Category Archives: 17th Precinct
Published April 21, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
In less than a month, the five American broadcast networks start to unveil their fall plans in New York and we will know if J. J. Abram’s Alcatraz and a handful of other TV drama pilots we saw filming in Vancouver will make it to series for next season. Of course some drama pilots which filmed elsewhere may end up as a 22-episode production in our city too because it’s still cheaper to film here. Still, nothing is guaranteed with 42 drama series pilots in total vying for a limited number of primetime slots.
FOX drama pilot Alcatraz, which has strong early buzz, follows a police officer, played by Sarah Jones, investigating the reappearance of 300 prisoners and wardens missing for 50 years from the notorious San Francisco island prison. But it will be tough for the network to find a spare spot for another scripted drama after renewing J.J. Abram’s Vancouver-filmed Fringe for a fourth season. The cult TV show creator reportedly flew up here for few days in late January to oversee filming of the Alcatraz pilot, also starring Jorge Garcia (Lost’s Hurley), plus a hilarious scene of Fringe featuring guest star Garcia getting high with John Noble’s Dr. Walter Bishop. I tried so hard to find where Alcatraz was filming during Abram’s visit but kept showing up after they’d wrapped for the day: first in Queen Elizabeth Park where they filmed a funeral scene with a freshly-dug grave covered in floral wreaths in a fake graveyard and then at a house in Shaughnessy where nobody was left except crew dismantling the set.
I finally caught up with Alcatraz on West Pender Street at an abandoned bank building turned into
Published March 17, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
“Frak yes! It’s a BSG reunion” read the New York Post headline of a PopWrap post illustrated with my photos of three of Battlestar Galactica’s cast filming a new NBC TV pilot 17th Precinct on location in Yaletown earlier this week. Why all the excitement? It’s the first major project from BSG showrunner Ronald D. Moore which reunites him with main cast – Apollo (Jamie Bamber ), Baltar (James Callis) and Cylon Six (Tricia Helfer) – from the cult sci-fi series plus one of its best directors, Michael Rymer.
As a long time fan of the Vancouver-shot BSG, I joked with friends that 17th Precinct needs Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff ) in the cast to be a true reunion for me, but she will not be in the mix. She has a new project in the offing. BSG’s Chief/Cylon (Aaron Douglas) tweeted her: “Take me with you? Jamie, James and Tricia are ganging up with Ron. I think it is high time you and I gang up somewhere else.”
17th Precinct is not the average cops and robbers procedural. Think cops and warlocks instead. It’s a Harry-Potter-for-grownups show about detectives Caolan (Jamie Bamber) and John (James Callis) investigating magical occurrences in the fictional town of Excelsior, with the help of the sorceress Morgana (Tricia Helfer). I spotted the strange steering-wheel-less unmarked car driven by the magical detectives and the Public Necromancer Van at a location shoot in the West End late last week. Police extras loaded a body into the rear of the van.
Most of that shoot happened inside The Kensington, the mustard-yellow Italianate heritage building on Nicola Street, with some exterior scenes scheduled at night until the high winds of last Thursday caused havoc. The craft tent blew off the street, damaging a fridge, and all exterior scenes got pushed to Friday evening. That night shoot introduced other cast members: the venerable Stockard Channing as robbery detective Mira and her partner, the relative newbie Matt Long (Peggy fired his ass on Mad Men), doing a scene at the staged crime scene. Later I spotted Eamonn Walker, who plays Dectective Chief Inspector Wilder Blanks, pile into the cast van after filming wrapped for the week.
On Monday 17th Precinct crew re-established themselves for a two-day shoot in Yaletown off Hamilton Street. I arrived to see