Tuned In Journal

Star Trekkin' across the universe...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Trek_NationA documentary about "Star Trek" and "Star Trek" fans is not new. It's been done before. But "Trek Nation" (8 tonight, Science Channel) comes at "Star Trek" from a slightly different angle.

Rod_RoddenberryThis docu-feature follows Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry (pictured at left), son of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, as he tries to gain an understanding of the phenomenon, which he admits, "I just didn't get."

Rod Roddenberry's journey began years ago -- early footage shows him at a Las Vegas "Star Trek" convention in 2002 -- and it includes an interview with Rod's mother, Majel Barrett (AKA Nurse Chapel), who died in 2008.

Read more after the jump. ...

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TV Land introduces 'The Exes'

Tuesday, 29 November 2011 12:00 AM Written by

The_ExesTV Land continues its foray into original scripted programming with “The Exes” (10:30 p.m. Wednesday), the network’s best sitcom effort since “Hot in Cleveland,” which returns for new episodes Wednesday at 10.

With a cast of sitcom-of-the-past all-stars, the series follows three divorced roommates: Clingy newcomer Stuart (David Alan Basche, “The Starter Wife”), smooth player Phil (Donald Faison, “Scrubs”) and weird homebody Haskell (Wayne Knight, “Seinfeld”). They’re brought together by their divorce attorney/neighbor, Holly (Kristen Johnston, “3rd Rock from the Sun”), who towers over her diminutive assistant, Eden (Kelly Stables, “Two and a Half Men”).

“She looks like someone threw a hot chick in the dryer,” Phil says of the petite blond.

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'Hate' is a strong word but it applies to new sitcom

Monday, 28 November 2011 12:00 AM Written by

IMTDThere’s exactly one funny moment in the dreadful Fox sitcom "I Hate My Teenage Daughter." It involves actress Katie Finneran, who deserves much better than this dreck, a pie and a comparison to an animal.

Other than that? “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” (9:30 p.m. Wednesday, WPGH) is a complete disaster.

Unhip moms Annie (Jaime Pressly, “My Name is Earl”) and Nikki (Katie Finneran, “Wonderfalls”) do not care for their teen daughters. One calls her daughter a rhymes-with-witch. And who can blame them, the daughters are pretty terrible: Spoiled, cranky and unkind. This leads both moms to be terrified of their daughters’ disapproval. It’s a vicious cycle.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Thursday, 24 November 2011 12:00 AM Written by

The TV Q&A column is taking a break this week for Thanksgiving but will return next Friday. Go ahead and submit your questions now!

In the meantime, check out posts from earlier this week that review three new Christmas specials airing Friday night. And enjoy the holiday.

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Muppets revived with attention to detail

Wednesday, 23 November 2011 12:00 AM Written by

muppets_blue_blobAs a kid growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I was an avid fan of The Muppets. So much so that my first career goal was to be "the next Jim Henson."

But my appreciation and enjoyment of the characters pales compared to actor Jason Segel, who stars in and co-wrote "The Muppets," which I reviewed in today's Magazine section.

See the large, blue blobby Muppet in the photo? I had no idea who that character was. I don't remember ever seeing him/her/it. So I thought maybe it was a newly-created character. WRONG!

If you go back and look at the opening credits from "The Muppet Show," you'll see the big blue guy on screen. According to captions on a YouTube video, his name is  Thog. And the two purple dudes next to him in the 1970s show open are also in "The Muppets." They're both called Mutation on the YouTube video captions.

Watch the video after the jump. ...

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'An Elf's Story' comes to CBS

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 12:00 AM Written by

elf_shelfI'd never heard of the book/doll phenomenon "Elf on the Shelf" until my brother and his family introduced it to me in their home outside of Nashville a few years back. Since then, I've seen the set pop up in bookstores in Pittsburgh and nationwide. The set comes with a storybook about Santa sending an elf -- the doll included with the set -- to watch over children and report on their behavior nightly to Santa (more cynical minds might dub the elf a Santa Snitch). Each morning, the elf doll ends up in a new spot, unless mom and dad are forgetful.

Now comes CBS's "The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story" (8:30 p.m. Friday, KDKA-TV), which, like the two specials I wrote about yesterday, is another new Christmas special borne from a commercial product. Setting those concerns aside, the Christmas special is not bad.

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hoops_yoyo_018_007I'm not so much of an anti-commercialism zealot that I begrudge CBS for airing a new holiday special that stars characters invented as promotional tools for Hallmark Cards but I do insist that the characters are as funny in their half-hour special as they are in web shorts. Alas, they are not.

"Hoops & Yoyo Ruin Christmas" (8 p.m. Friday, KDKA-TV) is occasionally cute but it's not really as funny as the title would suggest. "Jingle All the Way" (8 p.m. Friday, Hallmark Channel) is a much better bet.

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For a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts, click here.

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 “Sons of Anarchy,” “Sweet Genius” and a familiar voice on a local TV commercial. As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.
- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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