Denis McGrath 1968 – 2017

I wasn’t Denis McGrath’s biggest fan. He had a talent for pushing buttons and getting under your skin. His advocacy sometimes bordered on bullying. He was Canadian by way of New York, and you could tell because the “sorry” reflex was missing. He was principled, though, and had a big bullshit detector. If I wasn’t honest about… Read on


Chuck Barris 1929 – 2017

If you buy the premise that the ’70s was the Golden Age of inappropriate behaviour, the guy on the poster would be Chuck Barris. Barris, who died Tuesday at 87 (days after another famous Chuck named Berry), created the long-running TV game shows The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game in the ’60s. He hit the… Read on


Toronto’s Stephan James one to watch in Shots Fired

You meet some fine young Canadians working the TV beat. One of them is Stephan James. The 23-year-old was born and raised in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, Ont. In five years, he’s gone from grabbing fast food at Johnny’s Hamburgers to winning roles in everything from Degrassi to The Book of Negroes to playing Jesse Owens in… Read on



Spoiler alert: Murdoch’s season finale a shocker

When I ran into Murdoch Mysteries busy showrunner Peter Mitchell last month in Toronto (we were both caught up in that cool live event game based on the series), he passed along this viewing tip: don’t miss the series 10th season finale. It airs this Monday night on CBC. Apparently everybody gets killed. It gets bloodier than Game… Read on


Too many Annes? Shirley you jest

I was just a young punk photo editor at TV Guide when Kevin Sullivan’s Anne of Green Gables broke viewing records in Canada in 1985. A great, big, Hallmark greeting card of a series, the two-part event drew around five million viewers for one of its two nights. At least I think it did. That… Read on


Miss fighting in hockey? See Goon: Last of the Enforcers

“I’m just so bloody excited to show the world this movie.” That’s Jay Baruchel on his pet project, “Goon: Last of the Enforcers,” opening in cinemas across Canada Friday. This is the long-awaited sequel to the 2011 hockey comedy “Goon.”  Baruchel not only acts in and co-wrote the sequel (with Jesse Chabot), he also makes… Read on



Zone coverage: Dawidziak’s clever book will serve man

My Television Critics Association pal Mark Dawidziak has come out with one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that!” ideas. He’s written the perfect book for classic TV lovers and knowledge-seekers in general: “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone.” Mark is a very funny man who has my respect for a lot of… Read on


Slice is back with more Canadian First Dates

I asked Adam Snider, who plays the chipper bartender on First Dates, how he thought he’d do on the series. Season Two begins Tuesday, March 14, on Slice. “Good question,” he said on the phone from Vancouver (the series is shot there in a downtown restaurant). “I think I would fare well. I can pretty much talk to… Read on