If you thought "Cracked" would be more than just the average procedural, you're not alone. With David Sutcliffe ("Gilmore Girls") clucking like a chicken in the pilot, I figured the sole significant addition to CBC's winter lineup would be more character-driven and not entirely plot-based.
And, yes, while "Cracked" does have loads of potential, there was next to none of that quirkiness I had envisioned, at least in the first episode. Sadly, it really is like all the other shows out there. Fortunately enough, though, there's nothing like it on CBC.
The Toronto-set drama, which follows down-but-not-out detective Aidan Black (Sutcliffe, "Gilmore Girls") as he is transferred out of an elite task force, starts off decently enough. Over the past year alone, Aidan has had two fatal shootings, which led to inquiries, psych evaluations and post-traumatic stress disorder. Not the best qualities a steady and reliable SWAT guy should have, but Aidan's so valuable to the force that his boss had to find a new place for his skills. So why not create a new unit?
Psych Crimes & Crisis is where Aidan finds himself, a new department that responds to any crime scene or situation involving an emotionally disturbed person. I guess it helps that it takes one to know one, but Sutcliffe insists his character hasn't totally gone off the deep end.
"If he was completely bananas, they'd have to remove him from the job but they've determined he's fit for duty," Sutcliffe says of Aidan, but admits, "I think that's been a bit of a grey area in terms of the development of the character, and something the writers actually struggled with -- just how crazy is Aidan?
"You can't make him so crazy that he's not fit for duty, but the show is about a guy who's got some mental issues," continued Sutcliffe. "All of us deal with it in different ways. For me, I just tried to bring as much of that to Aidan as possible, and get further away from the diagnostic element of his craziness and more of the regular humanity of his mental issues. It's just part of being human, to be a little crazy."
Det. Black's new partner is forensic psychiatrist Dr. Daniella Ridley (Stefanie von Pfetten, "Battlestar Galactica"), and, naturally, the two butt heads. But are they paired up because they're a good match, or is Daniella there to help Aidan, to "shrink" him?
"I don't think she's there to provide therapy for him," believes Sutcliffe. "But it creates some built-in tension there. What are her intentions, is she examining Aidan, analyzing him and his behaviour, and it creates a paranoia in him and a distrust for her. That's part of the dynamic of the show, their relationship." Since Aidan has had a psychotic break, and Daniella's been trained to deal with people like him, their partnership makes for an interesting challenge, particularly when it comes to solving cases.
The two are tasked with solving complex, psychological crimes, which "Cracked" does well. It's the other stuff that leaves me feeling indifferent. There's a lot of one-upping between the two leads, which is understandable, but it also gets old real quick.
We witness Aidan's first day in a new unit, we watch as he and Daniella work their first case, so I've got my fingers crossed that this is just some first episode jitters. I wanted to love "Cracked." I still want to love "Cracked." And don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it -- but I wasn't blown away, either.
Fortunately for "Cracked," CBC excels at gripping dramas ("Republic of Doyle," "Arctic Air"), so I think it's safe to say the broadcaster's latest show can -- and will -- improve.
"Cracked" premieres on CBC at 9 p.m. EST and 9:30 p.m. NT on Tuesday, January 8.
Vandervoort's sexy star has been rising for years, ever since she appeared on "Smallville" back in the day. She'll be starring in Space's new werewolf show, "Bitten," which arrives in the fall/winter.
Another "Degrassi" alum, Bulgarian-born actress Nina Dobrev originally played baby mama Mia Jones on the Canadian teen soap. Dobrev also had small roles in some big features like "Away From Her" and "Chloe" before getting her big break on TV with "The Vampire Diaries." As both Elena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce, Dobrev has broken hearts -- and veins -- on the drama, which has sent her straight to superstardom.
We haven't seen the last of Maslany -- her star is on the rise. She won a Critics' Choice Award this year for "Orphan Black," and won a Sundance Film Festival award years ago for her breakout role. This awards trend is probably just the beginning.
As the lead on "Arrow," Amell is breaking hearts and dropping jaws when he shows his trademark washboard abs. Expect more of that when Season 2 rolls around.
Once known for playing the adorable Pacey Witter on "Dawson's Creek," Joshua Jackson is now on to bigger and better things ... or at least more supernatural ones. The actor played Peter Bishop on "Fringe," which just ended a few months ago.
Lefevre was originally popular for her role on "Twilight," but she's moved on to bigger and better things -- most recently, a starring role on hit show "Under The Dome."
The Shat! The international icon came to prominence as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," but really, what aspect of pop culture has he not invaded and made his own? As Shatner on the big or small screen, as T.J. Hooker, as Denny Crane, as any number of the characters he's played over the course of a 50-year career, Shatner is really just Shatner. That's not to take away from his distinctive skills, it's just our way of saluting a presence so outsized and ham-tastic that no mere screen, book, convention stage or universe can contain it.
She's been a guest star on dozens of Canadian series, including "Being Erica," but Silk made her biggest splash with the addictive supernatural drama "Lost Girl," which airs on both sides of the border. Her spunky portrayal of the succubus Bo is extremely enjoyable, as is Bo's banter with Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) and her sexy affairs with Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) and Lauren (Zoie Palmer).
The "Mad Men" hottie stole the show by singing "Zou Bisou Bisou" in the Season 5 premiere, and throughout the rest of that season, her character Megan wielded some significant sexual power over Don Draper. In Season 6, she took a back seat, but she still wields some sort of power over Don.
Women swoon for this guy -- fans of "Castle" know what we're talking about.
Best-known for playing Robin Scherbatsky on "How I Met Your Mother," Cobie Smulders is talented, witty and charming. And the fact that her character was once a Canadian teenage popstar is kind of awesome.
Who would have thought this Oscar-winning actress could transition so smoothly into television? She did, and she's not going anywhere. People love Sookie Stackhouse from "True Blood," even though she's a fairy vampire-lover.
Most people know Priestley as the iconic Brandon Walsh from the original "Beverly Hills, 90210." Since then, he's certainly grown up and on -- starring in multiple series including "Haven" and "Medium" -- and was the lead on critically-acclaimed Canadian series "Call Me Fitz." He's moved on to directing (he's doing a few Canadian shows this year), and has even done some stage work in Toronto, in a play called "Race."
We'll admit it, we enjoyed making fun of Cuthbert's infamous cougar run-in on "24." But the days of her time in the Bauer clan are long past, and Cuthbert has ably reinvented herself as a ditzy comedienne in the recently cancelled comedy "Happy Endings." We'll see what comes next.
Even non-"Glee" fans love this Canadian cutie. He's sweet, charming and he literally exudes the boy-next-door vibe.
Gavaris has burst onto the scene as the awesome Felix on "Orphan Black." Virtually unknown before, he's leaped into stardom.
A favourite across the continent, and probably across the globe, Arnett recently returned to Netflix on "Arrested Development." Naturally funny and a great actor, he's pretty hard to look at without laughing.
Following in Kristin Kreuk's alliterative footsteps on "Smallville," Durance scored the iconic role of Lois Lane opposite Tom Welling's Clark Kent. She currently appears on "Saving Hope" with Michael Shanks and Daniel Gillies.
From the moment we met Park's character Sharon on "Battlestar Galactica," we knew she was going to be around for a while. Post-"BSG" she was on "The Border" until its cancellation, and currently she's still starring in "Hawaii Five-O" -- though in a lesser capacity.
Best known for playing Lana Lang, Clark Kent's high school sweetheart on "Smallville," and Laurel Yeung on "Edgemont," both filmed in her native Vancouver. Kreuk currently stars as Catherine Chandler in the reboot of "Beauty and the Beast," which films in Toronto.
Everyone loves Howie! Enough to the point that he has his own show "Howie Do It," and he also helmed a six-part series entitled "Take It All."
Pill has had an upswing over the last year, snagging a starring role in HBO's "The Newsroom." Her upstart eagerness isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the woman has fans. We're not sure how much her topless Twitter pic helped.
Frequently referred to as "that hot Canadian actor," Adam Beach has been raking in the female accolades on CBC series "Arctic Air."
"Stargate" fans will tell you how amazing Tapping is, both onscreen and off. She also grabbed more rabid followers with her 4-year stint on the recently cancelled "Sanctuary." Not to worry, folks, we're sure she has countless roles to come.
Sandra Oh started her Hollywood career on feature films ranging from "Bean" to "Under the Tuscan Sun" to "Sideways." But she really broke out on the small screen. First, she played Rita Wu on HBO's "Arli$$" and then, she went on to star as Christina Yang on the hit medical drama "Grey's Anatomy." The latter performance has earned her a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and five Emmy nominations.
"Canada's Got Talent" may be finito, but Martin Short is still one of the funniest comedians around. He had a multi-episode arc as Marshall's boss on "How I Met Your Mother."
After appearing in a number of family shows such as "Space Cases," "Higher Ground" and "Flash Forward" (not <em>that </em>one), Staite became a genre staple with roles on "Firefly" and "Stargate: Atlantis." She has roles on "The Killing" and "The Listener."
Sutherland has been in Hollywood since he was a young buck, and he shows no signs of tiring. As the star of "24," he garnered a major cult following, and his latest venture "Touch" was recenty cancelled. But don't worry, just wait until "24: Live Another Day" starts up.
This understated beauty has been carrying "Rookie Blue" for four seasons. It's about time she gets her due.
From "Roseanne" to "Scrubs" to "Cougar Town" and "How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life," Chalke has been on the TV scene for quite some time. Despite the latter's cancellation, we're sure she'll be back on the small screen in no time.
She was that amazingly hot Cylon in the red dress on "Battlestar Galactica" -- at first. Helfer soon proved her versatility by playing a variety of Number 6 characters, and after that show ended, she got steady work as a cast member or guest star on everything from "Chuck" to "The Firm." We enjoy seeing her on our screen regularly, and she'll be in a starring role on "Killer Women," coming in the fall.
You probably know his twin brother Shawn from the movie franchise "X-Men," but Aaron has popped up here and there on TV. He played Jimmy Olsen on "Smallville" for several seasons, and has appeared on "Warehouse 13" and "In Plain Sight." Our fave recent role of his, though, was as Nate on "Lost Girl."
Ashmore is a veteran of the small and big screens, and is undoubtedly one of Canada's most successful actors. He has a starring role on hit show "The Following" at the moment.
It's Chandler Bing! After 10 years playing a funnyman on "Friends," Matthew Perry has appeared on "The Good Wife" and starred in NBC's "Go On," which was cancelled a few months ago.
This lovable bundle of fatherly charisma was an absolute favourite on "Veronica Mars," and moved on to more notoriety on "Flashpoint" and "Person Of Interest." He's currently working on the "Veronica Mars" reboot.
Toronto-born-and-raised McCormack was the calm voice of reason on "Will & Grace," and starting in the fall he'll be starring in Season 2 of "Perception," where he plays Daniel Pierce, an eccentric neuroscientist who helps solve crimes.
Ever the character, Coates is well-known throughout the country. His most recent role on "Sons Of Anarchy" has ensured an entirely new generation of fans. He will also be appearing on "Crossing Lines," set to premiere on CBC in the fall.
We had to include Holden-Ried on this list, mainly because of his steamy role on "Lost Girl."
For the past three years, Mitchell has been working magic in her breakout role on "Pretty Little Liars."
No, no, he doesn't wear mascara or eyeliner. Those are his natural eyelashes! Bisson is a man's man, and brings in the ladies with his charm on "Murdoch Mysteries."
Best-known for her role as Dr. Lauren Lewis on "Lost Girl," Palmer is technically a Brit, but we'll count her as a Canadian.
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