PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “American Horror Story: Roanoke” (American Horror Story Series, Episode 6, Season 6; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Sarah

THE SPECS:

Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM.

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 “Roanoke;” is set in Roanoke Island, North Carolina, during the year 2016; and focuses upon paranormal events that occur at an isolated farmhouse.

SYNOPSIS

In 2015, Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe), her husband Matt Miller (André Holland), and Matt’s sister Lee Harris (Adina Porter) appear on a documentary called My Roanoke Nightmare to recount a series of supernatural events that happened to them after Shelby and Matt relocated from Los Angeles to North Carolina following a miscarriage. In love with the country surrounding the farmhouse in question, they buy it at auction, but after they move in, the family has a terrifying experience, as their house is on land where the original Roanoke Colony allegedly moved after its famous disappearance, led by witch Scathach; Thomasin White, known as The Butcher; and her followers. Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson) is the actress who portrays Shelby during the reenactment sections of My Roanoke Nightmare, while Dominic Banks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Monet Tumusiime (Angela Bassett) portray Matt and Lee, respectively. The Butcher is played by Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates); her son, Ambrose White, by Dylan (Wes Bentley); and the founder of the house, Edward Philippe Mott, by Rory Monahan (Evan Peters). Elias Cunningham, the previous owner of the house, is portrayed by William van Henderson (Denis O’Hare) and Scathach by an unknown actress (Lady Gaga).

In 2016, after the huge success of My Roanoke Nightmare, the producer of the series, Sidney Aaron James (Cheyenne Jackson), decides to give life to a second season of the series: Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell, bringing back to the house the Millers and the actors who re-enacted the experiences of the family.  The “Roanoke” season primarily spans 2015 and 2016, with dramatized flashbacks, via the My Roanoke Nightmare documentary, set in the 1500s, 1700’s, and 1990’s and an epilogue set in the near future.

When: Season Six aired from September 14, 2016, to November 16, 2016, on FX.

Where: Each season focuses on a different locale.  This season, the action is set largely in Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

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, welcome to our new 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 Much Do We Love this Show?!

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;” and the fifth episode discussing the fifth season, “Hotel.” Listen here:

American Horror Story Series, Episode 1, Season 1, “Murder House”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 2, Season 2, “Asylum”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 3, Season 3, “Coven”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 4, Season 4, “Freak Show”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 5, Season 5, “Hotel”

In today’s episode, the sixth episode of this series, we cover Season Six, “Roanoke.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties will rotate among the members of our small but robust AHS panel; Sarah is back at the moderating mic to talk this sixth season.  In addition, we have opened up the panel to include other panelists, as it was announced that FX renewed American Horror Story for an additional three seasons, through Season Nine!  Thus, in this “Roanoke” chapter, newly addicted CPU! panelist Emily joins the ranks as does a brand new CPU! panelist – Kallie!

In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Roanoke” season and our general impressions of the season’s success.  I should warn you, gentle listener, that we experienced some technical difficulties during the recording of this episode – we were able to save much of the conversation, but even with my best editing skills behind me, there are a couple of funny spots.  Most of the conversation is preserved, though, and we just chalked it all up to being haunted by Scathach, the Witch of the Wood.  STOP HAUNTING US, WITCH!  We recorded three other episodes in the same week without incident.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT!

Read on beyond the episode link below for some explanatory information and bonus content!  Because we refuse to let the Witch of the Wood get us down!

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Roanoke” season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our “Full/er House Series” panel returns, somewhat slimmer but always enthusiastic, to break down the Fuller goings-on of the show’s second season. Stay tuned!

BONUS CONTENT

Unfortunately, the Witch of the Wood created so much havoc, we have to – I mean are happy to! – print some bonus content.  Fortunately, the episode is mostly preserved, as is the gist of what we were saying, and fortunately, we love that we have grown up enough to think of bonus content to share with you lovely listeners, so, without further adieu, um…”Bonus Content!”  Yay!! Bonus!

The Standard CPU! Character Question that Changes with Each Show We Do

As we discuss the character breakdown, the panelists identified thus, despite the audio hiccups…which are edited out, but then so is some of that portion of the discussion (listen to the podcast episode for the full description):

Nick: “All the good ones.”
Kylie: Flora
Kallie: “All the good ones” and “Scathach!” (I’m pretty sure that latter was for Sarah’s benefit)
Emily: “All the good ones”
Sarah: Matt (he was not good)

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Secret Murder Capital of the World?

At the end of the episode, Emily talks about the two sister nurse ghosts/serial killers in the “Roanoke” season, who murder patients with first letters of first names corresponding to each letter of the word “Murder” but who die (and become ghosts trapped on the land) before they can achieve the last “r.”  She references the fact that the two nurses are based upon two real life serial killers, “The Lethal Lovers,” from CPU!’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan (!), lesbian lovers who committed murders using names and the letters of the word “Murder,” just like in the show, but in some form of romantic testament to each other.  Mainstream pop culture news picked up this story as the AHS season broke (links posted below) – as it turns out, though, Emily’s grandmother drove these women home from work, where they all worked together, around the time of their killing sprees!! One is currently housed in a Michigan correctional facility, and one is in federal prison in Florida.  Below is some additional linkage information, and we may explore this topic further in a future episode of CPU!, given its hometown associations (maybe our recording was being haunted by the victims of these people! Yikes!).

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood, Wikipedia

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MTV News

The Huffington Post

New York Times, December 6, 1988 (The Original News Story)

LOOKING AHEAD

Our next episode in this series will cover Season Seven, though the release date and “subtitle” have not been released as of the time of the publication of this post.  What we do know about the seventh season is that it will be closely related to the 2016 United States Presidential Election, a true horror show that, in some ways, we are still living through, even as we speak…  Thus, our AHS panel will return sometime after the Season 7 finale and then, again, after Seasons 8 and 9, since the horror anthology season has guaranteed longevity for three more seasons.  Stay tuned!

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “3rd Rock from the Sun” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “3rd Rock from the Sun,” a situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1996 to 2001.

What: Created by Bonnie and Terry Turner, the show depicts four extraterrestrials who are on an expedition to Earth, which they consider to be a very insignificant planet, and who pose as a human family to observe the behavior of human beings.

SYNOPSIS

“3rd Rock” revolves around an extraterrestrial research expedition attempting to live as a normal human family in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, said to be outside of Cleveland, where they live in an attic apartment. Humor is principally derived from the aliens’ attempts to study human society and, because they live as humans themselves while on Earth, to understand the human condition. In later episodes, they are more accustomed to Earth and often are more interested in their human lives than in their mission.

Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) is a professor of anthropology at (fictional) Pendelton State University, and many of the issues with which the four aliens struggle stem from her work and observations. Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), the High Commander and leader of the expedition, is the family provider as a physics professor at Pendelton (with Ian Lithgow, John Lithgow’s oldest son, playing one of his less successful students). Information officer and oldest member of the crew Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been given the body of a teenager and is forced to enroll in high school (later college), leaving security officer Sally (Kristen Johnston) and “the one with the transmitter in his head,” Harry (French Stewart) to spend their lives as 20-somethings hanging out at home and bouncing through short-term jobs. The family often communicates through Harry with their off-world (and usually unseen) boss, the Big Giant Head, who when he finally visits Earth, appears in the body of William Shatner.

When: The show aired for six seasons, from 1996 to 2001, on NBC.

Where: The show is primarily set in fictional Rutherford, Ohio.

Why: Listen to the podcast episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found 3rd Rock from the Sun.

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

Once upon a time, Netflix hosted some classic sitcoms to ingest and to consume on a whim, as one does while on Netflix.  Once upon a time, Netflix changed its library (on an annoyingly monthly basis), and many of those sitcoms left the streaming service.  During one such brief window of time between content shuffles, the Chief CP chanced upon the program du jour and used said chance to rediscover 3rd Rock, which, of course, rendered the show eligible to be the next CPU! “Looking Back” candidate.  While finding new appreciation for the zany antics of the four main characters and of, arguably, Dr. Albright, I wondered if others would care to look back at a show that was more often than not over the top, thanks to the daring comedic performance of Lithgow, while remaining insightful about the human condition in a somewhat timeless way, using the perspective of “other” or “the naive” to comment upon mundane human foibles.

Fortunately, a medium sized panel of new and old voices at CPU! – including frequent panelist Nick, “Looking Back” expert Michael, and brand new panelist Penny – were willing to huddle up in our allegedly too small, allegedly attic, alleged apartment to do just that. Thus, in this current “Look Back,” we reminisce about the show that cemented John Lithgow’s legacy/storied career within the annals of pop culture; revived the career of original Not for Primetime Player Jane Curtin; and launched the career of indie actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in addition to providing a veritable playground for able character actors like Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, and Wayne Knight in which to have fun and freedom with this spacey tale. We talk about the whimsical, the farcical, and the out of this world quality of the theatrical 3rd Rock, an unusual sitcom entry for the late 90s pastiche, in that it hearkened back to gimmicky comedies of yesteryear like Alf or Bewitched.  We also offer our own appreciation for a sitcom that has managed to stay both funny and relevant, despite the fact that it is approximately twenty years old.

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations throughout the six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun. 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 American Horror Story Series panel returns (we hope! we strive! take two!) to talk the cable horror anthology series with a newly expanded panel, a new moderator (who moderated on this series panel before), and a new, detailed examination of the latest and arguably most terrifying AHS chapter to date, subtitled “Roanoke.”  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

3rd Rock does not typically make “Best Of” television lists nor does it merit a solid ranking from most of the CPU! panelists in this episode with the exception of one.  Yet, all of the panelists would recommend this hammy and cheesy comedy to anyone looking to laugh. The common sentiment: the humor holds up, thanks in no small part to Lithgow’s otherworldly performance as the needy but knowing High Commander Dick, and remains timely and relevant, even by today’s questionably wavering standards.  The execution is not without occasional flaws, but all panelists agree that laughs ensue regularly, and some of the nerdier panelists highlight Easter Eggs for science fiction fans sprinkled throughout the episodes.  In addition, the chemistry of the four main actors playing family Solomon is solid, and the supporting actors, particularly Jane Curtin, may be the unsung heroes of the entire piece, offering priceless reactions to the four awkward but lovable aliens in disguise.  Our 3rd Rock panel recommends this sitcom most to those who appreciate theatrical acting – as it is used to great effect in this sitcom space – and to those who enjoy “Must See TV” from the past.  Though it may not trump more solid Peacock offerings from the era, such as Seinfeld or Friends, the panel believes that anyone could enjoy 3rd Rock from the Sun, even if the show might seem like a time capsule of the 90s at choice intervals. Unfortunately, this sitcom is not available to stream on any of the typical sites; it can be purchased to stream (Prime notwithstanding) at Amazon.com.  Still, if laughs are what you’re looking for, 3rd Rock may very well be worth some monetary investment – especially the episodes with the erstwhile Captain Kirk – but you don’t have to take our word for it.

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Grimm” – The Goodbye Series, Part 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grimm” aired on network TV, specifically on NBC, for six seasons, from 2011-2017.

What: “Grimm,” a supernatural/fantasy drama, wherein supernatural forces, the stuff of nightmarish fairy tales and legends, are disguised as human beings, and only those descended from the original Brothers Grimm, can see – and fight – those beings and their true natures (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/grimm/summary.html).

When: The show aired in its entirety on NBC from 2011 to 2017.

Where: The show is set in Portland, Oregon, present day.

Why:  The premise of this show has always been intriguing: Grimms are not weavers of fairy tales but are humanity’s last line of defense against the beasts and monsters that haunt our nightmares. This generation’s Grimm is a police detective who stumbles into his family legacy by accident and must adjust what is his mostly normal life to these new abnormalities.  The mythology in this show is steep, meaning it will always be a cult TV show at best, but cult TV tends to appeal to this group of CPU! panelists more than mainstream/non-cult TV, and none of us have been disappointed by Grimm so far…and we continue to be drawn into its mythical and magical world, as the show only gets better in the process.

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

Couch Potatoes Unite!’s Complete Grimm Coverage

The Season Three Premiere Recap

Seasons 3, 4, and 5 Reflections and Recap

Season 6 Recap (Goodbye Series, Part 1)

Our Grimm panel of bona fide “Grimmsters” – Kristen, Nick and Jen – could not leave Grimm behind forever without spending quality time saying a long and (mostly) loving goodbye to this show, which has been in our lives for six years. After our Season 6 discussion, we agreed to reconvene to discuss the show as a whole, including all of its ups and the occasional downs, for part two of our two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says goodbye to this fantastic, fantastical program. In this second part, our panelists delve deep, reminiscing about what we loved and what we did not like as much from Grimm’s six seasons and about whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it was a bit of lightning in a bottle or as fleeting as rage-driven “woge’ing.”

This second part of our two-part Grimm goodbye was recorded in May 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of all six seasons of the series because, as you may have gleaned, our panel’s devotion to Grimm is as steadfastly loyal as it is to other genre shows that CPU! coversbased upon the program’s roots to the Brothers Grimm and to the history of monster stories throughout the ages.  Give the new episode a listen, see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts, 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 week, our American Horror Story Series panel returns after a several-month hiatus, sporting new members and a renewed desire for discussion about the anthology series’ most recent, sixth season entry, “Roanoke,” moderated by panelist Sarah. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The entire panel recommends Grimm to anyone who likes anything about the fantasy or horror genres and advises that such genre nerds consider giving it a chance – or a second chance if the first chance didn’t quite sell the stable. Apart from some shaky continuity and several abandoned story threads, which may compromise re-watch-ability – in fact, the most consistent continuity arises from how regularly the show abandoned some plot arcs without offering a deeper meaning to the overall narrative or a neat resolution to leave our panelists satisfied – the panel agrees that Grimm remains well written, well performed, and worth the look, with a decent, good-not-great, and ultimately satisfying, if imperfect, denouement.  Still, Grimm goes out on a high note and potentially earns at least one nostalgic re-watch, somewhere down the line.  Also: David Giuntoli is a handsome leading man, if those kinds of details matter to discerning viewers like you. 😉

Grimm is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime through season five; season six is currently available to watch via the NBC streaming app through the end of September 2017.  Did you watch Grimm?  Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you thought of any or all of its six seasons!  And stay tuned!  Though our Grimm coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time.  CPU! has some new plans to expand our panel formats in new and exciting ways. Details coming soon (as we work them out)! 🙂

In the meantime, from our Grimm panel of devoted Grimmsters to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing Grimm series, which now officially comes to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

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Our “Grimm” panel, from left to right: Kristen, Nick, and Jen!

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The last screen-shot of Grimm prior to the finale end credits.

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Grimm” – The Goodbye Series, Part 1: The Season Six Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grimm” aired on network TV, specifically on NBC, for six seasons, from 2011-2017.

What: “Grimm,” a supernatural/fantasy drama, wherein supernatural forces, the stuff of nightmarish fairy tales and legends, are disguised as human beings, and only those descended from the original Brothers Grimm, can see – and fight – those beings and their true natures (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/grimm/summary.html).

When: Season Six aired from January 6, 2017, to March 31, 2017, on NBC.

Where: The show is set in Portland, Oregon.

Why:  The premise of this show has always been intriguing: Grimms are not weavers of fairy tales but are humanity’s last line of defense against the beasts and monsters that haunt our nightmares. This generation’s Grimm is a police detective who stumbles into his family legacy by accident and must adjust what is his mostly normal life to these new abnormalities.  The mythology in this show is steep, meaning it will always be a cult TV show at best, but cult TV tends to appeal to this group of CPU! panelists more than mainstream/non-cult TV, and none of us have been disappointed by Grimm so far…and we continue to be drawn into its mythical and magical world, as the show only gets better in the process.

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

CPU! last covered Grimm in January of this year, quickly catching loyal potatoes up on three seasons of the program after a hiatus from covering the cult favorite on the blog. To refresh, give a read or take a listen to our prior coverage:

The Season Three Premiere Recap

Seasons 3, 4, and 5 Reflections and Recap

In this entry, our Grimm panel, featuring frequent CPU! panelists Kristen, Nick, and Jen, engages in part one of a two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says our own protracted goodbye to this procedural fantasy horror drama about monsters and monster-hunters based upon the stories by the Brothers Grimm.  In the first part of this miniseries, our panelists delve deep into recapping Grimm’s final season, in which our characters battle “The Destroyer,” solve the mystery of the healing Grimm stick, and find relative happiness ever after by the end of the series.  In the second part, which will publish next week, CPU!’s Grimm panel will engage in one of our “Looking Back” discussions, during which we will reflect upon Grimm as a whole and whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it was but a precious, fleeting moment in the annals of TV’s Friday fright nights.

In season six, Nick (David Giuntoli) faces his grimmest foe yet; squares off against Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz), still reaching for some type of power; and sorts through feelings for Eve, formerly known as Juliette (Elizabeth “Bitsie” Tulloch), while raising his son with current love and former enemy Adalind (Claire Coffee).  In the meantime, Nick, as he always has, battles the wesen that go bump in the night with the help of his police partner Hank (Russell Hornsby), Lt. Wu (Reggie Lee), and wesen power couple Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner).  Thus, in this chapter “Around the Water Cooler,” our Grimm panel examines each of the main characters and discusses how we feel about the show’s swansong season, including the all-too-brief “20 Years Later” epilogue tag of the series finale and the touching, multilingual goodbye to fans.

This first part of our two-part Grimm goodbye was recorded in May 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the sixth and final season.  In fact, our panel’s devotion to Grimm is as steadfastly loyal as it is to other genre shows that CPU! coversbased upon the program’s roots to the Brothers Grimm and to the history of monster stories throughout the ages.  Give the new episode a listen, see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts, 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 week, we publish the second part of this two-part goodbye series, in which our Grimm panel looks back at the show as a whole in one last chat, for this particular panel and for this particular show, around the water cooler. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Final Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will the Royals return in the sixth season?  If they do, what will be their aim?  Are they behind the wesen uprising organization known as “Black Claw?” Who is the ultimate head of “Black Claw?” Is Sean head of both now?  Why?

ANSWER: The Royals did not return; in fact, they seem rather extinct – a forgotten plot arc from this six-season series.  What’s more, the writers and producers never explained who founded Black Claw and whether or not those founders are/were connected to the Royals.  The show only served to confirm, via a convenient off-screen investigation by Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni), that Black Claw was officially defunct as of the season premiere or shortly thereafter.

2) What is the stick that Nick found in the Grimm treasure chest, and what part will it have to play in the coming episodes?  Does it only work when he touches it?  Is it meant for him or for any Grimm?  Is it divine in origin?  Where was it found?  Why do the Grimms have it? Can wesen use it?  Does it heal but also take life away?  So many questions have been raised!

ANSWER: The stick, with the magical healing powers, turns out to play a critical part in the final season.  What we learn is that the stick is a shard of a larger whole: a staff, in possession of a demon called Zerstorer (which is German for “The Destroyer”).  Zerstorer resides in a world beyond mirrors, a heaven or hell for wesen, in which they are voged all the time, though humans also exist in this looking glass dimension.  Zerstorer possesses the staff now, but Monroe pieces together that the staff has been passed around through the ages; in fact, whether it began with or was merely possessed by him, the staff at one point belonged to the biblical Moses, who carried commandments and parted seas.  The staff seems only to respond to Zerstorer, to Nick (or, perhaps, a Grimm), and to Diana, Adalind and Sean’s daughter.  The shard/staff plays a larger part in a prophecy foretelling the end of times, should Zerstorer obtain the shard, make the staff whole, and also marry his destined child bride, the all-powerful Diana.  

The show did not explain outright that the staff/shard is divine in origin, but as the staff is connected to Moses and to other biblical figures, like the David who slew Goliath, I think it is safe to assume that the power of the stick is, in fact, divine.  The show, however, does not explain how the staff came to appear, where Zerstorer came from, or how he came upon the staff himself.  We do know that the Grimms who fought in the Crusades found the shard stick and hid it in the Black Forest in Germany, accessible by the Grimm keys.  Wesen can use it, if the wesen in question is Diana, who is three quarters hexenbiest.  The shard can also destroy, particularly if arming the staff of Zerstorer.

Despite all the questions, the show and its writers did see fit to answer all of the questions (or most) pertaining to the series’ overarching mythology, though the ending sort of confused matters.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) Will young Diana, who has grown at an alarming rate, be the “Big Bad” of the final season, with her bratty child demeanor and potent magical ability?  How will Adalind (and Sean) keep her in check?

ANSWER: Diana, fortunately, is not the Big Bad but is connected to said Big Bad by prophecy.  In fact, she figures into the proceedings like something of an Antichrist, Grimm-style: if she marries/mates with Zerstorer, the world this side of the mirror will end.  To her credit, Diana responds dutifully to Adalind and Sean, though they handle her with proverbial kid gloves.  After all, when set off, their daughter proves to be quite the little murderer.

4) Is Juliette still a hexenbiest? Will she be more Juliette-like since coming into contact with the magical Grimm healing stick?

ANSWER: Juliette, now Eve, remains a hexenbiest as of the final closing credits of the series, but as far as whether contact with the Grimm stick brought out her inner Juliette – undetermined.  Juliette/Eve seems to experience remnants of former emotions and memories of her love for Nick, but these fleeting feelings never last. In fact, at the last, she is willing to die for Nick, having no regrets about the paths their lives have taken.  Unfortunately, the epilogue fails to discuss how Juliette/Eve fares twenty years into the future.

5) Will there be a war between wesen and humans?  Did Black Claw and the resistance organization Hadrian’s Wall effectively incite one?  Are humans more aware of wesen now?

ANSWER: The short answer is no.  Apparently, Sean’s swift, marionette-like murder (courtesy of his daughter) of Bonaparte effectively ends anything to do with Black Claw, Hadrian’s Wall, or the potential war among wesen. Humans, at least those in Portland, further remain blissfully unaware of the innately monstrous inner qualities of their wesen neighbors.  If it smells like an abandoned plot line, it most likely is an abandoned plot line, or so the panel surmises in this podcast episode.

6) Will Nick end up with Juliette or will he be with Adalind, who he now also loves and who has custody of their son, Kelly (listen to the podcast for details)?  Will Adalind be able to return to Nick?

ANSWER: Survey says – Nick and Adalind!  Juliette/Eve, feeling no regret about the trajectory of her life and her split personality, does not pursue anything with former flame, Grimm Nick.  In fact, Adalind is swiftly able to return to Nick after Bonaparte’s death, and, following the ending events of the series finale, it is presumed by the panel that she and Nick raise their son Kelly to be a Grimm fighter like his father.

7) Does Sean really subscribe to Black Claw’s philosophies?  What will he do that he is now mayor, owing to the fact that he “got in bed” with Black Claw, who aims for wesen to live free as the creatures they are?  Who will be promoted to Captain of the South Precinct? Will Hank (Russell Hornsby)?  Will Wu (Reggie Lee)?  Will Nick?

ANSWER: In a complicated shuffling of allegiances and character motivations, we learn that, apparently, Sean bought in to that whole Black Claw mantra and is drunk on potential mayoral power, declaring Nick a fugitive and ordering his fellow police officers to search for, arrest, and detain Nick as the season begins. Nick, though, is a wily Grimm with a willing group of friends ready to help, and through the same hexenbiest ritual that led to Adalind’s pregnancy, Nick breathes through the Sorting Hat to take on the visage of one Captain/Mayor Sean Renard.  It is a risky venture, though, as Nick’s inherent Grimm-ness puts Nick in jeopardy of being Sean’s double permanently, but while playing doppelganger, he is able to stage a press conference, where Nick-as-Sean renounces his public office and abdicates as mayor as well as declares Nick free and clear of all criminal charges, thus leaving Sean to continue in his capacity as captain and to seethe at Nick from a much-too-close afar.

8) Is there a cure for Wu’s lycanthrope condition?  Rosalee said there wasn’t one, but she’s pretty resourceful with spices and teas.  What will happen to him?  What is he, really?

ANSWER: Apparently, there really is no cure, or none found within the six seasons of Grimm. As of the final moments of the series, Wu remains a lycanthrope – who, as panelist Jen pointed out, looks vaguely (and more) like a caveman rather than a werewolf.  And since the show fails to mention Wu’s fate in the epilogue, we presume he lives happily ever after – lycanthrope and all.

9) Rosalee is pregnant.  Will the baby be half blutbaten, half fuchsbau, or one or the other? Will she be able to have it, since wesen mixing is uncommon?

ANSWER: Well, it’s not so much the baby as the babies. Rosalee and Monroe make triplets, as it turns out, though what mixture of wesen they might be remains a mystery and one unsolved by the show’s writers.

10) Will baby Kelly be half hexenbiest (or zauberbiest), half Grimm, or one of the other?

ANSWER: We know Kelly grows up to be a Grimm like his dad; whether he has magical ability or not like his mom, the show did not say.

11) Will Hank finally find a woman or fall in love with one who doesn’t leave him or physically threaten his life in some way?

ANSWER: As of the series’ final moments, Hank is not romantically linked to anyone, but we think it’s safe to say that Hank is able to achieve some much needed self-love and appreciation during a farcical run-in with this show’s version of Cupid.  A little venomous spit, a little champagne, a mirror, and some Marvin Gaye will go a long way, am I right?!

12) What is at the end of the tunnels underneath Nick’s secret bunker apartment? Why did we spend so much time worrying about those tunnels, except to set up the other characters’ escape from Black Claw and Sean while Nick stayed behind to fight them when they descended upon the loft?

ANSWER: The tunnels are nothing more than a way out and to the surface above ground when the plot calls for such a convenience, a place to lay low when the characters need to hide (like Nick and Eve), and a place in which Eve can magically carve mysterious symbols on the underground walls as a result of her contact with the Grimm shard.  Lucky the tunnels were there, then, we guess.

13) What will Sean do to Nick, since Nick took out all of the Black Claw that came to kill him?

ANSWER: Sean tries to have Nick arrested and/or killed as the season starts and as described above, but when Nick pulls his magical body switcheroo and solves all of the ruckus and ado, Sean and Nick reach an uneasy detente, at least until they are forced to work together to protect their children from Zerstorer.

14) What will Nick do to Sean, since Adalind was coerced into leaving Nick with Kelly to be Sean’s political trophy wife and Diana’s caretaker with the promise that Adalind could be reunited with Diana?

ANSWER: Nick gets a few licks in while wearing Sean’s looks but ultimately chooses to keep his distance after the hullaballoo, for the sake of their precinct and their children.

15) Will baby Kelly grow as fast as Diana?  Or, was Diana augmented by the spell that Adalind underwent in season three to regain her hexenbiest abilities?  Will these young but presumably magical siblings have to duke it out somehow?  Will Kelly grow at an alarming rate?  Or, will the show time jump during the final season?

ANSWER: There are no answers to most of these questions.  The show did time jump in the epilogue, so we see Kelly first as a baby and then as a 20 year old man, in a trailer not unlike Aunt Marie’s trailer, previously torched by Juliette when she first assumes her hexenbiest abilities.  We don’t know how or why Diana came to be so powerful (except by prophecy), and the epilogue tells us that brother and sister get along fairly well in their grown up years.

16) How will the show end?  Will there be a “happily ever after” for our characters?  Will we lose someone this season?  How will these thirteen episodes shape up?

ANSWER: Zerstorer ends up killing everyone that Nick loves in succession, beginning in the penultimate episode with Wu and Hank at the precinct, followed by Juliette/Eve at the Spice Shop and Sean, Adalind, Monroe, Rosalee, and Trubel at the cabin where Nick first met/worked with Monroe in the pilot and where Nick, Adalind, and Sean are hiding the children from Zerstorer.  Zerstorer facilitates this carnage to entice Nick to give him the shard stick to complete the broken Staff, which Zerstorer needs whole in order to fulfill the prophecy of his world domination and creepy wedding to Diana.  Nick momentarily contemplates willingly volunteering the shard to Zerstorer’s reaching claw in order to bring back all who have died, after Zerstorer revives Trubel to show Nick that it is possible to have everyone back and alive with the Staff’s power.  Trubel resolves to stop Nick, and they get into a drag-out fight, Grimm versus Grimm.  Nick bests Trubel but meets the (spirit? embodiment? walking dead?) personages of his mom Kelly (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton), who not only convince him to do what’s right but go into battle with him, fighting alongside Nick and Trubel.  They defeat Zerstorer; Trubel doesn’t see Nick’s family, but powerful Diana does, as do Nick and Zerstorer.  The spirits of his family disappear as Nick resolves to revive everyone with the staff Zerstorer left behind (now whole with the shard). After Nick removes the cursed engagement ring from Adalind’s cold finger, ready to revive her, a portal opens instead, and Nick is drawn back to this world at a time when everyone is alive, at the point where Zerstorer originally came through the mirror before all the dying happened and without the Destroyer himself.  Only Diana knows what really happened, while Nick feels gratitude and relief that everyone is saved, though Monroe finds the staff, a new anomaly to this new present.  Also, Adalind wears no ring when Nick returns to this world.  It is a tearful moment, ringing of a cast goodbye.  Eve, who was temporarily not a hexenbiest after emerging from the mirror portal a first time without her wesen side, is restored.  Nick and Adalind remain forever together.  

In the Epilogue, we see Kelly Jr. writing in the Grimm books, telling the tale of his Dad’s heroic saving of the world (he also tells us how Trubel is related to Nick, in that she is his third cousin on his mother’s side).  Diana comes in and informs him that Dad-Nick, Mom-Adalind, and “the Triplets” are on the trail of a wesen.  They are clearly nice siblings to each other.  Diana magically closes the Grimm book.
The End.

17) Are Nick and Trubel related after all?  What does the ancient Grimm registry reveal?

ANSWER: We don’t get to see any glimpse of the registry, but Kelly Jr., in the Epilogue, confirms that Trubel is Nick’s third cousin on his mother’s side.

18) Will any of the characters end up dying?  The podcast panelists feel that Wu, Monroe, Rosalee, and Adalind are particularly susceptible to possible collateral self-sacrifice because of their histories (Wu has the strange lycanthrope disorder, Monroe and Rosalee constantly run into danger for Nick, and Adalind does the same for her children and may do something self-sacrificing for Nick or even for Juliette, as she has sometimes done in the past).

ANSWER: All of the characters survive, thanks to the magical, possibly divine, Grimm stick/shard/staff.  Monroe and Rosalee have the triplets, and everyone keeps on fighting wesen, at least for another twenty years… In other words, They Live Happily Ever After.  The End.  Again.

Lingering Questions

1.) Who were the Royals really, other than Sean’s biological family, and why were we forced to care about them for so many seasons if they were only going to be forgotten in the end?

2) What sorts of beings are Monroe and Rosalee’s triplets, and why did the show not bother to speculate upon this important detail?

3) Where are Hank, Wu, and Juliette/Eve in the epilogue?  They’re not worth a mention after all that?

4) How about a spin-off, Grimmsters?

PARTING SHOTS

Grimm became appointment television for our devout panelists, whether on Friday fright night or via Saturday morning Hulu doses.  Though never a perfect program or more than a cult favorite because of its steep mythological aspects and show-specific jargon, the fan base it cultivated in six years became tenacious, voracious, and loyal.

The entire panel recommends Grimm to anyone who likes anything about the fantasy or horror genres and advises that such genre nerds consider giving it a chance – or a second chance if the first chance didn’t quite sell the stable. Apart from some shaky continuity and several abandoned story threads – in fact, the most consistent continuity arises from how regularly the show abandoned some plot arcs without offering a deeper meaning to the overall narrative or a neat resolution to leave our panelists satisfied – Grimm remains well written and worth the look, with a decent, good-not-great, and ultimately satisfying denouement. Grimm goes out on a high note and no doubt earns at least one nostalgic re-watch, somewhere down the line.  Also: David Giuntoli is a handsome leading man, if those kinds of details matter to discerning viewers like you. 😉

LOOKING AHEAD

Grimm has officially ended, but the CPU! Grimm podcast panel is not quite finished!  We will publish a second part to this mini podcast series saying goodbye to Grimm, in which we will Look Back at the series as a whole, next week! Stay tuned, subscribe, like, and follow to keep abreast of that publication, and tell us what you think in the comment forums.  What’s more, review us on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or YouTube, and check out our other podcast episodes related to a growing array of TV shows! Until next week!

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!

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!

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

Image result for iron fist title card

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!