Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 2 (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, our panel of experts – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – gathered together to Look Back at and to reminisce about Seasons Four and Five of CPU! favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This is the second part of a five part CPU! podcast series examining two of our favorite television programs, Buffy and Angel, aka “The Buffy-Verse.” If you have not watched any of Buffy or Angel (and I mean, any!), 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!

Stay tuned for Episode 3 of our Buffy-Verse series, in which we cover Seasons 1-2 of Angel!

PODCAST! – Cult TV! and Best Of! and Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#49)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a cult supernatural, fantasy, action, and horror drama that aired on the Warner Bros. network, or “The WB,” from 1997 to 2001 and on the United Paramount Network, or “UPN,” from 2001-2003.

What: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as “Vampire Slayers” or simply “Slayers,” called or chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness.

SYNOPSIS

Buffy’s mystical calling endows her with powers that dramatically enhance physical strength, endurance, agility, healing, intuition, and that provide a limited degree of clairvoyance, usually in the form of prophetic dreams. She is known as a reluctant hero who wants to live a normal life; however, she learns to embrace her destiny as the vampire Slayer.  Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), a member of the Watchers’ Council, whose job is to train and guide the Slayers. Giles researches the supernatural creatures that Buffy must face, offers insights into their origins and advice on how to defeat them, and helps her stay in fighting form. Buffy is also helped by friends she meets at Sunnydale High School: Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon).

The cast of characters grows over the course of the series. A vampire with a soul, Angel (David Boreanaz), is Buffy’s love interest throughout the first three seasons. At Sunnydale High, Buffy meets several other students besides Willow and Xander willing to join her fight for good, an informal group eventually tagged the “Scooby Gang” or “Scoobies.” Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), the archetypal shallow cheerleader, reluctantly becomes involved. Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) – a fellow student, rock guitarist and werewolf – joins the group through his relationship with Willow. Anya (Emma Caulfield), a former vengeance demon (Anyanka) who specialized in avenging scorned women, becomes Xander’s lover after losing her powers and joins the group in season four. Spike (James Marsters), a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus (Angel) and one of Buffy’s major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers.  In fact, Buffy features dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor, and additional regular characters introduced in later seasons.

When: The show aired on the WB from 1997-2001 and on UPN from 2001-2003.

Where: The show is set primarily in fictional Sunnydale, California, home of one of the series’ fictional entrances to hell, otherwise known as “The Hellmouth.”

Why: Listen to the first episode of this podcast series for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  They are all personal and occasionally touching.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Buffy as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true Buffy-Verse scholars, in what has, again, become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at another couple of cult TV shows that fuel our respective imaginations and tug at our TV-loving hearts. In this five-part series, our panel – featuring CPU! regulars and semi-regulars Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – look back at Buffy and its spin-off Angel, reminiscing about two shows that have withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as two of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television series of all time.

We have already recorded one episode in this series, Looking Back at Buffy Seasons One, Two, and Three.  You can listen to that episode here or via our audio channels on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode One, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3

In this second episode of CPU!’s “Buffy-Verse” series, our panel discusses Seasons Four and Five of Buffy, covering the series’ middle years and the arguable apex of its popularity. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of these two seasons, which aired on Tuesday nights on the WB network.

In addition, with this series, CPU! is introducing yet another brand new feature, which sort of combines some old features into one handily titled, efficiently truncated format. You may have noticed that we tend to favor some “best of” lists around here.  Well, in this new feature, called “Best Of!,” we are going to handily provide, right here, right now for Buffy but otherwise within the content entry for each podcast episode, the list of all of the “best of” acclaims a show receives.  In addition, we will be compiling those lists on separate bonus pages of our website (accessible by the menu at the top left of the header).  We’re not ready for the pages, as in they are under construction, but when it comes to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s list of various acclaims accrued over the years, you’ll come to understand why this feature was introduced.

To wit, herein be the list of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Best Of!

  • #41 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
  • #2 on Empires “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #22 in 2016
  • #27 on The Hollywood Reporters “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #38 on TV Guide’s list of the “60 Best Series of All Time”
  • #38 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most celebrated cult TV shows and TV fandoms, as the show ranks at #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s 2009 and 2014 Top Cult TV lists and at #3 on TV Guide’s Top Cult TV list.  Plus, Buffy ranked #49 on TV Guide’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we’re back around the water cooler when our Marvel Agents of SHIELD panel, slightly larger and slightly more robust than before, reconvenes to dissect the jam-packed second half of Season 4.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who loves nerdy, cult science fiction and fantasy (and/or horror) series in the vein of Star Trek, The X-Files, and similar ilk and to any fan of Joss Whedon who hasn’t somehow discovered his first major and most critically and most popularly recognized work of screen fiction (beyond the vastly different film, for which he provided creative input and an early script later overruled by its producers).  As we discuss in this podcast series, this series broke ground for so many other series to come, including other popular shows for which writers and creators learned their trade working on this series originally, including shows like Once Upon a Time and even issue-based comedies, like the uneven but musical Glee. This show has a bit of everything, and, if you love solid, quality television – excellent television, in fact – and you have somehow missed this series, you should make time for Buffy. You will not be disappointed in the overall journey and entertainment value that this well written, well performed series provides.

The entire Buffy series is available to stream at only Hulu, currently. Watch it: you won’t regret it!

Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 1 (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, our panel of experts – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – gathered together for a longer than usual discussion in which we are Looking Back and reminiscing about the first three seasons of CPU! favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This is the first part of a five part CPU! podcast series examining two of our favorite television programs, Buffy and Angel, aka “The Buffy-Verse.” If you have not watched any of Buffy or Angel (and I mean, any!), 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!

Stay tuned for Episode 2 of our Buffy-Verse series, in which we cover Seasons 4-5 of Buffy!

Episode sponsored by: Heritage Theatre Group

PODCAST! – Cult TV! and Best Of! and Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 1 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#49)

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

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Check out HTG’s 2017 Season – Currently On Stage: “Measure for Measure”

For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a cult supernatural, fantasy, action, and horror drama that aired on the Warner Bros. network, or “The WB,” from 1997 to 2001 and on the United Paramount Network, or “UPN,” from 2001-2003.

What: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as “Vampire Slayers” or simply “Slayers,” called or chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness.

SYNOPSIS

Buffy’s mystical calling endows her with powers that dramatically enhance physical strength, endurance, agility, healing, intuition, and that provide a limited degree of clairvoyance, usually in the form of prophetic dreams. She is known as a reluctant hero who wants to live a normal life; however, she learns to embrace her destiny as the vampire Slayer.  Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), a member of the Watchers’ Council, whose job is to train and guide the Slayers. Giles researches the supernatural creatures that Buffy must face, offers insights into their origins and advice on how to defeat them, and helps her stay in fighting form. Buffy is also helped by friends she meets at Sunnydale High School: Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon).

The cast of characters grows over the course of the series. A vampire with a soul, Angel (David Boreanaz), is Buffy’s love interest throughout the first three seasons. At Sunnydale High, Buffy meets several other students besides Willow and Xander willing to join her fight for good, an informal group eventually tagged the “Scooby Gang” or “Scoobies.” Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), the archetypal shallow cheerleader, reluctantly becomes involved. Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) – a fellow student, rock guitarist and werewolf – joins the group through his relationship with Willow. Anya (Emma Caulfield), a former vengeance demon (Anyanka) who specialized in avenging scorned women, becomes Xander’s lover after losing her powers and joins the group in season four. Spike (James Marsters), a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus (Angel) and one of Buffy’s major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers.  In fact, Buffy features dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor, and additional regular characters introduced in later seasons.

When: The show aired on the WB from 1997-2001 and on UPN from 2001-2003.

Where: The show is set primarily in fictional Sunnydale, California, home of one of the series’ fictional entrances to hell, otherwise known as “The Hellmouth.”

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  They are all personal and occasionally touching.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Buffy as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true Buffy-Verse scholars, in what has, again, become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at another couple of cult TV shows that fuel our respective imaginations and tug at our TV-loving hearts. In this five-part series, our panel – featuring CPU! regulars and semi-regulars Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – look back at Buffy and its spin-off Angel, reminiscing about two shows that have withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as two of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television series of all time.

In this first episode of CPU!’s “Buffy-Verse” series, our panel discusses the first three seasons of Buffy, covering the series’ beginning and its initial growing pains and catapult to national popularity.  We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of the first three seasons, which aired on Monday and then on Tuesday nights on the WB network.

In addition, with this episode, CPU! is introducing yet another brand new feature, which sort of combines some old features into one handily titled, efficiently truncated format. You may have noticed that we tend to favor some “best of” lists around here.  Well, in this new feature, called “Best Of!,” we are going to handily provide, right here, right now for Buffy but otherwise within the content entry for each podcast episode, the list of all of the “best of” acclaims a show receives.  In addition, we will be compiling those lists on separate bonus pages of our website (accessible by the menu at the top left of the header).  We’re not ready for the pages, as in they are under construction, but when it comes to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s list of various acclaims accrued over the years, you’ll come to understand why this feature was introduced.

To wit, herein be the list of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Best Of!

  • #41 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
  • #2 on Empires “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #22 in 2016
  • #27 on The Hollywood Reporters “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #38 on TV Guide’s list of the “60 Best Series of All Time”
  • #38 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most celebrated cult TV shows and TV fandoms, as the show ranks at #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s 2009 and 2014 Top Cult TV lists and at #3 on TV Guide’s Top Cult TV list.  Plus, Buffy ranked #49 on TV Guide’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we’re back around the water cooler when our Once Upon a Time panel reconvenes end of season to talk the second half of Season 6 and the major shake-up and soft reboot in store for the fantasy series’ seventh season.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who loves nerdy, cult science fiction and fantasy (and/or horror) series in the vein of Star Trek, The X-Files, and similar ilk and to any fan of Joss Whedon who hasn’t somehow discovered his first major and most critically and popularly recognized work of screen fiction (beyond the vastly different film, for which he provided creative input later overruled by its producers).  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this series broke ground for so many other series to come, including other popular shows for which writers and creators learned their trade working on this series originally, including shows like Once Upon a Time and even issue-based comedies, like the uneven but musical Glee. This show has a bit of everything, and, if you love solid, quality television – excellent television, in fact – and you have somehow missed this series, you should make time for Buffy. You will not be disappointed in the overall journey and entertainment value that this well written, well performed series provides.

The entire Buffy series is available to stream at only Hulu, currently. Watch it: you won’t regret it!

3rd Rock from the Sun, Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in June 2017, our medium sized but out of this world panel – including Moderator Kylie, Nick, Michael, and new panelist Penny – discuss the spacey antics of four zany alien characters researching the puny humans of Earth while Looking Back at the six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun, which aired from 1996 to 2001 on NBC. If you have not watched “3rd Rock,” 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! – Looking Back at “3rd Rock from the Sun” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “3rd Rock from the Sun,” a situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1996 to 2001.

What: Created by Bonnie and Terry Turner, the show depicts four extraterrestrials who are on an expedition to Earth, which they consider to be a very insignificant planet, and who pose as a human family to observe the behavior of human beings.

SYNOPSIS

“3rd Rock” revolves around an extraterrestrial research expedition attempting to live as a normal human family in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, said to be outside of Cleveland, where they live in an attic apartment. Humor is principally derived from the aliens’ attempts to study human society and, because they live as humans themselves while on Earth, to understand the human condition. In later episodes, they are more accustomed to Earth and often are more interested in their human lives than in their mission.

Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) is a professor of anthropology at (fictional) Pendelton State University, and many of the issues with which the four aliens struggle stem from her work and observations. Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), the High Commander and leader of the expedition, is the family provider as a physics professor at Pendelton (with Ian Lithgow, John Lithgow’s oldest son, playing one of his less successful students). Information officer and oldest member of the crew Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been given the body of a teenager and is forced to enroll in high school (later college), leaving security officer Sally (Kristen Johnston) and “the one with the transmitter in his head,” Harry (French Stewart) to spend their lives as 20-somethings hanging out at home and bouncing through short-term jobs. The family often communicates through Harry with their off-world (and usually unseen) boss, the Big Giant Head, who when he finally visits Earth, appears in the body of William Shatner.

When: The show aired for six seasons, from 1996 to 2001, on NBC.

Where: The show is primarily set in fictional Rutherford, Ohio.

Why: Listen to the podcast episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found 3rd Rock from the Sun.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

Once upon a time, Netflix hosted some classic sitcoms to ingest and to consume on a whim, as one does while on Netflix.  Once upon a time, Netflix changed its library (on an annoyingly monthly basis), and many of those sitcoms left the streaming service.  During one such brief window of time between content shuffles, the Chief CP chanced upon the program du jour and used said chance to rediscover 3rd Rock, which, of course, rendered the show eligible to be the next CPU! “Looking Back” candidate.  While finding new appreciation for the zany antics of the four main characters and of, arguably, Dr. Albright, I wondered if others would care to look back at a show that was more often than not over the top, thanks to the daring comedic performance of Lithgow, while remaining insightful about the human condition in a somewhat timeless way, using the perspective of “other” or “the naive” to comment upon mundane human foibles.

Fortunately, a medium sized panel of new and old voices at CPU! – including frequent panelist Nick, “Looking Back” expert Michael, and brand new panelist Penny – were willing to huddle up in our allegedly too small, allegedly attic, alleged apartment to do just that. Thus, in this current “Look Back,” we reminisce about the show that cemented John Lithgow’s legacy/storied career within the annals of pop culture; revived the career of original Not for Primetime Player Jane Curtin; and launched the career of indie actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in addition to providing a veritable playground for able character actors like Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, and Wayne Knight in which to have fun and freedom with this spacey tale. We talk about the whimsical, the farcical, and the out of this world quality of the theatrical 3rd Rock, an unusual sitcom entry for the late 90s pastiche, in that it hearkened back to gimmicky comedies of yesteryear like Alf or Bewitched.  We also offer our own appreciation for a sitcom that has managed to stay both funny and relevant, despite the fact that it is approximately twenty years old.

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations throughout the six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun. 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 American Horror Story Series panel returns (we hope! we strive! take two!) to talk the cable horror anthology series with a newly expanded panel, a new moderator (who moderated on this series panel before), and a new, detailed examination of the latest and arguably most terrifying AHS chapter to date, subtitled “Roanoke.”  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

3rd Rock does not typically make “Best Of” television lists nor does it merit a solid ranking from most of the CPU! panelists in this episode with the exception of one.  Yet, all of the panelists would recommend this hammy and cheesy comedy to anyone looking to laugh. The common sentiment: the humor holds up, thanks in no small part to Lithgow’s otherworldly performance as the needy but knowing High Commander Dick, and remains timely and relevant, even by today’s questionably wavering standards.  The execution is not without occasional flaws, but all panelists agree that laughs ensue regularly, and some of the nerdier panelists highlight Easter Eggs for science fiction fans sprinkled throughout the episodes.  In addition, the chemistry of the four main actors playing family Solomon is solid, and the supporting actors, particularly Jane Curtin, may be the unsung heroes of the entire piece, offering priceless reactions to the four awkward but lovable aliens in disguise.  Our 3rd Rock panel recommends this sitcom most to those who appreciate theatrical acting – as it is used to great effect in this sitcom space – and to those who enjoy “Must See TV” from the past.  Though it may not trump more solid Peacock offerings from the era, such as Seinfeld or Friends, the panel believes that anyone could enjoy 3rd Rock from the Sun, even if the show might seem like a time capsule of the 90s at choice intervals. Unfortunately, this sitcom is not available to stream on any of the typical sites; it can be purchased to stream (Prime notwithstanding) at Amazon.com.  Still, if laughs are what you’re looking for, 3rd Rock may very well be worth some monetary investment – especially the episodes with the erstwhile Captain Kirk – but you don’t have to take our word for it.

Looking Back at Grimm (Part Two of the CPU! Goodbye to Grimm, 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 May 2017, our panel of CPU! supernatural and fairy tale enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, and Jen – is Looking Back at Grimm, in the second and final part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to the long-running, procedural, fantasy-horror program.  If you have not watched any of Grimm, 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!