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October 8, 2015

Canadians Invade Your TV in 2010-2011

by Mark Wigmore, posted Jun 1st 2010 11:32PM
Most of us have wrapped up the 2009-2010 TV season, aside from the watching blitz you have planned for a series on DVD or a couple of stragglers on your PVR. A summer of reality television, the World Cup, and 'Mad Men' (thank God!) are what we have to look forward to.

With all this closure comes the push to generate excitement around the upcoming fall season, with major networks announcing their renewed favorites and a fresh batch of debuts at 'upfronts'. Three Canadian stars will be seen on three different networks come October.

Here, we take a moment to see where they've been, and where they are going.

Elisha Cuthbert

Where You've Seen Her: This Calgary native leapt into Canadian pop culture at an early age. At just 14, she took on a hosting position with the cable rerun darling 'Popular Mechanics for Kids'. By the time we saw her again in 2001, Elisha was part of a major network cast that happened to be full of Canucks.

On '24', Cuthbert played Kim, daughter to Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer, and it wasn't long before she became one of the few sexy elements on a show that thrived on intensity and violence. A sluggish and forgettable movie career has included such clunkers as 'House of Wax' and 'Captivity', and her tabloid-riddled relationships with NHL players has slowed Cuthbert's rising star, but this fall she aims to reintroduce herself as a more mature woman.

Most Memorable Moment: A couple zingers jump out, but you would be hard-pressed to find a '24' fan that didn't get a big laugh over Cuthbert's run-in with nature in Season 2. Known for constantly getting into hot water, Kim Bauer runs into a menacing cougar in an early episode, asking simply too much of fans who universally agree the scene was 100 percent pure 'Jump the Shark' material. Runner-up goes to the 2004 teen comedy flick 'The Girl Next Door', where at just 22, Cuthbert portrayed a 'former' porn star. Softcore images from the film became an internet sensation, but the movie was a dud, making just $15 million domestically.

Where They Are Now:
Cuthbert joins 'SNL's somewhat-forgettable cast member Casey Wilson, Eliza Coupe of 'Scrubs' and Damon Wayans Jr. in the new ABC comedy 'Happy Endings'. Think 'Friends' with an updated look and a plot with more direction. Our Canadian lady is Alex, former fiancé to Dave, leaving him for another guy seconds before they're to seal their nuptials with a wedding kiss. The break-up creates a focal point as friends and possessions get split up, begging bigger questions about relationships and coming of age within the group. Look for 'Happy Endings' to join the fall line-up late, as ABC tucks it into the fold.

Len Cariou

Where You've Seen Him: How about everywhere? Sci-fi fans will remember Cariou from 'The Outer Limits', but the Manitoban has been a constant in the prime-time drama circuit, including the last season of 'Damages', 'CSI', 'Law & Order', 'The West Wing' and 'The Practice', and seven years of appearances on 'Murder, She Wrote' cast Len alongside Angela Lansbury.

Most Memorable Moment:
Before TV and movies, Cariou was best known as a man of the stage. From 1968 through the late 80s, the actor was a dominant force on Broadway, nominated for his starring role in 'Applause' and 'A Little Night Music'. His crowning achievement came in 1983 when he brought home the Tony and Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Sweeney Todd, the challenging and grotesque Stephen Sondheim play that Johnny Depp would make famous in film years later.

Where They Are Now:
Executive producers Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green have already helped to make one family famous on TV, surname Soprano. In 'Blue Bloods', the Reagans are on the other side of crime's window, an Irish family of cops lead by Mr. Moustache himself, Tom Selleck. New Kids on the Block alum Donnie Wahlberg gets serious, dropping his casino circuit act for a meaty detective role, and it is Len Cariou who plays Henry Reagan, the retired patriarch and former Chief of Police in the series. Look for big buzz ahead of the launch date for 'Blue Bloods' -- CBS has put some time and effort into this one.

Will Arnett

Where You've Seen Him:
Serious comedy junkies will never be able to forget this Torontonian's role as Gob Bluth in the short-lived but cultishly adored series 'Arrested Development'. Arnett's brassy voice and expressive face gave the character an incredible home fan base, but it was his delivery of the ego-bloated and self-serving magician that spurred him on to bigger projects. A stint on '30 Rock' and appearances in Will Ferrell's 'Semi-Pro' and 'Blades of Glory' set up Arnett for great things, but he hasn't been able to find the perfect match of character and writing to make full use of his leading-man talents.

Most Memorable Moment: To start, sift through the hours of comedy on Will Ferrell's website, Funny or Die, and you will discover some brilliant Arnett sketches. On 'Arrested Development', it's a toss-up between his constant operation of the instantly nerdy Segway as transportation, or the use of Europe's 'The Final Countdown' as the soundtrack to his always-awful magic show.

Where They Are Now: If there's one thing Amy Poehler's husband does with complete ease, it's playing a totally sleazy jerk. Whether he's Jack Donaghy's nemesis in '30 Rock', or a bully boyfriend in Andy Sandberg's 'Hot Rod', Arnett's natural abilities have him speaking over other characters and disregarding the feelings of others with hilarious zest.

In the new FOX series 'Running Wilde', Arnett is just as obnoxious as ever as the filthy rich son of an oil tycoon, Steve Wilde. 'Arrested Development' creator Mitchell Hurwitz is behind the glossy-looking rom-com that co-stars the lovely Keri Russell as environmental activist and a former girlfriend to Wilde. 'Running Wilde' looks to have the same quirky sensibilities and boundary pushing scripts -- let's hope the network gives the show a chance to succeed, and Arnett gets a chance to display his comedy chops.

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