TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 5
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Tonight: Rookie Blue, Between, The Liquidator

Rookie Blue, Global – Spring premiere
A month after the evidence room bombing, Andy and Sam return from a much-needed vacation ready to work. But when Andy is attacked by an intruder at Traci’s place and the Sex Crimes Unit steps in to take over the case their way, 15 Division will have to decide whether to take matters into their own hands.

Between, City – “School’s Out” series premiere
A mysterious virus begins to kill off adults in the small town of Pretty Lake, and those left alive scramble to survive. Wiley Day (Jennette McCurdy, iCarly) is pregnant but she has a plan: she’s going to give up the baby and leave Pretty Lake behind forever – that is until the government quarantines a 10-mile radius around the town. Trapped inside, Wiley’s best friend Adam (Jesse Carere, Finding Carter), whose plans to attend MIT are dashed, knows their only hope of escape is to find the cause of the virus. During the chaos, other teen residents take advantage of the ensuing lawlessness. “Creekers” from the edge of town – Ronnie (Kyle Mac, Hemlock Grove) and his brother Pat (Jim Watson, The Strain) – drive into Pretty Lake for a looting spree, while Chuck (Justin Kelly, Maps to the Stars), a rich-kid athlete, tries to keep some semblance of law in the town his father used to practically own. Gord (Ryan Allen, Blue Mountain State), a farm boy, tries to keep his friends from getting hurt or killed, and Ellen (Sarah Podemski, The Border), a prison guard, tries to save Mark (Jack Murrah, Beauty and the Beast), a young inmate, from a prison gang with a grudge.

The Liquidator, OLN – “Sweeten the Deal”
Jeff is up to his ears in sugar as he makes a deal for almost a million packages of candy – but when his buyer finds out Jeff kept dozens of skids for himself, will their arrangement turn bitter? And a trip to the home of an eccentric collector leaves Jeff the proud owner of a handmade guillotine and an elk-horn dildo.

Preview: Between good and bad

What would you do if you were under 22 years of age, everyone older than you was dead and your small town had been quarantined from the rest of the world? That’s the premise of Between, City’s newest—and sometimes frustrating— original series.

Debuting tonight, the sci-fi program created by Michael McGowan (One Week), boasts strong performances by its young cast while being annoyingly rote with some early plotlines and dialogue. Let’s start with the good, shall we? Jeanette McCurdy is just fine as Wiley Day, a whip-smart, sarcastic young lass who has gotten herself into a little bit of trouble. She’s a teen mom, about to give birth, and her life is in disarray thanks to being, among other things, the daughter of Pretty Lake’s minister. Wiley’s best friend, Adam (Jesse Carere), is brilliant, plans to attend MIT next term and leave his small town behind. The two form Between‘s strongest—and to this point most likeable—young characters of the first episode. Justin Kelly (Open Heart) is OK as rich-kid Chuck, but he’s a little one-dimensional at this point and therefore easy to dismiss. That’s also the case with Ronnie (Kyle Mac) and Pat (Jim Watson), two brothers from the poorer side of town who, of course, run afoul of Chuck and his father, Mr. Lotts. (Yes, the most powerful man in Pretty Creek is named Mr. Lotts.)

The idea of having a mysterious virus descend on the picturesque burg and dispatch anyone 22 and older is interesting too. There is no rhyme or reason to who dies and when, other than they suddenly leak thick blood out of their mouths and collapse. There is no cure, no answers and the town is quarantined from the rest of the world while the government supposedly works on a way to save everyone as the body count rises. Between utilizes social media the same way Sherlock and Open Heart has, with messages, texts and hashtags popping up on-screen to aid in the storytelling, an effective move.

But what hooked me was offset by some niggling, worn TV tropes that constantly pulled me out of the story. Despite loved ones dying in front of them, the citizens of Pretty Lake seemed non-plussed. Wiley and her sister are concerned when they discover Dad dead, but don’t call 911. The same goes for Chuck when Mom oozes red goo and expires. If my parent passed away I would be screaming crying and calling for help, but no one does here.

And, as the list of the dead rises steadily from day to day, none of the townsfolk try to leave. It’s not until the military descends to erect an electrified fence on Day 5 that anyone questions escaping and by then it’s too late. Health inspectors, despite having no clue what kind of pathogen they’re combatting, wear no more than a face mask and medical gloves to prod cadavers. I’ve seen enough movies and shows like Helix to know you don full-body suits when an unknown entity is killing folks. The fact one Pretty Lake citizen caught on the outside of the fence and then is ALLOWED TO ENTER the quarantine zone is even more confusing.

The first hour was also packed with overused dialogue that caused me to cringe. A prison guard utters the line, “Is everything OK here?” when she arrives on the scene after a scuffle between inmates; a teacher says “You’re a smart guy,” to the kid headed to MIT; “It’s a pleasure doing business with you,” remarks one lad buying guns from a rough-looking dude; and “Do you know who I am?” asks Mr. Lotts.

The first episode of any new TV show is the roughest. Characters have to be introduced, major plotlines established and relationships established. They’re never the strongest instalment and a series shouldn’t be judged solely on that. I’m intrigued enough to stick around for the good and overlook the bad. For now.

Between airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on City. Each episode is available on shomi every Friday.

CRTC releases 2014 financial results for Canadian cable and satellite companies

From a media release:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission today released statistical and financial information on Canadian terrestrial and satellite broadcast distribution companies for the year that ended August 31, 2014.

Overall, these companies’ revenues increased 1.5% from $8.8 billion in 2013 to $8.9 billion in 2014, despite the number of subscribers remaining relatively flat over the period, with a moderate decrease from 11.5 million to 11.4 million.

The revenues of cable and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service providers increased by a combined 3% from $6.3 billion in 2013 to $6.5 billion in 2014, while the number of subscribers held steady at 8.8 million. Growth was fuelled by Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), which added 29% more subscribers over the period and saw revenues increase by 39%, while the subscriptions and revenues of cable service providers decreased by 5.2% and 3.2%, respectively. For their part, satellite television providers saw revenues decrease by 2.4% to $2.4 billion, while the number of subscribers dropped by 4.9% to just under 2.6 million.

Spending by broadcasting distribution companies on content made by Canadians reached $474.9 million in 2014. Of this amount, $219.3 million was directed to the Canada Media Fund, $64.1 million to independent funds and $151.6 million to cable-based community channels and other sources of local content. The companies employed a total of 29,028 people in 2014.

New report format on performance of programming services
For the first time, the CRTC’s report on cable and satellite companies does not include information on Internet access, telephone services and other non-programming items.

Over the years, networks have evolved and are now used to offer a variety of advanced communication services, in addition to television programming. Moreover, companies are accessing the networks of the large companies to offer their own services to Canadians. As such, the CRTC’s report on cable and satellite companies cannot provide a complete picture of the Internet and telephony landscape. The CRTC will publish in-depth information on Internet and telephone services in the forthcoming edition of the Communications Monitoring Report.

The CRTC produces a series of reports annually to compile financial information on the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. The CRTC has already released its report on Canadian local television stations for 2014. It will soon release reports on specialty, pay, per-per-view and video-on-demand services, and on AM and FM radio services.

These reports allow interested parties to keep up to date on the situation in the Canadian communications industry and help them participate in the CRTC’s public consultations.

TV Code for television service providers

As part of its Let’s Talk TV decisions, the CRTC has developed a draft code of conduct for television service providers to address the clarity and content of agreements. The CRTC is currently hosting an online discussion forum on the TV Code to ensure that it contains all the essential elements to empower Canadian television subscribers.

Canadians are invited to take part in the discussion and to share their views on such topics as offers and promotions, the clarity of written agreements, changing programming options and service calls. The discussion forum will remain open until May 25, 2015.

Quick facts: Cable and IPTV companies

  • In 2014, cable and IPTV companies reported revenues of $6.5 billion from their programming services. This total represents an increase of 3% from $6.3 billion in 2013.
  • Operating expenses for these companies increased by 7.6% from $5.1 billion to $5.5 billion.
  • The number of Canadian households that subscribed to a cable or IPTV company increased by 0.2% from 8.81 million to 8.83 million.
  • IPTV continues to register significant growth, with subscribers increasing 29% and revenues up 39% in 2014.
  • Cable companies saw declines in both subscriptions and revenues of 5.2% and 3.2% respectively.
  • In 2014, the total number of terrestrial television distribution company employees rose by 1.3% from 26,852 to 27,188 people. Total employee earnings rose by 5.6% from $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion.
  • In 2014, cable and IPTV companies spent $2.5 billion on affiliation payments for pay and specialty services. This total represents a 7.8% increase compared to the $2.3 billion spent in 2013.

Quick facts: Satellite companies

  • Satellite companies’ revenues decreased by 2.4% from $2.5 billion in 2013 to $2.4 billion in 2014.
  • Operating expenses for these companies were essentially unchanged at $1.6 billion.
  • The number of Canadian households that subscribed to a satellite company’s television service decreased by 4.9% from 2.7 million to 2.6 million.
  • Satellite companies employed 1,840 people in 2014, down from 1,973 in 2013. These companies spent $162 million on salaries in 2014, down from $183 million the previous year.
  • Satellite companies saw affiliation payments increase by 1.9% from $794 million in 2013 to $809 million in 2014.

Six-Part Original Documentary Series Reelside Explores Canadian Filmmakers and Mentors Premieres June 4

From a media release:

The Movie Network goes behind the scenes of the creative process with REELSIDE, a new six-part, half-hour original documentary series that celebrates the stories of prominent Canadians both in front of and behind the camera. Debuting Thursday, June 4 at 9 p.m. ET on The Movie Network, each episode follows filmmakers on a unique journey, such as Sarah Gadon who partners with Caitlin Cronenberg on a photography project, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen who share experiences about being Canadian boys in Hollywood, and Matthew Hannam who sets off with mentors Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald on a classically Canadian road trip.

Following the premiere episode of REELSIDE, featuring Sarah Gadon and Caitlin Cronenberg, is a special presentation of the Canadian feature film, Enemy, starring Gadon and Jake Gyllenhaal.

REELSIDE is a production from Fifth Ground Entertainment in association with The Movie Network and Movie Central. Executive Producers are Richard Crouse, Raj Panikkar, and Christopher Szarka. Producers are Szarka and Panikkar. Directors are Sarah Gadon, Philip Riccio, Taylor Clarke, Matthew Hannam, Matthew Lochner, and Raj Panikkar.

EPISODE SYNOPSES

Ep 101 – Caitlin Cronenberg with Sarah Gadon
Premieres Thursday, June 4 at 9 p.m. ET

Commissioned by an Italian fashion magazine for a photography project, celebrated photographer Caitlin Cronenberg and actor Sarah Gadon (Maps to the Stars) travel to Bruce Peninsula National Park. This episode explores how the pair connected amidst the Hollywood and Fashion machine, and issues of image-making, film, and fashion. Sarah Gadon’s directorial debut.

Ep 102 – Philip Riccio with George A. Romero
Premieres Thursday, June 11 at 9 p.m. ET

Actor Philip Riccio (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE) goes behind the camera to explore filmmaking in the pre-digital era with his mentor, horror film icon George A. Romero (Night of the Living DeadCreepshow). Together, they remake one of Romero’s lost films. Romero guides Phil through 16mm filmmaking, reminiscing about his long career along the way.

Ep 103 –Evan Goldberg with Seth Rogen and Matthew Bass
Premieres Thursday, June 18 at 9 p.m. ET

This episode catches Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen in LA on the set of big budget comedy Neighbors and at the premiere of their more personal project, This is the End. On the crux of the next big step forward in their careers, they share their journey from Canadian boys to making it big in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the pair guide rising talent Matt Bass through an endless string of rejections.

Ep 104 – Science Fiction
Premieres Thursday, June 25 at 9 p.m. ET

Vincenzo Natali (Cube) takes audiences through a demonstration of world building, from conceptualizing a project from scratch to a fully realized creation. Graeme Manson (ORPHAN BLACK), Michael Hogan (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA), Astronaut and Space-X Engineer Garrett Reisman, and film critic Jesse Wente all weigh in on the genre and the critical point at which science meets fiction.

Ep 105 – Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald
Premieres Thursday, July 2 at 9 p.m. ET

Accomplished editor Matthew Hannam (SENSITIVE SKIN) sets off to Northern Ontario with his mentors, Don McKellar (SENSITIVE SKIN) and Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo), to create a documentary about their careers. Along the way, the two legends explore the iconic power of the Canadian road movie.

Ep 106 – Superheroes
Premieres Thursday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET

Emerging filmmaker Matthew Lochner is on a journey to create his own superhero concept, complete with a trailer. Along the way, Matthew enlists the help of Stephen Amell (ARROW), David Hayter (X-Men), and Lloyd Kaufman (The Troma Empire) to understand what it means to be a superhero, what’s behind the genre, and what it means to fans while uncovering glimpses of what drives them in their careers.

Four Peaks Media Group Launches in Canada

From a media release:

Four Peaks Media Group announced today their official Canadian launch. Formed in Los Angeles in January 2015, the company is co-owned by Canadians Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, and brothers Duncan and Jonnie Penn, who created, starred, and co-executive produced The Buried Life (MTV). Four Peaks brings their experience from in front of the camera, to behind it, concentrating on impact storytelling and The Buried Life’s tradition of changing lives.

Four Peaks’ slate includes projects and partners in scripted, unscripted, and branded content projects. Three confirmed for broadcast in 2015/2016 are: Greatest Party Story Ever (co-produced with Den of Thieves for MTV US, premiering January 2016) focused on the funniest, craziest, most unbelievable stories from everyday people, brought to life in part through animation; Letterkenny (co-produced with New Metric Media for CraveTV) based on the web series Letterkenny Problems; and one-hour special Rocky Mountain Reno hosted by Trista and Ryan Sutter (co-produced with Tricon Films for HGTV US; premiering May 31).

Additionally, Super Channel has given The Buried Life film development funding for first-look rights to air the feature-length documentary in English Canada, they are developing tech series The Woz (working title) with Steve Wozniak and Kari Byron, as well as a scripted project with Executive Producer Vin Diesel. Four Peaks’ has also collaborated on campaigns with The Weinstein Company for the launch of feature film The Giver and followed that with #EpicBucketList, a global campaign for Contiki, the #1 youth travel company in the world.

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