All posts by Emily Gagne

Emily has been analyzing her favourite shows since she wrote about how much she loved Goosebumps in her school journals. She spent three years writing about Canadian TV for TV Guide Canada and now runs a completely girl-powered movie and TV blog called Cinefilles. She loves talking about puns, Breaker High-lights and dorky, but strong female characters.

Interview: Enrico Colantoni on “bang” up start to Remedy’s second season

On Monday night, Remedy, Global’s Enrico Colantoni-starring medical/family drama, returns for its second season, and fans better be ready to get shaken up. At the very least they have to prepare to watch their favourite characters, including Colantoni’s Dr. Allen Conner, go through one of the biggest shake-ups in the show’s history.

In the name of keeping things spoiler-free, that’s about all we can say about the premiere. But the good news is, we spoke to Colantoni himself, and he offered a few more clues as to what kind of chaos is ahead, both for Allen and the entire series.

The season premiere starts with a pretty big … let’s say “incident.” How was it shooting that scene?
Enrico Colantoni: We start the season off with a bang! [Laughs.]

It was a little out of our wheelhouse. It’s safe to say that whole season isn’t going to be like that. It’s a nice way to reintroduce the world and have a little sensationalised drama, which is fun and fun to do.

Can you say if that event is going to ripple through the season? Or are there other events that come along during the season that have a bigger effect?
What’s wonderful about our show is that the shoe doesn’t drop; it sort of falls really slow.

We watch our main characters find their way [this season]. They’re all dealing with being a fish-out-of-water in a way. Sandy has a new baby and she wants to come back to work. Mel is dealing with this man. Allen is in the ER. Griffin is dealing with living with Zoe. So, the [event], I would say is the metaphor of what’s going to happen, but it’s not an indication of what’s going to happen. It really builds to this place where the whole family has to deal with and can’t avoid Griffin anymore. That’s an extraordinary nine episodes of just watching him fall really slowly.

Allen is going through some challenges this season as well. His area of expertise is not being valued at the hospital anymore and he’s being thrown into the ER environment. How is that professional havoc going to change him?
Rico has the best time playing Allen this season. He doesn’t have to hide behind a desk. He really is getting his hands dirty.

But [Allen] really is a fish-out-of-water at the beginning because it is a young man’s game. He doesn’t have the dexterity to deal with 20 different patients. He wants to spend time, he wants to be the doctor who heals every individual, and you just don’t have time in the ER. You send ‘em off—you either send ‘em upstairs, or you send ‘em home. So he has a hard time understanding that. But what it does is it brings a lot of integrity back to the ER. He’s saving a lot of lives that otherwise would have been lost. But on the other hand, he’s learning how to function quickly. He gets excited about it.

But the glue is always … this family is despicable. They are! In a subtle, sublime way, they’re despicable. They’re just so insulated.

He’s getting reinvigorated.
Yeah! He’s getting reinvigorated. You just see the joy. Even in the fourth episode, which you haven’t seen yet, the first time you see him, he’s like a little kid. He’s got his first gunshot trauma coming in and he’s all excited. That sort of shifts [things] and that episode affects him deeply.

So it wasn’t necessarily the change he wanted, but the change he needed?
Yes. He realizes how much he hated being an administrator. He realizes that, of course, he loves medicine. And it affords him more time to be the dad he wants to be, needs to be. How Greg Spottiswood manages to make it all dramatic is beyond me. He’s that skilled, because I’m having the best time in the world. And he is, certainly, as well.

But the glue is always … this family is despicable. [Laughs.] They are! In a subtle, sublime way, they’re despicable. They’re just so insulated and I don’t know if xenophobic is the term, but they’re just like, ‘Stay away. We are an island. We don’t need anybody else.’

They have each other…
But in such a co-dependent way!

You have played a father figure to many strong women, career-driven women. How important do you think it is to portray these deep father-daughter relationships?
What an opportunity to play a dad to someone who is already an adult! My kids are still teenagers, so you have to pound that voice in that head and hope that somehow, when they’re 30, they’re going to hear dad stop them from going down the wrong road.

Playing Keith Mars [on Veronica Mars], I think, had more value to it because he was all she had. And he did allow her to be her own person at a young age, which is such a gift. These guys are too smart for their own good! The fact that they even listen to me still …. and the fact that he still tries to butt heads with them is like, what are you, an idiot? You should have let them go a long time ago, but you’re just so stubborn and wanting to control the whole thing. They’re adults for God’s sake, but you treat them like they’re kids! There’s nothing valuable in that. [Laughs.]

But that’s part of being a dad, right? You’re always going to have that urge to come in and control the situation.
It is! It doesn’t stop! And that’s what makes the show beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s real.

I like using the word ‘sensationalize’ because a lot of these medical dramas are [that]. They’re relying on the false sense of drama. I always had this debate with the writers on Flashpoint. Like, it’s already dramatic, why do we have to fake the drama?

That’s what made Parker so special to me. While everybody else is freaking out, he’s going, ‘Guys, calm. Let’s move.’ Which is how you deal with situations. You don’t go, ‘Oh, this is really important!’ We know it’s important. And that’s how we deal with Remedy. Like, this is fucked up, and this is how we deal with it. And when it really gets heightened it’s all about, ‘You shut up! No, you shut up!’

The bickering is so beautiful on this show. And I love it.

 Remedy returns Monday, March 23, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.


Review: Saving Hope kisses today goodbye

Although it’s easy to bring religion into a hospital show, given the constant talk of life and death, not many series are able to handle the topic we’re supposedly not supposed to talk about with respect and grace for all parties (that’s religious AND agnostic). Perhaps it’s because such bigger picture discussions are embedded in the moral fabric of Saving Hope, but this show seems to handle the issue in a way that’s more creative than cloying.

Such was certainly the case with “Joel 2:31,” the fall finale (or at least last episode for quite some time) of Saving Hope’s third season. Although religion was touched upon via the title, as well as two major characters, directly, it wasn’t made to be the ultimate issue of the episode, but more a gateway to discussions and revelations of sorts.

First and foremost, we saw Elisa, a young woman hoping to be a minister, go through the motions of trying to reconcile her beliefs about life and her, well, beliefs, alongside the current reality. While she felt she shouldn’t be pregnant–morally and physically–considering that she was still a virgin despite being a newlywed, she had doctors telling her she most definitely was. Then, she had to deal with believing that what was inside her wasn’t actually a baby, but a “monster” of some sort (nice twist that the religious “good girl” wasn’t lying about her sexuality, right?).

Elisa (a very engaged Kendra Leigh Timmons of Wingin’ It fame) was not actually pregnant, but in fact, had bizarre tumour called a teratoma (don’t look it up, man), which made her act irrationally. Thus, the belief there was a monstrosity of sorts inside of her (how Rosemary’s Baby of her) and later, the lack of remembering she just got married. The most horrifying moment, though, was when Alex, Joel and Co. cracked open her insides and found this entity, which looked like the strangely organized remains of a overly-grown fetus. A part of me thought about Andrea Martin in My Big Fat Greek Wedding talking about the twin that lived in her neck lump during that scene and wanted to laugh. But most of me was just totally grossed out and worried that the food baby I amassed earlier had nothing to do with all the fajitas I had.

But I digress! Saving Hope is really starting to get the Strange Case of the Week formula down pat, finding interesting ways to wrap intriguing disorders or diseases around bigger issues like, as mentioned before, religion. This tumour living in this girl, for example, served as a perfect statement on the fears we carry around with us–about ourselves, about others, about our beliefs, about others’ beliefs in us–until they eat away at our insides. In a way, Alex is suffering a similar fate to Elisa, holding her insecurities about her feelings for Joel in her belly even as there are signs–literal signs saying “Joel 2:31”!–telling her to act on them. And that other patient featured this week, the girl with the “internal decapitation” (that’s a thing and it’s terrifying), was carrying around her grief and guilt left over from the death of her twin, and as a result, nearly forcing herself to cross over to the so-called other side prematurely.

The good news is, all of our ladies made the moves they needed to make to keep, well, moving.  Say what you want to say about Joel and Alex as endgame, but man, that final moment, with them clearly wrapped up in the heat of pre-passion smoochies, was super hot thanks to Durance and Gilles’ game faces and exactly what–I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s true–the doctor ordered. After one too many fake-outs, it’s time for some make-outs, even if they aren’t between the two on your chosen “team” (sorry, Charlie and Alex fans!) Everyone deserves a little somethin’ somethin’ at the end of a heavy day–hey, there was talk of the apocalypse!–like this one. But this group is especially deserving, since it looks like everyone’s future is looking grim come the second half of the season.

Judging by the preview shown at the end of the episode, we’re going to see more trouble ahead for Alex and her hand, but also we’re going to see poor Shahir suffer a possible heart attack during surgery. Say what?

Just when we were starting to regain our hope for Hope after Gavin’s departure, another key part of Hope Zion’s mass of excellent side characters is at risk of being forcibly removed. Here’s hoping that guy that looked like Jesus is working some magic right now, even if it just means maintaining his beard so he can bring us some needed comic relief in the near future.

More Hope-ful thoughts:

  • “Eat cheese and rob a bank” are your two Last Days activities, Alex? Atta girl.
  • Where does one get that sexy top–bra? tank?–that Erica Durance was wearing in that last scene? Asking for a friend…
  • Zach too was carrying around some baggage, but not about his love life or religion, but his connection with his son. Kudos to Benjamin Ayres for pulling off both cynical (with aforementioned Jesus man) and sentimental (with Zach’s son) in such a short period of time.
  • More Maggie and Joel comedic interaction, please!



Review: Saving Hope peels back the truth

They say that what was lost can be found, but that certainly didn’t seem to be the case with Thursday night’s Saving Hope (“Stand By Me”). With multiple characters walking out on loves by the final few minutes, it was hard not to leave the episode feeling like a kid who just spent 50 or so minutes rummaging through a Lost & Found bin and turning up with nothing but sad memories of the things that used to be something to someone.

First and foremost, we have to talk about the fact that Alex blew out whatever flame her and Charlie had left by admitting that she doesn’t love him “anymore.” It’s something that we’ve seen coming given her post-coma behaviour, but hearing her actually say it was a whole other matter entirely, sparking what could be a whole new, spark-less chapter for the couple. Seeing Charlie’s–or more accurately, Michael Shanks’–face as it all went down was truly wrenching (he gave her his heart and breakfast in bed and she gave him … the worst relationship diagnosis ever!) too. It’s quite impressive that Shanks was able to pull that level of emotion off while also directing the episode, his first of the series.

With Shanks in the director chair, it’s not really a surprise Charlie was more of a side character this episode, making way for more Alex, Gavin and Joel. While she might not be doing so well in the personal department, it’s great to see Alex doing the opposite professionally, finally finding her way after some minor back-to-work struggles. Our girl came back to some interesting cases (a man with organs on the opposite side!) for sure, but what was more engaging about her return to Hope Zion was her small side issues, including a minor incident involving her being afraid of her own underboob blood (OK, that sounded crass, but that’s the quickiest–and dirtiest–way to describe it). It’s always weird to consider the fact that a doctor might not be interested in their own biology, but Alex has every right to be worried about minor injuries right now. I can only hope that after this she invests in a sturdy, non-wire sports bra while her stitches fully heal.

It’s going to be hard to heal after the other lost love-themed plotline played out, with Gavin leaving Maggie and Hope Zion behind after having a mega breakdown. His story was the most poetically erratic one of the episode, starting out more or less hilarious as he accidentally got high on LSD tablets (Kristopher Turner really knows how to play ridiculous stoned, saying lines like “I’m an orange!” with both infinite sadness and glee) and finishing things in the most depressing way possible. Taking a break from things might be the best decision for Gavin as a character, especially given how much he broke down over Maggie and the baby that could have been, but it doesn’t make it less upsetting. Turner brought some nice comic relief, as well as total adorableness, to Saving Hope, not to mention some really sweet jackets. At least he got to go out in a blazer of glory (seriously though, that grey one was way sharp).

I joke, but only as a defense mechanism. Gavin truly was one of the more interesting Hope Zion regulars, and seeing the series without him is not something I’m looking forward to doing and living. But at least we still have Joel around for some interesting side action, as evidenced by his compelling solo piece this episode.

Although there is plenty of compelling relationship drama to be had in the Hope Zion canon, sometimes it’s nice to see a non-romantic subplot take centre stage. We got to see that here first as Alex tried to get back into the professional zone and Joel was forced to do deal with a clinic patient’s emotional trauma in addition to his physical one. The latter plot had a nice mixture of medical and personal reactions, as Joel had to deal with a Ugandan man’s bullet wound and scarring past with homophobia. I almost wish we could have spent more time learning about that man and his brother, who fled their home country to try to avoid getting persecuted for his sexuality. But perhaps this episode already had enough harsh reality to go around.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to peel an orange as well as my emotional security blanket (literally my blanket) back and attempt to find a way to deal with all the loss I experienced last night.

Saving the best for last:

  • Patient: “She just called me fat!” Alex: “I mean fleshy!”
  • “I’m just not a big fan of poo.” Maggie might be best out of context.
  • Zero to Horny in 2.5 Beers. Joel, we all know you’re keeping that shirt.
  • For those wondering if Turner will be back on the show this season, I’m very sorry.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.