Misaki (Ellen Wong) is not killed by Five’s blast from Bubba as the Raza crew make their escape
According to The Android, the time between her activation in the Raza’s infirmary in Episode One, and the crew’s incarceration by the Galactic Authority in Episode Fourteen was a little over 47 days. This means that each of the first 13 episodes lasted an average of three and a half days in real time, if no time elapsed for the crew between episodes.
You’d think a bunch of badass rogue mercenaries would dress with a little more flair (though Three looks good in anything), but of the Raza crew, Five (Jodelle Ferland) is the only one with any fashion sense, and even she is beginning to look a little threadbare. Ship’s Android, model number 6641619-8, (still without a name) is still wearing that bland blue uniform, although indications are that later in the season she will change into a much prettier white one. In all fairness, the crew hasn’t had much time to pay attention to wardrobe.
Alycia Reynaud (Inga Cadranel) — easily DARK MATTER’s best dressed character — with her assistant Hughes played by Lindsay Owen Pierre
Five‘s true identity has been determined. She is sixteen year old Emily Kolburn, whose parents died in a shuttle accident when she was very young. Emily grew up in an orphanage, ran away at the age of 12, and since has been living on the streets. Emily is 5’4″ tall with blue eyes and dark hair (in case you were curious about that), and lots of people are after her. Alicia Reynaud (Inga Cadranel) is among her pursuers, though we haven’t been told exactly why. It probably has something to do with that mysterious key card Five found on the dead body in the Raza’s cargo hold in Episode Four, the one The Android said was probably “part of some larger system designed to access pockets of extra-dimensional space.” (see previous post)
One (Marc Bendavid) looks at his lawyer Felicia Brand (Trenna Keating) in the mirror. “This is the only face I know,” he tells her.
The Galactic Authority’s Chief Inspector Shaddick (Franca Potente) gets nowhere in her attempts to get Five to rat on her shipmates, and The Android (Zoie Palmer) is refusing to cooperate as well. (The Android states that her loyalty is to her crew.) Shaddick, being a logical sort, takes Five to see The Android, points a gun at Five’s head, and tells The Android to give up her information, or Five will be shot. Unknown to her, Six is preparing to sabotage the prison power supply. When the lights go out, Five orders The Android to “Kill Them All”.
Melanie Liburd as Nyx.
The Android follows Five’s command. The last of those in the room to die is Shaddick, who cowers in terror as she waits to be shot. (DARK MATTER Androids do not follow Asimov‘s Three Laws of Robotics. In Season One, Wendy the Pleasure Droid accepted programming that made her kill.)
Franca Potenta as Shaddick, apparently killed by The Android at Five’s order.
Five’s weapon of choice during the escape is Bubba (Three’s big gun). Apparently Bubba has a non-lethal setting, because when Five shoots Misaki (Ellen Wong) to end her swordfight with Four, Misaki (aka Han Shireikan of the Imperial Guard) is not killed by the blast. She seems to just have the wind knocked out of her. Five, then, is not indiscriminately lethal.
Six, who we used to think was the insurrectionist Griffin Jones, is in actuality Lieutenant Kal Varrick of the GA Special Investigations Unit (which explains why he got everybody busted at the end of Season One). He changes from disillusioned revolutionary to disillusioned cop and aids in the crew’s escape, but is severely wounded in the process. The prison doctor (who came along for the ride) hasn’t the equipment to fix him. Five puts him in stasis.
After the data transfer from Truffault, Three’s left eye glows green, indicating that it is most likely bionic
The most interesting bit of tech in these episodes is used by Commander Truffault (Tori Higginson), who gets Three (Anthony Lemke) to look her in the eye when declining her offer of a deal, and somehow initiates an eye-to-eye transfer of a map of the prison. For this to be possible, Three must, without knowing it, have an at least partially bionic eye. (He would probably have noticed the presence of a contact lens.) She might have sent a low-energy laser data pulse down the optic nerve of a normal eye, but Three’s eye glowed green after the transfer, indicating a mechanical implant.
Two and Nyx in the Sim Yard
It might be that Truffault aided in the crew’s escape because she also wants to get her hands on Five.
One is likely dead, having been shot many times by Jace Corso at the end of the first episode. This leaves little hope for another appearance by his lawyer Felicia Brand (Trenna Keating). Nyx Harper (Melanie Liburd) joined in the escape and most likely will remain a member of the crew. It seems possible that she might have been planted there by some corporation or other.
Clara Pasieka and Torri Higginson in the webseries INHUMAN CONDITION
Tori Higginson (Commander Truffault) stars as Dr. Michelle Kessler, a therapist who treats werewolves, zombies and other beings with ‘supernatural afflictions’, in the web series INHUMAN CONDITION. Among other cast members are Clara Pasieka (Reign, Bitten) and Cara Gee (Strange Empire). The first eight chapters of the 33 episode series are up on YouTube (KindaTV), and new episodes are posted each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Anne Mroczkowski as GNN News anchor. Mroczkowski is a long time Canadian TV reporter and news anchor. Most recently she co-anchored Global News Hour, along with Leslie Roberts from 2010-2013.
Marc Bendavid (Jace Corso) will be Phil in SUMMER IN THE CITY. It is about Taylor (Vivica A. Fox), a small town store manager who is called upon to run a Manhattan clothing boutique. But the reality of big city life is more than Taylor bargained for. As she slowly settles into life in New York City, she meets Phil, a realtor who clearly wants to be more than friends. SUMMER IN THE CITY will premiere on The Hallmark Channel on 13 August at 9pm.
Franca Potente (Shaddick) is Anita Gregory in THE CONJURING 2, in which paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to assist a single mother with four kids who is living in a house haunted by a malicious spirit. The film was pulled from French cinemas shortly after its release because of what The Guardian called “troublesome occurrences of loud laughter, hysterical yelling, and violent altercations”. This effect was apparently seen only in France. The film is currently playing in theatres across the US and Canada.
Sonya Salomaa as Allison O’Donnell in BBC America’s INTRUDERS.
Sonya Salomaa (left) and Zoie Palmer in the 2011 Canadian TV series THE GUARD (many thanks to Vicky for this screencap)
Sonya Salomaa, who plays Madison’s adoptive mom Allison on INTRUDERS, was First Mate Laura Nelson in THE GUARD, a 2008 Canadian TV series which also starred Zoie Palmer of LOST GIRL. THE GUARD is, inexplicably, not available anywhere on DVD. Allison O’Donnell is one of only four characters who will appear in all 8 episodes of INTRUDERS. Salomaa will appear as Sarah Roberts in episode #25 of the Hallmark Channel series CEDAR COVE, due to air Saturday 4 October at 8pm Eastern. The episode is titled Resolutions and Revelations
Ellen Fox hosts WIZARD WARS on SyFy (US) and the Space Channel in Canada
Ellen Fox, host of SyFy’s WIZARD WARS, has coined a lovely term for fans of the show — Magicianados (rhymes with afficianado, from which it derives).
In WIZARD WARS, two teams of two magicians compete in each episode. Each team is given three everyday objects and must build original magic routines around them, but it is more of a variety show specializing in magic than it is a competition. The judges are Penn, Teller, and Christen Gerhart. Fox at one point surprised Gerhart by calling her “Stephen Hawking in hotpants” (Gerhart is not only a magician, but a former JPL researcher. She now is a telescope operator at Mt. Wilson Observatory. And she was wearing hotpants at the time.) SyFy has picked up WIZARD WARS for six more episodes, to air in January 2015.
DEFIANCE has been renewed for a third season by SyFy (US). There is much hope for Season Three. Doc Yewll (Trenna Keating) is no longer considered a war criminal, because she helped thwart Arkrise in the last episode of season 2. The irritating lawkeeper Nolan (Grant Bowler) is, along with his daughter Irisa, securely encased in an underground pod and everyone in the town of Defiance thinks they’re dead.
Linda Hamilton as Pilar on DEFIANCE
Elsewhere in the Defiance universe, Kenya Rosewater‘s clone is off exploring something or other and could easily come back to Defiance and be given a normal lifespan by the Doc. On top of all that, Linda Hamilton has entered the show as Rafe McCawley‘s semi-sane wife Pilar, who has fled south after having kidnapped Christie Tarr, with the elder Tarrs in hot pursuit. There is the potential of having both Linda Hamilton and Mia Kirshner in one or more episodes of the show together. But that may be too much to ask for.
“I really like the genre I work in, but I can see myself wanting to stretch out a bit. There’s a horror-comedy that I wrote with a buddy of mine, and Katie Boland and I are developing this little sci-fi love story as well.” —- J. Lalonde to Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision
Jeremy LaLonde has directed two feature films: THE UNTITLED WORK OF PAUL SHEPARD and SEX AFTER KIDS. The first of these, with the somewhat unattractive acronym of TUWOPS, is an intricate dissection of the root causes of loneliness. Dar Dowling of the Huffington Post described the film’s central character (played by Kris Holden-Ried) this way: “…you watch him [Paul Shepard] go from being absolutely sure he’s great boyfriend material, to actually ‘seeing’ for himself what an absolute asshole he’s been in relationships, after going in search of all the women he’s ‘loved’ – and actually filming it.”
Zoie Palmer received a 2011 ACTRA Award nomination for “Outstanding Female Performance” for the scene in TUWOPS where she throws stuff at Holden-Ried. (It is by far the film’s most memorable scene.) Christine Horne (now the leader of the Una Mens on LOST GIRL) is great as Sadie.
In 2013, LaLonde directed the short film OUT, which stars Tommie-Amber Pirie and is beautifully hilarious. Isabel Cupryn of The Canadian Film Review called OUT “a study in comedic timing”. Mr. Lalonde is now one of my favourite directors and would almost certainly rank higher on this list had I been able to see more than the trailer of SEX AFTER KIDS. (Its US release date is unknown.)
His current project is a short film called BASTARDS in which an aging rock star with a year to live bribes his illegitimate children into doing typical family activities with him for the chance to become his heir. Tommie-Amber Pirie will be in that one as well, so it is something to look forward to. SEX AFTER KIDS begins its Canadian theatre run on 7 February in Toronto.
#9 – MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES
MISS FISHER:“I’d never presume to judge a woman on the basis of her morals. I’m only interested in solving a murder case.”
With Essie Davis in the title role, this excellent TV adaptation of the works of Australian writer Kerry Greenwood first aired in 2012, but I only discovered it when it turned up on Netflix in late 2013. Greenwood’s books evoke the romanticism of Dorothy Sayers, combining it with puzzles worthy of Agatha Christie. In the TV version, Phryne Fisher is (more or less) a polyamorous and much more fashion conscious version of Harriet Vane. Murder Under the Mistletoe, the final episode of Season 2, may be the series finale as well. There is as yet no word on whether the show will be renewed for a third season. An indication of the shows popularity might be the amount of Phryne Fisher fan fiction that has been written, some of it novel length.
More than anything else is the production values of the series. They put out all the stops including accurate and elaborately beautiful set designs of the time period and then the most gorgeous costumes you will ever see on the TV screen. The costumes are dazzling, precise (down to the buttons of the actual time period given to the designers), and just rich in their eye catching presentation. The production puts every last penny to good use, this series looking like it costs even more than the million dollars they dole out per episode. If the mystery aspect of the show is less appealing to you, tune in just for the visuals and even beautifully shot cinematography because this is the show to watch if you truly want to see the 1920s come to life.
#8 – THE LAST MAN
Found this gem browsing Netflix. When I saw the title and description, I immediately thought of the Mary Shelley novel, but there is no discernible connection to that. THE LAST MAN features Jeri Ryan, and is a post-apocalyptic comedy of relationships. It won a couple of film festival awards in 2000, and had a theatrical release in 2002. It is one of the best films I’ve seen this year.
This is Jeri Ryan’s second film (not counting those made for television). Her first was the intriguing MEN CRY BULLETS, a rather hard to find movie made just before she became 7 of 9 on Voyager, about an aspiring female impersonator (Stehen Nelson). Harry Ralston, writer and director of THE LAST MAN, played a homeless person in MEN CRY BULLETS.
#7 – MOTIVE
Not who, but why is the question posed by this fascinating detective drama set in Vancouver. Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) rarely removes her gun from its holster, and firearms are responsible for almost none of the deaths depicted on the show. Lehman, in an interview with Lena Lamornay, described what the show is trying to do:
“I think that by showing people the killer and the victim right off the top in very visually compelling ways, whether the viewer knows it or not, we are already challenging their preconceived notion of what’s right or wrong, what’s good or bad, who a killer is or a victim is because oftentimes in the scenario you see the victim in, or you see the killer in, are not your standard typical moral presentation of who’s good, who’s bad, who’s the killer or the victim. That to me is what actually leads the story.”
Some wonderful guest stars (Molly Parker, Liane Balaban, Andrea Menard, and Carly Pope to name a few) added spice to season one of this thoughtful, well written show. The second season will premiere on CTV in Canada 8 May at 10pm eastern. It will air on ABC sometime in the summer of 2014.
#6 – GEORGIE VALE
“Vale’s lyrics combine a masterful grasp of poetry, a street wise tongue and the heart of a dreamer to leave the beholder in rapture.” —— LAST FM
I first encountered Georgie Vale‘s music when she covered a Marling song (New Romantic) early in the year. Her style is cheerful (in a Petula Clark sort of way) with a light folk influence. It is a quite distinctive sound. Most of her material to date is available on Soundcloud. Vale’s latest single, As Long As You’re Mine, is available as a free download. The video of that (by Joe Farr and Mike Ransom) is on YouTube).
Vale played Glastonbury in 2010. Her most recent show was 20 December at Belushi’s in Bath.
#5 – AMANDA SETTON
Though Charlie ripped out my heart
Laying bare a fragile soul
Her touch still makes me shiver
Her warmth still makes me whole
—- LAUREN SLOTSKY
Among other things, Amanda Setton’s character Lauren Slotsky is a poet, and the above verse was the first indication of Lauren’s bisexuality. Lauren has spent a summer in Juarez, and interned for a summer with Japanese whalers. She is a woman of mystery. As Adriana Lima said to her (in episode 10) “You’re a disturbed girl. I like disturbed girls.”
Setton is a real find. Though Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar were what induced me to watch THE CRAZY ONES, it’s Amanda Setton who causes me to keep tuning in. At least partially because of her, the show has developed into American TV’s most intelligent sitcom since Seinfeld. Lauren Slotsky comments like a Greek chorus on the other characters’ misadventures.
Just prior to doing THE CRAZY ONES, Setton was in the off-Broadway touring company of the Nora Ephron play LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE. Her first major TV role was as Vegas stripper Kimberly Andrews on the afternoon soap ONE LIFE TO LIVE, but she is best known for her role as Penelope Shafai on GOSSIP GIRL.
#4 – TRENNA KEATING
“I appreciate the compliment. Also appreciate prompt payment.”
—- Doc Yewll
Last 15 April, I was moved to pause the first episode of DEFIANCE and rewind to find out just who was that actor playing that role. It was right after Doc Yewll’s first scene. I had tuned in the show because of Julie Benz, Jaime Murray, and a few others, but Trenna Keating as Doc Yewll made me stop and do a computer search. Since Mia Kirshner’s character was killed off at the end of last season (something that did not please me) Keating is the main reason I will watch season 2. Doc Yewll is the most fascinating alien since Odo on DS9.
ABOUT KEATING: She was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan and began studying acting at the age of 10. She has done most of her work on Canadian television, and is best known (prior to DEFIANCE) for her role as Sergeant Hannah Corday on the 2011 Canadian TV series COMBAT HOSPITAL (available on Amazon Instant Video).
ABOUT DOC YEWLL: Meh Yewll has been the Defiance town doctor for eight years. She is an Indogene, a species that evolved on the planet Daribo alongside the Castithans. Indogenes value science above all else. At birth, they are given a short name, and later take a second name descriptive of their skills. Indogenes have bright white skin with a hexagonal pattern across it, hexagonal-shaped irises and no visible hair. They typically are given genetic and technological implants specific to their profession.
#3 – THE TRUE HEROINES
“In terms of the look, I am going for a modernized 1950s look- more of a throwback and nostalgia for the era, than a hardcore authenticity. I personally LOVE when folks point out elements that aren’t 100% period- it means folks are watching and they care.” —- Director Michelle Ouellet
This webseries/cabaret show got my attention when Paula Giroday guest starred in the fifth episode of MOTIVE. Season one is now on Hulu (US) and there are strong indications that a second season is in the works. THE TRUE HEROINES explores the lives of three seemingly normal 1950’s housewives who have superpowers, and follows them as they evade the evil corporation that brought them into being.
THE PREMISE: After the World War One, in an attempt to limit the numbers of the Allied Forces lost to the war, secret research began in a small town called Paradise Hill to breed humans with special abilities. They were settled in small, utopian US towns created for that purpose. When World War Two began, these enhanced humans were sold to the government, but some (among them THE TRUE HEROINES) managed to escape.
Season one is now online, and there are strong indications that a second season is in the works.
THE HEROINES: Pearl Andrews (Fiona Vroom) – superpower is invisibility. She is an ex war nurse who makes a great apple pie. Married to Percy (Neil Grayston). Margie Hepburn (Jovanna Huguet) – compulsively tidy, her power is super-speed. Her husband is Calvin (Brendan Penny). Dottie Rodriguez (Paula Giroday) – grew up in a tough Cuban neighborhood. Her power is super-strength. Married to Hugo (Zac Santiago).
Ali Liebert (BOMB GIRLS AND LOST GIRL) is pretty good as the neighborhood Mrs.Kravitz.
#2 – CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON
Charlotte Eriksson is a poet and traveling minstrel who tweets like a songbird (Do follow her (The Glass Child) on twitter. You won’t regret it.) and is possibly the world’s most quotable person. Her acoustic album, Songs of an Insomniac, is just brilliant, but her artful command of language is the main reason she is on this list. The quote below is from her book, “Empty Roads and Broken Bottles: In Search of the Great Perhaps”:
“So they gave me love in form of poison and tiny little pills, programming my emotions, teaching me how to feel. To act correct and talk correct and answer without knowing the question, because that, my dear, is how you get love. Yes that, dear youth, is how you’ll be loved. I tried to medicate my own fucked up little mind with chemicals and adrenaline, tasting sweeter every night, shaking louder every time. Sitting wide awake in bed until the world disappears, writing poetry to concentrate on something real while waiting for the love to arrive.
I’ve been looking for it night after night, waiting patiently for it to show up, maybe somewhere in between the state of awake and asleep, alive and not so alive, sober and not so sober.
(I lost track of the difference somewhere in between.)”
#1 – ORPHAN BLACK
Intelligent science fiction with interesting characters, most of whom are played by the same actor (Tatiana Maslany), this series has immense potential. It will take several seasons to cover the ethical and scientific issues around cloning. Orphan Black has thus far done a pretty good job of making the dry and poorly understood subject of human cloning interesting, thanks to the thespian acrobatics of Maslany, and the charm of gay friend-of-clones Felix Dawkins (Jordan Gavaris). In the beginning, I watched this because it followed Dr. Who. By season’s end, I was impatient for Dr. Who to end, so I could watch more Orphan Black. Among other notables in the show’s cast are Inga Cadranel (LOST GIRL) and Maria Doyle Kennedy (THE TUDORS).
The show does have a sense of humour. Director John Fawcett said this in an interview with Jeff Berkshire: “Our whole thing in setting out with the tone of ‘Orphan Black’ — we were making a clone show and it was always important to us that it was fun, not just mysterious and thrilling and stuff like that, but funny. To say ‘We’re gonna make a clone show’ is absurd first of all. I think it’s important to have a good sense of humor about it and I can see that the fans respond to that.”
Season two of ORPHAN BLACK will premiere on BBC America 19 April 2014.
COSIMA:“Well, yeah, bad brain chemistry can be genetic, um, but environment, that’s individual, right? I mean that’s the whole nature/nurture question right there.” FELIX:“Okay, let’s talk nature. Out of nine so far, one’s a psycho who killed four others, one committed suicide, one is a bloody soccer-mum, and then there’s you. My crazy sister is sane by comparison.”
An intelligent and useful blog by Toronto journalist Sheldon Kirshner. Kirshner’s writings focus on books, films (especially documentaries), and exotic destinations, as well as Jewish affairs and the Middle East.
Hardwick has received Canada Council support to travel to the National Silent Theatre of Sweden (Tyst Teater) to work with artistic director, Josette Bushell-Mingo. Together with an international team, they are in the process of creating a play entitled To A Flame, integrating deaf and hearing theatre practices.
Stories of women working in a Canadian bomb factory during World War II. This show has won many awards and was cancelled after two seasons by Global TV. It features great performances by Meg Tilly and Ali Liebert. A movie is planned.