Everything about Second Jen, eh?

2020-21 Canadian TV season renewal scorecard

Well, things are just a little bit different this time around. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on television production around the world, the Canadian networks—like others—have been a little late in announcing their primetime schedules.

But they’re gradually doing that, so we’ve put together a handy list of what will air between the summer of 2020 and the end of spring in 2021.

Check back often to see if your favourites have been renewed; we’ll be updating this list as we get more information.

Renewed

APTN
Tribal
Tribal Police Files
The Other Side

Tribal

CBC
Still Standing
Murdoch Mysteries
Frankie Drake Mysteries
Workin’ Moms
Baroness Von Sketch Show (final season)
Heartland
The Nature of Things
Marketplace
The Fifth Estate
Battle of the Blades
Family Feud Canada
Just for Laughs: Galas
Ha!ifax Comedy Fest
You Can’t Ask That
Coroner
Kim’s Convenience
Tallboyz
Dragons’ Den
22 Minutes
The Great Canadian Baking Show

Tallboyz

Citytv
Hudson & Rex

CTV
Corner Gas Animated
JANN (renewed for Season 3)
The Amazing Race Canada
Transplant
MasterChef Canada: Back to Win

Crave
Letterkenny

Discovery
Heavy Rescue: 401
Disasters at Sea
Highway Thru Hell

Nurses

Food Network Canada
Big Food Bucket List
Carnival Eats
Wall of Chefs
Great Chocolate Showdown 
Junior Chef Showdown 
Fire Masters
The Big Bake 

Global
Nurses 
Private Eyes 

Backyard Builds

HGTV Canada
Backyard Builds 
Island of Bryan 
Property Brothers: Forever Home 
Scott’s Vacation House Rules  
Save My Reno 

History
Vikings (final season)
Rust Valley Restorers  
History Erased 
Salvage Kings 

Netflix
Another Life

Omni
Second Jen
Blood and Water

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TV Eh B Cs Podcast 88 — Awards season with Samantha Wan

Samantha Wan is a Toronto-based actor and filmmaker. Samantha found her passion for film and acting at a young age in high school. From there, she was accepted into the country’s top theatre school, the National Theatre School of Canada, which boasts a number of notable of alumni including award-winning actress Sandra Oh.

Samantha Wan recently received a 2019 Canadian Screen Award nomination in the category of Best Comedy Series for her sitcom Second Jen.

Second Jen is a buddy comedy about two second-generation millennials making it on their own in the big city. Season 1 aired on the major Canadian network Citytv and Season 2 was later picked up by OMNI Television. The show was produced by Don Ferguson Productions, the production company famously known for creating the Royal Canadian Air Farce. Samantha developed the series with actress and screenwriter Amanda Joy. The two became the youngest televisions creators in Canada.

Samantha is also known for her role as Zoe Chow in the comedy-drama television series Private Eyes starring alongside Jason Priestley and Cindy Sampson.

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Links: Second Jen, Season 2

From Tamara Shephard of the Toronto Star:

Link: Second Jen’s multicultural cast resonates with actor Lovell Adams-Grey
Etobicoke-born-and-raised actor, writer and producer Lovell Adams-Gray fits right in with the multicultural cast of OMNI Television’s Second Jen. Continue reading.

From Dana Gee of the Vancouver Sun:

Link: Second Jen is back and taking aim at hot topics
“Our style of comedy can be a little larger than life; however, the kernels of all the stories are true. From the wall squirrels to growing pains of friendship, Amanda and I have pulled from events in our life or our friends’ lives.” Continue reading.

From Kelly Townsend of The TV Junkies:

Link: Second Jen creators Samantha Wan and Amanda Joy on navigating adulthood in Season 2
Leaving home is never easy, but one Canadian series is showing that the journey into adulthood can be just as fun and messy as it is stressful and overwhelming. Continue reading. 

From Peter Hendra of The Whig-Standard:

Link: Director takes a generational approach
“While I had done comedy, I think being a second-generation Filipino, (or) being second-generation Chinese, or being second-generation any immigrant group, there are things that are common with all of us, whether you’re male or female, gay or straight.” Continue reading.

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Second Jen returns for long-awaited second season

It’s been almost two years, but Second Jen‘s second season is finally here.

The sitcom, co-created by Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan, returns Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Omni Television, once again telling the hilarious and heartfelt experiences of best friends Jennifer “Mo” Monteloyola (Joy) and Jennifer “Jen” Wu (Wan), two second-generation millennials who observe, reflect and react to the world around them.

Things have changed for Season 2 both in front of an behind the camera. There are new faces in Jen’s new friend, Marcus, played by Lovell Adams-Grey (Slasher); Mo’s new potential love interest, Diego (Oscar Moreno); and a whack of guest stars from Canada’s comedy elite in Mark Andrada, Jim Annan, Craig Lauzon, Patrice Goodman, Pat Thornton and Gary Rideout Jr. Second Jen‘s creative engine is run by showrunner and head writer Carly Heffernan, writer and story editor Joy and story editor and co-director Wan.

We spoke to Heffernan, Joy and Wan during a break in filming earlier this year.

How did this second season come together?
Amanda Joy: We work pretty quickly, but from the [Season 2 renewal] announcement to when we were shooting we had already done most of the writing. It just came down to polishing it, and Carly and I, we were working with the network and Sam and just trying to bring out the best elements of the scripts, and choose the best stories, and just make sure that the ones we were making were the most solid and strongest ones.

(l-r) Samantha Wan, Carly Heffernan and Amanda Joy

Carly, how did you end up being involved with the show this season?
Carly Heffernan: I was involved with the first season in a writing capacity as well as an acting capacity, so then I was brought back on for Season 2 in just a bit of an elevated writing capacity as head writer, which was great. I had a really nice time working with Sam and Amanda before, and I love getting into a writer’s room with them and hearing the stories that they want to share, and just being a part of figuring out how we’re going to tell those stories.

AJ: It’s actually amazing because Carly had worked with us in different capacities before, and then it just, there was an opening and she really felt like the right person to do the job, and everyone was in agreement with that.

Samantha Wan: Yeah, it’s exciting. It’s a full female writing room, and full female heads right now.

Does that make a difference?
CH: I think absolutely when you’re telling a female-centric story. It definitely helps to come from a female P.O.V. Not saying that someone of a different gender couldn’t tell the story, but it’s definitely made it easier. There are a lot of situations that Sam and Amanda shared that I could just relate to from my own past experiences as a woman.

The girls have moved into a new apartment, you’ve got new stuff going on in their lives. 
AJ: When we were deciding which stories would make it into the second season and which ones we were really going to work, we decided that we wanted to bring it back to the girls, and make sure that that central relationship was key, and strong in every single story, even when they are separate from each other. It needed to really be about them and how they grow, and how they grow together. The boys who were in the original first season are not in this particular season, but in doing that we have the opportunity to show Jen and Mo outside of their relationships with these two men, and to really make a female-centric story and a friendship-centric story.

SW: In Season 1 I’d say there was a lot of focus on the girls and how they related to their family, and moving away from them. And in Season 2 it’s actually a lot more like ‘OK, now we’ve moved away from our family, how do we figure out our life on our own?’ Also, a huge thing I think this season, too, is seeing when you have a best friend, how you both start changing and you don’t change the same way. So Mo’s getting a lot of success right now, and Jen’s doing a lot of introspection right now, and that puts them in a very different place. In almost opposite places where they used to be this season.

AJ: There’s a lot of irony in that, too, because when you look at the two girls and you sort of predict who is going to be having more success, who is going to really be moving forward with their life, you think it is going to be Jen. And here we see that maybe life’s not as cut and dry as they made it seem in school.

What can you say about your cast?
AJ: In adding new characters and changing up the group a little bit, I’ve found that the dynamic from the ensemble is really speaking to the second generation experience. I believe every single lead now, in our show, is a person of colour.

And you also draw on your background with sketch because you’ve got a lot of talent like Pat Thornton coming in and, can you talk a little bit about some of the guest people you’ve got involved in Season 2?
CH: Absolutely. We have some fantastic people from the world of comedy. Pat Thornton, who is just a national treasure in terms of hilarity, you know, everyone’s seen him on their TVs for years. He’s amazing. Jim Annan, who’s another staple of the comedy community, has been so funny. Nile Séguin joins us again, who’s a fantastic stand-up from the sketch comedy scene. Sorry, from the stand-up scene. Gary Rideout Jr., Craig Lauzon, Mark Andrada. Yeah, a lot of sketch performers are coming in, which is awesome. Bumping up that comedy. Sam and Amanda do such a great job of providing us with so much heart, and staying really true and real and grounded in the characters that they are, so to have a bit of that sketch flair really ups our comedy value.

Let’s talk about some of these adult storylines. Wall squirrels.
CH: Oh, man. If you’ve ever had an animal in your house, it’s the worst. I once had a pigeon in my loft in St. Lawrence Market, I was just freaking right out. We love the notion of the girls sort of dealing with maybe their first break-in, which is always scary. It’s always coming down to firsts for these girls. What is it when you go on your first double date with your best friend?

You’re tackling some serious subjects like sexism and racism.
SW: We have a whole episode on sexual harassment in the workplace, which Amanda wrote and I’m actually directing, well, co-directing with Romeo [Candido], which I think is a very exciting thing.

Second Jen airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Omni Television.

Images courtesy of Second Jen and Omni Television.

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