Republic of Doyle: go down the darkened paths

    Posted on: Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Last night’s episode of Republic of Doyle did something for me that no other previous episode has.

A little help from my friends

The entire episode revolved around one of the central characters. Without giving away too much for those who missed it but still plan on seeing it, that character was implicated in the crime of the week. As a result, we saw them fleshed out like never before, and hidden aspects of the rest of the characters were exposed in the process.

This is what every episode needs. It’s what you get in a typically well written character drama. Unfortunately with Doyle, we usually only see character development occur in glimmers, overshadowed by the primary focus of the episode: the whodunnit.

Granted, Doyle is a crime-of-the-week style drama, but of-the-weeks needn’t be thin on character development to stay true to their genre.

Angel in America

Take Joss Weadon’s American television masterpiece (and bare with me here for a moment, non-believers) Angel, for example.

The two shows are strikingly similar: a leather jacket clad, spiky haired young man with a murky past runs a detective agency with the help of a ragtag group of friends, one of whom gets taken in off the streets and has a secret past all his own. The central character, like Doyle, is smart and strong, but also at times the butt of the joke. Heck, in the first two seasons he even has a sexual-tension building relationship with a police detective that ends up going sour yet comes in handy for getting him in and out of cuffs at the right, and sometimes wrong, times.

(I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Angel’s closest ally in season one was an Irishman named Allen Doyle, but I chalk that purely up to coincidence)

Besides the fact that Angel’s crimes-of-the-week are of a supernatural nature, the most glaring difference between the Angel and Doyle series’ is their willingness to develop character. With Angel, character comes first, and often dictates the nature of each episode’s story (not to mention the over-arching story of each season and the series as a whole). With Doyle, character feels more like an after thought, something used to fill in the cracks once the story for an episode has been decided.

Except in the case of last night’s episode. I’ve never felt more invested in an episode of Republic of Doyle than I did last night.

Tension and release

All this leads to a more general criticism I have, which is that I think Doyle could stand to be a lot more gritty. You can see it wanting to at times with subplots revolving around Jake’s mysterious brother, Rose’s past and Tinny’s recent foray into grow-oping, but still the series holds back. It’s as if, like a self-conscious teenager, they’re worried if you take them too seriously, you’ll forget to laugh when they’re trying to be funny. And Doyle is meant to be funny. But the comedy should act as a release from the tension that the drama builds. When the drama fails to build much tension, the comedy doesn’t really give us much in the way of a release.

An audience’s investment in character is the best resource a series can rely on for building tension through drama. We don’t care nearly as much about what happens to the victim-of-the-week as we do the people we see every week running around trying to help said victims.

If I could give Doyle any advice for season three, it would be this: beef up character development and don’t be afraid to go down the darkened paths this will lead you.

Inside the Extra’s Studio

    Posted on: Thursday, January 13th, 2011

With the start of a new season of Republic of Doyle, there’s a 50/50 chance you or someone you know is going to appear on TV as an extra one fine Wednesday night on CBC.

For many, it will be their first foray into extradom, and they may not be prepared for the changes their new life will bring.

Enter Ian Earnest, one of the world’s most renowned TV and movie extras. Back in 2004 he appeared on Inside the Extra’s Studio and shared his extra experience and the wisdom it has afforded him with the world. For the better half of a decade, that appearance lived on only as a legend. Until today.

Enjoy.

That’s a wrap! Doyle’s last day for season two

    Posted on: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Everyone’s favourite St. John’s based crime dramady, Republic of Doyle, is wrapping up its last day of production on its second season today.

Whether or not the Doylers, a noble breed which includes actors, technicians, artists, organizers and a slew of others, will be called back for a third season will depend on the viewership numbers once season two airs. But the buzz is that they’ve got a hot one on their hands this season, so here’s hoping.

And the show certainly has its following. Just type the letters r-e-p-u into Bing, and Republic of Doyle comes up as the first suggestion. That’s gotta count for something.

Since July 5th, when production began on season two of Doyle, we’ve had star sightings, the occasional road closure, and even an explosion to remind us that there was a TV series playing itself out in our midst. I think I’ll miss that after today, but at least we only have to wait until January to see it all materialize on our TV screens and in our web browsers.

No doubt this is a bittersweet day for the cast and crew of Doyle. A lot of hard work and long hours are finally coming to a close, but a lot of strong bonds and good times are, too.

Then again, The Duke’s not going anywhere, now, is it?

The Codfather – this video has EVERYTHING.

    Posted on: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Explosion of Doyle: photos of the fireball

    Posted on: Monday, November 29th, 2010

Circa around 3pm today, from my vantage point on Signal Hill.