Canadian TV’s Fall Hits and Misses

By Diane Wild of TV, eh?

Now that CBC has announced its winter season and other networks’ January premieres are starting to trickle in, it seems like a good time to look back at the hits and misses of Canadian television this fall. I’m picking three of each – feel free to add your own in the comments.

Hits

Flashpoint
It’s rare for a show to end on its own terms before microscopic viewing levels force cancellation, but Flashpoint’s producers decided to walk away after a long, successful five-year run, and the final season has been its most successful yet in terms of ratings. CTV is giving the much-loved series a big send-off with a two-part finale December 6 and 13, a screening in Toronto, an online chat and live after-show, and the opportunity for fans to win memorabilia. (P.S. watch for a special Flashpoint fundraising auction by the creators coming soon here, too.)

Murdoch Mysteries
One of the best feel-good news stories in Canadian TV this year – breaking a string of dismal news on cancellation after cancellation – was CBC reviving Murdoch Mysteries after its Citytv death. A surprising sequel to that happy news is the ratings season five has earned for CBC this fall – a season that had just completed a summer run on Citytv, yet in its replay is getting even more viewers. New episodes start on January 7, and my ratings expectations are high.

Citytv
I know, I know, they cancelled Murdoch Mysteries while the ratings were still good, but they did give it a five-season run, and after parent company Rogers launched FX Canada, Murdoch didn’t fit the brand anymore (“brand” in this case meaning shows that can be rerun in perpetuity across all of a company’s channels to begrudgingly fulfill Canadian content requirements.) And yes, Citytv inflicted The Bachelor Canada on us this fall. But they deserve some credit for having more scripted shows in the works than we’ve seen in a long time — Seed and Package Deal — and keeping that news coming over the fall. Yes, I’m giving them kudos for having two scripted series coming up. At least two is more than one.

Misses

Global
It’s hard to really argue with this strategy, but the network doesn’t even pretend it will send Canadian shows into battle with US fall premieres. Rookie Blue ended its season just in time to scoot out of the way. In this fall’s Friday Death Timeslots, with nothing else to simulcast, Global has been airing the scarcely promoted newsmagazine series 16×9 plus Bomb Girls reruns. Let’s hope in the future they will build on the success of Bomb Girls with more of their own content to spread thinly across all of parent company Shaw’s networks.

Strombo at 7
It seemed like a good idea at the time: move Canada’s Boyfriend earlier in the day where more viewers could date him. But 7 pm isn’t quite primetime either, and it turns out Strombo isn’t quite news-like or Coronation Street-like enough to thrive in that timeslot sandwich, and some of the show tweaks didn’t quite work for me, including the panel trying to be funny about random subjects. Ratings took a nosedive from the former Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune heights … but at least Strombo is undeniably Canadian.

Over the Rainbow
Judging by my Twitter stream, the people who watched enjoyed the show. Judging by the ratings, not enough people watched. It’s the kind of show that shouldn’t be too expensive to produce so maybe it satisfied CBC’s expectations, but it was yet another reality show and no Battle of the Blades ratings-wise. Then again, how can you beat hockey players and figure skaters on Canadian television? The Dorothys didn’t do it.

So … what were your hits and misses in Canadian TV this fall?

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Diane Wild

Diane is the founder of TV, eh? She loves books, movies, TV, science, space, traveling, theatre, art, cats, and drinking multiple beverages at the same time.
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5 thoughts on “Canadian TV’s Fall Hits and Misses”

  1. I find it interesting that while Rogers insisted “Murdoch Mysteries” did not fit its FX Canada brand they still program it 4 hours a day on that channel.

    It was also fun watching Shaw (Global) appear before the CRTC yesterday to insist the CBC should not be allowed to program any US films because there were “other entities” who could do that.

    Our networks just don’t like making Canadian shows, do they?

    1. Yeah, but they don’t have anything else right now to fulfill the Canada part of FX Canada. Who would have thought that owning your own content might come in handy for a network?

  2. I couldn’t agree more on the Strombo thing. That 3 Things panel is RIDICULOUS. I don’t get it and it often falls flat.

    Rookie Blue is awesome and should actually be bumped to a full season on a great time slot.

  3. I don’t like the Strombo at 7 p.m. idea at all. I always forget to tune in when there’s a guest I’m interested in. When it was on later, I’d be watching a CBC drama or documentary and catch who was the guest, reminding me to watch or drawing in my attention if I didn’t know who was on.

  4. I realise it came on tv too late to be part of this but i would pick season 3 of Love Hate & Propaganda as a MISS. It spans Iraq invading Kuwait through roughly today. That is the better part of 22 years. Surely it could have been more than two episodes. The first season, pre-WWII through reconstruction, was six episodes. The Cold War second season was four episodes. It seems like the longer the period being covered the less episodes there are.

    Also on the MISS side i would put Shaw agreeing to hold off on season 3 of Lost Girl until it was a good time (January) for the US broadcaster. Lost Girl isn’t on Global but it had been Shaw’s Canadian show it sent into battle against the US shows in the fall the past two years and it survived and some might say thrived and was victorious.

    Another on the MISS side for Shaw is their showing Haven a week after it is shown in the US. It now has the same timeslot on Showcase that it has on Syfy in the US but we get it 7 days later. And when Syfy had a repeat for the US Thanksgiving Shaw could have caught up but they decided to likewise show a repeat and remain a week behind.

    I channel surfed into The Bachelor Canada one night and it was an extremely overt product placement featuring the ladies shaving their legs. I nominate TBC for a best comedy Gemini.

    On the HIT side i would put Bravo for finally realising that White Collar is a hit and bringing it back into their schedule after nearly two years off of Canadian tv. With its hiatus in the US and Bravo showing 2 episodes per week of late they just might catch up to the US broadcast and not ‘force’ the show’s Canadian fans to look elsewhere for it.

    Also on the HIT side would be Beauty & The Beast. I think it is Take 5’s first series in which they are doing more than just post-production. I never saw the original series but for seeing some pictures i do find this version more believeable. Who would have thought CBS would find a way to produce CanCon! And have it not seen as more “cheap Canadian import” by the US. Kudos to Shaw for showing it simultaneously with The CW.

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