Tuned In Journal

TV Q&A with Rob Owen
Submit questions for a future column.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Undercover Boss,” Alex O’Loughlin’s tattoos and a WTAE promo. As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.
-Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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'Star Wars' parodies compete

Thursday, 16 December 2010 12:00 AM Written by

Fanboy/girl alert: rbc_starwars05The third pair of dueling "Star Wars" parodies from "Robot Chicken" and "Family Guy" arrive this month.

The "Family Guy" episode debuts on DVD Tuesday and will later air on Fox (no date scheduled). The "Robot Chicken" episode airs on Adult Swim Sunday at 11:30 p.m.

More on "Robot Chicken" and a "Family Guy" clip after the jump. ...

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TV comedy: On the rebound?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010 12:00 AM Written by

RH-ep109_ToyStory-sc27_0339On last week's Tuned In podcast, online features editor Sharon Eberson and I discuss the comedies that are getting our attention this season.

"Community," which has its stop-motion animated Christmas episode tonight, is tops on my list along with "Modern Family." Somehow I forgot to mention Fox's "Raising Hope," which has grown on me. The Martha Plimpton character has gotten less harsh in recent episodes, showing more warmth for baby Hope, one of the most adorable infants ever to grace prime time.

Read what Nielsen has to say about viewer engagement and this season's new comedies after the jump. ...

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Golden Globe, AFI TV recognition

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 12:00 AM Written by

Nominations for the 68th annual Golden Globes, Hollywood's precursor to the Oscars and an awards show that also recognizes excellence in television, were announced this morning.

You'll find TV nominees and the list of AFI-adored programs after the jump....

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'Dexter' denied

Monday, 13 December 2010 12:00 AM Written by

dexter_501_0861Showtime's "Dexter" concluded its season last night with resolution for Deb on the barrel girls case and for Dexter with regards to his murder-minded protege, Lumen (Julia Stiles).

It was an OK finale, but nothing that would rival last year's dead-Rita-in-a-bathtub ending.

Read more (spoilers included) after the jump. ...

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TV Q&A: 'Cash Cab,' 'Bones' and The Weather Channel.

Friday, 10 December 2010 12:00 AM Written by

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit questions for a future column.

This week’s TV Q&A (after the “Read more” jump below) responds to questions about “Cash Cab,” “Bones” and The Weather Channel. As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.

— Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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Charming new family special: 'The Gruffalo'

Thursday, 09 December 2010 12:00 AM Written by

GruffaloWe're in an era where new holiday specials are few and far between. The old classics ("The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") deliver boffo ratings but attempts to created new Christmas classics tend to fall short in both ratings and creative success.

Last year ABC scored a bullseye with "Prep & Landing" (a sequel is in the works for next Christmas) and this year ABC Family delivers a charming British import, "The Gruffalo" (7 tonight).

It's not, strictly speaking, a Christmas special. Save for a little added snow at the end, there's nothing really holiday-ish about it. But "The Gruffalo" tells its simple story deliberately and quietly without any unnecessary theatrics.

Read more after the jump. ...

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'Community' celebrates Christmas Rankin/Bass style

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 12:00 AM Written by
Community_Christmas_blog

After an uneven, trying-to-find-its-way first season, NBC’s “Community” (8 p.m. Thursday, WPXI) has blossomed into one of prime-time’s best comedies in its sophomore year. The show began as the story of a community college study group but in its second season has evolved beyond its premise to become a series more driven by its established characters and the world they inhabit than by its collegiate backdrop.

A focus on the characters has allowed the show’s writers to put them in absurd situations where they flourish, whether it’s in a spaceship, in the midst of a zombie attack or, as in tonight’s episode, rendered in stop-motion animation.

“Community” creator/executive producer Dan Harmon said the idea for an episode that pays homage to the Rankin/Bass Christmas classics came up at the start of the season after a suggestion from soon-to-depart chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment Jeff Gaspin.

“One morning he said, ‘Community’ should do an animated episode and we took that ball and ran with it,” Mr. Harmon said in a recent phone interview. “We thought, we can’t let the top guy say that and not take advantage of it. It’s usually the kids saying, ‘Do an animated episode,’ and the parent saying, ‘Behave yourself and do your sitcom.’”

Read more after the jump. ...

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