Everything about Featured, eh?

Comments and queries for the week of November 17

[Massive Monster Mayhem] rules!! Honestly, super creative and engaging and I’m surprised they still make shows like this. I remember stuff like Legends of Hidden Temple and Zoom and whatnot from when I was a kid. This is super cool that they still do this. —Joshua

This episode [of Murdoch Mysteries] was absolutely devastating. I cried—and I couldn’t stop thinking about it even the next day. Masterful performances and a brilliant script. But please, don’t make this kind of intense emotional episode a habit! It was almost too much! —Tim

Wow, so entertaining! Just had me glued to the screen tonight. Could not wait until the end … amazing how they get the audience hooked to this episode by not revealing what we all wanted to know until the very last few seconds. So incredibly well done, so very well-acted by the two actors playing Mr. Dilbert and Mildred … had me in tears. Thank you writers, cast, production and all crew involved. No other show comes close to this. —Rhonda

A dark, terrible episode. I’m sorry I watched it rather than turning off the TV. Maybe it’s me, I found the whole thing very upsetting, and quite disturbing. I was vividly reminded of what I believe to be true. I used to work in a Canadian Pacific railway yard and heard a story of a switching crew employee who was crushed between two rail cars. It can happen in a moment of carelessness. He was alive—pulling the cars apart was not an option. A trauma surgeon was called, and the doctor injected him with a large dose of morphine. Then the locomotive pulled the cars apart. Unconscious, the poor man died instantly of massive crushing injuries to his abdomen. I’ve lived with that indelible image in my mind for a long time. I liked Dilbert’s character. The writers never developed it. We see a sad; tender side of him fatally pinned between a car and trolley. So, instead of giving us more of Dilbert they literally crush him to death and we watch him suffer as he comes to terms with his imminent, tragic, pointless death. I have seen every episode; always enjoyable. But not this one. —Brian

I’m glad Pedersen acknowledged the Homicide: Life on the Street episode because that was what I thought of right away. Great job Murdoch! —Chris


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




Preview: Frankie Drake Mysteries delivers a solid right hook in Episode 3

With two weeks of episodes under our stylish belts, we can say Frankie Drake Mysteries is firing on all cylinders. Flo is a hoot, Frankie is fabulous, Trudy is terrific and Mary is magnificent. Seriously, this series looks as though it’s been on the air for two seasons, not just two episodes, so congratulations to co-creators Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci, showrunner Cal Coons and the rest of the cast and crew for making Frankie Drake so great.

Now, on to Episode 3, “Summer in the City,” written by Carol Hay and directed by Norma Bailey. Here’s what the CBC has released regarding Monday’s episode synopsis:

When a body is found in a young man’s trunk, the case brings Frankie and Trudy into Toronto’s elite social circles.

And here’s some more intel after watching a screener of the episode.

Rebecca Liddiard is has a comic gift
Liddiard has been all over our television screen of late thanks to Houdini & Doyle, Alias Grace, Slasher: Guilty Party and now Frankie Drake Mysteries. Her Mary is a delightful whirlwind of energy, innocence and flailing limbs that we can’t get enough of. Look for our interview with Liddiard in the coming days.

Welcome Emmanuel Kabongo and Grace Lynn Kung
Kabongo (21 Thunder) appears as boxer Moses Page who is training to fight real-life pugilist Jack Dempsey, while Kung (Mary Kills People) is Wendy Quon, who runs the local speakeasy.

Frankie & Hemingway create sparks
There was a definite connection between the two the first time we saw Frankie and Ernest Hemingway (Steve Lund) converse and there is more of that on Monday night thanks via sarcasm, snark and plenty of side-eye.

Trudy sings!
We were thrilled to see Carol Hay’s script offered the chance for Chantel Riley to step behind the mic for a little somethin’ somethin’. Fingers crossed there’s more of that to come in Season 1.

Frankie Drake Mysteries airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.




Mohawk Girls: All that glitters is not gold!

The Season 5 premiere episode of Mohawk Girls was firing on all cylinders! We have waited almost a year for their return, but the action picked up only one week following the “PowWow,” so I am going to jump right on in.

All evidence appeared to suggest that Anna (Maika Harper) had finally conformed enough to secure a spot in the world of Kahnawa:ke.  In a constant state of defending her man Midas (Tanner Novlan) from the hoe-bags, she was feeling the effects of the Blow Job King’s quota: “Midas’itus.” Anna turned to Iostha (Allyson Pratt) to glean some advice for tackling the tube steak that included such varied techniques as feigning a cold, and flavoured lube to make the task more … ummmm … palatable? Seems Anna has a hard task ahead to hold her position. Is “Hat Girl” is really and truly gone?

Next, we visited with Zoe (Brittany LeBorgne) during some of her sessions in rehab. And true to form, she had a difficult time relinquishing control of her feelings. That control became ever so clear during her art therapy workshop. But the therapist saw through her. Apparently, she didn’t paint “her truth.” She popped off a second attempt and yielded a result that demonstrated her deep anger. Perhaps this was the tipping point Zoe needed as she finally let down her barriers and got to the root of her issues? In a long-winded rant, Zoe revealed how angry she has been towards her parents for most of her life. “Maybe, I’d know what I was angry about if I ever got to lead my own life. But, I always had to be ‘role model Zoe’ and ‘perfect daughter, Zoe’ so that everyone liked me and respected me and thought I was doing enough for my community …. I hate my life!” I’d say Zoe revealed her truth!

Meanwhile, Caitlin (Heather White) was once again settling into her role as Butterhead’s (Meegwun Fairbrother) girlfriend whilst dodging messages from Leon (Dwain Murphy). The town seemed happy about her decision to get back with Butterhead, and even her old boss Suzette came by to offer her her old job back. And apparently, Butterhead was also adjusting to his role of boyfriend. He made Caitlin breakfast! An extra bonus for Caitlin came in the form of an “I love you, Caitlin,” from Butterhead’s daughter. But that moment was quickly dashed. Instead of the family staying in, the old Butterhead was back and headed out to party with the boys. Once again Caitlin was left to babysit. One step forward, three steps back, or so it seems for Caitlin.

Finally, we caught up with Bailey (Jenny Pudavick), who had just returned from her dream vacation to Paris with James (Jeffrey Wetsch). However, the girls didn’t give her much of a chance to bask in her happiness and quickly dampened her sparkle. In constant defence of James, Bailey was most brutally attacked by Iostha. The town was not taking kindly to her choice in men. But ever the amazing guy, James tried to ease her mind, and prepared a spread reminiscent of Paris rekindling Bailey’s shimmer! I think we all need an  Auntie Velma (Ashley Michaels) in our lives! Best advice ever: find a partner that makes you sparkle!

This episode really felt as though we have come full circle, back to where we began in Season 1: Bailey filled with wanderlust and defending her choice to date a white guy, Anna still trying to fit in in all the wrong ways and Caitlin looking for love from Butterhead but instead just making excuses for him. Ironically, it is only Zoe who, in Season 1 was just beginning to delve into the world of her sex addiction, has made any real progress through therapy.

How do you feel about the return of our lovely ladies? Let me know in the comments below.

Mohawk Girls airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on APTN


CBC’s How to Buy a Baby injects humour into infertility

I never knew infertility could be so funny. Yet there I was, giggling as Jane begged Charlie to “just stick it in my…” What she was asking him to put in there was not what I’d expected, nor was it where I’d initially thought. And that made How to Buy a Baby so hilarious.

Created by Wendy Litner and starring Meghan Heffern (Wynonna Earp) as Jane and Marc Bendavid (Dark Matter) as her husband Charlie, all 10 episodes dropped Monday on CBC’s website. Litner—who has written for The Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent (read her story about How to Buy a Baby), has a blog and most recently served as story editor on The Beaverton—is on the advisory board of Fertility Matters Canada, providing information, support, awareness and education about infertility. And, with How to Buy a Baby, she also provides laughter.

With Jane and Charlie struggling to get pregnant, it only made sense they’d run into an old friend, Debbie, at a coffee shop in Episode 1. A friend with a newborn snuggled up tightly to her chest, professing that motherhood is “f—ing amazing.” Because, of course, success in life can only be marked by motherhood. The moment is there for a chuckle but then leads into that awkward discussion regarding when Jane and Charlie are going to have a child and the whole infertility thing is mentioned. Debbie suggests a juice cleanse will solve that because it worked for someone she knew. The scene spotlights just how well-meaning, but dunderheaded, some folks can be. Jane and Charlie don’t have any problems going into detail outlining their issues—his testicles and her uterine wall—to Debbie, before leaving.

Produced by LoCo Motion Pictures (My 90-Year-Old Roommate), How to Buy a Baby is able to show the silliness in what traditionally could be seen as sad. Charlie is in the middle of providing a semen sample when his mother shoots him a text and Jane worries she’s got an ugly vagina.

There are truly touching scenes too: in Episode 2, Jane outlines to Charlie’s mother the intricacies of in vitro fertilization. It’s less than a minute long—Charlie’s sister, Alley (Mr. D‘s Emma Hunter) ruins the moment—but it’s there and drives home a key point: open discussion about subjects like infertility needs to happen. We’re getting better at discussing mental health out in the open; let’s hope the rest of the body comes next.

Watch all 10 episodes of How to Buy a Baby now via CBC’s website.

Image courtesy of LoCo Motion Pictures.




Murdoch Mysteries: Mary Pedersen discusses the show’s latest death

Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading until you have watched Murdoch Mysteries‘ Season 11, Episode 7: “The Accident.”

Murdoch Mysteries writer Mary Pedersen’s goal was to make fans cry with Monday’s newest episode, “The Accident.” I say mission accomplished. Dilton Dilbert (David Hewlett), city clerk, became the latest victim of a murder plot when he was pinned between a car and carriage while on his morning walk to the office. Unable to move him because he’d die, Dilbert professed his love to Mildred Ash (Angela Vint) moments before he expired.

“The Accident” was unique on a couple of fronts. First, in confined all of the major and supporting characters within the Murdoch Mysteries backlot. Secondly, it was set in real time, adding to the strain of the situation. We spoke to Pedersen about the episode and the inspiration behind it.

This was a killer episode!
Mary Pedersen: Thank you so much. It was really, really fun to do and I’m really proud of it.

It’s kind of a twist on the bottle episode. Not everyone is stuck in the same room, but everyone is in the same place and that made the episode really unique.
Yes, and also having a very short timeline was part of the original idea and that brought a lot of energy and a fresh challenge to writing that episode that was really fun. It’s not our normal plot.

How did the story originally break in the writer’s room?
When we were prepping for our development room in the winter, I watched, with Murdoch in mind, a few Alfred Hitchcock movies. I watched Rope and came to the room saying, ‘Let’s do a dinner party and the killers are trying to catch Murdoch out … essentially let’s do Rope.’ Pete came up with the accident part of it, really with the thought in mind that if it was out there on the street then there is some pressure on the situation. People need to get where they’re going. And one of my favourite early episodes of TV was the ‘Subway’ episode with Vincent D’Onofrio in Homicide: Life on the Street. [Editor’s note: That Homicide episode is entitled “Subway,” but is often referred to as “The Accident.”] Those things came together and started writing itself.

And then, when we were trying to figure out which character to have standing there crushed between two vehicles for five days [of filming], somebody came up with David [Hewlett] and it was genius. He was fantastic; it was such a dream to watch him make that story happen.

I was wondering how you decided on Dilton Dilbert to be the one trapped there. You needed a character that fans already knew and cared about rather than someone no one had met.
Right. And that was sort of my idea going into it, that it would be all new people, but someone in the room came up with David’s name and once they did there was no other conversation. And then we were lucky to get Angela [Vint] as well. I’ve been a fan of hers since Traders way back when so watching the two of them do scenes together was a dream.

Let’s talk about the challenges surrounding this episode. There was such a large cast of characters to juggle alongside our regulars. Was that tough to write?
By the time it gets to [production] that’s the challenge of the director. I had envisioned going around and around and around the accident and making it work inside of our backlot. [Director] Alison [Reid] and the assistant directors and the art department had to make that work. The art department had to come up with streetcar tracks in our backlot. At one point it seemed like an impossible task and Bob [Sher] was like, ‘Well, let’s give it a go,’ and that was fantastic. I did get dirty side-eye from the ADs for sure. And, when we wrote it we thought it might be a bit shorter of an episode for filming because it was all in one location but I don’t think we wound up saving any time on it. And it also wound up being one of the hottest weeks of the summer so the crew and cast were out on the backlot just broiling the entire time. But they’re total pros and troopers.

The other cool thing about this episode was when Alison pulled back it allowed viewers to see not only the full backlot but the CGI work to show the growth of Toronto.
I love that, and being able to walk down the street to where the streetcars are parked. It was a real team effort.

Those were quite the emotional scenes between Dilbert and Brackenreid.
If you’re going to care about the murder and spend an hour with the guy, we had to feel something. What is that like? You know now that your time is limited. One of the reasons that I gravitate towards Murdoch and shows like it is they’re not typically focused on the tragedies and the sadness and the loss. For the most part, you’re able to focus on the puzzle and the mystery and what the detective is doing to solve the crime. It’s really a part of the show that we don’t normally see and that’s on purpose because we want to focus on Murdoch’s own detective work.

This story required some emotional bang.

You certainly get the emotional bang when Dilbert is speaking with Mildred Ash. They flirt a bit when he says he’s admired her shorthand. Him viewing himself as just a cog in the machine. It’s heartbreaking, Mary! How could you do this?
[Laughs.] If you were dying too soon, at least I would reflect on the great thing that I thought that I would accomplish. And it is kind of heartbreaking.

Mary, people will have cried watching this episode. Are you happy with this knowledge?
I am so happy! This is one of my great accomplishments as a writer. [Laughs.] After we did the read-through and we were walking down the hall back to the writer’s room, Paul Aitken turned around with tears in his eyes. And I was just, ‘Yes, everything is going to be all right.’

That was a very patient pig that you had John Brackenreid holding.
We had the pigs and the chickens and the fire hydrant. The fire hydrant was on the bubble several times and Pete just kept rescuing it from getting cut. It was great that we were able to keep all of the farm animals and people were so delighted with that pig. It was a pretty rough week shooting but the pig really brought people’s spirits up.

Despite all of the difficulties, this episode really helped to expand the world of Murdoch Mysteries in my mind. Even the off-hand comment about the Gooderham & Worts building being a flatiron building helped me place where in Toronto we’re set.
That’s awesome and I’m so glad. It was so interesting looking up things like traffic accidents at the time. The boy whose cart rolls over in the street it was originally written as a 13-year-old with a little motor van because, of course when you think of it, there were no regulations at the time. You could drive at any age, it was all so new. And, I think, there had only been one car fatality at the time and it was kids playing in the street and man ran over a kid and was like, ‘OK, I need to be on my way.’ There wasn’t the same protocol for an accident that we have today. Or even Murdoch going, ‘Wait a second, I think there is some fishy business going on here,’ would have been very unlikely for the time.

What did you think of “The Accident”? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? And confess: did you cry? Let me know in the comments below.

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