandal) in the making for the Disney-owned Alphabet network.  This will probably be a guilty, or not so guilty, pleasure for quite a few viewers, with an attractive cast, a colorful backdrop, and shocking secrets regularly revealed to appalled but enthralled gasps, but unless requested otherwise, CPU! will back away slowly, since soaps we cover are few and far between.  We will instead remember that the real Grand Hotel is on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  Granted, the clientele is probably very different all around.  All jokes aside, though, this show honestly has potential for success but is not the typical fare that appeals to too many of the CPU! Couch Potatoes.  Maybe they will surprise me, though.  You can request our coverage too, though, viewer – and did you know that you, too, could become one of our panelists?  Sign our guestbook to inquire as to how.

Happy Together

HAPPY TOGETHER, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl, Happy Endings), Amber Stevens West (Ghosted, The Carmichael Show), Felix Mallard (Neighbours), Stephnie Weir (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Chris Parnell (Grown-ish, SNL), Victor Williams (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A 30-something couple, tired of their mundane life, start to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when a young pop star who is drawn to their super normal suburban life, moves in.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Canned laughter.  Pauses for the canned laughter.  Pregnant pauses.  Dozing.  That last one was me; I’m the one dozing.  This new sitcom seems like a one-note joke that cannot possibly sustain over 22 episodes, much less several additional seasons, and will probably get old in one.  It’s clear that this new program wants to rely on Damon Wayans, Jr.’s considerable charm and comedic timing, but he simply doesn’t have THAT much charm and comedic timing to overcome the ham and cheese on rye flavoring this bland soupy sauce of a sitcom is serving up.  Sure, we all want to be young and hip again, but how tired is the “we’re boring, so this cool rock star will make us cool too” trope?  I did not laugh once watching the trailer, and with such a recycled and rehashed premise, I don’t see anyone at CPU! (or beyond) requesting our in-depth discussion about this show.  Look, Damon’s dad had to try a few times to get a sitcom that lasted too.  Genetics or something, right?

I Feel Bad

I FEEL BAD, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 4

WHEN: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Sarayu Blue (No Tomorrow), Paul Adelstein (Private Practice), Zach Cherry (Crashing, Search Party), James Buckley (The Inbetweeners), Johnny Pemberton (Superstore), Aisling Bea

WHAT: Emet is a mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter who is just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But that’s OK, right? Nobody can have it all and do it perfectly.

Trailer available at NBC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  First, the executive producer is Amy Poehler.  Win.  Second, sure the situations in this comedy probably have been done (and done, and done) elsewhere, but how many times have they been done honestly, with the kind of in-your-face humor that resonates?  Also win.  The Peacock has really made a comeback recently, at least in the comedy department, by choosing smart comedies with familiar premises but fresh elements developing those premises to something better than they might otherwise be.  Sarayu Blue and Paul Adelstein have clear chemistry; her parents will no doubt be the comic underdogs; and the social commentary will be relevant and up to date, unlike the last sitcom we reviewed in this pilot entry.  Perhaps, this “pick up” is somewhat inspired by a trailer that made me laugh, as opposed to the one that just failed at that basic task, but isn’t that what a sitcom should be – a show that makes the viewer laugh?  It’s worth a look, at least, because I can tell that this show already has a better chance of sustaining beyond one season than most in its genre.

In the Dark

IN THE DARK, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Perry Mattfeld (Shameless), Rich Sommer (Mad Men), Kathleen York (The Client List, The West Wing), Derek Webster (NCIS: New Orleans), Brooke Markham (Foursome), Keston John (My Kitchen Rules)

WHAT: A blind woman is the only “witness” to the murder of her drug-dealing friend. After the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at the guide dog school owned by her overprotective parents.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The trailer was apparently only screened at up-fronts, but this not-so-connected viewer needs a trailer to make an unbiased assessment of this show.  Without one, and given the above premise description, it sounds like a schmaltzy hodgepodge of lovable dog, inspiring tale of rising to meet the challenges of adversity, and murder-mystery procedural rolled into a saccharine goo.  Plus, there is no one in the cast that offers a draw, and it’s on the CW, which struggles outside of the fantasy/science fiction genre sometimes.  If buzz, accolades, or steam say this dark show is full of unexpected light, we might reconsider, but right now, this viewer offers a solid “meh,” and we unitedly move on.

The InBetwen

THE INBETWEEN, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Harriet Dyer (Australia’s Love Child), Paul Blackthorne (Arrow), Anne-Marie Johnson (In the Heat of the Night), Cindy Luna (The Last Ship), Chad James Buchanan (Star)

WHAT: Cassie Bishop can see and communicate with the dead, helping them with their unresolved problems, whether she likes it or not. When her longtime friend Det. Tom Hackett and his new partner, former FBI Agent Damien Asante, need help solving a darkly puzzling murder, Cassie agrees to use her abilities. Despite her reluctance, she may have found a way to keep her demons at bay, all while solving some of the city’s most challenging cases.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  This new drama sounds like a cross between The Sixth Sense and garden variety procedural crime/murder mystery television, but new fantasy appears to be rather limited this season, and that’s what the CP’s live for around here (this Chief CP does, anyway).  Plus, Paul Blackthorne left CPU! covered Arrow to come be on this show, so we’ll give it a chance.  If the bend is more procedural than serial drama, though, we might lose interest, but we’ll see how this one shakes out in the end.

The Kids Are Alright

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 16

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight), Caleb Foote (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Giani Versace), Christopher Paul Richards (Me, Myself & I), Jack Gore (Electric Dreams), Sawyer Barth (Public Morals), Sam Straley, Andy Walken, Santino Barnard

WHAT: Set in the 1970s, the ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.”

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The Wonder Years meets That 70s Show with a dash of Modern Family and maybe All in the Family as well as Eight is Enough thrown into the mix to become The Kids Are Alright, which, incidentally, was the working title of That 70s Show. Though I wanted to like what this teaser trailer was serving, this new sitcom boasts much in the way of ham-fisted nostalgia, in spades, coupled with forced parallelism to our modern times, while depending on what seems to be a lackluster cast of mostly unknown quantities trying, hard, to elicit laughs.  It even has voice-over narration in the way Daniel Stern’s Kevin Arnold talked over the younger Fred Savage version of the character’s antics in The Wonder Years.  Perhaps, there is potential to appeal to viewers hungry for this type of on-the-nose comedy, and if there is something we’re missing here, you can always tell us, but again, nothing struck as particularly funny as much as “all been done before” while watching the trailer, so we’re not willing to say this one’s alright, at least for now.

Legacies4

LEGACIES, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 25

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Davis (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Rose Russell (The Originals), Quincy Fouse (The Goldbergs), Kaylee Bryant (Santa Clarita Diet), Jenny Boyd

WHAT: The Vampire Diaries and Originals spinoff follows the next generation of supernatural beings at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, including Klaus Mikaelson’s daughter, 17-year-old Hope Mikaelson; Alaric Saltzman’s twins, Lizzie and Josie Saltzman; and other young adults come of age in the most unconventional way possible, nurtured to be their best selves in spite of their worst impulses. Will these young witches, vampires and werewolves become the heroes they want to be — or the villains they were born to be?

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  CPU! includes fans who talked for several episodes about The Vampire Diaries and another panel will be finishing up ongoing water cooler coverage of The Originals in the very near future, now that the series has recently ended.  I imagine, therefore, that a chunk of us will want to check out this spin-off of the Vampire Diaries universe, if for no other reason than that any one of us might have a tough time letting said universe go for good.  Still, it would be a tall order to imagine that any of these characters, or their portraying actors, will be as interesting as the leading casts of either TVD or The Originals, but since the theme of the season seems to be morbid curiosity, we’ll just carry that with us as we give this new entry in the annals of vampire/supernatural fantasy fiction a try (and even if Alaric’s school is the supernatural Hogwarts).  Plus, we might see guest appearances by anyone from either of the two casts, so, morbid curiosity for the win!

Magnum P.I.

MAGNUM P.I., CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 24

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Jay Hernandez (Scandal, Last Resort), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), Stephen Hill (Luke Cage, Boardwalk Empire)

WHAT: An update of the classic television series set in Hawaii, the show follows Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Do you see Tom Selleck anywhere?  Do you?!?!  The answer to this question is the same answer to the question, “Will you be watching this latest reboot?” From the network that also brought us reboots of Hawaii Five-O and MacGyver – and, hell, of the entire 1980s – we now have a reboot of Magnum PI. Rebooted theme song included.  I didn’t watch much of the original and can’t imagine watching a less awesome actor than Tom Selleck taking on the part of the titular Magnum.  Call me crotchety, but this reboot madness is, well, madness.  Of course, wait until you read just a bit further.

We pass, by the way.

Manifest

MANIFEST, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 24

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time), Melissa Roxburgh (Valor), J.R. Ramirez (Jessica Jones, Power), Athena Karkanis (Zoo), Parveen Kaur (Beyond), Luna Blaise (Fresh Off the Boat), Jack Messina

WHAT: When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible.

Trailer available at NBC’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Though the Peacock network may yet be trying for its next Lost, like so many other networks, ABC included, have tried before it, and though the trailer was not the best packaged presentation to tease the mystery being offered here, this new drama does offer some areas of interest, though this viewer’s immediate question was: “Did they fly over the Bermuda Triangle?”  Our Once Upon a Time panelists might be interested in the quick return of top-billed Josh Dallas, the once upon a time Prince Charming from the recently ended ABC fantasy.  Our Marvel’s Defenders panel may recognize J.R. Ramirez from the second season of Jessica Jones.  Ultimately, though, the core mystery is intriguing: where did the plane go, and why didn’t they age?  Though my vote is Bermuda Triangle voodoo, or maybe alien kidnapping, I’m intrigued enough to want to watch to learn the answers.

Murphy Brown

MURPHY BROWN, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 27

WHEN: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Original stars Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud, plus Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey), Jake McDorman (Limitless, Greek), Nik Dodani (Atypical)

WHAT: Bergen reprises her role as the investigative journalist, who returns to a world of cable news, social media, fake news, and a very different political and cultural climate.

Trailer available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s madness, I tell you!  But, hey, do you see Candice Bergen?  Do you?!?!  Well…that is the question, you got your answer, and so on, etc. que sera, fin. Of all the reboots to reboot, this one couldn’t be more appropriate or timely for today’s geopolitical circus, which, frankly, depresses this CP regardless of on which side of the aisle you prefer to hang your hat.  Back in the day, Murphy Brown was a hard-hitting situation comedy that challenged the tenets passing for the conservatism heading the country and the bumbling silence of the liberal answer, all while also holding the media complex, then far less complex, accountable for their contribution to the insanity.  Now, the world is a lot more insane, and, frankly, I could use Murphy’s brand of loyalty to the truth and skewering sarcasm to make me feel better about the state of things.  Though the reboot moves on without the inimitable Charles Kimbrough and the now deceased Robert Pastorelli, two ingredients we might end up missing more than we think, I believe the world is more ready for an older, sassier Murphy than they are for a Magnum PI who is not Tom Selleck.  Dan Quayle, eat your heart out!  Mike Pence: brace yourself!

The Neighborhood

THE NEIGHBORHOOD, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 1

WHEN: Mondays at 8/7c

WHO: Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls), Sheaun McKinney (Great News), Marcel Spears (The Mayor), Tichina Arnold (Survivor’s Remorse), Hank Greenspan

WHAT: The nicest guy in the Midwest moves his family into a tough neighborhood in L.A. where not everyone appreciates his extreme neighborliness.

Promo teaser available at CBS’ YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  With only a 30 second teaser available to assess this new comedy, this viewer is not particularly hopeful or confident that things will be all that good in this neighborhood.  Still, Cedric the Entertainer is reliably funny, and Max Greenfield’s sense of comedic timing (the erstwhile Schmidt on recently ended New Girl, of course) could be the winning ingredient, while lightly poking fun at some sociological phenomena of this day and age that will cross some important social and cultural boundaries.  Or, it could just be a hot mess, since Max was a last minute recasting, particularly if it relies on a traditional sitcom format, laugh track included, to elicit viewer laughs.  Still, we’ve given other pick ups to shows with less going for them, so why not?

New Amsterdam

NEW AMSTERDAM, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Janet Montgomery (Salem), Freema Agyeman (Sense8, Doctor Who), Anupam Kher (Sense8), Tyler Labine (Reaper), Jocko Sims (The Last Ship)

WHAT: Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, the medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care.

Trailer available at NBC’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Okay, I’ll grant you: it’s another medical drama, which CPU! doesn’t cover much, and there are few genres that rely so heavily on formulaic tropes as the medical drama (outside of procedural TV).  Yet, there’s something a bit different about this medical drama, at least given what was presented in the trailer.  And NBC is on fire this coming season with some intriguing pilots and orders to season that sort of break mold – so why shouldn’t their selection for a medical drama be different, even if they might be looking to find their next ER, which was a tent pole staple of evening TV on this very network for nearly two decades.  The doctor in the lead has cancer, is appointed director of medicine at the oldest hospital in the nation, and wants to disrupt the system enough to get the hospital to return focus to actual medicine and not upon speedy service and expensive billing.  And really – isn’t that what we all want? Sure, this one could descend rapidly into schmaltz, but I don’t know.  There’s something a bit bolder here than the normal medical drama, and I think I’m here for it.  Let’s see if other Couch Potatoes feel the same.

The Passage

THE PASSAGE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Pitch), Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), Brianne Howey (The Exorcist), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), Saniyya Sidney (American Horror Story: Roanoke), Jamie McShane (Bloodline), Caroline Chikezie (The Shannara Chronicles)

WHAT: Based on author Justin Cronin’s best‐selling trilogy of the same name, the drama centers around a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race. The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy Bellafonte, who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment and Brad Wolgast, the Federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though this CP thinks she might actually want to read these books first after watching the trailer, I am all sorts of intrigued by the story – which feels very movie-like, by the way, in terms of tension and mystery – being presented by The Passage.  First, I think Zach Morris is no longer the worst, for reals, though.  Mark-Paul Gosselaar seems to be putting forth a compelling effort in the lead character role for this show and more of a compelling effort than I’ve seen him put forth recently.  Second, what a tangled web of moral ambiguity we’re about to watch!  No wonder these books were bestsellers.  This show presents a heck of a lot of science fiction fueled potential, and that’s what we love here at CPU!, so pick this one up we shall – seems like easy passage to me.

Proven Innocent

PROVEN INNOCENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Rachelle Lefevre (Under the Dome), Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Kelsey Grammer (Boss), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Riley Smith (Frequency, Nashville), Nikki M. James (BrainDead), Clare O’Connor (Easy)

WHAT: A legal drama set in an wrongful conviction firm. Led by a fierce and fearless female lawyer with a hunger for justice, the team reopens investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent that were “proven” guilty.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. There are medical dramas, and then there are legal dramas.  No TV season can be without 20 of each.  Though the trailer here presented a premise that promises to be manipulative and somewhat force-fed, this viewer is drawn to cast members this time out, particularly Russell Hornsby, who we loved on Grimm; Kelsey Grammer, who is more than a mere Boss; and Vincent Kartheiser, married to Alexis Bledel and sometime supporting star of Mad Men and Angel.  I will give this one a try for them, but if this drama falls into a nebulous sticky goo of manipulative feel-good lawyer-type stuff, it won’t last – for us or for the viewing public, at least not in an entertainment complex saturated with vehicles just like it.

The Red Line

THE RED LINE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Noah Wyle (ER), Noel Fisher (Shameless), Michael Patrick Thornton (Private Practice), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Ballers, Hand of God), Vinny Chhibber (NoTomorrow), Aliyah Royale, Howard Charles (The Musketeers), Elizabeth Laidlaw (Boss)

WHAT: After a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, we follow three vastly different families that all have connections with the case as the story is told from each perspective.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. There is no trailer available to watch for the TV pundits, so judging from the scant synopsis offered above, this particular new vehicle has the potential to be Crash, the TV show.  Or, perhaps it’s another go at Shots Fired, a limited series that aired on Fox and was canceled after one season of low ratings.  As easy on the eyes as Noah Wyle is, and as happy as we are to see him back on TV, there simply isn’t enough to go on to establish a connection beyond what seems visibly recycled.  If buzz, accolades, or steam start steaming up the joint, we’ll happily reconsider.  We’re really quite flexible around here.  There’s nothing preventing us from doing our yoga while we couch potato, you know.

Rel

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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 statuses of shows currently covered by the CPU! Podcast and Blog.  This list does not include up and coming shows to be reviewed from this past season’s pilots list.  In fact, this is the first of the Summer Series Progress Reports!  I am still rooting for word on a few shows that premiered this year, which is why this entry is being published first this year.

This particular list comprises the End of Season Scorecard for Long-Running shows covered by the CPU! Podcast and 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 via podcast or blog have been removed from the list. Also included is 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!

The CPU! “What We’re Currently Watching” List

Marvel’s The Defenders (PODCAST) – Netflix

Classified as a miniseries, but we will hold out some hope for a while that Marvel and Netflix will pump out another season of this crossover (they have not said they wouldn’t!).

Orange is the New Black (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Seasons 6-7.  Season 6 premieres on July 27, 2018.

Arrow (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 7.  Season 7 will premiere on October 15, 2018.

The Flash (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 5.  Season 5 will premiere on October 9, 2018.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on October 22, 2018.

Supergirl (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on October 14, 2018.

Supernatural (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 14.  Season 14 will premiere on October 11, 2018.

Gotham (PODCAST) – Fox

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

Marvel’s the Punisher (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

Once Upon a Time (PODCAST) – ABC

Canceled; Season 7 is the final season.  Two-part goodbye miniseries on the podcast coming soon.

The Good Place (PODCAST) – NBC

Renewed for Season 3, which will premiere on September 27, 2018.

Grace and Frankie (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 5.

Fuller House (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 4.

Game of Thrones (PODCAST) – HBO

Renewed for Season 8, which will be the final season.

Stranger Things (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3.

iZombie (PODCAST) – CW

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

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

Renewed for Season 6.

Marvel’s Luke Cage (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2, which was released on June 22, 2018.

Doctor Who (PODCAST) – BBC America

Renewed for Series 11.

Marvel’s Iron Fist (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

13 Reasons Why (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3.

American Horror Story (PODCAST) – FX

Renewed for Seasons 8 and 9.

How to Get Away with Murder (PODCAST/Jumped the Shark) – ABC

Renewed for Season 5.  CPU! Jumped the Shark. If you would like us to resume podcast coverage of this show, please contact us via the Guestbook, social media, or at our email address (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com).

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 yet been made.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 4, which will be the final season.  The season will be released in two parts.  Part One was released on May 30, 2018.

New Girl (PODCAST) – Fox

Ended 2018.  Season 7 was the show’s final season.  CPU! will cover the show in a goodbye episode coming soon.  Stay tuned!

A Series of Unfortunate Events (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3, which will be the final season.

The Originals (PODCAST) – CW

Ended 2018.  Season 5 was the show’s final season.  CPU! will cover the show in a goodbye episode coming soon.  Stay tuned!

The 100 (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 6. CPU! Jumped the Shark. If you would like us to resume podcast coverage of this show, please contact us via the Guestbook, social media, or at our email address (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com).

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

Canceled, but the network commissioned a finale two-hour movie, which was released on June 8, 2018.  CPU! will be covering the entire show in one looking back type episode, coming soon.  Stay tuned!

The X-Files (PODCAST) – Fox

Ended 2018.  Season 11 was the show’s (currently) final season.  CPU! will cover the show in a goodbye episode coming soon.  Stay tuned!

Marvel’s Jessica Jones (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3.

Marvel’s Daredevil (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3.

Fargo – FX

Renewed for Season 4.

The Mindy Project – Hulu

Ended 2017. If you would like us to cover this show in a podcast episode, please contact us via the Guestbook, social media, or at our email address (couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com); review otherwise coming soon.

Sleepy Hollow – Fox

Ended 2017.  Review or podcast to come.

Madam Secretary – CBS

Renewed for Season 5.

Bones – Fox

Ended 2017.  CPU! will be covering this show in a future “Looking Back” podcast episode. Stay tuned!

Revenge – ABC

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

Reign – CW

Ended 2017.  Review (either blog or podcast) to come.

About a Boy – NBC

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

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

black-ish (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

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

Fresh Off the Boat (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

The Goldbergs (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 6.

Grey’s Anatomy (CPU! jumped the shark)
Renewed for Season 15.

The Middle (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 9 is the show’s final season.

Modern Family (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 10.

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

Scandal (passed by CPU!)
Canceled. Season 7 is the show’s final season.

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

CBS

The Big Bang Theory (picked up by CPU! late)
Renewed for Season 12.

Blue Bloods (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 9.

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

Code Black (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.

Criminal Minds (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 14.

Elementary (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 7.

The Good Fight (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Hawaii Five-O (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 9.

Life in Pieces (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

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

NCIS (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 16.

NCIS: Los Angeles (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 10.

NCIS: New Orleans (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

Ransom (passed by CPU!)
Renewed (this year, even though it was canceled last year) for Season 2.

Salvation (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 2.

Scorpion (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 4 is the show’s final season.

Star Trek: Discovery (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 2.

Superior Donuts (passed by CPU!)
Canceled (again).  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Zoo (added to the CPU! list)
Canceled. Season 3 is the show’s final season.

FOX

Bob’s Burgers (animated)
Renewed for Season 9.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (added to the CPU! list)
Canceled by Fox but renewed for Season 6 by NBC!

Empire (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

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

Family Guy (animated)
Renewed for Season 17.

The Last Man on Earth (added to the CPU! list)
Canceled.  Season 4 is the show’s final season.

Lethal Weapon (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 3, with a casting change.

Lucifer (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled by Fox but renewed for Season 4 by Netflix!

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

Prison Break (picked up by CPU!)
Unofficially renewed for Season 6 (Fox describes the show as in “early development”).

The Simpsons (animated)
Renewed for Season 30.

Shots Fired (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season.

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

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

NBC

The Blacklist (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 6.

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

Chicago Fire (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 7.

Chicago Med (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

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

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

Law and Order: SVU (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 20.

Marlon (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 2, which premieres in June 2018.

Midnight, Texas (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 2.

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

Shades of Blue (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.

Superstore (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

Taken (added to the CPU! list)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

This Is Us (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

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

Trial & Error (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 2.

The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4, which will be the show’s final season.

Jane the Virgin (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 5, which will be the show’s final season.

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

Current/Ongoing Shows – Cable, Premium, Streaming – Requested
by CPU! Regulars for the Podcast

PBS

Call the Midwife
Renewed for Series 8 and 9!

BBC America

Killing Eve
Renewed for Season 2.

FXX

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

FX

Feud
Renewed for Season 2.

Netflix

The Crown
Renewed for Season 3.

The OA
Renewed for Season 2.

Peaky Blinders
Renewed for Series 5.

House of Cards
Renewed for Season 6, which will be the show’s final season.

Anne with an E
Renewed for Season 2, which will premiere on July 6, 2018.

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

GLOW
Renewed for Season 2, which will premiere on June 29, 2018.

Arrested Development
Renewed for Season 5, which premiered on May 29, 2018.

Altered Carbon
Season 1 premiered on February 2, 2018.  No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Mindhunter
Renewed for Season 2.

The End of the F***ing World
Series 1 premiered on January 5, 2018.  No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Santa Clarita Diet
Renewed for Season 3.

Black Mirror
Renewed for Series 5.

BoJack Horseman
Renewed for Season 5.

Showtime

Billions
Renewed for Season 4.

Shameless
Renewed for Season 9, which will premiere on September 9, 2018.

TNT

The Librarians
Canceled.  Season 4 was the final season.

Will
Canceled.  Season 1 was the show’s only season.

USA

Mr. Robot
Renewed for Season 4.

Pop

Schitt’s Creek
Renewed for Season 5.

Starz

Outlander
Renewed for Seasons 4, 5, and 6!

American Gods
Renewed for Season 2.

Power
Renewed for Season 5, which will premiere on July 1, 2018, and Season 6!

AMC

Better Call Saul
Renewed for Season 4, which will premiere on August 6, 2018.

The Walking Dead
Renewed for Season 9.

SyFy

The Magicians
Renewed for Season 4.

Wynonna Earp
Renewed for Season 3, which will premiere on July 20, 2018.

Van Helsing
Renewed for Season 3.

The Expanse
Canceled by SyFy but renewed by Amazon for Season 4.

Amazon

The Man in the High Castle
Renewed for Season 3.

Brittania
Renewed for Season 2.

Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale
Renewed for Season 3.

HBO

Big Little Lies
Renewed for Season 2.

Westworld
Renewed for Season 3.

Disney Channel

Raven’s Home
Renewed for Season 2, which premiered on June 25, 2018.

Cinemax

Strike
The series premiered on June 1, 2018.  No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Cartoon Network

Rick and Morty
Renewed for Season 4.

That’s it, fellow Couch Potatoes!  Next up in the Progress Report series: the End of Year Scorecard for 2017-2018 pilots, as soon as I get some more information on some network holdouts.  Stay tuned! 🙂

Game of Thrones, Season Seven (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, (re)recorded in April 2018 as one of our “lost” episodes after the much ballyhooed equipment failure of earlier this year, our panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob–is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing the continuously, indisputably epic Season 7 of Game of Thrones. If you are not caught up on Thrones, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Game of Thrones,” the Season 7 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Game of Thrones,” airs on premium cable TV, specifically on HBO, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, which tells the tale of the land of Westeros and the various families and factions vying for the Iron Throne, i.e. rule of all of the seven kingdoms in a world of magic, dragons, swordplay, and death (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here).

When: The Season Seven finale aired on HBO on Sunday, August 27, 2017, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional land of Westeros, a world that could be Europe, could be Middle Earth, or could be most fantasy/epic realms.  Westeros is divided into Seven Kingdoms, but rule of all kingdoms hails from the Iron Throne, in King’s Landing. The show follows key characters across most realms.

Why: A friend basically said the Chief CP had to watch it and for good reason (other panelists received similar recommendations).  I, personally, gravitate toward fantasy and science fiction most frequently; fantasy is also my favorite genre to read.  I haven’t read Martin’s currently-in-progress series, as some of the panelists have, which has become something of a cultural watershed not unlike the Harry Potter novels, though I plan to do so.  Our resident book readers laud the show about as highly as they do the novels; thus, with this solid foundation, an obsession with Game of Thrones was born, for all of our (returning) panelists.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

For a recap of season 4, read here.

CPU! also previously published podcast episodes reviewing and recapping Seasons 5 and 6.  To catch up, click the embedded links below:

Season 5

Season 6

This year, with the explosive and epic and (SPOILER) zombie-dragon laden seventh season behind us, CPU!’s noble group of Game of Thrones panelists – Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob – returns to the Water Cooler with one of our “lost” episodes to discuss what many of us find to be our favorite show, including the goings-on of the penultimate seventh season.  Plus, many of panelist Kristen’s so-called dominoes continued to fall this season in spectacular and satisfying ways, so our panel was only too excited to spend time gushing, a few times owing to equipment failures and such, about what was ultimately another thrilling Thrones season.

In this episode, then, our panel of GoT obsessed chats and theorizes all things Season Seven as well as speculates about what Season Eight – the finale season – might look like, especially since the show has, permanently, surpassed the books in terms of plot propulsion. Our scholarly bunch does not disappoint with their effusive opinions; as usual, we cover quite a bit of territory, revisiting three-headed dragon theories, the continued consequences of incest, and hopes and wishes for the ensuing war to come.  We can only salivate and speculate about possible future developments.

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

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite)0, Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Broadchurch panel will finally return to the Water Cooler after a two-year (!) hiatus to discuss and to digest the third and final series of the acclaimed British drama and to look back at the success of the program as a whole.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Is the Azor A’hai the same as the Prince of Promise?  Is the Azor A’hai one person? If so, is it Jon (Kit Harington) or Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) or someone else?  Or, is it the combination of three people who can ride Dany’s dragons?  And who are those three people…? Jon? Dany? Tyrion (Peter Dinklage)? Anyone else?

REPEAT ANSWER: The Azor A’hai and the Prince Who Was Promised are two names for the same basic concept.  As above, however, the question of who or what that is remains unanswered.  We also do not know if the Three-Headed Dragon theory and the Prince Who Was Promised theory/prophecy are linked.

2) Will we see “Clegane-bowl,” i.e. the Hound (Rory McCann) v. the Mountain in hand-to-hand combat in the war to come?

ANSWER: Much to panelist Kristen’s dismay, “Clegane-bowl” has not yet manifested on Game of Thrones. Though Sandor and Gregor experience a brief reunion near the end of the season, when various forces meet at King’s Landing in council to discuss the coming threat of the White Walkers, neither brother, living nor undead, seem feisty enough to fight, each other or anyone else.  Yet.

3) Will Dany reach Westeros and aim specifically for King’s Landing and Cersei (Lena Headey)?

ANSWER: Yes and yes.  Dany reaches Dragonstone, the Targaryen ancestral home, in the first episode of the season, and it is a magical and wonderful landing, full of awe and wistfulness on the part of the intrepid Khaleesi.  Once she collects herself from reveling in this accomplishment, she almost immediately turns her sights toward King’s Landing on the advice of her hand, Tyrion Lannister, Cersei’s much estranged younger brother.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) Will Arya (Maisie Williams) or Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) find their siblings/return to Winterfell?  Or, will Bran go North, and Arya go South?

ANSWER: In a surprisingly happy season for the Starks, Arya and Bran both returned home to Winterfell.  Arya learns from some passing travelers/Lannister soldiers (one played by Maisie Williams’ favorite singer, Ed Sheeran) that Jon Snow is currently serving as King in the North, and so she turns her attention away from her revenge list and heads home.  Bran, in the meantime, in an awkwardly antisocial, if not catatonic, Three-Eyed Raven state, also returns home, anticipating a reunion with his brother (but really his cousin) Jon.  Unfortunately, when Bran arrives at his childhood home, Jon had already left Winterfell to visit Dragonstone to entreat Dany to an alliance against the White Walkers and/or to mine the palace’s dragon-glass to use against them.  Listen to the episode for details.

5) Who will Arya aim for next, now that she has the backing of the Many Faced God and the skills taught to her by the House of Black and White?

ANSWER: Her first name to check off her list: Walder Frey.  We see her master ninja superhero revenge plan in an extended sequence in the season premiere, inclusive of some pie filled with parts of Freys, ingested by Walder before Arya ruthlessly slits his throat.  She clearly intends to aim for Lannister necks next, particularly Cersei’s, but a chance encounter with her lost direwolf, Nymeria, and the aforementioned Ed Sheeran convinces her to go north instead, which is well and good for our intrepid Girl, as Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) becomes her next target through the machinations of an elaborate con orchestrated by Arya and her sister Sansa (Sophie Turner).  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Will Sansa make a play to be Queen of the North?  Will she finally be seduced by Littlefinger’s romantic advances and plan for their future?

ANSWER: Sansa never finds herself in the position of having to “make a play.”  Though she rarely agrees with Jon’s direction while he wears the proverbial Winterfell crown, Jon ultimately leaves Sansa as steward of Winterfell when he departs to go talk to Dany down south.  Sansa also staves off heavy attempts at seduction by Lord Baelish, to which he devotes his best college try in an effort to manipulate Sansa to work against her suspicious ninja sister and brooding brother/secret cousin one last time.  Sansa, however, first tells Littlefinger off for leaving her in the custody of Ramsey, only to be raped and brutally tortured by the sadistic but expired so-called bastard.  Later, she executes a brilliantly mapped out scheme, in which Sansa and Arya act as if Baelish is playing each sister off one another, for the purpose of exposing the manipulator for his traitorous actions, which, among other dire results, led to an assassination attempt on Bran, the death of Ned, Sansa’s sham marriage to Ramsey, and other crimes against House Stark.  As a result, by the end of the season, Sansa orders Littlefinger’s execution, carried out by none other than her Needle-wielding sister, Arya.  RIP Littlefinger.  Your ample game is finished.

7) Will Jon Snow stay parked at Winterfell?  Will he find out about his true parentage? Will he be forced to engage the White Walkers in the next season, or will he be forced to enter a battle in the South between Lannisters and Targaryens?

ANSWER: Jon does not stay parked for long.  As a result, he also narrowly misses the opportunity to learn his true parentage from his brother/cousin Bran, who returns to Winterfell this season, or from Sam Tarly (John Bradley), who leaves Oldtown having learned the same juicy information, later confirmed for Sam by Bran when Sam and Gilly (Hannah Murray) arrive (in record time) at Winterfell.  Jon, meanwhile, picks a fight with the Walkers when he decides to lead a somewhat suicidal expedition, staffed by Thoros of the Brotherhood, Gendry Baratheon (Joe Dempsie, out from being in hiding as a blacksmith in King’s Landing for several seasons, apparently), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), the Hound, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), and a few others, north of the Wall to capture a wight, in order that they might bring it south to King’s Landing to convince Cersei to ally with Houses Stark and Targaryen against the coming of White Walker Winter.  This expedition results in extreme casualties (we don’t even want to say but do below and in the episode).  Though the Lannisters and Targaryens, or, namely, Dany definitely do battle among themselves, Jon does not involve himself or the armies of the North in the fight.

8) Will we see more Lyanna Mormont?  The panel votes yes.

ANSWER: We see the Little Bear briefly.  She is around early in the season to question Jon’s decision to appeal to Dany, as northerners do not trust southerners, especially Targaryens, very much.  In the end, she supports him, though, and convinces the other Northern heads of houses to do the same.

9) Will we see the emergence of Lady Stoneheart?  Will she be in the form described by the books, or will one of the Stark daughters take on her story lines?

ANSWER: We suspect that the possibility of encountering Lady Stoneheart is probably a non-starter at this point.  If there was an opportunity to see a return of Catelyn Stark in partial zombie form, it is likely that said opportunity has passed.

10) How will Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) react to Cersei’s new power?  Will he be the younger brother that fulfills Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, or will it be Tyrion, now that he’s on his way back home at the side of Dany?

ANSWER: Jaime, it is apparent, is not loving Cersei’s new look.  She is as ruthless, cold, and mad as her father Tywin, certainly, or possibly even as much as the Mad King Aerys, who was slain by Jaime before the events of the series started (and who might quite possibly be the secret, illegitimate father of any or all of the Lannister children, if abounding theories are correct).  As for Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, we are still anticipating its ultimate fruition.  The panelists continue to hold strong hope that Jaime will be the younger (twin) brother in question who finally gets sane and ends his sister’s life and, therefore, their twincest relationship once and for all.  He has taken a hopeful step in that direction as of the end of the season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

11) How will King’s Landing react to Cersei’s rule, in the absence of the strength of the High Sparrow and the new religion?

ANSWER: Most of King’s Landing subjects react either in fear toward Cersei or in awe and allegiance because they trust the evil they know, even one as ruthless as Cersei, over the Targaryen princess who recently returned to Westeros, despite being the last (known) survivor of her line.  Yet, Cersei struggles all season with being financially indebted to the Bank of Westeros and with gathering enough might to prepare for Dany’s inevitable attacks.  Early in the season, Jaime lays siege to Highgarden and the last of House Tyrell, the richest house on the continent, in order to take their money and land at Cersei’s order.  Of course, that decision does not come without several disappointing consequences and delicious comeuppances all around and in their own right. Listen to the episode already!

12) Will we see the emergence of more dragon riders?  Will the Three-Headed Dragon prophecy/theory come true this season?

ANSWER: Other than Dany, no one’s mounting dragons yet…though Jon Snow does experience a curious connection with Drogon when he visits Dragonstone…  The panelists, your Chief CP included, still hold out hope for this theory in the end, though events of the season make us question whether the hope we have is that of the fool.

13) House Bolton is out of the Game of Thrones with the death of Ramsey.  Will Euron Greyjoy and his bid for the Iron Islands and the Iron Throne render him the new sadistic villain of the series, as panelist Rob predicts?

ANSWER: Euron turns out to be a B-villain at best.  Though his strongest gambit for the Throne is to propose marriage to Cersei, she is unimpressed and rejects his proposal.  He then attacks the Sand Snakes and their forces, thereafter bringing his queen two surviving Snakes of the original four: Ellaria (Indira Varma) and one of her daughters.  Cersei subsequently exacts ruthless revenge against Ellaria by poisoning her remaining daughter with the same substance used by Ellaria to eliminate Cersei’s daughter Myrcella.  She then leaves Ellaria alive, in chains, to watch her daughter die and decompose until she wastes away herself.  Despite this poetic but stone cold revenge, Cersei still does not acquiesce to Euron’s questionable charms, and when the madder Greyjoy learns of the approach of the White Walkers, he kind of flees back to the Iron Islands, only to encounter a feistier Theon (Alfie Allen) and sister Yara, who Theon rescues from Euron’s clutches.  The panel, though, groans when discussing this House and wonders how much we should still care.  Seriously, they are kind of tedious.

14) Where is Jon’s direwolf Ghost and Arya’s direwolf Nymeria?  Will they survive the series?

ANSWER: We have not seen Ghost this season, though we presume he is kicking it, direwolf-style, in Winterfell while Jon is off meeting and eventually romancing (secret aunt) Dany.  Arya reunites briefly with Nymeria, but her direwolf has grown wild, independent, and has taken on a new life as leader of a roaming wolf pack.  Arya, talking with her former companion, realizes that she and Nymeria are leading the same existence, as the youngest Stark daughter has also grown wild, independent, and leads her own new life, filled with super Many Faced God powers and ninja-like fighting reflexes and skills.  Arya, then, looks on as Nymeria returns to her new life, while Arya grabs hold of her own and heads toward Winterfell.

15) Will the White Walkers breech the Wall next season?

ANSWER: I almost do not want to type this answer!  YES.  Yes, they breech the Wall.  How, you ask?  Well, remember when Jon takes his small party north to go get a wight?  That does not go so well.  They capture a wight, sure, but end up surrounded by the Armies of the Dead, with the Night King looking on from a nearby cliff overhead.  Thoros is wounded and freezes to death.  Gendry is able to (somehow) run away and to (somehow) send the fastest raven in this fantastical world to Dany, who, also in record time, finds Jon and company north of the Wall on the back of her beloved Drogon.  Unfortunately, the trouble is, she also brings the other two dragons, not knowing about the Night King’s considerable javelin-throwing skills, mimicking the best ballista Qyburn can construct.  With zombie power and strength, our favorite blue eyed zombie demon tosses his weapon and pierces the neck of Viserion (the green one, I believe).  Viserion, beloved dragon child of Dany, falls through the ice of the frozen lake that nearly becomes the burial ground – or zombie-making waters – of Jon and his group.  Though Dany manages to save Jon and most of the others, and flies away narrowly unscathed, we watch as Viserion emerges from the ice, A WHITE WALKER DRAGON ZOMBIE WHO SHOOTS BLUE FIRE.  We do not know what this blue fire is.  We do know that it is ultimately capable of – you guessed it – taking out the Wall.  The last shot of the season shows the Armies of the Dead, advancing over the rubble of what was formerly the Wall into the Northern countryside below.  Winter is fricking here, man, and it’s terrifying.  And the Three-Headed Dragon theory?  Well, that fan favorite speculation, and panel favorite too, teeters precariously in the balance.  The panel’s only hope is that Jon, being sort of undead himself what with his previous resurrection and all, might be able to ride Viserion in his current state.  Or, maybe Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven, now much like a zombie himself, will warg into and take control of Viserion’s zombified brain.  WE JUST DON’T KNOW!!  This is the biggest question going into Season Eight: will Viserion be saved?  Or, will he help the Walkers decimate their opposition in their march south?  Or a little of both?  We’re hoping both, though we definitely expect the latter.

16) Is there something in the Wall other than protective magic, as panelist Kristen has theorized?

ANSWER: Unless something comes out of the rubble next season, panelist Kristen’s theory does not so much pan out.  A Wall is, sometimes, just a wall.  Like a Girl is, sometimes, just a Girl.

New Questions

1) The panelists predict 6 to 1 that Cersei will meet her maker next season: will it be Jaime (as we hope) who ultimately ends her life? Will it be Tyrion, though he is not one for getting his hands dirty and though he tries to make amends with his rotten older sister at the end of Season Seven? Or, will it be Arya, wearing the face of Jaime after offing him first and then using the power of the Many Faced God to complete her list?  Or, will it be the alleged baby that Cersei is now purportedly pregnant with, as she informs her brother that it is his, of course, what with all of their twincesting, at the end of the season?  Although, the baby would be her other children’s younger brother, and is that idea really within the purview of the prophecy?  Panelist Kristen also surmises that Cersei could die in childbirth, like her mother; could have a miscarriage; or could end her pregnancy, though the panel determined that neither of these ends really satisfy as much as the first three proposals.  What we know is that we are agreed: Cersei will die.  It’s just a question of when and how.

2) Now that Jon Snow and Dany have fallen in love, not knowing their true relationship – i.e. that Dany is Jon’s secret aunt – will Dany become pregnant with a human baby?  Will that baby be, in fact, the Prince Who Was Promised?  The Song of Ice and Fire?  The Azor Ahai?  The Savior of All?  Will the show finally answer the question of that mystical entity’s identity: Jon, Dany, or the offspring of Ice and Fire, respectively?  How much ice and how much fire does one story possibly need?! (Okay, we agree…a lot, when it’s called A Song of Ice and Fire).

3) The panel universally predicts and agrees that there are two major battles left.  One: fighting to fend off Winter, i.e. the White Walkers.  Two: the fight for the Iron Throne.  Which will come first?  Will the White Walkers be beaten back?  Will the Iron Throne remain standing after all is said and done?

4) Will both Jon and Dany survive the series?  Panelist Rob predicts that Jon will nobly sacrifice himself for the good of all.  The rest of the panel, panelist Amanda most reluctantly, feels that Dany’s tragic death, after all of her struggle to be ruler of Westeros, is the more likely scenario.  We expect her to sacrifice herself for the good of all, including her dragons, her Jon, and her country.  Of course, everyone hopes everyone will survive, but the show already took out a dragon, and after seven seasons, we know that nothing is safe, even as Jon Snow knows nothing.  Still.

5) Will Tyrion survive?  What was with his suspicious look when he saw Jon and Dany enter a room together, making googly eyes at each other, about to do some unbeknownst-to-them incest??  Panelist Kylie predicts that Tyrion will survive and will be the character who provides the end commentary about the future fates of Westeros.

6) Will Sansa end up being Queen in the North?  Will Winterfell survive?  Or, will the Walkers lay waste to the north, resulting in the Starks abandoning their ancestral home, as panelist Jay predicts?  Will Sansa be around to help rebuild?  Or, will she fall in defense of the North that she loves?

7) Will Arya survive?  Will she do something awesome in battle, like take out some White Walkers?  Will she kill Jaime?  Will she kill Cersei?  If she does survive, what will be her life’s purpose, should her vendetta list no longer apply?  Will she at least get to see Jon before too long?  They’re each other’s favorite not-quite-sibling.  It would be nice.

8) Why should we bother or care about House Greyjoy at this point?  Seriously, though, show.  Several panelists, Amanda most of all, predict that Theon and Yara might have some redemption deed to do in one or both of the upcoming battles.  Most of us just find it hard to care more about them than other characters still in the game.

9) Will anyone save Viserion the Dragon?  Will the other dragons, Rhaegal and Drogon, survive?  WILL THERE BE A THREE-HEADED DRAGON RIDING SITUATION IN THE END?  PLEASE?

10) Are the Lannisters, any of them, secretly Targaryen offspring?  Kylie’s money is still on Tyrion, but how would we even know that now?  Would it matter, except for the purpose of fulfilling the Three-Headed Dragon theory, that may or may not come to pass, on account of zombified Viserion flying around the unfriendly skies?

11) Will Bran or Sam finally tell Jon who his real parents are?  And if either of them do, what difference will that information make, other than to prove that Jon has, currently, the most legitimate claim to the Iron Throne, given that Rhaegar, his biological father, legitimately but secretly married to Jon’s mother, Lyanna Stark, at the time of his death, was the true heir to the throne prior to Robert’s Rebellion?

12) What is Bran’s ultimate purpose as the Three-Eyed Raven?  Will he be the magic that keeps the White Walkers at bay in the end, as panelist Jay predicts? Will he warg into direwolves or zombie dragons to save the day, as panelist Chelsea predicts?  Where will Bran end up?  Of course, several panelists estimate that he’ll just live out his days creepily telling everyone that he is the Three-Eyed Raven, no matter what happens in this Game of Thrones.

13) Did Tormund Giantsbane, who was on the parapets of the Wall at the time that zombie Viserion blue-fired it into ash, survive this onslaught?  Many of the panel, with the somewhat strong exception of Jay, wish for Tormund and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) to have gigantic babies, which necessarily requires that he stay alive.

14) Or, is Brienne finally going to get requited admiration from Jaime, who decides to ride North, away from his selfish sister, when she refuses to form an alliance with Houses Stark and Targaryen to defeat the White Walkers?

15) What will Sam and Gilly do once – and if – they share the information they learned from Oldtown with Jon Snow?

PARTING SHOTS

Game of Thrones continues to be, and is still possibly more than ever, simply one of the most exciting programs on television right now, bolstered by the fact that, when in season, it is one of the primary water cooler shows on television today.  The fact that the show has caught up with and has now surpassed the timeline of the books is admirable in and of itself.  The pacing quickened this season, which left some of the CPU! panelists struggling to adjust to the new sense of time passing, as the story revved up toward its inevitable conclusion in this penultimate season without benefit of book-based foundation.  Yet, nearly all of the episodes remained fraught with tension and grand spectacle, with excellent visual effects, stellar writing, and some of the most superb acting currently on the small screen.  The panelists, again with mostly positive regard of Season Seven, remain generally quite obsessed with the show and its current trajectory and are quivering with anticipation as we await, anxiously and for an extra long time, the show’s final six extra long episodes, slated to premiere in 2019.  As always, the panelists discuss many theories and observations in this podcast episode, but all are unequivocally excited for the final eighth season and to watch the end of this epic tale unfold!

LOOKING AHEAD

Game of Thrones was renewed for an eighth and final season, which is not slated to premiere on HBO until 2019; a premiere date has not yet, in fact, been announced. The CPU! Game of Thrones podcast panel will next reconvene following the eighth season and overall series finale of GoT with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes. The first of these episodes will review the show’s final season; the second will look back at the show as a whole.  As always, even for the limited amount of time remaining, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Thrones coverage.  Until then, Game of Thrones fans, remember: you play, or you die.

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

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Game of Thrones,” The Season 6 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Game of Thrones,” airs on premium cable TV, specifically on HBO, Spring Sundays at 9:00 PM.

What: “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, which tells the tale of the land of Westeros and the various families and factions vying for the Iron Throne, i.e. rule of all of the seven kingdoms in a world of magic, dragons, swordplay, and death (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here).

When: The season six finale aired on HBO, Sunday, June 26, 2016, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional land of Westeros, a world that could be Europe, could be Middle Earth, or could be most fantasy/epic realms.  Westeros is divided into Seven Kingdoms, but rule of all kingdoms hails from the Iron Throne, in King’s Landing. The show follows key characters across most realms.

Why: A friend basically said I had to watch it and for good reason (and other panelists received similar recommendations).  I gravitate toward fantasy and science fiction most frequently; fantasy is also my favorite genre to read.  I haven’t read Martin’s currently-in-progress series, as some of the panelists have, which has become something of a cultural watershed not unlike the Harry Potter novels, though I plan to do so.  Our resident book readers laud the show about as highly as they do the novels; thus, with this solid foundation, an obsession with Game of Thrones was born, at least for the Chief CP.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

For a recap of season 4, read here.

CPU! also previously published a podcast discussing Season 5.  To catch up, click the embedded link below:

Season 5 Podcast

This year, with the explosive and epic sixth season behind us, CPU!’s noble group of Game of Thrones panelists – Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob – took less time to process our reactions than last season, more sure of and more eager about our feelings toward the future, given all of the positive developments of season six.  Perhaps, it’s because the level of shell-shock was not quite as high (thought it was still high), what with (spoiler) Jon Snow actually being resurrected and surviving the season. Also, many of panelist Kristen’s so-called dominoes began to fall this season in satisfying ways, so our panel was only too excited to spend time gushing about what was ultimately a tight, thrilling season.

Thus, our panel of GoT obsessed sat “around the water cooler” once more to chat and theorize all things season six as well as what season seven might look like, especially since the show has surpassed the books in terms of plot propulsion. Our scholarly bunch did not disappoint with their effusive opinions; as usual, we cover quite a bit of territory, revisiting three-headed dragon theories, speculations about Lady Stoneheart, and hopes and wishes for the ensuing war to come.  Also, R+L definitely equals J (which will no doubt also be confirmed by Martin) – so what does that mean for our always knowing-nothing Jon Snow?  We can only salivate and speculate about possible developments to come.

This podcast was recorded in August 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the sixth season of GoT. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite)0, 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’ll return to our American Horror Story series, looking back on the second season, “Asylum.” Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Revisited: How is it that Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has these powers?  Who is that dead looking guy on that throne? What are these beings in this macabre cave?  And how will their story intersect with the rest?

Answer: Bran may genetically be predisposed toward these powers, activated by his Stark lineage, his relationship to his direwolf, and his accident which left him paralyzed, as this form of what is known as “warging” is said to be a gift bestowed to Stark ancestors.  In any event, the dead-looking guy on the throne, this season played by Max von Sydow, is the Three-Eyed Raven, who has the power to connect to the world and warg through time.  The beings in the cave are the Children of the Forest, who bestowed the magic upon the Three-Eyed Raven, most likely the Stark lineage, and, as it turns out, who also created the White Walkers – from humans, no less – to counteract the encroachment of humans from the south.  The Children also created the protective magic surrounding the Old Tree cave and the Wall that keeps the White Walkers out, but Bran, in his quest to revisit visions on which he was accompanied by the Three-Eyed Raven, plugged into the tree network unsupervised, saw a vision of the oncoming White Walker hordes, and allowed the Night’s King to touch him within the vision, breaking the barrier against the Walkers by weakening the magic of the Children of the Forest.  This mistake allowed the Walkers and wights to enter the Old Tree cave, eliminate the erstwhile Three-Eyed Raven, and caused Bran, Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick), and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) to flee.  Bran was drawn into a long-term warg by the previous Three-Eyed Raven, threatened as the Old Tree was and given that Bran was suddenly faced with the necessity of having to learn all of the Three-Eyed Raven’s knowledge in a short space of time to assume status as the new Three-Eyed Raven.  This state of mystical hypnosis left only Meera to drag him away to safety and Hodor (and his direwolf Summer) to protect him, which resulted in their fatalities. Because of this state and Bran’s considerable power, he was connected to all of time. Shouts of “hold the door” from Meera implored the giant Hodor to brace the door of the Tree Cave against an onslaught invasion of wights while Bran was warged into his past, when Hodor was a young stable boy at Winterfell while Ned Stark and his siblings were children, and caused the young Hodor’s mind to liquefy.  The repeated cries of “hold the door,” mimicked by the young Wylis as he picked up on Bran’s warged vibe, melded into supernatural aphasia: “Hodor,” the only word he could ever say, creating his new name.  Bran and Meera continued to run and were also able to escape the wights with the help of Coldhands, the partially zombified form of Bran’s lost uncle Benjen Stark, who narrowly escaped being turned into a wight in the years since we last saw him.  Benjen, the Three-Eyed Raven, and Bran’s warging flashbacks, downloaded a lot of history of the world for the viewer – all in one episode.

2) Revisited: When is Dany (Emilia Clarke) going to sail for King’s Landing?  How long is she going to remain in Slaver’s Bay?  And will she be able to find Drogon and control him?

Answer: At the end of season 6, Dany made the decision to set sail for Westeros, her considerably larger forces in tow, which was the last glimpse the viewer had of Dany in the season finale.  She was forced to stick around for a moment due to her capture by the Dothraki (see below), but, as we all know, Drogon loyally listens to his mom now.

3) Revisited: Where did Rickon go?!  I know he’s but a babe, but he’s lost or something.

Answer: It turns out that he and Osha were kicking it in the wild, in an attempt to escape Rickon’s enemies.  Unfortunately, Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) found him first.

4) What will we find out about Bran and his exploits since last we saw him?

Answer: We find out that he was training with the old Three Eyed Raven to become the new one by learning all the ways of the warging Force.

5) Panelist Kristen says: “What the hell is Hodor?”

Answer: Hodor was once a larger-than-average stable boy named Wylis, until Bran, while warging from the future, melted his brain, echoing Meera’s distant cries of “hold the door.”

6) Arya (Maisie Williams) was blinded when she angered the Many Faced God by using one of the faces in the House of Black and White to her advantage in slaying one of the men on her revenge list.  Is this permanent blindness?  What will happen to her now?  Why did Ja’quen (Tom Wlaschiha) encourage this revenge list to begin with, only to take issue with her adherence to it now?

Answer: The blindness was temporary; she was forced to earn back her sight from Ja’qen after her misuse of the Many Faced God.  In punishment, she was induced to train with the Waif, who beat upon her with sticks and such until Arya got used to fighting blind.  It seems apparent, after what transpired in the season, that Ja’qen was training her all along to be equipped to take revenge, on both the Waif and her famous list, rather than to make her an indoor servant of the House of Black and White. Listen to the podcast or watch the season for details.

7) Stannis’ forces were decimated by the Boltons’.  House Baratheon appears to be teetering on the brink of being eliminated from the Game of Thrones, but for the fact that Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is a Baratheon in name only.  Will Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) go after the Boltons?  Will anyone unseat the Boltons?  Who?

Answer: Stannis is confirmed dead.  Tommen commits suicide this season in the wake of the torching of the Sept with Mad King Aerys’ stash of wyldfyre, which Cersei (Lena Headey) ignites in a bold move to eliminate her enemies as they sat in the Sept, awaiting her trial for her many confessed sins.  Ramsey Bolton picked a fight with Jon Snow (Kit Harington), demanding the return of Sansa (Sophie Turner), as Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) finally found Sansa and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) as they fled from Winterfell.  Brienne and Podrick escorted them to Castle Black.  Ramsey baited Jon and Sansa with the capture of Rickon; they answered the call, aided by Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), and tried to rally northern allies to their cause, though most sided with the more formidable (and scarier) Ramsey.  In “The Battle of the Bastards,” Ramsey killed Rickon, forcing him to run as he lobbed arrows until one of them felled the youngest Stark, as Jon first watched and then rushed forward, against the strategy of his council (including his sister).  The battle that followed was nearly lost by the impetuous and impulsive Jon and his army of some northerners and Wildlings, until Littlefinger, accompanied by the army from the Vale, appeared at Sansa’s written request to save the day and Jon’s newly resurrected life.  This gave Jon the advantage of being able to storm Winterfell with his remaining forces (though Wun-Wun the Giant succumbed in the end to Ramsey’s final line of defense) and take it back, effectively unseating Ramsey; however, Ramsey’s life was left in the hands of the woman he married and then raped, and she paid out her justice in a gruesome but justifiable “eye for an eye” manner.

8) Sansa and Theon/Reek “escaped” Winterfell by jumping over the guard wall to flee Ramsay’s sadism.  Did they survive the jump?  Will they get away?  Where will they go?

Answer: They survived (as if there was ever a doubt).  They ran aimlessly through winter and snow until Brienne of Tarth showed up and saved the day, killing one of Ramsey’s search parties and escorting Sansa North to Castle Black and her brother, Jon Snow.  Theon elected to return to the Iron Islands, now that he has his faculties back.

9) What will happen to Dany?  She dropped her wedding ring: to break with her queenliness or to leave a bread crumb for Jorah (Iain Glen) and Daario (Michael Huisman)?  Will they find her?  Will Drogon find her?  What will this new Dothraki horde do?  Do they know that she was the Khaleesi?

Answer: Jorah and Daario found Dany with the bread crumb that was her ring, but as it turns out, she didn’t need their help. The Khals, as she was taken to the Dothraki stronghold, found out that she was Khal Drogo’s widow, living free against their custom, and forced her to live with the other former/widowed khaleesis while they determined her fate.  She was ordered to appear before them, in a sort of tribunal, as they made crude and sexist comments about her.  Unfortunately for them, there was fire in the tribunal hut, and because Dany is impervious to flames on the show, she tipped the torches and burned them all alive, as she emerged from the flames, naked and queenly.  Because of this show of power, all of the Dothraki horde became part of her army.

10) What will we see of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) in Meereen?  Will Tyrion and Dany be reunited?

Answer: Tyrion and Varys attempted to steward Meereen in Dany’s absence, though not always successfully; Tyrion struck a controversial deal with the slave masters to return slaves for seven years to them in exchange for keeping the peace in the city, which had grown tenuously unstable in Dany’s absence.  Varys left eventually to seek out help that he did not specify.  Because Dany successfully conquered the Dothraki, she returned to Meereen, somewhat disappointed by the status quo; however, she forged a plan, which included laying waste to a slaver ship with her three dragons (the other two had been released by Tyrion, who had a curious connection to them).  She gained the rest of their ships and drove the slave masters out of Slavers Bay.

11) Is Jon Snow really dead?  If so, is he coming back to life?  How?  Will he Warg into his direwolf, as Bran has been able to do, per the Starks’ traditional magical power established by the novels?  Will Melisandre resurrect him as she did Dondarrion in Season Three?

Answer: Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and the Old Magic raised Jon Snow from his real, actual death, like Beric Dondarrion, in episode two of the season, which was nice, as we didn’t have to beat around the bush about it.

12) Who is Jon’s mother?  Is Jon, in fact, the product of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen? Is the Song of Ice and Fire about him?

Answer: The show confirmed that Jon’s mother is, in fact, Lyanna Stark.  The network confirmed that Jon’s father is, in fact, Rhaegar Targaryen.  The Song of Ice and Fire’s real subject remains a mystery: is the song a person (Jon Snow) meant to be a savior, blended of the family of ice (Stark) and fire (Targaryen); three people, all with blends of the three major houses (Stark, Targaryen, Lannister), who can ride three dragons; or the clash of dragons (fire) and White Walkers (ice).  Maybe it’s all of the above.  We’ll find out within two seasons because that’s as far as the creators want to go.

13) Does Melisandre, who seems to have forsaken Stannis Baratheon, now believe that Jon is the Azor A’hai?  The savior of all?

Answer: She wasn’t convinced of anything until she was able to raise Jon from the dead.  She now truly believes that he is the Azor A’hai, the savior of all, the Prince Who was Promised.

14) Is the Azor A’hai the same as the Prince of Promise?  Is the Azor A’hai one person? If so, is it Jon or Dany or someone else?  Or, is it the combination of three people who can ride Dany’s dragons?  And who are those three people…? Jon? Dany? Tyrion? Anyone else?

Answer: The Azor A’hai and the Prince Who Was Promised are two names for the same basic concept.  As above, however, the question of who or what that is remains unanswered.

15) With Jon Snow apparently dead, and Sam Tarly (John Bradley) heading toward the Citadel with Gilly (Hannah Murray), will we have to spend anymore time at the Night’s Watch?  Alternatively, will the Watchmen need to battle the White Walkers anew? Will the wall hold?  Will peace be kept between the Watchmen and the Wildlings who have taken refuge there?

Answer: Thankfully, after Jon made his decision to battle Ramsey for the safety of Rickon, he concluded that his Watch had ended with his, albeit temporary, death and chose to leave Castle Black, though not without hanging the traitors who stabbed him (Olly included) and placing Eddard, his trusty lieutenant, as Lord Commander.  The Watchmen are still the first line of defense against the Walkers beyond the wall.  The Wildlings left with Jon Snow, but whether the Wall will hold remains a question, particularly in light of Bran’s warged encounter with the Night’s King.

16) How will Cersei recover from her penance?

Answer: She came back bigger and badder than ever and hellbent on revenge, which she successfully executed by lighting Mad King Aerys’ stash of wyldfyre under King’s Landing and taking out half of the city in the process.

17) What is the resurrected Mountain going to do, or how does he figure into anyone’s plans, the Lannisters included?

Answer: The Mountain basically served as Cersei’s bodyguard throughout the season, as she awaited trial by the High Sparrow, vulnerable to attacks by the Sparrow’s followers.

18) With Myrcella dying by poison on the ship back from Dorn, will Cersei and/or Jaime retaliate again Ilaria Sand (Indira Varma) or Dorn?

Answer: Cersei and Jaime both had other fish to fry and seemed to forget about Dorn for the time being.  Cersei was trapped within the Red Keep awaiting her trial by the High Sparrow, and Jaime was sent by Cersei to recapture River Run from the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark’s uncle, who temporarily retook his ancestral home from House Frey, the Lannisters’ long-time allies.

19) Will Tommen be able to hold his rule?

Answer: Tommen succumbed to the will of the High Sparrow in order to protect Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), his Queen.  Margaery feigned an act of piety to save her brother Loras. They were both puppets to the High Sparrow, until Cersei enacted her revenge, which Tommen watched from the Red Keep.  Knowing his bride was among the casualties, and ill-equipped to guide recovery from such devastation as king, Tommen chose to plummet from his tower window and end his own life.

20) What happened to the Tyrells?  Are Margaery and Loras rotting in prison?

Answer: For a time, the Tyrells remained in prison, until Margaery pretended to be converted to the new religion by the High Sparrow, and Loras agreed to repent for his sin of homosexuality.  Unfortunately, his confession and penance (and branding) by the Sept directly preceded what would have been Cersei’s trial; neither sibling (or their father) survived long enough to see if their efforts were worth it, owing to Cersei’s devastating master stroke of igniting the hidden caches of wyldfyre under the city.

21) How long will the new religion have its hold on King’s Landing?  Will their evangelism spread?

Answer: The High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) was effective in spreading his message, but he underestimated Cersei.  He died in the season finale, so it’s expected that the new religion will have suffered something of a blow as well.

22) Are Rickon and Osha returning anytime soon?

Answer: Ramsey found them.  Ramsey killed them.

23) Is Stannis Baratheon really dead? If so, what will Brienne of Tarth do now?

Answer: Brienne definitely offed Stannis; House Baratheon is out of the Game of Thrones.  After Brienne found Sansa and brought her north to Castle Black, Sansa sent Brienne to River Run to ask her great-uncle, the Blackfish, for help in the fight against Ramsey.  Brienne was reunited briefly with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).  The Blackfish could not help Brienne or his Stark relations, as he was under siege by a combination of Walder Frey’s (David Bradley) and Lannister forces.  Though Jaime successfully recaptured River Run, he allowed Brienne and Podrick to escape unnoticed with a touching goodbye to Brienne, full of distant longing.  The Blackfish is not expected to have survived the siege.

24) Can we never see Dorn again, even if Prince Martell is played by Dr. Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?  Panelist Jay votes yes on never seeing Dorn again.

Answer: Things looked hopeful when the Sand Snakes killed Prince Martell and his son early in the season, effectively usurping rule of Dorn.  Unfortunately, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), who had fled King’s Landing in the face of the growing influence of the High Sparrow, sought out the Sand Snakes at the end of the season in a bid to exact revenge against Cersei for killing her family.  Future seasons will show us if that is the right move, either for her or for the viewer.

New Questions

1) Will we see “Clegane-bowl,” i.e. the Hound v. the Mountain in hand-to-hand combat in the war to come?

2) Will Dany reach Westeros and aim specifically for King’s Landing and Cersei?

3) Will Arya or Bran find their siblings/return to Winterfell?  Or, will Bran go North, and Arya go South?

4) Who will Arya aim for next, now that she has the backing of the Many Faced God and the skills taught to her by the House of Black and White?

5) Will Sansa make a play to be Queen of the North?  Will she finally be seduced by Littlefinger’s romantic advances and plan for their future?

6) Will Jon Snow stay parked at Winterfell?  Will he find out about his true parentage?  Will he be forced to engage the White Walkers in the next season, or will he be forced to enter a battle in the South between Lannisters and Targaryens?

7) Will we see more Lyanna Mormont?  The panel votes yes.

8) Will we see the emergence of Lady Stoneheart?  Will she be in the form described by the books, or will one of the Stark daughters take on her story lines?

9) How will Jaime react to Cersei’s new power?  Will he be the younger brother that fulfills Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, or will it be Tyrion, now that he’s on his way back home at the side of Dany?

10) How will King’s Landing react to Cersei’s rule, in the absence of the strength of the High Sparrow and the new religion?

11) Will we see the emergence of more dragon riders?  Will the three-headed dragon prophecy/theory come true this season?

12) House Bolton is out of the Game of Thrones with the death of Ramsey.  Will Euron Greyjoy and his bid for the Iron Islands and the Iron Throne render him the new sadistic villain of the series, as panelist Rob predicts?

13) Where is Jon’s direwolf Ghost and Arya’s direwolf Nymeria?  Will they survive the series?

14) Will the White Walkers breech the Wall next season?

15) Is there something in the Wall other than protective magic, as panelist Kristen has theorized?

PARTING SHOTS

Game of Thrones continues to be, possibly more than ever, simply one of the most exciting programs on television right now, bolstered by the fact that, when in season, it is one of the primary water cooler shows on television today.  The fact that the show has caught up with and now surpassed the timeline of the books is admirable in and of itself.  Though each episode metes out a fraction of story for most of the major point-of-view characters, a majority of the episodes are fraught with tension and grand spectacle, with excellent visual effects, stellar writing and pacing, and some of the most superb acting currently on the small screen.  The panelists, with mostly positive regard of season six, are generally quite obsessed with the show and its current trajectory and are positive about most plot developments in this most recent season.  They discuss many theories and observations in this podcast episode, but all are excited for the next season and to keep watching!  Listen to their reactions and see if you agree.

LOOKING AHEAD

Game of Thrones was renewed for a seventh season, as well as an eighth and final season, the former of which is slated to premiere on HBO later, in June 2017, as it was somewhat delayed compared to past seasons due to the need to incorporate actual winter (it’s here!). Until then, Game of Thrones fans, remember: you play, or you die.