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Odd Squad and Beat Bugs win Creative Arts Daytime Emmys

Canadian television productions Odd Squad and Beat Bugs took home several trophies Friday night at the 44th annual Creative Arts Daytime Emmys, held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Isaac Kragten of TVO’s Odd Squad won for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s, Preschool Children’s or Family Viewing Program. Series co-creators Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman and executive producer Mark De Angelis won Outstanding Writing Special Class for Odd Squad: The Movie. McKeon’s win comes days after his Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards win for his Season 2 episode “Drop Gadget Repeat.”

Odd Squad‘s Christine Toye won a Creative Arts Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Costume Design/Styling, Liz Roelands for Outstanding Hairstyling and Jenna Servatius for Outstanding Makeup. Odd Squad is a co-production between Sinking Ship Entertainment and The Fred Rogers Company for TVO and PBS.

Beat Bugs, produced by Vancouver’s Thunderbird Films, was awarded Outstanding Writing in a Preschool Animated Program.


Anne signs off with emotional season finale

It seems like just yesterday Anne debuted on CBC and now, all of a sudden, Sunday’s season finale is upon us. While much of Moira Walley-Beckett’s interpretation has been faithful to L.M. Montgomery’s tome, there have been deviations from the source material, most notably the death of Gilbert Blythe’s father, rendering him an orphan just like Anne.

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the tone, cinematography and performances, particularly Amybeth McNulty’s take on our flame-haired heroine. But, really, everyone has been stellar and these first eight episodes have merely whet my appetite for more. Alas, nothing has been announced yet and we’ll have to settle for Sunday’s episode for now.

Here’s what CBC says about “Wherever you are is my home,” written by Walley-Beckett and directed by Amanda Tapping:

On the verge of losing the farm, the Cuthberts must do whatever it takes to save it. Anne is reminded of the strength of friendship and love.
And he’s what else we can tell you after watching a screener of the episode.
It’s Christmas in Avonlea
That’s no surprise if you’ve seen Sunday’s teaser or the image above, but there’s no Yuletide cheer at the farm as Marilla and Matthew struggle to pay their debts. Will there be a Christmas miracle or a chunk of coal at the bottom of Anne’s stocking?
Road trip!
An unlikely pair goes on an important journey and learn more about themselves—and each other—on the way. Keep your eyes open for veteran actors Daniel Kash in a key scene as well as showrunner Walley-Beckett in a blink-and-you’ll-miss her moment.
Geraldine James and R. H. Thomson are amazing
The pair has been stellar as Marilla and Matthew all season, but James and Thomson ratchet up their performances on Sunday in several jaw-droppingly good scenes. While we’re on it, McNulty and James share some emotional moments too. Better keep the tissues handy, folks.
What did you think of the first season of Anne? Are you wanting more? Comment below!

Images courtesy of CBC.


Comments and queries for the week of April 28

We have watched Murdoch Mysteries since its inception, first on PBS, then on Netflix, and now via Acorn TV. Superb writing and acting all through the seasons. Saw Episode 18 last night and were stunned with the possibilities it left us with. Always interesting parallels with current times and history. Glad to read more historical figures will be included in the next season! Bravo to the cast and crew; looking forward to the fall season. —Julie and Ron

That was just annoying. Murdoch’s been framed for murder before, Ogden’s been kidnapped before, George has been in trouble before … this may have been intended as a cliffhanger, but it was a damp squib. It seems the writers have literally run out of ideas. There was nothing clever or interesting or period-specific. Or even very Canadian. Boring all around. —Robin

Absolutely love this show, without a doubt one of the best in a very long time. I started out watching it, then the channel it was on stopped carrying it. Fortunately, I discovered Acorn TV; thank goodness, now I can get my Murdoch fix anytime I like. Season 10, Episode 18 was a cliffhanger indeed! I was actually talking to the screen, but they just didn’t seem to pay any attention to me. Can hardly wait until next season, and just hope that Acorn picks it up early on! It will be great to get some of the historically famous people back into the episodes, always fun. [This season] seemed to come up a little short on that but was a great season all the same and the best cliffhanger to date! —Jerry

Nice dramatic set up for next year, however… As the storyline was about criminal familiarity and its intertwined relationships that people are afraid to challenge, how is the Murdoch team quickly cast to the wolves with such abandon? You know, the crew that saved Canada and Toronto numerous times? Friends of the Prime Minister and cloak and dagger figures have their powerful alliances too. The set-up could have been done without discarding half the previous episodes. Oh well, here is hoping we don’t get a Bobby in the shower summary. Always a fan, much better than U.S. television. —Mike

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


X Company and Slasher stars guest on Saving Hope

Last week’s episode of Saving Hope was certainly memorable, wasn’t it? It’s not every day a car comes crashing into Hope Zion’s ER. Not only did the accident send shockwaves through the hospital,  but caused Thomas Leffering to seriously rethink cutting so many of Hope Zion’s services. And what about Alex realizing she’s pregnant?

Thomas’ rethink continues in this week’s new instalment, “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” which I visited the set of during production last year. Here’s what CTV has revealed regarding some key storylines:

Dr. Charlie Harris and Dr. Manny Palmer treat two love birds who have an annual weekend-long love fest, despite the fact the woman is married to someone else. Meanwhile, when Charlie assigns Dr. Maggie Lin to evaluate the interns, it brings out her nurturing side and leads Dr. Billy Scott to ask Maggie to be his mentor. Following Dr. Zach Miller’s advice to use the “kill them with kindness” approach to negotiating, Dr. Dawn Bell struggles to bring out her nurturing side when she tries to get her Chief of Surgery position back. Maggie and Dawn find themselves at odds when they work together to treat a single dad with a ninja star lodged in his neck.

And here’s what we can tell you after watching a screener.

Shahir shines …
I’ve been missing Shahir’s eccentricities of late, so it’s nice to have him back—and full of quips—on Sunday. Also, we finally meet Jonathan, played by Slasher‘s Christopher Jacot, who is hoping to score some business from the hospital.

… and Michelle Nolden does too
Dawn is a pretty uptight individual, so her quest to reclaim her Chief of Surgery gig is odd and incredibly funny. The scenes allow Nolden to showcase her comic timing and we want more.

X Company star in the house!
Lara Jean Chorostecki guest-stars as Claudia, who is in the ER with her injured love match when things go really bad.

Thomas has a change of heart
Let’s just say the events of the last episode has had a profound effect on Thomas.

Saving Hope airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


MasterChef Canada burns one team in Restaurant Takeover

I’ve always wanted to visit Auberge du Pommier, Michael Bonacini’s landmark Toronto restaurant, but haven’t gotten the chance. Yet. In the meantime, Thursday’s new episode of MasterChef Canada opened the doors on the property’s 30th anniversary and let the home cooks in to run the kitchen. The fact it was Auberge du Pommier was stressful enough but during the third decade of business? Crazy.

Not that their performance would sink the place—the restaurant takeovers are packed with network folks and special guests (including the Your Morning crew) of the production rather than paying customers—but still.

After a week off, “Auberge Anniversary,” returned with the Top 6 heading into the kitchen to prepare dishes for dinner service. Barrie and Aaron, who made the best Scotch eggs two weeks ago, were the captains of their teams. Barrie picked Trevor and Mai while Aaron chose Thea and Miranda. At first blush, it looked like Barrie had the best squad, a trio of folks who were not only strong in the kitchen but stellar at plating. But would tables of patrons cause them to wilt under the pressure and send Barrie’s team to the Pressure Test?

I must say that making two appetizers and two mains with just three people seemed like a daunting task … and a little unfair if you ask me. I hate it when culinary competitions throw a small number of cooks into a kitchen when the fact is a phalanx of chefs would be there during a full-on service. Still, it does make for good TV, and we certainly got that on Thursday. Duck consommé en croute, artichoke salad, beef tenderloin and ham-wrapped monkfish proved to be a challenge during prep and service to the 52 “customers.” In the early going, Barrie crumbled and Trevor stepped in to take over while Aaron was running a tight ship. Of course, the tide quickly changed for the mains and the beef tenderloins flummoxed both squads. Trevor’s meat wasn’t cooked enough and Aaron’s were just plain burned.

In the early going, Barrie crumbled and Trevor stepped in to take over while Aaron was running a tight ship. Of course, the tide quickly changed for the mains and beef tenderloins flummoxed both squads. Trevor’s meat wasn’t cooked enough and Aaron’s were just plain burned. Adding insult to injury? Chef Michael came back into the kitchen and told Aaron the error of his ways. The red team got their mains out and blue struggled to keep up, but then ironed out issues after Aaron let go of his pride and let Miranda help him. After the judges tasted plates from each team, they awarded the win to Barrie’s red team and blue were headed to the Pressure Test.

Moroccan vegetable tagine with herbed couscous was on tap for Aaron, Thea and Miranda, and only Aaron had any experience with it. But as much as he thought he knew what he was doing, Chef Claudio thought he was overthinking it. Miranda’s plate was given high marks from Claudio and Chef Alvin, Thea’s looked good but fell short on flavour and she was convinced she was headed home. Claudio and Michael criticized Aaron’s tagine for having too much clove in it and making the plate bitter. So, who out of Aaron and Thea was going home? Aaron … but it wasn’t all bad. Michael offered him a gig at his new Oliver & Bonacini restaurant in Montreal.

MasterChef Canada airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.