“Doug Unplugs” is available NOW on AppleTV+. I had the awesome opportunity to chat with two of the executive producers in an exclusive press day!
These times are certainly challenging! While our lives have changed drastically regarding schooling, extra curricular activities, holiday celebrations, etc. there are still many things we have to be thankful for!
Doug Unplugs is a show on AppleTV+ that offers family friendly content perfect for young kids! Your kids will enjoy this show and learn too! We had an opportunity to not only chat with the executive producers but also to preview some episodes. Liam absolutely LOVED it (and so did I).
About “Doug Unplugs”
Based on the critically acclaimed children’s book by Dan Yaccarino, DreamWorks “Doug Unplugs” follows a curious six-year-old robot, Doug, as he ‘plugs in’ to learn new facts about the world every day. Sensing there’s more to life than just the facts, Doug journeys into the human world in search of experience.
And to do that, Doug has to…unplug. With the help of his best friend, a human ball of energy, Emma, the two discover all the simple wonders of the world. Join Doug as he learns about the intersection of technology and humanity, and how they both keep us truly connected!
“Doug Unplugs” Executive Producers
Press days are different for now, but thankfully I still have the opportunity to chat with some amazing people. For the “Doug Unplugs” press day, I had the honor to chat with both Executive Producers Aliki Theofilopoulos (“Harvey Girls Forever!”, “Decendants: Wicked World”) and Jim Nolan (“Charlie’s Colorforms City,” “Nella the Princess Knight” from Doug Unplugs.
About Aliki Theofilopoulos
Aliki Theofilopoulos’ work is easily identified by her strong stories, engaging characters, dollop of heart, and unique brand of humor. After receiving a Bachelor in Fine Arts from USC, Aliki launched her career animating on iconic Disney films including “Hercules” and “Tarzan” before moving into the world of television as a Story Artist, Writer, Director, and Executive Producer.
Disney entrusted Aliki to transition its “Descendants” characters into animation as an Executive Producer and Director on the hit series “Descendants Wicked World.” She also spent several years working at Disney TV as a Story Artist.
Emmy-nominated Writer, and Emmy-nominated Songwriter on the highly-acclaimed show, “Phineas and Ferb,” Aliki received an Annie nomination for her work on the first Minnie Mouse driven short on Disney’s prestigious “Disney Mickey Mouse.” She received a second Annecy nomination for directing the short, “Doctor Lollipop” for Frederator.
Aliki’s Most Recent Accomplishments
Most recently, Aliki worked at DreamWorks as an Executive Producer on the upcoming “Doug Unplugs” series. She also served as the supervising producer on the “Harvey Girls Forever.”
She currently has two original series in development at Disney and has previously developed original projects at both Disney and Amazon.
Passionate about giving back, she is a member of Women in Animation, a frequent speaker at local schools and universities, and even recently traveled to Greece to give a TEDx talk. Aliki lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children and three step-kids, her favorite characters of them all.
About Jim Nolan
Jim Nolan is an Emmy-nominated kids’ television writer currently serving as an executive producer on the new Apple+ series “Doug Unplugs”. His credits include writing and story editing shows for Nickelodeon, Netflix, Disney XD and HBO Max. He’s also developed shows for DreamWorks and Nickelodeon.
In addition to his television work, he’s written for the WNYC podcast “This Podcast Has Fleas” (starring Alec Baldwin and Jay Pharoah). Written and designed ebooks and digital interactive experiences for Nickelodeon and Speakaboos. He also participated as a writer and performer in over 30 pieces of theatre. This was staged everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to off-Broadway at The Laugh Factory and back.
He currently lives in LA with his wife and son… a number that’ll grow by one come February!
Virtual Press Day
My son, Liam absolutely LOVED this show and told me that his favorite character was Doug.
Do you have a favorite character? Who is it and why?
Aliki – “I feel like it is Emma. Coming onto the project I loved Doug just from the book. Emma was a character that I wanted to get my hands on. I couldn’t wait to draw her and bring her to life and wanted to push her posing and expressions and boundless energy into the animation. I also love her as far as a friend and as a personality. What she means in Doug’s world, she takes him by the hand and shows him all the things. She’s never not game for anything that Doug wants. Lo and behold she gets to have discovery along the way too!”
Jim – “I have affections for all of the characters but I am particularly fond of Emma’s Dad. There’s a period in my life that I thought I was going to be an actor, I feel that all worked out for the better. His personality lends itself to comedy. I can relate to but he was a fun character to write and watch him in animation.”
What are some of the challenges you had in being Executive Producers for Doug Unplugs?
In these current times, things are certainly different in all areas of our lives. I was curious to hear how both Aliki and Jim felt the production of Doug Unplugs went.
Jim – “It certainly threw us for a loop there for a but. Aliki and I just feel wildly lucky. One day you’re in the studio and then the next it is like okay go home. Everything we did in the studio together, we could do remotely. We almost didn’t miss a beat which is amazing. Recording talent was the funniest part of it all. You’d have talent get a mic and go into their closet to record a part instead of a recording booth. It was certainly surprising but we are lucky that we had such support. I desperately miss everyone in person but we figured it out.”
Aliki – “I think its a testament to everyone in our crew and our studio. We got all that we needed including at tech that we needed, and home software, etc. I think maybe there was a two day period where story board artists didn’t have their drawing tools. They were sketching on paper. Soon after that we were up and running. We love the collaboration like popping into each other’s offices and showing what we’ve been working on, etc.
(Jim chimed in here and said that everyone always had mints in their offices and he misses the mints!).
We had this amazing foundation laid. Jim and I are still on chat all day long talking with each other. I’m always drawing on post it notes. I’ve continued that and snap a picture and send it via email or even just show it on the camera. We’ve continued being who we are, even though we’ve had to do it remotely.”
How do you see yourselves deviating from the “Doug Unplugged” book series?
Jim – “We obviously go to a lot of places in this group of episodes. We certainly explore other places outside of where the books take us. The show is new so it is fun to expand the world of Doug and his family/friends.”
Aliki – “To me, what is so wonderful about the show and something that really made me enjoy being a producer is that there was this start from this amazing book with a robot family. Doug, a robot that unplugs and goes out into the world. Then, there was the fun book about the farm. But from there, Jim really built out the world and added Emma (Doug’s best friend) and her family and the slew of other robots, other places we’ve got to visit. Just from where we are standing at this point, the show has really been built out from where the books began.”