Sherlock Series, Episode Two – Series 3 & 4 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2017, our panel of enthusiastically Sherlocked Sherlockians — including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Kristin T — gathered around the water cooler once again to continue gushing, though in a slightly more tempered way, about the third and fourth series, and the intervening Christmas special, of the BBC-produced, internationally acclaimed, modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation, simply entitled Sherlock.  This is the second part of a CPU! podcast miniseries examining the thirteen available episodes of this widely popular and sparsely (but densely) produced drama.  If you have not watched any of Sherlock, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Sherlock” Series 3 and 4 Recap (Sherlock Series, Episode Two; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Sherlock” is a crime drama series based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories that airs on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the USA; it is currently on hiatus (should the producers decide to make more episodes, an ongoing mystery for this unique fandom).

What: “Sherlock” was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. The series is set in the present day, while a one-off special features a Victorian period fantasy resembling the original Holmes stories.

SYNOPSIS

Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch) solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr. John Watson (Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and others are at first suspicious of Holmes, over time his exceptional intellect and bold powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson’s blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.

Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes’ conflict with nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital, occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson’s landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes’ elder brother Mycroft.

When: Series Three aired in the USA from January 19, 2014, to February 2, 2014, while Series Four aired from January 1, 2017, to January 15, 2017, on public broadcasting or PBS.  An intervening Christmas special, “The Abominable Bride,” aired on January 1, 2016 (and was simulcast in movie theaters).

Where: This show is primarily set in London, England, United Kingdom, with occasional visits to London’s surrounds.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though it bears mentioning that Sherlock may very well be the most popular and most requested panel/show to discuss since the inception of this humble little podcast and aside from (as previously published) Stranger Things.

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

CPU! recorded a first episode to this two-part miniseries covering the first two series/seasons of international smash hit, Sherlock. To catch up on what you missed, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Sherlock Series, Episode One, Seasons 1 and 2

In the episode linked below, our Sherlock panel – Kristen (L), Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer and Kristin T – enthusiastically return to the water cooler to sift through the highs and (twist!) occasional lows of the modernist Sherlock Holmes adaptation’s latest two seasons, “The Abominable Bride” included.  While the panel continues to gush about this series’ third season (or series, if you’re British), some of the panelists’ moods grew darker and more perplexed by the fourth season, which introduced characters and situations both derived from Sherlock Holmes canon but also originally created for the television series. Though the panel still believes that Sherlock is television of the highest quality, from performances to writing to direction to every other facet available, they also struggled, particularly, with Season 4, Episode 4, “The Final Problem,” which, when analyzed in totality, stands a real but, yet, suspiciously questionable chance of being the final episode of this beloved program. The panelists also reiterated, unanimously, that while there are relatively weaker episodes within the thirteen total episodes produced, Sherlock’s weakest efforts are far superior to the strongest examples of other shows on television currently.  In fact, our resident Sherlockians agree that the narrative remains woven tightly, with a loving eye to adaptive detail spearheaded by recognized “Sherlock” expert Gatiss at the helm; that the visual presence from art direction to cinematography continues to be perfection; and that the performances ring as no less than stellar.  If you are part of the Sherlock fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your commonly held adoration for this sparsely produced but richly produced international juggernaut, even if you have spicier thoughts about Season 4.

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Buffy-verse panel returns to the Water Cooler for their second episode of a five-part series lovingly looking back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, in which they “slay” Seasons 4 and 5 of Buffy.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

The biggest question facing our intrepid and enthusiastic panel of Sherlockian devotees is whether the show will return.  Chief CP Kylie feels that “The Final Problem” may have been a “psych out” or a deft but convenient nod to the hiatus of the fictional character, before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle realized that the retirement of his beloved detective was premature.  This clever call back to the literary hiatus seeds well the show’s hiatus, given that it might be longer than usual, since Benedict Cumberbatch will be Doctor Strange for some years, Martin Freeman also continues to obtain roles large and small, and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are developing an adaptation of Dracula for the BBC. Still, other panelists are terrified that “The Final Problem” may be the last we hear of Sherlock forever, and on the note that Season 4 ended, they are not comfortable with that possibility.

Should the show return, however, the same panelists who fear that we may have watched the end are also apprehensive about how much non-canon character Eurus Holmes will figure into future episodes and whether Moriarty has any hope of miraculous resurrection – could he have tricked Sherlock the same way Sherlock tricked everyone else?  Time will only tell, and given the pattern of long hiatuses related to this show and the busy schedules of its stars and production team, we have nothing but time to speculate upon what might have been, what is, and what might be.

PARTING SHOTS

Our CPU! Sherlock panelists seem to be “shell-shocked” rather than “Sher-locked” over Sherlock following season 4, though each panelist continues to indubitably recommend watching this show to anyone who breathes – or, at least, to anyone who watches and enjoys television.  The general consensus among the panelists is that this well crafted, well written, well directed, and well performed piece offers “something for everyone” and can appeal to young and old, man and woman, and everything in between, even at its weakest moments, which are still stronger than the best other television shows have to offer.  What’s more, any self-respecting Sherlock Holmes fan will no doubt marvel, as several Holmes fans on this panel have, at the excellence of this series, including the loving attention to detail hailing from the source material, though the departures from the source will no doubt produced mixed reactions, as they have done for our CPU! Sherlock faithful.  Cautions raised by the panel: any new viewer will have to learn patience to appreciate Sherlock, as new series are created as the show-runners and cast have time, which apparently will be harder to come by in the short-term future.  Also, a standard series contains only three film-length episodes generally, aside from the excellent “Abominable Bride.”  In any event, the creators certainly know how to keep their audience coming back for more, and the panel universally agrees that each return to a new series is well worth the wait (and the watch – and re-watch!).

LOOKING AHEAD

Neither the show creators nor the network (BBC) have confirmed that Sherlock is, indeed, completely and permanently over.  In fact, all involved say they would like to potentially do more but are hampered by various other commitments, as listed above. Since there is no official word on whether or not we have watched the definitive end of Sherlock, we will assume (or at least hope) that there is more to come; however, the CPU! Sherlock panel will not reconvene until that happens, which may be for some years. Should the BBC and/or Gatiss and Moffat succeed in collecting the cast and crew for another go-round, CPU! will assuredly pounce upon such potential future developments! Until that time, Sherlock is available on the Netflix streaming service to be watched repeatedly and to one’s heart’s content.  As for CPU!, don’t worry: we cover many other shows in our podcast, available for your listening pleasure to tide you over in the meantime, and most of the Sherlock panelists are involved in other panels – check out the “What We’re Currently Watching” and the “List of All CPU! Panelists” pages in the menu to the upper left to scan for current and potential episodes you might want to hear; search using the menu in the upper right corner :).

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Is it…could it be…Holmes?!  Not exactly…but it is panelist Spencer, living the dream at the actual 221B Baker Street, London, England, where he and wife/fellow panelist Kristin T. are currently enjoying vacation (August 2017).  Safe travels, friends!

Sherlock Series, Episode One – Series 1 & 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in April 2017, our panel of enthusiastically Sherlocked Sherlockians — including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Kristin T — gathered around the water cooler to gush effusively about the first two series of the BBC-produced, internationally acclaimed, modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation, simply entitled Sherlock.  This is the first part of a CPU! podcast miniseries examining the thirteen available episodes of this widely popular and sparsely (but densely) produced drama.  If you have not watched any of Sherlock, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks and Around the Water Cooler: “Sherlock” Series 1 and 2 Recap (Sherlock Series, Episode One; MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for sherlock title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Sherlock” is a crime drama series based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories that airs on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the USA; it is currently on hiatus (should the producers decide to make more episodes, an ongoing mystery for this unique fandom).

What: “Sherlock” was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. The series is set in the present day, while a one-off special features a Victorian period fantasy resembling the original Holmes stories.

When: Series One aired in the USA from October 27, 2010, to November 7, 2010, while Series Two aired from January 1, 2012, to January 15, 2012, on public broadcasting or PBS.

Where: This show is primarily set in London, England, United Kingdom, with occasional visits to London’s surrounds.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though it bears mentioning that Sherlock may very well be the most popular and most requested panel/show to discuss since the inception of this humble little podcast and aside from (as previously published) Stranger Things.

How – as in How Was It?

The CPU! “First Look” rating scale:

***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING. HOLY SMOKES!

**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it [limited] episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it [even fewer] episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

Sherlock = 5, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch) solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr John Watson (Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and others are at first suspicious of Holmes, over time his exceptional intellect and bold powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson’s blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.

Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes’ conflict with nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital, occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson’s landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes’ elder brother Mycroft.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Do you follow our CPU! social media accounts?  Did you ever see a posting or advertisement for panelists at large to join this panel?  No, you didn’t.  Because so many CPU! core panelists advocated for a Sherlock panel, I had to oblige and subsequently draw lots, since we had more volunteers than actual room on the panel – we have limits around here; it’s easier on the ears and on the Chief CP’s editing efforts.

With that kind of popular appeal, I was again afforded the opportunity to appreciate the luxury of demand and (fairly) select a sampling of those requesting to discuss Sherlock to form this panel of CPU! faithful.  The winners were some of our most frequent panelists, including Kristen (L), Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer as well as occasional TV viewer (and Spencer’s significant other), Kristin T, returning after a long absence since the conclusion of our Downton Abbey series.  In this episode, these enthusiastic six begin a lavish and effusive singing of praises for this widely acclaimed and internationally honored modern adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes canon.

In the episode linked below, this panel spent most of the chat gushing about this series’ first and second seasons (or series, if you’re British). There was little bad or negative to say because everyone universally agreed that Sherlock is television of the highest quality, from performances to writing to direction to every other facet available. The panelists noted, unanimously, that while there are relatively weaker episodes within the thirteen total episodes produced, Sherlock’s weakest efforts are far superior to the strongest examples of other shows on television currently.  In fact, our resident Sherlockians agree that the narrative is woven tightly, with a loving eye to adaptive detail spearheaded by recognized “Sherlock” expert Gatiss at the helm; that the visual presence from art direction to cinematography is perfection; and that the performances are no less than stellar, garnering nominations for BAFTAs, Emmys, and a Golden Globe as well as some bona fide wins.  If you are part of the Sherlock fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your commonly held adoration for this sparsely produced but richly produced international juggernaut.  With all that said, have I convinced you to listen via the embedded link below?

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, two panelists will return to Look Back at a criminally underrated five season crime drama that aired on CBS and evolved into so much more, including a high octane action adventure story as well as high concept science fiction: Person of Interest.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Our CPU! Sherlock panelists are “Sher-locked” over Sherlock and indubitably recommend watching this show to anyone who breathes – or, at least, to anyone who watches and enjoys television.  Period.  The general consensus among the panelists is that this well crafted, well written, well directed, and well performed piece offers “something for everyone” and can appeal to young and old, man and woman, and everything in between.  What’s more, any self-respecting Sherlock Holmes fan will no doubt marvel, as several Holmes fans on this panel have, at the excellence of this series, including the loving attention to detail hailing from the source material. The only caution raised by the panel is that any new viewer will have to learn patience to appreciate Sherlock, as new series are created as the show-runners and cast have time.  Also, a standard series contains only three film-length episodes generally, aside from the solitary Christmas special produced after Series 3.  The creators certainly know how to keep their audience coming back for more, though, and the panel universally agrees that each return to a new series is well worth the wait (and the watch – and re-watch!).

LOOKING AHEAD

The CPU! Sherlock panel will return later this spring to address – probably even more excitedly – Series 3 and 4 of this acclaimed program.  In the meantime, Series 4 finished airing in the USA earlier in 2017, though no announcement related to a potential Series 5 has yet been made, if it will be made at all.  Still, should the BBC and/or Gatiss and Moffat succeed in collecting the cast and crew for another go-round, CPU! will undoubtedly pounce upon such potential future developments!  Until that time, Sherlock is available on the Netflix streaming service to be watched repeatedly and  to one’s heart’s content (and Series 4 is set to be released to the streaming library in question on May 15, 2017). Stay tuned for Episode Two in this CPU! series, coming soon!

iTunes PODCAST – Downton Abbey, The Looking Back Edition (Part Two of the CPU! Goodbye to Downton, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on May 7, 2016, our panel of Downton Abbey enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Krista, Stacey, Spencer, and Kristin T – gathered together one final time around the tea table for a deep-dive discussion in which we were Looking Back at all six seasons (which aired from 2010 to 2016 on PBS) of the beloved English drama, in the second part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to Downton. If you have not watched any of Downton, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

 

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Downton Abbey” (The CPU! Goodbye to Downton, Part Two, MAJOR SPOILERS) + The Best Written TV (#43) + The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Favorites (#44)

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Downton Abbey,” aired in the United States on public TV, specifically on PBS, from 2010-2016.

What: “Downton Abbey,” the story of the life and times of a fictional lord, his family, his servants, and his estate in Yorkshire, England, in the early twentieth century (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/synopsis.html).

When: The show aired in its entirety on PBS or public broadcasting from 2010 to 2016.

Where: The show is set Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, and spans the years 1912-1926.

Why: Downton Abbey is so popular among the CPU! panelists who have covered it, we couldn’t say goodbye with just one podcast episode.  In addition, Downton Abbey has been influential enough in its time to make two best-of lists being covered by CPU!  So, we felt we really needed one more deep-dive discussion and one more tip of the hat to say a proper goodbye to this wonderful drama.

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

Couch Potatoes Unite!’s Complete Downton Abbey Coverage

Season Four’s Written Recap

Season Five’s Podcast

Season Six’s Podcast

Our Downton Abbey panel of fans and enthusiasts of varying degrees – Kristen (L), Krista, Stacey, Spencer and Kristin T. – could not leave Downton behind forever without spending quality time saying a long and (mostly) loving goodbye to this show, which has been in our lives for six years. After our season/series 6 discussion, we decided to reconvene to discuss the show as a whole, including all of its ups and the occasional downs, for part two of our two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says goodbye to this fantastic program. In this second part, our panelists delve deep, reminiscing about what we loved and we did not like as much from Downton’s six seasons and about whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it was a bit of lightning in a bottle, appropriate for the first half of the 2010s, even as the show hearkened back 90 years.

This second part of our two-part Downton goodbye was recorded on May 7, 2016, and there are, without doubt, major spoilers.  Give it a listen, and tell us what you think!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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!

Also: we now have Instagram! (@couchpotatoesunite) and a Pinterest (@cpupodcast). Find us there, if these social media platforms rock your respective socks.  We plan to get groovy on the interwebs elsewhere very soon as well – subscribe, follow, like, and review to stay on top of our newest developments.

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we will be publishing another “Looking Back” episode, this time reminiscing about sudsy formerly Sunday soap opera Desperate Housewives, featuring some familiar voices and a brand new moderator (while CPU! Chief CP Kylie sits in as a panelist, for an unusual twist). Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Our Downton Abbey panel recommends the show to lovers of period dramas; one panelist called the show “the right way to do a period drama.”  The panel also recommends Downton to Anglophiles, whether you live in England or not, as well as to those who simply appreciate quality television and quality drama, as Downton is replete with beautiful cinematography, settings, and costumes; high quality performances; and attention to detail with respect to history. Those who do not enjoy slower-moving, deliberative dramas like Downton will probably not enjoy it.  Most of the panel also felt that the show is best lived through once, unless the second viewing is with someone watching it for the first time, though one panelist thought she might revisit it in years to come.  In any event, all of the panelists enjoyed the six-season and fourteen-year journey of these characters, and if you have any proclivity toward shows of similar ilk, you likely will too.  The entire series is available to stream on Amazon Prime (season six has not yet been released to the service, though).

Did you watch Downton?  Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you thought of any or all of its six seasons!  And stay tuned!  Though our Downton coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time.  CPU! has some great plans to expand our panel formats in new and exciting ways. Details coming soon (as we work them out)! 🙂

 

iTunes PODCAST – Downton Abbey, Series/Season Six, Part One (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on April 9, 2016, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Krista, Stacey, Spencer, and Kristin T–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing season 6 of Downton Abbey in the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to Downton. If you are not caught up on Downton, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!