Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard, 2016-2017 Pilots

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Here it is – the end of season tally sheet for new network shows for 2016-2017 pilots!  I must say…the networks waited for it but are being far more ruthless this year, all told…or maybe not ruthless enough!

Also, stay tuned for the Progress Report discussing long-running shows covered by this blog!

Thanks as always to TVLine for helping a girl out.

24: Legacy

24: LEGACY, Fox

WHO: Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead), Ashley Thomas (Black Mirror), Jimmy Smits (Sons of Anarchy), Miranda Otto (Homeland), Teddy Sears (The Flash), Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Anna Diop (The Messengers), Coral Pena (Blue Bloods), Charlie Hofheimer (Mad Men), Sheila Vand (State of Affairs)

WHAT: Featuring an all-new cast of characters, the series centers on a military hero who encounters a troubled return to the U.S., compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Well, we don’t start the 2016-2017 preview well out of the gate, do we?  Hear me out.  I was incredibly devoted to the original 24and I also watched 24: Live Another Daywhich revived the 24 concept for an additional thirteen-episode event series. As I said in the latter review (click on the links), what made 24 work for this viewer in the end was one element: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer.  24 became what it was because of its charismatic lead, who played a character besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives. Without Kiefer, and despite the “real time” ticking clock gimmick, I felt pretty certain that I would have stopped watching 24 long before it ended.  The writing was, at times, all over the place, the catastrophes and dangers were increasingly more preposterous, and the tension without Kiefer was flat, as evidenced by the first few episodes of “Live Another Day,” which were largely Jack-less.

So, now we have a new 24 after a year or more of rumors that a reboot was coming. There’s a new conflicted lead and a few other familiar faces, like Jimmy Smits and Eowyn.  But there is absolutely nothing new about this show other than the sheer lack of Jack Bauer. From what can be viewed of the previews, Corey Hawkins, despite his Walking Dead cred, does not offer the same engagement that Kiefer Sutherland did. He’s just another guy, besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives.  Will he be as good as Kiefer?  Arguably, no. Kiefer did it first and did it well.  Who would want to top it?  And if they are not going to top it, what’s the point of watching it?

Perhaps, the trailer wasn’t well put together.  Or, perhaps people need their ticking clock fix.  I’m not ready to jump on board another 24 hours of terrorist plots and gunfire without a solid reason to do so, and I’m also reasonably grumbly that nothing original in Hollywood seems to be the status quo, though the lack of originality largely avoided television for a time. I guess that time is over.

If buzz or ratings give me a reason to doubt, I may reconsider. Right now, this just seems like a stale rehashing with new folks.  Thumbs down (for now).

STATUS: Officially canceled!  Fox ultimately canceled this half reboot, half revival after struggling ratings on June 7, 2017.  The series finale aired on April 17, 2017 – full 12 episode season aired.  Reports are noting that the network plans to attempt another reboot of 24, effectively creating a miniseries, as “Legacy” ultimately became, at a later time.

CPU! STATUS: Status change to Pass outright.  Who watched this reboot?  Are we being too hard on this series, given our initial misgivings and its (now confirmed) cancellation?  Convince us otherwise in the comments below.

American Housewife

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, ABC

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly), Carly Hughes, Ali Wong (Black Box, Are You There, Chelsea?), Diedrich Bader (Veep), Julia Butters (Transparent), Johnny Sequoyah (Believe), Daniel DiMaggio (Supergirl)

WHAT: A family comedy narrated by Katie, a strong-willed mother, raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” wives and their “perfect” offspring.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  I am not currently a wife, and I don’t have children. Traditional “family” sitcoms and other safe comedy fare tend to turn me off.  Based upon the strength of the trailer for this show, however, and the excellent comedic delivery of Katy Mixon, I actually think I might test the suburbs of American Housewife.  It checks off a few TV tropes, including the rich/skinny girls versus less endowed/fat girl motif, but it also mixes a few formulae together, seemingly, which might yield a new formula of fresh and funny.  Then again, it could be one of those jokes that wears thin if told too often, but I won’t know until I watch.  The “spanx” diatribe alone made me smile, though, so it’s worth a look-see.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 23, 2017, with a total of 23 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

APB

A.P.B., Fox

WHO: Natalie Martinez (Secrets and Lies), Justin Kirk (Weeds), Ernie Hudson (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Eric Winter (Witches of East End), Caitlin Stasey (Reign), Taylor Handley (The O.C.), Tamberla Perry (Boss)

WHAT: A tech billionaire purchases a troubled police precinct in the wake of a loved one’s murder, but can this eccentric and enigmatic figure’s cutting edge approach fix the broken ways of these blue blooded veterans?

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  Maybe I’m in a generous mood on the day I reviewed this trailer, but this show is mildly intriguing.  While I think it has the potential, as all cop shows do, to veer into procedural territory, the lead character is incredibly charismatic, and the gimmick involves him introducing an app into the Chicago streets that allows normal citizens to report crimes on the spot.  Coupled with the futuristic, expensive technology he brings in, there is actually potential for this show to be at least somewhat engrossing. How long can it sustain, though?  Will it be told episodically, with story lines resolved after each hour of rich boy hi-jinks and cop resistance like a procedural/”crime of the week” show, or will there be an underlying thread pushing it forward? My guess is, since the premise includes the lead character becoming involved with the police because his friend was gunned down, that there will definitely be a connecting thread.  How strong that thread is will depend upon how they balance the premise with the hi-jinks.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  Fox let this one go on “Bloody Thursday,” i.e. May 11, 2017.  The series finale aired on April 24, 2017 – full 12 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but will still view, at least for a couple of episodes.

The Blacklist: Redemption

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, NBC

WHO | Famke Janssen (How to Get Away With Murder), Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Edi Gathegi (The Blacklist), Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable)

WHAT | Undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave, the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  The Blacklist has been on my “to-watch” list for some time now. I have a few members of my inner circle who are devoted fans and praise it highly, and I do plan to watch it someday (and maybe even to cover it at CPU!).  Since this new entry is a spin-off of The Blacklist, however, I am not prepared to watch or cover it until I watch the original series.  If that happens in this next season, we’ll keep you posted.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The series finale aired on April 13, 2017 – full 8 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Status change to full Pass, given that the spin-off was a non-starter, and I still haven’t watched the original – though the original Blacklist remains on the watch list.

Bull

BULL, CBS

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio

WHAT: A drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw as the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Part of me wants to like this show, featuring a charismatic Michael Weatherly as an arrogant psychologist who can read juries and other court personnel in order to suss out cases, a character loosely based on Dr. Phil (yes, that Dr. Phil).  On the other hand, I was also somewhat turned off by the fact that he is an arrogant psychologist going toe to toe with arrogant defendants and arrogant attorneys. This show seems to offer a formulaic courtroom premise with a fancy gimmick, a shrink who can read people (and an algorithm of his making) to sway the outcomes of cases. Since shrinks aren’t always better than lawyers, and since the premise seems thin – along with the likability of the main character – I am inclined to let this one go by.  If the show gains buzz, accolades, or steam, I may reconsider.  But even as there were some enticing moments in this trailer, most of it rubbed me the wrong way.

STATUS: Officially renewed for Season 2! The season one finale aired on May 23, 2017, for a total of 23 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: I (still) have heard literally nothing about this show since its premiere, either from the CPU! regulars or from the media, to convince me or CPU! to start watching.  If you like “Bull,” tell us in the comments and why.  For now, it stays passed.

Chicago Justice

CHICAGO JUSTICE, NBC

WHO: Philip Winchester (The Player), Carl Weathers (Rocky), Joelle Carter (Justified), Ryan-James Hatanaka

WHAT: Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigates heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, which is not a good sign.  In any event, this seems to be another procedural in the grand tradition of NBC produced procedural TV like Law and Order, and this viewer does not enjoy watching procedurals; or, it’s another courtroom drama resting on that formula.  Give me fantasy!  Give me escapism!  Don’t give me dramatic re-tellings with a realistic twinge.  If I hear something new, unusual, or enticing about it prior to its premiere, I’ll let you know, but this is not the kind of thing I normally watch, and there is nothing convincing me to start watching it.  Moving on.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  NBC canceled this latest “Chicago” entry on May 24, 2017.  The series finale aired on May 14, 2017 – full 13 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: While the Chief CP does not plan to view or to blog/podcast about this series, we do have at least one CPU! contributor interested in possible blog coverage of the “Chicago” gaggle of programs.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Conviction

CONVICTION, ABC

WHO: Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter), Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY), Shawn Ashmore (The Following), Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead), Manny Montana (Graceland), Merrin Dungey (Alias, Once Upon a Time), Daniel DiTomasso (Witches of East End)

WHAT: Tells the story of Carter Morrison, the brilliant but ne’er-do-well daughter of a former U.S. president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Let us all take a moment to get our pop culture bearings.  Agent Carter is some sort of devil-may-care type who is bribed by Tag, Rachel’s young boyfriend on Friends, to head some fictional agency investigating the wrongfully accused.  Phew. Okay.  After watching the trailer, this viewer was unimpressed by something that seems to have a message but little else going for it.  The premise feels somewhat schmaltzy, manipulative even, and quite thin, and the concept behind the premise screams procedural with some sexy television antics on the side for, you know, reasons.  Honestly, as I watched, I felt like it had all been done before.  So, I can’t see doing it again.  Also, it just makes me want to watch Agent Carter more, which I haven’t yet been able to see. The television obsessed never has enough time. Anyway, sorry ABC and the folks behind this show.  If the ratings or the buzz suggest otherwise, I’ll take a gander but not until then.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The series finale aired on January 29, 2017 – full 13 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: If what came through in the teaser trailer was essentially the norm for all episodes, the fate of this show is unsurprising.  I hope Hayley Atwell finds a home somewhere, but this vehicle seemed to be a poor quality one, at least judging by the trailer, which is like the network’s sales pitch for the show. Of course, I am not certain that the Alphabet should have canceled Agent Carter, but that’s another story.

Designated Survivor

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, ABC

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Kiefer Sutherland (24), Maggie Q (Nikita), Kal Penn (House), Italia Ricci (Chasing Life), Natasha McElhone (Californication), Adan Canto (The Following), LaMonica Garrett (Sons of Anarchy), Tanner Buchanan (The Fosters)

WHAT: Centers on a lower level United States Cabinet member who is suddenly handed the presidency after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick up.  So, THIS is why Kiefer Sutherland can’t be on 24: Legacy! He’s too busy being a Designated Survivor…The trailer boasts high moments that create chills (mushroom clouds over DC!) and low moments that create squinty faces (Kal Penn’s character telling Kiefer to quit), but because the premise has, to this viewer’s knowledge, never been done before (a low level Cabinet member who must suddenly be president), and based upon the fact that Kiefer is so supremely watchable, and further acknowledging the fact that he has moved on from 24, I feel like this could be a very good program to choose for viewing in the coming season and possibly better than the aforementioned 24: Legacy, given that Jack Bauer is in this one.  I mean, I know that’s not his name, but that’s what I choose to think. The trailer leaves me with the feeling that this is movie quality television, at any rate; hopefully, it doesn’t descend into melodramatics.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season 1 finale aired on May 21, 2017, with a total of 21 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Downward Dog

DOWNWARD DOG, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: May 17, 2017

WHO: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Mo Collins (Parks and Recreation), Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart

WHAT: Based on the web series of the same name, it follows a down-on-her-luck woman named Nan whose devoted dog speaks its mind in confessional-style interviews.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I think this might be my um…no of the season.  As much as I like Allison Tolman (her turn in Fargo was quite good, don’tcha know?), and as much as I related to a lonely thirty-something woman with a pet, I feel strongly that those who would find this show funny are dog-lovers who enjoy those weird anthropomorphized mouths on animals.  I love dogs but not enough to watch a whole season of a dog’s commentary, no matter how heartfelt, and I think the show MIGHT be racist to cats (I have a cat).  There were a couple of funny jokes in the trailer, but most of it landed with a thud.  It’s an animal buddy comedy; I don’t see how it could be funny after more than a few episodes (or roughly the number of episodes equivalent to a standard movie length).  Also, who is running the alleged web series – and who is watching it?

STATUS: Currently airing; the sixth episode of eight confirmed and ordered episodes airs on the day this post goes to publication.  There is no word yet on whether or not this series will be renewed.

CPU! STATUS: The critics seem to favor this sleeper mid-season entry on the Alphabet network, but I stand by the initial verdict, especially since no one I know is talking about it.

Emerald City

EMERALD CITY, NBC

WHO | Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), Florence Kasumba, Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

WHAT | The “event” series is a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz that includes lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A headstrong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on a journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. This show has been delayed two seasons, but at least this time, we have an actual promotional snapshot and what looks like a cast.  I’ve picked it up for the past two falls; I will keep picking it up until if and when it gets dropped or finally airs. Let’s hope it’s the latter, as CPU! will remain committed to this dark re-imagining of Oz for as long as it’s a possibility. Let’s make it happen, NBC!  Third time’s the charm!

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The Peacock swung the ax toward the troubled Oz adaptation on May 4, 2017.  The series finale aired on March 3, 2017 – full 10 episode season aired.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but several CPU!ers have voiced support for this series, so a podcast will likely eventually be recorded and published, most likely in a “Looking Back” episode or possible new feature format likely to be rolled out this summer. Stay tuned!

The Exorcist

THE EXORCIST, Fox

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Geena Davis (Grey’s Anatomy), Brianne Howey (Scream Queens), Hannah Kasulka (The Fosters), Alfonso Herrera (Sense8), Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone), Kurt Egyiawan (Beasts of No Nation)

WHAT: A modern reinvention inspired by William Blatty’s original 1971 book, the propulsive, serialized psychological thriller follows two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the face of true evil.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though horror is a tricky genre for me (I have acute overactive imagination syndrome) and though I managed to avoid The Exorcist film until I was an adult, as I think it’s still a scary idea and premise, the original film influenced many excellent horror movie and TV tropes that are still used and reused today.  So, why not transfer the original concept to the small screen?  The only question is whether or not such a concept, originally distilled to the two hours or so for a film, can sustain over the course of several episodes, much less several seasons?  There is only one way to find out. I am ready to confront these demons, along with their updated special effects.  But will be there be rotating heads and the vomiting of pea soup?

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on December 16, 2016, with a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Frequency

FREQUENCY, The CW

WHO: Peyton List (The Flash, The Tomorrow People), Riley Smith (Nashville), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Lenny Jacobson (Nurse Jackie), Anthony Ruivivar (Banshee, American Horror Story), Devin Kelley (Resurrection), Daniel Bonjour (The Walking Dead)

WHAT: In this reimagining of the New Line Cinema film, a female police detective discovers she is able to speak via ham radio with her estranged father, also a detective, who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder, but unintended consequences of the “butterfly effect” wreak havoc in the present day.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now. To be honest, the trailer is pretty compelling, and despite the fact that I am not a fan of Peyton List (I have watched or watch both The Tomorrow People and The Flash and have been turned off by her both times), even though the CW sure seems to be, I am reserving the pick up until I see the original film, which I never have.  I have a video game based on the film which I have never played either.  So, like Limitless, I feel that I need at least the baseline before giving the television show serious consideration.  Once I see the film, Ms. List aside, I will revisit the idea of watching the show.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The CW did not pursue a second season order for this big to small screen adaptation as of May 8, 2017.  The series finale aired on January 25, 2017 – full 14 episode season aired.  The CW also released an epilogue, to tie off loose ends to the story, exclusively to its website.

CPU! STATUS: I do still want to watch the movie and may check into some of the episodes at a later date depending upon how that goes; the Chief CP still doesn’t love Peyton List, though, for the record.

The Good Place

THE GOOD PLACE, NBC

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (CSI: Cyber), Manny Jacinto (The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story), William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden

WHAT: Follows Eleanor, a New Jersey woman who comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. She decides to turn over a new leaf by learning what it actually means to be “good” or “bad,” and then trying to make up for her past behavior.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. 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. More than any other show on this list so far, I am quite excited to check this one out! Hopefully, cancel-happy NBC will allow this one the chance to find its groove – though, arguably, the groove will be there from the pilot, if the trailer is any indication.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The first season finale aired on January 19, 2017, with a total of 13 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but really want to as soon as possible.

The Great Indoors

THE GREAT INDOORS, CBS

WHO: Joel McHale (Community), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass), Stephen Fry (Bones), Susannah Fielding, Shaun Brown, Chris Williams, Christine Ko

WHAT: An adventure reporter must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Oh look.  The first real sitcom to make fun of the generation gap between Gen X/Y and Millennials, and CBS of all networks grabs onto it.  Which means that most of the CPU!’ers will relate to the Joel McHale character, but many of them will find the supporting characters clueless and annoying.  Like I do.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will laugh along with their TV representatives at how antiquated ideals like spending time in the outdoors and using pen and paper to write stories, rather than Twitter and Tweets, are.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will be offended by the exaggerated depictions of their generation, unless they are open to seeing the humor. I’m sure this will probably find an audience, but I just can’t see being in it (and the canned laughter didn’t help its cause). Also, I guess this means we won’t be seeing McHale on another season of The X-Files anytime soon.

STATUS: Officially canceled!  The series finale aired on May 8, 2017 – full 22 episode season aired – though the show received the cancellation ax blow a few days later.

CPU! STATUS: Still not interested.  The Chief CP is generationally offended, ok?

Great News

GREAT NEWS, NBC

WHO: Briga Heelan (Undateable), Andrea Martin (Difficult People), Adam Campbell (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mixology), Kimrie Lewis-Davis (Scandal), John Michael Higgins (Wilfred), Horatio Sanz (SNL)

WHAT: An already inseparable mother/daughter relationship becomes more complicated when mom accepts an internship at her daughter’s workplace.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Aside from the fact that no trailer exists to even attempt to convince viewers that the premise is potentially funny and not so recycled, the premise is so recycled and potentially rather unfunny!  A codependent mother and daughter team spend even more time together at work.  That’s what this is about.  Add to that very few recognizable names in the cast (weirdly, Horatio Sanz is the most familiar to me, and that’s not necessarily a good thing), and what you have is an easily avoidable sitcom. Also, NBC, the most cancel happy of all the networks currently, has been especially unkind to its new sitcoms in recent years.  There is literally no reason to invest in this one based purely on a photograph, a cast list, and an extremely precarious sitcom foundation.  Someone talk me into it.  It’s the yearly challenge!

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season 1 finale aired on May 23, 2017, with a total of 10 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP is probably going to opt for less great news, but there is some interest from the CPU! core concerning this show.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Imaginary Mary

IMAGINARY MARY, ABC

WHO: Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg, Growing Up Fisher), Stephen Schneider (You’re the Worst), Nicholas Coombe (iZombie), Matreya Scarrwener (Canada’s Detective McLean: Ties That Bind), Jillian Bell (Eastbound & Down), Erica Tremblay and the voice of SNL vet Rachel Dratch

WHAT: Centers on a thirtysomething bachelorette whose life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though the premise of this sitcom seems a bit more clever than some of the other offerings of this pilot season, my reaction still falls into the “pass” category. First, I only laughed once at the trailer, and it was most certainly not at the imaginary friend but at the husband when he was talking to his kids about Dharma when Dharma wasn’t there. Second, I’ve never been wild about Jenna Elfman – Dharma & Greg was saccharine and lacking something to which this viewer could relate, so I never watched more than a few episodes.  While the character of Mary may be different than Dharma, there is still an infused essence of Elfman that leaves me feeling “meh” about the proceedings.  Also, honestly, though there might have been entertainment potential to the later-in-life confirmed bachelorette finding true love with a family man motif by itself, adding the tiny imaginary friend creature made me think the character would be more sad than funny and potentially in need of some good counseling.  Sorry, Dharma. On with the list.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The Alphabet reduced the episode order from 13 to 9 and then swiftly canceled the series on May 11, 2017.  The series finale (and ninth episode) aired on May 30, 2017.

CPU! STATUS: No change in our initial “pass” verdict.

Kevin Can Wait

KEVIN CAN WAIT, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c, moving to 8/7c on Oct. 24

WHO: Kevin James (The King of Queens), Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital), Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey), Ryan Cartwright (Alphas, Bones), Lenny Venito (The Neighbors), Gary Valentine (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A newly retired police officer looking forward to spending more quality time with his wife and three kids discovers he faces much tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Um…no.  This is the definitive “um…no” of the season.  Unless there’s more than one.  Anyway, first, let’s rap about the enigma that is Kevin James.  Someone somewhere out there obviously finds him funny.  I never have.  Not once.  Not even a little bit. Second, let’s pause for a moment to appreciate just how similar this new show is to James’ star-making sitcom, The King of Queens.  Did CBS air that one too?  I don’t remember.  Be that as it may, this version does not have Leah Remini, which is the only reason The King of Queens was ever funny, and, frankly, the odds of funny happening on the previous show were arguably slim.  I think The King of Queens lasted as long as it did because of the chemistry between Remini and James.  Erinn Hayes doesn’t quite cut the mustard in terms of appealing chemistry with the wisecracking but stout every-man, at least from the extended trailer available. Which means James is left hanging out there to carry the comedy by himself, and, frankly, I just don’t think such a feat is possible for him. Of course, lots of people found Two and Half Men funny, even when Charlie Sheen was still on it.  I believe fans of that sitcom will find something to like here. Unfortunately, I didn’t like that one or The King of Queens, so I’m really left with one choice.  Next, please.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 8, 2017, with a total of 24 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Um…no?  Did you not hear me the first time?  Plus, no one I know is watching it.  Prove me wrong!

EDIT: Why God…why?!

Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON, Fox

WHEN: Wednesdays at 8/7c

WHO: Damon Wayans, Sr., Jordana Brewster (Dallas), Keesha Sharp (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson), Kevin Rahm (Mad Men), Clayne Crawford (Rectify), Johnathan Fernandez (Younger, Girls), Chandler Kinney

WHAT: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Would you believe that I have never once seen a Lethal Weapon movie?  It’s true.  No particular reason for it; I just haven’t found myself in a position to watch or to want to watch any of those movies, of which there are several. Now, the films had Mel Gibson (pre-crazy times) and Danny Glover.  This show has Damon Wayans and some charming Southern gentleman filling those rather hefty boots. Before this viewer would feel comfortable with this selection, I feel I have to wear the original boots first before trying on the newfangled pair.  If buzz and accolades and steam swarm around this TV remake, I will, of course, make arrangements to get caught up.  If it’s enjoyable, let CPU! know (that’s why we have a Guestbook!).

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The season finale aired on March 15, 2017, with a total of 18 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP still wants to watch the original movie first.  I know, I know, I’m so behind the times.  I own it.

MacGyver

MACGYVER, CBS

WHEN: Fridays at 8/7c

WHO: Lucas Till (X-Men), George Eads (CSI), Justin Hires (Rush Hour), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)

WHAT: A re-imagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. What the hell?  Oh, CBS.  Say it ain’t so!  That’s two remakes in a row!  At least, insofar as Kevin Can Wait seems to be a remake of The King of Queens.  So, in order for this show to be successful, anyone older than, say, 30 will have to be okay with a MacGyver that is not played by Richard Dean Anderson.  And anyone younger than 30 will have to be taken in by the premise of a man who is so resourceful, he can get himself out of most sticky wickets with a mere paper clip and some chewing gum.  As one of the over 30 crowd, I am somewhat turned off by this entry into CBS’ lineup.  I was no die hard fan of the original MacGyver, but I am pretty sure that half the appeal was Anderson’s crooked smile and rockin’ 80s mullet.  He was resourceful AND charismatic. Lucas Till, TV’s younger face of this older character, doesn’t offer much in the way of charisma.  Either that or the trailer was edited terribly.  I don’t think it’s the editing, though, and, therefore, I don’t think this will end well.  On the other hand, and surprisingly, Hawaii Five-O survived for a while.  Someone convince me, and maybe CPU! and this viewer will reconsider.  Not until then.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on April 14, 2017, with a total of 21 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: We can’t even, as the kids are saying.  There has been no buzz in CPU!’s circles, and I fully believe we’d miss Richard Dean Anderson too much; one CPU!er checked in and was less than flattering about it. Do you watch MacGyver? Tell us about it in the comments.

Making History

MAKING HISTORY, Fox

WHO: Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Yassir Lester (The Carmichael Show)

WHAT: Three friends find a way to travel through time for truth, justice, and riches, which complicates their lives in 2016. They visit some of the greatest moments of the past as they try to resolve their personal problems, while history and pop culture comically collide.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Okay…this has the potential to be exceedingly stupid.  On the other hand, it could ultimately be sheer creative genius.  The time machine is a giant duffel bag. There is somewhat of a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure edge to the proceedings, but the main characters are college professors.  And one of them is played by Adam Pally, the erstwhile Peter from The Mindy Project, a character who grew on me thanks to the winning bro-ski comedic timing of Pally himself.  Plus, the premise is extremely original, or mostly original, at least for network TV, so I think it’s worth giving it a shot.  Fox – you be good to this one! Unless it’s stupid.  I’ll let you know.

STATUS: Officially canceled.  The series finale aired on May 21, 2017 – full 9 episode season aired (I believe the episode order was reduced…or never increased…anyway, the reason is obvs).

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but I still kinda’ wanna’…and probably will…and will probably regret it…

Man With A Plan

MAN WITH A PLAN, CBS

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Matt Cook (Clipped), Grace Kaufman (The Last Ship), Jessica Chaffin (Episodes), Hala Finley, Matthew McCann

WHAT: A contractor whose wife goes back to work starts spending more time with his kids and discovers the truth every parent eventually realizes: His little angels are maniacs.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. I…um…hm.  So, first of all, I think the Eye network is panicking.  Most of its mainstay sitcoms have either ended or are probably nearing their end (case in point, The Big Bang Theory and the afore named Two and a Half Men), as many of the sitcom entries on this list so far have been CBS pickups.

Now…the problems.  The cast list above glaringly omits the presence of Jenna Fischer, none other than Pam from The Office, herself.  Which isn’t saying much because she is clearly the straight man in the comedy and offered nothing funny in the trailer.  So, then we have Matt LeBlanc.  I’m sorry to have to be the one to say this, Matt, if you’re reading. I’m a big fan of Friends, which may be coloring my perspective of what I saw, but to me, Matt is playing the “grown up” version of Joey.  As in, what if Joey had quit acting and was put in the position of being the primary caregiver for his three children that he had with a nice, normal wife in the interim since Friends ended?  The line delivery is more deliberate; the motions more affected by age (LeBlanc should be around 50 by my estimation), but to me, it’s Joey. He’s Joey.  This is Joey, in 2016, with a family. Which might be okay if we didn’t already know that Joey by himself is not as effective as Joey with the rest of the Friends – which the spin-off Joey taught us.  I love Matt LeBlanc and Jenna Fischer, but this TV show, aside from it being another saccharine family sitcom, is Joey with kids.  I can’t do it.  Someone talk me into it?  I want to be talked into this one.  Out of my love for Matt LeBlanc.

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a CPU!er that Jenna Fischer is not in the above cast list because her part was recast due to lack of chemistry with Matt LeBlanc.  Unfortunately, no updated trailer exists; hence, the confusion, as the original trailer still has Jenna in it. Also, the recast occurred recently (and I start compiling this article over the month of July).  So!  The recast doesn’t convince me to start watching it, however.  The trailer largely focused on Matt and his character…and I still don’t think it will work based upon the fact that he brings the Joey as noted above, but thanks birdie on my shoulder, all the same!🙂

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The season finale aired on May 15, 2017, with a total of 22 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: Who’s watching?  How’s Joey doing?  How YOU doin’? We need feedback.

Marlon

MARLON, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: August 16, 2017

WHO: Marlon Wayans (In Living Color), Essence Atkins (Are We There Yet?), Bresha Webb (Truth Be Told), Diallo Riddle (Silicon Valley)

WHAT: Loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans’ life, this multi-camera comedy centers on an inappropriate but loving father (Wayans) committed to successfully co-parenting with his polar opposite ex-wife.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. From the skeletal thin premise, what I’m reading is one part My Wife and Kids (oh hey, older brother Damon, already doing some stuff, only the wife was married to him on the show); one part The Bernie Mac Show (father not uncle, but close); and one part every Wayans brother comedy ever made.  I have no trailer to entice, and I’m positive there will be people sold on the concept of this one, but I, once again, pass.  Sheesh – there are so many sitcoms coming out this year.  And not very good ones, mostly and seemingly.

The Mick

THE MICK, Fox

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Sofia Black D’Elia (Gossip Girl), Carla Jimenez, Thomas Barbusca, Jack Stanton

WHAT: A hard-living, foul mouthed woman moves to affluent Greenwich, Conn., to raise the spoiled kids of her wealthy sister who has fled the country to avoid a federal indictment. She quickly learns what the rest of us already know — other people’s children are awful.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Another sitcom?!  And this one doesn’t bring charm like Making History, the other Fox comedy offering reviewed so far.  I think this show is meant to give Kaitlin Olson a chance to capitalize on a strength she cultivated on It’s Always Sunny.  The problem is that there was not a single funny moment in the trailer.  This is another version of the poor person in a rich world trope, and this viewer predicts that the joke will get old very quickly.  It didn’t even sustain in the trailer’s three minutes. Thumbs very much down here.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2! The season finale aired on May 2, 2017, with a total of 16 episodes.

CPU! STATUS: No one at CPU! is talking about it.  No buzz is swarming around the show from the Chief CP’s trusted circles.  Are you watching The Mick?  Let us know and why in the comments.

Midnight Texas

Progress Report: Post-February Sweeps, 2016-2017 Pilots

OK…so this entry is late this year.

This is mainly because the networks have been unusually slow in doling out renewal/cancellation decisions this season, which we have been watching closely over the past few weeks.  I am not sure what’s informing the protracted delay, but only in this past two weeks did I start to catch wind of any real flux from TV pundits, including from TVLine, our preferred TV insiders.

In any event, it’s time for a quarterly progress report for the new pilots – long-running shows covered by this blog will be addressed at end of season in June! Where are the new shows (that are left), and how are they doing nowadays?  Read below to find out!

Thanks as always to TVLine for helping a girl out.

24: Legacy

24: LEGACY, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: February 5, 2017

WHEN: Mondays at 8/7c

WHO: Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead), Ashley Thomas (Black Mirror), Jimmy Smits (Sons of Anarchy), Miranda Otto (Homeland), Teddy Sears (The Flash), Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Anna Diop (The Messengers), Coral Pena (Blue Bloods), Charlie Hofheimer (Mad Men), Sheila Vand (State of Affairs)

WHAT: Featuring an all-new cast of characters, the series centers on a military hero who encounters a troubled return to the U.S., compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Well, we don’t start the 2016-2017 preview well out of the gate, do we?  Hear me out.  I was incredibly devoted to the original 24and I also watched 24: Live Another Daywhich revived the 24 concept for an additional thirteen-episode event series. As I said in the latter review (click on the links), what made 24 work for this viewer in the end was one element: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer.  24 became what it was because of its charismatic lead, who played a character besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives.  Without Kiefer, and despite the “real time” ticking clock gimmick, I felt pretty certain that I would have stopped watching 24 long before it ended.  The writing was, at times, all over the place, the catastrophes and dangers were increasingly more preposterous, and the tension without Kiefer was flat, as evidenced by the first few episodes of “Live Another Day,” which were largely Jack-less.

So, now we have a new 24 after a year or more of rumors that a reboot was coming. There’s a new conflicted lead and a few other familiar faces, like Jimmy Smits and Eowyn.  But there is absolutely nothing new about this show other than the sheer lack of Jack Bauer. From what can be viewed of the previews, Corey Hawkins, despite his Walking Dead cred, does not offer the same engagement that Kiefer Sutherland did.  He’s just another guy, besieged by personal complications fighting for balance against his impulse to honor country and to save lives.  Will he be as good as Kiefer?  Arguably, no.  Kiefer did it first and did it well.  Who would want to top it?  And if they are not going to top it, what’s the point of watching it?

Perhaps, the trailer wasn’t well put together.  Or, perhaps people need their ticking clock fix.  I’m not ready to jump on board another 24 hours of terrorist plots and gunfire without a solid reason to do so, and I’m also reasonably grumbly that nothing original in Hollywood seems to be the status quo, though the lack of originality largely avoided television for a time. I guess that time is over.

If buzz or ratings give me a reason to doubt, I may reconsider. Right now, this just seems like a stale rehashing with new folks.  Thumbs down (for now).

STATUS: In season.  A 12-episode season was ordered, 10 episodes of which have aired as of the publication of this post.  Pundits think renewal is a “long shot,” as ratings have plummeted from a strong opening premiere to a weak and steady <1.0 share in recent weeks.

CPU! STATUS: Still unconvinced.  Who is watching this reboot?  Is it worth changing our “pass for now” inclinations, even though its future is bleak? Let us know in the comments.

American Housewife

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 11

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly), Carly Hughes, Ali Wong (Black Box, Are You There, Chelsea?), Diedrich Bader (Veep), Julia Butters (Transparent), Johnny Sequoyah (Believe), Daniel DiMaggio (Supergirl)

WHAT: A family comedy narrated by Katie, a strong-willed mother, raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” wives and their “perfect” offspring.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  I am not currently a wife, and I don’t have children. Traditional “family” sitcoms and other safe comedy fare tend to turn me off.  Based upon the strength of the trailer for this show, however, and the excellent comedic delivery of Katy Mixon, I actually think I might test the suburbs of American Housewife.  It checks off a few TV tropes, including the rich/skinny girls versus less endowed/fat girl motif, but it also mixes a few formulae together, seemingly, which might yield a new formula of fresh and funny.  Then again, it could be one of those jokes that wears thin if told too often, but I won’t know until I watch.  The “spanx” diatribe alone made me smile, though, so it’s worth a look-see.

STATUS: In season, and a full season was ordered by ABC.  Pundits think renewal is a “safe bet.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

APB

A.P.B., Fox

PREMIERE DATE: February 6, 2017

WHEN: Mondays at 9/8c

WHO: Natalie Martinez (Secrets and Lies), Justin Kirk (Weeds), Ernie Hudson (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Eric Winter (Witches of East End), Caitlin Stasey (Reign), Taylor Handley (The O.C.), Tamberla Perry (Boss)

WHAT: A tech billionaire purchases a troubled police precinct in the wake of a loved one’s murder, but can this eccentric and enigmatic figure’s cutting edge approach fix the broken ways of these blue blooded veterans?

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Hesitantly Pick-Up.  Maybe I’m in a generous mood on the day I reviewed this trailer, but this show is mildly intriguing.  While I think it has the potential, as all cop shows do, to veer into procedural territory, the lead character is incredibly charismatic, and the gimmick involves him introducing an app into the Chicago streets that allows normal citizens to report crimes on the spot.  Coupled with the futuristic, expensive technology he brings in, there is actually potential for this show to be at least somewhat engrossing. How long can it sustain, though?  Will it be told episodically, with story lines resolved after each hour of rich boy hi-jinks and cop resistance like a procedural/”crime of the week” show, or will there be an underlying thread pushing it forward? My guess is, since the premise includes the lead character becoming involved with the police because his friend was gunned down, that there will definitely be a connecting thread.  How strong that thread is will depend upon how they balance the premise with the hi-jinks.

STATUS: In season; the size of the season ordered by Fox is unclear, but 9 episodes have aired as of the publication of this post.  Pundits think renewal is a “long shot” due to soft and declining ratings.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but will view regardless of its fate, at least for a couple of episodes.

The Blacklist: Redemption

THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | February 23, 2017

WHO | Famke Janssen (How to Get Away With Murder), Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist), Edi Gathegi (The Blacklist), Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable)

WHAT | Undercover operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave, the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch. While on the hunt for Liz’s attacker, Tom secretly discovered that Scottie is actually his biological mother. Now, as they team up to employ their unique skills and resources in a dangerous world of deadly criminals, Tom begins his own covert mission to find out more about his shadowy past.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  The Blacklist has been on my “to-watch” list for some time now. I have a few members of my inner circle who are devoted fans and praise it highly, and I do plan to watch it someday (and maybe even to cover it at CPU!).  Since this new entry is a spin-off of The Blacklist, however, I am not prepared to watch or cover it until I watch the original series.  If that happens in this next season, we’ll keep you posted.

STATUS: In season. NBC ordered a season of 8 episodes for this spin-off, seven of which have aired as of publication of this post.  Pundits think renewal is a “long shot” due to consistently soft ratings.

CPU! STATUS: Unchanged.  If it is canceled, this program will not be viewed, though the original Blacklist will stay on the watch list.

Bull

BULL, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 20

WHEN: Tuesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio

WHAT: A drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw as the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Part of me wants to like this show, featuring a charismatic Michael Weatherly as an arrogant psychologist who can read juries and other court personnel in order to suss out cases, a character loosely based on Dr. Phil (yes, that Dr. Phil).  On the other hand, I was also somewhat turned off by the fact that he is an arrogant psychologist going toe to toe with arrogant defendants and arrogant attorneys. This show seems to offer a formulaic courtroom premise with a fancy gimmick, a shrink who can read people (and an algorithm of his making) to sway the outcomes of cases. Since shrinks aren’t always better than lawyers, and since the premise seems thin – along with the likability of the main character – I am inclined to let this one go by.  If the show gains buzz, accolades, or steam, I may reconsider.  But even as there were some enticing moments in this trailer, most of it rubbed me the wrong way.

STATUS: In season, with a full episode order by the Eye, and officially renewed for Season 2!

CPU! STATUS: I (still) have heard literally nothing about this show since its premiere, either from the CPU! regulars or from the media, to convince me or CPU! to start watching.  If you like “Bull,” tell us in the comments and why.  For now, it stays passed.

Chicago Justice

CHICAGO JUSTICE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: January 15, 2017

WHO: Philip Winchester (The Player), Carl Weathers (Rocky), Joelle Carter (Justified), Ryan-James Hatanaka

WHAT: Just like their brethren in the Chicago P.D., the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators navigates heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law.

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  There is no trailer, which is not a good sign.  In any event, this seems to be another procedural in the grand tradition of NBC produced procedural TV like Law and Order, and this viewer does not enjoy watching procedurals; or, it’s another courtroom drama resting on that formula.  Give me fantasy!  Give me escapism!  Don’t give me dramatic re-tellings with a realistic twinge.  If I hear something new, unusual, or enticing about it prior to its premiere, I’ll let you know, but this is not the kind of thing I normally watch, and there is nothing convincing me to start watching it.  Moving on.

STATUS: In season.  A 10 episode season was ordered by the Peacock; 7 episodes have aired as of the publication of this post. Pundits think renewal is a “safe bet.”

CPU! STATUS: While the Chief CP does not plan to view or to blog/podcast about this series, we do have at least one CPU! contributor interested in possible blog coverage of the “Chicago” series.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Conviction

CONVICTION, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 3

WHEN: Mondays at 10/9c

WHO: Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter), Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY), Shawn Ashmore (The Following), Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead), Manny Montana (Graceland), Merrin Dungey (Alias, Once Upon a Time), Daniel DiTomasso (Witches of East End)

WHAT: Tells the story of Carter Morrison, the brilliant but ne’er-do-well daughter of a former U.S. president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Let us all take a moment to get our pop culture bearings.  Agent Carter is some sort of devil-may-care type who is bribed by Tag, Rachel’s young boyfriend on Friends, to head some fictional agency investigating the wrongfully accused.  Phew. Okay.  After watching the trailer, this viewer was unimpressed by something that seems to have a message but little else going for it.  The premise feels somewhat schmaltzy, manipulative even, and quite thin, and the concept behind the premise screams procedural with some sexy television antics on the side for, you know, reasons.  Honestly, as I watched, I felt like it had all been done before.  So, I can’t see doing it again.  Also, it just makes me want to watch Agent Carter more, which I haven’t yet been able to see. The television obsessed never has enough time. Anyway, sorry ABC and the folks behind this show.  If the ratings or the buzz suggest otherwise, I’ll take a gander but not until then.

STATUS: The Season 1 finale aired on January 29, 2017. Ratings, however, declined steadily throughout the series run, and most ratings watchdogs and pundits are saying that this program has been “essentially canceled,” meaning canceled in everything but official name.  CPU! will continue to follow this show until if and when an official cancellation announcement has been made.

CPU! STATUS: If what came through in the teaser trailer was essentially the norm for all episodes, the probable fate of this show is unsurprising.  I hope Hayley Atwell finds a home somewhere, but this vehicle seemed to be a poor quality one, at least judging by the trailer, which is like the network’s sales pitch for the show. Of course, I am not certain that the Alphabet should have canceled Agent Carter, but that’s another story.

Designated Survivor

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 21

WHEN: Wednesdays at 10/9c

WHO: Kiefer Sutherland (24), Maggie Q (Nikita), Kal Penn (House), Italia Ricci (Chasing Life), Natasha McElhone (Californication), Adan Canto (The Following), LaMonica Garrett (Sons of Anarchy), Tanner Buchanan (The Fosters)

WHAT: Centers on a lower level United States Cabinet member who is suddenly handed the presidency after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick up.  So, THIS is why Kiefer Sutherland can’t be on 24: Legacy! He’s too busy being a Designated Survivor…The trailer boasts high moments that create chills (mushroom clouds over DC!) and low moments that create squinty faces (Kal Penn’s character telling Kiefer to quit), but because the premise has, to this viewer’s knowledge, never been done before (a low level Cabinet member who must suddenly be president), and based upon the fact that Kiefer is so supremely watchable, and further acknowledging the fact that he has moved on from 24, I feel like this could be a very good program to choose for viewing in the coming season and possibly better than the aforementioned 24: Legacy, given that Jack Bauer is in this one.  I mean, I know that’s not his name, but that’s what I choose to think. The trailer leaves me with the feeling that this is movie quality television, at any rate; hopefully, it doesn’t descend into melodramatics.

STATUS: In season, and a full season was ordered by ABC.  Pundits think renewal is a “safe bet.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed.

Doubt

DOUBT, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: February 15, 2017

WHO: Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Dulé Hill (Psych), Dreama Walker (Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23), Elliott Gould (Ray Donovan), Kobi Libii (Alpha House)

WHAT: Centers on Sadie Ellis (Heigl), a lawyer who becomes romantically involved with a client who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime.

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I pass on this one for two main reasons.  1) There is no trailer to entice me to want to watch it.  2) Katherine Heigl.  I’m sure she’s misunderstood and everything, but I am not a fan of hers.  She left Grey’s Anatomy in a huff and has made a few films and another recent show that was canceled pretty quickly.  I haven’t seen the most recent season of Orange is the New Black as I type this, but seeing Laverne Cox as one of the cast regulars for this show is worrisome from an OITNB perspective…there seems to be a handful of good people, but with so little information to go on and a lead actress that leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth, I’m just not convinced to watch it. Also: the number of lawyer driven dramas so far is a bit disturbing.  Must be the flavor of the season.

STATUS: Officially canceled!   The Eye yanked this one from its schedule after only two episodes had aired.

CPU! STATUS: The good news?  No worries for the future of the Sophia character on Orange is the New Black…at least not in the short term. The bad news?  There is none.  We felt this show was a non-starter, and so did the rest of the American public apparently.  Moving on!

Downward Dog

DOWNWARD DOG, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: May 17, 2017

WHO: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Mo Collins (Parks and Recreation), Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart

WHAT: Based on the web series of the same name, it follows a down-on-her-luck woman named Nan whose devoted dog speaks its mind in confessional-style interviews.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  I think this might be my um…no of the season.  As much as I like Allison Tolman (her turn in Fargo was quite good, don’tcha know?), and as much as I related to a lonely thirty-something woman with a pet, I feel strongly that those who would find this show funny are dog-lovers who enjoy those weird anthropomorphized mouths on animals.  I love dogs but not enough to watch a whole season of a dog’s commentary, no matter how heartfelt, and I think the show MIGHT be racist to cats (I have a cat).  There were a couple of funny jokes in the trailer, but most of it landed with a thud.  It’s an animal buddy comedy; I don’t see how it could be funny after more than a few episodes (or roughly the number of episodes equivalent to a standard movie length).  Also, who is running the alleged web series – and who is watching it?

Emerald City

EMERALD CITY, NBC

PREMIERE DATE | January 6, 2017

WHO | Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), Florence Kasumba, Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

WHAT | The “event” series is a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz that includes lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A headstrong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on a journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. This show has been delayed two seasons, but at least this time, we have an actual promotional snapshot and what looks like a cast.  I’ve picked it up for the past two falls; I will keep picking it up until if and when it gets dropped or finally airs. Let’s hope it’s the latter, as CPU! will remain committed to this dark re-imagining of Oz for as long as it’s a possibility. Let’s make it happen, NBC!  Third time’s the charm!

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on March 3, 2017.  No renewal announcement has yet come; pundits think renewal is a “long shot.”

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but several CPU!ers have voiced support for this limited event series, so a podcast will eventually be recorded and published, whatever may happen to the series in the future.  Stay tuned!

The Exorcist

THE EXORCIST, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

WHEN: Fridays at 9/8c

WHO: Geena Davis (Grey’s Anatomy), Brianne Howey (Scream Queens), Hannah Kasulka (The Fosters), Alfonso Herrera (Sense8), Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone), Kurt Egyiawan (Beasts of No Nation)

WHAT: A modern reinvention inspired by William Blatty’s original 1971 book, the propulsive, serialized psychological thriller follows two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the face of true evil.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. Though horror is a tricky genre for me (I have acute overactive imagination syndrome) and though I managed to avoid The Exorcist film until I was an adult, as I think it’s still a scary idea and premise, the original film influenced many excellent horror movie and TV tropes that are still used and reused today.  So, why not transfer the original concept to the small screen?  The only question is whether or not such a concept, originally distilled to the two hours or so for a film, can sustain over the course of several episodes, much less several seasons?  There is only one way to find out.  I am ready to confront these demons, along with their updated special effects.  But will be there be rotating heads and the vomiting of pea soup?

STATUS: Ten episodes were ordered for a first season; the season finale aired on December 16, 2016.  Pundits believe renewal is a “long shot,” but there are rumors that Fox is considering a possible renewal because the show has fared decently with critics.  CPU! will continue to monitor the program’s chances at a second life.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed and will view regardless of the show’s fate.

Frequency

FREQUENCY, The CW

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 5

WHEN: Wednesdays at 9/8c

WHO: Peyton List (The Flash, The Tomorrow People), Riley Smith (Nashville), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Lenny Jacobson (Nurse Jackie), Anthony Ruivivar (Banshee, American Horror Story), Devin Kelley (Resurrection), Daniel Bonjour (The Walking Dead)

WHAT: In this reimagining of the New Line Cinema film, a female police detective discovers she is able to speak via ham radio with her estranged father, also a detective, who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder, but unintended consequences of the “butterfly effect” wreak havoc in the present day.

Trailer Available at The CW’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass For Now. To be honest, the trailer is pretty compelling, and despite the fact that I am not a fan of Peyton List (I have watched or watch both The Tomorrow People and The Flash and have been turned off by her both times), even though the CW sure seems to be, I am reserving the pick up until I see the original film, which I never have.  I have a video game based on the film which I have never played either.  So, like Limitless, I feel that I need at least the baseline before giving the television show serious consideration.  Once I see the film, Ms. List aside, I will revisit the idea of watching the show.

STATUS: The Season One finale aired on January 25, 2017.  It appears that thirteen episodes were ordered for this first season.  TV pundits believe renewal for a second season is a “long shot.”

CPU! STATUS: Still want to watch the movie first, and watching the show would depend on whether it passes network scrutiny and whether the film resonates; the Chief CP still doesn’t love Peyton List, though, for the record.

The Good Place

THE GOOD PLACE, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: Preview on Sept. 19 at 10/9c; regular time slot debut on Sept. 22

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (CSI: Cyber), Manny Jacinto (The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story), William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden

WHAT: Follows Eleanor, a New Jersey woman who comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. She decides to turn over a new leaf by learning what it actually means to be “good” or “bad,” and then trying to make up for her past behavior.

Trailer Available at NBC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up. 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. More than any other show on this list so far, I am quite excited to check this one out! Hopefully, cancel-happy NBC will allow this one the chance to find its groove – though, arguably, the groove will be there from the pilot, if the trailer is any indication.

STATUS: Officially renewed for season 2!  The first season finale aired on January 19, 2017.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed but really want to as soon as possible.

The Great Indoors

THE GREAT INDOORS, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 27

WHEN: Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Joel McHale (Community), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass), Stephen Fry (Bones), Susannah Fielding, Shaun Brown, Chris Williams, Christine Ko

WHAT: An adventure reporter must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Oh look.  The first real sitcom to make fun of the generation gap between Gen X/Y and Millennials, and CBS of all networks grabs onto it.  Which means that most of the CPU!’ers will relate to the Joel McHale character, but many of them will find the supporting characters clueless and annoying.  Like I do.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will laugh along with their TV representatives at how antiquated ideals like spending time in the outdoors and using pen and paper to write stories, rather than Twitter and Tweets, are.  Or, the Millennials in the audience will be offended by the exaggerated depictions of their generation, unless they are open to seeing the humor.  I’m sure this will probably find an audience, but I just can’t see being in it (and the canned laughter didn’t help its cause). Also, I guess this means we won’t be seeing McHale on another season of The X-Files anytime soon.

STATUS: In season, and a full season was ordered by the Eye.  Pundits purport that this show is classic bubble, with a 50/50 shot at renewal.

CPU! STATUS: Still not interested.  The Chief CP is generationally offended, ok?

Great News

GREAT NEWS, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: April 25, 2017

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Briga Heelan (Undateable), Andrea Martin (Difficult People), Adam Campbell (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mixology), Kimrie Lewis-Davis (Scandal), John Michael Higgins (Wilfred), Horatio Sanz (SNL)

WHAT: An already inseparable mother/daughter relationship becomes more complicated when mom accepts an internship at her daughter’s workplace.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Aside from the fact that no trailer exists to even attempt to convince viewers that the premise is potentially funny and not so recycled, the premise is so recycled and potentially rather unfunny!  A codependent mother and daughter team spend even more time together at work.  That’s what this is about.  Add to that very few recognizable names in the cast (weirdly, Horatio Sanz is the most familiar to me, and that’s not necessarily a good thing), and what you have is an easily avoidable sitcom.  Also, NBC, the most cancel happy of all the networks currently, has been especially unkind to its new sitcoms in recent years.  There is literally no reason to invest in this one based purely on a photograph, a cast list, and an extremely precarious sitcom foundation.  Someone talk me into it.  It’s the yearly challenge!

Imaginary Mary

IMAGINARY MARY, ABC

PREMIERE DATE: March 29, 2017

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg, Growing Up Fisher), Stephen Schneider (You’re the Worst), Nicholas Coombe (iZombie), Matreya Scarrwener (Canada’s Detective McLean: Ties That Bind), Jillian Bell (Eastbound & Down), Erica Tremblay and the voice of SNL vet Rachel Dratch

WHAT: Centers on a thirtysomething bachelorette whose life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.

Trailer Available at ABC’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Though the premise of this sitcom seems a bit more clever than some of the other offerings of this pilot season, my reaction still falls into the “pass” category. First, I only laughed once at the trailer, and it was most certainly not at the imaginary friend but at the husband when he was talking to his kids about Dharma when Dharma wasn’t there. Second, I’ve never been wild about Jenna Elfman – Dharma & Greg was saccharine and lacking something to which this viewer could relate, so I never watched more than a few episodes.  While the character of Mary may be different than Dharma, there is still an infused essence of Elfman that leaves me feeling “meh” about the proceedings.  Also, honestly, though there might have been entertainment potential to the later-in-life confirmed bachelorette finding true love with a family man motif by itself, adding the tiny imaginary friend creature made me think the character would be more sad than funny and potentially in need of some good counseling.  Sorry, Dharma.  On with the list.

STATUS: In season, but only the pilot has aired as of the publication of this post, which means that it is too early to tell about renewal chances.  

CPU! STATUS: No change in our initial “pass” verdict.

Kevin Can Wait

KEVIN CAN WAIT, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 19

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c, moving to 8/7c on Oct. 24

WHO: Kevin James (The King of Queens), Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital), Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey), Ryan Cartwright (Alphas, Bones), Lenny Venito (The Neighbors), Gary Valentine (The King of Queens)

WHAT: A newly retired police officer looking forward to spending more quality time with his wife and three kids discovers he faces much tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Um…no.  This is the definitive “um…no” of the season.  Unless there’s more than one.  Anyway, first, let’s rap about the enigma that is Kevin James.  Someone somewhere out there obviously finds him funny.  I never have.  Not once.  Not even a little bit. Second, let’s pause for a moment to appreciate just how similar this new show is to James’ star-making sitcom, The King of Queens.  Did CBS air that one too?  I don’t remember.  Be that as it may, this version does not have Leah Remini, which is the only reason The King of Queens was ever funny, and, frankly, the odds of funny happening on the previous show were arguably slim.  I think The King of Queens lasted as long as it did because of the chemistry between Remini and James.  Erinn Hayes doesn’t quite cut the mustard in terms of appealing chemistry with the wisecracking but stout every-man, at least from the extended trailer available. Which means James is left hanging out there to carry the comedy by himself, and, frankly, I just don’t think such a feat is possible for him. Of course, lots of people found Two and Half Men funny, even when Charlie Sheen was still on it.  I believe fans of that sitcom will find something to like here.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like that one or The King of Queens, so I’m really left with one choice.  Next, please.

STATUS: In season, and a full season was ordered by the Eye.  Officially renewed for season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Um…no?  Did you not hear me the first time?  Plus, no one I know is watching it.  Prove me wrong!

EDIT: Why God…why?!

Kicking & Screaming

KICKING & SCREAMING, Fox

PREMIERE DATE | March 9, 2017

WHEN | Tuesdays at 9/8c, starting midseason

WHAT | Ten expert survivalists are paired with non-outdoorsy partners to face the toughest race of their lives. While these survivalists are accustomed to fending for themselves, there’s one thing that none of their previous expeditions have prepared them for: their privileged partners, who think roughing it is going a week without a massage.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. Without a trailer to verify one way or another, I am gleaning from the description that this is a reality show.  CPU! does not cover reality shows, and this viewer doesn’t actually watch them.  This also sounds like what you might have if you combined Survivor and Wife Swap. So, all in all, this viewer won’t go in on this one – kicking, screaming, or otherwise.

STATUS: In season; there is confirmation of seven episodes ordered by Fox.

CPU! STATUS: We have verified that this is a reality show.  We will not be watching or covering it but will still report its renewal chances as the season progresses.

Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 21

WHEN: Wednesdays at 8/7c

WHO: Damon Wayans, Sr., Jordana Brewster (Dallas), Keesha Sharp (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson), Kevin Rahm (Mad Men), Clayne Crawford (Rectify), Johnathan Fernandez (Younger, Girls), Chandler Kinney

WHAT: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass for now.  Would you believe that I have never once seen a Lethal Weapon movie?  It’s true.  No particular reason for it; I just haven’t found myself in a position to watch or to want to watch any of those movies, of which there are several. Now, the films had Mel Gibson (pre-crazy times) and Danny Glover.  This show has Damon Wayans and some charming Southern gentleman filling those rather hefty boots.  Before this viewer would feel comfortable with this selection, I feel I have to wear the original boots first before trying on the newfangled pair.  If buzz and accolades and steam swarm around this TV remake, I will, of course, make arrangements to get caught up.  If it’s enjoyable, let CPU! know (that’s why we have a Guestbook!).

STATUS: In season, and a full season was ordered by Fox.  Officially renewed for season 2!

CPU! STATUS: The Chief CP still wants to watch the original movie first.  I know, I know, I’m so behind the times.  I own it.

MacGyver

MACGYVER, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Sept. 23

WHEN: Fridays at 8/7c

WHO: Lucas Till (X-Men), George Eads (CSI), Justin Hires (Rush Hour), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)

WHAT: A re-imagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. What the hell?  Oh, CBS.  Say it ain’t so!  That’s two remakes in a row!  At least, insofar as Kevin Can Wait seems to be a remake of The King of Queens.  So, in order for this show to be successful, anyone older than, say, 30 will have to be okay with a MacGyver that is not played by Richard Dean Anderson.  And anyone younger than 30 will have to be taken in by the premise of a man who is so resourceful, he can get himself out of most sticky wickets with a mere paper clip and some chewing gum.  As one of the over 30 crowd, I am somewhat turned off by this entry into CBS’ lineup.  I was no die hard fan of the original MacGyver, but I am pretty sure that half the appeal was Anderson’s crooked smile and rockin’ 80s mullet.  He was resourceful AND charismatic.  Lucas Till, TV’s younger face of this older character, doesn’t offer much in the way of charisma.  Either that or the trailer was edited terribly.  I don’t think it’s the editing, though, and, therefore, I don’t think this will end well.  On the other hand, and surprisingly, Hawaii Five-O survived for a while.  Someone convince me, and maybe CPU! and this viewer will reconsider.  Not until then.

STATUS: In season, and a full season was ordered by CBS.  Officially renewed for season 2!

CPU! STATUS: We can’t even, as the kids are saying.  There has been no buzz in CPU!’s circles, and I fully believe we’d miss Richard Dean Anderson too much. Do you watch MacGyver?  Tell us about it in the comments.

Making History

MAKING HISTORY, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: March 5, 2017

WHEN: Sundays at 8:30/7:30c, starting midseason

WHO: Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Yassir Lester (The Carmichael Show)

WHAT: Three friends find a way to travel through time for truth, justice, and riches, which complicates their lives in 2016. They visit some of the greatest moments of the past as they try to resolve their personal problems, while history and pop culture comically collide.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

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PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pick Up.  Okay…this has the potential to be exceedingly stupid.  On the other hand, it could ultimately be sheer creative genius.  The time machine is a giant duffel bag. There is somewhat of a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure edge to the proceedings, but the main characters are college professors.  And one of them is played by Adam Pally, the erstwhile Peter from The Mindy Project, a character who grew on me thanks to the winning bro-ski comedic timing of Pally himself.  Plus, the premise is extremely original, or mostly original, at least for network TV, so I think it’s worth giving it a shot.  Fox – you be good to this one! Unless it’s stupid.  I’ll let you know.

STATUS: In season.  Though Fox initially ordered 13 episodes for a first season, the network recently reduced that order to 9, giving most TV industry followers with a brain the indication that renewal potential is a long shot at best.

CPU! STATUS: Not yet viewed, but I still kinda’ wanna’…and probably will…and will probably regret it…

Man With A Plan

MAN WITH A PLAN, CBS

PREMIERE DATE: Oct. 24

WHEN: Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Matt Cook (Clipped), Grace Kaufman (The Last Ship), Jessica Chaffin (Episodes), Hala Finley, Matthew McCann

WHAT: A contractor whose wife goes back to work starts spending more time with his kids and discovers the truth every parent eventually realizes: His little angels are maniacs.

Trailer Available at CBS’ YouTube channel or TVLine.com

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. I…um…hm.  So, first of all, I think the Eye network is panicking.  Most of its mainstay sitcoms have either ended or are probably nearing their end (case in point, The Big Bang Theory and the afore named Two and a Half Men), as many of the sitcom entries on this list so far have been CBS pickups.

Now…the problems.  The cast list above glaringly omits the presence of Jenna Fischer, none other than Pam from The Office, herself.  Which isn’t saying much because she is clearly the straight man in the comedy and offered nothing funny in the trailer.  So, then we have Matt LeBlanc.  I’m sorry to have to be the one to say this, Matt, if you’re reading. I’m a big fan of Friends, which may be coloring my perspective of what I saw, but to me, Matt is playing the “grown up” version of Joey.  As in, what if Joey had quit acting and was put in the position of being the primary caregiver for his three children that he had with a nice, normal wife in the interim since Friends ended?  The line delivery is more deliberate; the motions more affected by age (LeBlanc should be around 50 by my estimation), but to me, it’s Joey. He’s Joey.  This is Joey, in 2016, with a family. Which might be okay if we didn’t already know that Joey by himself is not as effective as Joey with the rest of the Friends – which the spin-off Joey taught us.  I love Matt LeBlanc and Jenna Fischer, but this TV show, aside from it being another saccharine family sitcom, is Joey with kids.  I can’t do it.  Someone talk me into it?  I want to be talked into this one.  Out of my love for Matt LeBlanc.

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a CPU!er that Jenna Fischer is not in the above cast list because her part was recast due to lack of chemistry with Matt LeBlanc.  Unfortunately, no updated trailer exists; hence, the confusion, as the original trailer still has Jenna in it. Also, the recast occurred recently (and I start compiling this article over the month of July).  So!  The recast doesn’t convince me to start watching it, however.  The trailer largely focused on Matt and his character…and I still don’t think it will work based upon the fact that he brings the Joey as noted above, but thanks birdie on my shoulder, all the same!🙂

STATUS: In season, and a full season was ordered by the Eye.  Officially renewed for season 2!

CPU! STATUS: Who’s watching?  How’s Joey doing?  How YOU doin’? We need feedback.

Marlon

MARLON, NBC

PREMIERE DATE: August 16, 2017

WHEN: Midseason

WHO: Marlon Wayans (In Living Color), Essence Atkins (Are We There Yet?), Bresha Webb (Truth Be Told), Diallo Riddle (Silicon Valley)

WHAT: Loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans’ life, this multi-camera comedy centers on an inappropriate but loving father (Wayans) committed to successfully co-parenting with his polar opposite ex-wife.

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass. From the skeletal thin premise, what I’m reading is one part My Wife and Kids (oh hey, older brother Damon, already doing some stuff, only the wife was married to him on the show); one part The Bernie Mac Show (father not uncle, but close); and one part every Wayans brother comedy ever made.  I have no trailer to entice, and I’m positive there will be people sold on the concept of this one, but I, once again, pass.  Sheesh – there are so many sitcoms coming out this year.  And not very good ones, mostly and seemingly.

The Mick

THE MICK, Fox

PREMIERE DATE: January 1, 2017

WHEN: Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c

WHO: Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Sofia Black D’Elia (Gossip Girl), Carla Jimenez, Thomas Barbusca, Jack Stanton

WHAT: A hard-living, foul mouthed woman moves to affluent Greenwich, Conn., to raise the spoiled kids of her wealthy sister who has fled the country to avoid a federal indictment. She quickly learns what the rest of us already know — other people’s children are awful.

Trailer Available at Fox’s YouTube channel or TVLine.com

__

PICK UP OR PASS?

VERDICT: Pass.  Another sitcom?!  And this one doesn’t bring charm like Making History, the other Fox comedy offering reviewed so far.  I think this show is meant to give Kaitlin Olson a chance to capitalize on a strength she cultivated on It’s Always Sunny.  The problem is that there was not a single funny moment in the trailer.  This is another version of the poor person in a rich world trope, and this viewer predicts that the joke will get old very quickly.  It didn’t even sustain in the trailer’s three minutes. Thumbs very much down here.

STATUS: In season, and a full season of 17 episodes was ordered by Fox.  Officially renewed for season 2!

CPU! STATUS: No one at CPU! is talking about it.  No buzz is swarming around the show from the Chief CP’s trusted circles.  Are you watching The Mick?  Let us know and why in the comments.

Midnight Texas

Once Upon a Time (Season 6A, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 January 2017, our Once Upon a Time panel – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – returns to the Water Cooler to discuss the first half of season six of Once Upon a Time, a half season of, one might say, multiple personalities. If you are not caught up on Once, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Once Upon a Time” – The Season 6 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

When: The Season 6 premiere aired on Sunday, September 25, 2016, on ABC at 8:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in fictional Storybrooke, Maine, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest,” the fairy tale kingdom from where most of the main characters originate. The action takes place primarily in present day, though there are flashbacks to the characters’ past lives, before they were whisked away to Storybrooke via curse wrought by the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parilla) and before they were made run-of-the-mill real world residents with serious bouts of amnesia.

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

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

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

Season 4A – Frozen

Season 4B – Queens of Darkness

Season 5A – Dark Swan

Season 5B – The Underworld

Welcome back to our fuller Once experience!  Our Once panel – namely Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – reconvene around the Water Cooler once again to discuss Season 6A of OUAT, which, for the first time, does not really boast an easily hashtag-ed subtitle to go along with its underlying premise and which largely centers around the fact that Regina and the Evil Queen (Parilla) are in two separate but identical bodies. In fact,  Regina must wrestle with the most existential of questions as she considers whether the seed of evil was really within her all along, or whether she’s made a change for good by separating the worst parts of herself, as she watches that darkest self run amok around Storybrooke as a separate being with bombastic fashion sense.  Listen to our newest chapter of CPU!’s ongoing Once Upon a Time podcast, during which we reflect on Season 6A.  Do you agree with us? Or, do you have your own thoughts? Comment below!

This podcast was recorded in January 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the sixth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will rejoin our DCTU (DC Television Universe) panel in a new but cheeky format, less around the water cooler and more within CPU!’s fractured fairy tale version of The Newlywed Game, during which all panelists engage in a brief roundup of the progress of Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl, at least through the mid-season cliffhangers/finales for all four shows!  In this format, each panelist will separately touch base with Chief CP Kylie, providing thoughts and feedback about how the multiverse of the DC Comics is faring on the CW this season. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Is baby Neal magical like his sister? (This question will remain until answered!)

Answer: At this time, baby Neal’s “specialness,” if it exists, is still unknown.

2) How did Will Scarlett (Michael Socha), aka the Knave from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, end up in Storybrooke and without Anastasia (Emma Rigby), the former Red Queen? And how did he and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) decide to hook up? (This question will remain until answered!)

Answer: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where he went is anyone’s guess.  Why he was even brought to the flagship show with so little explanation for his coming and going is the bigger mystery.

3) Where did Maleficient (Kristen Bauer von Straten) go? Will we see more of her? Will she reconnect with her daughter Lily in a more meaningful way? (This question will remain until answered!)

Answer: Like Will Scarlett, Maleficient and Lily have both disappeared without a trace or explanation.

4) Will the Once writers/producers provide a better, more detailed explanation for why Will Scarlett was on the flagship series? Will they provide a more significant flashback to explain why he and Anastasia are not together anymore? Would Emma Rigby be available to reprise her role of Anastasia? (This question will remain until answered!)

Answer: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where or where has Will Scarlett gone?

5)  Are we watching a Henry/Author rewrite in progress?  This is Eddie’s meta-Matrix theory.

ANSWER: Still a question; we’ll likely not see an answer to this one until the end of the show.

6) Will Maleficient, Lily, August, Will Scarlett, or any of these disappearing characters reappear?  Will their disappearances, at least, be explained?  (This question will remain until answered!)

ANSWER: Not so far, and it seems irresponsible of the writers.  Maybe they will surprise us in the end.  Where oh where have they all gone?!

7) Will Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) come back, either as himself (as Emily predicts), in flashbacks or as a Robin Hood soul trapped inside a Robin Hood body with a different personality (as Eddie predicts), or as a shell of his former self due to some spell cast by the split-off Evil Queen, who misses the soulmate meant for both her halves (as Micah predicts)?

ANSWER: None of the above!  Though Robin does make an appearance in Season 6A, it’s as but a figment in a so-called “Wish Realm” that came into existence as a result of Emma (Jennifer Morrison) wishing from Aladdin’s famous genie that she had never been the savior.  The mere existence of this “wished” version of Robin, however, entices Regina, who gets sucked into the Wish Realm with gal pal Emma, to stay in the precarious and possibly unstable “wished” version of the Enchanted Forest despite having the means to escape via portal unlocked by magic bean.  The portal opens – and then closes, as Regina reunites with a being that she thinks is her lost love.  What will they do?  Will they escape?  With an in tact Robin in tow?  That’s what they call a cliffhanger.

8) Will the Good Regina go Evil like the Evil Queen?  Eddie predicts this, but Amie and Kristen disagree.

ANSWER: So far, Amie and Kristen win this debate.  Good Regina remains good, if easily susceptible to wishes and temptations, while the Evil Queen (EQ) half takes all of the formerly united being’s evil upon herself.  Sorry, Eddie.

9) Will the Good Regina and the Evil Queen Regina battle each other, as Amie predicts?

ANSWER: Amie had good instincts: there have been a few anticlimactic skirmishes between the two halves, though these skirmishes have been characterized more by wars of words than of magical power, and Regina isn’t as useful magically, since the EQ was responsible for acquiring the formerly united being’s magical ability.  We don’t know what the second half of season six brings, though, so…

10) Will others be forced to “battle themselves” as a result of what happened to Regina and/or Jekyll and Hyde, as a means by which to confront personal demons, as Eddie and Kristen predict?

ANSWER: As it turns out, no – Eddie and Kristen’s meaningful prediction fell short of what actually happened. What we learn is that if any harm comes to the “split off” version of the being split into two by Jekyll’s potion, the original being sustains harm. If the original version is hurt, both versions sustain harm.  So, though the originals may be facing personal demons by interacting with evil copies of themselves, they cannot “battle” themselves for the sake of self-preservation.

11) Will Regina accept that both sides of her personality are part of her, and will her two halves rejoin, as Micah predicts?

ANSWER: We think that Good Regina is beginning to acknowledge how both of her halves make a sum greater than its parts, but the full realization is a work in progress, now that Regina is distracted by the Wish Realm.  As to the latter half of Micah’s prediction, only time, and likely season six’s second half, will tell.

12) Will we see any of the side characters, such as Jiminy Cricket/Dr. Hopper; Pinocchio/August; Geppetto; or any of the Storybrooke denizens we were introduced to in seasons one and two, now that the show is definitely returning to a story structure that spans the whole season?

ANSWER: Jiminy/Dr. Hopper – yes, Pinocchio/August and Geppetto – no, Cinderella – yes, and certainly more of the Seven Dwarfs other than Grumpy.  Also, Dr. Whale/Frankenstein.

13) Will Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) further use his Author powers for more than just recording events, as he began to do in the Underworld arc?  What will happen if he does?

ANSWER: Henry was largely distracted from his Author-ly duties while fretting over adoptive mom Regina’s multiple personalities in multiple bodies status.  In addition, bio mom Emma has developed hand tremors and terrible night visions, a side effect of being the Savior and using her Savior magic.  Will Henry revisit his author abilities? Seems careless to forget about them now, so…

14) How much will the Evil Queen half of Regina influence Henry?  Will she pull some Regina/Evil Queen twin switcheroo with Henry or with any other character, as Eddie predicts?

ANSWER: Eddie predicted correctly!  The EQ played the part of Regina while she trapped Good Regina and Emma in a Mirror Realm (where, apparently, the Dragon is also hanging out…though how that came to pass is fuzzy).  She couldn’t really fool Henry, though.  He copped to her ruse pretty quickly.

15) Does Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) finally have her groove back?  Will Snow and Charming (Josh Dallas) finally be compelling again?

ANSWER: Yes…and no.  On the one hand, Snow thought it would be good form, as she enjoyed doing so in the past, to return to her Mary Margaret authenticity and teach at Henry’s school again.  Sadly, she was doing so as a fully realized Snow White, so she struggled to connect with the students without the meek and mild persona that the curse previously brought to her teaching curriculum. That is, until Princess Jasmine (Karen David), who also apparently has taught at the Storybrooke school this whole time unbeknownst to the audience, advises Snow to play to her strengths, which then inspires Snow to use a bow and arrows to teach math.  If you can make sense of that, you’re doing better than the panel.

In addition, we also had the wrinkle of the Evil Queen placing yet ANOTHER sleeping curse on our twue wuv couple, Snow and Charming.  Because they share a heart, if Snow is awake, Charming sleeps, and vice versa.  Unfortunately, some of us on the panel also slept, bored as we were by the repeated use of sleeping curses as a plot device on this show.

16) How will Belle awake from her slumber?  Who will be her True Love in the end?  Will it be the Knave/Will Scarlett, so that he can finally reappear in Storybrooke and explain his comings and goings?  Will Belle come back bigger and badder than ever?

ANSWER: Belle does come back bigger and badder than ever – in fact, the panel was pleasantly surprised by how likable Belle has become – but she did not do so with Rumpelstiltskin’s (Robert Carlyle) help.  Rumpel entered the dream world to try and wake Belle but failed in his attempt because he resorted to trickery and lies, of which she has become hypersensitive about, given all of his lies directed toward her in the past.  Instead, a grown version of Belle’s unborn son comes to her in the dream and wakes her.  He identifies himself in the dream, I believe, as Morpheus, though he later goes by the name of Gideon.  In fact, he is the hooded figure who <SPOILER> may murder Emma in the end…

Will Scarlett/the Knave remains missing in action.  Presumed dead.

17) How much time will be spent in the Land of Untold Stories?  Will we see more of Jekyll and Hyde?  Are they hinting at the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?  Will the Untold Stories affect Storybrooke?  How?

ANSWER: Zero.  Zero time was spent in the Land of Untold Stories this season.  We saw more Jekyll and Hyde in Storybrooke, until Jekyll turned out to be the selfish degenerate in the equation.  When Dr. Jekyll, once thought meek and mild, inadvertently revealed that he was the jerk who alienated his lady love, rather than the suaver, more charming Hyde, the mad doctor started to creep on Belle. Rumpel protectively magicked him to the netherworld, taking Hyde, the more genteel of the pair, with him, since Hyde was the other half of “him” all along. We also briefly saw Captain Nemo from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” in a one-off episode, which was convoluted and generally panned by our panel.  Other than these two non-fairy tale novel sources, the Untold Stories posed little influential effect to Storybrooke.

18) Will other characters drink Jekyll and Hyde’s potion and play good or evil sides of themselves, such as Rumpel, Snow, Emma, or anyone else?

ANSWER: Contending with two halves of Regina/the EQ was enough for our main characters.  No one else was tempted by this potion; Rumpel, the one most likely to double himself, is, in fact, smarter than that.

19) Will Regina find a new soulmate?  Was Robin Hood really her soulmate in the end?

ANSWER: Aside from those shipping Regina and Emma, our girl R has not found a new soulmate, and judging by her longing draw to Robin in the Wish Realm, this question remains unanswered.

20) How will Emma and Hook (Colin O’Donaghue) recover or react now that they’ve returned to Storybrooke?

ANSWER: Mostly, they were largely stable, but for Emma’s constant need to not tell people she loves about the serious stuff happening to her.  For example, Emma started developing tremors as a side effect of using her Savior Magic, but she withheld this information from Hook as well as her family.  Hook, similarly, hid secrets from Emma. And so went that never-ending merry-go-round.

21) Will we see Dorothy and Ruby as a couple again?

ANSWER: We haven’t seen them yet in season six, if they make a return at all.

22) Where is Mulan nowadays?  What is Merida doing with her life?

ANSWER: We don’t know about them either, and it’s cheesing panelist Micah right off!

23) What’s next for Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and baby Robin?

ANSWER: A few more double crosses are likely in store, considering that Zelena was wooed by the EQ’s temptations and description of the idea that she is Zelena’s “real sister” and not Good Regina because the EQ has this “evil fun” side that seems to be what the two sisters have in common, though she didn’t remain allied with the EQ. Still, it’s hard to believe that Zelena has turned over an entirely new leaf, baby daughter or no.

24) Have we seen the limit of Emma’s savior magic? Will her power continue to grow?

ANSWER: Now, this is a question.  Her power hasn’t grown, as such, but it is causing deleterious side effects, like hand tremors, from use.  Apparently, being the savior decreases life expectancy by decades, a condition which contains warning signs like hand tremors.  We don’t know what any of it means right now, and we presume the second half of season six will tell us.

25) Will any characters who have moved on, been lost to the River of Souls/the Void, or been trapped in Pandora’s Box ever be seen again, such as Baelfire, Cora, or Pan?

ANSWER: So far, these characters seem to be (still) dead or (still) trapped in the Box. But, in this mystical world, anything is possible, right?  Curse or no curse!  Savior or no savior!

The Chief CP still thinks it’s tragic that Baelfire was marked for permanent death. Sigh.

New Questions

1) Emma and Regina encountered Robin Hood in the Wish Realm.  Can he be brought back to life from that realm?  Or, does magic function there (and in the Regular Realm) like the genie’s rules in Aladdin, i.e. no one dead can be brought back to life because, you know, it’s unnatural and grisly?  If we get an answer to this question, we may get our answer about Baelfire and Cora.

2) Who is the Black Fairy really?  Why have we never seen her before?  Didn’t Rumpel have an adoptive mother who died, leaving him to be raised by his ne’er-do-well, absentee father, who turned into Peter Pan?  Or, was that person the Black Fairy?  Or, did she become the Black Fairy?

3) The panelists still want to know where these characters went: Merida, Mulan, Aurora, Philip, and other members of the non-Wished Enchanted Forest?

4) What is Gideon’s endgame? Revenge on his father, Rumpel?  Ultimate power like his dear old dad?  Where does Gideon’s resentment against Rumpel come from if the Black Fairy raised him in another realm?  Why does he ultimately attempt to kill Emma?

5) What did the Black Fairy do to Gideon while raising him in a parallel dimension with speedier time, and what is her agenda related to her son, Rumpel?  Why are they returning to this realm now, other than convenient writing?

6) Is the Black Fairy related to the Never Land shadow at all?

7) Gideon changed the EQ to a snake and caged EQ-as-snake.  Does this endanger Regina? Will she and her other half ever reunite?  Will Jafar return to make this happen?  He’s kind of an expert in snakes himself.  If not Jafar, then how will it happen?

8) How will Emma and Regina return from the Wish Realm?  Will they return?

9) Do we care about Charming’s darker impulses, which make him fear turning into his twin brother, James, who was vanquished in the Underworld when his soul fell into the River of Souls?

10) Will Gideon be the “Big Bad” of the next half of the season?

11) Is the Wish Realm now a real “nuts and bolts” realm, wished into existence with the genie’s powers?  Is it permanent?  How long will the show spend in this new realm?

12) Will Henry find some of his own adventures again?  Will he remember that he’s the Author?  Will his Author responsibilities help right these new wrongs?  Why is the show so reluctant to develop this part of the story?  Why does Henry sometimes feel like extra baggage?

13) Will Emma ever learn to rely on her friends and family (and lover) in times of strife and tell them what’s bothering her or threatening her life?  It’s been six years.  We think your family has given you enough reason to trust them!  Hook too, for that matter!

14) Will Emma really die?  And if not, how does she escape Gideon?  Or, is that really what she is seeing in her vision?

15) Where is August nowadays?  The panel universally votes for his return.

16) Since the Wish Realm’s version of Snow and Charming have died, will Emma ascend to being Queen of the Wish Realm Enchanted Forest?  Will she be a good queen or an evil queen, and how will she handle her queenly duties?

17) Will Snow and Charming escape the new sort-of-twisty-but-not-really sleeping curse affecting their shared heart?

18) Will Hook sharpen his hook?  He feels largely toothless but is just as yummy to look at as ever, according to 4/5 of the panel.

19) Why do we care about Zelena?  Seriously.  We need to know.  Even the rare panelist that likes her.

20) Will the show get better, once and for all?  Or, is it time for the executive producers and writers to consider the possibility that Once should depart, make for its sideways version of the Island, and get “lost?”

PARTING SHOTS

The podcast panelists offer a variety of diverse opinions about the current progress of Once Upon a Time.  Some panelists thought that this half season offered some improvement over the past four half seasons, which were largely focused on story arcs neatly-ish resolved within those half seasons.  These panelists enjoyed the return of Storybrooke residents not seen since earlier episodes and enjoyed the omnipresence of Regina and/or the EQ. Other panelists felt that the show was overcompensating for some of the shortcomings of previous “arc” half seasons by throwing in every available character they could resurrect from the first two seasons, likely driven by actor availability, creating a scattered, disengaging narrative that began to reek of desperation.  All of the panelists felt that the “Land of Untold Stories” byproducts received too little attention, while the Aladdin infusion was introduced too abruptly and not always effectively.  Most of the panelists agreed that the most interesting characters and story lines so far this season involve Rumpel and Belle and all of the elements swirling around them and Regina’s existential tete-a-tete with her darkest self, the EQ, which may have been sidelined when Gideon, Rumpel and Belle’s son, transformed her into a snake and caged her.  While some panelists continue to foster hope and devote faith to Once’s seemingly endless reservoir of #potential, others were put off by the consistently unrealized #potential that Once’s writers never appear to solidly capitalize upon, veering into new story territory while rushing resolution of older, more intriguing story questions.  In fact, half of the panel squarely feels that the Once production team squandered the upswing of creative energy that seemed to appear from the depths in the back half of the “Underworld” arc, while the other half of the panel remains intrigued by the possibilities presented.  Still, though some panelists have begun to lose interest in the show, panelists who might now differ from those who began to lose interest at the end of the fifth season as others become interested again, all remain loyal and plan to keep watching because, if nothing else, the writers know how to bait viewers with tantalizing possibilities, even if they unevenly capitalize on those possibilities in satisfying ways in the end.

LOOKING AHEAD

Once Upon a Time returns from its mid-season six hiatus on Sunday, March 5, 2017, at 8:00 PM. OUAT has not yet been renewed by ABC, but most TV pundits call #potential renewal of this Sunday night staple a “safe bet.” The Once Upon a Time podcast panel will next reconvene following the sixth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2017. As always, CPU! will keep you abreast of happenings and special events in addition to all OUAT podcast coverage.  Until then!

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8A (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 January 2017, our less small but more robust panel– including moderator Kylie, Jen, Kelsey, and Allie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 8A of The Vampire Diaries, including two Siren Sisters and this show’s version of the “Devil.” If you have not watched any of The Vampire Diaries, 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: “The Vampire Diaries” – The Season 8 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

The_Vampire_Diaries_(title_card)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Vampire Diaries” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, Fridays at 8:00 PM.

What: “The Vampire Diaries,” a supernatural teen drama focused on a young woman, Elena Gilbert, who becomes entangled with two brothers who are vampires–-one a soulful, conflicted type who wants to repress his vampire urges to be more human; the other a sarcastic, ne’er-do-well who embraces the nature of his nocturnal condition, except for when his love for Elena interferes. In addition, these two vampire brothers were sired by Elena’s doppelganger, a vampire for the centuries named Katherine Pierce (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here:http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/vampire_diaries_the/summary.html).

When: The Season 8 premiere aired on Friday, October 21, 2016, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is primarily set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Why: Two reasons: vampires and Ian Somerhalder, formerly of Lost and Smallville fame. CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves non-sparkly vampire television, and Ian Somerhalder is too beautiful a man not to find an excuse to watch.  My fellow panelists found the show due to the vampires as well, and at least thirty-three percent of them stayed for Ian…

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

In 2016, our Vampire Diaries panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing seasons five, six, and the first half of season seven.  We also covered, in great detail, the second half of the seventh season in a second episode.  To hear our thoughts, or to catch yourself up, listen to the embedded links below:

Seasons 5-7A

Season 7B

Halfway into what has been announced to be this long-running vampire fiction program’s eighth season, our less small but continuously robust panel–Jen, Kelsey, and Allie–reconvened to discuss the dysfunctional but smoldering brothers Salvatore and the rest of the motley crew hailing from fictional Mystic Falls as The Vampire Diaries winds down toward its series finale.  Feast your ears and/or your fangs on this new episode, in which we cover major plot points from the first half of season eight, as the audience is introduced to the monster from the Vault: a siren sister with a stronghold on Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and buddy Enzo (Michael Malarkey).  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or sire bond is frequently tested in TVD’s later seasons, we still have lots to think and to talk about, particularly as we speculate upon the show’s near and final future.  Give us a listen with your vampire super-hearing, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in January 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the eighth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we will introduce an all new podcast panel, as we catch CPU! up on the dystopian post-apocalyptic science fiction drama, also from the CW, entitled The 100, for a longer-than-usual and highly passionate episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will Matt return?  Will Tyler?  Will Jeremy?  Will Elena?

ANSWER: (see below)

Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) returns.  He steers clear of Mystic Falls for a short while, as he sought out his dad, who had left him, his mom, and Vicki when Matt was younger.  Matt protects his dad with vervain, but Damon looks for Matt’s dad as he hunts for an artifact that Matt’s dad possesses as a member of one of the Mystic Falls founding families, which forces Matt to become involved in the goings-on of Mystic Falls once more.

Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino) confronts Damon while Mr. Salvatore is on the road during his siren-induced vampire binger.  Damon responds to Tyler’s hesitant confrontation by snapping his neck and killing Tyler during his two second guest spot. So…RIP Tyler.  Matt is particularly distraught after learning of the death of his best friend and vows vengeance against Damon after this event.

Jeremy Gilbert has not yet returned – he’s hanging out on the “Chicago” franchise, over on another network, apparently. Will he yet return?  There’s always hope.

Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) WILL return.  It was announced in January that Nina Dobrev would return to film the series finale, and Dobrev herself Instagram-ed a picture of her script.  I’m assuming this means that Elena will awaken from her magical coma.  I assume this also means that Bonnie (Kat Graham) might die, since Elena’s life and consciousness is inversely related to Bonnie’s ability to survive.

2) Is Season 8 the show’s last, considering that Ian Somerhalder has told the press that he can’t see doing more than eight seasons of the show (and the podcast panel can’t see the show surviving without Somerhalder/Damon)?

ANSWER: The show’s producers and the network have all confirmed that season 8 will be the final season of The Vampire Diaries.

3) What is in the Vault?  What has possessed Damon and Enzo?

ANSWER: One member of a pair of deadly sirens, i.e. the mystical beings first introduced in Homer’s Odyssey that magically sing and lure men, usually aboard ships at sea, to their demise.  The particular siren in question sports the moniker Sybil and takes a special interest in Damon and Enzo by singing her way into their enraptured brains and forcing them to murder people, as she is required to eat flesh to maintain immortality, youth, and beauty while harvesting the damned souls of these poor sods for a larger, darker power.  Damon and Enzo react differently to her particular form of sway: Damon elects to turn off his emotion switch, despite entering a safe space in his brain on which he focuses upon Elena.  When Sybil discovers this, she performs psychic surgery and replaces memories of Elena with similar memories featuring Sybil instead, ensuring Damon’s enduring fealty to her (at least for awhile). Enzo, on the other hand, is so devoted to Bonnie, he combats the siren’s cry for a time, at least until Damon and Sybil conspire to trick Enzo into turning off his own emotion switch, leaving Bonnie to decide that she must risk burning herself alive to entice Enzo back to humane vampirism in order to preserve their love. Listen to the podcast for details.

4)  Why was Reina a red herring for Elena/Katherine?  Cheap shot, writers!

ANSWER: We’ve decided, on the panel, that Damon has a type.  Sybil looks remarkably like Elena as well…

5) Will Alaric return?  Will his children return?  Will they be evil Children of the Corn, half siphon/half vampire children?

ANSWER: Alaric (Matt Davis) returns as does his children, so that he and Caroline (Candice King) can co-parent the girls.  One of the siren sisters, Seline, tries to offer up the twins to be the keeper of the sirens’ immortal Faustian deal, but Stefan (Paul Wesley) intervenes and prevents that deal from going down, so the twins remain innocent (but definitely siphons) as ever.

6) Are Damon and Enzo collecting bodies in sacrifice or in ritual to the thing from the Vault?  Is there a purpose to the warehouse of suspended but highly dead bodies?  Is the Vault thing controlling them, or are they acting of their own free will but in service of the thing in the Vault?

ANSWER: The siren’s cry tends to obfuscate free will and spellbound enslavement. Arguably, as Damon and Enzo show us, the siren’s cry is strong, but enough strength and will to resist can break the spell for some time, as it did with Enzo, in lieu of his love for Bonnie.  Damon could have done the same, if he didn’t feel beholden to a comatose Elena and a sense of guilt for his sins; he believes his service to Sybil is penance for his misdeeds as a vampire, so he opts to flip his emotion switch to withstand the poor judgment and murder sprees in which Sybil has him engage.  The warehouse scene merely serves as a grisly end button to season seven, but the bodies are a sacrifice to Sybil’s siren-infused flesh-eating appetite.

7) Are Damon, Stefan, and/or Enzo connected to the Vault thing somehow?  Or, is Bonnie connected to it?

ANSWER: There appears to be no connection, per se, between any of our beloved characters and Sybil, except insofar as Damon and Enzo are under her spell, and Bonnie’s family provided the sealant magic for the Armory Vault that hitherto contained her.  Still, Sybil, Seline, and their boss Cade, possibly The Vampire Diaries’ analog for the Devil, repeatedly draw stark parallels between the brothers Salvatore and the Siren Sisters, showing that there is a blurring of what is good and evil among them, particularly as it relates to who is the good sibling and who is the evil one.  Listen to the podcast for details.

8) Is the Vault thing something akin to the First Evil or the First Supernatural Something, a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural?

ANSWER: The sirens are not the First, nor are they the Darkness (as Supernatural depicts).  Cade created the Sirens.  We know that Cade was a psychic, martyred for being different by suffering stoning and burning at the hands of his fellow villagers.  Their negative energy created a so-called “hell.”  What this “hell” is or how Cade became psychic we don’t know.  We also don’t know who came first: Cade or the Originals, i.e. the family Mikaelson as the first vampires, or the Mikaelson matriarch Esther and her family of magical witches.  The history, to the members of the podcast panel, is unclear.

9) Are Caroline and Stefan really in it and together for the long haul?

ANSWER: Well, Stefan pops the question, in a rather anticlimactic way, and Caroline answers yes.  Trouble is, as of the season finale, Stefan, to save the twins and Damon, makes a deal with Cade: he and Damon will take the place of the Siren Sisters, harvesting souls for him.  In the meantime, Stefan is required by Cade to flip his emotion switch and to become Ripper Stefan, a side of soulful Stefan that intrigues Cade.  Cade promises that Stefan can return to Caroline one year after living under these conditions – but the dark figure bets that Stefan will not want to stop being the Ripper, since Ripper Stefan seems to relish his evilness even more than an emotionless Damon.  The last moments of the mid-season finale show Stefan and Damon driving away to do Cade’s bidding, the cold dark eyes of Ripper Stefan becoming apparent as Stefan’s emotion switch visibly flips.  Will Stefan make it back to Caroline?  Do we care? These are the questions that follow us into the show’s final half season.

New Questions

1) What is the artifact that Matt’s dad had, and what does it do?  Who has it now?  Do we still care about it?

2) Will Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) return to The Vampire Diaries to see it off as one of the original cast members?

3) So, Elena will return.  How?  Kylie predicts that, in order to save Damon, Bonnie will sacrifice herself, so that Elena might awaken from her coma and draw Damon away from the darkness of his emotional void once more.  Kelsey predicts that Enzo and Bonnie might snuff themselves together, in a fantastic Thelma and Louise or, perhaps, Romeo and Juliet type fashion.  Kylie further predicts that Stefan might not survive the series – he may decide to remain the Ripper, and the other Mystic Falls residents, Caroline included, may be forced to stake him; or, the writers will cop out, and Stefan and Caroline will reunite for their happily ever after.  What will happen?  How will it all end?

4) Will the twins be factors in saving the brothers Salvatore from themselves or Alaric/Caroline/anyone else from Stefan and Damon?

5) Damon ripped out Sybil’s heart on his way out of town with Stefan in the mid-season finale, but we know that Sybil can heal due to her magical deal to keep her immortality, which she made with Cade in exchange for selling out Stefan and Damon.  Will we still see Sybil, and how will she factor into the overall end?  Where did Seline go?  Are we done with the Siren Sisters?

6) Who or what is Cade – really?  Who came first: him, the Originals, or the Witches?  Will we see a mutual crossover with The Originals, the spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, this half season?  If so, can it be the whole cast and not merely an exchange of one character, like Klaus and Stefan, as happened last season?

7) What will Damon and Stefan do as Cade’s new soul harvesters?  How will their brotherly bond be affected?  Ripper Stefan is kind of a dick, but Damon also has his emotion switch off.  We’ve never seen both brothers with their emotion switch off at the same time except during flashbacks of their initial days as vampires.  How will this manifest, and what will they do?

8) What will the Mystic Falls Scooby Gang, particularly Caroline, do to try to save the brothers from themselves?

9) Why was Cade not introduced sooner, if he’s truly the “devil?”

10) What is “hell” truly?  How did the pre-devil version of Cade become psychic?

PARTING SHOTS

The Vampire Diaries definitely has its best years behind it; the panel believes that though the show has lost much of its initial magic, not unlike Bonnie herself, the first half of season eight made a valiant effort to recapture some of that former glory in time to send the series off with a bang (and a few fangs!).  Most if not all of the panelists are ready for The Vampire Diaries to be done but are simultaneously excited by the second half of season eight and what the final half season will bring to end this epic story of two vampire brothers and the women that came between them, which is what, ultimately, TVD was all about in the end.  We think that the talented writing team will offer up a satisfying conclusion, which ought to include Damon and Elena back together, Bonnie resting and at peace (that poor girl), and everyone else in a place that makes sense.  If anyone can do it, Julie Plec and company should be able to do it!  We also hope the wrap party following these eight interesting seasons is as epic as the series itself.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Vampire Diaries returned from mid-season 8 hiatus on January 13, 2017. The Vampire Diaries podcast panel will next reconvene following the eighth season and overall series finale of TVD, which will likely air in or around May 2017, with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes. The first of these episodes will review the show’s final half season; the second will look back at the show as a whole.  Of course, the announcement that this will be the show’s final season was made as of early fall 2016. As always, even for the limited amount of time remaining, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional TVD coverage.  Until then!

Gotham (Season 3A, “Mad City,” MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 January 3027, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and introducing Nick – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3A, otherwise known as “Mad City,” of Gotham. If you have not watched any of Gotham, 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!