Everything about Murdoch Mysteries, eh?

CBC announces new and returning series for 2016-17 season

From a media release:

CBC today announced five new original programs to its 2016-17 lineup of Canadian hits, along with the renewal of another 10 returning titles. Among the new titles are The Council (working title), a crime drama set in an isolated arctic outpost; observational series The School (working title); Northern-Canadian docu-series True North Calling; comedy series Four In The Morning; and Caught, a dramatic miniseries based on Lisa Moore’s novel of the same name. Series renewed for new seasons as part of the CBC-TV lineup include Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland, The Romeo Section, Hello Goodbye, Canada’s Smartest Person, This Life, X Company, Exhibitionists, Interrupt This Program and Crash Gallery.

NEW SERIES:

CAUGHT – New
6×60 (Winter 2017) – Take the Shot Productions and Entertainment One Television (eOne Television)
Adapted from the book by acclaimed author Lisa Moore, Caught is a riveting tale of bravado and betrayal, of complex characters and treacherous seas, of love, loss and last chances. Allan Hawco stars as David Slaney, who after six years incarcerated in a Nova Scotia prison for smuggling marijuana, has escaped. Slaney sets off on an odyssey that takes him deep into Latin America to reconnect with his once best friend and partner-in-crime who left him holding the bag years earlier. Slaney tastes freedom, but trusts no one and sees cops everywhere he goes.

 THE COUNCIL (working title) – New
10×60 (Fall 2016) – Lark Productions and Keston International Productions
The Council begins on the edge of the Arctic frontier during the endless days of the polar summer when a young woman, a renowned environmentalist, is found ritualistically murdered near the Canadian hamlet of Resolute. An investigation is mounted by the local RCMP inspector Mickey Behrens, an outsider and new-comer to the north who is running from a derailed personal and professional life, and her partner, officer Jo Ullulaq. A soulful counterpoint to Mickey, Jo is torn between the duty to his job and loyalty to his Inuit culture. The pair quickly discovers that the mystery extends far beyond the borders of the town and to the backrooms of Canadian parliament in Ottawa, the dark corridors of U.S. intelligence in Washington, D.C., the committee rooms of the Arctic Council in Copenhagen, the airbases of world powers, and the migrant conflicts at the border of Norway and Russia.

FOUR IN THE MORNING – New
8×30 (Summer 2016) – Serendipity Point Films
Four In The Morning is an edgy comedy that follows four friends in their twenties as they navigate life at the unpredictable, emotional and bewitching hour of 4 a.m. Dealing with themes of life and death, love and heartbreak, friendship and betrayal, it’s a series about self-discovery, disappointment and clawing after dreams that always feel out of reach.

THE SCHOOL (working title) – New
6×60 (Fall 2016) – Paperny Entertainment
The School is an intense, surprising and intimate series that, for the first time, looks deep into the incredible dynamic existing today between students and their teachers at a typical Canadian high school. Based on the award-winning UK format, The School offers unprecedented access into the day-to-day goings on at South Kamloops Secondary School in Kamloops, BC. Facing daily pressures at school, at home and in the world, today’s teens deal with seemingly insurmountable challenges. The School explores themes of teenage life and those all-important student-teacher relationships, which lie at the heart of everyone’s formative years. Fitting in, falling out, exam pressure, peer pressure, first love and last chances—The School uses warmth and humour to describe steps on the journey towards self-knowledge, at a time when both the present and the future remain uncertain.  The School is distributed by Endemol Shine and will premiere on CBC in fall 2016.

TRUE NORTH CALLING – New
7×30 (Winter 2017) – Proper Television
True North Calling will reveal the north to audiences in an entirely new, modern and surprising way. The series follows one season in the lives of several young, dynamic Arctic dwellers carving out a life for themselves and their families on the frozen tundra. We follow the daily dramas as each deals with unforgiving terrain, and unpredictable weather, hunting, guiding, fishing and farming, travelling by snowmobile and dog sled, mixing traditional ways with modern technology, all while making a living in Canada’s most spectacular and treacherous environment.

These newly announced series will debut during the 2016-2017 season, along with previously announced new shows, including: Shoot The Messenger; Workin’ Moms; Kim’s Convenience; and Baroness von Sketch Show.

RETURNING TITLES:

CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON – Season 3
6×60 (Fall 2016) – Media Headquarters
Canada’s Smartest Person is an original competition series that inspires and entertains Canadians. Each week, competitors go head-to-head in a series of mind-bending challenges that redefine what it means to be smart. Based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligence, the series explores six categories of smarts including linguistic, physical, musical, visual, social and logical.

CRASH GALLERY – Season 2
5×30 (Winter 2017) – Lark Productions
Hosted by Sean O`Neill of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Crash Gallery is a high energy, immersive television series that brings art to life.  In each episode, three talented artists face-off in a real-time creative arena, giving the audience a front row seat and the opportunity to share in the creative process.

EXHIBITIONISTS – Season 2
26×30 (Fall 2016)
Exhibitionists is a vibrant series that pulls back the curtain on people who create, and why they do it. Hosted by actor, writer and educator Amanda Parris, this weekly show features Canadian artists as they reshape our country’s artistic landscape. Topical, innovative and entertaining, Exhibitionists explores the most exciting cultural happenings across Canada through a passionate lens.

HEARTLAND – Season 10
18×60 (Fall 2016) – Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films
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. Starring Amber Marshall, Graham Wardle, Alisha Newton, Michelle Morgan, Shaun Johnston and Chris Potter.

HELLO GOODBYE – Season 2
13×30 (Fall 2016) – Pivotal Media and Forte Entertainment
Bustling airport arrival and departure terminals see thousands of people every day, and each and every traveller has a unique story to tell. Host Dale Curd meets people from all walks of life who are in the midst of welcoming home or saying goodbye to their loved ones. He witnesses heartwarming, emotional moments that demonstrate the universal themes of love, loss, family, friendship, grief, and joy through each intimate story of arrival and departure.

INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM – Season 2
5×30
 (Winter 2017) – Noble Television and Storypark Inc.
Interrupt This Program
 returns with new episodes revealing the surprisingly vital cultural underbellies of unsettled, global cities. In each compelling episode, passionate young artists display art as a form of protest, as a means of survival and as an agent of change. Viewers are guided through parts of the world they have most likely never seen and experience the creativity and vitality of some of the planet’s most intriguing, resilient cities.

THIS LIFE – Season 2
10×60 (Fall 2016) – Sphere Media
Based on the original Radio-Canada hit, Nouvelle adresseThis Life is a family saga set in Montreal that focuses on Natalie Lawson (Torri Higginson), an accomplished columnist and single mother in her early forties whose terminal cancer diagnosis sends her on a quest to prepare her teenage children for life without her. Her tight-knit family – sister (Lauren Lee Smith), two brothers (Rick Roberts, Kristopher Turner) and parents (Peter MacNeill, Janet Laine Green), do the best they can to help her, while coping with their own responses to this revelation.

MURDOCH MYSTERIES – Season 10
18×60 (Fall 2016) – Shaftesbury Films
Season 10 of Murdoch Mysteries, marking 150 episodes of the series, will continue to follow the heroes at the Toronto Constabulary as they solve crimes inspired by Canadian history and international celebrities of the early 20th century. Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) will continue to use his cutting-edge forensic methods and scientific inventions to catch criminals and find unexpected adventures in his home life with wife Doctor Ogden (Hélène Joy) and his colleagues at Station House Four, while last season’s newcomer Miss James (Mouna Traoré) takes on more responsibilities at the morgue.

THE ROMEO SECTION – Season 2
10×60 (Fall 2016) – Haddock Entertainment
Season 2 of The Romeo Section finds freelance intelligence agent Wolfgang McGee (Andrew Airlie) tasked with a covert investigation of a terrorist incident. The trail leads him forward into the dark side of intelligence services and backwards into his own past history of serving in that realm, and its tragic personal and social consequences.  Meanwhile, Lily Song (Jemmy Chen) is now a recruit for the Intelligence Service and working her way up the ladder, while taking drastic action to prevent her discovery as a double agent. Up and coming drug gangster Rufus (Juan Riedinger) gets caught in an escalating city-wide turf war which upsets the gangster hierarchy and triggers an attempted coup d’etat at the top of the heroin food chain.

X COMPANY – Season 3
10×60 (Winter 2017) – Temple Street Productions
Inspired by remarkable true events, X Company is an emotionally driven character drama set in the thrilling and dangerous world of WWII espionage and covert operations. During World War II, a real life spy training school existed on the shores of Lake Ontario. The series follows the stories of five highly skilled young recruits torn from their ordinary lives to train as agents at an ultra-secret training facility, Camp X.

These renewed titles join an impressive list of returning series that have already been announced, including: This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Season 24); Rick Mercer Report (Season 14); Schitt’s Creek (Season 3); Mr. D (Season 6); Dragons’ Den (Season 11); Still Standing (Season 2); Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays (Season 2), and When Calls The Heart (Season 2).

Comments and queries for the week of March 25

Murdoch Mysteries‘ Season 9 and what’s to come in Season 10

I very much enjoyed the season-ender and am very happy that it has been picked up for yet another season. I find the program to be most enjoyable and have followed the show for the nine seasons it has been on. I would like to see Murdoch and Julia with a child and their new home in Season 10. Their is a lot of garbage on TV and it is refreshing to be able to sit down and watch this show. I think you have done a great job. —Cathy

Shame on the people who criticized this episode for its lack of verisimilitude. I agree with the viewer who observed that this great show is fiction and not a documentary. As in all works of fiction, some suspension of disbelief is necessary. I watched this episode and absolutely loved it. This is a wonderful show and all of the actors (especially Yannick Bisson, Hélène Joy and Jonny Harris) are superb. The humour, smart dialogue and the perfect integration of historical fact and creative storyline are what keep the audience coming back each week. This season finale was riveting. You see the physical and emotional closeness between the two main characters and how that translates into interesting plot twists. I appreciate that Hélène is the one saving Yannick and demonstrates both physical and emotional strength. The power of the mind and the mental bond between Yannick and Hélène are repeatedly demonstrated throughout the episode. The spiritual and the unexplained have been incorporated in past episodes. I think the way that they are used in this episode just adds to the appeal of the perfect partnership between Murdoch and Dr. Ogden! To the writers of this show: Keep up the great work! —N

I personally loved the final episode and I love the show and can’t wait to see what Season 10 brings. Keep up the great work. —Deborah

My wife and I loved the last episode. Julia bursting awake, galloping the horse through the wilderness, dressed to hunt for her love, William, and save his life with the bow and arrows. WOW. Very stressful episode but thank the writer gods for a terrific happy ending. —Stevie

Here’s the issue. If we look at the progression of the series, there was a fine balance between events and the character, and there was a strong emphasis on the mystery aspect of the series. The series has lapsed into more soap opera and needs to get back to its roots and focus on, as the title says, Murdoch Mysteries (stressing the mysteries). Perhaps it is time to bring in some new writers who will focus on exploring Toronto/Canada’s history in a way that was accomplished in seasons 1-7. Without doubt, Season 8 was the worst season—Season 9 redeemed itself but some of the episodes remained a bit sketchy. We don’t expect a perfect season but focus on what has made this show great and listen to your audience. I love this show. —Raymond

Absolutely disgusting, a terrible way to end what had been so enjoyable. How could the writers think we are so gullible? If this is the way the show is going I won’t be watching it next season for sure!!! I felt very sorry for the actors, they must have cringed with the stupid plot. —June

I agree. It was totally unbelievable. I am not sure if I want to continue watching the show after this. I found that the entire season was much poorer than the previous ones. —Pat


Heartland3

Heartland celebrates Season 10 news with a surprise

Every time I know a new episode is available I can’t wait to watch it. The ending to Season 9 was perfect and I’m ecstatic for Season 10. Although I do not agree with the above comment for Amy just because you’re pregnant does not make you disabled. I rode horses (including running them) halfway through my ninth month. Oh and my daughter was completely healthy; which is all I wish for Amy and Ty in the next season. I will be patiently waiting for Season 10. Keep up the GREAT work!! —Whitetail

The finale was great. I was very happy that Lou and Peter did not get back together, which would have been the easy way. I like Mitch’s character and hope Season 10 takes us that direction with Lou. Georgie will definitely have to pick up the reins, so to speak as with Amy’s pregnancy she will have to take a step back from the horses.
Great show. Have watched from the start and will continue to watch as long as it runs. —Nancy

I though the last episode of Season 9 was perfect! Absolutely amazing!! Keep up the great work and I’m so excited for Amy and Ty’s baby! —Alana

I really enjoyed the finale, it was perfect. I am actually glad Lou didn’t take Peter back, it was definitely the right call. Is there a future for Mitch’s character? I sure hope so. I think both he and Lou deserve some happiness and they look good together. Additionally, with Amy being pregnant, I guessing Georgie will be stepping in a bit more, helping Amy with the horses. —Felicia

 

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

Murdoch Mysteries’ Season 9 end and what’s to come in Season 10

Spoiler alert! Do not read on unless you’ve watched Monday’s season finale episode of Murdoch Mysteries, entitled “Cometh the Archer.”

OK, did anyone really believe Julia would die in Monday’s season-ender? Not a chance—especially because the show was renewed for Season 10—but that was one heck of a ride? Plenty of fans, myself included, wondered who from Murdoch’s past would return to cause troubles for the pair. Turns out it was Eva Pearce, the disturbed young woman with an obsession for our favourite TV detective who not only attempted to murder Julia but kidnapped Murdoch and plotted to have his child.

Cinematic in scope, and featuring Julia on horseback and firing an arrow (who knew she could do that?!), “Cometh the Archer” concluded a season chock-full of drama and heartbreak. We chatted with MM showrunner Peter Mitchell, who took us back over the past 18 episodes and gave us a peek into what’s coming in Season 10 straight from the writers’ room.

There were a couple of cast changes this season. The first was saying goodbye to Emily Grace and welcoming Rebecca James. How did the addition of Mouna Traoré change-up things for you and the members of the writers’ room?
Peter Mitchell: I think it was fun and we sort of eased her in a bit. We gave her increasingly more stuff to do. It’s interesting, because she really has to play against type, which is something that not many of our characters have to do. Mouna the person is a lot more outgoing and vivacious than Rebecca the character. It was tricky trying to find a balance. In the upcoming season she’ll become a more dynamic personality as her confidence increases.

OK, so you’re confirming that Mouna will be back for Season 10.
Yup.

Murdoch_Mysteries

Let’s talk about the other big change, adding Roland to Julia and William’s lives. He made a big impression on the fans and you’ve already stated that this is a procedural drama and not a domestic drama. In the season finale, adoption was mentioned by William; does this mean Roland is gone for good or could he return? Or are we headed for adoption?
We could be headed neither way. [Laughs.] We’re talking about that right now. It was a moving thing and a charming thing to have this baby in their lives for a while, but we haven’t really focused on that part of Season 10 yet.

How many Season 10 episodes have you written so far?
We haven’t written any so far. We’re still kicking around ideas and stories for the first half of the season.

Let’s talk about Crabtree. He’s had some bad luck in love, but things were looking up last week when he made a connection with Nina Bloom, played by Erin Agostino. Any plans to give him a more permanent love match next year?
Nina is the kind of character we always want on the show because she’s very polarizing. Half the fans love her and half the fans hate her, which means we want her! [Laughs.] As Season 10 begins, he does have a permanent partner. Whether that lasts for the length of the season, we’ll find out.

OK, let’s talk about “Cometh the Archer,” written by yourself, Simon McNabb and Jordan Christianson. How early on in the planning of this episode did you have, “Julia gets shot” written on the wall?
I think we had “Julia rides a horse” and “Julia shoots a bow and arrow” before. That was Hélène’s simple list of demands, “Can I ride a horse this year and can I shoot a bow and arrow?” Let’s come up with a scenario for that. It probably at the two-thirds mark of the season that the idea came to be of how we were roughly going to end the season.

Murdoch5

I assumed, wrongly, that every season of Murdoch Mysteries is planned straight through with a beginning, middle and end, but that’s not the case.
I probably happens with some shows, but we have the liberty of not having to have everything approved up and down the line. They trust us. We never really consider how things will end until midway through the shooting. A season is three acts and we go into it with Act 1 and Act 2 planned and then, generally, things that happen in the first bit of the season helps inform us how we’re going to end it because things come up, you know?

Now, unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Constable Worseley! What were the circumstances surrounding Sean Harraher’s departure?
Interesting story. It was Sean to who came me and said, “Hey, could I die this year?” I said, “Yeah, sure man.” I think it adds a nice bit in the finale, a nice little scary bit, but it wasn’t a question of having to go down and tell someone who’s been an extra on the show for seven years that he’s not coming back.

You’ve directed this episode. This isn’t the first time you’ve done that, but I did notice some interesting overhead shots you used. I’m thinking of when Julia was in surgery and when Brackenreid was questioning folks at the hotel. Why did you choose that style of filming?
I’m always trying to tell a story with the minimum amount of shots because our shooting schedule is so short. This felt like a more cinematic episode and you don’t really get the shock of Julia Ogden’s operation unless you’re right over top of it. There’s blood everywhere. A bunch of the back half of the episode was going to be Murdoch lying on his back and I was committed to that type of shooting so I just tried to integrate that into the overall episode so it didn’t turn into this weird perspective change. And my friend, Gary Harvey, does such a dynamic job of directing his episodes that he kicks my ass a little bit. [Laughs.] I was like, “OK Harvey, two can play at that game!” You have the horses and the wilderness and all that scope. We were blessed with weather in that we got a bit of snow and it had a bit of a McCabe & Mrs. Miller feel to it.

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A lot of fans were speculating as to who it would be from William’s past who’d return in the finale. How did you decide it would be Eva Pearce, played by Daiva Johnston?
I was really interested in the back half of the script when I was writing with the guys. It could really only be played by a female and the idea of giving a little bit of an edge with the sexual angle and that weird song she sings. We hinted at the Black Hand in the episode before but, ultimately, in terms of the love triangle of Eva mounting William and it causing Julia to wake up is a more interesting dynamic.

Where do we go from here? What can you tell me about some of the stories you’re breaking for Season 10?
I think there will be some unexpected returning characters to the show. We’re also looking at adding a couple of semi-recurring characters onto the show. We’re mining some historical figures that we want to bring in like we normally do. We’re seriously kicking around H.P. Lovecraft right now, just in time for Halloween! He’s a very interesting character who was about 15 years old at this time. I also think we’ll be dealing with the Toronto fire in some shape of form because this is the year. It’s also an Olympic year and I know somebody who is an archer and somebody who is a big soccer fan, both of which were events at the Olympics in St. Louis.

We also have to deal with some of the events from the final episode, some of them lighthearted—does Murdoch build the house this year?—and the exploration of Crabtree and his new girl and how can she possibly fit into this world? We’re also going to see Rebecca at medical school and how that works with her being a black woman there … we’ll see and learn a little bit more about her.

I’m constantly amazed by the people I work with. We’re sitting here with 12 or 13 fairly solid murder mysteries already that don’t feel like ones we’ve done before.

What did you think of Monday’s season finale? What do you want to see happen in Season 10? Comment below or via Twitter @tv_eh.

Comments and queries for the week of March 11

20 Stars, 20 Room Renovations: Home to Win debuts

OMG. I would love to enter my husband in this challenge. He is a farmer but I call him my jack-of-all-trades. I don’t know what heart palpitating challenges you will give him, but I’m sure my heart will be palpitating watching him do these challenges. Please consider him as a contestant. (P.S. – We love to watch HGTV.) —Joan


Murdoch Mysteries‘ showrunner explains heartbreaking episode

Maria, when did you start watching the show? Julia cannot have children, due to a past and painful abortion. My only solution would be for the Murdoch’s to have a surrogate; but, that was the early 1900. No surrogate then? I believe before the season finale, they will have a child. We now know that they are open to adoption, so anything now is possible and acceptable with Julia and William. —Joanne

Joanne, thank you so much for clarification. I watched all the seasons (not in order though) and most certainly I missed that information. One episode, however, sunk in my memory and made me think that it is possible for them to have a child. This was when Det. Murdoch went to the so called “Future Showing” show and got somewhat hypnotized inside the machine. In this episode, he could foresee his future (10 to 12 years from the present time) with Julia and (must be) their son. This story made me think that it is possible for them to have a son, maybe even an adopted one. But it really doesn’t look like anymore. How sad. —Maria


Link: Why Canadian TV producers don’t want to make a Downton Abbey

We arguably did have a Downton Abbey. It was the 90s period drama Road to Avonlea, a Canadian story set in Canada with a large ensemble of great characters with great writing and great acting. It got great ratings on both sides of the border and it holds up rather well today, unlike many shows which become corny with time. That being said, its been a couple decades since the show ended and Emily of New Moon failed to live up to its predecessor. I wish we could get something else; none of the networks really seem to embrace the idea. —Alicia


Curses on Curse of the Frozen Gold

You think it is respectful disrespecting a B-25 bomber war grave on your show? Rooting through it like vultures; you should be slapped for your ignorance of the men that lost their lives and their families. I believe that is a protected war grave and I hope you are reprimanded. —Bill

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Fire off an email to greg@tv-eh.com or on Twitter @tv_eh.