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Dracula in The Middle of Ravenswood? Top 10 TV must-sees for the week

- October 20th, 2013

dracula-nbc-jonathan-rhys-meyers

Bill Harris TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 20:

1 Dracula
Series debut: The mysterious title character, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers from The Tudors, arrives in Victorian England, posing as an American entrepreneur keen on modern science.
When: Friday on NBC, Global

2 CSI
Marg Helgenberger returns as Catherine Willows for the 300th episode of this venerable series. Fittingly, the team works on a cold case that dates back to 2000.
When: Wednesday on CBS, CTV

3 Grimm
Third-season debut: Now that Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) knows about Nick (David Giuntoli), he can bring her into the fold as his powers – and the danger – have increased exponentially.
When: Friday on NBC, CTV

4 Canada’s Worst Driver Ever
The ninth season of Canada’s Worst Driver has added an extra word – ever – as nine notorious road terrors from past seasons return. Hosted by Andrew Younghusband.
When: Monday on Discovery

5 Witches of East End
Ingrid (Rachel Boston) struggles with the consequences of a spell, while Joanna (Julia Ormond) tries to uncover just who is framing her.
When: Sunday on Lifetime

6 The Illegal Eater
Series debut: Steven Page, formerly of Barenaked Ladies, investigates the kinds of underground restaurants where you go if you don’t have a million dollars.
When: Tuesday on Travel & Escape

7 Bones
After eight and a half seasons, you cordially are invited to the wedding of Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel).
When: Monday on Fox, Global

8 Ravenswood
This new spinoff series is set up in the Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars, which airs immediately prior to the debut of the new show. Tyler Blackburn and Nicole Gale Anderson star.
When: Tuesday on M3

9 The Middle
In the 100th episode of this underrated series, Frankie (Patricia Heaton) and Mike (Neil Flynn) agree to drive a giant cow float in their town’s 100th anniversary parade.
When: Wednesday on ABC, Friday on City

10 The Carrie Diaries
Second-season debut: Through a series of surprising events, the young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) meets one of the greatest friends of her life. Heads up, Sex and the City fans.
When: Friday on CW

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

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

Cyber-terrorism? We’re Cybergeddon it

- September 24th, 2012

missy peregrym 1

Delivery-wise, we’re Cybergeddon it, to put a 21st-century twist on an old Def Leppard song. But as always, content will determine if anyone wants to rock, er, watch.

A new digital drama series called Cybergeddon – starring Canadian Missy Peregrym (pictured above), who is best known for her starring role on Rookie Blue (Global, ABC) – debuts Tuesday, Sept. 25 exclusively on Yahoo! online, in more than 25 countries and in 10 languages.

Cybergeddon, from Anthony E. Zuiker (CSI), consists of nine digital chapters, rolled out at the pace of three per day, for three consecutive days.

Peregrym plays cyber-terrorism agent Chloe Jocelyn, who becomes a fugitive when she is accused of the types of serious cyber-crimes that she has dedicated her professional life to stopping.

There’s a cyber-trail a mile long pointing to Chloe’s guilt. But is she being set up? And is it all just a distraction for something bigger?

We have to say, Chloe’s cohorts are a little too quick to believe the worst of her. They’re the cyber-crime experts, supposedly, so they should know what’s possible in this realm, right? They burst into the mode of “we gotcha, punk” too rapidly for the sake of believability.

Also, I laughed out loud at the overt product placement for a certain anti-virus company.

All things considered, though, Cybergeddon is a slick, fast-paced endeavour. And Missy Peregrym, always easy on the eyes, gets to kick some serious butt, both cyber- and physical.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv