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: Haven closes out explosive midseason finale

When one door closes on Haven, at least one more if blown wide open. And true to form, Thursday’s midseason finale, “Chosen,” did just that, shutting down the Mara/Audrey storyline while jumping off in a somewhat new direction.

Directed by Shawn Piller, “Chosen” picked up from last week’s story with a rapid-fire delivery of some key facts: Charlotte is 1,100 years old and is Mara’s mother. Mara, who is 600, became super-bad after being split from Audrey and doesn’t realize what a truly evil girl she’s been. Also? The mysterious aether is from the void between the two worlds and Charlotte and Mara belong in that other world. As a die-hard Haven fan, even I had to chuckle at the main storyline after I’d typed it. Only in this genre can stuff like that happen and no one bats an eye.

Anyway, Charlotte wanted to meet up with Mara and–with help from Audrey–perhaps the two could show Mara the err of her ways. And, if things worked out like Charlotte hoped, Mara and Audrey would become one again and the Troubles would stop. After all, Mara had said she turned off Duke’s leaking Troubles. (Raise your hand if you loved that exploding husband off the top of the episode. “I told you not to touch anything!” Good old Duke.)

Speaking of, the lanky lad was once again the odd man out in the situation, leaking black eye goo while seeing the gal he’d grown to have feelings for disappear. Now there is just Audrey, and Nathan has his love back. Duke, meanwhile, lost Mara and is in a very bad way. By episode’s end we’d learned that not only had Mara not turned him off like she’d told Charlotte, but he was exploding Trouble leeches out of his eyes. Now, instead of just a few people having them, it looks like every Havenite is going to be Troubled.

Like I said, only on Haven.

Notes and quotes

  • “I’m about eleven-hundred in your years. Mara is six-hundred. Ish.”–Charlotte
  • Turns out Dwight is into super-old chicks
  • “Lady, I know problems and store-bought Kahlua is not a problem.”–Duke
  • “I have to go to The Great Gull to pick up a body. With a sponge.”–Gloria
  • Dave and Vince’s realization that the Croatoan massacre may have happened around Haven is an interesting twist, but there is still lots to cover in that storyline.

Haven returns in 2015 on Showcase.

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Guilt Free Zone to rock late night on APTN

Guilt_Free_Zone

From a media release:

Leave your guilt behind and enter the “Guilt Free Zone” – APTN’s edgy new late-night flagship series hosted by Juno award-winning artist Derek Miller – for performances by the hippest Aboriginal musical artists, no-holds-barred monologues, and provocative dance and comedy performances plus a whole lot more. Shot in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, Regina, and Winnipeg in front of live-studio audiences, “Guilt Free Zone” (6 x 30’) airs Tuesdays on APTN East and HD at 10 p.m. and APTN West at 10:00 p.m. MT starting January 6.

“’Guilt Free Zone’ exposes audiences to new talent in music, comedy, and dance while exploring settler and Indigenous people’s collective guilt through comedy, satire, and truth,” says Derek Miller, host, “Guilt Free Zone.”

Each episode of the variety and performance series “Guilt Free Zone” asks Canadians to do something many have never been asked to do before when watching TV – openly enjoy discussing often taboo topics like sex, guilty pleasures and more – all while being entertained by the best Aboriginal acts. Host Derek Miller leads the charge, taking audiences on a wild ride with his unique sense of humour and interview style. Each entertaining performance is peppered with recurring characters who pop by to shake things up even more.

Performers this season include Inez Jasper, Jayli Wolf, hip hop artist Plex, comedian Lucas Jacko, Brendt Thomas Diablo, burlesque dancer Miss Lou Lou la Duchesse de Riere, Craig James Laur, Night Switch, The Snake Oil Salesmen, Ali Fontaine and Leonard Sumner.

Guitarist and singer/ songwriter Derek Miller is a musician with eclectic taste and a knack for roots inflected rock. From the Six Nations of the Grand River, Mohawk Territory, Miller became interested in music in his early teens, and by the late ’90s had not only toured with iconic vocalist Buffy Sainte-Marie but was also garnered a Juno for both his debut album, and sophomore album in 2008. Miller completed his third studio album in collaboration with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band ‘Double Trouble’. The first single of the album is a duet featuring Derek Miller with Willie Nelson.

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Kids’ CBC gets moving with The Moblees

moblees

From a media release:

With Canada lagging globally when it comes to meeting guidelines for kids’ overall physical activity and limiting sedentary behavior, Kids’ CBC aims to inspire healthy change in the way Canadian children and their families move through their daily lives with The Moblees (30 x 11-minutes), a new live-action interactive musical adventure series for kids aged 3 – 5 years. Integrating a holistic approach to healthy active living, including non-sedentary behaviors, physical activity and nutrition,

The Moblees airs on CBC Monday to Friday at 8 a.m. (8:30 NT) beginning on December 22.

“Using a television program as a strategy to reduce the sedentary behaviour of young children seems paradoxical,” confesses Professor Mark Tremblay, director of the healthy active living and obesity research group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, “however, The Moblees is designed to condition and guide young children and their families to recalibrate their lifestyle to one where fun, creative, lifestyle-embedded movements are normal, spontaneous, frequent, desired and rewarded.”

Featuring fun moves, memorable music and catchy lyrics, The Moblees turns home viewers into home do-ers by getting them off the floor and into the action through direct-to-camera address and playful participation. The series stars five loveable characters who – along with do-ers at home – overcome obstacles through teamwork and movement: feisty Bailey Butterfly (Shannon Hamilton); her spontaneous younger brother, Carlin Caterpillar (Scott Farley); brainy perfectionist Gisbert Grasshopper (Chris George); tail-waggity optimist Dasha Dog (Michelle Bouey); and super smooth Sylvio Snake (Matt Nethersole). Kids from around the world also share their own Moblee moves in the series.

Each episode features a movement-centric, song-driven adventure that culminates in the awarding of a Moblee Medal, rewarding preschoolers’ newfound expertise in doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways with movement. Boasting an infectious blend of original world music, The Moblees’ imaginative journeys provide transformative experiences where children and their families are encouraged to live a healthy, active lifestyle.

The series’ curriculum is advised by a team of esteemed experts including Kids’ CBC Developmental Psychologist Dr. Lynn Oldershaw; Dr. Mark Tremblay, Chief Advisor for non-sedentary behaviors and physical activity, Director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research (HALO) at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa; Dr. James Mandigo, Professor and Interim Dean of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University and co-founder of Brock’s Centre for Healthy Development; and Mary Savoye-DeSanti, RD, CD-N, CDE, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and Associate Director of Pediatric Obesity at Yale University, School of Medicine.

The Moblees originated and continues as a live family show that is performed in Canada, the United States and around the world. Recent engagements include the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver and the U.S. White House Easter Egg Roll.

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Review: Republic of Doyle says goodbye

“I wish this day would never end.” Those were Jake Doyle’s final words on Wednesday night. And while I’m sure fans across the country shared his thoughts, it was time to say goodbye.

This most likely isn’t the last that we’ve seen of those folks from St. John’s, Newfoundland–Allan Hawco is hopeful a feature film is in the cards–but this was certainly it for the television series. But rather than it being a final goodbye, this was more of a so long for now. The back-to-back “Judgement Day” and “Last Call” served as a suitable farewell, combining the car chases, catastrophic explosions, fisticuffs and heartfelt moments that have been the mainstay of the veteran drama.

The first 60 minutes, of course, dealt with Jake’s murder trial. After being found guilty of murdering Mayor Clarke, Jake was given 48 hours on the outside before sentencing (that was Republic of Doyle art director and Majumder Manor star Peter Blackie playing the crown prosecutor who wanted Jake kept in jail), and that was just enough time for he and Malachy to be hired by the judge to find out who was blackmailing him. Judge Tizzard suspected his wife, Miranda (Mary Walsh), but evidence seemed to point at a variety of suspects including Alisha, the Chevalier bike gang and a city planner. Alisha became prime suspect No. 1 after Miranda’s bar was blown to smithereens, until it was revealed the mysterious Damon Rhodes (The Border‘s James McGowan) was behind the whole thing and held the key to Jake’s freedom in his hands, literally: a flash drive showing Brogen killing Clarke.

Damon’s plan? Have Jake work for him in prison for three years and the drive’s contents would be revealed and Jake would be set free to work for Damon on the outside. That, of course, wasn’t going to happen, so Jake and his family became targets of the biker gang. The one to feel that the most was poor Des who, already heartbroken because Tinny broke up with him, had his skull cracked by Damon at The Duke. It was nice to see Malachy and Jake get involved in a good old-fashioned donnybrook at The Green Room, though it ended prematurely when Picard arrested Jake.

Leslie, meanwhile, had her hands full with the Inspector Pickard (John Kapelos), and was called to the carpet in front of Internal Affairs for her relationship with the Doyles. But rather than apologize to the panel as the Inspector advised, she was unrepentant and got fired.

The final blow? Leslie was pregnant, a story angle hinted at every time she dreamt of she and he being a family. After busting him out of the interrogation room (with help from Hood and somehow sneaking out of an entire precinct packed with coppers), Leslie and Jake were on the run.

So, what did the last hour, “Last Call,” hold? A manhunt for Jake and Leslie, an unconventional teaming with Alisha, Rhodes going to drastic measures to get Jake on board and an eventual clearing of Jake’s name in the death of Mayor Clarke. It wasn’t an easy task. Not only did Jake resort to swapping out the GTO in favour of a–gasp!–Mustang to keep a low profile, but he had to witness the beatings of Des and Malachy because he wouldn’t work for Rhodes.

After a series of twists, turns and a pants-less Des, Jake had located Clarke’s cell phone, an item which contained not only recordings of agreements the Chevalier gang would run St. John’s but at least one dirty cop who was in on it: Pickard. Leslie discovered the same information, though it was done face-to-face while she spoke to Pickard, leading to a short, bullet-filled foot chase that left him dead and her badly injured and the fate of the baby up in the air.

Rhodes’ final showdown with Jake and Malachy on a gravel road was interrupted by the cops, led by … Alisha. Turns out Vick Saul’s right-hand woman was a federal marshal all along and was more than happy to not only take out Rhodes but help Jake locate a backup flash drive proving his innocence.

Those hoping for a happy ending weren’t disappointed, though Doyle‘s writers came up with a sweet twist. Picking up two years later, Jake and Leslie were already married, had twins with a third on the way. The nuptials everyone had gathered to celebrate were for Tinny and Des. (Who else was glad to see the beloved GTO in the background, festooned with ribbon?) Midway through Wednesday’s finale, Jake mentioned that St. John’s is called The City of Legends. Jake Doyle is certainly that.

Notes and quotes

  • “It’s ironic. All the crap I’ve done over the years and I’m going to be sent to prison for a crime I didn’t even commit.”–Jake
  • “I need to get some air. For my lungs, which may or may not be punctured from a broken heart.”–Des
  • “You’re a good man. And a great son.”–Malachy
  • It was hoot to see Rick Mercer playing the new mayor of St. John’s, though I half expected him to launch into a rant
  • “It would suck to find out you were shagging some biker missus.”–Leslie
  • “What are you doing with my head? You know I can’t handle more than one layer of subtext at a time.”–Des

What did you think of the series finale of Republic of Doyle? Let me know at greg@tv-eh.com, post a comment below to head to @tv_eh on Twitter.

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Thunderbird Films acquires Great Pacific Media

From a media release:

Thunderbird is pleased to announce the acquisition of Canadian production company Great Pacific Media. The addition of Vancouver-based Great Pacific and their team to the Thunderbird group of companies will accelerate the growth of Thunderbird’s presence in the unscripted television space.

Great Pacific is a global leader in factual television. Started in 2010 by TV veterans Blair Reekie and Mark Miller, their programs are seen in more than 170 countries. Their number one hit, Highway Thru Hell shattered audience records when it premiered on Discovery Canada and now, in its fourth season, the series is amongst the highest rated programs on National Geographic Channel Europe, Africa and Asia and The Weather Channel USA.
2015 is going to be another record-breaking year for Great Pacific with two brand new series rolling out.

In January Discovery Canada will launch Airshow, a documentary series that goes behind the scenes in the dangerous and emotionally charged world of Airshow performers. March will see the premiere of Game of Homes on W Network (Corus) where four couples compete to save four houses from the wrecking ball. The team that does the best renovation keeps their home, making it the biggest prize in Canadian cable television history.

Tim Gamble, CEO of Thunderbird said “We are so excited to be growing our company with Mark, Blair and the Great Pacific team. We admire their accurate, honest and compelling style of storytelling and look forward to working together to produce content that is attractive to our domestic and international broadcasters.”

Mark Miller, CEO of Great Pacific continued “We have known and worked with Thunderbird for many years and have a shared vision to fuel our growth through the creation of world class content. This makes a lot of sense.” Blair Reekie, President of Great Pacific added, “We’re excited to join the Thunderbird team as we work together to grow our division in factual, lifestyle and formats for the international market.”

“Mark is a terrific writer/producer/showrunner who, together with Blair, has built an enviable business in a relatively short period of time. Mark will be a great addition to the Thunderbird Board of Directors, where he will help us chart our next stage of growth” said Thunderbird Executive Chair Ivan Fecan.

Today’s announcement follows the recent announcement of Thunderbird’s pending acquisition of London-based theatrical distributor Soda Pictures, as well as the acquisition of Reunion Pictures completed in 2013.

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