PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 18, the DCTU Series Panel’s Bonus “Elseworlds” Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Elseworlds,” the three-episode 2018 Arrowverse crossover event melding cast members from “Arrow,” “The Flash,” and “Supergirl,” three of the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: The “Elseworlds” crossover began on December 9, 2018, with The Flash (8:00 PM) and concluded on December 11, 2018, with Supergirl (8:00 PM).

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Central City (The Flash), Star City (Arrow), Gotham City, and on Earth-38 (Supergirl), specifically in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, and in the North Pole, where Superman’s Fortress of Solitude is hidden.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering this crossover separately, read on!

How – as in How Was It?

The Specially Formulated For Your Viewing Pleasure “Elseworlds” Crossover rating scale:

***** – HOLY SMOKES! This is the BEST. CROSSVER. EVER!!!!!

**** – Intriguing.  Please make more, CW/Arrowverse producers.  You get better each time, though you’re not perfect yet.

*** – It was fine/okay.  Nothing special.  There were parts I liked and parts I didn’t.  Allow me to explain.

** – Meh.  I was bored.  Nice idea, but the execution left something to be desired.

* – Not your best, Arrowverse.  Stop trying!

Elseworlds = 3.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

“Elseworlds” introduces the characters Kate Kane aka Batwoman (Ruby Rose) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) to the Arrowverse as well as the fictional Gotham City. In the crossover, Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Barry Allen aka the Flash (Grant Gustin), and Kara Danvers aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) are drawn to Gotham City to confront Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) over his work at Arkham Asylum.

THOUGHTS

This is the eighteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we are covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 14, “Arrow,” Season 6

DCTU Series, Episode 15, “The Flash,” Season 4

DCTU Series, Episode 16, “Supergirl,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 17, the DCTU 2019 Mid-Season Roundup

Our cheeky and feisty and full DCTU panel, again this year, specially requested a separate discussion to dissect the three episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event entitled “Elseworlds.”  Why, might you ask? Well, we might answer. The panel, by and large, yet again, enjoyed this season’s crossover event, particularly due to the fact that it was so jam-packed with all of the nerdy, DC Universe goodness, plus a staggering, possibly record, number of Easter Eggs and pop culture references outside of comic books (DC or otherwise). The panelists additionally felt, yet again, that a separate recording was necessary to digest all of the wonderful everything included in this special event.  Our DCTU panelists, therefore, talk about their mostly positive assessment of the crossover of casts from Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, though some of our panelists might have exhibited more qualms overall with this crossover as compared to last year’s entry, “Crisis on Earth-X.” Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the “Elseworlds.” 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 Once Upon a Time panel returns – for the last time – to the Water Cooler, in the second of two final triumphant discussions, to Look Back at the entirety of the long-running fantasy series and to say goodbye, both to the series and to each other (for now).  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS

Ultimately, our intrepid DCTU panel proffered more mixed reactions to “Elseworlds” than they did to “Crisis on Earth-X,” the all-series crossover event from 2017.  The general consensus noted that this three episode event was a bit more uneven in terms of pacing and story plotting, though alternatively, it was positively giddy and/or stupid with DC Comics and other pop culture-related Easter eggs designed to keep engaged viewers rapt for hours of repeat viewing. While the panel generally believes that the writers did well to limit the number of “Arrowverse” characters that appeared in “Elseworlds,” there also seemed to be more of a struggle on the part of the writers to utilize even those characters featured in the most meaningful of ways. This struggle was most visible in relation to Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, who seemed to be along only for color commentary, “adorkable” charm, and to act as a liaison for the real draw, her cousin Superman (guest: Tyler Hoechlin). The crossover also did little to advance the stories of any of the individual Arrowverse series’ seasons proper, though it did seem to function as the unofficial second act of an arguable trilogy beginning with “Crisis on Earth-X” and ending with the teased crossover event of 2019, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”

Still, according to all panelists who saw Justice League in theaters, “Elseworlds” continues to reign supreme compared to most DC cinematic vehicles, despite its small screen medium. On the other hand, some of our panelists, such as Kyle and Spencer, struggled with what they considered to be an anticlimactic introduction to Kate Kane aka Batwoman; some of our panelists, such as Kristen and Chief CP Kylie, lamented the pacing in the Supergirl chapter; and some of our panelists, such as Nick and Kyle, struggled with the written motivations of the villain, the Monitor, while postulating that the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event teased for the end of the year will not be an exact copy of the major DC comics story of the same name.  Aside from other extremely minor nitpicks, however, the panel particularly enjoyed the extended screen time shared by Oliver Queen and Barry Allen in the “Freaky Friday meets Quantum Leap” Flash chapter as well as the protracted appearances of Clark Kent aka Superman and dream girl Lois Lane. Because of these aspects, as well as the high quantity of Easter Eggs (estimated to be more than 100 over the course of the three episodes), the panel highly recommends watching “Elseworlds” to anyone who loves superhero/comic book adaptations, particularly from the DC universe, and to anyone who loves action television and cinema in general.  In addition, since the CW provides the opportunity to watch the three episodes separately from the main series within which they aired, and since the episodes can largely be viewed and understood without needing to see episodes before or after them, the panel believes that anyone who has not watched the crossover and would want to watch it simply has no excuse or cause for delay, especially since the CW app is free to all.

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows returned or will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 8:00 PM
Supergirl: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Monday, January 21, 2019, 8:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, April 1, 2019, 9:00 PM.

On January 31, 2019, the CW renewed all four Arrowverse shows for an additional season, all of which will likely premiere some time in fall 2019 and likely in or around October, if the trend from prior seasons holds.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler, most likely in Summer 2019, to begin the annual series of four end of season recaps for each of the four Arrowverse shows.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Panel’s 2018-2019 Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: 

  • Arrow currently airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season 7 premiered on October 15, 2018.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season 5 premiered on October 9, 2018.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays at 9:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus; Season 4 premiered on October 22, 2018.
  • Supergirl airs Sundays at 8:00 PM; Season 4 premiered on October 14, 2018.

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Star City (Arrow), Central City (The Flash), National City (Supergirl), and throughout space and time (“Legends”).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the seventeenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 14, “Arrow,” Season 6

DCTU Series, Episode 15, “The Flash,” Season 4

DCTU Series, Episode 16, “Supergirl,” Season 3

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and full and otherwise busy DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something kind of differently but mostly the same.  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows.  We play games and engage in additional snarky shenanigans, however, which reach our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, but you know me – I don’t want to oversell it!!  Our panelists talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season 7 of Arrow, Season 5 of The Flash, and Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. 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 week, our DCTU panel returns to the CPU! water cooler for a special, bonus, specially recorded, specially requested episode during which we discuss the Arrowverse’s 2018 mega crossover television movie event, “Elseworlds,” for which we “saved” discussion about said crossover specifically for this specially special bonus episode, as you will hear advertised throughout tonight’s episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

(New Questions Only; All Questions, New and Old, Will Be Addressed End of Season)

1) Echo Kellum, who plays Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific on Arrow, is leaving the cast in this next half season (remember: we do not discuss the next half, if that half has already started airing, in the Mid-Season Roundup). How is Mr. Terrific written off the show?

2) What is the point of the “flash forward” story line, and why are the Arrow writers introducing it so late in the game? Are they really so hard up for material? Is Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) really dead in this future? If not, where did she go, and what the hell is happening? Is this future on another Earth or on our Earth? Where is Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) in this future?

3) How will Oliver encounter the New Green Arrow (NGA), and what will he learn?

4) Why do we care about the Longbow Hunters? Aren’t they kind of lame?

5) What is Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash’s (currently played by Tom Cavanaugh) plan on The Flash? Why is he using Nora West-Allen aka XS (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West’s (Candice Patton) daughter from the future, for his evil? Or, is she working for him and why?

6) What is the little journal, containing presumably Speed Force writing, that Nora is carrying around with her?

7) How much longer will Orlin Dwyer aka Cicada (guest: Chris Klein) be a factor? The panel has some decidedly mixed reactions to him.

8) If Neron is the Big Bad on “Legends,” will we be meeting any Green Lanterns or related? How did John Constantine (Matt Ryan) piss him off?

9) What is Biff, er, Henry Heywood’s (guest: Tom Wilson) master plan? Capture magical fugitives…and then what? What is the top secret plan to which he keeps referring?

10) Why is Mona Wu (Ramona Young) a thing? What is her purpose? What is Gary’s purpose for that matter?

11) Will Nate Heywood aka Steel (Nick Zano) ever leave bureaucracy and rejoin the Waverider team?

12) Why is Desmond’s death a fixed point in time? Why is Neron, wearing Desmond’s face, interested in Hank Heywood?

13) Why is Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) truly experimenting with Black Kryptonite/Harun-El on Supergirl? What is she really hoping to accomplish?

14) Will we see more of Clark Kent aka Superman (guest: Tyler Hoechlin) or Lois Lane (guest: Elizabeth Tulloch) on this show?

15) Just how many versions of Parasite are there in this universe?

16) How much more of a factor will Ben Lockwood aka Agent Liberty (guest: Sam Witwer) be this season?

17) Why does Kara Danvers aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) even need the DEO? Superman isn’t employed…

18) Why should we care about Nia Nal aka Dreamer (Nicole Maines)?

PARTING SHOTS 

The panel proves to be truly all over the place, when reacting to the Arrowverse’s current season, in the episode at hand; what the panelists are able to agree upon is that the Arrowverse is equally all over the place in terms of quality and watch-ability, which produces a panel discussion pockmarked by a decidedly reduced exhibition of enthusiasm.  Half of the panel regards The Flash as the continued shining jewel of the multiverse, while the other half of the panel believes that Legends of Tomorrow has improved so masterfully, it is now the best of the four series.  Half of the panel finds Arrow to continue to flounder at the bottom of the heap, despite being the show that started it all, while the other half of the panel cringes, with rising disappointment, at the plummet in quality that Supergirl has seemingly experienced this season.  Notably, all members of the panel agree that the latter show has experienced a shockingly marked decline in entertainment value and in engagement, with a ham-fisted social allegory that clubs one over the head to the point of tedium and an apparent struggle to find new cohesion as cast members change and as, even, older characters transform and veer away dramatically from what they appeared to be in earlier seasons.

The panelists further enjoy the show about the Scarlet Speedster and the show about the non-legendary Legends most, believing that they boast consistently entertaining humor, tight ensemble casts, and an enjoyable and ingenuous addition in the character of Constantine.  Similarly, the panelists, by and large, regard the show about the Emerald Archer to be marginally better this season compared to previous seasons, with less recycled story-lines and squandered story potential, but continue to struggle with the overall story direction and their personal disinterest in the story itself, having felt disengaged for several consecutive seasons. Plus, they are starting to worry at what the writers, producers, and network might try to do if Stephen Amell leaves the cast, believing that no version of Arrow can survive without him.  More than ever, the panel has expressed growing dissatisfaction (if not outright resentment) at the thought of having to continue to watch both Arrow and Supergirl for this paneleven as the panelists look forward to what the second halves of The Flash and “Legends” seasons might bring to our collective viewing experiences.

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows returned or will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 8:00 PM
Supergirl: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Monday, January 21, 2019, 8:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, April 1, 2019, 9:00 PM.

On January 31, 2019, the CW renewed all four Arrowverse shows for an additional season, all of which will likely premiere some time in fall 2019 and likely in or around October, if the trend from prior seasons holds.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler to discuss the 2018 mid-season crossover event “Elseworlds,” which will publish next week.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Once Upon a Time” – The Goodbye Miniseries, Part 1: The Season 7 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for once upon a time season 7 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Once Upon a Time” aired on network TV, specifically on ABC, for seven seasons, from 2011 to 2018.

What: “Once Upon a Time,” a fantasy drama wherein storybook and fairy tale characters are not only real but are living in this world, away from their enchanted kingdoms and worlds beyond reality, and how they all interrelate (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/once_upon_a_time/summary.html).

When: The Season 7 finale – the series finale – aired on Friday, May 17, 2018, at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Where: The show, in this season, engages in a “soft reboot” of its story premise and is (currently) set in Hyperion Heights, a fictional neighborhood deep within the heart of very real Seattle, Washington, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest,” the fairy tale kingdom from where most of the main characters originate. The action takes place primarily in present day, though there are flashbacks to the characters’ past lives and events.

Why: Two primary reasons: one, Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves fantasy and fairy tales, and the Disney network green-lit a live action serial television program about fairy tale characters that they would probably own the rights to, if the characters weren’t already public domain. Two, the creators are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, two of the head writers of Lost. Whatever else may be said about the latter program, I don’t think anyone could argue that Lost wasn’t well written. All of our panel of enthusiastic Once fans found love for this program via one or both of those reasons themselves.

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

To catch up on prior Once podcast episodes, click the links embedded below:

Season 4A – Frozen

Season 4B – Queens of Darkness

Season 5A – Dark Swan

Season 5B – The Underworld

Season 6A

Season 6B

Season 7A – Hyperion Heights, Part 1

Our super-bonded and magically cohesive Once panel – namely Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – reconvene around the Water Cooler “once” again to record Part One of a two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says our own protracted goodbye to Once Upon a Time, which is extra emotional for us, as this show and panel was one of our very first three pilot panels!  In the first part of this miniseries, our panel discusses Season 7B of OUAT, in which we digest the culmination of the much ballyhooed, so-called “soft reboot” of Season 7.  As a reminder, the final “Once” season presents all new characters and holds over only four characters with whom we have grown acquainted and grown to love over the first six seasons.  The rest of the original cast departed – at least for a time.  What does it all mean for Once Upon a Time and for our panel? Did everyone watch through to the end, despite the fact that Once seemed to have become something of a whole new show, with a whole new storybook, under the umbrella of the old title?  Or, did anyone jump the shark in lieu of all of this unprecedented change?  Listen to the newest addition to CPU!’s ongoing Once Upon a Time podcast series, and one of the last two episodes of said series, during which we reflect on Season 7B and whether the show ultimately capitalized upon the endless #potential (#drink) of not only the final season but of all the seasons preceding it.  Do you agree with us? Or, do you have your own thoughts? Comment below!

This podcast was recorded in November 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the seventh 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, schedule permitting, our DCTU Series panel speedily returns to the Water Cooler with its annual Mid-Season Roundup of the four Arrowverse shows, Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. Stay tuned!

Lingering Questions and Impressions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Is baby Neal magical like his sister? (This question will remain until answered!)

NEW ANSWER: As of the end of the series, baby Neal’s “specialness,” if it exists, is unknown, though we are given a brief glimpse of toddler Neal in the final episode.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: How did Will Scarlett, aka the Knave from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, end up in Storybrooke and without Anastasia, the former Red Queen? And how did he and Belle decide to hook up? (This question will remain until answered!)

OLD FOREVER ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where he went is anyone’s guess.  Why he was even brought to the flagship show with so little explanation for his coming and going is the bigger mystery, though panelist Micah theorizes that, perhaps, Will Scarlett visited Storybrooke before he ended up in Wonderland.  The bigger issue is that the writers/producers failed to truly spell that out in a way that satisfies.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Maleficient go? Will we see more of her? Will she reconnect with her daughter Lily in a more meaningful way? (This question will remain until answered!)

NEW ANSWER: Owing to a brief mention and a brief bit of staging in the series finale, we see a glimpse of a flying dragon, who we presume is Maleficent.  We also learn that Lily ultimately finds her father with the help of her mother…and that her father is Zorro, the masked hero from South of the Border. Of course, this new information raises a Dark-One-ambition-sized host of new questions: is Zorro a dragon? How did Maleficent and Zorro meet?  Where did Zorro go? And when the heck did Disney acquire the rights to the Zorro story? The panel has mixed feelings about whether or not the mention proved worth it in the end, given the fact that these questions persist. But thank you, writers, if you’ve listened to our podcast and our endless questions about this very subject and if this scrap of information was dedicated to us – and to fans just like us! 🙂

4) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the Once writers/producers provide a better, more detailed explanation for why Will Scarlett was on the flagship series? Will they provide a more significant flashback to explain why he and Anastasia are not together anymore? Would Emma Rigby be available to reprise her role of Anastasia? (This question will remain until answered!)

OLD FOREVER ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where or where has Will Scarlett gone? If panelist Micah’s theory is correct, he is living his happy ending with the Red Queen, Anastasia, in Wonderland, from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Of course, WHICH VERSION OF WONDERLAND IS THAT WONDERLAND? AND IS THAT ANASTASIA ANOTHER VERSION OF THE ANASTASIA THAT IS LADY TREMAINE’S DAUGHTER? That’s the answer to a perpetual question the world may never know. Because that’s how this show works in the end. The writers set up premises, such as how there are different versions of the same stories co-existing in the same world, without explaining what that means or how that reconciles the various concepts, characters, and elements repeatedly introduced throughout the universe that is Once Upon a Time. That is why our panel introduced a little hashtag for this series we like to call #potential #drink.  And that is why we have had so much to talk about regarding this show for several years.

5) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Maleficient, Lily, August, Will Scarlett, or any of these disappearing characters reappear?  Will their disappearances, at least, be explained? (This question will remain until answered!)

NEW ANSWER: Maleficent gets a brief dragon-depicted appearance in the series finale.  Lily might also as well (I think there were two dragons…were there two dragons?). August last appeared in Season 6. Will Scarlett is just gone, man, in Wonderland or not. As is Mulan. As is Merida. As is Aurora. As is Prince Philip. As is…

6) REPEAT QUESTION: The panelists still want to know where these characters went: Merida, Mulan, Aurora, Philip, Roland (Robin’s son), and other members of the non-Wished Enchanted Forest?

OLD FOREVER ANSWER: Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown…

7) REPEAT QUESTION: How will the show explain away the new Cinderella (Dania Ramirez), given that this character was previously introduced, played by a different actress and well acquainted to the Snow White character?

OLD FOREVER ANSWER: By not explaining at all, apparently.  The show simply asked us to buy that there is more than one Cinderella – as well as more than one Alice of Wonderland, Anastasia of Evil Stepsister fame, and Jack of the Beanstalk (as well as Hansel of “Hansel and Gretel” fame) out there, and that all versions of these duplicated characters originate from the Enchanted Forest.  Your guess is as good as ours as to how this would be possible, even in the impossible world of OUAT.

8) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we see an older Neal, who, as Emma’s brother, would be Henry’s (Andrew J. West) uncle and Lucy’s (Alison Fernandez) great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?

NEW ANSWER: Neal appears briefly in the series finale, alongside his parents, Snow White and Prince Charming.  They all convene for a very special coronation in which Regina (Lana Parilla) is named the Good Queen of all the Realms. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

9) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did the rest of Storybrooke go?  Is the town still there?  Are Dr. Hopper and Granny and the Seven Dwarfs still around?

NEW ANSWER: Storybrooke is still there! Of course – and what the panelists did not expect – is that Hyperion Heights does not necessarily co-exist in the same time as the Storybrooke we know and love, at least at first.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10)  Who or what is “the Guardian,” to which Rumpel (Robert Carlyle) wants to pass the Dark One dagger and essence?  What is the Guardian guarding?  Is it Lucy?  Is it Rapunzel’s (Gabrielle Anwar) eldest daughter Anastasia?  Is it someone we know?  Is it something or someone we don’t know?

ANSWER: The Guardian is identified to be the latest incarnation of Wonderland’s Alice (Rose Reynolds), who we meet this season, who is the biological daughter of the scheming Mother Gothel and Wish Realm Hook (Colin O’Donaghue).  The Guardian carries the binding magic that links the Dark One’s essence to the fateful dagger. Rapunzel’s daughter Anastasia was really just a “MacGuffin” and red herring on the season, as it turns out.

11) How do Drizella (Adelaide Kane) and Anastasia have magic in this version?  How does Rapunzel/Tremaine manifest magic?

ANSWER: There is no answer.  Anyone can have magic potential in this world, it seems.  They probably just have to dig real deep to find it. Still, all of these magic-bearers leave the back stories of Regina and Emma feeling less impressive in the end.

12) Does Drizella truly love Adult Henry?  Or, was she just using him the whole time?

ANSWER: Though it appears that Ivy aka Drizella begins her vengeance schemes by involving Henry in a user-way, she ultimately develops sincere and loving feelings for him in the end, though possibly from confusion, since she has not experienced much heartfelt love from anyone since her sister was lost to a frozen lake, ahem, once upon a time.  As part of her personal character growth, though, she also comes to the realization, on her own, that Henry loves Ella truly, and so Ivy gracefully steps aside, while asking Henry to remain her friend, to which he amiably agrees.  It is a nice moment.

13) Will Alice encounter her mother, Mother Gothel?  Does Alice have magical powers like her mother?  Why is Alice cursed?  Did Mother Gothel curse Alice?  How is it that Alice occasionally awakens from her curse?  Someone explain Alice.

ANSWER: Alice encounters her mother because, as it turns out, Alice’s function as Guardian gives her two purposes, not only as the keeper of the Dark One Essence but also as the potential to fill Gothel’s Coven of Eight witches. Alice has magic like her mother; her ability to see the true nature of things and people, for which she is initially pegged as crazy in Hyperion Heights, as the viewer sees all season, is actually a clue to her magical ability.  Alice’s “curse” arises from the fact that she is a magical being, born in a magical place, which allows her to use wish magic to manifest things, including various happenstances of bad luck that keep following her because she continues to believe that she is the victim of bad luck, at least until Zelena’s daughter Robin helps her to realize the pattern. Once Robin, who Alice loves and who loves Alice in return, gets Alice to see that she is making the “cursed” events occur, she is able to stop the magic. At least until Gothel gets a hold of her later.  But that’s the answer to another question.

14) What is the timeline surrounding Wish Realm’s Hook procurement of the white elephant protection charm from Rumpel – and was that Rumpel Wish Realm Rumpel or Rumpel Prime?

ANSWER: I think our panel lost track of this charm, though I am willing to bet that Wish Realm Rumpel was the purveyor of said charm, since Wish Realm Rumpel becomes a factor by the end of the season. I also think that this question arose from the panel’s potential confusion regarding Rumpel Prime’s time away from the lands we know to spend time with Belle in the Edge of Realms, leaving Wish Realm Rumpel’s exploits during that time largely unexplored. So, perhaps, in the end, the timeline around the charm does not really matter.  We can let some stuff go, though ironically “some stuff” does not include our general distaste for the Frozen arc.  Listen to the podcast episode for the usual roast.

15) Who are the Eight Witches or the Coven of Eight?  Are they real?  What is their purpose?  What are they trying to do?  Is Maleficent one of the witches?  Is Regina?  Is Zelena?  Is Emma?  Is Snow White/Prince Charming?  Are the Wish Realm versions of any of these characters eligible for membership?  Is there one?  Is there a “superior?”  Is that person Mother Gothel?  Is it Anastasia?  Is it Regina?

ANSWER: The Coven of Eight/Eight Witches are real and happen to be a group of magical women, all of whom meet Gothel at a time when she, as a wood nymph, relegated to the magical wooded outskirts of the realms, desired to become human, only to be spurned for her magical ability.  It seems Gothel, as a young nymph, wanted what she could not have: the finery and pretty things that humans enjoy, which are apprently so much more fascinating than earth and roots. Misguidedly, she leaves the nymphs’ hideaway thicket and breaks into the house of an Enchanted Forest damsel, who catches Gothel in the act of using magic. The damsel and her group of “mean girl” friends befriend Gothel, only to pull a “Carrie” and to ridicule her for her use of magic in the end, as those who wielded magic were once scorned by the denizens of, even, the enchanted world.  One of the mean girls turns out to be another magic user in disguise; she joins with Gothel in solidarity and in the bonds of magical girl power. Gothel soon recruits other ostracized bearers of magic to form this powerful coven for the purpose of destroying humanity, fairy tale and otherwise, and of sending the world back to its more natural, plant-dominated roots. None of the Eight Witches are people we know; Ivy aka Drizella once fought for a spot in the Coven but ends up leaving the Land Without Magic with her sister, in order that they might start a new life together and flee Gothel’s hold of Ivy.  Gothel, further, does not have her full Coven until she enchants her daughter Alice to join unwittingly, lest Gothel harm her beloved father, Wish Realm Hook. In the end, the Coven is part of Gothel’s master revenge plot against all of humanity for the ill-advised doings of some entitled teenage girls. Hey, and I thought this show was about fairy tales.

16) Will all of the characters survive?  If not, who will die?

ANSWER: At the risk of the most major SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS, we can reveal that several characters die, including Lady Tremaine/Rapunzel, Mother Gothel, Dr. Facilier, and all versions of Rumpelstiltskin.  We refuse, however, to say how.

As a side note, though, the Blue Fairy’s whereabouts are currently unknown.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

17) What realm is this show’s Dr. Facilier from?  Is he from the Underworld?

ANSWER: Though were are not given much back story on Dr. Facilier, we do learn that the bayou voodoo practitioner first encounters Regina in the Enchanted Forest, when she is the Evil Queen.  Chew on that bacon for awhile.

18) Will the season – and now the series, as it was announced by ABC and by the creators that Once Upon a Time is ending after this season – end with the breaking of the newest curse?

ANSWER: The latest curse is broken before the end of the season; the series ends on a different footnote entirely.

19) Where is Mother Gothel from? What is her back story? Is she driven by vendetta?  Against whom? What are her motivations?

ANSWER: Mother Gothel is a wood nymph; her people have existed as long as the earth has existed.  See above for her back story and the details of her vendetta against the whole of non-magic using humanity, though her plan would have taken out magic-using humanity too. Villains are always so short-sighted.

20) Did Drizella actually cast the curse against Alice/Tilly?  Why?

ANSWER: Alice/Tilly’s curse is of her own making.  Alice has power, as well as a low sense of self-esteem and a fertile need to leave the Tower in which she was born.  Arguably, though, being Mother Gothel’s daughter does her no favors in the end. Drizella/Ivy and Alice/Tilly, meanwhile, have no beef.

21) To whom is Zelena engaged?  Do we know her fiance and husband to be?

ANSWER: Zelena is engaged to an ordinary bloke named Chad, who she meets while under the spell of the latest curse and while posing as a soul-cycling hippie in San Francisco named Kelly.  We have never met Chad before, and the panel was not so happy with the fact that Chad was no one special in the end. It seems our panel found some love for Zelena at the last and wanted her to have some of the special she, for so long, envied in others. But maybe that was the lesson, friends? Sadly, your Chief CP did not make that point during the talk.  Hindsight and all that.

22) How does Henry’s motorcycle run in the Enchanted Forest?  Where are the gas stations in the Enchanted Forest?  How does Cinderella II learn to operate it so fast – is she really Anakin Skywalker?

ANSWER: This motorcycle question will bug Chief CP Kylie until the end of time.  The show does not address the motorcycle and its fuel availability in magical lands. We also do not think Cinderella II is Anakin Skywalker, but both family trees are so convoluted, who really knows anymore?

23) Why are there duplicate versions of various characters, including Cinderella, her step-sisters, Alice (of Wonderland fame), Jack (of beanstalk fame), and so on?  How are all of the different versions from the same Enchanted Forest?  The panel universally agrees that the writers better take some time to explain this plot point beyond “there are different versions of the same story” because we do not understand how different versions can coexist within the same story.

ANSWER: The writers take no time to explain this phenomenon, except to imply, with the events of the series finale, that several versions of one character can co-exist, in different realms and/or in the same lands; that it’s absolutely okay; and that we as viewers should maybe stop bitching about it already.  But WE CAN’T HELP IT. This was literally a conceit dropped on the viewer with the premiere of the Season 7 “soft reboot,” and it demanded a heck of a lot of suspension of disbelief based purely upon assumed trust in the writers to capitalize upon their many moments of created #potential (#drink) on which they never seem to capitalize very well, if prior seasons are any indication. Can we help it if we DON’T HAVE THE TRUST? Of course, it’s all moot now. Both versions of Cinderella attend Queen Regina’s goodly coronation, without so much as an awkward shout-out. Some of our panelists resigned themselves to this development. Clearly, your Chief CP has THE FEELINGS.

24) Will the curse placed upon Henry and Lucy (Alison Fernandez) be broken?  How?  Is Cinderella II really Henry’s true love?  How?

ANSWER: The curse that ties Henry’s life to Lucy’s in the seventh mid-season finale is broken with the help of Lucy’s step-grandmother, Rapunzel aka Lady Tremaine, who, with the help of the resurrection amulet secured from Madame Leota of “Haunted Mansion” fame, sacrifices her life to save Lucy’s and Ivy’s. Of course, the curse that affects everyone’s memory, and that created Hyperion Heights, is not solved through the use of that amulet.  

Also, Ella II does appear to be Henry’s true love. There is no real how offered, except for the meet-cute flashbacks of the first half of the season. Again, we as the viewers just have to go with it, even if their love story is exceptionally underwhelming compared to, say, Snow and Charming’s or Emma and Hook Prime’s – or even Regina and Robin Hood’s. Henry, as the Author, simply relates to a plucky young girl who can fight for herself.  Neat.

25) The producers have teased potential returns of original characters in possible reunions convened in advance of the series finale.  Which characters will we revisit?  Will Jennifer Morrison aka Emma Swan ordain to exceed her contractually obligated one episode appearance and give a nice second episode sendoff for the fans?’

ANSWER: In short, we saw just about everyone, including Snow White, Prince Charming, Emma with Henry’s newborn little sister, and all of the Storybrooke residents we have come to meet over the course of the series, with the exception of Rumpelstiltskin, who bravely sacrificed his life earlier in the episode (okay, but that’s all we’re saying!).  It was another happy beginning. We encourage you to watch this show if you want to know why. With our many ample cautions in the back of your head, of course.

PARTING SHOTS

The panelists, even in the end, continue to offer wildly mixed reactions to the notion of whether or not they were ready for the true end of Once Upon a Time. Though all panelists regard the first half of Season 7 as a surprisingly engaging soft reboot of the show, despite healthy skepticism from all panelists in advance of said reboot, the panelists still universally agree, however, and with no hesitation, that #potential (#drink) contentment with the sixth season finale as a series finale episode would have been achieved if the show had officially stopped at the end of that season.  Though some panelists were utterly won over by the unprecedented soft reboot, the wariest panelists (your Chief CP included), while relieved and in agreement that the writers/producers “stuck the landing,” felt that they had to rush to wrap up not only loose threads from the original six seasons but also nearly all of the seeded plot points of Season 7. Most panelists, aside from Eddie and Chief CP Kylie, regret the lack of network support for at least one more season, but all panelists experienced a high level of satisfaction with the fates of some of our beloved characters, particularly those of Rumpelstiltskin and of Regina, who may have been the true heroes of the series all along, once these characters realized that “everyone writes their own story.” In the end, though, most if not all of the panelists are both happy and sad that OUAT is done, and while some of us might re-watch the series in future, none of us will be quite ready to do so for some time – which is not to say that the series is bad as much as the series traversed a messy, emotion-wrenching course that both engaged and frustrated in the end, a chemical mixture that might leave some of us satisfied with one viewing only.   Of course, only time will tell.

LOOKING AHEAD

Once Upon a Time has officially ended, but the CPU! OUAT podcast panel is not quite finished!  We will publish a second part to this mini podcast series saying goodbye to OUAT, in which we will Look Back at the series as a whole, later this month! 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!  Stay tuned!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “The Crown” – The Recap and Review of Season 2; Part Two of CPU!’s “Catching Up on The Crown” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Crown” is a historical drama and web/streaming series available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What:  “The Crown,” created and principally written by Peter Morgan, is 
a biographical story about the reign of Her Royal Majesty (HRM) Queen Elizabeth II.

SYNOPSIS

The Crown traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy, in Seasons 1 and 2) from her wedding in 1947 to Prince Philip (Matt Smith, in Seasons 1 and 2) through to the present day.

When: Season 2 was released to the Netflix streaming library on December 8, 2017, with a total of ten episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in the United Kingdom, England, and in London, where the Queen and the Royal Family by and large reside.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode covering Season 1 via the link below!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

This is Part Two of our “Catching Up on The Crown” miniseries.  You can listen to Part One here and at our audio feeds (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play):

Season 1

As you might recall, by popular request, though notably by established CPU! panelists and viewers, The Crown became a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler! this month. Our regal The Crown panelists – moderator Krista; Spencer; his wife, Kristin T; Samantha; and me, your Chief CP – reconvened “Around the Water Cooler” to talk about the remaining available season of this lush biopic. In so doing, we ruminate in-depth upon the production values, performances, and general historical accuracy of this show about a living monarch, with some continued, though possibly less modestly, mixed reactions and, possibly more, unevenly engaged suspensions of disbelief.

Tonight’s episode is the second part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, the second season of which was released to Netflix in December 2017.  In this episode, our panel reflects on and recaps Season 2 of The Crown, covering the Suez Crisis in 1956; the retirement of the Queen’s third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan (Anton Lesser), in 1963 following the Profumo affair political scandal; and the births of Princes Andrew and Edward, the latter being born in 1964.

This episode was recorded in December 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second 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 Once Upon a Time panel finally returns to the Water Cooler, one of two final triumphant times, with an animated review of the second half of the long-running fantasy series’ seventh and final season.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) What will we see in Season 3? The panel predicts more Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby, in Seasons 1 and 2; Helena Bonham-Carter, in Seasons 3 and 4) than ever before as well as depictions of how the House of Windsor deals with the fallout of her life’s choices.

2) Will we get to see HRM the Queen being more matronly to her four children in Season 3, as they will presumably be older and less reliant on nannies and nursemaids?

3) The Queen will now be played by Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), and Prince Philip will be played by Tobias Menzies (Outlander). Will we as the viewers be able to suspend our disbelief, having watched Claire Foy and Matt Smith in those roles, respectively, for the first two seasons?

4) Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) has been tapped to play Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. How much of the Iron Lady will we see in Season 3?

5) Will the viewers watch televised depictions of further shrinking of the Commonwealth, as more nations asserted independence from The Crown?

PARTING SHOTS

The Crown is recommended by our CPU! panel to so-called Anglophiles; to fans of British/English history; to general history buffs; and to followers of the Royals.  The panelists mostly agree that the production values are notably expensive but predominantly worth the money, given the painstakingly remarkable recreations employed in costumes, art direction, and cinematography. The panelists also proffer that the performances are primarily good, particularly that of Foy and of Kirby in this second season. Plus, they note that the second season (or series if you’re British) is largely choppy in pacing, as the writers and creators of the series seemed to search for additional potentially salacious details on which to ruminate in order to make this largely uneventful period of the Crown’s history a bit spicier and, perhaps, more television-worthy, in their eyes. The panelists further, by and large, continue to struggle with Matt Smith’s depiction of Prince Philip, whether by virtue of performance, direction, and/or writing and the overall historical accuracy – and inaccuracy – of depicted events, including some of the tabloid-esque overtones of the piece, as if the producers wanted to present this series as the definitive, if unofficial, authority on all things House of Windsor.  In any event, the panelists, particularly in lieu of the lush production values and of Foy’s performance, were universally enticed to continue watching additional seasons, despite the upcoming cast changes.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix renewed The Crown for third and fourth seasons, with the third season expected to release in 2019, though no tentative premiere date has yet been announced. CPU! will reconvene our The Crown panel some time following the release of the third season.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding The Crown as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!

BONUS CONTENT

Moderator Krista went wild with moderate-y research.

Call this: The CPU! Crown Fact Check!

Watch videos of Prince Philip’s World Tour (click the link): here!

Princess Margaret’s “Scandalous” Photo

Princess Margaret 29th Birthday Portrait
Princess Margaret’s “nude” photo, taken by Anthony Armstrong-Jones, 1959

Nazi Connections

The abdicated King Edward VIII, then Duke of Windsor, and wife Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, introducing themselves to Adolf Hitler, 1937

For a complete bio of King Edward VIII:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_VIII

A Diplomatic Dance

HRM, Queen Elizabeth II, dances with Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, 1961

National Public Radio’s take on this event: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/01/21/578674702/netflixs-the-crown-says-one-dance-changed-history-the-truth-isn-t-so-simple

Princess Cecile of Denmark and Greece

Prince Philip’s “favourite” sister, with children

Details of death:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Cecilie_of_Greece_and_Denmark#Death

The Profumo Affair

Secretary of State for War John Profumo, 1960

Details of the scandal:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profumo_affair

The Birth of Prince Edward

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I couldn’t find an internet-available photo of the final pose recreated in the series, so this photo of newborn Prince Edward and Her Majesty’s other children will have to do.

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 14 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Supernatural,” a drama depicting the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively), who are “hunters” of all supernatural ilk, be they demons, monsters, or angels on high, in a quest to save the world from things that go bump in the night, things that cause apocalypses, and things that are generally just out to get them (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/supernatural/summary.html).

When: Season 14 premiered on October 11, 2018, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas, and have, as late, holed up in a bunker, somewhere near their home town, formerly run by the Men of Letters, an organization of which they are legacy members.  The time is present day.

Why:  Oh so many seasons ago now, Chief CP Kylie followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a different spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents.  From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly dissimilar to the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke.  For CPU!’s ever-expanding podcast coverage of a growing number of shows, several CPU! members, all familiar voices to the CPU! loyal, jumped up to participate on this panel, even though many of them also express fatigue with the show from time to time.  How do they feel the show is faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons?  Take a listen below.

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

To catch up on our Super-coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons 9, 10, and 11

Season 12A

Season 12B

Season 13A

Season 13B

Our Super-CPU! panel has happily remained constant since its last meeting, and all panelists proved ready and raring as ever to talk about the first half of Season 14 with the force of an army of archangel-grace enhanced monsters.  Thus, Nick, Jen (S), Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn (K), along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), and find ourselves at the CPU! Water Cooler, and/or the nearest purveyor of homemade pies, animatedly discussing major plot points from, and ruminating upon the success of, the first half of Season 14.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, though probably less so for some of our panelists nowadays (listen to the episode for details), we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over in this latest season.  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in January 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of Season 14 of Supernatural. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, schedule permitting, our DCTU Series panel speedily returns to the Water Cooler with its annual Mid-Season Roundup of the four Arrowverse shows, Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: How many miles are on the Impala after all this time?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they ever get their happy ending?

REPEAT ANSWER: While the panel is in no particular rush for a series finale, although maybe that’s less true nowadays, it’s likely the brothers will not find peace until they are done.  That’s why Kansas tells them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer (Mark Pelligrino) is out of the Cage, why can’t the archangel Michael, currently housed within long lost Winchester half brother Adam, escape from the Cage? Will we ever see Adam/Michael again?

NEW(ISH) ANSWER: Apocalypse World (AW) Michael is running around this dimension, and there is a potential if chancy return for Lucifer prognosticated, given that his second-favorite vessel Nick (Pelligrino) survives and prays to Lucifer’s sleeping essence in the Empty, which improbably seems to awaken our favorite Evil Archangel. As such, the chances seem to be growing and quite necessary for a return of this dimension’s Michael as well as the actor who played Adam, given the fact that Michael Prime is still lounging in a slightly mind-addled Adam in the Cage. After all, the introduction of AW Michael could foretell a convergence of some heavenly forces we have previously met in order to stay his anti-human agenda…

4) The perennial question: will we see John Winchester this season?  And played by whom?  And will he be alive or dead?

NEW (BEYOND EXCITED AND TOTALLY UNFETTERED) ANSWER: YES! YES! YES! It has been widely confirmed in the press that Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the original (and breathlessly handsome) face of John Winchester, will be making a grand return to Supernatural in Season 14 in the upcoming and much ballyhooed 300th episode, airing on February 9! I do not think we can undersell the panel’s magnitude of excitement for this news.  The speculation runs wild in the panel’s discussion. Listen to the podcast episode for details!

5) REPEAT QUESTION: A Prince of Hell named Ramiel held in his possession two intriguing items: Archangel Michael’s Spear or Lance and (wait for it) the Colt.  The Colt is currently broken, snapped in two by another Prince of Hell named Dagon, who Cas later snuffed.  Can the Colt be repaired?  By Sam?  How is the Colt powered?  Didn’t the Colt have a fixed number of bullets once upon a time?  More importantly, **where did the Colt go after Season 6?** How did Ramiel get a hold of it?  Why has the show not addressed the continuity of this gun?  Why was it brought back only to be broken?  WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING?!

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, including those about the Spear/Lance.  Though our panel, particularly panelist Jeremy, has a few theories about the Spear (listen to the podcast episode for details).

6) REPEAT QUESTION: Also, the Spear/Lance is broken, I believe with Crowley’s help in that instance.  Will it be repaired, since Dean pockets the fragments?  Is it usable by anyone besides Michael? Dean is still a predestined Michael vessel – can he use it?  We repeat – will we ever see Michael out of the Cage again?

REPEAT ANSWER: Though the Spear/Lance remains broken, and though Supernatural Prime world’s Michael is still housed in half-brother Adam in Hell’s Cage, it may yet come to play…which panelist Jeremy supports (listen to the episode)…

7) REPEAT QUESTION: The Vampire Alpha dies in this season, owing to some clever British Men of Letter work.  Does this mean that all vampires die?  I know this is not The Originals, but what happens to the rest of the vampires in the event of the death of their alpha?

NEW (FINAL) ANSWER (FOR NOW): We have decided that these questions do not matter much anymore.  Vampires seem to continue to exist, and with AW Michael feeding trace amounts of his grace to monsters for the purpose of “super-charging” them, thereby making them stronger and harder to eliminate by Prime World’s hunter forces, the concept of any Monster Alpha being important in the grand scheme seems moot.  So, unless the show revisits this concept in a meaningful way at a later time, we are content to let this one go. Don’t say we never give you anything, Supernatural writers!

8) REPEAT Will Sam’s powers return?  He continues to obliquely reference them…

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, Sam has not tapped into the allegedly dormant powers he received from Prince of Hell Azazel, but, with the current progress of AW Michael’s efforts, he might need to think outside of the box and use those powers for the good of the entire universe in the coming season(s).

9) REPEAT QUESTION: How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel (Misha Collins) or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

NEW ANSWER: The Empty is back, and s/he/it is super pissed – still – that Castiel is awake and out of his/her/its clutches.  Plus, when Jack (Alexander Calvert) temporarily loses his life in this half season (listen to the podcast episode for details), and his soul first appears in Heaven, the Empty barges into the largely unguarded ethereal plane, given the near extinction of available angels to monitor its sterile white corridors and dreamy memory locations, looking to claim Jack’s soul due to his nephilim status.  Cas, however, offers himself back to the Empty in exchange for the Empty releasing its clutches on Jack. The Empty agrees to this deal but notes that the entity will return for Cas only when he is truly happy and would be truly hurt by the Empty’s act of returning Cas to the abyss. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “we do not care about the Empty in the slightest,” to 10 being “we must care because we know the Empty is about to start some next-level stuff,” we are probably at an 8.5 in the “caring about the Empty” spectrum.

10) REPEAT QUESTION: Has Death, as in The Horseman Of, died before the Winchesters killed off the Death we knew and awoke the Darkness?  Is Billie the second “Death” or one of many?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions that are without answers at this time.

11) REPEAT QUESTION: Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean in the first half of the season?

REPEAT ANSWER: We have a feeling that this answer is ultimately part of the endgame for the series, and that we will not know said answer until the show is about to be done.

12) REPEAT QUESTION: How are Jack and the previous “anti-Christ” who appeared in Season 5 related, if at all?  Is Jack truly an “anti-Christ?”

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions without answers.

13) SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER….At the end of the thirteenth season, Dean offers himself, as Michael’s Sword, his true vessel, to AW Michael in order to have strength enough to defeat Lucifer, souped up on Jack’s grace, which he steals from his confused and betrayed son.  Despite a tenuous deal with the archangel, wherein Dean would retain control of his body and mind, AW Michael double crosses him and takes over his vessel fully, meaning as we start Season 14, the Dean we know and love is sublimated by AW Michael, who, at last check, was very interested in ending humans’ existence in Supernatural Prime World.  Is this still his plan?  What will he do first? How long will we see Dean as AW Michael?  Will Dean fight AW Michael, in an epic internal battle for his soul?

ANSWER: Yes, AW Michael is still Heaven-bent upon eradicating humans from existence, and he sees Prime World as a second chance to enact this grand vision, since he was not able to see his plan to a satisfactory completion in the AW.  While in Dean as his vessel, AW Michael starts Season 14 by using trace amounts of his own grace; mixing it with monster blood and venom from vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, djinns, and so on; and feeding this concoction to existing monsters, thereby super-charging their abilities and strengthening their resistances to the usual methods of elimination, such as silver for werewolves or wooden bullets for vampires.  In so doing, he effectively creates an army of Super-Monsters, which he plans to unleash first on Kansas City, Missouri (or is it Kansas City, Kansas?), kick-starting the next Apocalypse in this dimension, which our panel calculates to be the third since the show began.

So far this season, Dean has been occupied by AW Michael for three episodes: in Episodes 1 and 2, AW Michael stays in Dean and begins his grand master monster plan; however, as he explains later to Sam in Episode 9, AW Michael leaves Dean for a time after Dark Kaia, from The Bad Place, equipped with a spear that can hurt AW Michael, fends off Michael during his first attempt to steal this seemingly important spear from Dark Kaia by piercing him, inside Dean, in the arm.  In addition, Dean apparently struggles hard against allowing Michael full control of his meat suit, so the archangel temporarily vacates Dean, allowing the elder Winchester some time with his brother, mother, foster son, and angel best friend, before AW Michael reoccupies him in Episode 9, when Sam, Cas, Dean, and Jack walk into a trap set by Michael and are signed, sealed, and delivered via this trap by an ineffective spy, Hunter Turned Werewolf Garth. Thus, we presume Dean is going to try to fight Michael again from deep inside his own mind and soul – eventually – though Michael deals Team Free Will a pretty solid blow in that mid-season finale, which he reasons will be quite demoralizing for Dean. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

14) Dean as AW Michael also seems to definitively defeat Lucifer, his wings torched and all.  Is the Devil truly dead?  How can that be possible?

ANSWER: We think the Devil is truly dead – currently.  The clue comes from Lucifer’s former vessel, Nick, who prays to Lucifer, pining for his return, after he commits a bunch of murder and realizes that he enjoys this pastime, likely due to his prolonged former bond with his possessing erstwhile archangel.  Following this earnest prayer, a set of red eyes emerge from the rolling black abyss of the Empty. So, Lucifer may be where angels go to die, but our panel shares a universal and unanimous hunch: if Cas can find a way out, so too can that tricksy fallen archangel.

15) Sam is Lucifer’s true vessel and now does not have that option to defeat Michael. What can he do to save his brother?  Will he have to tap his Azazel powers? Can Rowena resurrect an archangel?  Will Sam lead the Angel Resistance on this side of the rift?  How will he get his brother back?

ANSWER: The answers to these questions seem to be unfolding with the progression of this season.  Dean is temporarily vacated by Michael, but Michael returns. Plus, the golden egg generator thing that the Winchesters used on Lucifer in Season 12 and Dark Kaia’s spear are both broken by a wily Michael.  The Winchesters may have to resort to other means of defeating this formidable foe. Sam could take on a newly resurrected Lucifer or call forth his dormant demonic powers. One thing we know for certain is that Sam is leading the Angel Resistance and scant hunter forces on this side of the rift from the bunker, forming an ad hoc Men of Letters organization in its own right, a role that seems to impress Mary, AW Bobby (sometimes), and Dean (reluctantly).  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Is Jack powerless?  Will he regain his grace?  How?  Will his power be enough to save Dean? To save this world? To save Heaven?

ANSWER: Jack is currently powerless, but AW Michael assures him in the one scene that they have together that his grace will regenerate over time.  Of course, as the panelists discuss at some length, how long does it take for a nephilim to regain lost grace? Especially since nephilim are, according to a remark of Sam’s in Season 13, stronger than the angels (arch or otherwise) that sire them. After all, Jack would be a key player in the fight against Michael if he was able to get his groove back.

17) Are Mary and AW Bobby flirting?  Are they going to be a romantic item in future? Is that wise?

ANSWER: Since Mary suggests to Sam this season that “something might be going on” with AW Bobby, the panel assumes that a) yes, they are flirting; b) yes, they are going to be a romantic item in the future; and c) wise or not, it’s weird.  Also, when John Winchester returns for the 300th episode, will he find out about this new coupling, and will he bless it? We expect at least some conversation between the two about this new development, in any event.

18) Is the Shedim an abandoned concept, with the quick death of Asmodeus?

ANSWER: The panel votes that the writers forgot about the Shedim.  Of course, panelist Nick noted that the Shedim might be a tool in the tool box when it comes to battling Michael.  Still, we will keep asking the question until the writers track back to this tidbit of Asmodeus-inspired information.

19) Will they break this world’s Michael, still stuck in Adam the half brother and locked in Hell’s Cage, out of his prison?  Even though Lucifer drove him mad?

ANSWER: The answer to this question remains to be seen, though the panel is hopeful that Adam might make even a small cameo in the 300th episode.

20) Will the remaining angels join a fight for or against AW Michael?  Will AW Michael snuff out the rest of the angels?

ANSWER: So far, according to Naomi, the few remaining angels are having a hell of a time keeping unwanted beings and souls from entering Heaven, so if they join a fight on either side of AW Michael right now, they would probably end up extinct.  Still, we do not know Michael’s current company policy on angels lesser than himself, except for Cas, as the latter has aligned himself with the Winchesters. Thus, these answers remain to be seen.

21) Will we see Heaven collapse next season?

ANSWER: Heaven really seems to be in trouble, with open doors and few angels to guard those doors.  The panel is prepared to watch the unfolding season for many reasons, including to see whether or not Heaven itself survives the latest oncoming Apocalypse.

22) Will the show actually be able to convince Jeffrey Dean Morgan (JDM) to return, either in the event that we’re barreling toward the end of the show and/or if Heaven collapses, since he’s supposed to be up there somewhere?

ANSWER: Yes!  JDM is thoroughly convinced and will be returning in the twelfth episode of Season 14!  How? Well, there have been hints and allegations in the entertainment press, but most of the story structure is being kept pretty close to those flannel shirt pockets presumably worn by the series’ writers.

23) Without Princes of Hell, Crowley, or Lucifer, who’s in charge downstairs?

ANSWER: Though a demon named Kip tries hard to make a play for the Throne of Hell, he proves woefully incompetent in the art of negotiation with Sam, Cas, Jack, and some of their fellow AW hunters.  As a result, Sam declares that no one will be in charge of Hell. Of course, how often do demons listen to the Winchester brothers? The answer is: almost never. Also, demons fighting to be in charge of Hell feels pretty distracting when an archangel is poised to destroy both Heaven and the Earth.

24) How will they be able to defeat a super-charged AW Michael, made stronger by his perfect vessel, Dean?

ANSWER: This is a question with what we presume is an answer unfolding this season.

25) Will Chuck/God return to help arbiter these extra-worldly conflicts? He might have to return to create more angels, to resurrect any that have been lost, and/or to help quell the conflict with AW Michael.  Will Amara/the Darkness return with him?

ANSWER: The panel predicts that Chuck/God is going to be needed to help stop the madness, but, so far, no sign of Chuck or Amara has yet emerged.  Where exactly did they go, anyway?

26) Will the show explain how it is that nephilim are stronger than the angels (or archangels, in some circumstances) that sire them?

ANSWER: So far, the show has provided no further explanation surrounding Sam’s Season 13 research findings concerning nephilim.  The panel expects, however, that nephilim biology will become more important as AW Michael’s Apocalypse plans press forward.

27) Will we see any of the Wayward Sisters again, aside from Sheriff Jody and Sheriff Donna, i.e. Claire, Kaia, Patience, etc., despite the fact that the proposed spin-off was not picked up?

ANSWER: Dark Kaia finds her way to Prime World from The Bad Place in Season 14, and she is carrying a suspicious spear capable of hurting AW Michael, which she uses frequently on monsters, super-charged and otherwise, and on Michael himself.  News of Dark Kaia’s presence reaches Sheriff Jody’s radar, and it is she who calls the boys in – after AW Michael vacates Dean for a time – to help navigate the news of the existence of Dark Kaia. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) The panel predicts that Lucifer’s return is all but guaranteed. How will this resourceful archangel emerge? Did he escape when the Empty’s back was turned, while the Empty was making deals with Cas in Heaven in exchange for Jack’s soul? Or, will he take a page from Cas’ book and piss off the Empty enough to convince the grumpy being to eject him as the Empty did Castiel? Or, are Nick and Lucifer connected in unexpected ways, given that Nick was possessed by Lucifer so many different times and for so long? Does Jack get his powers back quickly enough to help his expired father exit the deep dark? The possibilities as to the how feel endless, even if the panel sees Lucifer’s return as a foregone conclusion.

2) When will Sam be forced to end Rowena’s life, as Billie the Reaper aka the New Death prophesied in Season 13? Will we see this eventuality this season?

3) What does Naomi mean when she indicates that Heaven’s gates are open, including those closed in Season 9 via the Winchesters’ efforts? How many gates are there, and what function do they serve? Does this signal Heaven’s collapse, after all? Will human souls escape? Will monsters and/or demons try to get inside? Will Lucifer? Will AW Michael?

4) When Lily Sunder (played by Veronica Cartwright this season) casts the spell to resurrect Jack, we know the magic draws from her own soul. When she decided, in the end, to cast the spell, though she was reluctant to do so at first, did she need to use any part of Jack’s soul for the spell after all? This remains a point of confusion for our panel or, at least, for your main moderator and Chief CP.

5) Will the Empty come to claim Cas by the end of Season 14? What could make Cas so happy in that amount of time as to entice the Empty’s sense of vengeance against his nemesis, Castiel?

6) We know John Winchester will be talking to the boys and to Mary in the 300th episode, as this has been widely reported by the entertainment news media, which is devoting a fair amount of coverage to the landmark episode. Will John encounter any of the other typical characters, such as AW Bobby?

7) We also know that Angel Zachariah, as played by Kurt Fuller, will be making a return appearance in the 300th episode. What other long-gone characters might we see, then or at any other point in the season?

8) If AW Michael’s armies envelop the Earth, what will the demons do? Will they need a leader to do it? Will they elect one?

9) Will the Empty be destroyed? Will any other angels and demons escape? Will the Empty change to something else?

10) Will the Empty’s creation and/or manifestation as a being be explained?

11) Will Heaven be stabilized if it does not collapse?

12) How did Chuck/God and Amara/the Darkness come to exist? Will Supernatural tackle this divine subject?

13) Is Dark Kaia’s Spear the Spear of Destiny? Or, is the Spear the equivalent of Michael’s Spear that was broken in Prime World, as we learned in Season 12?

14) Is the Empty a version of Purgatory for angels and demons? Somebody needs to provide a better explanation for the Empty.

15) Does the AW or The Bad Place have an Empty? Or, is the Empty the same for all dimensions?

16) Seriously, what was The Bad Place?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Supernatural panel continues to present an increasingly diverse range of opinions about the most recent SPN half season.  The mysteries, story threads, and new spins on old horror tropes offered by the first half of Season 14 further divide our panel.  Some panelists find this season highly enjoyable so far, given Jensen Ackles’ opportunity to spread his proverbial wings and his acting range via his portrayal of AW Michael as well as the ongoing integration into the cast of Alexander Calvert’s Jack, both of which feel like modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story.  Some continue to watch the series motivated by the curiosity that comes with needing to complete what was started, more than thirteen years ago.  Still others, particularly the Chief CP, are filled with a renewed excitement by the prospect of what’s to come, feeling that Dean’s specific Season 13 end of season fate became a true “game changer” designed to steer the series toward an epic conclusion, which is likely nearer than we would want or expect, though perhaps not as close as we initially predicted.  In any event, the fresh takes introduced this season, coupled with the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more, helped our panel to, on average, become newly invested in the show, even if reluctantly.  As such, the panel members continue to find compelling reasons to stick with the series, ups and downs aside, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). Though we are in the acknowledged winter of the program’s longevity, there remains nothing like Supernatural on TV right now, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes and barbs about things that strike us as strange – even for such a strange world as we have been watching all this time – all panel members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we move into the second half of Season 14!

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was automatically ordered for a full season upon renewal, though notably for only 20 episodes for Season 14, and returned from its mid-season hiatus on January 17, 2019. Will it be renewed for a fifteenth season?  The February sweeps will no doubt provide a clear answer to that question, though chances seem pretty good, especially since the 300th episode will be airing during sweeps.  In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourteenth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2019. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks and Streaming Originals: “The Crown” – The Recap and Review of Season 1; Part One of CPU!’s “Catching Up on The Crown” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Crown” is a historical drama and web/streaming series available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What:  “The Crown,” created and principally written by Peter Morgan, is
a biographical story about the reign of Her Royal Majesty (HRM) Queen Elizabeth II.

When: Season 1 was released to the Netflix streaming library on November 4, 2016, with a total of ten episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in the United Kingdom, England, and in London, where the Queen and the Royal Family by and large reside.

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.

The Crown = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The Crown traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy, in Seasons 1 and 2) from her wedding in 1947 to Prince Philip (Matt Smith, in Seasons 1 and 2) through to the present day.

THOUGHTS

By popular request, though notably by established CPU! panelists and viewers, The Crown has, as of this publication, become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler!  Requesting CPU! panelists include moderator Krista, best known for her appearances on the Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Grace and Frankie panels as well as the erstwhile panels for British TV shows Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, and the recently published “The Tudors Vs. Wolf Hall;” Spencer, who hangs out most on our comic book adaptation panels; his wife Kristin T, who joined Spencer for Downton Abbey and Sherlock; Samantha, who joins Krista on the Grace and Frankie panel and who Looked Back at Gilmore Girls and Marvel’s Agent Carter, and me, your Chief CP, kicking back as a royally in-tune panelistWe gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” at this lush biopic, and in so doing, ruminate in-depth upon the production values, performances, and general historical accuracy of this show about a living monarch, with some modestly mixed reactions and unevenly engaged suspensions of disbelief.

Tonight’s episode is the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on Netflix in 2016.  In this episode, our panel reflects on and recaps Season 1 of The Crown, covering the period from the Queen’s marriage to Prince Philip to the disintegration of her sister, Princess Margaret’s (Vanessa Kirby), engagement to Group Captain Peter Townsend (Ben Miles) in 1955.

This episode was recorded in December 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first 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, schedule permitting, our Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler with a mid-season check-in, ready to respond and react to the first half of the fourteenth season of the long-running fantasy/horror drama.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The Crown is recommended by our CPU! panel to so-called Anglophiles; to fans of British/English history; to general history buffs; and to followers of the Royals.  The panelists mostly agree that the production values are notably expensive but predominantly worth the money, given the painstakingly remarkable recreations employed in costumes, art direction, and cinematography. The panelists also proffer that the performances are primarily good, particularly that of Foy, and that the first season (or series if you’re British) starts off slow but becomes more engaging as one continues watching. Chief CP Kylie found Season 1 to be almost laboriously slow for most of its run, even with an Anglophile predilection and disposition toward the history of the Commonwealth, and cautions that without love of something about the country, its history, or its monarchy, it might be difficult for such a viewer to stick with the series. 

The panelists additionally, by and large, struggle with Matt Smith’s depiction of Prince Philip, whether by virtue of performance, direction, and/or writing. They further wrestle with the overall historical accuracy – and inaccuracy – of depicted events and with some of the salacious overtones of the piece, as if the producers wanted to present this series as the definitive, if unofficial, authority on all things House of Windsor while, in the meantime, HRM the Queen has contradicted some of the filmed sequences in the press.  In any event, the panelists, particularly in lieu of the lush production values and of Foy’s performance, were universally enticed to continue watching the second season and will do so for future seasons to come as well, despite the cast changes, which we will discuss in Part Two of our miniseries.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Netflix renewed The Crown for third and fourth seasons, with the third season expected to release in 2019, though no tentative premiere date has yet been announced. CPU! will next visit The Crown for Part Two of this “Catch-Up Miniseries” this winter.  Our next The Crown episode will focus upon the second season of the show and will bring our humble podcast to current times, appreciations, and readiness for The Crown coverage going forward.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding The Crown as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!

PODCAST! – Vs! – “The Tudors Vs. Wolf Hall”

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: CPU! panelists Krista and Laurie!

What: “The Tudors” Vs. “Wolf Hall,” the first “not live” version of our feature called “Vs,” wherein two shows, topics, characters, universes, themes, etc. are pitted against each other, and aspects of each side of the “Vs.” equation are debated by a panel. Our first couplet of shows up for debate are steeped in fictional accounts of English royal history, specifically of the House of Tudor and, even more specifically, of King Henry VIII.  

When: The Tudors aired on Showtime for four seasons from 2007 to 2010. Wolf Hall is a six-part miniseries that aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the United States in 2015.

Where: Both series are set in sixteenth century England, in the court and surrounds of King Henry VIII. You know – this chap?

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King Henry VIII

Why:   This new feature, adapted from our LIVE! shows, potentially provides our growing cadre of spicy Couch Potatoes a chance to engage in more formal debates – as opposed to our usual, informal “Water Cooler” discussions – about shows and programs that, perhaps, the podcast has already finished covering, about subjects that interest our panelists, about themes and topics that inspire and excite based on current viewing trends, and so on. The current topic was chosen by me, the Chief CP. I chose this topic because I was inspired by the miniseries Wolf Hall.  While watching it, the show that instantly came to mind in terms of similarity of topic and my brain’s automatic need to compare and contrast was The Tudors. And, if you didn’t already know, The Tudors happens to be the very first show about which I chose to write when I created the Couch Potatoes Unite! blog five years ago!  So, it seemed like a lovely, full circle dovetail, and an idea was verily born from there.

How – as in How’d It Go?

In this episode, we launch yet another new feature at CPU!  We’ve actually attempted this feature before; we usually reserve for it our live appearances, particularly for places like Comic Con, because it is ripe for spiciness and audience participation and interaction!  Well, as life goes, it occurred to yours truly, the Chief CP, that this format could also work for our regularly scheduled podcasting efforts, particularly when watching shows that remind us significantly of other television we’ve watched.  After all, originality is at a premium these days, even if presentations and executions vary in degrees of success.

The Vs. panels will, most times, have an odd number of panelists in each session. Why? Because the moderator, me for this episode, will contribute to the debates but will mainly be responsible for timekeeping, tallying winners, and, above all, tie breaking. Then, at the end of each debate, one side of the Vs. contest will be declared the winner in terms of overall success around the question or topic at hand! What’s more, the plan is to couple the audio recording of this feature with some type of video recording, be it of the panelists themselves and/or of a slideshow or presentation with nice pictures and graphics; however, we will not have such video for this episode, though we may add one later, if the right software and/or set of circumstances comes along. So, even though the recording mentions the potential video, there is no video, except our usual still picture version at YouTube. Sorry! Our ambition will hopefully be matched by good conversion software…someday! Or, next time, we’ll just remember to film it.

As such, this episode’s Vs. match pits depictions of historical figures, success of execution of story arcs involving historical events, and success of the overall series of Wolf Hall against what will primarily be the first two season of The Tudors, as Wolf Hall’s depiction of Henry VIII’s reign ended largely with the execution of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and the downfall of Thomas Cromwell, which is ultimately what ended the second season of The Tudors.  To parse out the success of these two series, historically minded CPU! panelists Krista and Laurie return to the Water Cooler to duke it out, ye merry olde style.

To ascertain the winning score – you can scroll down through this post, but it comes with qualifiers best explained by a listen, and the debate is both educational and spicy and so (presumably) also entertaining!  Which series won, and did we all survive in the end?  Take a listen!  This podcast episode was recorded in September 2018.

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 will stay across the pond as we launch a new Water Cooler panel. We will talk the first of the two existing seasons of the Netflix bio-drama concerning Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, namely The Crown, in the first episode of a two-part Catch-Up Miniseries moderated by Krista. Stay tuned!

THE FINAL SCORE: 

THE TUDORS: 3
WOLF HALL: 10

NEXT VS.!

CPU! is working on its next Vs. panel!  Details coming soon!

The Tudors is available to stream on Netflix.  Wolf Hall is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

If you have a topic you would like to see and/or hear us debate, let us know! Contact us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com, via our Guestbook here at the website, via our Facebook page, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!