PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek” – Recapping Seasons 1 and 2; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek” is a Canadian sitcom, which airs on cable network POP in the United States, though it is currently on hiatus.

What:  “Schitt’s Creek,” created by Eugene Levy and Dan Levy, is based on a series of situations contrasting a once-rich family and their worldly big-city attitudes with sudden small-town living and the honest, down-to-earth, hard-working residents of fictional town Schitt’s Creek.

When: The first season aired from February 11, 2015, to May 6, 2015, and the second season aired from January 19, 2016, to March 29, 2016, on cable network POP in the United States (after first airing on the CBC in Canada), each with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in the fictional town of Schitt’s Creek, which we can only guess is somewhere in Ontario, Canada, since that is where the show is filmed.

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Schitt’s (Schitt$) Creek = 4.8, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The series stars Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose, a wealthy video store magnate, and Catherine O’Hara as his wife Moira, a formerly successful soap star. The family loses their fortune when their business manager fails to pay their taxes. They are forced to rebuild their lives with their sole remaining asset: a small town named Schitt’s Creek which they had bought their son as a joke birthday gift years before. The story revolves around the family’s life living in two adjacent rooms of a rundown motel with their pampered twenty-something adult children, David and Alexis, played by Dan Levy and Annie Murphy, respectively.  The cast also features Chris Elliott, Jennifer Robertson, and Emily Hampshire as series regulars.

THOUGHTS

By popular request, though notably by established CPU! panelists and viewers, Schitt$ Creek has, as of this publication, become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler!  Requesting CPU! panelists include Nick, our panel silver medalist who likes to meditate in CPU!’s “nerdy” and “funny” realms; his wife Sarah, who joins him for talks about lots of shows as long as they are not comic book adaptations; Netflix and “Looking Back” aficionado Andrew; and Amy, who appeared once before around the Water Cooler to Look Back at Ally McBeal. These four and the Chief CP as moderator gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” at the first two seasons of this quirky comedy. In so doing, the panelists examine the Rose family dynamics and contributing personalities, laugh along with the folks the Roses meet in the town, and generally praise this show effusively. The panel generally finds the series to be as smart as it is subtly funny and unlike anything on typical American TV nowadays, despite the show’s clear influences (as the panel sees it) of Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Riches, and Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara’s prior projects, with a particular flavor of Waiting for Guffman contributing to the proceedings. Of course, in Schitt$ Creek, these influences mix together to form a special sauce – or, perhaps, chicken enchiladas – entirely of the show’s, and its creators’, own making.

Tonight’s episode is the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on United States cable network POP in 2015.  In this episode, our panel reflects on and recaps the first two seasons of Schitt$ Creek, reacting to the various quirky characters and notably hilarious situations in which they find themselves.

This episode was recorded in June 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first two seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Thursday, schedule permitting, our Series of Unfortunate Events panel returns to the Water Cooler to react to Season Two of Netflix’s adaptation of the Lemony Snicket novels.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Schitt$ Creek is universally recommended by our CPU! panel to fans of the actors in the cast, particularly of Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, and to fans of comparable and/or influential fare like Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Riches, and director/actor Christopher Guest’s feature films, in which Levy and O’Hara made many joint appearances.  The panelists agreed that anyone who watches this comedy “can get something out of it,” particularly whatever the viewer wants to get out of it, because the show is an easy, low-risk binge and, therefore, low commitment overall.  The humor is distinctly the show’s own and may not appeal to everyone; however, it is subtle and satirical all at the same time.  The characters have some caricature-like qualities but embody those qualities so completely, they become fully fleshed out personae for the viewer and accessible to anyone, regardless of background.  One panelist described the series as “surprising,” stating that he did not expect to like it as much as he did.  Additionally, the panel generally praises the comedic performances of the four main actors and the writing and generally characterizes the show as “better and better” the more one watches.   In any event, the panelists find the show “fun” and believe those who connect to it will have as much fun as we have had watching and discussing it so far!

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

The CBC and, therefore, POP renewed Schitt$ Creek for a fifth season, which is expected to premiere in January 2019, though no tentative premiere date has yet been announced. CPU! will next visit Schitt$ Creek for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries” following the release of Season 4 to Netflix, which currently has the streaming rights to the series and which has, in the past, released seasons of this show to its service in the fall.  Our next Schitt$ Creek episode will focus upon the third and fourth seasons of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for Schitt$ Creek coverage going forward.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding Schitt$ Creek as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

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PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “iZombie” – Recapping Seasons 1, 2, and 3; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on iZombie” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “iZombie” is a horror, crime/procedural, comedy-drama series that airs on the CW, typically during the spring.

What:  “iZombie,” developed by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, is a loose adaptation of the comic book series of the same name created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint.

When: Season One aired from March 14, 2015, to June 9, 2015, with a total of 13 episodes; Season Two aired from October 6, 2015, to April 12, 2016, with a total of 19 episodes; and Season Three aired from April 4, 2017, to June 27, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes, all on the CW.  

Where: The action is set primarily in Seattle, Washington – present day.

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

During the annual Fall TV Preview for the 2014-2015 season, CPU! Chief Kylie picked up this show for CPU!’s review.  When I picked it up, I said:

Okay, the name of the show is on the level of ridiculously stupid, and the rash of zombie-related fare is as overdone as vampires (though I enjoy vampires so much more than zombies). Also, this could cross heavily into procedural territory.  Yet, there is an interesting twist wherein the main character absorbs memories from brains she eats.  I have a feeling it might be better than the name lets on…then again…

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

iZombie = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Seattle medical resident Olivia “Liv” Moore (Rose McIver) is turned into a zombie while attending a boat party. She abandons her career and breaks up with her fiance, much to the disappointment and puzzlement of her family. She discovers that if she does not periodically satisfy her new appetite for brains, she starts turning into a stereotypical zombie, stupid and homicidal. Instead of feeding by killing innocent people, Liv decides to take a job at the King County morgue and to eat the brains of the corpses she autopsies. Her secret is guessed by her boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli). Ravi soon becomes Liv’s friend and confidant, and as a scientist, he is intrigued by her condition.

Liv finds out that whenever she eats a dead person’s brain, she temporarily inherits some of their personality traits and skills, and she experiences flashbacks of that person’s life. Those visions are generally triggered by sights (events or objects) or sounds (repeated sentences). In the case of murder victims, the flashbacks offer clues about the killer. Liv decides to use this new ability to help Police Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) solve crimes. Though she initially passes herself off as a psychic, Clive eventually learns the truth about her and zombies. Meanwhile, Ravi works to develop a cure for Liv’s affliction in the hope that one day she will be able to resume her former life.

THOUGHTS

A group of brave and brainy CPU! regular panelists were ready to get scratched and slightly gourmet to discuss another comic book adaptation with a decidedly cult following hanging out rather comfortably with several other comic book adaptations over on the CW network. Specifically, regular CPU! panelists Kristen, the reigning panel champ; vampire, supernatural, and SHIELD enthusiast Jen (going by Jen S. in this episode); and Original though Not Unfortunate, if she gives you 13 Reasons Why, panelist Jenn (going by Jenn K. in this episode), gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” at the first three seasons of iZombie. The panelists examine Liv’s initial foray into life as a member of the undead, Ravi’s discovery of her secret and work on a potential cure, and the friends and foes of the first season; to Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley), Liv’s on/off again fiance and boyfriend (and zombie), taking on the persona of “Chaos Killer;” and to all-zombie military contractor Fillmore Graves and the advent of zombie discrimination, as the Seattle population of zombies increases and becomes known to the decidedly disturbed non-zombie population of the Emerald City.

Ultimately, our CPU! faithful group of panelists thinks that iZombie is a unique, quirky, and fresh comedy-drama addition to the annals of burgeoning zombie fiction, even if it is nothing like fare in the vein of The Walking Dead.  In this episode, the first of a catch-up miniseries in which we chat about this show, our panel reflects on and recaps the first three seasons of iZombie, reacting to the various quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves, including Liv’s ingestion of “brains of the week,” which produces a decidedly procedural format underlying this program, albeit with a very specific twist.

This episode was recorded in June 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first three seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we offer the second of our two-part iZombie miniseries, in which we will recap Season 4, which will render CPU! officially caught up to the current season.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION
iZombie is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of zombie fiction with some crossover appeal who are not afraid to laugh, keeping in mind properties like Shaun of the Dead; to fans of genre fare like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which readily exploit nerd-core and offer pop culture winks and nods in happy ways; and to procedural TV with a twist, such as Bones, especially those that offer a heaping dose of dark comedy.  One panelist cautioned that if a zombie enthusiast is not willing to laugh at their beloved zombies in question, this show would likely not appeal to said enthusiast, particularly if said zombie fan remains purist to zombie fiction’s general horror roots.  Chief CP Kylie also compared the humor of Arrested Development to that of this show, in that iZombie is laden with innuendo and meta references and is self-aware without taking itself too seriously, which renders the show all the more charming   Further, the panel generally praises the performances of the main cast, particularly McIver, with her different affects signifying zombie brains of the week, and Kohli (Ravi is, unanimously, the panel’s favorite character) as well as the generally inventive writing, though the panel also agrees that there are better seasons than others.  In fact, the panelists describe the show as generally “solid” with a noted lull in the third season when the writers aimed for something more topical to current events, in on-the-nose allegory, rather than steering the story in a direction that flowed better within the world that had been organically established and developed up until that point.  In any event, our panel universally had and has great fun watching this series and believes that most with an open and slightly nerdy sense of humor will have fun watching it too.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
The CW renewed iZombie for a fifth and final season, which is expected to premiere in spring 2019 (no tentative premiere date has yet been announced). CPU! will next visit iZombie next week for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries;” the new episode will focus upon the fourth season of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for iZombie coverage going forward and through its announced conclusion following the fifth season.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding iZombie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Looking Back at “Battle Creek” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Battle Creek,” a comedy-drama that aired on CBS in 2015.

What: Created by Vince Gilligan and David Shore and starring Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters, the show followed the mismatched partnership of a police detective and a FBI agent in Battle Creek, Michigan.

When: The show aired for one season in 2015 on CBS.

Where: The show is set in Battle Creek, Michigan – present day.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Battle Creek.

During the annual Fall TV Preview for the 2014-2015 season, CPU! Chief Kylie picked up this show for CPU!’s review.  When I picked it up, I said:

Though I’m not much for procedural cop shows, this is about a town in Michigan, and that’s where I’m from.  The town itself is about 45 miles from me in Grand Rapids, and it’s the home of cereal brands like Kellogg’s and Post.  So, I’m curious enough to watch it.

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Battle Creek = 3.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

FBI Agent Milt Chamberlain (Duhamel) is transferred to Battle Creek from Detroit under mysterious circumstances, where he must work closely with the local police department, particularly hot-headed Detective Russ Agnew (Winters) and his motley band of fellow cops and co-workers, to solve local crimes.  The trouble is, Battle Creek, city of, is strapped for resources; Russ is threatened by the federal money backing Milt’s position, and perhaps by the agent’s easy good looks, while Russ and the rest of the Battle Creek PD must rely on ingenuity, intuition, and nerve to address the varied crimes committed in the “sleepy,” cereal-producing town of Battle Creek.

THOUGHTS

Your Chief CP originally nominated Battle Creek to inaugurate our yet-to-be-inaugurated “Canceled Corner” feature.  Imagine my surprise when not only a frequent CPU! panelist but two brand new panelists eagerly jumped up to chronicle the goings-on of one, low-rated, lowly little season of a show that has some pedigree behind it, even if it had little else, including network backing and support.  Specifically, regular CPU! panelist Spencer, who hangs out most on our comic book adaptation panels as well as the panels covering UK imports (can’t imagine why), and two brand new – and married – panelists, Laurie and Chad, gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” while “Looking Back” (we’re complicated around here!) at this unceremoniously canceled buddy cop dramedy from 2015.  Though this program came and went somewhat quickly, it clearly made an impression, which the panel wistfully dissects in the episode below.

This podcast was (re)recorded in May 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points in Battle Creek. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we launch a new panel “Around the Water Cooler” as some of our most frequent panelists and CW devotees put their brains together, though not as food, to catch up on iZombie, in the first part of a two-part miniseries for just that purpose.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION
The panel recommends Battle Creek particularly to fans of Dean Winters, who the panel unanimously agreed altogether makes the show; to fans of smaller towns, like the Cereal Capital of the World; and to fans of procedural TV but with a twist.  The panel lauded the effortless chemistry of the two leads, both with each other and with the rest of the ensemble, as well as the show’s somewhat hesitant but mostly successful attempts to tackle large, important social topics and the effects such issues pose to so-called small towns. Several of the panelists also see this program as easily reviewed and watched again.  Some have already done so but, in any event, the show’s aesthetic and winks and nods to the real life Battle Creek give it a potentially timeless charm.  Also, it’s got a great theme song that sounds like “Michigan.”  If you’re from the Mitten, you’ll get it.  Though the show’s only season is self-contained, the ending is rushed, no doubt influenced by the show’s early cancellation, despite its full season order.  The panel, therefore, qualifies its recommendation with caution, as what passes for a conclusion left the panel with a lack of easy satisfaction, which we expect would be a common reaction.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
Canceled!  Battle Creek was canceled after one season, and after only nine episodes had aired, by CBS. Fortunately, and at last check, the one season in question is available to stream on Netflix.  As always, be wary that the ending on this series is messy and somewhat rushed (“half-assed,” as one panelist called it), so while the panel generally recommends the show as above, the panelists do so with caution, given the less than satisfactory ending attached to the final moments of the series.

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “Grace and Frankie” – Recapping Seasons 1 and 2; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on Grace and Frankie” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

ADVISORY: Due to discussion of concepts like yam lube, we do make frank (but scientific) references to genitalia in this episode.  It’s the world of the show, people.

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grace and Frankie” is a comedy-drama web television and Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Grace and Frankie,” created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles of Grace and Frankie, two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce that they are in love and plan to get married. Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn co-star in supporting roles.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on May 8, 2015, and the second season was released in its entirety to Netflix on May 6, 2016, each with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in San Diego, California, and surrounding communities.

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Grace and Frankie = 4.1, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Grace (Fonda), a retired cosmetics mogul, and Frankie (Tomlin), a hippie art teacher, whose husbands, Robert (Sheen) and Sol (Waterston), are successful divorce lawyers in San Diego.  Grace and Frankie’s lives are turned upside down when Robert and Sol announce that they are in love with each other and are leaving their wives. Now, the women, who have never particularly liked each other, are forced to live together and must learn to unite and to cope with difficulties in their new lives as 70-something divorcees.

THOUGHTS

By popular request, though notably by frequent CPU! panelists and viewers unlikely to be in the intended target audience for this quirky comedy-drama, Grace and Frankie has become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler. Tonight’s episode is the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on Netflix in 2015.

Ultimately, our requesting CPU! faithful think that Grace and Frankie is a charming comedy about growing old gracefully – but also about growing up gracefully – in these, our modern times.  Plus, with this vocal clamoring for coverage of this program, our panel grew to be comprised of a variety of voices, namely four frequent panelists, including Kristen, the reigning panel champ; Krista, who finds herself drawn most to British television like Downton Abbey and Broadchurch and dramas like Orange is the New Black, How to Get Away with Murder, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Titus is a self-proclaimed drama queen!); Amie, most famous for her ongoing participation in our Once Upon a Time and 13 Reasons Why panels; and Samantha, who has joined us for our Gilmore Girls Life Series and for a Look Back at Marvel’s Agent Carter.  

In this episode, our panel reflects on and recaps the first two seasons of Grace and Frankie, reacting to the various quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves.  From husbands leaving their wives for each other, to the odd couple chemistry of 9 to 5 vets Fonda and Tomlin; from the melding of this peculiar Brady Bunch of offspring to the various significant others that connect to them; from “yes nights” to yam lube, our panel reacts to it all.

And because CPU! is always helpful – and because we wonder aloud in this episode about some of the inspirations for the situations depicted on this series – we offer you this handy link.  From farm to…well, you can read it for yourself (not an official sponsor):

This Stuff Is Real

This episode was recorded in March 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first two seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we offer the second of our two-part Grace and Frankie miniseries, in which we will recap Seasons 3 and 4, which will render CPU! officially caught up to the current season.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Grace and Frankie is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of the actors in the cast, particularly of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston, and to people who sincerely like to laugh.  Some of the panel cautions, however, that with frank discussion about lube (and later vibrators) as well as some salty language coming from these septuagenarians, not every potential viewer might find the show funny or be copacetic with the vernacular utilized therein.   Also, the panel generally praises the comedic performances of the four main actors and the writing while agreeing that there are better episodes than others; in fact, the panel voices a variety of reactions to the supporting characters, namely the four actors playing the grown up children of the couples in question.  In any event, our panel universally had great fun watching this series and believes that most with an open sense of humor will have fun watching it too.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Netflix released the fourth season of Grace and Frankie on January 19, 2018, and has renewed the show for a fifth season, though no tentative release date has yet been announced by the streaming giant.  Most pundits expect the show to return in 2019, in keeping with its traditional once per year release pattern.  CPU! will next visit Grace and Frankie next week for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries;” the new episode will focus upon the third and fourth seasons of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for ongoing Grace and Frankie coverage going forward.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding Grace and Frankie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Around the Water Cooler: “The Good Place,” Recapping Seasons One and Two (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

When: Season One aired from September 19, 2016, to January 19, 2017, while Season Two aired from September 20, 2017, to February 1, 2018, on NBC.

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

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

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

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

The Good Place = 4.7, by average of the podcast panel.  

SYNOPSIS

After her death, Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) is welcomed into the afterlife by Michael (Danson), the facilitator and architect of Eleanor’s new neighborhood in a “perfect utopia” called the “Good Place.” When Michael tells Eleanor that she made it into The Good Place as reward for her life of selfless devotion to helping others, she realizes she must have been mistaken for someone else. She also learns that each person in The Good Place has a soulmate with whom s/he is matched and (accordingly) with whom s/he will live for eternity.

Hoping to stay in the Good Place, Eleanor confesses her plight to her assigned soulmate, Chidi Anagonye (Harper), a university ethics professor.  Despite the moral quandary doing so presents to someone specializing in ethics, he agrees to teach Eleanor to become a better person, so she might earn her apparently mistaken spot in utopia. She also interacts closely with her neighbors: Tahani Al-Jamil (Jamil), a wealthy philanthropist who raised billions through charities in life, and Tahani’s soulmate, Jianyu Li (Jacinto), seemingly a silent Buddhist monk from Taiwan, who turns out to be a dimwitted DJ from Florida named Jason Mendoza. Michael and the Good Place inhabitants are further assisted by Janet (Carden), an artificial being in charge of helping and informing them.

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.  That may be because The Good Place was a runaway hit with the CPU! core and a few close friends and family; apparently, many united couch potatoes consider this show to be forking fantastic.  Thus, this panel quickly filled to supersized proportions.

Why, you might ask?  Well, I might answer.  Common reactions describe the show as hilarious, original, smart, well-written, well-directed, well-performed…you get the drift.  In other words, many CPU! faithful think that The Good Place is one of the freshest comedies to hit the airwaves in years, especially and particularly on network TV and, especially and particularly, on the Peacock network, which has long been struggling to regain some of its “Must See” reign of yesteryear and yore but is giving a good go of it with this heady, philosophical comedy.  Plus, with this seemingly popular appeal, our panel grew to be comprised of a variety of voices, starting with four frequent panelists, including Kristen, the reigning panel champ; Michael, who typically delights in our Looking Back series and a few Stranger Things; Kelsey, who weathers many of our Supernatural and Unfortunate Events; and Selene, who brings her unique feminist perspective to panels for Person of Interest, The 100, and Marvel’s Agent Carter.  The panel also features two brand new voices, Joey and Gabe, who we are excited to welcome to the CPU! fold!

What’s more, this panel spent most of the chat gushing about this series’ first two seasons. In fact, there was little bad or negative to say apart from nitpicks of a typically individual and personal type among each panelist.  Everyone universally agreed that the creator and show-runner has produced something totally new, totally kick-ash awesome, at the top of its comedic game, and accessible to most everyone despite its heady premise, all while avoiding the typical tendency of pandering to a larger audience by muting or undercutting the intelligence of the premise and of the situations in which the characters find themselves.  To wit, if you are part of The Good Place fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your adoration for this decidedly traction-gaining cult hit.  With all this said, have I convinced you (yet) 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, we offer the first of a new, two-part miniseries featuring a brand new panel around the CPU! Water Cooler, as we begin ongoing coverage of Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie.  In our first episode of this miniseries, we will recap Seasons 1 and 2 in an effort to catch up to the current season.  Stay tuned!

Questions Going Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Good Place is universally, effusively, and glowingly recommended by all seven panelists, your main moderator included, because of its original, quality premise; complex, layered writing; stellar performances; and fresh take on an intellectual concept that does not meander into trope-filled, didactic territory, despite its meditation on moral and ethical principles and philosophy.  One panelist compared the humor of this show to cult favorite Better Off Ted, less the cynicism of that particular workplace satire.  The panelists note that each available season is tightly constructed, with rapid-fire pacing, superior wit, enticing and engaging cliffhangers for episode endings, and a refreshing lack of filler episodes.  Several panelists described this show as easy to recommend, easy to binge-watch, and easy to which to become addicted, even as the premise is “hard to explain.”  The panelists further praise the program’s ability to intellectually challenge the viewer while remaining both accessible and hilarious high-concept comedy; in fact, several panel members deem the show as having significant re-watch value, based upon personal experience (already!).  In fact, the entire panel basically recommends The Good Place to anyone, anywhere, with a hearty “Just watch it!” as the overall recommendation refrain.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

The Good Place was renewed for a third season by NBC and is tentatively expected to return in fall 2018.  Currently, Season One is available to stream fully on Netflix, while the five most recently aired episodes of the show are available on Hulu and on NBC’s streaming app and website.  In the meantime, the CPU! Good Place panel will return to the Water Cooler following the airing of the Season Three finale. Until then – stay tuned!

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode 7, “Marvel’s The Punisher” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for the punisher title card netflix

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

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

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

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

SYNOPSIS

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

THOUGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This podcast was (re)recorded in March 2018 as one of our lost episodes, erased via the much ballyhooed equipment failure previously advertised, though we think we recovered nicely.  Also, there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the first season of The Punisher.  Do you agree or disagree?  Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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, at long last, our Once Upon a Time panel returns to the Water Cooler, also affected by the aforementioned equipment failure, and will offer a re-recorded dissection of Season 7A in one of our twisty mid-season formats, which will include some of our “Newlywed Game” type hi-jinks to add spice to our already spicy group.  This recording follows the ABC network announcement that Once Upon a Time will end after this seventh season, and so this recording is one of the last three times our lively Once panel will gather together as a group.  As such, stay tuned for this funky and somewhat bittersweet “lost” episode!

RECOMMENDATION

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

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

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

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode 6, “Marvel’s The Defenders” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for the defenders title card

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s The Defenders” is a web television series based upon the Marvel Comics characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, who form the eponymous superhero team.  It is also a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Marvel’s The Defenders,” created by Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the culmination of a series of interconnected shows from Marvel and Netflix. The limited series stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock aka Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Danny Rand aka Iron Fist, all reprising their roles from their individual series. The miniseries also stars Eka Darville, Elden Henson, Jessica Henwick, Simone Missick, Ramón Rodríguez, Rachael Taylor, Deborah Ann Woll, Élodie Yung, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn, and Sigourney Weaver. 

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on August 18, 2017.

Where: The action is set primarily in the New York City, New York, borough of Manhattan, as depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though there are glimpses of other boroughs, including Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem.

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel’s The Defenders = 4.3, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Set a few months after the events of the second season of Daredevil, and a month after the events of the first season of Iron Fist, the vigilantes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up in New York City to fight a common enemy: the Hand.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

As such, it was only right that we cover the next series in this universe, now the fifth in Netflix’s series of Marvel-centered shows and the culmination of creating the shows to begin with: “The Defenders” miniseries, featuring heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist joining together to form a special force of the ilk of the Avengers or of the Justice League in the DC Universe. Thus, we bring you our first ever Defenders podcast episode – and the sixth episode of our Marvel’s Defenders Series – featuring Defenders panelists Nick, Kristen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer.

Our panel is, for the most part, warm to the crossover, with some panelists liking this climactic effort more than some of the solo entries leading up to it.  Generally, the panelists loved seeing the four Defenders together, taking down the Hand, even though some thought the series somewhat slow; too short, at eight episodes rather than thirteen, compared to predecessor programs; and fuzzy in storytelling continuity when matched up to the solo Defender series.  Also, many of our panelists construed the depiction of The Hand, the nefarious ninja organization that previously haunted Daredevil and Iron Fist, to be weak overall when compared to charismatic villain performances in solo series, particularly those of Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin and David Tennant as Kilgrave.  To hear us hash out these opinions further, listen to our discussion via the embedded link below.

This podcast was recorded in December 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the first season of The Defenders.  Do you agree or disagree?  Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, at long last, our Vampire Diaries panel, slightly smaller, returns to the Water Cooler to begin the long advertised two-part goodbye series in which we pay homage to the long-running teen supernatural drama, which ended its eight season run in March 2017.  In the first episode/first part of our miniseries, we recap the second half of the final season.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The Defenders is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of comic books, particularly from the Marvel universe; fans of the various Defenders series; and fans of the individual Defender characters.  The panel cautions that to truly appreciate what The Defenders offers as a program, it is best viewed after all solo Defender series/seasons released prior to the release of this miniseries have also been viewed.  The panel generally and universally agrees that The Defenders is well-performed and mostly well-written and directed but for some qualms from some panelists about pacing and continuity, particularly with reference to how the various show runners have treated The Hand as overarching villains for several of the solo and now the crossover series.  In any event, and despite the critiques described above, the panel universally had great fun watching this series and believes that anyone who considers themselves a fan of any or all of the individual Defenders would have fun watching it too.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

The Defenders has not yet been renewed for a second season, though Netflix is no doubt preparing for subsequent solo series season releases as follows: Jessica Jones (Season 2) on March 8, 2018; Luke Cage (Season 2) in spring/summer 2018; Daredevil (Season 3) in summer/fall 2018; and Iron Fist (Season 2) in 2019. Netflix may be waiting to gauge reception to all of these new seasons as well as reviewing logistical considerations before jumping straight into a renewal commitment.  As always, CPU! will be following The Defenders throughout its series run as part of CPU!’s Marvel’s Defenders Series, so we will definitely return to podcast about a season two, should one be commissioned, and will keep you informed of all Netflix/Marvel coverage.  In addition, the CPU! Marvel’s Defenders panel will return very soon to review The Punisher, Season 1, which was released to Netflix on November 17, 2017.  Until then, stay tuned!