May 17, 2010

News: The Border‘s third season on DVD August 10, 2010

According to a VSC new release e-mail sent to retailers, The Border‘s third (and final) season will be out on DVD August 10, 2010.  The three-disc set will have an MSRP of $29.98 CDN.  Extras will include “Character Psychology Sessions” and “Behind the Scenes with Graham Abbey.”  The series finale will contain director and cast commentary.

The first two season sets of The Border will have their prices reduced to MSRP $19.99 CDN.  There are no mentions of Blu-Ray releases, at least according to the e-mail.

It should be noted that the release date isn’t final, as there is no formal press release for The Border‘s third-season set.  Hopefully, VSC won’t announce the third-season set a week before it streets, like it did for the second season.

CBC recently cancelled The Border after three seasons, due to less-than-stellar ratings on Thursday nights.  The show even ended on a cliffhanger.

Maybe the director and cast commentaries will reveal the reasons behind the cliffhanger.  The Border‘s days were numbered when it was moved to one of CBC’s worst-performing nights.  Then again, doing poorly on CBC Television doesn’t automatically mean cancellation.  They’re still making Little Mosque on the Prairie, so figure that one out.


March 1, 2010

CBC-Related News: Republic of Doyle in; Tangled and The Border out

The Border has been cancelled by CBC after three seasons.  Etan Vlessing first mentioned the cancellation through The Hollywood Reporter on February 26.

CBC scheduled the third season of The Border after Doc Zone.  Doc Zone is a perpetually low-rated documentary block.  It’s a weak lead-in, despite Doc Zone being one of the most underrated hours on CBC.

The Border has never attracted great ratings.  An average of 700,000 viewers is decent for CBC, but The Border has never been a breakout hit.  This isn’t like CBC killing jPod or Wild Roses, now.

As for Republic of Doyle, the ratings are decent enough for renewal.  The show has dipped to around 500,000-600,000 viewers by now, but so has 18 to Life.  RoD‘s where The Border was two seasons ago.

As a result of Republic of Doyle‘s renewal, Shaftesbury Films’ Tangled will not make series.  Sarah Wayne Callies and Leslie Hope are in the pilot, at least according to an interview.

Callies is best known for her role as Dr. Sara Tancredi on Prison Break (2005-09.)  Hope is best known as Teri Bauer on Fox ratings behemoth 24 (2001-  .)  Hope also played Lisa Cohen on ABC’s short-lived Line of Fire (2003-04.)

I suspect Tangled will be tossed into a June timeslot of doom, a fate met by most unsold CBC pilots.  I’d rather see Jack Bauer’s dead wife and Dr. Tancredi‘s severed head than a Leah McLaren biopic.  Wouldn’t you?


November 26, 2009

News: CBC Television introduces Winter 2010 schedule

I know, CBC’s midseason 2010 lineup is day-old news by now.  Weirdly enough, the news is still current.  Odd, that.  Program highlights from CBC’s Winter 2010 schedule:

New Shows

Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town | Tuesday, January 12: 9:00 PM
18 to Life | Monday, January 4: 8:00 PM
Republic of Doyle | Wednesday, January 6: 9:00 PM
Best Recipes Ever | Monday, January 4: 3:00 PM (weekdays)


The Border will end its current season January 7 and 14 in the Thursday 9:00 PM timeslot.  Doc Zone will move to The Border‘s Thursday timeslot starting January 21.  Frankly, I like Doc Zone much better than The Border.

Marketplace will debut its 37th season Fridays at 8:30 PM, after a rerun of Tuesday’s Rick Mercer Report.  The Nature of Things will move to Thursdays at 8:00 PM by January 7.  Steven and Chris will return with new episodes, starting January 4 at 2:00 PM.

There will be a few specials.  Test the Nation: IQ will air Sunday, January 24 at 8:00 PM.  Gordon and Leah Pinsent’s Love Letters will air in the timeslot the following week.  Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story, a miniseries, will air March 28 and 29 at 8:00 PM.

CBC’s midseason prime time shows sound better than usual, in that I don’t automatically hate any of them.  There’s no sure-to-fail idea like MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives or The One.  There’s no surefire hit, but not everything on CBC can be Dragons’ Den or…ughBattle of the Blades.

I “love” the comments at’s site.  Life with Derek is a “never heard of canadian drama”?  Life with Derek was on Disney Channel for four seasons, and that’s in the Hannah Montana/Jonas/Wizards of Waverly Place hypermarketing-to-tweens era.  What an obscure show.

Also, nothing’s good on CBC Television save hockey, Canadian content is shit, yammer yammer yammer.

The trailer for 18 to Life isn’t that bad.  It’s certainly more engaging than Little Mosque on the Prairie.  Peter Keleghan plays his patented WASPy Dumbass character, but 18 to Life doesn’t seem forced like Republic of Doyle.  Watch some trailers and judge for yourself.


August 25, 2009

Picking Apart the 2009 Geminis Part One: Program Awards Nominations

I know “no one cares” about the Gemini Awards.  Every year, there will be an article about the lack of credibility Canada’s television awards have, yet there is momentum for the 24th Annual Gemini Awards that previous years have lacked.  For one thing, Canadians are selling more to American networks.  It would help if the shows sold to said networks were of better quality than The Listener, but money is money.

The Geminis have embraced Flashpoint.  The show has picked up a ridiculous 19 nominations, the most ever for a Canadian television show.  That sounds impressive, except that four nominations are in Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series.  Three nominations lard Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series.  Flashpoint even has a Gemini nod for Best Achievement in Main Title Design.

Categories like Best Achievement in Main Title Design are why the Geminis have a credibility problem.  An award needs to be given out for opening credits?  Have a look at the Gemini nominations (caution: PDF), there are a few categories that need to be discontinued.

For those wondering, Keys to the VIP and Reality Obsessed are nominated for one Gemini each this year, for Best Direction in a Reality Program or Series.  Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie aren’t nominated for anything, but Keys to the VIP gets a nod.  Weird.

I also hate when a category is dominated by a single show – Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series is two-thirds Less Than Kind.  Murdoch Mysteries benefitted from this domination last year.  There should be a rule limiting how many times one show can dot a category.  I’m not saying the Gemini Awards should be more diverse, I just hate seeing stacked decks.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going through selected categories.  I’m sure Best Cross Platform Project and Best Science, Technology, Nature, Environment or Adventure Documentary Program (whew) are the bee’s tits, but I’ve selected the categories of most interest to me.  If I missed a half-decent category, I apologize.

Fun fact: this year Survivorman is up for Best Documentary Series.  Survivorman‘s a reality show in a category it barely belongs in.  Canadian television, gotta love it.

Best TV Movie
Celine (CBC)
Elijah (CTV)
In a World Created By a Drunken God (APTN)
Of Murder and Memory (CTV)
The Secret of the Nutcracker (CBC)
The Terrorist Next Door (CTV)

You know, I have not seen one TV movie on this list.  I don’t know the first thing about any of these made-for-TV films, so I can’t comment on them.  I will say that In a World Created By a Drunken God is an awesome film title.  It’s also APTN’s lone wolf against the CBC/CTV juggernauts.  Yeah, I want APTN to win this one.

Best Dramatic Mini-Series
Burn Up (Global)
Diamonds (CBC)
The Last Templar (Global)
XIII (Canwest)

I’m confused as to which network/cable channel I should list XIII under.  Showcase airs XIII a lot, but Canwest has also foisted the miniseries on Mystery TV.  Showcase can’t get enough of XIII and The Last Templar.

All four nominations for Best Dramatic Mini-Series are co-productions.  Two of the noms, The Last Templar and XIII, aired on NBC, while ABC picked up Diamonds.  Burn Up is the dark horse, as it aired on BBC Two and isn’t as high-profile.

The entire Best Dramatic Mini-Series category is junky.  Let’s move on.

Best Dramatic Series
Being Erica (CBC)
The Border (CBC)
Flashpoint (CTV)
The Tudors (CBC)
ZOS: Zone of Separation (The Movie Network/Movie Central)

No big surprise Flashpoint is there.  I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win a Gemini for Best Dramatic Series.  I would swap The Tudors with Rabbit Fall, which gets little Gemini love this year.

My personal choice to win, even though I haven’t seen the show, is ZOS: Zone of Separation.  I have seen the other four shows, and they don’t stand out to me as the best Canada has to offer.  It doesn’t matter what I say, since Flashpoint is the commercial favourite and has the American fanbase.  Having typed that, watch Being Erica win.

Best Comedy Program or Series
Less Than Kind (CityTV)
The Rick Mercer Report (CBC)
Testees (Showcase)
This Hour Has 22 Minutes Series XVI (CBC)
Three Chords from the Truth (CMT)

I am fucking stunned Testees is nominated for this category.  Less Than Kind, yes, but Testees?  I’m not complaining about the nomination, I’m just surprised the show’s in a high-profile category.  Testees won’t win, as the Gemini Awards hate Kenny Hotz.

I’d rather see The Jon Dore Television Show nominated in this category than The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.  I know I gave a good review to one 2008-09 22 Minutes episode, but the show’s weak at this point in its life.  ‘da Kink in My Hair is more worthy of a Best Comedy nomination than 22 Minutes, and ‘da Kink is shit.

As for Three Chords from the Truth, where did that nomination come from?  Maybe I need to start watching CMT.  Every year I think I know a lot about Canadian television.  Nominations like this remind me that no, I don’t.

Best Reality Program or Series
disBAND: The Homecoming (MuchMusic)
Dragons’ Den (CBC)
GoldMind (TVtropolis)
Project Runway Canada (Global)
The Week the Women Went (CBC)

I want so bad for Dragons’ Den to win.  It’s the only show of the five I can get behind.  I admit to not watching GoldMind, since the show is on the sludge factory known as TVtropolis.  GoldMind must air eighteen times a week there, so it has to have entered the Gemini Awards’ subconscious in some way.

What a shitty set of nominees this year.  I’m not a reality show fan by any means, but I’m sure Canadian television aired a reality show of higher merit than disBAND: The Homecoming.  One of these years, the Gemini Awards are going to have to get to Mantracker.  You can’t hide from him forever.

Best Animated Program or Series
Jibber Jabber (YTV)
Life’s a (Teletoon)
Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World (Teletoon)
Rollbots (YTV)

Wow, two kids’ shows against two adult cartoons.  It’s a weak field this year.  I’m partial to Life’s a for obvious reasons, since it’s a very well-written show.  Rollbots‘ nomination makes me wonder why Kid vs. Kat didn’t earn a Gemini nod.  Swap one generic Canadian cartoon for another, who’s going to notice?

Rick and Steve, though…the show’s not funny.  I know it’s a gay-oriented cartoon, I just can’t see how the show is good enough to earn a Gemini nomination.  I will say that Rick and Steve deserves a nomination more than friggin’ Rollbots.  If nothing else, Cuppa Coffee Studios has two chances to win a Gemini, so good on Cuppa Coffee for that.

Stay tuned for part two of this article series, as I cross over into the Craft and Performance categories.  Now with more Amy Jo Johnson!


August 18, 2009

News: The Border‘s second season on DVD a week from now

According to a VSC press release, The Border‘s second season will be out on DVD August 25, 2009.  The three-disc set, with an MSRP of $29.98 CDN, will have as extras “cast commentary, five behind the scenes specials and much more.”

For those wondering, this is the season Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica, The Cleaner) joins The Border‘s cast as Homeland Security liaison officer Liz Carver.  Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest/City Hall) and Daisy Beaumont (EastEnders, Star Stories) make their debuts as recurring characters Dougie Jackson and Charlotte Bates.

It’s not a descriptive list of extras, and not an involved press release overall.  Strange how The Border‘s DVD set was announced only a week before launch, especially for one of CBC’s more successful television programs.  There are no plans for a Blu-ray release at this time.  At least The Border‘s second season is out.


January 9, 2009

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (January 9, 2009)

Gord Lacey reviews The Border‘s first season for

I don’t normally point things like this out as I am the king of generalization, but Lacey begins his review with the “I don’t watch Canadian television even though I’m Canadian” and “most Canadian TV is cheap and cheesy” caveats.

Considering that I talk about Canadian television for this site, I’m curious to know why Lacey makes this comment.  The “low production values” argument is weak in the age of Tripping the Rift, Heartland et al.

Canada is the king of badly-tweened Flash cartoons, I’ll grant Lacey that, but the Canadian television industry knows how to put out a good-looking show these days.  I’m not saying the industry’s a torrent of wonderment, but it’s not like it was in the 1980s or 1990s.

Canada’s just not releasing more of its good shows on DVD.  Someone should pick up the SCTV ball that Shout! Factory unceremoniously dropped.  You Can’t Do That on Television better come out on DVD before the tape masters rot.

The Los Angeles Times reviews the Fraggle Rock complete series set.  There’s no mention of the set’s shoddy packaging, the review sticking hard and fast to the basics.  Newspapers are free advertising, after all.

Spider-Man vs. The Vulture earns a stand-alone release.  This disc was originally part of the Villains Showdown box set, and I just love stand-alone releases!  These discs never go into the bargain bin within a year!

I should draw attention to the horrible cover art.  That image is almost on par with public-domain cartoon compilation artwork.  The Vulture’s face in particular is wretchedly drawn.  The Vulture is supposed to be ugly, but what the hell?

This seems to have slipped past the radar.  I know Imavision’s promoting a Chaotic volume set on Teletoon.  The title is one of Imavision’s best sellers.  What I didn’t know is that My Goldfish is Evil has had a first-season set out since November 2008.

My Goldfish is Evil is one of those post-modern cartoons where the fish being out of water isn’t a detriment to its survival.  No one knows the fish is evil or capable of building machinery aside from a ten-year-old conspiracy theorist.  It’s the timeworn “pet has a secret life” premise currently employed by Phineas and Ferb and Kid vs. Kat.

Surprisingly, My Goldfish is Evil is not animated in Flash.  I know, crazy!

John E. Mitchell of The Last Visible Blog reviews The Starlost.  He likes it!

Todd Erwin of Home Theater Forum reviews Super Dave’s Super Stunt Spectacular.  He hates it.

Press release for the upcoming Goosebumps DVDs, “Return of the Mummy” and “The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.”

This Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup entry has been the weakest yet.  Some Canadian television shows are going to make DVD debuts shortly, right?  Come on, Canada.  You’re killing me here.  A country where Beastmaster has season sets and CODCO doesn’t is not a country I’d like to live in.


November 9, 2008

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (November 9, 2008)

Press release for The Border‘s first-season DVD.  True story – when I received the press release it had this in it:


Good job editing the template, VSC.  The company does good work, don’t get me wrong, but one usually doesn’t see placeholders in finished press releases.  I’m sure White Pine Pictures was thrilled to see that.

Life With Derek sampler DVD out February 10, 2009.  I hate sampler discs – they end up in $5 bargain bins and landfills.  I hope these DVDs are recycled if they don’t sell, otherwise it’s a waste of plastic and aluminum.  Shit knows I’m beyond sick of those Trading Spaces samplers and five hundred copies of Kid Paddle.


The Red Green Show‘s eleventh season out March 10, 2009.  The eleventh season, a/k/a “the 2001 season,” is where the show starts to show its age – Patrick McKenna comes back to the show after a long-enough absence, but somehow he’s not as funny as before.  Acorn Media still has three more seasons to go until The Red Green Show completely bottoms out.

No Smith & Smith/Smith & Smith’s Comedy Mill DVDs on the horizon, though.  Is that a good or bad thing?  I know Smith & Smith has its detractors, but the show ran forever on CHCH.  If Hilarious House of Frightenstein is worthy of multiple DVD sets, so is Smith & Smith.

The Georgia Straight mentions ReGenesis in its latest article on new DVD releases.  The Georgia Straight is a Vancouver, British Columbia newspaper, yet it needs to mention ReGenesis‘ Canadian status.  I love this country. review of The Red Green Show‘s 2000 season.  What can I say, it’s been a dire week for Canadian TV-on-DVD news.  When the most exciting news is a Red Green Show release that won’t come out for another four months…well, I don’t know how to finish that sentence with a proper ending.  Here’s a clip from Smith & Smith.

Don’t forget to visit the URBMN aStore, as I love blatant shilling!


October 22, 2008

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (October 22, 2008)

Tripping the Rift Season Three on DVD in early 2009!  This release, of course, makes Tripping the Rift: The Movie completely superfluous.

Considering Tripping the Rift‘s third season was buried by both Teletoon and Sci-Fi, why didn’t Anchor Bay put out the complete third season to begin with?  Why would anyone pay for the same lousy T’Nuk-is-ugly and Chode-McBlob-likes-Six-fucking-him jokes twice?

For those fans willing to rebut me with “you seem to know so much about the show” comments, I reviewed Tripping the Rift: The Movie and watched maybe five minutes of a few random episodes.  You’re kidding me if you think the show has actual depth.  What a waste of Stephen Root and Maurice LaMarche.

Super Dave’s Super Stunt Spectacular Volume 1 box art!  I hate posting articles about box art, but the art’s fairly good here.  I like the shark in the top-left corner.

Bob Einstein looks a bit sickly, though.  I know he’s in his mid-sixties by now, but there’s something not right about the way he looks.  If that’s airbrushing, sheesh, at least use an older Super Dave picture.  He looks almost Roy-Orbison-in-1988 pancakey.

Super Dave – Super Stunt Spectacular: Volume 1

Box art for The Border Season One.  Honestly, that’s awful box art.  Not only is it a bunch of heads backdropped by some blue, the artwork looks strangely unprofessional compared to, say, jPod.  Usually VSC has at least half-decent box art, but not here.  All that motion-blurred text…ugh.

The Border: Season 1

The Starlost complete series set has been delayed by VCI until November 4 – no reason, VCI just felt like it.  Every time I see that logo for The Starlost I keep thinking “Coneheads.”

In other news, The Starlost is already being sold at for half its list price.  It’s the price of the future…TODAY!

The Starlost: Complete Series  

On a personal note, I recently posted to‘s forums about the Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup.  I don’t think I need to explain what is about, but think Jon Mikl Thor films and Prom Night.  Hell, just think Jon Mikl Thor.  He’s a cottage industry in himself.

I’m already #1 or #2 at on the subject of Canadian TV-on-DVD, and I think may be the first site to talk extensively about the subject.  Sure, there’s a topic about Canadian TV-on-DVD releases, but this site may have set a trend.  Whether this translates into people actually reading remains to be seen.