Tag Archives: Bilal Baig

Co-creators of Sort Of announce the acclaimed series will end with Season 3

From a media release:

Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, co-creators, executive producers and showrunners — with Baig also the star — of the Peabody-winning CBC and Max original comedy SORT OF, today announced that the upcoming third season will be the final season of the series. The final eight-episode season will make its world premiere in Canada on the free CBC Gem streaming service beginning Friday, November 17 (two episodes will be available per week), with the series finale set for Friday, December 8.

Statement from Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo:

“To our dear Sort Of community, we’ve got an announcement to share with you all. Along with the producing team behind Sort Of, we have chosen to end the series with this upcoming third and final season. We want to thank you for welcoming this show so graciously into your worlds and for celebrating our work with generosity. 

We know how much the series means to a lot of you — it means so much to us too. It’s been such an incredible privilege to make this show for these last three years, working with every single person, cast and crew, who helped make our vision a reality. We feel incredibly fortunate to have received your love and enthusiasm and passion for all things Sort Of and to be totally real, to end the show was a very difficult decision to make.

We set out to tell a story about a kind of transition in Sabi’s life, and how those around them also change  — and we feel in this coming  season that story came to an end in a way that felt right for us. 

We’re aware that series like ours, shows that feature queer and trans characters, tend to get cancelled early on, and we know that’s been happening a lot recently. We want to say that’s not what’s going down here. We made this third season knowing it would be our last. A big shout-out to Sphere Media, CBC and Max for believing in the story and for helping us tell it over these last few years. 

We’re also aware that this show is ending at a time when trans communities continue to be targeted and trans rights are being constantly attacked. Our hope is that this series can continue to affirm lives and spark conversations well after the final season drops. Sort Of will always exist, despite all the transphobia in our world. 

The final season will make its world premiere in Canada on the free CBC Gem streaming service beginning November 17th and in early 2024 on Max and soon after all over the world. We hope you love watching this season as much as we loved making it. 

Thank you for sharing in the laughter and the tears with us. Take care out there, and goodbye for now!”

Produced by Sphere Media, SORT OF has made its way into the hearts of viewers from around the world since its debut on CBC in 2021, with many lives having been positively impacted by its authentic and unapologetic approach to queerness and the universal experience of transition. The final season will also air on CBC TV in Winter 2024. Seasons 1 and 2 of SORT OF are currently available to stream for free in Canada on CBC Gem.

The third and final season shows Sabi Mehboob (Baig) coming to terms with feelings of grief and an unexpected sense of freedom following the death of their father. Without the constraints of living up to their father’s expectations Sabi confronts big questions about their identity, prompting some massive life choices. In a season that has the entire ensemble grappling with aftermaths, a rebirth comes in a sort of messy, sort of hopeful, sort of ‘Sort Of’ way.

In addition to Baig, returning cast members include Gray Powell as Paul; Amanda Cordner as 7ven; Ellora Patnaik as Raffo; Supinder Wraich as Aqsa; Kaya Kanashiro as Violet; Aden Bedard as Henry; Raymond Cham Jr. as Wolf; Becca Blackwell as Deenzie; Ali Hassan as Shehraz; Kareem Vaude as Kareem; Varun Saranga as Izzy; Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves as Mumtaz; and with Grace Lynn Kung as Bessy.

Internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian and public speaker Alok Vaid-Menon, and accomplished writer, producer and actor Angelica Ross (American Horror Story, Pose) will make cameo appearances in the final season.

The acclaimed dramatic comedy cemented its place in the comedic landscape by winning seven 2023 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Comedy Series. Baig also recently received the CMF Trans Barrier Breaker Award during the 2023 TIFF Trans Filmmakers Summit. This is in addition to the series having won a Peabody in the Entertainment Category at the 82nd Annual Peabody Awards, as well as receiving a second Peabody nomination for the upcoming 83rd Annual Peabody Awards, and receiving the Banff Rockie Award for Program of the Year. The series also won three 2022 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Comedy Series, Best Writing, Comedy, and the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award. Baig and Filippo received a Writer’s Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award in 2022. SORT OF also received a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding New TV Series in 2022 and 2023.

SORT OF features Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a gender expansive millennial who is so over-editing themselves to make others comfortable. From love to family to career, Sabi feels like they’re in transition. SORT OF exposes the labels people once poured themselves into as no longer applicable…to anyone.

A CBC/Max original series, SORT OF is produced with the participation of the Canada Media Fund. Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo are creators, executive producers and co-showrunners and Jennifer Kawaja is executive producer along with Bruno Dubé for Sphere Media. Directors for the final season are Fab Filippo (Save Me) and Shamim Sarif (Despite the Falling Snow). Andrea Glinski and Laura Perlmutter are co-executive producers. Baig and Filippo were joined by writers and co-executive producers Ian Iqbal Rashid (Touch of Pink) and Tricia Fish (New Waterford Girl). 


Links: Sort Of, Season 2

From Tobin Ng of Broadview:

Link: Sort Of star Bilal Baig on what fans can look forward to in Season 2
Sabi (Bilal Baig) and their best friend, 7ven (Amanda Cordner), are standing in the alley by Sabi’s apartment. Sabi’s on the phone, half speaking to the caller, half distracted by 7ven’s enthusiastic questions. It’s the fourth time Baig has run through the scene for Sort Of’s new season, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from their composure. Continue reading.

From Emma Teitel of the Toronto Star:

Link: Queer family relationships are complicated. But Bilal Baig’s hit show ‘Sort of’ gets it
Like the 28-year-old actor and writer who co-created the show and is its star, Sabi uses they/them pronouns, wears their hair long, dresses femme and sports manicures and bangles. This fact plagues Sabi’s well-meaning, conservative dad, Imran, so much so he mostly ignores it. “You’re really handy,” he says leaning on the ladder as Sabi, a former electrician, works the wires above. “You’re going to make a very good husband to a nice lady someday.” Continue reading.

From Soraya Roberts of Maclean’s:

Link: The Uncertain Stardom of Bilal Baig
The first time Bilal Baig discussed gender with their parents was last fall, a week before the premiere of Sort Of, the CBC series inspired in part by Baig’s life. Yes, they know they should have done it earlier. Or at least before network promos began beaming Baig’s face into homes across the country. Continue reading.


CBC and HBO Max renew Sort Of for a second season

From a media release:

CBC and HBO Max have renewed SORT OF for a second season, it was announced today. Created by Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), the critically acclaimed CBC and Max Original comedy debuted on HBO Max in November 2021 following its Canadian premiere on CBC Gem in October 2021. The series was an official selection of the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival and made The Hollywood Reporter, The Globe and Mail and Vanity Fair’s Best TV Shows of 2021 lists. SORT OF also leads this year’s Canadian Screen Award nominations with 13 nods, including Best Comedy Series.

“We are so thrilled that we are able to dive back into the worlds of SORT OF, and to keep exploring the evolution of all our characters (including some new ones!) as they continue to investigate who they are in the world as friends, family members, lovers and human beings,” said Bilal Baig, co-creator, showrunner, executive producer and lead actor.

“SORT OF speaks to the complexity of being human in the world with wit, warmth and an authentic sense of inclusivity, thanks to the distinct voices of Bilal and Fab,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports, CBC. “SORT OF has struck such a powerful chord with audiences, and we are thrilled to work with HBO Max and Sienna Films on the next chapter of Sabi’s story.”

“Baig and Filippo’s honest and insightful storytelling is a lesson in unraveling conventional views of identity,” said Jeniffer Kim, SVP, International Originals, HBO Max. “We could not be more excited to partner with CBC and Sienna Films on another season of this very special show.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience to develop this show from the ground up with Bilal and Fab, and now to have the opportunity in Season 2 to dig even deeper,” said Jennifer Kawaja, executive producer, Sienna Films.

Called “funny, tender, and humane” by NPR, “the kind of representation everyone deserves” by Mashable, and “a small masterpiece of contemporary urban storytelling” by The Globe and Mail, SORT OF follows the journey of “Sabi Mehboob” (Baig), a gender 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. A coming-of-age story, SORT OF exposes the labels we once poured ourselves into as no longer applicable…to anyone.

The series is created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers, and produced with the participation of the Canada Media Fund. Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaja is also an executive producer on the series. SORT OF is distributed worldwide by Sphere Media. Abacus Media Rights handles sales outside of the United States and Latin America.


Sort Of: Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo tease CBC’s most ambitious show

It’s part of CBC’s mandate to tell Canadian stories. To reflect the faces we see in our communities from coast to coast. So it was a true pleasure when the public broadcaster announced Sort Of would be headed our way.

Debuting Tuesday on CBC Gem before bowing next month on CBC, Sort Of is ambitious, hilarious and heartfelt. Co-created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo (Save Me), Sort Of tells the story of Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a fluid millennial who straddles various identities from a bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family.

In the debut episode, “Sort Of Gone,” Sabi contemplates an opportunity that would change their life until an accident puts their new plans in jeopardy. With a cast boasting Grace Lynn Kung, Supinder Wraich, Alana Bale, Amanda Cordner and Gray Powell, Sort Of is definitely great. We spoke to Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo ahead of the show’s debut on CBC Gem.

Bilal, the idea for Sort Of came while you and Fab chatted during breaks a play you were both performing in, Theory. What was it about those conversations that got you excited about working with Fab?
Bilal Baig: I appreciated the sense of humour. I thought there was something really fun in figuring out what tickles each other. We had a similar sensibility in that our humour isn’t slapstick. I had also consumed both seasons of Save Me and got a sense that his sense of humour could be twisted too, and I’m all about that.

The other part of it was that he not only met me at every point in the making of this together, but he really brought his heart into it and I really appreciated that as a collaborator. It was really important that this was something we were really going to pour ourselves into.

Fab, what excited you about collaborating with Bilal?
Fab Filippo: Right off the bat, I got the sense that Bilal had an unusually clear voice for someone their age. I was taken by how they moved in the world and how much generosity they had in the world toward other people in helping see who they are.

At first, it was getting together to hang. And then, when we discovered we laughed at the same stuff and started to pitch ideas back and forth, it became really clear that there was a kinship and a kind of understanding of how to move forward in collaboration.

Sort Of co-creator Fab Filippo

Bilal, there is a lot of heart in Sort Of. Near the end of Episode 1 is a wonderful and funny scene between Sabi and their mother. Can you talk about walking the line in those moments?
BB: The word I’ve been using is truth. We didn’t go into this looking to load every episode with as many huge, knee-slapping jokes as possible. It was more, ‘What feels truthful in this moment? What would these characters actually say and do?’ What I love about that scene, in particular, is that there are these other messages inside the words that actually come out of peoples’ mouths and to strive for that is really exciting. It goes back to the type of humour Fab and I like and working with the writers we did—Jenn Engels, Ian Iqbal Rashid and Nelu Handa—they all got on board too.

Fab, how did the writing room work, with COVID?
FF: A lot of marathon Zoom meetings. [Laughs.] It was interesting to open it up to a writing room. It was, for the longest time, Bilal and I with the project. And then there is this vulnerability when you bring it to a room with the thoughts and ideas we had in our own, private, world. But they brought so much and added some much texture and dimension.

BB: It was kind of hard to step into my power because I was so in awe of these people who had come to serve this story. It’s one thing to create something on your own, but a whole other thing to have a room full of people dedicated to wanting to honour the vision. It was actually through Fab bringing me more and more into the process and reminding me that people want to hear from you and your voice is essential to all of this. I think I had forgotten that because I was so enamoured and scared.

Having two other South Asian folks in the room, the onus wasn’t just on one of us to get it right 100 percent of the time. If I missed something from our community, Nelu or Ian would step in. That was such a privilege.

Sort Of is available for streaming on CBC Gem on Tuesday. Sort Of debuts Tuesday, November 9, at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.


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.