Make Canoe my Homepage

Dive into ‘Gotham’ with four new featurettes

- August 22nd, 2014

Fox clearly understands Batman fans simply can’t wait to finally set their eyes on Gotham in one month’s time.

With exactly 30 days until the premiere of their genre turned crime show centered on the life of Commissioner James “Jim” Gordon, the network has released four separate behind the scenes featurettes to, hopefully, hold fans attention until the first episode.

“Gotham is a show very much about the origin stores of some of the greatest super villains of the DC mythology,” creator/showrunner Bruno Heller (The Mentalist) explains in the first video.

It’s precisely the type of content super fans will be eager to watch in order to better understand the side channeling universe they’re about to enter.

The first video focuses solely on the mythology of the DC universe, and more specifically, the villains that inhabit it.

As much as Batman is a fantastic character, a super vigilante (remember readers, he’s technically not a super hero), it’s the anachronistic villains that draw attention back to the series time and time again.

Case in point: Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond.

The second video focuses on the heavily speculated young Bruce Wayne story arc.

Considering the show looks like it’s staying true to its Frank Miller roots, it’s a fair assumption that we can expect to see Year One storytelling elements woven into the show.

Of course, the four part series that has become a staple in the industry focused on Wayne’s evolution into Batman instead of focusing primarily on his childhood, but the murder of Wayne’s parents as the traumatic event that set forward the vigilante persona is discussed pretty heavily at length.

The third video is all about the “vibrant” ambiance of Heller’s Gotham, a stark contrast to the one portrayed in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, according to the showrunner.

“We talked about a city out of control, and our fantasy of 1970’s New York,” director/executive producer Danny Cannon said. “The films of Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men) and William Friedkin (The Exoricst): Graffiti everywhere, cops everywhere, corruption everywhere.”

The concept art certainly tells a vastly different story than Nolan’s, but that may be the exact ingredient the universe needs for a television reboot.

Since its announcement, the show has been compared to the Dark Knight trilogy, and as more information has become available over time, it’s abundantly clear Heller and his team have a unique perspective for the beloved detective stories.

The last video, and easily the most interesting one, paints a brief picture of the villains and heroes being introduced to the audience in the first season.

As we already knew, the story will focus on Gordon’s slow rise through the police force and the brutal crimes he encounters at the hands of manic murderers.

“People are starting to lose faith in law and order. Criminals are starting to run the streets. The craziness and the kind of theatrical projection that villains have in the DC world are just starting to show their faces,” Heller said.

From Catwoman to the Penguin, the villain origins are shaping up to be the most interesting part of the show, and like I said earlier, the main reason to return week after week.

I guess we’ll see if the show lives up to the hype in just 30 days.

Gotham premieres on Fox on September 22 at 8 p.m. EST.

McConaughey “True” winner at 30th annual TCA awards

- July 19th, 2014

Capture MM blog
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Matthew McConaughey’s aim was “True.” The critics say so.

Both personally for his portrayal of Rust Cohle and collectively for his dark TV series True Detective, McConaughey was one of the biggest winners at the 30th annual Television Critics Association awards, which took place late Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.

McConaughey won the TCA award for individual achievement in drama for his work on True Detective (HBO). The TCA award for outstanding achievement in movies, mini-series and specials also went to True Detective.

“People ask me, ‘Why did you go do True Detective, why did you go do TV?’ ” McConaughey said. “And I’ve said it before: Quality.”

After thanking his True Detective co-star Woody Harrelson, McConaughey added, “I want to say thank you to another guy I came to love and respect, and that’s Mr. Rustin Cohle we’re talking about here. Thank you Rustin for having a bull—t meter of zero. Thank you Rustin for giving more of a damn about the truth than yourself. I do hope one day that Rustin Cohle takes it easy on himself, but I doubt that’s gonna happen. And if it doesn’t, I say Rustin, give ‘em hell. But either way, I’m gonna miss that guy. I’m gonna miss Rustin Cohle.”

Outstanding achievement in drama (series) went to The Good Wife (CBS).

Individual achievement in comedy went to Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep (HBO).

“I’d like to thank the television critics, all of them, and I’ll tell you why,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “I love being criticized – positively. And I guess that’s what this is.

“And I think it’s pretty groovy to be in a co-ed group (the TCA categories don’t separate actors and actresses). It’s kind of like having that co-ed bathroom in your dorm. At first it’s shocking, but then you get used to it.”

Outstanding achievement in comedy (series) was a tie between Veep (HBO) and Louie (FX).

Program of the year went to Breaking Bad (AMC), for the second consecutive year.

“Thank you to all the TCA members, because in the beginning, we had these big yellow signs in Albuquerque saying, ‘Parking for Breaking Bad this way,’ and nobody cared,” said Bryan Cranston, who played lead character Walter White. “We were a little show in the desert making this story about a man who contracts cancer who decides to cook crystal meth. That’s such a bad idea, I don’t blame HBO for saying no. But we’re very thankful to AMC, who was desperate.

“This group has been fantastic to work with,” added Cranston, who was joined on stage by co-star Aaron Paul, creator Vince Gilligan and others. “And this is the last time we will be seeing you up here. Without you getting the word out about our little show, we’re not up here, we’re not on any stage, we’re nowhere. It’s a little sad saying goodbye, but this is it, thank you so much.”

Outstanding new program went to Orange is the New Black (Netflix).

Outstanding achievement in news and information went to Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Fox).

Outstanding achievement in reality programming went to RuPaul’s Drag Race (Logo).

Outstanding achievement in youth programming went to The Fosters (ABC Family).

The career achievement award went to legendary series creator and director James Burrows, who consistently has worked on the biggest comedies in television dating back to the 1970s.

The heritage award was given to Saturday Night Live (NBC) for its long-running cultural and social impact.

The TCA awards were hosted by actor and comedian Terry Crews from the Fox series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

OLYMPIC MYSTERY

Special Olympics athlete Kevin James and several other Special Olympics basketball players will showcase their skills on the court in a new episode of The Listener airing Monday on CTV. James, who is from Oakville, Ont., has a speaking role in the episode.

The main plot centres on a Special Olympics hoops coach named Emma (Rayisa Kondracki) whose father is killed during a home invasion. As Toby (Craig Olejnik) and Michelle (Lauren Lee Smith) investigate, they discover that Emma’s dad led a double life, and now Emma herself could be in imminent danger.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 

The Listener is Undateable ’cause he’s on The Night Shift with Derek? TV must-sees for the week of May 25

- May 25th, 2014

Capture undateable

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of May 25

1 Undateable
Debut with back-to-back episodes: The premise in this sitcom from Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town) is that all of us go through stages where we’re undateable. For some it just lasts longer. Chris D’Elia stars.
When: Thursday on NBC

2 The Normal Heart
Debut: Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch and Jim Parsons star in this powerful drama about the onset of the then-mysterious AIDS-HIV crisis in New York City in the early 1980s.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

3 The Night Shift
Debut: Not another movie about late-night TV, I pray. Oh, wait, this is a scripted hospital drama about the men and women who work through the wee hours. With Eoin Macken and Jill Flint.
When: Tuesday on NBC, Global

4 Derek
Second-season debut: Ricky Gervais is back as Derek Noakes in this bittersweet series about a retirement-home worker whose caring attitude provides acute moments of comedy and sadness.
When: Friday on Netflix

5 The Listener
Fifth-season debut: Snakes on a plane! Well, not quite. But snakes on a body? Toby (Craig Olejnik) investigates a serial killer who has a habit of leaving snakes with his victims. Ewww.
When: Monday on CTV

6 The Sixties
Debut: Documentary series executive-produced by Tom Hanks kicks off with an episode titled Television Comes of Age, looking at shows such as The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive and Laugh-In.
When: Thursday on CNN

7 MasterChef
Sixth-season debut: Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot return as judges on the American version, coming off the successful rookie season of the Canadian version.
When: Monday on Fox, CTV

8 Motive
Second-season finale: When a major case from the past resurfaces, it may prompt Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) and Sergeant Mark Cross (Warren Christie) to come clean about their history.
When: Thursday on CTV

9 Crossbones
Debut: You have to wonder if we’ve reached the saturation point with all this historic/fake-historic/fake-historic-with-magic TV. Anyway, this stars John Malkovich as the pirate Blackbeard.
When: Friday on NBC, Global

10 So You Think You Can Dance?
Eleventh-season debut: Justin Bieber will be introducing a new “dance crews” component and encouraging viewers to vote through Twitter. Bieber’s bits were shot in Cannes. That sounds dirty.
When: Wednesday on Fox, CTV

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Message to the Corner Gas movie: Please don’t suck

- May 20th, 2014

corner gas movie

I guess my first reaction to official confirmation of an upcoming Corner Gas movie is the same as my reaction when I heard Trailer Park Boys was coming back: Please don’t suck.

We don’t have many TV hits in Canada, particularly in comedy. Legacies are rare, so we don’t need them tarnished. Shot and set in Saskatchewan, Corner Gas holds a unique spot as a big-network show that a lot of people actually watched in its original sitcom run from 2004 to 2009 on CTV.

Ironically, all those ordinary Canadians watching network TV who made Corner Gas a hit in the first place will be the last ones to see this new project. It’ll be in theatres late this year, then it will get an exclusive run on pay channel The Movie Network (both CTV and TMN are owned by Bell Media), before finally coming to the wider audience on CTV.

But, EVERYONE has been “invited” to help pay for the Corner Gas movie through a “kickstarter” campaign, you lucky Dog River dogs.

Anyway, production begins June 23 in Rouleau, Sask. The pressure will be on series creator and star Brent Butt, along with co-writers Andrew Carr and Andrew Wreggitt, and director David Storey, to make sure the tank isn’t empty. The good news is that, in addition to Butt, the entire main original cast returns (Nancy Robertson, Fred Ewanuick, Gabrielle Miller, Eric Peterson, Janet Wright, Lorne Cardinal and Tara Spencer-Nairn).

You can understand why TV networks and movie studios look to the past with fondness, since the present is scary and the future is scarier. Fictitious network executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin) said one time on 30 Rock that NBC was researching a way to “make it 1997 again through science or magic.” So CTV going back to something such as Corner Gas is comfortable, in a sense. There haven’t been any hit Canadian sitcoms to take its place since it went off the air.

But these things don’t always work out wonderfully. Kiefer Sutherland’s 24 came back to Fox and Global recently as a “limited-run series” after a four-year absence, and the ratings have been mediocre. Not a total disaster, but far from the big deal for which Fox was hoping. The new 24 is decent, but it appears the world has moved on a bit.

Regardless, as a Corner Gas fan, the first step is that the Corner Gas movie just can’t suck. That would be tragic. Over to you, Brent. Check the oil.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Modern Family gets Cook’d in a Labyrinth; TV must-sees for the week of May 18

- May 16th, 2014

rookie blue small

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of May 18

1 Rookie Blue
Fifth-season debut: Andy (Missy Peregrym) and Dov (Greg Smith) try to pull themselves together at a diner, but let’s just say some Pulp Fiction-style complications ensue.
When: Monday on Global

2 Labyrinth
Debut: A four-hour historical Holy Grail-themed mini-series airing over two nights, starring Jessica Brown-Findlay, who played the ill-fated Lady Sybil Crawley on Downton Abbey.
When: Thursday and Friday on CW

3 Modern Family
Fifth-season finale: Wedding-day chaos threatens everything, but an unexpected turn of events gives Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) the ceremony they’ve dreamed about.
When: Wednesday on ABC, City

4 Last Comic Standing
Eighth-season debut: The new judges are Russell Peters, Roseanne Barr and Keenen Ivory Wayans. The new host is J.B. Smoove. But it’s the competitors who’ll have to be funny.
When: Thursday on NBC

5 Cook’d
Debut: Kids can be the pickiest eaters in the world, so why not make a TV show about it? Each week celebrity chefs prepare meals in the hopes of impressing a panel of jaded juvenile judges.
When: Tuesday on YTV

6 Gang Related
Debut: An action drama centring on Detective Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez), a rising star on L.A.’s gang task force whose gang connections might be a little too good, if you know what I mean.
When: Thursday on Fox

7 Buy It Fix It Sell It
Debut with back-to-back episodes: More “junk TV,” so to speak. Pro “fixers” battle over auction items that need just a little love before hopefully becoming money-making masterpieces.
When: Friday on HGTV

8 Shannon and Sophie
Debut with back-to-back episodes: This essentially is a delayed spinoff of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, starring Gene’s wife, model/actress Shannon Tweed, and their daughter Sophie.
When: Tuesday on W

9 The Middle
One-hour fifth-season finale: After Sue (Eden Sher) wins a family trip, the Hecks must overcome a series of setbacks if they want to enjoy their time at Walt Disney World.
When: Wednesday on ABC

10 The Maya Rudolph Show
Debut: Yet another attempt to revive the so-called variety-show format that basically has been co-opted by all the late-night dudes. Rudolph is joined by Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell and more.
When: Monday on NBC

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv