Tag Archives: Pat McKenna

New animated preschool series, Esme & Roy, makes its monstrous debut on Treehouse

From a media release:

From Sesame Workshop and Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, the new animated series Esme & Roy, the first new animated series from the makers of Sesame Street in more than a decade, premieres Saturday, August 18 at 7:10 a.m. on Treehouse. The series follows a young girl, Esme, and her best monster friend, Roy, on their adventures as the best monster babysitters in Monsterdale. Aimed at children ages four to six, it offers a creative new approach to teaching “learning through play” and mindfulness strategies.

With loveable characters who spark strong emotional connections among preschoolers and parents alike, Esme & Roy invites children into a colourful world where even the littlest monsters can overcome big challenges together. Across 26 episodes, Esme and Roy will use the power of play to help younger monsters through familiar situations like trying new foods and feeling scared during loud thunderstorms. Little viewers will look up to their new favourite monster-sitters as positive role models, learning how to manage strong emotions with simple mindfulness practices alongside Esme and Roy’s charges. Infectious humour, imaginative design, and expressive Canadian voice talent including Millie Davis (Wonder, Odd Squad) and Patrick McKenna (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania: The Series), bring the world of Esme & Roy to vibrant life.

Esme & Roy underscores how vitally important play is to early childhood development. Whether they’re pretending to be veterinarians to model how to hold a pet gently, or sticking to a shopping list by turning a trip to the grocery store into a “Supermarket Match” game show, the monster-sitters help their little friends learn a range of lessons while they have fun. When children play together, they are physically, cognitively, and socially engaged. Motivated by their own curiosity and interest, they learn to collaborate, self-regulate, communicate, and empathize with others during play sessions. As modeled in Esme & Roy, “learning through play” allows children to develop these critical life skills in a safe environment.

Children are most ready for this kind of engaged, productive playtime when they can manage challenging feelings like worry and frustration. Esme & Roy offers easy-to-adopt strategies that can help even very young children regulate their emotions. Tactics include: taking slow belly breaths, which provide a pause for children to be reflective instead of reactive; self-talk that uses positive statements to remind kids of their strength and capability; giving oneself a soothing hug; and using a “glitter jar” to calm the body and mind, shaking a sparkly snow globe-like jar and taking deep breaths while watching the glitter swirl and slowly fall.

Created by TV veterans Dustin Ferrer and Amy Steinberg (Peg + Cat, Team Umizoomi, Wonder Pets! and Shimmer and Shine), Esme & Roy is co-produced with Sesame Workshop in partnership with Corus Entertainment’s animation studio Nelvana, with illustrations inspired by renowned artist Dankerleroux.

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Preview: TVO’s Hard Rock Medical checks in for the final time

Hard Rock Medical is the ultimate under-the-radar show. Ask folks if they’ve heard of it and I’m betting the majority will say no. Out of the minority that have heard of the series, I’m betting they’d say Hard Rock Medical was about rock ‘n’ roll. I certainly did. This was back during Season 2, and when I finally tuned in I was stunned. Hard Rock Medical is a damn fine medical drama that mixes in very funny moments set against the rugged backdrop of Sudbury, Ontario, a.k.a. The Canadian Shield, a.k.a. the hard rock in Hard Rock Medical. Inspired by the world-renowned Northern Ontario School of Medicine, the program spotlights and celebrates the distinct challenges of delivering quality healthcare in Northern Ontario.

Co-created by Smith Corindia and Derek Diorio, the last season of Hard Rock Medical returns for its final nine episodes on Tuesday at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET on TVO. Thankfully, TVO has put the past three seasons on their website, so folks can not only catch up but those outside of Ontario can tune in to Season 4 episodes after each broadcast. 

What amazed me about the show back in Season 2 is the high-profile Canadian talent in the cast. Andrea Menard (Blackstone), Tamara Duarte (Wynonna Earp), Angela Asher (Bad Blood), Jamie Spilchuk, Stephane Paquette and Pat McKenna (Traders) are just a sampling of the actors who’ve been part of Hard Rock Medical from the beginning. Throw in guest gigs from Jennifer Podemski, Marc Bendavid, Ron Lea, Michelle Thrush—and Corner Gas‘ Eric Peterson this year—and you’ve got one hell of a fine stable of talent participating in Corindia and Diorio’s taut, half-hour scripts.

When we pick up Tuesday’s return, “Dreaming the Life,” Eva is in the midst of an odd dream that reflects her First Nations heritage and ties to Nancy and Gary while under anaesthetic to donate bone marrow. Meanwhile, Louise and Fraser are facing the media over Sergio’s suicide and request that his brain be used for concussion research, and Tara and Charlie are juggling life with her chemotherapy schedule. Charlie’s considering quitting med school to be available to Tara full-time but she’s having none of it. This is his last year of school before becoming a doctor and she won’t let him give up now. As for Farida, a patient with a fishhook lodged in her cheek leads to a custody battle between a husband and wife. And Cameron? His day is an awful one.

Episode 2, “Quo Vadis,” follows Gary into reconciliation classes with the racist cop he punched and Cameron meets up with Gina, who is suffering from amnesia following her assault.

I’m going to miss following the medical students and their adventures; the last four seasons of Hard Rock Medical have been a joy to watch and cover for TV, Eh? I can only hope that, perhaps, Diorio and Corindia can create a new series about the lives of these newly-graduated doctors working in the community they were educated in.

Hard Rock Medical airs Tuesdays with back-to-back episodes at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET on TVO. Episodes are available for streaming at tvo.org the day after each new broadcast.

Images courtesy of TVO.

 

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