Sep 28, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

Where’s the drama in the Canadian television industry?

It’s a wrap. Canada’s homegrown, privately owned broadcast networks have unveiled their schedules for fall and, once again, media analysts and cultural critics are pondering the same old questions.

A demonstration by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists outside Global TV’s upfront presentation last week carped on a familiar theme: “Why are the Canadian networks spending all that money on U.S. programming again?”

And its corollary question: “Why are the Canadian networks spending so little on homegrown scripted drama and comedy?”

An obvious question with an obvious answer: U.S. hits help pay for homegrown efforts. Most people would rather watch House or CSI than The Border. Not ideal, but there it is.

Canada is too small a country to sustain the kind of production needed to pump out all those “maybes” it takes to find a hit. The TV business, like the movie business, is a crap shoot — pun intended. The U.S. majors — Warner Bros., Fox, etc. — produce many more dogs than they do winners. Nine of 10 new shows fail to make it to a second season.

An outfit like NBC-Universal can afford to take a gamble on 20 turkeys — for now, anyway — to find the next cash cow. CTV or Citytv? Not so much.

Will Canadians watch Canadian TV shows?

Sure . . . if they’re worthy.

The Americans make a lot of lousy TV, and some good TV, but then, they make a lot of TV, period.

Canadians have watched Hiccups and Dan for Mayor in sizable enough numbers to warrant a second season for both shows. They may not be as polished or confident as Corner Gas or Trailer Park Boys, but now they have a chance to find their footing. There’s something else about Hiccups and Dan for Mayor that’s appealing, though: They’re different. Unique. Original.

Take a look what’s on U.S.TV at the moment and you won’t find many comedies that resemble Hiccups or Dan for Mayor.

Canadians are watching these shows, in other words, because there isn’t a same-but-better version on NBC or CBS.

That’s why I was so irritated at the Canadians dramas that were picked up last week. Flashpoint, The Bridge, The Listener, Shattered — they’re all cop shows. (Or, in the case of Listener, a paramedic show masquerading as a cop show.) In quality, they range, respectively, from fair to middling to unwatchable to as-yet-unseen.

There are so many terrific stories to be told that aren’t about cops, cops, lawyers, cops, doctors, cops and more cops.

CBC, for all its reliance on hockey and Prairie family dramas and comedies such as Heartland and Little Mosque, is at least trying to nibble at the edges of creativity with Being Erica and Republic of Doyle. Sure, Doyle is yet another private-eye show, in the tradition of thousands of other private-eye shows, but it has enough of a Newfoundland tone to give it a quirky, unusual feel.

As Hiccups, Dan For Mayor and a new, on-the-drawing-board comedy from the boys behind Trailer Park Boys, Canadian network comedy is going through a minor resurgence at the moment.

So why do so many returning network dramas have that tired, stale feel to them?

Source: Calgary Herald

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Where’s the drama in the Canadian television industry?

It’s a wrap. Canada’s homegrown, privately owned broadcast networks have unveiled their schedules for fall and, once again, media analysts and cultural critics are pondering the same old questions.

A demonstration by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists outside Global TV’s upfront presentation last week carped on a familiar theme: “Why are the Canadian networks spending all that money on U.S. programming again?”

And its corollary question: “Why are the Canadian networks spending so little on homegrown scripted drama and comedy?”

An obvious question with an obvious answer: U.S. hits help pay for homegrown efforts. Most people would rather watch House or CSI than The Border. Not ideal, but there it is.

Canada is too small a country to sustain the kind of production needed to pump out all those “maybes” it takes to find a hit. The TV business, like the movie business, is a crap shoot — pun intended. The U.S. majors — Warner Bros., Fox, etc. — produce many more dogs than they do winners. Nine of 10 new shows fail to make it to a second season.

An outfit like NBC-Universal can afford to take a gamble on 20 turkeys — for now, anyway — to find the next cash cow. CTV or Citytv? Not so much.

Will Canadians watch Canadian TV shows?

Sure . . . if they’re worthy.

The Americans make a lot of lousy TV, and some good TV, but then, they make a lot of TV, period.

Canadians have watched Hiccups and Dan for Mayor in sizable enough numbers to warrant a second season for both shows. They may not be as polished or confident as Corner Gas or Trailer Park Boys, but now they have a chance to find their footing. There’s something else about Hiccups and Dan for Mayor that’s appealing, though: They’re different. Unique. Original.

Take a look what’s on U.S.TV at the moment and you won’t find many comedies that resemble Hiccups or Dan for Mayor.

Canadians are watching these shows, in other words, because there isn’t a same-but-better version on NBC or CBS.

That’s why I was so irritated at the Canadians dramas that were picked up last week. Flashpoint, The Bridge, The Listener, Shattered — they’re all cop shows. (Or, in the case of Listener, a paramedic show masquerading as a cop show.) In quality, they range, respectively, from fair to middling to unwatchable to as-yet-unseen.

There are so many terrific stories to be told that aren’t about cops, cops, lawyers, cops, doctors, cops and more cops.

CBC, for all its reliance on hockey and Prairie family dramas and comedies such as Heartland and Little Mosque, is at least trying to nibble at the edges of creativity with Being Erica and Republic of Doyle. Sure, Doyle is yet another private-eye show, in the tradition of thousands of other private-eye shows, but it has enough of a Newfoundland tone to give it a quirky, unusual feel.

As Hiccups, Dan For Mayor and a new, on-the-drawing-board comedy from the boys behind Trailer Park Boys, Canadian network comedy is going through a minor resurgence at the moment.

So why do so many returning network dramas have that tired, stale feel to them?

Source: Calgary Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Where’s the drama in the Canadian television industry?

It’s a wrap. Canada’s homegrown, privately owned broadcast networks have unveiled their schedules for fall and, once again, media analysts and cultural critics are pondering the same old questions.

A demonstration by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists outside Global TV’s upfront presentation last week carped on a familiar theme: “Why are the Canadian networks spending all that money on U.S. programming again?”

And its corollary question: “Why are the Canadian networks spending so little on homegrown scripted drama and comedy?”

An obvious question with an obvious answer: U.S. hits help pay for homegrown efforts. Most people would rather watch House or CSI than The Border. Not ideal, but there it is.

Canada is too small a country to sustain the kind of production needed to pump out all those “maybes” it takes to find a hit. The TV business, like the movie business, is a crap shoot — pun intended. The U.S. majors — Warner Bros., Fox, etc. — produce many more dogs than they do winners. Nine of 10 new shows fail to make it to a second season.

An outfit like NBC-Universal can afford to take a gamble on 20 turkeys — for now, anyway — to find the next cash cow. CTV or Citytv? Not so much.

Will Canadians watch Canadian TV shows?

Sure . . . if they’re worthy.

The Americans make a lot of lousy TV, and some good TV, but then, they make a lot of TV, period.

Canadians have watched Hiccups and Dan for Mayor in sizable enough numbers to warrant a second season for both shows. They may not be as polished or confident as Corner Gas or Trailer Park Boys, but now they have a chance to find their footing. There’s something else about Hiccups and Dan for Mayor that’s appealing, though: They’re different. Unique. Original.

Take a look what’s on U.S.TV at the moment and you won’t find many comedies that resemble Hiccups or Dan for Mayor.

Canadians are watching these shows, in other words, because there isn’t a same-but-better version on NBC or CBS.

That’s why I was so irritated at the Canadians dramas that were picked up last week. Flashpoint, The Bridge, The Listener, Shattered — they’re all cop shows. (Or, in the case of Listener, a paramedic show masquerading as a cop show.) In quality, they range, respectively, from fair to middling to unwatchable to as-yet-unseen.

There are so many terrific stories to be told that aren’t about cops, cops, lawyers, cops, doctors, cops and more cops.

CBC, for all its reliance on hockey and Prairie family dramas and comedies such as Heartland and Little Mosque, is at least trying to nibble at the edges of creativity with Being Erica and Republic of Doyle. Sure, Doyle is yet another private-eye show, in the tradition of thousands of other private-eye shows, but it has enough of a Newfoundland tone to give it a quirky, unusual feel.

As Hiccups, Dan For Mayor and a new, on-the-drawing-board comedy from the boys behind Trailer Park Boys, Canadian network comedy is going through a minor resurgence at the moment.

So why do so many returning network dramas have that tired, stale feel to them?

Source: Calgary Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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