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TV Eh B Cs podcast 38 – Erica Durance & Adam Pettle: The Ghosts of Christmas Hope


A workday conversation with Saving Hope lead Erica Durance and showrunner Adam Pettle. Saving Hope is CTV’s enduring supernatural medical drama that centres around the lives of the doctors and nurses of Hope Zion Hospital.

Erica has spent the last decade and a half in film and television, before Saving Hope probably most noted for her work as Lois Lane on the popular CW series Smallville. In addition to being the lead on Saving Hope, she’s also a producer and, as we learn in our discussion, a new director as well.

Adam is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s playwriting program, whose most popular play Zadie’s Shoes has been produced across Canada as well as in the U.S. and the UK. He’s worked on several Canadian and American television series, including Combat Hospital, King, Rookie Blue, X Company, and Saving Hope where he became showrunner this season.

We talk about the upcoming holiday episode, transition through Erica’s getting called back to the set, and learn a whole bunch about the show that fans can’t seem to get enough of.

Listen or download below, or subscribe via iTunes or any other podcast catcher with the TV, eh? podcast feed.


Saving Hope returns to its roots for Season 4

If this is the final season for Saving Hope, fans will be happy on one front. Erica Durance and Michael Shanks were mum when asked directly if the current season will be its last, but they did acknowledge CTV’s homegrown medical drama is returning to its roots.

“Charlie and Alex become mature adults,” Shanks says of Hope Zion’s central doctors. “One of the reasons the love triangle [with Daniel Gillies’ Dr. Joel Goran] ended is because that story only has legs for so long. To be playing CW love triangle stuff with the level of angst that they write … why is Charlie getting into another fist-fight with Joel?! It became time for these characters to move forward.”

Things have moved forward significantly in Thursday’s return, “Sympathy for the Devil.” Eleven months have passed since Joel was blown to smithereens. Alex (Durance) leaves baby Luke for her first day back at Hope Zion and it doesn’t take long for her to become embroiled in drama both in and outside of the operating room. The headstrong, brilliant doc finds herself competing with one of the hospital’s newest hires, Dr. Patrick Curtis (Max Bennett), over how to treat a car crash victim. Then Alex tackles her next case: a man named Tom Crenshaw (Rookie Blue‘s Travis Milne) who was convicted of murdering his wife. And while Alex and Tom connect on the operating table, the accused killer turns to Charlie for help. Shanks explains almost every ghost who has interacted with Charlie has been well-intentioned and a resulted positively.

“With this one, we don’t know,” he teases. “There is a bit of a raised eyebrow.”

Meanwhile, Zach (Benjamin Ayres) is struggling to deal with Goran’s death, going so far as to put his life on the line by entering a quarantined area to help a sick patient rather than take the time to don a hazmat suit.

“For all of the fans of Zach, this is going to be a really big year for him,” Durance says. “He really gets to unpack some emotional stuff and deal with the guilt that he feels.”

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


Review: A mother’s touch on Saving Hope

Mother’s Day seems to have come early for the Saving Hope crew.

Wednesday’s all-new episode, “Fearless,” put matriarchs front and centre in the action (as moms rightfully deserve to be), as some end-of-pregnancy thoughts made Alex ponder the type of mother she’ll be and the poor relationship with her own mother, one she hadn’t even shared the pregnancy news with.

Of course, whenever Alex has something going on in her life, there always seems to be a medical storyline that coincides with it. Cue the world’s most rude mother. Theresa (if I caught her name right) was a real piece-of-work, bitter about the way her life and two daughters (who seemed perfectly normal on all fronts) turned out. It only took Theresa’s comment about throwing Alex down a flight of stairs to terminate her pregnancy for me to quickly realize no one would be able to reason with her all night, which was quickly proven the case. Yet, somehow, her two daughters were able to put their mother’s baggage aside and stay by her side throughout her hospital stay, which included trying to command nurses to take her to the operating room and nearly dying after surgery.

If Theresa’s daughters were able to put aside the angst with their own mother, Alex could try with hers, right? Wrong, although I wish we could’ve actually heard the conversation the two had rather than just see Alex crying over it. Despite being shut out from the actual conversation, at least we were given some context to the rocky relationship the duo share through Alex’s conversations with Joel and Dana, which only reiterated the support system Alex has with her hospital friends.

Speaking of Joel, let’s be thankful he didn’t go through with his seriously dumb plan to pop the question to Alex. However, it seems everyone in the hospital now knows his intentions (not the smartest idea carrying the ring in your scrubs, buddy), which means sooner rather than later that news will probably travel to Charlie. Other than nearly making the biggest mistake of his life, Joel helped save the life of a young hockey player named Hayden involved in a car accident. Joel did a great thing for the boy, but I really didn’t agree with his decision to listen to Hayden’s girlfriend and lie to his face that his best friend, Shawn, had also died in the accident.

Naturally the sprit of the best friend was what Charlie was dealing with predominantly, although Shawn seemed like a really cool dude–minus the texting and driving offense. And Shawn was able to appeal to Charlie’s good nature and help convince Joel and Shahir they could repair Hayden’s back so he wouldn’t be paralyzed. (Has Charlie ever really said no to a ghost’s request before? Can Charlie say no to anyone?)

The most intriguing storyline of the night, however, came when Sydney’s fiancé, Herschel, checked himself in to the hospital, believing he was dying. First of all, I forgot Sydney even had a fiancé, what with her fling with Maggie. The two had zero chemistry together, which was another obvious sign that Sydney shouldn’t have been marrying him. Luckily, Sydney came to her senses and came clean to Herschel that she was gay, and although I don’t blame him for being upset with her, there was no better thing for her to do for herself. And hey, maybe Hershel was just upset that he just had a tapeworm pulled out of his nose.

Will Sydney and Maggie become a thing? Will Alex make a final choice between Joel and Charlie? Will the gang pass their medical boards? The season finale is almost upon us, so expect these questions and more to be addressed as Alex gets set to head into labour.


  • That tapeworm might have been the worst thing I’ve ever seen on this show.
  • Alex: “These are the most beautiful flower cupcakes.” Maggie: “Actually these are vaginas.”
  • If Herschel didn’t realize his fiancée had the hots for another lady from the amount of personal information Sydney shared with him about Maggie, he needs to open his eyes a little bit.
  • Congrats to star Erica Durance for giving birth on Tuesday!

Saving Hope airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Thoughts? Hit is up below or via @tv_eh.


Review: Full circle for Saving Hope

“I’m dying. Please don’t tell my wife.”

Is it a doctor’s job to tell someone their significant other is dying against that patient’s wishes? Where do you draw the line from keeping your personal feelings and professional job from intersecting? Both issues were the highlight of Wednesday’s Saving Hope, with Zach in the middle of a man’s wishes to keep his wife in the dark about Stage 4 lung cancer.

Seeing how happy and in love the couple were–because it takes a real couple to camp in a yert together–it was only a matter of time before one of the two were diagnosed with something terrible. Turned out it was the husband, Mike, who Zach discovered was hiding a pretty bad cancer diagnosis in order to live out his last days as happily as possible. Unfortunately, hiding something like that can be pretty difficult when a guy passes out in the middle of a hospital foyer. The struggle was easy to comprehend, but I still found it ridiculously wrong of Zach to defy Mike’s wishes and bring his wife into his hospital room while Maggie was in the middle of draining his lungs. The move felt cowardly to me, like it was the easy way out of his tough spot, and it didn’t seem like anyone was giving Zach enough flack for the move. After finding out Zach went through a similar situation as a teenager with his dad I understood his decision more, but still didn’t agree with it. But hey, at least he was able to bring the Northern Lights to the couple in that adorable closing scene.

While Zach was hit with the feels, Alex and Charlie were given a patient with the most original storyline of the night. I didn’t understand what the problem with Travis was right away, other than the fact that he was yelling way too much for me to enjoy and was going to jail for some reason. Turned out I didn’t understand what was wrong with him because the issue was internal; he swallowed multiple packs of cocaine to try and smuggle and sell in jail, one of which ended up exploding after he fell. Normally I don’t have a real appreciation for the surgery shots, but seeing Alex pull the little baggies out of Travis’ stomach and seeing one rupture was pretty cool and not something I’ve ever seen on a medical drama before.

While Charlie aided Alex he was also getting to the bottom of his own mystery: the spirit of a guy convinced he knew Alex from somewhere. I really loved how he ended up being the taxi driver who was driving Alex and Charlie in the pilot episode (that’s some bad luck you’ve got there, buddy), but more so I loved that he was holding Alex’s wedding vows in his pocket the whole time–despite how farfetched it is he’s had them chilling in his pocket the whole time.

She’s been hinting it for the past few episodes, but seeing Alex have the flashback to them kissing and with the wedding vows popping back up, it’s more clear than ever that Alex is leaning towards Team Charlie, a team that appears to be just as interested in Alex. But naturally, it also appears that Joel is suddenly feeling much more confident about his feelings for Alex–so much so that he ended the night by buying a ring. For his sake I hope the ring has a return policy, because if he plans on proposing anytime soon I don’t think he’ll like the answer he gets.


  • No, you didn’t watch too much eTalk today. That really was Ben Mulroney, possibly making coffee for the first time in his life.
  • Only Shahir would make a birth spreadsheet.
  • The storyline with Joel felt ridiculously overdone, but at least it did have that nice moment between a daughter and father.

Saving Hope airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Thoughts? Hit us up below or via @tv_eh.


Review: Saving Hope explains the unexplainable

Sometimes when I’m watching Charlie interact with the spirits on Saving Hope, my eyes can’t help but wander to the background. Not because I’m bored by what’s going on, but to see if anyone else is noticing Charlie talking to, well, thin air, while we watch him help guide the spirits to a peaceful place.

That idea was at the forefront of Wednesday’s episode, “Remains of the Day,” as an unexplainable move in surgery made thanks to a spirit’s guidance was brought to the attention of staff at Hope Zion, with Dawn hoping Charlie could explain his miraculous move to his colleagues. Only problem? Charlie couldn’t do that without being hauled off to the psych ward.

Really the whole issue was due to a slightly neurotic, OCD spirit named Elaine, whose panic attack mid-surgery forced Charlie to address her spirit in the close proximity of surgeons like Maggie and Rian. It may have been just shrugged off as typical strange Charlie behaviour if Elaine didn’t begin to stroke out, forcing Charlie to use the spot her spirit was clutching as guidance as to where to perform emergency surgery. It certainly was a reckless move to everyone else–can’t say I wouldn’t be freaking right out knowing my colleague was about to carelessly drill into a patient’s head–that spiraled into a medical learning opportunity thanks to Dawn’s insistance (although I’m pretty sure she just wanted to get to the bottom of Charlie’s craziness once and for all). If it weren’t for Maggie and Rian’s elaborate detective skills (or was it simply their oh so desperate need for Charlie to help them study?), Charlie would be in a much different situation when he ended the episode.

While Dawn was trying to expose Charlie’s mysterious ways, she was also attempting to juggle the return of Giselle to the hospital and the bond the two forged during their short time together. I’ve loved seeing Giselle go head-to-head with Dawn, since she’s one of the few characters who seems game for keeping up with Dawn’s bitter attitude all the time. It did feel like we were being hit over the head with the notion that Dawn would at least contemplate adopting Giselle herself, and although I was initially a little miffed she chose her work over the girl, it was probably for the best that Giselle is just staying with Dawn for a week-long trial period rather than anything permenant.

The other main storyline was certainly emotional, as Joel and Alex tried to figure out what exactly was wrong with a caring high school teacher. After years of terrible teachers, I think the storyline touched me so much knowing how much an engaged and invested teacher can shape a young person’s life and how much the dedicated English teacher was trying to give his students. When we finally heard the teacher had an uncurable disease my heart went out to the guy, and I found that doing the play in the hospital was a really sweet way to wrap up his sad story.

Something about what the English teacher said jogged Alex’s memory of her father, causing her hand to cramp up again. It was good of Alex to look into her father once and for all (although it felt like the whole thing was really breezed right over) but the most groundbreaking part of the scene was seeing Alex’s vision of her baby and Charlie playing together. Could Team Charlie be closer to edging out Team Joel in the baby game?


  • “You see wonton, I see chaos.” I feel bad calling her insane because OCD isn’t something you can control, but Elaine was a lot.
  • That whole three-way vibe between Maggie, Sydney and James makes me very uncomfortable.

Saving Hope airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Thoughts? Drop us a line below or @tv_eh.