Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PCP on TV - 2015-2016 TV preview - What's on my DVR?

So, I know I've been on an extended hiatus for the majority of 2015, and for that I apologize. My work and home lives have been insanely busy. I have been writing this post piecemeal all summer long though so I could get it up onto the blog for you and return in a big way. So, for the fifth straight year now (wow, I can't believe I've been writing this blog for that long!), here is my extended TV preview. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think and what shows you're excited for down in the comments!

Making their debut this year: (11)

There's a bunch of new shows coming this year that I'm excited for, and fortunately for my time schedule, the majority of them are shortened season shows. Rather than airing a full 22 episodes like most network shows, some of these shows have shorter seasons. I still watch a lot (probably too much) of television, but thankfully as more and more shows are moving towards the limited season format, it allows me to keep caught up with all the awesome that is airing on so many different networks.

The Bastard Executioner - Kurt Sutter and F/X network have had a great relationship. He was involved in the show The Shield as a writer and producer, then created Sons of Anarchy for the network. Now his 3rd outing is set in 14th century England in the reign of King Edward I (aka Longshanks, the same villain king from Braveheart). Starring True Blood's Stephen Moyer, The Americans' Matthew Rhys, and SOA's Katey Sagal, the show features a great cast and it looks to be a good bloody show, kind of like a more historical and less fantastical Game of Thrones. The first season will be 10 episodes and begins on September 15th on F/X.

Blood & Oil - Apparently even though Dallas was recently cancelled by the folks over at TNT (see the cancellations section below), it looks like the Hollywood folks think that Americans like to watch shows about greedy oil tycoons and their dysfunctional families and their competitors. It's got a pretty solid cast though, including Don Johnson, Delroy Lindo, Chace Crawford, and Scott Michael Foster who I loved on Greek as the slacker Cappie. We'll be giving this one a shot, and it begins on ABC on September 27th.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow - This one isn't coming to TV until some time in 2016, but it will be now the 3rd series set in the same shared universe of Arrow and The Flash over on the CW. Since both Arrow & The Flash are a part of my DVR rotation already, I'll be adding this one too as well since it ties in and brings characters from both shows onto the new one. Look for both of those shows to build up this one periodically throughout their seasons, and you should watch all 3 shows if you want to get the most out of this shared universe. No word on the exact premiere date or how many episodes the first season will have, but it is unlikely to have more than 13 in its first year, I'd imagine.

The Expanse - I am really really really hoping and praying that SyFy doesn't screw this one up. The Expanse is based on one of my favorite series of novels in any genre by author James S.A. Corey (which is really a pen name for 2 guys writing together). The network wants this to be their new flagship prestige sci-fi show, like Battlestar Galactica once was. They definitely have some great source material to work with, as the novels are up to 5 books now and counting (with one a year slated through 2019). SyFy is going to run this show like Game of Thrones, with each season being one book. If you like science fiction at all, watch this show, and you also need to be reading the books because they are some of the best books I've read in a long time. The fact that they got some pretty good actors including Thomas Jane and Oscar Nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand & Fog) in the cast, as well as having the show written for TV by the same guys who wrote the awesome dystopian film Children of Men gives me a lot of hope that they are going to get this right. It debuts on SyFy on December 14th for a 10 episode season.

Fear the Walking Dead - The prequel/spinoff of The Walking Dead began in August on AMC and is nearly done with its 6 episode first season. It's already been renewed for a 2nd season too. I'm always down for more zombie mayhem, and it's cool to watch the world fall apart as this show brings us back to the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. It airs on Sunday Nights through October 4th, and will be back for a 15 episode second season some time in 2016.

Heroes Reborn - Heroes was a fun show, until it completely jumped the shark and never lived up to its potential. Now NBC is bringing it back for a 13 episode run. Lets hope they learned from their mistakes the first time around, and bring us a show that is exciting and worth watching again. I'm glad that many of the better characters from the original, like Hiro and HRG are back too. The heroes return on September 24th on NBC.

My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Well, with all the superhero and sci-fi shows I'm adding to our DVR, I have to let my wife pick some new shows too. This one on the CW looks pretty funny, especially if they stick with the crazy internal monologues and musical numbers. The fact that this show was originally planned for Showtime also increases my interest in checking this one out, as maybe it will be a little bit more edgy than your standard network show. Also, the creater and star, Rebecca Bloom, used to write for the hilarious Robot Chicken, so that gives me hope as well. It debuts on the CW on October 12th.

Quantico - This thriller on ABC looks kind of like a cross between The Americans and Homeland, with a dash of Shondaland thrown in (one review called this show Grey's Academy) featuring a group of recruits at the FBI academy at Quantico, but one of them is apparently a terrorist mole. It should be interesting to see if they can keep up the suspense, or perhaps the show will go the way of Katherine Heigl's short lived spy thriller State of Affairs. We'll be tuning in as long as it's good though. It debuts on September 27th on ABC.

Scream Queens - I figure this first season of the show will be its best, as that is Ryan Murphy's track record (Glee, Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story). His shows always start out great and then eventually go off the rails into awfulness. It's got a great cast though, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, and Oliver Hudson, so hopefully the show will be a lot of fun to watch. It begins on Fox on September 22nd and is slated to run for 15 episodes.

Supergirl - Although this new DC comics show is from the same people that created Arrow & The Flash (and Legends of Tomorrow), there is no word yet on if it is set in the same universe. Since it airs on CBS, not the CW, I'm not holding my breath for cross-network tie ins, but who knows? The show looks light and fun, more like The Flash than Arrow, so this should be a fun little superhero show. Kara Zor-El flies onto our TV screens on CBS beginning on October 26th.

Wicked City - This 80s era true crime thriller is based loosely on the story of the Sunset Strip Killers in Los Angeles. Airing on ABC, it has a limited run of 10 episodes and stars Ed Westwick and Erika Christensen as the killers, and I can definitely see both of those actors in that role so that is some good casting there. We have to wait until October 27th to see if the show is any good, but hopefully it will be enjoyable. Westwick was the best part of Gossip Girl, and Christensen was very creepy in the flick Swimfan.

After the jump: what is returning to the DVR, what got cancelled, and what almost made the cut but not quite. Click on "read more" for the rest! -->

Returning shows we watch: (23)

So there's a lot of stuff here, but fortunately many of these shows are limited run seasons as well. Otherwise I'd never be able to keep up!

American Horror Story: Hotel - The fifth season of the horror anthology on F/X is titled "Hotel," which tells us next to nothing about what the season will be about. What is known is that a great cast once again fills the line up of this show, and also singer Lady Gaga will be one of the main characters. I'll be watching this season partly out of morbid curiosity as to whether or not she can actually act. It begins on F/X on October 7th.

The Americans - The best show on TV that barely anyone is watching, the tense spy thriller on F/X will be coming back for a fourth season some time in January 2016. Keri Russell & Matthew Rhys are amazing as the deep cover Russian spies in 1980s America. The 3rd season ended on an especially fraught note with the spies' daughter Paige disclosing the truth to her pastor. I'm looking forward to the fallout from that, and I have a feeling he's not going to be long for this world.

Arrow - This comic book adaptation on the CW continues to excel as it goes into its fourth season, and its universe is set to further expand with the Legends of Tomorrow show coming in 2016. I'm also looking forward to new Big Bad Damien Darhk, played by Band of Brothers star Neal McDonough, as I've always enjoyed his work. Plus, with Malcolm Merlyn taking over as Ra's Al Ghul after the events of season 3, we haven't seen the last of the awesome John Barrowman either. There are some great storytelling possibilities for season 4, so I'm looking forward to what the show does next. Arrow shoots back onto our DVR on October 7th.

Big Bang Theory - The geeks are back, and will be on our TVs for awhile, as the show was renewed for this season (its 9th) and next season as well. There will be some interesting changes to the dynamics of the main characters too, as apparently Penny & Leonard are getting married, and Sheldon & Amy have to deal with their complicated relationship as well. Plus, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming out this year, you just know there will be some Star Wars related episodes this year as well. The season kicks off on September 21 on CBS.

Black-ish - I was tentatively cautious about this one in my fall preview last year, but the show blew me away. It was way funnier and more enjoyable than I expected, as the entire cast is incredibly funny, even the family's four kids, which are often a weak link on sitcoms. The show also did a great job of balancing the funny with a more serious look at race relations here in the U.S., so it will be interesting to see how the show tackles subjects like the #BlackLivesMatter movement in this new season. They're also going to be taking a look at the use of the N-word as well, from the promo for the 2nd season. I look forward to the continued shenanigans of the Johnson family when it returns to ABC on September 23rd.

Castle - There were some contract issues at the end of last season that nearly saw female lead Stana Katic not resign for this 8th season. Fortunately she did, as did star Nathan Fillion, but they only signed one year deals. Maybe this 8th season will be the last of the show? There's a new showrunner too, and some characters are changing jobs including Katic's Beckett being promoted. All I know is that I'll be tuning in until the end, as this quirky cop show is often very funny. The season kicks off on ABC on September 21.

Empire - This one wasn't on the fall preview last year as I wasn't even aware that it was coming to TV until long after that post went up. I'm glad we started watching this hip-hop music industry soap though, because it quickly became one of our favorite shows to watch, thanks in part to a high HSQ (Holy Sh*t Quotient, i.e. the # of times I said that watching the show), as well as some awesome cameos from the music and entertainment industry, on top of the amazing performances by leads Terrence Howard and Taraji. P Henson. The most wild soap on TV quickly soared up the ratings into a juggernaut, so hopefully the show will be on and entertaining us for a long time to come. Season 2 comes to Fox beginning on September 23rd.

The Flash - Other than Empire, this one was my other favorite of the new shows to debut last year. The spin-off from Arrow was lighter and more fun, with less brooding and more crazy thanks to the superpowered heroes and villains populating the show's universe. With the show expanding to now have at least one alternate universe Earth (and potentially a whole multiverse in the future), there's really no limit to where this show can go. Season 2 zooms onto the CW beginning on October 6th.

Game of Thrones - Barring George R.R. Martin writing faster and getting book six in his saga published before the show returns, I will now be in the same boat as my wife when season 6 of this awesome epic comes back next year - I will no longer have any idea as to what is coming, now that the show has caught up to the books. One of my favorite things was watching for my wife's reaction to a jaw-dropping moment, which happened quite regularly on this show. Now I'll get to be just as shocked as her when things like the Red Wedding happen. Also, I'm still holding out hope that the show will bring on Lady Stoneheart, but I'm not holding my breath. Season 6 comes to HBO in April of 2016.

Graceland - This summertime show is just wrapping up it's 3rd season as I write this, with the season finale airing on September 17th over on the USA network. My wife and I look forward to this stylish undercover cops thriller's return hopefully next summer, but as of right now its fate has not yet been decided by the folks over at USA. Last year they didn't announce if it had been renewed for a fourth season until November, so we might not know the fate of this one for a few months. I'm crossing my fingers that it comes back though, because it's a fun show to watch. If it does come back, it will probably air from June to September like the past 3 years.

Homeland - The continuing adventures of bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) continues in the show's fifth season. This time there will be a two year time jump after the events of season 4, and Carrie is now a private contractor instead of a CIA agent. I still have yet to watch season 4 as I didn't have time this summer, and I don't get Showtime so I have to wait for DVDs, so it will be awhile before I'm current on this one, but hopefully the show will remain solid. It is set in Berlin this year, after the setting in Afghanistan and Pakistan last year, and comes to Showtime beginning on October 4th.

Marvel's Agent Carter - My wife was not as big of a fan of this show as I was, and has been begging me to cancel it from our DVR. I actually found it enjoyable and fun, and actually better than the next show on this list, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm willing to give it a second chance though, but I might wind up watching this one alone. It has a 10 episode 2nd season planned over on ABC, and will air some time in 2016, likely during the midseason break for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. like it did last year.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The first show in the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (all of the films, plus this show, Agent Carter, & the Netflix series' Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, & Iron Fist) was way better in its second season than it was in its first. In season two, the show explored more of the Inhumans, helping to lay the groundwork for the future film of that same name, and the show looks to continue that world building in its 3rd season. While it is not the best show, events here will influence the movie universe and vice versa, so it is sort of required viewing if you are a comic book junkie like me. Season 3 kicks off on ABC on September 29th.

Nashville - The other music industry soap opera we watch is set in the world of country rather than hip-hop, but it is still an enjoyable show. The third season ended on a few cliff hangers (like all soap operas do), & I'm hoping they don't kill off one of my favorite characters on the show, Deacon. Also, now that she's done with her pregnancy, we should see a lot more of Hayden Panettiere in the new season, which is good as she's my other favorite of the show as the reigning bitch Juliette. The music returns to ABC on September 23rd.

Orange is the New Black - The hit Netflix series had its 3rd season earlier this summer, but we are behind and still have to watch season 2. It has already been renewed for a fourth season that will hit the streaming service some time in 2016. I look forward to getting caught back up with this show, but it will probably be awhile before I am able to do so. Maybe next summer we'll watch seasons two through four all at once.

Orphan Black - Yet another show that I am behind on, thanks to not having the channel it airs on and having to wait for DVD, this time the channel in question is BBC America. I've seen the great first two seasons of this cloning thriller, but still have to watch season 3 before season 4 comes out next April. Maybe I'll just upgrade my cable next year to include that channel, because I love what I've seen so far out of this show and it's versatile star Tatiana Maslany, who finally scored an Emmy nomination this year for her incredible work.

The Royals - Like Empire, this show was not on last year's preview. This super-catty soap opera is the E! Network's first scripted show (not including the Kardashians, which, come on, we all know there is some writing and rehearsal going on there), and stars Elizabeth Hurley as the regally bitchy Queen of England, head of a highly dysfunctional royal family. The show is worth watching for her snarky remarks alone. It's not the best show, but if you want trashy entertainment as a guilty pleasure, this one fits the bill. The second season begins on E! on November 15th.

Sleepy Hollow - After a stellar first season, Sleepy Hollow unfortunately took a step back in its second season. This show barely survived our DVR cuts this year, and barring a stellar improvement in the show's quality, will probably not make it to next year. Season 3 will be 18 episodes, and the show has a new showrunner this year, which will helpfully help bring back some of the fun of the first season. They're also doing a bit of a time jump of a year, allowing them to make Nicole Beharie's Abbie into an FBI agent instead of a local cop, and also allowing them to put some distance from the weak second season as well. I'm crossing my fingers on this one, because when this show is firing on all cylinders, it can be one of the most fun shows on TV.  It returns to Fox on October 1.

South Park - My favorite raunchy cartoon returns for its 19th season on September 16th on Comedy Central. Earlier this summer, they reached a deal renewing the show through its 23rd season, so we definitely will have the antics of our favorite fowl mouthed children for quite a while to come. I'm looking forward to seeing how the show handles some of the crazier events of the past year, they are set to tackle Caitlyn Jenner right out of the gate in the first episode of the season. They also plan to hit Deflategate at some point this year as well. I can't wait.

The Strain - The vampire outbreak horror show on F/X has supposedly gotten a lot better in its second season. I wouldn't know because I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but all the episodes are on my DVR & I just might get to it before all the other shows come back in the upcoming weeks. I loved the books it was based on, so I've always been hopeful that this show could live up to its potential. It has been renewed for a 3rd season for next summer, so look for it to return in July like it has the past two years. Meanwhile, the 2nd season airs its finale on October 4th.

True Detective - I absolutely loved the first season of this HBO anthology series. The second season I haven't seen yet, but I heard it was nowhere near as good as the first. Not surprising, as it would be hard to top a show as good as the first season of True Detective was. HBO has not yet announced if it is getting a third season, but given the show's strong performance in the ratings, I would not be surprised at all if it is renewed. Hopefully season 2 will come out on DVD soon so I can catch that some time in the near future, and hopefully it'll be better than people said it was. Maybe if I lower my expectations enough I'll enjoy it.

The Vampire Diaries - As the supernatural show prepares to begin its seventh season, it has to do so while dealing with the departure of its primary female lead, Nina Dobrev's Elena. The show isn't going to be the same without her and it'll be interesting to see where they go from here. Hopefully the show will continue to be fun and enjoyable, and they better not make Elena's love interest Damon (Ian Somerhalder) too mopey with her gone, he is far more fun of a character when he is being a sarcastic wiseass, as he has the best snarky lines on the show. It returns to the CW on October 8th.

The Walking Dead - My favorite of the many horror-themed shows we watch on TV, AMC's ratings juggernaut has spawned a spinoff as it heads into its sixth season. With the show seemingly set to take place in Alexandria for the foreseeable future, it will be interesting to see how long the show can stay fixed in one place without getting stale, like it did on Hershel's farm in season 2. Considering in the comic books that they've been in Alexandria for more than half of the run of the comics, there are plenty of stories set there that they can tell, and there are some big ones from the books that I'm hoping come to the big screen. The zombie mayhem returns to AMC on October 11th, the week after Fear the Walking Dead ends its first season.

Maybe some day in the future: (9) 

This new category this year is shows that I really want to watch but fall into one or more of the following categories:  a) I don't have the time for it.  b) I don't have the network/streaming service the show is on, or c) I haven't convinced my wife to watch it with me yet and would rather spend time watching a show with her that we both like than watching a show solo.  It's possible some of these shows could find their way into the rotation in the future, but for now they are still on the shelf.

Ash vs Evil Dead - The Evil Dead series, especially Army of Darkness, are among my all time favorite films. So naturally, this horror comedy coming to Starz on Halloween (of course) is definitely going to be something I want to watch. It continues the story of Ash, stars Bruce Campbell in the role he made famous, and has Sam Raimi on board as a producer as well. The trailer shows it will have both the silly humor and wild gore the series is known for. The 10 episode season (30 min each) will be the perfect way to spend 5 hours on a binge once it's all streamable somewhere, since I don't have Starz on my cable package. Hail to the King, Baby!

Colony - I know very little about this show, except it created by Carlton Cuse from Lost and stars Lost's Sawyer and Walking Dead's Lori Grimes (Josh Holloway & Sarah Wayne Callies) in the leads, and it is set in some sort of bleak future. That sentence is enough to make me want to watch the show. Its 10 episode first season hits USA network this January. I still have to talk my wife into watching this one with me though, so it is possible this one might not actually make it to my DVR.

Daredevil - The first Marvel series on Netflix was renewed for a second season, but I still need to watch the first. I've heard it is great, however. They are also bringing my favorite comics character, The Punisher, into the storyline in season 2, so I definitely will be watching this someday. The second season will be out some time in 2016.

House of Cards - As a politics junkie, I really really want to watch this show, but haven't had the time to add it to the rotation. I've heard Kevin Spacey is amazing in it. Maybe someday I'll get around to it. Its 4th season will hit Netflix some time in 2016.

Into the Badlands - I know very little about this show except that it is a martial arts show set in a world with no gunpowder, and it supposedly mixes in multiple genres of storytelling. If the reviews are good enough, it will be easy to get caught up since the first season will only be six episodes. It comes to AMC beginning on November 15th.

The Man in the High Castle - I'm really excited for this one as a history buff. One of my favorite genres of fiction is alternate history, which is exactly what this show is all about. Set in a world where the US lost WWII because the Germans developed nuclear weapons first, America is an occupied land split between the Nazis and the Japanese, and the show picks up the story in 1962. The show's pilot was a major hit when it streamed on Amazon, and the show looks incredible. It is based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, who is responsible for some of the coolest ideas ever adapted to films and TV. Maybe you've heard of Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, or the Adjustment Bureau? Its 10 episode season will begin streaming on Amazon this year on November 20th, and I'll either have to get Amazon Prime so I can stream them, or wait for them to be released on DVD.

Marvel's Jessica Jones - The second of the Marvel series exclusive to Netflix is due to drop on November 20th. Starring Krysten Ritter, Carrie-Anne Moss, & David Tennant, this show will hopefully be good as it further expands the Marvel TV and Film universe. Ultimately, this show's characters will combine with those from Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist (the latter two not yet released) to form a TV supergroup over on Netflix, the Defenders.

Penny Dreadful - Yet another horror TV show that I want to watch, but haven't had a chance to start yet, despite having the 1st season at home. This one normally airs on Showtime and has been getting pretty good reviews over its completed first two seasons. The first season was 8 epsiodes, and the second season 10, so at least it will be easy to get caught up eventually. It was renewed for a 9 episode 3rd season (seriously Showtime, pick a number and stick with it) that will come to the network some time next year.

X-Files - This show was instrumental in my teenage years to my building of a love of science fiction and horror. I am very excited that Fox is bringing this show back for a six episode event miniseries which will begin on January 24th, 2016. That gives me about four months to talk my wife into watching this one with me! If not I'll binge this on my own some day, maybe when I go back and watch the whole series again from scratch some day, maybe when my son is old enough to watch it with me.

Axed from the DVR: (10) 

We dropped a bunch of shows this year, as we were having a hard time keeping up with everything on the DVR, and in some case we were just not feeling some of the shows we were watching, so we made some cuts of shows that the networks still renewed. Five of the 10 shows that got axed from the DVR remain airing on TV, but we won't be tuning in anymore. The other 5 shows are gone for good.

Dallas - TNT's update to the prime time classic unfortunately didn't survive the real life death of star Larry Hagman, losing viewers throughout its third season, and not getting renewed for a fourth. It was a fun show with a pretty talented cast, so I'll miss it a little bit, especially as it ended with a few whammies that will now never be resolved.

Girl Meets World - While it was fun taking this nostalgia trip from my own childhood for a few episodes, I'm not really the target audience this show is aimed for. I realized this show is aimed at kids, not adults, so I stopped watching, because the show was just a bit too childish for my taste. Maybe when my son gets older, we'll pick it up on DVD and watch it with him, but for now we cut this from our DVR.

Gotham - Well, we gave it a shot, but unlike the DC comics shows over on the CW, this one on Fox didn't quite pull me in. Fox renewed it for a 2nd season but we are not keeping it on the DVR as this is one of the shows we decided to axe to make space.

The Lottery - We still had half of this Lifetime channel's show's first season on our DVR when the cancellation notice came out from the network, so we just deleted the remaining episodes without watching them and wasting our time. So, I'm not sure how the first season ended, but I find myself not caring. This show had an interesting premise, but it might have been better suited on more of a science fiction based network like SyFy. I never got attached enough to the show to miss it though.

The Millers - Will Arnett's funny show didn't survive CBS delaying its start by 2 months thanks to the NFL season and also losing Big Bang Theory as it's lead-in show. Too bad because it was pretty funny, but I'm sure all involved will find some new shows soon as there were too many talented people on this one to not have them all wind up somewhere else soon.

The Originals - We had to make some cuts to our DVR this year as we had just too many shows to keep up with, and we decided to punt on this Vampire Diaries spinoff even though it was renewed by the CW. We missed the entire fall run of the show as it aired at the same time two other shows we watched (our DVR only allows 2 shows recording at a time) and we realized we just didn't miss it. So, we cut it to make some space.

Reign - Another renewed show by the network that we still went ahead and cut from the DVR, Reign just lost us with its over the top silliness, and its extreme historical inaccuracy. They introduced England's Queen Elizabeth as a character, and had her get married? Oh come on. She was known as the "virgin queen" for a reason as she never got married. I can forgive some historical liberties but gross re-writes of established history just annoy me.

Scandal - We just can't do this show any more. Their repetitive insistence of keeping the B613 story, that they could have finally done away with once and for all, just ticked me off. It was majorly dragging down the show, as was the show's insistence in pushing the toxic relationship between Olivia & Fitz. We got tired of the same repeated storyline over and over, so this show got cut from the DVR despite getting a renewal from ABC.

State of Affairs - Katherine Heigl's return to network television did not go as well as she had hoped, but this shameless Homeland knock-off was nowhere near as good as Homeland, and NBC gave it the axe. I'm slightly bummed though because the show was enjoyable enough that I would've kept watching anyways, plus they left it on a mighty big cliffhanger that will now never be resolved. Oh well.

The Witches of East End - The other show we watched on Lifetime also got cancelled after its second season. This is actually sad, because the show was surprisingly entertaining. The 2nd season ended on a ton of cliffhangers also, it's too bad they'll never be resolved. Fortunately, I still can get my supernatural fix from plenty of other shows on TV.

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