TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 2
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Links: Vagrant Queen, Season 1

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Vagrant Queen proves nothing’s gonna stop this trio
Throughout its first two episodes, SYFY’s Vagrant Queen has already made it abundantly clear that it never takes itself too seriously, is always down for a joke, and is ready to subvert whatever viewers think they know about the space genre. Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Vagrant Queen brings an all-female lens to the space opera
“We don’t have enough female voices in genre, in action, and in sci-fi. So it was very important for me, when I was put in this position of power as a showrunner, to amplify those voices.” Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Vagrant Queen’s Adriyan Rae on what it was like tackling the role of a badass space queen
“I was really interested in being a part of something that had a black female lead who was badass and is not defined by her sexuality. She’s just this badass character who pushes the envelope and is looking for her mom. It really resonated with me.” Continue reading.

From Josh Bell of CBR:

Link: Vagrant Queen is a fun, scrappy space adventure
The low-fi feel is part of the show’s charm, and the characters often joke about how unreliable their equipment is. The Winnipeg is constantly breaking down and losing parts, and the heroes’ blasters are always running out of batteries when they need them most. Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Vagrant Queen: Tim Rozon’s comedic skills shine in his goofiest role yet
“When Vagrant Queen came along, I was in Florida. I drove up to Orlando to do a self tape and loved the audition. If anyone has heard me talk about my first experience with Doc Holliday, it reminded me of that and just one of those parts I thought, ‘I can be this guy. I gotta get this guy. I can do this.’” Continue reading.

From Adam Buckman of MediaPost:

Link: Syfy space series boldly goes where others have gone before
There are enough shootouts, perils and narrow escapes to satisfy fans of these kinds of shows, and vex the rest of us. Continue reading. 

From Raffy Ermac of Pride.com:

Link: ‘Vagrant Queen’ is the diverse, queer show the sci-fi world needs right now
“We were excited to tell this sort of more intimate story about this former queen going on a rescue mission, and it not being a story about necessarily good and evil, monarchy versus the revolution. It was just a very kind of more intimate story about this young woman trying to find her place in the world, and reconnect with her long-lost mother.” Continue reading. 

From Eric Amaya of Rotten Tomatoes:

Link: Vagrant Queen: Your new Guardians of the Galaxy-style TV obsession
“I haven’t felt so right for a part pretty much since Doc Holliday. Doc can be pretty intense, whereas Isaac is just a bumbling fool, and I feel like I’m a little closer to that at times.” Continue reading.

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Vagrant Queen’s Adriyan Rae
“It’s my dream role and I’m surrounded by amazing people, from Jem [Garrard] to my castmates, to the cameramen, to the grip, to all the cast and crew. It’s a story of how equality is equality, love is love, how it’s okay to be a free thinker, it empowers women, it’s woke without pushing it down your throat, it’s entertaining while still funny and it will still pull on your heartstrings.” Continue reading.

From Nicole Hill of Den of Geek:

Link: Vagrant Queen: A fresh take on the hero’s journey
“I really love the idea of this space opera that really focused in on a very kind of personal and intimate journey and that you don’t really get to see much in this genre.” Continue reading.

From Cynthia Vinney of CBR.com:

Link: Vagrant Queen’s Adriyan Rae celebrates her “dream role” in the sci-fi show
“I started working on her mental and how it would feel to be an orphan, how it would feel to be on the run for so many years, how it would feel to feel as though both of your parents have died and then to hear that one of them hasn’t.” Continue reading.

From Russ Burlingame of Comicbook.com:

Link: Vagrant Queen star Adriyan Rae hopes they could get a second season that goes beyond the existing comics
“They made our outfits so that they weren’t super, super tight leather, and they were materials that could move with us. The costume is department is amazing. They made it distinctly so I could do all these great things in the outfit.” Continue reading.

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The Wedding Planners brings much-needed nostalgia to primetime TV

In a world full of turmoil and seeking comfort, Beth Stevenson’s creations couldn’t be more timely.

If you’ve tuned in to a Harlequin or Hallmark holiday movie, you’ve likely seen her stuff. Stevenson’s IMDB page is chockfull of such seasonal fare as Snowbound for Christmas, A Christmas Recipe for Romance, Twinkle all the Way or Christmas with a Prince. They’ve quickly become holiday classics. Now Stevenson, Brain Power Studio founder and executive producer, jumps into primetime TV with a new series.

The Wedding Planners, debuting Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv, introduces us to the Clarkson Wedding Essentials, a family-run business that is a one-stop spot for wedding planning. The business is headed up by Marguerite (Michelle Nolden), who hopes her children—Paige (Kimberly-Sue Murray), James (Michael Seater) and Hannah (Madeline Leon)—will one day carry on the business. When that day comes suddenly, the siblings are forced to work together to pull off the perfect wedding.

We spoke to Beth Stevenson about The Wedding Planners, and why shows like it are the perfect salve for uncertain times.

How did The Wedding Planners come about?
Beth Stevenson: Some of Marguerite is actually a lot to do with my mom was such a big part of my life. The reason I’m in the film and television business is because she was actually studying to go into the film and television business after she had raised all of us. I come from a family with siblings and Brain Power is actually a family company and a lot of my siblings do work in the company. My stepsons work in the company. We have that familial connection together with the fact that we’re building something and we’re working on something together. There’s a lot of comparison to how Marguerite has grown the business and expropriated bedrooms. We thought, ‘This will be a really nice location to base a series out of.’

What about the partnership with Rogers?
BS: Nataline Rodrigues, who’s the director of original programming, has this beautiful timeslot that’s called Fall In Love Fridays. We were doing many Harlequin films and most were Canadian content productions that we were doing for various Canadian networks. But predominantly, we were exporting them. She found me and said, ‘Hey, I see you’re doing romcoms and things that would work really well for our network.’ And we said to her, ‘We’re working on this nice limited series that is going to be about a family of wedding planners.’ We continued to talk and then we started to quickly move it through development and she believed in the concept and we went into production.

When it comes to putting together a project like this, a limited series as opposed to a two hour TV movie, it would seem there would be more space to play around. 
BS: It’s definitely nice to build worlds and to look at maybe a dynasty of characters that are together that can continue on. It’s good to do that two-hour movie to make sure you get the chemistry right in the casting, that you’re bringing these worlds together. With The Wedding Planners, we get the best of both worlds because we have this definitive storyline which is the bride and groom that we’re following that episode. And then you have this beautiful enriching family drama that’s flowing underneath it.

The TV-movies you have made have quickly become kind of go-to programming during the holidays. What is it that we love about these so much? Is it escapism?
BS: I go towards more of the word nostalgia. The holiday season has grown to a place of we want this comfort, we want this nostalgia, we want to have these moments where it’s that Christmas tingle people get. The nice thing from our adaptations is they’re coming from Christmas novels in many instances.

A lot of our movies are on Amazon Prime where we get the analytics every week. And it is phenomenal. It doesn’t stop in January I will tell you. Because I think again, people need that in these times. I think the barrage and the digital world can be very exhausting. So if you can get that comfort to come back and to follow a family or to follow a couple and to root for them and to have a little bit of a break, that’s, I think, making a big difference right now in the world.

The Wedding Planners airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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Big Brother Canada Season 8 ends production amid Covid-19 pandemic

From a media release:

Global and Insight Productions announced today that, in light of developments in Ontario on the fight against COVID-19, effective today Big Brother Canada Season 8 has ended production.

Big Brother Canada is a labour of love for so many, and even though it hurts to say goodbye to the season, it’s the right thing to do,” said Big Brother Canada Host Arisa Cox. “On behalf of the incredible people who put this show together, thank you to everyone who started this journey with us. Please take care and be safe!”

At this time, Big Brother Canada has no plans to resume production at a later date. After a truly unprecedented season, the show will take its final bow over two episodes Wednesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, April 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

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Tribal’s Brian Markinson: “Everywhere you see, this is Indigenous peoples’ lands”

I’ve been a fan of Brian Markinson’s for years. I first saw him on Da Vinci’s Inquest (Seasons 1 and 2 are on CBC Gem) and Da Vinci’s City Hall as Police Chief Bill Jacobs. Since then, he’s appeared on countless TV shows I’ve watched, from Shattered to Sanctuary, Arctic Air to Continuum, The Romeo Section and more.

So when I saw he was co-starring with Jessica Matten on Tribal, I had to reach out and book some time to talk. Ron E. Scott’s newest series—airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on APTN and recently renewed for Season 2—puts Matten’s interim Tribal police chief Sam Woodburn alongside veteran, white city cop Chuck “Buke” Bukansky, played by Markinson, to solve crimes on and off the reservation. Season 1 storylines include pipeline protects, healing lodge justice and murdered and missing Indigenous women.

How did you come to be on Tribal in the first place?
Brian Markinson: I first heard of Ron through Blackstone. Friends and some other folks that I know, that I respect, had gone and done arcs on the show. I’ve always heard that he’s just one of the nicest guys, a fantastic producer. And so, when I was sent Tribal, I was really only sent three scenes. I read these three scenes from the first episode, and I really had a sense of who [Buke] is. The prototype was maybe a little bit different for me. He was sort of maybe an older, bigger, a big, heavy old school cop.

But I loved those three scenes so much that I called my agent, and I said, ‘I have a handle on it.’ I thought I did a good job at the audition. I said, ‘If there’s any interest, let’s please pursue this one,’ because it’s very rare that you see writing, and characters that are sketched for me. This guy, for me, I just understood where he was coming from, and his pain, and all that fun stuff. And then Ron and I met because there was interest, and we sat down, and we thought we would talk for an hour. We talked for three. And then it was sort of sealed at that point.

When we first meet up with Buke, he’s sitting in a bar, these young guys are asking about old war stories, and he goes to the washroom and pops some pills. There’s some pain there in his life.
BM: You find out a little bit about where that comes from. And then, there’s an event that happens. I think he was a very good cop, and I think he had a run-in, that sort of feeds into where his prejudices lie when it comes to Indigenous peoples. After that, I think he’s not the same person. He’s in physical pain, and I also think he’s in immense emotional pain. He’s a guy who is not, as you said, he’s not a part of these young studs on the force, and he doesn’t really have a foot in Tribal, so he’s in limbo a lot of the time.

Ironic, because Sam’s going through the same thing. She’s told by members of the Indigenous peoples that she’s a sellout. But yet she doesn’t fit with the city cops either.
BM: Exactly. So you have these two people who float, and the whole intention of the justice department is to create this new sort of thing, and, unbeknownst to them, they do. And then, these two seemingly parallel lines, that we never think are going to meet, are skewed enough towards each other, that through the course of this season, they become closer, and they find a way to trust each other, and things that spin outside of their relationship sort of force them together as well. There’s a lot of room to plumb some great stuff, and he’s created this relationship that we can really hang our hats on. We have the crime of the week that you can hook into, but I think at the core of this, as Ron likes to call it, it’s a serialized procedural.

What’s it like for you, acting on this show, in these storylines, that is very true to life and involves colonialism?
BM: My politics are very progressive. I live in Vancouver. Whenever you go to any sort of public event, whether it’s the theatre or whatever, they start by saying, ‘We’re honoured to be performing on the unceded lands.’ But as Ron said to me, ‘It’s all ours.’ It really hit home when he said that, that everywhere you see, this is Indigenous peoples’ lands. Wherever you travel. I don’t, in any way, pretend to be anything else except a student of this history.

Tribal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Prairie Dog Film + Television.

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Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters returns April 16

From a media release:

Food Network Canada heats up spring with the sizzling return of Corus Studios’ original series, Fire Masters (15x60min). Professional chef Dylan Benoit returns as host, joined by a rotating panel of expert judges and notable culinary personalities. Each episode will challenge three chefs to show off their grilling talents and creativity in two culinary challenges, cooking up mouth-watering dishes that will be assessed by the judges. Two chefs will be eliminated, and the last one standing will go head-to-head with a renowned judge in the third and final round, vying for a $10,000 cash prize and the title of Fire Masters Champion. Fire Masters returns Thursday, April 16 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Hailing from across North America including Toronto, Ont. to Miami, Fla., Kelowna, B.C. to New York City, NY. and beyond, Fire Masters’ competitors represent the continent’s most talented grill masters and chefs. In the premiere episode “Let the Flames Begin,” the “Wildfire” round heats up fast with three executive chefs, each looking to smoke out the competition with their signature dishes that are judged on presentation, creativity and taste. In the “Crossfire” round, the chefs bring the heat, competing for a spot in the final round. Finally, in the “Feast of Fire” round, the final competitor remaining goes head-to-head against a Fire Masters judge and must showcase their culinary skills across a whole menu. Both chefs have a sous-chef to help them grill up a ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ feast that will determine the winner. For the full list of competitors, please visit foodnetwork.ca.

Host and chef Dylan Benoit returns to oversee the fiery battles and brings with him some serious credentials: extensive culinary experience working in prestigious restaurants and vast world travel and culinary tourism. Dylan is joined by a rotating panel of renowned, flame-fanatic judges, who will determine which competitors have what it takes to earn the title of Fire Masters Champion.

A roster of new and returning sponsors enter the Fire Masters arena this season. In every episode the competitors will have top-of-the-line grilling stations provided by returning sponsor, Napoleon. As the series’ exclusive provider of grilling appliances and equipment, the fully outfitted Fire Masters arena boasts the latest, cutting-edge tools from Napoleon. Additionally, as the competition heats up, the winner of each second round is awarded a Napoleon Travel portable grill. Certified Angus Beef ® brand returns as the exclusive beef provider for the series, stocking the fridge with their premium high-quality beef. The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is also showcased a “Crossfire” challenge, where competitors feature a dry-aged bone-in ribeye or short ribs as the star ingredient in their dish, as well as during a “Feast of Fire” challenge, where the chefs must elevate the tried-and-true meat and potatoes dinner. Tourism PEI comes on board for an integrated “Feast of Fire” challenge, where the chefs will create a “Down East Feast”, celebrating the beauty and bounty of Prince Edward Island and using ingredients sourced from the area. Miller Lite joins for an integrated “Feast of Fire” challenge, tasking the chefs to create a family-style spread of flame-kissed dishes perfect for game day. Host Dylan Benoit will also appear in Miller Lite’s digital calendar, sharing his favourite Campfire Queso Fundito recipe.

Fire Masters is produced by Architect Films in association with Corus Studios for Food Network Canada. For Architect Films, Tanya Linton and Mike Sheerin are Executive Producers and Jennifer Pratt is Series Producer.

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