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TV, Eh? Podcast Episode 259: Sullivan’s Crossing set to debut on CTV, no more The Porter on CBC and CSAs, Part 1

Welcome back to another bi-weekly chat about the latest news in Canadian TV! First, Greg and Amy go through debuts and returns on the Canadian TV calendar.

Then, we cover the latest Canadian TV news, which includes the cancellation of CBC’s The Porter, Sullivan’s Crossing to debut on CTV, more Skymed for CBC, a development deal for Priyanka, and Part 1 of our discussion about the Canadian Screen Awards, focusing on Best Dram and Best Comedy.

This podcast brought to you by Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky and Pelee Island Monarch Vidal.

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Patrick J. Adams and Karine Vanasse explore the pitfalls of relationship choices and do-overs in Plan B

Who, honestly, hasn’t wondered what it would be like to hop in a time machine for a life do-over? I certainly have. If only I could go back to high school and take things more seriously, tell that certain someone how I felt, or reverse a decision I made. But, would doing any of those things change how my life ultimately ended up?

That’s the premise of Plan B, debuting Monday on CBC.

Adapted from the original Quebecois French-language series Plan B that premiered on Ici Radio-Canada Télé n 2017, the English version stars Patrick J. Adams (Suits) and Karine Vanasse (Cardinal) as Philip Grimmer and Evelyn Landry, a couple whose lives are literally in disarray. Whether it’s the clutter of the home renovation going on around them, to the erosion of their relationship, things are not good for the pair.

So, when Philip—after an evening out drinking and commiserating about his lot in life with his brother-in-law and business partner Patrick (François Arnaud, X Company)—enters a bar bathroom and sees a flyer for a company named Plan B promising to allow you to go back in time and right wrongs, he jumps at the chance. Make no mistake though, Plan B is not a sci-fi drama.

“I’m not fascinated with time travel,” says co-creator and co-writer Jean-François Asselin. “I’m fascinated with human beings. What was interesting to me was, when co-creator Jacques Drolet and I started writing [the French version], we were questioning the choices we made in life. When I watch a TV show or movie, I’m involved as a human being and question what I would do in my personal life. I want people, when they watch Plan B, to reflect on their own lives.”

In Monday’s debut, Philip is trying desperately to keep his relationship with Evelyn intact. After annoying her during their daily commute to the office they work in—he’s a lawyer and she’s suffering in silence as a paralegal/secretary—and stuck in Montreal’s gridlock, Evelyn hops out of the car, opting to take public transit. Things only go down from there. As a viewer, those scenes of conflict are hard to watch. But they’re incredibly real.

“This is a couple that struggles,” Asselin says. “The challenge was, how are we going to root for them and follow them through six episodes?”

That all comes down to the performances by Adams and Vanasse.

“We can all connect to that fear of losing something when you thought that everything was going well,” Vanasse says. “Viewers really want Philip to find that solution so that he doesn’t fuck up this time, and that everything is going to be OK.”

But, in trying to make everything OK between him and Evelyn, or he and the team renovating his home, or the relationship he has with his brother, Andy (Josh Close), things just get worse. The result? Going further back in time.

“He clearly loves this woman,” Adams says. “He clearly wants this to work and has this idea of what the ‘right thing’ is and he wants everyone to be happy and goes to extreme lengths to ensure that’s the case. He’s just also deeply flawed because he doesn’t ask a question or take a minute to listen in the moment.

“Philip is such a doer,” Adams continues. “I can relate to that. What do I need to do? How do I fix this? How can I make this better? I’ve lived long enough to know that half the time when I do that in my own relationship the answer is, ‘How about you just listen to what I’m saying or how I’m feeling?'”

Plan B airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Nominees announced for the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards

From a media release:

Today, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) announced the nominees for the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards in 145 television, film, and digital media categories, which also include the inaugural nominations in gender-neutral performance categories for lead and supporting performers in film and television.

The first season of CBC’s The Porter leads both television and overall 2023 Canadian Screen Award nominations with 19, including Best Drama Series and Best Lead Performer, Drama Series nominations for Aml Ameen, Ronnie Rowe Jr., and Mouna Traoré. Both CBC’s Sort Of and CBC Gem’s Detention Adventure received 15 nominations, followed by CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases with 11.

In film, Clement Virgo’s Brother tops nominations with 14, including Achievement in Direction and Performance in a Leading Role for Lamar Johnson. Stéphane Lafleur’s Viking follows with 13, while David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future boasts 11.

Revenge of the Black Best Friend leads digital media nominations with nine, including Best Web Program or Series, Fiction; followed by Avocado Toast The Series with seven and Tokens with four.

“From legendary directors like David Cronenberg to new voices like Bilal Baig, the 2023 Canadian Screen Award nominees reaffirm that our country has an immensely talented industry, and we are lucky to call them Canadian,” said Tammy Frick, CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “Supporting these artists has never been more important, and we are proud to be at the centre of those efforts. I’m thrilled to share my heartfelt congratulations with all of the nominees, and look forward to raising a glass to them in person this April.”

The 2023 Canadian Screen Awards will be presented in a series of seven intimate genre-based awards presentations, with esteemed members of the Canadian screen-based industry who brought us the best work from the last year, gathering in person at Meridian Hall in Toronto from Tuesday, April 11, 2023 through to Friday, April 14, 2023, all culminating with The Canadian Screen Awards with Samantha Bee, broadcasting on Sunday, April 16 at 8 PM (9 AT, 9:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

An intimate look at Canadian storytelling excellence on screen, The Canadian Screen Awards with Samantha Bee is an hour-long, star-studded broadcast special featuring celebrity interviews, highlights from the awards presentations throughout Canadian Screen Week 2023, and the presentation of the Cogeco Fund Audience Choice Award. The special will also include exclusive access to this year’s Special Award recipients, including: Ryan Reynolds, recipient of the Humanitarian Award, presented by Paramount+; Catherine O’Hara, who will receive the Academy Icon Award, presented by CBC; and Simu Liu, the recipient of the Radius Award, presented by MADE | NOUS.

For the full list of 2023 Canadian Screen Award nominees, please visit academy.ca/nominees; view the full schedule for Canadian Screen Week 2023 at academy.ca/schedule.

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TV, Eh? Podcast Episode 258: Pretty Hard Cases cancelled, Shelved set to debut and more Pamela Anderson

Welcome back to another bi-weekly chat about the latest news in Canadian TV! First, Greg and Amy go through debuts and returns on the Canadian TV calendar.

Then, we cover the latest Canadian TV news, which includes the cancellation of CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases, Shelved to debut on CTV, Corus wants more Pamela Anderson, and another season of Shoresy on Crave.

This podcast brought to you by Tails Cocktails and McKeown Cider.

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Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber shine in CTV’s The Spencer Sisters

The British mystery genre is where I live. When I’m not watching and covering Canadian TV, I’m streaming light crime dramas from across the pond on AcornTV and BritBox. From Whitstable Pearl to Vera, Harry Wild to Murder in Suburbia, I love them all.

Consider The Spencer Sisters, debuting Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, as Canada’s foray into the genre.

Like the above, The Spencer Sisters features crimes being committed in a fictional small town—Alder Bluffs, Ont.—two female leads at the helm to solve them, a generous dose of humour and, when they happen, bloodless murders. It’s an irresistible formula for success that is even more pronounced thanks to its leads, Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber. The pair crackle with chemistry from the get-go, playing acclaimed mystery novelist Victoria Spencer (Thompson), mom to hot-headed former police officer Darby Spencer (Farber).

“It starts with character,” Thompson says when asked what attracted her to the shot-in-Winnpeg series. “I really liked the character and I love comedy and the comedic elements to this. This is a really good time for this show.”

Created by Alan McCullough (Private Eyes. Rookie Blue) and co-showrun and executive-produced by McCullough and Jenn Engels (Sort Of, Transplant), Friday’s debut “The Scholar’s Snafu,” finds Darby returning to Alder Bluffs after she quits her big-city police force in frustration. For Darby, who looked up to her late cop father, this was all she wanted to do. Dejected, and with nowhere to stay, Darby returns home where it only takes one backhanded comment from Victoria to let viewers know this mother-daughter relationship isn’t rosy. Unlike their characters, who are pretty bristly in the debut, Thompson and Farber connected immediately.

“She was attached to the show before I was,” Farber says. “We did a chemistry read on Zoom and then we met in Winnipeg, had dinner and clicked immediately. We have a similar sense of humour and we’ve both worked for a long time, we have a lot in common.”

The friction between mother and daughter continues throughout the first season. Darby is struggling with her failure as a cop, moving back home and being forced to acknowledge why she has avoided seeing her mother for so long. And Victoria, who has never agreed with Darby’s career choice, wants to be part of her daughter’s life and finds a way to do it through their partnering to solve crimes committed in the community.

“They do learn to get along more, but no, [that friction] never goes away,” Farber says with a laugh. “It’s realistic in that sense. You can think you’ve moved through or on from an issue, but you haven’t.”

The Spencer Sisters airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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