Saturday, February 2, 2013

Seed Is Canadian TV's Next Big Sitcom

Just ask Adam Korson, personable star of the new City sitcom Seed,  how he landed this big assignment.
"I went to Los Angeles," he says with a grin.
It's the only way to really get established up here --go away and show Canadian producers you can do it and they'll be calling you back in no time.
Heck, it worked for Art Hindle, Sonja Smits and Wendy Crewson in the past and this year David Sutcliffe made the same career U-turn to get the lead in Cracked.
I first noticed Korson a few years back on Degrassi High and the next thing I knew he was in the first episode of 2 Broke Girls.
And this season he was on Emily Owens which happened to be shot in Vancouver. I felt that show wasn't quite up to scratch in the dramatics department and Korson seems to reluctantly agree with me.
When the casting call came up for Seed Korson duly despatched an audition tape from Vancouver which is the way it is done these days.
"I'm thinking the producers liked my look, my readings and so a call back order came to appear in L.A.
First up let's say Korson is a really dedicated young actor. He's excelled on the stage in Toronto and says "People are always asking what I'll do if I don't make it. But this is my career. I'm not into back up plans. I'm an actor. End of discussion."
Korson says as soon as he read a full script "I could see me in the lead. I'm lucky to have stage experience because many of the laughs here involve the timing. The guy is a winner and also a loser. Women like him. But at 30 what has he done, really?"
Korson then journeyed to Toronto for tests with other cast members. There were the network suits who had to approve the casting. In fact network sources whisper Korson was also up for a big part in City's other scripted comedy called Package Deal.
"They call it chemistry," shrugs Korson. But when the little guy who plays his nine-year-old son walked in "I knew right away he had that part. He even looked like me! And he'd come all the way from Vancouver for the audition."
Let's back up a moment and notice Seed has a very naughty concept. Korson plays Harry, a perpetual sperm donor.
"Nobody knows how many offspring Harry has out there," Korson says with a laugh. "It may be --gulp --hundreds although I don't think so."
Some of these kids are now at the stage where they want to find their biological dad.
And that's what happens in the first episode when Harry meets very precocious Billy (William Ainscough) who has two moms (Amanda Brugel and Stephanie Anne Mills).
Hilarity ensues. Except that in the very next breath he meets 15-year old Anastasia (Abby Ross) who also believes she's his daughter. Her perplexed parents are played by Matt Baram and Laura De Carteret.
"We can be a bit naughty," Korson explains. Which explains why Seed may not be everyone's favorite choice for an 8:30 sitcom. However, City is hoping the audience flows from How I Met Your Mother. In fact cable with its more adult audience may be a better fit for the show. But Seed will succeed or fail on City Mondays at 8:30.
The first 15 minutes of the first half hour are patchy but then some big laughs bubble forth. And Korson's theatrical training is evident --he seems entirely at ease as Harry. In fact I ket thinking of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.
Helping out immeasurably is show runner Mark Farrell who co-starred in The Newsroom and was then a force to be reckoned as writer and producer on Corner Gas.
Halifax is the setting for economic reasons and it's a case of block shooting --two episodes are filmed at the same time meaning Korson and cast must be on their toes.
Other similar comedy efforts including CBC's Intelligence and Men With Brooms were sunk by block shooting which badly damaged the flow of each episode.
Right now the show reminds me most of that amiable 2004 Montreal TV sitcom Naked Josh.
Creator Joseph Raso first pitched Seed six years ago when he was at Disney. On Monday Korson finally steps forward as Harry a lovable serial sperm donor.
How Canadians take to Harry will probably be decided in the first few weeks.
MY RATING: ***1/2.

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