Everything about Heartland, eh?

Heartland’s hard lessons

I tend to give Lou a lot of grief in my Heartland reviews. Though she always means well, I’ve never been a fan of how involved she gets in other people’s lives and—last season especially—over-thinking how to best protect Georgie and Katie from the details of her eroding marriage.

But after watching Sunday’s latest, “Begin Again,” and thinking about it some more, I totally get her actions. Banning Katie from horse-riding lessons and quickly hanging up phone calls with Peter makes perfect sense in Lou’s world. Why involve the kids when separation is difficult enough for the couple? Every family is different, but I think they all want the same thing: to make the best of a bad situation. Resolving to allow Katie to continue her riding and her pledge to Georgie to work harder at making the transition more seamless is an important step. I certainly can’t fault Lou for trying her best … and admitting when what she was doing wasn’t working out. 

Kudos to Michelle Morgan for taking on a difficult storyline over the past two seasons, and for Heather Conkie and her writing crew for continuing to produce thoughtful, educational scenes that reflect real life and not what Hollywood tends to portray. Using Stephen, a.k.a. “Bacon Boy,” as an example for Georgie has gone a long way to showing things can work out when everyone tries.

Sunday’s new episode wasn’t all about Lou, however. After a night out partying, Ty graduated and is a professional veterinarian. It’s been great watching him grow as a man and a vet, and Amy’s gift of a plaque and fantastic desk was the perfect way to wrap up that story.

I’ve been a big fan of Shaun Johnston’s ever since I started watching Heartland. The man can do more with that moustache and craggy face than most in the industry, and that was never more apparent than his touching scenes with Paint. I don’t want Jack to stop being involved in everyone’s life, but his chat with Paint cemented it: he’s thinking of his own mortality and the legacy he’ll leave for family and friends. Paint has been put to pasture, and Jack realizes he’s headed that way.

I can only hope that’s still a long way off.

Notes and quotes

  • “I’m playing for a horse, because he appreciates talent.”
  • This week’s tune: “Wherever You Go” from Fortunate Ones

Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.


Review: Heartland’s beary scary situation

There was a bear in the woods—and an elephant in the room—when Heartland returned for its first episode of Season 9. “Brave New World,” written by Heather Conkie and directed by Bruce McDonald, was a big change from the Season 8 finale. In those final moments, Ty and Amy finally tied the knot in front of family and friends.

This Sunday certainly found the wedded couple stronger than ever relationship-wise, but Lou and Peter are falling apart. Things looked too good to be true when the pair were sharing a coffee as they watched Georgie ride Trouble and Phoenix Roman-style; by episode end Lou had filled out a separation agreement. The document was secreted away by Georgie—putting off the inevitable for the time being—but the couple isn’t coming back from this precipice. Kudos to Michelle Morgan for portraying the pain Lou’s feeling and for the fierce mama bear instinct she’s got when it comes to her kids. Peter may think everything will be hunky-dory, but Lou knows that’s not true.

Speaking of bears, I’m glad Sunday’s furry co-star didn’t stick around for long. The fatalist in me pictured the beast going on a rampage at Heartland; that didn’t happen, but the injured horse did help Georgie and Amy understand what happens when you let something free. Not only did Bear direct them to an abandoned horse suffering from rain rot, but showed the girls (and viewers) what friendship, support and trust will bring when you show a little faith.

With such a heavy main story, it was nice to have lighter moments when Jack showed up to kick Tim’s butt into gear on the loft renovations. Tim was indeed in over his head with the school, Casey and life in general; good on Jack for calling him out and then taking control of the situation. With him in charge, Ty and Amy may be moved in by Christmas.

What did you think of Sunday’s return? Do you think Lou and Peter will get back together?

Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.

Added bonus: Sunday’s closing music, “Carry On,” was performed by Fortunate Ones


Link: Bruce McDonald switches gears to direct family-friendly Heartland

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Bruce McDonald switches gears to direct family-friendly Heartland
In mid-September, the producers of the Alberta-shot family drama Heartland put out a call for some unusual extras. The scene was to require some unsavoury types. Seedy characters. Shadowy figures. Drug dealers. Rowdy young women. Even a few “corner boys”, whatever they are. Continue reading.

Audio: Talking Canadian fall television with CBC

Gloria2015.3-highresThe fall TV season is here, and who better to talk about the Canadian angle than, well, us? Thanks to CBC’s B.C. Almanac for having me on to chat about homegrown TV alongside Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times, who handled things from the U.S. angle.

Our chat with Gloria Macarenko begins at the 26-minute mark.


CBC unveils fall debut and return dates

From a media release:

CBC-TV’s Fall schedule will launch over the coming weeks, highlighted by new series, returning hits, thought-provoking news and investigative content, documentaries, and engaging arts programming. In all, the CBC-TV schedule features 11 new titles, and 12 established returning programs this Fall.

New CBC-TV titles include the family drama THIS LIFE, espionage thriller THE ROMEO SECTION, factual series KEEPING CANADA ALIVE, comedies RAISED BY WOLVES and YOUNG DRUNK PUNK, arts series CRASH GALLERY, EXHIBITIONISTS and INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM, and documentary strand FIRSTHAND. In addition, CBC-TV’s daytime programming will also welcome two new titles this fall, with GRAND DESIGNS and BONDI VET. These new series will join the programming lineup alongside returning favourites including:  DRAGONS’ DENCANADA’S SMARTEST PERSONHEARTLANDMURDOCH MYSTERIESCORONATION STREETRICK MERCER REPORTTHIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTESTHE NATURE OF THINGSMARKETPLACE, and the fifth estate. CBC News’ flagship program, THE NATIONAL, continues nightly with special coverage leading up to the federal election, as well as reporting on the news of the day from around the world.

New for Fall 2015:

  • CRASH GALLERY – Fri, Oct. 2 at 8:30 p.m./9 p.m. NT
    Hosted by Sean O’Neill, associate director of adult programming and partnerships at the Art Gallery of Ontario, CRASH GALLERY is a high-energy and immersive series that brings art to life through the thrill of competition. Three talented artists compete against each other in a real-time creative arena, giving the audience a front-row seat to the creative process. The challenges cover everything from traditional paint and canvas to graffiti art, sculpture and any and all creative endeavors in between.
  • EXHIBITIONISTS – Sun, Oct. 4 at 4:30 p.m./5 p.m. NT
    This vibrant series pulls back the curtain on people who create art and why they do it. Every week, EXHIBITIONISTS features Canadian artists, both emerging and established, as they reshape our country’s artistic landscape. Topical, innovative and entertaining, the show explores the most exciting cultural happenings across Canada through a passionate lens. The show’s approach centres on a digital-first strategy to commission original video content from filmmakers across the country, and packaged in a visually exciting and fast-paced format for TV viewers. Encompassing media old and new, from opera to Instagram, EXHIBITIONISTS is for everyone who is curious about the arts.
  • KEEPING CANADA ALIVE – Sun, Oct. 4 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT
    Narrated by Emmy® Award-winning Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland, KEEPING CANADA ALIVE is an epic groundbreaking six-part factual series that gives viewers a powerful snapshot of Canada’s health care system as filmed over a 24-hour period in May 2015. More than 60 cameras descended on health and home care locations in 24 Canadian cities to capture incredibly moving and highly intimate stories as shared by the patient as well as the health care provider. The cameras rolled as people sought treatment – and medical professionals did everything they could to provide it. In addition, the companion online experience, which can be found at cbc.ca/keepingcanadaalive, is one of the most ambitious to date and features more than 40 hours of extended breakout footage, original content, and more, as well as an online 24-hour stream of raw footage which will go live September 21.
  • THIS LIFE – Mon, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT
    Set in contemporary Montreal, THIS LIFE is a funny, honest, heartfelt series about a regular family whose world turns upside down overnight. Like its French-language counterpart, Nouvelle adresse, this 10-part series is a family saga focusing on Natalie Lawson, a lifestyle columnist and single mother in her early forties whose terminal cancer diagnosis sends her on a quest to help her three teenage children get ready for the future, while trying her best to live in the now. To get through all this Natalie leans on her two brothers, her sister and her parents, a close-knit, charmingly imperfect clan who each have their own unpredictable personal and professional hills to climb.
  • YOUNG DRUNK PUNK – Tues, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT
    From the clever and caustic mind of Bruce McCulloch, YOUNG DRUNK PUNK is an original single-camera comedy about the trials and tragedy of growing up on the fringes of society. It’s a rough and hilarious look back at simpler times and a complicated age – and at two young rebels determined to stay true to themselves, and fight against the scratchy caftan of conformity.
  • RAISED BY WOLVES – Tues, Oct. 6 at 9:30 p.m./10 p.m. NT
    Loosely based on the Wolverhampton childhoods of outspoken U.K. writer and social media darling Caitlin Moran and her sister Caroline Moran, RAISED BY WOLVES follows six socially-isolated, home-schooled siblings and their acerbic, highly-capable mother.  Caitlin Moran is a British broadcaster, TV critic, and columnist who has been recognized with numerous awards for her work, including British Press Awards for Columnist of the Year, Critic of the Year, and Interviewer of the Year, among many others.
  • THE ROMEO SECTION – Wed, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT
    From acclaimed showrunner Chris Haddock (Da Vinci’s InquestIntelligence), comes the hour-long serialized espionage drama THE ROMEO SECTION. Set in Vancouver, the series centres on spymaster Professor Wolfgang McGee, an academic who secretly manages a roster of espionage assets. These assets, referred to as Romeo or Juliet spies, are informants engaged in intimate relations with intelligence targets, as they use their powers of seduction to extract secrets and classified intel.
  • FIRSTHAND – Thurs, Oct. 15 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT
    CBC-TV’s new documentary strand, FIRSTHAND will introduce Canadians to content from some of the country’s most talented documentary filmmakers. The films showcase unforgettable characters and their untold stories — making viewers think, feel, and see the world in a new way.
  • INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM – Fri, Nov. 6 at 8:30 p.m./9 p.m. NT
    Documenting art with a very sharp purpose: as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Featuring cities like Beirut, Medellin, Athens, Port-au-Prince, and Kiev, each episode will showcase four young locals including one Canadian ex-pat — DJs, street artists, writers, musicians, city bloggers, filmmakers — as they take viewers on an immersive journey into their world, giving Canadians a portrait of their lives, their art and how it contributes to these distinct cultures we know little about.

New to CBC’s daytime lineup:

  • GRAND DESIGNS – Mon, Sept. 21 at 3 p.m./3:30 p.m. NT
    Designer and writer Kevin McCloud guides viewers through the trials and tribulations – physical, financial and emotional – of those aspiring to create a unique place to live, often over many months, even years. The series features a dramatic modernist villa perched atop a crumbling cliff in Snowdonia; a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired bachelor pad made out of four shipping containers in the Northern Irish countryside; and the UK’s first amphibious house on a floodplain of the Thames in Buckinghamshire.
  • BONDI VET – Mon, Sept. 21 at 4 and 4:30 p.m./4:30 and 5 p.m. NT
    A touching look at the bond between man and animal; heartwarming and heartbreaking stories that families will love. From the drama of a critically injured family dog rushed to the clinic after a hit-and-run, to the tear-jerking tale of a kangaroo joey abandoned at birth, BONDI VET follows the lives of veterinary surgeon Chris Brown and emergency veterinarian Lisa Chimes.

Returning for Fall 2015:

  • HEARTLAND – Sun, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m./7:30 p.m. NT
    This fall, HEARTLAND continues the saga of a Western family as they chase big dreams and manage life’s setbacks, while holding on to what matters most: courage, love, family, and a home you can always come back to. Season nine is a brave new world for everyone in the Bartlett and Fleming families. It’s another chapter in their lives as they each undergo a sea of change.
  • CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON –  Sun, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT
    Hosted by Jessi Cruickshank, CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON is an original competition series that inspires and entertains Canadians. Each week, four participants go head-to-head in a series of mind-bending challenges based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligence, which explores six areas of “smarts” including linguistic, physical, musical, visual, social and logical. Canadians can put themselves to the test by downloading the complementary Canada’s Smartest Person App and challenge their friends and family during the week as well as play along with the show each Sunday night.
  • MURDOCH MYSTERIES – Mon, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT
    From within the walls of a maximum-security prison to the outer atmosphere of the earth, Season nine of MURDOCH MYSTERIES explores new worlds and mystifying cases. 1903 begins with Detective Murdoch, Dr. Julia Ogden, Inspector Brackenreid, and Dr. Emily Grace, still reeling over the arrest of Constable George Crabtree. This season, the series will include a two-hour holiday special which will air in December.
  • RICK MERCER REPORT – Tues, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT
    Rick Mercer, Canada’s number-one political satirist, returns with the RICK MERCER REPORT for a 13th season kicking off CBC’s Tuesday night comedy block. Rick’s weekly helping of topical satire, funny takes on the week’s top stories, and Canada-wide adventures have made him a long-running audience favourite.
  • THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES – Tues, Oct. 6 at 8:30 p.m./9 p.m. NT
    An award-winning and record-breaking Canadian comedy institution, THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES features cast members Mark Critch, Cathy Jones, Shaun Majumder and Susan Kent as they savagely satirize Canadian politics and world events. Politicians and celebrities frequently make guest appearances — some willingly, others not! No story is off-limits and no personality too big.
  • DRAGONS’ DEN – Wed, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT
    A Canadian success story in its own right, DRAGONS’ DEN, returns for a momentous 10th season on CBC. It’s a show where good ideas get rewarded and bad ideas get burned, and Canadian entrepreneurs and audiences have a front-row seat to the country’s top business leaders and risk-takers who provide viewers with insights, knowledge and guidance each week. This season, three new dragons join the Den: Joe Mimran, founder of Joe Fresh; Michele Romanow, co-founder of buytopia.ca, one of Canada’s top daily-deal sites; and Manjit Minhas, co-founder and co-owner of Minhas Breweries and Distillery.
  • THE NATURE OF THINGS – Thurs, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT
    One of the most successful series in the history of Canadian television, THE NATURE OF THINGS is hosted by world-renowned scientist, author and environmentalist David Suzuki. Each week, this influential program presents documentaries driven by a scientific understanding of the world, with stories ranging from wildlife to health and medicine, and from the environment to the latest technology.
  • MARKETPLACE – Fri, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT
    MARKETPLACE, Canada`s consumer watchdog, reveals what Canadians need to know to protect themselves, their families and money from slick scams and misleading marketing claims. Host Erica Johnson and a team of experienced investigative journalists put the products and services Canadians use every day to the test and hold companies and government to account. Innovative, insightful and irreverent – MARKETPLACE gets the goods and fights for change – viewers can’t afford to miss it. This season, MARKETPLACE reveals how the double double is causing trouble, what’s really inside the bottle when it comes to top-selling supplements and why Canadians may not want to trust those “best before” dates.
  • THE FIFTH ESTATE – Fri, Oct. 23 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT
    For four decades THE FIFTH ESTATE has been Canada’s premier investigative documentary program. Hosts Bob McKeown, Gillian Findlay and Mark Kelley continue the tradition of provocative and fearless journalism which began with Adrienne Clarkson, Warner Troyer and Peter Reilly in 1975. Each week brings in-depth investigations about issues that matter to Canadians, delivering a dazzling parade of controversial characters and ordinary people whose lives were touched by triumph or tragedy. In the season premiere, THE FIFTH ESTATE is in Iraq on the frontlines of the war against ISIS. Bob McKeown explores the real consequences of Canada’s ‘top secret’ military campaign. Viewers will meet soldiers, Good Samaritans, and a young man who is ready to risk everything to tell his story about life in a town occupied by ISIS. Closer to home is the poignant story of a mother who lost one son and is now feverishly trying to save another. Mark Kelley has the story of a young couple who must make a fateful decision about the baby that was taken away from them.
  • THE NATIONAL – Nightly on CBC-TV and CBC News Network
    CBC News’ flagship program with Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge and his team reporting on the stories that matter to Canadians with added context from across the country and around the world. THE NATIONAL delivers exclusive interviews and stories that define the news program and separate it from the rest, bringing Canadians the real story.
  • CORONATION STREET – Continues nightly from Mon-Fri at 7:30 p.m./8 p.m. NT
    Set in the fictional town of Weatherfield, CORONATION STREET – the longest-running British soap opera in television history – portrays the everyday life of a working-class British community. This season features a special two-part taped live episode airing over two nights. Viewers can catch “Nowhere to Run” on Oct. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m./8 p.m. NT.
  • CBC SPORTS – Weekly on CBC-TV and cbcsports.ca, beginning Sat, Oct. 24
    A new season of high-performance amateur athletics coverage will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 24 on CBC-TV, cbcsports.ca and through the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. With host Scott Russell, Canadians will see top athletes compete on the national and international levels and hear their stories, ensuring viewers never meet an athlete for the first time on the podium. The first event on the 2015-16 schedule will be Skate America ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating on Oct. 24 and 25.