Make Canoe my Homepage

Hockey is leaving, but Mr. D., Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland and Republic of Doyle are “on side” at CBC

- April 4th, 2014

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Amid the uncertainty of a reduced-hockey existence, Mr. D, Murdoch Mysteries, Republic of Doyle and Heartland are the scripted comedies and dramas that officially have been renewed by CBC.

Also on the list of renewals, which was released Friday, was Dragons’ Den (which had been confirmed previously with the announcement that new Dragons Michael Wekerle and Vikram Vij are replacing the departing Kevin O’Leary and Bruce Croxon), The Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Fifth Estate, The Nature of Things, Doc Zone, Marketplace, Just For Laughs, Steven and Chris, and Winnipeg/Halifax Comedy Festival.

New series include Schitt’s Creek (with Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara), Strange Empire, Canada’s Smartest Person and Of All Places.

Prior to this announcement, the news had circulated that The Ron James Show, Arctic Air and Cracked have been cancelled by CBC.

Late last year it was announced that Rogers has purchased Canadian rights to NHL games, beginning next season. Hockey Night in Canada will continue as a staple on CBC on Saturday nights for at least four years, but the broadcast will be controlled by Rogers, and there are no guarantees beyond that four-year window.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Vikings and Mr. D try Mixology for a Remedy? TV must-sees for the week

- February 22nd, 2014

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

1 Vikings
Second-season debut: Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) faces new challenges, both to his authority and on the home front. Will his brother Rollo (Clive Standen) have the guts to go through with his betrayal?
When: Thursday on History

2 Remedy
Debut: New Canadian medical show stars Enrico Colantoni, Sara Canning, Sarah Allen and Dillon Casey. High-stakes surgeries are fine for TV, but what this country really needs is a few more family doctors, am I right, people?
When: Monday on Global

3 Mr. D
Third-season debut: In his third year at Xavier Academy, Gerry Duncan (Gerry Dee) is determined to finally land the only job he really wants: Gym teacher. Just think, he’d get to yell at kids and wear shorts all day. Dare to dream.
When: Monday on CBC

4 Late Night with Seth Meyers
Debut: As Saturday Night Live alumni continue to populate the showbiz universe, Meyers joins the weeknight world. His opening-show guests are Amy Poehler, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and A Great Big World.
When: Monday (technically early Tuesday) on NBC, CTV

5 Mixology
Debut: This is a high-concept sitcom, with the entire season taking place on one night in a bar. Ten attractive young people are looking for sex and/or love. Who gets lucky and who goes home alone is the big question.
When: Wednesday on ABC, CTV

6 The Ron James Show
Fifth-season debut: Just how far would you go to avoid “spoilers” if you hadn’t seen the previous night’s Game of Thrones? That issue is explored in one of the sketches, and let’s just say more than winter is coming.
When: Monday on CBC

7 Growing Up Fisher
Debut: Eleven-year-old Henry (Eli Baker) always has been the eyes for his blind dad Mel (J..K. Simmons). So Henry understandably is a little insecure when a new guide dog basically takes over the job.
When: Sunday on NBC, Global

8 Hannibal
Second-season debut: Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is locked in an asylum, accused of crimes we know were committed by Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). The trick for Will is to get someone, anyone, to believe him.
When: Friday on NBC, City

9 Mind Games
Debut: This has nothing to do with the John Lennon song, although that would be cool. Rather, Steve Zahn and Christian Slater star as brothers who are part mental magicians, part master manipulators and part con artists.
When: Tuesday on ABC, City

10 The Americans
Second-season debut: Elizabeth (Keri Russell) comes back from her injury, but what should be a routine mission goes awry. She also cheers way too loudly for Russia in the Sochi Olympics. Wait, that’s not right.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Game of Thrones is no game on The Ron James Show

- February 21st, 2014

Ron James

Be careful not to spoil anything for Ron James if you’re up to date on Game of Thrones.

In the first episode of the fifth season of The Ron James Show, airing Monday, Feb. 24 on CBC, one of the skits has a Game of Thrones theme.

James plays a man working in an office who hasn’t yet watched the previous night’s episode. He encounters various people who begin the conversation with something along the lines of, “Wow, did you sees last night‘s Game of Thrones?” Every time, he pleads with them to keep quiet. Then the begging turns to warning.

How far would you go to avoid a TV “spoiler?” Well, let’s just say James takes it to the extreme.

Similarly, James’ style of humour through the years often has been comfortable on the surface but with a deft dose of deceptive subversiveness. He’s good at mixing traditional or familiar joke patterns with observations about modern things.

For example, in one of the standup bits in the first episode of the new season, James says, “Our smart phones are making us lazy and stupid. Take bar bets, for instance. Thanks to Google, they’re a thing of the past. My buddies and I have nothing to talk about any more when we go for pints, because we can’t argue for an hour and a half whether it was Ursula Andress or Elke Sommer getting out of the water in Dr. No.”

That’s a funny line, because it’s so true. The internet has all of us reassessing our drinking companions.

The format of The Ron James Show has been tweaked somewhat for season five. The pacing is faster as each episode bounces between James’ standup bits, sketches, graphics pieces and comedic songs.

Uh-oh … I hope Ron James doesn’t consider that previous paragraph to be a “spoiler.” Given the Game of Thrones incident, I know he tends to be a bit prickly about those.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Air Farce, Ron James plan an “ex-PSY-ting” New Year’s Eve, Stephen Harper style

- December 30th, 2012

Air Farce - Paul Henderson, Craig Lauzon as Don Cherry

Canada doesn’t seem to treasure as many traditions as it has in the past. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending upon your point of view.

But one Canadian tradition that has hung on is comedy on CBC on New Year’s Eve.

First up at 8 p.m. (local time) is the annual Air Farce New Year’s Eve special. That’s followed at 9 p.m. by The Ron James Show’s New Year’s Eve Special.

Then at 10 p.m., it’s the news, which rarely is funny. So let’s focus on those first two.

The Air Farce extravaganza this year features a hilarious video parody starring Craig Lauzon, doing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, doing Korean rapper PSY. The words to PSY’s massive hit “Gangnam Style” have been changed to reflect Harper’s world.

Besides Lauzon, the usual Air Farce crew of Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, Alan Park, Penelope Corrin and Arnold Pinnock will be on hand. Guests include hockey legend Paul Henderson (pictured above left, with Lauzon as Don Cherry at right), Olympic gold medallist Rosie MacLennan, Yannick Bisson of Murdoch Mysteries, recording artist Victoria Duffield and David Chilton of Dragons’ Den.

Then it’s time for Ron James (pictured below), who – as we successfully head into 2013 – vows “never to listen to a Mayan again.” Damn straight.

Regular James characters Aunt Vivien, Buell Crawford and fan favourite Li’l Ronnie also stop by to help ring in the new year.

The real beauty of the back-to-back Air Farce and Ron James New Year’s Eve specials is that you can watch both and still have two hours to get drunk.

Now THAT’s a Canadian tradition.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Ron James New Years Eve