Everything about Diggstown, eh?

CBC announces winter premiere dates for Coroner, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms and more

From a media release:

CBC today announced premiere dates for its winter 2020 lineup of new and returning Canadian series, featuring original programming that reflects contemporary Canada. With a new winter schedule launching Sunday, January 5, each series will be available on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service.

New original series premiering this winter include:

Hosted by Gerry Dee, FAMILY FEUD CANADA will introduce audiences to Canadian families from across the country four nights a week, beginning Monday, December 16 at a special time of 8PM (8:30 NT), before moving into its regular time slot at 7:30PM (8 NT) on Monday, December 23

New original factual series HIGH ARCTIC HAULERS, a high-stakes journey at sea that offers a look at Canada’s resilient, vibrant northern communities, premieres Sunday, January 5 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

Starring Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs), Darren Mann (Giant Little Ones) and Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and set in the social and political chaos of 1968, new spy drama FORTUNATE SON premieres Wednesday January 8 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

In a new take on the popular factual entertainment format, BACK IN TIME FOR WINTER follows one modern Canadian family on a winter time-travelling adventure beginning Thursday, January 9 at 8PM (8:30NT)

Epic sci-fi adventure series ENDLINGS produced in partnership with Hulu, follows four foster kids who make a startling discovery that affects the entire universe, and premieres Sunday, January 5 at 6PM (6:30 NT) with weekly back-to-back episodes

New culinary competition series and original Canadian format, FRIDGE WARS, premieres Thursday, February 27 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

New CBC Docs original series THE OLAND MURDER premieres Thursday, March 5 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

Returning titles include:

Last season’s most-watched new Canadian series* CORONER, starring Serinda Swan, returns for Season 2 Monday, January 6 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

CBC’s popular Tuesday night comedy lineup returns with the fourth season of KIM’S CONVENIENCE at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) and the sixth and final season of SCHITT’S CREEK at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) beginning Tuesday, January 7, with WORKIN’ MOMS returning for a fourth season Tuesday, February 18 at 9:30PM (10 NT)

The Kristin Kreuk-led legal drama BURDEN OF TRUTH returns for Season 3 Wednesday, January 8 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

Gripping Canadian true crime series THE DETECTIVES returns for Season 3 Thursday, January 9 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

CBC DOCS POV returns with a new series of documentaries from some of Canada’s most talented documentary filmmakers beginning Sunday, February 9 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

Halifax legal aid drama DIGGSTOWN starring Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge returns for Season 2 Wednesday, March 4 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

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CBC original legal aid drama Diggstown rolls on second season

From a media release:

Production is underway in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the second season of the CBC original one-hour drama Diggstown (6×60). Produced by Circle Blue Entertainment, Freddie Films Inc., and Waterstar Entertainment Inc. and created by Halifax’s Floyd Kane (Across The Line), the series will premiere in winter 2020 on CBC and stream on CBC Gem.

In the first season of Diggstown, viewers were introduced to the fierceness of Marcie Diggs (Vinessa Antoine, Being Erica, Heartland) and the emotionally and ethically devastating world of legal aid. Season 2 follows Marcie and her fellow crusaders at legal aid as they continue their fight against a criminal justice system that shows no mercy to their most at-risk citizens.

Marcie dives deeper into criminal law, testing her ethics as a lawyer at every turn. Pam (Stacey Farber, Grace and Frankie), focuses on her work as her personal life crumbles around her. While preoccupied with staving off her boss, Colleen (Natasha Henstridge,  Species), struggles to keep the Halifax Legal Aid team in line. Reggie (C. David Johnson, Street Legal) is surprised when a reluctant favour turns into a new exciting interest. Doug (Brandon Oakes, Arctic Air) makes a potentially devastating professional blunder and Iris (Shailene Garnett, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments) dives into her dream career.

Cory Bowles, Kelly Makin and Lynne Stopkewich are back as directors, with Sharon Lewis joining as an additional director.

A CBC original drama, Diggstown is co-produced by Circle Blue Entertainment, Freddie Films Inc., and Waterstar Entertainment Inc. Kane is creator, executive producer and showrunner, and Amos Adetuyi (Jean of the Jones), Brenda Greenberg (Being Erica), Karen Wentzell (Seed) and Todd Berger (Wynonna Earp) are executive producers.

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Links: Diggstown, Season 1

From Michela Rosano of Canadian Geographic:

Link: Our Country: Vinessa Antoine’s favourite place in Canada
“I recently shot the first season of Diggstown in Nova Scotia, which is a place I had never visited before. When I started to do research for my character, Marcie Diggs, I learned that Nova Scotia has Canada’s oldest and largest black community, North Preston in Halifax.” Continue reading. 

From Tony Wong of the Toronto Star:

Link: Diggstown’s Vinessa Antoine is the face of change as first Black woman to star in prime-time TV drama
“Growing up in Toronto, seeing faces on television like your own was virtually non-existent. But if a young person turns on the television in the future and thinks that they are being represented, that there is a possibility out there for me, then hopefully things will change.” Continue reading.

From Victoria Ahearn of the Canadian Press:

Link: Halifax-shot ‘Diggstown’ making strides for representation in Canadian TV
“It’s so important to be able to have stories that are driven and come from communities that are like mine and like so many other communities that are considered minority communities. It’s so important to show that representation because there’s nothing more Canadian, I feel than multiculturalism and diversity.’” Continue reading. 

From Elizabeth Patterson of the Cape Breton Post:

Link: East Bay native acting up a storm
“It’s a good week to be Billy MacLellan.”

The actor, who hails from East Bay, has had a busy winter with various acting and writing projects, some of which are coming to fruition right now. He even had his very own Canadian minute a few days ago. Continue reading. 

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: REVIEW: CBC’s Diggstown
I didn’t expect to dig Diggstown as much as I do, but I do.

The story takes place in North Preston, Nova Scotia, billed as Canada’s Largest Black Community. At the centre stands Marcia Diggs (Vinessa Antoine, above left with Karen LeBlanc), a rising star, big city, corporate lawyer who – for reasons unclear in the pilot but amplified later on – is knocked back down to her rural roots in Nova Scotia. Continue reading. 

From Melissa Girimonte of The Televixen:

Link: Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge welcome us to Diggstown
“Mental health issues are something that’s kept behind closed doors. You’re meant to feel ashamed or you don’t talk about it. With Marcie, it’s prevalent in her family. They’re a religious family as well. This tight-knit community in Nova Scotia, North Preston, is heavily religious. The idea of mental health and suicide are not discussed very much.” Continue reading. 

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Diggstown’s Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge
“I think that people who see this show will start to see Nova Scotia as yet another option as a Canadian province in which to shoot. There’s just a different vibe over there, in terms of working in TV and film, but also it’s not just a beautiful,  Nova Scotian gorgeous backdrop. It’s a real character, Nova Scotia, and there are just parts that aren’t that beautiful and there are shows that should be shot there.” Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Diggstown’s Vinessa Antoine on Marcie’s complicated relationships
“It’s so important to show all communities of Canada, but this Black community hasn’t been really shown. It’s a nice feeling to be able to bring that to the Canadian audience.” Continue reading.

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CBC’s Diggstown tackles the legal world in a new, and compelling, way

Vinessa Antoine describes lawyer Marcie Diggs as “very vulnerable and flawed and messy.” And the actress wouldn’t have it any other way. Debuting Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBC, Diggstown—created by Floyd Kane—takes the well-worn legal drama genre and presents it in an interesting new way.

When we catch up with Marcie Diggs (Antoine), she’s struggling with the death of her aunt (Karen LeBlanc). But legal cases are waiting, people need her help. Marcie’s co-workers—including boss Colleen MacDonnell (Natasha Henstridge), Pam Mclean (Stacey Farber), Reggie Thompson (C. David Johnson) and Doug Paul (Brandon Oakes)—work with the community finding justice in cases that explore racism, gender bias and poverty.

We spoke to Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge late last year about Diggstown and what makes it different from other lawyer series.

Can you break down how this first season of Diggstown will roll out? How is it structured?
Vinessa Antoine: We follow two cases [per episode]. There’s always the case that Marcie is working on and then the case that one of the other lawyers or all the other lawyers is working on. In the first episode, we also learn a little bit about Marcie’s past in terms of her family and the tragedy that happened. And a little bit of her guilt in connection to what happened to her aunt and feeling the struggle of, ‘Where is my place in this world and am I doing the right thing? Does the justice system actually work? Am I the problem or am I the solution?’

As you were reading the scripts and you just mentioned about where’s my place in the world and is the justice system fair? What conclusion did you come to yourself? Do you know your place in the world as Vinessa?
VA: I do. Absolutely. I know that I came to this planet for a certain reason and bring certain gifts that are, I think, to be helpful. I try to use that the best way I can. I think we all think about those things. What is the path that we pick and is it actually helping anyone at the end of the day? I think that’s also Marcie as well. Is she doing this for the money or is she actually trying to help people? I know she really wants to help people, but the justice system is so flawed.

It’s so complicated. It can literally mean the difference between using the wrong word in a sentence and now you’ve completely changed someone’s life.

I assume, Natasha, you did some research into the legal system too and saw how really flawed it can be. 
Natasha Henstridge: I’m reading a book right now that’s so about that. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It’s about a lawyer and it’s about an underprivileged woman. It’s about a black woman who was a nurse who something goes wrong with the baby in the hospital and sort of where the justice system takes her. I have friends that are lawyers and I have not, luckily, been involved too much in the justice system in my real life. Although I meant to get arrested once. One time. I think there’s a lot of nuances, obviously, and whether it works or not, it’s not perfect by a long shot. These characters are doing the best that they know how within the confines of the system.

What attracted both of you to the project? I’m going to ask specifically about Floyd Kane in a second, but what attracted you to this?
VA: Well, for me, being able to be the lead of a show, to drive the narrative. That was obviously important, but when I start to read more into the character and talk more with Floyd, I realized how important this character is for Canada and for other countries as well. Just to see, not necessarily, a black woman in a leading role because we’ve seen that before for sure in the States with Kerry Washington and Viola Davis. Marcie isn’t necessarily a tough ball buster kind of lawyer that we usually see with main characters.

Especially with black women. Now, there’s an angry sense sometimes with some of these characters which are usually very valid and plausible, but I think this is a different way of looking at a black woman who is very vulnerable and flawed and messy and doesn’t always go for the ball busting to get her point across. She’s not necessarily cracking the whip and everybody falls into line. She’s the one breaking down crying and doesn’t understand why the system isn’t working.

NH: Such a great point. Such a great point. Very true.

What about you Natasha? What attracted you to the project?
NH: I have to say I read the script and I literally was like, ‘I need to get this role.’ They had me in mind. I went and auditioned. I loved the audition scenes, but then when I went and read the script. It was just the best thing that I’ve read and that was the bottom line for me and had nothing to do with anything else. I wasn’t thinking about the bigger picture at all, to be honest with you. Which now is super meaningful having done the six episodes. I just thought, ‘Wow this is really well written and well put together.’

Then I met Floyd and [executive producer] Amos [Adetuyi] at the audition. To see someone’s attention to detail and to care so much about these characters. To collaborate and be in a situation where it’s very collaborative. Where you felt like someone wanted you to understand and where he’s coming from. I just thought, ‘Wow this man really cares. It makes you care that much more.’ I’m playing an openly gay character. I thought that was super meaningful. I have a lot of gay friends that were closeted as kids and I feel so much for their plight that they’ve been through. Although it’s only touched on so far in the beginning in the show thus far. That to me was super meaningful as well.

I’m getting the sense that it’s somewhat rare to find a showrunner that is willing to be that collaborative. Sometimes they’ve just written in stone what I’ve got is my idea for the characters the way it’s going to be. It sounds as though Floyd isn’t necessarily like that.
VA: Not at all. He’s so … even before I tested for the role he and I had a conversation with the director, Kelly Makin, on the phone. It was a really weird conversation because it was like a three-way. I dialled this special number. I think there was like, maybe a half-second delay and Floyd already is a pretty quiet gentle soul himself. There were questions that I was asking and there would be a long pause. And then he would talk and we spoke, I feel like, for a good 20 to 30 minutes. Which is unheard of I think for me, as an actor, to sit down and actually conversate with the person that created this role. I had a billion questions to ask and he answered every single one of them. Even to the degree where he said, ‘You’ve actually made me go back and question some things that I wrote about the character and try to develop that even more.’

It was such a nice collaborative experience with him and then he was there so much on set. Was able to be in my ear a little bit to keep me on the right path with the character because you shoot out of sequence sometimes and you’re all over the place and the rewrites come in. I want to keep on the journey so that the viewer can follow Marcie and the story from the beginning to the end. He was so available for that.

NH: But he’s very very clear on who the people are and what they want. Which is amazing because you need the captain of the ship who actually keeps things in line and keeps you clear because it’s easy to get lost. He knows the show. It’s his show. It’s his life.

Diggstown airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC and streams on CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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