Looking Back at “Angel,” Seasons 1-2: The Buffy-Verse 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 experts – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – gathered together once again to Look Back at and to reminisce about Seasons One and Two of CPU! favorite Angel. This is the third part of a five part CPU! podcast series examining two of our favorite television programs, Buffy and Angel, aka “The Buffy-Verse.” If you have not watched any of Buffy or Angel (and I mean, any!), 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!

Stay tuned for Episode 4 of our Buffy-Verse series, in which we cover Seasons 6-7 of Buffy!

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PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Angel,” Seasons 1-2: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Angel,” a cult supernatural, fantasy, action, and horror drama that aired on the Warner Bros. network, or “The WB,” from 1999 to 2004.

What: The ongoing trials of Angel (David Boreanaz), a vampire whose human soul was restored to him by gypsies as a punishment for the murder of one of their own. After more than a century of murder and the torture of innocents, Angel’s restored soul torments him with guilt and remorse. Angel moves to Los Angeles, California, after it’s clear that his doomed relationship with Buffy, the vampire slayer, cannot continue, where he works as a private detective with a variety of associates to “help the helpless,” restoring the faith and saving the souls of those who have lost their way.

SYNOPSIS

Angel (Boreanaz) is an Irish vampire who is over 200 years old and was known as Angelus during his rampages across Europe, but he was cursed with a soul, which gave him a conscience and guilt for centuries of murder and torture. He left Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the end of Season 3 to move to Los Angeles in search of redemption.

He soon finds himself assisted by Allen Francis Doyle (Glenn Quinn), another Irish character who is a half-human, half-demon.  Although he comes across as a ne’er-do-well hustler, Doyle has a heroic side. Doyle serves to pass along cryptic visions from The Powers That Be to Angel. They’re soon joined by Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), also a previous cast member of Buffy. Formerly a popular high school cheerleader, Cordelia starts her tenure on the show as a vapid and shallow personality but grows over the course of the series into a hero. Cordelia later acquires Doyle’s visions. Another character from the Buffy series also makes the jump to its spin-off in Angel’s first season: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof) joins the team under the brave guise of “rogue demon hunter,” acting as comic relief and initially not well-accepted.

In Season 2 of the show, the trio are joined by Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), a young demon hunter who must initially adjust to working with and for a vampire. At the end of Season 2, they travel to the demon world Pylea, where they save Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker), a young Texan physicist whose social skills have become stunted after five years’ captivity.

When: Angel aired on the WB from 1999-2004.

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

Why: Listen to this episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Angel, though the running theme for all panelists’ discoveries of the series involves the show’s association and spin-off status as related to Buffy.

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

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Buffy as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true Buffy-Verse scholars, in what has, again, become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at another couple of cult TV shows that fuel our respective imaginations and tug at our TV-loving hearts. In this five-part series, our panel – featuring CPU! regulars and semi-regulars Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – look back at Buffy and its spin-off Angel, reminiscing about two shows that have withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as two of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television series of all time.

We have already recorded two episodes in this series, Looking Back at Buffy Seasons One, Two, and Three, and Looking Back at Buffy Seasons Four and Five.  You can listen to those episodes here or via our audio channels on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode One, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3

The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode One, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5

In this third episode of CPU!’s “Buffy-Verse” series, our panel discusses Seasons One and Two of Buffy spin-off Angel, covering the series’ beginning and initial growing pains. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of these two seasons.

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 Monday at 7:00 PM, CPU! is going live again!  This time, there will at least be an in-person audience, though we will endeavor to live-stream the whole shindig once more to our Facebook page.  We’ll be back at Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with our 100th EPISODE!!! That’s right, kids!  This little, low budget, garage podcast-that-could is turning 100 in two short years, and our Top 5 Most Available Panelists will be going live with their Top 5 Recommendations from Current TV.  We will then publish an audio-only version on Wednesday, in our best rerun fashion.  You won’t want to miss it!  Here’s the link to the Facebook Event.  Stay tuned!

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RECOMMENDATION

Angel – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who loves nerdy, cult science fiction and fantasy (and/or horror) series in the vein of Star Trek, The X-Files, and similar ilk and to any fan of Joss Whedon and, of course, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Do not, however, expect this show to be a duplicate of Buffy; Angel, as the panel discusses in this episode, struggled to find a consistent tone that set it apart from its predecessor in its earliest seasons.  Once the show settled on said tone and smoothed out the kinks in the original premise, the series became something much different from its parent series, which either appealed or didn’t appeal to fans of the original show.  Still, fans of David Boreanaz would be remiss to neglect watching the series that, along with Buffy, catapulted him into TV recognition and stardom (and primed him for his role on Bones). Plus, the supporting cast is fun, and the show enjoys cameo appearances and crossovers from Buffy characters throughout, including from the titular vampire slayer herself.

The entire Angel series is available to stream at only Hulu, currently. Though the panel’s reviews about Angel are generally mixed, Whedonverse/Buffy-Verse fans know that there is at least a few somethings to love about the spin-off featuring the brooding vampire, once a carouser named Liam.  If you enjoy Buffy, chances are, you’ll enjoy Angel too (though, perhaps, as we found out in our chat, some Buffy fans will enjoy it more than others). This Chief CP says watch it, and judge for yourself.

Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 1 (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 experts – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – gathered together for a longer than usual discussion in which we are Looking Back and reminiscing about the first three seasons of CPU! favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This is the first part of a five part CPU! podcast series examining two of our favorite television programs, Buffy and Angel, aka “The Buffy-Verse.” If you have not watched any of Buffy or Angel (and I mean, any!), 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!

Stay tuned for Episode 2 of our Buffy-Verse series, in which we cover Seasons 4-5 of Buffy!

Episode sponsored by: Heritage Theatre Group

PODCAST! – Cult TV! and Best Of! and Looking Back at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 1 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#49)

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THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP

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Check out HTG’s 2017 Season – Currently On Stage: “Measure for Measure”

For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a cult supernatural, fantasy, action, and horror drama that aired on the Warner Bros. network, or “The WB,” from 1997 to 2001 and on the United Paramount Network, or “UPN,” from 2001-2003.

What: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young women known as “Vampire Slayers” or simply “Slayers,” called or chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness.

SYNOPSIS

Buffy’s mystical calling endows her with powers that dramatically enhance physical strength, endurance, agility, healing, intuition, and that provide a limited degree of clairvoyance, usually in the form of prophetic dreams. She is known as a reluctant hero who wants to live a normal life; however, she learns to embrace her destiny as the vampire Slayer.  Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), a member of the Watchers’ Council, whose job is to train and guide the Slayers. Giles researches the supernatural creatures that Buffy must face, offers insights into their origins and advice on how to defeat them, and helps her stay in fighting form. Buffy is also helped by friends she meets at Sunnydale High School: Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon).

The cast of characters grows over the course of the series. A vampire with a soul, Angel (David Boreanaz), is Buffy’s love interest throughout the first three seasons. At Sunnydale High, Buffy meets several other students besides Willow and Xander willing to join her fight for good, an informal group eventually tagged the “Scooby Gang” or “Scoobies.” Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), the archetypal shallow cheerleader, reluctantly becomes involved. Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) – a fellow student, rock guitarist and werewolf – joins the group through his relationship with Willow. Anya (Emma Caulfield), a former vengeance demon (Anyanka) who specialized in avenging scorned women, becomes Xander’s lover after losing her powers and joins the group in season four. Spike (James Marsters), a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus (Angel) and one of Buffy’s major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers.  In fact, Buffy features dozens of recurring characters, both major and minor, and additional regular characters introduced in later seasons.

When: The show aired on the WB from 1997-2001 and on UPN from 2001-2003.

Where: The show is set primarily in fictional Sunnydale, California, home of one of the series’ fictional entrances to hell, otherwise known as “The Hellmouth.”

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  They are all personal and occasionally touching.

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

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Buffy as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true Buffy-Verse scholars, in what has, again, become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at another couple of cult TV shows that fuel our respective imaginations and tug at our TV-loving hearts. In this five-part series, our panel – featuring CPU! regulars and semi-regulars Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – look back at Buffy and its spin-off Angel, reminiscing about two shows that have withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as two of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television series of all time.

In this first episode of CPU!’s “Buffy-Verse” series, our panel discusses the first three seasons of Buffy, covering the series’ beginning and its initial growing pains and catapult to national popularity.  We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of the first three seasons, which aired on Monday and then on Tuesday nights on the WB network.

In addition, with this episode, CPU! is introducing yet another brand new feature, which sort of combines some old features into one handily titled, efficiently truncated format. You may have noticed that we tend to favor some “best of” lists around here.  Well, in this new feature, called “Best Of!,” we are going to handily provide, right here, right now for Buffy but otherwise within the content entry for each podcast episode, the list of all of the “best of” acclaims a show receives.  In addition, we will be compiling those lists on separate bonus pages of our website (accessible by the menu at the top left of the header).  We’re not ready for the pages, as in they are under construction, but when it comes to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s list of various acclaims accrued over the years, you’ll come to understand why this feature was introduced.

To wit, herein be the list of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Best Of!

  • #41 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
  • #2 on Empires “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #22 in 2016
  • #27 on The Hollywood Reporters “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #38 on TV Guide’s list of the “60 Best Series of All Time”
  • #38 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most celebrated cult TV shows and TV fandoms, as the show ranks at #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s 2009 and 2014 Top Cult TV lists and at #3 on TV Guide’s Top Cult TV list.  Plus, Buffy ranked #49 on TV Guide’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

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’re back around the water cooler when our Once Upon a Time panel reconvenes end of season to talk the second half of Season 6 and the major shake-up and soft reboot in store for the fantasy series’ seventh season.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who loves nerdy, cult science fiction and fantasy (and/or horror) series in the vein of Star Trek, The X-Files, and similar ilk and to any fan of Joss Whedon who hasn’t somehow discovered his first major and most critically and popularly recognized work of screen fiction (beyond the vastly different film, for which he provided creative input later overruled by its producers).  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this series broke ground for so many other series to come, including other popular shows for which writers and creators learned their trade working on this series originally, including shows like Once Upon a Time and even issue-based comedies, like the uneven but musical Glee. This show has a bit of everything, and, if you love solid, quality television – excellent television, in fact – and you have somehow missed this series, you should make time for Buffy. You will not be disappointed in the overall journey and entertainment value that this well written, well performed series provides.

The entire Buffy series is available to stream at only Hulu, currently. Watch it: you won’t regret it!

13 Reasons Why, 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 May 2017, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and conscientious TV fans – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Jenn, Emily, and Jeremy – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 1 of runaway hit and Netflix original 13 Reasons Why. If you have not watched any of 13 Reasons Why, 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! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “13 Reasons Why” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “13 Reasons Why” is a drama-mystery web television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “13 Reasons Why,” adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix, revolves around a high school student, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), and his friend, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who committed suicide after suffering a series of demoralizing circumstances, brought on by select individuals at her school. A box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah before her suicide details thirteen reasons why she ended her life.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on March 31, 2017.

Where: The action takes place in an unnamed, presumably Californian town (the series was shot in California) at fictional Liberty High School.

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.

13 Reasons Why = 4.0, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Teenager Clay Jensen (Minnette) returns home from school to find a mysterious box lying on his porch. Inside, he discovers seven double-sided cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Langford), his classmate and unrequited love, who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Her instructions are clear: each person who receives a package is one of the reasons why she killed herself, and after each person has completed listening to the tapes, they must pass the package on to the next person. If anyone decides to break the chain, a separate set of tapes will be released to the public. Each tape is addressed to a select person in her school and details their involvement in her inevitable suicide.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

It seems like I am asking these questions quite often lately: do you follow our CPU! social media accounts?  Did you ever see a posting or advertisement for panelists at large to join this panel?  No, you didn’t.  Because, in what’s becoming a pattern around here, so many CPU! core panelists advocated for a 13 Reasons Why panel, I had to oblige and subsequently draw lots, since we had more volunteers than actual room on the panel – we have limits around here, as you know, and it’s easier on the ears and on the Chief CP’s editing efforts to observe those limits.

With that kind of popular appeal, I was again afforded the opportunity to appreciate the luxury of demand and (fairly) select a sampling of those requesting to discuss 13 Reasons Why to form this panel of CPU! faithful.  The winners, if they can be labeled as such, since this is not the typical lighthearted CPU! panel covering the typical lighthearted CPU! fare, are all CPU! vets in their own right, namely Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Jenn, Emily, and Jeremy.  In this episode, these conscientious six parse through the thirteen cassette tape sides of 13 Reasons Why and also delve into the ensuing controversies that this unflinching and graphic portrayal of social issues confronting today’s teens has wrought.

In the episode linked below, this panel spends considerable time with and meditates upon each of the deeply flawed characters (Clay and Hannah included) motivating the story within 13 Reasons Why.  The panel also reacts to the most pertinent debates and controversies arising from this critical and popular reception of the series: is the show responsible social commentary or irresponsible revenge fantasy? Does the show glorify suicide, or does it provide a stark and necessary depiction of it in order to provoke needed conversation around signs and triggers?  Does the streaming network provide enough trigger warnings?  Does the concept of recording, what is essentially, a lengthy suicide note on cassette tape feel hokey and undermine the seriousness of the topic, or is it a device to bridge generational gaps underlying comprehension of what today’s teens face compared with the teens of yesteryear?  The Chief CP does not know if our eager but admittedly garage podcast of vocal participants has all the answers, but as with the world at large, some strong reactions are voiced during this longer-than-usual discussion.  I contemplated breaking it into parts but decided that this, likely our longest single episode to date, was best left whole.  Take that as you will.

For those who find it difficult to listen to discussion about sexual assault (rape), suicide, and the other heady topics bridged by this program, please note that we do discuss much of it.  We don’t go into graphic descriptions of what has already been shown, but our discussion may call up those images all the same.

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 Grimm panel returns to the water cooler to recap the final season in the first of a two-part series in which we say goodbye to the long-running cult fantasy procedural drama. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

13 Reasons Why is recommended by our panel but with several caveats and disclaimers, not unlike the disclaimers that play starkly before each graphic episode of this in-your-face series.  Many of the panelists recommend this show for its ability to push the conversation about teen suicide, sexual assault, bullying, and other serious issues affecting today’s youth to the forefront.  Some of the panelists feel that the subject matter does not make it one of universal appeal for all potential audiences, while other panelists merely warn watching the show at one’s own risk, given some of the graphic portrayals previously mentioned, but encourage most if not all audiences to give it a chance.  Some panelists advise against binge watching the show, in light of its obviously heavy subject matter, while some panelists feel that the series could only be recommended to persons likely and reasonably able to handle said subject matter.  Some panelists also are reticent to recommend the show too readily for fear of over-hyping the series, when the show’s best impact will be (as it was for us) realized for viewers who walk into watching the episodes with zero preconceived expectations.  In any event, the panelists universally agree that the show was well performed, well adapted, and well directed; the almost unanimous “4” star rating by the panel (with one panelist awarding the show a 4.25) largely comes from two primary aspects: trepidation about whether a season two is really necessary and what would it look like, and concern that the show relies on manipulating the audience toward favoring some characters over others, particularly with some of the reasons described by the middle-episode tapes.  Again, for anyone who has not watched this series and is considering it, take this mixed-message recommendation for what it is: watch, and judge for yourself, but watch with caution all the same.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

13 Reasons Why was renewed for a second season in pretty short order, though a tentative release date has not yet been announced by Netflix, except that Season Two will likely drop in 2018.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all 13 Reasons Why coverage, and this panel will, as such, likely return some time after the release of season 2 to recap the new season in 2018. Until then!

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Five, Marvel’s Iron Fist (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 May 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 and is discussing Season 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist. If you have not watched any of Iron Fist (or its companion series, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage), 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!