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

Preview: Disasters at Sea returns for a second helping on Discovery

You know what you’re getting into when you tune into a show called Disasters at Sea. Yup, things going terribly wrong for ships on the water. And yet it’s addictive stuff. Like Mayday and Highway Thru Hell, Disasters at Sea is as much about the why as it is the what.

Returning for its second season of six hour-long episodes this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Discovery, Disasters at Sea kicks off with a Canadian angle: the 2006 sinking of B.C. passenger ferry Queen of the North. The ship struck an underwater ledge off Gil Island while carrying 101 passengers during an overnight journey. Immediate and deadly, Queen of the North sank quickly; all but two of the passengers were rescued by Gitga’at First Nation residents in Hartley Bay.

So, what went wrong?

After countless trips through the same passage without incident, what was different this time around? Via interviews with survivors, then-Captain Colin Henthorne, and experts like Christopher Hearn, Director of the Centre for Marine Simulation at the Marine Institute at Memorial University in Newfoundland, the answer is revealed.

Using stunning CGI to tell the tale, as well as dramatic re-creations and testimony, Disasters at Sea is superior storytelling.

Future episodes cover the catastrophic loss of the fishing vessel Arctic Rose, made mysterious by the fact that only the captain had time to put on his survival suit; and a routine ferry trip turns deadly when the MS Norman Atlantic burst into flames, trapping more than 300 passengers on board and killing more than 30.

Disasters at Sea airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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CBC’s Battle of the Blades returns to the ice October 22

From a media release:

CBC today announced that the new season of Canadian audience favourite BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 6, produced by Insight Productions) will launch with a special two-hour live premiere on Thursday, October 22 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem, with eight new pairs ready to hit the ice in support of charities across Canada. Multi-talented singer-songwriter, TV host and actress Keshia Chanté will be joining veteran sportscaster Ron MacLean on the ice to share hosting duties this season. A singer since the age of 14, Chanté is known for her JUNO Award-winning music including multiple #1 hits and eight Top-10 radio singles, as well as her work as a television host and actress.

Originally born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto, Chanté has over 18 years of experience in the entertainment industry, including the release of four musical albums; a previous role as co-host of the #1 music show on television, 106 & Park, alongside Bow Wow; and her current role as co-host on Entertainment Tonight Canada. She served as a music expert and international judge on The World’s Best alongside James Corden and Drew Barrymore, as well as two seasons of The Next Star. As an actress, Chanté appears on Season 4 of Private Eyes and Season 2 of JANN. She is also known for her charity work, including serving as Youth Ambassador for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR); volunteering time in Africa with CANFAR to build schools; volunteering in the Dominican Republic with World Vision, and performing with Alicia Keys for the Keep A Child Alive fundraising concert.

CBC’s quintessentially Canadian competition series BATTLE OF THE BLADES features NHL, Olympic and professional hockey players performing on ice with World and Olympic figure skating partners in the hopes of winning the Season 6 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charity of their choice. Alongside hosts Chanté and MacLean, the Season 6 judging panel features beloved Olympic gold medallist in ice dance Scott Moir; multi-Olympic medallist in women’s ice hockey, and Season 5 runner-up, Natalie Spooner; and professional skater and choreographer Elladj Baldé. Four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returns to the series as Elite Battle Expert.

This season’s eight competing pairs, and their charities, are:

  • Violetta Afanasieva and Anthony Stewart

Competing on behalf of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

  • Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje

Competing on behalf of the BC Children’s Hospital

  • Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford

Competing on behalf of The Canadian Cancer Society

  • Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill

Campbell will be competing on behalf of Do It For Daron, while Hill will be supporting FreedomSchool – Toronto

  • Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski

Duhamel will be competing on behalf of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, while Wolski will be supporting The Hospital for Sick Children’s Patient Amenities Fund

  • Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg

Edwards will be competing on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, while Versteeg will be supporting Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society

  • Vanessa James and Akim Aliu

Competing on behalf of The Time To Dream Foundation

  • Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell

Competing on behalf of The Bickell Foundation in support of the MS Society of Canada

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic.

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CBC greenlights Sort Of, from creators Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo

From a media release:

CBC has greenlit new original comedy SORT OF (8×30) from Sienna Films (Trickster, Cardinal). Created by Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me) and starring Baig, SORT OF is a big-hearted series about Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family. Sabi feels like they’re in transition in every aspect of their life, from gender to love to sexuality to family to career. The half-hour single-camera comedy begins production in Toronto today.

In addition to Baig, the cast includes Gray Powell (Hudson & Rex, Designated Survivor), Amanda Cordner (Baroness von Sketch Show, The Expanse), Ellora Patnaik (Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek), Grace Lynn Kung (Transplant, Star Trek: Discovery), Supinder Wraich (The 410, Crawford), Kaya Kanashiro, Aden Bedard, Gregory Ambrose Calderone (This Movie is Broken, Salvation) and Alanna Bale (Cardinal, Killjoys).

When Sabi’s best friend 7ven (Cordner) presents them with an opportunity to live and find themself in the “queerest place in the galaxy,” Sabi instead makes the decision to stay and care for the kids they nanny after their mom has a serious bike accident. Do they regret it? Sort of. A coming-of-age story, SORT OF exposes the labels we once poured ourselves into as no longer applicable…to anyone. A show about how each and every one of us is in transition. Sort of.

A CBC original series produced by Sienna Films, SORT OF is created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers. The series is written by Baig, Filippo, Jenn Engels, Nelu Handa and Ian Iqbal Rashid, with Filippo and Renuka Jeyapalan (Kim’s Convenience, Workin’ Moms) directing. Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny are also executive producers.

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Preview: T+E’s Paranormal Night Shift tells tales of job site bumps in the night

I can always count on the fine folks at Blue Ant Media to come through with spooky new Halloween programming. Following on the heels of Hotel Paranormal, Scariest Night of My Life and Paranormal Survivor is a brand-new Canadian original.

Paranormal Night Shift, bowing Saturday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on T+E, tracks down tales of folks working late at night when they have otherworldly experiences. Produced by Bristow Global Media, the first of 13 upcoming instalments introduces viewers to Tim, a late-night radio DJ and producer working in the American Midwest. It was only his first night when Tim experiences weird things like giggles, thumps on the studio door, footsteps above him and visions of a child in the shadows. Then things get really scary.

Then it’s Heather’s turn. Heather, who was the former owner of The Looking Glass in Toronto, had heard the rumours the property was haunted but dismissed them. Heather picked up on a strange vibe almost right away and was in the building just after 2 a.m. when the heating and cooling system started knocking. Footsteps followed and Heather investigated. What greeted her drove Heather out of the business.

Featuring first-hand accounts, paranormal expert interviews and dramatic recreations, my only complaint isn’t the shaky camera work, fake security camera footage or jump-scare audio cuts on Paranormal Night Shift. Those are part of the haunted documentary genre, so I expect them. No, it’s the narrator’s faux whisper. Every time he spoke, I was pulled out of the story. It’s a shame the producers didn’t just have him speak normally because it really is distracting.

Paranormal Night Shift airs as part of T+E’s Creep Week lineup, that includes fellow new series My Paranormal Nightmare: Be Very Afraid and Paranormal Captured, along with marathons of Paranormal Caught on Camera, Haunted Hospitals and Hotel Paranormal.

Paranormal Night Shift airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on T+E.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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marblemedia starts production on two new family sitcoms, The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker 

From a media release:

Award-winning media production and distribution company, marblemedia, in association with award-winning creator Beachwood Canyon Productions, announces today production is set to begin later this month in Toronto on series, The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker (20 eps x 30 mins), two brand-new scripted family single-camera sitcoms that follows the life of one bi-racial family, blended by marriage.

In this completely new and innovative concept, the series will enhance traditional TV storytelling by creating two stand-alone comedy series, The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker, each with their own storylines and episodes, while still connected by larger overarching plotlines tying the two independent series together. The Parker Andersons follows the warmly comedic antics of a newly blended family, while Amelia Parker centers around the quietest member of the family, a tween girl navigating the world around her.

The Parker Andersons follows Tony Parker, a British widower and father of two (Nathan and Amelia), who moves to North America where he meets and marries Cleo Anderson, the mother of two kids (Victoria and Charlie). Altogether, they quickly discover that sometimes being ‘blended’ feels a lot like being in a blender.

Amelia Parker centers around the quietest member of the Parker Anderson family, a tween girl who is coming into her own. After her mother died, Amelia became selectively mute, figuring that before she participates in the world again, she better figure some things out. In confessionals, we see that Amelia is actually an opinionated, vivacious girl, who openly explains her hopes, anxieties and fears in virtual conversations with her deceased mom.

Anthony Q. Farrell takes over as Showrunner for both series. Farrell has written for NBC’s The Office, CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie, and Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans and has developed TV series for CBS Studios, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network amongst others. He is the creator of Secret Life of Boys, the BAFTA-winning CBBC series, which is in its fifth season. Anthony joins the series bringing unparalleled talent, humour and leadership to really form the true essence of both shows.  He has assembled a richly talented and diverse team of writers and directors to assist him in ensuring that the stories for both shows are not only entertaining but also authentic. Leading by example through collaboration and providing an opportunity for the next generation, Anthony Q. Farrell is reimagining show running for the next wave.

The series has been commissioned by BYUtv in the U.S. to debut in 2021 as part of their focus on inspiring family programming and will launch in Canada later in 2021, with a Canadian broadcaster to be announced soon.

The Parker-Andersons and Amelia Parker will star Arnold Pinnock as Tony Parker (Cardinal, Coroner, Baroness Von Sketch), Kate Hewlett as Cleo Anderson (The Stanley Dynamic, Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Girlfriend Experience), Millie Davis as Amelia Parker (Odd Squad, Dino Dana, Orphan Black), Agape Mngomezulu as Nathan Parker (Best Intentions, The Twilight Zone, Supernatural), Devin Cecchetto as Victoria Anderson (Ginny & Georgia, The Craft), Charlie Zeltzer as Charlie Anderson (The Handmaid’s Tale, Anne with an E), Sandy Jobin- Bevans as Roger Anderson (Designated Survivor, Just Like Mom and Dad, Good Witch, Baroness Von Sketch Show) and Akiel Julien as Nick Parker (Utopia Falls, The Boys, What We Do in the Shadows). Additional cast members will be announced in the coming weeks.

Executive Producers for the series include Mark J.W. Bishop, Matt Hornburg, Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy, and Co-Executive Producer Donna Luke (marblemedia); Executive Producers Frank van Keeken and Yolanda Yott (Beachwood Canyon); Executive Producer and Showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell and Producer Jim Corston; Executive Producers for BYUtv Michael Dunn, Andra Johnson Duke, Melissa Puente and Jim Bell.

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