DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Seventeen: 2018-2019 Mid-Season Roundup of “Arrow,” Season 7; “The Flash,” Season 5; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 4; and “Supergirl,” Season 4 (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 February 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the seventeenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series. The panel was also subjected to (now for) something kind of different but mostly the same here at CPU!  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows.  We play games and aspire to reach our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks!  Our panelists talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season 7 of Arrow, Season 5 of The Flash, and Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye! 

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Panel’s 2018-2019 Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: 

  • Arrow currently airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season 7 premiered on October 15, 2018.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season 5 premiered on October 9, 2018.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays at 9:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus; Season 4 premiered on October 22, 2018.
  • Supergirl airs Sundays at 8:00 PM; Season 4 premiered on October 14, 2018.

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Star City (Arrow), Central City (The Flash), National City (Supergirl), and throughout space and time (“Legends”).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the seventeenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 14, “Arrow,” Season 6

DCTU Series, Episode 15, “The Flash,” Season 4

DCTU Series, Episode 16, “Supergirl,” Season 3

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and full and otherwise busy DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something kind of differently but mostly the same.  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows.  We play games and engage in additional snarky shenanigans, however, which reach our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, but you know me – I don’t want to oversell it!!  Our panelists talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season 7 of Arrow, Season 5 of The Flash, and Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. 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 week, our DCTU panel returns to the CPU! water cooler for a special, bonus, specially recorded, specially requested episode during which we discuss the Arrowverse’s 2018 mega crossover television movie event, “Elseworlds,” for which we “saved” discussion about said crossover specifically for this specially special bonus episode, as you will hear advertised throughout tonight’s episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

(New Questions Only; All Questions, New and Old, Will Be Addressed End of Season)

1) Echo Kellum, who plays Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific on Arrow, is leaving the cast in this next half season (remember: we do not discuss the next half, if that half has already started airing, in the Mid-Season Roundup). How is Mr. Terrific written off the show?

2) What is the point of the “flash forward” story line, and why are the Arrow writers introducing it so late in the game? Are they really so hard up for material? Is Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) really dead in this future? If not, where did she go, and what the hell is happening? Is this future on another Earth or on our Earth? Where is Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) in this future?

3) How will Oliver encounter the New Green Arrow (NGA), and what will he learn?

4) Why do we care about the Longbow Hunters? Aren’t they kind of lame?

5) What is Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash’s (currently played by Tom Cavanaugh) plan on The Flash? Why is he using Nora West-Allen aka XS (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West’s (Candice Patton) daughter from the future, for his evil? Or, is she working for him and why?

6) What is the little journal, containing presumably Speed Force writing, that Nora is carrying around with her?

7) How much longer will Orlin Dwyer aka Cicada (guest: Chris Klein) be a factor? The panel has some decidedly mixed reactions to him.

8) If Neron is the Big Bad on “Legends,” will we be meeting any Green Lanterns or related? How did John Constantine (Matt Ryan) piss him off?

9) What is Biff, er, Henry Heywood’s (guest: Tom Wilson) master plan? Capture magical fugitives…and then what? What is the top secret plan to which he keeps referring?

10) Why is Mona Wu (Ramona Young) a thing? What is her purpose? What is Gary’s purpose for that matter?

11) Will Nate Heywood aka Steel (Nick Zano) ever leave bureaucracy and rejoin the Waverider team?

12) Why is Desmond’s death a fixed point in time? Why is Neron, wearing Desmond’s face, interested in Hank Heywood?

13) Why is Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) truly experimenting with Black Kryptonite/Harun-El on Supergirl? What is she really hoping to accomplish?

14) Will we see more of Clark Kent aka Superman (guest: Tyler Hoechlin) or Lois Lane (guest: Elizabeth Tulloch) on this show?

15) Just how many versions of Parasite are there in this universe?

16) How much more of a factor will Ben Lockwood aka Agent Liberty (guest: Sam Witwer) be this season?

17) Why does Kara Danvers aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) even need the DEO? Superman isn’t employed…

18) Why should we care about Nia Nal aka Dreamer (Nicole Maines)?

PARTING SHOTS 

The panel proves to be truly all over the place, when reacting to the Arrowverse’s current season, in the episode at hand; what the panelists are able to agree upon is that the Arrowverse is equally all over the place in terms of quality and watch-ability, which produces a panel discussion pockmarked by a decidedly reduced exhibition of enthusiasm.  Half of the panel regards The Flash as the continued shining jewel of the multiverse, while the other half of the panel believes that Legends of Tomorrow has improved so masterfully, it is now the best of the four series.  Half of the panel finds Arrow to continue to flounder at the bottom of the heap, despite being the show that started it all, while the other half of the panel cringes, with rising disappointment, at the plummet in quality that Supergirl has seemingly experienced this season.  Notably, all members of the panel agree that the latter show has experienced a shockingly marked decline in entertainment value and in engagement, with a ham-fisted social allegory that clubs one over the head to the point of tedium and an apparent struggle to find new cohesion as cast members change and as, even, older characters transform and veer away dramatically from what they appeared to be in earlier seasons.

The panelists further enjoy the show about the Scarlet Speedster and the show about the non-legendary Legends most, believing that they boast consistently entertaining humor, tight ensemble casts, and an enjoyable and ingenuous addition in the character of Constantine.  Similarly, the panelists, by and large, regard the show about the Emerald Archer to be marginally better this season compared to previous seasons, with less recycled story-lines and squandered story potential, but continue to struggle with the overall story direction and their personal disinterest in the story itself, having felt disengaged for several consecutive seasons. Plus, they are starting to worry at what the writers, producers, and network might try to do if Stephen Amell leaves the cast, believing that no version of Arrow can survive without him.  More than ever, the panel has expressed growing dissatisfaction (if not outright resentment) at the thought of having to continue to watch both Arrow and Supergirl for this paneleven as the panelists look forward to what the second halves of The Flash and “Legends” seasons might bring to our collective viewing experiences.

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows returned or will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 8:00 PM
Supergirl: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Monday, January 21, 2019, 8:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, April 1, 2019, 9:00 PM.

On January 31, 2019, the CW renewed all four Arrowverse shows for an additional season, all of which will likely premiere some time in fall 2019 and likely in or around October, if the trend from prior seasons holds.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler to discuss the 2018 mid-season crossover event “Elseworlds,” which will publish next week.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

Supernatural, Season 14A (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 our website: couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2019, our newly consistent panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen S, Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn K – is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 14A (following the mid-season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, devil’s spawn Jack, and the looming threat of Apocalypse World Archangel Michael. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 14 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for supernatural season 14 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

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

When: Season 14 premiered on October 11, 2018, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

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

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

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

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

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons 9, 10, and 11

Season 12A

Season 12B

Season 13A

Season 13B

Our Super-CPU! panel has happily remained constant since its last meeting, and all panelists proved ready and raring as ever to talk about the first half of Season 14 with the force of an army of archangel-grace enhanced monsters.  Thus, Nick, Jen (S), Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn (K), along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), and find ourselves at the CPU! Water Cooler, and/or the nearest purveyor of homemade pies, animatedly discussing major plot points from, and ruminating upon the success of, the first half of Season 14.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, though probably less so for some of our panelists nowadays (listen to the episode for details), we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over in this latest season.  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in January 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of Season 14 of Supernatural. 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, schedule permitting, our DCTU Series panel speedily returns to the Water Cooler with its annual Mid-Season Roundup of the four Arrowverse shows, Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

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

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

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

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

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

NEW(ISH) ANSWER: Apocalypse World (AW) Michael is running around this dimension, and there is a potential if chancy return for Lucifer prognosticated, given that his second-favorite vessel Nick (Pelligrino) survives and prays to Lucifer’s sleeping essence in the Empty, which improbably seems to awaken our favorite Evil Archangel. As such, the chances seem to be growing and quite necessary for a return of this dimension’s Michael as well as the actor who played Adam, given the fact that Michael Prime is still lounging in a slightly mind-addled Adam in the Cage. After all, the introduction of AW Michael could foretell a convergence of some heavenly forces we have previously met in order to stay his anti-human agenda…

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

NEW (BEYOND EXCITED AND TOTALLY UNFETTERED) ANSWER: YES! YES! YES! It has been widely confirmed in the press that Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the original (and breathlessly handsome) face of John Winchester, will be making a grand return to Supernatural in Season 14 in the upcoming and much ballyhooed 300th episode, airing on February 9! I do not think we can undersell the panel’s magnitude of excitement for this news.  The speculation runs wild in the panel’s discussion. Listen to the podcast episode for details!

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

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, including those about the Spear/Lance.  Though our panel, particularly panelist Jeremy, has a few theories about the Spear (listen to the podcast episode for details).

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

REPEAT ANSWER: Though the Spear/Lance remains broken, and though Supernatural Prime world’s Michael is still housed in half-brother Adam in Hell’s Cage, it may yet come to play…which panelist Jeremy supports (listen to the episode)…

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

NEW (FINAL) ANSWER (FOR NOW): We have decided that these questions do not matter much anymore.  Vampires seem to continue to exist, and with AW Michael feeding trace amounts of his grace to monsters for the purpose of “super-charging” them, thereby making them stronger and harder to eliminate by Prime World’s hunter forces, the concept of any Monster Alpha being important in the grand scheme seems moot.  So, unless the show revisits this concept in a meaningful way at a later time, we are content to let this one go. Don’t say we never give you anything, Supernatural writers!

8) REPEAT Will Sam’s powers return?  He continues to obliquely reference them…

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, Sam has not tapped into the allegedly dormant powers he received from Prince of Hell Azazel, but, with the current progress of AW Michael’s efforts, he might need to think outside of the box and use those powers for the good of the entire universe in the coming season(s).

9) REPEAT QUESTION: How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel (Misha Collins) or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

NEW ANSWER: The Empty is back, and s/he/it is super pissed – still – that Castiel is awake and out of his/her/its clutches.  Plus, when Jack (Alexander Calvert) temporarily loses his life in this half season (listen to the podcast episode for details), and his soul first appears in Heaven, the Empty barges into the largely unguarded ethereal plane, given the near extinction of available angels to monitor its sterile white corridors and dreamy memory locations, looking to claim Jack’s soul due to his nephilim status.  Cas, however, offers himself back to the Empty in exchange for the Empty releasing its clutches on Jack. The Empty agrees to this deal but notes that the entity will return for Cas only when he is truly happy and would be truly hurt by the Empty’s act of returning Cas to the abyss. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “we do not care about the Empty in the slightest,” to 10 being “we must care because we know the Empty is about to start some next-level stuff,” we are probably at an 8.5 in the “caring about the Empty” spectrum.

10) REPEAT QUESTION: Has Death, as in The Horseman Of, died before the Winchesters killed off the Death we knew and awoke the Darkness?  Is Billie the second “Death” or one of many?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions that are without answers at this time.

11) REPEAT QUESTION: Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean in the first half of the season?

REPEAT ANSWER: We have a feeling that this answer is ultimately part of the endgame for the series, and that we will not know said answer until the show is about to be done.

12) REPEAT QUESTION: How are Jack and the previous “anti-Christ” who appeared in Season 5 related, if at all?  Is Jack truly an “anti-Christ?”

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions without answers.

13) SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER….At the end of the thirteenth season, Dean offers himself, as Michael’s Sword, his true vessel, to AW Michael in order to have strength enough to defeat Lucifer, souped up on Jack’s grace, which he steals from his confused and betrayed son.  Despite a tenuous deal with the archangel, wherein Dean would retain control of his body and mind, AW Michael double crosses him and takes over his vessel fully, meaning as we start Season 14, the Dean we know and love is sublimated by AW Michael, who, at last check, was very interested in ending humans’ existence in Supernatural Prime World.  Is this still his plan?  What will he do first? How long will we see Dean as AW Michael?  Will Dean fight AW Michael, in an epic internal battle for his soul?

ANSWER: Yes, AW Michael is still Heaven-bent upon eradicating humans from existence, and he sees Prime World as a second chance to enact this grand vision, since he was not able to see his plan to a satisfactory completion in the AW.  While in Dean as his vessel, AW Michael starts Season 14 by using trace amounts of his own grace; mixing it with monster blood and venom from vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, djinns, and so on; and feeding this concoction to existing monsters, thereby super-charging their abilities and strengthening their resistances to the usual methods of elimination, such as silver for werewolves or wooden bullets for vampires.  In so doing, he effectively creates an army of Super-Monsters, which he plans to unleash first on Kansas City, Missouri (or is it Kansas City, Kansas?), kick-starting the next Apocalypse in this dimension, which our panel calculates to be the third since the show began.

So far this season, Dean has been occupied by AW Michael for three episodes: in Episodes 1 and 2, AW Michael stays in Dean and begins his grand master monster plan; however, as he explains later to Sam in Episode 9, AW Michael leaves Dean for a time after Dark Kaia, from The Bad Place, equipped with a spear that can hurt AW Michael, fends off Michael during his first attempt to steal this seemingly important spear from Dark Kaia by piercing him, inside Dean, in the arm.  In addition, Dean apparently struggles hard against allowing Michael full control of his meat suit, so the archangel temporarily vacates Dean, allowing the elder Winchester some time with his brother, mother, foster son, and angel best friend, before AW Michael reoccupies him in Episode 9, when Sam, Cas, Dean, and Jack walk into a trap set by Michael and are signed, sealed, and delivered via this trap by an ineffective spy, Hunter Turned Werewolf Garth. Thus, we presume Dean is going to try to fight Michael again from deep inside his own mind and soul – eventually – though Michael deals Team Free Will a pretty solid blow in that mid-season finale, which he reasons will be quite demoralizing for Dean. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

14) Dean as AW Michael also seems to definitively defeat Lucifer, his wings torched and all.  Is the Devil truly dead?  How can that be possible?

ANSWER: We think the Devil is truly dead – currently.  The clue comes from Lucifer’s former vessel, Nick, who prays to Lucifer, pining for his return, after he commits a bunch of murder and realizes that he enjoys this pastime, likely due to his prolonged former bond with his possessing erstwhile archangel.  Following this earnest prayer, a set of red eyes emerge from the rolling black abyss of the Empty. So, Lucifer may be where angels go to die, but our panel shares a universal and unanimous hunch: if Cas can find a way out, so too can that tricksy fallen archangel.

15) Sam is Lucifer’s true vessel and now does not have that option to defeat Michael. What can he do to save his brother?  Will he have to tap his Azazel powers? Can Rowena resurrect an archangel?  Will Sam lead the Angel Resistance on this side of the rift?  How will he get his brother back?

ANSWER: The answers to these questions seem to be unfolding with the progression of this season.  Dean is temporarily vacated by Michael, but Michael returns. Plus, the golden egg generator thing that the Winchesters used on Lucifer in Season 12 and Dark Kaia’s spear are both broken by a wily Michael.  The Winchesters may have to resort to other means of defeating this formidable foe. Sam could take on a newly resurrected Lucifer or call forth his dormant demonic powers. One thing we know for certain is that Sam is leading the Angel Resistance and scant hunter forces on this side of the rift from the bunker, forming an ad hoc Men of Letters organization in its own right, a role that seems to impress Mary, AW Bobby (sometimes), and Dean (reluctantly).  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Is Jack powerless?  Will he regain his grace?  How?  Will his power be enough to save Dean? To save this world? To save Heaven?

ANSWER: Jack is currently powerless, but AW Michael assures him in the one scene that they have together that his grace will regenerate over time.  Of course, as the panelists discuss at some length, how long does it take for a nephilim to regain lost grace? Especially since nephilim are, according to a remark of Sam’s in Season 13, stronger than the angels (arch or otherwise) that sire them. After all, Jack would be a key player in the fight against Michael if he was able to get his groove back.

17) Are Mary and AW Bobby flirting?  Are they going to be a romantic item in future? Is that wise?

ANSWER: Since Mary suggests to Sam this season that “something might be going on” with AW Bobby, the panel assumes that a) yes, they are flirting; b) yes, they are going to be a romantic item in the future; and c) wise or not, it’s weird.  Also, when John Winchester returns for the 300th episode, will he find out about this new coupling, and will he bless it? We expect at least some conversation between the two about this new development, in any event.

18) Is the Shedim an abandoned concept, with the quick death of Asmodeus?

ANSWER: The panel votes that the writers forgot about the Shedim.  Of course, panelist Nick noted that the Shedim might be a tool in the tool box when it comes to battling Michael.  Still, we will keep asking the question until the writers track back to this tidbit of Asmodeus-inspired information.

19) Will they break this world’s Michael, still stuck in Adam the half brother and locked in Hell’s Cage, out of his prison?  Even though Lucifer drove him mad?

ANSWER: The answer to this question remains to be seen, though the panel is hopeful that Adam might make even a small cameo in the 300th episode.

20) Will the remaining angels join a fight for or against AW Michael?  Will AW Michael snuff out the rest of the angels?

ANSWER: So far, according to Naomi, the few remaining angels are having a hell of a time keeping unwanted beings and souls from entering Heaven, so if they join a fight on either side of AW Michael right now, they would probably end up extinct.  Still, we do not know Michael’s current company policy on angels lesser than himself, except for Cas, as the latter has aligned himself with the Winchesters. Thus, these answers remain to be seen.

21) Will we see Heaven collapse next season?

ANSWER: Heaven really seems to be in trouble, with open doors and few angels to guard those doors.  The panel is prepared to watch the unfolding season for many reasons, including to see whether or not Heaven itself survives the latest oncoming Apocalypse.

22) Will the show actually be able to convince Jeffrey Dean Morgan (JDM) to return, either in the event that we’re barreling toward the end of the show and/or if Heaven collapses, since he’s supposed to be up there somewhere?

ANSWER: Yes!  JDM is thoroughly convinced and will be returning in the twelfth episode of Season 14!  How? Well, there have been hints and allegations in the entertainment press, but most of the story structure is being kept pretty close to those flannel shirt pockets presumably worn by the series’ writers.

23) Without Princes of Hell, Crowley, or Lucifer, who’s in charge downstairs?

ANSWER: Though a demon named Kip tries hard to make a play for the Throne of Hell, he proves woefully incompetent in the art of negotiation with Sam, Cas, Jack, and some of their fellow AW hunters.  As a result, Sam declares that no one will be in charge of Hell. Of course, how often do demons listen to the Winchester brothers? The answer is: almost never. Also, demons fighting to be in charge of Hell feels pretty distracting when an archangel is poised to destroy both Heaven and the Earth.

24) How will they be able to defeat a super-charged AW Michael, made stronger by his perfect vessel, Dean?

ANSWER: This is a question with what we presume is an answer unfolding this season.

25) Will Chuck/God return to help arbiter these extra-worldly conflicts? He might have to return to create more angels, to resurrect any that have been lost, and/or to help quell the conflict with AW Michael.  Will Amara/the Darkness return with him?

ANSWER: The panel predicts that Chuck/God is going to be needed to help stop the madness, but, so far, no sign of Chuck or Amara has yet emerged.  Where exactly did they go, anyway?

26) Will the show explain how it is that nephilim are stronger than the angels (or archangels, in some circumstances) that sire them?

ANSWER: So far, the show has provided no further explanation surrounding Sam’s Season 13 research findings concerning nephilim.  The panel expects, however, that nephilim biology will become more important as AW Michael’s Apocalypse plans press forward.

27) Will we see any of the Wayward Sisters again, aside from Sheriff Jody and Sheriff Donna, i.e. Claire, Kaia, Patience, etc., despite the fact that the proposed spin-off was not picked up?

ANSWER: Dark Kaia finds her way to Prime World from The Bad Place in Season 14, and she is carrying a suspicious spear capable of hurting AW Michael, which she uses frequently on monsters, super-charged and otherwise, and on Michael himself.  News of Dark Kaia’s presence reaches Sheriff Jody’s radar, and it is she who calls the boys in – after AW Michael vacates Dean for a time – to help navigate the news of the existence of Dark Kaia. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) The panel predicts that Lucifer’s return is all but guaranteed. How will this resourceful archangel emerge? Did he escape when the Empty’s back was turned, while the Empty was making deals with Cas in Heaven in exchange for Jack’s soul? Or, will he take a page from Cas’ book and piss off the Empty enough to convince the grumpy being to eject him as the Empty did Castiel? Or, are Nick and Lucifer connected in unexpected ways, given that Nick was possessed by Lucifer so many different times and for so long? Does Jack get his powers back quickly enough to help his expired father exit the deep dark? The possibilities as to the how feel endless, even if the panel sees Lucifer’s return as a foregone conclusion.

2) When will Sam be forced to end Rowena’s life, as Billie the Reaper aka the New Death prophesied in Season 13? Will we see this eventuality this season?

3) What does Naomi mean when she indicates that Heaven’s gates are open, including those closed in Season 9 via the Winchesters’ efforts? How many gates are there, and what function do they serve? Does this signal Heaven’s collapse, after all? Will human souls escape? Will monsters and/or demons try to get inside? Will Lucifer? Will AW Michael?

4) When Lily Sunder (played by Veronica Cartwright this season) casts the spell to resurrect Jack, we know the magic draws from her own soul. When she decided, in the end, to cast the spell, though she was reluctant to do so at first, did she need to use any part of Jack’s soul for the spell after all? This remains a point of confusion for our panel or, at least, for your main moderator and Chief CP.

5) Will the Empty come to claim Cas by the end of Season 14? What could make Cas so happy in that amount of time as to entice the Empty’s sense of vengeance against his nemesis, Castiel?

6) We know John Winchester will be talking to the boys and to Mary in the 300th episode, as this has been widely reported by the entertainment news media, which is devoting a fair amount of coverage to the landmark episode. Will John encounter any of the other typical characters, such as AW Bobby?

7) We also know that Angel Zachariah, as played by Kurt Fuller, will be making a return appearance in the 300th episode. What other long-gone characters might we see, then or at any other point in the season?

8) If AW Michael’s armies envelop the Earth, what will the demons do? Will they need a leader to do it? Will they elect one?

9) Will the Empty be destroyed? Will any other angels and demons escape? Will the Empty change to something else?

10) Will the Empty’s creation and/or manifestation as a being be explained?

11) Will Heaven be stabilized if it does not collapse?

12) How did Chuck/God and Amara/the Darkness come to exist? Will Supernatural tackle this divine subject?

13) Is Dark Kaia’s Spear the Spear of Destiny? Or, is the Spear the equivalent of Michael’s Spear that was broken in Prime World, as we learned in Season 12?

14) Is the Empty a version of Purgatory for angels and demons? Somebody needs to provide a better explanation for the Empty.

15) Does the AW or The Bad Place have an Empty? Or, is the Empty the same for all dimensions?

16) Seriously, what was The Bad Place?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Supernatural panel continues to present an increasingly diverse range of opinions about the most recent SPN half season.  The mysteries, story threads, and new spins on old horror tropes offered by the first half of Season 14 further divide our panel.  Some panelists find this season highly enjoyable so far, given Jensen Ackles’ opportunity to spread his proverbial wings and his acting range via his portrayal of AW Michael as well as the ongoing integration into the cast of Alexander Calvert’s Jack, both of which feel like modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story.  Some continue to watch the series motivated by the curiosity that comes with needing to complete what was started, more than thirteen years ago.  Still others, particularly the Chief CP, are filled with a renewed excitement by the prospect of what’s to come, feeling that Dean’s specific Season 13 end of season fate became a true “game changer” designed to steer the series toward an epic conclusion, which is likely nearer than we would want or expect, though perhaps not as close as we initially predicted.  In any event, the fresh takes introduced this season, coupled with the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more, helped our panel to, on average, become newly invested in the show, even if reluctantly.  As such, the panel members continue to find compelling reasons to stick with the series, ups and downs aside, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). Though we are in the acknowledged winter of the program’s longevity, there remains nothing like Supernatural on TV right now, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes and barbs about things that strike us as strange – even for such a strange world as we have been watching all this time – all panel members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we move into the second half of Season 14!

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was automatically ordered for a full season upon renewal, though notably for only 20 episodes for Season 14, and returned from its mid-season hiatus on January 17, 2019. Will it be renewed for a fifteenth season?  The February sweeps will no doubt provide a clear answer to that question, though chances seem pretty good, especially since the 300th episode will be airing during sweeps.  In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourteenth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2019. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

Progress Report: Mid-Season Report Card for 2018-2019 Pilots

It’s that time of year!  Call it CPU!’s Holiday Present to you!  Or a New Year present! Time to check in on the progress of shows and see which shows are surviving this season and beyond on the major networks.  Is your show on the list? Did it survive cancellation? Read below.

Thanks to TVLine and other sources for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with last season, a growing number of CPU! members may find shows initially passed by the CPU! Chief and choose to review them.  CPU! readers will be informed if the show’s status changes regarding coverage as the season progresses through the handy CPU! Progress Reports, and all written reviews will be published!

Also, in another noteworthy TV year, the networks have proven slow to cancel, while the streamers, particularly Netflix, have been quite merciless with some of the cuts.  Let’s see how it all shakes out in the wash.

A Million Little Things

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: James Roday (Psych), David Giuntoli (Grimm), Romany Malco (Weeds), Ron Livingston (Sex and the City), Christina Moses (The Originals), Christina Ochoa (Valor, Blood Drive), Allison Miller (Incorporated, Go On), Stephanie Szostak (Satisfaction), Lizzy Greene (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn), Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)

WHAT: They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Welcome to the 2018-2019 CPU! network pilot review!  We start off on a strong note, with a pick up for this drama from ABC, but also with a guilty admission by your Chief CP (author of these annual reviews).  Honestly, I’m personally most interested in David Giuntoli and everything about him – outside of a Grimm context, that is – more than I am interested in the basic premise of this plot.  I think this is the Alphabet’s attempt at an answer to ratings juggernaut and NBC success This Is Us; on the other hand, the cast seems strong.  Watching these two minutes also inspires some The Big Chill nostalgia with a modern, Millennial set of characters at the forefront, dealing with the evolution and metamorphosis of friendships into adulthood.  That idea, punctuated by the suicide that starts the series off, connects strongly with this viewer, and I can see some of our other Couch Potatoes also finding some interest in and connection to it.  The trailer left me feeling hopeful for the series, at any rate, so let’s give this one a try, our first pick up for the year.  Hooray for good signs and strong starts!

STATUS: On October 26, 2018, the network ordered a full season of 17 episodes, of which 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think renewal is a “safe bet” or “very likely” as a result of this show of support and modestly decent ratings.

CPU! STATUS: The podcast has received at least one request for coverage of this program, so this pick up is definite and permanent.  Not yet viewed.

Abby's

ABBY’S, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2019

WHO: Natalie Morales (Parks and Recreation), Neil Flynn (The Middle), Nelson Franklin (Veep), Jessica Chaffin (Search Party), Leonard Ouzts (Master of None), Kimia Behpoornia (Modern Family, Adam Ruins Everything)

WHAT: Set in the best bar in San Diego, home to good prices, great company and, of course, Abby. This unlicensed, makeshift bar nestled in her backyard is the opposite of everything annoying about today’s party scene. As the oddball cast of regulars will tell you, hanging out at Abby’s is a coveted honor. But once you’re in, you’re family.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Without a trailer, this viewer is reluctant to get enthusiastically on board, but two things convinced me to take a look: it’s produced by Michael Schur – creator of The Good Place and Mose Schrute on The Office – and it’s filmed entirely outside.  Though it feels very Cheers-esque, with a female barkeep knowing everyone’s name, early upfront reviews seemed hopeful, so it’s worth a look.  A quick one, anyway.

The Alec Baldwin Show

THE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW, ABC

WHEN: Sundays at 10/9c

WHAT: The one-hour talker will showcase Baldwin’s in-depth conversations with compelling personalities.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The CPU! podcast does not talk about talk shows.  How do you feel about Alec Baldwin at the helm of a prime time talk show?

STATUS: In March 2018, the network ordered nine episodes, of which eight have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits believe renewal is a “long shot” or “very unlikely,” particularly given some legal troubles that titular talker Alec Baldwin has faced in recent months.

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a talk show, right?  We’ll cover it for this season in this Progress Report format only, however.

All American

ALL AMERICAN, The CW

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Daniel Ezra (The Missing), Taye Diggs (Private Practice), Cody Christian (Teen Wolf), Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why), Monet Mazur (Castle), Karimah Westbrook (Shameless, Aquarius), Michael Evans Behling

WHAT: When a rising high school football player from South L.A. is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds — Crenshaw and Beverly Hills — begin to collide. Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite the presence of always gorgeous Taye Diggs, this sports-ball drama feels incredibly trope-y, including hashed and rehashed concepts of several TV and film properties past: poor, urban kid of color finding himself in a rich, largely white district; the story about a kid who has nothing but talent, heart, and a bit of luck with the offer to test his prowess on a suburban high school football team; and so on.  The trailer does not “wow” in its presentation of these recycled story concepts, and none of the actors apart from Diggs inspire confidence that this property will offer stellar production value beyond the typical good looks of a made-for-the-CW cast.  Plus, our current roster of Couch Potatoes has currently and definitely shied away from TV about sports.  Seriously, way more nerd types and way less jock types populate our own ever-growing cast.  If you want to change that, though, please drop us a line.

STATUS: The network, in a cautious fashion, ordered a full season of 16 episodes, of which 8 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits give 50/50 odds to the possibility of renewal.

CPU! STATUS: We have heard zero buzz about this loosely-biographical sports-ball program.  Are you buzzing in an “All-American” way – or is it just Taye Diggs’ abs?  Let us know.  For now, we stay in the passing lane.

Charmed

CHARMED, The CW

WHEN: Sundays at 9/8c

WHO: Sarah Jeffery (Shades of Blue), Melonie Diaz (The Breaks), Madeleine Mantock (The Tomorrow People), Rupert Evans (Man in the High Castle), Ser’Darius Blain (Survivor’s Remorse, Jane by Design), Charlie Gillespie (Degrassi: Next Class), Ellen Tamaki

WHAT: After the tragic death of their mother, three sisters in a college town are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  Networks: “What do we want?” Answering themselves: “More reboots!” “When do we want them?” “Now! Because we literally have no other ideas!”  Charmed, the original starring Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, and later Rose McGowan, was a WB staple for eight seasons, now airs frequently in syndication, and enjoys a healthy streaming afterlife.  Charmed has already been requested as a possible “Looking Back” candidate for the podcast because its loyal fan base endures to this day.  Charmed was a show that this viewer watched voraciously and enthusiastically in its original run.  It was a bit cheesy at times and occasionally suffered from the mismatch of acting talent among the women playing the Halliwell/Matthews sisters, but it was reliable, interesting, and sort of kooky in an entertaining way for a long time.  Like all the other major networks and some streaming outlets, WB offspring The CW could not wait to look into past properties for its own go at a rebooted show from an earlier success, so here, we have Charmed Redux with a new set of sisters exercising a new era of The Power of Three.  I can’t help feeling that this reboot is near blasphemy at its core, given that the original was pretty well loved and still enjoys a loyal, continuing fan devotion.  Plus, the actresses playing the sisters are nowhere near equal to the four who played the Halliwells/Matthews, even if the original four could not be described as amazing performers themselves.  This reboot also seems to be an even darker take, with mom’s death being characterized as outright murder from the jump.  Still, sheer morbid curiosity, a love of fantasy (and supernatural fantasy to boot), and a “can’t look away” feeling propel me to say that CPU! has little choice but to pick this up.  Though you better bet that this will be a “Look Back to Look Forward” setup, and that the two versions of the series will be hotly compared and contrasted by feisty and spicy Couch Potatoes.  Mark my words, gentle reader: the Power of Three may not set you free.

STATUS: On November 8, 2018, the network ordered a full season of 22 episodes, of which 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think renewal chances hover at 50 percent, however.

CPU! STATUS: The podcast has received requests from Viewers Like You as well as some of our resident panelists to cover Charmed in a “Look Back to Look Forward” series, as I expected would likely happen.  Expect a CPU! trademark look at Charmed and its varied and sorted history in the spring or summer of 2019.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

The Code

THE CODE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Anna Wood (Falling Water, Reckless), Ato Essandoh (Chicago Med), Phillipa Soo (Broadway’sHamilton), Raffi Barsoumian (The Vampire Diaries)

WHAT: The military’s brightest minds take on our country’s toughest challenges, inside the courtroom and out, where each attorney is trained as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, an investigator — and a Marine.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, and there is scant information available for this drama, which, mind you, is a military drama and a seeming holdover from the rash of military dramas that debuted last season on the networks, most of which were ultimately canceled.  Plus, Mira Sorvino was attached to this program as its lead for awhile before leaving the role, which is not typically a great sign, and there is very little to be excited about when reviewing the cast list or plot synopsis, so we’ll leave this code non-cracked this season.

The Conners

THE CONNERS, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8/7c

WHO: John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman

WHAT: In the Roseanne spinoff, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before after a sudden turn of events. The iconic family — Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. — grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns — with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Last season, CPU! picked up the Roseanne revival based on the fact that several of our Couch Potatoes, the Chief among them, enjoyed the original series, more or less, and were curious to see how this particular family would weather the reboot/revival treatment.  Though many of us have not yet watched, the ratings seemed to speak for themselves – but then so did Roseanne Barr via her Twitter account.  All politics aside, Roseanne has always been an “x” factor, erratic and sometimes harmful to the public in how she has chosen to wield her influence, but no one can deny that Roseanne would not have been what it was without her.  Now, in a move that sounds, smells, and tastes a bit like “cash grab,” notwithstanding the advocacy for the jobs of those that would otherwise not have had them without Roseanne’s poor life choices (and prejudicial views) mucking up the works, the Alphabet is moving forward with what would ultimately be a spin-off, sans the titular matriarch.  On the one hand, it could be compelling: the rest of the cast are no slouches, especially Laurie Metcalf, and the character of Darlene, particularly, has always served as an interesting focal point for the show.  On the other hand, if the writers don’t hit this one out of the park straight from the dugout, it will not survive all of this melee and ado and will become a truly unfortunate, if not tragic footnote in entertainment history.  The real question is: would this footnote be any more unfortunate or tragic than the original ending, including Dan’s purported death following the family winning the lottery?  CPU! is willing to bet probably not, and we believe the network sees this whole game playing out the same way, so, in the end, we’re left asking “why not?”  Again, it could also be sheer morbid curiosity.  Time, and the rest of the Conners, will tell.

STATUS: The network ordered a season of 11 episodes, of which 8 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think renewal is a “sure thing” or “all but guaranteed,” as it was widely reported that ABC has entered into renewal negotiations with the show’s producers as of October 2018, and as the spin-off/sequel enjoys the network’s second highest ratings after Grey’s Anatomy.

CPU! STATUS: The interest in the various iterations of Roseanne and her family has been mild, but there is interest.  CPU! will cover all iterations at some point, though it may be later rather than sooner.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

The Cool Kids

THE COOL KIDS, Fox

WHEN: Fridays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Vicki Lawrence (Great News, Mama’s Family), David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show), Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace), Martin Mull (Roseanne)

WHAT: Three guy friends in a retirement community are the top dogs until they’re blown out of the water by the newest member of the community, a female rebel whose ready to challenge their place.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. To cut to the chase, if it wasn’t for this cast, I am not willing to bet that either this viewer or fellow potential panelists would find this sitcom premise potentially amusing.  Most of us are not in the target audience, and there are some very flat moments in this trailer that should have offered more and better laughs with the players in this cast.  But, holy wow, look at this cast!  Vicki Lawrence! Leslie Jordan! David Alan Grier! And the erstwhile Colonel Mustard himself, Martin Mull!  They’re charming, they’re funny, they’re veterans – but do they have chemistry, and can a sitcom about residents of a retirement community be potentially appealing to the average and/or typical listeners of podcasts?  The conundrum we face here is why we are so hesitant to be as totally cool as these alleged kids.

STATUS: On October 19, 2018, the network ordered a full season of 22 episodes, of which 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think there is a “safe bet” that the show will be renewed.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Dancing With the Stars: Juniors

DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS, ABC

WHAT: The offshoot will pair celebrity kids with professional junior ballroom dancers to perform choreographed routines, which will be judged by a panel that will include renowned ballroom experts.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  CPU! does not dance along with reality competition shows on our podcast, at least for now.  But, this one’s new this year, so we list it.  Godspeed, DWTS fans!

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 9, 2018, after a total of 9 episodes.  There is no word yet as to whether this DTWS offshoot will be renewed, but the pundits say “long shot” or “very unlikely.”

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a reality competition show, right?  Still, we’ll track it for its first year.  It’s what we do. (Also, how many reality game shows do we really need?)

The Enemy Within

THE ENEMY WITHIN, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: February 25, 2019

WHO: Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Morris Chestnut (Rosewood), Raza Jaffrey (Code Black), Kelli Garner (Pan Am)

WHAT: In spy-hunting thriller, Erica Shepherd is a brilliant former CIA operative, now known as the most notorious traitor in American history serving life in a Supermax prison. Against every fiber of his being but with nowhere else to turn, FBI Agent Will Keaton enlists Shepherd to help track down a fiercely dangerous and elusive criminal she knows all too well.

Watch trailer here.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite the presence of gorgeous Morris Chestnut, and even with a trailer, this particular mid-season thriller feels very hackneyed in terms of its premise, all around, and the snapshot of performances seen here falls sadly flat.  Some early reviews compare this show to Homeland or The Blacklist: Espionage, neither of which resemble current CPU! discussion subjects or ones requested by our panelists and potential panelists.  Really, it’s a show that I can see several of us wanting to like – because we’ve liked something like it before – but not being able to go the distance because it will not be as good as similar properties from which it is heavily borrowing its influence and tone.  If buzz or steam picks up around this mid-season entry, we’ll be open to reviewing our high standards, but for now, we pass.

Fam

FAM, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: January 10, 2019

WHO: Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Odessa Adlon (Nashville), Tone Bell (Disjointed), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Mr. Robot), Sheryl Lee Ralph (One Mississippi, Instant Mom)

WHAT: A woman’s dreams of an upstanding life with her new fiancé and his upstanding family are dashed when her younger train wreck half-sister comes to live with her to escape their train wreck of a father.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer for this show and very little information to go on to determine whether or not this program is worth a watch; not even TV pundits with connections have been given a glimpse, but then again, it’s CBS, and they’ve become kind of idiosyncratic as far as the major networks go – and not in a good way.  A few of us at CPU! just spent the last few seasons of The Vampire Diaries NOT watching Nina Dobrev, so she certainly would not be the primary draw here, but as the situational premise of this situation comedy is pretty thin, I am not convinced that it would be enticing to most of the potatoes I know.  If they start talking about it positively, though, we can always rethink the logic.

FBI

FBI, CBS

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Missy Peregrym (Rookie Blue), Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), Zeeko Zaki (Valor, 24: Legacy), Ebonée Noel (Still Star-Crossed), Sela Ward (CSI: NY)

WHAT: The Dick Wolf-produced drama explores the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Despite a decently packaged trailer and a potentially unusual and compelling turn by Missy Peregrym in the lead role, if Dick Wolf has his stamp on this, it will likely be a crime-of-the-week, neatly wrapped up in an episode (or two) procedural show, this time exploring the inner workings of one of the federal law enforcement agencies.  We are not covering procedural TV (much) here at CPU!, and when we do, we’ll have to recruit a reviewer or moderator to do it because this Chief CP likely won’t be watching, at least not without an interesting gimmick to make it seem different from others of its genre.  I can’t imagine this to be something entirely different than Law & Order and its franchise of shows, even if this series is, also, not entirely the same.  CPU! will pass for now.

STATUS: On October 11, 2018, the network ordered a full season of an unknown number of episodes, though it will be greater than the initial order of 13 episodes, of which 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post. The pundits think there is a “safe bet” or a “very likely” chance of renewal.

CPU! STATUS: The talk lines are silent.  Maybe our podcaster roster and/or listeners don’t want to be wiretapped?  Bad joke.  Procedural TV does not fare well in our corner currently.  If you want to change that, drop us a line.

The Fix

THE FIX, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 18, 2019

WHO: Robin Tunney (The Mentalist), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Ten Days in the Valley, Lost), Mouzam Makkar (The Exorcist), Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash), Merrin Dungey (Big Little Lies, The Resident), Scott Cohen (Gilmore Girls), Marc Blucas (Underground, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Adam Rayner (Tyrant), Alex Saxon (The Fosters)

WHAT: Follows an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in Washington. Eight years later when this same celebrity is under suspicion for another murder, Maya Travis is lured back to the DA’s office for another chance at justice.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this cast is teeming with familiar faces from large and small screen (was that Robin Givens in the trailer?), this show seems (un)remarkably like a romanticized version of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial given a fantasy makeover, wherein the put-upon district attorney who failed her job the first time gets a second chance to re-try the case, with a different fact pattern in which to dig her bared teeth.  Since the executive producer is Marcia Clark, one of the DA’s who lost the criminal trial of the disgraced ex-NFL star and, therefore, probably felt like she failed at life for many decades to come, the premise of this show, still more, smacks of the playing out of her own revenge fantasy, one in which she can finally take down the elusive defendant who broke her career and her spirit.  OJ was probably guilty, but hey, I guess the glove didn’t fit or something.  I lived through the debacle that was that trial, when it created and fueled the news glut we still enjoy today (without so much internet) and which divided the nation again/still by race and by class.  While the trial itself inspired a critical examination of the judicial system, I, frankly, do not need to live through a fantasized version of the same story, this time delving into an “It’s a Wonderful Life” concept of do-overs to redeem the poor, put-upon, plucky, but intelligent DA who couldn’t get her conviction in the end.  I also worry that the character played by the erstwhile Mr. Eko from Lost could become a caricature quickly if not handled properly and with sympathy, given the obvious parallel to real life that he presents.  All in all, suspension of disbelief would certainly be difficult for this particular potato’s personal palate, but if you watch and disagree, let us know.  My curiosity simply isn’t morbid enough to need this fix.

God Friended Me

GOD FRIENDED ME, CBS

WHEN: Sundays at 8/7c (beginning Oct. 7)

WHO: Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor), Joe Morton (Scandal), Violett Beane (The Flash), Javicia Leslie (MacGyver), Suraj Sharma (Homeland)

WHAT: Questions of faith, existence and science are explored in this dramedy about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is “friended” by God on social media. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Now, maybe I’m feeling really vulnerable right now, but I teared up at the trailer, which means this one got to me in 3-4 minutes, and that’s not something to sneeze at when doing the quick math here.  Properties with pure religious motifs have not fared well on prime time network television in recent years, but perhaps what makes this one a bit different is that the show will attempt to explore the tough but meaningful subject of faith and the spiritual through more of a focused dialogue, beginning with the main character who runs a podcast about atheism.  Adding in the social media spin for today’s modern audiences, this premise teases something potentially fresh and original without becoming too preachy.  In fact, the show may become the kind of feel-good comedy – and discussion of hope – that today’s audiences crave in these testy times of geopolitical conflict.  Plus, I found the main characters to be largely winning – one of them is the sometime Jessie Quick from CPU! fave The Flash – so, all in all, it feels like this program deserves a leap of faith.  Friend request accepted.

STATUS: On October 19, 2018, the network ordered a full season of an unknown number of episodes; 11 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits give this series’ renewal chances 50/50 odds.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Grand Hotel

GRAND HOTEL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: June 17, 2019

WHO: Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids), Demian Bichir (The Bridge), Chris Warren (The Fosters), Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game), Shalim Ortiz (Heroes), Denyse Tontz (The Fosters), Bryan Craig (General Hospital), Lincoln Younes (Home and Away), Justina Adorno (Seven Seconds), Anne Winters (13 Reasons Why), Feliz Ramirez

WHAT: Set in the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. Charismatic Santiago Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success. Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Produced by former Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria, this new sudsy soap screams telenovela for the now, with sex, sex, sex oozing from its Miami infused pores, a regular scandal (no, not that Scandal) in the making for the Disney-owned Alphabet network.  This will probably be a guilty, or not so guilty, pleasure for quite a few viewers, with an attractive cast, a colorful backdrop, and shocking secrets regularly revealed to appalled but enthralled gasps, but unless requested otherwise, CPU! will back away slowly, since soaps we cover are few and far between.  We will instead remember that the real Grand Hotel is on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  Granted, the clientele is probably very different all around.  All jokes aside, though, this show honestly has potential for success but is not the typical fare that appeals to too many of the CPU! Couch Potatoes.  Maybe they will surprise me, though.  You can request our coverage too, though, viewer – and did you know that you, too, could become one of our panelists?  Sign our guestbook to inquire as to how.

Happy Together

HAPPY TOGETHER, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl, Happy Endings), Amber Stevens West (Ghosted, The Carmichael Show), Felix Mallard (Neighbours), Stephnie Weir (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Chris Parnell (Grown-ish, SNL), Victor Williams (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A 30-something couple, tired of their mundane life, start to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when a young pop star who is drawn to their super normal suburban life, moves in.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Canned laughter.  Pauses for the canned laughter.  Pregnant pauses.  Dozing.  That last one was me; I’m the one dozing.  This new sitcom seems like a one-note joke that cannot possibly sustain over 22 episodes, much less several additional seasons, and will probably get old in one.  It’s clear that this new program wants to rely on Damon Wayans, Jr.’s considerable charm and comedic timing, but he simply doesn’t have THAT much charm and comedic timing to overcome the ham and cheese on rye flavoring this bland soupy sauce of a sitcom is serving up.  Sure, we all want to be young and hip again, but how tired is the “we’re boring, so this cool rock star will make us cool too” trope?  I did not laugh once watching the trailer, and with such a recycled and rehashed premise, I don’t see anyone at CPU! (or beyond) requesting our in-depth discussion about this show.  Look, Damon’s dad had to try a few times to get a sitcom that lasted too.  Genetics or something, right?

STATUS: The network ordered 13 episodes and declined to order more as of November 2018; 11 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits believe this series’ renewal chances hover at “long shot” or “unlikely,” given the network’s reticence to order more episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Frankly, I am surprised that this show has a shot at all.  No one has watched a first episode around here, but the preview kind of said it all, and, most notably, no one is talking about it.  Anywhere.

I Feel Bad

I FEEL BAD, NBC

WHO: Sarayu Blue (No Tomorrow), Paul Adelstein (Private Practice), Zach Cherry (Crashing, Search Party), James Buckley (The Inbetweeners), Johnny Pemberton (Superstore), Aisling Bea

WHAT: Emet is a mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter who is just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But that’s OK, right? Nobody can have it all and do it perfectly.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  First, the executive producer is Amy Poehler.  Win.  Second, sure the situations in this comedy probably have been done (and done, and done) elsewhere, but how many times have they been done honestly, with the kind of in-your-face humor that resonates?  Also win.  The Peacock has really made a comeback recently, at least in the comedy department, by choosing smart comedies with familiar premises but fresh elements developing those premises to something better than they might otherwise be.  Sarayu Blue and Paul Adelstein have clear chemistry; her parents will no doubt be the comic underdogs; and the social commentary will be relevant and up to date, unlike the last sitcom we reviewed in this pilot entry.  Perhaps, this “pick up” is somewhat inspired by a trailer that made me laugh, as opposed to the one that just failed at that basic task, but isn’t that what a sitcom should be – a show that makes the viewer laugh?  It’s worth a look, at least, because I can tell that this show already has a better chance of sustaining beyond one season than most in its genre.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 27, 2018, after a total of 13 episodes.  The pundits think this series’ renewal chances are a “long shot” or “unlikely.”

CPU! STATUS: Frankly, I am surprised that this show doesn’t have a better shot.  There has been some modest positive feedback from the CPU! inner circles, and while the show has been labeled “not as funny as some,” the general reaction is that it is still funny.  The Peacock indicated that it would make a decision at a later date regarding renewal, which means it all comes down to money and potential next season pilots.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

In the Dark

IN THE DARK, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: January 24, 2019

WHO: Perry Mattfeld (Shameless), Rich Sommer (Mad Men), Kathleen York (The Client List, The West Wing), Derek Webster (NCIS: New Orleans), Brooke Markham (Foursome), Keston John (My Kitchen Rules)

WHAT: A blind woman is the only “witness” to the murder of her drug-dealing friend. After the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at the guide dog school owned by her overprotective parents.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The trailer was apparently only screened at up-fronts, but this not-so-connected viewer needs a trailer to make an unbiased assessment of this show.  Without one, and given the above premise description, it sounds like a schmaltzy hodgepodge of lovable dog, inspiring tale of rising to meet the challenges of adversity, and murder-mystery procedural rolled into a saccharine goo.  Plus, there is no one in the cast that offers a draw, and it’s on the CW, which struggles outside of the fantasy/science fiction genre sometimes.  If buzz, accolades, or steam say this dark show is full of unexpected light, we might reconsider, but right now, this viewer offers a solid “meh,” and we unitedly move on.

The InBetwen

THE INBETWEEN, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Some reports say January 2019; others say Spring 2019

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Harriet Dyer (Australia’s Love Child), Paul Blackthorne (Arrow), Anne-Marie Johnson (In the Heat of the Night), Cindy Luna (The Last Ship), Chad James Buchanan (Star)

WHAT: Cassie Bishop can see and communicate with the dead, helping them with their unresolved problems, whether she likes it or not. When her longtime friend Det. Tom Hackett and his new partner, former FBI Agent Damien Asante, need help solving a darkly puzzling murder, Cassie agrees to use her abilities. Despite her reluctance, she may have found a way to keep her demons at bay, all while solving some of the city’s most challenging cases.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  This new drama sounds like a cross between The Sixth Sense and garden variety procedural crime/murder mystery television, but new fantasy appears to be rather limited this season, and that’s what the CP’s live for around here (this Chief CP does, anyway).  Plus, Paul Blackthorne left CPU! covered Arrow to come be on this show, so we’ll give it a chance.  If the bend is more procedural than serial drama, though, we might lose interest, but we’ll see how this one shakes out in the end.

The Kids Are Alright

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight), Caleb Foote (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Giani Versace), Christopher Paul Richards (Me, Myself & I), Jack Gore (Electric Dreams), Sawyer Barth (Public Morals), Sam Straley, Andy Walken, Santino Barnard

WHAT: Set in the 1970s, the ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.”

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  The Wonder Years meets That 70s Show with a dash of Modern Family and maybe All in the Family as well as Eight is Enough thrown into the mix to become The Kids Are Alright, which, incidentally, was the working title of That 70s Show. Though I wanted to like what this teaser trailer was serving, this new sitcom boasts much in the way of ham-fisted nostalgia, in spades, coupled with forced parallelism to our modern times, while depending on what seems to be a lackluster cast of mostly unknown quantities trying, hard, to elicit laughs.  It even has voice-over narration in the way Daniel Stern’s Kevin Arnold talked over the younger Fred Savage version of the character’s antics in The Wonder Years.  Perhaps, there is potential to appeal to viewers hungry for this type of on-the-nose comedy, and if there is something we’re missing here, you can always tell us, but again, nothing struck as particularly funny as much as “all been done before” while watching the trailer, so we’re not willing to say this one’s alright, at least for now.

STATUS: The network ordered 22 episodes and ordered an additional episode in December 2018; 8 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal is a “safe bet” or “very likely,” given the network’s confidence so far in the series.

CPU! STATUS: There is tons of TV to watch right now, and no one has talked about it, requested podcast coverage, or otherwise made mention.  I don’t know if these kids are alright are not, but I have not been convinced to pass the “pass.”  There are several opportunities, though…feel free to take one yourself by commenting on this post.

Legacies

LEGACIES, The CW

WHEN: Thursdays at 9/8c

WHO: Matt Davis (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Rose Russell (The Originals), Quincy Fouse (The Goldbergs), Kaylee Bryant (Santa Clarita Diet), Jenny Boyd

WHAT: The Vampire Diaries and Originals spinoff follows the next generation of supernatural beings at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, including Klaus Mikaelson’s daughter, 17-year-old Hope Mikaelson; Alaric Saltzman’s twins, Lizzie and Josie Saltzman; and other young adults come of age in the most unconventional way possible, nurtured to be their best selves in spite of their worst impulses. Will these young witches, vampires and werewolves become the heroes they want to be — or the villains they were born to be?

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  CPU! includes fans who talked for several episodes about The Vampire Diaries and another panel will be finishing up ongoing water cooler coverage of The Originals in the very near future, now that the series has recently ended.  I imagine, therefore, that a chunk of us will want to check out this spin-off of the Vampire Diaries universe, if for no other reason than that any one of us might have a tough time letting said universe go for good.  Still, it would be a tall order to imagine that any of these characters, or their portraying actors, will be as interesting as the leading casts of either TVD or The Originals, but since the theme of the season seems to be morbid curiosity, we’ll just carry that with us as we give this new entry in the annals of vampire/supernatural fantasy fiction a try (and even if Alaric’s school is the supernatural Hogwarts).  Plus, we might see guest appearances by anyone from either of the two casts, so, morbid curiosity for the win!

STATUS: The network cautiously and in a staggered fashion ordered a full season of 16 episodes; 7 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits give renewal odds in the 50/50 category, though the show is faring better than its parent spin-off, The Originals, did in its final season…

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, primarily because our fans of The Vampire Diaries universe expressed in the last related podcast episode that they felt somewhat burnt out by this corner of their various fandoms. Still, after time passes…who knows?

Magnum P.I.

MAGNUM P.I., CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Jay Hernandez (Scandal, Last Resort), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), Stephen Hill (Luke Cage, Boardwalk Empire)

WHAT: An update of the classic television series set in Hawaii, the show follows Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Do you see Tom Selleck anywhere?  Do you?!?!  The answer to this question is the same answer to the question, “Will you be watching this latest reboot?” From the network that also brought us reboots of Hawaii Five-O and MacGyver – and, hell, of the entire 1980s – we now have a reboot of Magnum PI. Rebooted theme song included.  I didn’t watch much of the original and can’t imagine watching a less awesome actor than Tom Selleck taking on the part of the titular Magnum.  Call me crotchety, but this reboot madness is, well, madness.  Of course, wait until you read just a bit further.

We pass, by the way.

STATUS: The network ordered a full season of an unknown number of episodes on October 19, 2018; 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal chances are squarely at fifty percent.

CPU! STATUS: We have had one request to talk about this show, which may later spark a “Look Back to Look Forward” series about this latest reboot/remake.  There is no clamoring currently, but Jay Hernandez seems to leave viewers weak in the knees. Still, with this request, that means we must change the status to “very hesitantly pick up, not yet viewed.”  We are a podcast by the people, for the people, after all. 

Manifest

MANIFEST, NBC

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time), Melissa Roxburgh (Valor), J.R. Ramirez (Jessica Jones, Power), Athena Karkanis (Zoo), Parveen Kaur (Beyond), Luna Blaise (Fresh Off the Boat), Jack Messina

WHAT: When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Though the Peacock network may yet be trying for its next Lost, like so many other networks, ABC included, have tried before it, and though the trailer was not the best packaged presentation to tease the mystery being offered here, this new drama does offer some areas of interest, though this viewer’s immediate question was: “Did they fly over the Bermuda Triangle?”  Our Once Upon a Time panelists might be interested in the quick return of top-billed Josh Dallas, the once upon a time Prince Charming from the recently ended ABC fantasy.  Our Marvel’s Defenders panel may recognize J.R. Ramirez from the second season of Jessica Jones.  Ultimately, though, the core mystery is intriguing: where did the plane go, and why didn’t they age?  Though my vote is Bermuda Triangle voodoo, or maybe alien kidnapping, I’m intrigued enough to want to watch to learn the answers.

STATUS: On October 18, 2018, the network ordered additional episodes, bringing the first full season grand total to 16; 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits believe it is a safe bet that the show will be renewed (and, to the extent that we wear the pundit mantle, we agree).

CPU! STATUS: Manifest has been requested as a podcast candidate, and there has been some fairly emphatic buzz about this show – not Lost level buzz but unmistakable buzz, nonetheless.  Expect to see a Manifest podcast panel in the future.

Murphy Brown

MURPHY BROWN, CBS

WHO: Original stars Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud, plus Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey), Jake McDorman (Limitless, Greek), Nik Dodani (Atypical)

WHAT: Bergen reprises her role as the investigative journalist, who returns to a world of cable news, social media, fake news, and a very different political and cultural climate.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  It’s madness, I tell you!  But, hey, do you see Candice Bergen?  Do you?!?!  Well…that is the question, you got your answer, and so on, etc. que sera, fin. Of all the reboots to reboot, this one couldn’t be more appropriate or timely for today’s geopolitical circus, which, frankly, depresses this CP regardless of on which side of the aisle you prefer to hang your hat.  Back in the day, Murphy Brown was a hard-hitting situation comedy that challenged the tenets passing for the conservatism heading the country and the bumbling silence of the liberal answer, all while also holding the media complex, then far less complex, accountable for their contribution to the insanity.  Now, the world is a lot more insane, and, frankly, I could use Murphy’s brand of loyalty to the truth and skewering sarcasm to make me feel better about the state of things.  Though the reboot moves on without the inimitable Charles Kimbrough and the now deceased Robert Pastorelli, two ingredients we might end up missing more than we think, I believe the world is more ready for an older, sassier Murphy than they are for a Magnum PI who is not Tom Selleck.  Dan Quayle, eat your heart out!  Mike Pence: brace yourself!

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 20, 2018, after a total of 13 episodes.  Though the network has gone on record to indicate that the Eye is considering renewal, chances are not good (“long shot,” “unlikely”).  The ratings have been erratic, and the political platform of this program, though well placed in the George HW Bush era, might not land as deftly in the Trumpian era of American politics and media, particularly given the public’s widely varying regard for the press, currently.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Neighborhood

THE NEIGHBORHOOD, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8/7c

WHO: Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls), Sheaun McKinney (Great News), Marcel Spears (The Mayor), Tichina Arnold (Survivor’s Remorse), Hank Greenspan

WHAT: The nicest guy in the Midwest moves his family into a tough neighborhood in L.A. where not everyone appreciates his extreme neighborliness.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  With only a 30 second teaser available to assess this new comedy, this viewer is not particularly hopeful or confident that things will be all that good in this neighborhood.  Still, Cedric the Entertainer is reliably funny, and Max Greenfield’s sense of comedic timing (the erstwhile Schmidt on recently ended New Girl, of course) could be the winning ingredient, while lightly poking fun at some sociological phenomena of this day and age that will cross some important social and cultural boundaries.  Or, it could just be a hot mess, since Max was a last minute recasting, particularly if it relies on a traditional sitcom format, laugh track included, to elicit viewer laughs.  Still, we’ve given other pick ups to shows with less going for them, so why not?

STATUS: On October 19, 2018, the Eye ordered the “back 9” and brought the program’s full first season episode total to 22; 11 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits say renewal is likely.

CPU! STATUS: The CPU! Podcast received a request to cover this show in podcast format, so this pick up is definite and permanent.  Otherwise, not yet viewed.

New Amsterdam

NEW AMSTERDAM, NBC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Janet Montgomery (Salem), Freema Agyeman (Sense8, Doctor Who), Anupam Kher (Sense8), Tyler Labine (Reaper), Jocko Sims (The Last Ship)

WHAT: Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, the medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  Okay, I’ll grant you: it’s another medical drama, which CPU! doesn’t cover much, and there are few genres that rely so heavily on formulaic tropes as the medical drama (outside of procedural TV).  Yet, there’s something a bit different about this medical drama, at least given what was presented in the trailer.  And NBC is on fire this coming season with some intriguing pilots and orders to season that sort of break mold – so why shouldn’t their selection for a medical drama be different, even if they might be looking to find their next ER, which was a tent pole staple of evening TV on this very network for nearly two decades.  The doctor in the lead has cancer, is appointed director of medicine at the oldest hospital in the nation, and wants to disrupt the system enough to get the hospital to return focus to actual medicine and not upon speedy service and expensive billing.  And really – isn’t that what we all want? Sure, this one could descend rapidly into schmaltz, but I don’t know.  There’s something a bit bolder here than the normal medical drama, and I think I’m here for it.  Let’s see if other Couch Potatoes feel the same.

STATUS: On October 10, 2018, the Peacock ordered the “back 9” of this drama, marking a full season of 22 episodes; 9 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  Yet, there is no consensus about predictions related to chances of renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Passage

THE PASSAGE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 14, 2019

WHO: Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Pitch), Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), Brianne Howey (The Exorcist), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), Saniyya Sidney (American Horror Story: Roanoke), Jamie McShane (Bloodline), Caroline Chikezie (The Shannara Chronicles)

WHAT: Based on author Justin Cronin’s best‐selling trilogy of the same name, the drama centers around a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race. The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy Bellafonte, who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment and Brad Wolgast, the Federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though this CP thinks she might actually want to read these books first after watching the trailer, I am all sorts of intrigued by the story – which feels very movie-like, by the way, in terms of tension and mystery – being presented by The Passage.  First, I think Zach Morris is no longer the worst, for reals, though.  Mark-Paul Gosselaar seems to be putting forth a compelling effort in the lead character role for this show and more of a compelling effort than I’ve seen him put forth recently.  Second, what a tangled web of moral ambiguity we’re about to watch!  No wonder these books were bestsellers.  This show presents a heck of a lot of science fiction fueled potential, and that’s what we love here at CPU!, so pick this one up we shall – seems like easy passage to me.

Proven Innocent

PROVEN INNOCENT, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: February 15, 2019

WHO: Rachelle Lefevre (Under the Dome), Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Kelsey Grammer (Boss), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Riley Smith (Frequency, Nashville), Nikki M. James (BrainDead), Clare O’Connor (Easy)

WHAT: A legal drama set in an wrongful conviction firm. Led by a fierce and fearless female lawyer with a hunger for justice, the team reopens investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent that were “proven” guilty.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. There are medical dramas, and then there are legal dramas.  No TV season can be without 20 of each.  Though the trailer here presented a premise that promises to be manipulative and somewhat force-fed, this viewer is drawn to cast members this time out, particularly Russell Hornsby, who we loved on Grimm; Kelsey Grammer, who is more than a mere Boss; and Vincent Kartheiser, married to Alexis Bledel and sometime supporting star of Mad Men and Angel.  I will give this one a try for them, but if this drama falls into a nebulous sticky goo of manipulative feel-good lawyer-type stuff, it won’t last – for us or for the viewing public, at least not in an entertainment complex saturated with vehicles just like it.

The Red Line

THE RED LINE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2019

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Noah Wyle (ER), Noel Fisher (Shameless), Michael Patrick Thornton (Private Practice), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Ballers, Hand of God), Vinny Chhibber (NoTomorrow), Aliyah Royale, Howard Charles (The Musketeers), Elizabeth Laidlaw (Boss)

WHAT: After a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, we follow three vastly different families that all have connections with the case as the story is told from each perspective.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. There is no trailer available to watch for the TV pundits, so judging from the scant synopsis offered above, this particular new vehicle has the potential to be Crash, the TV show.  Or, perhaps it’s another go at Shots Fired, a limited series that aired on Fox and was canceled after one season of low ratings.  As easy on the eyes as Noah Wyle is, and as happy as we are to see him back on TV, there simply isn’t enough to go on to establish a connection beyond what seems visibly recycled.  If buzz, accolades, or steam start steaming up the joint, we’ll happily reconsider.  We’re really quite flexible around here.  There’s nothing preventing us from doing our yoga while we couch potato, you know.

Rel

REL, Fox

WHEN: Sundays at 9:30/8:30c (beginning Sept. 30)

WHO: Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Sinbad (A Different World, The Sinbad Show), Jordan L. Jones, Jessica “Jess Hilarious” Moore

WHAT: Lil Rel, a prideful, self-made success who lives by the code to “always believe in yourself and great things will come,” finds that attitude put to the test when he learns his wife is having an affair with his own barber. He tries to rebuild his life post-divorce as a long-distance single father on the South Side of Chicago who’s on a quest for love, respect and a new barber.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Holy crap!  It’s Sinbad!  Sinbad aside, though, Lil Rel feels a tad, a smidge, a smudge, a whit, an iota….you get the drift….just like a wannabe Tyler Perry or maybe an Eddie Murphy, the one of Nutty Professor days, without actually being all that funny.  I might not be in the target audience for this comedy, which I can respect, but this viewer also thinks that this new comedy might be trying too hard for laughs like some other new sitcoms on this list.  Anyway, I only laughed once at the trailer – at Sinbad – and just don’t feel that this show’s worth the look, but if you can convince us otherwise, by all means.  Give it a go.

STATUS: It looks as though Fox initially ordered 13 episodes; 10 have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal is a long shot.

CPU! STATUS: The critics have not been kind to this sitcom, and the ratings have been altogether poor.  No one is talking about this comedy around the united couch potatoes, so we think we made the correct initial call.  Feel free to talk us out of it – if you can.

The Rookie

THE ROOKIE, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Nathan Fillion (Castle), Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter), Eric Winter (Rosewood, Witches of East End), Richard T. Jones (Wisdom of the Crowd), Mercedes Mason (Fear the Walking Dead), Afton Williamson (The Night Of, Banshee), Titus Makin (The Path, Pretty Little Liars), Alyssa Diaz (Ray Donovan, Zoo)

WHAT: Starting over isn’t easy, especially for small town guy John Nolan who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being an LAPD officer. As the force’s oldest rookie, he’s met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can’t keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he’ll be risking lives including his own. But if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humor to give him an edge, he may just become a success in this new chapter of his life.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  As much as a return of Nathan Fillion to prime-time TV is a sight for sore eyes no matter how you slice and dice this particular puree, unfortunately, he’s returning in a cop drama.  And while it is a cop drama with a twist, where he plays an older rookie being judged by younger members of the police force (and command), the trailer seems to indicate that, ultimately, it’s still a cop drama.  I think people will watch this show for him – this viewer momentarily contemplated it – and it might even do well.  Unfortunately, apart from the erstwhile Captain Mal, the erstwhile Captain Hammer, and the erstwhile Castle, not a captain, there is very little that connects for this particular potato, and I’m pretty doubtful the current CPU! panelist lineup will fare much better.  With all that said, we wish Mr. Fillion all the best and may be influenced to change our minds with the right amount of water cooler buzz.  Or, just contact us!  We like that.

STATUS: In November 2018, the Alphabet network ordered a full season, bring the first season’s episode total to 20; 8 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal is likely.

CPU! STATUS: No one’s requested or talked about this show yet.  We want to watch Nathan Fillion most of the time.  Give us reasons why this time should be no exception, cop show or no cop show.

Roswell New Mexico

ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: January 15, 2019

WHO: Jeanine Mason (Grey’s Anatomy), Nathan Parsons (The Originals), Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars), Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries), Heather Hemmens (Hellcats), Lily Cowles (BrainDead), Michael Vlamis (New Girl), Trevor St. John (Containment), Karan Oberoi (Notorious, NCIS)

WHAT: After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.

Trailer available at TVLine’s YouTube channel (here).

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up.  Oh, hey, CW, I see you.  You’re beefing up, not one, but two of the WB’s oldest, most cult-adored properties for this coming season, eh?  Even though you’ve traditionally done better than your big brother networks at aiming for the original and then sticking with it until you’ve bled it dry?  Unlike Charmed, Roswell has more of a cult following even than some of the WB’s – and the CW’s – most cult-y audience favorites.  It lasted for only a few seasons in its original run, but those that are in the Roswell fan club speak highly of it.  While I never caught that one, though I can’t say why for sure, as Roswell is the kind of vehicle typically up this viewer’s normal alley of weird and wacky sci-fi TV, and considering that this potato and CPU! in its early days gave Star-Crossed, a very Roswell-like science fiction romance that was canceled quickly by the CW, a chance, I do know that a few of our resident Couch Potatoes are big fans of the first version of this alien love story.  Will they be of this reboot?  Well, we will very hesitantly pick this one up and have what will, no doubt, be another judgmental look back to look forward series.  We may even talk about the Charmed reboot and this one in succession.  I will say that what this reboot has going for it more than anything else: Nathan Parsons.  He has romantic lead potential not fully tapped or explored so far, typically because his characters are short-lived, and he has acted in other popular genre entries like True Blood and The Originals.  So, the show is worth a wary look.  A very wary look.

Schooled

SCHOOLED, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: January 9, 2019

WHO: AJ Michalka, Tim Meadows and Bryan Callen (The Goldbergs)

WHAT: Set in 1990-something, the Goldbergs spinoff follows the hilarious teachers of William Penn Academy, who, despite their eccentricities and crazy personal lives, are heroes to their students.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now.  CPU! is not currently covering The Goldbergs, either on the podcast or in blog format, so before we consider even looking into a spin-off of said flashback comedy, which propels us from 80s to 90s, no less, we would want to take a look at the comedy that “schooled” this one into being.  We’ll keep an eye on it, though, given its spin-off status, and see how it fares.

Single Parents

SINGLE PARENTS, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Taran Killam (SNL), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), Kimrie Lewis (Scandal), Jake Choi (Hawaii Five-O, Younger), Marlow Barkley, Tyler Wladis, Devin Trey Campbell, Grace Hazelett, Sadie Hazelett

WHAT: Follows a group of single parents as they lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though this sitcom actually has some solid potential to sustain, and more than some of the other new sitcom entries on the season, given some welcome use of sarcasm and irony to tell the jokes, the people who will find this funniest will, no doubt, be in the group referenced by the title, or at least parents in general, which this potato cannot currently claim to be.  If any parental panelist sprung forward, though, and said that they would like to talk about this one, I would probably quickly change my mind about this “pass.”  Honestly, the funniest characters may be everyone but Taran Killam’s, but there were some sincere laughs in the trailer, and that bodes well for these single parents all around – just think what 22 minutes might bring.  This is not a hard pass; it’s merely a practical one, that a little peer pressure could probably turn around.  Are you picking up what I’m putting down, potatoes?

STATUS: On October 17, 2018, ABC ordered a back ten, bringing the first season episode total to 23; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: One CPU! panelist has offered an almost glowing recommendation (and request) to talk Elizabeth Merriwether’s new show on the podcast, and in the wake of the vacuum left by a departed New Girl, we cannot fight the logic.  Changing this status to “Pick Up.”

The Village

THE VILLAGE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 12, 2019

WHO: LorraineToussaint (Rosewood), Michaela McManus (Seal Team), Warren Christie (The Resident, Chicago Fire), Moran Atias (The Resident, Tyrant), Daren Kagasoff (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Grace Van Dien (Greenhouse Academy), Dominic Chianese (The Sopranos), Jerod Haynes (Southside With You), Frankie Faison (Banshee, The Wire)

WHAT: Follows the residents of a Brooklyn apartment building who have built a bonded family of friends and neighbors. Sarah’s a nurse and single mom raising a creative teen; Gabe’s a young law student who got a much older and unexpected roommate; Ava must secure the future of her young, U.S.-born son when ICE comes knocking; Nick’s a veteran who’s returned from war; and the heart and soul of the building, Ron and Patricia, have captivating tales all their own.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  With no trailer publicly available, we of the lowly Michigan-based podcast have to rely on early reviews of the trailer – which are decidedly mixed.  What also seems decidedly true is that the Peacock might be searching for its next This Is Us, which would be great, if This Is Us wasn’t still on the air.  Honestly, maybe there are some feel-good or just feeling stories told well in this new drama, but, to this viewer and based on synopsis alone, it has the potential for saccharine, predictable storytelling that could descend into manipulative melodrama quickly.  If I am wrong, tell me.  I’m okay to be wrong.  We have to be ruthless with our choices around here, though, so unless buzz and water-cooler steam percolates from the hotness of this show, we will detour away from this village.

Whiskey Cavalier

WHISKEY CAVALIER, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: February 27, 2019

WHO: Scott Foley (Scandal), Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids, Ugly Betty), Tyler James Williams (The Walking Dead), Vir Das (Go Goa Gone)

WHAT: Follows the adventures of tough but tender FBI super-agent Will Chase (codename: “Whiskey Cavalier”). Following an emotional break-up, Chase is assigned to work with badass CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: “Fiery Tribune”). Together, they lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics.

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube channel.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up.  I did not want to like this.  I did NOT want to like this.  It started off with some definite ham and cheese on rye with the overly fuzzy and tender-hearted main character who moonlights by day as an agent of the FBI – and oh my, how Scott Foley has aged (*fans self at the thirty second mark of the trailer*) – but as I continued to watch said trailer, I found that the presentation navigated into territory previously tread by, say, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Alias, Castle, and a pinch of The X-Files but in a way that felt fresh and new.  Plus, this show and Scott’s character have a catchy code name; it’s rare that the title charms, but charms it has done.  By the end of the trailer, I found myself ensconced in the witty repartee of the two main characters, who have real chemistry, even though I wasn’t expecting a high-octane government agent premise to be pockmarked with some sardonic romantic comedy.  It is because of this unexpected wit and twisty working that I find myself wanting to see more.  Go watch the few minutes worth of a sample, and tell me you don’t agree.  Is Mr. Foley married, though?

The following is a link to all premiere dates for shows covered beyond the main networks: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-premiere-dates

Non-Broadcast Network Pick-Ups

Disenchantment (Netflix) – They had me at “Futurama but for fantasy rather than sci-fi.”

The latest animated series from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is basically Futurama but for fantasy rather than sci-fi. Abbi Jacobson, Nat Faxon, and Eric Andre head a vocal cast that also includes Futurama vets Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, and Tress MacNeille.

STATUS: The streaming giant ordered a full season of 22 episodes, 10 were released on August 17, 2018, with the remaining 12 slated for some time in 2019.  Netflix has already renewed this program for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Innocents (Netflix) – “British,” “supernatural,” and “teen drama” are all pretty much up the podcast’s alley.

Guy Pearce stars in this British supernatural teen drama.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on August 24, 2018.  There has been no word regarding the potential of renewal for additional seasons.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime) – All I saw was “The Office’s John Krasinski,” but I do enjoy a good Jack Ryan story.

In the first TV series based on Tom Clancy’s books, The Office‘s John Krasinski plays a modern-day version of the titular CIA analyst—previously portrayed on screen by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine—as he embarks on his first field assignment that finds him attempting to thwart a terrorist attack. Lost vets Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland created and produce the eight-episode series, which also stars Wendell Pierce and Abbie Cornish. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) directs the opening episode, while others are helmed by Dan Sackheim (The Americans). The series has already been renewed for a 2nd season.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on August 31, 2018.  Amazon renewed this series for a Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but this series was requested for podcast coverage, and with John Krasinski starring in it, how can I resist?  This pick-up is definite and permanent.

Mayans M.C. (FX): The original “Sons of Anarchy” has been a recommended panel for some time, now, so we’ll keep an eye on this spin-off and see if our resident “Sons” fans feel as passionate about it.

Sons of Anarchy spinoff stars JD Pardo, Edward James Olmos, Clayton Cardenas, Sarah Bolger, Michael Irby, and Richard Cabral.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on November 6, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.  FX renewed the Sons of Anarchy spin-off for a Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Purge (USA): Though we should probably make sure we’ve watched all of the movie franchise first…

Yes, it’s a series adaptation of the Purge movie franchise set within the same universe, where all crime is legal for a 12-hour period each year.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on November 6, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.  USA renewed this series for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Kidding (Showtime): The Chief CP is a huge fan of Michel Gondry and has seen a few early teasers for this show.  I’m sold on all of the elements, from director to cast to premise.

It’s the first TV show from quirky film/video director Michel Gondry, who reunites with his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind star Jim Carrey (himself returning to TV as a regular in a scripted, non-sketch TV series for the first time since 1984’s The Duck Factory). Carrey plays Mr. Pickles, the increasingly troubled host of a beloved children’s television series that looks like a cross between Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Muppet Show. The terrific cast also includes Catherine Keener, Judy Greer, Frank Langella, and Justin Kirk. Gondry is a producer and directs multiple episodes of the series—you’ll definitely notice his handiwork in the trailer—which was created by Weeds writer Dave Holstein.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on November 11, 2018, after a total of 10 episodes.  Showtime renewed this Michel Gondry vehicle for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The First (Hulu): Solid potential between premise and cast, and we like science fiction around here.

A co-production between Hulu and the UK’s Channel 4, the latest series from House of Cards creator Beau Willimon takes place in the near future as it follows the development of the first human space mission to Mars. Sean Penn (in his first regular TV role) and Natascha McElhone head a cast that also features James Ransone, Oded Fehr, Hannah Ware, and Lisa Gay Hamilton.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on September 14, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Forever (Amazon Prime): Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph were two of the most solid SNL character players.  That reminds me, I need to catch up on “Portlandia.”

Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph star as a married couple attempting to break out of their boring, suburban rut in a new Amazon comedy series from Master of None co-creator Alan Yang and 30 Rock‘s Matt Hubbard. Catherine Keener and Noah Robbins also star.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on September 14, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Camping (HBO): All I saw was “David Tennant.”  Hearts hearts hearts.  I don’t even care what it’s about. (I hope it doesn’t suck).  Though Jennifer Garner was Sydney Bristow, and that’s pretty good too.

This adaptation of the British comedy series about a group of old friends on a back-to-nature group holiday at a lackluster campsite comes from the team behind HBO’s Girls, including creator Lena Dunham and producer Jenni Konner. Jennifer Garner (in her first regular TV role since Alias) and David Tennant lead a cast that also includes Juliette Lewis, Arturo Del Puerto, Brett Gelman, Ione Skye, and Bridget Everett.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 2, 2018, after a total of 8 episodes.  HBO has not discussed the future of this series.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix): It’s the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” reboot, so there will probably be a look back to look forward series.  Plus, it’s got an early renewal.  That’s some brass, Netflix.

Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka stars as Archie Comics character Sabrina Spellman (aka Sabrina the Teenage Witch) in this Greg Berlanti-produced series that was originally developed as a spinoff from Riverdale for that show’s network, The CW. (Both shows were developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.) Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis, Bronson Pinchot, and Ross Lynch also star. Netflix has already renewed the show for a second season.

STATUS: Season 1 was released on October 26, 2018, with a total of 10 episodes. Netflix subsequently released a holiday special for this show on December 14, 2018.  In addition, Netflix renewed this wildly popular new take on the Sabrina Spellman character for a Season 2, expected to release on April 5, 2019, and, as of December 18, 2018, for Seasons 3 and 4 as well!

CPU! STATUS: In our December 19, 2018, publication of CPU!, an episode devoted to A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2, it was announced that CPU! will officially be embarking upon a series devoted to one of the premiere Water Cooler shows of the year, coming soon (likely to be recorded spring or summer, 2019). It is my hope that the podcast series will a) be a “Look Back to Look Forward” affair, including the fluffier Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and that b) there will some cross-over potential with our, also, newly announced panel for Riverdale, which has been confirmed to be set in the same universe, both in the comics and on screen.  Stay tuned for all this nerdy, darkly comic goodness!

Homecoming (Amazon Prime): This has got a crazy good cast and stellar producer cred; plus, we’ll check out this podcast in solidarity.

Based on the hit Gimlet Media fiction podcast of the same name, this psychological thriller comes from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and stars Julia Roberts, Sissy Spacek, Bobby Cannavale, Shea Whigham, Dermot Mulroney, Stephan James, and Alex Karpovsky. A second season will stream next year.

STATUS: The first season of 10 episodes was released on November 2, 2018.  Since Amazon ordered two seasons off the bat, this show was automatically renewed for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

The Kominsky Method (Netflix): Though Chuck Lorre needs to work on his overall sense of humor, at least for this couch potato’s edification, I think Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin earn a look.

The latest series from producer Chuck Lorre (who previously developed the short-lived Disjointed for the streaming service) is a single-camera comedy starring Michael Douglas as a Hollywood acting coach. Alan Arkin co-stars as his longtime agent and friend, while Nancy Travis plays a divorcée who enrolls in his acting class. Lisa Edelstein will also have a recurring guest role.

STATUS: The first season of 8 episodes was released on November 16, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Added to the List!

Haunting of Hill House (Netflix) 

STATUS: The “limited” season of 10 episodes was released on October 12, 2018.  There has been no word regarding renewal or cancellation possibilities, since it has been labeled a “limited series.”

CPU! STATUS: This other premiere Water Cooler series has also been highly requested at the podcast.  Stay tuned!

Others on radar: Good Omens and The Lord of the Rings series in development at Amazon; a “Narnia” series at Netflix; The Dark Crystal: the Age of Resistance at Netflix; Watership Down at Netflix; The Witcher at Netflix; The Chronicles of Narnia at Netflix; The Wheel of Time at Amazon; His Dark Materials at BBC/HBO; The Watch (BBC); Conan at Amazon; The Dark Tower at Amazon; Cursed at Amazon.

-*-

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 week, Couch Potatoes Unite! with start the New Year 2019 with our first ever non-live “Vs.” discussion, pitting The Tudors v. Wolf Hall. Stay tuned for the royal madness and spicy-ethness!

Once Upon a Time, Season 7A (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 Once Upon a Time panel – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – returns to the Water Cooler to discuss the first half of season seven of Once Upon a Time, recently announced to be in its final season and following the so-called seventh season soft reboot of both premise and main cast.  And, of course, because of harried scheduling logistics involving our now infamous equipment failure/replacement, panelist Eddie proved unable to join the primary recording but was determined to have his seat at the water cooler nevertheless.  And, in CPU! land, such funky scheduling leads inevitably to wacky hi-jinks, always in the style of “The Newlywed Game.”  It’s a happy beginning for all, eh?  As always, if you are not caught up on Once, 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: “Once Upon a Time” – The Season 7 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for once upon a time season 7 title
Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Once Upon a Time” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall/winter/spring Fridays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Once Upon a Time,” a fantasy drama wherein storybook and fairy tale characters are not only real but are living in this world, away from their enchanted kingdoms and worlds beyond reality, and how they all interrelate (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/once_upon_a_time/summary.html).

When: The Season 7 premiere aired on Friday, October 6, 2017, at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Where: The show, in this season, engages in a “soft reboot” of its story premise and is (currently) set in Hyperion Heights, a fictional neighborhood deep within the heart of very real Seattle, Washington, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest,” the fairy tale kingdom from where most of the main characters originate. The action takes place primarily in present day, though there are flashbacks to the characters’ past lives and events.

Why: Two primary reasons: one, Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves fantasy and fairy tales, and the Disney network green-lit a live action serial television program about fairy tale characters that they would probably own the rights to, if the characters weren’t already public domain. Two, the creators are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, two of the head writers of Lost. Whatever else may be said about the latter program, I don’t think anyone could argue that Lost wasn’t well written. All of our panel of enthusiastic Once fans finds love for this program via one or both of those reasons themselves.

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

To catch up on prior Once podcast episodes, click on the links embedded below:

Season 4A – Frozen

Season 4B – Queens of Darkness
Season 5A – Dark Swan
Season 5B – The Underworld
Season 6A
Season 6B
Our now bonded and totally cohesive and still full Once panel – namely Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – reconvene (ish) around the Water Cooler “once” again to discuss Season 7A of OUAT, in which we digest the much ballyhooed, so-called “soft reboot” of Season 7.  Unfortunately, because this also happens to be the episode that was being processed for publishing at the time of our now legendary equipment failure, this is a re-recording, using, for the first time, an all online format!  What’s more, because panelist Eddie could not make the scheduled recording but still wanted to provide his opinions (because, as regular listeners of this series know, he’s Eddie!), we recorded him separately. So, of course, CPU! and your Chief CP sprung “Newlywed” type hi-jinks on our panel. Because that’s what we do with passionate panelists otherwise separated by time, space, and lives behind the podcast.  In the meantime, the new season presents all new characters and holds over only four characters with whom we have grown acquainted and grown to love over the first six seasons.  The rest of the original cast departed but for agreed upon one-off appearances in this season’s first half.  What does it all mean for Once Upon a Time and for our panel? Is everyone still watching, despite the fact that Once seems to have become something of a whole new show, with a whole new storybook, under the umbrella of the old title?  Or, has anyone jumped the shark in lieu of all of this unprecedented change?  Listen to our newest chapter of CPU!’s ongoing Once Upon a Time podcast, during which we reflect on Season 7A and ruminate on the possibilities swirling around the #potential (#drink) of the current season.  Do you agree with us? Or, do you have your own thoughts? Comment below!

This podcast was (re)recorded in March 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the seventh season. 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 week, we will be publishing another re-run as we gear up for recording (and re-recording) more new episodes; the episode to be re-run will be our prior coverage of the first season of Stranger Things.  Also, we will be publishing our quarterly progress report covering new shows of the 2017-2018 season, now that February ratings sweeps have come and gone.  In the following week, a new panel will, schedule permitting, launch a new ongoing series covering existentially philosophical NBC sitcom The Good Place.  Don’t miss it!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
Old Questions
1) REPEAT QUESTION: Is baby Neal magical like his sister? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: At this time, baby Neal’s “specialness,” if it exists, is still unknown.  Also, we presume baby Neal is no longer a baby by the time we see old characters settled into various new identities in this seventh season.
2) REPEAT QUESTION: How did Will Scarlett (Michael Socha), aka the Knave from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, end up in Storybrooke and without Anastasia (Emma Rigby), the former Red Queen? And how did he and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) decide to hook up? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where he went is anyone’s guess.  Why he was even brought to the flagship show with so little explanation for his coming and going is the bigger mystery, though panelist Micah now theorizes that, perhaps, Will Scarlett visited Storybrooke before he ended up in Wonderland.  The bigger issue is that the writers/producers failed to truly spell that out in a way that satisfies.
3) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Maleficient (Kristen Bauer von Straten) go? Will we see more of her? Will she reconnect with her daughter Lily in a more meaningful way? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: Like Will Scarlett, Maleficient and Lily have both disappeared without a trace or explanation.  Though this new coven being teased could foretell the arrival of certain witchy personalities within the Disney universe and from prior Once episodes, and, apart from Snow White’s evil queen, who is the most evil witch of all?
4) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the Once writers/producers provide a better, more detailed explanation for why Will Scarlett was on the flagship series? Will they provide a more significant flashback to explain why he and Anastasia are not together anymore? Would Emma Rigby be available to reprise her role of Anastasia? (This question will remain until answered!)
REPEAT ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where or where has Will Scarlett gone?
5) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Maleficient, Lily, August, Will Scarlett, or any of these disappearing characters reappear?  Will their disappearances, at least, be explained? (This question will remain until answered!)
REPEAT ANSWER: Not so far, and it seems irresponsible of the writers.  Maybe they will surprise us in the end.  Where oh where have they all gone?!
6) REPEAT QUESTION: The panelists still want to know where these characters went: Merida, Mulan, Aurora, Philip, Roland (Robin’s son), and other members of the non-Wished Enchanted Forest?
REPEAT ANSWER: Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown…
7) The producers and show-runners have been releasing various teaser details to foreshadow the “soft reboot” fueling Season 7.  For example, five new actresses were cast to fill mysterious roles, though one of the actresses cast will play Henry’s lover/potential wife and Henry’s daughter Lucy’s mother (we saw Lucy in the sixth season finale), identified to be another version of Cinderella, somehow dissimilar from the Cinderella played by Jessy Schram in earlier seasons.  We also know that one of the new actresses will play Cinderella’s stepmother.  Who are the remaining actresses playing?
ANSWER: The new actresses cast are as follows:
Dania Ramirez as Jacinda aka Cinderella aka Ella
Gabrielle Anwar as Victoria Belfrey aka Lady Tremaine, the Evil Stepmother, aka (SPOILER) Rapunzel
Mekia Cox as Sabine aka Princess/Queen Tiana
Adelaide Kane as Ivy Belfrey aka Drizella, the Evil Stepsister
Rose Reynolds as Tilly aka Alice (of Wonderland)
8) How does Adult Henry (Andrew J. West) end up in the Enchanted Forest (or something like it…and what is it if not the Enchanted Forest) and then back in our realm, beset by amnesia, like his grandparents and Storybrooke friends were when the series started?
ANSWER: Adult Henry, as child/teenager Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), leaves mama Regina (Lana Parilla) to “seek his own story.”  He leaves, on a motorcycle, to go specifically to the Enchanted Forest for that story, and he accesses the realm of his ancestors via magic bean and, presumably, a motorcycle powered by a magically-never-empty gas tank (since we presume petrol does not exist in any version of the Enchanted Forest).  As for how Adult Henry returns to this realm – how else? By the casting of an evil curse.  For the record, it’s not his fault.
9) How will the show explain away the new Cinderella, given that this character was previously introduced, played by a different actress and well acquainted to the Snow White character?
ANSWER: By not explaining at all, apparently.  This will remain a question until answered, but, for now, the show is asking us to buy that there is more than one Cinderella – as well as more than one Alice of Wonderland, Anastasia of Evil Stepsister fame, and Jack of the Beanstalk fame – out there, and that all versions of these duplicated characters originated from the Enchanted Forest.  Your guess is as good as ours as to how this would be possible, even in the impossible world of OUAT.
10) Will Emma die, given that Jennifer Morrison is slated to appear in only one episode next season?
ANSWER: Emma survives.  In fact, she is pregnant again, with hubby Hook’s (Colin O’Donaghue) baby.  Listen to the podcast for details.
11) A teaser trailer shows Captain Hook wearing a police uniform, Regina standing in a bar, and Rumpel (Robert Carlyle) in unknown climes.  How do they get where they are going?  What is the back story for this time jump?
ANSWER: The time jump is explained twofold – Henry grows up while looking for his story, while Rumpel spends some time in the Edge of Realms, where time does not move at the same pace as in other realms.  Regina becomes bartender Roni, Captain Hook becomes Detective Rogers, and Rumpel becomes Detective Weaver in the newly formed mystical neighborhood of Hyperion Heights, wrought once again by an evil, memory-affecting curse.
12) Is Henry the new Savior?  Lucy (Alison Fernandez) says in the final seconds of the Season 6 finale that he has to save his family – to whom is she specifically referring?
ANSWER: While Henry has not been officially promoted to “Savior” status, like his bio mom Emma, as of yet, Lucy is referring to the need to save Henry’s wife, Cinderella (or Ella for short); her friend and Lucy’s honorary aunt, Tiana; his mother, Regina; his grandfather, Rumpel; his stepfather (sort of), Hook; and Lucy herself.
13) Will this new season and new version of the show truly be different from what we have been watching?  Or, will there be a rehashing of story lines and/or a recycling of plot points, only applied to new generations and/or new characters?
ANSWER: More the latter than the former.  Listen to the podcast episode for extensive discussion on this question.
14) Will we see any of the departing characters (besides Emma) with any sort of regularity or frequency, or is everyone leaving and gone?  How will they explain the departures and absences of so many of the main characters?
ANSWER: Zelena (Rebecca Mader) returns, possibly for a multi-episode arc but not until near the mid-season finale.  Belle (Emilie de Ravin) returns for one episode, where we see her live her life fully with Rumpel in the Edge of Realms.  She grows old and dies of old age, while Rumpel, age eternal because of his status as Dark One, seeks to end his immortality and bequeath the Dark One essence to the “Guardian,” whomever that might be (and we do not know yet who or what it is) in order to find his love in death.  We also see the appearance of Mr. Smee, but that is because this version of Hook, the Wish Realm version, made young again through magic, transfers ownership of the Jolly Roger to him when faced with the prospect of caring for his newborn baby daughter, Alice, also daughter of Mother Gothel (Emma Booth).  Otherwise, the show has provided no other insights into the characters that have left at this time.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.
15) Will we see an older Neal, who, as Emma’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
ANSWER: So far, no Neal appears.  The panel votes for an appearance, though.  We would also like to meet Henry’s new sibling.  The show may now be forced to bring about such happy endings, though…since it was announced that Season 7 would Once’s final season.
16) Will we see an older Gideon, who, as Baelfire’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
ANSWER: Older Gideon does return to visit his parents in the Edge of Realms and to help his father following the death of his mother.  This family lives a long and happy life there, and Older Gideon seeks to be learned in books and magic like his parents, so he eventually leaves to find his story too.
17) Will Rumpel still be the Dark One?
ANSWER: So far, though he is trying to change his circumstances in light of Belle’s passing, Rumpel is still the Dark One.
18) Will we see any of the long missing characters, or get any explanations for their whereabouts, in the new season (the ones listed in questions 1-5 above)?
ANSWER: So far, we do not see any of these characters or receive any such explanations.  While there might be opportunities for reappearances later this season, based upon the story progress, we also predict that the show’s writers/producers are just going to leave us hanging, as their collective track record up until this point is not great.  Not cool, team.  Not cool.
19) Did the propitious moment of Emma’s resurrection also mean that the Evil Queen, as a separate entity, came into being again?
ANSWER: So far, it seems that the Evil Queen, the separate entity who split from Regina Prime in Season 6, remains no longer in existence, owing to her sacrifice in Season 6, at least as of the present day point in the story.  On the other hand, Wish Realm Hook is visited by an Evil Queen, who we presume to be the Evil Queen that used to be with Regina Prime, who then became the Wish Realm Evil Queen.  Believe us, it’s confusing just typing this stuff.
20) Will Emma and Hook have or be able to have other children?  Are they even interested in new children?
ANSWER: Emma is with child as we speak.  Hooray for Happy Beginnings!
21) Who will be the villain(s) of Season 7?
ANSWER: At the start of the season, viewers are led to believe that Cinderella’s Stepmother, Lady Tremaine, is the villain of all villains in this soft reboot.  Through a twist, however, we then are convinced that her daughter Ivy, bent on revenge and spurred by a seeming lack of love on the part of her mother, could be the season’s mastermind.  In the end, though, the manipulator of all is Rapunzel’s Witch, namely Mother Gothel, posing as Eloise Gardner in The Land Without Magic.  She seeks to unite a Coven of Eight mysterious witches and does so through the exploitation of family rifts seeded by Lady Tremaine, who turns out to be the famous Rapunzel herself.  Listen to the podcast for details.
22) Where did the rest of Storybrooke go?  Is the town still there?  Are Dr. Hopper and Granny and the Seven Dwarfs still around?
ANSWER: Where or where did Storybrooke go?  We presume it’s still there, but we have seen no one specifically from Storybrooke around as of late, except all characters previously mentioned or cited above.
New Questions
1)  Who or what is “the Guardian,” to which Rumpel wants to pass the Dark One dagger and essence?  What is the Guardian guarding?  Is it Lucy?  Is it Rapunzel’s eldest daughter Anastasia?  Is it someone we know?  Is it something or someone we don’t know?
2) How do Drizella and Anastasia have magic in this version?  How does Rapunzel/Tremaine manifest magic?
3) Does Drizella truly love Adult Henry?  Or, was she just using him the whole time?
4) Will Alice encounter her mother, Mother Gothel?  Does Alice have magical powers like her mother?  Why is Alice cursed?  Did Mother Gothel curse Alice?  How is it that Alice occasionally awakens from her curse?  Someone explain Alice.
5) What is the timeline surrounding Wish Realm’s Hook procurement of the white elephant protection charm from Rumpel – and was that Rumpel Wish Realm Rumpel or Rumpel Prime?
6) Who are the Eight Witches or the Coven of Eight?  Are they real?  What is their purpose?  What are they trying to do?  Is Maleficent one of the witches?  Is Regina?  Is Zelena?  Is Emma?  Is Snow White/Prince Charming?  Are the Wish Realm versions of any of these characters eligible for membership?  Is there one?  Is there a “superior?”  Is that person Mother Gothel?  Is it Anastasia?  Is it Regina?
7) Will all of the characters survive?  If not, who will die?
8) What realm is this show’s Dr. Facilier from?  Is he from the Underworld?
9) Will the season – and now the series, as it was announced by ABC and by the creators that Once Upon a Time is ending after this season – end with the breaking of the newest curse?
10) Where is Mother Gothel from? What is her back story? Is she driven by vendetta?  Against whom? What are her motivations?
11) Did Drizella actually cast the curse against Alice/Tilly?  Why?
12) To whom is Zelena engaged?  Do we know her fiance and husband to be?
13) How does Henry’s motorcycle run in the Enchanted Forest?  Where are the gas stations in the Enchanted Forest?  How does Cinderella II learn to operate it so fast – is she really Anakin Skywalker?
14) Why are there duplicate versions of various characters, including Cinderella, her step-sisters, Alice (of Wonderland fame), Jack (of beanstalk fame), and so on?  How are all of the different versions from the same Enchanted Forest?  The panel universally agrees that the writers better take some time to explain this plot point beyond “there are different versions of the same story” because we do not understand how different versions can coexist within the same story.
15) Will the curse placed upon Henry and Lucy be broken?  How?  Is Cinderella II really Henry’s true love?  How?
16) The producers have teased potential returns of original characters in possible reunions convened in advance of the series finale.  Which characters will we revisit?  Will Jennifer Morrison aka Emma Swan ordain to exceed her contractually obligated one episode appearance and give a nice second episode sendoff for the fans?
PARTING SHOTS
In this episode, the podcast panelists reached some consensus, despite another wide variety of opinions, about the current progress of Once Upon a Time.  All panelists regard the first half of season seven as a surprisingly engaging soft reboot of the show, despite healthy skepticism from all panelists in advance of said reboot, which was explored in our previous Once episode. The panel still universally agrees, however, and with no hesitation, that #potential (#drink) contentment with the sixth season finale as a series finale episode would have been achieved if the show had officially stopped at the end of that season.  Though some panelists prove utterly won over by the unprecedented soft reboot and continue to foster hope and to devote faith to Once’s seemingly endless reservoir of #potential (#drink), the wariest panelists (your Chief CP included) feel that the producers, network, and parent company have a bumpy road to hoe going forward, now that the series finale has been announced, in order to wrap up not only loose threads from the original six seasons but also nearly all of the seeded plot points of Season Seven. After all, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and the Once writing team tend to plant seeds without fertilizing them organically, as evidence by their track record on this program thus far.  The entire panel will still be watching, but we believe that lack of network support – particularly in light of a move to a Friday night time slot never before thrust upon this program – numbered this series’ days, effectively dousing long-time strong ratings and quashing any hope of additional season renewals; most panelists, aside from Eddie and Chief CP Kylie, wanted at least one more season.  Unfortunately for them and for the remaining longevity of the once-upon-a-time CPU! favorite, Once Upon a Time, the next half season will be the show’s last and will be the subject of a final two episodes for our (currently) longest running panel.
LOOKING AHEAD
Once Upon a Time returned from its mid-season seven hiatus on Friday, March 2, 2018, at 8:00 PM. In February 2018, however, OUAT was officially canceled by ABC.  As such,  the Once Upon a Time podcast panel will next reconvene – for the final time – following the seventh season and overall series finale of OUAT, which will likely air in or around May 2018, with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes.  The first of these episodes will review the show’s final half season; the second will look back at the show as a whole.   As always, even for the limited amount of time remaining, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional OUAT coverage.  Until then!  Stay tuned.