Orange is the New Black, Season 7 & “Goodbye”/Looking Back Review (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 feisty inmates – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, and Amanda (one panelist departed the panel for life’s greater journeys) – is Around the Water Cooler, Streaming Originals, and chatting for the last time as a panel about the seventh and final season of acclaimed Netflix original series Orange is the New Black.  This episode was recorded in January 2020, and, as always, if you haven’t seen any of OITNB, 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 Rezmer
Keyboard: Kelsey Rezmer
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: The CPU! Goodbye to “Orange is the New Black” – The Season 7 Recap and Review + Looking Back at Seasons 1-7 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Orange is the New Black,” which is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What: “Orange is the New Black,” a comedy drama about a Manhattan woman whose past catches up to her and for which she must serve time in federal prison.

SYNOPSIS

Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a seemingly run-of-the-mill woman and maker of homemade soaps. Unfortunately, Piper learns that she must serve a short sentence in federal prison after she is implicated in the bust of an international drug cartel, of which her former girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted. What’s more, Piper finds, at first, that she is wholly unequipped for prison. Though some, like unabashed, self-proclaimed “lesbian junkie” Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), are kind and helpful to her, others show her no mercy. In addition, the guards, all men, are mostly drunk on their own power, the prison counselors play favorites and are easily offended, and the prison population is divided by race, unofficially but automatically, which offends Piper’s liberal sensibilities.  If all that weren’t complicated enough, Piper’s ex Alex is sent to the same prison, and Piper’s emotions are deeply conflicted, as she reasons that only Alex could have pointed the finger to get her in trouble in the first place, while at the same time, the old attractions between the two women remain undeniably present.

When: Netflix released Season 7 to its streaming library on July 26, 2019, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The show is primarily set in upstate New York, though flashbacks for each of the prisoners who comprise the cast of characters sometimes venture away from New York.

Why: Many panelists saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  Listen to prior podcast episodes to discover how individual panelists found this show.

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

CPU! has been covering Orange is the New Black since its debut on Netflix’s ever growing streaming service.  You can read about the first season here and listen to podcast episodes about Seasons 2-6 below:

Season 2

Season 3, Part One

Season 3, Part Two

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Our slightly reduced panel of OITNB-oriented Couch Potatoes and enthusiasts – namely moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Nick, and Amanda (one panelist departed the panel for life’s greater journeys) – triumphantly, if belatedly, returns to the CPU! Water Cooler to talk all things Season 7 of the wildly popular (and Orange) Netflix drama for this final podcast episode in our OITNB series while also engaging in a thoughtful Look Back at the series as a whole.  Not to undo several episodes steeped in something of a tradition, as Orange was one of the podcast’s first three shows earmarked for discussion (in one of our three pilot episodes), the panel waded through our usual heady and heavy discussion about some of the plot lines that we saw develop in the final season, including Piper’s release from prison, the existence of the PolyCon ICE detention center, and the series resolution for so many of the characters we have grown to love or at least to try to understand over the course of seven seasons. What do you think?  Do you agree? Do you disagree?

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in January 2020, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of OITNB Season 7 and really every season in the 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 Apple/iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , find us on Google Play, or on Spotify (!) 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 regularly scheduled review episodes will return to a brief hiatus as we finagle our robust winter programming, so CPU! will continue the “On the Couch With…” feature with Moderator and frequent panelist Nick interviewing Moderator, frequent panelist, and his timid and demure wife Sarah.  Stay tuned until next week for more casual one-on-one, get-to-know hilarity!

Lingering Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Are we to assume that Suzanne’s (Uzo Aduba) flashback in Season 4 provided the back story related to the reason for her imprisonment: involuntary manslaughter of a child? Because her flashback episode was situated within the last three jam-packed episodes of the season, the panel assumed this to be the case but was not certain.

FINAL ANSWER: We will never know. Although Suzanne becomes cogent enough, with this final season’s events, to realize that she did not deserve to be in a maximum security prison, also validated by her adoptive mother, the show does not further confirm details of the Season 4 flashback. It is probably safe to assume that the flashback was exactly what it was meant to be – the tale of an accident, brought to bear by severe mental illness and further complicated by the inherent flaws in the justice and prison systems.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: What was Frieda’s (Dale Soules) crime that landed her in Litchfield/prison?

FINAL ANSWER: The official answer remains forever unclear; the show never shows us this officially, though Frieda admits to killing many people throughout the series.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Flaritza, i.e. Flaca (Jackie Cruz) and Maritza, be reunited? 

FINAL ANSWER: Flaritza are reunited this season for a brief time before a heartbreaking tale of parental betrayal regarding Maritza’s birth and the fallout of the sad ironies of life destroy Maritza’s life forever. After she is recently released from prison (specifically PolyCon Ohio) Maritza (guest: Diane Guerrero), is picked up by ICE, transferred to PolyCon New York’s ICE detention center, and is eventually deported to Colombia, a country she has never known but in where she was, apparently, born; listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) Will Piper maintain relationships with her prison friends? How will she conduct married life when she’s out of jail, and Alex remains in prison?

ANSWER: Piper only finds ways to speak to Alex, but the going is rough. Alex faces undue pressure inside from multiple prison guards to continue the drug trade in the vacuum created by Season 6 villains, Barb and Carol’s, respective deaths while simultaneously attempting to survive the traditional prison perils, while Piper struggles, even as the privileged daughter of a privileged family, to get back on her feet as a convicted felon, recently released from prison. This results in a long-distance, sometimes testy, telephone relationship between Piper and Alex, and they try numerous methods to make it work, even consenting to attempt an open relationship, which goes better for Alex than it does for Piper. In the end, they flirt with the idea that they might be better off apart, particularly when Alex’s enmities create the need to transfer her to PolyCon Ohio, but Piper can’t stomach that idea. Listen to the podcast episode for the panel’s thoughts and details surrounding the fate of Piper and Alex, the relationship.

5) Will we see any of the inmates who were shipped to other prisons again in the final season? I think the panelists particularly missed Big Boo, Soso, and Maritza.

ANSWER: Yes! We see virtually all of them! Maritza returns, as she is picked up by ICE and brought to New York for a time in a heartbreaking end of story for her character. Judy King (guest: Blair Brown) returns, as her new autobiography about her time in prison goes to print and is sent to the prison, to her former friends and fans, for their unabashed consumption. Meanwhile, Big Boo, Soso, Janae, Angie, Leanne, Norma, Gina, Yoga Jones, Anita, Alison, and the white supremacists are all kicking it old school in PolyCon Ohio, where the rest of Litchfield Minimum was shipped following the riot. We even see the ever-spicy Mei Chang, former overseer of Litchfield Minimum’s commissary, being admitted to Litchfield Max in the finale. It is a heartwarming love letter to the fans who truly wondered where the hell all these people went.

6) Who will fill the vacuum created in Barb and Carol’s absence? Will Alex take on the power role in place of Carol? Will Red (Kate Mulgrew)? Will Gloria (Selenis Levya) step up in Barb’s absence? Will Daddy?

ANSWER: Alex smuggles cell phones and chargers into the prison in cahoots with CO Artesian McCullough, the female corrections officer with PTSD introduced in Season 6, as opposed to drugs while she tries to fly straight for Piper’s sake, such as flying straight while smuggling contraband can be. The big drug dealer on the various blocks is Daya (Dascha Polanco), who not only accidentally ices her former lover Daddy via heroin overdose but who takes over her trade with the help of her mother Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) on the outside and CO Hopper on the inside – that is, until Aleida gets herself re-incarcerated (AGAIN!) and decides to go to war with her own daughter. Listen to the podcast episode for details and rants.

7) What is wrong with Lorna (Yael Stone) at season’s end? Will her baby survive?

ANSWER: Lorna starts early labor, likely due to stress, at the end of Season 6. Unfortunately, though her baby, Sterling, is treated in the NICU, he dies of complications including pneumonia, which ultimately renders Lorna’s burgeoning psychosis permanent. Unable to accept the death of Sterling, she creates false Instagram accounts, tells tales of her non-existent baby’s fictional development, and influences her husband Vinnie, unable to convince her to accept the pain of reality, to request a divorce. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

8) Will the show check in with Blanca (Laura Gomez) next season after she is turned over to INS in the sixth season finale?

ANSWER: Not only will the show check in with Blanca, we spend quite some time in the ICE detention center following the fates of Blanca; Maritza, who is shipped there; and several detainees who befriend not only these two women but the reunion of the Litchfield kitchen staff tasked to prepare food for the detainees, particularly Nicky, who finds a new lover in one detainee, and Gloria, who functions as an intermediary for messages and research pertaining to loved ones’ whereabouts for several of the detainees, who have no rights and are not in the best conditions to do so themselves. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

9) Will PolyCon get into some sort of significant trouble for incompetent management? Will Jason Biggs return with a triumphant story of investigative journalism exposing the mismanagement and corruption of the corporation?

ANSWER: PolyCon spends some time in front of the media talking down the leftover fallout from the Litchfield Minimum riot, but, ultimately, Linda The. Worst. hires Tamika Ward as the new warden – and as the new “diversity hire” – to put a progressive face on the always-about-the-bottom-line private prison corporation. Jason Biggs returns in his role as Larry to offer Piper some decidedly sage advice in Season 7, which she doesn’t accept, and to awkwardly reunite with his former fiancee as she seeks atonement out in the real world. Larry does nothing journalistic this season; he’s co-running the soap business with the former best friend.

10) Will we see Judy King or Yoga Jones again?

ANSWER: We see both. Judy King is back running her Martha Stewart-inspired empire and writing a book about her time in prison. Yoga Jones is hanging out in Ohio with the rest of the Litchfield inmates we have come to know.

11) Will the show focus on the core group of prisoners, or will it introduce even more new prisoners in the show’s final season?

ANSWER: While the show attempts to give service to those remaining inmates of the show’s original group still residing in or adjacent to Litchfield Maximum Security, it also introduces several new characters among the ICE detainees, including Egyptian lesbian Shani, who “befriends” Nicky, and settled parent Karla, who finds enmity than an alliance with Blanca as the season progresses. Listen to the podcast episode for details and opinions about the introduction of new characters in this final season.

12) Will there be a time jump?

ANSWER: There is no significant time jump – perhaps a few months, as we do find Piper starting the season by living with her brother and sister-in-law and working as a waitress while regularly meeting with her sassy parole officer.

13) Will Frieda’s fate be death in prison?

ANSWER: Frieda, as ever, survives it all.

14) Will Taystee (Danielle Brooks) be sentenced to death? How will she confront Cindy’s (Adrienne C. Moore) betrayal? How will Cindy atone for that betrayal?

ANSWER: Taystee does not receive a death sentence. She does, however, visit an eye-for-an-eye sort of vengeance on Cindy by writing a letter to Monica, her biological daughter being raised as her sister by Cindy’s mother, and telling her the truth of her origin. This happens as Cindy is attempting to find life again in the real world, which she starts to do by living with her mother and Monica and by making a promise that she will abide by her mother’s rules. Unfortunately, this bombshell from Taystee causes Cindy’s mother to have heartbreak and disappointment in her daughter’s continued mistakes, Monica to lose trust in everyone, and Cindy to do what Cindy has always done: flee. She is able to get a job working as an aide in a senior living center but is homeless for awhile, a time during which she searches her soul about her life’s choices and past mistakes. Ultimately, though, she starts to do the right thing: in the series finale, she meets with her mother and Monica and promises to mend what she can, one day at a time.

15) Will Gloria or Red survive their transfer to solitary confinement, particularly since Gloria was put in solitary roughly by “fantasy inmate” kingpin, CO Alvarez? Will they be allowed to move back to Gen Pop next season?

ANSWER: Both Gloria and Red survive their time in the SHU but not without consequences. Red develops a urinary tract infection and a severe case of depression, which accelerate the onset of early symptoms of dementia, a condition that dominates Red’s story arc for the rest of the series. When Tamika Ward becomes warden, she shuts down the solitary block, resulting in Gloria and Red’s respective returns to Gen Pop, where Gloria does her best to look after Red, though, as the season wears on, it becomes clear that Red is beyond anyone’s reach. Listen to the podcast episodes for details.

New Questions Without Answers

1) What happened to Daya and Aleida in the series finale? Do they live? Do they die? Why was this left open ended?

2) Will part of Cindy’s redemptive journey in the future we don’t see allow for her to recant her statement that resulted in Taystee’s conviction? Will she reconnect with Taystee at all?

3) Why did Piper choose Alex over the charming Zelda (guest: Alicia Witt) in the end? Do we really buy that these toxic partners are soulmates? What side do you, gentle listener, fall on the Alex/Piper ship?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Orange is the New Black panel unanimously agreed that Season 7, in contrast to all prior seasons of the series, was the most underwhelming season of all.  Most panelists puzzled over some of the writing choices for the characters, such as Red’s anticlimactic dementia arc, which the panelists believed wasted Mulgrew’s strengths as an actor, even as the character’s ending presented some irony when considering her many seasons of impossibly high standards set for herself and others, her bravado, and her shows of strength, real or mustered for the sake of appearance. Another writing choice that got the panelists’ respective goats centered around the decline of Daya throughout the past few seasons, as the panelists struggled to understand the character’s downward spiral and progression, beginning with her possession of the gun at the start of Season 4’s riot. Though her troubles might be traced back to a breaking point caused by the decision to give up her daughter to Pornstache and his mother, the panelists, while reflecting on Daya’s path, did not feel that the writers earned her most cataclysmic choices, considering that Daya started as a sensitive and sensible character, corrupted by the influence of prison, and perhaps her mother Aleida’s misguided parenting, or not.  The panelists further grew bored with the extra, tedious focus on Piper’s life outside of prison and on her toxic relationship with Alex, recognizing that some fans find this relationship to be the central and most important reason to watch this show, though our panelists would wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment.  

All in all, though, the panel reached a repeat consensus of opinion following this final season: Season 7 was universally the panel’s least favorite of all the seasons by far. Several panelists expressed that the show had lost much of the series’ initial magic by the end, as the story seemed stretched past its prime and, certainly, far past the boundaries of the source material, Piper Kerman’s original memoir. In fact, most of the panelists concluded that the show should have finished sooner, possibly following the end of Season 5, when the Litchfield Minimum Security Prison Camp was closed due to the riot fallout, and all of the prisoners were separated, their fates uncertain. Panelist Nick suggested that, in a perfect world, Piper’s release from prison, which mirrors her namesake’s real-life journey, could have somehow married to that Season 5 ending, creating a closed resolution for the Piper character while leaving the others’ fates in question and providing an open end with more impact than the open end depicted in the actual series finale.

On the other hand, the panel was generally pleased to be offered glimpses of most of the original characters’ fates, even if those fates included fateful reunions of separated allies and friends, many of which did not result in happy endings.  Though the panel acknowledges that the writing throughout the series was, by and large, dynamic, our panelists also felt that the writers seemed to be working without a net in Season 7, potentially and seemingly beyond their original planned story conclusion and possibly due to network pressure, which compromised any feelings of satisfaction that the panelists might have obtained from watching through the series finale and from observing the final outcomes for the characters. For instance, while the panelists responded well to the seventh season’s immigration story line, feeling it to be an effective and timely exploration of a current, controversial social issue, the show’s attempt to shoehorn the #metoo movement into the narrative via the Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) character proved awkward and clunky in execution. At the last, panelists’ hopes proved somewhat dashed, or, at least, low expectations were met if not exceeded; the panelists universally noted that the series finale was not as powerful as past season endings, causing some measure of disappointment and producing the overarching impression that, despite the excellent performances of the series cast and the accolades and awards that the show received throughout the whole of its Netflix run, OITNB failed to convincingly stick the landing in its final moments, at least in the opinions of most of our panelists.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Ended! Orange is the New Black ended with this seventh and final season. All OITNB seasons are available to stream on Netflix, as that is the network that produced it. 

Ultimately, our Orange is the New Black panel seems reluctant to recommend this show to anyone but select members of each panelist’s respective circles, noting that each panelist would probably also need to condition any recommendation on the fact that the series demonstrates a noticeable decline in storytelling quality by the end. Still, our panelists continue to highlight the moments when OITNB offered an effective examination of current events, social issues, and systemic failures, not only in the prison system itself but in society in general. In addition, the panelists speak fondly of particular characters and performances, if not of the main one (Piper remains a reviled focal point for our panel), including Red, Nicky, Taystee, and Suzanne. To wit, no panelist regards the viewing of this series to be a waste of one’s time, which might not chalk up to be a ringing endorsement but can be construed as a CPU! Official Endorsement ™, nevertheless.

In addition, while our OITNB coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if the series makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time. In the meantime, from our newly released panel of ex-Orange Peels to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing reviews of Orange is the New Black, which now officially come to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

OITNB’s final scene: Piper (Taylor Schilling) finds Alex (Laura Prepon) at PolyCon Ohio, despite their agreement to move on (and despite advice from Piper’s friends and family to do the same).
Jailed! Our panel of Orange Peels is more than ready to be released from this panel, for reasons they detail in this episode.
Our intrepid panel of remaining Orange Peels:
(left to right) Kristen, Nick, Krista, and Amanda

Progress Report: Mid-Season Report Card for 2019-2020 Pilots

Image result for progress report

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

Thanks to TVLine and other sources for helping a girl out. Note: this is a compilation of internet research from TV pundits and watchdogs. The information is as accurate as the internet can provide as of the date of this publication.

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

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: Mondays at 8/7c

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

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 22, 2019, CBS ordered a full season, bringing the first season episode total to 18 (with 5 additional episodes added to an initial 13); 11 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits, including our favorite TVLine, think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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Not Just Me Fox

ALMOST FAMILY (fka Not Just Me), Fox

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. 

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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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STATUS: Fox has not boosted the series order for this show, and ratings are generally low. Though initial reports seemed to indicate that this series was pulled from Fox’s mid-season lineup, other sources show that Fox intends to air episodes initially ordered. The pundits think renewal possibilities are a long shot. Eight of an apparent eleven ordered episodes have aired at the time of this publication.

CPU! STATUS: I suspect that savvy television viewers have experienced some of the same reactions I did while watching this trailer; of course, the show may have other problems. Since we passed this one, we are unlikely to change our minds in order to explore what other problems might exist for this approximate family.

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Baker and the Beauty ABC

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THE BAKER AND THE BEAUTY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2020

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

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.

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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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STATUS: In October 2019, the CW granted this newest addition to the so-called Arrowverse (will they change the name after Arrow is done?) a full-season order, bringing the first season episode total to 22; 9 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet, and, frankly, so do we.

CPU! STATUS: This show will be reviewed in Summer 2020 by our DCTU Series podcast panel, replacing the departing Arrow among our annual reviews. This panel will not be doing a “Mid-Season Roundup” this year, so wait you’ll have to do.

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Image result for bh90210

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BH90210, Fox

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.

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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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STATUS: Officially canceled! Fox canceled this meta-revival on November 7, 2019. All produced six episodes aired. The series finale aired on September 11, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: It’s only six episodes, and we know that some of our podcast corps watched it. We’ll still look in and talk about it, maybe coupled with a Look Back at the original Beverly Hills 90210. The nostalgia factor will be sick!

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Bless the Harts Fox

BLESS THE HARTS, Fox

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.

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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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STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! On October 18, 2019, Fox renewed one of its new animated series for a second season, though the network has not appeared to have extended the initial order for the season. Nine of 13 ordered episodes have aired as of the time of this publication.

CPU! STATUS: We have heard nothing about it, and even if the network may be confident about it, none of our podcast panelists or panelists-adjacent have mentioned it. We need more to change our minds from our initial pass, bless them.

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Bluff City Law NBC

BLUFF CITY LAW, NBC

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 18, 2019, it was reported that the show wrapped production on the initial ten episodes ordered, and that the Peacock was not planning to order more; the final produced episode aired on November 25, 2019.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a long shot, i.e. “very unlikely,” at this point.

CPU! STATUS: We know some loyal listeners and chatters who have watched this Jimmy Smits series, but we haven’t heard promising reviews, and the network’s lack of confidence in the project is truly underwhelming at best. We will remain in our passing lane until the law convinces us that this likely one and out series is worth the watch, despite its limited run. We’re not even bluffing.

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Bob Hearts ABishola CBS

BOB ❤ ABISHOLA, CBS

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 22, 2019, the Eye ordered a back nine, bringing the suspected first season episode total to 22; 11 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think there is a 50/50 shot at renewal, as both critical and ratings responses are middling.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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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

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 22, 2019, CBS ordered an additional five episodes, bringing the anticipated first season episode total to 18; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet; however, in October 2019, two female writers accused executive producer David Hunt of sexual harassment and potential retaliation for complaining of the harassment (notably, Hunt is married to star Patricia Heaton). This press may not bode well for the show, so I am downgrading renewal chances to 50/50, as I think some of the pundits, TVLine included, are not factoring for controversy.

CPU! STATUS: Unfortunately, the report of these allegations will certainly and personally prevent me from watching the show, on top of my already lukewarm response at the top of season review. In addition, literally no one in the CPU! sphere has reported watching this show. It’s time to take a bow on this second act because we just don’t think it’s worth it.

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Council of Dads NBC

COUNCIL OF DADS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: March 2020

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

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: January 2, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 9/8c

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: February 16, 2020

TIME SLOT: Sundays at 8:30/7:30c

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

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.

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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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STATUS: It appears that 13 episodes have been ordered, 9 of which have aired as of the publication of this post.  The pundits are prognosticating a 50 percent probability of renewal, as the show is critically acclaimed, but the ratings run middle of the road.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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Evil CBS

EVIL, CBS

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.

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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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STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! On October 22, 2019, CBS announced the series renewal. Thirteen episodes were ordered for this first season; ten have aired as of the publication of this post.

CPU! STATUS: The CPU! and social media water coolers have been buzzing about this show with mostly positive reviews. What we can we tell you? Sometimes, we just have a (not so evil) eye for this sort of thing. (This means our Pick Up is permanent.)

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FBI Most Wanted CBS

FBI: MOST WANTED, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: January 7, 2020

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

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: February 11, 2020

TIME SLOT: Tuesdays at 10/9c

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: February 6, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c

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: February 6, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8/7c

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

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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STATUS: It appears that 11 episodes have been ordered, 8 of which have aired by the publication of this post, though more might have been ordered by the Alphabet without it being reported anywhere from which we can glean the information.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: It’s still a variety show, right?

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Lincoln NBC

LINCOLN LINCOLN RHYME: HUNT FOR THE BONE COLLECTOR, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: January 10, 2020

TIME SLOT: Fridays at 8/7c

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

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. 

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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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STATUS: On October 28, 2019, ABC picked up this sitcom for a full season order of 22 episodes; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: We still want someone to request that we discuss (or for us to make time to watch) black-ish first.

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Nancy Drew The CW

NANCY DREW, The CW

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 25, 2019, the CW ordered a full season of 22 episodes; 9 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, though we have heard some minimal buzz about this show, along the lines of “guilty pleasure.” Stay tuned.

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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: January 23, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

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

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.

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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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STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on October 1, 2019, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed (and a little surprised).

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Perfect Harmony NBC

PERFECT HARMONY, NBC

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.

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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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STATUS: It appears that 13 episodes were ordered for this first season, 10 of which aired by the publication of this post. The pundits give 50/50 odds for renewal of this series.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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Prodigal Son Fox

PRODIGAL SON, Fox

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 7, 2019, Fox ordered a full season of 22 episodes; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: This show has been requested for podcast coverage, making CPU!’s Prodigal Pick Up an enduring thing.

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Stumptown ABC

STUMPTOWN, ABC

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 28, 2019, ABC ordered a full season, but the episode order itself has not yet been disclosed, though some internet sources project the total to 17; 9 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities are a safe bet.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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Sunnyside NBC

SUNNYSIDE, NBC

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.

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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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STATUS: Officially canceled! The Peacock yanked the series from its schedule on October 15, 2019, and burned off remaining episodes at NBC.com/the NBC streaming app. The series finale aired on December 5, 2019, after a total of 11 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: So, we occasionally get one wrong. We picked this one up based mostly upon Michael Schur, but perhaps, this comedy does not resonate in this climate of sociopolitical upheaval, particularly around the topic of immigration. Critical consensus was decidedly low, noting the timely subject matter and a good cast, but indicating that these elements could not quite gel in a satisfying way. Critics further suggested that the show settled in the superficial, without taking a more skewering aim at the subject matter, especially in light of the times. In any event, CPU! is now going to change our verdict to Pass. With it being the first canceled series of the season, it seems like there are other, better TV shows to watch out there; plus, cancellation after three or four aired episodes does not inspire confidence on a satisfying one-and-out season (and you know we give a lot of chances in this regard).

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Tommy CBS

TOMMY, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: February 6, 2020

TIME SLOT: Thursdays at 10/9c

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

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.

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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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STATUS: On October 22, 2019, CBS ordered a back five, with a projected first season total of 18 first season episodes; 10 episodes have aired as of the publication date of this post.  The pundits think renewal possibilities reside in the 50/50 odds camp.

CPU! STATUS: No one in the United Couch Potatoes’ close personal circles seems to be watching this show. Unless we hear more of an enthusiastic response from those close and personal, we’ll be our own sort of unicorns and stay in the passing lane.

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ABC New Shows 2019

UNITED WE FALL, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Spring 2020

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: January 7, 2020

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on July 28, 2019, after a total of ten episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on July 19, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on August 4, 2019, after a total of 8 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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). 

STATUS: The season finale aired on June 18, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal; creator Russell T. Davies has stated that he intends this series to be a “one-off” or miniseries.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has had at least one request for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: The season finale aired on August 18, 2019, after a total of 8 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal; most outlets are labeling it a “miniseries.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: The Season 4 finale aired on July 19, 2019, after a total of 8 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal; most reports indicate that Hulu has no current plans to order additional seasons.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Netflix released all ten available episodes on July 25, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released all eight available episodes on July 26, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has received several requests for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on September 29, 2019, after a total of ten episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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).

STATUS: Billed as a miniseries, this remake of the the 90s classic rom-com is unlikely to be renewed. The finale aired on September 11, 2019, after a total of ten episodes.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has had at least one request for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Netflix released the ten available episodes on August 8, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on October 17, 2019, after a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released the 8 available episodes on August 30, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: The premiere was viewed. There is some interest in it going forward, but the interest is cautious/tepid, as the cinematography and casting were praised, but the story felt dense. Further viewing will determine further interest.

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.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on June 18, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has had at least one request for podcast coverage. Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Netflix released the seven available episodes on November 12, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal, but Netflix did market this one as a “limited series.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but critical consensus is decidedly poor. What do you think, Couch Potatoes?

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).

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released the eight available episodes on September 13, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Netflix released the twelve episodes of this four-part anthology series on September 20, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.”

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on October 31, 2019, after six two-part episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Netflix released the eight available episodes on September 27, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: CPU! has multiple requests for podcast coverage, with a growing sense of steam. Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Netflix released the nine available episodes on October 4, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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).

STATUS: Netflix released the eight available episodes on October 18, 2019. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Amazon Prime released the eight available episodes of this series on October 18, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on December 15, 2019, after a total of 6 episodes. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

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.

STATUS: The series finale aired on HBO on November 11, 2019, after a total of 4 episodes. This show has only ever been labeled a miniseries and is, therefore, not subject to renewal or cancellation.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

His Dark Materials (HBO): We’ve had our eyes on this one awhile; this book series is a favorite of the Chief CP. (Premieres November 4, 2019)

Will HBO’s latest fantasy series fill the Iron Throne-shaped hole in your TV heart? A co-production with the BBC that has already been renewed for a second season, His Dark Materials marks the second major attempt to adapt Philip Pullman’s fantasy book trilogy known for its exploration of weighty themes (including, controversially, religion) and talking animal daemons, following a poorly received 2007 feature film, The Golden Compass. That same book (along with a bit of material from Pullman’s recently launched prequel trilogy The Book of Dust) serves as the underlying story for this ambitious eight-episode first season, which comes from Jack Thorne (The FadesThis Is England) and director Tom Hooper (The King’s SpeechCats). Dafne Keen (Logan), Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Clarke Peters head the cast.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired on December 22, 2019, with a total of 8 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP watched the first two episodes and really hopes people want to talk about it. It’s very cool and a faithful adaptation. I will be watching it regardless!

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.

STATUS: Ten total episodes were ordered for this series, eight of which have been released as of the date of this publication. There is no word as to whether the series will be extended by renewal.

CPU! STATUS: At three to five minutes per episode, it was easy to sample three or four of the episode of this series of Pixar shorts, which is a fun foray into getting to know the newest Toy Story favorite, the Tony Hale-voiced Forky, who is really a spork, but who’s counting? It doesn’t appear that Disney+ or Pixar plans to release more episodes, but they also have not labeled these ten as the only ten to be produced, so we will keep an eye out for a while longer.

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.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Eight total episodes were produced for Season 1, all of which have officially been released as of December 27, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, though many in the CPU! inner circle have. The reviews coming from all around are rather mixed, Baby Yoda aside, but no one has actually requested to talk about it. Curiouser and curiouser, yes?

The Witcher (Netflix): We’ve had our eye on this one awhile – and on Henry Cavill! (Releases December 20, 2019)

Henry Cavill stars as monster hunter Geralt of Rivia in this series adaptation of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s epic fantasy novels, previously adapted into a widely praised videogame series. Expect some new characters who have never appeared in print or in the games as well as a bathtub scene which most certainly does appear in the most recent game. All eight episodes stream today, and the show has already been renewed for a 2nd season.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! Eight total episodes were produced for Season 1, all of which were released on December 20, 2019.

CPU! STATUS: This Chief CP watched the premiere; it was a bit confusing, but the show allegedly improves beyond the first episode. We imagine that podcast requests are forthcoming – it is very new, and we’ve just been through some holidays.

Messiah (Netflix): Who doesn’t like a good procedural mixed with religious overtones? It’s like Agnes of God after she had the baby. (Releases January 1, 2020)

In this Mark Burnett-produced thriller, Michelle Monaghan stars as a CIA agent who investigates a charismatic cult leader (Mehdi Dehbi) claiming to be the son of God. James McTeigue directs.

Dracula (Netflix): 1) Vampires. 2) The most famous vampire. 3) The creative team behind “Sherlock.” Aren’t you convinced? (Releases January 4, 2020)

The creative team behind Sherlock (Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat) offers a new take on another literary figure: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A co-production with the BBC (which gets the series a few days earlier), the new series is set in Victorian London (and Transylvania) and will span just three episodes for its first season, though each is feature-length. Claes Bang (The SquareBorgen) stars as Count Dracula, and he’s joined in the cast by Dolly Wells, Joanna Scanlan, Morfydd Clark, and Gatiss (who co-wrote each of the three episodes with Moffat).

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 an early 19th century 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. The series already aired last fall in the UK, where it seemed to divide critics. Two episodes air back-to-back tonight.

The Outsider (HBO): Stephen King adaptations are hot right now. (Releases January 12, 2020)

HBO’s 10-episode adaptation of Stephen King’s 2018 horror novel stars Ben Mendelsohn as a detective investigating the brutal murder of an 11-year-old boy found in the Georgia woods. Jason Bateman, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp, Mare Winningham, Paddy Considine, and Julianne Nicholson also star. Two episodes air back-to-back tonight.

The New Pope (HBO): Lots of early buzz about this miniseries starring Jude Law and John Malkovich. (Releases January 14, 2020)

Director Paolo Sorrentino’s nine-episode sequel to his 2017 miniseries The Young Pope returns star Jude Law and finds John Malkovich’s Sir John Brannox taking over the papal throne. Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson guest, because why not.

Avenue 5 (HBO): Captain Dr. House just sounds neat. (Releases January 19, 2020)

Veep creator Armando Iannucci returns to HBO for his next foul-mouthed comedy series, a sci-fi satire set four decades in the future aboard a luxury tourist vessel in space. Captaining that ship is Hugh Laurie, and he’s joined in the cast by Josh Gad, Zach Woods, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kyle Bornheimer, and Star Trek: Voyager‘s Ethan Phillips.

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access): This series is already earmarked for the “Star Trek 50+ Series” podcast panel. (Premieres January 23, 2020)

Patrick Stewart returns as Starfleet’s all-time greatest captain (hey, we’re just stating facts) in a new series that picks up over two decades after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its various film spinoffs. Filling out the main cast are Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, and Harry Treadaway, but you’ll also see some familiar faces from TNG (and Voyager), including Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes (who also directs several episodes), Marina Sirtis, and Jeri Ryan. Novelist Michael Chabon is among the writers and serves as showrunner for the 10-episode season, which is not a miniseries as originally believed, and has in fact already been renewed for a second season.

Locke & Key (Netflix): “Keys with supernatural powers” was the draw. We’ve never read the book but are willing to give the story a chance, given Mr. Cuse’s involvement. (Premieres February 7, 2020)

After numerous failed attempts (by Hulu and Fox, among others) to bring Joe Hill’s graphic novel series to the small screen over the past decade, Locke & Key finally found a home at Netflix. This 10-episode first season retains the writer/producer of the previous failed pilot (Lost vet Carlton Cuse, joined by Meredith Averill) but features a new cast led by Jackson Robert Scott, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Darby Stanchfield, and Bill Heck. The story features a mother of three children, a murdered husband, and a set of keys that provide supernatural powers—and bring with them great danger.

High Fidelity (Hulu): Can it be as good as the original film? Morbid curiosity drives us to find out. (Premieres February 14, 2020)

Originally ordered for Disney+ but moved to the older-skewing Hulu, this series adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel (previously adapted into a 2000 feature film by Stephen Frears) stars Zoe Kravitz as a gender-reversed version of the book’s main character, an obsessive record store owner who revisits five of her exes on a quest for self-improvement. Jake Lacy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and David H. Holmes also star. All 10 episodes stream today.

War of the Worlds (Epix): It’s a classic. (Premieres February 16, 2020)

This eight-part adaptation of H.G. Wells’s classic tale of alien invasion transports the story to present-day Europe (and features aliens from another galaxy rather than Mars). Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern, Léa Drucker, and Natasha Little head the cast. [Note that although this version aired in Europe in 2019, it is different from (and unrelated to) the BBC version that also aired in 2019.]

Dispatches from Elsewhere (AMC): The premise intrigues, and they got Sally Field. Seems like a win-win. (Premieres March 1, 2020)

Jason Segel returns to television for the first time since How I Met Your Mother with this mysterious anthology series which he also created and produces. The 10 hourlong episodes find four ordinary people challenged to uncover a mystery hiding within their city (Philadelphia)—a concept based loosely on the real-life, San Francisco-based alternate reality game called Games of Nonchalance. Sally Field, Andre 3000, Richard E. Grant, and Eve Lindley also star. Another new episode airs Monday night at 10p, the show’s regular timeslot going forward.

The Plot Against America (HBO): It’s a timely alternate history series. (Premieres March 16, 2020)

David Simon’s latest HBO project is a six-part adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2004 novel that imagines an alternate American history in which Charles Lindbergh is elected president in 1940, leading America on a path toward facism. Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Morgan Spector, and Zoe Kazan head the cast.

Others on radar: The Lord of the Rings series in development at Amazon; The Chronicles of Narnia at Netflix; The Wheel of Time at Amazon; The Watch (BBC); Conan at Amazon; The Dark Tower at Amazon; Cursed at Amazon; the Loki and Scarlet Witch properties in development at Disney+.

-*-

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next week, Couch Potatoes Unite! will start the New Year 2020 with a triumphant return by our Doctor Who panel to the Water Cooler to recap Series 11 and the 2019 New Year Special, as Series 12 and the 2020 New Year Special gets underway. Stay tuned for the wibby wobbly timey-wimey of it all!

Arrested Development, Season 5: The Development Arrested Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in September 2019, our slightly changed panel of loose seals and mother-boys – moderator Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Amy, Christian, and introducing Spencer – gathered together around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 5 of CPU! favorite Arrested Development.  This is the third (and final?) part of a three part CPU! podcast miniseries in which our panelists find their Development Arrested as they consider Arrested Development’s not-so-peculiar-nowadays airing history. As always, if you have not watched any of Arrested Development, 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! – Streaming Originals and Around the Water Cooler: “Arrested Development,” Season 5; The Development Arrested Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Arrested Development,” a cult sitcom that originally aired on the Fox network from 2003 to 2006 until streaming giant Netflix commissioned new episodes, which begin airing in 2013.

What: “Arrested Development” follows the Bluth family, a formerly wealthy, dysfunctional family. It is presented in a serialized format, incorporating handheld camera work, voice-over narration, archival photos, and historical footage. The show also maintains numerous running gags and catchphrases. Ron Howard serves as both an executive producer and the omniscient narrator; in later seasons, he appears in the show portraying a fictionalized version of himself

SYNOPSIS

Arrested Development revolves around the members of the formerly wealthy Bluth family, who continue to lead extravagant lifestyles despite their changed circumstances and who often find themselves drawn into interactions with incestuous undertones. At the center of the show is Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), the show’s straight man, who strives to do the right thing. His son, George Michael (Michael Cera), has the same qualities of decency but feels a constant pressure to live up to his father’s expectations and is often reluctant to follow his father’s plans.

Michael’s father, George Bluth, Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), is the patriarch of the family and a corrupt real estate developer. George goes to considerable lengths to manipulate and to control his family. His wife, and Michael’s mother, Lucille (Jessica Walter), is ruthlessly manipulative, materialistic, and hypercritical of every member of her family, despite the fact that she, herself, perpetually drinks alcohol. Her grip is tightest on her youngest son, Byron “Buster” Bluth (Tony Hale), an over-educated (yet still under-educated) mother’s boy who has dependency issues and is prone to panic attacks.

Michael’s older brother is George Oscar Bluth II (Will Arnett), known by the acronym “GOB,” an unsuccessful professional magician whose business and personal schemes usually fail or become tiresome and are quickly abandoned. Michael’s twin sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) is spoiled and materialistic, continually seeking the center of attention and leaping on various social causes for the sake of vanity. She is married to Tobias Fünke (David Cross), a discredited psychiatrist-turned-aspiring actor. Tobias is a self-diagnosed “never-nude,” whose language and behavior have heavily homosexual overtones, to which he seems completely oblivious and which are the center of much tongue-in-cheek comedy throughout the series. Their daughter is Mae or “Maeby” (Alia Shawkat), a rebellious twenty-something, in Season 5, with an opportunistic streak, who seeks to defy her parents for the sake of attention and who otherwise pursues male attention and power.

When: Season 5 was released to the Netflix streaming library in two parts: eight episodes on on May 29, 2018, and eight episodes on March 15, 2019.

Where: The show is set primarily in Newport Beach, California.

Why: Listen to the initial podcast episode in this series, linked below, for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Arrested Development.  So far, no one’s taken any forget-me-nows…but then, would we really know if we did?

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

This is Part Three of our “Development Arrested” miniseries reviewing the available seasons of Arrested Development.  You can listen to Parts One and Two here and at our audio feeds (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play):

Development Arrested, Part One: Seasons 1-3

Development Arrested, Part Two: Season 4, Original Cut and Remix

As you might recall, by popular request – in fact, this show proves to be one of CPU!’s most popularly requested panels of all time – Arrested Development became a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler this year!  Thus, our wacky group of loose seals and mother-boys, which experienced a bit of a changeover since our last episode – Nick, Sarah, Amy, Christian, and a panelist new to the panel but not to the podcast – reconvened “Around the Water Cooler” to recap and review the decidedly problematic Season 5, though the panel considered this most recent season less problematic than the fourth, of “Arrested.” In so doing, we ruminate in-depth upon the success of the season in general, and we reflect upon the fact that the show’s producers and writers tried, again somewhat unsuccessfully, to regain the series’ former glory after the wobbly experiment that was Season 4, but, as the panel discusses in this latest episode, even this earnest attempt at rekindling the old magic did not quite work as successfully as eager viewers might have hoped in the end.

In tonight’s episode, then, our panel discusses Season 5 of the eternal quirky cult comedy in the third and final (for now?) of our three-part series, during which we are reviewing all available seasons of Arrested, the Fox years as well as the Netflix seasons. In this third episode of CPU!’s “Development Arrested” series, we discuss our favorite and least favorite situations, quotes, and characters, as well as our general impressions, of the success of the show’s decidedly middling fifth season.

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, schedule permitting, our DCTU Series panel again returns to the Water Cooler to process the fourth season, just slightly, almost, not quite in time for the season premiere of Supergirl! Stay tuned!

Lingering Questions

1) Why did Buster (Hale – SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) kill Lucille Austero, if he was, in fact, telling the truth in the final moments of the season finale? Was it really because he was merely hopped up on juice, as panelist Nick posits? Or, did Lucille Bluth (Walter) order Buster to murder Lucille 2 as she ordered Buster, directly or indirectly, when Buster pushed Lucille’s mother down the stairs as a child? If not those eventualities, what other potential motive could Buster have for doing this?

2) If Lindsay (de Rossi) is really Lucille’s biological sister, how would this affect the family dynamic going forward? The panel already recognizes that at least George-Michael (Cera) and Maeby (Shawkat) are a bit more distantly related, if a lesser degree of incest can inspire any relief.

3) Who is Tobias’ (Cross) son, Murphy Brown’s (guest: Kyle Mooney), biological mother, if Murphy Brown is actually Tobias’ biological son?

4) Where are Michael (Bateman) and George-Michael going now?

5) Where did Oscar (Tambor) go?

PARTING SHOTS

Arrested Development Season 5 is, once more, not generally highly regarded and, therefore, not generally recommended by our panel unless a potential viewer is already a fan of the original three seasons/original run of the show and/or if that viewer “has nothing better to do.” As we discuss in the podcast episode, just as we did when discussing the controversial Season 4, the original three seasons of this program broke ground for so many other sitcoms to come through the use of serialized jokes, callbacks, sight gags, and more than a little tongue-in-cheek thematic comedy around incest. Yet, the struggle to cobble together the cast for the Netflix season released in 2013; the passage of time between the third and fourth seasons and even between the fourth and fifth seasons; and the effort to boldly undertake a high concept for the fourth season, only to attempt to atone for the critically and popularly panned execution of that concept by trying to return to the show’s core essence and basics in the uneven and disjointed fifth season, left most of our panelists (possibly other than Nick and Chief CP Kylie) with something of a poor aftertaste, though they found Season 5 to be less confusing than the original cut of Season 4 and less sloppy than the remix. To that end, our panel cautions that if you are a member of the “Arrested” cult and are not caught up on the Netflix seasons, keep expectations low. If you are not an officiate of said cult, the panel strongly recommends viewing the original run of three seasons and, thereafter, deciding how you feel about those before embarking upon the somewhat confusing, somewhat tedious fifth season.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix has not yet announced whether the streaming giant has renewed or canceled Arrested Development, though the prospects of a sixth season are not looking good. Between the cast members’ busy schedules, the prior controversy surrounding Jeffrey Tambor, and the retirement of Portia de Rossi from acting in general, the possibility of further Arrested Development seasons seems very much like a non-starter more than “Anustart.” If the unlikely occurs, and Netflix renews the series, CPU! will reconvene our “Development Arrested Series” panel to offer our always spirited and spicy opinions, whatever the show might look like in this hypothetical future season, as all panelists would be interested in continuing to watch additional seasons, despite the uneven overall quality of the Netflix era.  In the meantime, like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of any Arrested Development scoop as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels! And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!

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!

Grace and Frankie, Season 5 (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 July 2019, our panel of CPU! veterans – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – reconvenes around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 5 of the quirky Netflix comedy about growing old (and growing up) gracefully, Grace and Frankie.  As always, if you have not watched any of Grace and Frankie, 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