RERUN! – Doctor Who, Series/Season Ten (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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This week, our grateful gaggle of Couch Potatoes gives thanks and goes on holiday. Hey, podcasters need vacations too! Because we have other TV to watch and a possibly desperate need for mashed potatoes, and because it’s too hard to edit with the distracting smells of holiday cooking wafting, we offer a rerun of this episode, originally published in 2018.  We do so because we’re thankful for our two-hearted Doctor friend, who has persevered for over 50 years, and we think you should be as well. More to the point, next week, we will be Around the Water Cooler, Looking Back at the Cold War with the erstwhile FX spy-drama, The Americans. Following that, our Schitt’s Creek and Star Trek panels return to the Water Cooler, pre-Christmas vacation, to talk Season 5 and the Animated Series, respectively. Stay tuned!

—Original Synopsis—

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2018, our panel of stalwart Whovians – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Sarah, Hilary, and Kyle – is Around the Water Cooler and recapping Series/Season Ten of Doctor Who, i.e. Peter Capaldi’s last season as the titular Doctor. If you haven’t viewed the series through the 2017 Christmas Special, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at: couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Rezmer
Keyboard: Kelsey Rezmer
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

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

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in September 2019, our slightly changed panel of loose seals and mother-boys – moderator Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Amy, Christian, and introducing Spencer – gathered together around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 5 of CPU! favorite Arrested Development.  This is the third (and final?) part of a three part CPU! podcast miniseries in which our panelists find their Development Arrested as they consider Arrested Development’s not-so-peculiar-nowadays airing history. As always, if you have not watched any of Arrested Development, be aware that there are, most definitely, MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals and Around the Water Cooler: “Arrested Development,” Season 5; The Development Arrested Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Development Arrested, Part One: Seasons 1-3

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

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

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

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

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

Lingering Questions

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

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

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

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

5) Where did Oscar (Tambor) go?

PARTING SHOTS

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

LOOKING AHEAD

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

Looking Back at “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Season 3: The Star Trek 50+ Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of resident CPU! Trekkers – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Kyle, and Michael – reconvened Around the Water Cooler to Look Back at the third season of The Original Series of Star Trek.  Each panelist also shares a “Top 10 Best” and a “Bottom 10 Worst” episode list, sharing favorite and least favorite episodes of The Original Series and offering some diverse choices from panelist to panelist that either overlap or contradict significantly in what proves to be a modestly spicy discussion. This is the third part of a multi-part CPU! podcast series – the biggest multi-part series we have ever undertaken – in which we venture into space, the final frontier, by covering each season of each series of the entire Star Trek franchise (the movies too)! This third “Star Trek 50+ Series” episode was recorded in August 2019, and, as always, if you haven’t seen any of Star Trek, TOS or otherwise – if that is even possible – be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Best Of! & Cult TV! & Looking Back at “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Season 3: The Star Trek 50+ Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#33)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Star Trek,” an American science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry, which aired on NBC from 1966 to 1969 for three seasons until it was canceled.

What: “Star Trek” follows the adventures of the star ship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and its crew. The show later acquired the retronym of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) to distinguish this first series within the media franchise that it began.

SYNOPSIS

Star Trek is set in the Milky Way galaxy, roughly during the 2260s. The ship and crew are led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), First Officer and Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley).

When: The show aired on NBC from 1966-1969; Season 3 aired from September 20, 1968, to June 3, 1969.

Where: The show is set in “space the final frontier,” in what is allegedly the 2260s, though it should be noted that calculating star dates as quoted during “Captain’s Logs” on the show is an exercise that does not seem to be based upon rhyme or reason nor does it seem to correspond to our present-day time measurement system. Then again, there is probably an explanation in some fan encyclopedia somewhere. We’re not going to worry about that right now, though, gentle listener.

Why: Listen to the first episode in this podcast series (below) for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Star Trek – any Star Trek. They are all personal, familial even, and brimming with fantastic Trekker enthusiasm.

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

In 2017, Couch Potatoes Unite! appeared live at Grand Rapids Comic-Con in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we engaged in one of our spicy “Vs!” debates, specifically the debate entitled “Star Trek v. Star Wars: Battle of the Stars!” During that special, our second most involved panelist, the infamous Nick, gave an impassioned speech in favor of the Star Trek universe, of which he is undeniably a huge fan. In light of Nick’s passion, then, and of his subsequent repetitive bouts of subtle encouragement dedicated to starting this series, we here at CPU! triumphantly continue our biggest – no, really, this will be our biggest – Retrospective Looking Back series of podcast episodes to date.  Listen to previous episodes in this series here:

The Original Series: Season 1

The Original Series: Season 2

Our panel of CPU! super-regulars and resident Trekkers – specifically Nick, Sarah, Kyle, and Michael – continue our likely “five year mission” to boldly go where (probably) no one has gone before with this third episode of our “Star Trek 50+ Series.” In this feature, we are taking a critical Look Back at a franchise that, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, perseveres, despite occasional periods of dormant but simmering popularity and attempts to regroup in an effort to generate new entries in its over five-decade saga. In each episode of this multi-part series, our panel will Look Back at each season of each series of the Star Trek franchise and will consider how this universe has not only withstood the test of time, while simultaneously becoming timeless, but also continues to rank among the panelists’ personal favorites, not only as a series of television programs but as a favored fandom among many, while remaining one of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed series of television shows of all time.

In this third episode of CPU!’s “Star Trek 50+” series, our panel discusses the third and final season of The Original Series (TOS). We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes in this season as well as our general impressions of the success of not only the third season of this program but the long-term success of the series as a whole. In addition, we present each individual panelist’s “Top 10 Best” and “Bottom 10 Worst” episodes of the series lists, a conversation that veers into spiciness, as the opinions around what constitutes the best episodes and what constitutes the worst are truly diverse – and sometimes in stark disagreement!

Plus, Star Trek represents another entry in our “Best Of!” series. To wit, herein be the list of Star Trek’s (TOS) Best Of!:

  • #12 on TV Guide’s list of 60 Best Series of All Time
  • #43 on Empire‘s “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #30 in 2016
  • #35 on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #18 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Star Trek is one of the most celebrated cult TV shows and TV fandoms, as the show ranks at #1 on TV Guide’s Top Cult TV list in 2004 and 2007.  Plus, Star Trek ranked #33 onThe Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in August 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points and episodic stories of the third season of Star Trek (The Original Series)! Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, schedule permitting, our slightly changed Arrested Development panel returns to the Water Cooler to react to the controversially anticlimactic Season 5, which may or may not be the revived sitcom’s final season, though Netflix has not offered word one way or the other in that regard. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Star Trek (The Original Series) – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who hasn’t somehow seen any portion of it in the over 50 years since it first premiered; who isn’t offended by yesterday’s context of sensibilities in today’s more “woke” world; and who enjoys well-written science fiction stories because Star Trek is pioneering in so many ways, not the least of which includes quality stories underlying each of the show’s imaginative episodes. TOS was clearly ahead of its time, even as it was hampered by societal resistances of the day, and influenced so many other science fiction and fantasy genre shows to follow, not to mention its own spin-offs and sequels. To wit, Star Trek remains a timeless, magical fusion of ensemble cast chemistry, particularly involving the three leads (Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley), and out-of-the-box creativity advanced during a tumultuous cultural time period that is hard not to love, whatever flaws and dated special effects it might have. Indeed, Star Trek has a bit of everything, and, if you love the genre and/or if you love trying something new, and if you have somehow missed this series (please explain how this might be possible?), you should make time for Star Trek. The panelists only caution that The Original Series is, truly, a product of its time, situated as it was deeply within and sometimes at the mercy of the heart and height of the civil rights and women’s movements. In addition, TV in the 1960s was generally a different animal, with more melodrama, slower pacing, and less “B” or side stories to engage interest and/or short attention spans, as well as some famously primitive special and visual effects. Entering into your continuing mission with this information and an open mind will guarantee a journey unlike any other, where you have never gone before, and where you’ll always want to revisit, aboard the Enterprise NCC-1701 or otherwise.

All three seasons of TOS are currently available to stream on Netflix, Prime, and Hulu, and maybe some other services of which we are not aware. In the meantime, the CPU! Star Trek 50+ Series panel will return in the fall with Episode 3 of this series, in which we talk Season 3 of TOS. Until then!

American Horror Story Series, Episode Eight, Season 8: “Apocalypse” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our returning but newly, and for the first time, full panel of casual to serious horror fans (and rotating moderators!) – including moderator Nick; Sarah; Emily; Kallie; Eddie, who is new to the panel but not to the podcast; and, of course, Kylie, the Chief Couch Potato – gathered Around the Water Cooler to chat about the eighth season of American Horror Story, otherwise known as “Apocalypse.”  This is the eighth episode of an ongoing CPU! podcast series examining one of our favorite television programs throughout its anthology of various seasons depicting different and unique horror stories per season, and it was recorded in July 2019. If you have not watched American Horror Story: Apocalypse, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS. Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” – American Horror Story Series, Episode Eight, Season 8 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, most recently on Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “American Horror Story,” a horror drama created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) that tells a new horror story each season while featuring recurring actors and ensemble players.  This season is subtitled “Apocalypse” and features the return of the witches from Coven (Season 3) as they battle the Antichrist from Murder House (Season 1) and attempt to prevent the apocalypse.

SYNOPSIS

In the near future, the Antichrist, Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), spurs the apocalypse by instigating nuclear warfare. The chosen survivors of the aftermath, including heiress Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), her personal assistant Mallory (Billie Lourd), hairstylist Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters), Gallant’s grandmother Evie (Joan Collins), talk-show host Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter), young adults Timothy Campbell (Kyle Allen) and Emily (Ash Santos), and others, take refuge in a fallout shelter named “Outpost 3,” run with an iron fist by Wilhemina Venable (Sarah Paulson) and Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates). Flashbacks to three years before the apocalypse reveal that “Outpost 3” was an all-boys warlock school led by headmaster John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson), which unknowingly harbored the Antichrist in hopes that he would rise as the first ever male Supreme. The witches’ council of Cordelia Goode (Paulson), Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga), and resurrected Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) are summoned and quickly discover how dangerous Michael is to their coven when faced with his evident powers, as he resurrects deceased witches Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) and Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts). The coven, with the aid of the warlocks, attempts to save humanity by discovering new witch Mallory’s intense powers and by learning more about Michael’s mysterious origins, in particular from Michael’s grandmother Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), and about how to defeat him to prevent the apocalypse.

When: Season 8 aired from September 12, 2018, to November 14, 2018, on FX, with a total of ten episodes.

Where: Each season focuses on a different locale.  This season, the action drifts primarily from “Outpost 3,” in some unknown and removed area in the post-apocalyptic landscape, to the Coven’s school for witches in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the haunted Murder House in Los Angeles, California. Other locations are visited, but these are the three primary settings this season.

Why:  Nick and Sarah, two CPU! regulars, proposed that CPU! publish an American Horror Story podcast series, being big fans of the show, and your Chief CP, who has previously covered this program on the CPU! blog and enjoys the show quite a bit, agreed wholeheartedly to the idea. Thus, we continue our CPU! series revolving around AHS, with each episode in the series focusing on one season of the show.  The series started at the beginning and will be ongoing as long as AHS stays on the air!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

American Horror Story is a groundbreaking horror anthology series that airs on FX.  Not only did this program render the horror genre mainstream television fare, it also propelled anthology formats to popularity.  The show is widely watched and a tent pole for FX, becoming a Halloween/fall-time cable staple of disturbing imagery and grotesque scares.

Two of CPU!’s frequent panelists, and one of our resident married couples, Nick and Sarah, are big fans of the show and, as noted above, proposed that CPU! start a series discussing AHS throughout its seasons.  We have already published our first episode in this series, chatting the first season of AHS, widely known as “Murder House;” the second episode discussing the second season, “Asylum;” the third episode discussing the third season, “Coven;” the fourth episode discussing the fourth season, “Freak Show;” the fifth episode discussing the fifth season, “Hotel;” the sixth episode discussing the sixth season, “Roanoke;” and the seventh episode discussing the seventh season, “Cult.” Listen here:

Episode 1, Season 1, “Murder House”

Episode 2, Season 2, “Asylum”

Episode 3, Season 3, “Coven”

Episode 4, Season 4, “Freak Show”

Episode 5, Season 5, “Hotel”

Episode 6, Season 6, “Roanoke”

Episode 7, Season 7, “Cult”

In today’s episode, the eighth episode of this series, we cover Season 8, “Apocalypse.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties rotate among the members of our robust AHS panel.  To wit, Nick is back at the moderating mic to talk this eighth season, having most recently moderated the panel’s “Hotel” episode, along with returning panelists Sarah, Emily, and Kallie as well as a panelist new to the panel but not to the podcast (and me).  Our AHS panel is fully full for the first time, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic (or frightened)!

In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Apocalypse” season and our general impressions of the season’s success. Overall, the season induced more positive reactions from our panel as compared to the preceding season, “Cult,” with some panelists reacting more positively than others, though, naturally, each panelist offers a few individual bones to pick with the story’s events and a few Rubber Men to de-rubber while digesting this latest AHS season. Our panel, though, achieves palatable consensus and universal agreement with respect to a couple of elements of the season in this episode’s conversation: all six panelists proved elated to watch the return of the “Coven” and were also generally impressed by new AHS player Fern, who played Michael Langdon, the “Murder House” Antichrist. In fact, the panelists, by and large, cannot wait to see what else he has to offer in future AHS seasons.

This podcast was recorded in July 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Apocalypse” season. 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 The Good Place panel (and obvious Soul Squad) returns to the Water Cooler to process all of their forking feelings about Season 3, the now penultimate season, of the heady, critically acclaimed NBC comedy that tackles, in a manner not often witnessed on network television, the afterlife. Holy shirtballs! Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! American Horror Story Series panel generally agrees that the “Apocalypse” season falls squarely in the middle of the pack when discussing, comparing, and contrasting the overall quality of all existing AHS seasons. On the one hand, Season 8 crosses over the two most beloved casts – and by most beloved, I mean by the panel and by the general AHS fan community as a whole – and offers some truly outstanding “high highs,” including the reappearance of fan favorites, such as (SPOILER) the inimitable Lange, several long absent members of the AHS troupe from the “Murder House” cast, and, of course, the wickedly awesome entrance and general reappearance of all members of the adored Coven. On the other hand, the season also features some strange lows, such as an opening four episodes with characters none of the panelists truly grew to care about, for the most part and with the possible exception of Fern’s Michael; Lourd’s Mallory; and, to a lesser extent, Grossman’s Coco. Additionally, the introduction of Peters’ and Eichner’s Mutt and Jeff characters felt sorely out of place and, in light of the pastiche of those characters, served to handily undercut the good feelings stoked and nurtured by the fact of the crossover itself. Not to mention, the panel found the overarching story line this season to be confusing at times, particularly as key players portrayed several prominent characters from seasons past as well as new characters that the panel struggled to connect to and/or to identify with, such as Paulson’s Miss Venable, especially since Paulson plays other highly featured characters this season, like Cordelia Goode from the aforementioned “Coven” ensemble.

Though the panel excitedly anticipated the gutsy crossover potential of “Apocalypse,” as well as the return to some of AHS’ best forms this season, every panelist also reacted in a somewhat lackluster if not utterly confused manner to the direction and pacing of the story, as all panelists regarded it to be largely disjointed, at least until the “Coven” finally makes its appearance and apart from the magnetic Fern, easily voted the ensemble’s most valuable new player.  In fact, the buzzing build-up from the fan community and media toward this much ballyhooed event did not leave our panelists, at least, with an equivalent or satisfying payoff, as some of the ambitious setups, especially in the offered glimpses of the post-apocalyptic landscape, ultimately produced feelings of let-down when only loose ends from the first four episodes were never addressed in later episodes. In fact, it was the Coven and the Murder House cast members themselves and their performances that proved the ultimate praiseworthy draw for our panelists, rather than the Season 8 story itself. Plus, our panel did not love the season’s end as a general rule, feeling that the show was reaching for “Murder House” redux without the engaging elements that made that season – and, indeed, this whole series – what it was and what it has become in the intervening years.  In short, “Apocalypse” was a bit of a hodgepodge of the very best and the very worst of AHS, but, unlike the seventh season, “Apocalypse” more than compensated our devoted panelists and viewers with a high degree of entertainment value – and pure fun – in the end.

LOOKING AHEAD

Our next episode in this series will cover Season 9, “1984,” which premieres on September 18, 2019, at 10:00 PM on FX.  Thus, our AHS panel will return sometime after the Season 9 finale and then, again, after Season 10, since the horror anthology season has guaranteed longevity for two more seasons.  Stay tuned!

A THEME TO REMEMBER

In tribute to Michael, AHS’ own Antichrist, we link this ditty, an odd little theme used by the show and hearkening back to Season 1. An interesting theme for the son of the devil, no?