This Is Wonderland
|This Is Wonderland|
This Is Wonderland season 3 intertitle
George F. Walker|
Ron Lea (season 3)
Jayne Eastwood (seasons 2-3)
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Running time||45 minutes per episode|
|Original release||January 12, 2004 – March 15, 2006|
This Is Wonderland was a Canadian television series which aired on CBC Television. The series was a legal drama with comedic elements, or a comedy-drama. It was created by playwright George F. Walker, his writing partner Dani Romain, and Osgoode Hall Law School graduate and longtime Canadian TV producer Bernard Zukerman.
The first season aired in 2004, the second season began on January 25, 2005 and the third season began on November 23, 2005. On February 13, 2006, the CBC declined to order a fourth season, effectively cancelling the show. The final episode aired on March 15, 2006. Repeats of the first and second season currently air on Canadian digital specialty channel, bold, as well as on VisionTV.
Alice De Raey, played by Cara Pifko, a young criminal lawyer fresh out of Osgoode Hall Law School, is thrown into a chaotic justice system. She encounters characters ranging from the truly desperate to the bizarre. Alice, with a good-natured openness that cloaks a tenacious, committed spirit, finds herself on a journey that constantly tests her patience and compassion. Alice has a distinctive habit of muttering to herself.
Set in the courtrooms of Toronto's Old City Hall, cast regulars include Michael Riley, Michael Murphy, Michael Healey, Siu Ta, Eric Peterson, Janet-Laine Green and Kathryn Winslow. Jayne Eastwood and Ron Lea joined the cast in 2005.
In addition to Alice's education in the real world of low rent criminal justice, distinctive features of the Wonderland courtroom include respectful treatment of the mental health concerns of both defendants and the authority figures (judges and lawyers) faced with the contradictions of the system and the multicultural nature of Toronto society. Events in many of the characters' lives overwhelm their ability to emotionally cope and the shortcomings of the "blunt instrument" of the judicial system to address those situations are fully explored. Language and cultural barriers routinely figure into the course of justice, raising questions about the ability of the judicial system to respond to the needs of a changing society.
Awards and reception
During the series' run, four Gemini Awards were won by members of the cast. Cara Pifko (as Alice DeRaey) and Michael Riley (as Eliot Sacks) won in 2005 for Best Lead Actress and Actor respectively, and Michael Murphy (Judge Maxwell Fraser) won in 2004 and 2005 for Best Featured Supporting Actor. On August 29, 2006, This Is Wonderland received twelve Gemini nominations.