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Take a Turn into Silicon Valley and play a Game of Thrones with the Veep; TV must-sees for the week

- April 5th, 2014

Dragon in Game of Thrones

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 6

1 Game of Thrones
Fourth-season debut: Veterinary medicine figured out “dog years” versus “people years. But what of “dragon years?” When do dragons become adults? I’m just waiting for Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to turn loose those fire-breathers.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

2 Turn
Debut: Based on the book Washington’s Spies by historian Alexander Rose, this drama set in the 1770s tells the tale of fledgling new-world espionage as the American Revolution becomes a reality. With Jamie Bell, Heather Lind and Samuel Roukin.
When: Sunday on AMC

3 Silicon Valley
Debut: Created by Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis & Butt-Head), this live-action series is about nerdy but brilliant high-tech dudes who are on the cusp of successes they couldn’t possibly handle. Sort of The Big Bang Theory on steroids.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

4 Veep
Third-season debut: Last time we saw VP Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), she had been handed an opportunity to run for president in the next election. But she doesn’t exactly connect with everyday voters a la Rob Ford, as we soon will see.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

5 The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over
Debut: Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks are among those saluting the DC5 in this new documentary. With 14 top-20 hits in the U.S., the DC5 appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 18 times, more than any other British Invasion group.
When: Tuesday or Friday on most PBS affiliates

6 The Haves and the Have Nots
Canadian debut: Drama series from Tyler Perry is about a rich Georgia family and the servants who serve them. John Schneider – yes, from The Dukes of Hazzard – stars as a powerful judge and family patriarch who is leading a double life. Hey, who isn’t?
When: Tuesday on OWN

7 Jacked
Debut: Jeremy Patterson is the hurricane slayer. Well, no, he doesn’t stop hurricanes. But Patterson and his rag-tag team travel across the continent, raising hope by raising hurricane-damaged houses that many thought were beyond salvage. One inch at a time.
When: Monday on Discovery

8 Win, Lose or Draw
Canadian debut: A revamped version of the 1980s game show, this one is hosted by Justin Willman and features young and current Disney stars teaming up with kid contestants. This definitely is a more high-tech version than the original, though.
When: Monday on Family

9 Being Human
Series finale: It’s a wrap, folks, as this show has been cancelled. In the final episode, Sally (Meaghan Rath) makes a major sacrifice to stop her vision of Aidan (Sam Witwer) killing Josh (Sam Huntington) from coming true.
When: Monday on Space

10 Disaster Decks and Decked Out
Season-two/season-four debuts: One deck-based series wasn’t enough for Paul Lafrance. He needed two, with double episodes of each, airing back-to-back-to-back-to-back. This could lead to some crazy crossover episodes, with famous decks making guest-appearances on the other show.
When: Tuesday on HGTV

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Stephanie Leonidas “faces” facts about her freaky alien character in Defiance

- April 10th, 2013

DEFIANCE_510x317

Stephanie Leonidas recalls the first time she ventured onto the set of Defiance without her alien headgear.

I went on set one day without my prosthetic, to watch a scene, and nobody recognized me,” said Leonidas, who is pictured above left.

And it wasn’t as if Leonidas was brand new to the cast.

It was really funny, because it was, like, two months into shooting,” she said.

Well, it’s certainly true that Irisa Nyira – Leonidas’ character in Defiance – has a look all her own.

Defiance, which debuts across Canada Monday, April 15 on Showcase (and also on Syfy in the United States), is another science fiction series set in a post-apocalyptic world. Why is the future always so bad in science fiction?

Anyway, Defiance in this case is a place – kind of a futuristic wild-west frontier town – set atop the ruins of St. Louis.

Earth has been changed forever by the arrival of seven unique alien races. All of these alien races, not to mention the humans who have survived, are not exactly living in peace and harmony.

Irisa, an alien known as an “Irathient,” has been raised by a human named Joshua Nolan, played by Grant Bowler (pictured above right). Their unconventional alliance faces many dangers, and Irisa has grown up with the general understanding that basically everything and everyone is a threat.

“Irisa is young and she has always just known her life to be her and Nolan,” said Leonidas, who is from Britain. “Suddenly she is surrounded by lots of different characters, human and alien (in the town of Defiance), and she is having to adapt to that.

Irisa doesn’t really want to interact with the other characters at first, and she eventually has to. I hope a lot of people will relate to some of the stuff Irisa goes through, just because she has grown up in a place that she doesn’t feel comfortable in.

Anybody who doesn’t feel settled can relate to her story. And she goes through many difficult situations that she has to deal with herself. She doesn’t always feel as if she can turn to Nolan. So she’s quite lonely at points.”

Is it fair to say that Irisa has to become more human?

Definitely,” Leonidas said. “Although she also is separated by the fact that we do have alien languages, so I speak Irathian in it as well.”

Um, hopefully you had to learn that for the show. You weren’t already speaking it at home, were you?

Yeah, pretty much,” Leonidas said with a laugh.

What really attracted me to this series is that it didn’t just feel like aliens, shooting, killing people, a big war. It’s aliens with heart, and they go through quite human experiences as well. So it felt like it was much more than a war piece.

It’s very character-based and it’s about the heart of each character and the drama of it, really.”

Besides Leonidas and Bowler, Defiance also stars Julie Benz (Amanda Rosewater), Tony Curran (Datak Tarr), Jaime Murray (Stahma Tarr), Graham Greene (Rafe McCawley) and Mia Kirshner (Kenya Rosewater).

Conveniently, if Stephanie Leonidas ever wants to find out what her cast-mates really think about her, she can just take off her prosthetic and wander amongst them undetected.

That’s a good idea, I might do that,” she said. “I’ll let you know.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv


Mauled by dinosaurs? Miranda Frigon stays safe on Primeval: New World

- October 22nd, 2012

Miranda Frigon 3

Miranda Frigon’s character is the voice of reason and the face of authority on Primeval: New World.

“Comedy is more my thing, but I have a blast playing the hardcore chick who’s just the straight guy telling everyone what to do,” said Frigon (picutred above, and second from left in the cast photo below). “I’m very good in the power positions on TV.

“Some of the other characters are out dinosaur-hunting, so I get envious a little bit. But I avoid getting eaten and things like that. It keeps me safe.”

It isn’t just dinosaurs that show up in Primeval: New World, which debuts Monday, Oct. 29 on Space. The setup of the series is that just about anything can get in and out of our world – and vice-versa – through these mysterious time anomalies in modern-day Vancouver.

Primeval: New World is a 13-episode spinoff of the original British series, focusing on animal experts and scientists investigating paranormal events while battling prehistoric and futuristic creatures.

Led by inventor Evan Cross (played by Niall Matter), the team is comprised of predator-attack expert Dylan Weir (Sara Canning), security specialist Mac Rendell (Danny Rahim) and physics prodigy Toby Nance (Crystal Lowe).

Ange Finch (Frigon) is Evan’s oldest friend and business partner, the woman through whom everything runs. Ange also is the key liaison to quirky Ken Leeds (Geoff Gustafson), the head of the government’s decommissioned department for investigating alien life.

“Nothing really happens without me,” Frigon said of her character. “I’m kind of holding the company together.”

Frigon has a diverse acting resume, including a recurring role on CBC’s Heartland, and episodic work on series ranging from Sanctuary to Dexter to Emily Owens, M.D. But getting this series-regular role on Primeval: New World was a long-delayed silver lining to a frustrating period of her life.

About five years ago, the Edmonton native made the mistake of traveling home to Canada while the renewal for her U.S. work visa was in process. When she tried to go back to L.A., where she was living full-time, she was stopped at the border.

“They locked me out of the U.S. for two months, they threw out my visa application, I had to re-apply, it was awful,” Frigon recalled. “I had, like, two days worth of clothes with me. I had to borrow clothes from friends.

“But during that time, I got the audition for Sanctuary (which was shot in Vancouver). That’s where I worked with (director and producer) Martin Wood, and we got along so well. Then all these years later, when I first got the breakdown for (Primeval: New World), I saw that the executive producer is Martin Wood.

“If I had never made that (visa) mistake, I never would have met Martin, we wouldn’t have hit it off, and I probably wouldn’t be here now. You make mistakes, but sometimes there’s a reason for everything.”

Thank goodness for that, because what would the other characters on Primeval: New World do without Miranda Frigon?

Even the dinosaurs know she’s in charge.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

cast of PNW