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Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “Bad Pennies”

The consensus is that you all loved last Monday’s Season 13 return of Murdoch Mysteries. And why not? A great storyline, a masterful Orsini bomb build by Craig Grant and a fantastic guest stint by Claire Goose added up to a stellar 43-or-so minute instalment.

On to Monday’s new instalment, “Bad Pennies,” written by showrunner Peter Mitchell and directed by Harvey Crossland. Here’s what the CBC revealed as the official storyline:

When a dockworker is shot, Murdoch pursues an elusive witness and learns anti-union thugs may be involved. 

And here, as always, are a few more tidbits from me after checking out a screener.

Three men stand, wearing period clothing.A footrace on the Murdoch set
I’ve visited the set of Murdoch Mysteries several times, so I know how small it was in those early days. It’s gotten progressively larger, something that is really shown off in the episode’s opening moments.

Marc Senior joins Murdoch Mysteries
Introduced in “Bad Pennies,” Senior plays Special Agent Robert Parker, a recurring character. The Toronto actor has appeared in The Magicians, Timeless and The Gourmet Detective TV-movies. Also, keep an eye out for Michael Rhoades and George Masswohl in guest appearances this week. Sebastian Pigott, Clare McConnell and James McGowan return as Dr. Dixon, Effie Newsome and Dr. Forbes, respectively.

Julia is enraged
And it has everything to do with the aforementioned Doctors Dixon and Forbes.Two men and a woman stand in period clothing.Henry gets drunk
And it’s very, very funny.

Miss Hart vs. Detective Murdoch
He was positively rude to her last week. The trend continues. If looks could kill…

Inspector Brackenreid is on the warpath
Murdoch and Crabtree get the rough side of the Inspector’s tongue. I wonder what could be bothering him? An impending visit from his daughter perhaps?

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Killjoys’ showrunner Adam Barken: “F—k yeah, we won”

Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading until you have watched the series finale of Killjoys, “Last Dance,” written by show creator Michelle Lovretta.

And, just like that, the final episode of Killjoys has come to a close. Personally, I loved the way it ended, with our three heroes—Dutch, D’avin and Johnny—getting ready to kick some alien butt one last time. Zeph reunited with Pip. Pree and Gared together and off on their own adventures. The Lady defeated.

And while the door closes on the final episode, Michelle Lovretta’s script certainly left things open for more. We spoke to showrunner Adam Barken about this wild ride and the possibility of more stories.

Your job has been done for a while now. Has it been kind of weird watching these last episodes air and knowing that there isn’t another season of Killjoys?
Adam Barken: It’s been really nice, to be honest, but yeah, it’s weird. But at the same time, it’s been nice to be able to watch this without the … oftentimes before the panic of ‘Oh God, what are we going to do next? And how are we going to do it?’ And also just knowing that we’re headed towards an ending.

A woman and two men a dressed for battle.At what point did you know how that final frame was going to be of our three heroes all together again stepping out with their guns?
AB: Although we didn’t know the exact, ‘OK, they’re running up with their guns to shoot up a bunch of aliens.’ The details of that we didn’t know. But we knew pretty early on, like before we even started breaking Season 4 that this show was going to end with these three together.

We also knew that there might be some change in the situation, we knew that we wanted to pay off this idea that Johnny had wanted to go a different path of his life. So we weren’t sure as it just going to be Dutch and D’avin in a ship. And maybe Johnny’s with Clara. There were options, but we knew that the vibe at the end of it was, in my mind, I don’t know if this was Michelle thought because as a Star Trek nerd, my mind was kind of the end of The Undiscovered Country, with Kirk saying, ‘The second star on the right and straight on until morning.’

Just that vibe of on we go to the next adventure. Michelle and I had talked right at the very beginning and one of the first questions we asked was, ‘What would a final season or final two seasons look like?’ We both said, ‘Does anybody die?’ And we both kind of simultaneously I think had the feeling of, ‘No they don’t.’

There was nothing in our DNA that wanted to do it. There was nothing in the character stories in the same way that say, Pawter, who really was a character who Michelle, I think, will say was created with a sacrifice in mind. Her story that way with Dutch, D’avin, and Johnny, it did not feel like that sort of sacrifice was necessary. It didn’t feel like it fit. It didn’t feel like the show we wanted, we were making.

A woman looks up, angry.We wanted a show that at the end felt like, ‘Fuck yeah, they won.’ And they’re going to keep going and it’ll be in a different situation. There’s a reason why we’re ending here. The trio is going to split apart, but is this one moment we’re still going to see that thing that we love, seeing them together and we know that in the future they will get back together every once in a while and go kick some ass. And that’s the vibe we wanted to leave on.

You left this wide open for, maybe, five years down the line reuniting for an exclusive on Crave or something like that.
AB: Sure, yeah, absolutely. With Dutch’s story, it took her from where you started at the very beginning saying, ‘I’m a Killjoy because I don’t take sides. I don’t take bribes. I don’t get involved. I am a central part of something that I believe in. I have a family, I have a people, I have a community and I accept it, and I will fight for it forever.’ So that’s the journey for her. In a way, it’s the strongest arc in the series. So that’s why it begins where it does. That’s why it ends where it does. And that’s why it felt like the right place to go out. But that doesn’t require anybody to die. It doesn’t require there to be a tragic moment at the end. There’s no need for that because what was achieved for her was this positive thing.

Pip returned. Did you want to have a happy ending for Zeph
AB: Yeah, yeah. And a happy ending for Pip. This was one of the interesting things about taking over a show, running it, still wanting and needing Michelle to be there as my partner. We would definitely give and take and go back and forth on things. And one of them was when I said to her, ‘I think we really need to kill Pip, and I think that sacrifice going to really resonate. I think it’s going to really help us with Zeph. I think it’s going to be really median, good stuff.’ And she agreed with that but said, ‘Yeah, but I don’t want Pip dead at the end.’ So that’s where I can say, ‘Well, OK, what do you got?’

And she came back with, ‘He was in a pod,’ and honestly it was on the board a long time and I just kept laughing going, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to sell it, but if anybody could you will.’ Then, sure enough, the script came in and the minute I read the scene I was like, ‘Yeah, OK that works.’ And if it’s wish fulfillment, I think by the end we earned it, and that’s fine because who doesn’t want to see Pip back? And who doesn’t want to see Zeph happy?

Two men stand together, smiling.Is there a favourite character or character that you’re most proud of because of their growth? For me it was D’avin. 
AB: Oh yeah, absolutely loved seeing D’avin. I mean I think all the characters are super fun. In a way, I think about it more in terms of relationships and dynamics. I would say the one that was for me, because it was the most unexpected and yet paid off in some many wonderful dividends, was the Pree and Gared story.

You play around with these characters, you put different people together and see what happens. And there was just this moment back in Season 2 that Michelle was watching, where there was the wonderful Gavin Fox in as Gared. He was just supposed to be the jerky guy who keeps trying to take over things and failing and gets a knife in the hand at the end.

She just saw this moment between Tom and Gavin where she thought, ‘I think Pree likes him.’ As soon as she said that, we said, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ And we just started exploring it, and thanks to those actors, where we did it the better it went.

By the end I was just really happy with, proud of, excited by all the things that we were able to do with that couple, and what the things we’re able to put them through. And it still has us, and then the audience, cheer for them to be together. I think the ending we gave for them feels really great. So I think that’s probably my favourite discovery.

 

What did you think of Killjoys‘ series finale? Who were your favourite characters and relationships? Let me know in the comments below!

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Preview: Heartland returns for Season 13

Like the well-worn jeans, boots and hats they wear, Heartland is a comfortable Sunday night staple. Sure, you know there will be drama —remember Mongolia?—but at its centre, the series is about horses, family and togetherness.

Season 13 of Heartland returns this Sunday night with the episode “Snakes and Ladders.” Here’s the official synopsis from the CBC:

A disgruntled horse owner causes problems for Ty and Amy’s business, and they find themselves at odds about taking him on as a client.

And here are more details from us after watching a screener of the instalment, written by Heather Conkie and directed by Ken Filewych.

Two men sit in chairs, dressed as cowboys.

Ty and Amy’s house is being built
I’m not sure how much time has passed, but there is no snow on the ground and the foundation for the house has been poured. Lyndy is growing like crazy; when we catch up with the family, Luke is pushing her on the swing. Also? Ty got a haircut.

Amy and Ty’s business partnership is booming…
… but business comes with questionable clients and one of those, played by Joel Keller, shows up at Heartland.

Georgie is back
We catch up with her moments after Jack picked her up from the airport and discover the experiences she had and the countries she visited. Clearly, it has opened her eyes to a world outside of Heartland. And Phoenix has returned as well.

Tim is still grumpy
Even though Jack and Lisa showed him the courtesy of inviting him back onto the ranch, he doesn’t seem all that grateful.

Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Comments and queries for the week of September 20

You left out a key supporting cast member. His name is Griffin Powell-Arcand, and he very recently starred in a Netflix original series with huge stars Uma Thurman and Tony Goldwyn, called Chambers. He is from Edmonton and has been acting since he was four years old. He plays Dylan in The Trickster. Not a “lead” but if you’ve read the books, he plays a significant role and brings a lot to the table! —Me


Two women sit in chairs.What an amazing opener to Season 13. Loved the Brackenreids interactions, especially Margaret’s characterization of the Jones rival/schadenfreude and Julia’s declaration of her challenges as a professional woman at the end of the episode made me bawl. It totally resonated with the challenges I know my grandmothers, mom, aunt, wife and daughters have confronted in their lives. They all met opposition with a steely resolve while retaining grace charm and class along the way. Three cheers for the spirit embodied by Dr. Ogden. —David


Two women stand next to one another.I think this show could have been so much better than it is. I like the supporting cast but the lead is so modern and bland. And the stories are kind of a mess. Also, they keep changing the showrunner so there are obviously problems behind the scenes. I wonder if they keep quitting or if they’re getting fired? I don’t really like Murdoch anymore either. Only maybe half the season has decent mysteries, the rest is really soapy. I only watch it because I still like the cast so much. —Martha

I really like Frankie Drake Mysteries. The show could easily be formulaic but it has always managed to be comfortable yet surprising. I’m looking forward to the new season. —John

 

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

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Anne with an E expands its world with Indigenous characters in Season 3

In Season 2, Anne with an E creator Moira Walley-Beckett introduced black characters into her storylines. In Season 3, she does the same with Indigenous characters.

It’s all been part of Walley-Beckett’s plan to take L.M. Montgomery’s source material and expand it to be both inclusive and historically accurate. In Episode 1—returning Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC—we meet Ka’kwet (played by 12-year-old Kiawenti:io Tarbell, a Mohawk from Akwesasne), an independent, resilient Mi’kmaq girl who befriends Anne. The addition of Tarbell, Brandon Oakes and Dana Jeffrey to the cast further enriches the Anne with an E world and makes it even more enjoyable.

We spoke to Moira Walley-Beckett ahead of Sunday’s return.

Did you always happen to have it in the back of your mind that in the Anne journey you would introduce First Nations characters?
Moira Walley-Beckett: Yes. It was always in the back of my mind for sure. In the same way that I’ve been wanting to diversify L.M. Montgomery’s novels. It was one of my mission statements.

A First Nations man and girl smile into the camera.It’s why I sent Gilbert away on at the end of Season 1. So that the show could expand its horizons and that he could gain a fresh perspective and that I could introduce people of colour and bring someone home. When we talked last year I talked about when we were in our research and discovering The Bog. And that The Bog was a place that is not in any of the history books, but that actually existed in our time period on PEI. So that was a terrible, wonderful goldmine for us and further populated our world with diverse people of colour. I’ve always tried to open up the pages of the book and I have strayed so far from it right out of the gate. The Mi’kmaq people were very much part of the community of Prince Edward Island. And so there is every reason to include them and tell their story.

The first thing that I noticed, aside from the First Nations characters, was the fact that your cast is starting to get taller. 
MWB: I know, it’s unconscionable. I’ve asked them repeatedly to stop and they just won’t heed me.

Does that affect your writing at all? Does that impact on anything with regard to the kids getting older naturally?
MWB: For sure. Yes, it’s inevitable and so it has to affect me. It’s a very interesting experience for me, actually. This is the first time I’ve done a show with kids. And because season after season on a regular series, time is kind of fluid if you need it to be. But working with kids, they’re growing and there’s nothing I can do about it. Their maturation is dictating the story for sure. But again, part of my master plan, I didn’t know that was going to happen. This season is the season where we shed childhood. Last season was the end of childish wonder and this season is the teenage years and stepping into young adulthood.

It’s crazy to see this version of social media where the notes are going up on the wall in Episode 1 and people are letting their intentions be known.
MWB: The take notice board.

A boy looks up from eating, smiling.I’m not sure if I’m ready for the intentions being known to everybody.
MWB: You know, I’m always looking to contemporize this world and make sure that it’s accessible in a meaningful way to our audience. And there is a take notice board in the book and I was just like, ‘Oh my god, that’s just Instagram for the Victorian era.’ I was super excited about that. It’s a very fun platform. We get a lot of mileage out of it.

What was it like having Tracey Deer in the writers’ room? I’m assuming that she was a big part of making sure that the Indigenous storyline stayed true.
MWB: Yes. That is why I hired her. Aside from the fact that she’s an awesome writer and producer. I set out to find an Indigenous female voice to include in my room this season, because writing an Indigenous storyline is, A) so sensitive and B), not my lived experience. It was absolutely essential for me to make sure that I had an Indigenous voice in my room. It’s been wonderful working with Tracey. Just wonderful.

What else can you say about the storylines this year?
MWB: Well, there’s multiple pertaining to the essence of these people, their hearts and the very fabric of their being. I’m sure it may have been stated that Anne goes on a quest this season to search for her identity. She’s looking for her image. She’s looking to discover who she is, where she came from, who she came from. And that scene intertwines with every character’s story, including our new character Ka’kwet who knows her identity all too well and has it taken from her. So there are some very big important things this season that are woven together into the fabric of these episodes.

Anne with an E airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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