Change is good, and for City’s Package Deal it may end up being great. The Canadian original sitcom is back for a second season on a new night–Fridays at 9 p.m.–a new promotional campaign and an evolution in the creative process.
“The writing is tighter and edgier than it was last season,” Randal Edwards says. The West Coast native is back as lawyer Danny White, straight man to brothers Sheldon (Harland Williams) and Ryan (Jay Malone) and boyfriend to Kim Mattingly (Julia Voth). As with the first season, Danny is still struggling to break free from Sheldon and Ryan and establish his own life with Kim. It doesn’t always work; Friday’s return, “Silverball,” spotlights the reaction the boys have when they discover Danny went to see the newest James Bond flick with Kim rather than keep up the tradition the trio had of seeing the spy movies together.
And while Season 1 of Package Deal was pitched to TV writers and the viewing public as a series to watch because it was a rare Canadian primetime laffer shot with multiple cameras, a rarity here though commonplace in the U.S., Season 2 is a focus on the characters. Now that creator and executive producer Andrew Orenstein and the writers know what the cast can do, Edwards explains, they’ve let ‘em rip. Aside from the main cast, Jill Morrison (When Calls the Heart) has been upped from recurring to a full-time cast member as Nikki, Kim’s acerbic friend and co-worker.
Every series goes through some growing pains, and Season 1 of Package Deal was no different. You could see the cast getting more comfortable in their roles and in front of the live studio audience (a sitcom was a first for both Edwards and Voth) but by the end everyone was firing on all cylinders. Friday’s return is one of a cast that know their characters intimately and are game to play them.
Jumping into the sand box to play as guest stars are Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary) and Jason Priestley (Call Me Fitz).
“Amanda plays my boss, and she’s just fantastic. A total pro,” Edwards enthuses. He laughs when he admits to being a little in awe of Priestley, who comes on board to portray Storm Chambers, a slick, over-the-top TV weatherman.
“In one scene I’m in his face, yelling at him and I just kind of zoned out for a second, and Jason said to me, quietly, ‘I know, I know,'” Edwards recalls. “And he was saying that because he knew I was thrown off by working with him. This guy was on posters in my sister’s bedroom!”
Package Deal airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on City.
From Stuart Derdeyn of The Province:
Package Deal returns edgier, more popular
The creators and cast of Package Deal believe the best laughs are honest ones. Toronto native Andrew Orenstein, who made his career in Hollywood writing for such hit sitcoms as Third Rock From the Sun, Malcolm In The Middle and Everybody Hates Chris, created the program. It is produced by Vancouver’s Thunderbird Films and shot in front of a live studio audience at a south Burnaby studio. Continue reading.
From Bill Brioux of the Canadian Press:
Vancouver-based series ‘Package Deal’ turns up heat in edgier second season
So you climbed the Canadian TV mountain, convinced a programming executive to green-light your home-grown comedy and managed, against all odds, to get it on the air for a whole season. Now what?” Continue reading.
From Bill Brioux of TV Feeds My Family:
Inside Season Two of Package Deal
“Both Spun Out and Package Deal have seasoned veterans in charge who can call audibles and make adjustments. Orenstein told me big changed were made this season in the approach to his show, which is produced by Thunderbird Films. Season One was shot without a pilot and that doesn’t always help when a comedy is trying to find its feet.” Continue reading.
Greg, Anthony and Diane talk and talk and laugh and talk about the CRTC public hearings, the premieres of Package Deal, Saving Hope, The Bachelor Canada, and the Netflixization of The Trailer Park Boys, plus the battle of the Canadian streaming services.