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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.


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.


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.


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.

Orphan Black, Bomb Girls, 19-2, Degrassi highlight DGC nominations

From a media release:

The DGC is delighted to announce the 2015 DGC Awards nominees. Selected from over 250 submissions, the nominees in 19 categories represent a cross section of the industry’s outstanding talent working in the screen-based industry. The Awards will be presented at the annual Gala on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at The Carlu in Toronto. Hosted by Arisa Cox and Seán Cullen with special guests soon to be announced, the 14th edition of the DGC Awards promises to be a big one. The evening will feature a special Nominees’ reception prior to the Gala.

Best Direction, Television Series
John Fawcett, Orphan Black
Podz, 19-2
Helen Shaver, Orphan Black
Kari Skogland, Vikings

Best Television Movie/Mini-Series
Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy
Kept Woman
The Book of Negroes, Episode 1
Trigger Point

He Said/She Said: Canadian shows in need of a Netflix rescue

Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week: now that Netflix has helped bring Degrassi and Trailer Park Boys back to life, what are the top five Canadian shows we think they should they revive?

She Said:

I don’t think every show — even every good show — should be revived. There are shows I loved that ran their course, or that petered out until I didn’t love them anymore, or whose time in the zeitgeist has passed. But here are my picks for shows I believe would benefit Netflix and its viewers alike — and in some case, more importantly, benefit me.


  1. Slings and Arrows: Though it’s been off the air for almost a decade, a revival isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. There were recent-ish rumours the creators were talking about a fourth season despite initial reports that it was always intended to be three and done. So good it tops my list of the best Canadian TV of all time, Slings and Arrows is also so good it gave The Wire‘s David Simon “writer-envy.” (The creators are probably a little more impressed with the latter.) Important to Netflix would be the cult followings of many individual cast members — Paul Gross,  Mark McKinney, Don McKellar to name a few — and the uniquely prestigious veneer and kooky humour of the behind-the-scenes of a Shakespeare festival series. It’s like House of Cards meets Arrested Development meets the Bard. Sounds like a keeper for Netflix to me.
  2. Intelligence: Creator Chris Haddock is a little busy with CBC’s upcoming The Romeo Section, but given the short CBC and Netflix seasons, I have faith he could do both. Intelligence‘s second and last season ended on the cliffiest of cliffhangers, meaning there’s a Netflix-sized audience already eager to find out the fate of Jimmy Reardon. It delved into topical conspiracies affecting both Canada and the US, meaning a reboot could work well on both sides of the border.
  3. Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: This is the high school horror show I said at the time really, really isn’t for me, but I’m very, very glad it exists. Like Netflix, it knew its audience well  and delivered appealing content for that specific audience. Since it no longer exists, and would be great fodder for the young male demographic, it’s ripe for a revival.
  4. Endgame: Torrance Coombs might give people whiplash going from Reign heartthrob back to chess geek, but he and Endgame star Shawn Doyle  have some niche star and sex appeal to add to this crime drama with a twist. Don’t tell Netflix the first season aired on Hulu without hitting big enough for a second — Endgame would fit right in to a streaming service that supplies a steady diet of crime dramas with a twist such as Sherlock, Murdoch Mysteries, The Bletchley Circle, Midsomer Murders, and on and on.
  5. Bomb Girls: The World War II series had decent ratings, but not enough to remain in Global’s minuscule stable of original programming. Decent ratings on broadcast should mean great numbers for Netflix, and Bomb Girls would be a natural binge-watch segue from The Bletchley Circle as well as Call The Midwife and Land Girls.


He Said:

  1. King: I know it’s only been a couple of years since King went off the air on Showcase, but I still miss it. Greg Spottiswood and Bernie Zukerman’s cop drama never really got a chance to breathe and expand on the direction (kind of like what happened with their most recent show, Remedy) it was headed in Season 2. Amy Price-Francis was whip-smart, snarky and, yes, sexy as Jessica King, a veteran cop put in charge of a Major Crimes Task Force. The writing was tight, the crimes were interesting and Jessica was flawed (and awkward) enough that you couldn’t help but get in her corner and stay, cheering her on as she battled bad guys on the streets and boorish behaviour in the office. King would fit perfectly in Netflix’s stable of crime dramas like Happy Valley, Wallander and Dicté.
  2. Da Vinci’s Inquest: Diane and I are on the same page with regard to wanting updated projects from Chris Haddock’s past on Netflix. I’d be quite happy to see Intelligence there, but would prefer Da Vinci’s Inquest. Maybe it’s because Inquest — about coroner Dominic Da Vinci solving crimes in Vancouver — introduced me to a style of TV writing that I hadn’t experienced up until then. Conversations were full of stops and starts, just like the real thing. Cops were fallible, Dominic was a bit of a slob … everything was authentic.
  3. Forever Knight: Netflix is the home to the quirky and the offbeat, and that’s where Forever Knight comes in. Rather than stick with the dark, serious premise of the original, the updated project can have a little more fun. It still works to have Nick Knight an 800-year-old vampire working as a cop in modern-day Toronto, but rather than hide who he really is, Nick embraces it. He’s not the only vampire around, in fact, and Nick is equally at home collaring human and supernatural criminals. Pair him with a wise-cracking partner — think Remedy‘s Jahmil French — and you’ve updated the show for the Netflix crowd.
  4. Hammy Hamster/Tales from the Riverbank: I’m going to finish off my list with a couple of kid’s shows — the genre is exploding on Netflix — starting with this classic. The stuff the handlers were able to get their rodent stars to do in the original and YTV update were amazing enough, but can you imagine what can be done now? Remote-controlled vehicles, CGI and drones mean Hammy, G.P., Turtle, Owl and the rest can get into more high-stakes adventures.
  5. The Hilarious House of Frightenstein: Time to update this psychedelic orgy of skits, memorable characters and groovy tunes. As for a Canadian actor to take on the majority of the roles, like Billy Van did? Jim Carrey.

Production begins on Bomb Girls – The Movie


From a media release:

Meg Tilly, Jodi Balfour, Charlotte Hegele, Ali Liebert, Antonio Cupo, Anastasia Phillips, Michael Seater, and Peter Outerbridge Return

Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Film Productions in association with Shaw Media announced today that production has begun on Bomb Girls -The Movie (working title). The original BOMB GIRLS cast returns reprising their roles with Canadian Screen Award-winning actress Meg Tilly (as Lorna Corbett), Jodi Balfour (as Gladys Witham), Charlotte Hegele (as Kate Andrews), Ali Liebert (as Betty McRae), Antonio Cupo (as Marco Moretti), Anastasia Phillips (as Vera Burr), Michael Seater (as Ivan Buchinsky), and Peter Outerbridge (as Bob Corbett) reprising their roles. The two-hour film, from Emmy® Award-nominated executive producer Michael Prupas (The Kennedys, Bomb Girls) and Gemini Award-winning executive producers Adrienne Mitchell and Janis Lundman (Bomb Girls, Played, Durham County), is shooting in Toronto and Hamilton until November 20, 2013.

Bomb Girls -The Movie takes viewers back to Spring 1943, as the Battle for the Atlantic rages and an Axis victory seems inevitable. German U-boats patrol the ocean picking off ships, destroying much needed supplies and inflicting heavy casualties. The one hope the Allies have – production of newly developed sonar equipment – is moved to Victory Munitions when the British factories are bombed. Then, in the darkest hour of the war, a new and disturbing menace appears – a saboteur among the factory workers.

Bomb Girl Gladys Witham (Balfour), a fiery young woman from privilege, is covertly recruited by Allied Intelligence to find the traitor on the new line. But she must spy on her best friends, coworkers and fellow agents, calling into question everyone and everything she has come to trust.

“The original cast is excited to be reunited and continue this amazing story of the bomb girls and their fierce commitment to the war effort and each other,” says executive producer Adrienne Mitchell.

“Although set in the 1940s, this portrait of ultimate grace under extraordinary pressure resonates today,” notes executive producer Janis Lundman.

Bomb Girls – The Movie is produced by Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Film Productions in association with Shaw Media. The executive producers are Janis Lundman and Adrienne Mitchell (Bomb Girls, Played , Durham County), and Michael Prupas (Bomb Girls, The Kennedys). John Calvert (Bomb Girls, Flashpoint) is producer, Donald Martin (The Christmas Choir) is the script writer, Jerry Ciccoritti (Bomb Girls, Played) is the director, Eric Cayla (Bomb Girls, Durham County) is the director of photography, with Aidan Leroux (Bomb Girls, Played) as production designer and Michael Ground (Played) as costume designer. The film is distributed worldwide by Muse Distribution International.

Bomb Girls, Seed, Heartland, Degrassi among Rockies nominees

From the Banff Media Festival:

Nominees Announced for Rockies Program Competition
BANFF is proud to announce the full list of nominees for its annual Rockies Program Competition. The internationally-recognized Award program celebrates nominees in 26 categories, spanning multiple genres including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Kids & Animation and Interactive. Read more.