Tuned In Journal

Nuns on the run? 'The Sisterhood' on Lifetime

Monday, 24 November 2014 12:00 AM Written by

sisterhood

There's such a dearth of religion on television that I'm always pleased to see efforts to bring the role of religion in the lives of Americans to light. But too often this leads to disappointment either in the depiction itself or in the over-reaction of dogmatists (see the brouhaha over ABC's excellent 1997 drama series "Nothing Sacred as Exhibit A).

So it shouldn't be a surprise that Lifetime's docu-series "The Sisterhood" (10 p.m. Tuesday) leaves a lot to be desired.

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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 “Dancing with the Stars,” “Family Feud” and a Fox News host. As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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NUP 155123 0797

Clearly someone at USA has no faith in "It Takes a Choir," a reality show that filmed at Pittsburgh Brashear High School in December 2012 and has been scheduled and then postponed multiple times (see here and here and here).

Now the show has yet another premiere date that does nothing to instill confidence in the show's prospects for success. 

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'Odd Squad' from Fred Rogers Co. debuts next week

Thursday, 20 November 2014 08:58 AM Written by

 

os group

It’s difficult to separate “Odd Squad” from its production company. Taken on its own, PBS’s “Odd Squad” (9 and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. weekdays starting Nov. 27, WQED-TV) is a terrifically quirky and engaging children’s series for ages 5-8. It manages to incorporate math in ways that support the outlandish investigations by Odd Squad, whether it’s about things that disappear in batches of four or a pizza maker who finds herself doubled. The show is not PBS-dull; it’s exuberant, creative and one of the better live-action kids’ shows since Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” (1993-96).

But considering it’s produced in part by the South Side’s Fred Rogers Company, there’s reason to give pause: What would Fred Rogers think of a show bearing his name that’s the antithesis of the quiet, contemplative style of children’s television he exemplified? Would he admire its creativity or be outraged by its frantic excesses? No one knows but some viewers will surely draw their own conclusion.

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Gortimer blog

It’s a banner month for quirky, live-action kids’ shows. On Friday streaming service Amazon Prime Instant Video debuts “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street” and Wednesday at 9 a.m. PBS debuts “Odd Squad,” a live-action series produced in part by The Fred Rogers Company of the South Side. (The first episode of "Gortimer" is streaming for free and does not require a Prime membership.)

In an age when so many live-action shows aimed at kids in the 6-11ish age range are relationship-based sitcoms (think: “Girl Meets World” and just about any other tween show on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon), both “Odd Squad” and “Gortimer” are more driven by creative plots about weird goings-on.

“Odd Squad” is educational with some math concepts snuck in but “Gortimer” is just for fun. (Perhaps, oddly, considering the channels they air on, fast-moving “Odd Squad” reminds me more of “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” while “Gortimer” is more leisurely in its pace.)

Created by pre-school teacher and first-time writer David Anaxagoras, Amazon’s series follows Gortimer (Sloane Morgan Siegel) and his friends Mel (Ashley Boettcher) and Ranger (Drew Justice) as they get involved in weird mysteries that happen on their anything-but-normal block. Parents are glimpsed occasionally – Robyn Lively (“Savannah”) is a series regular playing Gortimer’s mom; Paula Marshall (“Cupid”) pops up as Mel’s mom in another episode – but the focus is on the kids and their “Eerie, Indiana”-style adventures.

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'The Middle' celebrates Thanksgiving

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 09:22 AM Written by

the middle 11-14

I quit watching ABC's "The Middle" (8 p.m. Wednesday, WTAE) about a year ago, not because I disliked the show, I'd just grown tired of it. I felt like I knew all I needed to know about the characters and I needed to move on to newer programs.

But when as screener of this week's episode became available, I decided to check in again.

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cold war roadshow blog

 

PBS’s “American Experience” (9 p.m. Tuesday, WQED-TV) looks back at a largely forgotten episode in 20th century history in the one-hour documentary film “Cold War Roadshow,” which recounts the 1959 visit by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to the United States for a two-week tour of the country at the height of the Cold War. The trip included a stop in Pittsburgh.

Writer/director Robert Stone (“Oswald’s Ghost”) said this film is one he’s wanted to make for 20 years after coming across a trove of archival footage.

“It just struck me as a window into this bizarre anomaly of the Cold War that was covered from every conceivable angle,” he said, noting that Mr. Khrushchev’s two-week visit received wall-to-wall coverage on TV, something familiar to today’s cable news viewers but almost unheard of back then. “For something comparable you’d have to go back to the Lindbergh [baby] kidnapping to have a media frenzy like this. But what’s strange is this is a mass media event that has been almost completely forgotten. I think part of the reason for that is it’s such an anomaly to the conventional narrative of the Cold War that nobody knows quite what to do with it.”

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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 “The Big Bang Theory,” “Deadliest Catch” and “Hardcore Pawn.” As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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