Brad Oswald

  • Lifetime movie bad... but not in a bad way

    It's all a matter of attitude. The difference between a bad movie that's just painfully bad and a bad movie that's somehow entertainingly good can be as simple as the movie's producers having embraced its badness and decided to have a bit of fun with it.
  • British series examines dark side of life above the Arctic Circle

    Every now and then, TV offers up a murder-mystery whodunit in which the "where" and the "who" are of equal importance. The deep-frozen British import Fortitude, which follows the investigation of a shocking killing in a remote mining town beyond the Arctic Circle, is the latest. And despite being set in one of the coldest places on Earth, Fortitude -- which premières Thursday, Jan. 29, on Super Channel (check listings for time) -- is a moody crime thriller that generates a whole lot of heat.
  • Locally shot TV series turns Wild West into mild west

    When the locally filmed TV-western series The Pinkertons has its Canadian première this week, only certain Winnipeg viewers will be able to see it. Which raises a question: who fares better in the exchange -- subscribers to MTS-TV and Shaw Direct (satellite), who can watch The Pinkertons, or local customers of Shaw Cable, who cannot?
  • Podium-placing not part of ride of Hughes' life

    Winning an Olympic medal is impressive. Winning several is outstanding. Winning multiple medals in two different sports, in both the summer and winter Olympics, is a truly awe-inspiring feat. And then doing something that somehow makes all those podium finishes seem like lesser achievements? Well, that’s an accomplishment of another magnitude altogether.
  • Final showdown should be bloody good

    Not much happens in the première of Justified's sixth and final season, but watching it will leave the show's fans feeling secure in the knowledge that before it's all over, a whole lot is going to happen. Justified, the backwoods-lazy, lyrical and poetically violent sort-of-western cop show based on short-story characters created by the late Elmore Leonard, begins the final stretch run of episodes (Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Super Channel) that will bring closure to the core conflict between Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his boyhood friend-turned-outlaw nemesis, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).
  • Swede and sour

    How flawed is too flawed? And how brilliant is brilliant enough? Those are the key questions in creating a TV cop who fits into the often-exploited realm of the damaged but uniquely gifted hero. And it's a delicate balance -- the character's flaws must be significant and interesting, but not so crippling that they can't be counterbalanced by the special talents that allow the hero to triumph.
  • Heavy promises, light delivery from former Kid in the Hall

    It's an attention-grabbing title, without a doubt, so it would be a real letdown if it turns out to be only one-third true. Kids in the Hall alumnus Bruce McCulloch returns to prime-time TV this week in a new sitcom, Young Drunk Punk, that purports to be loosely based on his late-teen misadventures growing up in Calgary.
  • The greatest waste of time

    The first problem with Whitney is its title. The implication is that the TV movie that carries it will offer a biographical look at the life and career of its subject, music legend Whitney Houston. But in truth, the movie -- which airs Saturday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. on Lifetime -- offers few insights, personal or professional, about the singer, and focuses solely on a single aspect of her troubled and too-short life.
  • Schitt's Creek not worst place to lose remote

    Well, that's a relief. Based on the mixed sets of expectations its pending arrival in CBC's lineup had created, the new comedy Schitt's Creek was going to be one of two things:
  • New HBO comedy fresh take on familiar

    Given its subject matter, its tone, its cable-network locale and the timing of its arrival, it would be easy for the new HBO comedy Togetherness to get lost in the shuffle and mostly overlooked. And that would be a shame, because it's a show that -- despite being neither ground-breaking nor particularly risk-taking -- has a lot to offer to viewers willing to seek it out and give it a chance.
  • Wolseley-shot sketch show a bright spot on the TV schedule

    Many folks hereabouts regard the Wolseley neighbourhood as kind of a different place to live. But when the Toronto-based producers of the new Citytv sketch-comedy show Sunnyside moved in for a few weeks last year, Winnipeg's earthy granola-belt enclave was transformed into something downright weird.
  • It's got a good beat, we can groove to it...

    The timing, for Fox Broadcasting, couldn't be better. With Glee about to begin its final half-season farewell and American Idol returning but well past its prime, Fox is sorely in need of a hit to bolster its schedule in the second half of the prime-time season.
  • Galavant will either strike a sour note or put a song in your heart

    Here are two words that, when used to preface a description of a TV comedy, will most often spell instant doom for the show in question: “Wacky” and “musical.”
  • It will either strike a sour note or put a song in your heart

    Here are two words that, when used to preface a description of a TV comedy, will most often spell instant doom for the show in question: "Wacky" and "musical."
  • Year in TV comes to an end with a lengthy list of greatness

    This is starting to sound a bit repetitive when we get to the annual television-year-in-review segment of the TV-critickin' calendar, but ... Holy smokes, there was a lot of freakin' great TV in 2014.
  • Talkin' 'bout a revolutionary

    As exits go, this isn't exactly one of those momentous, end-of-an-era, void-that-can't-be-filled, things-will-never-be-the-same kinds of farewells. But it needs to be said that Craig Ferguson's departure from the late-night talk-show landscape (Friday, Dec. 19 at 11:35 p.m. on CBS) is significant, and that his contribution to the genre during a decade (2005-14) as host of CBS's post-Letterman fixture The Late Late Show has been unique, consistently inspired and dependably delightful.
  • Return to Dog River so much fun you could spit

    For a place that, by its own theme-song description, doesn't have a whole lot going on, Dog River certainly seems to have a whole lot going on. Financial scandal. Corporate takeovers. Power outages. Public-service layoffs. Water shortages. Illegal gambling. Horse thievery. Courtroom drama. Private-eye intrigue. Romance.
  • Mr. D earns high marks for comedy career

    There's a very long distance, intellectually speaking, between TV's inept and politically incorrect Mr. D and the actor/comedian that plays him. The sitcom character remains forever blissfully unaware of how chronically wrong-headed he is; Gerry Dee, who created Mr. D (as well as another amiably addled alter-ego, Gerry Dee: Sports Reporter), is a man very much in control of his intellect and completely sure of where he's headed.
  • Check out stacks of intrigue at this quirky library

    In general terms, calling a new TV series "preposterous" is not considered a compliment. But in the case of the new sci-fi/supernatural drama The Librarians, it actually, in an offbeat way, is.
  • Local web series chronicles lives of book-club members in eight short stories

    In the cult-classic 1999 movie of the same name, the first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club. And the second rule is the same as the first. In the about-to-launch locally produced web series The Book Club, the first rule seems to be that you can talk about Book Club, but you can never actually go to Book Club.
  • Crooner set the world on fire as pioneering multimedia star

    IT doesn’t exactly qualify as holiday programming, but the timing of this week’s instalment of PBS’s American Masters could hardly be more seasonally appropriate. It could fairly be argued that there is no 20thcentury entertainer more closely aligned with Christmas than Bing Crosby, thanks to his association with White Christmas — both the song and the movie — and his long history of family-friendly festive TV specials.
  • Do you see what I see?

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you flip... That's right, festive-TV fans, it's that time of year again -- with U.S. Thanksgiving and all that Black Friday shopping nonsense behind us, the serious frenzy of holiday-themed TV programming has begun.
  • Toy Story cast heads to seasonal-staple status and beyond

    It's one thing for a TV show to be worth seeing. And it's quite another for one to be worth seeing again and again and again and again. And in order to have any chance of being called a Christmas classic, the first thing a new seasonal offering must do is earn a place in the latter category. Becoming must-see festive TV means gaining a special place in the hearts of viewers and, maybe someday, being a fixture in the annual Christmas-TV calendar (see this section's front page) that inevitably includes such titles as A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life.
  • Here a psycho, there a psycho...

    The term "psychopath" tends to conjure up a specific set of images -- pop-culture creations like Psycho's Norman Bates or Silence of the Lambs' Hannibal Lecter, or real-life serial killers such as Clifford Olsen, Paul Bernardo or Jeffrey Dahmer. But the reality is that those monstrous characters represent only the extreme end of the personality disorder covered by that word, and that it's very likely that you know someone who could rightly be described as a psychopath.
  • No Carrie Bradshaws in this group

    Comparisons can be tricky -- claiming your TV show is like another successful show can invite prospective viewers with an easy point of reference, but it can also backfire if the comparison turns out not to be true. The producers of the new APTN dramatic comedy Mohawk Girls have opted to launch their show with this marketing strategy, calling their show "Sex and the City -- Mohawk style."

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