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.

All-new original series Acting Good moves in with CTV Comedy Channel, October 17

From a media release:

There’s no place like CTV Comedy this fall when the brand-new original series ACTING GOOD premieres Monday, Oct. 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. The 10-episode, half-hour irreverent comedy is loosely based on the life of Anishinaabe stand-up comedian Paul Rabliauskas. Shot on location in Manitoba in Spring 2022, Rabliauskas stars as Paul who, after a botched attempt to move to Winnipeg, retreats back to his eccentric family in the fly-in community of Grouse Lake First Nation. ACTING GOOD is co-created by Rabliauskas, Amber-Sekowan Daniels, Eric Toth, and Pat Thornton, and produced by Kistikan Pictures Inc., and Buffalo Gal Pictures.

In the series premiere, “Just Fok’n Missing Her” (Monday, Oct. 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT), the news of the day in isolated, remote Grouse Lake is the anti-bullying workshop, where the lure of free sandwiches guarantees a decent turnout. However, the event is overshadowed by Paul’s unexpected return, as the community raises eyebrows over his social media posts about living large in the big city. The series premiere is directed by award-winning actor, director, and choreographer, Michael Greyeyes.

Viewers can stream new episodes of ACTING GOOD on CTV.ca and the CTV app, which is also features behind-the-scenes videos, cast highlights, and more information about ACTING GOOD.

ACTING GOOD joins the CTV Comedy family on the channel’s 25th anniversary as the brand continues to reign as #1 Canadian Entertainment Specialty Channel with key demo A25-54 for the fourth year in a row. Since launching on October 17, 1997 as “The Comedy Network,” the brand has committed to showcasing supporting homegrown talent, from up-and-coming comics to veteran stand-ups.

ACTING GOOD is produced by CTV Comedy Channel, in association with Kistikan Pictures Inc., with the participation of Canada Media Fund, Bell Fund, APTN, and Manitoba Film & Music. Producers are Tina Keeper (Kistikan Pictures) and Jennifer Beasley (Buffalo Gal Pictures) with Phyllis Laing (Buffalo Gal Pictures) as Executive Producer and Paula J. Smith as Supervising Producer. Paul Rabliauskas is Executive Producer and writer, with Amber-Sekowan Daniels, Pat Thornton, and Eric Toth as writers and co-showrunners.

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Links: Hudson & Rex, Season 5

From Kaitkynn Nordal of Saltwire:

Link: New face coming to season five of Hudson & Rex: Crime-fighting cops will see new forensic pathologist added to the team
Audiences will have a new friendship to watch unfold this fall in Hudson & Rex’s Sarah Truong and the team’s newest member, Karma Poole. Continue reading.

From Steve Gidlow of MediaVillage:

Link: “Hudson & Rex” Star Kevin Hanchard Has Nothing But Praise for His Canine Co-Star
“Sometimes you get these great pilots and quirky, interesting, fantastic shows that never end up going anywhere. You go, ‘This is really cool, I hope this goes somewhere’ and cross your fingers. Hudson & Rex was one of those quirky, interesting shows.” Continue reading.

From Mike Moore of CBC:

Link: Woof! St. John’s shuts down illegal hair salon … that turns out to be a Hudson & Rex set
A television show about a dog detective recently managed to fool a St. John’s neighbourhood — and even a city inspector. Continue reading.

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Hudson & Rex’s Mary Pedersen talks Season 5

Mary Pedersen and I go way back. We first connected when she was a story editor on Murdoch Mysteries. After five seasons as a writer on Murdoch, Pedersen moved to Frankie Drake Mysteries where she was a writer and co-executive producer. These days, the Canadian Screen Award nominee can be found writing, co-executive producing (and directing her first-ever episode of TV) on Hudson & Rex.

Returning for Season 5 on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv, Hudson & Rex has become not only a Canadian hit but an international one too. The tale of St. John’s Detective Charlie Hudson (John Reardon) and his capable canine partner Rex (Diesel vom Burgimwald) have resonated since it was adapted from the original German series.

In the season debut, “Lost in the Barrens,” Charlie, Rex, Dr. Sarah Truong (Mayko Nguyen), tech expert Jesse Mills (Justin Kelly), Superintendent Joe Donovan (Kevin Hanchard) and new forensic pathologist Karma Poole (Bridget Wareham) are on the case of a missing woman, and suspicion quickly falls on her boyfriend (played by Murdoch‘s Daniel Maslany).

We spoke to Mary Pedersen ahead of Sunday’s return.

We have a lot to talk about! One of the great things about Hudson & Rex is that you know you’re going to get a solid hour of entertainment.
Mary Pedersen: Yes, and for all those dog lovers out there, there’s dog action. Anytime I see the dog on screen, I’m happy. So I’m one of those people.

Is there a major difference in writing for a TV series set in the modern day as opposed to a period drama like Murdoch Mysteries or Frankie Drake Mysteries or is story just story?
MP: Story is story. [Co-executive producer and writer] Keri Ferencz and I both came from Frankie onto Hudson & Rex and the main thing we noticed that we were delighted about was, ‘Ooh, cell phone calls, ooh, Internet!’ You can get your clues from a different place and sometimes it speeds up the action a little bit so that people can make calls and things like that.

And [showrunner] Peter Mitchell wanted to try to show more police procedural than mystery, so that also was an adjustment for us. But I’m constantly harassing the writing room with my love of NYPD Blue, so it appeals to me, and that’s been really fun.

It’s still a mystery. We’re still often meeting all our suspects pretty early on in the story. It’s a bit of a tweak mentally in terms of more of the action and discovery feels like it’s happening in the present, as opposed to we’re unravelling something in the past. There’s also the focus on how our cops figure out what they figure out, which is also true in Murdoch Mysteries. William Murdoch has a very specific way of solving crimes and of course, Charlie has a specific way of solving crimes with his trusty dog.

When you’re writing a script and you’re referring to something that Rex is going to do, do you write, ‘Rex looks this way,’ or ‘Rex whimpers’?
MP: We always feel his presence and all the directors on the show, most of our directors have been on the show before and they’ll know that you want to find Rex action as much as you can in every scene that he’s in, even if it is a matter of listening and reacting to the conversations that are happening.

So yes, we write it in to make sure we always feel his presence and that we, as writers, are thinking about him, [executive producer and dog master] Sherri Davis, and all of our cast. Our cast elevates what’s on the page and Sherri does the same thing. So she’s also so in tune with the dogs and knows what they can do and she will often look at the action we’ve written and suggest, ‘Oh, if we do it this way, that’ll be more exciting,’ or ‘This is something that we haven’t done on the show before and why don’t we?’ I think she also loves the stunt work as well as working with the dogs, so she’ll really elevate a lot of the Rex action as well.

What a place to be filming. The Murdoch Mysteries backlot is cool and everything, but man, St. John’s, Newfoundland, you can’t beat that.
MP: I first went out there, a year ago in May for Season 4 and I had never been before. I am from Nova Scotia, but I’d never been to Newfoundland before and it is just spectacular. Even now when I go, you can’t look anywhere that’s not gorgeous.

I love it a lot and I’m really glad that we’re getting more and more of St. John’s and the landscape around it onto the show. I think that’s just such a wonderful world and I love that we can put it on the show.

In addition to the key cast of characters we’ve gotten to know over four seasons, we’ve got the new addition of Bridget Wareham playing forensic pathologist Karma Poole.
MP: One of the main motivations for me, when we were talking at the beginning of the season about possibly bringing on another regular, semi-regular, was that Sarah—we saw this last season in one of the episodes, she goes on a retreat with some other professionals—and it really sort of drove home to both Mayko and I that Sarah doesn’t really get to talk to other women a whole lot. That was a big thing, to have somebody that Sarah could talk to besides the boys. She obviously fits in very well with the boys, but female relationships are really important in life, so that was a big part of the motivation for me in terms of getting another character onto our regular roster.

Hudson & Rex continues to welcome a whos who of Canadian talent to its episodes. Daniel Maslany kicks it off in Episode 1, but people stopping by include Paul Bronstein, Jake Epstein, Stuart Hughes, Matthew MacFadzean, Mary Walsh, K. Trevor Wilson, Steven Lund and Carlo Rota… how fun is it to write for guests of this calibre
MP: We’re so lucky. I think people love to come to Newfoundland. People have just been really game to come out and play with us.

This is the third show that you’ve worked on that is not only a critical hit, but also done very well internationally. Obviously, as a professional writer, you’re happy to have a gig, but do you ever sit back and pinch yourself?
MP: Every day. So much credit to Shaftesbury for making that happen and for making shows that appeal to so many people and Pete. Pete’s always, always, always had an eye on what is going to be entertaining. You don’t get a story past Pete if he thinks something is boring about it or too earnest. It’s all about having fun and entertaining people and yeah, I feel incredibly lucky to have stepped onto that boat.

Hudson & Rex airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Shaftesbury.

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Chef David Zilber on Top Chef Canada’s landmark Season 10: “It is a litmus test for the state of gastronomy in this country”

Top Chef Canada is celebrating its landmark 10th season this year, and the homegrown version is celebrating in style.

First, the season is being dubbed Top Chef Canada X, and is rife with newer, bigger challenges, devious twists and a new face on the judging panel in Chef David Zilber. Zilber, originally from Toronto, has worked in some of the top kitchens around the globe, most recently as head of the Fermentation Lab at the revolutionary three-Michelin-star restaurant NOMA in Copenhagen, ranked as the top restaurant in the world.

Returning Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada, the first challenge for the chefs—the traditional showing off of knife skills—has its stress and energy level upped because they’re doing it outside in front of a crowd of people, host Eden Grinshpan and judge Janet Zuccarini. It only gets better from there.

As in past seasons, Top Chef Canada‘s casting team deserves a gold star for landing a diverse crop of chefs from across the country, serving up dishes celebrating their regions and backgrounds.

We spoke to David Zilber—who joins Grinshpan, Zuccarini, Mijune Pak, Mark McEwan and Chris Nuttall-Smith—ahead of Monday’s return.

How did you end up on Top Chef Canada as a judge?
David Zilber: I was a guest judge on Season 8 and I enjoyed it. It was fun and pretty inspiring and I meshed well with all of the other judges—some of them I had known before—and it was an honour to come back.

What are your thoughts on the Top Chef franchise overall?
DZ: It’s become a household name. It has launched whole careers. So many chefs from the U.S., Canada, and overseas, capture the hearts of a nation and become the next generation in food television or opening restaurants. In that regard, it’s a catapult for all of these people. The talent is real. It’s not like a reality TV show where they are getting the craziest personalities; these are the people with the chops to actually cut it. The number of former co-workers who have been on Top Chef Canada that I have worked alongside, I’ve looked up to or have taught me things, is extensive. It becomes a colosseum for culinary talent that champions a worthy contestant in the best sense.

What was the experience like being alongside the Top Chef Canada judges more long-term?
DZ: I’ve known Mijune for years, cooking for her in Vancouver and then at NOMA before I was ever a judge; Chris Nuttall-Smith I’ve known through his food writing and he did a profile on me years ago; I’ve cooked in Mark McEwan’s restaurants and he has cooked at places where I was a sous chef… there is actually a lot of culinary history in Canada. I say big country, small industry. So, I didn’t feel intimated, they knew me. [Laughs.] Sometimes on my good behaviour and sometimes on my not-so-good behaviour. Kitchens are heated places, what can I say?

On the judging panel, there are a lot of voices vying for a position, if you will. There are a lot of opinions. [Laughs.] It’s understanding what angle to take and what one’s specialty is. Mark might be looking more for the classical technique if that’s there. Mijune is super-poetic with her words. Chris is super-witty. That was the learning curve for me. What is my voice and how do I contribute to this in a way that is true to myself and not stepping on anyone else’s toes?

What are your thoughts on the 11 competitors this season?
DZ: I was supremely surprised at how good some of these cooks were. They were putting out two-star Michellin dishes in the time trials. There was a lot of talent. Early on, I could see who wasn’t going to last based on some of the Quickfire’s and lo and behold it turned out to be true. The chaff fell to the wayside quickly and what we were left with was strength on strength. And there were some sleepers; people who I thought wouldn’t last that long who ended up in it for the long haul.

It really is a litmus test for the state of gastronomy in this country and it’s a positive test at that because the contestants really show Canada’s mettle.

Top Chef Canada airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Image courtesy of Food Network Canada.

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Pamela Anderson returns to her roots in Corus Studios’ Pamela’s Garden of Eden

From a media release:

HGTV Canada welcomes global icon Pamela Anderson to the network with the highly anticipated debut of Pamela’s Garden of Eden (8×60), premiering on Thursday, November 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The Corus Studios Original series follows Pamela as she takes a break from her Hollywood life and embarks on a massive restoration of her grandmother’s legacy property on Vancouver Island. A project this scale tests Pamela’s patience and her personal life as she tries to remain focused on her dream for the property: to embrace her family’s past and fulfill her vision for the future.

Pamela’s passion for design and gift for renovating spaces has inspired her to redevelop the expansive six-acre waterfront property she purchased from her grandmother 25 years ago. The property encompasses three main areas: The Roadhouse, The Boathouse and The Cabin; and Pamela has major plans for each. Pamela has an ambitious timeline and hopes to finish the “crown jewel” of the property, The Boathouse on the shoreline, before the Christmas holidays and make it into an architectural masterpiece. Pamela enlists a team of contractors, an architect, a designer, and input from her parents and son to execute her romantic and glamorous vision. Over the course of the season, they work alongside Pamela through the stresses, struggles, budget and time constraints of this extraordinary renovation.

In the premiere episode, “I Love Laundry!”, Pamela and her dream team start with a small but essential project, transforming the unfinished Roadhouse basement into a charming laundry area, pantry and mudroom. As they prepare for demolition, Pamela takes a trip down memory lane, going through archival designer clothes and shoes from her Hollywood life that have been stored in her basement for years. 

Pamela’s Garden of Eden is produced by Fireworks Media Group with Marni Goldman as Executive in Charge of Production for HGTV Canada.

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