Thursday, February 27, 2014

First Impressions: Global's REMEDY

If CBS had any sense (and seeing as they promoted Nina Tassler to chairman, well...) they would've given Enrico Colantoni's Person of Interest villain Elias a spin-off of his own so much he made that character rich and irresistible to watch. But while the Eye remains happy with putting him on a few minutes here and there, Global made the smart play of putting their new medical show square on his shoulders.

Remedy, Global's answer to CTV's massively popular Saving Hope (NBC may have dropped it after one season, it's still the most watched Canadian drama) stars the Flashpoint vet as Doctor Conner, the head of a medical family all working in the same hospital (and not all of them voluntarily). Nikita Vets Sarah Allen and Casey Dillon co-star alongside Vampire Diaries alum sara Canning as the Conner siblings, with resident Warehouse 13 psychic Genelle Williams and the always-hilarious Martha Burns on board for the ride.

While 'Hope is a romantic procedural with fantasy undertones, Global's latest offers right off the bat a microcosmic look at social classes and standings still very present today. The Star's Tony Wong compared it to Downton Abbey, which is a pretty accurate analogy; one of the main characters, a resident doctor who boasts of having studied for ten years but has little to show for, faces-off against an orderly who clearly knows more than he lets on but remains mum about it due to his position of a simple porter. I was almost expecting Lady Grantham to drop by with a sick burn.

At the center though, Remedy reminds of a heartfelt Edward Burns movie with its looks at a dysfunctional family that really tries to be the nuclear kind, but seems to fail at every turn. Medical shows might be a dime a dozen, this one stands out with such a heart, and at the center of it an already-strong cast that perfectly juggles dramatic turns with impeccable comedic timing. It's all about family, and this team doesn't need to rely on the tired trick of flashbacks to get you in on the clan's history; their demeanour for one another speaks volume, and rewards us for having tuned it to this little gem.

Unlike for our American neighbours, here mid-season shows usually are just as good if not better than the line-up starters, and Remedy is no exception. The production on the whole season had already wrapped before going on air, which gives the show an air of excited exuberance at pushing forward without constantly cringing at ticker-tape feedback. This one truly deserve the moniker of "original" series, and while it would probably flop belly-up down South, over here it could well be the next big thing.

Remedy airs Mondays at 9pm EST on Global.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Being Human put to rest

"This entire season was, from inception, designed to be the last one. All stories are tied up. This was how we wanted to go," Sam Witwer tweeted yesterday. "Wanted to tell a great story from beginning to end. We didn't want to bleed the concept dry. Believe it or not - artistic decision." We see what you did there, Sam.

The story might not be bled dry, but Syfy soon will at the rate their going. The network announced earlier this week a heartbreaking cancellation for their fantasy drama Being Human, which will bow out of the air entirely this spring and make the current fourth season its last.

SyFy has been litterally cleaning house of their genre shows over the last couple of years, with fan-favorites like Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, Eureka and Alphas having all tasted an early axe while reality series and  competitions keep growing in number and season orders. Laura Vandervoot This latest cancellation though is only a first for the cabler's new chief of programming Bill McGoldrick, who took office 4 months ago.

"Cast and crew have done an amazing job bringing this show to life over the past four seasons and we sincerely thank them and the series," the network said in its press release.  “They’ve saved the best for last with the final six episodes".

The show, filmed entirely in Canada and consistently employing local actors and crew, was based on a British series of the same name which suffered a steady decline in ratings and quality after most of the original cast left the show only 3 seasons in, and ended its run last year after 5.

So how WILL the adventures of Aidan, Josh and Sally end? Tune in for the next 6 weeks as the show airs without further hiatus until it's April 7th finale. Tweets Sam, "Next weeks episode?@MarkRPellegrino called it "The best #BeingHuman episode" he'd seen up til then".

In the mean time, let's go back to square one, shall we?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Heaven just got a little funnier

He was a man never seen without a smile, and seldom around people who could resist smiling back at him. He was among his genration's pioneers in the art of making people laugh, pushed the enveloppe for so many others to express their art free of censorship and marked his time with work that will outlast any of us.

Canadian actor, writer, director and comedian Harold Ramis passed away today, and all of sudden Canada feels a lot more sad to live in. Without him there's no Ghostbusters, Animal House, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Meatballs & Stripes, No movie career for Rodney Dangerfield and no big break for Rick Moranis, John Candy, Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy.

The last 10 or so years were really counter-indicative of the massive contribution and influence he's had, and that infectious smile of his never faded. Heaven will be filled with a lot more laughter now that he's joined too many of his friends, and God forbid Dan Akroyd be taken from us anytime soon.