Tag Archives: Ron E. Scott

Link: Blackstone creator Ron E. Scott filming First Nations crime drama Tribal in Calgary

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: Blackstone creator Ron E. Scott filming First Nations crime drama Tribal in Calgary
There are worse dilemmas for a television creator.

But Ron E. Scott’s previous project, the Edmonton-shot TV drama Blackstone, was so dark and singular that it’s hard to imagine how he might top it with a followup. The series ran for five seasons on Showcase and APTN, offering an unflinching and often harrowing look at the corruption, addiction and violence that plagued a fictional Alberta First Nations reserve. Continue reading.

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Ron E. Scott’s Tribal goes to camera for APTN

From a media release:

APTN and Prairie Dog Film + Television’s new one-hour crime drama series, TRIBAL begins production today in Calgary.

TRIBAL follows a First Nation Tribal Police Force as they navigate a controversial new Chief amid allegations of corruption and takeover from the federal government. TRIBAL’s award-winning cast includes Jessica Matten (Frontier, Blackstone) and Brian Markinson (Mad Men, Unspeakable). The series will also feature the talented Michelle Thrush, Justin Rain, Garry Chalk, Adam MacDonald and Julian Black Antelope.

In TRIBAL, the department of Federal Justice attempts to save political face under the mask of inclusion and collaboration as they take control of the Tribal Police Force. Interim Tribal Chief Samantha Woodburn (Matten) attempts to overcome political red tape, and must also prove herself amongst the old-white-boys club of the Metro Police. Thrust into an unfamiliar world, she navigates politics and procedure as she clashes with her new partner, Chuck “Buke” Bukansky (Markinson), a seasoned but broken-down Metro Police detective. This season examines First Nation crime stories based on real-world cases, including mistaken identity, pipeline controversy, healing lodge justice, social services, tobacco and missing Indigenous Peoples.

TRIBAL Showrunner and Director Ron E. Scott is a prolific producer and innovator, who has contributed to over 190 episodes of TV that have broadcasted globally on Netflix, including the ground-breaking one-hour dramatic series Blackstone, now streaming on APTN and CBC.

Filming locations include Calgary and the Tsuu T’ina First Nation in Alberta, Canada. TRIBAL is produced by Ron E. Scott, Janet Hamley, Adam Frost and Nancy Laing from Prairie Dog Film + Television. The series will broadcast in Canada on APTN.

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Blackstone closes down for good

“Flat Line” was an apt title for Blackstone‘s final episode. It, of course, referred to Andy Fraser, the one-time chief of the band, but the series itself. After years of being the big man around town, pushing others around and enjoying the spoils of his plots and plans, Andy was laid low by AIDS, succumbing to the pneumonia that weakened his immune system to the point he couldn’t fight anymore.

“Nobody needs you,” Tom, long dead, told his son. And with that Tom—the one who had haunted Andy for so long—jumped ship and left him to die alone.

Andy died alone because everyone else were focussed on moving forward. Alan, shedding his past life and planning for a future in business, left Blackstone for the city and an education. Daryl—after having accepted Jack’s $260,000 for both bars—left the city for a small farm and home on the Fraser’s family land. That scene reminded me of Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights, and I was warmed by those feelings. I’ve always liked Daryl and was sincerely hoping he’d make it out of the club business unscathed.

Gail was headed for the city too, moving in with Luke—a genuinely good guy—and a bright future as an artist. Even Wilma had a happy ending (I was surprised by that turn), discovering a mix of traditional and modern medicine shoved her cancer into remission. Only Leona was on the downslide in this final instalment, suffering panic attacks at the losses in her life before Dr. Crowshoe sat her down for a chat.

For a series that has spent a lot of time dealing with the dark reality of life on a First Nations reserve—addiction, physical and sexual abuse, murder and rape—”Flat Line” was positively upbeat. Characters were smiling, laughing and joking and the soundtrack during that happy montage was light and airy. At least, until viewers were brought back to the stark reality of Andy’s last breaths. Blackstone‘s biggest character has had quite a ride over the past five seasons. And despite the fact it was fitting he die alone after stepping on everyone to get where he wanted to go, I’m still going to miss him. Just like I’ll miss everyone else on Blackstone.

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Blackstone’s new/old chief

I’ll never skip reviewing episodes of Blackstone again. Of course this is the final season, but by skipping reviewing the last two weeks, I missed out on opining at length about two major characters.

Two weeks ago, Julian Black Antelope turned in an incredible performance as Darrien Tailfeathers. The man everyone has loved to hate over the past two seasons—especially when he kidnapped Wendy—showed a side of him we’ve never seen: a man abused when he was a child and fighting to keep off that same path. When Darrien took hostages, I feared the worst: he’d go down in a hail of bullets, a victim of violence. Instead, we saw a tearful, tender side to Darrien and he turned himself in. I’m hoping the producers supply the Academy with his scenes and he’s nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Yeah, he’s that good.

As for last week’s instalment, Blackstone said goodbye to Victor. The victim of an apparent broken ankle, Victor almost made it back from the brush before collapsing on the reserve’s border, expiring from exposure. After flirting with a bit of romance last season, Victor came under fire as the new chief and never really lived up to expectations. Of course, Sarah doesn’t believe Victor died simply of a broken ankle (I don’t either), and it remains to be seen if anyone will be brought to justice for his death.

There was a lot going on this week too. As “Back in the Saddle” began, Andy continued, and was successful, in his plans to resume being chief of Blackstone with Leona as his only challenger for office. Right off the bat, the episode featured a simple, yet dramatic scene as Francine spoke of long-past better days on Blackstone, before leaders stole from the people. But can Andy change his ways now that he’s had the murder charges dropped? (The fact that Francine could see and was talking to Andy’s dad clearly freaked him out.) On the surface, Andy’s plan for Blackstone to build timber homes is a step in the right direction, but after so many scams and false promises, can anyone trust him?

Unfortunately, by episode’s end it looked like Andy had been bluffing the whole time. But I’m not buying it. I think his declining health (coughing up blood is never good) is a message to Andy that now is the time to turn things around and make a lasting, positive legacy behind.

Gail’s life, meanwhile, has taken an interesting turn. Her visit to Wilma’s new home has clearly opened a new, artistic door for her to express her feelings. Sure, she’s still quick to bark at people—the artist was just trying to help—but seeing Gail spread paint out on the page is a wonderful outlet. She obviously loves it.

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on APTN.

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Blackstone returns seeking happiness

It’s kind of ironic that the focus of Tuesday’s Blackstone return dealt with happiness. APTN’s drama, ending after this final fifth season, hasn’t featured a lot of lightness or positivity. Instead, it’s reflected the real issues affecting Native Canadians, from alcoholism and drug use to sexual abuse and murder. So, to hear the word happy even uttered was a little strange.

And yet there it was, used by Gail, the one person on Blackstone whose life is anything but happy. Wendy was kidnapped by Darrien and shows no signs of returning her, throwing Gail and Leona’s lives into disarray. Wilma is dying, and Gail is engaged in a daily battle with the bottle. But as Dr. Crowshoe suggested, discovering what makes Gail happy is her key to getting better. That included getting up in front of those at the band office and apologizing for her sins of the past.

Happiness was a big part of “Beginning of the End” for every major character, albeit in subtle ways. It seems like the only thing that will make Andy happy is reclaiming the chiefdom from Victor. Andy loves power and everything that comes with it—money and women—and blames Victor for Debbie’s death and Alan’s injury. But to become happy, Andy is going to make desperate, rash decisions to get there and I worry things will end badly. Nothing good can come from digging up a buried body. Daryl, meanwhile, is happy just running a successful club. If only things were as simple for others.

I know Darrien is a monster to most, but his most tender moments on Tuesday were reserved for his quiet time with Wendy. He may puff himself up like a tough guy, but Darrien clearly wants to connect with his daughter. I’m not sure kidnapping her was the right decision, but it’s where his brain went first. And then there was that little cough; clearly things aren’t right in Darrien’s lungs.

As for Victor, well … I’m sure he’d be happy if someone finds him before he dies out there in the forest.

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on APTN.

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