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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

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.



21 Thunder: Freefalling

Freefalling: (verb) moving downward under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly.

This begs the question: who will survive the fall?

Last week on 21 Thunder, we were left wondering the purpose behind Nolan’s (RJ Fetherstonhaugh) prison visit to his father Declan (Colm Feore). We didn’t have to wait long to find out, but more on that in a moment.

This week, the team ventured into the world of public relations, having donated time to the “Concordia Open Door Festival,” a.k.a. the Concordia Fall Festival? Team members were required to engage with their young fans, signing autographs and assistant coaches Christy Cook (Stephanie Bennett) and Davey Gunn (Ryan Pierce) dove into the action, each leading a team of youngsters in an exhibition soccer match. Going deep, sparks flew both on and off the pitch with these two on screen.

In other news, it seems Mr. Bamba (Clauter Alexandre) did indeed defraud Junior Lolo (Emmanuel Kabongo) of all his money. And I think it is reasonable to assume that Mr. Bamba may still believe Junior is an easy mark. The introduction to Fatima Gossa (Gabrielle Graham) seemed innocent enough, kicking the soccer ball at Junior; it led to small chat, junk food and a bit of dancing later. But by the episode’s end, we saw her willingly(?) getting into a car with none other than Mr. Bamba. And so did Junior.

We also learned Stefan (Kevin Claydon) has fallen hard in his affair with team physiotherapist Marie Tremblay (Kimberly Laferriere), who happens to also be the fiancée of first team star Damien Lacroix (Lucas Chartier-Dessert).

Then we watched team intern Lara Yun (Eileen Yi) delve deeper into the world of illegal sports betting, convincing referee Guy Desjardins (Trevor Hayes) to toss a game in order to pay off three outstanding mortgages. And finally, team captain Alex (Andres Joseph) was accepted to Cornell. All in all, a busy episode, even without the Nolan/”Special K” action.

And that brings us to Nolan and Kevin, and of course, Declan. The cold open saw Nolan feigning sickness and ditching both practice and the team meeting. Knowing “Special K” (Kyle Mac) was upset about his missing drugs, Nolan made himself accessible to K and his crew. No doubt as planned, their meeting went south quickly for K as an unknown party pulled up in a big shiny black Escalade whose driver “encouraged” K to go for a ride. Turns out Kevin was summoned to the prison where his boss, John Mangano Jr. (Bruce Ramsay), was waiting in the conjugal visit trailer. Unbeknownst to K, Mr. Mangano had sold his substantial debt to none other than Declan Gallard. Seems Kevin is now in the employ of both Declan and Nolan, with Declan summarily ordering K to leave “Nolan alone and let him play footie.”

Nolan later made his own way to the prison, albeit voluntarily, for a status report from his mob boss father. Seems there was a significant price for his little transgression with K? And daddy wanted him to pay with weekly visits. I smell a lying, dirty stinky rat.

Following all of the festival sequences, we closed out the episode in celebration of Emma’s (Clark Backo) acceptance to medical school.  But who decided to crash the celebrations? Kevin. Clearly, he has no intention of following Declan’s orders when it comes to his buddy Nolan, but Nolan proved he still has his gangland moves. Trouble is, how much of that former life is going to spill into his new life as a footballer? We know it already is, as evidenced by tonight’s closing shot!

My Laugh-Out-Loud moment: coach Rocas (Conrad Pla) asked assistant coach Davey Gunn if he is sleeping with  assistant coach Christy Cook—before they did sleep together, and after a very, pregnant pause Davey replied: “I honestly can’t remember.” OH MY WORD, these faces! (Admittedly, the humour was lost when I crawled back and replayed this four-second scene more than 10 times to get the captures I wanted, but the first time I watched it I LOL’ed)

So we are once again left with several questions for next week:

1. Will Declan ask Nolan to get involved with some of his more nefarious goings on? And how is Kevin going to figure into those activities?

2. How is Fatima going to play out in the Junior/Mr. Mamba storyline? Is she a bad girl playing good, or a good girl in a jam?

3. Will Guy go through with it and throw a match for Lara, and will it affect her position as team intern or medical school?

4. How will Christy and Davey’s new status affect the team? Or will it? Or, is it even a status?

I loved this tightly-scripted episode. At first, I was not truly feeling the Thunder Love, however, this episode won me over. The chemistry between the actors is superb! Subtle glances, body language; it all works. Overall the writing is strong, and I for one am curious to see how the stories play out. Bravo #TeamThunder.

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC. (Missed an episode? You can catch up here!)

Home makeover hits light up HGTV Canada’s fall programming slate

From a media release:

HGTV Canada is hammering into fall with a full slate of fan-favourite programming and brand-new Canadian original series, highlighting the connections people have with the places they call home. This fall, HGTV Canada continues to showcase the ups and downs of jaw-dropping transformations, off-the-grid renovations, and intense property pursuits with beloved design, reno and real estate experts guiding homeowners along the way. Aligned with the start of its entertaining fall schedule, HGTV Canada will be available on a national free preview for the month of September.

Anchoring the fall slate is HGTV Canada’s new original series Worst to First, starting Monday, September 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Meet contractors Mickey Fabbiano and Sebastian Sevallo – best friends and family members who help 10 Vancouver families transform the most undesirable homes on the block into the envy of the neighbourhood. These shabby homes come with their challenges, but the handy duo is up for the task, turning each family’s dream into a reality in one of the hottest real estate markets in the world.

HGTV Canada’s fall lineup is filled with new and familiar faces as Canada’s beloved twins, Drew and Jonathan Scott, return with brand-new episodes of Property Brothers: Buying and Selling starting Monday, August 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Then, on Wednesday, August 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, the network gives audiences a taste of small-town charm with Home Town, as creative couple and Mississippi locals, Ben and Erin Napier help their community refurbish their homes, ensuring their small town’s future is as bright as its past. Plus, as previously announced, fan-favourite Sarah Richardson returns with her new Canadian original series Sarah Off The Grid and Mike Holmes’ launches his new series Holmes: Buy It Right on Sunday, September 10.

Fans will flip this fall as the Flip or Flop franchise expands in a big way. First, veteran series, Flip or Flop, returns for a new season starting Wednesday, August 30 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, then on September 27 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, meet family business owners, Ken and Anita Corsini, as they revitalize metro Atlanta neighbourhoods in the new series Flip or Flop Atlanta. Texas-sized flips will join the network’s schedule later this season with the premiere of Flip or Flop Fort Worth.

October brings returning seasons of makeover mavens, starting with mother-daughter duo, Mina and Karen, in Season 2 of Good Bones on Monday, October 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Restoration specialist, Nicole Curtis, is also back for a new season of rescuing run-down rejects in Rehab Addict, premiering Sunday, October 22 at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Stay tuned for remarkable reveals later this fall with the Scott brothers’ most personal project to date, Property Brothers at Home: Drew’s Honeymoon House, and a new season of Fixer Upper starring Chip and Joanna Gaines.




Links: ‘Orphan Black’ series finale

From Dominic Patten of Deadline:

Link: ‘Orphan Black’ Co-Creator Talks Series Finale, Movie Reunion & #Clone Club
“We imagined that the finale really was going to boil down to Sarah and Helena, and that we were going to have to deal with P.T. Westmoreland. We knew that, critically, we were going to have a really kind of dirty, awful, nasty birth, and that that was going to be part of kind of this two-part finale.” Continue reading.

From Amber Dowling of The Hollywood Reporter:

Link: ‘Orphan Black’ Star Tatiana Maslany Talks Finale, Possible Sequel and What’s Next
“If there was some story that we really wanted to tell that fit in the OB universe and it was vital and different and new then that would be super cool. But we finished this before it trailed on too long so hopefully it left people wanting more as opposed to being like, “Thank God that’s over.” Continue reading.

From Devon Maloney of Vanity Fair:

Link: Orphan Black Science Consultant Cosima Herter Breaks Down the Series Finale
“We spent a lot of time thinking about how to depict prolongevity science, both in its glory and in its sinisterness. Who gets to live forever? It’s kind of insane. But there are so many different ways people are exploring how to prolong life, be it calorie restriction or eating chocolate and drinking red wine, or all the geographical areas we call the Blue Zone, where people seem to live far past 100 years old. There are cult followings, especially in the Silicon Valley area, where people like Peter Thiel are funneling billions of dollars into almost cult-like research.” Continue reading.

From Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly:

Link: Orphan Black creators answer series finale burning questions
“John and I sort of had a general ending in mind for quite a while. Helena’s been running around pregnant two seasons, so we knew that the finale was going to be having the twins, and technically we talked about that scene and how much that would mean to boil it down to Sarah and Helena.” Continue reading.

From Keisha Hatchett of TV Guide:

Link: Orphan Black Stars Break Down that Bittersweet Series Finale
“I felt satisfied and a bit…It was bittersweet but I think that is what the ending is supposed to be. Some people probably interpret it as a happy ending. I didn’t interpret it that way. It’s not tidy. I mean, our show has never been tidy. I think that’s the point. And relationships and human beings are not tidy so it felt appropriate.” Continue reading. 

From Devon Maloney of Vulture:

Link: Orphan Black Showrunners Graeme Manson and John Fawcett on the ‘Emotional’ Series Finale
“I think we’re remarkably close to what we were planning. Of course, we didn’t have details. [But] around season three, we knew how the [rest of the series] was going to shape itself out. A while ago, John and I looked at our original notes from 2001, about what the story would be. Even those first cursory notes really have the seed of Orphan Black in them. All the sister characters are laid out.” Continue reading. 

From Jean Bentley of Marie Claire:

Link: Tatiana Maslany Says Goodbye to ‘Orphan Black’
“The finale was sort of like a two-parter—it had high-action intensity in the first half that felt connected to the world that we’ve been living in, which is so extreme and horrifying. But what I was really excited about, and what I think we were all interested in, was that quiet after—what happens when you actually have freedom but people aren’t able to move on? “ Continue reading. 

From Vlada Gelman of TVLine:

Link: Orphan Black Boss on Burning Qs About Kira’s Dad, Charlotte’s Future and More
“It’s a nice, little open thing of what could happen to Charlotte. I know that the fandom discussed her being adopted by Cosima and Delphine. I love that story, too. That’s a beautiful one to have in your imagination. I second that.” Continue reading.

From Scott Huver of Mashable:

Link: The touching way Tatiana Maslany said goodbye to her clones for the ‘Orphan Black’ finale
“It was weirdly sad saying goodbye to each individual. I think there was a week there where every night was somebody different. Different crew members were sad to say goodbye to this clone, or sad to say goodbye to this one. So it was a real intense process.” Continue reading.




Link: Canada’s homegrown TV content needs to come home

From Barry Avrich of The Globe and Mail:

Link: Canada’s homegrown TV content needs to come home
As someone who has been producing film and television for 30 years, I, like many in the industry, am beyond anxious to see our Canadian Heritage Minister’s imminent recommendation on how best to reboot our entertainment and media industries. Mélanie Joly, our Oxford-educated minister, took office in 2015 urging patience and telling journalists that, unlike Donald Trump, she will need 700 days to be fairly judged on the merits of her close to $2-billion gamble. But her work is taking longer than negotiating the Yalta Conference. Continue reading.