Everything about Open Heart, eh?

Results: Your Favourite Canadian TV Shows of 2015 are …

Fans of Canadian television shows certainly are a passionate lot, and they’re not confined to our borders either. Of the over 25,000 who voted for their Top 5 shows of 2015, dozens voiced their support from around the world.

Yes, the voting for a few shows took a suspicious jump over the last couple of days, but we’ll chalk that up to super-fans who simply love their programs … and know how to use technology to their advantage. (The voting wasn’t affected that much in the end.)

By the time the tally was taken, the Top 10 Canadian Shows of 2015 are:

  1. Dark Matter (27%, 7,269 Votes)
  2. Lost Girl (25%, 6,777 Votes)
  3. Killjoys (21%, 5,766 Votes)
  4. Heartland (20%, 5,384 Votes)
  5. Murdoch Mysteries (10%, 2,632 Votes)
  6. Orphan Black (8%, 2,147 Votes)
  7. Tornado Hunters (8%, 2,080 Votes)
  8. Rookie Blue (6%, 1,634 Votes)
  9. When Calls the Heart (6%, 1,557 Votes)
  10. Rick Mercer Report (5%, 1,486 Votes)

Aside from the Top 10 vote-getters, I was pleased to see several new programs perform well in the poll. Clearly, viewers love seeing three guys tooling around in a truck capturing wacky weather on film, as Tornado Hunters placed No. 7, not bad at all for a show that debuted late in the year and veteran The Liquidator finished just out of the Top 10.

Thanks again to everyone who voted. Check out the final results; you can still name your favourites in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

What are your five favourite Canadian TV shows of 2015?

  • Dark Matter (12%, 7,269 Votes)
  • Lost Girl (11%, 6,777 Votes)
  • Killjoys (9%, 5,766 Votes)
  • Heartland (9%, 5,384 Votes)
  • Murdoch Mysteries (4%, 2,632 Votes)
  • Orphan Black (3%, 2,147 Votes)
  • Tornado Hunters (3%, 2,080 Votes)
  • Rookie Blue (3%, 1,634 Votes)
  • When Calls the Heart (3%, 1,557 Votes)
  • Rick Mercer Report (2%, 1,486 Votes)
  • The Liquidator (2%, 1,279 Votes)
  • Schitt's Creek (2%, 1,227 Votes)
  • Vikings (2%, 1,087 Votes)
  • The Amazing Race Canada (2%, 1,053 Votes)
  • Saving Hope (2%, 1,024 Votes)
  • Property Brothers (2%, 990 Votes)
  • Bitten (2%, 976 Votes)
  • Dragons' Den (2%, 970 Votes)
  • Continuum (2%, 955 Votes)
  • Haven (1%, 791 Votes)
  • Chopped Canada (1%, 786 Votes)
  • 22 Minutes (1%, 783 Votes)
  • MasterChef Canada (1%, 738 Votes)
  • Big Brother Canada (1%, 727 Votes)
  • Highway Thru Hell (1%, 686 Votes)
  • Canada's Worst Driver (1%, 684 Votes)
  • Degrassi (1%, 608 Votes)
  • The Nature of Things (1%, 580 Votes)
  • Love It or List It franchise (1%, 573 Votes)
  • The Fifth Estate (1%, 559 Votes)
  • Motive (1%, 557 Votes)
  • House of Bryan (1%, 549 Votes)
  • X Company (1%, 520 Votes)
  • Still Standing (1%, 480 Votes)
  • Strange Empire (1%, 397 Votes)
  • Marketplace (1%, 394 Votes)
  • This Life (1%, 394 Votes)
  • Hockey Wives (1%, 340 Votes)
  • Backroad Bounty (1%, 321 Votes)
  • 19-2 (1%, 311 Votes)
  • Remedy (0%, 266 Votes)
  • Mr. D (0%, 265 Votes)
  • Blackstone (0%, 262 Votes)
  • Polar Bear Town (0%, 252 Votes)
  • Ice Racer Showdown (0%, 214 Votes)
  • Young Drunk Punk (0%, 207 Votes)
  • Canada's Smartest Person (0%, 198 Votes)
  • Sunnyside (0%, 193 Votes)
  • The Next Step (0%, 174 Votes)
  • Mohawk Girls (0%, 170 Votes)
  • Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan (0%, 128 Votes)
  • Keeping Canada Alive (0%, 120 Votes)
  • The Other Side (0%, 113 Votes)
  • Chef in Your Ear (0%, 104 Votes)
  • The Romeo Section (0%, 99 Votes)
  • Blood and Water (0%, 93 Votes)
  • The Stanley Dynamic (0%, 88 Votes)
  • Make it Pop (0%, 81 Votes)
  • First Dates (0%, 68 Votes)
  • Unusually Thicke (0%, 67 Votes)
  • Open Heart (0%, 65 Votes)
  • Spun Out (0%, 58 Votes)
  • Sensitive Skin (0%, 47 Votes)
  • Max & Shred (0%, 42 Votes)
  • Some Assembly Required (0%, 30 Votes)
  • Crash Gallery (0%, 24 Votes)
  • Tiny Plastic Men (0%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 27,337

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The Directors Guild of Canada Honours the Best in the Business at the 14th Annual DGC Awards

From a media release:

The Directors Guild of Canada handed out 19 awards tonight honouring the best work created by Members this past year in a star-studded, elegant event. Three special career acknowledgments were also handed out during the evening, including the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award to filmmaker David Cronenberg.

Arisa Cox and Sean Cullen co-hosted the Awards Gala which was held at The Carlu in Toronto.  Presenters included this country’s hardest working filmmakers and actors; Megan Follows, Jerry Ciccoritti, Jason Priestley, Catherine O’Hara, Helen Shaver, Dan Levy to name just a few.

Below is a full list of the awards presented at the 2015 DGC Awards Gala:

Presented by Shaftesbury
David Cronenberg

Mark Reid

Presented by BellMedia
Peter Leitch

Presented by Deluxe
Charles Binamé – Elephant Song 

Presented by Panavision
Clement Virgo – The Book of Negroes 

Presented by William F. White International
Kari Skogland – Vikings, Blood Eagle 

Presented by Technicolor

Presented by Vanguarde Artists Management
The Book of Negroes

Presented by PS Production Services Ltd. and SIM Digital
Orphan Black, By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried

Open Heart, Last Things First 

Schitt’s Creek, Our Cup Runneth Over 

Presented by Rogers Group of Funds
Super Duper Alice Cooper

Made in Bali

Presented by Pinewood Toronto Studios
Carol Spier – Maps to the Stars

Jason Clarke – The Book of Negroes, Episode 5 

Brendan Smith – Schitt’s Creek, Our Cup Runneth Over

Michele Conroy – Pompeii

Susan Shipton – The Book of Negroes, Episode 6

Don Cassidy – Vikings, The Lord’s Prayer

Pompeii - Kevin Banks, Stephen Barden, Fred Brennan, Alex Bullick, J.R Fountain, Rose Gregoris, Kevin Howard, Jill Purdy, Tyler Whitham

The Book of Negroes, Episode 1 – Andrea Cyr, Claire Dobson, Martin Gwynn Jones, Joe Mancuso, David McCallum, Brennan Mercer, Brent Pickett, David Rose

Vikings, The Choice - Andrew Jablonski, David McCallum, Steve Medeiros, Brennan Mercer, Dale Sheldrake, Jane Tattersall, Rob Warchol


Interview: Open Heart boss reveals Season 1 secrets

It was one of the most action-packed season finales I’ve ever seen. In just over 20 minutes, Open Heart managed to squish romance, action and mystery into one instalment as Dylan found her missing father, Veronica was attacked, Det. Goodis was killed and London had not one but two fellows—Seth and Hud—profess their love for her and plant a kiss on her lips.

We had questions! So we turned to showrunner Ramona Barckert for the answers, and she delivered on everything from those pesky feathers to London and Hud’s smooch, and perhaps the biggest mystery: will there be a Season 2 of Open Heart?

It’s one thing to sit in the writer’s room and come up with these ideas, but what has it been like to watch the show every week and see the reaction from the fans on social media?
Ramona Barckert: It’s been amazing. I was super-nervous before the premiere. Not that I didn’t believe in the show and I wasn’t proud of it, but it’s a different kind of thing and I wondered if people would embrace it the way that we hoped, and if they would hate the things that we focused on. You always wonder. Over the course of the 12 weeks it blossomed into this obsessive group of people that really got into it. It was really awesome.

Twelve weeks has gone by very quickly.
It has gone by quickly. The show is quick, so I think that is a factor.

There was so much going on in Tuesday’s finale that there wasn’t any time for Jared (Mena Massoud)!
You didn’t! And that’s unfortunate. I feel terrible about that. I own that because I wrote the finale and I jammed as much in as I could and we unfortunately only have just over 21 minutes to tell the story so the scene he was in got cut. It was a great scene too—typical Jared being hilarious and mocking Dylan—maybe I’ll bug someone to get the deleted scene put online or something.

Dylan represents the youth, not keeping things hiding in the shadows and talking about what they are struggling with.

Would it have changed the main story?
No, it was a scene at the top of the episode that set up Dylan coming out of the psych ward and setting her off on her journey. We just didn’t have the time for it and it had to go, unfortunately.

Thank you so much for reuniting Richard with Dylan. It was an important payoff and some shows may not have done that. They would have drawn it out into another season.
My approach to storytelling is if you set something up you need to have a payoff in a timely fashion. That makes it satisfying. It’s intriguing to have that payoff and close that part of the story while opening up another part to it. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. You want to give the audience something. Stringing the audience along … I don’t like it when shows do that to me so I try not to do that with my own.

Richard told Dylan that she needed to keep acting like he was dead or missing to protect her. London had that vision of her holding a baby. I was thinking the baby was Dylan and that perhaps the woman on the gurney was her mother. That means Jane isn’t her biological mother and Richard had an affair. Thoughts?
I think you’re supposed to look at that vision as a piece of the Blake history. Whether or not London’s interpretation of that history is accurate is subject to discussion. I think you’re on the right track. The vision is a lynchpin in the Blake family history and what it means is to be determined. Right now that vision exists in the twisted corridors of London’s mind and there is more to be had there. It’s still a bit fuzzy.

Ug. OK.
Come on! We gave you Richard back! That’s something!

Meanwhile, Det. Goodis turned out to be Det. Bad-is. The scene where he, Dr. K and Hud were fighting over the gun was pretty stressful for viewers. It did, for a few minutes, seem as though the secret had died with him.
Goodis, in my mind, up until the point that he got screwed was on board with Dylan and really wanted to help her. As with everyone on the show, there are times when you have the best intentions and things don’t work out. He wanted to get out of the situation he was in and made some poor decisions. And that’s why Dylan felt so lost at that moment. Goodis was dead and Veronica was in a coma and no one else could tell her about Richard. She had to find it out for herself. I really wanted her to have the win at the end of the season.

Thank goodness for that feather!
I know! There were other feathers. If you go back over the season there were other feathers in the trunk of the car and on Veronica. I got a lot of grief when we were shooting that because we had these feathers and people kept asking me about them. I said, ‘Don’t worry guys, it will all make sense.’


Dr. Hud was interesting this season; he has to attend counselling for PTSD. Pair that with London’s visions and Richard’s mental state and you were very respectful while shining a spotlight on mental health.
Ultimately, we wanted to talk about family and issues that families deal with. To think about the Blakes, who have made such poor decisions when it’s come to dealing with Richard’s illness … it’s been the old-school way of dealing with things. Just keep it quiet and pretend it’s not happening. Dylan represents the youth, not keeping things hiding in the shadows and talking about what they are struggling with. That’s a great thing because teenagers are so open these things.

It would have been easy to just have Hud be the hunky doctor with the perfectly-sculpted stubble with no depth.
We cast for that, knowing that there would more to him. The first part of the season he’s really seen through the eyes of Dylan, who has a crush on him and he’s a player. And then there’s a subtle switch midway through the season where you start to see his point of view, which I’m pretty proud of. I’m really into characters who change mid-season and I think thats why the fans are really into him, because we did it slowly.

London started off the season with no men in her life. Now she has two kissing her and telling her they love her. That’s complicated.
Hud has been making bad decisions all season, so it’s exciting because you see he’s going to make one more when he’s going to kiss her. It’s great, and sexy and all that but also, ‘Oh no!’ People are very into them, though. Right now it’s all about Hud and London.

You left many questions open at the end of the night, including if there will be a Season 2. What’s happening? Have you been greenlit? Are you waiting to hear?
We are waiting. We are expecting news any day. We are very hopeful and our networks have been very supportive of the show. They love it and want to see more. The writers and I have been working over the last couple of months just getting ready and developing story ideas and every idea we have is super-exciting.

What did you think of Season 1 of Open Heart? Comment below or on Twitter @tv_eh.


Review: Love, loss and family reunions on Open Heart

I’ve been consistently amazed by Open Heart‘s storytelling. Under showrunner Ramona Barckert, the YTV drama hums along at a breakneck pace, managing to mix family strife, romance, humour and mystery into each 22-minute episode. It’s made for a breathtaking ride and I’m sorry that it’s over.

Tuesday’s season finale, “Time Out of Mind” written by Barckert, served to close out the major mystery—the location of Richard Blake—while opening up the closet door on more angles to be covered if Season 2 is greenlit. I was glad Dylan found Richard by the end of the episode—it would have felt like a cheat if we hadn’t—and I was intrigued when their teary loft reunion was cut short by Richard, who implored Dylan to pretend he was dead “so that you can be protected.”

Protected from what? We don’t know, though I suspect it might have something to do with London’s final vision of the season where she was holding a baby in her arms. At first, I thought it was a doll, then perhaps a dead infant. But I think the baby is Dylan, and that she may not be London’s sibling by blood after all. That could mean the woman being carted away on the stretcher was her real mother, who perhaps had an affair with Richard. I could see Richard wanting that knowledge hidden from Dylan. It would, after all, throw her whole world into disarray.

“World in disarray” aptly described Wes, London and Hud too. After saying perhaps the most stupid thing in the universe to Dylan (“You are out of your mind!”), Wes redeemed himself by helping Dr. K and Hud save Dylan from Det. Goodis—clearly he was Det. BADis—and was stunned when Edward welcomed him into the Blake family. That will fill a hole in his life for a little while, but I suspect the experience won’t be as wonderful as he imagines it will be.

London, meanwhile, was finally at ease in her relationship with Seth when the two swapped “I love you’s” and kisses. But the long-simmering season-long looks Hud gave her came to a head when the desperate doc, reeling from making a mistake with a patient and being forced into PTSD counselling by Dr. K, planted a kiss on London’s lips and left her stunned. So, Open Heart fans, should London stick with geeky Seth or go for bad boy Hud?

What was your favourite scene in last night’s season finale? What have you thought of the Open Heart‘s first season overall? Comment or hit Twitter @tv_eh.

Notes and quotes

  • “I love you.” “Dammit. I love you too.” London and Seth are so painfully awkward. I love it.
  • Veronica has been wearing that leopard coat all season. Was she changing her spots when she talked to Dylan? Symbolism!
  • When three guys fall in a parking lot, does anyone hear? Yes, if a gun goes off between them.
  • Unfortunately, the fast-paced finale meant no screen time for Jared. Insert sad face here.

Tonight: Rick Mercer Report, 22 Minutes, Schitt’s Creek, Mr. D, Open Heart

Rick Mercer Report, CBC – season finale
Rick visits the three schools that won The Mercer Report’s annual ‘Spread the Net’ Student Challenge.

22 Minutes, CBC – season finale
On 22 Minutes this week, special guest Mike Holmes helps judge renovations on Parliament Hill and an openly covert report with a politician and his spy pen from Parliament Hill.

Schitt’s Creek, CBC – “Town For Sale”
Johnny finds a potential buyer for the town, while David and Alexis discover they may have become more attached to Schitt’s Creek than they ever thought possible.

Mr. D, CBC – “Coaching Prospects”
Gerry’s star player is being scouted by Syracuse University, and Gerry wants to come along as part of a package deal. Robert is selling tickets to his upcoming play, and Malik is spreading the love with his magical 20-second hugs.

Open Heart, YTV – season finale
Will Dylan find the truth she’s been furiously searching for?