Tag Archives: Netflix

Michelle Alexander breaks ground in creepy homegrown Darknet

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean the scares need to end. Thanks to Netflix, there are numerous spooky series available all year long. And while there are the requisite flicks featuring chainsaw-wielding killers, frightening dolls and slithery things in closets, nothing is quite like Darknet.

Based on the Japanese horror series Tori Hada, Darknet is a Canadian anthology series airing its second window via the online broadcaster (it was available on Super Channel first). The project, made up of six intertwining half-hour stories, explores serial killers and axe murderers, but it also tips the horror genre on its head by offering unique views on society’s paranoia and some surprise character reveals. One gal, for instance, appears to be a mousy, quiet office worker but is anything but, and a medical student named Alison defends her privacy in a very unique way.

“I kept saying to the writers, ‘This is such a gift,'” Michelle Alexander says of her character, Alison. “One of the producers, Steven Hoban, and I were saying that we can’t think of a character in modern TV that has a big a swing from a the beginning of the series to the end. I’m usually cast as the first girl you meet, the girl who is sweet and lovely.”

The Vancouver Island native, who also works as Associate Artistic Director at Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre, assumed she was done playing Alison after filming the pilot episode. She was surprised to be called back after Alison was written into two more vignettes, including the season finale, a twisted trip that leaves a trio of characters in a cliffhanger ending.

Season 1 of Darknet was written by six different writers (each one wrote an instalment each) and six different directors–the result is unique take with regard to story and imagery–starring veteran and new faces from the Canadian television and film industry. Among those appearing in the scary tales are David Hewlett (Stargate: Atlantis), Ari Miller (Orphan Black), Martha Burns (Slings & Arrows), Peter Outerbridge (Orphan Black), Cara Gee (Strange Empire) and Arnold Pinnock (Combat Hospital). All embody characters counter to roles they’ve played in the past: Hewlett is a businessman who finds a mysterious locker key; Burns a mother seeking a babysitter for her unique son; and Pinnock portrays a seemingly loving husband who runs afoul of Alison.

“The problem with a lot of modern horror now is that you kind of get the formula. It’s so popular with young people right now that you just kind of pump out this formulaic horror shows,” Alexander explains. “This is more like a throwback to Alfred Hitchcock horror where there are twists and turns. Even if you’re looking for the twists, it’s better than just the shock and awe. Darknet is more character-driven and story-driven.”

Season 1 of Darknet is available on Netflix Canada.


City, Netflix and Shomi collaborate on Canadian original drama


From a media release:

Today, City, Netflix, and shomi™ announced a landmark partnership to bring audiences around the world a new, premium drama series, Between – an original survivalist thriller series, created by award-winning writer/director Michael McGowan (Still Mine, One Week, Saint Ralph) and starring Jennette McCurdy (iCarly, Sam & Cat). The partnership is the first of its kind in Canada for the creation of a new, original series.

The first season of Between, featuring six, one-hour episodes, will premiere on City and shomi in Canada and on Netflix outside of Canada where the service is available. Between will come to Netflix Canada one year following the initial premiere. Additional broadcast details will be announced at a later date. The series begins principal photography today.

“We know that Canadians crave daring and distinctive original programs, and Between offers just that,” said Nataline Rodrigues, Director of Original Programming, Rogers. “Showcasing Michael McGowan’s cinematic vision on the small screen, this compelling new series, in partnership with Netflix and shomi, delivers on our promise to offer viewers world-class entertainment.”

“Teaming up with Rogers, on Between, is a tremendous opportunity to work with a creative partner in Canada to bring our global viewers top-notch content,” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of Global Independent Content at Netflix. “We’re thrilled to be working with outstanding talent behind the scenes including Canadians Don Carmody, Jon Cassar and Michael McGowan, and in front of the camera with a new generation of actors led by Jennette McCurdy, delivering a must watch event series that millions of Netflix viewers will enjoy.”

Between is the story of a town under siege from a mysterious disease that has wiped out everybody except those 21 years old and under. The series explores the power vacuum that results when a government has quarantined a 10-mile diameter area and left the inhabitants to fend for themselves.

“With the commission of Between, we are reinforcing our commitment to bring the best programming to our subscribers,” said Marni Shulman, Head of Content & Programming, shomi. “Great opportunities to build original content like this, and working with the breadth of talent, including the amazing Michael McGowan, is a perfect fit for the shomi brand.”

Between stars Jennette McCurdy and was created by Michael McGowan, who executive produces along with Don Carmody (Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Goon, Chicago), David Cormican (The Tall Man, Faces in the Crowd), and Naveen Prasad, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Elevation Pictures Corp. Emmy® award-winning director Jon Cassar (24, The Kennedys) will direct the first two episodes. The series is produced by Don Carmody Television, Mulmur Feed Co. and in association with Elevation Pictures Corp. Prasad, along with Jayme Alter (Denton’s Canada) for DCTV negotiated the deal. Elevation will oversee worldwide distribution. From Rogers Media, Nataline Rodrigues is Director of Original Programming, Hayden Mindell is Vice President of Television Programming & Content, and Navaid Mansuri is Interim Senior Vice President of Broadcast.