Everything about Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary, eh?

Preview: History’s Big Timber hits the water in Season 2

Debts and detonations. That’s a key message delivered in Thursday’s Season 2 return of Big Timber on History.

The reality series once again rides alongside logger Kevin Wenstob and his team of family and staff as they work deep in the heart of Vancouver Island. This time the stakes are even higher than before. Aside from pulling down and shipping timber—and the dangers and drama associated with that—mounting debts at the mill, and possible bankruptcy, cause Kevin and his crew to forge into uncharted waters. Literally.

During the last timber season, Kevin purchased a new claim and heads there … with a little help from his mini ‘dozer and grader. With snow too deep to cut much-needed red cedar, Kevin is on the financial ropes, especially after receiving some mail from the government. As with many documentary series of this type, drama is presented via situations like the aforementioned two problems—usually just before a commercial break and often ad nauseam—and I have to bite my tongue and soldier through the storytelling trope to get to the good stuff.

Thankfully, Big Timber is full of good stuff—like Kevin plotting to use a beloved old boat in the timber process—and I’m looking forward to watching the full season.

Big Timber airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.

Image courtesy of Corus Studios.


Preview: British Columbia: An Untold History is a crash course in the province’s diverse story

I’m always up for furthering my knowledge of Canadian history, especially when it comes to the provinces west of Ontario. And, thanks to the appropriately titled Knowledge Network, I can do that with British Columbia.

Debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. PT on Knowledge—and available to stream for free on the channel’s website—the four-episode British Columbia: An Untold History digs deep to trace Canada’s most western land. Written and directed by Kevin Eastwood, whose excellent “Humboldt: The New Season” was broadcast on CBC Docs POV in 2019, the four-parter is a dramatic retelling of the province’s history, warts and all.

“As a settler who has lived their whole life in B.C., and went to school and university here, I thought I knew a lot about this place, but making British Columbia: An Untold History taught me I didn’t really know that much,” Eastwood said in a press release in support of the show’s debut. He notes that over 70 people contributed to it through interviews with authors, historians, knowledge keepers, elders, families, and descendants of historical figures. Indigenous, Chinese, Japanese, Punjabi, Black, and European stories are complemented by archival photography, film artifacts and footage to make for a fascinating series.

Tuesday’s debut, “Change + Resistance,” traces the Indigenous resistance to oppression in British Columbia. With the gold rushes and establishment of the new colony, Indigenous leaders resisted settler laws and challenged unsanctioned expansion into First Nations territories, only to be forced onto reserves. First Nations endured more losses when the federal Indian Act and residential schools criminalized Indigenous culture.

British Columbia: An Untold History airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. PT on Knowledge Network. It can be streamed on Knowledge Network’s website.

Image courtesy of Kevin Eastwood.


T+E’s Bathsheba: Search for Evil serves up a history lesson with its scares

Anyone who visits this site already knows I love paranormal programming. I’m especially fond of the series that delves into the true tales behind the spookiness, marrying fact with what some regard as myth.

T+E has knocked out out of the park with scary series before, but the two-part documentary Bathsheba: Search for Evil, debuting Monday on the specialty channel, has reached another level.

Airing as part of its “Creep Week,” event programming, Bathsheba explores the true story behind The Conjuring. The 2013 feature film, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren, was a box office smash. Now, Bathsheba pulls back the curtain on the Perron family—and the house—at the centre of the story. The entire Perron family was terrorized by an evil paranormal presence, a 19th-century ghost believed by many to be a witch named Bathsheba Sherman, who allegedly haunted generations of families that had taken residence within her remote grounds. Anchored by first-hand accounts from the living Perron family members and paranormal investigator Erin Goodpipe (APTN’s The Other Side), Bathsheba separates fact from fiction, with disturbing results.

“The original camera operator had nightmares for several days and quit the project,” series producer and director Sunny Grewal says. “They had done the first batch of interviews and were supposed to visit and film on-site, and they basically said, ‘Sorry, not sorry.'” The interviews are pretty intense stuff. Regardless of whether you personally believe in ghosts, hauntings and the paranormal, something happened to the Perron family in what was named the Old Arnold Estate.

Investigator Erin Goodpipe

The odd stuff isn’t contained to behind-the-scenes either. In Monday’s premiere, something happens behind Goodpipe that is, luckily, captured on camera. There was, Grewal says, no explanation for the occurrence.

Aside from intimate interviews with members of the Perron family—sisters Cindy, Christine, Andrea, Nancy and father Roger all participate— and current homeowners Cory and Jennifer Heinzen, Bathsheba gets to the heart of the woman the documentary is named after.

Bathsheba Sherman, born in 1812, was a farm wife, but rumours swirled. Myths claimed she was malicious. Townspeople hated her, believing she killed a baby with a sewing needle and sacrificed it to the devil in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Bathsheba attempts to get the facts right, and credit goes to Grewal and her team for being respectful in their storytelling of the living and the dead.

“One of the things I am most happy about is, it’s essentially a very female story, between [the late] Carolyn [Perron] and the sisters and then Bathsheba herself,” Grewal says. “Bathsheba was a real person, who has been collateral damage in some respects.”

Bathsheba: Search for Evil airs Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on T+E.

Images courtesy of Blue Ant Media.


marblemedia announces Blown Away: Christmas debuts November 19 on Netflix

From a media release:

marblemedia, leading global entertainment producers of numerous award-winning TV series announces today that Netflix’s “Blown Away” is cranking up the heat for a spectacular holiday showdown!

’Tis the season for redemption as five fan favourites return to the hot shop to compete in a series of Christmas-themed challenges in the quest to become The Best in Holiday Blow.

Sharing his thoughts with Variety today, host Bobby Berk says “I’ve been a fan of Blown Away since the moment it premiered, and I’m honoured to be officially joining the family as the host of Blown Away: Christmas. I got a taste of the incredible experience and craftsmanship as a guest judge on Season 2 and can’t wait to get back into the hot shop this holiday season.”

In the spirit of giving, the winner will not only receive a $10,000 cash prize but an additional $10,000 will also be donated to their charity of choice.


AMI announces production is underway on new documentary series Fashion Dis, hosted by Ardra Shephard

From a media release:

AMI, in partnership with Nikki Ray Media Agency (Fire Masters, Home to Win), is pleased to announce that principal photography has started on six Season One episodes of AMI-tv’s Fashion Dis in Toronto.

Fashion Dis promises to be a game-changer in the makeover space, challenging traditional norms that lack inclusion. Each episode of Fashion Dis celebrates the head-to-toe overhaul of a frustrated style seeker discouraged by an industry that lacks adaptive options.

From innovative clothing design to transformative beauty techniques, our expert team reveals the latest in fashion-forward thinking and shows those ready to rock their best body exactly how to do it.

“We’re thrilled cameras are rolling on Fashion Dis,” says John Melville, Vice-President, Content Development & Programming, AMI-audio/AMI-tv. “A program like this is long overdue and we’re proud to bring it to our viewers.”

Meet the experts

Ardra Shephard, host
Ardra is an influential Canadian blogger, speaker and leader in the Multiple Sclerosis community.

Bella Strange, makeup artist
Bella is a makeup artist catering to the LGBTQ+, disability and special effects communities.

Susan Shipley, hair stylist
Susan is a master stylist with extensive experience in accessible hair care services.

Izzy Camilleri, style expert
Izzy is one of Canada’s leading fashion designers and a pioneer in adaptive clothing.

Melonie Lawrence, art director
Melonie is a fashion stylist who believes great style can be achieved regardless of size, colour, creed or cash flow.

KC Armstrong, photographer
KC is an award-winning advertising, editorial and portrait photographer.

In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, Season one of Fashion Is features Integrated Described Video (IDV) making it accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

Season One of Fashion Dis is being filmed under strict local COVID-19 protocols.