Looking Back at “Angel,” Seasons 1-2: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 3 (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, our panel of experts – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – gathered together once again to Look Back at and to reminisce about Seasons One and Two of CPU! favorite Angel. This is the third 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 4 of our Buffy-Verse series, in which we cover Seasons 6-7 of Buffy!

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PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Angel,” Seasons 1-2: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Angel,” a cult supernatural, fantasy, action, and horror drama that aired on the Warner Bros. network, or “The WB,” from 1999 to 2004.

What: The ongoing trials of Angel (David Boreanaz), a vampire whose human soul was restored to him by gypsies as a punishment for the murder of one of their own. After more than a century of murder and the torture of innocents, Angel’s restored soul torments him with guilt and remorse. Angel moves to Los Angeles, California, after it’s clear that his doomed relationship with Buffy, the vampire slayer, cannot continue, where he works as a private detective with a variety of associates to “help the helpless,” restoring the faith and saving the souls of those who have lost their way.

SYNOPSIS

Angel (Boreanaz) is an Irish vampire who is over 200 years old and was known as Angelus during his rampages across Europe, but he was cursed with a soul, which gave him a conscience and guilt for centuries of murder and torture. He left Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the end of Season 3 to move to Los Angeles in search of redemption.

He soon finds himself assisted by Allen Francis Doyle (Glenn Quinn), another Irish character who is a half-human, half-demon.  Although he comes across as a ne’er-do-well hustler, Doyle has a heroic side. Doyle serves to pass along cryptic visions from The Powers That Be to Angel. They’re soon joined by Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), also a previous cast member of Buffy. Formerly a popular high school cheerleader, Cordelia starts her tenure on the show as a vapid and shallow personality but grows over the course of the series into a hero. Cordelia later acquires Doyle’s visions. Another character from the Buffy series also makes the jump to its spin-off in Angel’s first season: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof) joins the team under the brave guise of “rogue demon hunter,” acting as comic relief and initially not well-accepted.

In Season 2 of the show, the trio are joined by Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), a young demon hunter who must initially adjust to working with and for a vampire. At the end of Season 2, they travel to the demon world Pylea, where they save Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker), a young Texan physicist whose social skills have become stunted after five years’ captivity.

When: Angel aired on the WB from 1999-2004.

Where: The show is set primarily in Los Angeles, California.

Why: Listen to this episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Angel, though the running theme for all panelists’ discoveries of the series involves the show’s association and spin-off status as related to Buffy.

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 two episodes in this series, Looking Back at Buffy Seasons One, Two, and Three, and Looking Back at Buffy Seasons Four and Five.  You can listen to those episodes 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

The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode One, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5

In this third episode of CPU!’s “Buffy-Verse” series, our panel discusses Seasons One and Two of Buffy spin-off Angel, covering the series’ beginning and initial growing pains. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of these two seasons.

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 Monday at 7:00 PM, CPU! is going live again!  This time, there will at least be an in-person audience, though we will endeavor to live-stream the whole shindig once more to our Facebook page.  We’ll be back at Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with our 100th EPISODE!!! That’s right, kids!  This little, low budget, garage podcast-that-could is turning 100 in two short years, and our Top 5 Most Available Panelists will be going live with their Top 5 Recommendations from Current TV.  We will then publish an audio-only version on Wednesday, in our best rerun fashion.  You won’t want to miss it!  Here’s the link to the Facebook Event.  Stay tuned!

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RECOMMENDATION

Angel – 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 and, of course, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Do not, however, expect this show to be a duplicate of Buffy; Angel, as the panel discusses in this episode, struggled to find a consistent tone that set it apart from its predecessor in its earliest seasons.  Once the show settled on said tone and smoothed out the kinks in the original premise, the series became something much different from its parent series, which either appealed or didn’t appeal to fans of the original show.  Still, fans of David Boreanaz would be remiss to neglect watching the series that, along with Buffy, catapulted him into TV recognition and stardom (and primed him for his role on Bones). Plus, the supporting cast is fun, and the show enjoys cameo appearances and crossovers from Buffy characters throughout, including from the titular vampire slayer herself.

The entire Angel series is available to stream at only Hulu, currently. Though the panel’s reviews about Angel are generally mixed, Whedonverse/Buffy-Verse fans know that there is at least a few somethings to love about the spin-off featuring the brooding vampire, once a carouser named Liam.  If you enjoy Buffy, chances are, you’ll enjoy Angel too (though, perhaps, as we found out in our chat, some Buffy fans will enjoy it more than others). This Chief CP says watch it, and judge for yourself.

Marvel’s Agent Carter, 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, recorded in July 2017, our empowered, all-female panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Selene, and Samantha–gathered together Around the Water Cooler to simultaneously take a First Look while Looking Back at recently canceled spy-centered Captain America spin-off Marvel’s Agent Carter.  If you have not watched any of Agent Carter, 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! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Looking Back at “Marvel’s Agent Carter” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” an action/adventure, superhero-inspired drama that aired on ABC from 2015-2016.

What: Created for ABC by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and inspired by the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger, and the 2013 Marvel One-Shot short film of the same name, the series features the Marvel Comics character Peggy Carter, with Hayley Atwell reprising her role from the Captain America film series and One-Shot, as she must balance life as a secret agent with that of a single woman in 1940s America.

When: The show aired for two seasons from 2015 to 2016 on ABC.

Where: The show is set in New York City, New York, in 1946, in the first season and in Los Angeles, California, in 1947, in the second season.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Marvel’s Agent Carter.

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

I always wondered what happened to Peggy after Captain America was hurtled forward in time to be an Avenger.  Finally, the answer will be revealed!  I liked her character, and I want to know about the sixty plus years in between Captain America’s jaunts as protective patriot.  Thank you, ABC, Marvel, Disney, for filling this void.  I’m not even being sarcastic!  Hence, the pick up.

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.

Marvel’s Agent Carter = 3.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The first season takes place in 1946, with Peggy Carter (Atwell) having to balance the routine office work she does for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) in New York City with secretly assisting Howard Stark, who finds himself framed for supplying deadly weapons to enemies of the United States. Carter is assisted by Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), to find those responsible and dispose of the weapons.  In the second season, Carter moves from New York City to Los Angeles to deal with the threats of the new Atomic Age by the Secret Empire in the aftermath of World War II, gaining new friends, a new home, and a potential new love interest.

THOUGHTS

A group of powerful CPU! regular panelists – all strong, kick-ass women with a penchant for Marvel heroines of a similar type – were ready to don red hats, blue smart suits, and Look Back at Marvel’s Agent Carter, which was unceremoniously canceled after two short seasons by ABC.  Specifically, regular CPU! panelists Kristen, Selene, and Samantha gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” while “Looking Back” (we’re complicated around here!) at the Captain America spin-off, from Peggy’s return to New York City from the war and the devastation of believing Steve Rogers to have died, to her encounter with zero matter and its destructive effects in LA.  Though this program’s two seasons came and went somewhat quickly, depending upon one’s point of view, they clearly made an impression, which the panel wistfully dissects in the episode below.

This podcast was recorded in July 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points in Agent Carter. 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 – another schedule change! – we’ll return to our Buffy-Verse Series around the Water Cooler when our panel Looks Back at the first two seasons of Angel, with admittedly, moderately lukewarm results.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The panel recommends Agent Carter to all but particularly to women, as Peggy Carter is a strong, smart female lead who can take of herself and save the day when all else fails, all with a keen 1940s fashion sense.  The panel proved particularly effusive about the visual presentation of this show, from art direction to costuming, from cinematography to visual direction (not necessarily including pacing and other aspects of the direction, which particularly faltered near the middle of each of the available seasons). Several of the panelists also see this program as easily reviewed and watched again, with only 18 high quality episodes to digest, marked notably by Atwell’s strong, charismatic performance as the titular character, guiding the proceedings.  Agent Carter also keeps its tongue firmly in cheek, containing gratifying winks and nods to the Captain America films and other aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Plus, the chemistry between Atwell and D’Arcy is highly enjoyable as the odd couple of unlikely spies that they become.  Though each season is self-contained, the second season unfortunately ends with the briefest of teasers featuring a loss of a major character at the hand of a mysterious, unidentified figure, meaning the show ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, unlikely to be resolved in the near future.  The panel, therefore, qualifies its recommendation with caution, as the button cliffhanger left the panel with a lack of closure or easy satisfaction, which we expect would be a common reaction.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Canceled!  Agent Carter was canceled after two seasons by ABC.  What’s worse: it gets no streaming love!  You are able to purchase the season separately on Amazon.com as a digital streaming copy or as DVD/Blu-Ray.  There is no neat button ending on this series, so while the panel generally recommends the show as above, the panelists do so with caution, given the less than satisfactory cliffhanger ending attached to the final moments of the second season.

Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 2 (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, 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