Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Welcome Back Nerve Center!

One of my favorite prestige Canadian TV series Nerve Center is back for a highly anticipated third season.
Two new hour episodes are being scheduled by Discovery Canada back to back on wednesday June 26 starting at 8 p.m.
First up it's the launch of Toronto's brand new Four Seasons hotel which does indeed include a fair measure of thrills as the hotel braces for its first ever guests.
But I far more enjoyed the second hour which examines all the intricacies involved in last year's grey Cup finale telecast from the Rogers Center.
Four more episodes are coming up as we learn the inner workings of Legal Sea Foods, Cedar Park Amusement, Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction and Monster Jam will all be on later in the summer.
I know there might be a certain amount of cynicism involved in watching the Four Seasons hotel open its doors.
I somehow doubt I'll ever have the coin needed for a luxury room going at $1,500 a night.
But the background is fascinating: I liked the new machine the laundry staff have to automatically fold towels.
Or there's a visit with the new master chef who must get the staff up to scratch as he plans for the hotel's first wedding and must solve the traffic jam of waiters who must serve all the guests.
And right then the new air conditioning system goes on the blitz and all concernedat the wedding party  begin sweating profusely --how it is all solved is part of the story,.
I liked the sights of hotel general manager Dimitrios Zarikos clocking the new 15-minute room service menu --the waiter gets the order delivered in 14 minutes with seconds to spare.
And what about the incoming guest who left her coat in a taxi?
Turns out the hotel has 300 surveillance cameras and one of them clearly shows the taxi pulling up including the taxi number at the side.
Showing how a live telecast goes off is always good for a feature. One of my first stories as TV critic was to cover the behind-the-scenes personnel responsible for Hockey Night In Canada.
Nerve Center focuses on the 100th annual Grey Cup and the coordination efforts are truly mammoth.
It takes 200 veteran technicians six days to unfurl the equipment and begin the countdown.
We get to understand how the sound technician can pull off a miracle, how that floating camera high up captures shots never seen on an NHL game and all the tension inside the broadcasting center during the actual game.
I found this one to be just about the best episode ever. But how will foreign viewers feel about such an intrinsically Canadian story?
So welcome back Nerve center with special thanks to executive producer Kathryn Oughtred and story producer Leslie Cote of  Exploration Productions Inc.
MY RATING: ***1/2.

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