The most wonderful thing about this time of year is that we get to catch-up on TV. While we spend much of the year seeing theatrical releases, we regret missing some great Television so these past few weekends we’ve found out what the buzz is all about with some recent Golden Globe Award winners and nominees, plus also some new releases. Without going too much into detail, we’ll give you our thoughts on some shows that absolutely are worth your while! We hope you get some inspiration in your own winter watching!
THE MORNING SHOW (APPLE TV+)
This ten-episode Drama Series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston helped launch subscription service Apple TV+ back in December. It surfaces in a timely manner as we enter this post-#MeToo era, exploring the aftermath of taking action on Sexual Misconduct in the workplace and healing some aged wounds. It definitely veers on the melodramatic and is a bit too passionate for its own good, but no one can deny the phenomenal work here by Witherspoon and Aniston, who play-up dueling female competitor tropes. It takes a while to get going, but proves worthwhile the deeper you go.
YOU – SEASON TWO (NETFLIX)
Joe (played masterfully by Penn Badgley) comes back as Will in the second season of this failed Lifetime Series which gained a massive following after surfacing on Netflix. Serial killing and stalking has never been as seductive as this and although You is all sorts of wrong, we were just as obsessed with this season which manages to be just as messed-up as its predecessor. Joining the Cast is Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Hill House) as Love and in her Will finally has met his match. James Scully is grating and unpredictable as Love‘s twin brother, but what Psychological Thriller is complete without an unstable twin? Teen Actress Jenna Ortega as a wise-beyond-her-years Ellie and Carmela Zubado as Delilah are welcome additions to the Cast and Gotham‘s RobinLord Taylor is unrecognizable in a surprise turn as a hacker who knows too much, also named Will. You Season 2 quashes the perception that follow-ups and sequels suck.
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL – SEASON THREE (AMAZON PRIME VIDEO)
Season three of this Golden Globe and PrimetmeEMMY Award-winning Series continues putting its star Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) front and center and she once again proves outstanding. The eight-episode season sees her character supporting Singer Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain) on-tour and we see her go from Las Vegas to Miami fighting to win herself some new fans. All the while, she navigates her split from ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen) and custody of their children. Her eccentric parents (Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub) shine also as they cope with having to downsize and sell their beloved family home. We also see charismatic manager Susie (Alex Borstein) cope with her gambling addiction and balancing having to oversee Midge‘s career and that of competing funnywoman Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch). Things get a bit messy and we’re here for it, leaving us on a bit of a cliffhanger.
FLEABAG – SEASON 1&2 (AMAZON PRIME)
I admit it, I zipped through this quick watch and wasn’t sold on Season One at all. I didn’t get it. I found Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) grating and irresponsible, feeling little empathy for her. Season Two took this Series to a high point and I absolutely got it! I enjoy Waller-Bridge’s ability with lightning-fast ability to break the Fourth Wall with us and soon I found myself connected intimately with her. And “Hot Priest” (Andrew Scott) is so worth the wait and her bond with on-screen sister Claire (Sian Clifford) make this all so magical. Here for this, and sad there won’t be a third season.
DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER (NETFLIX)
I am a bit queasy with True Crime stuff and remember as a kid torturing myself watching Unsolved Mysteries alone at home and being messed-up for days after. Repeat weekly and you’ll understand why I have issues. The three-part Netflix series centers on the capture of Canadian murderer Luka Magnotta with the help of some savvy internet crime solvers hot on his trail, piecing the clues which took authorities on an international manhunt. Especially eery that some of this hits close to home with Toronto being where Magnotta once lived and their insistence on looping over and over real footage of Magnotta murdering kittens, with the gory bits kept off-screen. It is hard not to get caught-up in Mark Lewis‘ relentlessly-intense storytelling and the access he gets us whether it be Magnotta‘s mother or his actual interrogation after being caught and brought back to Canada.
KILLER INSIDE: INSIDE THE MIND OF AARON HERNANDEZ (NETFLIX)
While we know only bits and pieces of disgraced Football star Aaron Hernandez‘s story, this three-part Docu-Series gives us some insight to the circumstances surrounding his conviction and eventual suicide. Director Geno McDermott takes us on a gripping ride as we go right inside the courtroom and literally right into Hernandez’s brain as we see the impacts of his Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. We also get never-seen-before interviews with those from his past including a lover, suggesting that Toxic Masculinity and a deep-fear of his sexuality being uncovered may have played a role in his downfall as well. We found ourselves asking more questions than before we started and get the bigger picture in this great American tragedy.
SPINNING OUT (NETFLIX)
Filmed right here in Toronto, this Figure Skating Drama series takes bits from Black Swan, bits from Riverdale and mixes it into the world of competitive Figure Skating. The Series sees fallen Kat (Kaya Scodelario) make her way to a comeback, this time as a Pairs Skater, but not without some domestic drama. Scodelario navigates the mental struggles her character faces and handles the athleticism of her role with prowess. While the Series is not without its melodrama and goes the route of scandal for shock value more than it needed, there is enough to go on to keep fans engaged for ten episodes.
While it’s not for everyone, this hyper-sexualized Drake-produced Teen Drama Series explores some of the issues facing teens today. Several topics like drugs, toxic masculinity, same-sex relationships, being transgender are taboo still but Sam Levinson isn’t afraid to go there and for that we applaud this fresh take on the genre. These eight episodes are shocking and hypnotic and this is Zendaya‘s big moment, delivering a phenomenal breakthrough performance as central character Rue, a teen girl battling drug addiction. We were unable to keep our eyes off of newcomer model/actress Hunter Schafer, who possesses an ethereal beauty and magnetism, making her a name to look-out for. We cannot wait for Season Two, which is rumoured to begin production soon.
SEX, EXPLAINED (NETFLIX)
Janelle Monáe narrates this quick watch which gives adults a quick five-episode refresher on Sex Education, a spin-off of Netflix‘s Explained series. A vast array of taboo topics are explored with a diverse group of participants talking about things like attraction, fetishes, birth control and childbirth. New data is thrown at us quickly giving new insight into matters which have impacted humans since the beginning of time. Fun and informative.
SUCCESSION – SEASONS 1 & 2 (HBO)
Never before have we hated characters as much as The Roys in HBO‘s critical hit Succession and we kinda love it! And the fact that we couldn’t stop zipping-through 20 episodes is a testament to how masterfully-crafted it is. The second season of the Drama centering on an ailing patriarch of a media empire and his thirsty children who are eager to assume the throne, finished airing in the fall. While we were a bit late catching-on, we are seeing many people on the same boat who too are learning what Succession is all about after its Best Television Series – Drama win at the Golden Globes. We despise this Family, played with gusto by an Ensemble including 60-year screen veteran Brian Cox in the patriarch role, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin. We want them to basically go to hell and go bankrupt in the process! Give us season three!
THE CIRCLE (NETFLIX)
We listened to the recommendations of our friends on Social Media and began streaming this 12-episode Reality Series based on a British series of the same name. And we were seriously annoyed! The Series takes a group of millennial men and women, putting them together in one building in Manchester and they are to interact only via a Social Media portal where some of them are “catfishing”. Some are exactly as they present themselves to one another via their portal profiles. They compete for a prize of $100k, but must avoid being eliminated by Influencers who earn that title each episode and are given the power to decide who gets eliminated or “blocked”. They never get see each other except for the eliminated entrant at the end of each episode getting to meet one player of their choice. Sometimes there are major shocks when the eliminated player realizes the one person they chose to meet, looks nothing like the person whom they projected themselves as on the portal. While we appreciate the Series’ premise of encouraging people to let their true selves shine and stop judging one another by their appearances, it all feels forced and we aren’t sure it accomplishes exactly that through some of the artifice and all the “Yo Bruh!”. That being said, we vowed to stop watching after episode one but found ourselves finishing season one quickly, powered by our sheer drive to want to throw things and scream at our TV.
We were so genuinely-touched and invested in this six-episode Docu-Series by Greg Whiteley, which just got released on Netflix. We know nothing about Cheerleading but quickly found ourselves in-love with these Corsicana Community College athletes who are competing for glory at the NCA College Nationals in Daytona. The heart and soul of the Series is Coach Monica Aldama, whom despite having business acumen has chosen a career in Cheerleading, running a tight ship, leading the college to victory many times in the past and its standing as the best in class. We see how these young adults, many who come from troubled pasts, have found themselves in Cheerleading, under Aldama‘s meticulous guidance. The setbacks are painstaking and we see how much danger these athletes put themselves through in the name of perfection and loyalty to the enchanting Aldama. These are compelling stories and the thrills are tear-inducing, making us sad we had to say goodbye at the end of it.
The 160th edition of the Queen’s Plate took place at Woodbine Racetrack this Canada Day weekend! The two-day festival of horse racing, fashion, music, food and drink, culminated in North America’s most historic race on Festival Saturday. The race at ten one and a quarter miles, is restricted for three-year-old horses foaled in Canada and valued at a purse of $1 million. Taking the glory was none other than California-based ONE BAD BOY. The strapping dark brown son of Twirling Candy took it wire-to-wire by 3 and 1/2 lengths over Avie’s Flatter and then Tone Broke under Flavien Prat, defeating a field of 13 in 2:02.9 minutes before a packed grandstand. Prat won the Kentucky Derby this May via disqualification aboard Country House. One Bad Boy colt is owned by a partnership of Say Jay Racing, Brooke Hubbard and Greg Hall. He was bred by Ontario’s Ron Clarkson and was sold at the 2017 Keeneland September Sale. It has just been confirmed that he will contest the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes July 23, 2019 at Fort Erie.
One Bad Boy
Watch the race here:
The two-day Festival featured a star-studded lineup of racing with six other stakes races contested including the Lady Angela, Charlie Barley, Zadracarta, King Edward, Dance Smartly and Highlander Stakes.
Holy Helena – Dance Smartly Stakes, the 2017 Queen’s Plate victress shows she’s still got it! Her owner, icon Frank Stronach was in attendance.
Synchrony – King Edward Stakes, the American invader is owned by Josephine Abercrombie‘s Pin Oak Stable and she too graced us with an appearance.
Wet Your Whistle – Highlander Stakes, the off-the-pace sprinter went last-to-first for American-based trainer Michael Trombetta, who has found stakes success locally this season.
The Black Album (FR) – Charlie Barley Stakes, this French-bred colt ridden by Flavien Prat, is owned by Team Valor and Hollywood Mega-Producer Gary Barber, and regained the winning form he showed in France last year.
Desert Isle – Zadracarta Stakes, this Graham Motion-trained filly is owned by iconic Canadian outfit, Sam-Son Farms
Ciuri – Lady Angela Stakes, this Bob Tiller trainee owned by the same connections as Woodbine legend Pink Lloyd, was one of two stakes winners at Woodbine this weekend by red-hot sire Souper Speedy.
Also taking place at Woodbine this weekend was the unveiling of the new Inner Turf course. I recall Woodbine having had a Marshall Turf Course as a child, however this new, improved and re-branded course gives fans something new to cheer about and a new angle to wager on.
The Queen’s Plate is rooted in tradition and pageantry. Lovely seeing Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell with us once again, a vision of royalty.
We wished we had more of a chance to enjoy the Hats & Horseshoes Party and witness some of the Fashion, but our focus always has been the amazing racing on Queen’s Plate Festival weekend and we simply had to choose with six stake races on one card. We did spot these amazing looks including a Pretty Woman homage and David Dunkley owning the fascinator and hat game!
JUNO winners THE WASHBOARD UNION headlined the Queen’s Plate Festival, playing Festival Friday. The Trio treated fans to a surprise bringing on-stage fellow JUNO winner, BRETT KISSEL! Check-out a Clip of them performing their new single, “She Gets Me”below.
“She Gets Me”
And for your favourite part of our coverage of course, our world-famous Selfies!
One Bad Boy and his winning connections, including Co-Owners Brooke Hubbard and Greg Hall
The Washboard Union and Brett Kissel
Kaitlyn Leeb, star of upcoming Netflix Figure Staking series SPINNING OUT
Fort Erie‘s Ashley Mailloux joined us this weekend, contributing to HRRN‘s Queen’s Plate coverage
Beauty Queen and TVG personality Megan Devine also gave us a real treat with her visit. Amazing seeing America’s Best Racing‘s Dan Tordjman and Boston’s Woodbine fan extraordinaire, Sean Patrick Nolan back too!
With Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson on the lush new Inner Turf
This amazing sculpture had Instagram ‘lit’ Queen’s Plate Festival weekend!
Our #QP19 look: suit by Calvin Klein, ascot by Zara, sunnies by H&M and shoes by INC
Also, our dear friend Dawn Lupul, who has given fans amazing race analysis for eleven years now, says goodbye. We will miss her so much at the races and can’t wait for her next venture in holistic health and wellness. Send her your regards at @DawnLupul.
Congrats to our Reader, Cindy who won a pair of passes to the Festival this weekend. She had a blast, meeting The Washboard Union and also our adorable Mr Will!
Busy, busy! Toronto continues to be bustling with starpower as several stars continue their latest projects and some approach a wrap!
LET IT SNOW
Kiernan Shipka (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Mad Men) had some fun at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards this weekend, enjoying a break from the cold! She even got slimed, but she assures us it was easy to wash off! She returns to complete work on Netflix‘s LET IT SNOW. She is the sweetest!
Model and Actor Matthew Noszka (Star) made his way back to the City along with Shipka too to complete work on the Holiday Feature! He equally was in great spirits too!
We spotted Isabela Moner, who stars as Dora in upcoming DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD returning also from the Kids’ Choice Awards with her dog Pluto. As always she’s the sweetest. Her dog is so social and friendly, always curious when he sees other playmates! We’re curious about new Music from Moner which she has been at work on in Miami, as we love what we’ve heard on Spotify so far.
And Anna Akana got lots of acclaim for her upcoming Film GO BACK TO CHINA at SXSW, the Singer and Actress also was spotted getting ready to wrap on LET IT SNOW!
Netflix‘s Figure Skating Series SPINNING OUT also continues to film and we’re totally waiting for recent cast addition, the delightfully-funny Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye, who was added recently!
We are thrilled to have spotted Sarah Wright(The House Bunny, Mad Men) around with her baby and nanny! She was everything I thought she would be! Sweetheart.
Coincidentally, Glamorous singer Fergie was just in town too last week! We spotted the stunning Eva Longoria hard at work after working through the weekend on her directorial debut, GLAMOROUS. The CW Pilot stars Ben Pierce as a gender non-conforming teen who lands a job with a cosmetic company after panning their products on the Internet. Longoria was amazing as we remember her, and she expressed excitement seeing someone bring a still to sign from upcoming Dora The Explorer, in which she stars. The Film’s star Isabela Moner just was in the City filming LET IT SNOW also!
Productions are in flight again around Toronto, utilizing our snowy conditions. Taking advantage of a snow-free afternoon, several stars in town working enjoyed milder weather for once.
LET IT SNOW
Filming for Netflix Feature Let it Snow has been underway and it stars a talented, young up-and-coming Cast including Odeya Rush, Kiernan Shipka, Liv Hewson, Shameik Moore and Isabela Moner. Based on the Book by JohnGreen, Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson, the Romantic-Comedy centers on a group of people brought together by a snowstorm on Christmas Eve.
We spotted Matthew Noszka (Star), Moner (seen next in Dora The Explorer), Shipka (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Rush (Lady Bird) and Moore (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) out and about.
The Production wraps end of March.
Spinning Out centers on a figure skater on the comeback trail as a Pairs skater, after sustaining an injury. The Netflix Series wraps in May and we spotted stars Willow Shields(The Hunger Games) and Evan Roderick(Arrow) earlier out and about. The Series stars Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner) and January Jones(Mad Men) also.
LOCKE AND KEY
This Netflix Series based on Joe Hill’s Comic Book Series, is about three siblings brought together after their father’s gruesome murder. They discover a set of keys which must be used against an evil creature looking to hold power and possess the keys. Connor Jessup (American Crime), Jackson Robert Scott(It) and Emilia Jones (Brimstone) star. We spotted Laysla de Olivera out, and she appears next in Toronto-made Code 8 starring cousins Robbie and Stephen Amell, which also is set to stream on Netflix. Executive Producer Andy Muschietti (It, It: Chapter Two) is no stranger to Toronto having directed both Blockbusters here.
Production wraps in June.
FALLING Green Book star Viggo Mortensen makes his directorial debut in Falling, which sees a conservative father who moves in with his gay son and his family in Los Angeles. Veteran Actor Lance Henriksen has been at work in Toronto, being greeted personally by his Co-Star and Director at the airport upon arrival.
The Production wraps late April.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE Golden Globe and Primetime EMMY winner Elisabeth Moss certainly is a busy woman, currently filming season three of dystopian Drama THE HANDMAID’S TALE till April. Moss was just at SXSW in Austin promoting Jordan Peele‘s upcoming Film, US.
It has been to coldest, most unforgiving Toronto, winter so forgive us that we would rather be home than out! Productions continue to move along at a steady pace with a pair Netflix productions highlighting the pack.
Spinning Out and Comedy Let it Snow fully utilizing our wintry weather. Spinning Out is a Series starring Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner), a seen-above Willow Shields (The Hunger Games) and January Jones (Mad Men), about an injured figure skater with a secret on the comeback trail as a pairs skater. The Series wraps early May.
Let it Snow stars Shameik Moore (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse),Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet), Odeya Rush (Lady Bird) and Isabela Moner (Instant Family), and is about a group of people who are brought together by a snow storm. It wraps end of March and will stream on Netflix.
Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro must be lauded for what he has done for Toronto, creating many jobs and opportunities for our City with his unparalleled vision, which continues to touch the World. Known for his Films Hellboy, Pan’s Labrynth, Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, Blade II and of course, Best Picture-winning The Shape of Water. Who knows what genius he is brewing-up again in the City, but we cannot wait! And it for sure will be huge.
Viggo Mortensen certainly is a busy man, juggling Awards Season and his directorial debut which happens to be set to film in Toronto. He was spotted at Pearson International arrivals, not himself arriving, but picking-up. I think he realized I was sneaking a pic of him chatting on his – get this – red flip phone, and he walked right up to me to psych me out and then walked onward! I was morten-fied! The Green BookOscar Nominee who is in Toronto working on Falling was picking-up his friend and Co-Star, veteran Actor Lance Henriksen (Aliens), which is about a conservative father who moves in with his gay son’s family is Los Angeles. The two met with a big, joyful hug after Viggo paced around for about two hours waiting for his buddy.
We are thrilled to be Los Angeles-bound this weekend for some Awards Season fun and wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Viggo or maybe even Shameik (Spider-verse is up for Best Animated Feature)!
Wish us luck!
Don’t forget to tune into Hollywoood Suite, the exclusive broadcaster of this weekends Independent Spirit Awards, 2 PM ET/5 PM ET! Follow them on Twitter @HollywoodSuite for coverage and also follow us too as we’ll be on the Carpet: @mrwillw.