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.

Preview: Frankie Drake Mysteries, “Ward of the Roses”

Last week’s episode of Frankie Drake Mysteries took a 90-degree turn from the light storylines we’ve come to expect from the series.

In a tearful exchange between Flo and Mary, Flo discussed being sexually assaulted years before. It was a bold choice to cover a topic like that on a show I’ve come to view as lighter in tone than its Monday night neighbour, Murdoch Mysteries. I doff my cap to showrunner Peter Mitchell and his writing team for tackling the subject.

Here’s how the CBC describes this week’s episode, “Ward of the Roses,” written by Andrew Burrows-Trotman and directed by Stephen Reizes.

An old friend of Trudy’s needs her help when she finds herself at the centre of a highly fraught election campaign.

And here are more details from me after watching a screener.

Olunike Adeliyi guest stars
The Workin’ Moms and American Gods actress joins 1920s Toronto as Etta Rose, who is running for Alderwoman of The Ward. While discussing how the voting preparations are going with Trudy and Frankie, they are visited by former Alderman William Hubbard. Look for Richard Walters to reprise his role as Tickles Malone, Flashpoint‘s Mark Taylor as Boyzey Pembroke, Marvin Kaye as a talkative bartender and Jann‘s Deborah Grover.

A history of The Ward
Anyone who is interested in Toronto history and learning about The Ward will enjoy some of the facts unearthed by Frankie, Mary, Flo and Mary in “Ward of the Roses.” If you want to learn more, read this excellent book.

No Frankie next week
Frankie Drake Mysteries is pre-empted on Monday, Nov. 18, because of the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Frankie Drake Mysteries airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “Toronto the Bad”

I loved last week’s episode for a couple of reasons. The first was some quality emotional roller coasters regarding William and Julia. I know it’s not a very popular opinion among some fans, but I enjoy it when a wrench is thrown into their lives. Relationships aren’t easy in real life and there’s no reason they should be on television either.

The second reason I enjoyed “The Philately Fatality” was the revelation that Watts may be gay. Whether he turns out to be or not—yes, he entered the butcher’s apartment, but that’s all we saw, other than a curious and excited look on Watts’ face—I love the journey this character has gone on and the way Daniel Maslany has played it. The writers and actors have created some truly memorable characters over the last 13 seasons and Watts is one of them.

Now, on to Monday’s new episode, “Toronto the Bad,”  written by Dan Trotta and directed by Sherren Lee. Here’s what the CBC has revealed about it.

While moonlighting as a cab driver, Higgins finds a dead passenger in the backseat.  

And here are more details from me after watching a screener.

Higgins takes on a second job
It’s been hinted at before; now Higgins has jumped into a side career as a cab driver to make economical ends meet. Higgins is known more for comic relief, but you can feel the lack of sleep he’s feeling as he drives around Toronto in the dead of night. It’s also an opportunity for viewers to see the seedier side of the city, something we don’t see on the show often. Kudos to director Sherren Lee and director of photography Yuri Yakubiw for making Toronto look so sleazy.

Brackenreid and Murdoch on the case
I always enjoy it when Thomas puts on a hat and hits the street with William. The old-school versus new-school take on investigating is fun to observe.

Mrs. Huckabee drops by
William and Julia’s neighbour, Goldie Huckabee (Jonelle Gunderson) swings by for a snoop, er, visit. It gives Julia the opportunity to show off some of their home’s decorations. Also, look for Annie Briggs (CLAIREvoyant) as Lucille Anderson, the owner of MacRury’s Billiard Hall; Erik Knudsen (Continuum) as Frank Rizzo; Ethan Burnett as Tim Little, and veteran thespian Jason Blicker (Jann, What Would Sal Do?) as David Dillinger.

A nod to Hill Street Blues?
Something Murdoch says to Higgins has me convinced Dan Trotta is giving a salute to the classic cop drama.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Carter star Jerry O’Connell enjoying his moment in the spotlight

From Melissa Hank of Postmedia:

Link: Carter star Jerry O’Connell enjoying his moment in the spotlight
“I read this comedy about a guy who’s a cheesy procedural actor, and he moves to this small town and tells the cops how a cheesy procedural actor would solve crimes. It really made me laugh. Also, I didn’t have to do any research because I knew exactly who the guy was.” Continue reading. 

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Comments and queries for the week of November 8

Love Watts, glad he hasn’t been written out of Murdoch Mysteries. —Patricia

Must writers screw up Murdoch Mysteries constantly, or maybe, it’s time to hire new ones? Yes to adding comedy, but stick to solving murders. Yes to Julia and William working together, not writers creating personal problems again. Crabtree’s new relationship is good until the writers destroy it. Watts is a Sherlock Holmes type crime solver until the writer’s agenda takes over. The new detective is a good addition, but will he around long? Sorry to be grumpy, but Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian TV treasure, to hopefully carry forever, eh? —Nolan

Writers do their own thing regardless of what fans want. Hélène Joy certainly has light duties for whatever reasons, but it makes me lose interest. Watts sounds like he wants to burp most of the time. I don’t care for the character but whoever is in charge of storylines are not consistent. First, he was in love with that world travelling girl, now he is interested in boys. Brackenreid once defended and protected an homosexual lodge fellow (as Murdoch pointed out), now he seems hell bent against them. Writers should know that fans remember these inconsistencies but they do not seem to care. As far as I am concerned, if they do not reunite William and Julia as crime-solving partners, if their relationship is just ‘Hi dear, bye dear,’ not even discussing William’s cases together, the showrunners might as well pack it in after this season. —Noele

Dixon is obsessed with Julia, this isn’t going to end well this season. Believe me! —August

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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Why popular TV shows are turning to mobile games

For the networks that broadcast them, television shows can be incredibly lucrative. The biggest TV shows make hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue. This article reveals that a 30-second commercial in Sunday Night Football will cost more than $600,000 and a 30-second commercial in the science comedy show The Big Bang Theory would cost advertisers more than a quarter of a million dollars.

However, the money-making potential of these shows doesn’t just end at advertising revenue. Many networks are turning to mobile games as a way to make more money and find new fans for some of their most popular series.

Reach the Audience Wherever They Are
The number of people who own TV sets or pay for cable subscriptions is dropping, and in 2018, revenue from pay-TV was just $4.4 billion. This means that broadcasting a show on TV is no longer the best way to reach the audience, and to get in front of fans, networks are having to come up with new ideas.

One of these ideas is to be available on streaming services as these are often available on computers, mobile devices, and games consoles. Indeed, mobile offerings have proven to be a great way to drive interest to different shows and products, with online slot games based on TV shows being just one of many examples of this in practice, as reported in this source. For example, the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire slot game is one of the many slots offered by LeoVegas, and PartyCasino, another online casino with a mobile app, has eight different casino games about British game show Deal or No Deal.

Reach a Younger Audience
Many of those choosing to go without a pay-TV subscription are those in younger demographics. This study reveals that the average age of someone who watches live TV is 56, as young people pay for subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, and premium subscriptions from sites like YouTube. It’s great that older people are enjoying shows, but it means that TV networks may not be reaching everyone who may enjoy the show.

In comparison, the average age of a mobile gamer is 36.3 years old, making them nearly 20 years younger than the average live TV viewer. By releasing a mobile game, networks can reach this much younger audience, showing them why the characters, music, and story are so enjoyable.

Make Money When the Show Isn’t Being Made

 

Seinfeld went off the air in 1998 and yet the sitcom still makes millions of dollars. It was announced that Netflix had paid $100 million for the rights to show all 151 episodes. Not every show will be able to make that much money from streaming deals years after they stopped making new episodes, but mobile games can help networks make money when a show isn’t being made.

Fans of a show who would like to keep hearing the music and seeing the character may start playing mobile games to keep being entertained by the series. They may be happy to spend too, allowing the shows to make money when ads can’t be sold and streaming deals can’t be made.

The way that people watch TV shows may have changed, but releasing mobile game versions of these shows has kept on being popular. Fans don’t have to watch reruns just to enjoy their favourite series.

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