Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Questions with REMEDY Star Dillon Casey

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By: C. Joan Porter, Special to theTVaddict.com

With only a few weeks to go before REMEDY’s season two finale the TV Addict caught up with Dillon Casey, who plays fan favourite Griffin Connor on the series. The charismatic Canadian actor was only too happy to share why he thinks season two is must-watch TV, what’s next for Griff and more. [Read more...]

Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Questions with REMEDY Star Enrico Colantoni

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In anticipation of tonight’s return of REMEDY on Global TV (9PM ET/PT) the TV Addict was recently afforded the opportunity to check in with series star Enrico Colantoni. Not surprisingly, the affable actor and star of such TV Addict favourites like VERONICA MARS, JUST SHOOT ME and PERSON OF INTEREST was only too happy to share what attracted him to the project, why you should be watching REMEDY and what’s next for one of Canada’s biggest and brightest exports. [Read more...]

Exclusive Interview: Jack Laskey Finds His Inner Hero on X COMPANY

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When you think of secret agents or action heroes, an endless montage of American or British figures are likely to appear in your mind: James Bond, Captain America, Sydney Bristol, Natasha Romanoff, etc. The list goes on and on.

But what if I told you that a synesthete, a journalist, a student, a policeman, and a salesman were among the ordinary citizens who were handpicked by the Allies to become some of the world’s first secret agents? That’s the concept behind Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern’s (FLASHPOINT) new CBC spy series X COMPANY, which is led by a rising English export from the British stage — Jack Laskey. [Read more...]

X COMPANY Interview: I Spy a Return to Television for Dustin Milligan

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90210 fans can look forward to seeing the return of Dustin Milligan this winter in the role of Tom Cummings on CBC’s new spy series X COMPANY.

Milligan, who also stars as Ted Mullens on CBC’s other freshman series SCHITT’S CREEK, has not had a regular role on the small screen since his departure from the Beverly Hills-set drama back in 2009. But if fans are expecting more teen angst and love triangles, then they’re not going to get that from this series by FLASHPOINT co-creators Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern. [Read more...]

Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Questions with OPEN HEART Star Mena Massoud

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OPEN HEART follows Dylan (Karis Cameron) a sixteen year old who is pained by her fathers sudden disappearance, she acts out and has to serve community service at Open Heart Hospital.  Dylan decides to take matters into her own hands and investigate her fathers disappearance, all while dealing with the fact that her grandparents and mother are all doctors at Open Heart.   I caught up with one of the young stars of the  Canadian hit, Mena Massoud about his character Jared, how his audition went, and some scenes he’s excited for viewers to see.  [Read more...]

For Canadian Eyes Only: AIR FARCE New Year’s Eve Returns!

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Press Release: The Farce awakens… 2014 is almost over, but not before the year’s biggest stories are subjected to the AIR FARCE NEW YEAR’S EVE treatment. From Polar Vortex cold to Olympic gold, from soccer’s World Cup to body cameras on cops, Canada’s favourite comedy troupe is back, turning pipelines into punchlines, with an ALL-NEW special featuring their take on the year’s biggest stories.

Tune in on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 8:00 PM (8:30 NT) as Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, Craig Lauzon, Alan Park, and Penelope Corrin return to CBC with two new cast members—Second City alumnus Darryl Hinds and the multi-talented Aisha Alfa—and a line-up of famous Canadians ready to join in the fun. [Read more...]

CraveTV Review

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If you’re wondering why it has taken this TV Addict slightly longer than expected to post our review of CraveTV, Bell Media’s Netflix competitor that launched earlier this month, look no further than the service itself.

Billed as “a video streaming service offering full seasons and series of the most loved and celebrated shows ever,” CraveTV is — simply put — a TV Addict’s dream. No really. Any grammar, spelling and/or syntax errors from here on in should be solely attributed to the fact that even as we type this, we’re half-watching INSIDE AMY SCHUMER in a little window at the top left of our desktop! That’s how good CraveTV is, we cannot stop watching it. It’s a problem, a big one. But before we get into why, let’s start off with the glowingly positive shall we.

CraveTV isn’t messing around when it comes to selection. From genre-defining series that we’re embarrassed to admit we still haven’t found the time to watch (See: HBO classics such as THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE and DEADWOOD) and half-hour sketch shows we’ve only seen bits and pieces of on YouTube (See: KEY AND PEELE, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER and KROLL SHOW) to exclusives that we’ve already started binge-watching (Hello WGN’s MANHATTAN) and classics that we can’t get enough of (See: MONTY PYTHON, SEINFELD, and FRASIER), CraveTV isn’t messing around when it comes to feeding our seemingly insatiable appetite for all things television. Suffice it to say, if you are eligible to subscribe to CraveTV — particularly at the launch price of $4 per month — it’s an absolute no brainer. No really. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t stop what you’re doing right now, call your local cable provider and spend this holiday season holed up in your living room watching the glory that is STAR TREK’s most underrated and under-appreciated gem DEEP SPACE NINE!

Oh wait there is a reason… which brings me to that dark side of the service that I teased earlier in this post.

Related: “How Bell Media Bumbled the Launch of CraveTV”

First and foremost. As a long time Rogers customer, myself — not to mention millions of others across Canada — are shut out from this service due to the unholy war between Bell Media and Rogers that does little but infuriate customers on both sides (See: Rogers equally childish treatment of NHL fans who aren’t paying a pretty penny to Rogers each and every month). But even more troubling than Bell Media’s exclusionary policies* is that CraveTV’s new business model effectively sidesteps any regulatory issues put in place by the astoundingly ineffective CRTC in terms of their recent purchase of Astral Media. Which is to say. non-Bell subscribers to HBO Canada should all but assume that any new and exciting content will no longer be built around the traditional over-the-air model that many of us have been subscribing to for all these years but rather reserved for CraveTV’s catalogue. Case in point, Bell Media’s recent announcement** that will see a remastered, 16×9, full-frame, high definition version of THE WIRE be exclusively released to CraveTV subscribers this January rather than where it belongs on HBO Canada.

shomi Review: Why We’re Not Buying What Rogers and Shaw are Selling (At Least Not Yet!)

And finally, any review of CraveTV wouldn’t be complete without the mention of their advertising strategy. You know those posters and billboards that have been plastered across the city? Well, they’re sort of missing a giant asterisk when it comes to that $4 per month price tag. Just to be clear: CraveTV is only $4 per month if you already subscribe to Bell or one of their partner’s cable packages. Packages, which after a quick scan online appear to range between $39.99 and $111.95 per month. (Current cable partners include: TELUS Optik TV, Bell Fibe TV, and Bell Aliant FibreOP TV subscribers)

All that being said, if you are one of the shrinking number of Canadians who, like us, fork over one hundred plus dollars a month to prop up an antiquated cable model, CraveTV is completely worth it. One can only hope that (a) Bell Media sees the error of their ways and opens up this package to all of Canada as soon as possible. Or at the very least, (b), allows me to a finish binge-watching the fantastic first season of MANHATTAN before they pull my media credentials in response to this review!

* Correction from Scott Henderson, Vice-President Communications Bell Media: We have no exclusionary policy. We have been very clear from the beginning that CraveTV is “available to every TV provider in Canada” (see release) and Kevin Crull has been clear he wants to get it into as many hands as possible. We have had meetings with all distributors, including Rogers, and we hope they come on board soon. Already Telus, Eastlink and other small cable providers have signed up and made the product available to their providers.

The TV Addict’s Response: While it’s all well and good that Bell Media doesn’t have an official exclusionary policy, I’ll believe it when I see it. Case in point, I’ve been waiting over a year, possibly two for CTV to meet with Rogers and allow me access to streaming content on CTV.ca and CTV’s mobile apps. (Photo Below)

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** Correction from Scott Henderson, Vice-President Communications Bell Media: We also announced in this fall a deal for the entire HBO back catalogue for CraveTV (see release). This is separate than current HBO programming. All back catalogue programming will be available on CraveTV, including the Sopranos, Sex and the City and, as you note, The Wire. HBO Canada features current programming – so The Wire won’t air on HBO Canada. But to be clear, this is the same situation as in the U.S. – To our understanding The Wire will not be broadcast on HBO there.

The TV Addict’s Response: According to an official HBO (US) Press Release, the new high-definition re-mastering of THE WIRE will be available to all HBO subscribers across the US on HBO GO, as well over the air. From the release, “Now, new and old fans of the series can watch the show like never before thanks to a brand new High-Definition upgrade of all 60 episodes, which will debut in December on HBO Signature® and HBO GO®”

How Bell Media Bumbled the Launch of CraveTV

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After months of hype teasing the imminent arrival of “Project Latte,” a new streaming service that promised television Addicts such as ourselves with an amazing catalogue of new and old shows, yesterday saw Bell Media unwrap the details of their answer to Netflix named CraveTV.

And while Bell Media bigwigs spent much of yesterday patting themselves on the back for offering Canadians what Mike Cosentino (Senior VP, Programming, Bell Media) characterized as, “an incredible offering of some of TV’s most-watched and most-loved shows,” our reaction is somewhat less that effusive. But before we get into the massively missed opportunity by Bell Media to… I don’t know… put Canadians customers first and actually acknowledge that the ways in which our country consumes media has changed since 1975, let’s start with the good. [Read more...]

shomi Review: Why We’re Not Buying What Rogers and Shaw are Selling (At Least Not Yet!)

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This week, Rogers and Shaw teamed up to launch shomi, their attempt to unseat Netflix as Canada’s go-to for streaming television and video entertainment. At launch, Rogers boasts that shomi has more than 12,000 hours of telvision and movie content. And while this TV Addict is inclined to agree with David Purdy (SVP, Product Management Video & Content) who proudly proclaimed that the service “combines binge-worthy television shows and Hollywood hits,” whether or not one should ‘shomi the money’ (See what we did there!), is another question entirely. And quite frankly, one that we’ve been struggling to answer all week. But before we get into the downside of shomi’s launch, let us start with the positive shall we.

As advertised, shomi has done an admirable job of replicating the Netflix experience by offering up a colourful collection of popular television shows and movies available across all devices. By combining catalogues from parent companies Rogers and Shaw, there is quite something for TV Addicts of all ages. What’s more, in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the incumbent, shomi has cleverly hired actual human beings to curate collections such as “Comic Con Hangover,” “The Art of War” and “Gretzky has the Ball” to name a few. Also of note, their “shomi later” and “shomi history” features, the former of which allows viewers to create a playlist of must-sees to watch later with the latter allowing users to see their viewing history and continue watching shows they may have stopped part-way through.

Content wise, shomi has plenty of binge-worthy television shows and a handful of popular movies. And while we’re not going to complain about any service that makes available such TV Addict favorites like THE WEST WING, BUNHEADS, JANE THE VIRGIN, ALIAS, PART DOWN and many more we’d list by name if the service would allow us to log in*, the majority of the shows aren’t exclusive to the service and are also available on Netflix. Which brings me to the first of our two serious issues with shomi.

* Since shomi is technically launching in “beta,” we are going to gloss over the plethora of technical difficulties it seems to have launched with. Including but not limited to… the fact that it hasn’t been able to remember where we stopped watching Notting Hill, a somewhat sluggish interface and a serious unreliability when it comes to logging in and out of the service.

The single biggest issue we have with shomi is that it is completely devoid of original content.** And while the service gets point for launching with plenty of kids content, quality television shows and movies we love (“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy…”), there is no must-see show akin to Netflix’s HOUSE OF CARDS, or Netflix’s ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK or Netflix… well, you get the idea! Look, if we were one of the increasingly large number of Canadians cutting the cable cord, it would be a different story. But since we still pay for cable (You’re welcome Rogers), subscribe to Netflix and don’t have kids to entertain 24/7 (Sorry Mom!) we simply can’t justify recommending a service that offers very little we don’t already have access to. We also won’t tout a service that is only available to a handful of Canadians, which brings us two issue number two.

** shomi recently announced plans to launch an original Canadian drama to be produces in partnership with Rogers and, curiously enough, rival network Netflix.

WIth shomi’s launch leaving Bell customers out in the cold, I’m once again left with the unsettling feeling that parent companies Rogers and Shaw care more about the bottom line then they do building an amazing product. When will Rogers, Shaw and Bell learn that GREAT companies like Amazon, Apple and Netflix release products that put their customers first while companies more interested in serving shareholders release a product with strings attached***. Suffice it so say, if there is any truth to the saying “you only get one chance to make a good first impresesion” shomi failed spectacularly so. Worse still, launching shomi as an exclusive for Rogers and Shaw customers all but guarantees that when Bell releases their currently-in-delveopment “Project Latte” it will be exclusive to their customers. Thus, continuing the petty and small-minded pattern of Canadian cable conglomeretes doing nothhing but infuritating hard-working and honest customers for choosing one service over the other. But I digress.

*** Strings like tacky upsells upon sign up that offer shomi to Rogers customers free of charge, but only if one agrees to sign up for far pricier tier of internet service.

The bottom line is, that despite the fact that we will not commit to spending $8.99 per month for shomi until they expand their offerings and produce original and compelling content that we can’t see anywhere else, we approve of their service and look forward to checking back with them once they drop the “beta.” If for no other reason than competition is not only good for customers, but something we’re sorely lacking up here in Hollywood North.

Related: We Review Bell Media’s shomi competitor CRAVETV