A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season One (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com.  In this episode, recorded in November 2017, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and Unfortunate TV fans – including moderator Nick, Kristen, Kelsey, Jenn, Selene, and Kylie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 1 of Unfortunate hit and Netflix original A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you have not watched any of said Unfortunate Events, 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

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PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is an American black comedy-drama television series developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, which is based upon the children’s novel series of the same name authored by Lemony Snicket.

What: “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the first season, consists of eight episodes and adapts the first four books of Lemony Snicket’s series. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on January 13, 2017.

Where: The action takes place in various fictional locales, not always specifically named, but always housing the Baudelaire children’s (Weissman, Hynes, and Smith) “closest, living relatives.” Geographically speaking, that is.

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

A Series of Unfortunate Events = 3.8, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

When a mysterious fire kills their parents, the Baudelaire children are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf (Harris), an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s initial failed attempt to do so, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and to uncover the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Frequent CPU! contributors and panelists often suggest shows for CPU! to cover in our podcast episodes – loyal listeners should have picked up on this particular trend by now. Well, when streaming service Netflix (they owe us free subscriptions, we think!) decided to adapt Lemony Snicket’s acclaimed book series, this time in a television/long-form format as opposed to a feature film, at least one frequent CPU!er became decidedly atwitter and began encouraging Lemony Snicket podcast coverage in short order.  In addition, while Chief CP Kylie enjoys the film adaptation from 2004 starring Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep, my passion for the television series adapting same, despite the presence of fan favorite NPH, did not quite reach the same heights as some of tonight’s panelists’.

As it turns out, I find the show interesting, with an interesting mystery and a fun visual pastiche, but I think I lack passion for it. Frequent contributor and panelist Nick, on the other hand, abounds in said passion.  In fact, it was Nick, specifically, who saw an opportunity for a CPU! episode “around the water cooler” discussing the newest telling of the Streaming Original Series of Unfortunate Events. Thus, herein we offer our Season One recap, with the Chief CP stepping aside from the moderating microphone, so that Nick may serve as main moderator with the kind of passion these unfortunate events deserve. I instead participate as a regular old panelist to remark upon the unfortunate-ness of the whole affair. Nick and I are, in turn, joined by frequent CPU! panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Selene, and Jenn for this probing, passionate, and, at times, pithy discussion about the Baudelaires and their trials and tribulations.

This podcast was recorded in November 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Buffy-Verse panel will return to the Water Cooler for Episode Five, the final episode, of our retrospective series Looking Back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.  We will be discussing Seasons Three, Four, and Five of Angel and presenting our best and worst 10 lists of episodes from each seriesStay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

A Series of Unfortunate Events is universally recommended by all of our panelists, despite a wide variety of opinions about, and individual receptions toward, the series.  The panel particularly recommends Lemony Snicket’s Unfortunate Events to fans of the original book series; of the 2004 film adaptation of same; of Neil Patrick Harris and of Patrick Warburton, who portray Count Olaf and Mr. Snicket, respectively, and do so with flourish and aplomb; and to fans of the type of dark, sardonic humor offered by the likes of Tim Burton or Barry Sonnenfeld, the latter of whom is credited as a creator and an executive producer of this series.  Panelists Kelsey and Selene recommend this program for family viewing along with young children, while Chief CP Kylie, the only true member of Gen X on this panel, cautions that the series may be more palatable to Millennials and younger generations, who had a chance to grow up with the original series of children’s books and who might relate to the program more easily, despite the fact that the erstwhile Doogie Howser MD plays a lead character.  The panelists universally praise the visual presentation and technical aspects of the show, even as they offer wide-ranging reactions to the story/adaptation execution and to the overall direction.  Still, all panelists look forward to what Season Two might bring in terms of not only ironing out the kinks in story presentation but also of sprinkling in further clues to help our eager set of viewers solve the unfortunate mystery of this series of events.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

A Series of Unfortunate Events was quickly renewed for a second season, though a tentative release date has not yet been announced by Netflix, except that Season Two will likely drop in early 2018.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all Lemony Snicket coverage, and this panel will, as such, likely return some time after the release of Season 2 to recap the new season. Until then!

Supernatural (Season 12B, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2017, our panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen, Kelsey, Allie, and Jeremy – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 12B (following the season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, demon Crowley, and the ongoing shenanigans of Lucifer. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 12 End of Season Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW; this season, the show aired on Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

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

When: The Season 12 finale aired on May 18, 2017, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas, and have, as late, holed up in a bunker, somewhere near their home town, formerly run by the Men of Letters, an organization of which they are legacy members.  The time is present day.

Why:  Oh so many seasons ago now, Chief CP Kylie followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a different spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents.  From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly dissimilar to the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke.  For CPU!’s ever-expanding podcast coverage of a growing number of shows, several CPU! members, all familiar voices to the CPU! loyal, jumped up to participate on this panel, even though many of them also express fatigue with the show from time to time.  How do they feel the show is faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons?  Take a listen below.

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

To catch up on our Super-coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons Nine, Ten, and Eleven

Season 12A

Once again, our Super-CPU! panel – Nick, Jen, Allie, Kelsey, and Jeremy – hops into our ’67 Chevy Impala, ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), as we discuss major plot points from, and ruminate upon the success of, the second half of season twelve.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, particularly this season, we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over whilst pining for the brothers and/or Cas (well, I don’t think Nick is pining…unless there’s something we don’t know).  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in July 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of season twelve of this long-running series. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, our Sherlock Series panel returns to the Water Cooler for the second episode in that series to discuss, to deduce in diatribes, and to dissect Series 3 and 4 of the international smash hit series. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

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

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they ever get their happy ending?

REPEAT ANSWER: While the panel is in no particular rush for a series finale, although maybe that’s less true nowadays, it’s likely the brothers will not find peace until they are done.  That’s why Kansas tells them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer is out of the Cage, why can’t the archangel Michael, currently housed within long lost Winchester half brother Adam, escape from the Cage? Will we ever see Adam/Michael again?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still a question.  I, personally, have to believe that, with Lucifer out of Hell’s Cage, archangel Michael (whether inside half-Winchester Adam or not), has some time to sort through his sanity.  Here’s hoping he busts out.  There’s a disturbing lack of archangels nowadays.

4) Will Mary ever get it together long enough to accept her new lease on life and her much older, adult sons?  Her adjustment seems prolonged.  Understandable but prolonged. What will be her purpose in the end?  Will she continue hunting?  Will she join #TeamWinchester? Or, will she be the footnote of yet another – and a repeat one at that – tragedy in the boys’ lives?

ANSWER: This answer is complicated, even loaded.  First, Mary is willing to sacrifice herself to save both sons when the boys make a deal with Billie the Reaper to break them out of federal prison, as they were falsely accused of attacking the President of the United States who had been otherwise possessed by Lucifer, in exchange for one of the boys’ permanent deaths. Then, Mary continues hunting, despite the fact that she seems to rue it, because it’s kind of one of the only things she knows and remembers comfortably from her former life.  Then, she secretly allies herself with the British Men of Letters for a time because their resources and drive are appealing to her, and she believes that they are capable of eliminating all monster threats, so that, as she explains to Sam, she can have the life she has always wanted with her sons. This arrangement naturally goes south, particularly when Lady Toni Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore) returns for the sole purpose of “conditioning” Mary to act as a black operative for the Brits and as a mole, brainwashed to kill American hunters, who the Brits have deemed ineffectual. Dean achieves breaking through this conditioning with Lady Bevell’s help (and a switch in loyalties), and with one of his more impassioned monologues recapping everything that the brothers have been through in these twelve seasons, but Mary is only lucid long enough to help deliver Lucifer’s bastard Nephilim baby before an alternate parallel universe swallows her, with the Devil’s helpful hand pulling her into this wasted alterna-world with him.  The producers and the cast have confirmed that Mary is still alive, and so, it’s not a typical Supernatural tragedy, but Mary’s purpose and presence on the show has become one big, convoluted question mark. Listen to the podcast episode for additional details and speculations.

5) Seriously, why should we care about the British Men of Letters at all?  Why are they interfering?  Why does their approach with sussing out the boys’ methods suck?  Why can’t we abandon this piece of the story? Much of our panel feels that it’s not working, though some are still vaguely intrigued.

ANSWER: As it turns out, the Brits are essentially the “Big Bad” of the season.  Sure, Lucifer is around and is after his child (more on that in a minute), but the Brits prove to be a formidable threat to American hunters nationwide, simply because they believe our uppity colonial butts cannot achieve results without efficiency and moral ambiguity.  The Brits’ approach is par: kill all monsters, regardless of the shades of gray that the Winchesters have encountered over the years that have led them to become creative and merciful hunters.  They generally find Sam and Dean to be reckless and ineffectual, the worst of the American hunter lot, really.  So, this story line plays through until the end of the season, whether we want it to or not, though the Brits on this side of the pond do meet a grisly end.  The podcast panelists express mixed reactions in response to the British Men of Letters segment on “This is our Supernatural life.”  Listen to the episode for details. 

6) Will Toni return?  For what reason?  Or, did the Brits put her in “time out?”

ANSWER: Toni returns.  Apparently, she’s one of the Brits’ golden children, despite her strong opinions and querulous methods.  She is not afraid to get her hands dirty and to experiment with sadistic measures of torture and corruption.  Her latest exploit: brainwashing mother Mary into becoming the Brits’ assassin of American hunters, while Mary is helpless to fight against it and unaware of her own actions. Toni’s allegiance to the LetterMen only lasts for so long, though.  Her apparent rivalry/sexual tension with Man of Letter Arthur Ketch results in his rash decision to trap her with the brothers in the bunker, without working air handlers or power, as part of the ongoing effort to eliminate American hunters (and as part of Ketch’s own ongoing beef with the boys). With her life in danger, and in lieu of a tenuous agreement with Dean to help reverse mother Mary’s conditioning in exchange for her freedom, Lady Bevell reverses her dirty deeds, only to meet her own grisly end at the hands of Ketch at the last.

7) Where did Lucifer go?  Some of the panel thought that his angel essence was entrapped by the Men of Letters golden snitch, while some saw it go through a floor vent. Kylie predicts that Lucifer will most likely return to fetch his spawn.  What will his spawn be? Will his spawn be the “anti-Christ?”  Will his spawn be born?  Will his spawn bring about the end of times…again?

ANSWER: Kylie won the round this time (it has to happen some time, people!). Lucifer, as it turns out, is drawn back to hell by Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) and returned to his favorite vessel and ours, namely the one played by Mark Pellegrino. Indeed, Mark P. returns with his best devilish scene chewing in tow, aiming to break free of his Crowley induced chains to seek out his spawn, a Nephilim, a half-human/half-angel with potential unspeakable power and questionable moral compass, given who his daddy is.  The spawn in question comes to term…his name is Jack, in fact; he has yellow eyes, is far larger and older than your standard baby, and he is the subject of many questions asked by the podcast panelists. Though we have seen one “anti-Christ” in a previous season, Jack may be the anti-Christ to beat all anti-Christs, initiating a much scarier apocalypse than we have yet seen.  We don’t yet know for sure because Luci is trapped in the alternate universe with Mary, and the yellow eyes mean this kid could be much more than we ever bargained for, in the end, if the show’s meditation on “princes of hell” is any indication.

8) Will Sam, Lucifer’s predestined vessel, be forced to house Lucifer again, who burns through other human hosts quickly and destructively?  There seems to be some hint at that possibility, though Sam has avoided it successfully so far.

ANSWER: Owing to a clever (?) side mention by the writers, as a result of Crowley’s magic, which revived the Mark P. vessel for Lucifer but also warded his insides so that the angelic essence of Lucifer is trapped in the self-same vessel, Luci tells the brothers that Sam is no longer needed to house Lucifer.  The Mark P. vessel, in other words, is built to last by King of Hell magic.  Crowley just makes things worse sometimes, doesn’t he? (For the boys, anyway…Mark P.’s return was most welcome to this set of Super fans.)

9) To that end, the “American Nightmare” episode hearkened back to and reminded the viewer that Sam was once one of demon Azazel’s children, with psychic abilities.  In that episode, Sam encountered a strict religious family who demonized their daughter Magda for having psychic ability.  In that episode, Sam told Magda that he once had similar abilities.  When she asked if he still did, Sam answered that he “thought” they were gone. Will we be seeing a return of Sam’s psychic abilities?  He’s always been highly intuitive; if they do return, what will be the context?  What will be the purpose?  What will he do with them?  Will he be good or evil? The panel kind of wants to see this happen.

ANSWER: Still a question or questions without answer(s).  While Sam’s potentially dormant demonic abilities remain just that – dormant – the show, the producers, and the cast have referred to them both in script and in press often enough that we think this possibility is even more possible at this stage.  Plus, the show takes the time to explore the concept of the “Princes of Hell” this half season, of which the brothers learn that Azazel was one: Lucifer’s most entrusted demons, all of yellow eyes; his first demonic creations; his most loyal servants; and his most powerful allies.  It should be noted that Jack the Nephilim also has yellow eyes.  Moderator Kylie suspects that the yellow eyed princes of hell, the angels, Jack, and Sam are all going to be connected in expected or unexpected ways in the near future.

10) The John Winchester question remains a question: will we see him this season?  And played by whom?  And will he be alive or dead?

ANSWER: In the ultimate tease, and with much social media delight owing to Jensen’s Twitter exchange with JDM himself, Negan’s bat from The Walking Dead makes a cameo, after apparently hanging out in Baby’s trunk all this time and once being allegedly owned by John, but John himself does not show up in season 12, likely due to the fact that Jeffery Dean Morgan survives on TWD.  I think the writers know how much his return is strongly desired, particularly given Mary’s return, though some of our panelists are against this idea on principle, feeling that John had a definite and poetic end that would be undermined by a resurrection, a common plot device used on Supernatural.  To this panelist and moderator, though, I am a proponent of such a return…though it would likely be saved for a final season. Still, we’ll keep asking the question.

11) The Billie the Reaper question remains a question: is she aiming to be New Death? What is her true intention?  Or, is she a dutiful bureaucrat, operating status quo in the absence of her boss? Will she be successful in reaping Mary’s newly returned soul?  The brothers’?

ANSWERS: These questions are for naught now.  Billie makes a return long enough to seek the boys’ permanent deaths, making the deal with the Winchesters that allows them to bust out of federal prison by killing them long enough for the authorities to accept their deaths, only to revive them in time for escaping, in exchange for one of the brother’s permanent deaths at the stroke of midnight. Castiel (Misha Collins) makes his presence known by getting the drop on Billie.  He stabs her in the back with his angel blade just as Mary offers herself in sacrifice to save her sons, after Billie notes that breaking a deal with a reaper can have “cosmic consequences.”  Billie’s ambitions, thus, have been cut short and are no longer enigmas worth our puzzling, while Cas courts cosmic consequences in the worst possible way. See below.

12) The angel question remains a question – Heaven seems disturbingly quiet…

ANSWERS: The angels are motivated to action with the impending birth of Jack the Nephilim.  In fact, we meet Cas’ former squad, headed by human-hater (and secret human lover) Isham, leader of a heavenly task force assigned to eliminate nephilim the world over. We also meet Joshua, who concocts a plan with Cas to force baby-mama Kelly to cross through Heaven’s Gate in the Sandbox, exposing her unborn child to heaven’s (apparently fatal) light.  Angel casualties are high this season, let’s just say.

13) Where did Rowena and Crowley go?  Is Crowley back on his basement throne again? Will Rowena return to her witch-y ways, since her dreams of marrying her sugar daddy went bust and since she seems to have somewhat repaired her estrangement from her son?

ANSWER: Crowley returns to his throne in Hell, having trapped Lucifer for the seemingly sole purpose (or soul purpose?) of gloating.  Really, as the podcast panelists note, with all of the stupid plans Crowley has had over the years, this one may have been the stupidest.  Meanwhile, Rowena (Ruth Connell) kind of hangs out, does some magic, gets some revenge on her son, that old chestnut, and then, seemingly, gets herself burnt to a crisp by a freshly minted from hell Lucifer.  Her death is treated as a vicious afterthought and without ceremony, despite the impression she made upon the CPU! segment of the Super viewing audience, leading most of our panelists to throw up in arms; however, Rowena’s fate, by virtue of learning of it only from a boastful Lucifer and a charred-beyond-recognition corpse, leads this panelist and moderator to believe that Rowena is not out for the count yet, even if Crowley is (more on that later).

14) Last we saw, Sam and Dean were taken into federal custody because once Lucifer was sucked out of the POTUS with the Golden demon essence sucking Snitch, it appeared as if Sam and Dean had hurt the President, causing the Secret Service and federal marshals to descend upon them and to arrest them.  The panel feels confident that they will escape or be released; we just don’t know how.  Will Castiel, vexed by losing Satan’s spawn, save them? Will Crowley?  Will they break out themselves? Will they get off with presidential pardon? And then, where does the show go from here?

ANSWER: As described above, a deal with Billie allows the boys to break free from prison in exchange for one of their permanently reaped souls.  Cas breaks that deal for them by literally stabbing Billie in the back, saving the brothers’ souls, as well as Mary’s, one more time.  As for where the show goes, listen to the podcast or read above for details.

New Questions

1) Let’s talk about cosmic consequences.  At the end of the season, Castiel is stabbed in the back, in a karmic boomerang of epic proportion, by Lucifer, who uses Cas’ angel blade to get the drop on Cas, as Cas did on Billie the Reaper. We assume Cas will be back, even if his return is predictable and less impacting than it could be, given all of the deaths and rebirths on this show.  We just do not know how or if he will be the same Cas. Will we meet our Castiel again, resurrected once more by some force unknown?  Or, will we be watching an alternate universe version of him, since that universe has been blinked into existence by Jack the Nephilim?  Or, will Jack, who seems connected to Cas thanks to his in utero interaction with the angel, revive Cas himself?

2) Lucifer and Mary are currently trapped in that alternate universe.  Will we see them immediately in the next half season, or will we have to wait, as the producers and cast have confirmed that they live on in the world of a permanent war between angels and demons and mostly extinct humans?  Will we get to see Lucifer and Mary, the “buddy cop” years?  Will Mary punch Lucifer bunches, as panelist Kelsey wishes?  Will they survive?  What will happen to them?

3) Crowley is dead as well, sacrificing his own life in exchange for a spell cast in an attempt to trap Lucifer in the alternate universe – only with Crowley’s death, Mark A. Sheppard also announced his departure from the show, so it seems the King of Hell is permanently pushing up demonic daisies.  Is this why Rowena is killed off?  Is she, in fact, killed off?  Or, did Rowena make a deal with the devil that allows her to survive? She’s been quite the survivor so far, after all.

4) Jack the Nephilim – is he good, or is he evil?  Is he angel, or is he demon?  Is he a yellow eyed demon?  Is he a “prince of hell?”  Is he the “anti-Christ?” What does it mean to be a prince of hell?  We expect that Dean will want to lay him to waste immediately, while Sam will probably argue for the gray area and the possibility that he is not evil, given his angel grace and half humanness.  Will Jack have an effect on Sam?  Will Jack induce a return of Sam’s demonic abilities, originally imbued to him by a yellow eyed demon/Prince of Hell?  How will Jack affect the world at large, given that mere contractions bringing him into the world ripped a hole in space and time?

5) Will Jack be next season’s Big Bad?  Will Lucifer?  If neither of them are, who will be?

6) The perennial question: will we see John Winchester this season?  And played by whom?  And will he be alive or dead?

7) How much of this alternate universe will we be dealing with, overall?  Will we continue to see alterna-Bobby (Jim Beaver)?  Will the apocalypse of that world spill into this one?  Will it cause another apocalypse on this side of the space/time tear?

8) The Supernatural production team is currently in the process of creating another backdoor pilot and potential spin-off in the Wayward Sisters, featuring Jody the Sheriff as the lead character.  How will the road to producing that show, provided that the network approves a full season order, affect current Super events?

9) What is the current status of the American hunter system?  It seems that the Brits with mole mother Mary make efficient work of eliminating known hunters.  Does this mean that Sam and Dean will have to pick up the pieces by recruiting new hunters?  Training them?  Are we about to see a hunter training montage? Speaking of picking up the pieces, how will Sam and Dean go on?  Where will they be when the season premieres?

10) Panelist Jen asks again: where are God, aka Chuck the Prophet, and Amara, the Sister Darkness of God?  How are they doing?  Talk going well?  Hashed out their deity problems much?  Seeking some therapy?  Panelist Allie votes for getting a glimpse of some family counseling session with Chuck and Amara.

11) A Prince of Hell named Ramiel held in his possession two intriguing items: Archangel Michael’s Spear or Lance and (wait for it) the Colt.  The Colt is currently broken, snapped in two by another Prince of Hell named Dagon, who Cas later snuffed.  Can the Colt be repaired?  By Sam?  How is the Colt powered?  Didn’t the Colt have a fixed number of bullets once upon a time?  More importantly, **where did the Colt go after Season 6?** How did Ramiel get a hold of it?  Why has the show not addressed the continuity of this gun?  Why was it brought back only to be broken?  WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING?!

12) Also, the Spear/Lance is broken, I believe with Crowley’s help in that instance.  Will it be repaired, since Dean pockets the fragments?  Is it usable by anyone besides Michael? Dean is still a predestined Michael vessel – can he use it?  We repeat – will we ever see Michael out of the Cage again?

13) The Vampire Alpha dies in this season, owing to some clever British Men of Letter work.  Does this mean that all vampires die?  I know this is not The Originals, but what happens to the rest of the vampires in the event of the death of their alpha?

PARTING SHOTS

Some doubts have not only resurfaced among the members of our Supernatural panel but have increased as the twelfth season wraps.  Though we all remain committed until the end of the show, whenever that may be, and though, in many ways, Supernatural is still like a well-oiled machine – a quality program with a cultivated, passionate cult fan base, even if the quality is not necessarily consistent in its late life – the panel continues to struggle somewhat with the show after the choppy and somewhat disjointed twelfth season, even though some of our worse fears, including a disparate set of story lines failing to connect in a meaningful way, do not come to pass. Indeed, Season 12 still offers something to enjoy between mother Mary, the British Men of Letters, and Lucifer’s love child, not to mention the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more. In fact, the panel members all still agree that Supernatural could never be completely unwatchable, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast).  Though we are in the acknowledged winter of the program’s longevity, there remains nothing like Supernatural on TV right now, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes, all members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we prepare to move into Season 13!

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was renewed for a thirteenth season, which is slated to premiere on October 12, 2017.  The Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the thirteenth mid-season finale, which will likely air in or around December 2016. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional show coverage.  Until then!

The 100 (Seasons 1-3, MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new (and, yet again, unusually long!) podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in December 2016, our panel of CPU! Skaikru – including moderator Kylie, Allie, Kelsey, and Selene – is Around the Water Cooler and catching up on Seasons 1-3, with particular emphasis on Seasons 2 and 3, of The 100.  We discuss everything from the 100 teen criminals banding together to fend off Grounder attacks, to the introduction of the Grounder clans (and their leader, Lexa), to the exploration of Mount Weather and those humans sheltered from the apocalypse (and the war for the ground), to proliferation of ALIE and the effect that this particularly aggressive artificial intelligence has on Skaikru and Grounder and Mountain Man alike.  If you have not watched any of The 100, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The 100” – Reflections on Season One and Recapping Seasons Two and Three (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The 100,” currently airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, Wednesdays at 9:00 PM.

What: “The 100,” a science fiction drama set nearly 100 years into the future.  According to the preliminary season one voice-over, in the fictional near future, Earth is ravaged by nuclear warfare, irradiating the planet’s surface. Survivors flee to space stations orbiting the Earth; 100 years into the future, the lives of the mere thousands of the survivors’ descendants aboard the “Ark” are threatened again, as the oxygen and life support reserves dwindle, and the machinery aboard the conglomeration of space stations degrades.  The only hope for the human race centers on the heartiness of 100 adolescent prisoners, chosen for their penchant for breaking the rules, who are sent to the planet’s surface to sniff out whether humanity can return to its original home and persevere.  The 100 are a mixture of society’s elite and its most oppressed; the resulting stew becomes something very similar to Lord of the Flies – except, as the 100 accept and embrace their new-found freedom, they realize they are not alone.

SYNOPSIS

Humanity survives a nuclear holocaust in the fictional near future that irradiates the planet’s surface, sending what remains of the human race into space to fend for their lives aboard several international space stations, which are eventually joined together to become the “Ark.” One hundred years into the future, humanity is in danger once again, as the century-old machinery fails, and oxygen supplies dwindle.  The society aboard the Ark is run under strict rules and laws, including population control and discouragement of defiance of the ruling council and its decrees in any way.  The Council is comprised of, among others, Chancellor Thelonius Jaha (Isaiah Washington) and his Vice Chancellor Marcus Kane (Henry Ian Cusick).  They and the chief medical officer, Dr. Abigail Griffin (Paige Turco), decide to send 100 involuntary participants deemed criminals – adolescents incarcerated for various crimes, including illegal space walks and being an unauthorized second child – in order to test the viability of the planet’s surface to sustain human life. Unfortunately, some of the 100 include the chief medical officer’s daughter and the chancellor’s son, among others.  In addition, once the 100 reach the Earth’s surface, despite the fact that they wear bracelets monitoring their health and vital signs, most of them see their situation as a new lease on life and freedom and remove their bracelets in the hopes that the Ark will leave them for dead.  Only Abby’s daughter, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), fights to communicate with the Ark, while others are content to run wild in a new, anarchic society. These two schools of thought are at odds, even as the 100 confront unexpected inhabitants of the new old world.

When: Season One aired from March 19, 2014, to June 11, 2014; Season Two aired from October 22, 2014, to March 11, 2015; and Season Three aired from January 21, 2016, to May 19, 2016.

Where: The action is set in two locations at the outset of the series: in space, aboard the fictitious space station amalgamation known as the “Ark,” and on Earth, in an unknown location at an unidentified crash site.  The adults eventually travel to Earth, foregoing the dying Ark, and set up a settlement, first called “Camp Jaha” and then “Arkadia.”

Why: The Chief CP is always on the hunt for good science fiction; this show offers less science and more fiction, except where the space station is concerned.  Also, it features Henry Ian Cusick, better known as Desmond from Lost, and I have a great affinity for the Lost alumni.  The podcast panelists that I invited to talk about this show with me all found this program in diverse ways.  Listen to the episode for details.

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

It’s been a while since CPU! covered The 100, as this is yet another show that CPU! Chief Kylie briefly covered in blog format during season one, here, though below are some key passages reprinted, as I am particularly proud of this review, which provides some relevance and foundation for the beginning of the podcast episode:

“Comparing The 100 to Lord of the Flies is not unfair: this show is essentially William Golding’s classic novel, set in the future and partially in space.  Aboard the Ark, there are two factions of ruling adults: those who mercilessly follow the rules, and those who bend them or break them in favor of following the tenets of compassion and humanity.  On the planet’s surface, there are those juveniles who see following the instructions given to them as the only ticket to salvation, while another school of thought and its members are willing to embrace their more primal instincts, including violence and allowing their rampant hormones to run free.  No one’s wearing animal blood yet, and their survival is threatened by more than the elements and mutated creatures evolved from the fictional nuclear holocaust, but The 100 borrows liberally and unmistakably from an obvious source.

“On the one hand, the tweaked premise shows promise: after all, with shows like Survivor on the air, there is a certain freshness to this story and a real sense that though this is set in the fictional future, it’s a not-too-far-distant future where something like the situation being depicted – the planet, ravaged by humanity’s neglect and misuse of technology resulting in potential survivors to flee to space – might be possible.  Presumably, the target audience is the CW’s usual viewership, the 18-34 set, and there is plenty of teenage angst to pepper the story of individual and global survival.  On the other hand, the characters are rather cookie cutter and caricature-like, particularly Cusick’s Kane, who plays an unfeeling bureaucrat in idiosyncratic surroundings with an over the top flourish (and a passable American accent).  In fact, most of the Ark residents are American – a troubling and narrow vantage point for the show to start from, even if it’s an American-made show.  It seems a bit too convenient that the producers did not invest in a pretend future world with a bit more geographical diversity, even if 100 years somehow unified speaking patterns to be more American aboard the Ark.

“Then, there are the actual adolescents, a veritable mixed bag of acting ability.  Taylor is decently convincing, approaching her role with conviction, as is Thomas McDonell as apparent love interest Finn, but the actor portraying the Chancellor’s son and most of the random supporting cast in the younger bracket seems to be angling for after school special or perhaps B-horror film rather than a thrilling kill-or-be-killed survival tale.  The result is that most of the 100 young adults are simply uninteresting, if not unsympathetic, while the adults, in the two episodes that this viewer has watched, though competent in their performances, offer no complexity, playing their two-dimensional roles well within their two dimensions.  Perhaps time and comfort will permit them to stretch…”

As always, blame it on starting the podcast side of CPU! for the long wait for re-visitation of The 100 and then happily promote the show to podcast panel-ship, along with interested CPU! panelists on board to catch us up.  And we’re getting caught up, finally, which you might notice if you follow our “What We’re Currently Watching” page!

In lieu of that crashed and burnt introduction, then, get a load of our new CPU! podcast episode, as CPU! regulars Allie and Kelsey and brand new panelist Selene gather Around the Water Cooler to chat about this newest entry into the annals of teen dystopian fiction. We play catch up with those that crashed aboard the drop ship on a newer, less apocalyptic Earth of the future and with those who tried to survive in space aboard the Ark before choosing to follow the juveniles they sent ahead of themselves, spanning the time since CPU! last checked in on the first season.  We cover major plot points from seasons one through three: from the 100 teen criminals banding together to fend off Grounder attacks, to the introduction of the Grounder clans (and their leader, Lexa), to the exploration of Mount Weather and those humans sheltered from the apocalypse (and the war for the ground), to proliferation of ALIE and the effect that this particularly aggressive artificial intelligence has on Skaikru and Grounder and Mountain Man alike.  Our panel’s devotion to The 100 admittedly waversas the panelists feel that the quality of this show has, itself, wildly wavered, possibly thrusting its best foot forward in the second season, as the writers toy with a revolving door of violent character deaths in a bleakly harsh world.  Give this latest CPU! episode a listen, with an ear to the ground and an eye toward the sky, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

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

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will take another break from our mid-season progress reports as we pause to appreciate an oldie but a goody.  We hang out, down the street, the same old thing, we did last week as we sit in the Circle, in our CPU! sponsored basement, and pontificate nostalgically about (i.e. look back at) That ’70s Show. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Is Lexa’s essence, as preserved in ALIE’s construct known as the “City of Light,” truly gone?  Or, did she escape the oncoming onslaught of hostile and devoted chipped humans within the construct? If so, where did she go?

2) Is the entire fourth season going to be centered on a hunt for decaying nuclear power plants?  How can Clarke and company possibly solve the conundrum described by ALIE’s creator, who posed that the nuclear power plants would implode within six months?

3) Are there human survivors in other parts of the former USA?  Other parts of the world? Will we meet any of them in this season?  Are there other Grounder clans (aside from Ice Nation, Treekru, etc.)?  Will we meet them?

4) Why should we care that the Earth is dying, given all of the violence and poor judgment of so many characters on this show?  The writers and producers have to convince several members of our panel to keep watching by giving us a reason to care.

5) Will other characters die?  Will they all die?  Will they survive?  Will they have to go back to space to escape the failing nuclear power plants?

6) Does this show possibly have a fifth season in it?  Our panel votes not so much.

PARTING SHOTS

The 100 seems to have burned bright and fast only to fizzle into wisps of smoke and ash, confronted as it is by a myriad of puzzling writing decisions that may have painted the show into a corner without chance for entertaining recovery.  The panelists in this podcast episode universally agree that this show starts off with a rocky foundation, relying on minimal and lacking character development as the writers and executive producer, Jason Rothenberg, drive quickly toward the main plot arcs without taking time to lay essential character groundwork.  The panelists also universally agree that the second season may have been the program’s best, with a tightly focused, intense, and brutal depiction of a war for the planet that humanity left behind, except and involving the humanity that remained, survived, and now fights for its home.  The panelists agree that the second season presents clear objectives for the many factions and staggering number of main characters that populate this cast.  Yet, the show falters again in the third season as several plot threads and character decisions remiss of logic established by the first two seasons create an impossible situation facing our characters as the season ends, and as the show tentatively embarks upon its fourth season.  In addition, the pacing of the third season is vastly uneven to the point of disengagement for every panelist, and the violence could be characterized as egregious, as most of the panelists feel that the show is striving to be network television’s Game of Thrones equivalent but for the less interesting story motivating the violence.  In fact, overall, the panelists find The 100 derivative of many sources and inspirations (apart from Lord of the Flies) and hampered by the seeming aim of the writers to try to “one up” themselves with each passing episode, to a point that the fourth season must now rely upon Clarke and the rest of her cohorts to prevent a second nuclear annihilation, despite all of the harrowing life and death drama that the characters have faced up until this point. This far-reaching story goal leaves the panel lukewarm and not looking forward to the fourth season; in fact, two of the panelists have nearly entirely jumped the shark, while the other two panelists are electing to persevere for completion’s sake and nothing else.  Will the writers absolve the show’s weaker aspects as The 100 cruises toward season’s end, thereby preventing cancellation?  Or, will the “all over the place” nature of the storytelling continue, despite a lack of consistent success, paving the road toward a series rather than a season end?  How’s the season going so far, since this episode is being published on the night that the third episode of the fourth season airs?  Tell us in the comments!

LOOKING AHEAD

The 100 was renewed for a fourth season, which premiered on February 1, 2017.  Does this yet again delayed premiere, and the show’s inconsistent schedule, signal a death knell for this series? Time will tell, since this program was not one of the CW network’s early renewals. Because of the delayed season premiere, CPU! will not revisit The 100 again until after the fourth season finale, most likely in summer 2017.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional 100 coverage.  Until then!

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8A (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2017, our less small but more robust panel– including moderator Kylie, Jen, Kelsey, and Allie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 8A of The Vampire Diaries, including two Siren Sisters and this show’s version of the “Devil.” If you have not watched any of The Vampire Diaries, 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!