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.

Justin Chatwin, James Frain and Ksenia Solo join Orphan Black

Orphan-Black-Iconic-Poster_BBC-AMERICA

From a media release:

− Additional cast members announced for ORPHAN BLACK Season 3 include Kyra Harper, Earl Pastko, and Ksenia Solo –

− Produced by Temple Street Productions in association with Space and BBC America, ORPHAN BLACK Season 3 premieres in Spring 2015 –

Space, BBC America, and Temple Street Productions announced earlier today that James Frain (INTRUDERS) has been cast in Season 3 of the critically acclaimed Canadian original series, ORPHAN BLACK. Also announced as new Season 3 cast members are Canadian actors Kyra Harper (WAREHOUSE 13), Ksenia Solo (LOST GIRL), and Earl Pastko (MURDOCH MYSTERIES). The announcement comes hot on the heels of the recently announced addition of Canada’s own Justin Chatwin (SHAMELESS) to the cast. Season 3 of the 10-episode, one-hour series is currently in production, and scheduled to premiere on Space in Spring 2015.

James Frain joins the cast as Ferdinand, a well-educated, Topside “cleaner” who is at the same time both charming and intimidating. Ferdinand is a powerful player in a secretive, multi-national political faction that operates with questionable ethics and a ruthless modus operandi.

Featured in a guest starring role this season is Justin Chatwin as Jason Kellerman. With rugged good looks and street-smarts, Jason is a savvy drug-dealer in the guise of a charismatic businessman.

Ksenia Solo plays Shay, a beautiful, soulful, and compassionate holistic healer with a great sense of humour, and new friend to Cosima (Maslany). Kyra Harper is Dr. Coady, a ruthless doctor and advisor to the military. Coady is outwardly the soul of reason, but her maternal, nurturing manner conceals an agenda that even her superiors do not suspect. Earl Pastko joins ORPHAN BLACK as Bulldog, the silent, imposing, and violent personal bodyguard to Ferdinand. Communicating with his boss by looks only, Bulldog carries out the dirty work of his shady employers.

Starring Golden Globe® nominee Tatiana Maslany as the “Leda Clones”, ORPHAN BLACK’s second season brought new, more treacherous, enemies to light, culminating in a shocking finale with the reveal of the new male “Castor” clones played by Ari Millen. Season 3 plunges the clone sisterhood into unexpected territory with the realization that they’re not alone. Just when they thought they knew their enemies and allies, Season 3 reveals the clones as more vulnerable than ever before, with the highly trained, identical male-soldier “Castor Clones” complicating matters. And though Sarah, Cosima, Alison, and Helena realize they are stronger together, this season puts that bond to the test.

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Review: Rebecca grows in Strange Empire

When I began to watch Strange Empire, I naturally gravitated to Kat Loving. I recognized her as the female equal to Seth Bullock on Deadwood, a Western show I dearly loved. Like Seth, Kat is plunged into assuming the mantle of lawmaker in town and it’s a role she doesn’t yet embrace. Offsetting her is Slotter, who holds hints of Deadwood‘s Swearengen.

But as the weeks have gone on, I find myself drawn more and more to Rebecca and the actress who plays her. Melissa Farman’s interpretation of Rebecca is wonderful. Like Dr. Temperence Brennan on Bones, Rebecca is gifted with high intelligence but lacks a lot of human emotion. She, like Brennan, is learning to connect with her emotions. Monday’s newest instalment, “The Oath,” called on Rebecca to be in touch with both sides as she had to be cold and calculating in Thomas’ chances for survival while juggling her jittery feelings. He was going to die whether she operated on his infected leg or not and that would leave her alone.

Thomas has been a fascinating figure of late. I’ve felt badly for him because of the advancing infection, but then he’s said something dickish to make me hate him again. That continued last night when he alternated being tender with telling Rebecca to head back east once he was dead in the vain hope she’d listen and leave Finn behind. Kudos to Thomas for opting not to reveal to Rebecca that Finn was a woman; he could have done that with his dying breath and further compounded Rebecca’s difficult task of saying goodbye to him. Instead, he opted to pull her close and make her feel loved as he uttered his dying breath.

Now that Thomas is gone, the door is open for Rebecca to take on the gig as Janestown’s doctor. It’s a role I can’t wait to see her excel in.

Notes and quotes

  • What is it with mud wrestling on these Western shows? First it was Hell on Wheels and now Strange Empire? Has it become a thing and I just didn’t know it?
  • I love the sepia tones and earthy browns used in Strange Empire. It makes things like Thomas’ blood really pop off the screen
  • “All men know what’s best for themselves. That’s the trouble.”–Kat

Strange Empire airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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Interview: Murdoch Mysteries loses two characters

No one could have seen that conclusion coming. Monday’s episode of Murdoch Mysteries, “What Lies Buried,” featured the return of William Murdoch’s nemesis, Inspector Giles (Nigel Bennett). He, along with Brackenreid, were among the suspects after the body of a fellow police officer, Constable Finch, was discovered buried under the station house.

Fun facts from Brackenreid’s first days on the job as a copper–he met future wife Margaret when he arrested her and his nickname was “Tommy Two Cakes”–took a decidedly dramatic turn during Murdoch’s interrogation of Giles. It was there–under sparse lighting–that the two men exchanged secrets: Murdoch confirmed he’d helped Constance Gardiner escape from the jail and Giles revealed he was gay. That was shocking enough, but the uppercut to Giles’ initial jab was the realization Constable Hodge (Brian Kaulback) had killed Finch out of loyalty to Giles.

Giles’ outing meant he’s off the force and will no longer be part of Murdoch Mysteries. As for Hodge, well, we may see more of him yet according to the episode’s writer, Paul Aitken.

Why did you decide to cover homosexuality in this episode?
We’ve actually dealt with homosexuality several times throughout the series mostly because it existed. Even people at the time knew it was a thing and it existed. How they dealt with it then is very different with how we deal with it today and it’s always interesting to see the differences between now and then in terms of how homosexuality was understood.

Monday’s episode was what we call a bottle show. It was an episode that had to be filmed quite cheaply because we find ourselves in a situation–at least once or twice a season–where we have overspent or are concerned about overspending, so the whole episode was contained within the station house. To do that, of course, you need to have a mystery that is absorbing enough, so we came up with someone being buried beneath the station house and we had to build a mystery on that. I can’t remember who it was but someone came up with the very bright idea of Giles be very much involved in the original crime. There was always a suspicion amongst the writers that the character of Giles was possibly homosexual, and it could be just the way in which [Nigel Bennett] played him. It was a natural fit and once you introduce that into a character–him being a homosexual–then you become aware of the challenges that they face. You can build a whole twist on them wanting and needing to keep it a secret. We came up with that idea because it served the function of the episode.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 5.29.35 PM

The scene between Giles and Murdoch was very powerful. Two men admitting secrets to the other with just two spotlights over them in the darkened interrogation room. It was very effective.
At the end of Season 4, Murdoch has the secret of Constance and Giles knows about it. He can’t catch Murdoch at it so you have this cat and mouse thing and I’ve always wanted the confrontation scene. We were very happy with the idea of having these two things come together. Giles’ guilt caused him to do things by the book and defined him because of this great secret that he carried, and from then on he became very rigid in his adherence to how things should be done. That was why he was so hard on Murdoch. We see that come completely undone in the scene and I was very happy we were able to do that.

It was a very difficult scene for the actors because that was the first scene shot for that episode. There was very little preparation time, you couldn’t build up to it and it was a lot to ask, especially of Yannick, who is in most scenes in most episodes and doesn’t have a lot of time to prepare. I think Yannick was a little peeved at me before that scene was filmed, but everybody realized after it was filmed that it was an exceptional scene.

How will this affect Murdoch’s Roman Catholicism in the coming weeks?
We don’t know. I think this has been evolving since the series began. Over the seasons we’ve seen the effect Dr. Ogden has had on him. I think he is less rigid than he used to be and he is more forgiving. Obviously that exists within Catholicism, there is a capacity for forgiveness. I think we’re constantly seeing the clash between his faith and his scientific impetus and we’re seeing a different side of him when it comes to the law with Constance Gardiner.

Does this mean Constable Hodge is no longer going to be on the show?
Well, we don’t know. We gave ourselves an out at the end of the episode. Giles is gone because he is a homosexual and will pay the price for that. But Hodge … it could be argued that it was an unintended killing and it’s possible he won’t do much time. He’ll never be back as a constable but maybe he’ll have a bar. We don’t know. Brian gave a standout performance. We were very happy with it and I think he was happy too.

Talk about the Brackenreid’s back story. Last night was the first time we learned he and Margaret met when he arrested her. Was that in important piece to put in there to tie in more revelations about Margaret?
It was a completely fun addition, but you’ve just given me an idea. [Laughs.] Every time you do it you create a bit of history and hopefully you remember it so you can build on it later. We never thought about it before this episode and I kind of liked the idea that he was attracted to her because she was a spark plug.

How do you go about your writing process? Do you shut yourself off in a room and write? Are you superstitious and use a certain pen or have a certain drink?
Everyone has their different writing style preferences and I like to write in the room with everyone else. I don’t like to miss anything, so I’ll often write the script while I’m in the office. One thing that’s nice about writing in the room at work is that I can always try out different lines with people or ask the room if it’s working. It’s very helpful. I don’t think anybody writes a script totally by themselves, least of all me. I’m always seeking outside help in just about every scene I write.

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

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Tonight: Murdoch Mysteries, Package Deal, Strange Empire

Murdoch Mysteries, CBC
After the skeleton of a murdered police officer is found in the station house basement, Murdoch’s investigation leads him to suspect his own colleagues.

Package Deal, City
Kim is relieved she’ll no longer be Sheldon’s “punching bag” when Ryan introduces his new girlfriend, Beth, to the group. However, Sheldon ends up taking a liking to her – until Kim discovers Beth has a secret that the brothers wouldn’t approve of. Meanwhile, Danny becomes his new boss’s drinking buddy in order to get on her good side.

Strange Empire, CBC
Rebecca believes amputation is the only hope for Thomas’s survival; the girls stumble on cattle rustlers and spend a night in terror.

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Canada’s Smartest Person crowns its winner

A West Coaster has bested the rest of the country to become the winner of Canada’s Smartest Person. Vancouver’s Braden Lauer was triumphant during Sunday’s two-hour season finale on CBC, besting seven other finalists.

“Being on Canada’s Smartest Person has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” Lauer said via press release. “I hope winning the title inspires students and young people in the country to pursue their goals with passion and determination.” Lauer is in his second year of studying law at the University of British Columbia.

The past nine weeks have featured Canadians from varying backgrounds competing in mental and physical challenges devised to test their skills in math and logic, visual and spatial intelligence, body and kinesthetic intelligence, linguistics, musical intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. An ingenious Canada’s Smartest Person app enabled viewers to play along during and between broadcasts and revealed some startling facts about this country.

According to a press release issued by the CBC:

  • Waterloo, ON, emerged as the country’s smartest city
  • P.E.I. is Canada’s smartest province
  • Men outperformed women in the linguistic intelligence tests, which contrasts with scientific studies that suggest women have superior language and communication skills
  • Women excelled in social intelligence tests, scoring 6 percentage points higher than men overall with an average score of 62 points versus 56 points for men
  • Alberta emerged with the highest musical strength averaging 76 points across all music intelligence tests, while P.E.I. scored the lowest in this category with an average of 65 points
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