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.

Cineflix’s Mayday takes flight for Season 15

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From a media release:

Cineflix announced the start of production on season 15 of its long running hit series MAYDAY (Air Crash Investigation). Cineflix is producing 10 one-hour episodes, bringing the series total to an incredible 130 episodes. MAYDAY airs on Discovery Channel and Canal D in Canada and on National Geographic Channel internationally.
 
Riveting stories featured in season 15 include the investigation of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 which crashed on its final approach into San Francisco International Airport – the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 777; the circumstances surrounding the crash of a DC-6 carrying UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, en route to cease-fire negotiations; and the fatal UPS Airlines Flight 6 cargo plane crash, which resulted in more than thirty recommendations for safety improvements. 
Since its debut in 2003, MAYDAY has taken viewers behind the scenes of the world’s most catastrophic aviation disasters in search of the clues that can prevent similar tragedies from happening again. Based on cockpit voice recorders, accident reports, and insider accounts by the investigators themselves, every episode also features state-of-the-art CGI, and gripping reenactments.
 
MAYDAY is a Cineflix (Mayday 15) Inc. production, in association with Discovery Channel Canada, National Geographic Channels International, and Canal D. Executive producer for Cineflix is Alex Bystram. MAYDAY is distributed internationally by Cineflix Rights, and has sold into 129 territories worldwide.
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TV eh B Cs podcast – Peter Keleghan sounds off on the Canadian TV industry

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Peter Keleghan got his start at Toronto’s famed Second City comedy training centre and was an active stage performer until moving on to television, where he co-wrote and co-starred in The Comedy Mill from 1986-91. He then moved to Los Angeles and appeared on Cheers, Murphy Brown and Seinfeld and in a recurring but brief role on the daytime soap, General Hospital.

Keleghan returned to Canada and in 1991 he joined Steve SMITH on The Red Green Show as Ranger Gord. He was a heartless film tyrant in Rick MERCER’s Made in Canada and the outwardly affable and hopeless dullard Jim Walcott in Ken Finkleman’s The Newsroom.

The next decade saw Peter Keleghan earn major parts in feature films, most notably Niagara Motel. He also appeared in, among other movies, Ginger Snaps, Coopers’ Camera, Eating Buccaneers and GravyTrain. He currently appears in film comedy Big News from Grand Rock.

He’s been in numerous TV series, including Slings and Arrows, Billable Hours, Murdoch Mysteries, and Saving Hope, and won the 2011 Gemini Award for best actor in a leading comedic role for his part in 18 to Life.

Listen or download below, or subscribe via iTunes or any other podcast catcher with the TV, eh? podcast feed.

Want to become a Patron of the Podcast? We’ve got a Patreon page where you can donate a small amount per podcast and get a sneak peek of each release.

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March to the Pole an emotional journey for Canadian soldiers

Defending our country from harm is the top priority for Canadian soldiers. And while much of the focus is spent on those who served during the First and Second World Wars, History points the spotlight at 12 who fought in Afghanistan.

The facts are sobering: 30,000 Canadians cycled through Afghanistan during the 10-year conflict, with 158 of those soldiers being killed in combat, 635 soldiers wounded in action and thousands returning home suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Muse Entertainment’s March to the Pole, airing Tuesday as part of the network’s Remembrance Day programming, is certainly an adventure. It tracks a group of civilians and soldiers–the latter led by former Lt. Col. David Quick–as they ski across 125 unforgivable kilometres to the magnetic North Pole. It’s an arduous journey to be sure–sub-zero temperatures, blistered feet and one soldier, Bjarne Nielsen making the trip on a custom-made sled because he lost a leg in combat–but that takes a back seat to educating Canadians about the struggles our soldiers face when they enter civilian life.

I spoke to Quick about his experiences on the ice and what he hopes viewers will get out of watching March to the Pole. He was forced to leave the military after suffering a traumatic brain injury and damage through his spine after the vehicle he was travelling in drove over a mine.

How did you become involved in March to the Pole in the first place?
David Quick: Post-Afghanistan, I was working in Special Forces Command at the time and was doing a bit of a speaking circuit based on my experiences in Afghanistan. I was at a speaking engagement in Toronto about what it was like to be in the trenches because I literally lived in them for a certain period of time. I gave the presentation and met a gentleman named Shaun Francis, who is the founder of True Patriot Love Foundation. He and I hit it off and had a great discussion and exchanged business cards and that was it. We spent the next few years emailing each other and exchanging Christmas greetings.

When I found out that I was going to be forced to leave the military for my medical conditions I reached out to Shaun to say, ‘Hey, I have to look for a job. What do I do?’ He helped me out with that and became a bit of a mentor for me as I transitioned out of uniform. He reached out to me and said, ‘Dave, we’re doing this expedition and I’d like you to be team captain.’ I said, ‘No thank you.’ But then he told me that it would introduce me to a new way of life and that they needed my help shaping the team. I became, in essence, the recruiter to go through the application essays of the soldiers.

How many soldiers applied to go on this journey?
DQ: There were several dozen applications. Some of them were easy to whittle down because they didn’t have authority from their bosses. The real challenge came in Gatineau, QC, during a training session. In that session we had to whittle the group down to 12. That was tough because during that we had a sharing circle where the soldiers addressed the civilian team and told them who they were and why they were there. One of the most emotional moments for me was to listen to a guy like Bruno Guévremont, a great mountain of a man, go to places most men don’t go. It was very difficult. He made the cut, but there were lots of stories like that.

As I watched March to the Pole I became aware this is much an education for viewers into what soldiers go through as it is the journey to the pole.
DQ: I’m very keen to make that the focus of our discussion not only with you but with the dialogue in Canada. The challenge for the soldiers is: what next? What do they do when they are out of the military? How do they adjust? It opens up a lot of things that we as Canadians weren’t aware of and that I hope people walk away from this smarter and will be part of the solution. This isn’t just a military problem. This extends to emergency services and the security forces that protected our Parliament; these are extraordinary people that serve our country.

We’re just the expedition party, the vehicle to translate this message. It’s very important and I believe in it. The education is a lot more important than watching a bunch of soldiers get beasted in the North Pole.

Shauna Davies remarked on how when you were out there it was very quiet and you had your own thoughts to listen to. What did you learn about yourself out there?
DQ: My personal healing came from the soldiers. They cornered me partway into it and told me, ‘You to stop being Lt. Col. Quick. You need to start being Dave.’ I didn’t know who that was. Dave was always there in uniform and bred for mission and men first. I was always last. What kind of guy is Dave? What kind of husband am I? Am I a good husband? Am I doing all I can for my wife? Maybe not. Maybe I should invest more in her. Am I a good dad? These are the things, without any distractions, that really drove to the heart of who I was. I was somewhat ashamed that I had focused on so many other things and didn’t focus on the things that in this stage of my life I should be. I’m lucky and fortunate to have what I have today. You take your uniform off at the end of the day whether you are a general or a soldier. It’s probably best to take that uniform off and have a family there than to have a nice, shiny uniform on a hanger and be alone.

March to the Pole airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on History.

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Blackstone goes behind bars for Season 4

Blackstone isn’t afraid to tackle unsavoury issues with an unflinching eye. Issues of alcoholism, abuse, murder and conspiracy have been the cornerstones of the APTN series. Season 4–premiering Tuesday with eight new episodes–is no different as it follows fallen former First Nation Chief Andy Fraser (Eric Schweig) into prison. Is he there because the murder he committed has finally come to light, or because he set fire to the community’s offices? That isn’t clear at first. What is clear is that Andy is a little out of his depth in a jail packed with men who want to do him harm.

“I think it would probably shock a lot of people regarding the percentage of Native people in prison,” show creator, executive producer, writer and director Ron E. Scott says. “There are 12 per cent Native people in Canada but 80 per cent of the population in prisons in Western Canada are Native people. Why? The big commentary there is to relate it to the generational dysfunction in the residential schools where the kids weren’t given proper mother and father role models.”

That lack of a proper role model is certainly reflected in Blackstone. Andy is accosted in prison by a man claiming to be his son while back at home Alan’s (Justin Rain) attempts to distance himself from Andy only causes him to act more like the man he despises.

Meanwhile, Gail (Michelle Thrush) and Leona Stoney (Carmen Moore) are struggling to fill the role of mother to Wendy Bull (Miika Bryce Whiskeyjack). When Blackstone picks up three months after the events of the Season 3 finale, that trio is still struggling to overcome the vicious attack made on them by Darrien Tailfeathers (Julian Black Antelope), who is in the same prison as Andy. It’s not easy. Wendy and Gail are suffering from nightmares, and Gail relies on old habits to get through the day.

“One of the big reflections on addiction is that it’s something that they have to live with for the rest of their life,” Moore says. “In Gail’s case, she hasn’t equipped herself to deal with the trauma that she’s faced and the violence that she’s faced over the last few years of her life. It’s starting to manifest in some really negative ways. Gail will go on a journey that none of us will expect.”

Upcoming storylines this season include the possibility of a human trafficking ring in Edmonton, fracking on Blackstone land and new Chief Victor Merasty (Nathaniel Arcand) attempting to clean up the mess Andy left behind. There aren’t a lot of light moments on the gritty drama, but there is definitely one concerning Victor and a certain lady in his life.

“There’s a glimmer of hope right there,” Moore says with laugh. “Victor is learning that it’s tough to run a reserve, and he’s got a love interest this year that is exciting to see. We’ll have to see how he handles that.”

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on APTN.

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