Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We Stand On Guard

Big night on Global tonight: a new House at 9 followed by the second episode of The Guard.
The B.C.-based, Canadian coast guard drama launched to respectable numbers last week, clocking in at an estimated 808,000 viewers.
That's tops among the half-dozen 2008 Canadian series launches so far, nudging out CBC timeslot turnarounds The Border and The Week The Women Went.
Last week's pilot was a nice mix of action, including plenty of exciting sea and air rescue shots, as well as edgy character-driven drama as the coast guard crew dealt with the aftermath of a failed rescue attempt. Can't remember a scene in any network drama before where one of the main characters does a little one-handed typing in front of a porn site. Yet there was Steve Bacic last week as duty captain Miro Da Silva, fly undone in front of his laptop, getting ready to yank the main sail.
A promising first impression, plus a new House--the first of three new episodes in a row from U.S. inventory-starved Global--should give The Guard a shot at breaking the million mark in Week Two.
All good news for Zoie Palmer, who I had lunch with in Toronto last week. (I profiled her for Canadian Press; the story was picked up on CBC.ca and you can read that column here.) Born in England, she grew up an army brat (her dad was with the RCAF), living in exotic places like Cyprus ("loved it," she says). Her family moved to Ontario when she was nine. She's a proud graduate of York University's drama program, citing fellow grad Rachel McAdams as proof York is doing something right.
She says she's always wanted to be an actress. "There was a brief moment when I wanted to run a coffee shop. It was difficult--I let it go." Her acting heroes include the usuals--Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Toni Colllette--plus two she's worked with and long admired, Christine Lahti and Judy Davis.
Palmer is a delight and one to watch. Tonight's episode of The Guard has her intense character Carly confronting ghosts from her childhood as she attempts to sell her dad's old fishing boat. There's even a chance Miro might pull himself away from the keyboard tonight when he meets a real, live, flesh and blood dame, an owner of an "all ages, clothing-optional compound." Go Miro!
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