Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Nine: Marvel’s Luke Cage, Season Two (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 September 2018, our panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is back Around the Water Cooler as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel discusses Season 2 of Luke Cage, the third property introduced into Netflix’s Marvel wing of its original streaming library. If you have not watched any of Luke Cage (or any of the other Defenders series: Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders crossover miniseries), 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! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Nine, “Marvel’s Luke Cage” – the Season 2 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s Luke Cage” is a web television series based upon the Marvel Comics character Luke Cage and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” created by Cheo Hodari Coker, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the third in a series of shows that led up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. Mike Colter stars as Luke Cage, a former convict with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin who now fights crime.

SYNOPSIS

When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage (Colter) becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem while confronting his past and fighting a battle for the heart of his city. After clearing his name, Cage becomes a hero and celebrity in Harlem, only to encounter a new threat that forces him to walk the line between hero and villain.

When: Season 2 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on June 22, 2018, with a total of 13 episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in the New York City, New York, neighborhood of Harlem, as depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why:  To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the Season 1 link below – though I will say that all of the panelists are fans of the Netflix original library and/or superhero/comic book based shows in their own right and have found themselves eagerly anticipating new entries in Netflix’s “Defenders” series of releases.  As a result, they’re committed to a CPU! series about same!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

As long-time listeners should know by now, CPU! is chock full of panelists with a proclivity for comic book and superhero TV shows and films, including your Chief CP. Our Marvel’s Defenders Series was born of this proclivity, as we have already covered the two available seasons of Daredevil; the two available seasons of Jessica Jones; the first season of Luke Cage; the first season of Iron Fist; the one available season of the crossover event miniseries, The Defenders; and the one available season of the first spin-off series, The Punisher.  Listen to the links below:

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode One, “Daredevil,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Two, “Jessica Jones,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Three, “Daredevil,” Season 2

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Four, “Luke Cage,” Season 1
Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Five, “Iron Fist,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Six, “The Defenders,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Seven, “The Punisher,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Eight, “Jessica Jones,” Season 2

In this, the ninth episode of our Marvel’s Defenders series, we revisit the third in Netflix’s series of Marvel-centered shows leading up to The Defenders miniseries, namely Luke Cagefeaturing Defenders Series panelists Nick, Kristen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer.  In this episode, our panelists universally laud what they consider to be a vast and dramatic improvement over Season 1.  Common reactions to this season focus on a much improved and dynamic villain in John “Bushmaster” McIver (Mustafa Shakir), better pacing, the thrilling crossover appearances of Iron Fist characters (possibly seeding a “Heroes for Hire” entry in this Netflix lineup), and a better sense of story direction overall compared to Season 1.  In fact, the panel finds that said quality and story presentation so improved between the two seasons, what with no word yet on whether or not the series has been renewed, we now find ourselves worrying for the future of the series, as now we all want a third season renewal.  Alternatively, we would all eagerly watch a first season of “Heroes for Hire” or even “Daughters of the Dragon,” featuring the characters of Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), as the panel unanimously described their chemistry and character portrayals in Luke Cage Season 2 as “perfect,” noting a serviceable and praiseworthy writer-driven turnaround for Misty’s character this season.  To hear us hash out these opinions further, listen to our discussion via the embedded link below.

This podcast was recorded in September 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the second season of Luke Cage.  Do you agree or disagree?  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, the comic book oriented brains of the Marvel’s Defenders Series switch from the world of Marvel to the world of DC, when our same five panelists, all of whom also staff our DCTU Series panel, return to the Water Cooler to talk Season 4 of The Flash, schedule permitting. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Will Luke Cage be renewed as a solo series?  Or, is Netflix moving toward combining Luke and Danny Rand/Iron Fist, as the comics have, into a “Heroes for Hire” series and/or Misty and Colleen into a “Daughters of the Dragon” series, as panelist Kyle perceives and wholeheartedly wishes, with some vocal support from the panel.  All panelists indubitably enjoy and readily endorse the chemistry between Simone Missick and Jessica Henwick (Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, respectively) and between Mike Colter and Finn Jones (Luke Cage and Danny Rand/Iron Fist, respectively).

2) If Luke Cage is renewed as a solo series, will Luke be corrupted through ownership of the Harlem’s Paradise club?  Or, can he be a hero without being based in the club? Or, can he make the club a base for heroic activity rather than backroom money deals and other criminal activity? Why would the writers hint that this would even be a possibility, at all, for Luke, as he has spent two seasons recognizing and combating the corruption of the Stokes family?

3) Will Tilda (Gabrielle Dennis) seek revenge against Luke for being willed the club upon her mother, Mariah’s (Alfre Woodard), death?  Will she become the next in a long line of Stokes crime bosses?  Or, will she be content to run her holistic shop, now that she sent her mother, with a kiss of poisoned lipstick, into the great beyond?

4) Will Shades (Theo Rossi) return in a potential Season 3?  Or, will he remain in prison?  If he is in prison, will he be wooed into Wilson Fisk’s/Kingpin’s gang – will we possibly see him crossover and appear in Daredevil, Season 3?

5) Will Misty accept the offered promotion to precinct captain?

6) Will Bushmaster return from Jamaica to fight another day, even though Mariah met her end?  Does he still have an ax to grind?  Does he still see Luke as an adversary or enemy?

7) Panelist Kyle informed the panel in the podcast episode that Rosario Dawson is contemplating not returning to the Netflix Marvel shows, or at least not to Luke Cage, because her contract term is up, and she feels that Claire Temple/Night Nurse was relegated to nothing more than jealous/worried girlfriend in Luke Cage. Are the rumors true, or will Rosario find it in her heart to return, at least to any of the other three series?

PARTING SHOTS

In a dramatic turnaround from the Season 1 review, the panel now universally but cautiously recommends Luke Cage to fans of comic books, particularly from the Marvel universe; fans of the Defenders series; and fans of the artistic and cultural contribution of Harlem, as the panel agrees that this series remains, in many ways, a deft love letter to Harlem and its literal and symbolic position in this, our modern society.  The panel suggests, as part of the cautiousness informing the recommendation, that would-be, new viewers of Luke Cage treat the second season as something of the official first season, and/or use their own judgment when embarking upon viewing this series, as the panel recognizes that Luke Cage does have a vocally supportive fan base, even though our panelists would not have counted themselves as part of that base following the release of Season 1.  The panel generally and universally agrees that Luke Cage continues to be well-performed, and that the direction, writing, and continuity improved markedly in Season 2, even though the pacing languishes still at times, though without the drudgery that so alienated our Defenders defenders following the first season.  The panel, further, unanimously praised the performance of Shakir as Bushmaster and the writing around this villain; he created palpable tension around which characters could galvanize while still remaining a flawed but real human character with a compelling back story.  Because of the dramatic turnaround for our panel’s reception to the show, in terms of its presentation and production value, the panel now looks forward to a third season rather than resents the possibility of having to watch it for our podcast series.  On the other hand, all panelists, particularly super-fan Kyle, who still does not like the Luke Cage solo series much despite affirming the improvements that impressed the other panelists, effused enthusiasm for the prospect of a “Heroes for Hire” or “Daughters of the Dragon” spin-off vehicle, or two.  In any event, the panel is hopeful following the finish of this second season and eagerly awaits more Defenders entries.  Fortunately for us, Marvel’s Iron Fist was released in September, and the Defenders panel is already ready already for the next chapter.  Stay tuned!

LOOKING AHEAD

While no official announcement has yet been made, TV pundits believe that renewal for a possible Season 3 of Luke Cage is more than possible, though many suspect that Netflix is also heavily considering spin-off series for either “Heroes for Hire” and/or “Daughters of the Dragon,” which became popular series for the comic books after the “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” comic book series were canceled.  In addition, there is some rumblings that Netflix and Disney are re-negotiating the distribution of this series, given that Disney is looking to launch a Marvel-centered streaming service.  Rest assured that if/when a Season 3 is announced and/or has aired, CPU! will plan to reconvene our Marvel’s Defenders podcast panel, ready and willing to dissect any additional seasons of this action-packed Defenders entry. CPU! will also, as always, keep you posted on future developments. Stay tuned!

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Eight, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Season Two (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 June 2018, our panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is back Around the Water Cooler as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel discusses Season 2 of Jessica Jones, the second property introduced into Netflix’s Marvel wing of its original streaming library. If you have not watched any of Jessica Jones (or any of the other Defenders series: Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders crossover miniseries), 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

Episode Sponsored By: Heritage Theatre Group

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode 8, “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” – The Season Two Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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

Opening Tomorrow: “The Cherry Orchard”

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For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” is a superhero/action/psychological thriller drama based upon the Marvel Comics character Jessica Jones and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” created by Melissa Rosenberg, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the second in a series of shows that ultimately led up to a Defenders crossover miniseries, which was released in 2017. Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones, a former superhero who opens her own detective agency after an end to her superhero career.

SYNOPSIS

Following a tragic end to her brief superhero career, Jessica Jones (Ritter) tries to rebuild her life as a private investigator, dealing with cases involving people with remarkable abilities in New York City.  Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, and Carrie-Anne Moss also star.

When: Season 2 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on March 8, 2018.

Where: The action is set primarily in the New York City, New York, neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, as depicted in the MCU.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the Season One link below – though I will say that all of the panelists are fans of the Netflix original library and/or superhero/comic book based shows in their own right and have found themselves eagerly anticipating new entries in Netflix’s “Defenders” series of releases.  As a result, they’re committed to a CPU! series about same!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

As long-time listeners should know by now, CPU! is chock full of panelists with a proclivity for comic book and superhero TV shows and films, including your Chief CP. Our Marvel’s Defenders Series was born of this proclivity, as we have already covered the two available seasons of Daredevil; the first season of Jessica Jones; the first season of Luke Cage; the one available season of Iron Fist; the one available season of the crossover event miniseries, The Defenders; and the one available season of the first spin-off series, The Punisher.  Listen to the links below:

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode One, “Daredevil,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Two, “Jessica Jones,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Three, “Daredevil,” Season 2

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Four, “Luke Cage,” Season 1
Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Five, “Iron Fist,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Six, “The Defenders,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Seven, “The Punisher,” Season 1

In this, the eighth episode of our Marvel’s Defenders series, we revisit the second in Netflix’s series of Marvel-centered shows leading up to The Defenders miniseries, namely Jessica Jones, featuring Defenders Series panelists Nick, Kristen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer.  Our panel, with the notable exception of panelist Kristen, struggled to power through this second season, feeling the absence, but for the one somewhat forced and anticlimactic episode, of panel favorite David Tennant (David Tennant, David Tennant, David Tennant!).  Common reactions to this season can best be summed up via the following terms: disjointed, clunky, flat, and generally and ultimately far worse than the first season.  Only Kristen describes this season as “solid,” though she acknowledges that the second season does not measure up to the first season in terms of writing quality.  In fact, the panel finds that said quality and story presentation drastically deteriorated between the two seasons and generally alienated our panelists (except Kristen), to the point that we mostly worry for the future of the series, given its third season renewal and though some members of the panel have nearly lost all interest in continuing with this particular program but for our podcast series.  Unless, of course, the show is able to convincingly resurrect the Kilgrave character because the panel agrees: Jessica Jones, without David Tennant and Kilgrave, is simply not the same show. To hear us hash out these opinions further, listen to our discussion via the embedded link below.

This podcast was recorded in June 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the second season of Jessica Jones.  Do you agree or disagree?  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, along with one occasional panelist, find themselves up Schitt’s Creek without a paddle while they catch up on the first two seasons of the Canadian cable comedy in the first part of a two-part miniseries produced for just that purpose.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will Daredevil appear on Jessica Jones?  We would like him to do so, please, and apart from the Defenders miniseries because these two characters exist in the same universe and in the same city (and same borough of the city!).

ANSWER: He has not yet.

2) David Tennant was announced to be returning for Season Two, even though Jessica snapped Kilgrave’s neck in the Season One finale.  How will he return?

ANSWER: Kilgrave, as portrayed by Mr. Tennant, appears as a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-induced hallucination, a figment of Jessica’s imagination, as she grapples with the morality of supporting her recently-discovered-to-be-alive mother, who is prone to homicidal tendencies in the name of love for her daughter and for the mad scientist who experimented on her and Jessica.  The plot itself is convoluted, but David Tennant’s appearance this season amounted to one episode, which the panelists generally regarded as one of only a few highlights this season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) Will Trish (Taylor) evolve into the Marvel hero Hellcat in Season Two, as several panelists estimated she might at some point?

ANSWER: Through a plot thread that pitted Trish against Jessica due to Trish’s naked ambition, reckless addiction, obtuse selfishness, and complicated envy of Jessica’s special abilities, Trish insinuates herself into a position in which she willingly participates in some of the same experimentation to which, ultimately, Jessica and her mother were subjected following the Jones family’s car accident.  Via a brief display of quick reflexes and potentially enhanced strength in the season finale, it can be estimated that Trish is well on her way to evolving into the Marvel hero Hellcat, though she did so in a highly alienating and unsympathetic manner.  Listen to the podcast episodes for details.

4) Will there be a new villain?  Who will it be? Will Kingpin/Wilson Fisk appear in Jessica Jones?

ANSWER: Kingpin was not featured in this season of Jessica Jones. Arguably, the most villainous character on the season is Trish, with her seemingly self-serving motivations, further complicated by a relapse in drug use and the enabling of her helicopter stage mom, though Nurse Inez Green (Leah Gibson) additionally gives Jeri Hogarth (Moss) a run for her money.  Literally.  The writers also, apparently, attempted to position Alisa Jones (Janet McTeer), Jessica’s very-much-alive mother, as a potential villain, but she clearly is affected by chemicals and conditioning that strips her of complete non-psychotic control over her own faculties.  In fact, the panel felt that the lack of a true villain proved to be one of the seasons’s most glaring and deleterious flaws.

New Questions

1) So, really, will Kilgrave ever return – alive and charismatic and creepy – in a real way?  Or, is that too much fantasy for a comic book adaptation series?  Was the hallucination, at minimum, a clue to the idea that Kilgrave might still be out there, waiting to reemerge as the Purple Man? At least half of this panel believes that Jessica Jones will not sustain without him, evidenced by the struggles and cringe-inducing flaws of this second season, most of which was presented without him; in fact, the writers and producers may never be able to compensate if Mr. Tennant cannot return.  The panel’s opinion further validates Chief CP Kylie’s earliest hypothesis – that David Tennant is what made the first season what it was, despite the fact that the other returning members of the ensemble are good, even great at times.  None of them, however, are as riveting or as competent a scene partner when paired with Ritter’s Jessica as David Tennant’s Kilgrave.  The proof is in the proverbial pudding known as Season Two.

2) Is Detective Will Simpson (Wil Traval), who is supposed to be the villain Nuke, according to panelist Kyle and basic research into Marvel comics, truly and permanently dead?  The panel felt that one of the greatest character disservices committed this season was the early and criminally understated, yet apparently permanent, death of the Simpson character.

3) Malcolm (Darville) is now working for Jeri Hogarth and, in turn, Jessica’s private investigator (PI) rival, Pryce Cheng (Terry Chen).  Other than the fact that Malcolm has officially sobered up and is committed to making something of his life, why should we care about this character development?

4) Will Luke Cage, who is supposed to eventually marry Jessica, according to Kyle and basic research into Marvel comics, return to the series in Season Three (this question is posed without having viewed Season Two of Luke’s solo series, mind you)?

5) Will Oscar (J.R. Ramirez) return in Season Three?  Though a love triangle might be cheesy, can we see Oscar and Luke fight over the cynical and sarcastic Jessica?  There might be potential for some comedy in that scenario, which the show sorely needs, at least in terms of comic relief.

6) What will Trish’s evolution into full-on Hellcat look like?  As of the end of Season Two, Jessica and Trish are estranged, as Trish pulled the trigger to ice Alisa after Jess’ mom quasi-kidnapped her daughter while on the lam, leaving Jessica officially angry at her adopted sister for making this rash decision, even if Trish did so to save Jessica.  Will Trish and Jessica reunite in the field of superhero-ness?  Will they find their way back to each other in more of an “everyday” way?

PARTING SHOTS

All of our panelists, with the exception of panelist Kristen, struggled to find any sort of love for the second season of Jessica Jones, pinning the season’s considerable disappointments on poor writing choices related to character development and/or story direction and the nearly total lack of David Tennant’s Kilgrave.  The panelists generally welcomed his one episode appearance, though some panelists, the Chief CP included, also found it anticlimactic and lacking the punch and pomp that underscored the Kilgrave character in the first season. All of the panelists also struggled with the Trish character at various points, the Alisa character at various points, and many of the other new characters in general, and the overarching feeling around the season was that it was disjointed, slow, and ultimately alienating in its story presentation.  Only panelist Kristen, with her love for the Jessica Jones character, described the season as “solid,” pointing to the overall tone and “noir” feel of the visual presentation to support her position.  By the same token, the panel generally and universally agrees that Jessica Jones is largely well-performed and competently directed, though some slow-to-the-point-of-drudgery pacing hampers the second season. In addition, by attributing Jessica’s anger management issues to something fundamentally changed in her biology due to the experiments conducted on her, the writers and show-runner effectively undermined the strong themes surrounding assault survival, PTSD, and recovery that elevated the poignancy of Season One, to which some of the panelists took exception.  In fact, most on the panel agree that if not for the podcast, Season Three would not necessarily be an automatic watch, despite the series renewal and unless the writers and Mr. Tennant’s schedule allow him to return.

LOOKING AHEAD

Jessica Jones was renewed for a third season, though an official premiere/release date has not yet been announced.  CPU! will be following Jessica Jones throughout its series run, as part of CPU!’s Marvel’s Defenders Series, so we will definitely return to podcast about Season Three some time after it is released.  Until then – stay tuned!

RERUN! – Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Two, Jessica Jones (Season One, MAJOR SPOILERS)

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This week, a SCHEDULE CHANGE!: Due to the holiday – something about Independence and star spangled somethings – we interrupt our binge watching long enough to rerun this episode, originally published in 2016, to refresh your memories regarding Season One of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, CPU!’s second ever Marvel’s Defenders Series episode.  In the meantime, next Wednesday, we will resume regularly scheduled episodes by publishing our thoughts about the second season of Jessica Jones, released in March 2018.  Did you watch?  Stay tuned!

—Original Synopsis—

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 2016, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is Around the Water Cooler, now as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel, and is discussing Season 1 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. If you have not watched Jessica Jones, 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

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Seven, Marvel’s The Punisher, 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, (re)recorded in March 2018, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is back Around the Water Cooler as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel discusses Season 1 of The Punisher, the first spin-off of the Marvel’s Defender solo series. If you have not watched any of The Punisher (or any of the other Defenders series: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders crossover miniseries), 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! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode 7, “Marvel’s The Punisher” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for the punisher title card netflix

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s The Punisher” is a web television series based upon the Marvel Comics character of the same name.  It is also a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Marvel’s The Punisher,” created by Steve Lightfoot, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. The series revolves around Frank Castle, who uses lethal methods to fight crime as the vigilante “The Punisher,” with Jon Bernthal reprising the role from Marvel’s Daredevil. Ben Barnes, Amber Rose Revah, Jason R. Moore, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Daniel Webber, Paul Schulze, Michael Nathanson, Jaime Ray Newman, and Deborah Ann Woll also star.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on November 17, 2017, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in New York City, New York, as depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though I will say that all of the panelists are fans of the Netflix original library and/or superhero/comic book based shows in their own right and have found themselves eagerly anticipating new entries in Netflix’s “Defenders” series of releases, including this first spin-off the series!  As a result, they’re committed to a CPU! series about same!

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 The Punisher = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Frank Castle (Bernthal), known throughout New York City as “the Punisher” after exacting revenge on those responsible for the deaths of his wife and children, uncovers a larger conspiracy beyond what was done to him and his family.

THOUGHTS

As long-time listeners should know by now, CPU! is chock full of panelists with a proclivity for comic book and superhero TV shows and films, including your Chief CP. Our Marvel’s Defenders Series was born of this proclivity, as we have already covered the two available seasons of Daredevil, the first season of Jessica Jones, the one available season of Luke Cage, the one available season of Iron Fist, and the one available season of the crossover event miniseries, The Defenders.  Listen to the links below:

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode One, “Daredevil,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Two, “Jessica Jones,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Three, “Daredevil,” Season 2

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Four, “Luke Cage,” Season 1
Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Five, “Iron Fist,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Six, “The Defenders,” Season 1

As such, it was only right that we cover the first spin-off series of this universe, now the sixth in Netflix’s series of Marvel-centered shows. Thus, we bring you our first ever Punisher podcast episode – and the seventh episode of our Marvel’s Defenders Series – featuring Defenders panelists Nick, Kristen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer.

Our panel is, for the most part, highly complimentary of The Punisher solo series, though some panelists like this spin-off effort more than others.  Generally, all panelists love Bernthal and his charismatic portrayal of Marvel’s consummate antihero as well as Barnes’ version of prenatal villain Billy Russo and Bachrach’s performance as Frank’s undercover partner Micro.  Yet, most of us also found the show to suffer from a slow start, though this start was markedly offset by a speedy and powerful crescendo in action and suspense, as well as an off-putting supporting character in Agent Dinah Madani (Revah), on whom the panelists felt the story focused too much when she added so little to the overall pacing and relevance of the plot in the end.  To hear us hash out these opinions further, listen to our discussion via the embedded link below.

This podcast was (re)recorded in March 2018 as one of our lost episodes, erased via the much ballyhooed equipment failure previously advertised, though we think we recovered nicely.  Also, there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the first season of The Punisher.  Do you agree or disagree?  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!  Next Wednesday, at long last, our Once Upon a Time panel returns to the Water Cooler, also affected by the aforementioned equipment failure, and will offer a re-recorded dissection of Season 7A in one of our twisty mid-season formats, which will include some of our “Newlywed Game” type hi-jinks to add spice to our already spicy group.  This recording follows the ABC network announcement that Once Upon a Time will end after this seventh season, and so this recording is one of the last three times our lively Once panel will gather together as a group.  As such, stay tuned for this funky and somewhat bittersweet “lost” episode!

RECOMMENDATION

The Punisher is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of comic books, particularly from the Marvel universe; fans of the various Defenders series; and fans of the Punisher character.  The panel cautions that to truly appreciate what The Punisher offers as a program, it is best viewed after all solo Defender series/seasons released prior to the release of this series have also been viewed, particularly Marvel’s Daredevil Seasons 1 and 2, as the Punisher’s back story is primarily established in “Daredevil” Season 2 (which does not make sense without viewing that series’ first season).  The panel also cautions that The Punisher is highly graphic and gory, featuring much violence and blood as befits a gun-toting antihero on a vendetta, so if you are an easily squeamish viewer, begin watching while prepared that you will see much in the way of blood and guts.  The panel also generally and universally agrees that The Punisher is well-performed, well-written, and well-directed but for some qualms from some panelists about pacing and about Revah’s Madani character, which failed to connect to any of our six panelists, your Chief CP included.  In any event, and despite the critiques described above, the panel almost universally had great fun watching this series and believes that anyone who considers themselves a fan of any or all of the individual Defenders would have fun watching it too.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

The Punisher was automatically renewed by Netflix for a second season, though no tentative release date has yet been announced by the streaming giant, as the producers of the series are currently vetting scripts, according to panelist Kyle.  As always, CPU! will be following all Defenders series, solo and crossover and related spin-offs, throughout all of the series’ runs as part of CPU!’s Marvel’s Defenders Series, so we will definitely return to podcast about Season Two following its release.  In addition, the CPU! Marvel’s Defenders panel will return very soon to review Marvel’s Jessica JonesSeason 2, which was released to Netflix today!  Until then, stay tuned!