Jack Laskey

Link: Did X Company honour the Second World War, or bore us with it?

From David Berry of the National Post:

Did X Company honour the Second World War, or bore us with it?
I’m not sure if it says good or bad things about Canadian cultural production that we still have Second World War stories left untapped. Perhaps it’s admirable restraint in the face of what might be the most storied event in even semi-recent history, although given the unrestrained glee with which we chase even tenuous Canadian angles on everything, I could be convinced it’s more likely a matter of limited means.

It’s probably a little of both that left the story of Camp X, the ultimate Second World War-era subterfuge academy, off our screens until now: violent skulduggery doesn’t lend itself to our national ethos or our production budgets. If it’s new territory for us, though, it’s still well worn for fiction, a place of nooks and crannies that demands some careful combing to dig up anything uniquely interesting in the setting. Continue reading.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
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5 thoughts on “Link: Did X Company honour the Second World War, or bore us with it?”

  1. I really liked the first season of X Company. The show did a really good job at casting and there are no weak links. The show walks a fine line between being a procedural and a character drama. I personally hate procedurals (serial dramas are more my cup of tea) but the characters are explored thoroughly and the action in the show is always character-influenced. I also like that the enemies are better fleshed out and not just onedimensional villains. That ending to the season finale was particularly great, with two characters facing off. It was a much better ending than I anticipated and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. X Company was the best new Canadian drama to come out of this season (2nd overall after Empire) and it absolutely deserved a renewal. World War 2 is an untapped source for Canadian tv series (excepting Bomb Girls which I intend on giving a second chance if I get the opportunity).

  2. Too bad about the spelling errors David Berry and the National Post. Sorry, a pet peeve especially for online writing-had to mention.
    I’m here to defend “X Company” and I think David Berry is judging this show against what is produced in the US with super big budgets to use, men at the top to impress and foreign markets to conquer. I for one am glad this isn’t like their over the top serials. How many FBI teams do I have to watch ? How many bad Cop shows do we have to put up with? and how many inane and stupid programs are there about getting laid so that we can see that ‘he’d da man”? Talk about myth making. We don’t have to do it in an American way because they can do all that. Does that make it boring? Only for those that don’t know any better.

    “X Company” is a good example of how Canadians can work with what we have to tell a good story. AND WWII isn’t boring. Every new idea comes from an old one anyway and this is a refreshing take on an old story. We’ve got a generation of kids who have grown up unaffected by what happens in other war torn countries around the world.

    With “X Company” we can learn about what an intolerant megalomaniac does with too much power (a lesson that resonates today with many). Lots of moral and historic issues can be seen in the context of WWII but which continue to be issues today: subterfuge, sabotage, conscience, resistance, faith, stealth, double-cross, religious intolerance, good versus evil, internal turmoil, doubt, making a decision in the blink of an eye, living with the consequences, working with what you have, rationing, rounding up, the Nazi agenda, the death of innocents, what the locals can do to fight back or to adapt, not to mention radio code, weaponry and synesthesia among other juicy topics. And Spies? What’s not to like about Spies and Secret Agents?

    Another thing I particularly like about this program is that I particularly get to see vulnerable on the ground agents. They aren’t superheroes. They sweat. They can be indecisive. They have to work intimately with one another and yet not be too attached. And they have to be seen to be TV heroes too, to be a little extraordinary and lucky. And Aurora gets to wear very authentic and fantastic clothes. I also do like a good set of suspenders and a beret. That’s the fantasy of story telling, right? I suggest that David Berry do some more research, read a few more books on the subject, and think out side his small box. “X Company” isn’t boring at all and offers quality Canadian production value. I hope this program next season continues to be as good as it has been so far and that it has a good TV run.

    That’s a vote against David Berry from me.

    1. I really liked your comment and I feel the same way. I find X Company rather different compared to a lot of the American spy series. It has a definite un-American quality to it, more like a British drama and that’s so refreshing to see in a Canadian series. I do have to add though, that there was one American spy series in particular that I really liked, Alias (my 8th fave show of all time) and what made that show so good was that the characters were front and centre and well-developed, with the “mission of the week” being used as a means to further develop the characters. I find X Company has some of that same quality. It’s really premature to compare though as there haven’t been many episodes as yet but I hope the characters remain key in the second season and we get to see more backstory. I can’t wait to see what transpires between the two characters we saw together in the end.

  3. I have not liked X Company because it has really been flubbing what it could and should be telling Canadians and the rest of the world about Canada and Canadians during WWII. And I believe the reason is the same as my peeve with Berry and all too many others like him. “…tenuous Canadian angles…” “…combing to dig up anything uniquely interesting…” My peeve with Berry and others is that he is essentially saying that Canada has no stories worth telling to Canadians let alone the rest of the world. This is nothing less than the quintessential American propaganda shluck we Canadians have been fed by Americans ever since the War of 1812. In the very early days of movie making Lewis Selznick, one of Hollywood’s pioneering producers, said “If Canadian stories are worth making into films, American companies will be sent into Canada to make them.” All too many productions in Canada, like X Company, get done to brainwash Canadians into believing Canada does not have any stories worth telling. Read just one issue of “Canada’s History” magazine, formerly “The Beaver”, such as the current issue, will prove to any reader of any issue of that magazine of the deliberate malicious falsehood of that American propaganda.

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