Northernstars on the Small Screen
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(September 4, 2018 – Toronto, ON) I hate to mention it, but summer is beginning to draw to a close and the film and television seasons are also getting ready to change along with the weather. Television, always ruled by ratings, began launching their new shows in September back at the dawn of TV knowing vacations were over, the kids were back at school and outdoor playtime was getting shorter as the sun began to set earlier and earlier. This new TV season sees a return of many favourites and the first episodes of many new shows. In film, we are moving into Festival season.
In the next eight weeks all the major cities in Canada will have their festivals. Montreal actually survived another year and wrapped yesterday. TIFF opens in two days. There will be film festivals in Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver through September and October. Smaller festivals in large cities and larger festivals in smaller centres continue right through to the end of the year. But it’s TV’s turn to be in the spotlight.
All of the networks have announced their fall schedules but we’re going to pick and choose a handful of shows that deserve some special attention. First up for us is the Baroness Von Sketch Show. The short, impactful bits guarantee you don’t have to wait long before you’re shaking your head at how the simplest things can be so hilarious when the cast turns their attention to daily life in the big city. Season three makes its debut at 9:00PM on September 18. We previously announced the show had been renewed for a fourth season.
We’re also looking forward to the return of The Detectives on CBC. This true crime series moves to Thursdays this year and returns at 9:00PM on September 20th. I thought the first season was terrific which makes me recommend its second season. The stories are well told and the cases carry an added impact because you know each episode is based on a real tragedy.
Monday nights are mystery nights for CBC with the return of Murdoch Mysteries at 8:00PM on September 24. It’s the 12th season for this period drama so that alone should recommend it but it is the cast that so perfectly captures Toronto at the dawn of the 20th century. Murdoch Mysteries is followed by one of our favourite shows. It’s also a period crime drama series, but Frankie Drake Mysteries can get pretty campy at times but that only adds to its charm. Also set in Toronto, Frankie Drake Mysteries starts its second season at 9:00PM on September 24.
Over at CTV, the medical drama The Resident returns. It costars Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife) and Canada’s Emily VanCamp (Revenge), who plays Nicolette “Nic” Nevin, an idealistic head nurse attempting to reform Chastain Park Memorial Hospital. The Resident helps launch the network’s Premiere Week on Monday, September 24th at 7:00PM. It moves into its regular slot on Mondays at 8:00PM starting October 1.
If you loved him in Castle, Nathan Fillion returns to primetime TV as a man who pursues his dream of joining the LAPD in the midst of a mid-life awakening, on the new cop series The Rookie, starting October 16 at 10:00PM.
Speaking of rookies, Missy Peregrym, costar of the Canadian series Rookie Blue, stars in the American production FBI, which was created by Craig Turk and Dick Wolf. The concept was picked up and went straight to series production—instead of shooting just a pilot episode—and premieres in Canada on Global at 9:00PM, September 25. Peregrym is pictured at the top of this article as her character, Maggie Bell.
These are just highlights, things we like and things we think you’ll like. In a 500+ channel universe it’s difficult to find solid shows to watch on regular network television and we hope this helps. One of the new shows on a specialty channel we think will be worth seeing is Jim Carrey’s return to the small screen after two decades. Described as a dark comedy, the 10-episode Showtime series Kidding finds a home in Canada on Bell Media’s TMN (The Movie Network) as well as CraveTV.
Ralph Lucas is the founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.