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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.

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.

Review: Cracked actor makes an impact on Rookie Blue

I miss Cracked. CBC’s dark drama starred David Sutcliffe as Aiden Black, a Toronto detective who teamed with psychiatrists to help folks with mental issues. Sutcliffe returned to primetime TV during Thursday’s new episode of Rookie Blue, where he made an immediate impact as a father with a pretty strict belief system.

“Perfect Family” was in stark contrast to last week’s return, focusing more on circumstances outside the precinct rather than inside, though Dov and Marlo’s continuing investigation into the evidence room bombing uncovered a link between a missing munitions contractor and the force itself. Also, a tearful Andy confirmed to Swarek she’ll stick around to help raise his and Marlo’s baby, the spark between Juliet and Nick burned a little brighter and Dias is getting in deep with Jarvis.

But the bulk of “Perfect Family” was a character study and analysis of changing times and family values viewed as out of date. Written by Adriana Maggs, the script spotlit a missing 16-year-old girl named Hayley Hill (Orphan Black‘s Zoé De Grand’Maison). Bringing her family in for questioning revealed some interesting little tidbits about her father, Lloyd (Sutcliffe). The boss of the house, Lloyd was religious, believed in abstinence and wasn’t above doling out punishment with his belt or making Hayley sleep in the garage. None of what he was doing was against the law, but it was certainly disturbing.

I caught myself shaking my head at Lloyd’s backward thinking before I quickly realized there are people who think that way, and raise their children without cell phones, banning them from wearing revealing clothing and demanding respect from their elders. In Lloyd’s eyes, the world is going to hell and he was making sure his family wasn’t going along for the ride. Was what Lloyd was doing out of line? Not in his own eyes.

But by the end of the episode the blinders were off his wife’s eyes and she was ready to face him in court over his actions, which included making Hayley sleep in a freezer when she misbehaved. (I knew right away that son Jeremy would poison his sister’s pop; the way he looked at her when she drank it betrayed his actions.) Lloyd’s arrest after he beat the crap out of Connor, the boy trying to save Hayley from harm, closed the door on the case, but cemented in Swarek and Andy’s minds the type of parents they want to be—and not be—for the baby.

Notes and quotes

  • I love the jangly rock music that started the episode.
  • Travis Milne has a gift for physical comedy. That scene where he was checking Jarvis’ wife’s car had me snickering.
  • Andy wishing she was a fish so that she wouldn’t feel emotions was alternately heartbreaking and hilarious.
  • “People talk. Screw ’em.” Amen, Dov. Amen.
  • “I know how to Skype a Thai hooker if I’m so inclined.” —Dov
  • This is the second week in a row that Gail hasn’t had much to do. Fingers crossed that changes next week.

Rookie Blue airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

Flashpoint’s Ed Lane is Canada’s favourite TV cop

Flashpoint may have gone off the air in 2012, but the cops of Toronto’s Emergency Task Force are still in our hearts. Ed Lane, specifically, who won our latest poll asking who their Favourite Canadian TV Cops were. Lane, played by Hugh Dillon, took the top spot with 5,737 votes.

In second place came Rookie Blue‘s Sam Swarek (Ben Bass) with 3,636 votes, Corner Gas‘ Davis Quentin (Lorne Cardinal) with 1,542 votes, Durham County‘s Mike Sweeney (Dillon again!) with 1,465 votes and Davis’ Corner Gas partner Karen Pelly (Tara Spencer-Nairn) with 995 votes.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Swarek’s primetime partners Gail Peck, Andy McNally and Oliver Shaw, Murdoch Mysteries‘ Det. William Murdoch and Haven‘s Nathan Wuornos. Several readers commented that Wuornos’ lady love, Audrey Parker, should have been an option but since she’s an FBI agent rather than a police officer, she wasn’t included as a choice.

Who are your favourite Canadian TV cops?

  • Ed Lane, Flashpoint (43%, 5,737 Votes)
  • Sam Swarek, Rookie Blue (27%, 3,636 Votes)
  • Davis Quinton, Corner Gas (11%, 1,542 Votes)
  • Mike Sweeney, Durham County (11%, 1,465 Votes)
  • Karen Pelly, Corner Gas (7%, 995 Votes)
  • Gail Peck, Rookie Blue (7%, 898 Votes)
  • Andy McNally, Rookie Blue (6%, 757 Votes)
  • William Murdoch, Murdoch Mysteries (3%, 375 Votes)
  • Nathan Wuornos, Haven (2%, 334 Votes)
  • Oliver Shaw, Rookie Blue (2%, 333 Votes)
  • Benton Fraser, Due South (2%, 332 Votes)
  • George Crabtree, Murdoch Mysteries (2%, 216 Votes)
  • Jules Callaghan, Flashpoint (1%, 175 Votes)
  • Tamsin, Lost Girl (1%, 161 Votes)
  • Dyson, Lost Girl (1%, 153 Votes)
  • Traci Nash, Rookie Blue (1%, 127 Votes)
  • Nick Collins, Rookie Blue (1%, 126 Votes)
  • Greg Parker, Flashpoint (1%, 119 Votes)
  • John Constable, The Beachcombers (1%, 117 Votes)
  • Thomas Brackenreid, Murdoch Mysteries (1%, 95 Votes)
  • Ray Kowalski, Due South (1%, 91 Votes)
  • Mike Scarlatti, Flashpoint (1%, 89 Votes)
  • Sam Braddock, Flashpoint (1%, 82 Votes)
  • Michelle Kenidi, North of 60 (1%, 77 Votes)
  • Ray Vecchio, Due South (1%, 73 Votes)
  • Kevin Wordsworth, Flashpoint (1%, 71 Votes)
  • Chloe Price, Rookie Blue (0%, 66 Votes)
  • Kiera Cameron, Continuum (0%, 60 Votes)
  • Dwight Hendrickson, Haven (0%, 60 Votes)
  • Angie Flynn, Motive (0%, 54 Votes)
  • Leslie Bennett, Republic of Doyle (0%, 51 Votes)
  • Kerri, Sunnyside (0%, 50 Votes)
  • Dov Epstein, Rookie Blue (0%, 48 Votes)
  • Donna, Sunnyside (0%, 47 Votes)
  • Art, Orphan Black (0%, 39 Votes)
  • Ben Chartier, 19-2 (0%, 36 Votes)
  • Ben Sullivan, Shattered (0%, 29 Votes)
  • Oscar Vega, Motive (0%, 27 Votes)
  • Chris Diaz, Rookie Blue (0%, 26 Votes)
  • Eric Olsen, North of 60 (0%, 25 Votes)
  • Tinny Doyle, Republic of Doyle (0%, 22 Votes)
  • Carlos Fonnegra, Continuum (0%, 22 Votes)
  • Henry Higgins, Murdoch Mysteries (0%, 21 Votes)
  • Mick Leary, Da Vinci's Inquest (0%, 20 Votes)
  • Slugger Jackson, Murdoch Mysteries (0%, 18 Votes)
  • Aidan Black, Cracked (0%, 17 Votes)
  • Nick Barron, 19-2 (0%, 15 Votes)
  • Harding Welsh, Due South (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Ali McCormick, Cold Squad (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Joshua Nolan, Defiance (0%, 12 Votes)
  • Leo Shannon, Da Vinci's Inquest (0%, 12 Votes)
  • Brian Fletcher, North of 60 (0%, 11 Votes)
  • James Harper, North of 60 (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Jessica King, King (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Kat Loving, Strange Empire (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Angela Kosmo, Da Vinci's Inquest (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Mary Spalding, Intelligence (0%, 7 Votes)
  • J.M. Brouillard, 19-2 (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Mark Cross, Motive (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Brian Lucas, Motive (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Inspector Dillon, Continuum (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Liz Carver, The Border (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Audrey Pouliot, 19-2 (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Diane Caligra, Cracked (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Ted Altman, Intelligence (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Gray Jackson, The Border (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Poppy Wisnefski, Cracked (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Tyler Joseph, 19-2 (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Ed Oosterhuis, Blue Murder (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Isabelle Latendresse, 19-2 (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Mickey Kollander, Cold Squad (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Frank Leo, The Bridge (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Jack Pogue, Blue Murder (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Amy Lynch, Shattered (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Beatrice Hamelin, 19-2 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 13,495

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Thanks for all of those who participated in voting!

Poll: Who are your favourite Canadian TV cops?

Have you heard the news, Rookie Blue fans? Season 6 of Global’s homegrown cop drama returns on Thursday, May 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Andy, Swarek, Oliver, Dov and the rest make up the latest crop of cops created for Canadian TV shows. How do the Rookie Blue folks stack up against Det. Murdoch and the Toronto Constabulary? Where do Haven‘s east coast coppers rate against B.C. boys and girls in blue?

We’ve put together an exhaustive list of current and past Canadian TV cops for you to choose your three favourites from. If we missed any, type them up in the comments section. Let the voting begin!

Who are your favourite Canadian TV cops?

  • Ed Lane, Flashpoint (43%, 5,737 Votes)
  • Sam Swarek, Rookie Blue (27%, 3,636 Votes)
  • Davis Quinton, Corner Gas (11%, 1,542 Votes)
  • Mike Sweeney, Durham County (11%, 1,465 Votes)
  • Karen Pelly, Corner Gas (7%, 995 Votes)
  • Gail Peck, Rookie Blue (7%, 898 Votes)
  • Andy McNally, Rookie Blue (6%, 757 Votes)
  • William Murdoch, Murdoch Mysteries (3%, 375 Votes)
  • Nathan Wuornos, Haven (2%, 334 Votes)
  • Oliver Shaw, Rookie Blue (2%, 333 Votes)
  • Benton Fraser, Due South (2%, 332 Votes)
  • George Crabtree, Murdoch Mysteries (2%, 216 Votes)
  • Jules Callaghan, Flashpoint (1%, 175 Votes)
  • Tamsin, Lost Girl (1%, 161 Votes)
  • Dyson, Lost Girl (1%, 153 Votes)
  • Traci Nash, Rookie Blue (1%, 127 Votes)
  • Nick Collins, Rookie Blue (1%, 126 Votes)
  • Greg Parker, Flashpoint (1%, 119 Votes)
  • John Constable, The Beachcombers (1%, 117 Votes)
  • Thomas Brackenreid, Murdoch Mysteries (1%, 95 Votes)
  • Ray Kowalski, Due South (1%, 91 Votes)
  • Mike Scarlatti, Flashpoint (1%, 89 Votes)
  • Sam Braddock, Flashpoint (1%, 82 Votes)
  • Michelle Kenidi, North of 60 (1%, 77 Votes)
  • Ray Vecchio, Due South (1%, 73 Votes)
  • Kevin Wordsworth, Flashpoint (1%, 71 Votes)
  • Chloe Price, Rookie Blue (0%, 66 Votes)
  • Kiera Cameron, Continuum (0%, 60 Votes)
  • Dwight Hendrickson, Haven (0%, 60 Votes)
  • Angie Flynn, Motive (0%, 54 Votes)
  • Leslie Bennett, Republic of Doyle (0%, 51 Votes)
  • Kerri, Sunnyside (0%, 50 Votes)
  • Dov Epstein, Rookie Blue (0%, 48 Votes)
  • Donna, Sunnyside (0%, 47 Votes)
  • Art, Orphan Black (0%, 39 Votes)
  • Ben Chartier, 19-2 (0%, 36 Votes)
  • Ben Sullivan, Shattered (0%, 29 Votes)
  • Oscar Vega, Motive (0%, 27 Votes)
  • Chris Diaz, Rookie Blue (0%, 26 Votes)
  • Eric Olsen, North of 60 (0%, 25 Votes)
  • Tinny Doyle, Republic of Doyle (0%, 22 Votes)
  • Carlos Fonnegra, Continuum (0%, 22 Votes)
  • Henry Higgins, Murdoch Mysteries (0%, 21 Votes)
  • Mick Leary, Da Vinci's Inquest (0%, 20 Votes)
  • Slugger Jackson, Murdoch Mysteries (0%, 18 Votes)
  • Aidan Black, Cracked (0%, 17 Votes)
  • Nick Barron, 19-2 (0%, 15 Votes)
  • Harding Welsh, Due South (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Ali McCormick, Cold Squad (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Joshua Nolan, Defiance (0%, 12 Votes)
  • Leo Shannon, Da Vinci's Inquest (0%, 12 Votes)
  • Brian Fletcher, North of 60 (0%, 11 Votes)
  • James Harper, North of 60 (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Jessica King, King (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Kat Loving, Strange Empire (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Angela Kosmo, Da Vinci's Inquest (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Mary Spalding, Intelligence (0%, 7 Votes)
  • J.M. Brouillard, 19-2 (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Mark Cross, Motive (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Brian Lucas, Motive (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Inspector Dillon, Continuum (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Liz Carver, The Border (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Audrey Pouliot, 19-2 (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Diane Caligra, Cracked (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Ted Altman, Intelligence (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Gray Jackson, The Border (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Poppy Wisnefski, Cracked (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Tyler Joseph, 19-2 (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Ed Oosterhuis, Blue Murder (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Isabelle Latendresse, 19-2 (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Mickey Kollander, Cold Squad (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Frank Leo, The Bridge (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Jack Pogue, Blue Murder (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Amy Lynch, Shattered (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Beatrice Hamelin, 19-2 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 13,495

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Comments and queries for the week of Jan. 23

Is it my imagination or is Schitt’s Creek actually the same set as Little Mosque‘s town of Mercy!?  The town hall looks like the mosque. The diner looks like the same diner Fatima ran.—A

It may look familiar, but while Little Mosque was filmed in and around Regina, Schitt’s Creek‘s external shots were filmed in Goodwood, Ont., about an hour northeast of Toronto. Creek‘s sets are in Pinewood Studios in Toronto.

I’m getting about 100 new emails from TV, Eh? a day. Is there any way to just get one daily digest of them all?—Steve

Hey Steve, yes you can! Sign up here and you’ll get a daily email of the top stories and links from the website.

Meanwhile, a couple of readers—Kate and Heather—were wondering how they could get their hands on DVD copies of Cracked. What I thought would be an easy answer isn’t. In the U.S., Season 1 of Cracked lists the first seven episodes of the 13-episode season in a package being sold as Cracked: What Lies Beneath through the BBC store. There is another version of Cracked Season 1 available, but it doesn’t contain an episode list so I’m not sure if they’re all in that set.

If you don’t mind not owning Cracked on DVD, you can stream both Season 1 and 2 via CBC.ca. I checked the links and they work … if you live in Canada. It’s also available on Netflix Canada.

Pretty sure the only mention of Joel’s father [on Saving Hope] was earlier this season when Joel headed to New Zealand for his fifth wedding … and that marriage is already failing. Looks like Joel is so afraid of turning into his father that he actually is, in a way. 

At the moment it’s show vs. tell with Joel and Charlie. Joel says he wants to be there for the baby if it’s his, while Charlie is setting the bar fairly high. Loved Charlie and Henry. Couldn’t figure out who Henry was, that was a good twist.

Looks like next week will be huge. The possible ‘revealing’ moment I’ve been expecting for a long time now. Can’t wait!—Hallie

 

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? greg@tv-eh.com or head to @tv_eh.