Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Programming for dogs: DogTV is here, just like Scrooged said it would be

dog tv

Photo by Snugg LePup via Flickr Creative Commons

When real life imitates Bill Murray jokes on a global scale, it can only mean that civilization is evolving to weed out the unfunny ones. With this, we bring you news of DogTV -- an actual cable network developed to deliver round the clock programming for Rover.

Producers say the overall intention is to stimulate canine viewers with short segments designed to keep pups relaxed yet entertained, while their owners are out doing human things. Three to six minute pieces will feature Fido's favorites like fields, balls, and tummy rubs.

According to network executives, the shows are "scientificially designed" to appeal to dogs, with special consideration to those with separation anxiety, says the New York Times. 

Veterinarians are skeptical, however, and suspect the network may be successful at curbing human guilt about leaving their pawed pals alone, but not sure that it will do much to make the animals feel better.


'Downton Abbey': The rap song (really)

TV Downton Abbey

Nick Briggs/PBS/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for Masterpiece/AP

File: In this image released by PBS, Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, left, and Hugh Boneville as Lord Grantham are shown in a scene from the second season on "Downton Abbey," a drama about life in an English country estate.

Like the rest of pop culture-loving America (and much of the rest of the KPCC staff), I'm a huge fan of "Downton Abbey." Like the rest of a much more specific subgroup, I'm also a fan of nerd rapper Adam WarRock. So when I saw that Adam dropped a new track told from the perspective of Lord Grantham called "Downton"? Bliss.

The track gets a slight downgrade from me, as I would've loved to hear it based around the "Downton" theme with some amped up beats, but the "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)" sample by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz is a classic too. I'm in from the opening, with Grantham saying, "Perfectly acceptable. And if his grace doesn't like it, he can lump it."

As Adam puts it, it's "The best rap song about an early 20th century period drama centered around property law that you'll ever hear. Believe that."


State of the Union taking over TV tonight, so what else is on?


Pablo Martinez Monsivais-Pool/Getty Images

President Obama delivers his State of the Union tonight; what else is on TV tonight?

The State of the Union will be delivered tonight at 9 Eastern, 6 Pacific by President Barack Obama. As a political nerd, I'll be following along (and livetweeting the speech at @WithoutABlog), but for those of you who aren't particularly interested in an hour long speech, here are some alternatives.

I'm looking out for both those of us here on the West Coast and those of you on the East Coast, below:

West Coast

  • FX, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reruns of my favorite sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." Then there's "Two And A Half Men" at 7, during which you should immediately turn away.
  • E, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: "Kourtney and Kim Take New York." (I don't know anything about the Kardashians other than that people hate them but want to watch them as much as possible on TV anyway.)
  • Cartoon Network, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Reruns of "Adventure Time." Check out the cult hit surreal animated series and see if it fits your sense of humor or if people who like the show are crazy.
  • Discovery Channel, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Reruns of "Dirty Jobs." (I may just be mentioning this because host Mike Rowe shares my name, except he spells it wrong, obviously.)
  • Spike TV, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.: "Kill Bil: Vol. 2." Go watch pretty/violent Quentin Tarantino pictures and be amused by how it's been edited for cable.
  • Comedy Central, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: If you want to see what's been going on in politics, but just want it to be funnier (intentionally), you can catch up on last night's "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report"...
  • Comedy Central, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.: ... then watch "30 Rock" reruns to clear your mind of politics until tomorrow's "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report," which is when they'll probably get around to talking about the State of the Union.


New sketch comedy show 'Key & Peele' taping this week in LA

Key & Peele

Comedy Central's launching a new sketch show later this month called "Key & Peele," and they're taping in-studio segments today through Friday here in Los Angeles at the Nate Holden Theater.

The stars, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, were both cast members on Mad TV. Peele also did a series of popular videos impersonating President Barack Obama.

In an interesting sign of where race is at today, after some of the usual boring meaninglessness of press materials, the official hype ends by noting that both men are biracial and saying that the show will reflect that point of view.

One of the show's executive producers is Ian Roberts, perhaps best known for his work with the Upright Citizens Brigade.

You can still get tickets to the "Key & Peele" tapings by going here; they're taping two episodes a day through Friday.


Can Wonder Woman appeal to a modern audience?

In her 70 year history, Wonder Woman has never made it to the big screen. Wonder Woman almost made it to television this fall, with legendary TV producer David E. Kelley behind it. A pilot was produced for NBC, but in the end, NBC decided not to go with it.

DC Comics recently redesigned Wonder Woman, giving her pants and a jacket to cover up her rather bare classic look. Once the show was dropped, the pants dropped too (no, not like that), with DC having no need of coordinating a look across media properties.

The pilot's leaked out online, so there are reviews available. The consensus seems to be that it was cheesy and not quite there, but that there are the sparks of something, particularly in the actress portraying Wonder Woman (also known for her work on "Friday Night Lights"), Adrianne Palicki. This generation apparently won't get the chance to watch a Wonder Woman TV show of their own.