REMEDY Cancelled: A Great Canadian Show You Weren’t Watching

I started to write this post a couple of weeks back, in the middle of covering Upfronts, but hadn’t gotten a chance to finish it. All this talk and writing about Upfronts brought to the forefront these somewhat generic plots for what will be the basis of a TV series. Family dramas, shows about women trying to juggle work in [insert job here] and a love life, medical shows featuring a case-of-the-week. We’ve seen these shows, so forgive me for being wary of yet another show that on the outset seems the same, but also doesn’t instinctively tell me what sets it apart from that other show. It had then reminded me that there’s a show that is sort of an all-in-one and then some: Remedy.

Remedy is a Canadian show set in the fictional Bethune General Hospital, where Griffin Conner (Dillon Casey) works as a porter. As circumstance would have it, Griff’s dad Allen Conner (Enrico Colantoni) is the hospital’s Chief of Staff, sister Melissa (Sara Canning) is a surgeon, and sister Sandy (Sarah Allen) is a nurse. The first season played more like an upstairs/downstairs medical drama, with Griff (who was a med school dropout and somewhat estranged from his family) learning about the other side of the hospital. The second season put more focus on the character and family drama of the Conners, as Griff continues to be haunted by his past despite seemingly putting his life on track; Allen is no longer Chief and starts working back in the ER; Sandy deals with being a working single mother; while Mel juggles her need to take care of her family (helping Sandy take care of baby Maya) with having a life of her own. At first look it may seem like a lot happening with no clear picture of what it’s about, which isn’t the case at all. The heart of Remedy is a family drama – it just so happens to mostly take place in a hospital. You get a sense of early years Grey’s Anatomy, but your work family includes your actual family and a tad bit less DRAMA than Grey’s. Greg Spottiswood (the creator and executive producer) and the writing team did an impeccable job balancing everything to make Remedy more than just your typical medical drama. Which is why it hurt to find out that after two seasons, Global Television cancelled the series.

I have to confess that I didn’t actually hear about the cancellation until Monday night, 3 days after that tweet, thus what spurred me to finally finish this post. Finding out about Remedy being cancelled got the wheels in my head turning and so many questions. First of all, I just felt like a terrible fan. I didn’t tweet about it during the second season, mainly because I watched the episodes days later, and why? Not because I didn’t know it was on, but because I chose to watch other shows on Mondays instead. It’s not like my Mondays were even THAT full! I flipped channels between The Voice and DWTS (both of which I knew I could watch later because it’s not like I could vote), then watched Jane the Virgin, and then whatever else I missed days prior. I could have watched it live but I didn’t, and now I feel incredibly bad about it. Basically, I took it for granted; opting for the shininess of American TV, as opposed to watching one of the few Canadian shows that I actually do enjoy.

See that’s the thing though – I, along with countless other Canadians, consuming mostly American television. We had our Canadian kids shows that we watched, but what was there once we got into our teens? Not much. And it is with that mindset that we grew into young adults, not really paying attention to what Canadian television had to offer. I mean, I’ve mentioned countless times how I didn’t get into Orphan Black until after the first season had aired AND THEN I realized as soon as I watched it that it was a Canadian made/set show. Really though, Orphan Black, like select other Canadian shows (i.e. Rookie Blue, Flashpoint, Saving Hope) are exceptions because of either being a U.S. co-production or picked up by a U.S. network, which gave them increased exposure. But what of the pure Canadian productions like Remedy? It got a push in the first season and got recognition from the Canadian Screen Awards, but somehow I felt like Global didn’t do right by it in its second season. Every time I tuned into Global, I feel like the only non-American show being advertised was Big Brother Canada.

So what happened to cause Global to cancel Remedy? Was it that a U.S. network didn’t pick it up (and on that note, why didn’t it get picked up by the U.S.? Even as a summer series)? Did the ratings drop THAT much between the first and second seasons, and how much of the drop was on account of poor promotion? It certainly wasn’t a quality issue because from my point of view, the show got stronger in its second season. Like I said before, there are a lot of medical dramas (something I’ve become quite weary of) and it takes a lot for a show to set itself apart, which I think Remedy did. Of course it starts with that amazing cast of Enrico Colantoni, Dillon Casey, Sara Canning, and Sarah Allen, who had such wonderful chemistry that you believed them as the Conners, as this family. Even with the focus being on the Conner family, we got a sense of the other aspects of the hospital through the other supporting staff. Our biggest gateway into this other world within the hospital wasn’t even really through Griffin, it was through Genelle Williams’ character Zoe, who proved to be dynamic in her own right. Then there are the love interests of the Conner sisters: Matt Ward’s Brian (Sandy’s fiance in s1), Brendan Gall’s Jerry and Niall Matter’s Peter (two very different guys in Mel’s life). Once again let me reiterate the wonderfully nuanced and balanced writing. None of the characters are presented as perfect; they all have their flaws and struggles. Griff’s drug addiction and struggle to stay clean was never glossed over, especially as season two went on. Sandy always wanting to do what’s right, instead of trusting her instincts, then attempting to be a single working parent (though co-parenting with Mel). Mel puts her entire self into work, striving to be the best surgeon there is, and taking care of her family through her various means, all of which is sometimes at the expense of her own happiness. Allen as it turns out just wants to be a good father and doctor.

So tell me again how a drama with so much heart, and a good dose of humour still, get cancelled? I don’t know. Frankly, my knowledge of how Canadian TV networks do things is even more limited than my understanding of the American networks. This will forever by a “WHY DID THIS GET CANCELLED?!” for me and I’ll be very bummed about this for a while. But at least I got two great seasons from it, plus a meeting with Dillon Casey at last year’s CSA Fanzone, so there’s that I guess. Thanks for the memories, Remedy!

 

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5 Fandom Friday: Nerdiest Things I’ve Ever Done

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This week’s Fandom 5 is all about the nerdiest things we’ve done. As I started thinking about this week’s topic, I thought I was going to have trouble making the five, but once I started digging in a bit, well, let’s just say I nearly forgot how much of a nerd I was growing up, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

1.) Going to Cons

San Diego Convention Centre

That initial decision to go to San Diego Comic Con. For the longest time, I didn’t really know this idea of being a geek, and I feel like it stems from not quite negative but a stigma of sorts from general society of what it means to be a geek/nerd. Then me being a fan of a lot of things, pop culture-wise, and not necessarily being the “stereotypical geek”, I just felt like I didn’t belong in this group somehow. Like I was a fake. I knew one thing for certain was my love of TV and movies, and hearing about SDCC year after year, I just got it into me that I wanted to go. At that point (this was nearly three years ago), I hadn’t done a trip on my own and it was sort of me wanting to do something for myself. So my one cousin (who I didn’t realize was so much like me. Distance will do that to you.) and I made our first trek to SDCC in 2013. Still one of the nerdiest things I’ve ever done, because I just hadn’t experienced anything like it. I did go to FanExpo to get a sense of it in 2012, but we all know SDCC is a whole other level.

2.) “Stalking” the Nikita Set

Nov. 12, 2012 - Waterloo Airport for episode 3x10 "Brave New World"

My love of Nikita is just beyond. If you read this blog regularly or follow me on Twitter, you know that by now. Cast of actors I loved (Maggie, Shane, Lyndsy, Melinda initially; then Aaron, Noah, Devon, Dillon, Lyndie) in a great show that filmed in and around Toronto – they were my life for four years. Every chance I could get to be near the set, when I found out their filming location, I tried my damned hardest to go (within restraints obviously – I don’t live in Toronto so it was infinitely harder to be so close, yet so far). Of course every single time I came close, but failed miserably at meeting any of the cast members. During that same time that Nikita was filming, I cared much more about other stuff filming, trying to catch Suits or Covert Affairs filming as well. After Nikita wrapped, I haven’t cared as much…although 12 Monkeys DOES film in Toronto, as does Orphan Black, but I’m not obsessed about finding locations. I don’t really need to constantly feel like I’m failing.

3.) Warner Brothers and Paramount Studio Tours

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Because seeing TV/movie magic and sets of some of your favourite shows is awesome. Though doing these studio tours are even more nerdy when you can answer pretty much every question the tour guides ask you.

4.) Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I LOVED Sabrina when I was younger. I can’t remember why, but I did. Enough to write a fan letter, mailed it, and found a signed cast photo get sent back to me months later.

5.) Entertainment + School

Throughout my entire education years, I pretty much found every excuse to incorporate my love of entertainment into school. Started off with talent shows in elementary school, then wrote papers/opinion pieces on what was going on in pop culture at the time for extra credit in middle school. Whenever I had to be creative in high school, I always used TV/movie character names. I remember senior Econ class, saw one of the topics for a project being “Salaries of Celebrities” and I was completely all over that, just short of simply yelling out “MINE! CALLED IT!” Every time I was able to tie-in media to any of my university papers, I was damn happy: Minority representation in the media, gender equality and representation, adaptations (for a movie course obviously). In my Speech Comm course, we covered three different types of speeches and what did I talk about? Music downloading, the Writers’ Strike, and movie sequels. I wrote a thesis on attending concerts! Also took classes on history of music and pop culture AND music in film. It’s not like I went to a media school and did this; I was a sociology major.

So yeah, those are the nerdiest things I’ve done in my life.

5 Fandom Friday: Most Binge Worthy Shows

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Getting back into the 5 Fandom Friday swing of things and this week, we’re talking binge-worthy shows. To be honest, I don’t even binge-watch shows that often. In a lot of cases, I can only watch maybe two or three episodes of something in a row, before I either have to watch something else or go do something else entirely. The times that I do end up binge-watching a show, it’s usually a comedy and I turn it on just while I’m doing something else or I’m like “I just want to watch something quick before bed” – next thing I know it’s 5 episodes later. So here are my most binge-worthy shows.

1.) FRIENDS

Always have and always will love Friends. So good and funny, and insanely quotable. I remember one summer I made it my mission to go through a season a week. More recently, my cousins and I had Friends going, while we worked on our 1000-piece puzzle (this was during my trip to Disneyland at the beginning of the year).

2.) HAPPY ENDINGS

Three seasons was not nearly enough to spend with these funny weirdos. My usual go-to episodes are “The Kerkovich Way” or “The Marry Prankster”, and then I continue on from there.

3.) PARKS AND RECREATION

I think I binge-watched seasons 2 and 3 while on one of my vacations, which had gotten me all caught up to watch season 4 live, and I just couldn’t get enough! They were just the best; I miss it.

4.) CHUCK

The Nerd Herders at the Buy More – so entertaining, so funny. Again, there was one night I was scrolling through Netflix at like 11 p.m. and I’m like “Chuck! Let’s watch one episode…” and I stayed up an extra 3 hours.

5.) NIKITA

What, you thought I’d make it through one TV-related list without mentioning one of my favourite shows ever? HA! It’s one of the few exceptions to my typically “comedy-only” binge-watching. I loved everything about this show and will do a mini-binge just because.

Upfronts 2015: The CW Keeps It Simple for Next Season

Last but not least for Upfronts, The CW presents its schedule for next season. The CW is always an interesting case because by all means, it’s a broadcast network, though it is often looked at as the annoying little sibling to the Big Four. No one really understands their business model because ratings aren’t (though sometimes are) a big issue for it. For years, CW’s roster was filled with teen shows or just generally, shows with pretty people and pretty people problems. The pretty people part still stands, but the past few years have seen a shift in the network’s programming – more adult, more genre, sometimes both. This past season saw The CW airing arguably the two best new series in The Flash and Jane the Virgin, the latter which gave the network a major award win with Gina Rodriguez beating out some heavy hitters at the Golden Globes. Now with its limited programming time and a very solid group of shows, the network picked up three additional series.

CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND [Comedy – Mondays @ 8]: Rachel has a great job working at a prestigious law firm in New York, and suddenly decides to leave it all behind to find love and happiness in Southern California. The show was initially developed for Showtime and when they passed on it, The CW picked it up. It’s the only new show to land on the schedule for fall and it’s getting paired up with Jane the Virgin, so it’ll be a cute and funny Monday night over on CW. My only concern is that JTV is not playing the lead-in for this new show, which I think would’ve worked better, but what do I know?

DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW [Drama – Midseason]: First Arrow, then The Flash, now this new spin-off. Familiar faces Brandon Routh, Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell and Caity Lotz headline the series, which will see these heroes and villains come together to save the world and time itself. Newbies to this particular DC TV universe include Arthur Darvill, Ciarra Renee, and Franz Drameh. Ever since the project was announced two questions came up: 1) Who is Caity Lotz playing? Since last we checked, her Sara Lance/Black Canary was dead over on Arrow, and 2.) Where’s Robbie Amell, the other half of Garber’s Firestorm? From the key art below, it looks like we sort of have an answer in that Lotz is still playing Sara though in White Canary form; the question of she’s revived is yet to be answered. At the very least though, we can expect even more crossovers between the three Berlanti/Guggenheim/Kreisberg shows.

CONTAINMENT [Drama – Midseason]: A deadly virus outbreak forces a large quarantine on the city of Atlanta and those stuck on the inside must fight for their lives. So it’s Under the Dome with a virus, or at least that’s the first thing I thought of (even though Dome is really not good)? The other hardest working woman in TV (next to Shonda Rhimes), Julie Plec adapted this from a Belgian series. Shows like this ignite my Sociology education with its look at how people deal with a massive event that forces them to re-evaluate their morals and who they are as members of this society. It’s worth a look for sure, but everything hinges on what direction they decide to go with this.

Other Notables:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday nights will stay the same on the network, with the winning combos of The Flash/iZombie and Arrow/Supernatural.
  • It was inevitably going to happen – The Originals will now follow The Vampire Diaries on Thursdays.
  • Reign moves to Friday, leading into America’s Next Top Model.
  • The 100 will air sometime midseason, as will the fourth season (?!) of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Like I said previously, with their limited schedule, I’m curious to see how CW will fit in its 3 midseason shows. Presumably, one or two of the shows scheduled for fall will only have a 13 episode season, and maybe one of the midseason shows will be a “bridging the gap” show during winter hiatus.

That’s it for the broadcast Upfronts! Lots to digest and go over. Closer to the premieres in September, after seeing more trailers and promos, I’ll make a decision on what I’ll actually watch. Until then, I’m gonna go catch up on my current shows.

 

Upfronts 2015: CBS Releases Schedule for Next Fall

CBS is the opposite of ABC when it comes to announcements, as they tend to give renewals to a whole batch of their shows months before Upfronts. It makes it difficult to gauge afterwards just how many spots left on the schedule will be for the as-yet non-renewed shows and the new shows being picked up. This year however, they actually held off announcing renewals/cancellations until just a few days ago. CBS continues to be CBS in terms of shows, but at least they have one new show I’m really excited about this year, which of course is the most obviously non-CBS-like show. Below I give my thoughts on CBS’ newest offerings for next season.

SUPERGIRL [Drama – Mondays @ 8, starting in November]: Superman’s cousin Kara gets her own show! The latest DC comic to get the TV treatment follows Kara (played by Melissa Benoist) as she embraces her powers to become Supergirl. Trying to keep her identity a secret can be difficult when she’s enlisted by a super-secret agency to protect the citizens of National City. Berlanti, Kreisberg, Adler and co. have also assembled a hell of a supporting cast with: Chyler Leigh as Kara’s foster sister Alex, Calista Flockhart as Kara’s boss Cat Grant, Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen, David Harewood as Hank Henshaw, and Laura Benanti as Kara’s birth mom. PLUS, Helen Slater (aka the OG Supergirl) and Dean Cain (aka Lois and Clark Superman) are slated to guest star. Of course I’m ready for this!

LIFE IN PIECES [Comedy – Mondays @ 8:30, then Thursdays @ 8:30 in November]: CBS’ version of Modern Family or a funnier Parenthood? Here we have an ensemble show that will be told from the perspective of the Short family: matriarch Joan (Dianne West) and her kids, eldest daughter Heather (Betsy Brandt), son Matt (Thomas Sadoski), and youngest Greg (Colin Hanks). The series also stars James Brolin, Angelique Cabral, Zoe Lister Jones, and Dan Bakkedahl. It’s another family comedy, but how do you say no to at least checking out a show that features a cast like this?

LIMITLESS [Drama – Tuesdays @ 10]: It’s another movie adaptation, but like FOX’s Minority Report, you’re looking at a TV sequel to the movie, as opposed to just a TV remake. Jake McDorman plays Brian Finch, who discovers the abilities attached to taking the NZT drug and is pushed to use his new-found powers to help the FBI. So it’s another procedural. I liked the movie (except for the ending), but I’m still not sold on how they’re developing it into a TV series. I am far more intrigued by the fact that Bradley Cooper will guest star on the show from time to time, playing his character from the movie Edward Mora, who is now a senator, still uses NZT, and looks at Brian as a protege. Jennifer Carpenter, Hill Harper, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio also star; Cooper, Marc Webb, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Heather Kadin are among the executive producers.

CODE BLACK [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Apparently this is based on a documentary by Ryan McGarry. Marcia Gay Harden is Dr. Leanne Rorish, the residency director of L.A.’s busiest emergency room, wherein the number of patients outweigh the resources available. Sounds like a standard medical drama to me or E.R. on drugs.

ANGEL FROM HELL [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: Maggie Lawson plays Allison, who’s organized/”perfect” life gets upended when she meets Amy (Jane Lynch), an oddball who claims that she is Allison’s guardian angel. This has the potential to be really funny I think, as long as it doesn’t go for the obvious jokes with the mismatched pairing.

CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS [Drama – Midseason]: It’s Criminal Minds abroad! I don’t watch the original, so I don’t really care.

RUSH HOUR [Drama – Midseason]: Take the movie and expand to a TV series. Cultural jokes fly everywhere. I honestly have my doubts about this because as much as I enjoyed the movies, a lot of it had to do with the chemistry/camaraderie between Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. We’ll have to see how Justin Hires and Jon Foo work out as Detectives Carter and Lee.

Other Notables:

  • Long-time CBS staple, CSI will end its 15-year run with a two-hour series finale on Sept. 27th. Original castmembers William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger will return for the finale.
  • Comedies 2 Broke Girls, The Odd Couple, and Mike & Molly will return midseason.
  • Critical fave Person of Interest was renewed for a fifth season, comprising of 13 episodes, and will also return midseason. Rumours are that it will be the final season for the series, but CBS is not saying anything about it.
  • With CBS having football on Thursday nights in the fall, The Big Bang Theory and Life in Pieces will begin their seasons in September on Mondays, before moving over to Thursdays with Mom and Angel from Hell, once those Thursday night football games finish in November.
  • CSI: Cyber was also renewed for a second season and will air Sundays at 10 p.m.
  • Everything else is as it was this season.
  • Many others have already mentioned the fact that Supergirl will be going up against FOX’s Gotham in the timeslot. I’d imagine that WB isn’t particularly happy with that, but from this fan’s perspective, two different shows. And I’ve already decided I’m gonna watch Supergirl at that time anyways, because Gotham is not as exciting as I had hoped it would be.

Tomorrow we wrap things up with The CW!