Tag Archives: CBC Gem

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.

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Production begins on new tween Murdoch Mysteries spinoff Macy Murdoch for CBC Gem

From a media release:

Shaftesbury announced today that production is now underway on Macy Murdoch (8×11), a new CBC Gem original tween series that follows the adventures of Detective William Murdoch’s time-travelling great-great-great-granddaughter. A spinoff of Shaftesbury and CBC’s hit long-running drama Murdoch Mysteries based on novels written by Maureen Jennings, the series is currently shooting in Toronto and will debut on CBC Gem in spring 2023.

Sixteen-year-old Macy is a forensic wunderkind who unravels a century-old mystery with the help of her two friends Zane and Billie. When a villain uses a time machine to frame famous Edwardian-era Detective William Murdoch for murder, Macy and her friends travel back in time to find the real perpetrator of the crime. Not only are the teens trying to crack a difficult case, but the trio are undercover, trying to solve a mystery in 1910 without the help of modern technology.

Macy Murdoch captures the playful, mystery-loving spirit of Murdoch Mysteries with Canadian Screen Award-winner Shailyn Pierre-Dixon (Pretty Hard Cases, The Book of Negroes) co-leading the series with Beau Han Bridge who plays Zane, and Raffa Virago as Billie. The series will have a special guest appearance by Spencer West, while Shanice Banton (“Mrs. Violet Hart”) and Lachlan Murdoch (“Constable Henry Higgins-Newsome”) from the beloved CBC series will appear in the series as guides to help the young detectives absolve Murdoch of a crime he did not commit.

The digital series is directed by Laurie Lynd with showrunner Jennifer Kassabian and Co-EP Robina Lord Stafford.  The series was initially developed by JP Larocque and Jessica Meya. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports; Marie McCann is Senior Director, Children’s Content, CBC Kids; and Lisa Cinelli is Executive in Charge of Production, Children’s and Youth Programming.

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Preview: CBC Gem’s Fakes offers up great performances and a unique story

I never had a fake ID, but I knew plenty of fellow high school students who did back in the day. The thought of having one always intrigued me, but I was scared too. What if I got one and it was discovered? I imagined a months-long grounding. For best friends Zoe and Becca, grounding is the least of their worries.

Kicking off its entire first season for streaming on CBC Gem, Fakes tracks Zoe and Becca as they create a fake ID empire only to see it all come crashing down. Created by David Turko (Warrior Nun), Fakes is notable not just because of its subject matter but for its leads. Emilija Baranac, as Zoe, and Jennifer Tong as Becca serve up standout performances worthy of checking out. These friends have each other’s backs and you cheer them on from Minute 1, even if they’re doing something highly illegal. And, utilizing the popular trope of speaking into the camera only adds to the effectiveness of the storytelling, particularly when we get into who is really responsible for the pair getting caught.

In Episode 1, we’re introduced to Vancouver teens Zoe and Becca, who are in the midst of being collared by the police. Then, we’re transported back in time to Zoe’s first attempt (and success) making her first fake student ID. Impressed by her friend’s handiwork, Becca asks for one of her own. When they’re not growing their fake ID business, the girls are dealing with everyday drama, like Zoe’s thief brother and Becca’s family falling apart. And, in the debut, we’re also introduced to Tryst (hilariously played by Richard Harmon), a bleached-blonde stoner who works at the clothing store the girls frequent.

Fakes is the story of the pair’s ultimate betrayal, a comedy-drama with two unreliable narrators who are both competing for the last word. And, I have to say, it’s pretty great.

Stream Season 1 of Fakes on CBC Gem now.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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New animated children’s series, Jeremy and Jazzy, to launch on CBC Kids and CBC Gem

From a media release:

Vérité Films, Jeremy Fisher Music, and Hidden Pony Records are proud to announce Jeremy and Jazzy, a new children’s animated television, music, and multi-platform brand about how feelings become songs, songs become stories, and music and friendship create joy. The series brings to life a new collection of children’s music written by three-time JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter Jeremy Fisher. Jeremy and Jazzy is set to debut in Canada on the free CBC Gem streaming service on September 5, 2022, followed by its linear broadcast premiere on CBC Kids beginning September 12, 2022 and then streaming on CBC Kids’ YouTube channel starting on September 19, 2022.

The series stars Jeremy Fisher (Jeremy) and award-winning artist Aiza Ntibarikure (Jazzy). It’s set in Creation Station – a world that comes alive through the magic of music. The first 26 two-minute episodes and one 11-minute special (featuring a guest appearance from musician Joel Plaskett) will be available to stream at launch. A preview of the first short, “Jeremy and Jazzy (Theme),” is available here.

In addition, today Jeremy and Jazzy released the album Say Hello, a collection of 26 new songs via Hidden Pony Records and Universal Music Canada on all streaming services. Fronted by Jeremy and Aiza, the tracks showcase a diversity of styles – from vocal jazz to folky talking blues to funk, hip-hop, pop, and more. The songs are backed by children from the Dixon Hall Music School, the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, and Music For Young Children in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Listen to Say Hello here.

On September 6th, to celebrate the series launch on CBC Gem, the Jeremy and Jazzy song “Paper Heart” will be included in the CBC Canadian Music Class Challenge, and the short will be available here. Classrooms across Canada can submit their own version of the song for a chance to win musical instruments for their school or a chance to win a virtual classroom concert with Jeremy Fisher. Details are available at cbc.ca/musicclass.

September will also see the launch of Jeremy and Jazzy Learn, a free and fun series of educational resources for Junior Kindergarten-Grade 2, developed in collaboration with Sheridan College, that brings music into the home and classroom to help kids with literacy skills. Activities will be available on JeremyandJazzy.com.

More Jeremy and Jazzy shorts and songs are already in production and set to launch with CBC Kids and Universal Music Canada in 2023, alongside touring shows, books, and more Jeremy and Jazzy Learn educational content. Jeremy and Jazzy will inspire kids and parents to sing, dance, create, and learn on JeremyandJazzy.com, YouTube and Facebook.

About Jeremy and Jazzy, Vérité Films, Jeremy Fisher Music, and Hidden Pony Records
Jeremy and Jazzy is created by Jeremy Fisher, Robert de Lint, Mike “Parkside” Renaud, and Virginia Thompson. The project is produced by Vérité Films, the award-winning production company behind the iconic Canadian comedy brand Corner Gas, in association with Jeremy Fisher Music and Hidden Pony Records. Animation is provided by Vérité Films and Smiley Guy Studios with digital production by Vérité Films and Stitch Media. Jeremy and Jazzy Learn is produced by Vérité Films in association with Jeremy Fisher Music and Sheridan College’s Early Childhood Education program.

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Something Undone’s second season continues its creepy storytelling

When I first connected with Madison Walsh and Michael Musi, it was to chat about Season 1 of Something Undone.

The CBC Gem series was filmed during the first wave of COVID-19, meaning a stripped-down tale of Jo (Walsh), a foley artist and her partner, Farid (Musi), who are putting the finishing touches on a true-crime podcast about the murder of the Chaffey family. While Farid was in Newfoundland chasing down leads on the case, Jo was sequestered in her late mother’s home in Ontario, sorting through her things while working on the podcast. Season 1 of Something Undone is a psychological scare-fest full of odd sounds and intense feelings of loss and isolation.

Now, in Season 2, we get Farid’s side of the story. With production expanding to include guest cast and on-location filming, Something Undone goes all-in on the new six instalments. In Episode 1, we catch up with Farid, who is in Briddus, Newfoundland, investigating the Chaffey murders. There he uncovers shocking truths about the case, persevering despite threats from townsfolk and Jo’s stresses in Ontario. With an all-star cast consisting of Mary Walsh, Nicole Power, Shaun Majumder, Shawn Doyle and Tom Power, and directed by Hannah Cheesman, Something Undone is simply fabulous.

We spoke to Madison Walsh and Michael Musi about the second season.

Had you planned at telling Farid’s side of the story in Season 2?
Michael Musi: No. I know that when we did Season 1, we never thought really much past that while we were in production. But I do remember at some point while shooting, we said, ‘Is this good? Is this special?’ We couldn’t tell if we were onto something and then we started, while shooting, talking about other ideas. And I remember I said something like, ‘It’d be really cool to see what Farid is doing.’

And then CBC said, ‘Have you guys thought about Season 2?’ And said, ‘Of course, we’ve thought about it.’ We never dreamed the show would live on when we were creating the first season, but after winning an award over the summer we started secretly hoping they’d be interested in more. 

Madison Walsh: So they came to us and they said, ‘Hey, if we did a Season 2, can you get started now?’ And we just smiled and said, ‘Yeah, for sure.’ And our producers obviously screamed and they got going. Tricky thing was, I was shooting a horror film in Calgary called Dark Nature and Mike was in Toronto but we weren’t going to pass this up so we ended up writing it almost entirely over the phone.

MM: We wrote the first draft of all six episodes of Season 2 over Zoom. And then I flew out to Calgary and we had about four days of eating and of finessing the scripts and interviewing directors.

MW: When we were writing Season 1, it was really important for us to flesh out what was happening to Farid on the other side even though it didn’t really play a huge storyline, it was important that it tracked. So not only were we writing the mystery of what happened in the house, but we also had to design what happened to the Chaffey’s so that was already kind of done, which was really helpful, and then it all came together. Even though we really loved what organically came of Season 1, that it was a psychological horror-thriller, we thought, ‘OK, let’s try not, with this short amount of time, to recreate the same kind of thing.’ Let’s give ourselves the flexible freedom to make this more of a detective mystery, more of noir. That freedom allowed us to work quickly rather than really trying to risk doing something bad that we had gotten right the first time.

Nicole Power in Season 2 of Something Undone

And, unlike Season 1, you were juggling location shoots and other actors.
MM: Season 2 was really, really tricky. We had a ton of locations. We had a ton of actors. It was so much bigger. And we had the same time and we had a bigger budget, but it was nowhere near as much as we needed to feel really comfy. We really stretched ourselves out thin.

MW: But what really helped in Newfoundland was, miraculously, our second AD in Toronto, Liz, is actually from Petty Harbour, which was the tiny town that we chose, we had gone and scouted and found this amazing little town that was perfect for it. And it just so happened she was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m from there.’ So we flew her out and then we got together a small Newfoundland crew.

And also working with three hours of daylight in Newfoundland at the time. It was freezing. All the locals kept apologizing. They were like, ‘It’s never this cold.’ Yeah, it was wild.

Looking at the cast, Shawn Doyle, Nicole Power, Mary Walsh and Shaun Majumder. How did you land all of this talent?
MM: When we went into this, we said, ‘We keep shooting for the stars on so many different levels on this and things have been working out for us, we’re going to get the best Newfoundland actors out there.’ That was our dream list and everyone said yes. Nicole Power had no choice, she’s one of our best friends, but Shaun Majumder, Shawn Doyle, Mary Walsh, Tom Power, everyone said, ‘Absolutely.’ It was cuckoo.

MW: I think they are A), really great actors who I think are doing things not for the money but for the time. But also maybe part of it was because they’re Newfoundlanders who just are, ‘Why not?’ people. They’re so hospitable and so wonderful and so easygoing; they were OK to work on a small set, small budget, for one day. We tried to write each person a character that even though they were on screen for just a short amount of time, was meaningful. They all were ready to play and it was intense. Our days were really fast. It was hard for our director, Hannah Cheesman, to tell Mary Walsh, ‘I’m sorry, you get two takes.’ Which she didn’t need.

She aced it right off the bat. They had to come in and work on these sets where we were getting two giant scenes done in half a day. And it was really stressful. After we finish, every time we finish a shoot, when we’re in it, we’re like, ‘What are we doing? Why are we doing this?’ And then when you’re done and it comes together in some miracle way and you get to work with somebody like Mary Walsh, you say, ‘Oh God, I could do this forever.’

In the first season, the focus is on Jo. It’s different in Season 2. Michael, what was it like doing the heavy lifting when it came to the acting this time?
MM: It was really scary stepping into it because I got so comfortable with Maddie having to do it. And I remember a week before I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ I felt like, ‘Yeah, this is a horrible decision. I’m going to let people down.’ Season 1 was so good and I just started feeling really insecure about it. But when you have these incredible actors that you get to act with they just make you feel so comfortable.

Are you working on Season 3? And if so, can you give any details?
MM: I don’t think we can give you story details, but what we can say is that we don’t have a third season green-lit, but we definitely want to be prepared if that happens. We can certainly say that it would be a continuation of the story so we’re not going back in time. It would be after all this happened. It would be in a completely different part of Canada and it would be Jo and Farid together.

MW: Our goal from the beginning, we said it as a joke because obviously, we were like, ‘We’re not getting a Season 3,’ just like we thought we weren’t going to get a Season 2. Anything can happen, but we said, ‘We’re setting it in summer and it’s the Sunshine Coast.’ A setting so uniquely Canadian and I think it would be the perfect place for Farid and Jo to go to get better. But meanwhile, things are only going to get worse.

Watch Season 1 and 2 of Something Undone on CBC Gem now.

Images courtesy of the producers.

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