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Signed, Sealed, Delivered follows the “letters” of the law

- April 19th, 2014

 

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, cast pic

In real life, traditional mail delivery is dying in many communities across Canada and the U.S.

Alas, if only budgets allowed for the impossibly dedicated postal employees who are characterized on Signed, Sealed, Delivered, a new series that debuts Sunday, April 20 on M3 in Canada and on the Hallmark Channel (the show’s network of origin) in the United States.

I have to say, Signed, Sealed, Delivered has a unique tone to it. It’s kind of funny, kind of serious, kind of sad, kind of dangerous, kind of corny, kind of sweet, kind of romantic, kind of modern and kind of retro, with a Scooby-Doo mentality holding it all together.

After a made-for-TV movie aired last year, it was decided to expand Signed, Sealed, Delivered to a series, the first season of which consists of 10 episodes. It stars Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Kristin Booth (The Kennedys), Crystal Lowe (Smallville) and Geoff Gustafson (Primeval: New World) as civil servants who transform themselves into an elite team of dead-letter detectives.

For example, in the first episode of Signed, Sealed Delivered, a legendary postal supervisor – played by Valerie Harper – oversees the unraveling of a mystery behind a letter from a young boy whose life is in danger. The letter is addressed merely to “Gramma,” and the team must identify both the grandmother and the grandson before it’s too late.

Shot in Vancouver, Signed, Sealed, Delivered was created by Martha Williamson, who also was behind the long-running Touched By An Angel. Generally, if not specifically, there are some similarities, I suppose. Signed, Sealed, Delivered tugs at the heartstrings, but bad guys get caught and loved ones are reunited.

In that way, Signed, Sealed, Delivered brings a whole new meaning to “going postal.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Hoser hottie Tim Warmels of The Bachelor Canada reminds me of Apu

- April 17th, 2014

Final capture copy

Wait, don’t all successful entrepreneurs have hot- and cold-running chicks anyway? Like a beverage counter at a Kwik-E-Mart?

OK, maybe I watch too much TV.

Point being, Citytv announced Thursday that Toronto entrepreneur Tim Warmels is the hoser hottie for season two of The Bachelor Canada. The series will air in the fall.

Warmels is a 28-year-old native of Campbellville, Ont., and a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. After moving to Toronto to prove himself as an investment banker, Warmels now has a number of tech ventures and his own boutique contracting business.

In his spare time, he enjoys writing, travelling, modelling and working with his hands building custom furniture and renovating his home.

My God, did you ever see that episode of The Simpsons when Apu gets dragged into participating at a “bachelor auction?” When, in his classic accent, Apu says, “In my spare time I like to build furniture and then to have a discussion about where to put it in a room,” all the women start to droll.

Maybe Tim Warmels’ REAL name is Tim Nahasapeemapetilon. It certainly will bring new meaning to Tim and one of his sexy ladies ducking out for a “Kwik-E.”

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

I see a red door and I want it painted (Orphan) Black

- April 14th, 2014

Orphan_Black_Season_2_First_Look_FINAL-1024x576

Orphan Black. Orange is the New Black. The Blacklist.

Are you sensing a theme here?

It seems as if the entire entertainment landscape has been painted black. Didn’t the Rolling Stones predict this in a song close to 50 years ago?

Regardless, the real subject at hand this week is Orphan Black, which returns for its second season Saturday, April 19 on Space in Canada and on BBC America in the United States.

Through its first season and in the subsequent months leading up to season two, Orphan Black has become one of those weird shows that retains its cool cult status, and yet everyone is talking about it.

Orphan Black exists as both a secret club and a mainstream media monster. It’s a niche show that everybody knows. Or at least, they know of it. With all the positive publicity, surely everyone involved with Orphan Black will be hoping for big ratings with the new campaign.

Orphan Black is a clone-based conspiracy thriller that stars Regina native Tatiana Maslany, who plays multiple roles. And more are coming. Sheesh, there must be some very long days on set where Maslany curses the modern filming technology that makes this all possible.

Maslany obviously was deserving of the accolades she received for season one. She won a TCA award, a Canadian Screen Award, a Critics’ Choice award, a Young Hollywood award and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a People’s Choice award (hey Emmys, do you think you missed something?).

In season two, while the bond remains strong between the core characters, they’ve all made choices that have dire consequences. That leaves main character Sarah (played by Maslany, or course) to navigate a dangerous world of new enemies and shifting allegiances.

Hmmm, sounds pretty dark. Black, even.

As Mick Jagger once sang, “No colours any more, I want them to turn black.” Orphan Black, that is.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Mad Men and Orphan Black’s clones visit Fargo; must-sees for the week of April 13

- April 11th, 2014

Jon Hamm as Don Draper

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 13

1 Orphan Black
Season-two debut: Clone-based series sees Tatiana Maslany returning in her signature role as Sarah. And Rachel. And Cosima. And Alison. And on and on and on. I hope Maslany is getting paid accordingly.
When: Saturday on Space

2 Fargo
Debut: This is not a direct remake of the Academy Award-winning movie, but rather a new story, “inspired by” the original. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Lorne Malvo, a dangerous drifter with a cruel sense of humour.
When: Tuesday on FX Canada and FXX Canada

3 Mad Men
Seventh-season debut: This technically is the final “season” for this acclaimed series, but it’s airing over two years, just like Breaking Bad. Last we saw Don Draper (Jon Hamm, pictured above), he was out of a job. Poor ugly schmuck.
When: Sunday on AMC

4 MTV Movie Awards
Live: Conan O’Brien hosts yet another annual hardware handout. So does this officially bring an end to “awards season?” Regardless, scheduled presenters include Kate Upton and Mila Kunis, so count me in.
When: Sunday on MTV

5 Vegas Rat Rods
Debut: No, this isn’t about an infestation of rats in Sin City and the questionable methods used to control them. Rather, it focuses on a company called Welder Up, which specializes in crazy vehicles known as “rat rods.”
When: Thursday on Discovery

6 When Calls the Heart
Canadian debut: Family drama based on a book series by Janette Oke, this stars Erin Krakow as Elizabeth Thatcher, a 19th-century, high-society teacher suddenly living in a coal town. Also with Lori Loughlin.
When: Wednesday on Super Channel

7 Mom
First-season finale: Christy (Anna Faris) and Bonnie (Allison Janney) try to help an emotional Violet (Sadie Calvano) through labour. This series has been renewed, so time to buy some cutesy baby clothes.
When: Monday on CBS, City

8 Unusually Thicke
Debut with back-to-back episodes: This is a reality show with Alan Thicke, his young wife Tanya, and his three sons, including pop star Robin Thicke. I’ll bet Robin gets into more mischief than Kirk Cameron on Growing Pains.
When: Wednesday on Slice

9 Californication
Debut of seventh and final season: As usual, Hank (David Duchovny) is desperate to reunite with his eternal love Karen (Natascha McElhone), while Charlie (Evan Handler) is overcome by performance anxiety.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

10 Nurse Jackie
Sixth-season debut: Jackie (Edie Falco) is “using” again. And lo and behold, she is getting her drugs at the gym. You know, this show seemed a lot more daring and shocking before Rob Ford dulled our senses.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Rockin’ Dave Clark Five doc will make you Glad All Over

- April 7th, 2014

The Dave Clark Five

No one else sounded like the Dave Clark Five, before or since.

That’s an accomplishment on its own, notwithstanding the substantial commercial success the Dave Clark Five enjoyed as part of the British Invasion in the 1960s. You can get a crash course in the band’s unique crash-and-bang style with the new documentary The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over, which airs April 8 and April 11 as part of the Great Performances series on most PBS affiliates (check local listings).

The doc includes interviews with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks, among many others. It was Hanks who passionately inducted the DC5 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Clark kept the rights to the DC5 music catalogue through the decades, and while that meant the band didn’t get robbed like many of its British Invasion contemporaries, Clark’s devotion to sound quality nonetheless cost the band some cash.

“The reason I took the catalogue off the market was Epic Records made (the records) into electronic stereo, which was terrible,” Clark recalled. “So I thought I would clear the market of all the vinyl, and then when the CD market took off, we would bring it out.

“It was never a monetary thing with me. It’s being protective of one’s creativity. If the records had stayed on the market, you get your publishing income, you get your record royalties. Maybe people thought I was a bit crazy, but I did what I believed in, and I think that’s what I’ve tried to do all my life.”

As stunning as the Dave Clark Five’s output was – 14 top-20 singles in the U.S., plus a record 18 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show – this might be the most rare and remarkable thing of all:

“We never had one legal letter between us,” Clark said proudly, referring to the members of the group.

Talk about Glad All Over.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Dave Clark 5, montage