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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Killjoys: New plans, old foes and one hells of a heist

To say last week’s episode of Killjoys was a revelation would be an understatement. “The Wolf You Feed” kicked open the Aneela and Dutch back story, uncovering that Aneela willed a younger, innocent version of herself from the green that became Dutch. Viewers also discovered Dutch and Johnny’s origin story began on her wedding night and included Lucy. And if that wasn’t enough, Delle Seyah is pregnant. Somehow.

With just three more episodes left—hey Syfy and Space, where’s your renewal announcement?—we crashed headlong into “Heist, Heist, Baby,” written by Julie Puckrin and directed by April Mullen. Here’s what Space announced for a synopsis:

As the Killjoys plan a dangerous theft on an armoured convoy, Aneela finds herself on a desperate search for something far more valuable that was stolen from her: Delle Seyah.

And we’ve got several juicy tidbits to add after watching a screener.

Battle plans are being made
Dutch left D’avin in charge of the army against the Hullen armada and plans are well underway. Now, if D’avin and Johnny can just figure out a way to plot an attack model that doesn’t result in their complete destruction … and stop bitching at each other. (“This is my shit face!” Johnny says at one point. Or is it “shitface”?) Johnny figures out a way to stop the Hullen (he thinks, anyway); hence the heist in the episode title.

Old foes return
D’avin and Johnny need help to pull off the heist and call on old friends/foes to help out. Pukrin wrote a very funny scene involving strategically-placed food items that allows Hannah John-Kamen a bit of comedy. Speaking of comedy, pay attention to the name of a certain blaster D’avin is carrying. Its name is a shout-out to writer Nikolijne Troubetzkoy. And only on cable television can references to ass to mouth, the missionary position, front door and back door, and STDs be liberally sprinkled about for comic effect. And look for veteran actor John Tench in a tough-as-nails—and memorable—role.

Dutch’s cube makes a return appearance
We saw Aneela’s prison in flashbacks last week; Dutch’s safe house cube is a major plot point this week as Johnny, Dutch and Zeph do some poking and prodding. And can we take a second to appreciate Dutch’s damned slick outfit in the above photo? OK, thank you.

Aneela is on the warpath
As hinted in the image at the top of this preview, Aneela is just a little miffed that Gander made off with her gal pal. Brynn (Kalinka Petrie) is willing to help Aneela find Delle Seyah, but why? And will Gander confess to Delle Seyah’s whereabouts? We won’t say anything else about this storyline but things go from curious to downright horrifying.

Killjoys airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.



Amazing Race Canada: History and hysterics in Newfoundland and Labrador

We’re over halfway through The Amazing Race Canada and at this juncture, any team could win. I know that seems obvious but there is usually a duo able to distance themselves from the rest of the group by this point. You could argue that siblings Adam and Andrea are that team, but the Fast Pass the week before really helped with that.

As for the weakest team? That goes to Andrea and Ebonie, who were saved from going home a second time after last week’s non-elimination Leg. This is the first time I can remember one team saved twice, and it really took some of the drama out of the Race for me. Lousy teams are supposed to be cut, not given the opportunity to stick around. Ebonie and Andrea were in tough on Tuesday, battling their way through a set of challenges in a unique and beautiful part of the country I’ve had the pleasure of visiting: Newfoundland and Labrador. I was hoping Labrador would figure into this week’s episode. Sadly, it was not meant to be.

Yes, the Race was here earlier this season but, clearly, the producers saw the area as being ripe for more tests of wits and physicality. And, would the confusion that wreaked havoc at the Double U-Turn board impact relationships between any teams? At first blush, Ebonie had nothing to say to Korey and Ivana when they explained the U-Turn move. That put a fire under Ivana’s butt to fight even harder. Meanwhile, Adam and Andrea apologized for not doing what they were supposed to, and things seemed to be OK between the squads; Ebonie and Andrea vowed to worry about themselves and not on alliances. A smart move.

Sam and Paul were first off the plane in Deer Lake, Nfld., and on the road to Corner Brook to find a—sponsor alert!—Bank of Montreal branch. Once there, producers played with the teams’ emotions by having family members and friends (and pets) deliver the next clue via video. The location? Gros Morne National Park. Kenneth and Ryan were the first to depart, followed by Sam and Paul. Sam, who had been waiting to hear whether or not he’d gotten into medical school, found out from his parents that he did, leading to a truly emotional moment for him and Paul.

The Detours hearkened back to moments in Canadian history, choosing between paddling a dory down the coastline to find a clue hidden in a lobster trap and then return to the beach, or reconstruct the tale of a Norse family tree after listening to tales told be recreators. No offense, but the recreators were horrible. Most teams chose to paddle (I would have too.) and chaos ensued … for some. Paul, who has boating experience, took charge and he and Sam were off. Kenneth and Ryan … not so much. (“Put it in the thingie … use the thingie.”) Andrea and Adam were the first to complete the family tree and departed in second place. (Call me immature, but I laughed out loud at Korey’s pee break and how Ivana handled it.)

Andrea and Ebonie, meanwhile, had to contend with a Speed Bump after their last-place finish last week. Their test, to score 25 points hitting an archery target, was difficult for Ebonie at first but Andrea was a natural. It didn’t take long for them to accumulate the points and depart the archery area.

The Face-Off made its first appearance of this season, pitting teams against one another head-to-head. In Newfoundland that meant five-pin bowling—a Canadian invention—with the winning team departing and the losers waiting to challenge the next pair to arrive. The Face-Off is brilliant, dramatic and a potential soul-crusher. It’s also very much a game of patience, as teams wait for others to arrive. It was Sam and Paul vs. Adam and Andrea in Game 1: Sam and Paul won and moved on. Game 2 was Adam and Andrea vs. Team Give’r: Andrea and Adam won. Game 3 put Team Give’r vs. Karen and Bert: Team Give’r triumphed after Bert guttered his final three balls. Game 4 saw Bert and Karen take on Korey and Ivana: Bert and Karen won. In Game 5, Korey and Ivana faced off against Ebonie and Andrea: Korey and Ivana won, leaving Ebonie and Andrea to stew and wait out a timer before they could advance.

At this Leg’s Road Block, one team member had to do perhaps the most difficult thing of all: perform pre-written jokes on-stage in front of an audience at Swirsky’s. (I would have taken the penalty.) Sam totally killed it in his first try and the dating couple departed in first place. Memorization proved to be difficult for the remaining teams, though Kenneth pulled it off and leapfrogged over Adam and Andrea into second place; the brother and sister placed third.

Sam and Paul were the first to arrive at the Pit Stop at the Bay of Islands lookout and landed a trip to Rio de Janeiro in addition to their top spot for the Leg. It went down to the wire for Korey and Ivana and Ebonie and Andrea, but the luck ran out for the business partners and they were eliminated from the Race.

What did you think? Which challenges would you have picked? Did you wish Labrador had been visited too? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:

  1. Sam and Paul (trip to Rio)
  2. Team Give’r
  3. Adam and Andrea
  4. Karen and Bert
  5. Ivana and Korey
  6. Ebonie and Andrea (eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.




The Government of Canada wants to ensure the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete

From a media release:

The Governor in Council, on the advice of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, with support of Cabinet, referred back for reconsideration and hearing the Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2017-143 to 2017-147 (renewing licenses for television services of major French-language ownership groups) and CRTC 2017-148 to 2017-151 (renewing licenses for television services of major English-language ownership groups) of May 15, 2017.

“Canadian broadcasters and creators are at the centre of the broadcasting system, and at a time when our competitive advantage rests on creativity, they must be positioned to succeed.

The Government of Canada recognizes the significant investments Canadian broadcasters make in Canadian content. At the same time, the entire industry is in transition and the next few years will be critical to establishing the conditions for Canadians to be able to compete with the best in the world.

During this period of transition across the industry, original Canadian content and a dynamic creative sector are vital to the sector’s competitiveness, and its contribution to the Canadian economy.

We are asking the CRTC to reconsider these decisions in order to ensure that we achieve the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete.

In referring back these decisions, the Government wishes to affirm its support for great Canadian dramas, comedies, animation, films, documentaries — and other programs of national interest — that reflect our country and its diversity. It also recognizes the importance of original French-language content and support for the creators of music programming, short films and short-form documentaries.

As we look to the future of Canadian content, we must be bold. That’s why, this fall, I will present a vision that supports our cultural industries through this transformation and will bring us in line with the changing digital environment.”


19-2: J.M. reaches the end of his rope

One scene from last week’s episode of 19-2 stuck with me for days. It was a shot of J.M. standing alone in 19’s hallway. Already cast out from the team for the assaults on his wife, he’d sat in his car rather than chase down the shooters at the picnic. He’d been totally cut out from the rest of the squad and stood there, in the growing murk, by himself. So much can be said without any words and 19-2 does that consistently every week.

The same was certainly true of Monday’s new episode “Fishbowl,” which followed up on Ben’s decision to take drugs and guns from the men he was surveilling. Nick wondered what had happened to the straight-laced rookie he used to know, and I did too. Was there any way to pull Ben back from the brink? How dangerous could he make things for himself and others? That, and what would happen to J.M., haunted me going into Monday’s instalment.

The “previously on,” footage featured a ton of J.M. footage, meaning his storyline would figure prominently in the episode written by Nikolijne Troubetzkoy and directed by Sturla Gunnarsson. It did just that, catching up with the troubled cop as he, drunk, screamed at an unknown woman to leave his apartment. Reeling around the room, he drank deeply from a bottle and enraged, swept items off a dresser and, even more scary, brandished his gun. J.M. may have told Audrey two weeks ago that the job is just that, but it’s more than a job to J.M. despite his statements. Being a cop is all he is, and taking that away from him is taking a chunk of him.

And with that, J.M. did exactly what I was hoping he wouldn’t, pulling the trigger in an attempt to end his own life. He missed a bit—was that by accident or did part of him rebel at wanting to die—and the bullet went up through his jaw and exited his cheek rather than plowing straight up into his brain. He survived but told the Sarge his gun went off while he was cleaning it while drunk. Of course, that didn’t wash with Sgt. Suarez and J.M. confessed he needed help—was getting help—and wanted back on the job ASAP. The Sarge’s update on J.M. rocked the squad, and kudos to Troubetzkoy’s script for the impassioned speech by Suarez and for the touching, emotional scene between J.M. and Audrey. J.M. telling Audrey that shooting himself would make him a better cop was a stunning admission and cut right through her. These two are from the same cloth, not like the others.

Meanwhile, the city’s police force was on high alert. On instruction from Gendron, 19 was to get “up in everyone’s face” and show strength against the organized crime wars. Nick and Ben traded a look—how much has Ben helped with that escalation?—and new station member Roxanne (Aiza Ntibarikure) was introduced. Tyler and Dulac both had eyes for her and the latter made his move. It’s not pretty to watch but does provide some much-needed levity considering the scenes with J.M.

Dulac and Tyler’s seemingly easy collection of a father for parole violations turned serious when they dropped his children off at their mother’s and she was clearly not happy to see them. Tyler’s concern for their safety was justified when they were called back minutes later after an assault call to find the younger daughter beaten.

Ben and Nick found a short moment of relative boredom shattered by screams and broke into an apartment to find a young man being raped. That brought the pair to a crisis centre where they reported to social worker Farah Miller (Sagine Sémajuste), the mother of the boy Audrey ran down and Ben took the blame for. To say she was still smarting from her son’s death and the fact the police dismissed him as a drug user—a wasted life—was an understatement. Amazingly, she stayed professional, even after Ben apologized for his and the force’s actions. She stated the man who assaulted the prostitute would be set free and she was right, showing yet another instance where the police has let its citizens down. In a rare glimmer of hope, Ben and Nick’s persistence frequenting the rapist’s business paid off, as an order to search his clothing shop uncovered money and a bag full of pills.

(Quick aside: I love the fact 19-2 has worked the endless construction plaguing Montreal into its storylines. Rather than film around the roadwork, they use it. Of course, there is so much work going on they might have had to film in Laval to escape it.)

By the end of the episode, Nick was trying to prove to Farah the police could do good, Audrey and J.M. were bonding over booze and YouTube videos, and Bear and Roxanne were headed out for a drink together. A rare trio of happy moments in a series fraught with drama and danger.

19-2 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.