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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

CBC unveils winter schedule; sets debut date for X Company

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From a media release:

This winter, find the best in Canadian programming on CBC Television with a roster of returning hit series and seven new titles. Featuring Donald Sutherland’s animated coming of age tale PIRATE’S PASSAGE on Jan. 4, the gripping adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s novel THE BOOK OF NEGROES premiering Jan. 7, BBC’s LIFE STORY, a compelling nature series by David Attenborough on Jan. 11  and the hilarious stand-up  comedy specials from the WINNIPEG COMEDY FESTIVAL beginning Jan. 11. The CBC is also proud to present the highly-anticipated comedy series SCHITT’S CREEK which debuts with back-to-back episodes Jan. 13 , the critically acclaimed sci-fi drama ASCENSION that launches Feb. 9,  World War II spy thriller X COMPANY premiering Feb. 18 and the four-part crime drama CHASING SHADOWS starting on Mar. 23.

Plus, catch all-new episodes of returning prime-time hit series MR.DMURDOCH MYSTERIES, DRAGONS’ DEN, HEARTLAND, 22 MINUTES, THE RICK MERCER REPORT, STRANGE EMPIRE, MARKETPLACE, the fifth estate, THE NATURE OF THINGS, DOC ZONE, JUST FOR LAUGHS GAGS: 15 YEARS and CBC’s flagship daytime series STEVEN AND CHRIS returns with all-new episodes Monday -Friday at 2 p.m. (2:30NT) starting January 5.

Please see broadcast schedule below:

SUNDAY
7 p.m. (7:30 NT)
 – HEARTLAND (returns with new episodes Jan.11)
8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
 – LIFE STORY (premieres Jan.11)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – WINNIPEG COMEDY (premieres Jan.11)
10 p.m. (10:30 NT) – THE NATIONAL

*PIRATE’S PASSAGE airs January 4 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
*JUST FOR LAUGHS Gags: 15 YEARS airs January 6 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)

MONDAY
8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
 – MURDOCH MYSTERIES (returns with new episodes Jan.12)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – STRANGE EMPIRE (returns with new episodes Jan.12)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – ASCENSION (premieres Feb.9)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – CHASING SHADOWS (premieres Mar.23)
10 p.m. (10:30 NT) – THE NATIONAL

TUESDAY
8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
 – THE RICK MERCER REPORT (returns with new episodes Jan. 6)
8:30 p.m. (9 NT) – 22 MINUTES (returns with new episodes Jan. 6)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – SCHITT’S CREEK (premieres Jan.13)
9:30 p.m. (10 NT) – MR.D (premieres Jan.20)
10 p.m. (10:30 NT) – THE NATIONAL

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
 – DRAGONS’ DEN (returns with new episodes Jan.7)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – BOOK OF NEGROES (premieres Jan.7)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – X COMPANY (premieres Feb.18)
10 p.m. (10:30 NT) – THE NATIONAL

THURSDAY
8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
 – THE NATURE OF THINGS (returns with new episodes Jan.8)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – DOC ZONE (returns with new episodes Jan.8)
10 p.m. (10:30 NT) – THE NATIONAL

FRIDAY
8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
 – MARKETPLACE (returns with new episodes Jan.9)
9 p.m. (9:30 NT) – the fifth estate (returns with new episodes Jan.9)
10 p.m. (10:30 NT) – THE NATIONAL

Food Network dishes up Season 2 of Chopped Canada

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From a media release:

The mystery baskets are restocked, the knives are sharpened and the chopping block is ready for the savoury second season premiere of Chopped Canada on January 10 at 9pm ET/PT. After a record-breaking series premiere with the highest audience in the network’s history*, season two returns to Food Network Canada with 13 mouth-watering episodes. Culinary experts Eden Grinshpan (Eden Eats), Toronto’s Massimo Capra (Restaurant Takeover) and Montreal’s Antonio Park (PARK Restaurant) join the rotating panel of all-star judges. Celebrity chefs Susur Lee, Lynn Crawford, Michael Smith, Roger Mooking, John Higgins and Anne Yarymowich return to the judging panel while Dean McDermott reprises his role as host.

Chopped Canada’s sophomore season features a hearty new batch of Canadian competitors representing British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. The competitors have to be quick on their feet – and even quicker with their hands – if they want to plate a dish using the mystery ingredients to impress the all-star judging panel. Each episode begins with four ambitious chefs. Course-by-course, one competitor is chopped from the competition until only one remains and walks away with $10,000 and the title of Chopped Canada champion. For a full list of chefs competing in the first 13 episodes, including biographical information, please visit choppedcanada.ca. The second half of the season returns in fall 2015 with more of Canada’s culinary talent taking on the Chopped Canada kitchen.

New this season are special themed episodes peppered throughout the schedule, including the viewers’ choice episode airing February 7 at 9 pm ET/PT. Fans were invited to weigh in with their ideas through the Chopped Canada Twitter and Facebook pages. Viewers showed no mercy suggesting ingredient combinations that are more difficult than ever. From the Canadian staple ketchup chips to the outright daring prairie oysters, the four competing chefs will have to be on their A-game to survive.

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Review: Saving Hope shakes it out

There seems to come a time (or many times) in a person’s life when they experience complete self-doubt in the workplace. Or, if you’re me in my first year of journalism school, several varying instances of self-doubt, leaving you questioning your performance capabilities in a way that prevents you from living up to your potential.

In Alex’s case during Wednesday’s return of Saving Hope, her shaky nerves seemed to completely and consequently shake her foundation and confidence as a doctor, most inconveniently on the day she was to step in and help Dr. Shahir with a risky procedure. High-risk situations are tough enough to tackle, but once that seed of doubt is planted into your brain, performance levels have nowhere to go but down, which is the direction it looked like it was going to be headed with Alex.

As someone who’s also had family with Alzheimer’s disease, some of the scenes surrounding Shahir and Alex’s case of the week hit particularly close to home, such as Maria’s frustration at not knowing her husband’s name. But what I liked about the case was it also put a bit of a spotlight on Shahir–he was the one leading the surgery rather than Alex, Charlie or Joel–with Alex as more of a secondary component. It’s always a refreshing change whenever another character gets to take charge (and just amusing to see him get over his crush on his patient’s husband) and instead the storyline helped highlight the relationship between Shahir and Alex, which was really sweet.

Not that Alex–and specifically Alex’s nerves–didn’t play an extremely significant part of the storyline. Let’s just say that even if I had the slightest ounce of thought my doctor had focal dystonia, as patient Malcolm had with Alex, I would be out of that hospital room faster than you can even say hand cramp. It did make me chuckle at how defensive she got after hearing Malcolm’s story about the violin player that had to quit after a case of focal dystonia (denial’s been the name of Alex’s game for quite a few episodes now). I’m not quite sure if the Botox shots are going to be a long-term or temporary solution to come up again soon. In the end, Alex’s hand ended up taking a back seat to Shahir and his heart attack in the middle of surgery, still determined to finish the procedure so he wouldn’t let Malcolm down. It was nice to see both Shahir and Alex able to finish the surgery and that Shahir isn’t completely crippled.

In other storylines, I was still severely uncomfortable that Dawn wanted Charlie to have a baby with her AND that she was making sperm donation appointments for him. The only thing that really turned that storyline around for me was the hilarious arrival of the spirit right before Charlie was gearing up to, well, donate sperm (the line, “Am I in hell?” made me choke a little). My amusement only continued as Zach forced Charlie to trade him a fantasy baseball player in order to let Charlie fulfill the spirit’s wishes. Poor Charlie–always helping others. The storyline turned out to be really heartwarming, as he ultimately helped bring the spirit’s children some closure with their father, AND give them a wad of cash he’d left them. As for Dawn and Charlie? I may not want the two to have a baby, but to see Dawn crying in the elevator over her inability to reproduce was a tough pill for any viewer to swallow.

Notes:

  • Alex: “Shahir, nothing’s hopeless.”
    Shahir: “He’s married. And he’s straight.”
  • I’ve never even thought about the idea of a doctor cutting another one during surgery. So weird!
  • I’m glad Tom ended up doing the right thing with his mentor and reported the Hepatitis C diagnosis. Being let down by someone you respect is one of the worst feelings ever. But I wonder how long his vacation is going to be?

Saving Hope airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.