TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 3
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Tonight: The Nature of Things, Doc Zone, Storage Wars Canada

The Nature of Things, CBC – “The Great Human Odyssey: Journey’s End (Episode 3)”
The series ends with a spectacular journey at sea, as Dr. Niobe Thompson confronts one of the enduring mysteries of prehistory: how did our Stone Age ancestors settle lands across the ocean? Learn how new discoveries in the properties of early sailing vessels, experimental anthropology, and ancient DNA research are changing our understanding of the earliest sea voyages, from Easter Island to the Bering Strait.

Doc Zone, CBC – “Transforming Gender”
From parents who knew that their child was transgender at the age of two, to a transgender woman who had gender-reassignment surgery at the age of sixty-six, the world of trans people is as rich and as diverse as any community. And like any group fighting for its right to be free and to exist, the path towards the acquisition of long denied civil rights has been marked equally by great pain and great joy. Transforming Gender is a moving and evocative study of the lives of transgender people living in a world that is only just now becoming aware of who they are.

Storage Wars Canada, OLN – “Worst Laid Plans”
Paul and Bogart concoct an entirely new strategy for an auction in Leaside, which is to have no strategy at all. Rick and Cindy play doctor; Ursula gets her geek on; and Roy rocks out with Canadian metal icon Robb Reiner of Anvil.

Preview: Transforming Transgender an intimate look into the lives of transgendered people

“I just didn’t feel right in who I was. I always thought, ‘Am I in the right body?'” That’s how Olie, a young Quebec girl, felt while she was a boy. That stunning quote kicks off Transforming Transgender, airing Thursday as part of CBC’s Doc Zone, a program that informs and educates—as Geena  Rocero explains—the “T” in LGBT.

Executive producer Rachel Low and her team aren’t out to shock viewers with their documentary, but to spotlight, celebrate and produce some very interesting facts. History shows humankind likes to put everyone in one gender or another, when the reality is that isn’t true. Nature presents different variations of flora and fauna, including humans. As Rocero, founder of Gender Proud in New York City points out, gender has been blurred in Asian countries for centuries.

Transforming Transgender interviews a stunning array of transgendered individuals, from children like Olie and Wren to Dr. Carys Massarella (pictured above) and Stephanie Castle, who was born in 1925 and as a child dreamt he saw himself as a girl. Stephanie went into the navy and had a “normal” life with two marriages and kids. It was at the end of the second marriage Stephanie knew she couldn’t hide it anymore and had gender reassignment surgery at 66.

The documentary also presents some sobering stats: 97 per cent of transgendered people experience harassment on the job and 40 per cent will attempt suicide. Unemployment rates are high because of transphobia and depression is a common occurrence. And why not? As several interview subjects point out, they felt isolated from their family and friends because of who they felt they needed to act like versus who they really were.

Far from being a “woe is me” project, Transforming Transgender is also a celebration of becoming who one really is and being supported by those who love you. The most touching moments are those chats with parents who didn’t care whether their child was a boy or a girl, just that they were someone they loved.

“We have this little joke where we hear someone say, ‘Oh, we’re having a boy,'” Wren’s mom says with a laugh. “And I think, ‘Maybe. Maybe not.'”

Transforming Transgender airs as part of Doc Zone at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Review: Emotional fireworks highlight X Company’s second week

Last week’s first episode of X Company was exactly the edge-of-your-seat drama that fans of co-creators Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern are used to. The duo are able to mix action with engaging characters (and a mean music montage) into tension-filled moments that leave you wanting more.

So, did Wednesday’s second episode, “Trial by Fire,” keep up the pace of last week’s debut? Yes, but in a very different way. Whereas exploding bridges and gunfights were at the centre of the debut, Wednesday’s newest storylines focused more on emotional fireworks than physical (though literal fireworks were featured during Hitler’s birthday celebrations in German-occupied Chartres, France).

Alfred went on his first mission with team and everyone—including him—realized the huge gamble they made by adding him to the team. Sure, he was the man of the hour when it came to the team’s mission off the week—to gain access to codes that would help stop the German bombings of England—but when presented with the rigours of say, parachuting into France and facing a German officer face-to-face—he was woefully unprepared. His panic attack in front of the code officer was equal parts scary and frustrating because I just wanted Alfred to snap out of it and utter the German dialogue he’d been trained to say.

Luckily, Neil was there to save their butts, but it was a harrowing few moments before the officer was dispatched and the situation rigged to look like the man had gotten drunk and taken a fatal fall out of a window while watching the fireworks.

Tom, meanwhile, used his knowledge of propaganda and gift for words to not only avoid killing the French family that saw the team land in their field but to set the record straight on the Germans, who had convinced many of the French that they meant no one harm. Dustin Milligan—who is doing double duty on CBC on X Company and Schitt’s Creek—is pitch perfect as the charming ad man with expertise in the power of words.

“Trial by Fire” was another nail-biter of an episode and, with Alfred agreeing to more missions, is taking its first steps toward one heck of a Season 1 adventure.

Notes and quotes

  • Smart move by CBC to re-air the previous week’s instalment in the hour before a new episode. Not only does it give those who missed it the first time around a chance to tune in, but it really plays up the TV-movie feel the show boasts.
  • I’m hoping the producers continue to use the spinning globe segment to show the team going overseas. It was cool.
  • One little quibble: the team should have been wearing helmets during the parachute jump.
  • Having the piano keys and Aurora both emit the colour blue—the shade that reminds Alfred of home—was a nice touch.
  • Is Harry emerging as the Q of X Company? I sure hope so.

X Company airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Rick Mercer Report, Degrassi, Call Me Fitz, Orphan Black among winners of Canadian Screen Awards

From a media release:

Academy announces 2015 Canadian Screen Awards Winners in Drama, Children’s or Youth, Comedy and Variety

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is pleased to announce that 48 CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS were presented tonight in Drama, Children’s or Youth, Comedy and Variety categories. This Canadian Screen Awards Gala was hosted tonight by comedian Darrin Rose at the Sheraton Centre Toronto.

Four previously announced Academy Special Awards were also presented tonight to:

  • Insight Productions Company Ltd for the Academy Icon Award
  • Tassie Cameron for the Margaret Collier Award sponsored by Halfire Entertainment
  • Paul Gross for the Earle Grey Award
  • George Anthony for the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute

2015 Canadian Screen Awards – Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Continue reading Rick Mercer Report, Degrassi, Call Me Fitz, Orphan Black among winners of Canadian Screen Awards

Link: Documentary shines light on what it’s like to be transgender

From Wency Leung of the Globe and Mail:

‘We’re just regular people’: Documentary shines light on what it’s like to be transgender
Now 49 and having transitioned as a woman, Dr. Massarella is among several transgender individuals, ranging in age from 11 to 90, who share their experiences in the new documentary, Transforming Gender. The documentary, which airs Thursday, Feb. 26, at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT) on CBC’s Doc Zone, raises the idea that now, as transgender people become more visible in society, it’s time for us to rethink our notions of gender. Continue reading.

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