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

Documentary series following British Columbia’s paramedics and dispatchers takes viewers to the front lines of emergency health care

From a media release:

Knowledge Network has commissioned a 10-part documentary series on the work of paramedics and dispatchers at BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) responding to emergencies in the greater Vancouver area. Through real-life stories from the 911 call to the paramedic response on-scene and the ambulance ride to hospital, viewers will have an inside look at the challenges that dedicated professionals face daily.

BC Emergency Health Services provides pre-hospital emergency services and inter-facility patient transfers throughout the province, and oversees the BC Ambulance Service and BC Patient Transfer Services.

Careful protocols and privacy measures were established and followed during filming and in post-production to ensure patient care was not compromised while respecting staff and patient privacy. Knowledge Network has leveraged funding from the Canada Media Fund and the TELUS Fund to help finance the project, and has partnered with B.C.-based Lark Productions to produce the documentary series, who also produced Knowledge Network’s successful documentary series Emergency Room: Life + Death at VGH, taking viewers behind the scenes in one of Canada’s busiest emergency departments.

Lark Productions’ Louise Clark and Erin Haskett serve as Executive Producers on the series. “Building on our rewarding relationship with Knowledge Network, we are privileged to now work with BC Emergency Health Services and share their stories,” said Erin Haskett. “This is a unique opportunity to provide viewers with an inside look at the work of the paramedics and dispatchers, share their daily experiences and directly see the impact they have on our community.”

The world premiere is planned for broadcast on Knowledge Network and in spring 2019.


Serinda Swan to star in new CBC drama Coroner

From a media release:

CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, in association with Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Films, today announced that Vancouver-born actress Serinda Swan (InhumansBallers) is set to star in the new CBC original drama CORONER (8×60), created by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope).  Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M. R. Hall, the one-hour series centres on a newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto.  Production will begin in late summer 2018 in and around Toronto with the series set to premiere on CBC in winter 2019.

Swan will play the title role of ‘Jenny Cooper’, a brave, determined yet vulnerable coroner driven by an intense desire for the truth. A former ER doctor and recently widowed mother, the passing of her beloved husband has unlocked a primal connection to death, tied to a secret in her past that is only now coming to the surface. She loves her son more than life itself and strives to support him while also trying to take care of herself. With storylines based on real-life cases, Jenny is a coroner for our time, an advocate for the dead even when it’s inconvenient for the living, and defender of those who are powerless or in peril.

Swan most recently starred in the role of ‘Medusa’ in Marvel’s Inhumans, as well as playing the role of ‘Anne Bancroft’ in Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed Feud.  Other recent television credits include a season-long recurring arc opposite Dwayne Johnson on the third season of HBO’s hit comedy series, Ballers, as well as starring roles in Breakout Kings and Graceland. Feature credits include James Franco’s recently wrapped Blood On Wheels, Disney’s Tron, and Fox’s Percy Jackson franchise.  She is repped by APA, Elevate Entertainment, Performers Management in Canada, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.

A CBC original series, CORONER is produced by Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Films. Morwyn Brebner is creator, executive producer and showrunner, Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bellevue) is lead director and executive producer for Back Alley Films, and Jonas Prupas is executive producer for Muse Entertainment. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Scripted Content; and Sarah Adams is Executive in Charge of Production. Bonnie Brownlee is Executive Director, Marketing.


The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition — Meet Martina & Phil, Joseph & Akash and Leanne & Mar

The Amazing Race‘s 10 teams have finally been revealed and we couldn’t be more excited. Not only is this season of the Race—returning Tuesday, July 3, at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV—being dubbed Heroes Edition because of the inspirational folks involved, but we actually got a chance to meet the teams before they began the Race. Not only that, but we were among a small group of Canadian media who observed a leg of the Race being run! More on that later; in the meantime, check out our interviews with the 10 teams competing this summer.

Martina and Phil Seo
Occupations: Volunteer/Home Economics Teacher (Martina) and Volunteer/Banking Manager (Phil)

Was either of you nervous about participating once you were nominated?
Phil: I’ve watched every single episode of The Amazing Race Canada and the U.S. version too, so it’s always been a dream. I’ve even planned Amazing Races at home for my birthday for my friends. They had to go kayaking out into the water into the middle of nowhere and then hike up a mountain, scarf down a Big Mac, chug a beer … all the things I love to do.

Some teams do a ton of research as they prepare for The Amazing Race Canada. Will that give you an advantage going into this? Are you the team to beat?
Martina: We’ve done the homework, have heart and passion and we know what we want. And we want to win it!

Martina, are you ready for the long hours? The lack of food? The lack of sleep?

Martina: I hope so! [Laughs.]

Phil: Her nickname is The Energizer Bunny. In an interview, this is cute and endearing. But growing up with this? She never turns off!

How do you deal with that? You’ll be spending the next several weeks together?
Phil: I just have to shake my head and accept that this is my sister and this is the way she was made. There is no changing her.

Do siblings have an advantage in the Race because you know each other so well and there won’t be hurt feelings?
Phil: We’ve known each other all our lives and even the last few days we’ve had heart-to-hearts that we’ve never had before. And we were reconciling stuff.

Martina: I think this time will be a gift and we’re so thankful to be chosen. I won’t believe it’s real until we see Jon at the start line!

Joseph Truong and Akash Sidhu
Occupations: Non-profit Founders

What did you do in your tape for the producers?
Akash: It was very simple. In my basement at my house, there is a space where Joseph and I always hang out. There are a TV and a nice sofa. We decided to just film it on the sofa where we always chill and acted like the camera wasn’t even there. We acted like our normal selves.

Why are you two the team to beat this season?
Joseph: First off, we have a great friendship. We travel across the world together. We’ve done really cool things together. On top of being a team, we’re also huge super-fans. We have a lot of knowledge from past seasons and different franchises as well. And we have complementary skill sets. We’re very strong with endurance and are athletic and have an attention to detail. We can tackle any of the tasks that are presented to us.

Anything that you’re not so strong at?
Akash: I’m vegetarian, so having to eat insects or crazy meals will be something that’s harder for me to do. Waiting is also hard for us. We’re very, ‘Go, go, go!’ and waiting for a clue or being patient might be tough.

Joseph: We’ve prepared for a lot of different challenges, like the heights and the eating. In terms of what we do at home, we’re not as comfortable building things so any challenge that involves something mechanical might trip us up a bit.

What about language?
Akash: We do speak a few different languages. I speak some South Asian languages like Punjabi, Hindi and I also speak Chinese. In terms of some parts of Asia and Canada, I think we’re good. Joseph also speaks Cantonese. We’ve also travelled to Africa and Europe. We haven’t been to South America, so we’ll have to ask the locals.

Leanne Larsen and Marielle Lyon
Occupations: Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders

What sets you apart from the rest of the competitors?
Leanne: We think everyone is going to underestimate us. As soon as they find out we’re cheerleaders they’re going to be like, ‘OK, that’s with all the big hair and the makeup.’ But they don’t realize the physical side of cheerleading and dancing and the working out and the time that you put in. But, also, we’re not just dancers at a game shaking pompoms and smiling. We both have educational backgrounds and work a million hours a week. A lot of teams may doubt us when it comes to physical and problem-solving challenges.

Mar: It’s not easy being able to consistently represent a multi-million dollar brand. We are the faces and representation of the team but at the same time, we’re role models for kids in the community. We’re on the team because we’re educated and driven.

What’s your secret weapon? Being the underdogs?
Leanne: I’m not going to lie, we’ve been playing up the outgoing, bubbly card a little bit. Everybody is sizing each other up at this point. We were driving in today and I said, ‘Hey, is that the CN Tower?’ I live right next to it. We played up not even being from here. We’re playing into the stereotype and playing it to our advantage.

Is there anything you’re nervous about?
Leanne: For me, I have this weird thing about bugs. I can hold them and have them crawl all over me but the thought of eating one grosses me out.

Mar: Mine is horses. I am absolutely terrified of horses. It’s a full meltdown cry. I had a traumatic experience when I was younger and ever since then. Horses can sense when you’re scared and they become defensive and it’s downhill from there.

Are there any countries, provinces or territories you hope are on the checklist for this season?
Leanne: I have never been to B.C., so that’s a huge one. I would also like to travel to the territories. What is a better excuse to go there than this show and document it? I’d love to see all that Canada has.

Mar: I’m looking forward to going east. I’ve not ventured past Montreal, so anything East Coast. I want to feel their culture, their vibe. And lobster is amazing!

The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


MasterChef Canada: And the winner is…

It was the moment we were waiting for! The MasterChef Canada SEASON FINALE! Two home cooks who deserved it all, battling it out. What could viewers expect? An incredible end to the great season! Andy and Beccy were supported by their loved ones and friends and what could make them more confident than that?

The home cooks had three hours to complete three courses: appetizers at the first hour mark, entrées at the second and desserts at the very end. The catch? The clock rolled the whole time and Beccy and Andy had just 10 minutes in the pantry to get everything they needed. Andy wanted to show the judges his roots and went very East Coast with his menu. Beccy was inspired by British classics with an apple twist. Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael were excited to see what these talented cooks would make.

And the show began! Both menus sounded incredibly delicious, but the taste was the most important part. Andy and Beccy were moving FAST! Beccy’s potato nests were in danger because of the sweet potato she used. Andy seemed very confident and his process was easy for me to watch. Beccy made a Scotch quail egg on a nest of potatoes and parsnips as her entrée. The presentation was beautiful and looked very natural, but the potatoes were a little burnt. The Halifax Donair salad with lamb, pita chips and Tahini dressing from Andy was a spot on. The flavours were amazing.

Time for the main course. The heat in the kitchen rose. Andy was running all over the kitchen while Beccy was totally chill. Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael started with Beccy’s rabbit two ways on a Jerusalem Artichoke purée. The cook on the meat was perfect. Andy made an elevated hodgepodge with Dungeness crab, sweetbreads, onion soubise and crab bisque. The dish was very colourful, but was it a main course?

Finally, the home cooks worked on their desserts. With just one hour, it was a lot of work. Then it was time to taste the dishes! Beccy and Andy were relieved, because the cooking was done. Up until then, the judges liked all of the dishes, but the desserts made the game. Fallen apple with a gelée core on a soil of dried fruits and nuts was Beccy’s way to end her three-course meal. The only thing that was missing was the glaze. But was it a mistake or an advantage? Andy made a Newfoundland toutons with a malted pastry cream, brown sugar and bruléed rhubarb. The judges loved the flavours of his dessert.

After all that, it was time to crown the winner of MasterChef Canada! The home cook who won the trophy, $100,000 and the life-changing title was … BECCY! The youngest winner in franchise history! I was #TeamBeccy for sure! Who was your choice? Let me know in the comments below!


High Voltage: Energetic Spencer Watts stars in Gusto’s Watts on the Grill

Gusto has got their hands full with Spencer Watts, and that’s a good thing. The wildly energetic chef, who already hosts fellow Gusto series in Fish the Dish and Spencer’s Big 30, returns with a brand-new program that shows off not only his cooking skills on the grill but his larger-than-life personality.

Debuting on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Gusto, Watts on the Grill isn’t your typical barbecue program. Yes, there is a shiny gas grill, plenty of ingredients and a stunning backdrop—the Ottawa skyline—but something is missing, at least in the episode I watched: meat. Instead of ribs, steaks and burgers as the order of the day, that half-hour instalment was all about sides and desserts prepared on the barbecue. What did Watts make? Scalloped potatoes, a rocket and halloumi salad, stuffed pears and dessert kabobs.

“I want people to use their barbecues for more than steak,” Watts says on the phone prior to a media day to promote the 13-episode first season. “Especially when the weather is nice, you can go out to the barbecue and time it all out and make a rotisserie of grilled vegetables, meat and fish.”

If the screener episode I watched was any indication, not only will viewers—Gusto is in a free preview by the way—be inspired to recreate Watts’ dishes in their own homes, but they’ll be entertained by the man himself. The classically-trained chef is high energy, enthusiastic and full of good humour. His jokes, facial expressions and charm are as refreshing as the recipes—look for smoked chicken, steak, and tips and tricks in the coming weeks—he whips up. I’ve watched a lot of cooking shows, and Watts is a unique talent.

“Everybody needs to eat and I can understand that for a lot of people cooking can be terrifying,” Watts says. “I’m having fun. When I get really excited about things, I want that to come through the camera. I want people to finish watching Watts on the Grill and say, ‘You know what? I’m doin’ it.'”

Watts on the Grill airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Gusto.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.