Make Canoe my Homepage

Building an Empire; Hit Fox drama series gets trial run on City, in addition to OMNI

- January 26th, 2015
Terrence Howard and Taraji P
Empire is moving to the City. For a night, at least.

With hit rookie drama Empire having made such an impact on network-of-origin Fox in the United States, Rogers has decided to simulcast the series on City, Wednesday, Jan. 28.

The first three episodes of Empire have aired on another Rogers channel, OMNI, but City has a bigger reach across Canada (this Wednesday’s episode will air on OMNI, too).

Whether Empire might remain on City in future weeks largely will depend on how it does this week ratings-wise, one would assume.

Empire follows Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard, above left), the legendary head of a large music company. In the early stages of a debilitating disease, Lucious is dealing with his three sons and his fresh-out-of-prison ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson, above right), all of whom are vying for his throne.

“This phenomenon that’s happening, 1,000 years ago, or 2,000 years ago, it wasn’t a phenomenon for many people of different colours to get together and enjoy their cultures,” said Howard, asked why it seems to be the right time for a drama about a black family to be a wide-scale hit.

“Right now we’re seeing people enjoy the culture of America, the culture of the world as a whole, in this show. We’re showing real life now.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv​

 

 

 

 

 

Conan gets animated, takes on mob in ‘Archer’ skit

- January 21st, 2015

After working on The Simpsons and creating one of the most beloved episodes in the series’ history (Monorail!), it only makes sense that Conan O’Brien would return to the world of animation.

Tossing grenades at the Russian mob while promoting Uber just wasn’t the way most would have pictured it.

On Tuesday night’s episode of Conan, the late-night host stepped out of his studio and into the cartoon world of Archer, one of FX’s most popular shows.

After getting into secret agent Sterling Archer’s car, Conan is handed a pistol and told to start shooting.

It’s all downhill from here for the two polar-opposite characters.

At first, Conan doesn’t even know where to point the gun, and when he finally does figure out, he spends the majority of time swinging it around in his hands and insulting Archer for not using Uber like, “everyone else.”

A few minutes of hilarious back-and-forth banter between the two breaks out before they’re targeted by another mobster filled jeep, leading them into the empty tunnels of Los Angeles.

This time around, Conan’s got to handle a grenade and the result is just slightly better than his first experience wielding a gun.

Usually stints like these aren’t overly funny and fail at pandering to either fan base, but the adorably obtuse Conan juxtaposed with the overwhelmingly confident Archer makes for a great five minutes of comedy.

Cuthbert playing pregnant lesbian; says Phaneuf “excited” about her new role

- January 16th, 2015

Capture one big happy

PASADENA, Calif. – So what does Elisha Cuthbert’s husband – Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf – think about this?

Cuthbert (above left), a well-known Canadian actress, is playing a lesbian in her new NBC series One Big Happy, which debuts March 17. A pregnant lesbian, no less.

“My husband was really excited,” Cuthbert said when I asked her about it. “I had taken some time off (following the cancellation of her previous sitcom Happy Endings) and we got married and I enjoyed the year with him together before taking on anything new.

“And then this (One Big Happy, executive-produced by Ellen DeGeneres) came my way. I was so excited about it, and therefore he (Phaneuf) was excited about it.

“Without his support, it would be nothing.”

Does this role present any specific challenges for Cuthbert?

“No, it’s like playing a human being,” Cuthbert said. “(The character) is a little dorky at times and has a great collection of blazers. I love the wardrobe, let me say that.”

With Cuthbert’s acting schedule and Phaneuf’s playing schedule, the couple must be the world leader in frequent-flyer miles.

“We see other actually a lot, I make sure that we do,” Cuthbert said. “I make sure that I take time off. I focus on the show but once the show is over I don’t do very much else, because it’s family time. So we do, we make a lot of time for each other.

“I’m livin’ the dream, I get to be home in Canada and be here (in Los Angeles) and have a career and it’s wonderful. But I am on a plane a lot.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 

Gwyneth Paltrow covers Nicki Minaj, Drake on Jimmy Fallon

- January 15th, 2015

What’s better than rap music? Rap music sung in a classic Broadway style by Gwyneth Paltrow and Jimmy Fallon, of course!

Paltrow appeared on Fallon’s late night variety show to promote her upcoming film, Mortdecai, when they decided to show off their musical talents.

Starting with Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” and ending with a hilarious rendition of Big Sean’s, “I Don’t F— With You,” the three minute set seems to move a mile a minute as they coast from one song to the next.

Although clever, it’s clearly a cheap imitation –but with wealthier people- of Postmodern Jukebox’s popular YouTube channel that covers almost all of the songs listed on Billboard’s Top 40 list in a wide array of genres.

For example, they also covered Nicki Minaj’s, “Anaconda.”

We’ll let you decide which version is better.

‘Dexter’ spinoff would focus on Michael C. Hall as Dexter again

- January 15th, 2015

After months of speculative rumour surrounding a possible Dexter spin-off, it looks like Showtime is one step closer to making it a reality.

During the cable network’s presentation at the first Television Critics Association (TCA) of the year, President David Nevins said it’s a concept they’ve been seriously thinking about for quite some time.

Nevins, not one to disassociate himself from the criticism surrounding the show, did clarify that there would only be one way to do the show: bringing back Michael C. Hall and centering the Dexter spin-off on Dexter.

nevins-dexter

Showtime President David Nevins.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP

“I think if we were to do it, I would only do it if it was with Michael,” Nevins said, as reported by the A.V. Club.

Ready? It gets even more bizarre.

Even with bringing Hall back on board, Nevins said the show could only proceed if it felt like a completely new entity. Think Archie Bunker’s Place (a great comparison from the A.V Club’s Sean O’Neal) meets Better Call Saul.

“I’m not interested in doing it if it’s just a continuation,” Nevins said, adding the show would be, “in a completely new setting with a new supporting cast.”

Considering that infamous finale, it definitely seems plausible. If Dexter had indeed moved from Miami to a heavily wooded area like Seattle, Portland, or just about all of Canada, it would be pretty easy to introduce a whole new cast and create an entirely new show with a familiar face.

A win-win for a network that wants to revive its ratings and keep the idea of Dexter alive, even if they do manage to sacrifice the quality of the show by the middle of the fifth season.

The big question now is whether Hall is up for returning to the series.

In an interview with The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern, Hall admitted playing a character like Dexter was emotionally draining and morally compromising.

“…you’re simulating murder and a life based on fundamental, formidable secrets and lies, and that’s going to do a number on you,” Hall said. “There’s a part of us that doesn’t distinguish between ritual and reality, and there’s some way that whatever you’re performing is encoded in you, hence the need to perform some sort of exorcism.”

Despite the feeling of moral dread and emotional ambiguity, Hall told Stern he wouldn’t toss out the possibility of returning to the series.

“It was definitely an anti-closure ending, and if the character –and show- has life behind it, it leaves the door wide open…if I said right now that there will never be another incarnation of anything involving the character of Dexter, cut to three months later and I’ll probably be on the set shooting it. Never say never.”

Still, the possibility of a spin-off is speculative.

As Nevin said, “If we were to do it, we would have to have a very good reason to do it.”

If Hall does sign on, expect more details about the show in upcoming months.