Everything about Saving Hope, eh?

Poll: What are your favourite Canadian TV shows of 2015?

As the year winds down, it’s time to reflect back on 2015. What a year it was for Canadian TV. Yes, there was some sad news—the cancellation of Strange Empire, Remedy and Rookie Blue come immediately to mind—but there was plenty to celebrate as well.

Sci-fi in Canada is stronger than ever thanks to Orphan Black and newbies Killjoys and Dark Matter, we’re getting laughs from series like Still Standing, Sunnyside and Young Drunk Punk and dramas like This Life, The Romeo Section and Motive continue to entertain.

As we get ready to say hello to 2016, help us celebrate 2015 by voting for your favourite five (5) Canadian television shows of the year. (Vote by clicking the boxes to the left of your favourite shows, then click the shaded “Vote” button located just below and right of Young Drunk Punk.)

What are your five favourite Canadian TV shows of 2015?

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Rookie Blue’s Peter Mooney joins Saving Hope

Hope Zion has quickly become Rookie Blue reunion central. The past few weeks have seen Travis Milne and Charlotte Sullivan walk through the doors, and now it’s Peter Mooney’s turn. The former Nick Collins drops by Saving Hope for a recurring role as Jeremy Bishop, general surgeon and Charlie’s good friend.

His journey begins this week with “Waiting on a Friend” as Jeremy is plunged into the middle of a complicated surgical procedure that effects much of the team and we learn a bit about his backstory to boot. We spoke to Mooney on the phone as he walked home after having breakfast at Lady Marmalade.

Before we talk about Saving Hope, I have to ask you about Rookie Blue. I was sorry to see it get cancelled, but at least we got closure.
I think the way Tassie Cameron wrapped it all up was kind of perfect. As much as you hate to see something come to an end, I’m really happy with where it left off. There are no nagging, lingering feelings about anything.

That said, I would not be opposed to a spinoff web series following Nick and Juliet fighting crime in Vancouver.
Yeah, I wonder what they’re getting up to in Vancouver? I think that would be awesome. [Erin Karpluk] and I will do our own spinoff.

What do you take away from that set?
It was just such a good vibe on set. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s pretty rare to have that level of ease and comfort and familiarity with everyone. We’ve become really close friends throughout the process. It was a great period of life, like you might look back on high school. This little, self-contained time period that was so nice. It’s also something to bring onto future jobs; that attitude and how much fun work can be.

He’s there to complicate things that are going well for other people. High-stakes situations like this cause you to look at your co-workers a little differently and things can blossom.

If Rookie Blue was high school, is Saving Hope college?
It’s pre-med. [Laughs.] I think of it as pre-med because I’m sort of learning. We have amazing medical advisors on the show and yesterday I was learning how to do a one-handed, left-handed suture on a patient’s spleen. Now, the patient is just a dummy and I think I would have killed him if he had been real. We don’t have anywhere near the wealth of knowledge that actual doctors and surgeons have, but getting a taste of that has been really, really exciting.

You’re the perfect guy to have in an emergency. You know how to take someone down and to sew someone up.
Yeah, I’m the perfect person to have during a calamity on a plane.

Jeremy shows up in Thursday’s episode and makes an immediate impression with his three-day stubble and buttoned-down shirt. How did you get the gig? Did you audition or did they seek you out?
This one was kind of special and rare. Rookie Blue and Saving Hope share producers, so they were already familiar with me because we share a lot of the same directors. I’d known the cast because we’ve been in side-by-side studios and some of the cast are very good friends of mine. So when it looked like Rookie Blue was wrapping up, there was a perfect opening on Saving Hope so I jumped on over. It was a speedy transition and not a lot of time to learn all of the medical base I would have liked to.

Tell me a bit about Jeremy’s back story. We learn on Thursday that he’s a friend of Charlie’s and that he had some trouble in L.A.
He and Charlie go way back, and that’s rolled out during the season. He’s from Toronto but spent years in L.A. doing his residency. He had a house there and was really settled down. His return to Toronto is an abrupt, surprising shift for him and his head is still spinning when he arrives.

Jeremy seems to have a good bedside manner.
Yeah, he’s very off the cuff. He’s running on impulse and not very calculating and that comes in handy with his bedside manner because he’s able to read the situation and their need and he’s able to respond to that. He’s not a clinical or removed doctor.

Talk about his journey this season. Any love on the horizon?
He’s there to complicate things that are going well for other people. High-stakes situations like this cause you to look at your co-workers a little differently and things can blossom.

You’re filming Saving Hope until the middle of December. What’s next in the new year? Are you writing and developing your own projects?
I am. I have several projects in the early stages in development that I’ll go back and focus on. But I’ll be back to auditioning too, which is kind of exciting. It’s been such a long time since I’ve done that … I’m kind of excited to get back to it.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Link: Saving Hope’s Michelle Nolden on how Dawn will bounce back from tragedy

From Christy Spratlin of The TV Junkies:

Saving Hope’s Michelle Nolden on how Dawn will bounce back from tragedy
“It was slightly horrifying, but I had positive reaction in a sense that we were delving in to Dawn’s life. I knew from the beginning that that was probably where it was going to go, and I feel very grateful that the writers have given me such great stuff as an actor to play. But actually having to do it was horrifying.” Continue reading. 

Tara Spencer-Nairn shakes off Corner Gas with Saving Hope

For six seasons and one major motion picture, Tara Spencer-Nairn played beleaguered small-town cop Karen Pelly on the wildly successful Corner Gas. And while she’s forever grateful for the experience of starring in a beloved Canadian television series and will cherish it forever, she’s been champing at the bit to play something different.

Janice Fenn is that character. Unlike the perky, sarcastic Karen, Janice is a drug addict who comes to the aid of Taylor, a 12-year-old who checks into Hope Zion on Thursday night following a motocross accident. What follows in “Heart of Stone” is harrowing and heartbreaking … exactly what Spencer-Nairn has been looking for.

Janice Fenn is definitely not Constable Karen.
Tara Spencer-Nairn: Right?! I was pretty excited about this.

Janice is the type of person Karen would try to arrest.
As soon as I got the breakdown I knew it was something I wanted to do and that I needed to do. I love Corner Gas and everything it has done for my and I’ll be forever grateful, but I feel like I’m constantly having to remind people that I’m not just a comedian and that I’m not a comedian. This was a real departure and something that I could really sink my teeth into. It was dirty and gritty. And I’m at this point in my life, with two kids, where it fits. It’s funny, I was telling my agent, ‘There’s no way I can’t get this role because I haven’t slept in days and I look like shit. I’m perfect! They don’t have to do anything, they don’t even have to put makeup on me.’

After Corner Gas and taking a break to have kids, I really wanted to come back and do something I’ve never done before. I think that’s what’s great about these Canadian shows; there are these great little characters that come along that we all get to drop in and play.

Although you appreciate it, do you feel as though Corner Gas caused you to be pigeon-holed?
Absolutely. It’s weird, because if you look back at how my career started, it’s not very funny. New Waterford Girl was funny, but in a very different way. And again, I love Corner Gas and everyone involved and if I could do a Corner Gas movie every two years, I’d be there. But I do kind of feel like I’m constantly fighting to get into rooms and show people I’m more than just Karen Pelly. And because of the success of Corner Gas, it’s been really hard for all of us to break out of those roles.

“We’re fighting pretty hard to not have strong characters, but good characters, interesting characters and characters reflective of who we are that don’t just support another male character.”

OK, let’s talk about Saving Hope and this role of Janice. She’s a tough character to play because she’s a drug addict, and therefore a little hard to viewers to like. Is it hard to portray a somewhat unlikeable character?

Well, I never thought of her as unlikeable. It was interesting working with David Wellington—the director for this episode—I trusted in him 100 percent. We really wanted to make sure we didn’t play into any stereotypes and the way the character was originally written was more of a stereotype. He really went back and fought hard to make sure she wasn’t dressed in a miniskirt. In a way, I felt sorry for her and I wanted to help her and make her better. Her choices, from the outside, look truly horrible but when you walk a mile in those shoes it’s horribly sad and heartbreaking.

Having two kids of your own, was it easy to tap into the emotions the role calls for?
Yeah, you have to go there. Having kids has become, truly, a blessing for my career because I now have a depth that I couldn’t have imagined before I had kids.

The storyline is open-ended; will you be back?
I don’t know, but let’s make that happen! I watch Saving Hope and I’ve never seen a character like her on the show. I applaud them for creating a character like this and for allowing the character to be a woman. As women, we’re fighting pretty hard to not have strong characters, but good characters, interesting characters and characters reflective of who we are that don’t just support another male character.

Are female characters getting more interesting and reflective? 
I think we’re talking about it, but I don’t think it’s getting better. I hope that talking about it is the first step. I’m in my mid- to late-30s and as an actor I do feel like I should be busier than I am. I feel like there should be more roles for me out there and it kind of breaks my heart every morning when I get up and it’s, ‘Nope, not today.’ It’s nice that it’s a big topic in Hollywood and I hope the ripple effect will happen.

Is writing, directing and producing your own projects the next step in that journey for you?
It’s something that I’m working on, yeah. At first I was like, ‘I’m just going to do this, no problem!’ And now that I’m in it, it’s ‘Wow, this is really hard!’ The stuff that I want to write isn’t necessarily network TV and as you know this industry is in flux with pick and pay. There aren’t a lot of cable shows being made in Canada. But, at the same time, I appreciate conventional network and a show like Saving Hope who create characters like Janice, but that isn’t the type of show that I want to create.

What kind of show do you want to make?
I want to make the kind of show everyone wants to make. You look at a Nurse Jackie or an Orphan Black … gritty and dirty and real. I’m not interested in being earnest.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Link: Charlotte Sullivan on her emotionally charged Saving Hope role

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Charlotte Sullivan on her emotionally charged Saving Hope role
Actress Charlotte Sullivan is keeping with the trend of Rookie Blue actors who are now playing vastly different characters from the ones they spent six years portraying on the cop drama. Sullivan does this by guest starring on Thursday’s episode of Saving Hope, where she plays social worker Elizabeth Grant, the victim of a horrific acid attack that disfigures her face. Grant’s attack will also cause new Hope Zion resident, Dr. Cassie Williams (Kim Shaw) to question whether or not she can remain objective in an episode that’s also directed by Sullivan’s husband, Peter Stabbings. Continue reading.