Tag Archives: CTV

Review: Instinct takes over on Saving Hope

You’ve gotta give it up to Saving Hope for keeping Alex’s post-surgery amnesia condensed to one episode. Although a part of me wouldn’t have minded seeing a post-surgery Alex draw her own, fresh conclusions about her feelings for Charlie and Joel, it’s far too often the amnesia trope is introduced and dragged out to an excruciating, mind-numbing length.

In fact, pretty much everything about “Awakenings” was moving at a timely pace, all thanks to a condo explosion as the case-of-the-week that put Hope Zion on high alert. While the doctors were all busy trying to treat patients, Alex was able to do her own thing when it came to her injury and her memory loss, getting the space she needed from an overbearing Charlie. My heart certainly went out to Alex, bombarded by the pressure to remember from colleagues and loved ones when she needed to simply concentrate on her own health. But while she suffered through the majority of the episode, I was pleasantly surprised to see her instinct while helping another patient be what ultimately brought her memories back.

Her memories may have come back by the end of the episode, but we viewers pulling for Alex and Joel were certainly treated to a few heartwarming scenes while they were still gone. The condo explosion forced Charlie and Joel to channel their pissing contest over Alex through competing over ways to perform surgery on a couple of burn victims fused together (serious props to the makeup department for THAT messy looking ordeal). And while Charlie was awarded the surgery by Dawn in the end, it gave Joel a moment to check in with Alex while Charlie was busy, ending in a cute exchange that made Alex smile for the first time since waking up.

Speaking of the burn victims, I found myself particularly invested in the storyline of the duo as we learned more about their relationship as the episode went on. I had to give it up to how calm and sweet Marshall (Republic of Doyle’s Mark O’Brien) was to Anna (Cristina Rosato) even before we knew they had romantic feelings for one another, telling the doctors to peel her out of the binding before him even though he was the one suffering from paralysis. Way to take one for the girl you love, man. By the time Charlie found the box with the ring and we heard the whole story of the couple I couldn’t help hoping the two got a happy ending. Is it too much for the writers to give me a check-in on the couple later on?!

“Awakenings” also gave us a bit of development on Maggie, still suffering physically and emotionally from the miscarriage. As much as I loved Zach’s fake laughing technique to try and help her get her emotions in order, I couldn’t help but feel a little annoyance that Maggie kept her patient on edge about the mystery ailment they found while treating him from the condo incident. Her suffering was sad, but making someone else think they’re about to be told they’re dying is so not cool. That is, until we found out he wasn’t dying, but suffering from, well, a leftover from his “recreational activities.” In all seriousness, I’m glad she was able to write her feelings down to try and deal with her loss and emotions. No more crying in the ER, yeah?

So Alex may be back, and we’re not quite sure where she stands in the love department, but now the big mystery we’ve been delivered is the question of what exactly Alex “left behind” and what that will mean going forward, the mystery I’m assuming will be dragged out rather than the amnesia. Nothing’s ever easy at Hope Zion, is it?

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.


Saving Hope star talks most challenging season yet

Saving Hope just might be the Canadian show that could. While this summer saw two Canadian shows, Seed and Working the Engels, come to a sudden end after failing to grab an American audience, Saving Hope avoided that fate after NBC dropped it at the end of Season 1. Going into Season 3, it’s not only managed to stay on the air in Canada, but it’s gotten picked up by another American network.

The difference between NBC and ION, Saving Hope’s new southern home, is a U.S. network willing to put the energy into promoting the show. Canada-born Daniel Gillies, who plays Dr. Joel Goran, can’t say enough about the attention the drama’s been getting south of the border.

“They’re an interesting new energy. They’re the kind of hot, burgeoning new network in the United States and they’ve got all these amazing shows,” which include Canada’s Rookie Blue, Flashpoint and the recently-finished The Listener. He adds, “I think there are a lot of viewers who managed to watch it in spite of the lack of publicity in the beginning and those sort of steadfast fans who had to sort of either download or whatever to find out what was happening with us and now, obviously, are pretty delighted it’s got some U.S. distribution again.”

But it’s the support at home that’s kept Saving Hope on the air and the Canadian fan-base has certainly been a strong and vocal one—when the show returned with a two-night premiere, it won its Thursday night timeslot with 1.2 million viewers. “If it had even a fraction of what was happening here in Toronto that first year,” he says, “We would have had a degree of longevity because it’s a very good show.”

Things only seem to be picking up this season, which opened with Dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance) on the operating table after being stabbed in the heart with a pair of scissors. While the second half of the return ended with Alex waking up, it only set the stage for more tension on the hospital drama, which meant plenty more Joel for Gillies to discover. “I’ve been shooting this show for three years and I’ve never seen his bedroom,” he laughs, before calling it the most challenging season for the character yet. Since Joel was partially responsible for Alex getting stabbed in the first place, it’s taken his character to a much darker place.

“He’s sort of addressing and embracing a lot more of the emotional aspects of his career than he ever did,” Gilles explains. “I think that Joel was someone who derived his identity purely from his work and I think now he’s discovering he’s much more than that. By sticking around in one place he’s been forced—there’s this kind of mandatory introspection by being around. These energies around him are eliciting all this stuff from him that he’s probably never looked at himself before.”

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.


Review: Alex’s awkward return on Saving Hope

My biggest fear going into the third season of Saving Hope with Alex on the operating table was that she’d spend most of the season in a coma, expanding on a premise set up in Season 1. Thankfully, Alex woke up after only two episodes. Less fortunately for her, she might have a bit of a mess on her hands—assuming she remembers anything.

I can’t think of an episode of Saving Hope that has managed to put together as many awkward moments as this one. Just as Alex and Charlie seem to have made up from the fallout of last season’s reveal and decided they wanted to have a baby together, Joel decided to go in for the Sleeping Beauty kiss and we were left wondering which of the two (if any) were responsible for waking the good doctor up. In between this and last week’s fisticuffs, I’ve got a feeling our quietly simmering love triangle is about to explode—at least on the men’s side of things, that is, since we don’t know how much of her time with Charlie that Alex is going to remember, or if she’s even aware of Joel planting one on her.

Hopefully her subconscious will at least do Dawn the service of forgetting about her early morning routine. As adorable as it was to watch her sing to the pet she grudgingly took on to help one of Gavin’s patients, I couldn’t help but feel like this was some gross violation of her privacy. And while it’s not the first time Charlie has tried using a ghost to get intel on someone in the hospital, I was a bit surprised Alex went along with it. Maybe she was expecting something as simple as an early morning nap, and maybe she’ll keep that info to herself, but a woman should be allowed to sing a lullaby to her guinea pig in the privacy of her own office without her ghost of a colleague butting in. Or at least she should be, if there’s any decency in the world.

Also high on the awkward spectrum was almost the entirety of Maggie’s day, now that she’s got a new doctor in the form of Degrassi’s Stacey Farber (also lately a troublemaker on Rookie Blue). While I was enjoying Dr. Katz’ directness, especially about the Kalfis debacle, it was definitely throwing Maggie off in a way I appreciated after she not only broke up with Gavin (understandable under the circumstances) but then kept twisting the knife in. I was really hoping that split would be a blip in things after losing the baby, but her strange elevator proposition to Joel—along with her new residency on the couch—are starting to worry me. Not only does it spell the end of my favourite Saving Hope couple, but I suspect it just might put a damper on Gavin’s trademark sass.

As for the two cases of the week, Joel had a gruesome (and I do mean gruesome, thanks to the graphic effects) infected plate to deal with—before opting out of an amputation to try and save the leg of his drug addict patient. Meanwhile, Maggie and Katz were trying to convince David (Vampire High’s Joris Jarsky) to keep his wife on life support long enough for their baby to live. With Charlie’s help, David finally conceded that as much as he hated people (and kids) he just might like his own, but unfortunately Joel’s string of bad luck only continued. Now that Alex is back, things just might turn around for him, but it’s far more likely he’ll be ending up with another black eye.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.


Review: Saving Hope delves deep

Well the good news after that Saving Hope cliffhanger season finale is that Alex isn’t dead. The bad news is she’s still in a coma and Charlie seems pretty happy about that. Things picked up right where Season 2 left them, with Alex’s body on the operating table and Dawn and Maggie scrambling to save her, while spirit Alex and Charlie tried to figure out what this new situation meant.

I’ll admit I got a kick out of Dawn repeatedly telling Charlie to stop talking—although I wish someone had taken it one step further and demanded to know just who he was talking to when the supposed love of his life was nearly dying in front of him. It was one of a handful of lighter moments that balanced out the very dark place Alex went to almost immediately after her short bonding session with Charlie.

While the whole coma-meets-alternate-life isn’t a new thing to television, I do appreciate the direction Saving Hope went in—instead of giving Alex a glimpse at a life (and husband?) she would wake up wanting, we got a shocking look into her past when it eventually came out that Alex had witnessed her father’s suicide. If it came as a jarring transition as her fictional daughter turned into her, I missed it because I was completely caught up in Luke’s return.

If there was anything I would have wanted to come out of Alex’s attack, it would be a chance for her to see her brother again—though ideally not with their dead father suspended next to them. But as the two finally got to talk again, the possibility that the two siblings could spend the rest of eternity hanging out in their childhood home and having barbeques seemed like a nice alternative to recovering from a brutal scissor stabbing and diving back into the complicated mess that is Charlie’s unique set of abilities and a very unresolved love triangle. Then again, maybe I’m just really partial to Luke.

Because as soon as Alex disappeared from Charlie’s sight, that love triangle was kicked into high gear. While I should probably preface my feelings on Charlie deciding to beat up Joel with an admission that I’m hands down Team Joel, that wasn’t a particularly mature or constructive way to deal with the horrifying things happening at Hope Zion—and it certainly wasn’t going to do Alex any good.

Not that Joel needed a physical pummeling to go with his emotional one when he got hit with the double whammy that his patient was the one who stabbed Alex (while he was asleep, no less) but that said patient then went on to throw himself off the hospital roof. And despite how hopeless it was, Joel and Zach were doing all they could to save the guy until he demanded Joel let him sleep—the kind of medical decision I’m sure wouldn’t fly in court, if anyone ever checks up on this. I’ve got the feeling making that call will be sticking with Joel for a while, and not just because he was being tailed by a ghost.

More Hope-ful moments:

  • “Maggie, are you crying? Because if you move, she dies.” Dawn is probably not the most reassuring person in a crisis.
  • “Godzilla, Mothra, do you want to shake paws and call it even?” What Gavin didn’t say was who was who?
  • “Mothra didn’t have paws, man. She was a moth.” I am pleased to report there was also plenty of Reycraft in this episode.
  • “That’s disgusting. What are you, like a teen hooker?” Dawn on Gavin’s sugar to coffee ratio
  • “I read in a paper that we’ve reached peak beard, but I’m not so sure.” Zach should definitely take advantage of his Armenian half and really show us what peak beard is.
  • Charlie: “I can see you, and I’m glad.” Alex: “I’m in a coma, Charlie.” Basically says it all.

Saving Hope returns to its regular time period on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.


Review: And the Amazing Race winners are…

The only way to win the final Leg of The Amazing Race Canada is to be perfect and hope that your competitors make a mistake or falter. Best buds Mickey and Pete ran the perfect final Leg–and their competitors Meaghan and Natalie and Ryan and Rob struggled–and the boys from Muskoka, Ont., won The Amazing Race Canada.

The two fellows with the luxurious heads of hair arrived first on the mat at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall in front of host Jon Montgomery and those eliminated earlier this season, promptly pulled off their shorts and embraced. The friends, once they put their pants back on, will pocket $250,000, fly free for a year anywhere Air Canada flies worldwide in Business Class, plus two Chevrolet Silverado High Country Edition Pickup Trucks and a lifetime supply of gas courtesy of Petro Canada. Winter Olympians Meaghan and Natalie captured the silver medal while Ryan and Rob received bronze.

Rob and Ryan started the final Leg in first place after grabbing a cab upon arrival in Ottawa from New Brunswick but their cab driver headed to the wrong address and the other two teams passed them and they never made up the ground. Instead, they were forced to play catchup for the remainder of the Race. Meaghan and Natalie, meanwhile, got their inflatable kayak first but were out-raced to the water by Mickey and Pete. The boys’ knowledge of white water rafting–and the girls’ being rookies at it–meant they got ahead and never relinquished the lead. That said, things got very, very close several times and the leads could have switched at least twice.

A trip to John Diefenbaker’s Diefenbunker–a sprawling Cold War nuclear bunker outside of Ottawa–challenged teams to find miniature military models and if Natalie had been a little more diligent in her searches she would have been done first. Meaghan, meanwhile, had her own issues when her increasingly painful right hand was subjected to stress during a vertical rope climb to the top of the Canadian Museum of Nature. I was willing her to complete the task as quickly as possible, but she just couldn’t catch Mickey.

The final task–using  everyone’s memory to put together paintings of the countries the teams had visited–found all three teams in the same room and just minutes apart in completing it from one another.  Mickey and Pete appeared to arrive at Rideau Hall mere minutes before the other two teams did.

I’ve really enjoyed this second season of The Amazing Race Canada. Though I criticized producers for taking the show outside of the country, Legs to China and France (Juno Beach was a tear-jerker of a Pit Stop) enriched the show and made it an entertaining season.

The hour-long After the Race special hosted by James Duthie was a fairly lighthearted affair, revisiting key moments with all of the teams and announcing that there will indeed be a Season 3 of The Amazing Race Canada. They’re taking applications now.