Tag Archives: This Life

Joseph Kay returns to TV with a new family in CTV’s Transplant

A part of me will always miss This Life. Created by Michael MacLennan—from an adaptation of Radio Canada’s Nouvelle Adresse—and taken over by Joseph Kay when MacLennan departed for Los Angeles to co-executive-produce The Fosters, the story of a single mother raising her two daughters while battling cancer was cancelled far too soon. I feel like Kay was just getting the story going before it came to an end.

Thankfully, Kay is back with a brand-new primetime family, albeit with a different style of story. Debuting Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, Transplant follows Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq, The Indian Detective), a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, makes the difficult decision to flee his country with his younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus, Orphan Black).

With the hope of returning to his career in medicine, Bash and Amira build a new life in Canada while managing the struggles that come with a new country. Bash works in a new environment after earning a residency in the Emergency Department at Toronto’sfictional York Memorial.

Alongside Bash at the hospital are Dr. Jed Bishop (John Hannah), Dr. Mags Lablanc (Laurence Laboeuf, 19-2), Dr. Theo Hunter (Jim Watson, Mary Kills People), Dr. June Curtis (Ayisha Issa, Dark Matter) and head nurse Claire Malone (Torri Higginson, This Life).

We spoke to Joseph Kay about his road to Transplant, the learning curve of writing a medical drama and Hamza Haq’s superstar potential.

How did Transplant come about? What was the origin story?
Joseph Kay: I started developing it way back in 2016 right as This Life was ending actually. At the time I had been reading a lot about really skilled professionals from different parts of the world who come here and then can’t qualify and can’t do their jobs. It occurred to me that that could be a novel take on the genre. I was always a fan of the medical genre. And when I started thinking about it on those terms also in 2016, Syria and the conflict was in the news a lot. It still is, but it was in it quite a bit then. And there were a lot of refugees and newcomers and immigrants coming to Toronto specifically.

Two sort of jumped into my mind together, the idea of building a show around a refugee coming from Syria who was amazingly skilled at something and then wasn’t able to do the thing that he could do. I started researching pretty heavily both sides of that, particularly the Syrian side and immediately got connected and found a lot of different Syrians who were here and different kinds of immigrants and newcomers to get people’s lived perspectives and trying to figure out whether I could write that and sort of went from there.

Was the name of the show always Transplant, or was it something else?
JK: It was always Transplant. It’s just a very evocative, I love single word titles.

Let’s talk a little bit about some of the other research you had to do. Was that a bit of a slog for you or do you like doing that kind of research into medical terminology or do you pay somebody to do that for you?
JK: Both. I love it, Greg. I actually love it. I found, very early on, a doctor who is a trauma team leader at St Mike’s hospital in Toronto. So, by the time the show was up and running, we had a lot of consultants. But in the early days, I was very fortunate to come across a guy who was willing to give a lot of his time to just take me through everything and read the scripts and help me with the dialogue and all the medical-ese.

Hamza is great as Bash, a very expressive face. I’m cheering for him and fell in love with him. Was Hamza, when he walked in the room or when he supplied his casting tape, was he the guy right from the get-go?
JK: Definitely. Hamza and I knew each other because of the second season of This Life. He was sort of a foreign student in his little arc and he was nominated for a CSA for his role. And at the time Hamza and I talked a lot. Hamza’s an immigrant and part of his background formed the character he was playing on This Life. We get along well creatively. So as soon as I started thinking about this show, Hamza was the guy I started thinking about very, very, very early on in the process. Of course, we looked at every available actor all along because you always have to do that. But Hamza was very prominent in my mind and in the minds of the people at Sphere Media from the beginning. And then when he did finally start reading for it: he’s a star.

He’s charming, he’s got great energy, he is very expressive. And the character was always meant to be the kind of person who doesn’t say that much, so you want a specific actor who can pull that off. And I had written this thing about the character in one of the series documents, which is that Bash is the kind of guy who you tell all your secrets to and then you realize that you don’t know a single thing about him and you told him everything.

Can you tell me about some of the themes and storylines that you cover in the first season?
JK: When we started really digging into the creative we quickly realized that the storytelling lends itself to this idea of starting over. Starting over of second chances, so everything systematically would flow from that. I mean, it’s Bash’s opportunity to start over. And so in that way, the stories that we tell over the first season are, what are the challenges there both at work and the kinds of conflicts he’s going to find himself in at work? He’s the kind of person who is all instinct and a bit of a rule breaker. He acts before he thinks. So we’re trying to look at sort of the challenges he faced in an environment being an outsider combined with the sort of the nature of his personality.

And then also to see the other side of him. We’re fortunate in that we’re able to go home with him and see a little bit of his family life. And so we’re telling his story of starting over and we’re also at the same time wondering who this guy is and where he came from really and what happened to him and what he left behind. So as we encounter present-tense conflicts and challenges at work and in his personal life, we start to unpack what happened to him and what are the sort of major events of his life that have led him right now. We let those trickle out in ways that keep it interesting and mysterious.

Transplant airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Exclusive photo gallery: First-look photos at CTV’s Transplant

Clearly, we here at TV, Eh? were good boys and girls last year because Bell Media has given us one heck of a cool belated Christmas gift: an exclusive first-look at CTV’s newest original series, Transplant.

As previously announced, Transplant stars Hamza Haq, John Hannah, Laurence Laboeuf, Jim Watson and Ayisha Issa.

 

Here is the official synopsis for Transplant direct from Bell Media:

Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq), a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, makes the difficult decision to flee his country with his younger sister Amira. With the hope of returning to his career in medicine, together Bash and Amira strive to build a new life in Canada while managing the struggles that come with a new country. With life experiences and a medical background unlike his Canadian counterparts, Bash works to navigate a new environment and forge new relationships after earning a coveted residency in the Emergency Department of one of the best hospitals in Toronto, York Memorial.

Transplant debuts this spring on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

CTV and NBCUniversal International Studios partner on new medical procedural The Transplant from Montréal-based Sphère Média Plus

From a media release:

Canada’s leading television network CTV, together with NBCUniversal International Studios, today announced THE TRANSPLANT, a new, one-hour, primetime medical procedural slated for CTV’s 2019/20 broadcast season. Developed by CTV, the series is from award-winning Montréal-based producer Sphère Média Plus (19-2). NBCUniversal will have distribution rights outside of Canada. The announcement was made from the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) Prime Time conference in Ottawa.

When a truck plows into the busy street café where he works, Bash, a struggling Syrian refugee, draws on bold skills and warzone instincts from his former life as a doctor to save multiple people. Among these victims is the chief of the busiest trauma centre in Toronto and the one person who can give Bash the opportunity to return to a career in emergency medicine that he so deserves.

THE TRANSPLANT tells the story of this charismatic man with an elusive past as he joins a team of doctors, challenged to make a place for himself in a new hospital and country. The drama blends a modern immigrant tale with an ensemble medical procedural, offering audiences a fresh take on a beloved genre. The first cycle consists of 13 episodes, with production set to begin in Summer 2019.

The series is created and written by Joseph Kay (FRONTIER, LIVING IN YOUR CAR). Executive producers are Jocelyn Deschenes, Bruno Dube, Virginia Rankin, Jeremy Spry, and Tara Woodbury of Sphère Média Plus, the producers behind Bell Media’s multiple award-winning drama 19-2.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Preview: A sequential killer stalks Toronto on Murdoch Mysteries

There are three new faces in the Murdoch Mysteries writing room this season. Dan Trotta, Natalia Guled and Noelle Girard joined the long-running, high-rated CBC drama after Michelle Ricci and Carol Hay departed to create Frankie Drake Mysteries and the untimely passing of Jordan Christianson.

Tonight, Dan Trotta—who most recently wrote and produced on the Omni drama Blood and Water—gets the spotlight with “Dr. Osler Regrets,” directed by Alison Reid. Here’s the official synopsis from CBC:

A spate of murders staged as suicides leads Murdoch to suspect a sequential killer targeting the elderly.

And here are a few more tidbits we caught after watching a screener.

Louise Cherry returns
I’ve read the comments on the Murdoch Mysteries Facebook pages and fans are pretty clear in their feelings regarding Ms. Cherry: they don’t like her. It will be interesting to see what fans think of Ms. Cherry after this week’s instalment because she’s up to her old tricks again.

Kristopher Turner guest-stars
I’ve missed Kristopher Turner since This Life was cancelled—watch both excellent seasons via the CBC site—so it’s a treat to see him in Detective Murdoch’s world as Jack Borden. Also after appearing on Murdoch Mysteries once before as Dr. Lawrence Abbott in “Buffalo Shuffle,” Stewart Arnott re-appears in the role of Dr. William Osler. You can read up on Osler’s real-life achievements here; among his accolades, Osler was one of the founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital. We get a nice little bit of backstory with regard to Julia’s education and how Osler factored into it.

Violet gets her hands dirty
It doesn’t take long for Violet to contribute to the team. Within minutes she’s up to her elbows in guts at the city morgue, helping Julia determine a cause of death in the episode’s first victim.

George reveals a timely hobby
Julia isn’t the only one we learn something about. After 11 seasons Crabtree unveils an interesting hobby.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Motive, Blood and Water and This Life top Leo Award nominees

CTV’s Motive, Omni’s Blood and Water and CBC’s This Life are among the top vote-getters for the upcoming Leo Awards. The program salutes television and film projects filming in British Columbia.

Motive is up for several awards, including Best Program, Direction, Screenwriting for Dennis Heaton, Sarah Dodd and Julie Puckrin, and Lead Performance Female for star Kristin Lehman. Blood and Water is nominated for Supporting Performance Male for BC Lee and Supporting Performance Female for Elfina Luk. This Life gets the nod in Screenwriting for Rachel Langer and Supporting Performance Female for Lauren Lee Smith.

In the Music, Comedy or Variety Program or Series, Letterkenny receives three nominations for Program and Performance, Kim’s Convenience for Screenwriting and Performance, Crash Gallery for Program and The Beaverton for Performance.

The winners will be announced during a three-day event and gala in Vancouver on May 27 and June 3 and 4.

The full list of nominees is available here.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail