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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

City greenlights original sketch comedy series Sunnyside

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From a media release:

– Sketch-comedy series is created by award winners Gary Pearson and Dan Redican and stars top Canadian comedic talent, including Kathleen Phillips Lauren Ash, and Pat Thornton –
– Homegrown series to be co-produced by Toronto-based Counterfeit Pictures and Winnipeg-based Buffalo Gal Pictures –
Welcome to Sunnyside, the not-so-typical neighbourhood where anything can happen, and almost always does. City has greenlit the all-new original sketch-comedy series from award-winning creators Gary Pearson (This Hour Has 22 Minutes,The Ron James Show) and Dan Redican (The Kids in the HallThe Jenny McCarthy Show). With principal filming on the six-episode, half-hour series slated to get underway this September in Winnipeg, the all-Canadian cast features one of the industry’s brightest and hottest comedic talents, Kathleen Phillips. Developed and commissioned by Rogers, to be co-produced by Counterfeit Pictures and Buffalo Gal Pictures, Sunnyside will air mid-season on City. Additional broadcast details to be announced at a later date.
“Canada loves comedy, but the raw, unpredictability of a homegrown sketch-comedy series is something we feel audiences just aren’t getting enough of on their prime-time schedule,” said Nataline Rodrigues, Director of Original Programming, Rogers Media. “City is proud to be working with some of the country’s top comedic talent to bring this format back to prime time and deliver this fresh brand of comedy to viewers.”
Sunnyside is a quirky neighbourhood in transition, where residents aren’t always what they seem and surprises lurk around every slightly dingy corner. Featuring people from all walks of life – from hipsters and young professionals to yoga moms and romantic crooks – Sunnysideis brought to life by a talented ensemble cast, led by the hilarious Kathleen Phillips. See below for full cast biographies.
 
Sunnyside Cast
Kathleen Phillips
Phillips is a rising star who has quickly become a staple of Toronto’s comedy scene. Originally from Keswick, ON, she was recently named NOW Magazine’s Best Character Comedian. She has written and starred in a series of one-woman shows, including The Loner Show andKathleen Phillips Is A Haunted House. Phillips has been a regular contributor, as both a writer and performer, to the radio program This Is That, and has had recurring roles on Howie Do It,Dan for Mayor and, most recently, Mr D.
 
Lauren Ash
Ash is a recent alumnus of both the Second City Chicago and Toronto Mainstages and recently starred alongside Rebel Wilson and Liza Lapira in the City comedy series Super Fun Night. Originally from Belleville, ON, she is a two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner for Best Female Improviser and two-time nominee for Canadian Comedy Person of the Year.
 
Pat Thornton
Thornton is an established stand-up and sketch performer, appearing at festivals such as SXSW, Just For Laughs, and JFL Toronto. He is also a founding member, former head writer, and one of the stars of Sunday Night Live with his troupe, the Sketchersons (for which they won a 2007 Canadian Comedy Award)A Kingston, ON native, Thornton has acted in comedy series such as Satisfaction, Punched Up, and The Jon Dore Show.
Patrice Goodman
Goodman is an established star of the stage and small screenHer TV credits includePlatinum, produced by Sofia Coppola and John Ridley, Road CrewMaximum Dimensions, and most recently, The Firm, in which she starred alongside Josh Lucas. Born in Toronto, Goodman’s extensive stage credits include 18 years with Little Red Theatre Company, the lead role in Touch the Sky at Young People’s Theatre, and, most recently, a role in the award-winning New York City stage play First Hand Woman. 
Alice Moran
Hailing from Oakville, ON, Moran spent 2013 touring the United States as a writer and star of both Spank! (Official Selection: “Just For Laughs” 2013) and Hungry Hungry Games. She is a regular improv performer, having appeared in such shows as Provocateur, The Video Game Show, Whedonesque, and Throne of Games (Official Selection: Toronto Next Stage Festival 2013). Moran can be seen on episodes of Space Janitors, The Next Step, and Too Much Information, as well as on YouTube as one half of the comedy duo “Wildcats” with Jon Blair.
 
Kevin Vidal
Vidal is currently starring on The Second City Mainstage and drawing rave reviews for his performances in shows such as We Can Be Heroes and Sixteen Scandals. A Toronto native, he started his sketch and improv career in 2009 with a University of Toronto group called Skule Nite and with classes at The Second City Training Centre. Vidal’s recent credits include RENT(Fallen Rock and Lower Ossington Theatre), and Hairspray (Curtain Call Players).
 
Rob Norman
Norman is an acclaimed screenwriter, director, actor, improviser and Canadian Comedy Award winner. Originally from Markham, ON, his writing credits include The Beet PartyVersus ValerieSexy Nerd GirlGuidance, and the animated feature film The Nut Job, starring Will Arnett. Norman is currently a member of “MANTOWN” (2013 Canadian Comedy Award winner for Best Improv Troupe), and a performer with Toronto’s Just for Laughs festival.
 
The original series is produced by Counterfeit Pictures and Buffalo Gal Pictures. Anton Leo, Shane Corkery, and Dan Bennett from Counterfeit Pictures and Phyllis Laing from Buffalo Gal Pictures serve as Executive Producers. For Rogers, Nataline Rodrigues is Director of Original Programming, and Hayden Mindell is Vice President of Television Programming & Content.

Tonight: The Amazing Race Canada

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The Amazing Race Canada, CTV
The Racers cross the Atlantic to Normandy, France, where a Detour leaves teams horsing around and a relentless Roadblock dilutes some teams’ chances of winning. But when teams come face-to-face with Canadian history, Racers pause to remember the fallen. An encore presentation of this episode airs Saturday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Craig Olejnik and Lauren Lee Smith in CTV's 'The Listener.' Episode 513 'In Our Midst.' Photo from Bell Media.

Review: Mystery lingers in ‘Listener’ finale

There was a definite sense after last week’s episode of The Listener that the finale would have plenty on its hands—the IIB was faced with one stunner of a weekly case while Tia and Oz still had to provide closure to the series’ longest running mystery. While Becker’s storyline offered up a meaty intrigue, things fell a bit short when it came to Toby’s reunion with his mother.

The Rookie Blue fan in me was excited to hear Noam Jenkins would be appearing in the finale as the Becker-thwarting baddie, although his tense posturing quickly tipped me off that we didn’t actually have two dirty cops on our hands, or even one. But the incriminating evidence Griffin (Bruce Gray, All My Children) was able to build up had me wishing this sort of investigation could have gone on for a bigger lead into the finale, especially when Becker had to negotiate how much he trusted his new team with how important it was to protect an old friend. He and Michelle have been getting closer throughout the season, but despite all his talk it wasn’t until this episode that Becker and Toby finally sorted their issues out.

As for Michelle, after the expectation she’d had at the beginning of the season that she would become head of the unit, it was interesting to see how she ran the team once given orders to investigate Becker. Much as I lost most of my respect for Griffin when he dangled that promotion back in her face, at least she finally got her chance to lead before the show wrapped. And I would not have wanted to be Griffin considering her expression after he threatened her family, guaranteeing that however they might stack the evidence against Becker, Michelle wouldn’t just roll over. Of course, with the way things ended Michelle seems to be going a more traditional route by clocking in two months on the road with her family instead of leveraging her big bust—but after four years of high–intensity work, she’s probably earned that vacation. How long she’ll be able to keep herself in vacation mode is another matter entirely.

In fact, even though this has been Toby’s show from the start—he and Oz being our mainstays over the past five years—the finale felt more like it belonged to Michelle, or even Dev and Alex, more than our teal-sporting lead despite the big reveal at the end. What the episode did show us was how far Toby and Michelle have come as a team as he trusted her when she asked him to read Becker (not to mention a few episodes back when she trusted him to read her). Outside the office offered more as Tia, taking advantage of Dev’s open computer, finally found Toby’s missing mother only to be misled into believing she was dead. After all these years, that couldn’t possibly have been the ending, so Maya’s perfectly-timed reappearance in Toby’s life didn’t surprise me as much as it did him.

But instead of offering the answers about why the pair had been split up for so long, or what role The Institute had to play in everything, the two sat down for tea as The Listener rolled to a close—leaving us with some mysteries still unsolved. Given the way the show changed over the years, it’s entirely possible the writers weren’t interested in going there anymore, but without any resolution that half of the conclusion felt more rushed. Even Dev and Alex suddenly and awkwardly admitting their feelings and running off to the dance floor together at least had enough build to it that Alex’s “that took way too long” came from us as much as herself. Then again, in a world where a mind-reading paramedic can end up cracking the nation’s highest-ranking corruption ring, maybe there are only so many answers we can expect.

What did you think of The Listener finale? Let me know in the Comments below!

Link: Orphan Black at Comic Con

From the TV Addict:

SDCC Scoop: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy and More Talk ORPHAN BLACK
“Attention Clone Club. If you’re looking for ways to help pass the interminable hiatus between seasons two and three of ORPHAN BLACK we highly recommend the following: Our recently shot San Diego Comic Con videos featuring Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Ari Millen, Dylan Bruce, Kristian Bruun Talk and EPs Graeme Manson and John Fawcett.” See the videos here.