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

Preview: CBC’s excellent The Detectives recalls more crimes from Canada’s past

When Season 2 of The Detectives was greenlit by CBC, I was thrilled twofold.

Not because I was celebrating the deaths of human beings but because the true crime documentary series spotlights the law enforcement officers who refuse to give up on a case no matter how long it remains unsolved. I was equally excited because the project—returning Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC—boasts an extensive stable of Canadian actors embodying the roles. Where Season 1 featured the likes of Jewel Staite, Eric Johnson, Hugh Dillon, Aidan Devine, Mylène Dinh-Robic, Marianne Farley, Mark Ghanimé, Tiio Horn, Michael Ironside, Daniel Kash, Lochlan Munro and Ron Lea, Season 2 aims for the same lofty heights with Maxim Roy, Janet Kidder, Michael Shanks, David James Elliott, Gil Bellows and—in Thursday’s return—Currie Graham.

Graham plays Greg Brown, an Ottawa detective who was called to the scene of a homicide in 2005. Like most nights, 18-year-old Jennifer Teague took the 10-minute walk home from her late shift at work in Barrhaven, Ont. But this time, she never made it there. As the missing person case turns into a homicide, Det. Brown chases down one promising lead after another until he’s left with nothing but the knowledge that the killer is a local.

Produced by Petro Duszara, Scott Bailey, Jennifer Gatien, Hans Rosenstein and Debbie Travis—yes, that Debbie Travis—The Detectives is head and shoulders above other true crime series because it includes the actual detectives telling their stories to the producers. This awful stuff really happened and affected the investigators for the rest of their lives. Throw in excellent recreations of the events as they unfolded, real news report footage and pictures of the victims and The Detectives is don’t miss television.

The Detectives airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Unité 9 locks up Prix Gémeaux victory; District 31 takes Prix du public

From the Canadian Press:

Link: Unité 9 locks up Prix Gémeaux victory; District 31 takes Prix du public
Unité 9, a gritty show about a group of women in a Quebec prison, won the award for best year-long drama at the Prix Gémeaux gala Sunday night.

It was the fourth consecutive year the hugely popular show took the prize. Continue reading. 

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Preview: Baroness von Sketch Show deals more hilarity in Season 3

Hot on the heels of Baroness von Sketch Show‘s well-deserved Canadian Screen Award wins and continued kudos from American attention thanks to IFC picking the program up, the funny Canadian ladies are back for Season 3 on Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Once again, writers, stars and executive producers Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen simply nail it with hilarious characters and dead-funny views in sketches both timely and evergreen. While some Canadian periodicals write lazy columns decrying a lack of funny at the CBC, I say the network has never been stronger because of Baroness, Still Standing, Schitt’s Creek, Mr. D and Kim’s Convenience. (The jury is still out on 22 Minutes, thanks to behind the scenes shakeups.)

The return episode, “Is that you Karen?” bursts out of the gate with immediate laughs, as two ladies who haven’t seen each other in 20 years reconnect in the oddest and most ludicrous of ways. And that’s before the revamped opening credits roll. Then, in the rat-a-tat roll out of sketches, viewers get reflections on the rites of spring (with three of the four ladies dressed as dudes), the dangers of accepting a ride home from a co-worker, rogue cops and what could happen when the barista gets the name wrong on your coffee cup.

Whenever I speak to folks about the television shows Baroness von Sketch almost always comes up. There’s a reason for that. With tight writing, stellar performances (MacNeill’s over-the-top physical comedy is a standout) and truly relatable topics, the baronesses are hitting a comedy home run every week.

Baroness von Sketch Show airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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Preview: Jonny Harris showcases more Canadian communities in Still Standing

At long last, Jonny Harris and Still Standing are back on our television screens. In a bit of a shakeup, the programming folks moved Still Standing—and its Tuesday night partner Baroness Von Sketch Show—from summer until fall. That gives folks of Harris a double dose of the baby-faced comedian in this and his long-running gig on Murdoch Mysteries.

In the Season 4 return, Harris arrives in Tignish, PEI, a small community to—as is the series formula—showcase the place, the people, the struggles they’re enduring and then celebrate them through laughs and anecdotes. It’s a formula that works by playing to Harris’ strengths as a storyteller and wry observationalist. Still Standing isn’t a “woe is me” tale but one of making the best of things and/or striving to make them better.

That’s certainly the case in Tignish, located on the western tip of the province. Far away from the Confederation Bridge and Anne of Green Gables is this group of just over 700 citizens. The area, it turns out, was a favourite stomping ground for Stompin’ Tom Connors. The legendary singer-songwriter even wrote of the area in his tune “The Song of the Irish Moss.” The moss industry may have long gone, but the memory remains in that song and hoping to cash in on that Tignish built the Stompin’ Tom Centre. The facility, in addition to including Connors’ boyhood home and the one-room schoolhouse he attended, houses a concert hall where his gold and platinum records, guitar and hat and boots are on display.

Also keeping Tignish on the map is, of course, the lobster industry, which Harris gets an education on, and the life of dew worms. Both make it into his stand-up act and are very, very funny.

Upcoming locations on Harris’ journeys include Carcross, Yukon; Rogersville, Nova Scotia; Fraser Lake, British Columbia; Cobalt, Ontario; and New Denmark, New Brunswick.

Still Standing airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Links: Killjoys, “The Kids are Alright?”

From Heather M. of TV Goodness:

Link: Julian Doucet talks about Killjoys’ “The Kids are Alright”
Typically, the next-to-last episode of a TV season has a ton of buttoning up as the various threads are resolved in anticipation of, and to set up, the finale. Doucet had to wrangle both of those pieces and fold in a specific story. Continue reading.

From Kelly Townsend of The TV Junkies:

Link: Killjoys: Julian Doucet talks “The Kids are Alright?”
Killjoys delivered a shocking and heartbreaking episode, along with some powerhouse performances, with “The Kids Are Alright?”–and, frankly, we’re not alright. Continue reading.

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