Tag Archives: Discovery

Comments and queries for the week of January 5

Watching Heavy Rescue: 401 and it makes me mad when someone says highway 11 is access to the lakes in the north. It seems like everyone in the south thinks the world ends at Orillia or Barrie. Highway 400 is part of highway 11 and highway 11 is a large part of the Trans Canada highway system. —Roy


Blue Ant Media

Just finished watching Marty and Bam Bam [on Backroad Bounty] for the second time on Netflix then I can’t find it again. What happens to it and will there be more shows? I love these guys. —Rita

Sadly, there were only two seasons of Backroad Bounty made.


I loved the mix of the travelers trying to fit into the roles they rolled into [on Travelers]. The first season there were definitely priority to the missions from the director. The second season had some good fast-paced travelers-only missions, but there was more free time which was used to strengthen the bond between the team member and their inherited family and seeing their struggles. It prepared a solid base for a third season. A lot of potential and it probably will be used to bring them all stronger in the end. Probably with personal choices between love and knowing the partner is from the future. Just hope it won’t be any cliché twist. But I have faith after the writing of the last two seasons. —Rick

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

 

 

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Preview: Season 2 of Heavy Rescue: 401 drives back onto Discovery

I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff during my decades driving the 400 series highways in southern Ontario. There was the jackknifed tractor-trailer I observed sliding sideways on the northbound 427 as I drove southbound, spinning cars bouncing off one another on the 403 in Hamilton and an elderly woman walking down the offramp onto the 404. I can only imagine the wide range of things witnessed by the police, firefighters, EMTs and tow truck drivers during their careers.

A mere taste of those experiences are featured in Season 2 of Heavy Rescue: 401, returning Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery. The No. 1 specialty program in its timeslot—from the producers of the equally engaging Highway Thru Hell—once again takes cameras into the cabs and onto the roadways of the province’s 400 series highways including the 401 (the busiest stretch of freeway in North America), documenting the heroics and characters keeping those routes clear.

Tuesday’s first episode sets the stage for what’s to come, as Ontario Provincial Police officer Sgt. Kerry Schmidt outlines how everyone has to be vigilant at all times for road conditions to change. And, minutes later, it does just that. A sudden snowstorm—blowing in earlier than expected—turns the 401 at Yonge St. into a sheet of ice. Salters are on high alert. They’re not fast enough, however, and cars start spinning out. It’s here that Heavy Rescue: 401‘s producers really shine; their relationship with the Ministry of Transportation’s massive control centre—the eyes that watch and manage the highways—means they have access to the centre’s camera system and can show real footage as accidents (and drama) unfolds. As interesting as it is to learn about the people who work the highways and arrive at the scene of a collision to show the cleanup, the COMPASS cameras tell the story of how it happened.

The COMPASS cameras capture key footage the following day as a dump truck driver’s box—in the up position—drives straight into a bridge, causing traffic chaos. Enter Steve’s Towing driver Sonny Subra, who rushes to the scene but is hogtied by traffic. Meanwhile, in Barrie, Ont., Classic Towing & Storage’s James is under the gun to clear a unique and surprising breakdown before the next band of snow hits highway 400.

Additional stories covered this season on Heavy Rescue: 401 is the complete shutdown of the 401 twice (once for over 30 hours); more time spent with the OPP and their tales, including an organ transplant run and airborne highway patrol; and Kingston, Ont. being included in episodes.

And with a third season already in production, fans can look forward to more Heavy Rescue: 401 stories in 2019.

What accidents and/or experiences have you had on Ontario’s 400 series highways? Let me know in the comments below.

Heavy Rescue: 401 airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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Daily Planet’s Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin pick their top toys of 2017

Like Christmas arriving every year so does Daily Planet‘s celebrated and super-fun “High-Tech Toys” week. Airing next Monday to Friday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Discovery, all five days spotlight the outrageous, mind-blowing and exciting gadgets and gear of the year.

Sure, Mattel’s Justice League Batmobile, JABii extendable boxing gloves and Blueye underwater drone all sound awesome, but how do they rank with Daily Planet co-hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin? And what are Ziya and Dan’s other favourite toys of 2017? With just 24 days left to shop, get moving on snagging these gems!

Ziya Tong
Justice League™ Ultimate Justice League™ Remote Control Batmobile™
We have all sorts of gearhead goodies on “High Tech Toys” this year, and one thing I can tell you for sure is I’ve never seen a toy with so many trademark titles in the name. ;) This RC car is also a serious upgrade from the ones I used to play with as a kid. It’s smoking, and I mean that literally. The car has an oil-based vape to mimic real smoke coming from the exhaust, as well as a camera that films and records Batman’s view from inside the driver’s seat. “Holy Remote Control Robot” indeed, Robin!

Qoobo
One of the flat-out weirdest toys that we have on the show this year is called Qoobo, and the nicest way to put this, is to say that it looks like a decapitated cat – or a cushion with a tail – take your pick. Created by a Japanese robot company, the Qoobo will wag its tail depending on how you pet it. The slower you stroke it, the slower it moves, and if you stroke it quickly then its tail wags with a faster speed. I’m curious to see what happens if you pet the Qoobo near a real cat; if it will just ignore it, or attack it?

CHiP
We don’t just have robotic cats, we also have robotic dogs on Santa’s wish list this year. CHiP is certainly not off the ‘ole block. He’s a robot that comes with a smart band, meaning his personality will change based on the feedback that you give him. He also does some fun tricks. If you say “Hey Chip,” he will bark back, and if you say “Let’s play,” he will run off and fetch a ball. The best part about CHiP is you don’t have to walk him when it’s raining. OK, and also, he apparently does yoga. I bet your dog can’t do yoga.

JABii
Is it just me, or do all the toys have super-weird names this year? Anyhow, JABii is one that certainly fits what it is. Developed by a Danish inventor it’s a super-fun boxing toy, that stretches out a boxing glove kind of like what you’d see in an Inspector Gadget cartoon. The best part is, if you do get punched in the head, JABii doesn’t hurt. The springs inside disperse a lot of the force of the punch, so you won’t accidentally knock your friend out while you’re playing. I’ve tried it and I’ve gotta tell you, it’s also quite the work out.

Fret Zealot
For a little musical merriment over the holiday season, we have a high-tech toy that will teach you how to play the guitar. I love this idea. Basically, you attach LED strips on to your guitar’s fret and connect it to the app on your phone via Bluetooth. Then, you can go through the app’s library of music and pick your favourite song. The frets light up and you follow the lights and strum along. There’s rock, blues, folk music and more. With a little practice, you’ll be a rock god in no time … or at least you’ll get the chords right when playing “Kumbaya.”

Dan Riskin
The Batband
I’m a sucker for anything named after a bat, but this seems kind of cool even beyond that. It’s a band that goes around the back of your head to work like headphones. The wonderful part is that they don’t go over your ears at all. They send sounds to your cochlea by vibrating your braincase – bone conduction. The idea is that you can therefore still hear what’s going on around you, even while listening to your music or phone call. So what if you look a little like Jordie LaForge with his visor on backwards?

The Otamatone
Musical instruments always become a favourite for us in the studio, and we’ve seen a few, but this one stands apart. It’s like an electronic stress ball with a neck on it like a guitar. It sounds a little like a Theremin, and it’s kind of cute, to boot. I wonder how Ziya will feel about me soloing on it for a few hours each day this week?

The Litterbot
This is absolutely something most cat owners would kill to own. Imagine a machine that does the kitty litter totally automatically so you never have to? It just lights up when you need to change the bag at the bottom. As a bonus, your cat gets to poop in an egg-like shell that totally looks like the one that Darth Vader sits in.

The Rezvani Tank
May you never need a bulletproof tank of an SUV. May you only ever use this as a way to show off that you have money to burn ($150,000 US for the base model, double that for the 500 HP, V-8 version). But should you need such a vehicle, you can’t really beat the Rezvani Tank. Run-flat tires, bulletproof windshield, a Kevlar-wrapped gas tank for added protection … you can even drop tacks out the back and make a smoke screen. Your commute just got a lot more interesting.

The Nixie Tube Clock
This is a truly beautiful piece of engineering. Let’s be honest, you don’t really need a clock. Your phone is in your pocket. You may even be wearing a smartwatch. But if you want to feel warm and fuzzy while you find out what time it is, this is what you want. This custom-built clock has a set of six tubes, each filled with glowing mercury-neon lights that can run through the 10 digits. As the day goes by, this beaut flickers through it with you. It’s accurate thanks to Internet connectivity, too. All the benefits of living in the future – with all the style of living in the past.

Daily Planet‘s “High-Tech Toys” week airs Monday to Friday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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Bell Media Studios confirms international orders for new original Canadian docudrama series Disasters at Sea

From a media release:

Bell Media Studios announced today that Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) has begun production on new original Canadian series, DISASTERS AT SEA (working title). Commissioned by Discovery Canada, the docudrama is made possible in part by international broadcast partners Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Seven Network (Australia), in the biggest and most comprehensive partnership of its kind for an EPI production.

DISASTERS AT SEA is a six-episode series about the most mysterious and unexpected marine disasters in recent history, recreated in each 60-minute episode through the visceral first-hand accounts of seamen and women on their worst day, and for some, their finest hour. In each of the stories featured, there are heroes who exerted herculean efforts to save their colleagues, the environment, and valuable property. International rights of DISASTERS AT SEA are managed exclusively by Exploration Distribution Inc. (EDI).

More about DISASTERS AT SEA:

Proving and disproving theories of catastrophic real-life events, DISASTERS AT SEA goes beyond the traditional documentary approach to explore six separate disasters at sea throughout the season. Often-conflicting reports leave the cause of the sinking unknown and mysterious, and DISASTERS AT SEA unravels these mysteries through a second set of key characters: the dedicated marine investigators whose job it was to separate fact from fiction, fill in the unknown, and identify cause and effect as they uncover the shocking chain of events, often with nothing more than tiny leads. The conclusions are dramatic, unexpected, and profound.

Designed to pull viewers off the sidelines and immerse them in the action, archival footage is combined with carefully imagined and evocative dramatic re-enactments that provide an engaging mix of factual and modern storytelling. To achieve this, the series includes CGI and special effects, bringing to life the wide shots of the ship in rough waters, and recreations to dramatically convey the catastrophic events.

Grounded in fact, each episode unfolds as a mystery, providing a suspenseful journey into the little known world of life at sea, and a tribute to the working men and women who sacrificed their lives for it all.

DISASTERS AT SEA (working title) is produced by Bell Media’s EPI in association with Discovery, and in conjunction with Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Seven Network (Australia). Series Producer is Alix MacDonald. Executive Producers are Marianne Kushmaniuk and Kelly McKeown, who is also Director of Production for EPI.

 

 

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Canada’s Worst Driver and Tougher Than It Looks crash onto Discovery

With the 13th season of Canada’s Worst Driver arriving Monday night on Discovery, I can’t help but wonder if the series can do more for the driving industry. Like Mike Holmes has done uncovering bad builders and lax rules in the housing industry, should Canada’s Worst Driver do the same for driving schools?

On its surface, Canada’s Worst Driver—back at 10 p.m. ET with Andrew Younghusband behind the wheel—continues to spotlight drivers from across the nation who shouldn’t be on the road in the first place. These are folks with bad habits all the way to the downright dangerous and I’ve gone from solely blaming those drivers to the including the people who have taught them. For me, Canada’s Worst Driver ceased to be fun to watch years ago because the contestants seem to be getting worse rather than better. Over 500 names were submitted for Season 13 before producers whittled the group down to eight who are ensconced in the CWD facility.

Once there, they go through a bevy of tests designed to not only entertain (or in my case frighten) viewers but also present the correct way to perform each tested task. The group includes Breanna, a 19-year-old who is, thanks to being involved in a car accident when she was younger, is convinced she’s going to die behind the wheel of a car; Joe, a reckless lad who has floors it at every opportunity and keeps his lawyer employed solely to defend his tickets; Ashley, who can’t drive without crying and was nominated by former CWD contestant Jillian; Shayne, who drives half the posted speed because he was hit by a car while walking; Melanie, who is convinced she can’t do anything; Adam, whose love of driving was derailed by one accident; Julie, who has been in 16 accidents thanks to distracted driving; and Travis, the most timid man behind the wheel of an automobile. All are determined to be better, safer drivers.

Clearly, some of this season’s contestants have major stress issues because of past traumas and are, hopefully, addressing those with a doctor. But all are shown simply not knowing what the rules of the road are. Again, how were they given licences to be behind the wheel of a vehicle that can kill themselves or others if they don’t know what to do at a stop sign?

Much more enjoyable for me is Season 2 of Tougher Than It Looks? which finds Younghusband taking on some of the oddest, strangest tasks in the world.

Monday’s back-to-back instalments, like in the first go-round, put Younghusband’s brain and body up for injury at our expense as he spends 24 hours trying to master something. Learning to ride the waves or a skateboard leads to the usual bumps and bruises on the road to success but being a rodeo clown (in Episode 2) could get you killed. But, unlike Canada’s Worst Driver, Tougher Than It Looks? puts the onus on Younghusband to do the work and, usually, get hurt. The Newfoundland native is game to do anything and it’s his positivity and sense of humour that makes Tougher Than It Looks? so easy to watch.

It’s entertaining to observe Younghusband learn how difficult it is to master balance, first in the controlled environment of a wave rider to the February chill of surfing the surging waves of Lake Huron. As for dropping into a skateboarding half-pipe? Let’s just say concrete and wood are harder than water.

In advance of Canada’s Worst Driver and Tougher Than It Looks? is the debut of Last Stop Garage at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET. The program spotlights the men and women who operate CRB Automotive, a family-owned garage in North West River, Labrador. Using the backwoods resourcefulness needed to get things done far away from the big city, the crew fix and build just about anything for anyone in their remote town of 553 residents.

Last Stop Garage airs Mondays at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Canada’s Worst Driver airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Tougher Than It Looks airs Mondays at 11 and 11:30 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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