Marvel’s Defenders Series, Bonus Content: Marvel’s Defenders Preview + Coming Soon @ CPU!

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A new podcast of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this BONUS mini-episode, recorded in May 2017, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer, i.e. the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel – spent time digesting the teaser trailer for “Marvel’s Defenders,” the miniseries causing all of the hullabaloo in the Marvel universe and the reason why this panel convened in the first place!  In addition, Kylie, the Chief Couch Potato, previews the upcoming schedule at CPU!  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! – Marvel’s Defenders Series, Bonus Content: “The Defenders” Miniseries Preview + Coming Soon at CPU!

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Despite prior advertisements to the contrary, this week’s episode, originally scheduled to be 13 Reasons Why, Season One, was preempted (to be published next week) in favor of this cheeky bonus content from our Marvel’s Defenders Series Panel! Our next four weeks of podcasts look like this:

Tonight: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Bonus Preview: The Defenders Teaser Trailer

Next week: 13 Reasons Why, Season 1

The following week: Grimm, Season 6

The week after that: Looking Back at Grimm

New episodes are, as always, coming down the pike, including new panels, such as for Sense8 and the Buffyverse, and new episodes from old panels, including How to Get Away with Murder, The Vampire Diaries, American Horror Story, and the Full/er House Series.  Don’t miss them! Stay tuned!

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!

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode 5, “Marvel’s Iron Fist” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s Iron Fist” is a web television series based upon the Marvel Comics character Iron Fist and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” created by Scott Buck, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the fourth in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. Finn Jones stars as Danny Rand aka Iron Fist, a martial arts expert with the ability to call upon the power of the sacred Iron Fist.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on March 17, 2017.

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

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though I will say that all of the panelists are fans of the Netflix original library and/or superhero/comic book based shows in their own right and have found themselves eagerly anticipating new entries in Netflix’s “Defenders” series of releases.  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 Iron Fist = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

Danny Rand (Jones) returns to New York City, after being presumed dead for 15 years, to reclaim his family company from Harold Meachum (David Wenham) and his children Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) and Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup). When a threat emerges, Rand must choose between his family’s legacy and his duties as the Iron Fist.

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, and the one available season of Luke Cage.  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

As such, it was only right that we cover the next series in this universe, now the fourth in Netflix’s series of Marvel-centered shows leading up to a special “Defenders” miniseries, which will feature heroes like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage 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 Iron Fist podcast – and the fifth episode of our Marvel’s Defenders Series – featuring Defenders panelists Nick, Kristen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer. While our panel has formed an entertaining bond centered around these Netflix superhero shows, the bond is tested with the variety of opinions expressed about Iron Fist, though the panel universally liked this series better than Luke Cage, despite the warm reception of critics to the latter and the lukewarm reception to the former.  The panelists also agree that Iron Fist is largely fun and far more engrossing than its predecessor “Defender’s” solo series, but the panel differs on how effective this fun ultimately was, with some panelists preferring Iron Fist to Jessica Jones and others liking Danny Rend less (though all except one agree that Daredevil remains the best of the four series).  Nevertheless, while the panel’s overall stance may be somewhat controversial, as audience reception to Iron Fist is equally varied, we do have our supporting reasons – to find out what they are, listen via the embedded link below.

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, a new panel will sit “around the water cooler” to tackle – in record time – controversial new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, based upon the novel of the same name.  Stay tuned for that and for some bonus content we recorded during our Iron Fist session…which should be published any day now (though not today)!

RECOMMENDATION

Iron Fist is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of comic books, particularly from the Marvel universe; fans of the various Defenders series; fans of the character; fans of kung fu and karate movies; and fans of epic fantasy along the lines of Star Wars or, more on the nose, stylized martial arts epics like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  The panel generally and universally agrees that Iron Fist is well-performed and aptly written and directed but for some noticeable execution flaws in pacing and in the fact that the panel feels Iron Fist Season 1, with its secondary focus upon the Hand, might have done better to come a bit earlier in the Defenders chronology–say, before Daredevil Season 2–given how the Hand was depicted in this series versus in Daredevil and given the fact that much of that depiction is open to interpretation. Still, the entire panel had fun watching this series and believes that some of the criticism from trade critics and viewers alike is harsh to the point of being unfair, as the panel uniformly asserts that many who find more than small faults with this series may have missed (or simply do not prefer) its tendency toward subtleties and foreshadowing.  They may also not understand or appreciate the fact that Jones is playing a childlike character in an adult’s body who is also meant to be a fish out of water – from an ethnic as well as a “this dimension, that dimension” perspective.  The panel, further, vehemently disagrees with the “white washing” controversy surrounding this show; while we acknowledge that white washing is prevalent in mainstream Hollywood and is a potential problem, Danny Rand as a character is white in the comics and is meant to be the “other” in the mystical village in which he spent his childhood as well as in Manhattan when he tries to reintroduce himself into his former life.  The entire panel, therefore, recommends re-watching with an open mind for those who struggled with some of these aspects and a first watch for those interested in the Defenders as a whole.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Iron Fist has not yet been renewed for a second season, though Netflix is no doubt preparing for its high profile release of The Defenders miniseries in August 2017 and may be waiting to gauge the reception to its much-hyped and long-in-the-making miniseries before planning futures for Iron Fist, considering that reception has been cooler to this series than to the other three overall.  CPU! will be following Iron Fist throughout its series run, though, as part of CPU!’s Marvel’s Defenders Series, so we will definitely return to podcast about a season two, should one be commissioned.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all Netflix/Marvel coverage.  In addition, the CPU! Marvel’s Defenders panel will return sometime after August 18, 2017, to review the first season of The Defenders in all of its splendiferous crossover glory.  Until then!

Person of Interest, Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new 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 April 2017, our relevant persons of interest – including Moderator Kylie, Spencer, and Selene – pine wistfully while praising effusively and Looking Back at the five intense seasons of Person of Interest, which aired from 2011 to 2016 on CBS. If you have not watched Person of Interest, 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! – Looking Back at “Person of Interest” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Person of Interest,” a science fiction crime drama, created by Jonathan Nolan, that aired on CBS from 2011 to 2016.

What: “Person of Interest” features Michael Emerson (Lost) as Harold Finch, a technology and computer genius who, in the wake of 9/11, invents a Machine, which he sells to the government.  The Machine is designed to predict disasters and events with a high probability of catastrophic fatalities, except that Finch becomes aware that the Machine also predicts singular deaths, termed “acceptable losses,” that it discards or that are ignored by those associated with the Machine.  Consumed by several personal crises, including knowledge of the Machine’s capabilities, Finch hires former CIA-operative John Reese (Jim Caviezel, Passion of the Christ) as a vigilante responsible for saving the endangered lives predicted by the Machine.  In the first few seasons, Taraji P. Henson plays a police detective who first suspects and follows the mysterious operatives and then becomes an integral part of their operation. In addition, as the program progresses, the complicated lives and backgrounds of not only Finch and Reese but of everyone connected directly or indirectly to the Machine, as well as the Machine’s own complex programming, expose the corruption of higher powers, including federal government agencies, the New York Police Department, and the seedy underbelly and crime syndicates of greater New York City, (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/person_of_interest/summary.html).

When: The show aired for five seasons, from 2011 to 2016, on CBS.

Where: The show is set in New York City and follows Reese, Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman), and Finch, as well as other characters that come and go throughout the series, as the Machine generates new numbers with associated lives to save or perpetrators to stop. Occasionally, the action leaves New York State if there is a larger story arc or a flashback providing character background.

Why: The Chief CP initially watched the show for three solid reasons: J.J. Abrams is an executive producer, Jonathan Nolan (i.e. Christopher Nolan’s writer brother) created the concept, and the show features Michael Emerson, best known as morally ambiguous Benjamin Linus on Lost, one of the truly great actors on that show.  I was also intrigued by seeing Jim Caviezel in a non-Jesus role and enjoyed Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I kept watching because I never could have conceived what the program would ultimately become or how the high-concept premise would offer longevity and/or wildly entertaining and intellectually stimulating story possibilities.  I was pleasantly surprised by just how exciting, intelligent, and thoroughly engaging this show became.  I thought I was the member of a hidden minority, but after some searching, I found other POIs within the CPU! circles willing to chat about this show – and their admiration for it, as it turns out, matches my own.

How – as in How Do We Really Feel About This Show (in the End)?!

The Chief CP previously covered Person of Interestspecifically in blog form.  Read prior entries via clicking the helpful hyperlinks below:

The Season 3 Premiere

The Season 3 Mid-Season Progress Report

Despite these two articles/reviews, Person of Interest coverage lapsed a bit, per usual, as the Chief CP launched the podcast portion of CPU! (but look how we’re finally catching up!). Also, Person of Interest is intense.  It’s intense, I tell you! – and, therefore, sometimes hard to commit attention to watching, lest the intensity overwhelm.  Plus, following the major character death previously covered in the most recent review, it was hard for me to recover to watch this show again – no joke.  Boy, am I glad I persevered, though!

Also, as we often mention within the podcast episode hyperlinked below, this show was criminally – criminally – underrated.  This high octane action thriller with science fiction aspects embracing super intelligent artificial intelligence just might have been too much for the average TV viewer, as we tentatively discuss in the episode.  The ratings certainly seemed to reflect a wider trepidation in becoming invested in this truly well executed program; in fact, after tossing it around like a rag doll within its weekly schedule for the first few seasons, CBS, in the end, elected to cancel this headily premised show while ordering a shortened fifth season to tie up loose story threads. The good news: Person of Interest reached a grand total of 103 episodes, making it a candidate for syndication, should a benevolent network appreciate its quality and deft execution and elect to give it an afterlife.  The bad news: not enough people saw the show when it was actually airing, rendering the show’s pickup even for syndication a tough sell in the end.  At least Netflix (they really should pay us) can come to the rescue in the meantime.

Plus, though I originally posted about the show on social media as a podcast option over a year ago, no potential panelists emerged or volunteered.  It was only through the steady but exciting expansion of the podcast and the casual conversations one has about TV – it’s how the podcast was inspired, don’t you know – that I was able to assemble a small but super intelligent threesome to sift through the long-term relevance of Person of Interest and its story about super-computers, moral quandaries, and diverse characters with layers like onions and slick chemistry beyond measure. Thus, herein, familiar panelists Spencer and Selene gather “around the water cooler” for a long, loving look back at POI and all that it had to offer, from Caviezel’s expert hand-to-hand combat to Emerson’s riveting, philosophically challenging portrayal of Finch; from Amy Acker’s charming psychopath Root to Sarah Shahi’s steely sociopath Shaw; from the death of Carter (as Henson jumped to Empire on Fox) to the long life of Bear the German Shepherd.  The podcast panelists, your Chief CP and moderator included, spend some time wistfully pining for the days of an active Person of Interest – a special and largely overlooked five-year moment in TV history.

This podcast was recorded in April 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover plot points throughout the Person of Interest series, including the rise and fall of Finch’s beloved Machine. 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 Marvel’s Defenders panel will be back around the water cooler to start controversy over the latest solo Defender series, Marvel’s Iron Fist.  You won’t want to miss it. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Considerations (from prior Person of Interest coverage)

1) Will Root (Acker) being holed up in Finch’s library last, or will the Machine bust her out of her newest prison?

ANSWER: In Season 3, the second half, Root’s ingenuity and zeal to “free” the Machine gives Root the tools needed to break out of this latest prison.  This breakout leads to Root’s capture by shadow government operation Northern Lights, which spawns Samaritan.  Root eventually becomes a bona fide part of the team when she surgically implants a device that allows her to hear instructions from the Machine directly after she is deafened via torture during her Northern Lights capture.

2) Will Elias (Enrico Colantoni) and the Machine ever cross paths?

ANSWER: Though Elias and the Machine never formally meet, Reese and Finch finally make Elias aware of the Machine just prior to Elias (spoiler) faking his death at the end of Season 4.  Elias aids Reese and Finch in their fight against Samaritan throughout the final season – though he does not survive the war.

3) Will Shaw (Sarah Shahi) smack some sense into Reese?  Will she ever get in touch with her inner human?

ANSWER: Shaw and humanity are not overlapping figures in this grand scheme; however, Shaw softens somewhat when she becomes romantically involved with Root later in the series.  As for helping Reese to emerge from the funk caused by Carter’s shocking and abrupt death, Shaw proves downright giddy to fill in for Reese during Reese’s absence as the resident brute muscle marching on behalf of the Machine, though she lobs a few sassy one-liners in Reese’s generally depressed direction for good measure.  As she does.

4) Will Fusco’s role in Finch’s merry band of misfits grow?  Will he be able to save Reese from himself and his spiraling self-destruction as he mourns Carter?

ANSWER: It is Fusco who slaps some sense into Reese in the end.  Fusco seems to make it his personal mission to help John come to grips with the reality of his situation – and then inherits that mission full time when the Machine re-purposes Reese as Carter’s NYPD replacement as a cover to shield Reese’s identity from the watchful digital eyes of Samaritan.  When Reese becomes Fusco’s police partner, Fusco becomes (more) integral to Finch’s overall operation.

5) Where do they go from here?  Will Reese recover?  What is the Machine (and, therefore, Root’s) endgame?

ANSWER: The short answer is that with the activation of Samaritan, Finch’s team is forced to work in secret – that is, under even further cover than ever before. Though Reese recovers, Finch, Reese, and the others are frequently thwarted by Samaritan, who becomes an efficient adversary of the Machine very quickly. Samaritan’s endgame is to manipulate global circumstances such that war, violent crime, disease, hunger, and poverty are eliminated.  Samaritan often orchestrates these improvements at the expense of collateral damage, in human life, while the Machine learns, via its programmer and master Finch, that human life should be valued. While the Machine’s designed endgame is not necessarily clear, at least as explained by Root and/or at the outset of its sentience, the actual fate of the Machine is tied closely to the defeat of Samaritan via what would be several sacrifices on the part of our misfit band of vigilantes.

6) What will Finch do to continue the quest when so much of his operation is in shambles following the cataclysmic confrontation with HR?

ANSWER: Finch eventually brings Root into the fold and eventually – although not until Season 5 – explains the stakes to poor hapless Fusco.  Finch also abandons his library and assumes the secret identity of an assistant professor at a local university while the Machine attempts to cloak the team from Samaritan.  The billionaire Finch also establishes an underground lair at an abandoned subway station, which allows Reese, Finch, and the team to continue to receive “irrelevant” numbers from the Machine while staying off Samaritan’s radar.  In short, the team rebounds, just in time for the final showdown…

7) Will Finch or any of the group have to destroy the Machine in the end?

ANSWER: The short answer – yes.  Finch pulls the proverbial kill switch, though his sentient Machine recognizes the need for the eventuality and cooperates with Finch’s decision because it is the only way to stop Samaritan.

8) Will the Machine continue to predict deaths, either individual or, in connection to its original purpose, larger/catastrophic disasters?

ANSWER: The Machine nearly loses its own sentience at the end of Season 4 when Samaritan is able to scale a full blown assault, causing Root and Finch to have to scramble to save the Machine’s core programming.  A reboot using a score of stolen Playstation 4’s, thanks to Root, allows the Machine to revive and to continue its purpose, even throughout a shortened Season 5.  Once Harold frees the Machine and allows it to expand its programming on the open net, its ability to predict everything broadens without tether, including its own demise in sacrifice to the greater good.

PARTING SHOTS & RECOMMENDATION

Person of Interest boasts riveting storytelling with threads that interweave, overlap, tie together, unravel, and come back together in the end.  Each episode is jam packed with so-called “holy shit” moments, culminating in some of the biggest and most mind-blowing plot developments in television (all hyperbole and exaggeration aside) bolstered by the fully formed and engaging chemistry between this ensemble cast of actors.  In fact, the podcast panelists see Person of Interest as one of the most exciting shows on TV in recent history, though not enough viewers tuned in to keep it going for the long term.

Further, the POI CPU! panelists recommend this program to anyone who likes fast-paced, serial television with easy questions, no easy answers, and witty and intelligent writing, not to mention solid performances from a stellar cast.  Those who enjoy science fiction thrillers like The X-Files, Fringe, and the “Terminator” series will likely and most easily find love for POI, though fans of Caviezel, Emerson, Henson, Acker, and others in the cast will not be disappointed by the performances of these actors on this show.  The panelists universally advocate that there might be something for everyone while warning that this is not “turn your brain off TV.”  Person of Interest makes you think, but the mental stimulation is satisfying and is paid off handsomely by the end of the series.  In fact, aside from the network’s wavering support for POI by the series finale, the podcast panelists, your moderator included, could find little bad to say about POI, nursing a high affection for the show and recommending it fervently to anyone seeking something new/old to add to their present watch lists.

The entire series of Person of Interest is available on Netflix.  I’ll take my free subscription now, thank you. 😉

Sherlock Series, Episode One – Series 1 & 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new 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 April 2017, our panel of enthusiastically Sherlocked Sherlockians — including moderator Kylie, Kristen L, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Kristin T — gathered around the water cooler to gush effusively about the first two series of the BBC-produced, internationally acclaimed, modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation, simply entitled Sherlock.  This is the first part of a CPU! podcast miniseries examining the thirteen available episodes of this widely popular and sparsely (but densely) produced drama.  If you have not watched any of Sherlock, 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!