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Lindsay Lohan hears Sirens in Wild Canada; must-sees for the week of March 9

- March 9th, 2014

RESURRECTION-Season-1-Cast-PHoto

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 9:

1 Resurrection
Debut (pictured above): One of the most buzzed-about shows of 2014, with Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher starring in a tale about loved ones coming back many years after they disappeared, without having aged.
When: Sunday on ABC, City

2 True Detective
First-season finale: Gripping series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson has been razor-sharp and crazy intense from the get-go. Hard to predict how it’s going to end, but I’m betting not well.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

3 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Debut: Meant as a successor to the Carl Sagan science series, Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane is one of the executive producers behind this new four-channel project. Hey, Stewie had a time machine, so that’s science-y.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild

4 Sirens
Canadian debut: Adapted from a British show, this is a foul-mouthed but funny American series about paramedics and cops, executive produced and co-written by foul-mouthed but funny American Denis Leary (Rescue Me).
When: Thursday on Comedy

5 Believe
Debut: Created by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), this story focuses on a young girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) who was born with special abilities and now needs protection. Kind of Heroes meets Touch.
When: Monday on NBC, CTV Two

6 Wild Canada
Debut: From the makers of Human Planet and Planet Earth, this is a four-part natural-history documentary series using the latest in camera technology to explore our nation’s sweeping terrain and diverse species.
When: Thursday on CBC

7 Working the Engels
Debut: Starring Kacey Rohl, Azura Skye, Benjamin Arthur and SCTV’s Andrea Martin, this sitcom is about dysfunctional relatives who must unite to run the family law firm when the patriarch passes away.
When: Wednesday on Global

8 Canadian Screen Awards
Hosted by Martin Short, this is the Canadian TV and film industry’s annual “everybody gets a trophy” soiree. There’s less hardware handed out at an average kids’ soccer tournament, and that’s saying something.
When: Sunday on CBC

9 Cache Craze
Season-two debut: Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes Alex Bilodeau, Rosie MacLennan and Benoit Huot participate in this adventure series based on the GPS-aided game called “geo-caching.” Um, did they do this in Sochi?
When: Tuesday on YTV

10 Lindsay
Debut: From filmmaker Amy Rice, this documentary series follows fallen actress Lindsay Lohan through yet another period of crisis and recovery, and crisis and recovery, and crisis and recovery. And crisis.
When: Sunday on OWN

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Graceland moves to the West Coast – what would Elvis think?

- June 3rd, 2013

grace

The new series Graceland has nothing directly to do with Elvis Presley.

Rather, it focuses on a California beachfront house where undercover agents from three organizations – the FBI, the DEA and U.S. Customs – share accommodations.

The place got its nickname because it was seized from a drug lord who was a hardcore Elvis fan. Graceland, of course, is what Elvis called his mansion in Memphis, Tenn.

“I had gone through several titles – the working title was Safe House, which I thought was a little dull,” said Jeff Eastin, the creator and executive producer of Graceland.

“For a while there was going to be a big velvet Elvis hanging in the foyer, but we decided that wasn’t a good idea.”

Debuting across Canada Thursday, June 6 on Bravo, Graceland is inspired by a true story, or at the very least, a true living arrangement. It stars Aaron Tveit (pictured above left) as a brilliant but typically green FBI rookie and Daniel Sunjata (pictured above right) as a brilliant but typically mysterious FBI veteran.

Having just graduated at the top of his class, Mike Warren (Tveit) anticipates a traditional desk job in Washington, D.C. But he suddenly and unexpectedly is shipped to Graceland in California.

Immediately thrown into his first undercover assignment, Mike relies heavily on the guidance of would-be mentor Paul Briggs (Sunjata).

Mike’s posting at Graceland seems merely to be a temporary thing, as another FBI agent who had been living there was injured in the line of duty. Things might not be as random as they look, though.

“I don’t think this is typical television story-telling,” Tveit said. “As the arc of the whole season develops, a lot of things that you don’t necessarily expect to happen are going to happen.”

Tveit is known not only for his role as Tripp van der Bilt in Gossip Girl but also for the 2012 film version of Les Miserables, in which he played Enjolras.

“It has been a crazy year, actually,” Tveit said. “I got this job (Graceland) and I got ‘Les Miz’ two days apart last year. It has been really special to have both of them at the same time.”

Graceland also features Vanessa Ferlito as Catherine (Charlie) Lopez, Brandon Jay McLaren as Dale Jakes, Manny Montana as Joe (Johnny) Tuturro and Serinda Swan as Paige Arkin.

The five people living in the house when Mike arrives all are a little too cool for school, and at moments Mike is a tad too nerdy to be completely believable as someone who has gone through FBI training.

However, the pilot episode of Graceland gets better as it goes along, and once it moves from the personal to the professional, there are some intriguing “what would you do?” moments.

“Obviously if you get a bunch of ‘Type A’ personalities in the same room, especially living in the same house, that’s going to create conflict, and conflict is excellent television,” said Sunjata, who is best known for his role as Franco Rivera in Rescue Me.

“(Graceland) doesn’t just lay all the cards on the table immediately. It’s a house full of people who lie for a living, and whose very lives depend on their ability to keep their lies straight.”

In other words, think of Graceland as a show about people with suspicious minds.

Maybe it’s not too late to dig out the velvet Elvis.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

elvis

 

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