TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 2
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Tonight: Rick Mercer Report, 22 Minutes, Schitt’s Creek, Mr. D, Open Heart

Rick Mercer Report, CBC – season finale
Rick visits the three schools that won The Mercer Report’s annual ‘Spread the Net’ Student Challenge.

22 Minutes, CBC – season finale
On 22 Minutes this week, special guest Mike Holmes helps judge renovations on Parliament Hill and an openly covert report with a politician and his spy pen from Parliament Hill.

Schitt’s Creek, CBC – “Town For Sale”
Johnny finds a potential buyer for the town, while David and Alexis discover they may have become more attached to Schitt’s Creek than they ever thought possible.

Mr. D, CBC – “Coaching Prospects”
Gerry’s star player is being scouted by Syracuse University, and Gerry wants to come along as part of a package deal. Robert is selling tickets to his upcoming play, and Malik is spreading the love with his magical 20-second hugs.

Open Heart, YTV – season finale
Will Dylan find the truth she’s been furiously searching for?

Interview: Annie Murphy finds gold in Schitt’s Creek

It’s hard to believe, but Annie Murphy once auditioned for the role of Stevie on Schitt’s Creek. After a full season of CBC’s newest sitcom—heading into its season finale tonight—it’s hard to picture the Toronto actress as anything but Alexis Rose, sister to David (Dan Levy) and daughter to Moira (Catherine O’Hara) and Johnny (Eugene Levy).

That’s because viewers have connected with these characters in speedy fashion. As Diane Wild pointed out in her piece, Eugene and Dan Levy have created a series that successfully balances laughs with heart. In a short period of time, they’ve crafted relationships between Stevie (Emily Hampshire) and David, and Alexis, Ted (Dustin Milligan) and Mutt (Tim Rozon) that are silly and believable. That’s not easy for a sitcom, let alone one in its first season.

Those relationships are tested in Tuesday’s finale, as Johnny arrives at the motel to tell his family there’s a buyer for Schitt’s Creek and they’re getting out. While Moira and Johnny are thrilled, David and Alexis are less enthusiastic. After all, they’ve fostered friendships (some with benefits), and are loathe to leave them.

We spoke to Annie Murphy about the season on the whole.

Tell me how you got on Schitt’s Creek in the first place. Was it a casting call?
Annie Murphy: I was in L.A. for pilot season and having a really miserable time there. This audition came down the line and it was the first audition in a long time that I got super excited about it and obviously the names attached to it were pretty intriguing. So, I went in in L.A. and Dan was in the room. It was the first audition ever where I walked in confident and walked out confident. I doubt it will ever happen again. [Laughs.] That was it. I got a call from Dan a few days later saying that he wanted me to read for the role of Stevie. I flew back to Toronto and auditioned for Stevie and then screen tested for both roles in front of a room of people who I now know are lovely people but in the moment it was very daunting.

Then there was a very, very long two weeks of my life where I heard nothing. After a week and a half I had prepared myself for the absolute worst. I got a phone call and on the display it said ‘Eugene Levy,’ and all the blood drained from my body. It was Dan on the other end and he goes, ‘Hey Annie, it’s Dan Levy calling. I just wanted to thank you for all of your hard work and tell you how much we appreciated and enjoyed your auditions.’ He said it in this sad, sombre tone. And then he just didn’t say anything. So, I was scrambling and thanking him for letting me get that far.

And then he said, ‘OK, before I let you go, I have a quick question: how would you like to play my sister?’ As corny as it was, it was one of the best moments of my life.


I had a bit of a hard time finding my place at the beginning of the show, just because all of these other people had been doing it for so long.


How different would the show have been if you had played Stevie?
I honestly don’t think anyone could have done it but Emily. She is just so perfect for the role. The dynamic between Emily and Dan is so fantastic in their snarky, sarcastic tone. But he and I have that dynamic too. I feel like I’ve known him for a long time, we’ve been bickering for decades. The casting was just spot-on.

David and Alexis have a fascinating relationship. It would be easy to have them be combative all the time, but they’re not like that. And by the end of this season they’re really there for each other.
I’m an only child, so it’s been very interesting to play a sibling dynamic. I feel like David and Alexis had to cling to each other when they were children. It’s been a really, really neat opportunity to play the borderline hatred sometimes, but knowing at the end of the day they can always rely on each other. Literally right next to each other at night. [Laughs.]

It’s hard to develop characters in a sitcom, especially in a first season.
What I love about this show is that these characters are very honest and the comedy comes from the terrible situations they find themselves in. It’s not a set-up and then a punchline. It has been really cool to find those moments of genuine sadness in a show that’s so funny. Genuine concern. Genuine anger. Every character has been written so well that there is a beautiful range to every one.

What have you learned about yourself, comedically, from working on Schitt’s Creek?
I had a bit of a hard time finding my place at the beginning of the show, just because all of these other people had been doing it for so long. I wasn’t challenging myself to take risks or go out on a limb and try something as everyone else did. But as the season went on, and because of how encouraging everyone on the show was, I did learn that I can go for it. Sometimes that’s a good idea, and sometimes that’s a horrible idea, but I learned to be impulsive and trust in myself.

Is there anything you’d like to see Alexis do in Season 2?
I’d like her to show more independence at some point, but I won’t complain.

Maybe she’ll gain independence by moving into her own motel room.
That would be a start. That would be a nice start.

The season finale of Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Preview: Jade Fever strikes Discovery

Gold is a hot genre in TV right now, taking up primetime slots in the form of Bering Sea Gold, Gold Rush and Yukon Gold. Is jade mining the next big genre? Discovery sure hopes to strike gold … er, green … with Jade Fever.

Debuting Tuesday with two back-to-back episodes on the specialty channel, Omnifilm’s Jade Fever wastes no time getting to some pretty interesting facts. Just 30 people live in Jade City, B.C., an outpost 24 hours from Vancouver and an hour from the Alaska border. The town is near one of the largest deposits of jade in the world and China wants as much as the country can get. More prized than gold there, investors are itching to throw money at town boss Claudia Bunce and her husband Robin Bunce, who has a gift for finding the green stuff.

For a show like Jade Fever, the storytelling is all in the edit. Robin fails to hit pay dirt—and chafes—under the orders Raymond, a Chinese geologist brought in by Robin and Claudia’s Chinese-Canadian business partner Alan Qiao. Close to 100 holes are drilled in the earth under Raymond’s command, and Robin—used to giving orders rather than take them—gets hot under the collar. There are plenty of arguments, expletives and oversized egos exposed in the debut episode’s first 20 minutes … but no jade.

This being a show about the gemstone, I knew they were going to find it by the end of Tuesday’s instalment, otherwise there was no point in having a show. But even I was shocked by how beautiful the rock was coming straight out of the ground. Hard and gleaming in the sun, it’s easy to see why jade is so prized. It is literally the colour of money, something the Bunces—and Discovery and Omnifilm—hope to collect with Season 1 of Jade Fever.

Jade Fever airs Tuesdays at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Interview: Murdoch’s shocking season finale; plus what’s coming in Season 9

Constable George Crabtree: murderer? Surely that can’t be true, but by the end of Monday’s season finale George was locked up and charged with the death of Archie Brooks just the same. There’s more to this crime than meets the eye, but George’s bloody boots and his refusal to speak has placed him firmly behind bars and put his detective’s job in question.

That wasn’t the only cliffhanger in Monday’s “The Artful Detective”: Lillian asked Emily to move to London with her so that the two could continue their support of the Suffragette Movement in England. Emily had not made a decision by the time the show’s credits rolled. It’s been a dramatic season of Murdoch Mysteries, with such high points as William and Julia getting married to the rise of the Suffragettes in Toronto, and lows like the fall of Chief Constable Giles and Constable John Hodge.

In our last behind-the-scenes chat with the creative folks at Murdoch Mysteries, we spoke to showrunner Peter Mitchell.

Was the episode title, “The Artful Detective,” a little nod to Ovation, the U.S. cable channel that airs Murdoch under that name?
Peter Mitchell: It was a wink to that, yeah, as well as a great horse name.

I counted seven bodies in last night’s episode and all of them were pretty gruesome. How did the idea for that come about?
We usually try to do one sequential killer storyline a year and we got into the whole thing of The Most Dangerous Game. The most dangerous game is man and we wanted to get Ogden a little more involved in psychological profiling. Our last several episodes—one was pro wrestling and the one before that was girl gangs—we’d done a few lighter ones and we wanted to go out with a darker, sequential killer storyline that ultimately isn’t that. It fit the mood of winter, which we were fortunate enough to get.

What was it like filming in those conditions? It was cold enough to see breath.
It was pretty cold. It wasn’t minus-40 Toronto but it was cold. When you’re out there in temperatures hovering around zero and nobody is really prepped for it, it’s not fantastic.

You mentioned the wrestling episode. I understand you’re a fan of pro wrestling. How long have you enjoyed it?
Oh gosh, longer than my wife would care to admit. Probably around WrestleMania II or III. I kicked around doing something with those guys a few years ago and it never happened. The identical twin referees is still a stroke of storytelling genius. We just tried to throw a few things into it. Murdoch driving the ambulance was, of course, Steve Austin driving the ambulance when they took Vince McMahon away. We hit four or five really deep in-jokes. My daughter and I started going to local wrestling in Toronto which is where we found a bunch of those guys.


We’re probably going to work, a little more this year, at putting the team back together and see them work more as a coordinated unit.


OK, when we last saw George in the finale, he was behind bars and charged with murdering Archie. But I feel like there is more to this than meets the eye.

It’s Murdoch, of course there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Probably more than even George is aware of. It goes deeper than what George thinks is going on.

I think George is innocent and is covering for Edna because he thinks she is involved somehow.
He’s kind of where you are … but wrong. [Laughs.]

Where do we pick up next season?
It will pick up about five months later and George will be in completely different circumstances. Our fans are pretty diligent about changing seasons, we can never pick up right where we left off. We end a season with snow on the ground and we’ll pick up, hopefully, with leaves on the trees.

What year will it be in Murdoch’s world when we come back for Season 9?
For history it will be 1903, which is the year before the ‘Great Fire of Toronto.’

Is that something you’re working towards?
We’re aware of it, but we’re not sure exactly where we’re going to place it. You’re as aware of the numbers and the good feelings for this show as we are and we don’t see a firm end date. As long as people are ambulatory we have a decent chance of making this for awhile. I’m not sure where we will place the Great Fire and the producer on the show with me, Steve Montgomery, would probably kill me the minute I suggest Great Fire. We will get to it.

Are there some key events in Toronto’s history that occurred in 1903 that you’re planning on covering?
We’re working towards that. We’ve got our list of historical characters that we’d like to get on the show this year. In terms of actual events, we’re always researching but nothing jumps out right now as being significant to hang an episode on. I think Prime Minister Laurier will come back to town this year, I’m hoping—if we can find the right guy—Mark Twain will come to town. We might have a little bit of fun with Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Michelle Ricci told me you guys have been trying to get that character on the show for years.
Yeah, I think Crabtree will teach her how to write. [Laughs.]

What can fans expect from next season?
That’s a really loaded question. What the fans expect is not always what we deliver. I think that we did try some avenues of experimentation this year in expanding the franchise. We may have lost sight, once or twice, in our core characters. The last three episodes were basically George, George, George in terms of an emotional storyline and prior to that we had been doing stuff with Emily. We’re probably going to work, a little more this year, at putting the team back together and see them work more as a coordinated unit. But it’s Murdoch Mysteries, so hopefully we’ll still have controversial storylines and zany storylines and a little more focus on Julia and William’s relationship in the coming year.

Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries will return to CBC later this year.

Link: Schitt’s Creek: 10 Reasons we love David and Stevie

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Schitt’s Creek: 10 Reasons we love David and Stevie
As the first season comes to a close, we here at The TV Junkies can’t help but celebrate the fact that Schitt’s Creek has given us our favourite “non couple” couple on TV. Now we don’t want Moira reaching for the antidepressants, but we’re not talking about the legendary comedy team of Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, who play Johnny and Moira Rose. Rather, we’re referring to the Roses’ son David (Dan Levy), and hotel clerk Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire). Continue reading.

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