Make Canoe my Homepage

Hockey is leaving, but Mr. D., Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland and Republic of Doyle are “on side” at CBC

- April 4th, 2014

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Amid the uncertainty of a reduced-hockey existence, Mr. D, Murdoch Mysteries, Republic of Doyle and Heartland are the scripted comedies and dramas that officially have been renewed by CBC.

Also on the list of renewals, which was released Friday, was Dragons’ Den (which had been confirmed previously with the announcement that new Dragons Michael Wekerle and Vikram Vij are replacing the departing Kevin O’Leary and Bruce Croxon), The Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Fifth Estate, The Nature of Things, Doc Zone, Marketplace, Just For Laughs, Steven and Chris, and Winnipeg/Halifax Comedy Festival.

New series include Schitt’s Creek (with Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara), Strange Empire, Canada’s Smartest Person and Of All Places.

Prior to this announcement, the news had circulated that The Ron James Show, Arctic Air and Cracked have been cancelled by CBC.

Late last year it was announced that Rogers has purchased Canadian rights to NHL games, beginning next season. Hockey Night in Canada will continue as a staple on CBC on Saturday nights for at least four years, but the broadcast will be controlled by Rogers, and there are no guarantees beyond that four-year window.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

From Red John and the Challenger to Cosby and Cracked; TV must-sees for the week

- November 24th, 2013

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Nov. 24

1 The Challenger Disaster
Debut: Made-for-TV movie about the controversial commission that investigated the infamous 1986 space-shuttle tragedy. Cast includes William Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bruce Greenwood and Brian Dennehy.
When: Sunday on Discovery

2 The Mentalist
After a 10-year pursuit, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) finally comes face to face with Red John, the killer who murdered his wife and daughter. Well, it’s about damn time.
When: Sunday on CBS, CTV Two

3 How I Met Your Mother
Titled Bedtime Stories, this has been billed as a special rhyming episode told in three tales: Mosby at the Bat; Robin Takes the Cake; and Barney Stinson, Player King of New York City.
When: Monday on CBS, City

4 Ja’mie: Private School Girl
Debut: Another comic installment from Australian Chris Lilley, who reprises his role as schoolgirl Ja’mie. But now she’s far away from her familiar stomping grounds at Summer Heights High.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

5 The Secret Disco Revolution
Documentary about the dominant music genre of the 1970s features the Village People, Gloria Gaynor, the Trammps, Kool and the Gang and K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Shake your booty.
When: Tuesday on Bravo

6 Murdoch Mysteries
Doesn’t that Newfoundlander on the run from the law look a lot like Jake Doyle from Republic of Doyle? It is, in fact, the man who plays Jake, Allan Hawco, guest-starring as one of Jake’s ancestors.
When: Monday on CBC

7 Bill Cosby: Far From Finished
Debut: This new standup special from the 76-year-old sweater-wearing, Jell-o Pudding Pop-eating comedy legend was filmed last summer in Los Angeles.
When: Saturday on Comedy

8 Cracked
Second-season finale: Dr. Clara Malone (Brooke Nevin) initiates an experimental therapy that explains the voices a young man is hearing in his head, which in turn leads to a peril-filled climax.
When: Monday on CBC

9 Getting On
Debut: Six-episode dark and candid medical comedy about a hospital unit in California that cares for elderly patients. Stars Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein and Niecy Nash.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

10 Sleepy Hollow
Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) come across a Colonial-era house – or, as Ichabod calls it, “new” – that is hiding long-dormant evil. You know, like all old houses do.
When: Monday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Brooke Nevin cracks Cracked for season two on CBC

- September 26th, 2013

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There are criminals, and then there are complex criminals, according to Brooke Nevin of Cracked.

“Certainly people who have mental issues represent a particular sort of criminality, more complicated than your run-of-the-mill burglar,” Nevin says. And exploring those nuances is exactly what her new character does in the second season of Cracked, which debuts Monday, Sept. 30 on CBC.

Cracked stars David Sutcliffe (pictured above right) as Detective Aidan Black, who himself is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Nevin (above left) – a Canadian actress who you’ll recall from her regular roles on Breakout Kings and Call Me Fitz, as well as tons of episodic TV work in Canada and the U.S. – joins Cracked as Dr. Clara Malone, a new member of the psych-crimes team.

It’s not as if Dr. Malone applies for the job in a direct way. A crime at the facility where she’s working first puts her into contact with Det. Black, and it becomes clear she might have a liking for this line of work.

“I join the psych-crimes unit as a new forensic psychiatrist, so I lend my knowledge and expertise, not coming from a cop background, but from a very medically based background, and also having dealt with some criminals in the past,” Nevin explains.

“What I love about Cracked is, it’s a procedural, but it’s still very human-based. We’re not dealing only with the inhumanity of psychotic killers and sociopaths and some of the darker aspects. It’s bringing to light the grey areas that occur when people with mental illness are thrust into situations that are crisis points.”

Of course, everyone has dealt with some sort of trauma in their lives.

“But where trauma begins and ends is, how much do you keep on the inside?” Nevin observes.

Whoa. Deep. Nothing Cracked about logic like that.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

“Dick Wolf girl” Stefanie von Pfetten gets cracking on Cracked

- December 6th, 2012

Luisa d’Oliveira, Dayo Ade, Stefanie von Pfetten, Karen LeBlanc, David Sutcliffe

To borrow the title of an old Duran Duran song, Stefanie von Pfetten was “Hungry Like the Wolf” for her new TV series Cracked.

Debuting Jan. 8 on CBC, Cracked is a drama inspired by the real-life experiences of police officers and mental-health professionals.

The two main characters are a psychologically “cracked” cop played by David Sutcliffe, and his partner, a psychiatrist on active police duty played by von Pfetten (pictured in the centre above with her castmates, and below).

“Beat cops actually are paired up with mental-health professionals on the street now,” von Pfetten said. “And 30% of crimes are committed by people with mental illness, so they’ve brought in the psychological nurses and psychologists to educate the police and de-stigmatize mental illness.

“So that’s what my character does. That’s what she is passionate about.”

According to von Pfetten, she was cast in the role of Dr. Daniella Ridley on tape, without previously having met the creator or producers of Cracked. So, Stefanie – and you don’t have to be modest – what do you think they saw in you?

“Okay … well … all I know is, nine years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, I met with an agent at William Morris,” recalled von Pfetten, a Canadian. “And he looked at me, he didn’t take me on, but he said, ‘Stefanie, you’re a Dick Wolf girl.’

“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘You can do smart and pretty very well.’ ”

Wolf, of course, is the godfather of police procedurals, including the Law & Order franchise.

“One doesn’t find it often to see a female character on television who is powerful and kind and smart at the same time,” von Pfetten added, talking specifically about her role on Cracked.

“I think I am able to do that balance, I’m good at those roles, but I’ve never really had a chance to play it. I’ve been acting for 15 years, so it’s time.”

Indeed, von Pfetten was hungry for this role – in a fortune-telling kind of way – long before it actually existed.

“Do you know what else I have to tell you? I wrote this down, this specific role, I wrote it down in my diary four years ago,” von Pfetten said. “I’m not joking. I kid you not.

“I said, ‘I want to play a cross between Mariska Hargitay (who plays Olivia Benson) and Wong (played by George Huang) on Law & Order: SVU. So that’s a homicide detective and the forensic psychiatrist in the special victims unit. And I wanted it to be a show that had, you know, heinous crimes of a psychological nature.

“I wrote it down. And four years later – well, three and a half – it happened. Everyone in my life was like, ‘Oh my God,’ because I would talk about it all the time. And then I got the call.”

Geez, Stefanie, did you also happen to write down any lottery numbers?

“Acting is like gambling, it’s not a meritocracy,” von Pfetten said with a laugh. “So to me, this is winning the lottery.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Stefanie von Pfetten of Cracked