The Will & Grace Revives Series, Episode One: Will & Grace, Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 July 2018, one of our sassiest panels – including moderator Kylie, Andrew, Jeremy, and new panelist Emily D – gathered together to Look Back and to reminisce about fan and CPU! favorite, the original eight seasons of so-called must-see sitcom Will & Grace.  This is the first part of a CPU! podcast miniseries examining one of our favorite television programs, which will connect to “Water Cooler” coverage of the revival NBC seasons of the show (which began in 2017).  If you have not watched any of Will & Grace, 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

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PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Will & Grace” – The Will & Grace Revives Series, Episode One (MAJOR SPOILERS) + The Best Written TV (#94)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Will & Grace,” a situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1998 to 2006.

What: Created by Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, Will & Grace focuses on the friendship between best friends Will Truman (Eric McCormack), a gay lawyer, and Grace Adler (Debra Messing), a straight interior designer.

SYNOPSIS

Will & Grace is set in New York City and also features Will and Grace’s friends Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), an alcoholic socialite, and Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes), a flamboyantly gay actor. The interplay of relationships features the trials and tribulations of dating, marriage, divorce, and casual sex as well as comical key stereotypes of gay and Jewish culture.

When: The show aired for eight seasons, from 1998 to 2006 on NBC.

Where: The show is set in New York City, New York (mostly in Manhattan).

Why: Listen to the podcast episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Will & Grace.

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

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 the Peacock network decided to join the ranks of conglomerates reviving successful network properties from periods past, and Will & Grace became the chosen candidate for NBC’s latest revival featuring every member of the original cast except Shelley Morrison (Rosario), some of the CPU!ers became decidedly atwitter and began encouraging a W&G podcast series in short order.

Here at CPU!, then, we saw an opportunity for a new CPU! podcast series in which CPU! panelists could look back at the program that started it all while looking forward “around the water cooler” as new season(s) of the revival are released. Thus, herein we offer the first episode of our own miniseries covering the various versions of this popular, and frankly fabulous, sitcom, which we at CPU! are calling our “Will & Grace Revives” series.

On the panel, I am joined by frequent panelist Andrew, who typically hangs out most on Netflix for Unbreakable Orange Fuller Reasons Why (among others); frequent panelist Jeremy who gives 13 Reasons Why Supernatural is just a bunch of Stranger Things; and brand new panelist Emily, who on our website shall in future be identified as Emily D (since we have another Emily on panels, now to be identified as Emily S).  In this first episode of our “Will & Grace Revives” series, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments from the original eight seasons of Will & Grace, covering the lives of Will, Grace, Jack, Karen, their friends, their neighbors, their families, and their rather copious respective lines of romantic partners.

This podcast was recorded in July 2018 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the Will & Grace series. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we’ll return to our “Will & Grace Revives” series “Around the Water Cooler” for Part Two, when our panel covers the 2017-2018 Revival Season 9Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Will & Grace is recommended by the entire panel, as the panelists generally describe this comedy as endlessly entertaining, noting that there is not one episode that does not offer at least one laugh-out-loud moment (usually courtesy of the Jack and Karen characters), even when the episode is weaker than others.  The panelists also recognize that, though times have changed and though depictions of LGBTQ+ characters have become more encompassing and progressive as time has passed, stereotypical jokes aside, Will & Grace was pioneering for its time, as gay main characters simply did not exist in the late 90s; as Chief CP Kylie notes multiple times in the discussion, Ellen DeGeneres’ namesake sitcom was canceled in 1998, shortly after Ellen came out on air, and mere months before Will & Grace premiered.  Plus, if you enjoy humor with plenty of sass, you would be remiss not to at least check out this show, as the four main characters and plenty of the supporting ones will surely meet any prescribed need for sass within minutes of the opening credits.  While the panel agrees that not all of the series is perfect, as there was an “off the rails” trajectory that settled into later seasons following the departure of the show’s creators, all panelists also feel that Will & Grace has something to offer most everyone with an open mind and a willingness to see two sides of any coin – as well as a lot of spicy and sexy joke-telling.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you, poodles.

LOOKING AHEAD

Will & Grace was, of course, revived by NBC for a ninth season and was subsequently renewed for tenth and eleventh seasons shortly thereafter by the Peacock network.  If you would like to catch up on the original eight seasons, all original seasons of Will & Grace are currently available to stream on Hulu.  In the meantime, our Will & Grace panel will shortly return to the Water Cooler next week for Part Two of this “Look Back to Look Forward” series, during which we will spicily dissect the first revival season, Season 9, of this newly returned sitcom.  Until then!

Battle Creek, First Look & Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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, (re)recorded in May 2018, our group of motley Michiganders – moderator Kylie, Spencer, Laurie, and Chad –gathered together Around the Water Cooler to simultaneously take a First Look while Looking Back at canceled buddy cop comedy-drama Battle Creek.  If you have not watched any of Battle Creek, 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! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Looking Back at “Battle Creek” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Battle Creek,” a comedy-drama that aired on CBS in 2015.

What: Created by Vince Gilligan and David Shore and starring Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters, the show followed the mismatched partnership of a police detective and a FBI agent in Battle Creek, Michigan.

When: The show aired for one season in 2015 on CBS.

Where: The show is set in Battle Creek, Michigan – present day.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Battle Creek.

During the annual Fall TV Preview for the 2014-2015 season, CPU! Chief Kylie picked up this show for CPU!’s review.  When I picked it up, I said:

Though I’m not much for procedural cop shows, this is about a town in Michigan, and that’s where I’m from.  The town itself is about 45 miles from me in Grand Rapids, and it’s the home of cereal brands like Kellogg’s and Post.  So, I’m curious enough to watch it.

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.

Battle Creek = 3.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

FBI Agent Milt Chamberlain (Duhamel) is transferred to Battle Creek from Detroit under mysterious circumstances, where he must work closely with the local police department, particularly hot-headed Detective Russ Agnew (Winters) and his motley band of fellow cops and co-workers, to solve local crimes.  The trouble is, Battle Creek, city of, is strapped for resources; Russ is threatened by the federal money backing Milt’s position, and perhaps by the agent’s easy good looks, while Russ and the rest of the Battle Creek PD must rely on ingenuity, intuition, and nerve to address the varied crimes committed in the “sleepy,” cereal-producing town of Battle Creek.

THOUGHTS

Your Chief CP originally nominated Battle Creek to inaugurate our yet-to-be-inaugurated “Canceled Corner” feature.  Imagine my surprise when not only a frequent CPU! panelist but two brand new panelists eagerly jumped up to chronicle the goings-on of one, low-rated, lowly little season of a show that has some pedigree behind it, even if it had little else, including network backing and support.  Specifically, regular CPU! panelist Spencer, who hangs out most on our comic book adaptation panels as well as the panels covering UK imports (can’t imagine why), and two brand new – and married – panelists, Laurie and Chad, gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” while “Looking Back” (we’re complicated around here!) at this unceremoniously canceled buddy cop dramedy from 2015.  Though this program came and went somewhat quickly, it clearly made an impression, which the panel wistfully dissects in the episode below.

This podcast was (re)recorded in May 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points in Battle Creek. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we launch a new panel “Around the Water Cooler” as some of our most frequent panelists and CW devotees put their brains together, though not as food, to catch up on iZombie, in the first part of a two-part miniseries for just that purpose.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION
The panel recommends Battle Creek particularly to fans of Dean Winters, who the panel unanimously agreed altogether makes the show; to fans of smaller towns, like the Cereal Capital of the World; and to fans of procedural TV but with a twist.  The panel lauded the effortless chemistry of the two leads, both with each other and with the rest of the ensemble, as well as the show’s somewhat hesitant but mostly successful attempts to tackle large, important social topics and the effects such issues pose to so-called small towns. Several of the panelists also see this program as easily reviewed and watched again.  Some have already done so but, in any event, the show’s aesthetic and winks and nods to the real life Battle Creek give it a potentially timeless charm.  Also, it’s got a great theme song that sounds like “Michigan.”  If you’re from the Mitten, you’ll get it.  Though the show’s only season is self-contained, the ending is rushed, no doubt influenced by the show’s early cancellation, despite its full season order.  The panel, therefore, qualifies its recommendation with caution, as what passes for a conclusion left the panel with a lack of easy satisfaction, which we expect would be a common reaction.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
Canceled!  Battle Creek was canceled after one season, and after only nine episodes had aired, by CBS. Fortunately, and at last check, the one season in question is available to stream on Netflix.  As always, be wary that the ending on this series is messy and somewhat rushed (“half-assed,” as one panelist called it), so while the panel generally recommends the show as above, the panelists do so with caution, given the less than satisfactory ending attached to the final moments of the series.

Broadchurch, Series 3 and Series Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 April 2018, our panel of some of our most frequent CPU! voices – including Moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Krista – are Around the Water Cooler and discussing Series Three of British mystery/crime drama Broadchurch as well as Looking Back at the series as a whole. If you have not watched any of Broadchurch, 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 and Looking Back at “Broadchurch,” the Season/Series 3 Recap and Series Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Related imageModerator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Broadchurch” is a British television crime drama, which aired for three seasons from 2013 to 2017 on iTV in the United Kingdom and on BBC America in the United States.

What: “Broadchurch” was created and written by Chris Chibnall and focuses, at least initially, on the death of an 11-year-old boy and the impact of grief, mutual suspicion, and media attention on the surrounding town.

SYNOPSIS

Series One focuses on the search for the boy, Danny Latimer’s, murderer by detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman). The second series primarily focuses on two plot strands: the trial of Joe Miller and the reopening of the Sandbrook case, a case Hardy failed to properly solve, which brings him unwanted notoriety throughout the investigation of the Broadchurch murder. Series Three is set three years after the events of Series Two and follows the rape of a local woman.

When: Series Three originally aired on iTV in Great Britain from February 27 to April 17, 2017, and on BBC America in the United States from June 28 to August 16, 2017.

Where: In Broadchurch, the action takes place primarily in the fictional town of Broadchurch, in the county of Dorset, in the South of England, on the scenic Jurassic Coast and in surrounding areas, such as the county courthouse. Series Two does travel to the fictional town of Sandbrook, as David Tennant’s character, Alec Hardy, investigates a case from his past.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below!  Of course, for the female members of the panel (Chief Couch Potato and moderator Kylie included), the primary reason was: David Tennant, David Tennant, David Tennant.  The male members of the panel sighed with moderate contempt and resignation at this revelation.  To them, we said, “Oh well!”  Just look at the man, for heaven’s sake:

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David Tennant: Perhaps the primary reason why the female panelists started watching Broadchurch

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

CPU! previously covered Series 1 and 2 of Broadchurch on the podcast as well as compared and contrasted the relative (de)merits of American remake Gracepoint.  To listen to that worthy analysis, from early in the CPU! annals (and out of the vault), click the embedded link below:

Broadchurch, Series 1 and 2, and Gracepoint, Season 1

Our now undoubtedly famous Broadchurch panel, with some of our most frequent panelists – namely Kristen, Nick, Krista, Hilary, and Kyle – have returned to the Water Cooler to engage in a heady, topical discussion about the mystery of Broadchurch Series 3, which could not be timelier or more relevant to current events.  We also, of course, spend ample time admiring David Tennant.  At least, the female members of the panel do.  As we did in our last episode, all of the panelists have quite a bit to say about this stirring and intense mystery, which they see as largely successful, despite the fact that the show (still) did not find American audiences quite as readily.  We also spend some time briefly looking back at the show as a whole and comparing all of the series, including how they made us feel and think as ready and willing viewers.  As always, it’s a deeply analytical discussion about the success of the show and the story, as well as the effects each had on each of the panelists.

This particular episode was recorded in April 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of all seasons of the British drama. 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 Stranger Things panel will finally return to the Water Cooler after a one-year hiatus to discuss and to digest the spooky, mind flaying second season of the acclaimed Netflix series.  It’s a lively discussion – and it’s better late than never!  Stay tuned!

Old Questions

1)  Will Joe Miller somehow return to Broadchurch, despite his banishment by the other residents of the town?  Kylie predicts that he will try to come back and to acquit himself in the town’s eyes because he has convinced himself, on the strength of his legal defense, that he is truly innocent.

ANSWER: Joe does not return to the town itself but returns to the series, when Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) seeks him out in his new home in a nearby coastal town.  Mark continues to struggle with his grief over Danny’s murder and to nurse a vendetta, wanting “justice” for Danny by ensuring punishment of Joe.  Though he tries to convince Beth (Jodie Whittaker) and the rest of the family to consider initiating a civil trial, given the failure of the criminal trial to convict Joe, they prove reluctant.  So, he takes matters into his own hands and finds Joe himself, with the very real intent to kill him, if he will not turn himself in properly.  Listen to the episode for details.

2) Series/season three is said to be focused around a sexual assault in the town.  Will the perpetrator be one of the characters we already know?  Or, will it be someone totally different?

ANSWER: The victim and perpetrators are new characters to the show and to the viewer.  Since we spend considerable time discussing both in the episode, you should just listen to it.

RECOMMENDATION & PARTING SHOTS

Our panel continues to recommend Broadchurch to fans of British television generally, fans of mystery and crime procedural shows, and fans of David Tennant.  Though Broadchurch remains moody, tonally dark, and extremely intense, and emotionally preparing oneself to watch this show may be necessary, the panel also universally agreed that Broadchurch Series Three is one of the better seasons (better than the second, not as good as the first). In any event, the panel continues to praise the entire show highly, noting it to be well-written, well-performed, well-shot, and well-directed and encourages anyone interested in high quality television to give it a look-see.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Broadchurch has officially ended.  The entire series is currently available to stream on Netflix. Did you watch Broadchurch?  Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you thought of any or all of its three seasons – or series if you’re British!  And stay tuned! Though our Broadchurch coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if the show makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time, as, after all, CPU! continues to expand our panel formats in new and exciting ways.

In the meantime, from our Broadchurch panel and David Tennant sister-wife commune (and the men who scorn it) to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing Broadchurch series, which now officially comes to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

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Production still for Broadchurch, Series 3

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The Broadchurch Panel! (top, left to right, Nick, Kyle, Hilary; bottom, left to right, Krista, Kristen)

Looking Back at The Vampire Diaries (Part Two of the CPU! Goodbye to The Vampire Diaries, 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 October 2017, our smaller (again) but always robust panel – including moderator Kylie, Jen, and Kelsey – is Looking Back at The Vampire Diaries, in the second part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to this long-running, supernatural, fantasy-horror series. 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!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace