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Ray Donovan feels The Strain of Dating Naked; must-sees for the week of July 13

- July 13th, 2014

Capture Strain

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

1 The Strain
Debut: Creator Guillermo del Toro admits he is obsessed with the biological element of vampires. Like, how would it actually work? Um, let’s just say the first episode bites into that question.
When: Sunday on FX Canada

2 Masters of Sex
Second-season debut: So now Virginia (Lizzy Caplan) knows how Bill (Michael Sheen) really feels about her. Love complicating sex? Wow, I don’t think that ever has happened before.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network and Movie Central

3 Ray Donovan
Second-season debut: Ray (Liev Schreiber), Mickey (Jon Voight) and FBI Bureau Chief Cochran (guest star Hank Azaria) deal with the fallout after the murder of Sully (James Woods).
When: Sunday on The Movie Network and Movie Central

4 The People’s Couch
Debut: Watching TV is one thing. But how entertaining is watching people watch TV? This new Canadian series, styled after a show called Gogglebox in the U.K., coddles couch potatoes.
When: Sunday on Bravo

5 Apocalypse: World War I
Debut: Co-produced by companies in Canada and France, this five-part documentary series uses colourized archival footage to bring the horror, lunacy and legacy of the Great War to life.
Monday on TVO; Tuesday on TVO.org

6 Camp X: Secret Agent School
Debut: The first North American school for spies secretly was opened near Whitby, Ont., during World War II. This documentary explores how Camp X laid the foundation for the CIA.
When: Monday on History

7 Rush
Debut: This flashy 10-episode medical drama stars Tom Ellis as Dr. William Rush, an on-call, problem-solving doctor for elite L.A. clients who are willing to pay a cash-only premium for discretion.
When: Thursday on Bravo

8 Married
Debut: This comedy allegedly is about being “miserably in love,” with Russ (Nat Faxon) and Lina (Judy Greer) trying to recall what life was like before kids, debt and suburbia ruined their romance.
When: Thursday on FXX Canada

9 You’re the Worst
Debut: A comedic investigation of what happens when two toxic, self-destructive people – Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) – hook up. So, just like every relationship, ever.
When: Thursday on FXX Canada

10 Dating Naked
Debut: This 10-part “cheeky” reality series sees new suitors, male and female, exposing themselves as they really get to know each other in exotic locations. Wait, don’t they call this Survivor?
When: Thursday on M3

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Apocalypse then, and now; World War I brought to colourful life in TVO doc

- July 11th, 2014

Capture WW1

There are many colours of apocalypse.

It’s envious green and sickly yellow and boastful purple and tragic blue. But mostly, it’s blood red.

The new five-part documentary series Apocalypse: World War I is notable for many reasons, the most visual of which is the use of colourized archival footage. We all know that colourizing old black-and-white films is a controversial endeavour. But when it comes to a documentary such as this, not only is it entirely appropriate, but strikingly enlightening.

Think about it this way: I understand how some people don’t like the colourization of feature films, because those films were shot with the intention of being in black and white. Shadows were used and angles were chosen with a purpose, to fit the medium. Colourization in that circumstance kind of mucks with the original intent of the filmmakers. True, they didn’t have any choice but to shoot in black and white, but they were aware of what they were dealing with, and made decisions based upon that.

Documentary footage is a different thing. World War I was in colour. We forget that sometimes, because the surviving footage, of course, is all in black and white. It somehow makes World War I seem longer ago than it actually was.

That’s where Apocalypse: World War I both shrinks the distance and expands the horizon. It debuts Monday, July 14 on TVO, but if you live in a part of the country that doesn’t get TVO, or simply prefer to watch online from anywhere in Canada, you can see it starting on Tuesday, July 15 at tvo.org.

As is pointed out early in Apocalypse: World War I, many cameramen risked their lives to shoot the footage we have of the Great War (which is what World War I used to be called; it got a new name when World War II came along). Yes, sometimes specific scenes from World War I were recreated, but it took a certain type of determination to take what still was a new medium out into the middle of the carnage and chaos.

It’s almost a way of honouring those cameramen to enhance this footage with colour and sound, now that we can do so, because for them shooting in black and white merely was a technological limitation. They were not making style choices, they simply were trying to document what was happening.

And colourizing these images also honours the soldiers and civilians trapped in the conflict, because it helps to humanize them for a 21st-century audience.

One hundred years to the month since the first shot was fired on July 28, 1914, there’s something about seeing World War I in colour that I find chilling.

Directed by Isabelle Clarke and Daniel Costelle, and narrated by Francois Arnaud, Apocalypse: World War I is a chronological “reverse sequel” to Apocalypse: The Second World War, which came out in 2009. The average person today probably knows more about World War II, but Apocalypse: World War I clearly shows that almost all the seeds of World War II were planted in the muddy fields of World War I.

When World War I began in the summer of 1914, just about everyone thought the soldiers would be home by Christmas. No nation could afford a long war, either monetarily or philosophically, it was assumed. How wrong they were.

The 19th century-style war of movement and attack that many generals anticipated soon was replaced by a 20th century-style war of technology and defence and position and trenches. The bewildered generals kept pressing for advances. Millions of helpless soldiers simply were gunned down in pointless and hopeless forays. It didn’t end till Nov. 11, 1918.

The five episodes of Apocalypse: World War I are titled Fury, Fear, Hell, Rage and Deliverance. Yes, that pretty much covers it.

Circumstances so powerful and emotions so strong deserve to be in colour.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

History haunts Charlotte Hegele of Bomb Girls; but seriously, it’s a good thing

- December 28th, 2012

Ali Liebert, Jodi Balfour, Meg Tilly, Charlotte Hegele - Dec 30 inside

The past keeps calling to Charlotte Hegele.

Not in a ghostly kind of way.

But the Canadian actress keeps getting cast in period pieces. She’s one of the series leads in Bomb Girls, which returns for its second season, Wednesday, Jan. 2 on Global.

Bomb Girls, of course, focuses on a group of Canadian women working at a munitions factory during World War II.

“The thing with women in period pieces is that they tend to be a bit demure and a bit reserved, which is something that I guess I am,” said Hegele, who is pictured at far right in the above photo, and also below.

“So I guess it comes naturally to me, as opposed to someone who is a bit more assertive and aggressive. Although I still can do that, and I’m eager to play parts like that, I just haven’t had an opportunity to do it yet.

“But yes, I love period pieces and I keep getting cast in them. I think it must be the demeanor that I sometimes give off.”

Starring alongside Ali Liebert, Jodi Balfour and Meg Tilly (pictured above left to right) in Bomb Girls, Hegele plays Kate Andrews, a young woman who comes from a maniacally religious and abusive upbringing.

In season one, Kate winds up working at the munitions factory after escaping from her controlling father, only to have him track her down at season’s end.

Without revealing anything specific, there is a substantial development to Kate’s story line in the debut episode of season two.

“I got (the scripts for episodes) one and two at the same time, before we started shooting, and it was shocking,” Hegele said.

“Well, maybe I wasn’t totally shocked, because you knew something had to happen with Kate. But it was interesting that it happened in the first episode, that it happened so quickly.”

Kate’s link with her best friend Betty McRae (Liebert) also gets more intense due to the new circumstances. And that already was a complex relationship, with Betty having romantic feelings for Kate at a time when such things were not even remotely socially acceptable.

“Within each subsequent episode, my character goes through different phases of dealing with what happens,” Hegele said. “So in that sense, it wasn’t so much my choices in how to play it, the actions were written already for me.

“But the thing with Kate is that she’s very good at compartmentalizing parts of her life. She’s wired in a way that I’m not, and most people aren’t.”

Then again, as Hegele pointed out, the era in which Bomb Girls is set plays a part in that, too.

“Horrible things sometimes happen to everyone, and yet somehow most people still function,” Hegele said.

“Having this story take place during World War II, the characters kind of understand that your purpose is not just to find your own identity. It’s to be part of the larger picture, to be part of the war effort.”

Charlotte Hegele certainly has great perspective on her role in Bomb Girls. But as accomplished as she is with period pieces, shouldn’t her next role be in a project that’s set, like, 60 years in the future, to balance things out?

“Yes, definitely,” Hegele said with a laugh. “I need a character that’s fighting aliens or something.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Charlotte Hegele of Bomb Girls - Dec 30 cover 1