All posts by Diane Wild

Diane is the founder of TV, eh? She loves books, movies, TV, science, space, traveling, theatre, art, cats, and drinking multiple beverages at the same time.

The legacy of Denis McGrath

So much has and will be posted about the Denis McGrath-sized hole left in the world after his death last night. A small part of his legacy is that without him, TV, eh? would likely not exist. In an alternate, Denis-less universe, one we’re struggling to imagine now, I most likely would never have thought about the issues that led me to create it, and even if I had, it would have ended with a whimper not long after its experimental launch.

The origin story of this website is that while covering television and movies online I became fascinated with the way TV is made, with so much control in the hands of the writer rather than the director. I started following TV writer blogs, including Denis’s influential Dead Things on Sticks, to learn more about the process. That lively comments section is where I met the online Canadian TV community and began to realize … there’s an online Canadian TV community?

Obviously I knew  Canadian shows existed but from Denis’s posts I realized there were a whole lot I’d never heard of, despite writing about TV. I wrote an article lamenting that fact, wishing for an online resource like a TVTattle or Futon Critic, and an anonymous commenter asked me why I didn’t start such a site myself — a question I immediately dismissed. I had no skin in this game. Just Denis’s voice in my head about the struggles of the Canadian TV industry.

I went to the Banff TV Festival to cover a David Shore (House) master class, among others, and while there I sat in a town hall discussion about how Canadian TV should appeal more to international audiences. I wondered why networks weren’t more concerned with letting me know about these shows first. Through it all Denis was a sounding board and a huge influence in my understanding of the issues at play, and he encouraged my attempts to write about them from the audience perspective.

That was when I quietly put up a bare-bones site and started posting stories and media releases about Canadian shows. I let a few people know, including Denis. I’m grateful to many but his support meant everything. He championed the idea from the first, and through his influence helped make it and me feel part of that Canadian TV online community almost immediately. What started as a whim suddenly felt valuable, because he saw value in it.

Through the years the TV, eh? charity auctions benefited enormously from his contributions, his bids, and his promotion. He harassed industry folks to donate and his followers to bid, helping raise thousands of dollars for Kids Help Phone. He was a tireless promoter of the fundraising campaign that helped relaunch the site after I’d closed it down a couple years ago. I don’t think anyone escaped his haranguing to contribute what they could.

We ranted at the crazy industry together and drove each other crazy at times. But he was always supportive and generous with the site and with me. We dated for a time, years ago, but long after that he continued to offer support and advice. Some of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me came from him. He valued some core things about me that others have occasionally tried to make me feel badly about, and I keep his voice in my head at those times. He had a big voice and a bigger heart, and he leaves an enormous legacy.

I wish everyone and every cause could have a champion like Denis McGrath. I wish for his wife, family, friends and colleagues some comfort that a Canadian TV community he helped create is grieving with them.


Crash Gallery returns for a colourful, chaotic second season

Crash Gallery host Sean O’Neill has a few modest goals for the visual art competition series, which is heading into Season 2 tonight on CBC. “I do think art can transform lives, I do think art can help build a more compassionate, empathetic, humane society. And it’s also fun. It feels good.”

He has hopes the accessible, high-energy show—airing on primetime on the public broadcaster—can act as a gateway drug to a type of art that doesn’t often benefit from the pop culture embrace given to music or movies, for example.

“It’s really about having fun with art. It’s not about creating masterpieces. It’s not a 30-minute art history lesson,” said the host, whose day job is an associate director with the Art Gallery of Ontario, where, like other art museums, he and his colleagues have had plenty of conversations about how to bring visual art to a broader audience.

The five episodes of Season 2 were shot one a day in Vancouver, where media were invited to participate in a challenge the contestants had also tackled. Lying face up on a rotating platform, a canvas above us, covered in disposable overalls, we began to paint … and attempt to avoid the inevitable splatters. (My hairdresser a few days later: “Were you painting something red?”)

After our time was up, the judges asked us what our vision was for the painting. Me: “To not get paint in my mouth, oh and the colours and motion of nature.” They then offered their very kind, you’re-not-professional-artists critique which nonetheless had me puffed up for weeks when they compared it to a famous (to people more in the know than me) painting by abstract impressionist Joan Mitchell.

You be the judge: an original Wild on the left, Mitchell on the right.

The judges and critiques are new this season, bringing more depth to the conversation around the art without veering into an “eat your vegetables” art history lesson. Also new is that the show flew in artists from around the country rather than sticking with the Vancouver-area base of Season 1. The colourful, frenetic energy remains, helped by the new set that is more gallery, less warehouse.

“I think people are curious about art,” said O’Neill. “I hope people watch the show and the world of visual arts seems a little less intimidating. I hope they think, hey, I can pick up a sketch book, or take an art class, bring my grandchildren to an art museum, or go with friends to one of the late night parties most of the museums are throwing. I hope it helps break down barriers between people and the visual arts. It’s a show for people who are curious.”

Crash Gallery airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.


Myth or Science: The Secrets of our Senses comes to The Nature of Things

From a media release:


Dr. Jennifer Gardy, the intrepid science sleuth, returns to CBC’s The Nature of Things with the fifth in the very popular Myth or Science series. Once again she tackles the health and science claims we all wonder about, to discover whether they’re science fact or science fiction.

In this episode Gardy heads out on an international odyssey to meet an unusual group of scientists who are rewriting our understanding of how the senses really work. Although our senses are crucial to our survival, we actually know very little about them. But now there is a revolution going on. A new breed of scientists is conducting unique and sometimes bizarre experiments to trick our brain into revealing the secrets of our senses.

Does what you see affect what you feel?
Does the sound of a food change its taste?
Can we smell danger?

“This was an incredibly fun film to make,” says Gardy. “I love being the human guinea pig in our Myth or Science experiments and I was tremendously surprised to find out how easily our experimenters could fool me with some of the sensory tricks you’ll see in the show.”

MYTH OR SCIENCE: THE SECRETS OF OUR SENSES premieres on CBC’s The Nature of Things on Thursday, January 26 at 8PM (8:30PM NL).

To investigate the world of our senses, Dr. Gardy heads to the U.K to meet a magician who is also a professor of psychology at Goldsmiths University, London. Together they use the science of magic and illusion to discover whether seeing really is believing. At Oxford University, Gardy joins the neuroscientist who created the world famous potato chip test to find out if the sound of our food dictates how it tastes. Then, she travels to the University of Leeds to help create a fake lecture to uncover whether seeing images of creepy crawlies is actually enough to get us scratching.

Then there is Los Angeles, where things get really weird. Here, Gardy meets the head of UCLA’s Multisensory Perception Lab where she is tricked into adopting a rubber hand as her own, and is stabbed with a fork… all in the pursuit of understanding how our brain deals with competing information from our sense of sight and touch.

In Germany, Gardy explores whether humans, like members of the animal kingdom, can actually smell danger. At University Hospital in Aachen, she witnesses a fascinating experiment that delves deep into our brain to find out if our sense of smell can be triggered by subliminal scents created during an aggressive activity like boxing.

And of course, Gardy also tackles those questions we’ve all stayed up late wondering about, like: can we really get used to a bad smell? And, is colour just an illusion created by our brain?

“Our senses are truly remarkable,” says Gardy after embarking on this amazing mission to uncover how our senses function. “Deep inside our brain, the interconnections between each of our sensory inputs have a profound influence on how we experience the world. The work our featured scientists are doing is really helping us to explore this most human of frontiers.”

MYTH OR SCIENCE: THE SECRETS OF OUR SENSES premieres on CBC’s The Nature of Things on Thursday, January 26 at 8PM (8:30PM NL).


Link: Women behind Canadian TV: Helen Shaver

From Bridget Liszewski of the TV Junkies:

Women behind Canadian TV: Helen Shaver
One would be hard pressed to find a director with a more impressive resume than Helen Shaver. After spending 23 years in front of cameras as an actress, with roles in films like Amityville Horror, Desert Hearts and The Color of Money, she successfully made the transition behind the scenes as a director. She is now one of the industry’s most in demand and sought after directors. Continue reading.


Mary Kills People premieres January 25 on Global

From a media release:

Global’s provocative original drama Mary Kills People premieres Wednesday, January 25 at 9 P.M. ET/PT

  • Network Releases a Sneak Peek of the Series Today, Followed by the Full First Episode Available January 21 on
  • Go Behind the Scenes of Mary Kills People in the Exclusive Video Featuring the Series’ Female-Led Creative Team

Emotion, adrenaline, and drama are at the forefront of Global’s compelling new original series Mary Kills People. The highly anticipated, six-part event series starring Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Mary Harris, an ER doctor with a secret side job, premieres Wednesday, January 25 at 9p.m. ET/PT. From Entertainment One (eOne) and Cameron Pictures Inc, the emotionally-charged series is developed by an outstanding female led creative team including Creator/Co-Executive Producer Tara Armstrong, Executive Producers Tassie Cameron and Amy Cameron, and Director/Co-Executive Producer Holly Dale.

In anticipation of the series launch, Global is releasing the first five minutes of the premiere today (Wednesday, January 18) on The sneak peek introduces viewers to Mary’s world as an ER doctor, who also moonlights as an underground angel of death — helping terminally ill patients who want to die and slip away on their own terms. Following the sneak peek, viewers get a chance to watch the full first episode on, Global Go, and on demand beginning January 21.

Leading up to the series premiere, delivers viewers exclusive Mary Kills People content, including weekly digital vignettes inspired by different episodes of the series. Kicking off the digital vignettes is a behind the scenes look at the women behind Mary Kills People, and explores what initially drew this female-led creative team to the compelling series.

Mary Kills People follows Dr. Mary Harris (Dhavernas), an overworked single mother and ER doctor, that lives a double life helping terminally ill patients with assisted deaths. So far Mary has managed to stay under the radar but her double life is getting complicated.

Set in the morally grey world of assisted death, the series follows Mary’s exploits as she balances the needs of her family and her day job with helping terminal patients end their lives on their terms…all while eluding the police, who are determined to bring her down. The premiere episode begins when Mary becomes romantically involved with an attractive patient that sets off a chain of events that could destroy her life, her family, and her career.

Viewers who miss Global’s gripping premiere episode can catch up on and Global Go following the broadcast the next day.

Mary Kills People is produced by eOne and Cameron Pictures Inc., in association with Corus Entertainment, and with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. The series is executive produced by Tassie Cameron, Amy Cameron, Tecca Crosby and Holly Dale. Tara Armstrong is Co-Executive Producer. Tashi Bieler serves as the Executive in Charge of Production for eOne and Norman Denver is Producer.