All posts by Martha

Meet The Sloths (and other deadly sins)


Have you met the sloths?

If your immediate response was anything other than “OMG, I love the sloths, they are so cute, squeeeeeeeee!” you clearly haven’t met these unbelievably mellow creatures, with their Mona Lisa smiles and zen-like demeanour. They are the animal equivalent of Buddha, or possibly Cheech and Chong.

Where can you hang with the sloths? At the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, of course. This one-of-a-kind facility rescues, rehabilitates and houses countless sloths. But if Costa Rica is a bit too far, you can always tune into tonight’s season premiere of Meet The Sloths on Animal Planet.

There is a great deal to learn about these enigmatic creatures, but this quick primer should get you caught up on your sloth studies.

What you need to know:

  1. The most interesting thing about sloths is their poop
  2. You can gauge a sloth’s health by its poop
  3. Sloths only poop once a week
  4. Pooping is virtually the only time they descend to the ground
  5. Sloths don’t just descend and poop, they do a “poop dance”
  6. Seriously, the sanctuary’s staff is so obsessed with sloth poop that you’d think it was laced with 24k gold

Don’t believe me? Watch this clip:

Defecation aside, the new season also delves into the romances and clandestine affairs of the sanctuary’s furry inhabitants. In episode 2 we meet “Brad Pitt,” an unusually handsome wild sloth who is helpless to resist the siren call of the females. By siren call I mean a high pitched shriek that could possibly shatter glass. Poor Brad scales concrete walls in dogged pursuit of the ladies, and unfortunately adds lust to his other obvious deadly sin.

You know … sloth … deadly sin … just watch the movie Seven and you’ll get it.

Animal Planet’s Meet The Sloths premieres today, Saturday, November 23 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT


Interview: Colin Ferguson of Haven

HavenShowcase’s original production Haven returns for its fourth season tonight at 9pm ET/6pm PT with a premiere packed with action, revelations, and new Troubles. Season four picks up six months after the devastating events of the season finale in which the town was pummelled by a violent meteor storm.

TV, eh?’s Martha Marcin, along with several other bloggers, interviewed new cast member Colin Ferguson, who portrays William, a handsome and mysterious stranger whose secret agenda leads him to Audrey Parker (Emily Rose).

Stephanie ( Just wondering what your first impressions you had of William and how is your perceptions – your first perceptions of him since changed?

Colin Ferguson: I guess when it all started was I was in Los Angeles and I’ve been friends with Shawn Piller for many, many years. And for years he’d say, we’d love to have you on the show…great, I’d love to be on the show, but you’re never sure if that continues. So this year he said, “We have a real character for a season on Haven, are you interested? And I said, yes, what’s the character about? And he said, I can’t tell you, you’ve got to come to the writers room. So, I go to the writers room and my first impression of William was that he was going to be fun to play.

They said, “What we’re going to try to do is write him so you don’t know if he’s good or bad. And for every time that you think you know he’s good, you’re going to go, wow! Or is he really bad? And I have to say they’ve succeeded brilliantly.

Stephanie Mernagh: So William is described as a very enigmatic stranger as it were, throughout the season are we going to see his past unravel?

Colin Ferguson: Yes, absolutely. We’re going to learn everything about William, yet at the end it doesn’t completely tie-up, there’s still questions, there’s still things you want to know. This is a big season of Haven this year. I think it’s the best one.

Martha Marcin (TV, eh?): We got a BIG question for you. There’s a few love interest floating around Haven, particularly around Audrey, soooooooo what about William? Are you going to get in on that action?

Colin Ferguson: Hopefully! Yes, I would say that there is affection for William at some point by some of the characters. Maybe all the characters secretly they harbour a few affections for William, I can’t speak for them. But there’s definitely something that happens with William and – I wish I could tell you more, right? But I would start spoiling things if I did, so I can’t.

Martha Marcin: Too bad.

Andrew Powell (the GATE): Hi, there. I’m really curious what it was like working with a cast because, you know, it’s a bit of an established cast that you’re coming into and I’m wondering how that works with them.

Colin Ferguson: It was great, short answer. Longer answer, I’ve known Emily (Rose) for years because of all the sci-fi stuff we’ve done. I’ve done a movie with Lucas (Bryant) in the past. I knew Shawn (Piller) obviously from years before. I’ve known Eric for years. I didn’t know Adam (Copeland), but what a phenomenal guy. He toes the line amazingly, he plays his role great and he knows exactly what he’s doing.

So you show up in this town, and even though you’re friends with everybody you’re never really sure how it’s going to go. You know, people’s bugaboos come out when they work.

So I show up on set and they were so welcoming. There’s not a ton to do in Chester so at night you end up having dinner with each other, and you end up playing cards in someone’s house. So it’s a real family sort of feel.

Natasha Dunkley: Is there anything else that you want to add in general about Season 4, what Canadians can look forward to you being a Canadian filming in Canada…

Colin Ferguson: Just little stuff I’d love to say. The crew in Halifax was phenomenal. It’s a Canadian show, it’s really nice to see the Maritimes portrayed and it’s a beautiful part of the world. From an entertainment perspective, this is the best season that they’ve done and we’re really proud of it and it gets bigger and bigger as the season goes along so I hope people tune in, I hope they enjoy it.


The Chef’s Domain is high-end food porn


By Martha Marcin for TV, eh?

I’m sick and tired. I’m sick of the food freak shows that brought us the doughnut hamburger and I’m tired of cooking shows that don’t actually show you how to cook anything. Let’s just call it what it is, shall we? Food porn. The key difference being that when I watch Julia Child I don’t wind up shoulder deep in my refrigerator scraping off mouldy cheese with one hand and ordering a pizza with the other. I don’t need to shower the grease along with the shame off of me when I’m done.

I’m not a puritan. I think food porn has its place, and it can be a titillating way to spend a dull Saturday afternoon. I have a problem when it’s my only option – Food Network, I’m looking at you! A little bit of greasy deep fried smut is ok, but if it’s all you watch you have a problem and should seek professional help.

That being said, The Chef’s Domain will not teach you how to cook, but it will inspire you. Each show features a Canadian chef whose focus is on serving ultra local cuisine, in some cases sourced from a 40 km radius (they use 25 miles on the show, but this is Canada, people).

Episode one even had the award-winning head chef of Raymonds in St. John’s, Newfoundland hunting for fresh game meat, diving for scallops and foraging for mushrooms with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country as the backdrop.

What stands out is the passion of the chefs showcased, their commitment to supporting their local farmers, and their philosophy of taking care of the planet and each other, all while having a little fun.

So where does The Chef’s Domain fit into the gastronomically naughty spectrum? Well they do hit on the trifecta of great food porn. Firstly, there are some seriously sexy shots of local cuisine, but you are just as likely to see some local pigs rooting in their own filth – I guess there is something for every perversion. Secondly, they deliver a passionate story of local chefs and farmers supporting each other and their communities. Thirdly, I was so inspired after watching it that I cycled over to the local farmers market to hunt for mushrooms and the most perfect lacy bunch of string beans I could find.

Verdict: it’s some high end shit.

The Chef’s Domain premieres tonight on Discovery World. 


Less Than Kind’s Mark McKinney and Wendel Meldrum on season four and horseshoe proctology


In advance of Less Than Kind‘s fourth and final season premiere on HBO Canada this Sunday, TV, eh?‘s Martha Marcin interviewed actress Wendel Meldrum and showrunner Mark McKinney.

I just watched the first episode and it looks like an exciting final season. Sheldon, Miriam and Danny are coming of age, Anne is coping with the death of her husband in a rather unconventional fashion. Is there a theme to the season?

Meldrum: Cataclysm of new beginnings with the events changing and people have to catch up.

McKinney: Yeah, all of the themes overlap. For Sheldon we set it in August after he graduates high school, and everybody in the writers room had a story to tell about that weird time. Knowing that you’re not going back, your future beckons you, you have no idea what it is, the boundaries and structures are gone and you start running into your first adult problems. For Anne it has conjured up intense case of empty nest anxiety. For Josh it’s the end of his youth, and he still hasn’t found himself.

 The character of Josh is sporting a hair do and ‘stache reminiscent of 70s porn stars. Is this intentional and exactly how far would he go to fulfil his dream of “acting”?

McKinney and Meldrum: Oooooooooooohhhhh! (laugh)

McKinney: What is particularly satisfying is by the time we are airing our hour-long finale you’ll feel that we’ve ended not only the season but the series, and Josh has been in a protracted and violent struggle to find out who he is, thinking that he is meant for some kind of greater glory. He suffers a humiliating reversal that eventually beats him down so far that he actually finds his way in by the end, in a really really satisfying way.

Meldrum: The difference of who think you are and who you actually are, and it’s poetically gorgeous. I really like the character arc he has.

McKinney: And it airs on Bastille Day, another day of discovery, only in this case for an entire nation.

I’m marking my calendar right now. It’s the final season of Less Than Kind – can you elaborate on why there was a decision to end the series?

McKinney: I think the network was getting ready to do other programming, but at the same time it felt logical, really, given where the kids in particular were arriving in four seasons. We knew they were going to get out of high school. It just felt there was a perfect waypoint to tag in the ending.

Is there the chance of a spin-off for Sheldon, Miriam and Danny? Really their story is just beginning.

McKinney and Meldrum: Ahhhhhhhh! Well, yes it is (the beginning).

McKinney: We are in such an interesting and changeable time in television business where people are now watching shows on demand, six to seven episodes at a time. Shows that have garnered a following in a Kickstarterish fashion are starting to reappear. I’m talking, of course, about Arrested Development. I think that and Veronica Mars are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m hoping that the show is durable and sticky and continues to be discovered after it airs, and who knows maybe there will be a movie or a TV movie. Wendel’s fondest dream is to do a perennial Hanukkah movie.

Did you have a sense of how you wanted to end the series?

McKinney: No, but the threads that are its signal strength by the end of the fourth season were always there at the beginning. Because it involved the casting of Maury Chaykin and every thoroughbred actor that we could get to raise the quality and realism of the performances and confrontations, and we wound up with an absolutely amazing cast.

Did you have to make significant adjustments after the death of Maury?

Meldrum: He passed, we pushed (the season) back a month, and it was unanimous that it would be about the passing of the character. It was remarkable what happened that season, what was launched from the death of a friend and cast member. Really honouring Maury’s career and what he brought to the show.

Seems like Canadian comedy having a hard time staying on the air, for example the Gemini and WGC winners have all been cancelled. Is Canadian comedy in crisis?

Meldrum: Hmm what it feels like to me is that people took chances, things got successful, but they cancelled them, and it makes me wonder if they fell on the spear of their own creativity, and how it’s actually connecting with people.

McKinney: I think seven things. One…

Meldrum: (Laugh) I didn’t even think that last thing, never mind!

McKinney: First of all TV across the board in North America is in flux. Amazon is publishing half hour comedy, we’re moving to the internet and to cable, programming primetime is still very important but it’s fading and it’s only going to continue to fade. The House of Cards model is a game changer, so there is that aspect of the so-called “the crisis” which, I think, has really made executives at networks very nervous. It’s a shrinking piece of ice and that model is a polar bear. Geez, another Canadian metaphor …

Meldrum: I love that.

McKinney: I only started paying to attention to how regulation government and subsidies works. I do know one thing: that the industry is stuffed with talent now more than anything. The next Mad Men, the next Game of Thrones could easily come from Canada. I’m not sure if you’re going to be able to point the finger at some nimble government participation in that …

Meldrum: What an oxymoron: nimble government.

I’ve never heard those words together.

McKinney: The industry is treated slightly like the enemy and unfortunately the Canadian ability to produce great shows is here in every single way except where it needs to be reflected, which is at the higher levels of boardrooms and government committees. Not that I think the government should necessarily do it for us; I think it can happen despite them.

Meldrum: We’re hoping that the success of the show, people will look at the model that created it, which is giving the creatives the power and control. Supporting the creatives as opposed to micro-managing them according to market graphs.

McKinney: You can have a great relationship with a network executive, if that person understands the creative side of the business. We had it on Less than Kind. What HBO did when Maury passed away was to say, “Yeah you can stop, here’s some more money, go and write it in.” That never happens. We have a horseshoe up our butt.

Meldrum: Yeah, and that’s what it feels like. Ow!

McKinney: Ow!

You touched on video streaming services like Netflix as a game changer when it comes to unconventional comedy. For example Community was almost cancelled repeatedly until it found an audience on Netflix, and my butt is still asleep after my Arrested Development marathon on Sunday. Is there an audience for Canadian comedy on video streaming services?

McKinney: I don’t know where Less than Kind sits in the gigantic video library of the world when we’re done, but it will definitely be there in a way that would not have been possible 15 years ago. It can maintain a presence. And I think there is a chance that shows will emerge on merit in a way they haven’t before. I use Slings and Arrows as an example because it is more popular now than it ever has been.

Now that I’m reading it, my next question it sounds a bit morbid, but I’ll ask you anyway. What are your thoughts when you look back and reflect on your career as a whole?

McKinney: Morbid!?

Meldrum: (Laugh) Oh my god, do you mean morbid/hopeful?

McKinney: So you’re asking if I want to take a morbid look back at my career?

Oh that so did not come out right. You can ignore it.

Meldrum: Oh come on it’s adorable! You made people laugh!

McKinney: I think what you’re trying to say is, it ain’t over yet baby! So how is it going so far? I think I’ve had a miraculous and wonderful career. I always seem to find myself in some interesting creative proposition, and it’s not by design, I’m not a smart guy. I’m not kidding about the horseshoe.

Meldrum: Imagine what he thinks of me, if he doesn’t think he’s smart.

McKinney: Oh I’m talking to the dumb broad now? Learn to turn on your iPad and it might save you a minute.

Meldrum: I’m gonna get it, I’m gonna get it.

What’s next for you guys?

Meldrum: I have some things happening with my writing, but I’m available … call me up!

McKinney: It’s been an intense 5 years. I’ve got a few things in development, the Kids in the Hall conference call is heating up a little bit with maybe the possibility of doing something together. Don’t know what yet.

Do you ever make fun of Bruce McCullough for his brief appearance on Anne of Green Gables the Sequel?

McKinney: Oh we did at time — he was like a block of wood! We stopped, but I can revive it. It never goes out of style.

Is he a kindred spirit?

McKinney: McCullough? He’s my brother from another mother.


Interview: Jordan Gavaris on Orphan Black’s feline Felix

ORPHAN BLACK Episode 103


Jordan Gavaris, named one of Playback Magazine’s Top 10 To Watch in 2010, is being watched a whole lot in Space’s new hit Orphan Black, which was the highest-rated original series debut in the channel’s history. TV, eh?’s Martha Marcin talked to him about his inspiration for the character of Felix and his astounding costar Tatiana Maslany.

Martha Marcin: When I watch Orphan Black, I actually forget that I’m watching a scifi series. That element is really subtle and in the back ground, do you agree?

Jordan Gavaris: It is, we call it the “gateway scifi show”. It’s scifi for anyone who thinks that they don’t like scifi. I think it does a lot of what the more iconic scifi shows do, by blending social fears into the storyline. Right now I think that the big one we are all having is the identity crisis. Who am I? Who are you to me? What does it all mean? And with the advent of technology we can be anybody we want to be. There is an anonymity behind the computer screen, and I think it’s getting more difficult as the years go by to be a genuine human being. I think (cocreators) John (Fawcett) and Graeme (Manson) have done a really nice job of blending those issues into the script.

Yes I did notice, even though it is still early in the show that there is an underlying theme of identity running through it? The identity of Sarah as one of, apparently many, clones. Will Felix be wrestling with his identity going forward as well?

Yes, Felix and Sarah are both orphans, so they are inherently outsiders, but Sarah all of a sudden stumbles onto this lineage and these familial bonds that she has, this connection to something bigger that herself. Now, in spite of the fact that it is a very strange connection, it is family in a sense, there’s someone that she has a tie to, and Felix still doesn’t have anybody. So the further she becomes invested in this mystery, trying to figure out who she is, and where she comes from, the further she gets away from him, and I think that frightens him a little bit. So he does grapple with his identity in that sense.

What was your first thought when you were introduced to Felix’s character? What did you think of the character of Felix. Inspirations?

Well my initial inspiration was, believe it or not, a feline. He was sexualized, he was quite irreverent if not bitchy, he was only nice half the time, he is very dominant but in a graceful way, he’s very territorial, quite impetuous. Then I started trying to move like a cat; they enter a room and they look at everything like they own it, and that’s what gives Felix his presence, that oomph on the screen. It’s me playing a cat.

What was really important and what came naturally was the relationship between Felix and Sarah. I have two older sisters myself, and I was able to project all these feeling onto Tatiana (Maslany) because she is so open, and so lovely that it came naturally. Those were my real inspiration points.

This is a very complex and wonderfully convoluted story we have here. How do you keep things straight? Are you privy to all the twists and turns before you shoot an ep?

Oh my word, it’s hard! There are times when Tatiana will come out, and … it’ s so embarrassing! When she is playing the clones there is a clear delineation, but occasionally we will deal with characters becoming other characters, and it does get confusing. You have to stop yourself and ask her, “Which one are you again?” Trying to keep the story lines straight is a task, but the writing is so good that you don’t have to look very far. And I was impressed at how fast paced and sleek and stylish the first few episodes were, and how much information is thrown at the audience, and you keep up, you get it all, It’s a testament to John and Graham and the creative team…and the audience as well. We are obviously attracting a very smart group of people.

Absolutely, there is a huge amount of information, there is a lot going on, and I was never confused and always entertained. That is a huge testament to the writing and the show in general.

That’s so great to hear.

I don’t normally talk about costars but I have to in this case: Tatiana Maslany is amazing. OMG!

Oh yes, I know!

The way she keeps all those different clones mannerisms and accents. I think in the 3rd episode she played 4 different clones, including Sarah who’s pretending to be a 2 more clones on top of that. I was blown away because I kept forgetting it was the same actress…even when there were 3 clones on the screen together, at the same time. Each with distinct mannerisms, accents, bearing.

I’m not sure what you read about the casting process but John and Graham knew if they were going to move forward with the show it was going to take a very special actress to be able to do this. Because when you are in a situation where the actor is very good, but is only good at playing shades of themselves, and doesn’t have the same breadth or range, then you’re in a situation where you basically get a glamourized CW show. And this show is so much more than that.

When they found Tatiana and I tested against her, it was magic. I walked into the room, and I had read that scene a hundred times, and I had gone over it and over it, and I walked in and she was standing there with a bourbon in her hand (it wasn’t really bourbon) and she was Sarah and I was Felix, and it was this lovely moment where everything sort of fell into place and we connected and it sweeps you away. I owe the part to her as well because my test was good because of her. She is one of the most extraordinary women I have ever met and one of the most extraordinary actors I have ever met. She is just an extraordinary human being.

You can totally feel the chemistry the two of you have together on screen, it draws you in and it feels totally effortless.

It was crazy. I sort of like to pretend we were brother and sister in a past life, or something. Or maybe we were married. Who knows? (Laugh). We had something, there was an almost supernatural connection. And you pray for those moments, because that generally is what sells the relationship on screen.

You touched on how the writers and producers needed to have a strong actress to portray Sarah because the entire show hinges on her. It reminded me of Dollhouse, did you ever watch it?

Yes, I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan.

Me too! I love his work, but I have to say it was the lead that just that was not able to pull off multiple different characters that she had to.

I know, and Ringer was much the same as much as I love Sarah Michelle Geller, and I think she is extraordinarily talented actress with a lot of charisma, but I just don’t think…You know, as I said it could have easily turned into a CW version of a clone show, but instead what we got was a riveting piece of drama, a character study really, a character driven piece just because of the way that Tatiana approached all these women.

Is her head exploding by the end of a shoot?

(Laugh) Oh I get the odd message from her, “Oh I’m going to crawl under the kitchen table,” or “I’m all over the map,” but I have pretty much the same ones. Before the premiere I said I was hiding in a bathtub somewhere.

I’m a bit of a TV junkie, and looking at the characters we play, I was nervous because they are not the nicest people in the world, they are sort of the anti-hero. And I made some bold character choices, some very big ones, and I was nervous that it wasn’t going to come across, that people might be put off. So I was having minor coronaries at three in the morning and I would send her little text messages and she would be doing the same.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays on Space.