Progress Report: Fall TV Preview and Selection for 2019-2020 Shows (2019)

At this point, the primary TV viewing season is over, the summer viewing season in all its limited glory is wrapping up, and the calendar has struck the month of September…the fall TV season is upon us!  Thus, it’s time to shop for new pilots! Since up-fronts were held in May, new TV offerings by networks and some cable outlets (as well as streaming networks) have been announced. It’s time to examine them closely and choose which will be added to the extremely extended lineup covered by this blog!

Thanks to TVLine for helping a girl out.

*Note: with the expansion of CPU!, these initial thoughts are based upon the CPU! Chief’s assessments.  As with previous seasons, 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!

36th Annual PaleyFest - "Parks and Recreation" 10th Anniversary Reunion, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Mar 2019

9-1-1: LONE STAR, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sunday, Jan. 19, following the NFC Championship, and continuing Monday, Jan. 20

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation)

WHAT: In this 9-1-1 spinoff, a sophisticated New York cop relocates to Austin, Texas, with his son. There, he must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for Now.  Welcome to the 2019-2020 CPU! network pilot review, always full of snark and real talk about upcoming TV from your friendly neighborhood TV podcast!  We start off with a bit of a by, and really, this comes down to the fact that CPU! initially passed the parent show of this would-be spin-off, 9-1-1, a show that has since been requested (though slowly and in a lukewarm-type fashion) by members of the CPU! corps. Our rule about spin-offs here is that we have to cover the parent show before we watch the spin-off, so there is your answer about whether we pick up or pass. We merely pass for now, without prejudice. But hey, Rob Lowe, what’s shaking?

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All Rise

ALL RISE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Simone Missick (Luke Cage), Wilson Bethel (Hart of Dixie), Jessica Camacho (The Flash), Marg Helgenberger (CSI), J. Alex Brinson, Lindsay Mendez, Ruthie Ann Miles

WHAT: A drama that follows the dedicated, chaotic, hopeful, and sometimes absurd lives of judges, prosecutors, and public defenders as they work with bailiffs, clerks, and cops to get justice for the people of Los Angeles amidst a flawed legal system.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or at CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. As TV lovers like you and I know by now, the TV landscape is awash with legal dramas (or comedy-dramas, in this case), and it would take something special for a new legal drama to set it apart from the rather trope-laden pond of courtroom properties just like it. That’s where your friendly neighborhood Chief CP is hoping that a few superheroes and meta-humans save the genre from floundering in this new entry at the Eye. While the trailer presents yet another trope studded landscape of feisty judge upends the flat and boring world turnings of the legal system, it’s the cast populating this landscape that is going to inspire at least this Couch Potato to take a look-see. And let’s see – you have Misty Knight from Luke Cage, Bullseye from Daredevil, and Gypsy from The Flash. That’s three people from three shows that have been covered heavily here at CPU!, and they’re all very good at their jobs based on what we’ve seen so far – and when the writing services them well. Simone Missick alone packs a lot of charisma into her sass in the brief trailer, and I think it’s worth at least a viewing to see if this new show can really rise to the top of its overplayed cousins. What do you think?

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Not Just Me Fox

ALMOST FAMILY (fka Not Just Me), Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 2

TIME SLOT: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Brittany Snow (American Dreams), Emily Osment (Young & Hungry), Megalyn Echikunwoke (Damien, Arrow), Timothy Hutton (The Haunting of Hill House, How to Get Away With Murder), Mo McRae (Empire, Pitch), Victoria Cartagena (Manifest, Gotham), Mustafa Elzein

WHAT: An only child finds her life turned upside down when her father reveals that, over the course of his prize-winning career as a pioneering fertility doctor, he used his own sperm to conceive upwards of a hundred children, including two new sisters. As these three young women slowly embrace their new reality, they will attempt to form an nontraditional bond as sisters, even as they must welcome a tidal wave of new siblings into their rapidly expanding family. 

Trailer available at TVLine.com or at Fox’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. On the one hand, this new drama from Fox gets points for an original premise. Original premises on TV are so rare these days, though I think the revival/reboot trend is starting to correct somewhat. On the other hand, this premise betrays a few problematic foundations that are really going to have to appeal to new viewers in order for the show to be successful in terms of ratings, and upon my viewing of the trailer, I just don’t know if those foundations entice this Couch Potato to do the thing. I anticipate a personal struggle with a concept that asks the viewer to sympathize with Timothy Hutton’s unethical fertility doctor. In addition, the newfound siblings concept provides some human interest but also starts to smack of The Odd Couple meets Charmed without magic. And where can this story go? Will it be something akin to the viewer and the characters meeting a new sibling each week and going on wacky adventures railing against their secretly unethical fertility doctor father? If the show gains steam or recommendations, Couch Potatoes Unite! always reconsiders, but I, personally (notice I’m using a lot of first person pronouns in this review), felt a bit icky watching the trailer and don’t know if I can make the leap to being almost good with watching this. For now, at least.

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Baker and the Beauty ABC

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THE BAKER AND THE BEAUTY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Nathalie Kelley (Dynasty), Victor Rasuk (Stalker)

WHAT: Daniel Garcia is working in the family bakery and doing everything that his loving Cuban parents and siblings expect him to do, but on a wild Miami night, he meets Noa Hamilton, an international superstar and fashion mogul, and his life moves into the spotlight. Will this unlikely couple upend their lives to be together and pull their families into a culture clash?

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. This sounds like another trope-filled soap opera, where a lovable and potentially handsome schlub meets a beautiful famous actress, and they fall in love. It’s Notting Hill with a bakery, not a bookstore. Also, the Chief CP is not a fan of Nathalie Kelley, to whom some of our Couch Potatoes were first exposed on The Vampire Diaries (CPU! passed on the Dynasty remake, and I still feel we made the right choice). Again, recommendations tend to change our minds, and there might be some of our cast of Couch Potatoes interested in this type of television, but without a trailer and given the premise and the cast, this is pretty much an all-around get-out-of-dodge pass.

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Batwoman The CW

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BATWOMAN, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 6

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8/7c

WHO: Ruby Rose (Arrowverse “Elseworlds” crossover), Dougray Scott (Snatch, Hemlock Grove), Rachel Skarsten (Reign), Meagan Tandy (Teen Wolf), Camrus Johnson (Marvel’s Luke Cage), Nicole Kang (YOU), Elizabeth Anweis (9-1-1, NCIS: LA)

WHAT: Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence – but don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or at the CW’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though many of our DCTU panel won’t like it, this is an automatic Pick Up for our CPU! DCTU Series panel, as Batwoman will be an Arrowverse entry, designed to fill the hole left by the flagship series, Arrow, when it takes its series bow at mid-season following the Crisis on Infinite Earths mega-crossover event coming in December. None of our panelists loved the “Batwoman” entry in last year’s Elseworlds crossover, but we didn’t all hate it either. If the show’s writers can do justice to Gotham City and can breathe new life into Kate Kane’s version of the character and member of the Bat-Family, cynicism might sway to positivism. We won’t know until the series premieres in October.

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Image result for bh90210

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BH90210, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: August 7, 2019

TIME SLOT: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering

WHAT: The series will focus on the original cast members of Beverly Hills, 90210 — Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling, and Shannen Doherty — playing heightened, fictionalized versions of themselves. Having parted ways 19 years after the original series ended, they reunite to get a reboot up and running and must reconcile their new lives with the complications of their histories together.

Trailer available here.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. On the one hand, this could be a cheeky, fresh experiment in the TV reboot scientific method. On the other hand, this could also be the desperate gambit of 50 year old (plus) former TV stars trying to recapture their glory days and the height of their individual stardom (I’m looking at you, Tori Spelling). The CPU! roster is filled with secret and not-so-secret fans of at least the original Beverly Hills, 90210, and some have already sampled this nothing-more-than-guilty-pleasure fare this summer with somewhat lukewarm results. Is the show as delicious as the food always seemed to be at the Peach Pit? How will it feel without Luke Perry, the popular erstwhile Dylan McKay, who passed away earlier this year (RIP, I’m still heartbroken). Have you watched it? Tell us all about it.

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Bless the Harts Fox

BLESS THE HARTS, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 29

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: The voices of Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jillian Bell, Ike Barinholtz

WHAT: The animated comedy follows a group of Southerners who are always “broke as a joke” and struggling for the American dream of status and wealth. What they don’t realize is that they’re already rich… in friends, family and laughter.

Sneak peek available at Fox’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Despite the all-star power voice cast, this new series in Fox’s Sunday Animated line-up feels like King of the Hill without the heart of Texas and Mike Judge to make the show, you know, actually funny. If you think we should change our tune, drop us a line, but we don’t think this new show is blessed enough with originality to entice, particularly following superior entries about dysfunctional families (The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers) already filling Fox’s Sunday nights. Biscuits or no biscuits, we move on.

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Bluff City Law NBC

BLUFF CITY LAW, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue), Caitlin McGee (Grey’s Anatomy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Barry Sloane (Six, Revenge), Michael Luwoye (The Gifted), Stony Blyden (Edge of Seventeen), Jayne Atkinson (House of Cards), Scott Shepherd (True Detective), MaameYaa Boafo

WHAT: This series follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis law firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases. Led by legendary lawyer Elijah Strait and his brilliant daughter, Sydney Keller, they take on the toughest David-and-Goliath cases while navigating their complicated relationship.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or NBC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. The second legal drama of the list proves to be more trope-filled than the first. This time, instead of a feisty judge, we get to watch a feisty civil rights lawyer change the world with her dad, Jimmy Smits, but with less comedy. For those who love this kind of TV, or for fans of NYPD Blue, this show will no doubt appeal, but for this set of Couch Potatoes, I believe it would be a stretch to get them on board, particularly when the family drama aspect could send this one straight into saccharine/manipulative territory. If buzz or steam gets the request lines hopping, though, we could be persuaded to change our initial stances. No bluffs!

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Bob Hearts ABishola CBS

BOB ❤️ABISHOLA, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly), Folake Olowofoyeku (Transparent), Christine Ebersole (Madam Secretary), Matt Jones (Mom), Maribeth Monroe (The Good Place, Workaholics), Shola Adewusi, Barry Shabaka Henley, Travis Wolfe, Jr.

WHAT: After having a heart attack, a middle-aged sock businessman from Detroit unexpectedly falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, and sets his sights on getting her to give him a chance.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Honestly, this trailer won this Couch Potato over by the end of its two minutes. The two leads are surprisingly winning, particularly Folake Olowofoyeku. In addition, the trailer left me wondering what would happen with the earnest sock businessman’s attempts to woo an unassuming Nigerian nurse. Plus, the show is set in Detroit, a mere stone’s throw from our home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We “heart” some of the original feel of this series, especially since this rom-com throws some of the genre’s more formulaic elements right out the old bus window.

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Broke CBS

BROKE, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Jaime Camil (Jane the Virgin), Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Natasha Leggero (Another Period), Izzy Diaz (Snowfall), Antonio Corbo

WHAT: When an outrageously wealthy trust fund baby is cut off by his father, he and his wife move into her estranged sister’s Reseda home, forcing the two siblings to reconnect.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. It’s a riches to rags story, which this Couch Potato assumes is the Eye’s attempt to capitalize upon the growing success of outgoing Pop! charmer Schitt’s Creek, and while that notion might be noble, the ingredients here don’t mix together well enough to have the charm of the Canadian export that’s become so widely regarded and popular. Pauley Perrette is grating with her brand of “in your face” (allegedly) comedic line delivery, and Jaime Camil, as handsome as he is, is essentially playing a transplanted version of Rogelio from Jane the Virgin. Plus, the audience laughter, whether canned or not, sounded a little too forced to be sincere. Since Broke will not break any molds in this genre, with this type of story conceit, we’ll pass, unless the request lines tell us to give it a chance. You know how to get a hold of us.

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Carol's Second Act CBS

CAROL’S SECOND ACT, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Patricia Heaton (The Middle, Everybody Loves Raymond), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), Ito Aghayere (Elementary), Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Baby Daddy), Sabrina Jalees

WHAT: After raising her two children and retiring from teaching, Carol Chambers embarks on a unique second act: pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. As lovable as Patricia Heaton always seems to be, and though this premise shows some small modicum of potential, two conceits undercut this comedy upon first review. First, and clearly, it’s going to focus heavily upon the generational divide between the Baby Boomer intern and her cohort of Millennial/Post-Millennial interns, and that type of humor stands to get old fast, particularly as it is so overdone lately. Second, there’s a cop drama on ABC that is kind of doing the same thing, but in cop-land and with Nathan Fillion at its helm. This comedy, thus, seems somewhat derivative, potential aside, and it would depend upon the balance of the hackneyed and the fresh that could determine this show’s future success. If it’s requested, we would be more apt to change our mind on this one, even, than on some of the other entries on which I’ve said that, especially because, well, Patricia Heaton, but for now, this second act doesn’t wow.

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Council of Dads NBC

COUNCIL OF DADS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Clive Standen (Taken), Sarah Wayne Callies (Colony, The Walking Dead), Tom Everett Scott (13 Reasons Why, Southland), J. August Richards (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Michele Weaver (Love Is___), Michael O’Neill (Scandal, Rectify), Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why), Emjay Anthony (Rake), Thalia Tran, Blue Chapman

WHAT: When Scott, a loving father of four, has his entire life’s plan thrown into upheaval by a cancer diagnosis, he calls on a few of his closest allies to step in as back-up dads for every stage of his growing family’s life. Scott assembles a trusted group of role models who agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s amazing family through all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer — just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Honestly, a trailer would be helpful for this one. Reading the synopsis, one can glean a certain amount of heart in the premise, but this couch potato worries that the show itself might fall into the Hallmark movie/manipulative drama column, even if the content might be remarkably easy to relate to, given the fact that devastating illness can affect so many families. There are also a few enticing names in the cast. Still, premise alone doesn’t sell it. So, we offer our usual cautionary disclaimer around the ability of buzz and steam to persuade our council’s collective decision otherwise, but, for now, we must be merciless and pass. There are tons of options out there to consider.

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Deputy Fox

DEPUTY, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Stephen Dorff (True Detective), Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin), Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town), Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow), Mark Moses (Desperate Housewives), Siena Goines (Grey’s Anatomy, Jericho), Shane Paul McGhie (Sacred Lies

WHAT: When the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff dies, an arcane rule forged back in the Wild West thrusts the most unlikely man into the job: a fifth-generation lawman, more comfortable taking down bad guys than navigating a sea of politics. He leads a skilled team of ambitious and complicated human beings who won’t rest until justice is served.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or Fox’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. This CP suspects that this show will find an audience. I do not believe the audience will be Couch Potatoes Unite! participants, listeners, and followers, but it will find an audience. This new program offers a compelling genre-mashing premise where Western meets cop procedural, with a saltier Stephen Dorff playing a lawman who hearkens back to the cowboys of yore and yesteryear. Still, procedural TV has a tough time here at CPU!; not many request or clamor for it, especially as the TV landscape is rife with similar ilk. Still, this series will probably stand out because of its slightly Western motif and because of the acting pedigree of the cast, if this well cut trailer is any indication. CPU! is open to requests, but we pass for now because we don’t expect the interest from people who unite with us. You can tell us we’re wrong – if you’re nice, that is.

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Duncanville Fox

DUNCANVILLE, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: The voices of Amy Poehler, Ty Burrell, Rashida Jones, Wiz Khalifa, Riki Lindhome

WHAT: The animated comedy revolves around a 15-year-old boy named Duncan and his friends and family — including his mother, Annie, who is constantly trying to prevent her son from ruining his life.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Again, scant information, no trailer, and a (mostly) lack of interest in talking serial animated comedy leaves this reviewer unmotivated to explore this additional entry in Fox’s animated lineup, despite the presence of perennial CPU! talker and listener fave Amy Poehler. If you think we’re missing out with our snap judgments, you know how to get a hold of us.

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Emergence ABC

EMERGENCE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 24

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Alexa Swinton (Billions), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Owain Yeoman (The Mentalist), Robert Bailey Jr. (The Night Shift), Zabryna Guevara (New Amsterdam)

WHAT: In this genre thriller, a police chief takes in a young child that she finds near the site of a mysterious accident, only to learn that the child has no memory of what happened. The investigation draws her into a conspiracy larger than she ever imagined, and the child’s identity is at the center of it all.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or ABC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though the premise draws obvious science fiction and horror comparisons, such as to Firestarter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The X-Files, the intrigue created by the fairly simple premise and a cast of reliably solid performers (some of whom are not listed above), including lead Allison Tolman, the breakout in the first season of the television version of Fargo, make this an early front-runner for CPU!’s growing list of fall pick-ups as well as for possible podcaster and viewer interest. Is it aliens? A government conspiracy? A supernaturally endowed child? The answers might stem from well-worn tropes, but this show could also surprise us all, so it emerges as an entry on the long CPU! list.

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Evil CBS

EVIL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 10/9c

WHO: Katja Herbers (Westworld), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Michael Emerson (Person of Interest), Kurt Fuller (Supernatural), Brooklyn Shuck, Skylar Gray, Maddy Crocco, Dalya Knapp

WHAT: A psychological mystery that examines science vs. religion and the origins of evil, the series from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King focuses on a skeptical female forensic psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter to investigate and assess the Church’s backlog of supposed miracles, demonic possessions, and unexplained phenomena.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Enthusiastically Pick Up. This pure mystery series, a rare genre by itself, offers an intriguing and mostly original premise, even if the undertone definitely reverberates echoes of The Exorcist. Yet, this new program also boasts a compelling cast, including Katja Herbers from Westworld, Mike Colter from Luke Cage, and one of TV’s best character actors, Michael Emerson from Lost and Person of Interest, all of which have been covered by CPU! in the past (except Lost…but it’s on the list), in addition to a producer pedigree that encourages a level of trust in its potential quality. Plus, it does not seem to lack for scares in the psychological thriller department, which would no doubt further appeal to horror buffs, both on and off our team of united couch potatoes. Michael Emerson’s appearance in the trailer alone had this CP shouting “yeah!” to no one in particular, and so the enthusiasm for this Pick Up is legit. Besides, who doesn’t love a good story about demonic possession? Also, mad props to the Eye for taking a risk on a genre show that normally doesn’t appear on that network. This choice feels more good than evil, but we shall see.

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FBI Most Wanted CBS

FBI: MOST WANTED, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), Alana De La Garza (Law & Order), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Game of Thrones), Kellan Lutz (Twilight), Roxy Sternberg (Emerald City), Nathaniel Arcand

WHAT: A spin-off of FBI centered on the Fugitive Task Force of the FBI that tracks and captures the notorious criminals on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. CPU! passed on the parent show of this spin-off, FBI, last year. It’s procedural TV by procedural guru Dick Wolf, best known for the Law & Order franchise of procedural television. FBI is relatively well-rated and popular, but the show has not resonated with our resident potatoes. Additionally, if we passed on the show from whence this series spun, we also feel compelled to pass on that which was spun itself, especially since no one has requested our opinion about said spinning series to date. You can, but we have a feeling we know that it’s not your most wanted.

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Filthy Rich Fox

FILTHY RICH, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), Gerald McRaney (This Is Us), Aubrey Dollar (Battle Creek), Corey Cott (The Good Fight), Mark L. Young (The Comeback), Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me)

WHAT: When the patriarch of a mega-rich Southern family (famed for creating a wildly successful Christian television network) dies in a plane crash, his wife and family are stunned to learn that he fathered three illegitimate children, all of whom are written into his will.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. In the grand tradition of fare like Dallas and Dynasty (the original, to be sure), Fox offers this new sudsy soap with rich people at the forefront mixed with all the scandal and guilty-pleasure inducing backdrop of televangelism and the antebellum lilts of the South, including the requisite homage to Gone with the Wind. Hilariously, the show is created/produced by the makers of Empire and The Help, so there is a small iota of curiosity to entice here. Plus, the presence of an older but no less fabulous Kim Cattrall, the erstwhile Samantha that oozed Sex in her City, leads this pack. Still, the premise sounds very similar to Fox’s Almost Family, also being introduced this season (see above), with the soap angle to propel it forward into Desperate Housewives and the aforementioned Dallas/Dynasty territories, and so it seems like Fox is throwing the idea of illegitimate children around every chance it can get. We passed on the other one and feel it only fair to pass on this one also, but if you think we need to cover more suds and find this candidate suitable to that purpose, drop us a line.

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ABC New Shows 2019

FOR LIFE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Nicholas Pinnock (Counterpart), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), Joy Bryant (Parenthood), Glenn Fleshler (Billions), Dorian Missick (Southland), Tyla Harris (Six), Mary Stuart Masterson (Blindspot), Boris McGiver (House of Cards)

WHAT: A legal drama inspired by the life of Isaac Wright, Jr. about a prisoner who becomes a lawyer, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. His quest for freedom is driven by his desperate desire to get back to the family he loves and reclaim the life that was stolen from him.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Though this seems like less of the same-old in legal dramas, it’s still a legal drama in a TV sea well over-saturated by them, this season especially. We might reconsider with the release of a trailer, but for now, it’s hard to be intrigued by yet another courtroom motif. Plus, no member of this cast is by themselves a draw, so we’ll wait for someone to give this one life by recommending it to us. For now, we move on in our own lives.

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The Great North Fox

THE GREAT NORTH, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: The voices of Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate, Megan Mullally, Paul Rust, Aparna Nancherla, Will Forte, Dulcé Sloan

WHAT: The animated comedy follows the Alaskan adventures of the Tobin family, as single dad Beef does his best to keep his weird bunch of kids close, especially as the artistic dreams of his only daughter, Judy, lead her away from the family fishing boat and into the glamorous world of the local mall.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Fox is also going hog-wild this year with upping its animation game. Still, this animated entry shows more possibility than other new selections, even without a trailer to more fully and thoroughly evaluate it. First, the voice cast contains one of the funniest married couples on the planet in Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly, who people might know from shows like Parks & Recreation and Will & Grace, respectively. On top of that, the setting is Alaska, and the premise feels a bit more original and fresh, even as it could also be the cartoon version of Northern Exposure. All of the above is enough to warrant a tiny look-see but no promises from the not-so-great north.

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Indebted NBC

INDEBTED, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Adam Pally (Happy Endings), Abby Elliott (Saturday Night Live), Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why), Fran Drescher (The Nanny)

WHAT: Young parents Dave and Rebecca are ready to reclaim their life after years of diapers and sleepless nights; however, things take an unexpected turn when Dave’s parents show up unannounced and broke.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Though this CP wants Adam Pally to find some TV success in a vehicle where his brand of comedy can shine a bit more, and even if TV standbys Steven Weber and Fran Drescher have come out to play here, without a trailer, this premise feels wafer thin. Plus, the Peacock is pushing it to mid-season, which means the show would really have to entice to be successful, through cast chemistry, unexpected situations, or performer appeal. It’s hard to imagine any of those possibilities right now with what we know, but if you think we need to cultivate a bit more in the imagination department, we would be indebted to you for your recommendation. Prove our snap judgments wrong!

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Katy Keene The CW

KATY KEENE, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), Ashleigh Murray (Riverdale), Jonny Beauchamp (Penny Dreadful), Julia Chan (Saving Hope), Camille Hyde (American Vandal), Lucien Laviscount (Scream Queens), Zane Holtz (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Make It or Break It), Katherine LaNasa (Imposters, Satisfaction)

WHAT: In a timeless New York City, as enchanting as Riverdale is moody, aspiring fashion designer Katy Keene meets Josie McCoy, fresh off the bus to chase her musical dreams. Their world is populated with kindred-spirit starving artists, including mysterious socialite Pepper Smith and Broadway-bound performer Jorge Lopez — and his drag queen alter ego, Ginger. While their climb to the top is rife with obstacles, this found family will stop at nothing to see their names in lights.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or the CW’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Later this fall, CPU! will start ongoing Water Cooler coverage of Riverdale. Since this is a spin-off of said dark and twisty reckoning of the Archie Comics, including the Pussycats’ own Josie as one of the cast of characters, we expect our panel to have at least a passing interest in this new chapter. Alternatively, Riverdale has quite the following in general; will fans of that show be interested enough to watch Lucy Hale’s Katy Keene? Time will tell, so we’ll very hesitantly add it to our burgeoning list of TV tantalizers. Next!

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The Kenan Show NBC

THE KENAN SHOW, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven), Punam Patel, Dani Lockett, Dannah Lockett 

WHAT: In this family comedy, Kenan Thompson strives to be a super dad to his two adorable girls while simultaneously balancing his job and a father-in-law who “helps” in the most inappropriate ways.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. While it is about time that Kenan Thompson returns to scripted TV from his long tenure as sketch comedian on Saturday Night Live, and while he is more than deserving of an eponymous comedy, we are not sure that this is the eponymous comedy that is going to keep his career going, unless his biggest fans are the generators of decent ratings to keep this sitcom afloat. This thin premise rings bells echoing My Wife & Kids, or, depending upon Kenan’s delivery, The Bernie Mac Show, but with a Xennial approach to the parental side of this equation. No trailer makes the selling difficult, but if you’re a Kenan Thompson fan and want us to reconsider, send us the messages.

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KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 6

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8/7c

WHO: Tiffany Haddish (Host)

WHAT: A new iteration of the classic variety show, featuring a mix of in-studio segments and taped pieces from across the country, all set in front of a live studio audience.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. CPU! does not cover variety shows, but as it’s a new network entry this season, we’ll keep a limited eye on it this year. Bill Cosby hosted the original. Let’s hope Tiffany Haddish can make everyone forget that.

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Lincoln NBC

LINCOLN, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Arielle Kebbel (Midnight, Texas), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Brían F. O’Byrne (Nightflyers), Tate Ellington (Quantico), Courtney Grosbeck (The Bold and the Beautiful), Brooke Lyons (Life Sentence), Ramses Jimenez, Roslyn Ruff

WHAT: Based on Jeffery Deaver’s novel The Bone Collector, this crime drama centers on former NYPD detective and forensic genius Lincoln Rhyme, who was seriously injured by a notorious serial killer. He and young officer Amelia Sachs join forces to crack the city’s most confounding cases while racing to take down the enigmatic Bone Collector who brought them together.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Two aspects of the description of this new show present a minimum of intrigue and desire to check it out, despite no teaser or trailer to clinch the sale. First, though this drama stands to be rather procedural in nature, there is an interesting overarching thread in the fact that the main character was injured by a serial killer, meaning there is a larger vendetta/ax-to-grind arc that could present some compelling story twists. Second, Russell Hornsby offered an air of genuineness on erstwhile cult fantasy series Grimm, and has been searching for a series to stick since, so this couch potato, at least, wants to see what he can make of this heady premise. Plus, “Bone Collector” sounds so ominous. The crimes of the week might become rote and boring, but the serial killer angle might give this mystery drama a slight edge in crime/procedural fare, despite airwaves saturation. So, we’ll add it to our collection of new pickups based upon our (mostly) informed TV instincts.

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mixed-ish ABC

MIXED-ISH, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 24

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Arica Himmel, Mark-Paul Gosselaar (The Passage, Pitch), Tika Sumpter (The Haves and the Have Nots), Ethan Childress, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Christina Anthony

WHAT: In this black-ish spin-off, a young Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ’80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. 

Trailer available at ABC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. CPU! is not currently covering black-ish on the podcast, and it has not been requested in all the years of the show’s existence, which mostly overlap the existence of our podcast. Should the parent show ever be requested for podcast discussion, by listener or by willing participant, we will reevaluate adding its spin-off to a potential series of discussions. For now, we’ll leave this one be, even if we expect the quality and the skewering comedic social commentary to transfer from original to spun series.

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Nancy Drew The CW

NANCY DREW, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 9

TIME SLOT: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Newcomer Kennedy McMann, Scott Wolf (The Night Shift, Party of Five), Leah Lewis (Charmed, The Good Doctor), Tunji Kasim (Nearly Famous), Maddison Jaizani (Into the Badlands), Alex Saxon (The Fosters), Alvina August (Siren, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), guest star Pamela Sue Martin (Nancy Drew)

WHAT: Set in the summer after her high school graduation,18-year-old Nancy Drew thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college, but when a family tragedy holds her back another year, she finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation — and along the way, uncovers secrets that run deeper than she ever imagined.

Trailer available at the CW’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. Though it’s somewhat amusingly curious that the CW is digging through the well of decades-old fictional properties, such as Archie Comics and now this series of mystery novellas popular with young adult girls the world over, and though the acting is not particularly compelling in the available trailer, and though the cast is relatively unknown, sheer morbid curiosity coupled with the last few seconds of the trailer lead this CP to believe that there might be some slight interest in this show. Whether that interest sustains will depend largely upon how the show mixes Nancy’s mystery-of-the-week motif, which is expected if the show follows the books, with the possibly supernatural spin the CW version seems to be taking with the classic character. Also, how will the heroine be updated for the Millennial and Post-Millennial set, and will the character still work in a modern backdrop? These are worthy questions that merit a deeper look…at least for a few episodes.

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neXt Fox

neXt, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: John Slattery (Mad Men), Eve Harlow (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Michael Mosley (Sirens), Jason Butler Harner (Ozark), Elizabeth Cappuccino (Jessica Jones), Fernanda Andrade, Aaron Moten, Gerardo Celasco, Evan Whitten

WHAT: A Silicon Valley pioneer discovers that one of his own creations — a powerful A.I. — might spell global catastrophe and teams up with a cyber-crime agent to fight a villain unlike anything we’ve ever seen, one whose greatest weapon against us is ourselves.  

Trailer available at the Fox’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Oh sure, science fiction revolving around sentient artificial intelligence has been done before and has been arguably done to death. From The Terminator to Person of Interest, from 2001: A Space Odyssey (and its sequel, 2010) to Westworld, the world will never want for the fear that robots will someday turn against us, as humans attempt to play God by creating them in the first place. What makes this upcoming series potentially compelling TV is that, first, it is being billed as an event (read: limited) series, giving it a theoretically tight number of episodes within which to tell its story. Second, the culprit AI is a clear homage to Amazon’s Alexa product, which should add an element of real-world suspension of disbelief to this science fiction sub-genre. Plus, John Slattery is always a fun guy to watch on the small screen. Amazon’s already taking over the world – why shouldn’t its calming AI Alexa, named Iliza in this series, do the same and then turn on us all? What would happen if it did? Nothing good can come of this, that’s what we know from stories like it, but the premise and devices used here definitely intrigue the mind around this oft-employed story concept, so much so that we want to know what’s neXt.

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Outmatched Fox

OUTMATCHED, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Maggie Lawson (Psych), Jason Biggs (Orange Is the New Black), Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken), Connor Kalopsis, Ashley Boettcher, Jack Stanton, Oakley Bull

WHAT: A family comedy about a blue-collar couple in South Jersey trying to get by and raise four kids, three of whom just happen to be certified geniuses.

Trailer available at Fox’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. When a trailer must rely on canned laughter to convince a potential viewer that the show is funny, chances are, the show is not that funny. This premise raises a thousand questions, many of which stem from a basic understanding of biology and genetics. How does a family with under-achieving parents sire three “certified geniuses?” Why does the fourth child not benefit from this genetic selection? Also, one will necessarily need to find Jason Biggs funny to enjoy this show, and this CP is not one of those ones. He has a very specific comedic delivery that I do not expect will serve to carry this show for long, even if some of the situations of the sitcom peddled here stand to seem marginally unique, with three crazy smart children in the house – none of whom prove to be funny on their own, by the way. We think the show’s execution is outmatched by the ambition of its premise, so we’ll go throw darts at a photo of Albert Einstein in our respective basements and move on.

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Image result for pandora tv show

PANDORA, CW

PREMIERE DATE: July 16, 2019

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays, 8/7c

WHO: Priscilla Quintana, Oliver Dench

WHAT: Set in the year 2199, a resourceful young woman has lost everything but finds a new life at Earth’s Space Training Academy where she and her friends learn to defend the galaxy from threats, both alien and human. When secrets about the nature of her own identity begin to surface, she must uncover the truth about whether she will be humanity’s savior or the instrument of its destruction.

Trailer available at the CW’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Very Hesitantly Pick Up. This is a summer series that has already premiered on the CW, to very little publicity fanfare and to abysmal critical response. Still, it’s science fiction with a CW flare, and so it might be a potential guilty pleasure for nerds, which, of course, several of the resident couch potatoes self-style themselves. It seems cancellation is looming, unless the CW wants to fill a summer slate, but the premise showed some promise, so we’ll add it to the list.

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Perfect Harmony NBC

PERFECT HARMONY, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Tymberlee Hill (Marry Me), Rizwan Manji (The Magicians), Will Greenberg (Wrecked), Geno Segers (Banshee), newcomer Spencer Allport

WHAT: When former Princeton music professor Arthur Cochran unexpectedly stumbles into choir practice at a small-town church, he finds a group of singers that are out of tune in more ways than one. Despite the ultimate clash of sensibilities, Arthur and his newfound cohorts may just be the perfect mix of individuals to help each other reinvent and rediscover a little happiness, just when they all need it most.

Trailer available at NBC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Take Mr. Holland’s Opus, add a healthy dose of Sister Act, a splash of True Blood (without the vampires and fantasy), and a sprinkle of Glee, and one might be singing perfect harmony upon listening to the sounds of this new series. Though the comedy feels somewhat hackneyed, the jokes occasionally more flat than sharp, and the premise highly derivative, Bradley Whitford brings a potential snarky wit to the proceedings that could offer some smiles, not to mention some brash scripting, bleeps included, that render this an unusual movement in the network TV suite. NBC has been taking more risks in recent years, so we will reward the Peacock by sampling the sounds of this small-town choir. It could be a lighthearted, easy-to-watch, pleasant comedy drama. It could also be dissonant dreck, but we are willing to risk a bit of our signature time to find out which it becomes in the end.

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Prodigal Son Fox

PRODIGAL SON, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

TIME SLOT: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex), Bellamy Young (Scandal), Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire), Halston Sage (The Orville), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls), Aurora Perrineau (Chasing Life), Frank Harts (The Path, Billions

WHAT: Malcolm Bright knows how killers think. Why? His father was one of the best, a notorious serial killer called “The Surgeon.” That’s why Bright is the best criminal psychologist around; murder is the family business. He uses his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve crimes, while dealing with a somewhat manipulative mother, an annoyingly normal sister, a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, and his own constantly evolving neuroses.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or Fox’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though there seems to be a fair few copycats around solving serial killer arcs on the networks this season, this entry appears to be of the highest caliber of quality, perhaps more than others like it, owing to the casting of Michael Sheen as one of the serial killers in question. Plus, it has TV uber-producer Greg Berlanti’s stamp on it, who might be single-handedly responsible for most of the CW’s line-up and some of the related entries on Netflix. The intrigue in this drama stems from the relationship between serial killer and son, as the latter attempts to separate himself from his father’s psychoses by working as a criminal psychologist and by possibly struggling against psychoses of his own. The psychological layers of this thriller promise a good mystery yarn, and though the story echoes, in small ways, The Silence of the Lambs, and though it could devolve into crime-of-the-week procedural fare, the central relationship is the enticement to watch here. And watch we prodigally shall.

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Stumptown ABC

STUMPTOWN, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 25

TIME SLOT: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Jake Johnson (New Girl), Michael Ealy (Secrets and Lies, Almost Human), Camryn Manheim (The Practice), Adrian Martinez (No Activity), Cole Sibus, Tantoo Cardinal

WHAT: Based on the Stumptown graphic novel series, the show follows Dex Parios as a strong, assertive, and sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, gambling debt, and a brother to take care of in Portland, Oregon. Her military intelligence skills make her a great P.I., but her unapologetic style puts her in the firing line of hardcore criminals and not quite in alliance with the police.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or ABC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. This Pick Up represents why trailers can be so important. This new series from the Mouse House/Alphabet Network is based on a graphic novel series (apparently), and though it capitalizes upon the gruff/imperfect cop trope pockmarking the TV landscape, the main character is a) a female and b) played by Cobie Smulders, who has cultivated a diverse resume since her stint on How I Met Your Mother. Her wisecracking ways draw the Pick Up, even if the procedural pattern makes said pick-up the hesitant variety. It’s not much to stump us, really.

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Sunnyside NBC

SUNNYSIDE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

WHO: Kal Penn (Designated Survivor), Diana Maria Riva (Man With a Plan), Joel Kim Booster (Shrill), Kiran Deol (How to Get Away With Murder, The Mindy Project), Poppy Liu (Law & Order: SVU, New Amsterdam), Moses Storm (Arrested Development), Samba Schutte

WHAT: Former New York City Councilman Garrett Modi finds his calling when he is hired by a diverse group of hopefuls who dream of becoming American citizens, giving him a new sense of purpose and a chance for redemption, as long as he remembers where he came from.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or NBC’s YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick Up. Michael Schur created this one. Since he also created The Good Place, a CPU! favorite, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, on the list of CPU! discussion candidates, he earns an attempt at viewing. In addition, the comedy here arises from timely and important social commentary while not taking itself too seriously, and the Chinese members of this motley crew proved to be the most ridiculous and, therefore, the most hilarious in the trailer. Though this CP worries that the show might use stereotypes to fuel the humor, we also trust Schur’s deft and sunny sensibilities to navigate this modern and murky terrain. Serve it up.

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Tommy CBS

TOMMY, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie, The Sopranos), Michael Chernus (Patriot, Orange Is the New Black), Adelaide Clemens (Rectify), Russell G. Jones (The Americans), Joseph Lyle Taylor (Sneaky Pete), Olivia Lucy Phillip

WHAT: When a former high-ranking NYPD officer becomes the first female Chief of Police for Los Angeles, she uses her unflinching honesty and hardball tactics to navigate the social, political, and national security issues that converge with enforcing the law.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Fans of Edie Falco from her prior projects will probably be delighted to see this show and her triumphant return to the small screen. Yet, this is yet another crime show, and we have already commented on the network overflow in this genre. A female police chief of a major metropolitan police force would certainly make for interesting social commentary, but this series could also be manipulative in overplaying that premise, even with Falco’s skilled, no-nonsense delivery and performance. If this show garners buzz, steam, and general water cooler percolation, we will reconsider – especially for Edie’s sake – but for now, we are not ready to take on this series in our expansive force of tubular TV talk.

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The Unicorn CBS

THE UNICORN, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 26

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Walton Goggins (Justified, Vice Principals), Rob Corddry (Ballers), Michaela Watkins (Casual), Omar Benson Miller (CSI: Miami), Maya Lynne Robinson (The Conners), Ruby Jay, Makenzie Moss

WHAT: A tight-knit group of friends and family help a widower move on following the most difficult year of his life, which includes being an ill-equipped but devoted single parent to his two daughters, and taking the major step of dating where, to his shock, he’s a hot commodity.

Trailer available at TVLine.com or CBS’ YouTube Channel.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. The trailer provided some moments of convincing comedy, and the title is magical (though it has very little to do with actual unicorns), but the jokes and the cast chemistry largely fell flat in the teasing two minutes. Also, this premise, while potentially cute, could also wear thin quickly if the comedy spins into a woman-of-the-week set-up that doesn’t resolve after a time, with a clear front-runner emerging for the widower main character. In addition, the show might rely too much on the sass of the lead character’s two daughters to propel the laughs. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but they also don’t often make for enticing TV. If you think our judgment to be too snap and too dismissive of elusive mystical creatures, drop us a line. We’ll reconsider.

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ABC New Shows 2019

UNITED WE FALL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Midseason

WHO: Will Sasso (MADtv), Christina Vidal (Code Black), Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live), newcomer Emma Grace Helton

WHAT: A family sitcom that follows the trials and tribulations of Jo and Bill, parents of two young kids, as they try to make it day-to-day as a functioning family. Bill’s very judgmental live-in mother and Jo’s large Latinx Catholic family will never hesitate to let our couple know they’re seemingly screwing up, but Bill and Jo will always have each other’s backs, united against everyone – other parents, teachers, doctors, specialists, coaches, co-workers and especially their kids.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Fans of Will Sasso might find this new vehicle of his engaging, and this particular couch potato has boundless love for Jane Curtin, but this sitcom set-up also feels somewhat overly tried and true. Without a trailer to assess if the cast has chemistry and the premise potential, we can’t reasonably find the will to unite for this one. Thus, we remain united against it. Unless you can convince us to switch our uniting ways. At least we’ll always be Couch Potatoes Unite!

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Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist NBC

ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: TBA

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 9/8c at midseason

WHO: Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Skylar Astin (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Ground Floor), Lauren Graham (Parenthood, Gilmore Girls), Alex Newell (Glee), Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth), Peter Gallagher (The O.C., Covert Affairs), John Clarence Stewart (Luke Cage)

WHAT: Zoey Clarke is a whip-smart computer coder forging her way in San Francisco. After an unusual event she starts to hear the innermost wants and desires of the people around her through songs. At first, she questions her own sanity but soon realizes this unwanted curse may just be an incredibly wonderful gift.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. With a cast of credible stars and a fresh, original premise dosed by a whiff of fantasy, color us intrigued. Not to mention the potential for personal playlist inspiration – the musical tie to a potentially supernatural motif may render this one of the most original new network entries this season. We hope the potential of this extraordinary idea sounds like sweet music to our ears.

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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

NOS4A2 (AMC): Zachary Quinto plays a vampire. Though the ratings aren’t promising, how can we resist? (Released June 2, 2019)

Abby Arcane returns home to Marais, Louisiana, to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus, where she develops a bond with disgraced scientist Alec Holland. After Holland tragically dies, Arcane discovers the mysteries of the swamp, and that Holland may not be dead after all. Yes, that title is pronounced “Nosferatu,” and, yes, it’s based on the 2013 novel by Joe Hill (aka Stephen King’s son). AMC’s latest original series stars Zachary Quinto as an evil vampire who feasts on souls and has a bad habit of abducting children and forcing them to spend their lives in an alternate fantasy universe known as Christmasland. (And that’s not a good thing, regardless of how you feel about Christmas.) The only person who appears to have any chance at stopping him is a young artist (Ashleigh Cummings) with a supernatural ability to find lost things.

Los Espookys (HBO): Fred Armisen creates and directs a Spanish-language show about something to do with a love of horror. It sounds too wacky not to take a look. (Released June 14, 2019)

Fred Armisen’s latest comedy series is different in one major way…it’s a (mostly) Spanish-language show. Armisen co-created the series and produces, though he is just a recurring guest star on screen; the main cast consists of Ana Fabrega, Julio Torres, Cassandra Ciangherotti and Bernardo Velasco, who play a group of friends who “turn their love for horror into a peculiar business” in a stranger, alternate version of present-day Mexico City.

Euphoria (HBO): Trailers suggest a stylized and in-your-face look at today’s youth culture. (Released June 16, 2019)

Adapted from an Israeli series and produced by Drake (among others), this ensemble high school drama comes from writer Sam Levinson and stars Zendaya, rapper Brian Bradley (aka Stro), Maude Apatow, Storm Reid, and Eric Dane.

Years and Years (HBO): Emma Thompson, creator Russell T. Davies, and glowing reviews make this one a curiosity to behold. (Released June 24, 2019)

This six-episode BBC production centers on an extended British family (which includes a politician played by Emma Thompson) in Manchester, beginning with one particularly important night in 2019—and then following the implications of those events into the future over the next 15 years. (Spoiler alert: Trump gets re-elected.) The miniseries comes from Russell T. Davies (A Very English ScandalDoctor WhoQueer as Folk) and also stars Anne Reid, Rory Kinnear, Russell Tovey, and Jessica Hynes (Spaced). 

The Rook (Starz): British supernatural spies! (Released June 30, 2019)

Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson, Olivia Munn, Adrian Lester, and James D’Arcy star in an adaptation of Daniel O’Malley’s novel about a secret British spy service for people with paranormal abilities.

Veronica Mars – Reboot (Hulu): Kristen Bell returns to where it all began, and we have a few secret marshmallows roaming our couches. (Released July 19, 2019)

The beloved series, which ran from 2004-2007 on UPN and The CW, already received a Kickstarter-funded sequel film in 2014. Now, the series moves to Hulu for a brand-new season (set in the present day) that finds Veronica (Kristen Bell) caught in a new (and darker) murder mystery during spring break in Neptune. Much of the original cast returns in some capacity, including Enrico Colantoni, Ryan Hansen, Jason Dohring, Francis Capra, Percy Daggs, Max Greenfield, and Ken Marino, while new faces include Patton Oswalt, J.K. Simmons, Dawnn Lewis, Mary McDonnell, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. The writing staff includes Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All eight episodes are available to stream today.

Another Life (Netflix): Katee Sackhoff returns to TV science fiction, and BSG fans are all around us. Plus, CW’s most recent Superman, Tyler Hoechlin! (Released July 25, 2019)

Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff returns to outer space as an astronaut in search of alien intelligence in a new series from Killjoys writer Aaron Martin. Selma Blair, Justin Chatwin, Jessica Camacho, and Tyler Hoechlin also star.

The Boys (Amazon Prime): This show has already been requested as a podcast candidate multiple times over! Also, it was created by Eric Kripke, who also created “Supernatural!” (Released July 26, 2019)

Producers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen bring another one of Preacher creator Garth Ennis’ comic books to the small screen—this time, for Amazon. Supernatural‘s Eric Kripke serves as creator and show-runner for this eight-episode first season, which stars Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, the leader of a group of vigilantes who target corrupt superheroes. Elisabeth Shue, Chace Crawford, Jennifer Esposito, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, and Jessie T. Usher fill out the cast, and Simon Pegg will also appear—though not as the character who was originally drawn in the comics to look like him. Amazon has already renewed the series for a second season.

Pennyworth (Epix): It’s billed as a prequel to Fox’s “Gotham,” which we’ve talked at length about around here. Can Alfred make for compelling TV by himself, without Bruce Wayne/Batman? That remains to be seen. (Released July 28, 2019)

Interested in Batman’s butler’s origin story? Then you’ll have to figure out if Epix is included in your cable package. (Also: Do you have cable?) This 10-episode, series (a prequel to Fox’s Gotham) is set in an alternate version of 1960s London and follows former British SAS soldier Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) as he forms a security company with young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge). The series comes from Gotham‘s Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon and also stars Paloma Faith, Jason Flemyng, and Polly Walker.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Hulu): The TV remake of a beloved romantic comedy film has already been requested for podcast chatter. (Released July 31, 2019)

This 10-episode adaptation of the classic 1994 rom-com comes from Mindy Kaling and Matt Warburton (who worked with Kaling on The Mindy Project). Nathalie Emmanuel (replacing the originally cast Jessica Williams) heads a cast that also includes Brandon Mychal Smith, Rebecca Rittenhouse, and John Reynolds, while the original film’s star Andie MacDowell will also appear (in a different role).

Wu Assassins (Netflix): Supernatural assassins using martial arts! It’s the kind of international genre mash-up we like to sample. (Released August 8, 2019)

Iko Uwais (The Raid) heads the cast as a chef turned super-powered assassin in this martial arts fantasy series set in present-day San Francisco.

Why Women Kill (CBS All Access): A three-period piece with a high-powered female cast inspires killer curiosity. Also, Marc Cherry created it, so it’s bound to have a few good twists.(Released August 15, 2019)

Streaming series from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry is another darkly comedic drama that follows three different betrayed wives in three time periods: the 1960s, the ’80s, and the present day. Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste head a cast that also features Jack Davenport, Reid Scott, Sam Jaeger, and Alexandra Daddario.

Carnival Row (Amazon Prime): A world of steampunk/Victorian splendor, populated by faeries, and featuring a cast of film genre favorites like Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne, the show has already been compared to “Game of Thrones,” “His Dark Materials,” and a splash of “Dungeons and Dragons.” Plus, we love our fantasy. (Released August 30, 2019)

Eight-episode fantasy series comes from Rene Echevarria (Teen WolfThe 4400) and Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim) and is set in a “neo-Victorian” city inhabited by both humans and mythological creatures, with the latter group having limited rights as immigrants. Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne head the cast. Jon Amiel replaces the original director, Paul McGuigan, who departed the project near the start of production.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix): We have had our eyes on this for awhile, with several of the original “Dark Crystal” film fans on the roster and news of an all-star voice cast. Plus, puppets only – no CGI! (Released August 30, 2019)

The 1982 Jim Henson/Frank Oz film The Dark Crystal serves as the inspiration for this new Netflix series from director Louis Leterrier and The Jim Henson Company. Resistance is a prequel set many years before the original story but once again uses only puppets (and no CGI) to tell a (darker than you might think) fantasy story set on the planet Thra, where races include the elfin Gelflings, the mean Skeksis, and the magical Mystics. The terrific voice cast is led by Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nathalie Emmanuel, and also includes Mark Hamill, Andy Samberg, Simon Pegg, Keegan-Michael Key, Helena Bonham Carter, Caitriona Balfe, Eddie Izzard, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alicia Vikander, and more.

The I-Land (Netflix): It’s basically Netflix’s answer to “Lost” but as a miniseries. We’d like to check for polar bears and smoke monsters. (Releases September 12, 2019)

The latest take on the Lost formula finds 10 people stranded on a tropical island with no memory of who they are or how they got there and facing a challenging path to get back home. The seven-episode series from Neil LaBute stars Kate Bosworth, Alex Pettyfer, and Natalie Martinez.

Undone (Amazon Prime): It’s animated, science fiction, and by the creator of “BoJack Horseman.” And it just sounds neat! (Releases September 13, 2019)

The second adult animated series from BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg (co-created with Kate Purdy, a writer on BoJack) is darker and more experimental in nature. Featuring a much more realistic animation style, the series follows Alma (Rosa Salazar), a 28-year-old Texan who nearly dies in a car accident. When she recovers, she realizes that she can experience time in a new way, and she uses that ability to investigate the death of her father (Bob Odenkirk).

Criminal (Netflix): David Tennant! Hearts Hearts Hearts! Also, Netflix experimenting in cop dramas sounds rather interesting! (Releases September 20, 2019)

A bit of an experiment for Netflix, Criminal changes up the typical cop drama in several ways. For one thing: each episode takes place entirely during an interrogation between police investigators and a suspected criminal, and not all of those interrogations will take place in English. The 12-part series will be divided in four parts, with each taking place in a different country (UK, France, Spain, and Germany) and language, utilizing not only different casts but also different writers, directors, and producers. Nicholas Pinnock, David Tennant, and Hayley Atwell head the cast of the UK episodes, while American audiences may be more familiar with the behind-the-scenes talent of the other portions, including The Returned director Frederic Mermoud participating in the France segments, and Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel contributing to the German episodes.

Creepshow (Shudder): We don’t know how we’ll watch it, but this horror anthology is getting a fair amount of buzz. (Releases September 26, 2019)

The streaming service’s high-profile newcomer is a horror anthology inspired by the 1982 George Romero film written by Stephen King (and its sequel). Giancarlo Esposito, Tobin Bell, Adrienne Barbeau, Tricia Helfer, Jeffrey Combs, Big Boi, Kid Cudi, Bruce Davison, Dana Gould, David Arquette, and DJ Qualls are among the familiar faces you’ll see. Each of the six episodes will feature two different stories; tonight’s premiere includes an adaptation of the Stephen King story “Gray Matter.”

The Politician (Netflix): Ryan Murphy’s newest outing, also anthology, also featuring an all-star cast, but now on Netflix. The synopsis intrigues, as his shows always seem to do.(Releases September 27, 2019)

Ryan Murphy’s first Netflix original series (which has already been renewed for a 2nd season) is an hour-long dark comedy anthology focusing on a different (fictitious) political race each season, though each one will involve a wealthy and ambitious Santa Barbara resident played by Ben Platt, beginning with his quest to become student body president of his high school. As with any Murphy show, there’s a huge, impressive cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Dylan McDermott, Lucy Boynton, Zoey Deutch, Bette Midler, Judith Light, Bob Balaban, January Jones, and Laura Dreyfuss are just some of the faces you’ll see this year. The series was originally reported to include musical numbers, though that no longer appears to be the case.

Raising Dion (Netflix): The synopsis mentioned supernatural abilities. <shrug> (Releases October 4, 2019)

A single mother raises a young son who begins to demonstrate supernatural abilities in this 10-episode adaptation of Dennis Liu’s comic book. Alisha Wainwright, Ja’Siah Young, Michael B. Jordan, and Jason Ritter star.

Living with Yourself (Netflix): It stars Paul Rudd. Everyone loves Paul Rudd! (Releases October 18, 2019)

Paul Rudd plays dual roles in this eight-episode comedy about a man who undergoes a cutting-edge treatment to become a better person—and winds up literally being replaced by a better version of himself. Former Daily Show writer Timothy Greenberg created the series and wrote all eight episodes, which are directed by the team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine).

Modern Love (Amazon Prime): The cast impresses, and the details of this anthology series are vague. Color us intrigued. (Releases October 18, 2019)

Based on the New York Times column of the same name, Amazon’s new episodic anthology series comes from writer-director John Carney (Once). Each half-hour episode tells a self-contained story based on a past column, and will feature stars like Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, John Slattery, Sofia Boutella, Catherine Keener, Gary Carr, Brandon Victor Dixon, Andrew Scott, Cristin Milioti, Shea Whigham, Andy Garcia, and Dev Patel, while directors (aside from Carney) include Sharon Horgan and Emmy Rossum.

Watchmen (HBO): A new “Watchmen” story that we’ve had our eyes on for a long time, it is being created by a “Lost” creator and features a dynamite cast. (Releases October 20, 2019)

Previously adapted into a 2009 feature film, Alan Moore’s comic book series now comes to the small screen in a very loose adaptation (described as a “remix”) from Lost‘s Damon Lindelof that moves the story forward by decades. The series is set in an alternate-history, present-day United States in which superheroes have been outlawed, the internet doesn’t exist, Robert Redford is president (yes, Redford actually appears in the series), and the country is facing major racial unrest. Regina King, Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons, Frances Fisher, Tim Blake Nelson, Jean Smart, Tom Mison, and Louis Gosset Jr. star, while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide the music.

Catherine the Great (HBO): Helen Mirren plays the titular Russian empress in this miniseries. It’s bound to be at least well-acted. (Releases October 21, 2019)

A four-part co-production with the UK’s Sky, this historical drama stars Helen Mirren as the titular Russian empress, who ruled for much of the 18th century. The series focuses on the later years of her reign, marked by her affair with Grigory Potemkin (Jason Clarke). The series comes from Nigel Williams, who previously wrote the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries Elizabeth I (also starring Mirren). Rory Kinnear, Joseph Quinn, Richard Roxburgh, and Gina McKee also star.

Forky Asks a Question (Disney+): Did you even watch “Toy Story 4?” It’s a spork that sounds like Buster from “Arrested Development.” He has very existential questions to ask! (Releases November 12, 2019)

Pixar’s first series for the Disney+ streaming service features Forky, the Tony Hale-voiced character (who is technically a spork) introduced in Toy Story 4.

The Mandalorian (Disney+): The “Star Wars” universe comes to TV. We’re not sure, but curiosity will probably kill this cat. (Releases November 12, 2019)

The first-ever live-action series set in the Star Wars universe comes from Jon Favreau, though he won’t direct any of the first season’s eight episodes. (Instead, directors include Taika Waititi, Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow, and Bryce Dallas Howard.) Narcos star Pedro Pascal plays the titular character, a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy sometime during the gap between the sixth and seventh Star Wars films. Joining him in the cast are Nick Nolte, Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, and filmmaker Werner Herzog (who plays a villain, naturally). Expect a more character-driven, smaller-scope approach rather than constant action and expensive special effects—and prior knowledge of Star Wars is not a prerequisite to following the story. New episodes stream weekly.

Sanditon (PBS): It’s a miniseries adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. Who doesn’t like Jane Austen? (Releases January 12, 2020)

Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel set in a seaside village comes to the small screen in an adaptation from Andrew Davies (Les MisérablesMr. Selfridge). Rose Williams, Theo James, Anne Reid, Kris Marshall, and Crystal Clarke star.

Others on radar: The Lord of the Rings series in development at Amazon; 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; Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access); the Loki and Scarlet Witch properties in development at Disney+.

-*-

There you have it!  We will add Pick Ups to the CPU! Watchlist and cover them in this blog or via our ever growing podcast. For those passed, if you think we should give them another chance, head on over to the comments section and sound off!  If you would like to be a guest blogger about any passed shows, send me a message, and we’ll talk terms!

In any event, I’m excited for the new stories to start.   TV is film with commitment, you know.

In short:

Picked Up

ABC

Emergence
Stumptown (hesitantly)

CBS

All Rise (hesitantly)
Bob ❤ Abishola (hesitantly)
Evil (enthusiastically)

Fox

BH90210 (hesitantly)
The Great North (hesitantly)
neXt
Prodigal Son

NBC

Lincoln (very hesitantly)
Perfect Harmony (hesitantly)
Sunnyside (hesitantly)
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

CW

Batwoman
Katy Keene (very hesitantly)
Nancy Drew (very hesitantly)
Pandora (very hesitantly)

Netflix

Another Life
Wu Assassins
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
The I-Land
Criminal
The Politician
Raising Dion
Living with Yourself

Amazon Prime

The Boys
Carnival Row
Undone
Modern Love

Hulu

Veronica Mars, reboot
Four Weddings and a Funeral

HBO

Los Espookys
Euphoria
Years and Years
Watchmen
Catherine the Great

AMC

NOS4A2

Starz

The Rook

Epix

Pennyworth

CBS All Access

Why Women Kill

Shudder

Creepshow

Disney+

Forky Asks a Question
The Mandalorian

PBS

Sanditon

Winning Network: Netflix

Passed

ABC

The Baker and the Beauty
For Life
Kids Say the Darndest Things
mixed-ish
United We Fall

CBS

Broke
Carol’s Second Act
FBI: Most Wanted
Tommy
The Unicorn

Fox

9-1-1: Lone Star (for now)
Almost Family
Bless the Harts
Deputy
Duncanville
Filthy Rich
Outmatched

NBC

Bluff City Law
Council of Dads
Indebted
The Kenan Show

Losing Network: Fox

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! Tomorrow, our DCTU Series returns to the Water Cooler to talk the penultimate seventh season of Arrow in the panel’s annual four-part revisit to the Arrowverse. Stay tuned!

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The Good Place, Season 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2019, our eager, philosophy-oriented panel, the personnel of which has changed somewhat since our last recording in this series – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Michael, Kelsey, Selene, and panelist Krista (new to the panel but not to the podcast after one panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys, while another departed the panel for life’s greater obligations) – convenes around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 3 of the heady NBC comedy about the human condition known as The Good Place.  As always, if you have not watched any of The Good Place, be aware that there are, most definitely, 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!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

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

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The Good Place,” The Season 3 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for the good place title

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Good Place” is a fantasy comedy series, which airs on NBC, fall/winter Thursdays at 8:30 PM, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “The Good Place,” created by Michael Schur, focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a woman who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael (Ted Danson) to “The Good Place,” a Heaven-like utopia he designed, in reward for her righteous life.  She realizes that she was sent there by mistake; as a result, she must hide her morally imperfect behavior and try to become a better person. William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, and Manny Jacinto co-star as other residents of “The Good Place,” while D’Arcy Carden plays Janet, an artificial being helping the inhabitants of the place in question.

SYNOPSIS

After her death, Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) is welcomed into the afterlife by Michael (Danson), the facilitator and architect of Eleanor’s new neighborhood in a “perfect utopia” called the “Good Place.” When Michael tells Eleanor that she made it into The Good Place as reward for her life of selfless devotion to helping others, she realizes she must have been mistaken for someone else.

When: Season 3 aired from September 27, 2018, to January 24, 2019, on NBC with a total of 13 episodes.

Where: The action is set in the fictional Good Place and other times in the fictional Bad Place and yet other times in the fictional Medium Place and yet other times, particularly in Season 3, on Earth.  All Places are construed to be in the afterlife – except when the action is not in the afterlife but on Earth. To explain anymore than that here, however, would invite MAJOR SPOILERS!

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode related to Seasons 1 and 2 via the link below!

As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2016-2017 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“On the strength of the trailer, and the fact that Veronica Mars/Ana from Frozen is playing the lead with Kristen Bell’s best comedic timing, I think anyone would be remiss to pass on this new sitcom.  The premise is unique, casting Ted Danson as the ‘Good Place’s’ resident bureaucrat is inspired, and frankly, I had to stifle laughter every few seconds as I sat awkwardly in a public waiting room watching the trailer. The substitute uses for various curse words as delivered by Bell warrant the look-see alone…”

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

This panel already discussed Seasons 1 and 2 of The Good Place in one fell swoop, that is in one gigantic episode, last year. Listen to that lively discourse here:

Seasons 1 and 2

Do you follow our CPU! social media accounts (if not, you should)?  Did you ever see a posting or advertisement for panelists at large to join this panel? No, you didn’t.  That may be because The Good Place was a runaway hit with the CPU! core and a few close friends and family; apparently, many united couch potatoes consider this show to be forking fantastic.  Thus, this panel quickly filled to burgeoning fullness, as it was so popularly requested.

Common reactions from our The Good Place panelists continue to characterize the show as hilarious, original, smart, well-written, well-directed, well-performed…you get the drift.  In other words, many CPU! faithful think that The Good Place is one of the freshest comedies to hit the airwaves in years, especially and particularly on network TV and, especially and particularly, on the Peacock network, which has long been struggling to regain some of its “Must See” reign of yesteryear and yore, and possibly colonial times, but is giving a good go of it with this heady, philosophical comedy. 

Since the last episode in this “Water Cooler” series, though, our panel has experienced somewhat of a changeover in personnel, as sometimes happens here at CPU! One panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys. One panelist departed the panel for life’s greater obligations. Panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Michael, and Selene returned and were joined by a panelist new to the panel, but not to the podcast, to dissect the “Jeremy Bearimy” type ups and downs of The Good Place‘s third season.

To wit, our panelists continued to offer little bad or negative to say about Season 3 apart from nitpicks of a typically individual and personal type among each panelist; the show, therefore, is still popular with this panel.  Everyone continues to universally agree that the creator and show-runner has produced something totally new, totally kick-ash awesome; at the top of its comedic game; and accessible to most everyone despite its complex premise, all while avoiding the typical tendency of pandering to a larger audience by muting or undercutting the intelligence of the premise and of the situations in which the characters find themselves.  In fact, if you are part of The Good Place fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your adoration for this decidedly traction-gaining cult hit while traversing, perhaps, some similar confusions that you might have also experienced while viewing Season 3.  With all this said, have I convinced you (yet) to listen via the embedded link below?

This podcast was recorded in August 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points of Season 3 (and most of the plot points in this sitcom are kind of major). Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Grace and Frankie panel returns to the CPU! Water Cooler to review the finer points of squatting while showing general appreciation for Season 5 of the sitcom about septuagenarians (allegedly).  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Is the soulmate construct a fake representation of a concept, i.e. soulmates, that is not real or does not exist?  Or, did Michael, as architect of this purported torture chamber, merely build in the soulmate aspect incidentally, as a simple device, missing the point of soulmates entirely – in other words, “getting it wrong?”  Is the show advocating that soulmates are real and/or something worthy of considering as possible, or is the show presenting a cynical view of “soulmate” love, platonic or otherwise, by inferring that soulmates are something made up, whether by Michael, by someone or something like him, and/or by the rest of us?

ANSWER: Still a question. While the concept of soulmates does not seem to be entirely off the table, particularly with the dubbing of our four main souls (Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason) as the “Soul Squad,” the soulmate concept remains largely nebulous where this sitcom is concerned. Yet, the concept may undergo deep exploration in Season 4 based upon some of the set-ups of the Season 3 finale. Listen to the podcast episode for details (PS panelist Michael is still championing this theory).

2) Are the four main characters apart from Michael and Janet – Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason – really members of a “soul cluster,” i.e. four so-called soulmates who cannot exist apart from the others and hope to be better people because they, whether fatalistically or not, happen to make each other better naturally, as panelist Michael advocates?

ANSWER: As above, still a question, but one shared by the characters on the show. Michael the Architect is testing this theory by running some experiments, first in Season 3 by giving the so-called “Soul Squad” a literally new lease on life and by allowing them to find each other, hoping that their togetherness improves them where their individuality failed, and now, in advance of Season 4 and as of the Season 3 finale, by recreating “The Good Place” of Season 1 to see if the “Soul Squad” will achieve an evolution that makes them Real Good Place ™ worthy, with a little help from their friends. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) Why is Chidi’s paralyzing inability to make a decision worthy of him being sent to the Bad Place?

ANSWER: While no answer has been proffered by the show, we assume it’s because his indecision can sometimes lead to catastrophic consequences, including loss of life and including the loss of his own life. Again, this has not been explicitly confirmed by the show, but we do think paralyzing indecisiveness seems like a mean way to eliminate a soul from “Good Place” consideration. Then again, the system may be rigged, as the show is explicitly positing, and this question may be ultimately moot.

4) Is the show advocating Eleanor as its “moral center?”  Michael comes to the conclusion that the afterlife determination system is flawed based upon the four main characters’ personal growth, especially Eleanor’s, even as Eleanor struggles to maintain that growth in the second season finale.  Where will Eleanor land in the end? Will she ever be Real Good Place ™ worthy?

ANSWER: Still a question. This, friends and fellow viewers, may be the ultimate heart and soul and the very thematic foundation of the entire series.

5) How will Eleanor and Chidi find Tahani and Jason again, if they do it all, in their brave new world?  How quickly?

ANSWER: Pretty quickly, considering that Michael cannot stand to watch on the sidelines for long. The wily architectural demon, despite Judge Gen’s (Maya Rudolph) express orders to the contrary, decides to give each of the four in the Soul Squad (or “Squad”) a little nudge toward not only finding each other but also toward sticking together, no matter the outcome. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Where will Michael and Janet end up, Good or Bad Place, particularly since Demon Michael seems to have attained some positive personal, and somewhat human, improvement, and since Good Janet, given Michael’s 802 reboots of his construct and of her stolen self, is the most advanced version of Janet ever, with her newfound capability of lying, of loving, and of experiencing some human emotions?

ANSWER: So far, Michael and Janet simply exist, helping the Squad with their afterlife journey, though it was looking like a likely Bad Place retirement for Michael there for a minute, with a potential return of Janet to whatever void she hailed from when she was created. They survive the season’s events, only to return to similar roles as those that they served when the series began. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Will Michael and Judge Gen’s experiment result in the creation of other possible places – such as more Medium Places, where someone bad can improve, as panelist Selene hopes?

ANSWER: So far, the only Place that has been created in Season 3 is a duplicate or clone of Season 1’s Good Place that was the mask for (SPOILER) the Bad Place. We think that there is only one true Good Place (the Real Good Place [tm]), one true Bad Place, and one true Medium Place, with some constructed facades within each of them at times. For example, the cloned Good Place that was once a mask for the Bad Place was built in the Medium Place in Season 3. Look, we didn’t write this, okay.

8) Will Michael end up becoming a Judge like Gen, as panelist Joey predicts, possibly with Janet as his assistant-friend?

ANSWER: So far, Michael remains an Architect and a demon, though he is one besot by a panic attack at the end of the third season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

9) Were Eleanor and Chidi actually brought back to life, or are they being run through some sort of test simulation, to gauge the measure of personal growth attainable without the promise of “moral dessert?”  Or, are they in a new construct similar to purgatory, where borderline bad people can try to be good people, as panelists Joey and Kristen surmise?

ANSWER: All four members were actually returned to the land of the living at the beginning of Season 3. Unfortunately, their circumstances did not sustain. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Did Michael’s “torture” plan fail because of Janet, as panelist Gabe guesses?

ANSWER: Unknown. Janet is certainly a variable for the Squad, given her evolution beyond her initial programming matrix, but Michael’s true guess, that the members of the Squad make each other better people in or out of the afterlife and whether they are meant to do so or not, is probably the more likely reason why Michael’s initial plans failed.

11) Will the four main characters continue to torture each other without Michael and Janet present, provided that they meet again in their new “near death” version of Earth?  Are Michael and Janet the reason why the characters did not attain further personal growth than they already achieved (or, at least, Janet because we know Michael was trying to torture them for at least some time)?  Is Janet actually a corrupted computer-like matrix, or is she evolved artificial intelligence?

ANSWER: The four main characters do not continue to torture each other. As the Squad, they challenge each other to become better people, better souls, and, arguably, Michael and Janet help that evolution even further along, quite forcefully and bluntly at times. To that end, Michael and Janet appear to impose no limits on the Squad; the Squad’s individual members’ limitations are self-manifested and become what each character must rise above, theoretically by the end of the series.

Janet is most likely evolved artificial intelligence, but Janet is a unique, ethereal creation, with very little definition beyond what the show has specifically showed or told the viewer about her. Who knows if simple, mortal words and concepts can sufficiently describe her construction and formation? All the panel knows for certain is that D’Arcy Carden is criminally underrated in this role.

12) If Eleanor finds Chidi, Tahini, and Jason again, how do the latter three escape death in this new version of their world?

ANSWER: Via a flashback provided in the Season 3 premiere, all four members of the Squad escape death with a little help from their friend Michael. He lets Jason out of the safe, moves Chidi out of the way of the falling air conditioning unit, assures that Tahani is not in the line of sight of the falling statue of her sister, and ensures that Eleanor’s margarita bottle is out of the path of the roving shopping carts.

13) Is this new version of the world a new Medium Place, as panelist Kristen posits?

ANSWER: No. The world we see in Season 3 is all Earth, with all of its warts and blemishes, but in an alternate reality in which the Squad members never died. Although, Earth as the quintessential Medium Place does make for a good philosophical theory to mull related to this show.

14) Who is actually in the Real Good Place ™?  Are there any actual good people, or angels, since there are demons in this universe?  Or, are the alleged good people actually morally complicated, similar to the angels on Supernatural, as panelist Gabe theorizes?

ANSWER: Still a question. Since no one has been admitted to the Real Good Place ™ in 521 years, we do not know who generally populates it, other than a Council, who decides what happens to the construction of The Good Place, and Gwendolyn (Nicole Byer), who pleasantly receives people in a post office-like room in the Real Good Place ™. What or who is beyond the door of that post office type facility is anyone but the writers’ guess.

15) Why does watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert qualify for Bad Place entry?  Is it all about the socks?  Give it away, now.

ANSWER: Still a question. Especially since this show is all about the Otherside. I feel a bit Under the Bridge about this assertion. It’s giving me Scar Tissue.

16) Is Michael really a demon?  Where do demons come from on this show?  What is Michael’s back story?  What is boss Shawn’s back story?  Why is the Bad Place largely set in an office?  Is this a reference to The Office, for which Michael Schur wrote and on which he also appeared (as Dwight’s cousin Mose)?

ANSWER: So far, Michael is really and truly a demon, though we have not been told where and how demons originate, what Michael’s back story is, what Shawn’s back story is, or why the Bad Place is largely set in an office. Though, perhaps we can make some healthy assumptions about that last question.

New Questions

1) Will our intrepid heroes and “Soul Squad” achieve entry into the really Real Good Place ™? Or, are they doomed to Bad Place eternity while and/or making a better afterlife for everyone else?

2) With Judge Gen’s ruling that Shawn’s deliberate attempts to torture the Squad by introducing bothersome people from their lives into the newly reconstituted Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) cannot fly, does that mean the viewer will see two additional entrants to the Good Place that serve as “challenges” for Eleanor and for Jason, since we have met challenges for Tahani in the form of a bothersome reporter and Chidi’s ex Simone as his antagonistic force? If so, who are they? Is it possible that with Judge Gen’s reset, someone already in the Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) could present the challenge to Eleanor, Jason, or both? Is the challenge even a conceit that still applies? If not, will Tahani’s tormentor disappear? Alternatively, will Chidi, who has chosen to have his mind erased concerning his love for Eleanor in order not to sour this new iteration of the experiment with the appearance of Simone, be representative of Eleanor’s personal challenger? The panel spends much time discussing this confusing turn of events in the instant podcast episode, to which you should listen for further details.

3) Does Tahani actually have real feelings for Jason, allowed to blossom through their partnership over spending Tahani’s considerable wealth for the good of humankind? Or, is she demonstrating a wistful longing for the same kind of connection shared by Janet and Jason?

4) How long will Michael experience his panic attack, and how will his inability to function as the de facto Architect affect the new experiment?

5) What exactly is the construction and use of the new iteration of the Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) meant to demonstrate; will Judge Gen be able to change the point system? Who gives Judge Gen her power? Or, will the system collapse in on itself, and then what will happen? Or, will they be able to reset everything for everyone?

6) Is the guard at the portal to Earth (Mike O’Malley), who loves frogs, secretly this show’s version of God? Does he at least know more than he is letting on? Several panelists have suggested that he might become more important before the series end.

7) Is Earth actually a kind of purgatory, a preparation for the afterlife, as panelist Selene suggests or posits in the sort of heady, philosophical meandering that this sitcom inspires?

8) Panelist Michael still believes that the soulmate construct as depicted in Season 1 is not just a device of Architect Michael’s to convince the Squad that they were in a heavenly utopia of an afterlife but a truth universal for our main characters: i.e. they make each other better because they are truly soulmates. Are the Squad soulmates? Is that what the show is advocating? What’s more, is it even broader than that? Is humanity one giant soul cluster, fuel for the sustainability of the afterlife Places? Or, moreover, will we be watching the “Mister Rogers” ending – where all are meant to be improved for potential Real Good Place ™ admission, and no one is meant to be in the Bad Place?

9) If no one’s been admitted into the Real Good Place ™ in the last 521 years, since presumably the Spanish Inquisition or so that nobody expects (side reference, that), how is the Bad Place not suffering from overcrowding? What is Shawn doing to expand that real estate?

10) Will we ever get to see who and what might be beyond the door of the post office in the Real Good Place ™?

11) What will Janet’s final end be, given her start and subsequent evolution?

12) Will the show allow the love relationships to continue, despite the obstacles? Will Eleanor and Chidi find each other again? Will Janet and Jason remain together, particularly since Jason is so threatened by Derek? Will Tahani find someone to love, since she has achieved some sort of reconciliation with her sister?

13) Assuming that Architect Michael exposes the chinks in the system for entry into the Real Good Place ™, what will become of him in the end? He has also evolved beyond the gleeful demon who delighted in torture and to whom we were introduced.

14) Will we see Eleanor’s parents, Donkey Doug and Pillboi, Tahani’s sister, or Chidi’s friends and relatives again?

PARTING SHOTS

As of the Season 3 finale, the CPU! The Good Place panel universally, effusively, and glowingly continues to recommend this unique situation comedy because of its original, quality premise; complex, layered writing; stellar performances; and fresh take on an intellectual concept that does not meander into trope-filled, didactic territory, despite its meditation on moral and ethical principles and philosophy.  The panelists note that, though pacing became something of an issue in this third season, particularly as members of the Soul Squad explored individual quests and missions in the middle episodes of the season – some of which felt marginally clunky in execution and in premise – Season 3 remained, by and large, tightly constructed by maintaining the rapid-fire pacing, superior wit, enticing and engaging cliffhangers for episode endings, and a refreshing lack of filler episodes established during the show’s first two seasons.  Several panelists characterized this show as easy to recommend, easy to binge-watch, and easy to which to become addicted, even as the premise is “hard to explain.”  The panelists additionally continue to praise the program’s ability to intellectually challenge the viewer while remaining both accessible and hilarious high-concept comedy; in fact, several panel members deem the show as having significant re-watch value, based upon personal experience (already!).  In fact, the entire panel wholeheartedly continues to recommend The Good Place to anyone, anywhere, with a hearty “Just watch it!” as the overall recommendation refrain.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Good Place was renewed for a fourth and final season by NBC, which will premiere on NBC on September 26, 2019.  Currently, Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream fully on Netflix, while the five most recently aired episodes of the show are available on Hulu and on NBC’s streaming app and website.  In the meantime, the CPU! Good Place panel will return to the Water Cooler following the airing of the series finale to say goodbye to this series we’ve grown to love so much. Until then – stay tuned!

Looking Back at “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Season 2: The Star Trek 50+ Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of resident CPU! Trekkers – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Kyle, and Michael – reconvened Around the Water Cooler to Look Back at the second season of The Original Series of Star Trek.  This is the second part of a multi-part CPU! podcast series – the biggest multi-part series we have ever undertaken – in which we venture into space, the final frontier, by covering each season of each series of the entire Star Trek franchise (the movies too)! This second “Star Trek 50+ Series” episode was recorded in July 2019, and, as always, if you haven’t seen any of Star Trek, TOS or otherwise – if that is even possible – 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!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

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

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Best Of! & Cult TV! & Looking Back at “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Season 2: The Star Trek 50+ Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#33)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Star Trek,” an American science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry, which aired on NBC from 1966 to 1969 for three seasons until it was canceled.

What: “Star Trek” follows the adventures of the star ship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and its crew. The show later acquired the retronym of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) to distinguish this first series within the media franchise that it began.

SYNOPSIS

Star Trek is set in the Milky Way galaxy, roughly during the 2260s. The ship and crew are led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), First Officer and Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley).

When: The show aired on NBC from 1966-1969; Season 2 aired from September 15, 1967, to March 29, 1968.

Where: The show is set in “space the final frontier,” in what is allegedly the 2260s, though it should be noted that calculating star dates as quoted during “Captain’s Logs” on the show is an exercise that does not seem to be based upon rhyme or reason nor does it seem to correspond to our present-day time measurement system. Then again, there is probably an explanation in some fan encyclopedia somewhere. We’re not going to worry about that right now, though, gentle listener.

Why: Listen to the first episode in this podcast series (below) for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Star Trek – any Star Trek. They are all personal, familial even, and brimming with fantastic Trekker enthusiasm.

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

In 2017, Couch Potatoes Unite! appeared live at Grand Rapids Comic-Con in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we engaged in one of our spicy “Vs!” debates, specifically the debate entitled “Star Trek v. Star Wars: Battle of the Stars!” During that special, our second most involved panelist, the infamous Nick, gave an impassioned speech in favor of the Star Trek universe, of which he is undeniably a huge fan. In light of Nick’s passion, then, and of his subsequent repetitive bouts of subtle encouragement dedicated to starting this series, we here at CPU! triumphantly continue our biggest – no, really, this will be our biggest – Retrospective Looking Back series of podcast episodes to date.  In fact, we covered Season 1 earlier this month. Listen here:

The Original Series: Season 1

Our panel of CPU! super-regulars and resident Trekkers – specifically Nick, Sarah, Kyle, and Michael – continue our likely “five year mission” to boldly go where (probably) no one has gone before with this second episode of our “Star Trek 50+ Series.” In this feature, we are taking a critical Look Back at a franchise that, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, perseveres, despite occasional periods of dormant but simmering popularity and attempts to regroup in an effort to generate new entries in its over five-decade saga. In each episode of this multi-part series, our panel will Look Back at each season of each series of the Star Trek franchise and will consider how this universe has not only withstood the test of time, while simultaneously becoming timeless, but also continues to rank among the panelists’ personal favorites, not only as a series of television programs but as a favored fandom among many, while remaining one of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed series of television shows of all time.

In this second episode of CPU!’s “Star Trek 50+” series, our panel discusses the second season of The Original Series (TOS). We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes in this season as well as our general impressions of the success of not only the second season of this program but the long-term success of the series as a whole.

Plus, Star Trek represents another entry in our “Best Of!” series. To wit, herein be the list of Star Trek’s (TOS) Best Of!:

  • #12 on TV Guide’s list of 60 Best Series of All Time
  • #43 on Empire‘s “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #30 in 2016
  • #35 on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #18 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Star Trek is one of the most celebrated cult TV shows and TV fandoms, as the show ranks at #1 on TV Guide’s Top Cult TV list in 2004 and 2007.  Plus, Star Trek ranked #33 onThe Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in July 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points and episodic stories of the second season of Star Trek (The Original Series)! Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, the newly full American Horror Story panel returns to the Water Cooler to parse through Season 8 and its “Murder House” meets “Coven” Apocalypse. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Star Trek (The Original Series) – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who hasn’t somehow seen any portion of it in the over 50 years since it first premiered; who isn’t offended by yesterday’s context of sensibilities in today’s more “woke” world; and who enjoys well-written science fiction stories because Star Trek is pioneering in so many ways, not the least of which includes quality stories underlying each of the show’s imaginative episodes. TOS was clearly ahead of its time, even as it was hampered by societal resistances of the day, and influenced so many other science fiction and fantasy genre shows to follow, not to mention its own spin-offs and sequels. To wit, Star Trek remains a timeless, magical fusion of ensemble cast chemistry, particularly involving the three leads (Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley), and out-of-the-box creativity advanced during a tumultuous cultural time period that is hard not to love, whatever flaws and dated special effects it might have. Indeed, Star Trek has a bit of everything, and, if you love the genre and/or if you love trying something new, and if you have somehow missed this series (please explain how this might be possible?), you should make time for Star Trek. The panelists only caution that The Original Series is, truly, a product of its time, situated as it was deeply within and sometimes at the mercy of the heart and height of the civil rights and women’s movements. In addition, TV in the 1960s was generally a different animal, with more melodrama, slower pacing, and less “B” or side stories to engage interest and/or short attention spans, as well as some famously primitive special and visual effects. Entering into your continuing mission with this information and an open mind will guarantee a journey unlike any other, where you have never gone before, and where you’ll always want to revisit, aboard the Enterprise NCC-1701 or otherwise.

All three seasons of TOS are currently available to stream on Netflix, Prime, and Hulu, and maybe some other services of which we are not aware. In the meantime, the CPU! Star Trek 50+ Series panel will return in the fall with Episode 3 of this series, in which we talk Season 3 of TOS. Until then!

Looking Back at “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Season 1: The Star Trek 50+ Series, Episode 1 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of resident CPU! Trekkers – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Kyle, and Michael – gathered together Around the Water Cooler to Look Back at the first season of The Original Series of Star Trek.  This is the first part of a multi-part CPU! podcast series – the biggest multi-part series we have ever undertaken – in which we venture into space, the final frontier, by covering each season of each series of the entire Star Trek franchise (the movies too)! This first “Star Trek 50+ Series” episode was recorded in June 2019, and, as always, if you haven’t seen any of Star Trek, TOS or otherwise – if that is even possible – 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!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

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

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Best Of! & Cult TV! & Looking Back at “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Season 1: The Star Trek 50+ Series, Episode 1 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#33)

Image result for star trek title

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Star Trek,” an American science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry, which aired on NBC from 1966 to 1969 for three seasons until it was canceled.

What: “Star Trek” follows the adventures of the star ship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and its crew. The show later acquired the retronym of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) to distinguish this first series within the media franchise that it began.

SYNOPSIS

Star Trek is set in the Milky Way galaxy, roughly during the 2260s. The ship and crew are led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), First Officer and Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley).

When: The show aired on NBC from 1966-1969; Season 1 aired from September 8, 1966, to April 13, 1967.

Where: The show is set in “space the final frontier,” in what is allegedly the 2260s, though it should be noted that calculating star dates as quoted during “Captain’s Logs” on the show is an exercise that does not seem to be based upon rhyme or reason nor does it seem to correspond to our present-day time measurement system. Then again, there is probably an explanation in some fan encyclopedia somewhere. We’re not going to worry about that right now, though, gentle listener.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Star Trek – any Star Trek. They are all personal, familial even, and brimming with fantastic Trekker enthusiasm.

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

In 2017, Couch Potatoes Unite! appeared live at Grand Rapids Comic-Con in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we engaged in one of our spicy “Vs!” debates, specifically the debate entitled “Star Trek v. Star Wars: Battle of the Stars!” During that special, our second most involved panelist, the infamous Nick, gave an impassioned speech in favor of the Star Trek universe, of which he is undeniably a huge fan. If you would like to hear that speech, or to enjoy the whole event (which was recorded as below), either click play or fast forward to the last fifteen minutes of the below video and watch the whole moving moment:

In light of Nick’s passion, then, and of his subsequent repetitive bouts of subtle encouragement dedicated to starting this series, we here at CPU! triumphantly launch our biggest – no, really, this will be our biggest – Retrospective Looking Back series of podcast episodes to date.  By popular request from our resident Trekkers, specifically our panel of CPU! super-regulars Nick, Sarah, Kyle, and Michael, who have, in turn, agreed to take on a likely “five year mission” to boldly go where (probably) no one has gone before, herein CPU! offers you the first episode of our “Star Trek 50+ Series.” In this feature, we will take a critical Look Back at a franchise that, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, perseveres, despite occasional periods of dormant but simmering popularity and attempts to regroup in an effort to generate new entries in its over five-decade saga. In each episode of this multi-part series, our panel will Look Back at each season of each series of the Star Trek franchise and will consider how this universe has not only withstood the test of time, while simultaneously becoming timeless, but also continues to rank among the panelists’ personal favorites, not only as a series of television programs but as a favored fandom among many, while remaining one of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed series of television shows of all time.

In this first episode of CPU!’s “Star Trek 50+” series, our panel discusses the first season of The Original Series (TOS). We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes in this season as well as our general impressions of the success of not only the first season of this program but the long-term success of the series as a whole.

Plus, Star Trek constitutes another entry in our “Best Of!” series. To wit, herein be the list of Star Trek’s (TOS) Best Of!:

  • #12 on TV Guide’s list of 60 Best Series of All Time
  • #43 on Empire‘s “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #30 in 2016
  • #35 on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #18 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Star Trek is one of the most celebrated cult TV shows and TV fandoms, as the show ranks at #1 on TV Guide’s Top Cult TV list in 2004 and 2007.  Plus, Star Trek ranked #33 on The Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in June 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points and episodic stories of the first season of Star Trek (The Original Series)! Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, a new panel appears at the CPU! Water Cooler, convening for the first time to welcome you to Westworld by enthusiastically discussing the heady HBO drama’s first, powerful season. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Star Trek (The Original Series) – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who hasn’t somehow seen any portion of it in the over 50 years since it first premiered; who isn’t offended by yesterday’s context of sensibilities in today’s more “woke” world; and who enjoys well-written science fiction stories because Star Trek is pioneering in so many ways, not the least of which includes quality stories underlying each of the show’s imaginative episodes.  As we discuss in this podcast episode, TOS was clearly ahead of its time, even as it was hampered by societal resistances of the day, and influenced so many other science fiction and fantasy genre shows to follow, not to mention its own spin-offs and sequels. To wit, Star Trek remains a timeless, magical fusion of ensemble cast chemistry, particularly involving the three leads (Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley), and out-of-the-box creativity advanced during a tumultuous cultural time period that is hard not to love, whatever flaws and dated special effects it might have. Indeed, Star Trek has a bit of everything, and, if you love the genre and/or if you love trying something new, and if you have somehow missed this series (please explain how this might be possible?), you should make time for Star Trek. The panelists only caution that The Original Series is, truly, a product of its time, situated as it was deeply within and sometimes at the mercy of the heart and height of the civil rights and women’s movements. In addition, TV in the 1960s was generally a different animal, with more melodrama, slower pacing, and less “B” or side stories to engage interest and/or short attention spans, as well as some famously primitive special and visual effects. Entering into your continuing mission with this information and an open mind will guarantee a journey unlike any other, where you have never gone before, and where you’ll always want to revisit, aboard the Enterprise NCC-1701 or otherwise.

All three seasons of TOS are currently available to stream on Netflix, Prime, and Hulu, and maybe some other services of which we are not aware. In the meantime, the CPU! Star Trek 50+ Series panel will return later this month, schedule permitting, with Episode 2 of this series, in which we talk Season 2 of TOS. Until then!