Everything about Street Legal, eh?

Links: Street Legal, Season 1

From Stephen Cooke of The Herald:

Link: Former Halifax Mooseheads player Steve Lund stars in CBC-TV’s reboot of Street Legal
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a werewolf?

If anybody can come up with a punchline to that setup, it’s Halifax-born actor Steve Lund, who previously bared his canine teeth on the Syfy/Space horror series Bitten, and now trades his full moon fever in for a law degree on CBC-TV’s upcoming revival of its late-’80s/early ‘90s hit Street Legal, premiering on March 4. Continue reading.

From Jennifer Brown of Canadian Lawyer:

Link: Street Legal reboot storyline features law firm meltdown
Appointment viewing is rare these days, but class action lawyers and fans who remember CBC’s Street Legal may want to put a reminder in the calendar for March 4. Continue reading.

From Norman Wilner of Now Toronto:

Link: TV review: Street Legal reboot is slicker, sharper and more focused than the soapy original
A quarter of a century after it went off the air, Street Legal is back on CBC – though I’m not exactly sure who was asking for it. This is just how it is now: everything we vaguely remember from the 90s will be brought back for another shot. At least this reboot understands that the world is different, and adapts to new realities. Continue reading. 

From Tony Wong of the Toronto Star:

Link: Cynthia Dale says new Street Legal is no nostalgia trip
“What is it like to be a woman closer to the end of her career than the beginning? You have different hopes and dreams. You have more opinion but also more fears. She walks into this new rock-star boutique firm. And she has a daughter who is in her mid twenties who she is trying to have a relationship with. All of that plays into who Olivia is today.” Continue reading. 

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: Calgary actress Yvonne Chapman lands main role in CBC’s Street Legal reboot
Yvonne Chapman’s shifting career aspirations must have been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for her parents.

She is an actress about to enjoy her highest profile role yet in the CBC reboot of the long-running 1980s-1990s drama Street Legal, playing a crusading lawyer named Mina Lee who takes on Big Pharma over the opioid crisis. Continue reading. 

From Melissa Buote of The Coast:

Link: #iconic: Cynthia Dale
“She was still in my DNA. She was in there; I just hadn’t turned my gaze on her in so long. But she was there. And she’s still a very powerful lawyer, she still has all the moxie, all the passion, all the aggression, all the smarts, all the brains that she had then. And now it’s ten-fold with the veil of all that history and insecurity and not giving a shit that happens when you get older.” Continue reading.

From Galen Simmons of the Stratford Beacon Herald:

Link: Cynthia Dale returns 25 years later to classic role in Street Legal reboot
“I’d never, in a million years, thought this could, or would, or should happen, but they asked me. It took me a few minutes to get my jaw off the floor, and then it was like, ‘Ya, why not? Sure. Absolutely.’” Continue reading. 

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: REVIEW: CBC’s Street Legal
This slick reboot sees Dale reprise her role as Olivia Novak, now Bay Street Legal and still fit and feisty in her fifties as a partner in a bigger, nastier law firm. In the pilot, she still wears the power heels and knows how to use them but eventually gets tripped up in a power struggle at her firm. Continue reading.

From Melissa Hank of Canada.com:

Link: Cynthia Dale says rebooting Street Legal was “a wild ride”
“It was a wild ride. It was a gift. I didn’t realize that Olivia’s in my DNA. I didn’t have to look too far. It’s not like we picked up where we left off — we picked up exactly where we would be 27 years later. I hadn’t thought about her really, or even considered entertaining the possibility of revisiting her ever in those 27 years, so to find out that she was still there was really a joy.” Continue reading. 

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Street Legal’s Cynthia Dale, Cara Ricketts, Steve Lund, Yvonne Chapman and Eric Peterson
“It’s an entirely new story. It’s really built in the reality of the world today. Yes, we are following Olivia 20 years later, but it’s the stories of now. It’s the show of now, and how young professionals are now versus before and in my opinion completely different—while still honouring what was done in the past.” Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Street Legal: 3 Reasons to watch the new CBC drama
After a 25-year break, CBC is bringing back the drama Street Legal with original cast member Cynthia Dale once again front and center as Olivia Novak. This time around though, Olivia finds herself working with a trio of young lawyers at the newly created startup firm RDL Legal.  Continue reading. 

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Street Legal’s Cara Ricketts on playing a rock star litigator
“Lilly Rue is a little bit of a rock star. She’s well-educated and has studied at Oxford. Because of those book smarts she’s overly confident, to the point of being at fault in her personal life. We get to see how free-wheeling she is, but at the same time how much a do-gooder she is and tries to take care of her family, friends and community.” Continue reading. 

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Steet Legal’s Yvonne Chapman on the passion that drives Mina
“Mina is the one who actually starts RDL firm. She’s incredibly smart, introspective and a really intelligent and sharp lawyer. She’s more introverted and someone who doesn’t need to shout ‘hey! Look at me!’ That’s just not how she is, but unfortunately, working in the corporate world, it’s the ones who make the most noise who get the most reward.” Continue reading. 


CBC’s Street Legal returns, grittier and great, thanks to Bruce M. Smith

It was amid the flurry of U.S. television show remake announcements—Roseanne and Murphy Brown specifically—that news dropped. The CBC was bringing Street Legal into the 21st century after a 25-year break. While some bemoaned the news, one name jumped out at me: Bruce M. Smith. I had high hopes. After all, Smith is the guy behind 19-2, a series I dearly loved. If anyone could reboot a series, I thought, it was him.

I was right. Yes, the original DNA—and original cast member Cynthia Dale (Eric Peterson and Anthony Sherwood will make guest appearances)—of Street Legal is there, but that’s where the similarities end. This Street Legal has morphed with the times.

When viewers tune in on Monday at 9 p.m. on CBC, they’ll catch up with Olivia Novak (Dale) and meet a new trio of lawyers in Lilly Rue (Cara Ricketts), Adam Darling (Steve Lund) and Mina Lee (Yvonne Chapman). The young upstarts beat Olivia to the punch when they take on a pharmaceutical company churning out highly addictive opioids. That storyline will fill this season’s six-episode arc, but as Smith told me, he expects this to be the jumping off point for more seasons.

How did Street Legal come to be?
Bruce M. Smith: The CBC approached Bernie [Zuckerman] and me about rebooting Street Legal with Cynthia Dale attached. That was the core concept. I met with Cynthia, and thought right away, ‘This character’s a lot more interesting at 58 than 28.’ That’s really the core of why I could see value in it. It seemed like a smart move from the CBC. The brand has value.

I was really interested in that, in taking that character and looking at her now. The same character, 25 years later, and then building a new show around that. What Street Legal was to its audience when it premiered, which was pushing the envelope or the box of Canadian TV. They were doing serialized stuff. They were doing controversial issues, and not necessarily wrapping them up with neat bows. They were doing character-driven soapy stuff in an adult format, and a law show, which was relatively new at the time. Certainly on Canadian TV. Unlike doing Murphy Brown or Roseanne, the idea was not necessarily to do the full nostalgia cash in, and I was always worried about nostalgia being a bit of a danger to the show.

It was great if the new show had its own identity, but if you were relying on it, then the why question is a very legitimate question. The experience was, this is a really new show. I tried to build it in a way that it would say right in the first two minutes, ‘Oh, OK, this isn’t quite the same Street Legal.

I noticed that Olivia never references her past. Was that a conscious decision?
BMS: That was really specific to the pilot. What I was doing was putting her in a situation where there are things right in front of her that are the most important to her. This case, then her firm, but it was by no way an, ‘Oh no, we’re going to ignore the past.’ No, she’s carrying it with her. Everything that happened in Street Legal is baggage for this character. It shows in her relationships, the cases she did. They’re not going to come up unless it’s relevant in the present. One of the things I did, Greg, which really excited me about this, was when CBC said, ‘We want to do Street Legal, six hours,’ I thought, ‘Well, OK. That really affects how I do it,’ because the old Street Legal was this Friday night sit down. Turn off your brain a little bit. Well, you can’t do that for six hours. I really embraced the idea of doing a six-hour pilot.

Six hours is really a mini-series, limited-run format. I wanted to do something really serialized. I’m going to start by doing a six-hour pilot. I’ve got six hours to earn the series coming back in the future, and to earn the new show. The pilot that you’ve seen, that’s Olivia’s show. By Hour 6, it’s everybody’s show. It’s an ensemble. There are four characters, but Olivia’s totally our way in.

I love that you’re going into this with the attitude of six episodes is just a way into more of this project. 
BMS: I think that’s right, and I think if you’re being given Street Legal, and you only get one season, you failed. I have to accept that for myself as a bar. I’ve been trying to make something worth renewing from Day 1, absolutely.

How did you come up with the idea for the drug and the court case being the core of this set of episodes?
BMS: Again, I thought six hours was a really great format to talk about something as complex as opioids, and chronic pain. That’s something we can’t do justice to in a story of the week, and with this six-hour pilot idea, maybe it’s really common, but I had never heard of it before, so I sort of ran with it. That lets you approach it different ways week to week. The idea of exploring it not just through court, but through this character of Adam Darling’s mother, who is the heart of the show, that’s the idea. It’s not in court, it’s in the human toll of the cost. That’s also a lesson for how to build a law show and get emotional payoffs, as opposed to just satisfying resolutions.

It just felt like a really good, deep, complex topic, that was appropriate to what Street Legal originally promised, which was that it would take on complex issues, and not necessarily wrap them up in a week. I really felt I had stuff to say about all these, as an artist, and you’ll see, by the end of the six episodes. It’s interesting where it goes. It has something to say as a show, that’s not just opioids are dangerous and pharma companies are greedy. Those things we get.

Can you say what your future plans are for the show?
BMS: I hope to get a pickup and then go make the next season. I have a story in mind. These characters are really designed with places to go and stories to go through, so they’re keyed up to go through some things, regardless of what cases they’re working on. For me, it’s continuing those character arcs.

Street Legal airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC and streaming on CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.


CBC announces winter 2019 premiere dates for Heartland, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience and more

From a media release:

CBC today announced broadcast and streaming premiere dates for its winter 2019 lineup of highly anticipated new titles and popular returning series, featuring original programming by Canadian storytellers. With a new winter schedule launching Sunday, January 6, each series will be available for linear broadcast on CBC and live and on demand streaming on the CBC TV app for iOS and Android and cbc.ca/watch.

● Family drama HEARTLAND returns for Season 12 on Sunday, January 6 at 7PM

● Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M.R. Hall, female-driven procedural CORONER starring Serinda Swan premieres Monday, January 7 at 9PM

● CBC’s hit Tuesday night comedy lineup continues this winter with new seasons of KIM’S CONVENIENCE, SCHITT’S CREEK and WORKIN’ MOMS beginning January 8 at 8PM

● A new case draws Kristin Kreuk into the shadowy world of hackers and activists in Season 2 of BURDEN OF TRUTH, premiering Wednesday, January 9 at 8PM

● Limited drama series UNSPEAKABLE focused on Canada’s tainted blood scandal, starring Sarah Wayne Callies and Shawn Doyle, debuts Wednesday, January 9 at 9PM

● East Coast humour rules Thursday nights beginning January 10 at 9PM, with new comedy CAVENDISH from the creators of Picnicface and Season 2 of Joel Thomas Hynes’ LITTLE DOG

● Factual entertainment series THE STATS OF LIFE returns with a new look at how Canadians are living Friday, January 11 at 8:30PM

● Iconic drama STREET LEGAL returns with Cynthia Dale and a new generation of Toronto lawyers Monday, March 4 at 9PM

● New Halifax legal aid drama DIGGSTOWN starring Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge premieres Wednesday, March 6 at 8PM

● Arlene Dickinson matches budding entrepreneurs with the businesses of their dreams in UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT launching Friday, March 15 at 8:30PM

● A winter, digital-first streaming premiere date for new family adventure drama NORTHERN RESCUE, starring William Baldwin and Kathleen Robertson, will be confirmed in the near future.

CBC’s winter 2019 primetime schedule, launching Sunday, January 6: All following times local with the exception of Newfoundland, please add half an hour to all times.

11 AM (12 PM AT) – THE WEEKLY WITH WENDY MESLEY Season 2 continues January 6

7 PM – HEARTLAND Season 12 (11×60) premieres January 6

8 PM – THE NATURE OF THINGS – Season 58 continues with “Food for Thought,” offering the latest in nutritional science, on January 6

9 PM – THE FIFTH ESTATE Season 44 continues January 6

10 PM – THE NATIONAL CBC News’ flagship program continues Sunday to Friday each week

7:30 PM – CORONATION STREET (weekdays, back-to-back episodes on Mondays starting at 7 PM)

8 PM – MURDOCH MYSTERIES Season 12 (18×60) continues January 7

9 PM – CORONER New procedural drama (8×60) premieres January 7

9 PM – STREET LEGAL The iconic legal drama returns (6×60) March 4

8 PM – KIM’S CONVENIENCE Season 3 (13×30) premieres January 8

8:30 PM – THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES Season 26 (19×30, 1×60) continues January 8

9 PM – SCHITT’S CREEK Season 5 (14×30) premieres January 8

9:30 PM – WORKIN’ MOMS Season 3 (13×30) premieres January 8

8 PM – BURDEN OF TRUTH Season 2 (8×60) premieres January 9

8 PM – DIGGSTOWN (6×60) New Halifax legal aid drama premieres March 6

9 PM – UNSPEAKABLE (8×60) Limited drama about Canada’s tainted blood scandal premieres January 9

8 PM – DRAGONS’ DEN Season 13 (20×60) continues January 10

9 PM – CAVENDISH (8×30) New comedy from the creators of Picnicface premieres January 10

9:30 PM – LITTLE DOG Season 2 (8×30) premieres January 10

8 PM – MARKETPLACE Season 46 continues January 11

8:30 PM – THE STATS OF LIFE Season 2 (8×30) premieres January 11

8:30 PM – UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT Factual series hosted by Arlene Dickinson (4×30) premieres March 15

9 PM – CBC DOCS POV Season 3 continues with “Pugly,” about the upswing in pug ownership and what makes them so lovable January 11

11:30 PM CBC ARTS: EXHIBITIONISTS Season 4 (26×30) continues



Comments and queries for the week of September 14

I welcome [the Street Legal] sequel to the original series. Admittedly, I was a young kid when my mom watched it back in the day so I only remember bits and pieces about it but I’m glad they are doing this as a sequel series rather than a reboot. I hate reboots and find the idea of a reboot lazy. Charmed, for instance, could have done much better as a sequel than a reboot. —Alicia

My wife and I were 37 and 32, our son was 10 in 1987 when the original Street Legal with its dynamite theme music showcasing Toronto and iconic CN Tower, the dynamic cast and crew and the fantastic episodes blasted onto TV sets in Canada, wowing Canadian viewers like never before. The 1980s were exciting times for Canada in many ways including Canadian TV shows. —Steve

It was an epic finish to the end [to The Amazing Race Canada]. Any of the three teams could have won. I wished CTV had an after show wrap-up like they did in the previous seasons. It would have been nice to see all the teams who competed all together. —Donna

I am so happy for Courtney and Adam. They overcame obstacles and having fans say they did not deserve to be in the finale. They sure did. I picked them to win right from the start. They saved the best till last. I am so proud of them and they deserve the win. Congratulations Courtney and Adam. —Debbie

A decent finale and quite an upset for the underdogs to take it all. Congratulations. Also, Canada’s first co-ed team to win. The airport calling was a good mental task. The dog/skiing task didn’t seem hard but had some good scenery and that epic face plant-flip of Taylor’s. I liked the tension of shopping for the memory task rather than just a typical puzzle. I particularly enjoyed the journey to the Mat at the end rather than just having it right next to the memory task. A decent finale and an OK season. Still, the overall sameness of the locations/tasks/casting archetypes does prevent it from being as great as it could be. No After the Race this year? I hope that’s not a bad sign. —DanAmazing

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.


CBC’s Street Legal confirms new and returning cast as production begins

From a media release:

More than 20 years after the original series came to an end, production is now underway on the highly anticipated revival of CBC’s STREET LEGAL (6×60). The reboot of the Canadian series sees Cynthia Dale reprise her role as Olivia Novak, with Cara Ricketts (The Book of Negroes), Steve Lund (Haven) and Yvonne Chapman (The Crossing) joining the series as the next generation of Toronto lawyers fighting the good fight. Original cast members Eric Peterson (“Leon Robinovitch”) and Anthony Sherwood (“Dillon Beck”) are also confirmed to return for special guest appearances. The series starts production this week for a winter 2019 premiere on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app and cbc.ca/watch.

Like the original, the rebooted series will combine cutting-edge storylines with ongoing serialized character development, focused on the people who practice law and the lives they lead both on and off the job.

The award-winning character-driven legal drama picks up 25 years after the original series with Olivia now a partner at a major Bay Street law firm. Beaten to the punch on filing a massive class-action lawsuit by an upstart firm of young social-activist lawyers, Olivia pursues them as an acquisition target. But when her own firm goes down in a flame of egos and departing partners, Olivia finds herself starting over at the boutique firm with new younger colleagues.

A CBC original series, STREET LEGAL is co-produced by IGP and Broken Clown Productions. Bernie Zukerman (Remedy, King) is Executive Producer. Bruce Smith (19-2) is Executive Producer and Showrunner. Cynthia Dale and Rayne Zukerman are Producers. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Drama, Scripted Content; and Deborah Nathan is Executive in Charge of Production.

IGP Productions:
A boutique family-run company, IGP is renowned for its high-quality content. IGP produces for all platforms, leans into relevant and insightful content that inspires viewers to think differently. We’ve had success with our interprovincial and international co-productions. We’ve produced the scripted medical series Remedy for Global; the top international export Kinga police procedural for Showcase, and the CBC legal classic This is Wonderland. IGP has also produced a number of features, movies, and mini-series celebrating Canada’s history and its diversity with classics such as John A: The Birth of a Country; Niagara Motel; Victor: The Victor Davis Story; Million Dollar Babies; Conspiracy of Silence and The Many Trials of One Jane Doe. For more information, visit: www.igpproductions.com.

Broken Clown Productions:
Great television starts with great talent and a passion to create. This is the driving principal behind the new Montreal-based independent production company, The Broken Clown Company Inc. / La Compagnie Broken Clown Inc. owned by acclaimed Canadian showrunner, Bruce M. Smith. After years of driving the creative vision of numerous television series, including the award-winning internationally distributed 19-2, Bruce is broadening his vision to produce more internationally marketable television in Quebec. His strong relationships with writers, directors and actors puts him in an enviable position to attract the talent international drama requires. Supported with a leading Quebec-based business team knowledgeable in rights management and financing, The Broken Clown Company is well positioned for success. The company’s first series, Street Legal Reboot for CBC is slated for production in Montreal in the summer of 2018 (in co-production with Indian Grove Productions).