TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Revamped Canada in Perspective returns for Season 4

Newsmagazine shows are a dime a dozen. They all cover red carpet arrivals, celebrity gossip and the latest movie premieres, but rarely do they report on current issues in society, something Canada in Perspective does with every broadcast.

Returning Sunday on AMI-tv, Season 4 of Canada in Perspective boasts a new logo, refreshed set and new production company in Varner Productions Limited (Four Senses) to complement host Anna-Karina Tabuñar. The mandate of the 19-episode season is the same: to spotlight those in the disabled community in a respectful way.

“This is very much a marginalized community,” Tabuñar says. “This show is the perfect opportunity to give them a forum and give them what they need.” Filmed in Toronto’s airy Corus Quay building, Tabuñar hosts a diverse panel of guests who analyze the issues and present their personal experiences and perspectives on the everyday and unique. We visited the set just as two guests finished participating in a segment about dating and sex, and watched former Holmes on Holmes star Damon Bennett outline his ongoing mandate to give work to injured Canadian soldiers.

“We make it a point to be welcoming to everybody,” the energetic Tabuñar explains. “Whether they have a guide dog or a motorized wheelchair or have some special needs, we’re attuned to that. You don’t always get that on the TV set where it’s file to deadline.” Most importantly? Canada in Perspective doesn’t focus on the “dis” in the word “disability.”

Director Jeff Blundell notes extended, more documentary style field pieces profile people and their stories, a tact used to great effect in Four Senses. Topics covered in Season 4 include the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, refugees, end of life, embedded technology, TV casting and parenting. Sunday’s return explores Canada’s transit systems and how the needs of disabled citizens are being met.

“We wanted to look at things in a more global way this season,” Varner says. “Rather than a story like, ‘I can’t get into my apartment,’ we ask why accessible buildings aren’t everywhere.”

Canada in Perspective returns Sunday, May 31, at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT on AMI-tv.

Comments and queries for the week of May 29

Remedy showrunner urges support of Canadian TV

I am a native Californian, so though I cannot speak for all, most, or perhaps even many U.S. viewers, I can speak for my immediate circle of somewhat discerning friends … we LOVE Canadian programs!

That is, when we can find them, bleed them out of the otherwise amorphous glut of American shows, or game the web so that the Canadian shows are not blocked to us.

I have no idea who is the thinker behind the idea that U.S. audiences need to think that a show takes place south of the U.S./Canadian border in order to gain a viewership. What a show needs is to be worth a damn! BBC and other foreign programming does quite OK.

My first real hook, Flashpoint, eventually went open with its location, which anyone paying attention already knew long before, yet remains one of the best police procedurals ever shown on U.S. TV. Thanks to Flashpoint, I discovered the cast and began to backtrack their work as I am able, so now my default DVR programming includes anything with Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon, etc. If more Canadian shows were allowed to come into the world of U.S. streaming or broadcast as Canadian shows they might actually do BETTER than they do when trapped as one option of many among what most of us have little time to wade through on the daily dose of mediocre regular U.S. fare. —Artemio

I don’t support any Canadian shows that cater to Americans. Why can’t we show the flag, or wear emblems that let other countries know it is Canadian? Orphan Black and Schitt’s Creek are a disgrace to this nation. We have awesome Canadian programming that is shown worldwide yet we don’t promote Canada, and I agree with the CRTC: If you cannot say it is Canadian, we will not fund it. Stop trying to impress America by being neutral in our shows. It is Canadian and be proud of it. Murdoch rules, and it is in 125 countries around the world, and only on rare and selected PBS stations in the U.S., who cares about them.? Why are we so afraid about what America thinks? —Jeanne

I thought that Season 2 of Remedy was much improved over the first season. I got invested in the characters, and liked them all. I was irritated by Griffin’s behaviour, but realised that it was realistic. I am really sorry that there won’t be a third season, I’m sure it would have been even better. —Lily


And the MasterChef Canada winner is…

My wife and I love the show. We live in the States, where we can’t get MasterChef Canada, so I stream it. David was a solid choice and my wife’s favourite from the get-go. We eagerly await Season 3 and will fill the time watching the inferior American version which just started. —Tom


True Love’s Kiss on Orphan Black

Oh yeah, this was the top episode of the season so far. Agree with you on finally liking Paul. I wish I could find the soundtrack for the last five minutes of the episode.  Also enjoyed the new side of Felix and surprisingly felt bad for Rachel. Towards the end I think Felix felt he went too far and backed off partially out of shame.

Never fully trusted Delphine and I’m glad I didn’t, missing Cosima is no excuse for using resources to stalk her. You creep on her Facebook if you want but that’s it! She’s really become the new Rachel: drinking while sadly looking at video of someone you love whose not in your life anymore.

Alison did talk briefly with Cosima about her health last week. Alison wouldn’t be useful in fighting the military she doesn’t have the skills our resources Dyad and Mrs. S do. She’s the most “boxed-in” narrative wise with a table family and two-not important kids. A housewife isn’t special to Dyad and her personal life makes her hard to disappear if Castor or anyone tried. But they cannot cut out the family angle as suburbia is Alison’s domain and at the core of her character. Next week looks to have a lot to do with the Hendrixes so we’ll see. —Dan

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg@tv-eh.com, comment below or via @tv_eh.

Poll: Durham County is top Canadian TV series of all time

In the end, it really wasn’t close. Durham County trumped SCTV to take the title of Top Canadian TV Series of All Time.

The Movie Network/Movie Central drama starring Hugh Dillon, Hélène Joy, Louis Ferreira, Laurence Leboeuf, Greyston Holt and Michelle Forbes captured 82 per cent of the vote in the Great Canadian TV Playoff final round to SCTV‘s 18 per cent.

The Great Canadian TV Playoff featured homegrown head-to-head matchups of television shows with eight from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s facing off against one another. The final four were SCTV (70s), Degrassi (80s), Due South (90s) and Durham County (2000s).

Durham County star Dillon has had quite the spring on TV, Eh? His former Flashpoint character, Ed Lane, was named Canada’s Favourite TV Cop earlier this month.

Season 4 of Saving Hope starts production

From a media release:

‒ Kim Shaw (THE GOOD WIFE) and Max Bennett (Anna Karenina) join the cast of the series, as Travis Milne (ROOKIE BLUE) joins in four-episode arc ‒
‒ Erica Durance returns to lead ensemble cast including Michael Shanks, Wendy Crewson, Michelle Nolden, Benjamin Ayres, Julia Taylor Ross, and Huse Madhavji ‒
‒ Jason Priestley, Michael Shanks, and Peter Stebbings are set to direct episodes this season ‒

CTV announced today in association with Ilana Frank’s ICF Films and Entertainment One (eOne), that production is set to begin Monday, June 1 on Season 4 of its hit original drama SAVING HOPE. The start of production announcement comes ahead of CTV’s 2015 Upfront presentation taking place June 4 in Toronto, where the 18-episode fourth season will shoot until December 2015. A finalist for a Golden Screen Award at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards, SAVING HOPE stars Erica Durance as Dr. Alex Reid.

SAVING HOPE ranked in the Top 30 of Canada’s most-watched programs in key adult A18-49 and A25-54 demos last fall, and ended its third season in February as the #1 Canadian drama series in the key adult demos, as 1.7 million viewers watched the shocking Season 3 finale. All past episodes of SAVING HOPE are streaming now on CraveTV™.

SAVING HOPE’s emotional Season 3 finale saw life and death collide as Dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance) became a new mom, delivering a healthy baby boy named Luke Reid. In a shocking turn of events, the episode culminated in a devastating accident at an off-site army base, which saw the death of one of Hope Zion’s own. Season 4 picks up nine months after the devastating accident, as the Hope Zion staff continue to deal with the aftermath of the death of their colleague and friend, Dr. Joel Goran. Alex (Durance) is back at work following maternity leave, trying to balance motherhood and a busy O.R. Meanwhile, Dr. Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks) continues to be haunted by his ghost-seeing abilities and the looming question of whether or not he is Baby Luke’s biological father.

Joining the cast this season in recurring roles are Kim Shaw (THE GOOD WIFE) as Dr. Cassie Williams, a book smart intern learning how to practice medicine, not just read about it, and Max Bennett (Anna Karenina) as Dr. Patrick Curtis, a surgical fellow who has been filling in during Alex’s mat leave. Travis Milne (ROOKIE BLUE) will also appear in a four-episode arc. Canadian Screen Award-winner Jason Priestley (CALL ME FITZ), series star Michael Shanks, and Peter Stebbings (THE LISTENER) return to direct episodes this season.

SAVING HOPE stars 2013 Canadian Screen Award nominee Erica Durance (SMALLVILLE), Michael Shanks (STARGATE ATLANTIS), 2013 Canadian Screen Award-winner Wendy Crewson (REVENGE), Michelle Nolden (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE), Benjamin Ayres (LESS THAN KIND), Julia Taylor Ross (ROOKIE BLUE), and Huse Madhavji (CALL ME FITZ).

SAVING HOPE is produced by ICF Films with eOne, in association with CTV, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. The series is executive produced by Ilana Frank, John Morayniss, and Margaret O’Brien for eOne. Adam Pettle is Executive Producer and Showrunner. All distribution rights are handled by eOne.

Review: Cracked actor makes an impact on Rookie Blue

I miss Cracked. CBC’s dark drama starred David Sutcliffe as Aiden Black, a Toronto detective who teamed with psychiatrists to help folks with mental issues. Sutcliffe returned to primetime TV during Thursday’s new episode of Rookie Blue, where he made an immediate impact as a father with a pretty strict belief system.

“Perfect Family” was in stark contrast to last week’s return, focusing more on circumstances outside the precinct rather than inside, though Dov and Marlo’s continuing investigation into the evidence room bombing uncovered a link between a missing munitions contractor and the force itself. Also, a tearful Andy confirmed to Swarek she’ll stick around to help raise his and Marlo’s baby, the spark between Juliet and Nick burned a little brighter and Dias is getting in deep with Jarvis.

But the bulk of “Perfect Family” was a character study and analysis of changing times and family values viewed as out of date. Written by Adriana Maggs, the script spotlit a missing 16-year-old girl named Hayley Hill (Orphan Black‘s Zoé De Grand’Maison). Bringing her family in for questioning revealed some interesting little tidbits about her father, Lloyd (Sutcliffe). The boss of the house, Lloyd was religious, believed in abstinence and wasn’t above doling out punishment with his belt or making Hayley sleep in the garage. None of what he was doing was against the law, but it was certainly disturbing.

I caught myself shaking my head at Lloyd’s backward thinking before I quickly realized there are people who think that way, and raise their children without cell phones, banning them from wearing revealing clothing and demanding respect from their elders. In Lloyd’s eyes, the world is going to hell and he was making sure his family wasn’t going along for the ride. Was what Lloyd was doing out of line? Not in his own eyes.

But by the end of the episode the blinders were off his wife’s eyes and she was ready to face him in court over his actions, which included making Hayley sleep in a freezer when she misbehaved. (I knew right away that son Jeremy would poison his sister’s pop; the way he looked at her when she drank it betrayed his actions.) Lloyd’s arrest after he beat the crap out of Connor, the boy trying to save Hayley from harm, closed the door on the case, but cemented in Swarek and Andy’s minds the type of parents they want to be—and not be—for the baby.

Notes and quotes

  • I love the jangly rock music that started the episode.
  • Travis Milne has a gift for physical comedy. That scene where he was checking Jarvis’ wife’s car had me snickering.
  • Andy wishing she was a fish so that she wouldn’t feel emotions was alternately heartbreaking and hilarious.
  • “People talk. Screw ’em.” Amen, Dov. Amen.
  • “I know how to Skype a Thai hooker if I’m so inclined.” —Dov
  • This is the second week in a row that Gail hasn’t had much to do. Fingers crossed that changes next week.

Rookie Blue airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

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