April 9, 2010

News: CanCon Potrzebie – Rookie Blue, Living in Your Car, More

Sorry for lumping stories in like this.  I usually don’t, but Canadian television news hasn’t been this active since URBMN began talking about these shows back in 2008.  I’ve fallen behind a bit.  Apologies if you’ve read this before.


Rookie Blue, the cop show formerly known as Copper, will debut Thursday, June 24, 2010.  The show will air on both Global and ABC at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

Rookie Blue focuses on five newbie cops learning the ropes in the generic world of “big-city policing.”  It is unknown whether the show will contain vomiting.

Rookie Blue is an odd name for a show.  Copper, while generic, makes more sense.  I guess ABC and Canwest are banking on people remembering NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues.  This show has never had a good name.

Yeah, yeah, Cra$h & Burn, but that’s different.  See, the character’s named Jimmy Burn, and he’s an insurance claims adjuster.  The title fits the show.  What Canwest and ABC have done is swap ambiguities.  It’s like taking Cybersix and calling it A Girl and Her Panther.

I don’t have high hopes for Rookie Blue.  One doesn’t schedule a surefire hit in the middle of June.  At least the show’s out.  I hope it gets promoted.


Living in Your Car will debut on HBO Canada Friday, May 7, 2010, at 9:30 PM ET/MT.  The show follows Steve Unger (John Ralston), a business executive charged with fraud, obstruction and racketeering.  After cutting a deal to escape prison time, Unger loses everything aside from his sedan.  This explains Living in Your Car‘s title and premise.  See how this works, Canwest?

Here’s a ninety-second preview of Living in Your Car.  Star John Ralston might be more familiar to viewers as Derek Venturi’s father on Life with Derek.  He also played Ming the Merciless on the 2007-08 Flash Gordon reboot.  Ralston gets around.


Continuing with the subject of HBO Canada, NSI Canada has announced that Less Than Kind will get a third season.

It’s not a detailed story, and HBO Canada hasn’t formally announced a third season for Less Than Kind.  At the same time, I can’t see why the National Screen Institute would falsify the renewal of a show it helped develop.

Congratulations to Less Than Kind.  I thought the show would die after its second season.  It’s not often that I can write about a Canadian show’s renewal, rather than its untimely death.


Two upcoming shows in the pipeline: CTV/Bravo!/Showtime’s The Borgias and Showcase’s Lost Girl.  Lost Girl is set to debut “Fall 2010″ (*snort* heard that one before), while The Borgias will air in 2011.

Lost Girl is in production.  It’s about a succubus on a path to self-discovery.  The Borgias, which is still in pre-production, is about the Italian/Spanish House of Borgia and its path to self-destruction.  I’m sure sex will feature heavily in both shows.

The Borgias‘ cast includes Colm Feore, Jeremy Irons and François Arnaud.  Director/screenwriter Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Ondine) will write and direct The Borgias‘ first two episodes.

The Borgias intrigues me.  I hate The Tudors with a passion, but this show might be different.  Neil Jordan might focus The Borgias more on politico-religious themes than trying to sex up history for a premium-cable audience.  As long as François Arnaud doesn’t eat up scenery like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the show will do fine.

I’m not as sold on Lost Girl.  It comes across as a gender-swapped Blood Ties.  If the show is a detective drama WITH DEMONS!, I’m bailing.

Horror, fantasy and sci-fi themes are invading mainstream television with increased regularity.  Supernatural, The Secret Saturdays, Ugly Americans, True Blood, Dead Set, Being Human…it gets to be a bit much after a while.

I’m not saying Lost Girl will suck, but the show might get lost in the shuffle.  Add to that Canwest’s wanting to turn its cable channels into virtual Global clones…on second thought, I don’t want to think about that.  I value my sanity.  I hate Canadian television so much.

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June 2, 2009

TV Review | The Listener 1.1, 1.2 – “I’m An Adult Now,” “Emotional Rescue”

The Listener (CTV/SPACE/NBC: premieres June 3, 10:00 PM ET on CTV, 7:00 PM ET on SPACE; in regular timeslot starting June 4, 10:00 PM ET on CTV, 7:00 PM ET on SPACE; two-hour premiere June 4, 9:00 PM ET/8:00 CT on NBC) is the type of filler CTV used to air quite a bit of in the 1990s.  It fits right in with FX: The Series, La Femme Nikita and John Woo’s Once a Thief – watchable enough that it should acquire a fan following, but lightweight.

What amazes me is that NBC bought the show for its summer schedule.  I’m not saying Canadian television is superior to American television – for every Slings and Arrows there are five to ten Gutter Ball Alleys.  The Listener was bought by NBC due both to the WGA writer’s strike and its abandonment of the traditional development process.

The Canadian shows floated on American networks aren’t the best, either – Flashpoint is workmanlike and entertaining, but it’s a cop procedural in a sea of cop procedurals.  The Listener seems more suited for a SciFi (I’m sorry, SyFy) airing than a summer slot on NBC.  Of course, NBC’s prime-time ratings are almost the lowest they’ve ever been, so any edge, I guess.

Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) is the central protagonist of the series.  The first episode sets up Logan’s world – his coming to terms with his mind-reading, his relationship with mentor Dr. Ray Mercer (Colm Feore), his personal life and day job as a paramedic.  The Listener establishes its premise, gives the viewer a few characters to love/hate and fucks around for an hour.

It’s standard dramatic sci-fi television, Early Edition with mindreading taking the place of a magic newspaper.  I also get a Millennium vibe from Logan’s mind-pictures.  The Listener could have easily debuted in 1996, so well-worn is its premise.

The second episode, which NBC decided to pair with the first on the same night, strengthens Logan’s relationship with Detective Charlene “Charlie” Marks (Lisa Marcos), a tough cop who can’t discern how someone like Logan is able to anticipate events better than she can.  Small spoiler: someone falls from a large height in both episodes.  The Listener is the very definition of cookie cutter.

Aside from Dr. Mercer and fellow paramedic Osman Bey (Ennis Esmer), The Listener‘s characters aren’t very interesting.  Feore and Esmer do what they can with their material, as they are the only two convincing actors on the show.  Olejnik isn’t horrible as the lead character, but he’s too slight to focus on week after week.  He’s only there as The Listener‘s main himbo.

NBC is placing a lot of faith in The Listener since it recently gave the show a two-hour block to debut in.  Despite this, I wonder about The Listener‘s success.  Either NBC’s hoping for The Listener to become a summer hit or it’s burning the show off like flash paper.

CTV has joined in the rescheduling madness, so I’m leaning towards the former scenario.  Hell, I’m hoping The Listener hits big.  I just wish The Listener was a less generic, more interesting show, but that’s the American prime-time bran tub for you.

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