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CTV hopes to “Motive-ate” viewers with post-Super Bowl premiere

- January 29th, 2013

Kristin Lehman as Detective Angie Flynn in Motive

The Motive is the message.

But how will the message be received by a viewing public that claims it wants something new, yet often sticks with the tried and true?

That’s the challenge for the Canadian series Motive, which debuts Sunday, Feb. 3, in the plum time slot following the Super Bowl on CTV.

Through the years we all have seen enough police procedurals – the CSI franchise, the Law & Order franchise, etc. – to understand the basic format. But Motive takes that dramatic model and twists it.

In each episode of Motive, viewers are told fairly quickly who “the killer” is and who “the victim” is. What we don’t know is “why?”

How are the killer and the victim connected? What were the circumstances that led the former to murder the latter?

That’s where Vancouver homicide Detective Angie Flynn, played by Kristin Lehman, enters the fray.

Angie and her team – Detective Oscar Vega (played by Louis Ferreira), Detective Brian Lucas (played by Brendan Penny), Staff Sergeant Boyd Bloom (played by Roger Cross) and Dr. Betty Rogers (played by Lauren Holly) – spend each episode piecing together what happened. Therefore, until the very end, the team always is more “in the dark” than the audience, which already knows who committed the crime.

The first episode of Motive focuses on a creepy, picked-upon high school kid in a marching band (do Canadian high schools even have those? Isn’t that an American thing?).

When we first see the victim, an adult, he’s singing in a karaoke bar. The connection between the two, and the reasons for what occurs, certainly can’t be predicted or foreseen at first blush, so that’s a good thing.

I had a few different reactions to the debut episode of Motive.

First, it looks great. The production values are top-notch.

And I did like the two leads, Lehman and Ferreira. Lehman has kind of a Marg Helgenberger thing goin’ on, while veteran Ferreira is good in everything he does (including a recent guest spot on AMC’s Breaking Bad). However, I hope it’s not a pattern moving forward that Oscar thinks everyone is guilty and Angie thinks everyone is innocent.

Cinematography and characters aside, Motive‘s format can be disorienting when it comes to sustained attention.

I was interested in the first 10 minutes. I was interested in the last 10 minutes. But that left 20 minutes in the middle where I kind of drifted away, since I already knew who the killer was. It felt like there was some padding going on, and I’m not at all interested in the side story about Angie’s troubled teen.

Those middle 20 minutes also jump around in time, because much of the story has to be told through flashbacks. It never was confusing, that would be overstating it. But it can be a tad dizzying if you’re not right on top of it, which, as I stated earlier, is an issue.

Kudos to Motive for trying something new. A straight-forward police procedural in 2013 would seem at least five years behind the times.

What we’re about to find out is whether the world is open to a police procedural that doesn’t follow procedure.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Global TV issues statement about SAG Awards “Debbie Travesty” broadcast snafu

- January 28th, 2013

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“SNAG Awards.”

“Global disaster.”

“Debbie Travesty.”

And those were just MY Tweets.

It’s fascinating these days to monitor social media when, as happens occasionally, something screws up on TV.

That’s what happened Sunday night during the live broadcast – beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern – of the SAG Awards on Global in Canada.

For the first half-hour, Global erroneously aired an episode of From The Ground Up with Debbie Travis, followed by about 10 minutes of an episode of American Dad, before joining the SAG Awards in progress. The SAG Awards were not available on an American channel in Canada, so Canadian TV viewers had no options but to wait it out.

On Monday, Global, which is owned by Shaw Media, issued the following statement:

“The SAG Awards are fed live and unfortunately, there was a technical issue with the feed last night for the east coast broadcast. We rectified the situation as soon as possible and the west coast feed ran in its entirety. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused our viewers.”

For those fateful 40 minutes on Sunday night, the banter back and forth on Twitter was pretty hilarious. People were commenting on how surprisingly well Debbie Travis was doing at the SAG Awards, etc.

At one point a blindsided Travis got involved on Twitter, too, wondering why she was receiving so many bizarre Tweets.

Later Travis Tweeted, “ok I am going to bed-thanks for the most fun tweet night-i have been abused, praised,flattered,loved&hated & even proposed to-thanks Canada.”

If Sunday night served as a reminder of anything, it’s how passionate people are about TV. If you tell them something is going to be on, and it isn’t on, they go loco. And a lot of that emotion gets channeled into social media, with some people going way too far on the anger side, but with many using it as a platform for some really funny, quippy stuff.

This is media in 2013, where comment can co-opt content.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Andy Samberg returns to ‘SNL’ – for one night, anyway

- January 27th, 2013

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Was that a digital short on ‘SNL’ last night?

Why, yes it was.

In what was a reunion show of sorts, former ‘SNL’ star Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island pals (responsible for gems like D—k in a Box, Ji—in My Pants, and I’m on a Boat) returned for one night with a second digital short featuring host Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

And why not? The collaboration between TLI and Levine has been successful in the past. Their 2007 song ‘Iran So Far,’ where Levine sings the hook of a love ballad for Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is considered an ‘SNL’ classic.

Did they recapture some of that magic last night?

Well, some of it anyway.

Have a look at The Lonely Island-Levine project Part II called YOLO (that annoying acronym that means ‘You Only Live Once’) featuring Kendrick Lamar.

In it, Samberg, and Lonely Island pals Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer rap about how to lead an overly cautious, paranoid and risk-free life. Tips include protecting your ears at concerts, building a bomb shelter with titanium walls, and burying money in the backyard like a beagle. Levine, just like last time, sings the sweet hook.

Tell us what you think in the comment section.

He only comes out at night? It’s not Hall and Oates, but rather Do No Harm

- January 27th, 2013

Steven Pasquale of Do No Harm - cover

What would you get if you crossed a standard TV medical drama with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Well, Dr. Jason Cole is a highly respected neurosurgeon. Ian Price only comes out at night, to quote the old Hall & Oates song.

Steven Pasquale plays them both in Do No Harm, which debuts Thursday, Jan. 31 on NBC and CTV.

Jason and Ian are the same guy. Or at least, they inhabit the same body.

For years Jason has controlled Ian with a strong experimental sedative. But as Do No Harm begins, the drugs stop working and Ian quickly gets his groove back.

“Ultimately what we decided was we didn’t want to do the classic thing where one guy’s like a monster and really violently different than the other guy,” said Pasquale, who is best known to TV viewers for his role as Sean Garrity on Rescue Me.

“We wanted them to have a grey area behaviorally, so that all the other characters, when they intersect, it’s really interesting for the audience, because the audience knows that it’s Jason or Ian, but the other people (in the show) don’t.

“Of course they’re wired completely different and they have completely different personalities. But behaviorally speaking, you wouldn’t know that, you know what I mean? It’s not like we showed up and I was like, ‘So I’m thinking I’ll do Ian with a hump-back and a giant uni-brow.’ ”

Every night at precisely 8:25 p.m., something inside Jason changes. He becomes Ian, who is seductive, devious and borderline sociopathic. Then at 8:25 a.m., the change goes the other way.

Asked about the significance of 8:25, the creators of Do No Harm said it will become apparent as the series continues. But for now, with the drugs Jason was taking basically to debilitate his body every night no longer working, he and Ian are at a crossroads.

Ian is furious that he has been kept in check for all these years, and wants revenge. However, Ian also knows he can’t do anything seriously criminal, because if either personality gets thrown in jail, they both do.

“Ian’s a little bit like a cat,” said Do No Harm executive producer David Schulner. “The cat wants to play with that mouse. He doesn’t want to kill it, because what fun would that be?

“Jason is just as smart as Ian, though, and is sometimes two steps ahead of Ian. So there are traps in place, safeguards, fail-safes. It’s a constant cat-and-mouse chess game between the two of them.

“But Ian is not toothless. There’s a true danger to Jason. Ian truly is menacing, and that’s why Jason’s character needs to get rid of him.”

Certainly Do No Harm is a workload adjustment for Pasquale, who has gone from being part of an ensemble cast on Rescue Me to a show where he’s playing the two main characters and therefore is in virtually every scene.

So does Pasquale have a preference between playing Jason or Ian?

“Of course,” Pasquale said. “Ian doesn’t have to say any of that medical s—.

“Are you kidding? Jason has to say the hardest medical dialogue. Neurosurgery is no joke.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Mad Men season-six publicity pics released; Who’s in and who’s out?

- January 23rd, 2013

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AMC has announced that the sixth season of Mad Men will debut April 7.

Along with that news, the network has released four publicity pictures. It’s always fun to peruse such things, to see if you can deduce anything about the coming season. Who’s included? Who isn’t?

So here are the pics, one above and three below. Try not to be too distracted  by Pete Campbell‘s sideburns.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

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