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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 08:52 AM Written by

The new TV season begins officially next week, but already this week there are some premieres with Fox's "Red Band Society" and NBC's preview of "The Mysteries of Laura."

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TV review: Fox explores 'Gotham' before Batman

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 03:00 PM Written by


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The pilot episode of Fox’s “Gotham” (8 p.m. Monday, WPGH) offers a visually sumptuous Gotham City that’s soaked in a throwback noir aesthetic that suggests 1970s Manhattan with the addition of some modern niceties. If a vibe is all it takes to make a TV show successful, “Gotham” is a winner from the start. But realistically, it takes a lot more than strong production design and that’s where this Batman-less “Batman” prequel loses steam.

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At some point during the 2014-15 TV season, Fox’s “Glee” will return to limp off into the sunset, having overstayed its prime-time welcome by about two seasons. So Fox understandably wants to groom a replacement series about teens, and with the success of the teens-with-cancer book and movie “The Fault in Our Stars,” perhaps the new dramedy “Red Band Society” (9 p.m. Wednesday, WPGH) will fit the bill.

Or maybe not. One never knows if a show like this will come across as zeitgeisty or as a paler knock-off.

Taken on its own, the pilot for “Red Band Society” is a light-as-air confection that’s utterly lacking in the Fox’s trademark edginess. Even Nurse Jackson (Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, “The Help”), who’s labeled a rhymes-with-“Scary Witch” is revealed by the end of the hour to be a “Scary Witch” with a heart of gold-flaked mush.

While Spencer and co-star Dave Annable (“Brothers & Sisters”) — as a doctor in Ocean Park Hospital’s pediatric wing — are the two biggest names in “Red Band Society,” their screen time is minimal compared to the sick kids who are the focus of the series.

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'Sesame Street' begins its 45th season

Monday, 15 September 2014 06:51 PM Written by

Sesame 45


PASADENA, Calif. --  Hard to believe it’s been 45 years of Sunny Days and A-Oks, but PBS stalwart “Sesame Street” indeed enters its 45th season today and expands to include a second, half-hour daily show.

The 26 new, one-hour episodes air at 9 a.m. weekdays on WQED-TV and half-hour episodes, which are culled from the one-hour shows, air at 2 p.m. weekdays.

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TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by clicking here.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Elementary,” “Those Who Kill” and “The Price is Right.” As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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Fox's folly: 'Utopia'

Thursday, 11 September 2014 05:16 PM Written by


Fox's "Utopia" (8 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, WPGH), the network's new foray into reality programming, really ought to be called "Farming, Fighting, and Fornicating -- But Mostly Fighting."  

The premise of the show is that 14 participants -- they're not contestants because there are no winners on this show in any sense of the word "winners" -- allow themselves to be filmed 24/7 as they build a miniature society. A 15th participant will be added later, most likely in Friday's episode.

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PBS's 'NOVA' looks at the science behind vaccines

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 04:25 PM Written by

vaccines blog

Post-Gazette writer David Templeton previewed PBS’s “Vaccines: Calling the Shots” (9 tonight, WQED) earlier this week, but there was some additional conversation about the program at a July PBS press conference that’s worth considering.

“Calling the Shots” writer/director/producer Sonya Pemberton (pictured at left) said it was a challenge to make a film that acknowledges the fears of some anti-vaccine advocates without giving the impression that there is a scientific debate rather than a settled scientific consensus about the safety of childhood vaccinations and the benefits of herd immunization.

And Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious diseases specialist, cautioned that even though they are small in number, anti-vaxxers pose a risk.

“Those who choose not to vaccinate their children are making a bad and misinformed choice that puts not only their children at risk, but those with whom their children come in contact at risk,” he said. “It's a terrible decision that can have terrible consequences.”

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CBS updates/ruins? its Eye-Lert program

Tuesday, 09 September 2014 08:03 PM Written by


CBS announced plans today to “expand” its Eye-lert system that notifies viewers who sign up for changes in the network’s Sunday night schedule due to sports coverage.

Sounds good, right? But wait, there's more. And it's not good.

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