Change is good, and for City’s Package Deal it may end up being great. The Canadian original sitcom is back for a second season on a new night–Fridays at 9 p.m.–a new promotional campaign and an evolution in the creative process.
“The writing is tighter and edgier than it was last season,” Randal Edwards says. The West Coast native is back as lawyer Danny White, straight man to brothers Sheldon (Harland Williams) and Ryan (Jay Malone) and boyfriend to Kim Mattingly (Julia Voth). As with the first season, Danny is still struggling to break free from Sheldon and Ryan and establish his own life with Kim. It doesn’t always work; Friday’s return, “Silverball,” spotlights the reaction the boys have when they discover Danny went to see the newest James Bond flick with Kim rather than keep up the tradition the trio had of seeing the spy movies together.
And while Season 1 of Package Deal was pitched to TV writers and the viewing public as a series to watch because it was a rare Canadian primetime laffer shot with multiple cameras, a rarity here though commonplace in the U.S., Season 2 is a focus on the characters. Now that creator and executive producer Andrew Orenstein and the writers know what the cast can do, Edwards explains, they’ve let ’em rip. Aside from the main cast, Jill Morrison (When Calls the Heart) has been upped from recurring to a full-time cast member as Nikki, Kim’s acerbic friend and co-worker.
Every series goes through some growing pains, and Season 1 of Package Deal was no different. You could see the cast getting more comfortable in their roles and in front of the live studio audience (a sitcom was a first for both Edwards and Voth) but by the end everyone was firing on all cylinders. Friday’s return is one of a cast that know their characters intimately and are game to play them.
Jumping into the sand box to play as guest stars are Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary) and Jason Priestley (Call Me Fitz).
“Amanda plays my boss, and she’s just fantastic. A total pro,” Edwards enthuses. He laughs when he admits to being a little in awe of Priestley, who comes on board to portray Storm Chambers, a slick, over-the-top TV weatherman.
“In one scene I’m in his face, yelling at him and I just kind of zoned out for a second, and Jason said to me, quietly, ‘I know, I know,'” Edwards recalls. “And he was saying that because he knew I was thrown off by working with him. This guy was on posters in my sister’s bedroom!”
Package Deal airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on City.