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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Proper Television’s Guy O’Sullivan passes away

Very sad news out of Canada’s reality television community. Proper Television’s Guy O’Sullivan, whose company is behind Canada’s Worst Driver and MasterChef Canada, passed away over the weekend. He was 49.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the sudden passing of Guy O’Sullivan, President, Proper Television,” the company stated on their Facebook page. “On behalf of everyone at Proper Television, we extend our sincere condolences to his children and family. Guy had a tremendous impact in the Canadian and international television industry, and was adored by his colleagues and staff. Out of respect for the family, no further comments will be made.”

O’Sullivan launched Proper Television in 2004 in Canada after five years at the BBC and has produced some of the most successful unscripted series in Canadian TV, including CBC’s True North Calling, CTV’s MasterChef Canada, Discovery Canada’s Canada’s Worst Driver, Don’t Drive Here and Canada’s Worst Handyman, W Network’s Come Dine with Me Canada and OLN’s Storage Wars Canada.

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Top Chef Canada All-Stars gets worldly and cuts one chef

Man, did it feel great to tune into Top Chef Canada again: I didn’t realize how much I’d truly missed the franchise until the all-stars were back in the kitchen, dripping sweat and expletives on the way to creating foodie pieces of art.

And, after a crash course in how tough this season is going to be, the 11 remaining we back at it on Sunday night.

In “Street Markets of the World … Unite,” the Quickfire Challenge began innocently enough, with the Top 11 expected to produce perfect mise en place. This isn’t the first time that’s been done on Top Chef Canada, but the All-Stars edition came with a bit of a twist in the first round: filleting sea bass. I expected Todd Perrin to ace this one—he works with seafood every day—and he was the first to complete it. He, Dustin, Nicole, Andrea, Trevor, Jonathan, Jesse and Dennis moved on to Round 2. (Connie’s laser beam eyes betrayed her disappointment.) Shallots were up next and the chefs had to brunoise (dice to 1/8 of an inch) as many as they could in three minutes. Jesse, Todd, Dennis, Jonathan and Andrea made it to Round 3: shuck as many oysters as possible in four minutes. Dennis, who aced this test back in Season 1 in an arm cast did it again on Sunday with 14 perfect oysters. (Like Eden, my mouth was watering seeing all those mollusks lined up for consumption.) Dennis and Andrea (who shucked 13) went head-to-head in the finale: creating a plate using all of the ingredients they’d just prepped in 15 minutes.

It was interesting to see Dennis and Andrea’s different visions for their food—he went with Vietnamese sweet and sour soup accented by fish and oysters and she decided the sea bass was the star of her plate—and then observe Mark McEwan and Eden’s reactions. Andrea won out (I was so hungry looking at that fish) and scored immunity for the week.

Food markets around the world are bursting with ingredients unique to their regions and served as the theme for Sunday’s Elimination Challenge. Andrea’s advantage was being able to choose which country’s food she wanted to prepare and joined Brussels alongside Nicole and Curtis. The test was for the chefs to serve their plates to folks in a pop-up market at Toronto’s Artscape Wychwood Farms where patrons and Susur Lee voted on the best. But, rather than working as teams, everyone was on their own to come up with a recipe idea, prepping and serving to 75.

Several recipes intrigued me, among them, Nicole’s Brussels themed Morrocco dog (grilled ground lamb and spiral fries), Trevor’s grilled meat and “dirty” salad and Connie’s chilled Vietnamese noodle salad with crispy fried pork belly. (As an aside, how tragic was Connie’s story? Learning she was spending a month away from her dying mother to compete on Top Chef Canada shows how much she wants to compete.)

As usual, Susur Lee was a perfect guest judge, able to enjoy food and point out where improvements could be made. (I’d be happy if he was there every week.) Tops in the judges’ eyes were Trista’s grilled lamb saddle, Dennis’ prawn toasts and Nicole’s potato-wrapped ground lamb, with Dennis winning the challenge. It was an impressive feat considering he had to completely rework the recipe after the empanada dough fail on Day 1.

Trevor, Todd and Connie found themselves in the bottom and in danger of being eliminated. It was the second week in a row for Todd, who was criticized for being too safe with his cod salad. Like he did last week, Todd opined the flavour was too much for the judging panel and Chris Nuttall-Smith shot back that Todd was simply being too safe. Connie’s emotional plea to remain in the competition was certainly heartfelt and I think she’s lucky Todd was there to be picked off. (I’d love to see him in Top Chef Canada: Seniors.)

Top Chef Canada: All-Stars airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Images courtesy of Corus.

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Dark Matter and Killjoys land Canadian return dates

Friday nights on Space are going to be very, very hot this summer. The Canadian specialty channel announced Friday afternoon that Dark Matter and Killjoys will return in June.

Based on their graphic novel, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie’s Dark Matter returns Friday, June 9, at 8 p.m. ET with two back-to-back episodes before settling into its 9 p.m. ET timeslot the following week. Dark Matter stars Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross and Zoie Palmer.

Killjoys returns on Friday, June 30, at 8 p.m. ET. Created by Michelle Lovretta, the series stars Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore, Luke Macfarlane and Tamsen McDonough.

Rounding out the awesome lineup is the previously announced Wynonna Earp; Season 2 returns Friday, June 9, at 10 p.m. ET, making for the hottest lineup of sci-fi programming since, well, maybe ever.

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Bitten and Wynonna Earp stars check in to Saving Hope

We were excited to see what Greg Bryk’s character would bring to Saving Hope when Erica Durance gave us the scoop on his storyline earlier this year.

“It was a little bit of a departure because he brought a little more danger to the episode and to Alex,” she told us last month. “She has to track this guy down and he’s in the witness protection program, and she has to try and convince him to save his son. Again, danger, and some comedy and a heartrending story. Greg is such a lovely actor.”

Not only does Bryk guest-star in Sunday’s new episode, “Tested and Tried,” but so does Wynonna Earp‘s Kate Drummond (listen to our interview with her from last summer). Here’s CTV’s official synopsis about the episode:

With a patient in desperate need of a liver transplant and no other options, Dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance) is forced to track down the boy’s father Danny (Greg Bryk, BITTEN) who is in witness protection. As the new CEO, Thomas Leffering (Joe Dinicol, BLINDSPOT), sets out to make his mark on Hope Zion Hospital, he puts a moratorium on expensive transplant surgeries which puts him at odds with a defiant Dr. Dawn Bell (Michelle Nolden). As the cuts from Thomas continue, Dr. Zach Miller (Benjamin Ayres) sets out to have a perfect day in the E.R. only to be faced with trials of biblical proportions. 

And here are some non-spoilery facts we can reveal after watching a screener!

A new story angle
Durance wasn’t kidding when she said tonight’s story was a departure for Saving Hope. The writers have gone all-in for Season 5 and Bryk and Drummond are a huge part of it. Alex has been showing her more daring side of late—hello, motorcycle—and that continues on Sunday. Drummond is so unlike Agent Lucado—which makes sense, she is an actress after all—and fans are going to love seeing her sensitive side.

Dawn on the warpath
“Defiant” is the word the network used in their synopsis to describe Dawn this week. We prefer “mad as hell,” and Thomas is in her sights, especially after he recalls the downfall of civilization on Easter Island.

Charlie vs. Alex
Remember when I wrote about how nice it was to see Alex and Charlie getting along for Luke’s sake. Yeah, that goes to hell on Sunday. In a big way.

The ER goes to the dogs
Literally.

Saving Hope airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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