CBC is announcing initial details for two new original half-hour comedy series featuring Kim’s Convenience stars Andrew Phung and Nicole Power – RUN THE BURBS and STRAYS – with both shows set to launch during the upcoming 2021-22 broadcast season.
Created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon), RUN THE BURBS is a new original comedy about a young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs, featuring Phung as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids. The series has been in development since May 2020 and is produced by Pier 21 Films, with additional details to be announced later this spring.
STRAYS follows the upbeat and enthusiastic Kim’s Convenience character Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) as she embarks on a new career in Hamilton, Ontario alongside an ensemble cast including Frank Cox O’Connell (Soulpepper Theatre), Tina Jung (Suits, Second Jen), Nikki Duval (Workin’ Moms), Kevin Vidal (Workin’ Moms), Tony Nappo (Pretty Hard Cases), Paula Boudreau (Workin’ Moms) and Emily Piggford (The Sounds, Warigami). Created by Kevin White (Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek) and produced by Thunderbird Entertainment, the series has been in development since July 2018 and is currently in production. More details will be announced later this spring.
“As our comedy slate continues to evolve, we are thrilled to continue working with Andrew and Nicole and offer audiences two new comedies to look forward to starring these incredible talents they have come to know and love,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. “Both of these series were planned to join Kim’s Convenience on our comedy lineup this upcoming year, to reflect how many young Canadians are forging new lives outside of urban centres in Canada. We look forward to watching Andrew and Nicole as they explore these new stories.”
RUN THE BURBS and STRAYS join original comedy SORT OF as new additions to CBC’s award-winning comedy slate this upcoming broadcast season. Created by Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), SORT OF stars Baig as a gender fluid millennial trying to live their most authentic life.
CBC will confirm series renewals and additional new original series for the 2021/22 broadcast season later this spring.
I like my horror/scary projects to be atmospheric. A jump scare is OK, but I prefer a general feeling of unease coupled with a tinge of a slow burn. It’s why I love Something Undone.
Debuting Friday on CBC Gem, Something Undone—created by and starring Madison Walsh and Michael Musi—manages what I thought was unthinkable: a genuinely spooky piece of work encapsulated in a six-episode web series.
And, it was written, produced and filmed during the pandemic. Created through funding from CBC’s Creative Relief Fund, which provided $2 million in development and production funding to a diverse range of original Canadian projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBC’s hook was projects had to be produced under strict COVID-19 guidelines.
“Mike and I started brainstorming,” says Walsh during a recent call. “We thought, ‘What can you maintain the quality and enjoyment of with restrictions on visuals? If we can’t have that many actors, what can we do? If we could only have one location, what could we do?’ That’s when we started to think about sound.” The result is Something Undone.
In the first episode we meet Jo (Walsh), a foley artist and her partner, Farid (Musi), who are the successful hosts of a Canadian true crime podcast. After her mother passes away Jo returns to her small Ontario town to sort through her mother’s things while continuing her foley work on the podcast. With Farid in Newfoundland and only available over the phone, a sense of desolation, loneliness, and unease begins to permeate Jo’s life. A disturbing sound Farid hears in one of Jo’s tracks leads her on a creepy, spooky path. Did the house, or something in it, cause her mother’s death?
“I was doing research about sound and learned that we, as human beings, perceive sound so realistically that we can make them up and hear them almost as if they were actually there,” Musi says. “I think that’s why watching a horror movie in our home is such an amazing experience. It doesn’t end when the movie ends. It stays with us.”
With strict safety guidelines in place early in 2020, Walsh and Musi headed off to write Something Undone in a spot many would consider a scary setting: a cottage in the middle of nowhere with no heat. There, they wrote for 10 days, fleshing out what they had established in the pilot into one big chunk and then found ways to break it up into six episodes with a cliffhanger for each.
And while you can certainly watch Something Undone on your TV via the CBC Gem app—the colour palette, visuals and set decoration are wonderful—watching it with headphones on my laptop revealed a whole other level to the horror. Every little creak and clatter can be heard.
“We spoke to our sound designer and he spent extra time really juicing the sound for direction and to make that audio experience with your headset,” Walsh says. “Because it is sound-based, yeah, go for your headphones.”
After five seasons on CBC, Kim’s Convenience is closing its doors.
The news came on Monday afternoon via producers.
“Authenticity of storytelling is at the centre of the success of Kim’s Convenience,” the show’s producers said in a statement. “At the end of production on Season 5, our two co-creators confirmed they were moving on to other projects. Given their departure from the series, we have come to the difficult conclusion that we cannot deliver another season of the same heart and quality that has made the show so special. Kim’s Convenience has meant so much to our cast, writers, crew, and audiences around the world. Despite the restrictions and complications of shooting during the pandemic, Season 5 is our finest season to date. It’s been a privilege and a very great pleasure to work with the Kim’s family of gifted writers and performers for the last five years. Thank you to our fans for the love and support you’ve given this show.”
The statement was followed by messages from the cast on social media. The series had previously been earmarked for Season 6.
“It was announced today that the current season of #kimsconvenience will be our last and we will not make a season 6,” Andrew Phung posted on Twitter. “It’s a bittersweet end to one of the greatest experiences of my life. I’m so proud of what we’ve done and want to reflect and thank those who made it possible.
“We were the little show that could,” he continued. “Based on a fringe fest play that major theatres passed on. Ins Choi took this from an idea, to the stage, and w/ Kevin White to the TV screen. Few gave us a chance but we were a breakout hit. Thank you Ins and Kevin for your ideas and stories.”
This fifth season has seen the Kim family face one of its toughest challenges yet, with a difficult medical diagnosis for Umma (Jean Yoon), Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) stepping up as the primary caregiver, and recently-graduated Janet (Andrea Bang) moving back home. Meanwhile, Jung’s (Simu Liu) trip to business school has tested his relationship with Shannon (Nicole Power) and Kimchee (Andrew Phung) reconnected with his family, and his high school crush.
Recently, Kim’s Convenience was recognized by TV Guide as one of the best “feel good” streaming series available and a perfect quarantine distraction by Oprah magazine.
Awards it has collected include Canadian Screen Award wins for Phung, Sun-Hyung Lee, Amanda Brugel and the series, and nominations for Bang, Yoon and Power. The series has also received nominations for awards from the Writers Guild of Canada, and the Directors Guild of Canada.
In addition to airing in Canada on CBC and CBC Gem, the series also streams on Netflix and is watched on cable and VOD platforms around the world, including in Japan and Korea.