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October 16, 2013

The Couch Potato: Channel surfing with some quick hits

NEW CASTLE — Like a pile of mashed potatoes with no butter or salt, the Couch Potato's brain is mushy and bland today.

So here comes the “Quick Hits!”

•The "Breaking Bad" finale aired a few weeks back and most were satisfied with the ending.

"Breaking Bad" never made much use of the cliffhanger throughout its five-season run, preferring to wrap up each episode with a tidy bow. The series finale was not much different, and most prognosticators called the ending well in advance. That is not to say that it was somehow unsatisfying, because it was nice to see a show finish with loose ends tied up.

"The Soprano's" and "Lost" are two series that left fans wanting a bit more after their respective finales, so kudos to "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan for making a fan-friendly ending. I won't spoil the conclusion for any of you, and I still highly recommend checking out the entire series if you have the chance.

•Another AMC hit show, "Mad Men," was recently in the news with the announcement that the 14-episode final season would be split into two, with seven episodes airing in the spring of 2014 and the final seven episodes coming out in the spring of 2015. AMC made a similar decision with the final season of "Breaking Bad" and it worked to their favor as the final episodes drew huge audiences.

If you ask the Couch Potato, I say it sounds like two separate seasons since they air a year apart and I'd also say it's a rip-off to fans who have invested so much time into the series in the first place. 

•Checking up on the Couch Potato's Fall Preview Guide from a few weeks back, starting with the good. "The Goldbergs," which airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC, has been just OK. It certainly does have a "Wonder Years" feel to it as narrator Patton Oswald recalls his childhood days in the ’80s. The first three episodes have been solid, if unspectacular, so the Couch Potato will keep watching, for now.

And now the bad. Airing right after "The Goldberg's" on ABC is "Trophy Wife" and the results have been less than stellar. The Couch Potato hit delete midway through the second episode and hasn't been back since. Something about the large cast just didn't click with this viewer.

My final show to watch in the preview blog was "The Blacklist," airing  at 10 p.m. Mondays on NBC. That one never even got off the ground. The Couch Potato recorded the first three episodes, almost hit play the other night and then realized that NBC hasn't produced a good new show in five years and immediately hit delete on all three episodes.

My buddy said he liked it, but I got off the train before it left the station.

•"The League" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" continue to churn out the laughs on Wednesday nights as the two half-hour comedies anchor the launch of the new FXX Network. As previously stated in this space, the new channel was born from the old FX Network, which now focuses on dramas, while FXX handles the comedy. The Couch Potato has been a big fan of the new FXX as it puts out the aforementioned original programming plus a solid list of reruns, consisting of classic shows like "Spin City," "Parks and Rec" and last week's blog topic, "Arrested Development."

So far, so good for FXX.

•The Couch Potato caught up on some classic movies over the past few weeks, starting with 1997's "L.A. Confidential" and finishing with 1976's "Taxi Driver," starring Robert DeNiro. "Taxi Driver" was particularly intriguing, as the Couch Potato has never been fond of movies made before I was born.

However, this was a true classic in every sense as DeNiro and director Martin Scorsese weave a tale of psychological breakdown. 

•Finally, the Couch Potato wants to hear from you. If you have a question, comment or blog idea, please send it to the mailbag at Please include your name and where you're from and you might just see your question or comment in this space in the near future.

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