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

Preview: Frankie Drake Mysteries explores the civil rights movement

Frankie Drake Mysteries‘ Monday night CBC partner, Murdoch Mysteries, explored racism directed at Greek immigrants in the city circa 1906. This week’s newest instalment of Frankie Drake Mysteries did the same by delving into the civil rights movement in this country in the 1920s.

Here’s what the CBC has revealed as an episode synopsis for “Emancipation Day,” written by Andrew Burrows-Trotman and directed by Ruba Nadda:

When donations are taken from a coloured girls’ orphanage, civil rights hero Marcus Garvey (Ryan Allen) hires the team to catch the thief and find the cash.

And, as always, a few more facts I gleaned after watching a screener.

Do some research on Marcus Garvey
Garvey is a fascinating figure and well worth you doing more digging into. And yes, he did really visit Toronto, though a little later in real life than the Frankie Drake timeline. Every August 17 is celebrated in Toronto as Marcus Garvey Day.

Trudy sings
This isn’t the first time Chantel Riley has gotten to show off her singing skills on Frankie Drake and I’m sure it won’t be the last. If you want to hear more of her music, search for Riley on your favourite music platform.

Karen Robinson stops by
Yes, you already guessed it from the above image. Mildred Clarke and her side-eye are in full effect on Monday night and she plays a key part in the main storyline. Also, look for 19-2‘s Richard Chevolleau and Defiance‘s Dewshane Williams in guest roles.

Frankie Drake Mysteries airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Teddy Wilson climbs aboard Season 2 of Mighty Trains

You can’t fake enthusiasm. And Teddy Wilson oozes it when he’s talking about Season 2 of Mighty Trains.

Returning this Sunday at 7 p.m ET/4 p.m. PT on Discovery, the world traveller and unabashed train fan once again rides the rails spotlighting the machinery, people who keep them running and those who climb aboard to enjoy them around the world. The journey begins on a train I’ve had on my bucket list for years: the Rocky Mountaineer. This luxury line boasts 16-cylinder locomotives that winds the train through spectacular mountains on the way from Vancouver to Banff or Jasper, Alberta.

“Whether you’re a hardcore train fan or even just a travel fan or a Canadian you’re already familiar with the Rocky Mountaineer,” Wilson says. “It is a train that’s famous the world over. There is the incredible scenery, but the train itself is kind of a feat of engineering and design with these incredible double-decker cars that have panoramic windows and state-of-the-art tinting technology. It’s just awe-inspiring.”

The Rocky Mountaineer

I’d be happy if the Mighty Trains folks just pointed their cameras out the windows to show the scenery this and other trains offer, but they go the extra mile, not only pulling back the curtain on the logistics and tech required to keep the trains rolling but the people who ride and work on them too. It adds a personal feel to each one-hour episode. In particular, Wilson explores how the railway track the Rocky Mountaineer rides on was laid in the area over 100 years ago and the way modern technology and science is being used to ensure animals don’t stray onto the tracks when it or freight trains are on them.

Mighty Trains leaves Canada in the coming weeks. Among the locations is Ecuador to experience the Tren Crucero, a train that takes passengers on a four-day excursion using switchback technology to climb from the coast into the Andes mountains; Sweden to spotlight Hector Rail’s lumber train; two trains in New Zealand in the Northern Explorer and the TranzAlpine; and India’s Maharajas’ Express, voted “The World’s Leading Luxury Train” three years in a row, which traces an eight-day route from Delhi to Mumbai. How did it rank on Wilson’s list?

“It wasn’t just a highlight for me in terms of Mighty Trains but, honestly, a life highlight,” Wilson says. “Getting to go to India and ride this luxurious train. They offer all of these off-train excursions that we go on as well. That was incredible.”

And, there are more Mighty Trains on the way. A third season is currently in production.

“We’re three episodes [into production] so far and have covered three very different corners of the world,” he teases. “It’s taking us all over.”

Mighty Trains airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Comments and queries for the week of October 12

On Murdoch Mysteries, I reckon that George Crabtree should have gotten married instead of getting dumped all the time. And all the girls he has been dating should wake up themselves because he is the sweetest and the on the show. —Suzanne

A small detail that perhaps most people would not notice: just like in Julia and William’s wedding, the wedding march was all wrong. When the bride goes down the isle it should be “Here comes the Bride” and not Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” that is played at the end of the ceremony. If there is ever another wedding of importance, it should be corrected. Detail, yes but it is important to get such details right. —Noele

I truly did love all the costumes but the oly thing I have some reservations about is that I find Dr. Ogden’s apparel has rather been on the darker side, especially the one at the wedding. It kind of stunned me actually. It almost looked as though she was planning to attend a funeral instead. What it did was made us think that she was still mourning her miscarriage even though her sense of being is more hopeful and happy. Just an opinion, I guess. —Liz

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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Blue Ant Media acquires Toronto-based Saloon Media as part of ongoing production expansion in North America

From a media release:

Blue Ant Media, an international content producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today its acquisition of Saloon Media, a Toronto-based production company specializing in globally relevant factual television. Saloon Media’s Michael Kot (CEO), Steve Gamester (Executive Producer), Paul Kilback (Executive Producer) and Betty Orr (Head of Production) will join the Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit, which includes NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). The purchase is a key step in the expansion of Blue Ant Media’s North American production business, which will see the media company rapidly expanding its original content business in the Canadian and US markets. The news arrives on the heels of yesterday’s senior executive appointments to Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit in Canada and in the U.S.

Saloon Media, based in Toronto (Canada) and launched in 2013, is a leading factual television and digital content producer. Its recent credits include the CSA-nominated series Mummies Alive for HISTORY (Canada), Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Yesterday (UK); the 10-part broadcast and web series Tornado Hunters for CMT; the long-running returning series See No Evil, co-produced with the UK’s Arrow Media for DISCOVERY ID US; the eight-part series, Hunting Nazi Treasure for HISTORY (Canada), American Heroes Channel (U.S.) and More4 (UK); and international service work for several series and specials including The Kennedys, a six-part CNN mini-series in partnership with Raw TV in the UK.

Prior to launching Saloon Media, Michael Kot served as Senior Vice-President Factual for eOne, overseeing and executive-producing original factual programming for the company’s television group and Vice-President Original Factual Content for Canwest channels, including Global Television, HISTORY, Mystery, National Geographic Canada and IFC. Kot was also responsible for leading programming, acquisitions and the general operations of BBC Canada.

Steve Gamester has worked as a broadcaster, development executive and series show runner. His recent productions include Hunting Nazi Treasure, Mummies Alive, Perfect Storms, Miracles Decoded and Museum Secrets, all multi-part series that have broadcast around the world. He is currently producing 9/11 Kids, which examines the hidden impacts of 9/11 on American society. From 2005 to 2009, he was a Production Executive of Original Programming at Canwest and Alliance Atlantis, and oversaw more than 300 hours of programming for HISTORY, National Geographic, Showcase and Global Television. Gamester’s productions have been nominated for over 20 Canadian Screen Awards.

Paul Kilback is a multi-award-winning Series Producer, Director and Editor with over 20 years of experience filming and editing documentaries. He has produced and/or directed scores of television projects including: Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, Greatest Tank Battles, Museum Secrets and Hunting Nazi Treasure. More recently, he completed the critically acclaimed Tornado Hunters series and is currently putting the finishing touches on a soon-to-be-released, four-part true crime special.

Betty Orr, Head of Production, has over 20 years of television and film production experience, ranging from producing award-winning television series such as Kids in the Hall to her critically acclaimed feature film, CUBE. Prior to joining Saloon when it launched in 2013, Orr worked with Entertainment One, Cineflix, Decode Entertainment (DHX Media), Jim Henson Productions and CBC on various television projects, including young adult scripted comedies, docudrama series, documentaries and Movie of the Weeks.

Sam Sniderman, EVP, Global Production, Blue Ant Media oversees the production, finance and business affairs teams at Blue Ant Media, which include Saloon Media (Toronto), NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). Sniderman is formerly the Global Chief Operating Officer and MD, Film and Entertainment at Pulse Films (a Vice Media company). In these roles, he was responsible for the commercial performance of Pulse’s TV, film and branded content output and helped to guide Pulse through rapid growth, including scripted and unscripted commissions from Channel 4, Sky Atlantic and ITV. He also spearheaded the financing and distribution of award-winning theatrical feature films like 20,000 Days on Earth (Nick Cave), Who Is Dayani Cristal (Gael García Bernal) and Shut Up and Play the Hits (LCD Soundsystem).

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Link: Killjoys: Derek Robertson finds “write” opportunity — interview

From John Baker of Three If By Space:

Link: Killjoys: Derek Robertson finds “write” opportunity — interview
“Ever since I was 10 years old I wanted to write TV shows. There was a Hollywood memorabilia store a few blocks from my place and that’s where I kind of stumbled onto the idea. In the back, they had copies of old TV scripts. I’d buy them and I just become hooked on the idea.” Continue reading. 

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