Tag Archives: CBC

Review: Hutterites and (almost) heartbreak on Heartland

Back in 2012 when I was working for TV Guide Canada, I interviewed Alisha Newton. She was just about to debut as Georgie on Heartland that year and I jumped at the chance to speak to the show’s newest character.

So it’s been a distinct pleasure to see her grow and evolve as Georgie on CBC’s Sunday night stalwart. Ty and Georgie have shown a lot of growth character-wise this season, and last night’s newest episode, “Walk a Mile” (written by Mark Haroun and directed by Chris Potter), was no different. Georgie, after teaming with Jade last week, made a new friend in Hannah, a young girl from the local Hutterite colony. Hannah’s father, Walter, had dropped off their Percheron horses to have Amy look at them after the skittish beasts scared some kids during a hat ride. Who else knew Paul wasn’t telling his dad all the facts when he told him the horses needed to be sold? Yeah, me too.

Still, knowing the truth would come out didn’t take away from the storyline. It actually enhanced it, because it gave Georgie and Hannah time to bond as buds around Lucas and Alexander, those beautiful horses. It also gave the second-youngest member of the Heartland crew the opportunity to once again be a voice of advice for someone else. I love how Georgie is evolving from the quick-to-judge person she was at the beginning of this season with Amy to a more patient person who takes the extra time to learn both sides of the story. That really paid off with it came to Hannah’s secret that Paul was scared of horses and was afraid to tell his father. Rather than blurt out the secret to Walter in order to stop Lucas and Alexander from being sold, she and Amy and Jack hatched a plan that kept the horses around.

Speaking of patience, Tim had returned from the rodeo a little short on that. After confronting Ty and telling him to either break up with Amy for good or get the heck back together, he waffled over whether to break things off with Casey. His ultimate decision to dump her was thwarted by the family, who invited Casey to dinner as proof about how much they liked her. Lou was the only one who figured out Tim’s aloof behaviour towards Casey hid the fact he was falling in love and didn’t want to get hurt. Too bad Casey beat him to the punch and called things off with Tim. This being Heartland, I don’t thing we’ve seen the last of the bubbly blonde.

As for Ty, Scott has been busting his butt at the clinic. But what Ty took as bullying was actually Scott’s way of driving his employee to be the best vet he can be, something that was shown when Ty oozed confidence (and his hands oozed something unspeakable) as he untwisted a cow’s stomach. Ty’s icy attitude to Amy seems to be melting a bit too; he returned her phone call (shocker!) and was happy to see her when she swung by to say hi (double shocker!).

Will the two get back together soon? We’ll have to wait at least two weeks: Heartland returns with a new episode on Nov. 23.

Notes and quotes

  • I love it when Heartland embraces their horse co-stars for a few minutes. The scene with Amy leading the Percherons into Heartland’s front yard was particularly engrossing. Those are beautiful animals.
  • Heartland continues to educate: I had no clue Hutterites used modern-day technology
  • “I like you. Sort of.”–Tim to Ty
  • I’ll take Tim’s tackle kit if he doesn’t want it
  • I don’t want to know what was on Ty’s gloves after the cow’s stomach surgery

Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.


Link: Rick Mercer ready to read to Canada at the Gillers

From Alex Strachan:

Rick Mercer was philosophical about being asked to host the Giller Prize. After all, it wasn’t as if the well-travelled raconteur and host of Rick Mercer Report expected to be home Monday, cocooning in front of the TV and munching on popcorn.

“No,” Mercer says over the phone, with his familiar wry laugh. “No popcorn for me. This time of year, when I’m in production on my show, there’s not a lot of sitting at home, munching on popcorn.” Continue reading. 


Comments and queries for the week of Nov. 7

I literally jumped up out of my chair and applauded when Inspector Brackenreid laid down the law [on Murdoch Mysteries]: no leaving the church until the ceremony was complete. Finally! Now to get Crabtree & Edna Brooks together.–Sue

It seemed to me like they played the wrong music for Julia’s walk down the aisle. The one played was Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” which is usually played after the ceremony. But I loved the show!–CW

In a series where Murdoch’s faith seems to be an integral part of his actions, it struck me as extremely bad writing to have them talk all the way through their vows and tell the priest to hurry up! I could see them realizing who the culprit was and leaving the church in haste after the ceremony and everyone in the dark as to why they left, only to reappear at the reception with it all solved and taken care of.–Merle

Got a comment or question about Canadian television? Send it to greg@tv-eh.com!


Review: Republic of Saul

I always like it when Jake is challenged by someone on Republic of Doyle. Kevin Crocker and Maurice Becker jump immediately to mind as two dudes who’ve rubbed our P.I. hero the wrong way and insulted his intelligence to great effect and made for noteworthy scenes. So I’ve been thrilled with the addition of Vick Saul and Alisha Maracle.

Wednesday’s episode, “The Driver,” was particularly fun because Jake was literally at the beck and call of Alisha, who took insane pleasure in treating Jake like a dog. With Sloan constantly in danger of being killed by Saul if Jake didn’t do the man’s bidding, Jake was instructed to work with Alisha to steal a cache of weapons from Alex Marshall (Justified‘s A.J. Buckley) and deliver them to Saul. I was hoping Buckley would have a little bit more of a role in the episode, but I had to make due with Alex appearing in the latter half sporting a Danny Crowe-esque Southern drawl.

I also had my fingers crossed that Saul and Alisha would stick around for more instalments, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards either. By episode’s end the guns had been captured by the police and Saul’s biggest rival was arrested, clearing the way to him to claim the east coast as his sole criminal domain. The result? He called off the threat on Sloan.

Meanwhile, Leslie is attending her therapy sessions, but it looks like Dr. Ronan may have ulterior motives when it comes to them. I couldn’t help but suspect he was working for someone else when he used his phone to demand all the files the precinct had on Jake. On second thought, Dr. Ronan may be tied to the crooked cop everyone suspects took Brogan’s laptop and wiped it clean of footage clearing Jake in Clark’s murder. Krystin Pellerin turned in a strong performance in Leslie’s scene between she and Brogan. She vowed to find out who tipped him off that she would be at Clark’s and would ensure he’d never get out of prison.

Notes and Quotes

  • It was good to see Christian pop up at episode’s end. The announcement that he’s getting married will no doubt lead to a shocking revelation of who his wife-to-be is. Will it be someone from Jake’s past? Probably.
  • “Des, let’s go be stupid outdoors.”–Mal
  • Did anyone else find the scene with Alisha taping the wire to Jake a little steamy?
  • “You’re my bitch today.”–Alisha to Jake
  • “Why do I picture you with a whip and one hand and some guy’s pride in the other?”–Jake to Alisha
  • “Elaborate, stunjaws!”–Mal to Jake
  • Do you think Lola Tash looks a little like Demi Lovato?

Republic of Doyle airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.


Interview: Murdoch Mysteries ties the knot

It took eight seasons, but Murdoch Mysteries fans got the storyline they wanted. After what felt like an endless string of will-they-or-won’t-they moments Dr. Julia Ogden and Det. William Murdoch finally tied the knot in front of friends and family in a ceremony that wasn’t without hiccups. Script writer Paul Aitken threw one more wrinkle at the pair by having them realize who the real culprit in a murder case was while kneeling at the altar. Cracking the case caused the pair to stand up and make ready to depart the proceedings … until Inspector Brackenreid ordered them to say their vows and make the wedding official.

In what I hope will become a weekly column with Murdoch‘s writers for the rest of the season, I spoke to co-executive producer and writer Aitken about Monday’s landmark 100th episode and the wedding we’d all be waiting for.

After teasing fans for so long, it was fun to have that final twist where it looked like William and Julia would forgo their vows one final time to solve a crime.
Paul Aitken: We came up with the wedding idea before we even came up with the central plot. And we wanted them to do exactly that; run away from the altar and then have Brackenreid stop them. We built the rest of the episode kind of around that moment. What we didn’t want to do was what they did on Bones, which was essentially to devote the last act entirely to their kind of gushy wedding. We wanted to basically play a bit with our fans who have been expecting, I think, something to go wrong and immediately set that right.

Was there a point when everyone decided the wedding would happen this season and during the 100th episode, or did it happen that way as a happy coincidence?
PA: It was entirely a happy coincidence. Because the wedding was going to be a special episode and the 100th was going to be a special episode, we had actually planned for two special episodes out of this. The original plan was to have the Murdoch origin episode, which was written by Maureen Jennings, be the 100th episode. But we found it was difficult to work the present mystery into the origin mystery so we couldn’t solve that in time. So we defaulted to the wedding being the 100th episode, and in the end I think it was the right decision.

Did anyone on the team want to wait and perhaps have the wedding at the end of this season or even push it to future seasons. Or have them never get together?
PA: No. Never having them get together was never an option. We’ve been promising the audience pretty much from the get-go that these two belong together and you simply can’t end the series without them ultimately being together. We would have absolutely kept them apart if we could think of a single reason how. Without stretching plausibility to the breaking point. Everyone is a little nervous that they’re married now and there won’t be the same dramatic kind of thrust to the show and we’ll see what the audience thinks. We may lose some audience, but we simply could not maintain it dramatically and have it be at all believable.

Do you have those same fears?
PA: Not too much. Ultimately we’re a murder mystery. We always tell good mysteries and our return audience will always be there. I think those that were in the show only because they were waiting for Murdoch and Ogden to get together, we may lose some of those people. I don’t think they were our main audience base and I don’t think people tune into our show to see a soap opera. They tune in to see a mystery that has elements of soaps and of characters and of continuing storylines.

How did the writing of this script go? Did Peter weigh in with some notes or did you have carte blanche because you’ve been with the show for so long as a writer and producer?
PA: This is true on almost every episode; it’s a room-based story. The writer goes away and does a draft and the writers’ room weighs in with notes and it’s very much a product of several different hands and several different voices. It’s very collaborative and this was no different. We broke the story in the room and then I went away and wrote the script and then I got notes. This is the result of all that.

The audience wanted more Margaret Brackenreid [Arwen Humphreys] and you gave it to them. She was great as the frenetic wedding planner.
PA: Arwen is great and I love the character of Margaret Brackenreid. I’ve written her several times and I take particular pleasure in writing her because she is the only person who tops Brackenreid. Brackenreid is the boss of everybody, but she is definitely the boss of Brackenreid!

Is there anything that you’re particularly proud of, looking back over these past 100 episodes?
PA: I’m very proud of the show. I think we hit the sweet spot right out of the gate. We had great characters and great actors playing those characters. As actors do, they bring something to the role that ignites our interest as writers, so we tend to write to that. That happened very quickly. It’s largely luck as much as anything. I feel an enormous amount of pride about the whole enterprise and am very happy that we’ve kept it going as long as we have. When we first started I said, ‘We can only go two seasons because that’s as many ideas that I can come up with!’ I come into every season with zero ideas and somehow it works. Somehow we come up with the ideas as we go through. As long as the audience sticks with us we’ll come up with ideas.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.