Cara Gee (Drummer) is Hazel James in BIRDLAND, the story of ex-cop Sheila Hood (Kathleen Munroe), who hides cameras in her home to observe her ornithologist husband’s affair with Hazel’s older sister Merle (Melanie Scrofano). When Merle falls to her death from a bridge and another of her lovers, Ray Starling (Joris Jarsky), is found dead in his own hotel, Hood is pulled into a dark world of corruption, sex and death and her surveillance footage forms the backbone of a police investigation that threatens to incriminate her and destroy her marriage. Directed by Peter Lynch (who Norm Wilner of Toronto’s NOW Magazine once said was “a director fascinated by obsessive outsiders”), BIRDLAND will be released on VOD in both Canada and the US on 26 January (Amazon, Google, Xbox, and iTunes). It will begin showing at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto on 26 January as well. Continue reading →
THE EXPANSE – Season 2 Episode 11 – SPOILERS
Holden and the gang make their way into the depths of Ganymede Station, and locate some of Strickland’s people, but they find neither Dr. Strickland, nor Prax’s daughter. Someone tosses a grenade into the room with them. Amos picks it up, opens the door it came through, and tosses it back. (Why the original grenade thrower failed to lock the door is unknown.) The grenade kills a bunch of Strickland’s people and severely wounds his assistant Umea, who begs Holden for help. But instead of rendering assistance, Holden interrogates her until she dies. This is the last straw for Nagata, who shortly thereafter announces that she will no longer be part of Holden’s quest.
NAGATA: “Jim, I’m not going with you.”
NAGATA: “If the protomolecule was here, it could be in fifty other places by now, too.”
HOLDEN: “Then we’re just gonna have to find all of them.”
NAGATA: “We have to do good where we can, when we can. I’m going back to make sure the Somnambulist is up and running, and I’m going to help Melissa get as many people off this station as we can before it dies.”
HOLDEN: “If we don’t catch that thing out there, a lot more people will die.”
NAGATA: “People die every day. I wanted to believe we could stop this. We can’t.”
The grenade also allowed one of those Caliban creatures to break free, and escape to the surface of Ganymede. Holden decides to hunt it. It is possible that the creature that escaped was the same one that attacked Draper’s platoon, or it could be Prax’s daughter modified by the protomolecule. (There were a bunch of flashbacks of Mei earlier in the episode, and the purpose of that might have been to create sympathy for what she’s become.) Based on what happened to Sgt. Draper, the creature most likely could have killed Holden and the rest had it chosen to. Instead it fled to the surface. Holden, Prax, and Alex are certainly no match for it. (Amos left with Naomi.)
It is still a mystery why the creature that attacked Draper’s platoon made a point of saving Draper. Could it have been a hybrid created from someone Draper knew?
Captain Martens (Peter Outerbridge) arrogantly admits his lies, and is outraged that Draper refuses to go along with them.
DRAPER: “You lied to me about Ganymede. You all lied about Travis. You’ve been lying to me this whole time.”
MARTENS: “That’s what’s bothering you? You may have jeopardized the future of Mars, but all you can think about is your peace of mind. You, your whole generation, you’re soft. You’re spoiled. I remember we had drill raids in school every day because back then every Martian child knew that Earth’s fleet was ready and waiting to attack us. To destroy us. To destroy everything that we had worked so hard to build.”
Draper (understandably) punches Martens many times, and he tells her all about Project Caliban. It turns out that the Ganymede incident was a field test for the Project, and the report refers to the creature as a “Version One Hybrid”. (Presumably that means a human/protomolecule hybrid.) Why it was necessary to put Ganymede Station at risk in the process is a bit of a mystery. One would think that the Martians could have arranged for Draper and her fellow marines to encounter the creature in some more isolated location.
After defecting to Earth, Draper gives Avasarala details of Mars’ involvement with Project Caliban. Possibly because of this, Jules Pierre Mao (François Chau) contacts Avasarala and arranges to meet with her somewhere in neutral space.
Meanwhile, on Venus, the protomolecule is building something.
Ted Atherton (Dr. Strickland) is Jennings in TRENCH 11, a thriller set in 1918 France during the final days of World War I. The Germans lose control of a highly contagious biological weapon that turns its victims into deranged killers, so The Allies send a shell-shocked Canadian tunneler (Rossif Sutherland) into an underground bunker behind enemy lines to find and destroy the weapon. Production began last November in Winnipeg, and a trailer is available on DailyMotion.
THE EXPANSE has been nominated for a Hugo Award in the category of Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form for the final episode of Season One, “Leviathan Wakes”. Other nominees in that category are: Black Mirror: “San Junipero” — Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” — Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards” — Game of Thrones: “The Door” — and Splendor & Misery [album], by Clipping. Winners will be announced at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, Finland, on 11 August.
Thomas Jane (Joe Miller) will be Wilfred James in a Netflix adaptation of the Stephen King story 1922. In King’s novella (published in 2010 as part of the collection Full Dark, No Stars), Wilfred confesses to murdering his wife, Arlette (to be played by Molly Parker), and comes to believe that her vengeful spirit is haunting him. The story is told in the first person, leaving readers to wonder whether Wilfred is descending into madness or really telling the truth. Jane has previously starred in two other Stephen King films: DREAMCATCHER (2003), and THE MIST (20007). Production began in Vancouver last November.
THE EXPANSE – Season 2 Episode 10 – SPOILERS
Amos (Wes Chatham) asserts that he is not a homicidal maniac. Prax (Terry Chen), who has led a sheltered existence, is quietly amazed at the short-sightedness of those around him. Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) admits his involvement with Mao and the protomolecule. And no one at all is killed in this episode.
Alex is alone and bored and monitoring things from Cyllene. We find him surrounded by empty floating beer cans and singing along to Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonely I Could Cry. (One wonders if there are any whippoorwills left in the time of The Expanse.) His zero gravity somersault in pursuit of beer droplets is interrupted by the Martian announcement of a no fly zone over Ganymede. Even if Holden manages to locate Strickland and Prax’s daughter, The Rocinante won’t be much help to them.
Bobbi Draper, in some disfavour with her superiors after her testimony at the peace talks, escapes from her quarters at the Martian Compound and goes looking for the ocean. On her way she meets Nico (Milton Barnes) who trades her directions to the water for her calcium supplement. Nico is an engaging fellow, and seems like someone who should turn up again in future episodes. Avasarala finds Draper at the edge of the ocean, shows Bobbi evidence that what she saw on Ganymede was real, and proposes that they work together. (The evidence Avasarala shows Draper came from Errinwright. We see a picture of a humanoid creature labeled Project Caliban. Caliban is the name of the half-human son of the witch Sycorax in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.)
The best line of the episode is from Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay) who tells Avasarala: “I’d forgotten how it felt to be fighting for the good guys again. I like it. It’s nice.”
Naomi is not quite sure which side she’s fighting for these days. She admonishes Holden: “Every shitty thing we do makes the next one that much easier, doesn’t it?”
The title of the episode comes from this conversation between Prax and Amos, and is very relevant to present day problems.
AMOS: “What’s the cascade?”
PRAX: “In real nature there’s enough diversity to cushion an ecosystem when something catastrophic happens. Nothing that we build, our ships, our stations, has that depth. Now, in an artificial ecosystem, when one thing goes wrong, there’s only a certain amount of pathways that can compensate for it. Eventually, those pathways get over-stressed, and then they fail. Which leaves fewer pathways, and then they’ll get over-stressed, and then they fail.”
AMOS: “So it’s not the thing that breaks you that you need to watch out for.”
PRAX: “Exactly. And Ganymede is a simple, complex system. Because it’s simple, it’s prone to cascades, and because it’s complex, you can’t predict what’s going to break down next, or how.”
The writers might be pointing out that industrial agriculture has caused the Earth to lose about 75% of plant genetic diversity since 1900, and that the introduction of genetically modified organisms threatens to intensify the problem. A simple, but complex, artificial ecosystem is being created right now.
Ryan Blakely (Basia) will be Marc Desjardins in the miniseries BAD BLOOD, based on the book Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War, by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards. Filmed in Montreal and Sudbury, the series deals with events following Rizzuto’s arrest in 2004, and the revenge killings that followed his release from prison in 2012 and led to Rizzuto’s own death a year later. BAD BLOOD will be broadcast in the fall in English on CityTV and FX, and in French on Radio-Canada.
Allison Hossack (Umea) is the newly elected Mother Superior of the Abbey in the thriller SOMETIMES THE GOOD KILL. One of her first acts as Mother Superior is to assign Sister Talia (Susie Abromeit) the job of discretely investigating a murder. Nora Mclellan (KILLJOYS) and Amanda Brugel (ORPHAN BLACK) are among others in the cast, and a trailer is available on Vimeo. SOMETIMES THE GOOD KILL should be released in Canada later this year.
Steven Yaffee (Roma) will be Mikhail Demidoff in two episodes of THE MIST, a re-imagining of the Stephen King tale that will include several distinct story lines set in a variety of locations (as opposed to the single storyline and location used in the novella and in Frank Darabont’s 2007 movie). Filmed in Bedford, Nova Scotia, the ten episode series will premiere on SPIKE TV in the US on 22 June.