Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

Comments and queries for the week of April 24

Murdoch Mysteries is by far, the best series my husband and I have ever watched! It’s what is helping us through our quarantine time, providing great entertainment! Yannick is brilliant as Murdoch and is my favourite! Looking forward to many more seasons! —Char

I am a 74-year-old from Ohio. I can’t say how much I love Murdoch Mysteries. I watch the show over and over again waiting on the next season. I can’t get it on the TV, so I have to wait and watch the new shows when they come on Hulu. I like that it is a clean, no sex, no cussing show. Also, I would love for the old episodes of Sue Thomas F. B. Eye to come on Hulu. Thank you for Murdoch Mysteries. —Elizabeth

I became a Murdoch fan about five years ago. First saw the show as The Artful Detective and have been following the show since. Because I reside south of the Canadian border, it was tough getting the show on TV, so I had to rent DVDs until I discovered AcornTV. I like the entire cast and will miss the show after I finish the final three episodes of Season 13. Great job CBC. —Leo

I am an 83-year-old lady from the UK and want to say Murdoch Mysteries has been a life saver to watch during lockdown/isolation because of COVID-19. Icame to the series late but am so grateful to all involved over the years to produce such an intelligent and interesting program. Long may it continue! —Sylvia

I’m a 73-yr-old Ohio Buckeye. Been watching Murdoch for years on the Ovation Channel. Just a tremendous cast and talented writers! Please keep this gem in production! —Jennie

I am an American, and I love all of Yannick Bisson’s movies that we are able to see here. I think his acting is superb! I wish we were able to see all of his work, but we only have the Murdoch Mysteries. I love his work! And I am a 72-year-old African American! —Marva

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@ami.ca or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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A Career Retrospective for Yannick Bisson

Born in Montreal, Quebec, back in 1969, Yannick Bisson landed his first significant television role at the age of 15 when he played the part of Spear Kozak in Hockey Night. Since then, the Canadian actor has gone on to establish himself as a pivotal figure in the country’s entertainment sector. So, let’s take a look at Bisson’s career.

Murdoch Mysteries and his move into directing
Having found his feet on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s television network in 1984, the now 50-year-old actor went on to have an active role in several Canadian productions. Although he has featured in a wide array of different shows, Bisson is most well-known for being the main protagonist in the award-winning series, Murdoch Mysteries.

Premiering back in 2008, the drama has been running for 13 seasons, but reports suggest that the much-loved Canadian series is set to return to screens for another season in the future. Crucially, the show’s longevity has, at the time of writing, provided Bisson with his longest-active role throughout his career in television. Playing Detective William Murdoch, the Canadian recently reached 200 episodes in a production that has, by the actor’s own admission, become part of modern-day Canadian culture. It’s a testament to Bisson’s leading role in the now 12-year-old series that he claimed the Canadian Screen Awards Fan’s Choice Award in 2016, while the show itself received the Golden Screen Award for the most-watched drama in both 2017 and 2018.

Although the Murdoch Mysteries star is widely recognized for his on-screen contributions to the show, the series’ success gave him the foundation to broaden his horizons within the industry. During the fourth season, Bisson used his abilities on the other side of the camera to direct six episodes so far. Furthermore, his contributions to Canadian television, including his roles in Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy, Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye, and The Adventures of Napkin Man!, as well as Murdoch Mysteries, resulted in him being given the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists’ Toronto Award of Excellence in 2017 for his continued dedication to the industry.

The Canadian’s growing role within the film industry
During the early years of his career, Bisson only sporadically played roles in films. However, shortly before the turn of the new millennium, the award-winning actor landed a role in Velocity Trap, where he played the part of Franklin J. Robinson. Although the film didn’t reach the heights of other titles that were released in the same year, such as Fight Club and The Blair Witch Project, it did provide the Canadian actor with his first serious film role.

Eleven years after the release of Velocity Trap, Bisson was cast in Casino Jack as Oscar Carillo, alongside Barry Pepper, Kevin Spacey, Rachelle Lefevre, and many more. The comedy-drama, which is a true-to-life tale centred around the career of Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist and businessman from Washington, generated a box office total of $1.1 million upon release. Essentially, the movie acquires its title from Abramoff’s cunning plan against casino owners for his own sizeable financial gain. In reality, while casinos are legal throughout Canada, including online casinos where players have a wide choice of games, they are only available under strict supervision and when in line with the country’s implemented legislation.

Following Casino Jack, Bisson’s most recent venture into film came in the 2017 Canadian comedy horror movie, Another WolfCop. The title varies in genre to some of the previous workings that the 50-year-old has been a part of, with it offering light-hearted, gory entertainment as opposed to real-life tales of corruption.

Bisson has become an icon of Canadian television
Ultimately, there can be no doubt that Bisson is more than worthy of his Award of Excellence, given how much he has contributed to Canada’s entertainment industry. Aside from being the focal point of one of the country’s most iconic shows, the actor’s dedication has resulted in him being cast along some of the world’s biggest stars, which is a testament to his career success.

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The Wedding Planners’ Michael Seater: “It speaks to themes I think everybody can get”

Frequent visitors to this site know I cover Murdoch Mysteries extensively. That means fans of the show know the name Michael Seater intimately. The veteran Canadian writer, director, producer and actor may very well be best-known for his portrayal of serial killer James Gillies on the period drama. But Murdoch isn’t his only acting gig.

Aside from Life with Derek, 18 to Life and Bomb Girls, Seater can be seen every Friday night on The Wedding Planners. There, he co-stars as James Clarkson—alongside Paige (Kimberly-Sue Murray) and Hannah (Madeline Leon), who take over their mother’s wedding planning business after she passes away suddenly.

We spoke to Michael Seater about The Wedding Planners, being an independent producer and … yes … playing James Gillies.

You’ve got a production company going. I know you’re making feature films. How did you end up playing James on The Wedding Planners?
Michael Seater: Beth Stevenson, who runs the show, was at Decode Entertainment, which did my first series back when I was a kid. She and I had a meeting earlier this year to talk about different things, sort of a general meeting and different things out there, from directing to acting. The Wedding Planners came along a couple of months later, which seems like good timing. It’s a really fun show. It speaks to themes I think everybody can get, which are loss and family and love.

James has a really interesting story. What’s the journey for him this season?
MS: Well, I think it’s interesting in that he’s left and there’s the appearance that he has figured it all out and doesn’t need this small-town life anymore, and I think the big city is more his speed. But bright lights, big city, things aren’t always as they seem. What happens to a lot of people in a big, giant metropolis like that, you quickly are living beyond your means. In how we operate today in an Instagram culture, we have this pressure, which I think has always existed but never more than now, to present like you are living a certain way that maybe you can’t afford.

I don’t think he plans on staying for long, but that might change because circumstances change. I think when you suffer such a great loss, you realize how important and valuable family is. Even if on the surface James plays sarcastic often, that he doesn’t really care that much about being there, I think that’s all a deflective veneer that he uses so people don’t see that he’s lost his mom and he’s hurting and he needs to be around his sisters right now.

Can you speak to any of the input you had into this character?
MS: There is a lot of dialogue in finding the voice, and a lot of figuring out the nuanced nature of, especially, a queer character. Making it feel that it’s honest and not put-on. I’m a queer person myself. I watch a lot of Drag Race. I want the language to be authentic. Then, there’s the story aspect of making sure that when we promise something in a story that we deliver on it.

You have a production company with Paula Brancati. Is working in somebody else’s sandbox, in your view, an exercise in not flexing producer’s muscles and getting back into the acting? 
MS: Yes and no. I give myself a talk sort of before I do a project where I am hired solely as actor. I am not shy with my opinions, and so I need to make sure that I’m not stepping on too many toes.

The three siblings are sort of the head of the department, and we are very inherently involved in stories. So, I think, from actors I’ve known throughout the years who when I was young, I kind of looked at as examples. Peter Outerbridge on ReGenesis is somebody who was a really magnificent lead on a show and how he works on how he pushed for the script to always be the best it could be. He looked out for younger or guest actors who don’t have a voice the way that he did.

But then, on the other hand, I tell myself, ‘OK, you’re not the director of this. Don’t try and get involved and say, ‘Well, what are you doing with the cameras?’ You’ve got to let somebody else do their job.’ And I hope I do that. Making a TV show, making a film is always such a collaborative endeavour anyways. Lots of people wear different hats, but even if you only ever wear one hat, your department affects another department. So, it’s always about communicating with one another and the best idea wins. That’s how I try and operate.

Murdoch Mysteries fans know you play James Gillies, perhaps the ultimate villain on that show. What was that like playing that character?
MS: I have the best time going to play on that show. I mean, a bunch of crew on that show was from shows I had done previously. I knew a lot of the cast, especially the longer I did the show. So, I would go back every summer and it was like visiting your favourite aunt and uncle for a week in the summer. It was family. We had such a good time and just got to play.

Gillies is so much fun because he’s one of those wonderfully truly classically evil characters. And by the later episodes, everyone knows he’s evil. So, it’s not like, ‘Oh, I need to hide this and play nice till the very end and we get the reveal at the end.’ I get to come in guns blazing and hold needles to babies’ necks and hairpins to women’s throats and all this fun stuff and get my face mangled. It was so good.

Also, I wouldn’t ever say that we’ve seen the last of Gillies. I’ve always said that was just his good twin and see, the evil twin used that weird brain thing that made the guy do the talking, use that on his good twin and the evil twin’s still alive and kicking. That’s just my opinion.

The Wedding Planners airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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The Wedding Planners brings much-needed nostalgia to primetime TV

In a world full of turmoil and seeking comfort, Beth Stevenson’s creations couldn’t be more timely.

If you’ve tuned in to a Harlequin or Hallmark holiday movie, you’ve likely seen her stuff. Stevenson’s IMDB page is chockfull of such seasonal fare as Snowbound for Christmas, A Christmas Recipe for Romance, Twinkle all the Way or Christmas with a Prince. They’ve quickly become holiday classics. Now Stevenson, Brain Power Studio founder and executive producer, jumps into primetime TV with a new series.

The Wedding Planners, debuting Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv, introduces us to the Clarkson Wedding Essentials, a family-run business that is a one-stop spot for wedding planning. The business is headed up by Marguerite (Michelle Nolden), who hopes her children—Paige (Kimberly-Sue Murray), James (Michael Seater) and Hannah (Madeline Leon)—will one day carry on the business. When that day comes suddenly, the siblings are forced to work together to pull off the perfect wedding.

We spoke to Beth Stevenson about The Wedding Planners, and why shows like it are the perfect salve for uncertain times.

How did The Wedding Planners come about?
Beth Stevenson: Some of Marguerite is actually a lot to do with my mom was such a big part of my life. The reason I’m in the film and television business is because she was actually studying to go into the film and television business after she had raised all of us. I come from a family with siblings and Brain Power is actually a family company and a lot of my siblings do work in the company. My stepsons work in the company. We have that familial connection together with the fact that we’re building something and we’re working on something together. There’s a lot of comparison to how Marguerite has grown the business and expropriated bedrooms. We thought, ‘This will be a really nice location to base a series out of.’

What about the partnership with Rogers?
BS: Nataline Rodrigues, who’s the director of original programming, has this beautiful timeslot that’s called Fall In Love Fridays. We were doing many Harlequin films and most were Canadian content productions that we were doing for various Canadian networks. But predominantly, we were exporting them. She found me and said, ‘Hey, I see you’re doing romcoms and things that would work really well for our network.’ And we said to her, ‘We’re working on this nice limited series that is going to be about a family of wedding planners.’ We continued to talk and then we started to quickly move it through development and she believed in the concept and we went into production.

When it comes to putting together a project like this, a limited series as opposed to a two hour TV movie, it would seem there would be more space to play around. 
BS: It’s definitely nice to build worlds and to look at maybe a dynasty of characters that are together that can continue on. It’s good to do that two-hour movie to make sure you get the chemistry right in the casting, that you’re bringing these worlds together. With The Wedding Planners, we get the best of both worlds because we have this definitive storyline which is the bride and groom that we’re following that episode. And then you have this beautiful enriching family drama that’s flowing underneath it.

The TV-movies you have made have quickly become kind of go-to programming during the holidays. What is it that we love about these so much? Is it escapism?
BS: I go towards more of the word nostalgia. The holiday season has grown to a place of we want this comfort, we want this nostalgia, we want to have these moments where it’s that Christmas tingle people get. The nice thing from our adaptations is they’re coming from Christmas novels in many instances.

A lot of our movies are on Amazon Prime where we get the analytics every week. And it is phenomenal. It doesn’t stop in January I will tell you. Because I think again, people need that in these times. I think the barrage and the digital world can be very exhausting. So if you can get that comfort to come back and to follow a family or to follow a couple and to root for them and to have a little bit of a break, that’s, I think, making a big difference right now in the world.

The Wedding Planners airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

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Link: Yannick Bisson talks reaching his 200th episode of Murdoch Mysteries

From Heather M. of TV Goodness:

Link: Yannick Bisson talks reaching his 200th episode of Murdoch Mysteries
“The fact that it’s gone beyond just being my job to being part of the Canadian culture that we represent [to the world] is certainly not lost on me. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and I think that’s the magic ingredient.” Continue reading.

From Megan Elliott of Cheat Sheet:

Link: ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ star Yannick Bisson says he had ‘No Idea’ the show would be such a hit ahead of milestone 200th episode
“At the end of the day, he’s going to do his duty. Though as the years have gone on, I think that’s been chipped away a little bit, like the layers of an onion, just a little bit at a time. Things are not all black and white. And sometimes there are judgment calls that have to be made. And that’s been the biggest evolution for him.” Continue reading. 

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