Canadian TV

Review: Coroner 1×1 (Canada: CBC; UK: Universal)

In Canada: Mondays, 9PM/9:30NT, CBC
In the UK: Mondays, 9pm, Universal. Starts January 21

By rights, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) should be the Canadian equivalent of our BBC. It does, after all, have a similar remit from its government. But without a licence fee, it has instead decided to become ITV, as far as I can see. Look at the vast bulk of its original programming and once you’ve pushed all the ITV-esque reality shows and competition shows out of your way, you’ll see:

  • Period dramas
  • Crime dramas
  • Period crime dramas

And most of those are female-led, too. Basically ITV.

Now we have CBC’s latest female-led crime drama, Coroner, based on the series of books by MR Hall, and if only it weren’t airing on Universal here, it would be a shoo-in for ITV.

Serinda Swan in Coroner
Serinda Swan in Coroner

Coroner Jenny Cooper

Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings, Tron: Legacy, Marvel’s Inhumans) plays former ER doctor Jenny Cooper, who decides after her husband dies that being a coroner is a better job option. As you do. Immediately heading up the entire department for some reason, she finds sloppy work and crotchety old men judging – yes, judging, I tell you – the deceased and so not doing proper autopsies. She decides to champion them, not only by doing great work, but solving all the murders in town instead of the police. Clearly, she’s been watching too much CSI.

Fortunately, to help her in her entirely off-job-description work, Canada’s “Roger Cross Full Employment Act” has ensured that detective Roger Cross (24, Continuum, Arrow, Dark Matter, The Strain, Motive, The Returned) is on hand and can offer some friendship/sexual frisson, too. In that latter role, he has a rival in the shape of hunky, former soldier, working class, French-Canadian Éric Bruneau (Tu m’aimes-tu?, Prémonitions, Mensonges), who seems to have nothing better to do all day than to do odd, heavy-lifting jobs for dead old women who can’t pay him and to smoulder.

Serinda Swan

Old and new

As you may have gathered from that, there’s nothing that new in the rundown for that and if it weren’t for its Canadian locale, I could have repeated that description and you’d have thought this was an adaptation of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books. Indeed, there’s lots about Coroner that’s predictable.

Rather than the doting type, Swan’s husband was naturally a gambler who double-mortgaged the house, leaving Swan and son (Ehren Kassam) in dire financial straits, so that the audience can root for the underdog single mum. Crotchety old white men are only there so they can be fired by Swan to show how kick ass she is and so she can diversity-promote the hideously underqualified young black coroner (Slasher‘s Lovell Adams-Gray) she’s just met, without consideration of the staff’s workload with her off doing one autopsy a week at best.

Cross and the rest of the police naturally come round to appreciating how kick ass Swan is, too, and actively help her in doing their jobs for them. And Bruneau could have wandered in from any Nicholas Sparks book you came to mention, in between all his moody glowering and thinking about his dark past killing people as a soldier.

However, this is Canada and Coroner is consequently a bit quirkier and nicer than its US counterpart would have been – it’s nowhere near nudging Harrow‘s level of quirkiness but it does know how to crack jokes at least. The fact it’s based on some books means there’s a heightened level of dialogue compared to the average procedural, and there are amusing characters, too. Plus being Canada, even the bad guys give up without a fight or a curse word.

As with Motive, the plot is all about layered appreciation of victims and criminals. Episode one sees two kids seemingly kill themselves in a correctional facility in a recreation of Romeo and Juliet‘s suicide pact. As you might expect, there’s more to it than that and it’s definitely murder, so the kids are blameless. But along the way, we discover just how nice and smart young offenders are, even ones arrested for gang offences. All you need to do is let them perform a bit of Shakespeare and they’re sorted.

Éric Bruneau in Coroner

Éric Bruneau in Coroner


If you’re a fan of the genre, then Coroner is decent enough. Swan isn’t the most versatile or charismatic of actresses, but at least she’s better and has more fire than Frankie Drake‘s Lauren Lee Smith. The rest of the cast either do their given plot roles sufficiently well or inject some welcome humour into things. And the story of the first episode, at least, has a few twists and turns you might not be expecting.

Otherwise, this is interchangeable female-led procedural fare that won’t convert anyone to the genre.

Russian Doll

Bite Club acquired; Weird City, Russian Doll trailers; + more

Every weekday, TMINE brings you the latest TV news from around the world

UK TV acquisitions

Internet TV

  • Trailer for Netflix’s Russian Doll
  • Trailer for YouTube Premium’s Weird City

French TV

  • JoeyStarr, Marina Hands and Myriam Boyer to guest on France 3’s Capitaine Marleau

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

International TV

What have you been watching? Including A Ghost Story for Christmas, Plan Coeur and Counterpart

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

And we’re back in the room. Yes, TMINE’s back for 2019 and WHYBW is back on Wednesdays again. All is right in the world, non?

Marvel’s Runaways

This week’s reviews

Obviously, TMINE’s been back for a few days now and I’ve done not one but two full boxsets this week:

  • Season 1 of Bloom (Australia: Stan)
  • Season 2 of Marvel’s Runaways (US: Hulu; UK: Syfy)

How impressive is that? Feel free to peruse their wisdom at your leisure.

Kevin Eldon in Cavendish
The actor Kevin Eldon

New shows

Both Canada and the US have started firing up their mid-season shows and offering previews of some forthcoming ones as well. As a result, between now and next WHYBW, I should be serving up reviews of:

  • Coroner (Canada: CBC; UK: Universal) – Serinda Swan and Roger Cross in a crime procedural adaptation of MR Hall’s novels
  • Cavendish (Canada: CBC) – comedy about two brothers who return to look after their ailing father, The Actor Kevin Eldon
  • Project Blue Book (US: History) – Aidan Gillen and Michael Malarkey investigate UFO sightings in the 50s. Not related to this show at all.
  • Deadly Class (US: Syfy) – adaptation of the graphic novel that sees Benedict Wong teach kids how to kill in the 80s
  • Black Monday (US: Showtime; UK: Sky Atlantic – probably) – Don Cheadle in a scathing satire of Wall Street in the 80s

And anything else that pops up, such as ABC (US)’s Schooled, which starts tonight (although that’s a spin-off from The Goldbergs so maybe not). Sex Education is on Netflix from Friday, so I might boxset it.

That’s a pretty full schedule, though, and as Deadly Class and Black Monday don’t air in the US for a couple of weeks, I might postpone them until nearer the time.

Plan Coeur
Plan Coeur

The regulars

After the jump, it’ll be just the usual regulars, as well as what I watched over Christmas: three full episodes of Counterpart, the remaining four episodes of Plan Cœur (The Hookup Plan), the penultimate episode of Happy Together and the season finale of Titans, as well as 2018’s A Ghost Story For Christmas. See you in a mo…

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including A Ghost Story for Christmas, Plan Coeur and Counterpart”

Roswell New Mexico

Japanese 24 remake; NYPD Blue originals return; Luke Wilson joins Stargirl; + more

Every weekday, TMINE brings you the latest TV news from around the world

Internet TV

  • Trailer for season 5 of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie

International TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

Australian and New Zealand TV

Boxset Tuesday: Bloom (season one) (Australia: Stan)

In Australia: Available on Stan
In the UK: Not yet acquired

When I was reviewing Glitch, the last entry in the worldwide “dead loved ones are coming back to life to screw up our lives” TV series stakes, I figured that was it from Australia. That was their entry for the top spot. No more for this genre from them.

Little did I know that Australia’s up-and-coming streaming service Stan was going to have a go, too.

Bloom is a bit different, though. Rather than the dead coming back to life after accidents, floods, etc as per The Returned (Les Revenants) et al, it instead gives us something potentially more terrifying: our loved ones returning to us but in the prime of their lives.

The show is set in a small country town in Australia that was a hit by a terrible flood a year previously that caused numerous deaths. Bryan Brown (FX – Murder By Illusion, The Wanderer, Old School) has been married to former movie star Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom, Squinters, Secret City) for nearly 50 years, but Weaver is now in a care home, suffering from dementia, and hardly recognises Brown. Then one day Brown notices that his dying dog seems to have recovered all its youth and vigour after eating the fruit of a strange plant in his garden. And he has an idea that might just cure his wife and return her to him…

However, he’s not the only one who’d discovered the miraculous properties of the plant and numerous old folk are already or are soon looking for it to become young again – for both good and bad reasons. And even if they don’t want to eat it, maybe others would like them to – and might even make them eat it without their knowing.

Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that the magic plant’s special powers only last for a short time and that it only grows on spots where someone died in the flood. With less and less of the plant available, what will people do to get hold of just a few more days of youth for both them and others?

Continue reading “Boxset Tuesday: Bloom (season one) (Australia: Stan)”