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Bomb Girls consult The Audience about Surviving Jack; TV must-sees for the week of March 23

- March 23rd, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 23

1 Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy
Finale: In a two-hour made-for-TV movie to wrap up this previously cancelled series, it’s the spring of 1943, and Gladys (Jodi Balfour, pictured above right) covertly is recruited to sniff out a traitorous saboteur working at Victory Munitions.
When: Thursday on Global

2 Girls
Third-season finale: Self-obsessed Hannah (Lena Dunham) gets some news that could change the direction of her stalled career on the very day that her boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) is set to debut on Broadway.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

3 Surviving Jack
Debut: It’s the early 1990s – that’s what the music tells us, anyway – in this sitcom about a gruff dad, played by Christopher Meloni, who suddenly must take more of a day-to-day interest in the lives of his teenage kids.
When: Thursday on Fox, CTV

4 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
First-season finale: An investigation by Jake (Andy Samberg) into a popular civic leader is shut down by higher-ups. When Jake won’t drop it, there could be serious consequences – well, “sitcom serious,” anyway.
When: Tuesday on Fox, City

5 Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge
Debut: Cookie Monster had to start somewhere. This reality-competition series sees 10 hopeful innovators vying for jobs in magical Muppet-land. One of the judges is Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson.
When: Tuesday on Space

6 Kroll Show
Second-season finale: Sketches include the PR tag team known as PubLizity (Kroll and Jenny Slate) organizing a red-carpet gala for Blisteritos. Also, C-Czar graduates from Dad Academy and Rich Dicks throw a party.
When: Tuesday on Much

7 Kids’ Choice Awards
Live: This 27th annual event is hosted by Mark Wahlberg, who is no kid any more. But the focus of the evening will be all those pop-culture things that most adults likely don’t understand, and the second you do understand them, they’re passe.
When: Saturday on YTV, Nickelodeon

8 Charley Boorman’s Extreme Frontiers: South Africa
Debut: As a follow-up to his cross-country adventures in Canada, Boorman and producer/director Russ Malkin embark upon a similar trek in distinctly different territory. To sum up, fewer polar bears, more tigers.
When: Wednesday on Discovery World

9 Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan
Second-season debut: The host embarks upon a Kenyan safari to track down the aggressive and deadly giant spitting cobra. And for anyone who didn’t see the first season, yes, Monaghan is doing this on purpose.
When: Tuesday on OLN

10 The Audience
Debut: Faced with life-changing decisions, individuals volunteer to have their situations scrutinized by 50 strangers. At the end of each episode, a verdict is delivered. Because group choices always are the best choices … right?
When: Thursday on W

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Yannick Bisson joins mod squad on Allan Hawco’s Republic of Doyle

- January 27th, 2014

Yannick Bisson and Allan Hawco, two

Yannick Bisson and Allan Hawco in a fist fight! Must be one doughnut left at the CBC cafeteria, right?

Instead, the fisticuffs occur in the opening few minutes of a new episode of Republic of Doyle, airing Wednesday, Jan. 29 on CBC.

The fact that Hawco (above right) is appearing on the Newfoundland-set Republic of Doyle is not a surprise to anyone, since he’s the creator and star of the series, playing lead character Jake Doyle. But Bisson (above left) is the star of another CBC series, playing Det. William Murdoch on Murdoch Mysteries.

This is the back end of a crossover arrangement between the two shows, which has been particularly fun because while Republic of Doyle takes place in modern times, Murdoch Mysteries is set in Toronto in the early 1900s.

Last November, Hawco was on Murdoch Mysteries, playing Jacob Doyle, an ancestor of Jake Doyle. Now on Republic of Doyle, Bisson is appearing as Bill Murdoch, a descendant of William Murdoch.

This new episode of Republic of Doyle begins with Des (Mark O’Brien) having purchased the contents of an unclaimed storage locker – you know, the kind of thing you’d see on Storage Wars Canada. But what Des and Jake find in the locker causes them to cross paths with Toronto cop Bill Murdoch (Bisson), who is in Newfoundland to pursue a strange kidnapping case.

Nothing ever is as it seems on Republic of Doyle, though, and Jake’s not sure this alleged mainland cop is telling the whole truth.

“Who the hell are you?” Jake Doyle says to Bill Murdoch when the two of them first set eyes upon each other. Bill Murdoch, pointing a gun at Jake Doyle, replies, “Who are you?” The next thing you know, punches are being thrown.

No need to fight, guys. These crossover episodes have worked quite well, and Canada has plenty of doughnuts to go around.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

From Storage Wars Canada to Lady Gaga; TV’s must-sees this week

- August 25th, 2013

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Here are the top 10 TV must-sees for the coming week:

1 Storage Wars Canada

Series debut: A Canadian version of the popular reality franchise, where potential buyers have mere minutes to scan the contents of abandoned storage units before making bids. Figure Canadians aren’t as obsessed with junk as Americans? Think again.

When: Thursday on OLN

2 Covert Affairs

Fourth-season debut: After three years of emotional tension between lead character Annie Walker, played by Piper Perabo, and co-worker Auggie Anderson, played by Christopher Gorham, a romance is blooming.

When: Wednesday on Showcase

3 The March

Documentary debut: A look back at a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement, when a massive demonstration on Aug. 28, 1963 ended with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

When: Tuesday on PBS

4 Breaking Bad

Only six episodes remain, counting this one. If you watched last weekend, you know that Hank (Dean Norris) is about to have what we assume will be a very intense and interesting conversation with Jesse (Aaron Paul).

When: Sunday on AMC

5 Canadian Pickers

Fourth-season debut: Scott Cozens and Sheldon Smithens travel across Canada again in search of forgotten treasures. This season also sees a trip to the U.K., as the guys pursue a collection they have coveted for 15 years,

When: Monday on History

6 King and Maxwell

Canadian debut: Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn star as lead characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. They’re private investigators who are rebuilding their careers after being fired as Secret Service agents.

When: Tuesday on Showcase

7 Under the Dome

Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) uncovers the shocking truth about her husband’s mysterious disappearance while Maxine (Natalie Zea) reveals to Barbie (Mike Vogel) how she plans to take control of Chester’s Mill.

When: Monday on CBS, Global

8 The Listener

Fourth-season finale: After shooting and killing a suspect, Toby (Craig Olejnik) struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. Hey, if Toby can’t make sense of his own thoughts, how is he supposed to make sense of other people’s thoughts?

When: Wednesday on CTV

9 The Newsroom

Rebecca (Marcia Gay Harden) continues to collect depositions from staff to piece together the network’s fateful decision to go ahead with a special report on Operation Genoa that is threatening to ruin multiple careers.

When: Sunday on HBO Canada

10 MTV Video Music Awards

Lady Gaga will open the show with a performance of her new single Applause. We’ll see if she gets any. Other scheduled performers include Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Kanye West, Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus.

When: Sunday on MTV, MuchMusic

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

There are no “dumb chicks” on Storage Wars Canada

- August 23rd, 2013

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Early in the first episode of Storage Wars Canada, Ursula Stolf – known as “The Knockout” – has this to say about her strategy:

“Often times when people see me, they take one look and they think, ‘Okay, dumb chick,’ ” says Ursula, who is pictured above, third from right.

“Well, let them think that. Because I’ve got the look and I’m gonna work it. I hope they underestimate me. They won’t know what’s coming.”

Ursula is one of the six stars of Storage Wars Canada, which debuts Thursday, Aug. 29 on OLN. It’s a Canadian version of the popular reality series, where real-life buyers bid against each other for real-life abandoned storage units.

If people don’t keep up the rent on their storage units, they become fair game after a shockingly short amount of time. Auctions are held, and potential buyers have only a few minutes to examine what’s in a unit from the vantage point of the open door, without stepping foot inside.

Sometimes the units contain hidden treasures. Other times, well, not so much. The key is knowing the difference and ultimately turning a profit.

Here’s a closer look at the six people (making up four separate bidding teams) that you’ll be following on Storage Wars Canada.

Ursula Stolf – “The Knockout”
Best Deal: Bought a pair of $1,500 boots for $65, resold them for $600.
Motto: “Don’t tell me I can’t, ’cause I can; and don’t tell me I won’t, ’cause I will.”

Cindy Hayden and Rick Coffill – “The Veterans”
Best Deal: Bought a $1,350 locker and found an antique diamond ring worth $50,000.
Motto: Cindy says, “I’m usually a good girl, but if you cross that line at an auction, I’m coming after you.”

Roy Dirnbeck – “The Instigator”
Best Deal: Bought a locker for $3,200 that contained a $17,000 Rolex.
Motto: “You know what, Canada? Start paying your bills or I’m gonna own your s—!”

Paul and Bogart Kenny – “The High Roller and The Kid”
Best Deal: Bought a china set for $750 and resold it for $30,000.
Motto: Paul says, “My wife tells me, ‘Don’t be caustic, sarcastic or demeaning to anybody today.’ Sometimes I make it through the day, sometimes I don’t.”

The four teams each have roles to play for the purposes of hopefully making an interesting TV show. Ursula is the newbie. Cindy and Rick are the cagey ones. Roy is the jerk, no disrespect intended. And Paul and Bogart represent classic father-son tension.

In the series premiere, the buyers travel to Aurora, Ont., a town where all they do is “play golf and count their money,” according to auctioneer Don Reinhart. Ursula quickly learns that “there are no friends at auction.” But then again, the same thing can be said for just about any competitive endeavour

While people basically are the same everywhere, as Storage Wars Canada continues, it’ll be interesting to see if there are general or specific differences between what you might find in an abandoned Canadian storage locker and what you’d uncover in an American unit. More hockey gear and snowmobiles in Canada? More guns and motorcycle parts in the U.S.?

Either way, no matter what you’re bidding on, you never should underestimate anyone when there’s money at stake. As Ursula Stolf knows, even the prettiest faces have eyes for value on Storage Wars Canada.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

“Wild Things, I think I love you,” says Dominic Monaghan

- January 15th, 2013

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Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan isn’t only about insects. But Dominic Monaghan does want to put a bug in your ear.

“It irks me, to say the least, when people just dismiss them or kill them,”   Monaghan said. “A spider, ew, they kill it.

“It wasn’t doing anything to you. It doesn’t really know you exist. It wants to be in shadow, it has come out into the light, it’s trying to get back into shadow, and for some reason you think it’s coming to kill you. It’s not, it’s just trying to find a safe place where it can stay alive.

“I’m just keen on breaking the myths that a lot of people think about insects, which is that for some reason they’re out to get us, that they’re evil little animals who wake up in the morning and say, ‘Kill the humans!’ That’s not their path.”

Monaghan, an actor well-known for his roles in Lost and The Lord of the Rings, is passionate about all kinds of animals. Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan – which debuts Monday, Jan. 21 on OLN – is an extension of Monaghan’s regular life, and even his home movies.

Wild Things essentially is the way I’ve always vacationed as an adult,” Monaghan said. “I’ll usually look for an animal I’m interested in seeing, and then I’ll go to that particular place. That was the pitch (for Wild Things) that I gave out to companies.

“The show obviously has a deep correlation with the natural world, but it’s also a little bit of a travelogue, mixed with some food, it’s just about me and what I did.”

And it’s not just about the creepie-crawlies, even if Monaghan doesn’t find them creepy.

“We obviously used a lot of insects in the show as target animals because I’m a big fan of the underdog and the misunderstood,” Monaghan said. “They’re easy to find and they’re everywhere. But we also do a lot of stuff about snakes and lizards and certain types of mammals. If we find it, we usually film it.

“But as an order of animals, insects are the most important on the planet, by such a huge degree. The only thing that distinguishes us, humans, making us think that we’re in any way important is our ability to create art and technology. Apart from that, we’re the most destructive species on the planet. Worms and beetles, they create the planet, they continue to allow it to live and breathe.”

So if Wild Things speaks directly to Monaghan’s interests, has acting been something of a diversion?

“I always wanted to be an actor, but like a lot of people, I’m a lot of things,” Monaghan said. “I’m a huge (English) football fan. I’m a fan of food and travel and animals and movies. This is just one of the other things I’m passionate about, although you probably see more of me, because I’m not playing a character.

“If someone didn’t like me in Lost, I could say, ‘Well, they didn’t like Charlie.’ But if they don’t like this, then they probably don’t like me. That’s what I have to come to terms with.”

No worries, Dominic. You’re as likeable as a spider.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv