Everything about Featured, eh?

Comments and queries for the week of June 15

I love the free-spirited atmosphere of [Workin’ Moms] storylines and the characters seem to enjoy their parts. It is real, entertaining and the length of each episode is ideal. Thank you Catherine Reitman :-) I am looking forward to Season 3. —Marilyn

Finally got a chance to catch up with the first two years. The show feels raw yet soothing. I love the energy and seeing the rainbow of friendships. Every Kate needs an Anne and vice versa. —Chad


I wouldn’t complain if Bell cancelled Mystbusters, but Daily Planet is one of a very few worthwhile shows left watching! So incredibly sad. —Lise

I guess I can cancel my subscription to Discovery Channel now! Daily Planet was the only thing I watched on this channel. Sad to see it go! —Herbert

This was about the only reason I was still watching regular TV (except for hockey) this was the only REALLY GOOD SHOW left on a Canadian Channel. Sad to see it go. Strange how this will help them if they are struggling with attracting advertisers using the current line-up of the crappy shows from the U.S.A.? —Mike

As a science teacher, I would always talk about, refer to or mention an episode to my students. I’m just flabbergasted about this very sad news. —M. Forest

 

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

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Banff 2018: Anne with an E’s Moira Walley-Beckett and New Metric Media among Rockie Gala Award winners

Anne with an E showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett, Letterkenny and Bad Blood production company New Metric Media, and veteran producer Sheila Hockin were among the Canadians feted during the Rockie Awards gala on Tuesday night at the Banff World Media Festival.

Hosted by Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth—who began the show by munching ketchup potato chips and Timbits and closed with a stirring rendition of “The Prayer”—the evening also saluted Canadians who’ve made good in Hollywood. Jeremy Podeswa captured the Award of Excellence for his body of work as a director of such programs as Game of Thrones, Queer as Folk, The Tudors and The Pacific. David Shore was on hand to accept The Hollywood Reporter Impact Award for his hit medical drama The Good Doctor.

“Support is at the heart of innovation,” Mark Montefiore, New Metric Media’s president and executive producer of Letterkenny, Bad Blood and What Would Sal Do?, said upon receiving the Innovative Producer Award. “One can dream big all day long, but without the support of countless people, those ideas would simply remain as big dreams and not realities.”

Hockin was given the Canadian Award of Distinction for producing such shows as Vikings, The Handmaid’s Tale, Penny Dreadful, The Borgias, The Tudors, Canada’s Next Top Model and Queer as Folk.

Walley-Beckett accepted the Showrunner of the Year Award for her work on Anne with an E, set to return for Season 2 on Netflix next month and CBC in September.

“[Showrunning] is like conducting a full orchestra to play a symphony that you composed,” she said on-stage. “At the end of every season, I celebrate that I’ve lived to tell the tale. I love my work. Sleep is overrated. So is sanity.”

Here is the complete list of winners:

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Jeremy Podeswa

INNOVATIVE PRODUCER AWARD
New Metric Media

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER IMPACT AWARD
The Good Doctor

A&E INCLUSION AWARD
Elizabeth Vargas

CANADIAN AWARD OF DISTINCTION
Sheila Hockin

SHOWRUNNER OF THE YEAR
Moira Walley-Beckett

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
This Is Us

SIR PETER USTINOV COMEDY AWARD
Sean Hayes

COMPANY OF DISTINCTION
NBCUniversal

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Masterchef Canada: And the final two competitors are…

Tonight, it was a battle for the place in the MasterChef Canada season finale and making dreams come true for the home cooks. Only one step is left for the Top 2. Who was going to be the lucky duo?

The MasterChef Canada kitchen surprised Andy, Beccy and Michael G. as they entered the room. Three different restaurants with three different cuisines were set up for three contestants to create a pop-up menu. Andy’s Halifax Hawker House served Asian street food with an East Coast flair. Beccy’s UK Gastro Pub gave an old classic a new modern twist. Michael’s Canadian Comfort Lodge was all about Canada. With 90 minutes to go and 30 food bloggers ready to eat, there was no pressure on the kitchen. Beccy and Michael G. were more traditional in their ideas, while Andy went in the absolutely different direction. He knew that Beccy and Michael G. were way more technical, so he went with some interesting flavour choices.

The bloggers came in and the show began. Andy served Korean halibut tartare with caramelized kimchi and yuzu curd. The dish looked stunning with bright, fresh and beautiful plating. But Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael were a bit disappointed with the lack of balance in the dish. Beccy made squab two ways with shredded Brussels sprouts and Yorkshire pudding to praise her heritage. The plating left the judges speechless. The cook on the meat was perfect, but the dish was not seasoned enough. The last dish of the night was a crusted rack of lamb with butternut squash confit, polenta and pea purée by Michael G. He surprised the judges with his plating, but some missed a few components and the cook on the meat was not even. Each home cook’s dish had their pros and cons. Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael made their decision. The winner of this challenge was … BECCY! She had made it to the FINALE!

Michael G. and Andy were left to battle in the Pressure Test. And the test didn’t disappoint. The challenge was to create three different classic Canadian desserts. The Nanaimo bar, butter tart and blueberry grunt were perfect on the judges’ table. Michael G. and Andy had 75 minutes to replicate the desserts and make them as perfect as the judges’ were. The final Pressure Test of the season was hard, fast and extremely emotional. Andy rushed to do the desserts, as he was redoing his missteps. Michael G. was pushing hard and was ahead of Andy.

Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael tried all of the plates. The look was important, but the taste was the main element. The home cook who would compete with Beccy in the finale was chosen. ANDY was the winner of the Pressure Test and Michael G.  went home. Who do you think will win MasterChef Canada this season? Let me know in the comments below!

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Preview: CBC’s Back in Time for Dinner is an education in living in Canada decades ago

I grew up the 1970s, the era of strange casseroles and questionable ingredients suspended in Jello salads. Mine was a childhood filled with Cheez Whiz smeared on celery, macaroni loaf sandwiches and copious amounts of Cool Whip on things. I look back on all of that fondly, but I wouldn’t want any of it if offered to me today.

That’s not the case for the Campus family, who signed on to Back in Time for Dinner, CBC’s newest documentary series that transports one family back in time to eat, dress and live like Canadians of yesterday. Hosted by TV veteran and all-around nice guy Carlo Rota, Back in Time for Dinner is a social experiment that takes the Campuses—a middle-class suburban family of five from Mississauga, Ont.—and strips away their modern diets and lifestyle to go back in time.

Starting in the 1940s and landing in the 1990s, their home becomes a time machine as it’s stripped to the studs and transformed into a new decade each week. I’m a sucker for series like this—check out the excellent British series Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm on YouTube if you haven’t already—so I was jazzed to see how the Campus family would adapt to old-timey living and the bumps in the road along the way.

Thursday’s first of six episodes at 8 p.m. on CBC begins in the 1940s with the five-person family arriving to see the interior of their house has been totally transformed to reflect that time period. Gone, of course, are modern trappings like big-screen TVs, central heat and—GASP!—the Internet in favour of a fridge-sized radio, an electric stove, icebox and laundry done by hand.

It was the time of the Second World War, and Canadians were enlisting to fight overseas. This country was also a major supplier of food to the Allied countries and that meant food rations at home. It was also a different time in snacking. No chips, cookies and gummy things for teens Valerie, Jessica and Robert. Instead, sardines and other canned meats are the rules of the day. So too were the societal guidelines. Mom Tristan and her daughters are in charge of keeping the house ship-shape inside and purchasing from a grocery list hemmed in by ration coupons. Rather than her usual overflowing grocery carts, Tristan is given a small basket containing her essentials.

As if being a teen wasn’t tough enough, the Campus kids have to attend school in their period-perfect clothing and eat 1940s lunches. Needless to say, Robert is not a fan of his yeast-based bread and “sauce.”

Back in Time for Dinner is certainly fun to watch, but it’s a fantastic history lesson too, thanks to Rota. In between Campus family footage, he narrates what life in Canada is like during those days, from footwear and clothing and hairstyles. As for Night One’s dinner? Pan-fried kidneys with celery sauce on toast and boiled potatoes. (“Every once in awhile you get a whiff of … urine,” Tristan observes as she pan-fries the morsels.)

The first instalment of Back in Time for Dinner is surprising and informative and made me appreciate everything I have today. I can’t wait to see more.

Back in Time for Dinner airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Banff 2018: Catherine Reitman recalls “fantasizing about death” before creating Workin’ Moms

Workin’ Moms doesn’t shy away from showing the flaws of being a mother. Part of the show’s charm and popularity is because of Catherine Reitman’s decision to show the challenges of being a working mother in 2018. And while there are plenty of laughs to go with those relatable moments via Kate (Reitman), Anne (Dani Kind), Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) and Alicia (Kat Barrell), the creation of Workin’ Moms came at a dark time in her life.

“I gave birth a couple of years ago and went back to work too quickly,” Reitman, the series’ showrunner, director, writer and executive producer says. “I had some pretty lethal post-partum depression and was actually fantasizing about death and it kept making me laugh. It wasn’t this dark, scary thing. It was this release. It made me happy, it made me hopeful. If the world would go away and these responsibilities would go away, life would be so much easier.”

Reitman spoke alongside Kim’s Convenience boss Ins Choi at the Banff World Media Festival on Tuesday morning during the CBC’s Breakfast of Showrunner Champions event. The packed room laughed nervously as Reitman recalled how her own mommy group stared at her while she related those feelings and realized the content would make for a television show. She couldn’t be the only one feeling the way she did, she reasoned and her husband Philip Sternberg—he’s an executive producer, director and plays Kate’s husband Nathan on the show—urged her to write it.

Tired of auditioning for roles for women that didn’t look or sound like her, she penned the scripts and created a sizzle reel. Once Sally Catto, general manager of programming at CBC Television, saw the reel she greenlit the series.

“Thank god for Sally,” Reitman says. “I say that every day because I get to sit here in front of all of you and watch a clip and remain floored that I was fantasizing about death and now people are watching [Workin’ Moms] and hopefully connecting with it.

Workin’ Moms returns to CBC in winter 2019.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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