All posts by Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.

CBC launches What’re You At? With Tom Power on April 5

From a media release:

CBC today announced a new, one-hour weekly primetime show, WHAT’RE YOU AT? WITH TOM POWER, premiering this Sunday, April 5 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem. Welcoming audiences into his home for a weekly national catch up during these unprecedented times, award-winning host Tom Power will share an uplifting and inspiring mix of interviews, storytelling, musical performances and perspectives as he checks in with Canadians across the country.

Each Sunday, Power will connect virtually with Canadians on the frontlines and from all walks of life, including artists and storytellers, musicians offering intimate performances from their homes, and everyday heroes helping their families and communities. Each show will incorporate a mix of live and pre-taped segments. This Sunday’s debut episode will feature an interview with Schitt’s Creek co-creator, showrunner and star Daniel Levy ahead of the hit comedy’s finale; a performance by groundbreaking JUNO Award-winning singer and songwriter Jessie Reyez, and conversations with Canadians in their communities sharing how they are navigating this challenging time, including three first responders.

“Back home in Newfoundland when you see someone you ask ‘What’re you at?’ There is a debate on the spelling but it generally means ‘How are you?’ or ‘How are you holding up?’,” said Power. “At a time when we’re all searching for meaning and connection, I am honoured to have this opportunity to check in with how Canadians are doing each week and celebrate those who are making a difference in their communities.”

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Cardinal’s Billy Campbell: “The best role I’ve had in my career”

When asked what his experience has been like playing John Cardinal for four seasons, Billy Campbell hesitates and then states the following:

“This really has been maybe the best job I’ve had in my career, and the best role I’ve had in my career.”

Pretty lofty words for a guy whose career has included roles in such series as The Killing, Once and Again and The 4400. Still, Cardinal really is a series like no other. Based on the books by Giles Blunt, the past three seasons of Cardinal have proved Canada can do Nordic Noir too. And do it darned well.

Returning Monday at 10 p.m. ET on CTV, the final season of Cardinal—tagged Until the Night after Blunt’s sixth and final John Cardinal novel—follows Detective John Cardinal (Campbell) and Detective Lise Delorme (played by Karine Vanasse) as they investigate the deaths of several townsfolk in the sleepy fictional town of Algonquin Bay. Monday’s debut catches up with the pair in the dead of winter as they investigate the disappearance of a legal prosecutor. Cold and snow have been a hallmark of Cardinal—the first season was set in winter, followed by jaunts in the spring and fall—and adds to the feeling of isolation and, perhaps, being unable to escape.

“You’re right about the isolation,” Vanasse says. “The whole environment is supporting that isolation and feeling that you have to be quick when you’re outside. If someone is left outside, yes, he’s going to freeze the death.” Isolation and drawing inward have been a staple of Cardinal and Delorme’s relationship too. Yes, they’re work partners, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing karaoke after shifts. In Season 1, Delorme joined the force to investigate supposed dirty dealings by Cardinal; it can be hard to truly trust someone whose been keeping tabs on you. Add to the fact that, in Monday’s Episode 1, Delorme drops a career bombshell on him … Cardinal even at the best of times can be frustratingly distant.

“That’s Cardinal,” Campbell says simply. “That’s who he is, and he’s a prototypical human male in that respect. He has a very difficult time expressing his feelings and these, I imagine, are such powerful feelings. He just has no framework for even dealing with these feelings inside of himself.”

Veteran actor Currie Graham—most recently seen on The Rookie—plays Neil Cuthbert, the villain stalking Algonquin Bay. According to Bell Media’s press notes, there is a final showdown where Cardinal and Delorme put everything on the line to save an innocent life. (Look for more about that showdown next week in my interview with co-showrunner/director Nathan Morlando.)

With the final six episodes scheduled, and interviews in support of it underway, Cardinal‘s conclusion is sinking in for its co-stars. Vanasse and Campbell admit to claiming key wardrobe as physical souvenirs of their time filming in Sudbury and North Bay, Ontario—she Delorme’s winter gear, he Cardinal’s winter boots—and memories of their time filming.

“The biggest thing that I keep from the show is just the profound happiness of working with this crew,” Vanasse says. “That’s what I’m leaving with. It’s been just wonderful from Day 1 to the end.”

“I get misty thinking about the fact that I won’t be going back to North Bay to do another season of Cardinal with people that I love, and with the characters that I love,” Campbell admits.

Cardinal: Until the Night airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Big Brother Canada donates Season 8 grand prize money to charities responding to COVID-19

From a media release:

In an emotional farewell episode for Season 8 of Big Brother Canada, Global and Insight Productions revealed tonight that, in light of an early end to production with no winner crowned, this season’s $100,000 grand prize will be donated to charities responding to COVID-19 via canadahelps.org.

Faced with unprecedented circumstances with regard to COVID-19, production on the season halted early last week under a provincial mandate for all non-essential businesses to close. In the season’s final episode tonight, the 12 remaining houseguests were informed about the decision, leaving them with one final night in the Big Brother Canada house before returning home.

Jointly, Global and Insight Productions conclude their superhero-themed season with an extended thanks to the real heroes of today – the frontline healthcare workers and first responders dedicating themselves to providing healthcare and emergency support during these challenging times.

At this time, Big Brother Canada Season 8 will not resume production at a later date. Stream this season and complete past seasons, along with digital exclusives, at www.bigbrothercanada.ca.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

The Wedding Planners’ Michael Seater: “It speaks to themes I think everybody can get”

Frequent visitors to this site know I cover Murdoch Mysteries extensively. That means fans of the show know the name Michael Seater intimately. The veteran Canadian writer, director, producer and actor may very well be best-known for his portrayal of serial killer James Gillies on the period drama. But Murdoch isn’t his only acting gig.

Aside from Life with Derek, 18 to Life and Bomb Girls, Seater can be seen every Friday night on The Wedding Planners. There, he co-stars as James Clarkson—alongside Paige (Kimberly-Sue Murray) and Hannah (Madeline Leon), who take over their mother’s wedding planning business after she passes away suddenly.

We spoke to Michael Seater about The Wedding Planners, being an independent producer and … yes … playing James Gillies.

You’ve got a production company going. I know you’re making feature films. How did you end up playing James on The Wedding Planners?
Michael Seater: Beth Stevenson, who runs the show, was at Decode Entertainment, which did my first series back when I was a kid. She and I had a meeting earlier this year to talk about different things, sort of a general meeting and different things out there, from directing to acting. The Wedding Planners came along a couple of months later, which seems like good timing. It’s a really fun show. It speaks to themes I think everybody can get, which are loss and family and love.

James has a really interesting story. What’s the journey for him this season?
MS: Well, I think it’s interesting in that he’s left and there’s the appearance that he has figured it all out and doesn’t need this small-town life anymore, and I think the big city is more his speed. But bright lights, big city, things aren’t always as they seem. What happens to a lot of people in a big, giant metropolis like that, you quickly are living beyond your means. In how we operate today in an Instagram culture, we have this pressure, which I think has always existed but never more than now, to present like you are living a certain way that maybe you can’t afford.

I don’t think he plans on staying for long, but that might change because circumstances change. I think when you suffer such a great loss, you realize how important and valuable family is. Even if on the surface James plays sarcastic often, that he doesn’t really care that much about being there, I think that’s all a deflective veneer that he uses so people don’t see that he’s lost his mom and he’s hurting and he needs to be around his sisters right now.

Can you speak to any of the input you had into this character?
MS: There is a lot of dialogue in finding the voice, and a lot of figuring out the nuanced nature of, especially, a queer character. Making it feel that it’s honest and not put-on. I’m a queer person myself. I watch a lot of Drag Race. I want the language to be authentic. Then, there’s the story aspect of making sure that when we promise something in a story that we deliver on it.

You have a production company with Paula Brancati. Is working in somebody else’s sandbox, in your view, an exercise in not flexing producer’s muscles and getting back into the acting? 
MS: Yes and no. I give myself a talk sort of before I do a project where I am hired solely as actor. I am not shy with my opinions, and so I need to make sure that I’m not stepping on too many toes.

The three siblings are sort of the head of the department, and we are very inherently involved in stories. So, I think, from actors I’ve known throughout the years who when I was young, I kind of looked at as examples. Peter Outerbridge on ReGenesis is somebody who was a really magnificent lead on a show and how he works on how he pushed for the script to always be the best it could be. He looked out for younger or guest actors who don’t have a voice the way that he did.

But then, on the other hand, I tell myself, ‘OK, you’re not the director of this. Don’t try and get involved and say, ‘Well, what are you doing with the cameras?’ You’ve got to let somebody else do their job.’ And I hope I do that. Making a TV show, making a film is always such a collaborative endeavour anyways. Lots of people wear different hats, but even if you only ever wear one hat, your department affects another department. So, it’s always about communicating with one another and the best idea wins. That’s how I try and operate.

Murdoch Mysteries fans know you play James Gillies, perhaps the ultimate villain on that show. What was that like playing that character?
MS: I have the best time going to play on that show. I mean, a bunch of crew on that show was from shows I had done previously. I knew a lot of the cast, especially the longer I did the show. So, I would go back every summer and it was like visiting your favourite aunt and uncle for a week in the summer. It was family. We had such a good time and just got to play.

Gillies is so much fun because he’s one of those wonderfully truly classically evil characters. And by the later episodes, everyone knows he’s evil. So, it’s not like, ‘Oh, I need to hide this and play nice till the very end and we get the reveal at the end.’ I get to come in guns blazing and hold needles to babies’ necks and hairpins to women’s throats and all this fun stuff and get my face mangled. It was so good.

Also, I wouldn’t ever say that we’ve seen the last of Gillies. I’ve always said that was just his good twin and see, the evil twin used that weird brain thing that made the guy do the talking, use that on his good twin and the evil twin’s still alive and kicking. That’s just my opinion.

The Wedding Planners airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Link: Interview: The Wedding Planners’ Michael Seater, Kimberly Sue-Murray and Madeline Leon

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: The Wedding Planners’ Michael Seater, Kimberly Sue-Murray and Madeline Leon
“The first two episodes were harder because it was all about their mother passing away, but that’s a bit harder because it’s close to home. But I don’t like one genre more than the other, I would say it’s all different challenges.” Continue reading.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail