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.

Set visit: Montreal the star of 19-2

Bravo’s cop drama 19-2 is jam-packed with a who’s-who of Canadian actors and actresses, from Jared Keeso (Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story) and Adrian Holmes (Continuum) to Mylène Dinh-Robic (The Listener) and Maxime Roy (Heartland), but they–along with showrunner/executive producer/writer Bruce Smith–all say the biggest role on the show is played by the city the show is set in: Montreal.

That point was driven home earlier this week when a small group of Canadian media–TV, Eh? included–were given exclusive access to the cast and crew while scenes for Season 2 were being filmed just off Parc Darlinton near Mont Royal. Dozens of crew bustled around the cramped quarters between two apartment buildings while a scene between Officer Nick Barron (Holmes) and a key figure from his past were filmed. Unlike Toronto, where residents would be kept far away from filming, those living in the apartments all around got a free show as they leaned over balcony railings to take it all in. It adds to the realism portrayed in the tense drama about the men and women who work for the Service Police Metropolitain.

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“There is a flavour about the province of Quebec,” Roy, a native of Rigaud, Que., says. “I think Montreal is like what New York City is to Sex and the City. There is a passionate side to Quebecers that you don’t find anywhere else and I think it’s reflected in the series, in the writing and in the characters.” She adds that having a Quebec crew ensures that their unique joie de vivre translates through the small screen.

“Cities like Toronto and Vancouver deserve to be the backdrop of series,” Montreal’s Dinh-Robic explains. “The Listener was great because it showcased Toronto just as 19-2 showcases Montreal as this beautiful, really dangerous, exciting place.”

Season 1 boasted several examples of all three, whether it was Officer Tyler Joseph (Benz Antoine) looking out over the sparkling city from Mont Royal and proclaiming it his mistress or–in the most shocking scene of the debut season–a group of anti-cop thugs brutally assaulting Officer Audrey Pouliot (Laurence Laboeuf) with baseball bats. And while that last offering is an extreme one, it does reflect the complicated relationship some Montrealers have with authority in general and the police in particular. It probably doesn’t help that Montreal is embroiled in real-life controversy at the moment, as cops are working under protest along with other city staff against a plan to cut their pensions.

“There is not that same respect for authority for police here in Montreal,” Keeso says candidly. “There is a history of protests and corruption and organized crime. We’ve been told by the police to put a coat on over our uniforms when we’re not working. I’ve been on the way to the set in my uniform and had people pull up next to me and just start screaming at me.

“For me, when I see a cop, I shut up,” Keeso continues. “But here when they see a cop it makes them want to lash out.”

Season 2 of 19-2 is tentatively set to return early next year.

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Sebastian Clovis tackles renovation nightmares

Mike Holmes, Scott McGillivray and Brian Baeumler have become household names thanks to HGTV Canada. Those lads have spent several television seasons informing, educating and instructing homeowners on how to get the dream homes Canadians crave.

Now there’s a new player on the block in Sebastian Clovis.

“It would be a wonderful thing if I could step up to a level where they could put me up there to become the face of HGTV,” the host of Tackle My Reno says humbly.

For now, the former CFL player–he was a defensive back for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and 2006 Grey Cup-winning B.C. Lions–is just happy to return to his construction roots. Clovis swung his first hammer at the age of 15 when a contractor working on the family’s kitchen took on the young man as an apprentice. A football career sent renovations to the sidelines but now he’s back at it.

Debuting Tuesday night on HGTV, Si Entertainment’s Tackle My Reno isn’t your typical renovation series. Yes, Clovis drops by on an unsuspecting homeowner–in the first episode it’s Ben, who still hasn’t completed the family basement after 16 years of hacking away–and gently chastises them for their slipshod attempts at home building. But unlike, say Holmes on Homes or Disaster DIY, there isn’t a lot of time spent on the intricacies of grout or taping drywall. As Clovis tells it, Tackle My Reno is more focused on the entertainment than the nitty-gritty.

The result? A series that spotlights both the homeowners and host on a level not served in most home renovation programs. The strapping Clovis–muscles rippling under a tight tee–is shown equally comfortable threading beads into a necklace or helping sort through basement detritus as he does buttering the back of tile for a shower stall. You can’t fake the natural charm Clovis exudes while sharing a laugh with the folks he’s trying to help; the dude is a natural for the small screen despite having no aspirations for hosting a home reno show.

“It really came about by chance,” he says. “I had sent a video to my director friend where I said, ‘I bring energy to the work site like I’m still playing football, baby!’ It was a joke between friends, but he showed it to production and the next day they were at my renovation site with the cameras, doing a three-hour interview. Two days later I was at HGTV. Four days after that I was in somebody’s house with a TV camera behind me.”

Tackle My Reno airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.

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Lost Girl to end after five seasons

It’s the end of the road for the Bo and her friends. Lost Girl lead Anna Silk broke the news Monday that the upcoming fifth season of Showcase’s sexy fantasy series will be its last.

“After five incredible seasons, we have decided that it’s time for Bo’s journey to come to an epic conclusion,” Silk said during a YouTube message to the show’s fans on Monday morning. “And while endings are always sad, this one comes with a tremendous gift.” The actress detailed Season 5 will be a super-sized 16 episodes that will be broken up into two parts.

“The massive popularity of Lost Girl is a testament to the inventive and hard-working team at Prodigy Pictures, the magnetic and talented cast and the most devoted and passionate fan base in Canadian television,” Barbara Williams, senior vice-president, of content for Shaw Media, said in a press release. “We’re so proud that Showcase has been the home to this landmark series and we look forward to sharing these final 16 episodes with the show’s fans.”

The news comes following the announcement that Lost Girl showrunner Emily Andras  had departed the series at the end of last season; now it’s up to new boss Michael Grassi to sail the ship into the sunset.

“Being a part of the Lost Girl family has truly been a gift,” Silk stated in the video. “And you guys have been here since Day 1.”

Lost Girl debuted in 2010, and focused on a succubus named Bo (Silk). Silk’s co-stars include Kris Holden-Ried, Richard Howland, Zoie Palmer and Ksenia Solo, who captured a Gemini Award for her role as Bo’s buddy Kenzi, who was killed off at the end of Season 4.

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W Network orders more Love It Or List It Vancouver

 

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From a media release:

Corus Entertainment’s W Network has ordered a third season of Big Coat Productions’ hit property reality series, Love It or List It Vancouver. The series premiered on W Network in January 2013 and is the spin-off of the original hit series Love It or List It, which debuted on W Network in 2009. Both series are among the network’s top-rated.

Co-hosted by TV personality and interior designer Jillian Harris and real estate entrepreneur Todd Talbot, Love It or List It Vancouver is a ‘friendly’ battle of wits between the two hosts. Harris makes every attempt to convince homeowners to renovate their run-down home based on her design savvy (‘love it’) while Todd charges in with his real estate prowess to steer the family into putting their home up for sale (‘list it’) in favor of buying one of his new home options. The decision is never easy for the homeowners and can often lead to butting heads – will they choose Jillian’s gorgeous renovation and stay, or Todd’s expert real estate advice and sell?

“Love It or List It Vancouver has blossomed into a fan favourite on W Network. While the original Love It or List It format remains unchanged, Jillian and Todd bring their unique charm and humour to this Vancouver spin,” said Vibika Bianchi, Vice President, Original Programming, Women’s and Family Television, Corus Entertainment. “We look forward to another entertaining new season of Love It or List It Vancouver and to the continued success of the franchise locally and around the world.”

“We have lots of surprises in store for Love It or List It Vancouver fans for the third season of the series – and we are confident that W Network viewers will continue to ‘love it,’” said Maria Armstrong, Executive Producer for Big Coat Productions.

Love It or List It Vancouver is produced by Big Coat Productions in association with W Network.

In the U.S., both Love It or List It and Love It or List It Too (aka Love It or List It Vancouver) air on HGTV.

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CBC announces fall television schedule

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From a media release:

CBC Television confirmed today the season premiere dates for its primetime broadcast line-up. Anchored by returning fan-favourites and bolstered by five exciting new shows, CBC has a new way to look at smart with CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON, hosted by Jessi Cruickshank and Jeff Douglas beginning September 28; CBC Selects presents JANET KING from Australia’s public broadcaster on Oct. 5, gritty western drama STRANGE EMPIRE on October 6; gripping political thriller THE HONOURABLE WOMAN starring Maggie Gyllenhaal on September 29 and continuing September 30, and the new six-episode, Canadian-produced original space drama ASCENSION,  premiering November 25.

CBC Television kicks-off its fall season with brand new episodes of its flagship daytime lifestyle series STEVEN AND CHRIS, every Monday through Friday at  2 p.m. (2:30 NT) beginning Sept. 22. In primetime it all starts with the season eight premiere of long-running family drama HEARTLAND and the return of popular series MURDOCH MYSTERIES, THE RICK MERCER REPORT, THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES, DRAGONS’ DEN, REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, THE NATURE OF THINGS, DOC ZONE, MARKETPLACE andthe fifth estate.

See CBC’s primetime schedule below:

SUNDAY

7 P.M. HEARTLAND (Sept. 28)

8 P.M. CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON (Sept. 28)

9 P.M.   CBC SELECTS: 
JANET KING (Oct. 5)

MONDAY

8 P.M.  MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Oct. 6)

9 P.M. STRANGE EMPIRE (Oct. 6)

TUESDAY

8 P.M.  THE RICK MERCER REPORT (Oct. 7)

8:30 P.M.  THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Oct. 7)

9 P.M. THE HONOURABLE WOMAN (begins Monday, September 29  at 9 P.M. continues Sept. 30)

*ASCENSION begins airing at 9 P.M. on November 25

WEDNESDAY

8 P.M.  DRAGONS’ DEN (Oct. 15)

9 P.M.  REPUBLIC OF DOYLE (Oct. 15)

THURSDAY

8 P.MTHE NATURE OF THINGS (Oct.9)

9 P.M. DOC ZONE (Oct.9)

FRIDAY

8 P.M. MARKETPLACE (Oct. 17)

9 P.M. the fifth estate (Oct. 24)

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