Everything about Murdoch Mysteries, eh?

Slideshow: Behind the scenes on Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries

Production on Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries is well underway in and around Toronto. Fans already know that the upcoming 18 episodes boast appearances by Mark Twain (played by William Shatner), Anne of Green Gables‘ creator Lucy Maud Montgomery and Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier.

TV, eh? was on the set during the filming of Episode 4, “Barenaked Ladies,” and we snuck away from filming to get a tour of not only the sets housed in MM HQ but the stunning, expansive backlot.

Come along for the ride!


Comments and queries for the week of June 26

South of the border love for Murdoch Mysteries

I am a Bostonian and I currently live in the L.A. area and I find most of our syndicated television dramas/comedies to be “cookie-cutter” programs. When a new and fresh program idea comes along that garners my interest and gains popularity, it eventually gets so diluted (cast/writing changes) and repeated to death it quickly loses its appeal.

It is SO REFRESHING to have found this gem known as Murdoch Mysteries/The Artful Detective.  The core cast are all brilliant in their portrayals of their diverse characters. The continuity of storylines and the character development is a tribute to the writing teams. This TV series has been like opening a very good book and being drawn to the characters, chapter by chapter and always anticipating what will happen next. (Yes, I do realize the basis of this TV show is Ms. Jennings book series—which I am now hoping to read this summer.)

THANK YOU, CANADA and the men and women involved in its total production—quality programming at its best. I also have to thank my sister in Boston. When she told me of the premise (a Toronto detective from the turn the century who solves murders that involve the basic “whodunit” woven with historical characters), I took the bait. BEEN HOOKED ever since. I very much look forward to the next chapter in Season 9. —Corrinna

Murdoch Mysteries star celebrates small-town Canada with laughter

Nice! Love Murdoch Mysteries. It’s my buffer for the rough action that never ends on Game of Thrones. Jonny Harris has a dry sense of humour that I can relate to being a Mainer-Portland, Maine that is. Best wishes to him for success with this endeavor!—Lenora

Is Canada ready for another late-night talk show?

Strombo’s The Hour/Tonight was the closest (and best) we’ve ever come to a viable late-night model. Re-invented the format, top-notch host with smart interview style, top-notch guests (leaning heavily on BIG stars with some windows for Canadian up and comers) and a bold and flashy style. It was the perfect storm that I don’t think can be easily replicated. Someone will want to do it cheap, have low-rent guests, hire a host who thinks they’re better at it than they will be and the writing will be sub-par. And it has to find an audience. But maybe I’m wrong … a reboot of Thicke of the Night? I hear Alan’s schedule is wide open. —Jon

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

Murdoch Mysteries star celebrates small-town Canada with laughter

On Murdoch Mysteries, Jonny Harris plays Constable George Crabtree, tasked with aiding Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) in the solving of crimes in and around turn-of-the-century Toronto. But in his newest series, Harris does some investigating of his own.

The veteran Newfoundland comedian swaps his scratchy police wardrobe for regular duds in Still Standing. Debuting Tuesday on CBC, the series finds the energetic lad discovering small communities across Canada and spotlighting the citizens who call the areas home. As Harris told me at CBC’s upfront announcement, he spends five days in each community, getting to know those who live and work there and doing various chores (like milking goats or lassoing a calf). At the end of it, Harris hosts a small comedy show where he tells jokes based on his experiences, a tough task for a guy who prefers to wait until the last minute to write, even if he does have a couple of guys helping him.

“We write jokes while we’re on the road,” he explains. “We’ll meet someone in the morning and then we’ll furiously write on our laptops. Then we’ll go and meet the next guy or I’ll do the next activity and then over dinner we’ll write. Then we have to out together the set itself in a way that flows and makes sense to people.   At the end of four days I have to try and cram it all into my brain.”

Thirteen episodes comprise Season 1 of Still Standing and among the communities featured are Rowley, Alberta—population eight—a virtual ghost town neighbouring communities support with a monthly pizza night; Berwick, Nova Scotia, a.k.a. the Apple Capital of Canada; Souris, Prince Edward Island; Oil Springs, Ontario, the birthplace of the modern oil industry in North America; and Coleman, Alberta (population just over 1,000), a location fraught with tragedy. Mining disasters, including the Frank Slide of 1903 that wiped half the town of neighbouring Frank off the map.

“They have a very on-their-sleeve attitude about the slide, which made it very interesting for me comedically,” Harris admitts.

Locations were chosen because they were struggling to survive as towns, were locations not on major highways and places most people had ever heard of. The communities may be far-flung, but they all shared the same passion for the land they and past generations call home.

“The goal of the show is to celebrate the towns,” Harris notes. “And if somewhere down the line someone decides to stop in there because they saw it on Still Standing then it’s even better.”

Still Standing airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.


Will you be watching Jonny Harris in his new role? Let me know in the comments below! Follow Greg on Twitter.

Link: The mystery of Yannick Bisson

From Neil Crone of DurhamRegion.com:

The mystery of Yannick Bisson
Although Yannick and I have worked together on only two shows — Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy and Murdoch Mysteries — I feel like I know him very well. To the point where I would not hesitate to call him my friend. If that sounds weird, I think it’s because what makes him so infinitely watchable and likeable on television and in films comes from the essence of who he really is. He is a kind, gracious, tremendously grounded, hardworking guy who also just happens to be ridiculously handsome. Yannick, in a nutshell, was summed up for me during my last appearance on Murdoch Mysteries. Continue reading.

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.