Everything about Northern Rescue, eh?

Links: Northern Rescue, Season 1

From Michael Pickard of Drama Quarterly:

Link: Family focus
“It was an exhausting experience but super rewarding, with huge learning curves, which is great and ultimately very rewarding to go from the genesis of the idea to the execution and the premiere of it.” Continue reading.

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: Lethbridge’s David Cormican creates family-friendly Northern Rescue for CBC streaming service
“The message and the feel at the end of the day with this programming is very hopeful and heartfelt and tender and uplifting and optimistic for the future.” Continue reading.

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: REVIEW: Baldwin, Robertson shine in Northern Rescue
It’s difficult, and usually a little unfair, to judge a series by one episode. That’s especially true of Northern Rescue, a drama about a family facing a devastating, life-changing loss. Continue reading.

From Joel Rubinoff of The Waterloo Record:

Link: Kitchener’s Taylor Thorne has a starring role in Netflix, CBC series Northern Rescue
Taylor Thorne is only 14, but with her disarmingly direct gaze and penchant for speaking her mind, the burgeoning dancer-turned-actor comes off like a consummate showbiz pro, one who perfected her craft through years of dance competitions, Drayton theatre productions and small TV parts. Continue reading.

From Victoria Ahearn of the Canadian Press:

Link: ‘Northern Rescue’ star William Baldwin faced real-life danger with mudslide
William Baldwin has been through some harrowing emergency situations, both on and off-screen.

The American actor, who played a firefighter in “Backdraft” and stars as a search-and-rescue commander in the new CBC series “Northern Rescue,” says a massive California blaze known as the Thomas Fire came within two blocks of his house in January 2018. Continue reading. 

From Mike Crisolago of Everything Zoomer:

Link: Billy Baldwin Channels His Love For Canada With New CBC Series Northern Rescue
Baldwin’s love affair with Canada is good news for his most recent project, Northern Rescue – named in the great Canadian geographical tradition that gave us show titles like North of 60 and Due South. Continue reading.

From Doug Crosse of My Parry Sound Now:

Link: Northern Rescue debuts on Friday
Parry Sound, get ready for your close up.

Months after filming wrapped up Northern Rescue is about to make its Canadian and worldwide debut on Friday. Continue reading.

From Jordan Moreau of Variety:

Link: William Baldwin on His Two New TV Series, Following in Brother Alec’s Acting Footsteps
“I went to the CBC and Netflix and told these crazy stories about my childhood with the frickin’ lunatic Baldwin brothers.” Continue reading. 

From Maria Awad of TV Insider:

Link: William Baldwin on How Netflix’s ‘Northern Rescue’ Showcases the Struggles of Modern Parenting
“I just started talking about why this type of programming is important to me and the show really is about what it means to be a family today. I told them we need to have the latitude to get into some hard-hitting stuff because we’re attempting to define what it means to be a family today and you need to get into all the stuff that kids get into.” Continue reading.

From Dave Mabell of the Lethbridge Herald:

Link: Former city man creates TV series
After a solid month of Arctic-like winter, Albertans are quite aware of the dangers they’d face in an outdoor emergency. Farther north, they could be in still greater peril.

Now a new TV series, co-created by former Lethbridge resident David Cormican, shows vividly just how precarious life can be in Canada’s far north. Continue reading. 

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Northern Rescue’s Kathleen Robertson
“It’s definitely a streamable show, like it feels like you could definitely binge-watch this show. I believe that it’s being platformed on CBC online as the same time as it’s being shown, so I think they kind of want the ability to say ‘it’s your choice’, which is kind of what I think that everything’s moving now.” Continue reading.

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CBC Gem’s Northern Rescue, starring William Baldwin, is truly a family affair

There are countless reasons why television shows are created. It could be anything from showcasing an actor to fulfilling a contract. A reason I haven’t heard before is why Northern Rescue came to fruition.

“We really wanted to do something that was a little more hopeful and family co-viewing,” says creator and executive producer David Cormican. He and his co-creators, Mark Bacci and Dwayne Hill for Don Carmody Productions, all most recently worked on the decidedly dark Citytv project Between. Now they can add bona fide family drama to their IMDB pages.

Debuting exclusively on CBC Gem this Friday—an airdate on CBC will follow—all 10 of the show’s Season 1 instalments arrive ready for a binge watch. William Baldwin stars as John West, a big-city search and rescue man who uproots his family after his wife dies. A change of scenery, and moving in with their Aunt Charlotte (Kathleen Robertson), would seem—on paper—to be just the thing to help them cope with the loss. Not so, especially for 16-year-old daughter Maddie (Amalia Williamson) and 14-year-old son Scout (Spencer MacPherson).

I spoke to Cormican about how Northern Rescue came about, how the stars aligned and being the first drama to drop on CBC Gem.

How did Northern Rescue come about?
David Cormican: If you look back through—especially Don’s resumé, and then mine as well—it’s fairly, I don’t want to say dark, but let’s say genre skewing. A lot of sci-fi, a lot of horror, a lot of action. It wasn’t necessarily stuff that I can sit down and watch with my parents, right straight on down to my brothers and sisters and their kids, and my kid as well. We really wanted to do something that was a little more hopeful and family co-viewing.

It’s one of those things where it’s always sort of resonated with me in terms of the story and I thought it’d be great and a lot of fun to get into these characters, into the meat of it.

Maddie is the voice of the show. Why did you decide to go with her as the storyteller, as the way in, as opposed to traditional let’s just jump in and find out who these characters are on our own?
DC: I think on the surface you might sort of think that the show is about John because he’s played by the biggest star, you know, Billy Baldwin or Kathleen Robertson, who is playing Aunt Charlie. But when we started getting into it, it’s funny, I know we use two devices. I’m not normally a huge fan of flashbacks and narration and we use both a lot, and we even actually thought that we were going to pull back on the narration after the first episode. But it just sort of created this nice sort of framework and we started to realize as we were breaking the series, way back before we started shooting, was that Maddie really was our lead. She was the one who we’re sort of seeing most of the story through, she’s our narrator, reliable or otherwise.

We’re seeing a lot of it through how it connects to her, and it’s also because especially in the first season, there’s a major secret that is brewing that it sort of ramps up to 10 on Episode 5 and then by the time we reach the final episode of the season and we sort of crank is to 11. When we tested a few of the episodes out with some of our nearest and dearest to see what they think might be coming and that, and no one’s been able to sort of see it. So that’s kind of great.

We realized that there’s so much that hinges around the character of Maddie that it really starts to put the whole family itself into focus when we see it through her eyes. Ultimately it is a family drama, but Maddie is sort of the primary vehicle that we use to advance the story forward.

The obvious question, of course, is how do you land a Billy Baldwin? Is it an executive producer credit, to entice him? 
DC: Billy came very early on in the show and he read a couple of the earlier drafts of Episodes 1 and 2 and responded immediately to them, and this before we were out to cast anyone else either. So Billy read the scripts and we already had some interest from the networks and Billy just sort of loved the notion of family and definition we were playing with. Which is not, you know, your stereotypical nuclear family definition. It’s sort of who you choose sometimes as opposed to whose thrust upon you. We got on the phone one day and it was supposed to be a little meet and greet ‘Hello, how are you?’ sort of thing. And I think we started jamming for almost an hour and a half on additional story points and this and that.

We got into the stories of Billy’s family and our families and starting swapping tales back and forth. The meeting quickly lead to the conversation afterwards where the agent called up like, ‘So Billy loves it, so let’s talk some points’. And the EP thing was actually that was sort of inspired on our side because of Billy’s involvement, he got very involved on the front end of things and has been a great champion of the show with the networks to sort of assure them that, ‘Yeah, I’m in this. I’m in it to win it, so let’s make this happen.’

And I think Billy sort of puts it best. It’s called show business. There are some producers that handle the show side, and some that handle the business side and there’s rarely some that handle both sides and Billy is the first to admit that he’s on the creative side of things, so he likes to sort of roll up the sleeves on his character.

There are some very serious storylines that come up, obviously the loss of a mother and a wife. Search and rescue by nature is not something to laugh about. How do you balance some of those storylines?
DC: I would say our inclination actually, especially when you get into myself and Dwayne, I think our leanings are a little bit more on the comedic side. And certainly on some of the drafts of the scripts, even closer to final draft, you could see read into them quite funnily if you were to… or play for the comedy and we had to sort of constantly be reminding everyone on set to not play for laughs. Remember it’s not comedy in the script, it’s levity.

And that took a couple episodes until we got everyone in all of their roles to sort of come because I think everyone’s first inclination was like, ‘Cool! Room for comedy here, right?’ And I think that might be sort of borne out of some of the other shows that CBC is known for right now like Schitts Creek and Workin’ Moms and stuff like that. Again, we’re playing to that darker, edgier side of the drama so while yes, there are moments of levity, we always try to shy away from ever calling it comedy because I’m a big believer, especially, comedy and tragedy is such a fine line.

Now, obviously the broadcast for this is going to be a little different. You’re going to be the second show that’s been featured on CBC streaming, CBC Gem in this case. How did you feel about that?
DC: I think some people were nervous. I wasn’t. I like this idea, and I liked it from the get-go and I championed for it a little bit more once it realized it could mean the difference for us between just being a show on CBC versus being a show that’s going to be a first for them on Gem, because then they’re binging all episodes at once.

We’re no longer sort of a slave to the week-to-week. And I think that’s smart, not just for us, but I also think it’s smart for CBC Gem as a platform.

Northern Rescue‘s entire first season is available for streaming on Friday on CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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CBC announces winter 2019 premiere dates for Heartland, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience and more

From a media release:

CBC today announced broadcast and streaming premiere dates for its winter 2019 lineup of highly anticipated new titles and popular returning series, featuring original programming by Canadian storytellers. With a new winter schedule launching Sunday, January 6, each series will be available for linear broadcast on CBC and live and on demand streaming on the CBC TV app for iOS and Android and cbc.ca/watch.

● Family drama HEARTLAND returns for Season 12 on Sunday, January 6 at 7PM

● Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M.R. Hall, female-driven procedural CORONER starring Serinda Swan premieres Monday, January 7 at 9PM

● CBC’s hit Tuesday night comedy lineup continues this winter with new seasons of KIM’S CONVENIENCE, SCHITT’S CREEK and WORKIN’ MOMS beginning January 8 at 8PM

● A new case draws Kristin Kreuk into the shadowy world of hackers and activists in Season 2 of BURDEN OF TRUTH, premiering Wednesday, January 9 at 8PM

● Limited drama series UNSPEAKABLE focused on Canada’s tainted blood scandal, starring Sarah Wayne Callies and Shawn Doyle, debuts Wednesday, January 9 at 9PM

● East Coast humour rules Thursday nights beginning January 10 at 9PM, with new comedy CAVENDISH from the creators of Picnicface and Season 2 of Joel Thomas Hynes’ LITTLE DOG

● Factual entertainment series THE STATS OF LIFE returns with a new look at how Canadians are living Friday, January 11 at 8:30PM

● Iconic drama STREET LEGAL returns with Cynthia Dale and a new generation of Toronto lawyers Monday, March 4 at 9PM

● New Halifax legal aid drama DIGGSTOWN starring Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge premieres Wednesday, March 6 at 8PM

● Arlene Dickinson matches budding entrepreneurs with the businesses of their dreams in UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT launching Friday, March 15 at 8:30PM

● A winter, digital-first streaming premiere date for new family adventure drama NORTHERN RESCUE, starring William Baldwin and Kathleen Robertson, will be confirmed in the near future.

CBC’s winter 2019 primetime schedule, launching Sunday, January 6: All following times local with the exception of Newfoundland, please add half an hour to all times.

SUNDAYS
11 AM (12 PM AT) – THE WEEKLY WITH WENDY MESLEY Season 2 continues January 6

7 PM – HEARTLAND Season 12 (11×60) premieres January 6

8 PM – THE NATURE OF THINGS – Season 58 continues with “Food for Thought,” offering the latest in nutritional science, on January 6

9 PM – THE FIFTH ESTATE Season 44 continues January 6

10 PM – THE NATIONAL CBC News’ flagship program continues Sunday to Friday each week

MONDAYS
7:30 PM – CORONATION STREET (weekdays, back-to-back episodes on Mondays starting at 7 PM)

8 PM – MURDOCH MYSTERIES Season 12 (18×60) continues January 7

9 PM – CORONER New procedural drama (8×60) premieres January 7

9 PM – STREET LEGAL The iconic legal drama returns (6×60) March 4

TUESDAYS
8 PM – KIM’S CONVENIENCE Season 3 (13×30) premieres January 8

8:30 PM – THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES Season 26 (19×30, 1×60) continues January 8

9 PM – SCHITT’S CREEK Season 5 (14×30) premieres January 8

9:30 PM – WORKIN’ MOMS Season 3 (13×30) premieres January 8

WEDNESDAYS
8 PM – BURDEN OF TRUTH Season 2 (8×60) premieres January 9

8 PM – DIGGSTOWN (6×60) New Halifax legal aid drama premieres March 6

9 PM – UNSPEAKABLE (8×60) Limited drama about Canada’s tainted blood scandal premieres January 9

THURSDAYS
8 PM – DRAGONS’ DEN Season 13 (20×60) continues January 10

9 PM – CAVENDISH (8×30) New comedy from the creators of Picnicface premieres January 10

9:30 PM – LITTLE DOG Season 2 (8×30) premieres January 10

FRIDAYS
8 PM – MARKETPLACE Season 46 continues January 11

8:30 PM – THE STATS OF LIFE Season 2 (8×30) premieres January 11

8:30 PM – UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT Factual series hosted by Arlene Dickinson (4×30) premieres March 15

9 PM – CBC DOCS POV Season 3 continues with “Pugly,” about the upswing in pug ownership and what makes them so lovable January 11

11:30 PM CBC ARTS: EXHIBITIONISTS Season 4 (26×30) continues

SATURDAYS
6:30 PM – HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA

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CBC and Netflix family drama Northern Rescue confirms additional casting as production begins

From a media release:

With production now underway in and around Parry Sound, Ontario, Don Carmody Television (DCTV) today revealed additional casting for new CBC and Netflix family adventure series NORTHERN RESCUE (10×60).

The series follows John West (William Baldwin), who uproots his three children from the big city to return to his hometown to take command of the local Search & Rescue service after the death of his wife. As the family comes to terms with their loss, the series explores the effects on their individual lives. The children’s Aunt Charlotte (Kathleen Robertson), struggles to help John and his children heal as she copes with the loss of her sister and her desire to have a family of her own. Along the way, John faces many situations that challenge him professionally and personally. As the family members work on rebuilding their lives, they will come to meet many colourful characters living in their northern community.

Joining the series are Amalia Williamson (Level 16) as Maddie West, John’s 16-year-old daughter;  Spencer MacPherson (DeGrassi: Next Class) as Scout West, John’s 14-year-old son;, and Taylor Thorne (Odd Squad) as Taylor West, John’s 10-year-old daughter. Also joining the cast are Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope) as Sarah West, John’s wife, Michael Xavier (Bitten) as Paul Simmons, a volunteer member of the SAR team; and Peter MacNeill (Call Me Fitz) as Harry, John’s retired SAR commander.

Created by Mark Bacci (Between, Real Detectives), David Cormican (Tokyo Trial, Between) and Dwayne Hill (Peg + Cat, Billable Hours), NORTHERN RESCUE is produced by Don Carmody Television (DCTV) for CBC and Netflix with the financial participation of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Independent Production Fund. Executive Producers are Carmody (Goon, Polytechnique, Chicago), Cormican, Bradley Walsh (Flower Shop Mystery, Kaya), Bacci, Hill and Baldwin. Producers are Carmody and Cormican. Walsh will also direct four episodes. Gail Harvey (Lost Girl, Heartland), Eleanore Lindo (Ransom, Murdoch Mysteries) and Michael McGowan (Between, Reign), each direct two episodes. Cinematography is by Brett Van Dyke (Bitten, Dark Matter) and Production Design is by Tony Cowley (Dexter, Jigsaw). Casting is John Buchan and Jason Knight (Titans, American Gods). For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Scripted Content; and Deborah Nathan is Executive in Charge of Production.

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Reaction: CBC’s slate of new programs for the 2018-19 broadcast season

I spent a couple of days in Ottawa this week, which meant I missed attending CBC’s presentation for its 2018-19 broadcast season. You can check out the full announcement here, which includes a list of the shows returning to the schedule, programs that are moving and even better news for Kim’s Convenience fans. (Not so for 21 Thunder and Hello Goodbye; the former has been cancelled and the latter is on hiatus.)

In no particular order, here are my thoughts on (almost) everything that CBC revealed on Thursday morning.

— A lot of folks, myself included, were scratching their heads over the decision to bring back Street Legal for another go-round. What more could be said about those characters over 20 years later? That all changed once I saw Bruce Smith named as showrunner. He’s the guy behind two of my favourite TV series in recent memory, Cracked and 19-2. Both were gritty, realistic portrayals of life, so I expect the same from Street Legal as well as catching up on what Olivia Novak is up to. And I can’t wait to have Cynthia Dale back on my TV screen.

— CBC does family drama, really, really, well. Just look at the success of Heartland for crying out loud. I’m expecting big things from Northern Rescue and all it offers: tragedy, redemption, starting a new life in an unfamiliar place and Kathleen Robertson.

— I was unaware of Floyd Kane until this week, though he’s been involved in several projects I’ve watched or admired, including writing for Continuum and Backstage and producing That’s So Weird and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He’s a bona fide lawyer, so it makes sense he’d create a series about being one in Diggstown. I’m into this, especially after learning Diggstown marks the first original Canadian drama series to feature a black Canadian female in the lead role.

— I’m excited to see Back Alley Films—the folks behind the excellent Bellevue—working with the CBC on Coroner. Based on the best-selling book series by M.R. Hall and created for TV by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope), it’s about former ER doctor Jenny Cooper who now investigates suspicious deaths.

— I’m over the moon that Kim’s Convenience, which just began production on Season 3, has been greenlit for Season 4. I’m equally jazzed that Paul Sun-Hyung Lee has been tagged to host Canada’s Smartest Person Junior.

— Banger Films are the folks behind must-see music documentaries like Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, Super Duper Alice Cooper and Rock Icons. I’m intrigued and excited by From the Vaults, which takes a look at Canadian history and music by utilizing the CBC’s archives.

— High Arctic Haulers. Remote northern communities relying on ships to bring them supplies? Right in my wheelhouse.

— Baroness Von Sketch Show and Still Standing both moving to the fall on CBC is a curious move, as is bumping Kim’s Convenience to the winter. Regardless, it gives the CBC a solid night of comedy on Tuesdays all year long.

— Heartland is back, but for only 11 episodes. That’s a little concerning and I can’t help but wonder if this might be the last season for the long-running Canadian drama. I have no evidence to back this up—it may be because some castmembers want to do other things—it’s just a gut feeling.

— Murdoch Mysteries is currently listed at 18 episodes, which would indicate to me there will be no holiday special this year. Again, I have nothing to go on other than the number.

What are you most looking forward to or excited about from CBC’s announcement? Let me know in the comments below.

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