Everything about Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary, eh?

Preview: Discovery’s Mud Mountain Haulers is a dangerous good time

There are a ton of documentary series on TV that spotlight men and women toiling in obscure and interesting careers. From vacuuming up gold underwater to digging for jade in the north, casting for tuna in the Atlantic or king crab off the coast of Alaska, to towing trucks in British Columbia or Ontario, the choices are plentiful. There’s already a series about logging called Big Timber over on History. So, do we need another program about logging?

Heck, yes.

Debuting Monday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery, Mud Mountain Haulers follows Craig and Brent Lebeau, third-generation loggers who run separate companies. But where Big Timber mainly shows the cutting of trees, Mud Mountain Haulers tracks the trucks and drivers who take the logs off-site. Produced by Great Pacific Media—the folks behind Highway Thru Hell and Heavy Rescue: 401Mud Mountain Haulers is worthy third act.

Within the first three minutes of Monday’s debut, “Mud Man Down,” there is drama. A fully-loaded rig has gone off the road, trapping its driver inside. Before viewers learn his fate, we’re taken back 30 hours and introduced to Craig Lebeau (pictured above), a feisty 25-year veteran of logging the hills of B.C., who describes the danger involved in this job and the pressure he’s under to deliver the high-quality timber around the world.

Weather plays a huge part in the Lebeau’s business. The extreme winter chill means the ground is firm enough for heavy equipment, including the trucks that take the wood away. It’s here we meet Mike, Dan and Theron, three drivers who make sure the loads get where they’re going quickly and, hopefully, safely before the spring thaw—and the mud—arrives.

The success of a documentary series always rests on the characters and if you care about them. Great Pacific Media knows how to tell human stories and tell them well.

The result? Discovery has got another hit on its hands.

Mud Mountain Haulers airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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Saloon Media announces start of production on Hotel Paranormal Season 2

From a media release:

Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company, announced today ahead of the Realscreen Summit 2021 that it has started production on Season 2 of Hotel Paranormal (10×60’). As part of this announcement, Saloon Media also confirms that Emmy® Award winner and Oscar®-nominated actor, Dan Aykroyd, will return as narrator, joining production efforts in Toronto, Canada this spring. The 10-part documentary series provides dramatic recreations and paranormal expert insights during its bone-chilling tales of paranormal encounters at 4-star hotels, highway motels and inns around the world. Originally commissioned by T+E in Canada, the second installment of this series is available for licensing, in the U.S. and globally, by Blue Ant International.

Filming for Season 2 will take place across Ontario, Canada, under strict, new COVID-19 provincial guidelines, with a delivery date of summer 2021. No stranger to keeping production going during a pandemic, Saloon Media had completed one in-person narration with Dan Aykroyd for Hotel Paranormal, Season 1, when Canada went into lockdown last March. Saloon Media moved forward by recording the remaining narration virtually. Aykroyd recorded in a remote studio in Ontario, Canada, with Executive Producer Michael Kot and Series Producer Sarah Zammit directing via video call.

Hotel Paranormal is produced by Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company. Michael Kot and Betty Orr serve as Executive Producers. Sarah Zammit is the Series Producer. Dave Tebby and Simone Stock are Directors and Josh Pelham is the Director of Photography.

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Preview: Cottage Life revisits extreme storms with The Weather Files: Total Impact

January 2020 marked a historic day in Newfoundland weather history. A blizzard event with 140km/hr winds was quickly dubbed “Snowmaggendon,” when it dropped 76 inches of snow on the province. That, and more, are revisited in Season 2 of The Weather Files: Total Impact.

Returning Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life, the events highlighted in The Weather Files: Total Impact are truly fascinating and terrifying. Told through the eyes of survivors, scientific experts and first responders, it brings harrowing true human stories to wild weather.

Monday’s first instalment of eight episodes digs deep into the blizzard that pummeled Newfoundland early last year. What began as a southern winter storm tracking northward from the U.S. slammed into the colder North Atlantic air, triggering a true monster. Original footage shot on cellphones shows the devastation, as wind and snow paralyzed the region with feet of the white stuff. Though snow is a way of life in this part of the country, they weren’t prepared for this much.

Not just a recap accented by shaky cell footage, The Weather Files: Total Impact focuses on the human stories on Monday, like a young mother-to-be who went into labour as the blizzard was kicking in, and the Wall family, whose son, Josh, ventured out into the gloom. Pair that with experts describing the hows and whys of blizzards—and an analysis of snow, its benefits as well as dangers—and this Saloon Media project is compelling stuff.

The Weather Files: Total Impact, airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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CTV original series Holmes Family Effect to premiere following Super Bowl LV, Feb. 7

From a media release:

The Holmes family is set to help local heroes continue to make a difference in their communities in the new CTV Original series HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT, premiering directly following SUPER BOWL LV on Sunday, Feb. 7 at approximately 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on CTV, and the all-new CTV.ca and CTV app. Following the premiere, HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT moves to its regular Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT timeslot beginning Feb. 14 on CTV, and begins streaming Friday, March 12 on Crave.

Starring TV personality and professional contractor Mike Holmes, along with his daughter Sherry and son Michael, the new inspirational series shows the heart, grit, and determination of the Holmes family as they tackle their most important projects to date. Working with people who are making positive impacts in their communities, each episode follows the Holmes family as they surprise these deserving individuals. From a neglected school building to a rundown youth centre, Mike, Sherry, and Michael transform the spaces and help these community heroes so they can continue to make a difference.

As previously announced, Bell Media expanded its partnership with FOX Entertainment completing a deal with the network for their acquisition of HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT, with the series airing on FOX as part of the network’s 2020/21 midseason schedule.

The organizations featured on HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT include Judith Nyman Secondary School (Feb. 7), Solid State (Feb. 14), Working Gear (Feb. 21), and The FORT (March 7).

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Preview: The Nature of Things goes “Searching for Cleopatra”

Shocking but true: Cleopatra was nothing like the person Liz Taylor played in the big-budget 1963 film. That’s one of the first facts I gleaned from The Nature of Things‘ newest episode.

“Searching for Cleopatra,” broadcast as part of The Nature of Things, debuts Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC, pulls back the curtain on the most famous of the Pharaohs. Did she really fall in love with two men—Julius Caesar and Marc Antony—and die with a little help from a poisonous snake?

Viewers follow archaeologist Kathleen Martinez (pictured above)—who has been sifting through the ruins of the huge temple complex of Taposiris Magna, or City of the Dead, outside of Alexandria—in search of Cleopatra’s final resting place. Martinez has found tantalizing clues that she is in the right area, but nothing concrete. As cameras capture the digging, we are given the history of Cleopatra. What is true is that, over 2,000 years ago, Cleopatra ruled over 7 million people, wasn’t Egyptian and led an army against her brother. Also true: the Romans are credited with the depiction of Cleopatra that led to Hollywood’s version of the ancient ruler.

In addition to Martinez, Canadian Classical Studies professors Kelly Olson, from the University of Western Ontario, and Sheila Ager of the University of Waterloo, share their knowledge of the Egyptian queen and her times and emphasize she was a ruler whose exceptional skill was her ability to grab and hold onto power.

“Searching for Cleopatra” airs as part of The Nature of Things on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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