Everything about Republic of Doyle, eh?

Hudson & Rex: Tony Butt reveals the secrets to scouting locations

After a few weeks away, Hudson & Rex returned to Citytv last week on a new night. Now airing on Thursdays, Charlie, Rex, Sarah, Joe and Jesse are back at it, taking a bite out of crime (I know, I’m sorry) in and around St. John’s, Newfoundland.

This week’s new episode is “Fast Eddies,” and Rogers Media has this to say about the storyline:

After a reviled restaurateur’s food truck explodes, killing one of his employees, Charlie and Rex find themselves with a few too many suspects. Plus, a flirtation has Charlie torn between a possible new love interest and Rex, who makes no secret of his feelings on the matter.

The return of Hudson & Rex also marks the return of our behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew. This week we caught up with locations manager Tony Butt.

A man and a woman face each other, standing on a boat.How did you get into the industry in the first place?
Tony Butt: I had spent my 20s in the oil industry and I quit because I didn’t like what I was doing and didn’t know what I was doing. I went on a motorcycle trip and was sitting in a theatre in New Orleans, watching a film festival and said, ‘That’s what I’ll do.’ So, I came back to St. John’s and started dabbling in the incredible co-operative called the Newfoundland Independent Film Co-operative. I walked in one day and they were training for films and the only job left was locations, so I took it. I’ve spent a bunch of years doing that.

I’ve worked in other departments and have been out of the industry for six or seven years and then I [joined Hudson & Rex].

Where does the location manager fit into the production schedule? You’re somewhere between the initial script and the filming.
TB: The script comes down and the art director vets it. We sit down together and bring in the director as soon as possible and we look at everyone’s vision. I then go out and scout locations, keeping in mind practicality, aesthetics and the needs of both the director and the production. And then I present as many options as I can get. And you try and cluster locations as much as you can. There were some challenges on Hudson & Rex because they wanted a cosmopolitan feel with a lot of modern buildings. We don’t have a lot of that, per se, so we had to work with those restrictions. And we shot in winter but they didn’t want to see snow. That didn’t have much to do with me, but it did have some. Everyone pulled together and I was really impressed.

Have you got locations in your back pocket for reference so you have an idea of a place as soon as you see it in a script?
TB: Absolutely. And, also, St. John’s is a small city that has developed in segments. You know the neighbourhoods. This one was developed in the 80s, this one was developed in the 60s, so you can really narrow down your search. And then, you try to build a day around one location without having to move the unit, ideally. And you have people to help you, like real estate agents and people who manage properties. So, yeah, you have properties that you go to first and then go further if you have to.

Hudson & Rex airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

12 Awesome Canadian TV Show Theme Songs

I couldn’t get enough of Flashpoint when it was on the air. The characters, the writing and the production values were incredible; every week I knew the writers would throw a storyline my way that would draw me in. And it all started with that iconic opening theme music.

Whether it be instrumental or with words, a TV show’s theme is very often the audience’s first look at a program, and sets the tone for the rest of the broadcast. And, in the case of old shows, the opening strains trigger memories of what you were doing at the time in your life when the show was on.

Here’s a look at some of my favourite Canadian TV show themes; let me know if you agree, disagree or list your fave in the Comments below.


Why I like it: The mix of brief shots of Toronto’s skyline and that melody hooked me right away, followed by the one-two images of the main cast. But the biggest impact Flashpoint‘s opening theme still has on me is the percussion that ramps up in intensity until the final note, punctuated by the clicking off of the rifle’s safety. That signified to me that the drama was about to begin, and no one was safe from harm.


Why I like it: Traders spotlit the world of investment banking, and the theme reflected that with strings and a vocal section delivering what sounds like a hymn to money. Steady and stately, the rising crescendo plays underneath shots of the lead characters looking serious while lightning crackles, tanks roll and protesters rage.

Murdoch Mysteries

Why I like it: In my house, no one is allowed to fast-forward through the Murdoch Mysteries theme. Robert Carli’s bass-heavy score trundles along with wispy, tinkly, almost supernatural notes above it. That in itself is cool enough, but by adding in those shots of the magnifying glass going over the Toronto Gazette, a hand and its fingermarks and the morgue instruments makes MM an instant classic. (Carli is responsible for a ton of Canadian TV themes, including Remedy, Cracked, Still Life: A White Pines Mystery, Bomb Girls, Good Dog and Wild Roses.)

The Littlest Hobo

Why I like it: Hobo was in my wheelhouse as a lad, a weekend staple on my grandparents’ television set when I was over for a visit. Looking back on it now, Hobo is almost crying-worthy in its cheesiness and the theme reflects that. With those memorable first lines, “There’s a voice, keeps on callin’ me, down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend…” the tune lets viewers know not only that we’re in for an adventure, but that the dog is always on the move and will be getting into scrapes along the way. (And the dog can apparently sing too; the song is written as if the pooch is performing it.) “Maybe Tomorrow,” composed and performed by Terry Bush, can be purchased in the iTunes store. Yes, I checked.

The Beachcombers

Why I like it: No list of Canadian TV themes is complete without The Beachcombers and it was my first real introduction into television outside Sesame Street, Polka Dot Door and Mr. Dressup. And while I don’t really recall any storylines other than every week seemed to pit Nick against Relic, I remember the theme fondly. B.C.’s rugged coast is paired with fast-flying motorboats juxtaposed over a jaunty orchestral production that beckoned me west for adventure … and pie at Molly’s Reach.

The King of Kensington

Why I like it: Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of King of Kensington when it was on, but that opening theme always drew me in. A little love letter to Kensington Market, those bustling streets always fascinated me. I always equated Larry King with being like Archie Bunker, the king of his own little neighbourhood, so to see him walking around those streets, slapping backs and shaking hands like a politician held me in thrall. The theme song is pretty straight-forward, introducing Larry, his long-suffering wife Cathy and mother Gladys, who says her son is the “only King around without a buuuuuck.” Good stuff.

Corner Gas

Why I like it: There might not have been a lot going on in Corner Gas, but the theme sure did. “Not a Lot Goin’ On,” written by Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela, not only works as a theme song but a legitimately good tune on its own. Sly nods to the flatness of Saskatchewan are interspersed with shots of the cast of characters to let you know wackiness will ensue. This and the theme from Friends are my favourite “themes that are real songs.”

The Kids in the Hall

Why I like it: I didn’t watch The Kids on the Hall on the regular, but I sure loved the theme, “Having an Average Weekend.” Written and performed by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, it’s twangy and fun and comes off more as a music video than introduction to the show. It certainly didn’t give any hint as to the off-the-wall sketches to come.

Hilarious House of Frightenstein

Why I like it: Vincent Price at his creepiest + endless crackles of lightning + a Moog synthesizer = classic TV.

Friendly Giant

Why I like it: Thanks to the fact every Canadian (or Ontario) kid is given a recorder in Grade 4, we all learned to play the theme for Friendly Giant. And why not? It was easy and non-threatening, just like the show. As an aside, I always wanted to sit in the rocking chair and look up. Look waaaaay up.


Why I like it: I’ve become a big fan of Heartland since I’ve been reviewing it full-time here on the site, and every Sunday this tune worms its way into my brain where it replays at least midway into Monday. Written by Jenn Grant, just the chorus of “Dreamer” is used by CBC’s long-running family drama but it’s enough to let you know the show is about living your dream—and life—to the fullest.

Republic of Doyle

Why I like it: Smash cuts of St. Johns’s, cast shots jumping across the screen, the beloved GTO pealing around a corner, the chorus of Great Big Sea’s rocking’ tune lets you know in scant seconds that you are in for one hell of a fun ride. Oh yeah!

What did I miss? What are your favourite Canadian TV show themes? Let me know below.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

22 Minutes, Mr. D, Tiny Plastic Men snag Canadian Comedy Award noms

The casts of 22 Minutes, Mr. D, Tiny Plastic Men, Rick Mercer Report and Republic of Doyle are among those nominated in this year’s go-round of the Canadian Comedy Awards.

Established in 2000, the awards celebrate Canadian comedians for their achievement in TV, film, radio the web and live performances. The 16th annual fete will be handed out on Sept. 13 in Toronto.

Here are the nominees in the TV categories:

Meet the Family
Ryan Long is Challenged 
This Hour Has 22 Minutes XXII
Tiny Plastic Men Season 2
Too Much Information

Cameron Wyllie – The D.J. Demers Show – Backup Job
Derek Harvie – Meet the Family
Henry Sarwer-Foner – Rick Mercer Report – Ep 16
Mark O’Brien – Republic of Doyle – No Rest for the Convicted
Viveno Caldinelli, Michael Lewis- This Hour Has 22 Minutes XXII – Episode 20

Chris Craddock – Tiny Plastic Men, Season 2
Gerry Dee – Donor Dinner
Matt Doyle, Derek Harvie, Hannah Hogan, Brian Peco & Ron Sparks – Meet the Family
Peter McBain, Mark Critch, Mike Allison, Bob Kerr, Jon Blair, Sonya Bell, Heidi Brander, Adam Christie, Pat Dussault, Dean Jenkinson, Jeremy Woodcock, Mary Walsh – This Hour Has 22 Minutes XXII – Episode 16
Ryan Long, Jarek Hardy, Max Off – Ryan Long is Challenged

Cathy Jones – This Hour Has 22 Minutes XXII
Ellie Harvie – Some Assembly Required
Jill Morrison – Sloppy Seconds
Leslie Seiler: 24 Hour Rental 
Susan Kent – This Hour Has 22 Minutes XXII

Darrin Rose – Mr. D
Gerry Dee – Mr. D
Jonathan Torrens – Mr. D
Shaun Majumder – This Hour Has 22 Minutes XXII
Terry Barna – Meet the Family


He Said/She Said: Canadian TV Shows to Binge-Watch this Summer

Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week: Key Canadian TV shows to binge-watch this summer.

He Said:

The Canadian TV calendar is starting to thin out as we get into the summer months. Big Brother Canada, Remedy and Orphan Black continue to chug along, Rookie Blue returns and Between debuts on May 21 and CBC’s Fool Canada hidden camera series starring Will Sasso is scheduled to bow in June. Other than that, there’s not a heck of a lot on, which means it’s the perfect time to binge-watch a homegrown program or two (or four or five) during the rest of the spring and into the summer. Here are my picks:

Young Drunk Punk, City
Bruce McCulloch’s peek back at the 1980s is tender, funny and sweet, and showcases wonderful performances from its young cast in Tim Carlson and Atticus Mitchell alongside vets McCulloch and Tracy Ryan. Catch all 13 episodes on City’s website.

Sunnyside, City
Co-created by Gary Pearson and Dan Redican, Sunnyside is brash, envelope-pushing sketch comedy starring Kathleen Phillips, Pat Thornton, Patrice Goodman, Alice Moran, Rob Norman and Kevin Vidal playing a wide range of offbeat characters, from meth heads to meat heads, murderers to cops. Wacky co-stars include ponies, clowns, a bleeding wall and a guy who lives in the sewer. Season 1 is available on City’s website.

Vikings, shomi/History
If historical drama is more your thing, you should be watching Vikings. Game of Thrones may grab more headlines, but I like Vikings because it’s based on real history and Viking mythology. Travis Fimmel is Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking farmer who yearns for a better, more exciting life. With the help of his wife, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), brother Rollo (Clive Standen) and buddy Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), Ragnar successfully reaches England and begins a bloody campaign seeking riches and fame. Seasons 1 and 2 are available on shomi for Rogers and Shaw subscribers and Season 3 can be watched on History.ca.

Republic of Doyle, CBC
Allan Hawco’s co-creation is like The Rockford Files if it was set in Newfoundland. Jake Doyle (Hawco) and his dad, Malachy (Sean McGinley) tool around St. John’s in a GTO, solving crimes as PI’s and getting into trouble with the local RCMP detachment. Funny and dramatic, Doyle is one hell of a ride. The entire run of Republic of Doyle can be watched on CBC.ca.

Orphan Black, CraveTV
My apologies to die-hard fans of Orphan Black, but I like Season 1 more than the sophomore go-round or this current season. I think it’s because I was so blown away by Tatiana Maslany playing Sarah, Alison, Helena, Rachel and Cosima for the first time and the tight storytelling that made it so memorable. This was OB before the accolades and awards, when it still felt like a small #CloneClub was tuning in to greatness. Season 1 is available on CraveTV.

Blackstone, APTN
Created by Ron E. Scott, this gritty Gemini Award winner spotlights the fictional Blackstone First Nations band just outside of Edmonton. Issues of drugs, alcoholism, unemployment, corruption and abuse are acknowledged through an unflinching lens that is entertaining and thought-provoking. All four seasons of Blackstone can be seen on APTN’s website.

She Said:

The problem with recommending a binge-watch of Canadian series is many can be difficult to find. You can’t just sign up for CraveTV or shomi unless you’re with a qualifying cable or Internet company, and some of the binge-worthiest shows aired on cable channels that don’t offer episodes online, or aired years ago before online access was a consideration and a broadcaster or producer might not think getting those rights is worth the effort. Does anyone buy DVDs anymore? A handful are available that way.

I’d echo Greg’s Blackstone recommendation — I need to get caught up myself — and add that the first season of Young Drunk Punk will come to CBC in the fall, but you could be one of the cool kids (and possibly help the low-rated show get a second season) if you catch up now. Besides those, here’s my two cents:


Slings & Arrows, DVD
If you’ve seen it already, isn’t it time to rewatch? If you haven’t seen it, you have to at least give a try to the show that tops my list of best Canadian series of all time. If you don’t fall in love, fine, be that way, but at least get a taste of the pathos and humour behind the scenes of not-Stratford starring Paul Gross, Martha Burns, Stephen Ouimette, Mark McKinney, Susan Coyne and, in the first season, a luminous Rachel McAdams. All three seasons are on DVD.

Twitch City, DVD
I dare you to find a more intentionally surreal Canadian show than this, co-created by and starring my favourite oddball Don McKellar (see also: Slings & Arrows) as a TV addict shut-in. Costars included Callum Keith Rennie, Molly Parker, and both Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney as the same character, believe it or not. As far as I can tell, DVD is your only hope.

19-2, CraveTV
The ratings of this acclaimed cop series suggest many of you, like me, haven’t been watching as it aired. I got part way through season one during my CraveTV trial, and a seemingly random selection of season two episodes are on bravo.ca. I’ll likely wait to complete my binge until Bell starts selling their shows to Netflix (aka when hell freezes over), or if they do the smart thing and rerun the series from the beginning on CTV this summer.

Sensitive Skin, HBO Canada on demand
If  you have access, check out this Kim Cattrall-starring black comedy about a woman’s mid-life crisis, with Don McKellar and Elliot Gould.  It never got its due while it aired, but it is getting a second season so binge away if you can … unlike me.

Schitt’s Creek, Netflix
Ah, CBC, a Canadian channel that actually allows their shows to be sold to Netflix. One of my favourite shows of this past season (no “Canadian” qualifier needed), Schitt’s Creek is my choice for a binge rewatch of the antics of Eugene and Dan Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Emily Hampshire, Annie Murphy and Chris Elliot. You can also find the season on CBC.ca but let’s be honest: Netflix is a much better user experience.

Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays, CBC
A surprise renewal years after its cancellation means you need to catch up on season one before season two arrives likely next year. Starring Bob Martin and Matt Watts as a codependent therapist and patient, the series is hilarious and heartfelt. All episodes are available on CBC.ca.

What about you? What Canadian shows will you be binge-watching, and how? Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail