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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Link: Saving Hope writers sign LGBTQ fan pledge

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Saving Hope writers sign LGBTQ fan pledge
“Some friends and I got together to discuss the controversy surrounding Lexa’s death on The 100, and the pile up of queer female TV character deaths that followed close after. Michelle Mama who’s a writer, producer, director, as well as a queer activist, introduced me and Sonia Hosko (Saving Hope producer) to Gina Tass who’s a behavioural therapist who works a lot with youth. Gina was paying very close attention to what young fans were saying online, and was aware that some of them were upset and self-harming.” Continue reading. 

Hell Below portrays perilous life aboard wartime submarines

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of military programming, and Hell Below is a fantastic one. Produced by Parallax Film Productions out of Vancouver, the documentary series delves into life aboard submarines during the Second World War, and Tuesday’s newest is a humdinger.

“The Wolfpack”—broadcast on Smithsonian Channel Canada at 8 p.m. ET—explores the elite submariners that hunted Allied convoys bringing much-needed supplies from the East Coast of North America to Britain. At the centre of the episode is Otto Kretschmer, one of Hitler’s U-boat aces whose guts and gambles made him a successful and valued member of the German side. Kretschmer inflicted incredible damage by manoeuvring his submersible into the middle of convoys and then picking off ships one by one, leading to cataclysmic losses.

Filmed aboard era ships and subs, Hell Below successfully portrays not only the successes and failures of Kretschmer and his crew, but the claustrophobic conditions they operated in. With hundreds of feet between them and the surface—and with Allied boats dropping depth charges—being on a U-boat crew was not for the faint of heart. You can’t help but feel sympathy as depth charges shudder through the sub’s structure, springing bolts and letting in freshets of water. Expert analysis, re-enactments, stock footage and impressive CGI help tell the tale of Kretschmer’s career and what happened when the Allies finally put radar on their ships.

Hell Below airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel Canada. You can watch past episodes via Smithsonian Channel Canada’s website.

MasterChef Canada home cook struggles with sickness

“Heads and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” was the theme of Sunday’s new episode, but it was April Lee’s tummy that became a part of the storyline. Not that her sickness—sweats and stomach issues—were a major tale; it was only during the Pressure Test that it was mentioned at all. Maybe the challenges are done on different days, but it was jarring nonetheless to have no discussion of her health until the latter half of the episode. And in the end it didn’t matter anyway, as the eclairs April Lee concocted during the Pressure Test were good enough to land her in the Top 7.

Not so for Mary and Jennifer, who were in the bottom. It was distressing to see Mary on the brink of elimination over the last few weeks. She’s a truly gifted home cook, and I think that knowledge is causing her to overthink challenges and aim higher than her competition. She shouldn’t be worrying about anyone else but herself … says the guy judging from the safety of his own couch.

Meanwhile, Jennifer’s culinary journey came to an end. After a weak, but inspired, performance preparing chicken feet off the top of the episode, her eclairs were overly small and lacking the taste Michael, Alvin and Claudio were hoping for.

I was really impressed with the plates the home cooks came up with during the team challenge. Despite the main ingredients being less than pretty to look at—grouper and pig heads, pig and chicken feet and frog legs—they put together beautiful plates worthy of pictures in a high-end cookbook. The Red Team of Shawn, Terry, Matthew and Veronica were steps ahead of Blue with regard to flavour and plating, but Veronica’s truly impressive and intricate Chinese soup dumplings with black vinegar caviar carried the win.

Next week, former astronaut Chris Hadfield appears for an out-of-this-world test.

MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Writing an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference

A full-day experience in a television writers room taught me one thing: there is no such thing as a bad idea. My fascination with what occurs behind closed doors on a TV series was realized when I was given the opportunity to attend the Writers Guild of Canada’s Writers Room Intensive for this year’s Toronto Screenwriting Conference.

In a sunbathed room on the seventh floor at Entertainment One’s Toronto office last Friday, I watched as Wynonna Earp showrunner and executive producer Emily Andras welcomed participants Laura Ashley Seaton, Tim Kilby, Priscilla M. White, Keri Ferencz, Matt Doyle and Blain Watters, who worked together—fuelled by coffee, water and food—to break a spec script of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Aiming to keep quiet during the entire session (I was there to observe, after all), I found it really hard not to chime in with my own ideas, especially when initial nervousness in the room was replaced by excitement and laughs. I’m not the biggest Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, but I quickly found myself caring whether or not the episode began with the fortysomething slayer burning cupcakes and taking out the trash. Would Buffy have a daughter, Andras asked? Yes, everyone agreed. Would her daughter, Alexa (a nod to Xander) be a slayer too? Would Alexa’s father be seen in the story? Every question was discussed and positives and negatives weighed, before moving on.

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After several hours of back and forth and notes on the white board, the teaser and Acts 1 and 2 had been written down. Then, suddenly, a storyline suggestion caused all of that work to be erased. They were starting over again. Like I said before, I quickly learned there are no bad ideas. I also realized that it’s important to have ideas and vocalize them. Your notion may not be used, but at the very least it will inspire discussion that leads to something. I’ve often asked writers who came up with an idea in the room and been told they can’t remember. I chalked the answer up to wanting to be humble, but they’re right. With so many thoughts being shared and scribbled on the board, there was no way to keep track of who had said what. Not that it matters; the goal of the room isn’t to spotlight one person and celebrate them, it’s to tell an engaging, interesting and entertaining story.

It’s something that, by the end of the session, I finally had a grasp on and an appreciation for. Want to find out how the Buffy spec script turned out? Register for the conference and attend the WGC Writing Room Intensive session on Saturday, April 30, at 11:15 a.m.

 

The Toronto Screenwriting Conference runs Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 at the Metro Toronto Conference Centre. To register, find a schedule explore hotel and food options and more, visit the website.

Link: Tim Rozon Talks Doc Holliday and Wynonna Earp

From Heather M. of TVGoodness.com:

Tim Rozon Talks Doc Holliday and Wynonna Earp
“He was best friends with Wyatt, who was probably his only and best friend. We’re going to find out some of his past history this Friday. That will give more insight. We’re going to find out some stuff now that will show [why he makes] the choices he makes. I don’t think he knows what good or bad is. He’s doing things that he needs to do to help himself. He lives in the gray a little more.” Continue reading.