Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Six, Marvel’s The Defenders, Season One (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in December 2017, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is back Around the Water Cooler as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel finally discusses Season 1 of Marvel’s crossover miniseries event, from which the panel derives its name, The Defenders. If you have not watched any of The Defenders (or its companion series, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist), 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!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace

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

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Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

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

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

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

SYNOPSIS

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

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

RECOMMENDATION

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

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

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

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season One (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com.  In this episode, recorded in November 2017, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and Unfortunate TV fans – including moderator Nick, Kristen, Kelsey, Jenn, Selene, and Kylie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 1 of Unfortunate hit and Netflix original A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you have not watched any of said Unfortunate Events, 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!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is an American black comedy-drama television series developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, which is based upon the children’s novel series of the same name authored by Lemony Snicket.

What: “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the first season, consists of eight episodes and adapts the first four books of Lemony Snicket’s series. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on January 13, 2017.

Where: The action takes place in various fictional locales, not always specifically named, but always housing the Baudelaire children’s (Weissman, Hynes, and Smith) “closest, living relatives.” Geographically speaking, that is.

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

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

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

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

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

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

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

A Series of Unfortunate Events = 3.8, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

When a mysterious fire kills their parents, the Baudelaire children are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf (Harris), an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s initial failed attempt to do so, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and to uncover the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Frequent CPU! contributors and panelists often suggest shows for CPU! to cover in our podcast episodes – loyal listeners should have picked up on this particular trend by now. Well, when streaming service Netflix (they owe us free subscriptions, we think!) decided to adapt Lemony Snicket’s acclaimed book series, this time in a television/long-form format as opposed to a feature film, at least one frequent CPU!er became decidedly atwitter and began encouraging Lemony Snicket podcast coverage in short order.  In addition, while Chief CP Kylie enjoys the film adaptation from 2004 starring Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep, my passion for the television series adapting same, despite the presence of fan favorite NPH, did not quite reach the same heights as some of tonight’s panelists’.

As it turns out, I find the show interesting, with an interesting mystery and a fun visual pastiche, but I think I lack passion for it. Frequent contributor and panelist Nick, on the other hand, abounds in said passion.  In fact, it was Nick, specifically, who saw an opportunity for a CPU! episode “around the water cooler” discussing the newest telling of the Streaming Original Series of Unfortunate Events. Thus, herein we offer our Season One recap, with the Chief CP stepping aside from the moderating microphone, so that Nick may serve as main moderator with the kind of passion these unfortunate events deserve. I instead participate as a regular old panelist to remark upon the unfortunate-ness of the whole affair. Nick and I are, in turn, joined by frequent CPU! panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Selene, and Jenn for this probing, passionate, and, at times, pithy discussion about the Baudelaires and their trials and tribulations.

This podcast was recorded in November 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Buffy-Verse panel will return to the Water Cooler for Episode Five, the final episode, of our retrospective series Looking Back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.  We will be discussing Seasons Three, Four, and Five of Angel and presenting our best and worst 10 lists of episodes from each seriesStay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

A Series of Unfortunate Events is universally recommended by all of our panelists, despite a wide variety of opinions about, and individual receptions toward, the series.  The panel particularly recommends Lemony Snicket’s Unfortunate Events to fans of the original book series; of the 2004 film adaptation of same; of Neil Patrick Harris and of Patrick Warburton, who portray Count Olaf and Mr. Snicket, respectively, and do so with flourish and aplomb; and to fans of the type of dark, sardonic humor offered by the likes of Tim Burton or Barry Sonnenfeld, the latter of whom is credited as a creator and an executive producer of this series.  Panelists Kelsey and Selene recommend this program for family viewing along with young children, while Chief CP Kylie, the only true member of Gen X on this panel, cautions that the series may be more palatable to Millennials and younger generations, who had a chance to grow up with the original series of children’s books and who might relate to the program more easily, despite the fact that the erstwhile Doogie Howser MD plays a lead character.  The panelists universally praise the visual presentation and technical aspects of the show, even as they offer wide-ranging reactions to the story/adaptation execution and to the overall direction.  Still, all panelists look forward to what Season Two might bring in terms of not only ironing out the kinks in story presentation but also of sprinkling in further clues to help our eager set of viewers solve the unfortunate mystery of this series of events.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

A Series of Unfortunate Events was quickly renewed for a second season, though a tentative release date has not yet been announced by Netflix, except that Season Two will likely drop in early 2018.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all Lemony Snicket coverage, and this panel will, as such, likely return some time after the release of Season 2 to recap the new season. Until then!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “New Girl,” the Season Six Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “New Girl” airs on network TV, specifically on Fox, (typically) fall to spring Tuesdays.  Season Seven, the series’ upcoming final season, will not premiere until 2018.

What: “New Girl,” a situation comedy about goofy but lovable teacher (some have described her as ‘adorkable’) Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel), who, after finding out that her boyfriend cheated on her, answers a Craig’s List ad and ends up living in a loft with three others guys, including metrosexual, yuppie womanizer Schmidt (Max Greenfield); grumpy but down-to-earth bartender Nick (Jake Johnson); and eccentric but loyal radio producer Winston (Lamorne Morris).  Also interwoven into this mix is Jess’ childhood friend CeCe (Hannah Simone), a deadpan model who has more street smarts than Jess but tends to make poorer choices (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/new_girl/summary.html).

When: Season Six aired from September 20, 2016, to April 4, 2017, on Fox.

Where: The show is set in Los Angeles, California, primarily in the loft itself.

Why: Chief CP Kylie found this show on Netflix, having had some interest in it when it was first advertised because I love Zooey Deschanel, but for some reason, I wasn’t able to catch it when it was on, and I didn’t place priority on it because it seemed like an updated rehashing of Friends for the Millennial generation.  Yet, so many people, both trusted friends and critics alike, said it was funny; therefore, once it became available on Netflix, I binge watched the first two seasons before watching it in real – or almost real – time. For this latest CPU! podcast episode, a changed complement of fellow New Girl fans joined me around the water cooler to recap New Girl Season Six.

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

CPU! previously covered New Girl in both blog and podcast format.  To catch up on prior coverage, click some handy hyper or otherwise embedded links for your reading and listening pleasure, provided below:

Season 3: Read here

Seasons 4 & 5

We experienced a roster change on this panel since our last episode.  CPU! Panelist Kelsey departed this panel, having essentially jumped the shark on the show, at least for podcast purposes (though she remains on other active CPU! panels, specifically Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and The 100)Kristen, however, returns to the Water Cooler to continue chatting about this sitcom and is now joined by frequent CPU! regular Sarah for this episode, in which we cover Season Six of New Girl.

Our small but robust panel of True Americans ultimately struggles through the latest season’s antics of Jess, Nick, Schmidt, Winston, and CeCe.  We cover notable situations from the sixth season, as the show continues to toy with the compatibility and ongoing sexual tension between Nick and Jess, explores the relative diversity of tastes of newlyweds Schmidt and CeCe, and evolves the strange but no less endearing coupling of Winston and Aly.  Our panel’s particular level of devotion to this quirky sitcom is definitely on the wane, which we discuss at length in the embedded episode below, though we are both excited by and hopeful for the epilogue eight episodes of Season Seven, green-lit by the Fox network and slated to premiere in 2018.

This particular episode was recorded in September 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points, comedic situations, jokes, and sight gags of Season Six of New Girl. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, a new panel visits the Water Cooler to discuss a Netflix original series, an adaptation of a popular series of young adult novels, namely A Series of Unfortunate Events, moderated by frequent CPU! panelist Nick!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
Old Questions
1) What will CeCe and Schmidt’s marriage look like?
ANSWER: Surprisingly functional.  Despite the fact that they do not apparently have enough money to buy decent property in Los Angeles – and, really, who does? – and despite the fact that Schmidt’s interior design taste is impeccable, while CeCe’s could use some of Schmidt’s guidance (as long as he acknowledges her desires and choices), this couple works well together and remains interesting, even though they are married on a sitcom.  Plus – SPOILER – they find themselves on the brink of family expansion!  All this is to say that Schmidt and CeCe’s marriage is decidedly: normal.
2) Will Winston and Aly’s romance last?  Can they have a spin-off?  They’re too cute.
ANSWER: If engagement means lasting romance, then the answer is yes!  Winston proposes to Aly – he begins a multi-part plan (is it 21 parts?) to implement this proposal until Jess coaches him away from that approach.  Her persuasion, in addition to the usual comedic, complicated circumstances following Winston’s next-level awkwardness, do not prevent Winston from dressing up in a furry costume to memorialize how Winston and Aly first met, of course, since the proposal had to be all Winston in the end.
3) Is Megan Fox coming back for season six to play Reagan?  (Can she not?) Are we really about to watch a love triangle between Jess, Nick, and Reagan?
ANSWER: Sadly, she did.  Sadly, we did.  Fortunately, as Nick manages to complete his first novel with characters drawn heavily from his own subconscious, he soon realizes – and by soon, I mean by the end of the season – that he and Reagan do not belong together, while he and Jess do.  He tries to abandon Reagan on a train, of course, in his all-Nick fashion.  Fortunately, Reagan receives a huge promotion at her pharmaceutical company, so she appears to be officially copacetic with the breakup and officially gone for good.  To that, Kylie the Chief CP says, “Good riddance!”
4) If Jess and Nick get back together, can it be new and fresh?  The panel says: “will they or won’t they, and just move on!”
ANSWER: Still a question.  Jess and Nick’s inevitable re-coupling literally occurs within the final few minutes of the final episode of the season.  What is more, in this upcoming epilogue seventh season, the show is going to time jump to three years into the future.  So…what is “new and fresh,” eh?  Perhaps, with only eight episodes officially left to air, it no longer matters.
5) Will CeCe and Schmidt get pregnant?
ANSWER: Yes! In the final episode of the season, we learn, and so does the whole loft through what could only be construed as several violations of HIPAA, that CeCe is pregnant.  They are both elated, and so are we all.
6) Will Nick and Jess hook up and get pregnant?  Or experience a pregnancy scare?
ANSWER: Nick and Jess do not have any romantic entanglements, of an accidental or on purpose nature, until the final episode of the season – so no hook-ups and no potential baby-making consequences of said hook-ups.  Though Nick as a scared potential new father is still a legitimate story idea for the show, who knows what we will be watching in Season Seven?
7) What happened to the apartment down the hall?  Does Schmidt own it?  Are CeCe and Schmidt going to move into it?
ANSWER: Schmidt presumably sold that puppy when he and CeCe bought Jaipur Aviv, their quaint LA fixer upper, because that apartment faded out of the picture faster than Coach.
8) What is Schmidt’s first name already?!
ANSWER: In an anticlimactic reveal that feels mostly like lazy writing, according to universal consensus of the podcast panel, Schmidt’s first name is – drum roll, please – Winston…  Via a decision made in college, as Winston Bishop is the original Winston, Schmidt decided to go by “Schmidt” to avoid confusion.  Of course, this season, he wants to drop the pretenses when he receives a promotion at work and to aspire to loftier nomenclature.  No one is more chagrined than Winston Bishop, except for maybe the CPU! New Girl panel.
New Questions
1) With an impending time jump, where will all of our characters be as the final eight episodes commence? Will Nick and Jess be together still?  Will Nick and Jess get married?  Will Winston and Aly still be together?  Will we see their wedding, or are we bypassing Winston’s inevitable nuptials?  What will CeCe and Schmidt’s adorable child be, look like, and be named?  Will they get pregnant again?
2) Will Jess still be principal of the hippie new age school?
3) Will CeCe’s Boys be a successful modeling agency?  Will she take care of the children, or…?
4) …Will Schmidt quit his high-powered ad executive job and be a stay-at-home dad?
5) Will Winston and Aly still be police officers?
6) What will happen to the loft?
7) Will Ferguson still be kickin’ it, for feline realz, y’all?
8) Will Coach return for any part of this next season?
9) Will we see any old and/or beloved recurring characters?
10) How will the series end?
PARTING SHOTS
For this panel of New Girl fans, the “adorkable” Jess and her lofty pals still bring some laughs but not as freshly or as often as they did when this sitcom premiered.  Even though this show started as a contemporary and relevant situation comedy that mixes a few atypical character archetypes into a wildly flavorful (and crunchy) salad of laughs, the lettuce has been wilting since Nick and Jess’ pairing in season three, as the story toyed with coupling Jess and Nick for such an ultimately short-lived and unsatisfying period. The marriage of CeCe and Schmidt offers an interesting new dynamic to the group, especially since they continue to be present in the loft in the sixth season while renovations of their new house commence, but the writers and executive producers still have the uphill task of keeping the show feeling new and interesting, especially as the network ordered the upcoming final, truncated season to tie off loose ends.  In fact, some subtle signs of staleness and boredom from repetitive and routine storytelling have definitely settled in, as the panel notes in this podcast episode; the mission of the writers is to give this talented cast of performers and the characters they portray something more intelligent to do in the final season and to end the series on the highest and most feel-good note possible for these five quirky but enjoyably entertaining friends.
LOOKING AHEAD

New Girl was renewed for an eight-episode Season 7, which will be its final season. The season premiere date has not yet been announced.  CPU! will revisit New Girl following the airing of Season Seven with a combined recap of the seventh season and a retrospective “Looking Back” discussion.  Stay tuned to CPU! for future New Girl coverage and announcements as they become available.

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 10, “Arrow” – Season Five, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Arrow” is a superhero/action/crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Green Arrow franchise/DC Comic Universe, which currently airs on the CW, fall to spring Thursdays at 9:00 PM.

What: “Arrow,” a series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg that is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. The series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who, five years after being stranded on a hostile island, returns home to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Oliver Queen (Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City (now Star City), who spends five years shipwrecked on the mysterious island of Lian Yu. Upon his return to the city, he is reunited with his family, including his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) and friends. Oliver awkwardly survives his days back in the city by rekindling his relationships, while he spends his nights hunting down and sometimes killing wealthy criminals as a hooded vigilante. Thea, John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) assist Oliver in his crusade as does his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy); flashbacks show how Oliver spent his time and gained the skill-set that he uses as (now) the Green Arrow.

When: Season Five aired on the CW from October 5, 2016, to May 24, 2017.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Starling City, another name for Star City, the primary setting of the Green Arrow franchise – though as of Season Four, the city was finally re-branded to be Star City like in the comic books.  The action does branch out in flashbacks to international locales, including Hong Kong, the Middle East, Russia, and a fictional island called Lian Yu.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first DCTU podcast episode, where our panel covers the first two seasons of Arrow, via the embedded link below!  It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie was hesitant to watch it, feeling somewhat loyal to Justin Hartley’s portrayal of the Green Arrow on Smallville, which ended in 2011, while Arrow premiered in 2012.  Also, I’m pretty leery of character fatigue in comic book properties of late, which may be the subject of a separate podcast or blog entry.  So, what finally convinced me to watch it in the end? Other than a few good recommendations from viewers like you, listen to that first podcast episode to find out the reasons why I finally picked up the show in the end.

What kept me watching, though, is a different question.  Try this on for size:

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How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the tenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are the prior episodes in the series (as we flush out seasons, though, older episodes will only be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header). Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 1, “Arrow,” Seasons One and Two

DCTU Series, Episode 2, “Arrow,” Seasons Three and Four

DCTU Series, Episode 3, “The Flash,” Seasons One and Two

DCTU Series, Episode 4, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season One

DCTU Series, Episode 5, “Supergirl,” Season One

DCTU Series, Episode 6, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 7, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 8, “Supergirl,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 9, “The Flash,” Season Three

In our last episode, our cheeky and feisty and newly full DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – continued addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by discussing the third season of The Flash.  Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler for the final time this go-round to talk the fifth season of TV universe progenitor Arrow following a rocky, inconsistent, and somewhat bloated Season Five, in the tenth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein evaluates the success of the Green Arrow’s season nemesis, Prometheus (Josh Segarra); the seemingly growing number of Green Arrow sidekicks; the on/off again dynamic of “Ollicity;” Oliver Queen as Star City Mayor; and an explosive season ending that could either reset everything we know about the Arrowverse’s namesake show or could be an overwrought but ultimately anticlimactic finish to a largely anticlimactic season.  In fact, for most of the panel, the assignment to watch Arrow as part of this podcast series is stepping into “begrudging” territory, as most of the panel struggles with Arrow, and their waning affinity for it, more than with any of the other Arrowverse entries. In contrast, most of the panel also remains hopeful that the writers will find the story center again, return to the excellent story execution of the first two seasons, and breathe new energy into this now late-life series.

This particular episode was recorded in November 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season Five of Arrow. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our DCTU panel returns to the bench briefly in anticipation of the mid-season hiatus period, while our New Girl panel, which has experienced a personnel shift, returns to the Water Cooler after a year’s absence to digest Season Six of the quirky and nearly finished sitcom ahead of its final, truncated season.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) How will the “Flashpoint” story line on The Flash affect events on Arrow? Will we see a reversal between Star City and Central City?  Will we see Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) again?  Will (spoiler) Laurel come back to life?
ANSWER: As we discussed at length in our ninth episode, covering the third season of The Flash, “Flashpoint,” as it turns out, affected very little throughout the Arrowverse, to the great, heaving disappointment of the entire panel.  Our collective theory and consensus opinion basically posits that the writers and executive producers bit off more than they could chew (and ultimately chickened out) when it came to taking on one of the most critical and most far-reaching story-lines in the history of DC Comics for their live-action adaptation of same.  Thus, on Arrow, the only effect of the time alteration caused by Barry Allen in Central City: Dig and Lyla’s daughter Sarah becomes a son named John, which the panel also regarded, in our ninth DCTU episode, as quite possibly the most pointless, most unnecessary, and most anticlimactic change the writers could offer. 
Though not a direct result of “Flashpoint,” Ollie later sees ghosts of Tommy and of Laurel as he is considering the losses he has incurred since becoming Green Arrow.  Viewers also experience a return of a Laurel Lance, of sorts – just not the one the audience previously knew.  Earth 2’s Laurel appears in Season Two posing as Earth Prime’s Laurel, but she is “Black Siren,” as introduced in the second season of The Flash, not Black Canary.  Black Siren allies herself with the season overarching villain, for better or for worse.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.
2) There has been some indication that flashbacks in season five will involve more of the characters than Ollie.  What will we learn about the supporting characters?
ANSWER: I am not certain where this indication originated, but the Season Five flashbacks only featured two familiar characters: Oliver, of course, and a brief appearance by Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) in the latter half of the season.  This appearance, other than to exploit the sheer popularity of the Merlyn character and of his portraying actor, adds little to no value to the overall story of the Green Arrow.  Otherwise, we learn how Oliver became a member of the Russian gang Bratva and how he positioned himself to be rescued from Lian Yu a final time, prior to his return to Star/ling City. 
We also learn that Ra’s al Ghul’s other daughter, Talia, most famous from the Batman comics, helped to train Oliver in Russia and inspired him to don the “hood.”  Otherwise, the show becomes positively littered with supporting characters in this fifth season, though none are introduced via flashback.
3) What will Team Arrow look like when the series returns?
ANSWER: At the top of the season, Thea, having resigned as Speedy, serves as Mayor Ollie’s Chief of Staff, while Dig remains in prison, having confessed to the murder of his brother in Season Four (though Ollie and Felicity later spring him from the joint and hide him as a fugitive).  With Laurel’s Season Four death, Felicity pushes Oliver to recruit other posse members, so that he may have more freedom to serve as mayor without courting suspicion about his by-night vigilante activities.  Ollie wants nothing to do with new recruits, however and at first, feeling slighted and slightly abandoned in the wake of the loss of Dig and Laurel (and of Thea by her choice), so Felicity takes it upon herself to rope in some new Green Arrow sidekicks, much to Ollie’s grousing.  Tech guru and Felicity’s Palmer-Tech colleague Curtis (Echo Kellum) takes up the mantle of Mr. Terrific, while Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez) joins the team as hockey-mask wearing, gun-toting hothead Wild Dog; Rory Regan joins as Ragman; and Evelyn Sharpe becomes comic-based Green Arrow sidekick Artemis.  Of course, the team continues to change personnel a few more times this season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.
4) Will Arrow start before the events of The Flash season two finale, so we can see the effects of Flashpoint?
ANSWER: Arrow Season Five starts some time after the events of Arrow Season Four, regardless of Flashpoint.  Again, the only effect that Flashpoint causes to Arrow is a gender change for Dig’s child.
5) Will we see any repeat villains, especially those particular to the Green Arrow, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, and others?
ANSWER: Yes! Though Prometheus proves to be Season Five’s “Big Bad,” Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke (Manu Bennett), makes an appearance in this season.  Of course, Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer returns as well, but he has not been especially villainous in and around Star City as of late.  The League of Assassins also returns, courtesy of their relationship to the al Ghul sisters, and Captain Boomerang is similarly released from the ARGUS holding cells on Lian Yu, though he is a Flash villain.
6) How will the four villains, with their portraying actors promoted to series regulars on all four Arrowverse programs, be introduced on each of the shows: Merlyn (John Barrowman), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), and Damien Dahrk (Neal McDonough)?  How will they all visit Arrow, and what will they do?
ANSWER: These four villains, otherwise known as the Legion of Doom, do not appear as a quartet in Arrow Season Five.  They only appear as a group in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season Two.  Merlyn stops by his home show of Arrow twice this season but without any of his “Doom” compatriots.
7) Will the show return to the “darker edge” of seasons one and two?  Or, will it grow campier?  Or, will “Flashpoint” throw the whole tone out of whack?
ANSWER: By and large, Arrow Season Five does hearken back, tone-wise, to that of the first two seasons – it is generally darker than Seasons Three and Four, except for when Oliver is playing Mayor.  Because the writers appear to struggle for story consistency in the fifth season, however, the tone also reflects some of that imbalance.  Incidentally, the podcast panel universally believes that Season Five is the series’ worst season to date.
8) Will Ollie’s use of the salmon ladder increase?  The female members of the panel vote yes! He’s been avoiding it lately!

ANSWER: He only used it once!  And barely!  Instead, Ollie elected to flirt with Felicity in an odd little flashback in which we see that Ollicity has something like make-up sex in the lair.  Prior to working up that sweat, though, Felicity warmed up, poorly, on the salmon ladder.

It just wasn’t the same.

New Questions

1) (keeping in mind that several Season Six episodes have aired as of the publication of this post) Who, if anyone, survives the destruction of Lian Yu by a suicidal Prometheus, since everyone but Ollie and his son William presumably stood on the island rigged with dynamite, triggered to explode by Prometheus’ “dead man switch” and self-imposed death, at the end of the fifth season?
2) Does Oliver choose to raise his son in the wake of this explosion, since William’s mother follows Ollie to the island after learning that William has been kidnapped by Prometheus?
3) Presuming that Felicity survives the explosion, are Ollicity back on, in their on/off again relationship?  The panel, particularly panelist Kristen, votes that the writers pick one of the two statuses and stick with it for these charismatic and chemically engaging lovers.
4) Is Malcolm Merlyn truly dead?  Prior to the overall explosion of Lian Yu, Merlyn sacrifices himself by moving on to an old landmine in place of Thea, who triggers the mine during her rescue (after Prometheus and allies manage to kidnap Green Arrow’s entire posse and whisk them off to Lian Yu for the explosive season climax).  The show offers a scene in which we hear what is presumed to be the explosion of the landmine, but it occurs off screen, creating the possibility of a Merlyn who has once again escaped death.  If he does, will we learn how he did it?
5) Is Deathstroke back for good?  How will he affect Ollie/Green Arrow in future, now that he is presumably less psychopathic and Mirakuru-enhanced?
6) Will Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), the new Black Canary, survive her stint in the leather jacket and black mask – she was one of the posse on the exploding island?  Black Canaries have a high mortality rate on this show.
7) Will we see the al Ghul sisters and the League of Assassins again?  Will Talia become more interesting and more like her comics counterpart?
8) Now that the flashbacks and Ollie’s past have caught up to the events beginning the series in the first season, will the series continue to employ flashbacks to tell Oliver’s story?  Or, will the portions seen by the viewing audience finally all be in the present?
9) Which villains will we see next season?  Who will be the season “Big Bad?”  Will any of Green Arrow’s traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle is very concerned)?
10) Did Artemis survive the Lian Yu explosion – and will she see the error of her ways and join Green Arrow’s team in good faith, provided that Oliver is in a forgiving mood?
11) Provided that Thea also survives the explosion, and despite donning the red hood for the fifth mid-season crossover episodes, is she done being Speedy for good?
12) Does Oliver remain Green Arrow as Season Six begins?  How does he juggle mayoral duties with vigilante duties without a team?  Does he recruit even more new team members?
13) Please bring back the salmon ladder.  We are sure that Ollie is stressed out and needs to work on his upper body.  Shirtless.

PARTING SHOTS

Our DCTU panel universally agrees that Arrow Season Five represents a new low point for the series, given the uneven portrayal and unbelievable motivations of season nemesis Prometheus, who seems to be several steps ahead of Oliver at all times and who seems able to affect Ollie in ways that other, more menacing villains have not.  The panel, by and large, also proves mostly unimpressed by the Russia/Bratva flashback stories and some of the side plots on the season, including Felicity’s involvement with hactivist organization Helix and the frustrating love square between Oliver and reporter Susan and Felicity and police detective Billy.  The panel further offers mixed reviews surrounding the new Green Arrow sidekicks, with more positive reactions aimed at Mr. Terrific, moderate support for the new Black Canary, lukewarm reactions to Wild Dog and Ragman, and generally negative reactions to Artemis. The panel continues to regard The Flash as the best show in this particular television universe, while the original entry, Arrow, flounders and stumbles, owing primarily to sloppy story mapping, despite the steady (and handsome) portrayal of the Green Arrow by Stephen Amell and the superb production values, particularly the fight choreography, marking the Star City based quadrant of the multiverse.

LOOKING AHEAD

Arrow was renewed for a new season; Season Six premiered on October 12, 2017! The DCTU podcast panel will next chat Arrow during our mid-season roundup of the Arrowverse, which will occur in or around January 2018, when the panel will discuss all four Arrowverse shows in one longer episode.  Until then!

DC Television Universe, Episode Nine, The Flash, Season Three, (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

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 October 2017, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the ninth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 3 of first Arrowverse spin-off, The Flash. If you have not watched any of The Flash, 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!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace