TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

WGC asks government to reject CRTC decisions

From a media release:

The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) has filed an appeal to Cabinet about the recent, potentially disastrous CRTC broadcasting decisions 2017-149 and 150. The decisions have created deep concern in the Canadian screenwriting community for good reason: they slash private broadcaster funding to Canadian programs by 40% and could lead to over $200 million in reduced broadcaster spending on Canadian shows over a five-year licence term.

“We appeal to Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to reject these deeply flawed and harmful decisions which deal a massive blow to Canadian culture by drastically cutting Canadian-created production,” says WGC President Jill Golick. “Screen-entertainment is the most popular cultural medium of our time. Canadian screenwriters are committed to creating shows that connect our histories, share our values, enrich our social fabric and strengthen our country. But if these decisions stand, we will be forced to leave our country in search of employment elsewhere.”

This inevitable talent drain is because Canadian screenwriters occupy a unique position in the industry. They do not work on foreign or “service” productions —primarily U.S. shows shot in Canada, not created by Canadians — as do some industry professionals. Canadian screenwriters’ primary role is to create shows that are commissioned for Canada’s private broadcasters and CBC.

Consequently, the CRTC decisions endanger both Canadian storytelling and its storytellers. It’s a particularly short-sighted choice during Canada 150, a time when Canadians should be able to look to a future where Canada’s cultural output will expand, not shrink. Instead, the CRTC has facilitated the latter, by reducing Bell Media and Corus Entertainments’ minimum spending requirements on “programs of national interest,” (PNI) — drama, documentary, children’s programming etc. — to 5%. Status quo PNI spending levels are 8% and 9% of broadcasting revenues for Bell and Corus respectively, but in standardizing PNI at 5% former CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais chose to disregard the method used to calculate PNI contributions.“Blais ignored precedent and turned away from the existing methodology of calculating PNI,” says WGC Executive Director Maureen Parker. “Instead he

“Blais ignored precedent and turned away from the existing methodology of calculating PNI,” says WGC Executive Director Maureen Parker. “Instead he standardized PNI spending using the lowest common denominator. Where in Canada’s Broadcasting Act does it even imply that standardized contributions are a policy objective? Nowhere. What the Act does say is that the broadcasting system should contribute significantly to the creation of Canadian programming, and maximize Canadian creative resources. These CRTC decisions don’t fulfill either crucial cultural objective.”Heritage Minister Joly’s public, laudable intent has been to bring the best of Canada to the world. The WGC is in complete

Heritage Minister Joly’s public, laudable intent has been to bring the best of Canada to the world. The WGC is in complete agreement, and asks the Liberal government to ensure a place in the Canadian broadcasting system for our own culture: The world needs more, not less, Canada.

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Link: William Shatner on Canada’s 150th, adapting to role of the guest star

From Bill Brioux of The Canadian Press:

Link: William Shatner on Canada’s 150th, adapting to role of the guest star
William Shatner doesn’t get all the fuss about Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1.

“I was there at Confederation,” jokes Shatner, not quite Canada’s age at 86. “I said to John A.,” he continues, “you know, you should incorporate this country.” Continue reading.

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Your favourite Canadian TV series of all time

Back in April, we asked you to help celebrate Canada’s 150th year as a country. The question: what are your favourite Canadian television series of all time? Thanks to everyone who took the time to send their list of faves and the memories they have of those programs as well.

Here’s a sample of some of the feedback we got. Feel free to add your own thoughts and favourites in the comments section below.

Seeing Things, Traders and Cold Case. —Christian

1. Slings and Arrows
2. Corner Gas
3. Rookie Blue
That was my Top 3, but I also liked a lot: Due South, The Collector, Rent-A-Goalie, Almost Heroes, Seed, Being Erica, MVP, Wild Roses, Cra$h & Burn, The Guard, Flashpoint, ReGenesis, Lost Girl, Sanctuary, Continuum and Dark Matter. —Roger

1. Da Vinci’s Inquest
2. The Red Green Show
3. Due South
4. Corner Gas
5. Pure
Mark

Nicholas Campbell starred in ‘Da Vinci’s Inquest’

I have listed my favourite Canadian TV shows through the years. I believe the are all Canadian. If not, please let me know. Some go way back. Some are current.
The Friendly Giant
Uncle Bobby
What’s for Dinner
Bizarre
Rookie Blue
Red Green Show
Murdoch Mysteries
Cityline
This Hour has 22 Minutes
Rick Mercer Report
Joyce

Quentin Durgens, MP and SCTV. —Steve

The Beachcombers
The Littlest Hobo
Seeing Things
SCTV
Da Vinci’s Inquest
19-2
Motive
Continuum
JeffDJ

Codco

There was a time when CBC had Kids in the Hall, Codco and Street Legal all on one night. That was a great night for Canadian TV. Two innovative and edgy comedies from different parts of Canada followed by a great slick sexy drama that got into some issues. (I did work on Kids as a graphic artist, but I’m speaking here as a viewer.) —Gary

Wynonna Earp: there are not enough superlatives to describe how much I love this show.
Lost Girl: my true introduction to how Canadians do genre TV and how special the Canadian are who make it.
(On behalf of my nephew, a pint-size shout out to his faves: Wild Kratts and Paw Patrol.) —Laura

The Red Green Show

Nice list. Here are a few of mine, mostly oldies.
The Trouble With Tracy
Red Green/Comedy Mill/Smith and Smith (basically any S&S production)
Party Game
You Can’t Do That On Television
The Dini Petty Show
The Pig and Whistle
Canadian Bandstand
The Elephant Show
A Gift to Last (Gordon Pinsent mini-series)
Definition/Beat The Clock (game shows count, right?)
Which reminds me of Front Page Challenge, and that other one that pitted two teams of high school students against each other. The name escapes me. I could go on but I’ll stop here. Oh! I just have to add Saturday Night at the Movies with Elwy Yost. Really miss him. —Chris

I have many shows that I like and out of all of them, I’ll highlight two that I regard as ground-breaking. After years of American programs with courtroom settings: Street Legal was the first to show how the Canadian system worked. Within the personal lives of the characters, it dealt with issues of feminism, mixed-race relationships, and schizophrenia, just to name a few. For a more recent show, it has to be X Company. I can’t name a series that had me living from one week to the next with such anticipation. We learned something about our history that had been mostly ignored. In this age of social media, we were able to connect with other viewers from around the world as well as the actors and creative minds involved. —Mel

Billable Hours

My Top 3 are Slings and Arrows, SCTV and the 80s era Anne of Green Gables. More recent … I still miss the weirdness of Call Me Fitz and want to know what happened to Jimmy Reardon on Intelligence. —Diane

1. SCTV
2. Kids in the Hall
3. Trailer Park Boys
4. Corner Gas
5. Kenny vs. Spenny
6. Wok With Yan!
7. Letterkenny
8. Schitt’s Creek
Todd

I’m not going to rank them but off the top of my head, I’ll say these are my favourite Canadian shows.
Reboot
The Raccoons
Continuum
Billable Hours (I still quote this show all the time, underappreciated and hilarious)
The Stargate TV shows (frequently campy as hell but still enjoyable)
19-2
Speaker’s Corner
Flashpoint
jPod
You Can’t Do That On Television 
Brent

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Killjoys: Creator Michelle Lovretta sets the stage for Season 3

If Killjoys‘ first episode is any indication, Season 3 is going to kick some serious ass. And why not? Creator Michelle Lovretta and her writing team set up exactly this scenario in the Season 2 finale, as Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) announced an all-out war against Aneela.

“Boondoggie,” returning Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Space, picks up with Dutch, D’avin (Luke McFarlane) and Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) doing their part to get the showdown started with some key help from Pree (Thom Allison) and Alvis (Morgan Kelly). With guest stars like Viktoria Modesta, Tommie-Amber Pirie and Karen LeBlanc jetting into The Quad, we got Lovretta on the phone to set the stage for what promises to be one hells of a great season.

Congratulations on Season 3 of Killjoys. You’re back on Friday nights this summer and Wynonna Earp is part of the lineup on Space.
Michelle Lovretta: I’m super excited. It’s funny, having Emily as a dear friend on this journey and having her on Killjoys it’s kind of a delicious treat that we’re going to airing as sister shows, effectively, on the same night. It’s a small world in the best of ways.

When we last left the group Khlyen had died, D’avin and Fancy were trading quips, Johnny and Clara were off in Khlyen’s ship and the tree is no more. Where do we pick up on Friday night? Is it right after the events of the Season 2 finale?
It is not right after, but I would say the emotional stakes have a very clear continuity with where we left everybody. We’ve taken a little breath and allowed a little time to pass. The stakes remain what Aneela’s ultimate game plan is and assessing their best approach to turning a gang of Killjoy rebels into a valid militia force against the Hullen.

It’s always fun to train people who don’t really know how to fight how to fight.
Exactly. And these are brawlers. The thing I’ve always loved about Killjoys from the beginning is the take no sides, take no bribes. It allows you to divorce yourself from a whole lot of thorny issues in terms of whether you are on the right side or the wrong side. Now, they’re no longer given that freedom. Now they not only have to take a side but have to try to talk other people into taking a side and trying to get people who were in it for a buck to be in it for the fight. It’s an interesting challenge but, honestly, I can’t think of anybody in our world that would be better suited for it than the combination of Dutch, D’av and Johnny because they are different people with different approaches and we get to see that tragically, comically and lovingly play out this season.

But just because someone says they’re on your side doesn’t mean they really are.
Exactly. It’s true. And one of the things we’re exploring this season is that it’s about loyalties and about your self-definition. I love to live in the grey, not because I don’t there is evil and good because I do, but that it’s contextual in a lot of ways. There are people who are very good to their loved ones and those loved ones never know how savage they are. That’s sort of the complexity of what it is to be human and that’s what has sort of fascinated me about the relationship between Dutch and Khlyen. We saw that play out last year because I thought it was really important. There was an abusive, manipulative side to that relationship and it was toxic. She needed to deal with that and also deal with, in her definition, love and support and protection. That’s what makes life and relationships so complicated. This season that spreads out into her relationships with other people as well.

Is Aneela the big villain this season? Is she the focus?
There are definitely other challenges. Aneela is, I would say, the architect of many of those. She is colluding from afar at first and that gives our people time to regroup. There are other villains closer at hand at times. And we still have the structure that I love, which is a great adventure at its heart and a story that resolves itself neatly, but feeds into and broadens the greater season-long arc.

Last season you suggested Pree’s warlord history. Do you touch on that this season?
Let me just say the title of Episode 4 is “The Lion, The Witch and The Warlord.” [Laughs.] Pree fans may read into that what they will.

Thom has been so great in this role.
He is amazing and we love the secondary characters. It always feels odd in my mouth to call them secondary. While we can’t always give them a full story we always want to keep them close to hand and close to heart and I think we do that very handily this season. We have more Fancy, we have more Alvis, we have some surprise people that you may not be expecting. We have some new people as well because, frankly, that’s such a joy for us. Because I love our core three so much, one of the things that is fun to do is give them new energy to play against.

Viktoria Modesta is a guest star in Season 3 as Niko. Viktoria is an artist, singer and an amputee. What can you say about her character?
I’m super-excited about Viktoria joining us and the character of Niko. It was our opportunity to bring to life this very unique, very sexy, very glamorous aspirational character. She certainly has her sexy villain side because I find that appealing. But even within the time she is with us, we have also given her her own perspective and a credible rationalization for the things that she does. She is somebody that Johnny butts heads with in Episode 2 and I think it was possibly the first time that Viktoria had appeared on television, and she was an incredibly passionate and quick study. We wanted to make sure that the Hackmod world was legitimate and we brought in actors that believably belonged in those roles but at the same time didn’t make it a dark and unhappy place. They have a badassery to them.

Were the Hackmods something you always had in the back of your mind when you were creating Killjoys or did they evolve during production?
They came to me in Season 1. I went back, actually, and found a lot of clippings that I had gone through. People with gun legs and modifications on human bodies. It’s something I find very interesting when you’re thinking about the future and how we’re going to be hacking our own bodies. I think it’s part of our journey, as humans. And then it becomes, as a writer, what does that do to them culturally? Legally? What does that do to their rights and norms? Who are the outcasts?

What can you tell me about Karen LeBlanc’s role this season?
Can I just say how gorgeous she is? Every time I’m editing and she comes on screen I ask if I can have the footage rolled back one more time. [Laughs.] She plays an antagonist to our team. When we come back the RAC that operates as business as usual realizes a bunch of agents have gone missing when Dutch went ahead and killed the Arkyn pool. Banyon has a completely correct suspicion that Dutch and team are somehow at the heart of this and she is definitely, ‘Let’s pull back the curtain and take a poke at Dutch.’

What can fans expect when they tune in this season? What will they see?
One of the things we lay out is the complete origin story between Dutch and her connection to Aneela. You also are going to see Pree at his best and his warlord past. You are going to see Dutch and John on the day they met. You’re going to see a lot of tasty things that as, as writers, we waited for the right time for. We didn’t want to just throw them out in the first season, but have been pining to do ever since.

Killjoys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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