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

12 Awesome Canadian TV Show Theme Songs

I couldn’t get enough of Flashpoint when it was on the air. The characters, the writing and the production values were incredible; every week I knew the writers would throw a storyline my way that would draw me in. And it all started with that iconic opening theme music.

Whether it be instrumental or with words, a TV show’s theme is very often the audience’s first look at a program, and sets the tone for the rest of the broadcast. And, in the case of old shows, the opening strains trigger memories of what you were doing at the time in your life when the show was on.

Here’s a look at some of my favourite Canadian TV show themes; let me know if you agree, disagree or list your fave in the Comments below.

Flashpoint

Why I like it: The mix of brief shots of Toronto’s skyline and that melody hooked me right away, followed by the one-two images of the main cast. But the biggest impact Flashpoint‘s opening theme still has on me is the percussion that ramps up in intensity until the final note, punctuated by the clicking off of the rifle’s safety. That signified to me that the drama was about to begin, and no one was safe from harm.

Traders

Why I like it: Traders spotlit the world of investment banking, and the theme reflected that with strings and a vocal section delivering what sounds like a hymn to money. Steady and stately, the rising crescendo plays underneath shots of the lead characters looking serious while lightning crackles, tanks roll and protesters rage.

Murdoch Mysteries

Why I like it: In my house, no one is allowed to fast-forward through the Murdoch Mysteries theme. Robert Carli’s bass-heavy score trundles along with wispy, tinkly, almost supernatural notes above it. That in itself is cool enough, but by adding in those shots of the magnifying glass going over the Toronto Gazette, a hand and its fingermarks and the morgue instruments makes MM an instant classic. (Carli is responsible for a ton of Canadian TV themes, including Remedy, Cracked, Still Life: A White Pines Mystery, Bomb Girls, Good Dog and Wild Roses.)

The Littlest Hobo

Why I like it: Hobo was in my wheelhouse as a lad, a weekend staple on my grandparents’ television set when I was over for a visit. Looking back on it now, Hobo is almost crying-worthy in its cheesiness and the theme reflects that. With those memorable first lines, “There’s a voice, keeps on callin’ me, down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend…” the tune lets viewers know not only that we’re in for an adventure, but that the dog is always on the move and will be getting into scrapes along the way. (And the dog can apparently sing too; the song is written as if the pooch is performing it.) “Maybe Tomorrow,” composed and performed by Terry Bush, can be purchased in the iTunes store. Yes, I checked.

The Beachcombers

Why I like it: No list of Canadian TV themes is complete without The Beachcombers and it was my first real introduction into television outside Sesame Street, Polka Dot Door and Mr. Dressup. And while I don’t really recall any storylines other than every week seemed to pit Nick against Relic, I remember the theme fondly. B.C.’s rugged coast is paired with fast-flying motorboats juxtaposed over a jaunty orchestral production that beckoned me west for adventure … and pie at Molly’s Reach.

The King of Kensington

Why I like it: Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of King of Kensington when it was on, but that opening theme always drew me in. A little love letter to Kensington Market, those bustling streets always fascinated me. I always equated Larry King with being like Archie Bunker, the king of his own little neighbourhood, so to see him walking around those streets, slapping backs and shaking hands like a politician held me in thrall. The theme song is pretty straight-forward, introducing Larry, his long-suffering wife Cathy and mother Gladys, who says her son is the “only King around without a buuuuuck.” Good stuff.

Corner Gas

Why I like it: There might not have been a lot going on in Corner Gas, but the theme sure did. “Not a Lot Goin’ On,” written by Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela, not only works as a theme song but a legitimately good tune on its own. Sly nods to the flatness of Saskatchewan are interspersed with shots of the cast of characters to let you know wackiness will ensue. This and the theme from Friends are my favourite “themes that are real songs.”

The Kids in the Hall

Why I like it: I didn’t watch The Kids on the Hall on the regular, but I sure loved the theme, “Having an Average Weekend.” Written and performed by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, it’s twangy and fun and comes off more as a music video than introduction to the show. It certainly didn’t give any hint as to the off-the-wall sketches to come.

Hilarious House of Frightenstein

Why I like it: Vincent Price at his creepiest + endless crackles of lightning + a Moog synthesizer = classic TV.

Friendly Giant

Why I like it: Thanks to the fact every Canadian (or Ontario) kid is given a recorder in Grade 4, we all learned to play the theme for Friendly Giant. And why not? It was easy and non-threatening, just like the show. As an aside, I always wanted to sit in the rocking chair and look up. Look waaaaay up.

Heartland

Why I like it: I’ve become a big fan of Heartland since I’ve been reviewing it full-time here on the site, and every Sunday this tune worms its way into my brain where it replays at least midway into Monday. Written by Jenn Grant, just the chorus of “Dreamer” is used by CBC’s long-running family drama but it’s enough to let you know the show is about living your dream—and life—to the fullest.

Republic of Doyle

Why I like it: Smash cuts of St. Johns’s, cast shots jumping across the screen, the beloved GTO pealing around a corner, the chorus of Great Big Sea’s rocking’ tune lets you know in scant seconds that you are in for one hell of a fun ride. Oh yeah!

What did I miss? What are your favourite Canadian TV show themes? Let me know below.

Link: Dark Matter Episode 8 Post-Mortem: Out for Revenge

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Dark Matter Episode 8 Post-Mortem: Out for Revenge
“Eventually we will learn about Two. She’s always trying to balance her role as commander with her role as comrade as well. It’s a tough role to manage. In the back of her mind she’s always thinking of what’s best for the crew and ultimately what’s best for her as a commander and to make sure that role is not undermined.” Continue reading.

Interview: Killjoys creator talks game-changing episode

Well, D’Avin got his wish, but at what cost? Friday’s episode of Killjoys saw our heroic trio hunt down the ever-elusive Grayson Hicks (played by Republic of Doyle‘s Mark O’Brien), who in turn lead them to Dr. Jaeger (Amanda Tapping).

But “Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye” didn’t stop there. Rather than shut down the memory blockers per D’Avin’s request, Jaeger turned on his “kill” mode, directing him to dispatch his team. That lead to some truly shocking scenes where Dutch and Johnny felt the full force of a career military man and good soldier. Where does the team go from here? How can Dutch and Johnny trust D’Avin?

We got Killjoys creator Michelle Lovretta on the phone to discuss such matters.

We finally got to see Dr. Jaeger! How did you go about snagging Amanda Tapping for the role? Did you always have her in mind?
Michelle Lovretta: We haven’t made a big deal in the first season of trying to do anything in the vein of stunt casting and thinking of who would bring eyeballs. Instead, we tried thinking of who would have the right feel for the role and the presence for it. I basically thought of Amanda because of the past work that she’s done. I think in the future I’d like to do that again, to bring in people who have more of a science fiction legacy because it’s fun and of what it can add to the show.

What was it like working with her? 
She came into the office and we had a really great chat about where life had taken her and the show and some of the other projects she was working on. She’s just a really, really, lovely woman and I really enjoyed my time with her. On set they had a hell of good time as well.

It’s been really interesting to see her journey from being in front of the camera as a lead to behind it as a director.
One of the reasons she came to mind in the role is because we had an opening to get her as a director and the schedules didn’t mesh. But she’s fun and full of life and I really hope we can get her back in some capacity.

The last we saw of Jaeger, she was being hooked up to have her memory erased. Will she be back this season?
No. By the time we get to Episode 7, part of what we were trying to do was give us some closure with D’Avin with a hell of a bang and push us forward into the last third of the season so that we can concentrate on Dutch’s dilemma and the broader mysteries of The Quad and the RAC.

Killjoys1

This was a really big episode for Luke Macfarlane. He ran the gamut of emotions with Dutch, first being intimate with her and then being programmed to kill her. Did you talk to him about the content beforehand? That was some pretty scary physical stuff.
We certainly had an open policy with the actors throughout where they’d come to us about where the characters were going. One of the first things Aaron asked me early on was whether Johnny was headed somewhere romantically with Dutch and I said no. We’ve talked about some of the larger turns.

I think, in the end, what’s interesting to me about the fight scene … I don’t pay lip service to Dutch’s physical prowess. There is never a moment when I doubt that. She’s almost infallible. When I wrote those scenes in the hallway on paper, I never felt afraid for her. The heartbreaking moment in that hallway for her is she’s lost that ability to control the situation and to protect the two of them from whatever the hell is going on. When you watch the scene it’s no longer the character, it’s this young woman and a physically larger male and it brings all of the additional gender violence to it. It was hard to watch because, again, on the page there were no worries for Dutch. It’s been an interesting process and I don’t know that Luke or Hannah felt the weight of that in the moment either because they were in character. But I’m sure when they do see it they’ll have the same reaction that we did, which is to hide your eyes and say, ‘Oh shit! I’m worried about her.’

One of the things going through my mind when I was writing it was something along the lines of, ‘If you wondered who would win if Dutch and D’Avin threw down, you’re about to find out.’ With someone who has such a history of killing, I guess you do need something shocking to, for a moment, feel as though there is jeopardy for that character. I really credit the cast and our director, Paolo Barzman, for the performances in this episode.


‘If you wondered who would win if Dutch and D’Avin threw down, you’re about to find out.’


By the end of the episode, this team is no longer the same. Where do they go from here? Jump ahead two years?
[Laughs.] Excellent idea! We’ll pull an Alias! When the show began, one of the things Johnny was worried about D’Avin was that he was going to fuck everything up for them. Now, Johnny was worried it was about sex and romance, but it was actually about his brother becoming an automaton killer monster beast. That scene with Johnny, when he’s telling Pree that he’s not jealous, he’s worried about his brother and sister. That scene was, before we were ordered to series, used as a way to illustrate to those who were going to work with us that’s the moment where we put to bed the worry that Johnny was lusting after Dutch.

Now after all of this blows up we also have to deal with the fact that D’Avin’s not culpable. It’s a weird, very uncomfortable position to put the team in because they can’t hate him, they can’t blame him but there are some things that they can’t immediately forgive. It’s not about logic, it’s about a feeling of trust. What this whole story allows us to do is put the team together in a stronger way, reminding and renewing the bond between John and Dutch because John very clearly chooses Dutch. Previously, we had a partnership that had a new person, but what this does is add history and sharing and trauma as a new way of bonding that now involves D’Avin. As we go forward, I think there’s a lot more depth between them.

There are just a few more episodes before the season finale. What can we expect?
There is a drum beating. There is an escalation of secrets and intentions and we’re building towards a bit of a showdown and some surprising reveals that make it impossible for our characters to exist in this world the way they existed in it before. They can’t be naive anymore and assume they have this legacy of, ‘bang bang, grab the bad guy.’ There is something else, and greater, afoot.

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

Link: School’s out for ‘Degrassi’ on MTV Canada series finale

From Cassandra Szklarski of The Canadian Press

School’s out for ‘Degrassi’ on MTV Canada series finale
As fans of Canada’s longest running teen saga know, there’s really no such thing as a “Degrassi” series finale.

The beloved Toronto-set franchise has wrapped various incarnations over the past three-and-a-half decades, only to return afresh for a new generation of youth. Continue reading.

From Casey Mink of Hollywoodlife:

‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ Series Finale: Where Is The Original Cast Today?
‘Degrassi: The Next Generation,’ is wrapping up for good and the series finale is guaranteed to bring some tears. To open up the floodgates, let’s take a look back at the season 1 cast, and see who all those kids grew up to be! Continue reading.

From Patrick Ryan of USA Today:

‘Degrassi’ signs off — but it’s not goodbye
“We want to make Degrassi the unique, authentic voice of Gen Z,” Stohn says. “You might think they’d be retreating from this very fearful world we live in, but on the contrary, they want to become nurses, work with the United Nations and make this world a better place.” Continue reading.

Link: Exclusive interview with Kristian Bruun

From Talk Nerdy with Us:

Exclusive interview with Kristian Bruun
“Donnie’s kind of an embodiment of a few people I know in my life, that I kind of piece together. Then he’s also based on just an actors imagination. I’m not a method actor or anything like that, I’m not going to live in the suburbs for months to study the vibe of a suburban house husband.” Continue reading.