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.

Review: Bachelor Canada returns with tears and twists

He’s muscular. He’s got three-day stubble. He looks pensively off into the distance while pausing during a walk on the beach. And he’s looking for love. Canada, meet Tim Warmels. Thus encapsulated the first 20 seconds of Thursday’s two-hour Season 2 return of City’s romantic reality series.

Before nary a limousine door had opened viewers were told things were going to be different. “Four girls, not two, will be going home,” he announced in a teaser clip. Audible gasps from the girls he was speaking to. Yup, Tim is dead serious about finding the girl of his dreams. And, after a quickie introduction where we learned Tim was a Bay St. trader turned tech company owner turned builder, our hero  jetted to Vancouver to start his journey. But not until he’d showered, pulled pants up over his boxer briefs and buttoned a crisp white shirt over his naked midriff.

Of course, there were 25 ladies battling for a few precious seconds of Tim’s time. Among them a 42-year-old lingerie model, a philosophy student whose philosophy outside of the classroom is to party, an ER nurse, a real estate agent with a troubled past, a burlesque dancer who waxes crotches, and an annoying blonde who boasts she’s a “joyologist.” Whatever that is.

At the mansion, the most notable of the ladies who spilled out of the limos and into Tim’s arms were Rileigh the philosophy student who presented Tim with a tray of shots (perhaps forgetting the mansion was stocked with libations); Sachelle, who gave Tim a seashell to remember her by (because the name Sachelle wasn’t unique enough?); Ritiuska, who was shocked Tim could converse with her in Spanish (of course Tim knows Spanish, he’s the Bachelor!); Sarah, who made Tim swear under his breath as she walked towards him and was playing the “mysterious” card; Natalie the French teacher who may very well be the crazy gal of the season; and April the burlesque dancer/wax artist who exited the limo in a spray of confetti. She’ll be sticking around for a few weeks just for laughs.

Kaylynn, a slow-talking ballerina, connected with Tim over their childhoods (they were both bullied) and he admitted to producers that he wanted to kiss her, as did Rileigh, who Tim confessed had hoped she would grab him for a few minutes. Most awkward exchange of the night went to Christine the music teacher who decided to sing to Tim. You could cut the uncomfortableness with the knife Kelsey used to open a bottle of bubbly. So imagine my surprise when Christine was given the First Impression rose from Tim and instantly made her the target for derision from the remaining girls.

Tim wasn’t done there, though. Tossing around roses like host Tyler Harcott had bushels of them backstage, Tim gave flowers to Natalie and Sachelle, which sent Kaylynn into a spiral of self-doubt and excess mucous. In the end Tim showed the door to 10 ladies, the most notable of who was Jennifer the joyologist, who struck me as a really good friend rather than a girlfriend and, sadly, Raelee, who Bachelor Canada fans voted into the competition.

An extended teaser for the coming season shows Tim entertaining the ladies in Italy and idyllic isles, the return of one competitor and Lisa being labelled the villain of the show.

The Bachelor Canada airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on City.

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Haven’s Lucas Bryant takes control in Season 5

As part of Haven‘s cast, Lucas Bryant has to deal with a lot of unsurety contained in every script. What mysterious Trouble will befall another person living in town? What evil will his character, Nathan Wuornos, face? Will he and Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) get along? And will Nathan and Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) ever become the couple he yearns them to be?

With all of that hanging over his head for the past four seasons–a super-sized Season 5 returns to Showcase tonight–Bryant is taking control of the situation in one small way, albeit one behind the cameras instead of in front.

“I’m going to be directing my first episode of Haven this year, at the end of September,” he reveals. The Elmira, Ont., native has been shadowing directors and sitting in on pre- and post-production meetings as he could since Day 1 on the fantasy series. As an actor he finds it illuminating and helpful to understanding the minutiae of a television shoot, like how taking three steps outside of a predetermined spot on the set can affect production for hours.

“That is why I should just stand on my spot, shut up and say my words!” he jokes. Bryant will be in control for one episode as a director, but Haven‘s scripts continue to offer disarray and confusion. The Season 4 finale concluded with bad boy William (Colin Ferguson) going through a mystical doorway, Duke bleeding from his eyes, Jennifer (Emma Lahana) in distress and Audrey’s original persona, Mara, taking control over Nathan’s lady love. Haven‘s writers and producers continue to throw up road blocks in the budding relationship between Nathan and Audrey and you can’t help but wonder why the former just doesn’t cut ties with the latter and move on. The thought has certainly crossed Bryant’s mind more than once.

“Sometimes I get frustrated and I think, ‘Really?? This guy is just going to keep doing this? He’s not going to decide he’s going to try something else?'” he says. “However, I love Nathan for that. One of the great joys is that he has such dunderheaded conviction that there is nothing that can stop his faith in this woman and their love.”

Haven‘s two-hour return airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on Showcase. Haven‘s regular timeslot resumes next Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Showcase.

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Bachelor Tim Warmels teases Season 2

Tim Warmels can’t tell me who he chose from any of the 25 bachelorettes to be his betrothed. He can’t even tell me if he picked a lass to be his lucky lady at the end of his Bachelor Canada journey. But he’s quick to explain why he didn’t do it.

“I don’t plan on having a career in TV after this,” the 28-year-old entrepreneur says matter-of-factly. “I’m not planning on using this as a springboard to anything. I was there to find love.” Thursday’s Season 2 return finds the Cambellville, Ont., native welcoming over two dozen women to a top-secret location where he’ll begin the process of whittling the girls down to a few precious finalists via dates (group and one-on-ones) set against the backdrop of luxurious locations. That hasn’t changed in The Bachelor franchise formula. What has changed is the role of host Tyler Harcott, who served as sounding board and confidante for Season 1’s Brad Smith.

“The show was a slightly different format,” Warmels divulges. “A lot of that was actually my decision. You’ll have to wait and see. This is supposed to be an odyssey and it’s a journey that you take very solo.”

Unlike the ladies and who answered a cross-country casting call to participate in the sophomore season, Warmels skipped the line thanks to a friend of the show’s producers, Good Human Productions, who suggested he give them a call. Presented with the opportunity to take part, Warmels explains he had a decision to make: continue the search for a mate like he’d done for the last six years or “try this amazingly different thing.”

And, at times, amazingly difficult. The premise, of course, is to eliminate ladies each week, leading to heartbreak and tears. The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario Honours grad never liked that part of his odyssey.

“The timeline is so constricted that you’re always second-guessing yourself,” he admits. “You’re expected to be this all-knowing god-like man and the only way that you can really connect on the show is when you’re willing to show them your faults and be vulnerable. You have to be open and willing to show everything about yourself to these women. And they need to be willing to do the same.”

The Bachelor Canada returns Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on City.

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Amazing Racers put the “fun” in Fundy

And just like that, we’re down to the final three teams on The Amazing Race Canada. After thousands of miles and millions of footsteps, Olympians Meaghan and Natalie, best buds Mickey and Pete and co-workers Ryan and Rob will face off in Sunday’s season finale in Ottawa where one team will claim the grand prize.

Unfortunately, not in the running for the cash, cars and other baubles are siblings Sukhi and Jinder, who arrived on the mat in last place on the windy coast of New Brunswick and were eliminated.

“We feel so blessed that we got to do 11 Legs,” Jinder told host Jon Montgomery. “Now that we’ve done this race, I don’t want our lives to be any less extraordinary.” I really have to acknowledge how the pair evolved throughout the season. In the beginning, they were plagued by nerves and missed easy clues and got lost often, but as the Legs continued they became stronger and more cohesive. Sadly, a case of one red traffic light may have been the reason they were cut.

After placing first in Prince Edward Island, Sukhi and Jinder were the first to depart from Charlottetown. Their haste to get out of town and across the Confederation Bridge led to driving through a red light … and into a 15-minute penalty. They could only watch as Meaghan and Natalie and Mickey and Pete drove past and into the lead. The Olympians and the best friends arrived at and completed the Dairy Queen serving challenge and got to the Detour card location within seconds of each other. Both teams–and, as it turned out, all four–chose the Flag It task, a horribly complex thing where maritime flags denoting different nautical messages had to be hoisted up a flag pole in a certain order.

The difficulty of the test–so many flags looked exactly the same–meant that all four teams ended up in the muck surrounding the Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy at the same time, struggling to figure out why they weren’t given the green light to advance to rock climbing and, eventually, the mat. Meaghan and Natalie were the first to realize what they had done wrong and sprinted off to another first-place finish. Mickey and Pete were next, followed by Ryan and Rob and Sukhi and Jinder. The co-workers’ few seconds head start meant the difference between them placing third and advancing to Sunday’s finale.

At this point it looks like Meaghan and Natalie may have this whole thing sewn up. But, as evidenced in The Amazing Race franchise, one small slip can mean the difference between champs and chumps.

The Amazing Race Canada season finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on CTV followed by an After the Race special.

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CBC’s new app decides Canada’s Smartest Person

I am not Canada’s Smartest Person. Heck, I’m not even the smartest in the room. That’s what I gleaned from CBC’s special sneak peek at the app to be used by viewers during the network’s upcoming fall game show.

On Tuesday, journalists were invited down to CBC’s headquarters to test their skills in three of the areas of intelligence that will be the showcase of the series. While the 32 finalists who made the cut to be part of the TV show battle it out on-screen and in front of host Jessi Cruickshank, viewers at home can participate via Android and iOS app, or the show’s website. Available for download on Monday, Sept. 22–a week before the series return–the app tests Canadians’ skills in the arenas of Math & Logic Intelligence, Visual & Spatial Intelligence, Body & Kinesthetic Intelligence, Linguistics Intelligence, Musical Intelligence and Interpersonal Intelligence.

Cruikshank, series creator Robert Cohen and Paul Mcgrath, executive producer of interactive for CBC, guided critics through three of the six tests; I walked out of there pretty humbled. The first, which tasked those in the room kitted out with iPads to make as many words consisting of at least three letters out of the source word “protein”, netted me a horrible 17 out of 100. I was under the room average of 28/100. Yes, I write for a living. I fared better in the next challenge testing logic, nabbing an 89/100 (against 58/100 as the room average) for being able to place a bunch of animated pipe in order to allow water to flow through them. And despite listening to people’s answers for a living, I fell short (39/100) when it came to differentiating which musical instruments were slowly being removed from a piece of music, though the room was even worse (35/100).

Cohen says that–once Canada’s Smartest Person airs and data through the website and apps starts to roll in–those participating will be able to see how they rank against friends and family. But it doesn’t stop there; data will be gathered so you can see how you fared against members of the opposite sex or those on the opposite side of the country. There will be daily challenges available outside of the broadcasts for those who just can’t get enough of testing themselves and others.

Or, in my case, establishing just how much I am not Canada’s Smartest Person.

Canada’s Smartest Person returns Sunday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. in Newfoundland) on CBC. The app is available for download on Android and iOS devices on Monday, Sept. 22.

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