Bid now on the Heartland wedding episode script autographed by Heather Conkie, Amber Marshall and Graham Wardle, along with seasons 1-7 on DVD, courtesy the Heartland producers.
Bid now on the Heartland wedding episode script autographed by Heather Conkie, Amber Marshall and Graham Wardle, along with seasons 1-7 on DVD, courtesy the Heartland producers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Carys Mills of Canadian Geographic:
9 TV shows that highlight Canadian geography
CBC’s Arctic adventure series, which was cancelled in 2014 after three seasons, is about an airline based in Yellowknife and the family running the business. While much of the show was shot in Vancouver, the crew went to Yellowknife as well, authentically capturing the north’s landscapes, wildlife and people. Continue reading.
From a media release:
CBC today announced the details of its 2015-16 schedule, highlighting a slate of new series, returning favourites, thought-provoking news and investigative content and marquee cultural events.
Included are 11 bold original productions, along with the renewal of 14 series. The schedule to date offers new premium dramas (THE ROMEO SECTION, THIS LIFE), compelling comedies (FOOL CANADA with Will Sasso, Bruce McCulloch’s YOUNG DRUNK PUNK), factual programming (KEEPING CANADA ALIVE, HELLO GOODBYE and STILL STANDING with Jonny Harris), and perennial hits. CBC will also bring Canadians acclaimed titles from abroad, including WHEN CALLS THE HEART; BANISHED; LOVE CHILD; PLEASE LIKE ME; RAISED BY WOLVES and JEKYLL AND HYDE.
CBC is excited to launch an innovative, cross-platform approach to covering the arts, CBC ARTS, which is set to launch this summer. This hub for the arts will be all-encompassing, bringing together content from across the network, with new material appearing on multiple platforms, including CANADA IN THE FRAME, THE RE-EDUCATION OF EDDY ROGO and THE COLLECTIVE, as well as TV series EXHIBITIONISTS and INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM.
CBC is Canada’s Olympic Network and with its award-winning tradition of compelling storytelling in live sports broadcasting, Canadians will continue to enjoy a front row seat on our athletes’ journey in 2015-16 with comprehensive coverage of big events including the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Rio 2016 Olympic Games and much more both on TV and through the soon to be released CBC Sports App.
NEW THIS SEASON — DRAMA
WHEN CALLS THE HEART – Premieres Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
This is a family series based on the bestselling novel by Janette Oke following the story of young schoolteacher Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), who has just arrived in a 19th century coal mining town in the Western Frontier, worlds away from the wealthy, high-society life she grew up with. Elizabeth arrives in the aftermath of a mine explosion that claimed the lives of most of Coal Valley’s men, leaving behind their widows — including kind-hearted Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin) who befriends Mountie Bill Avery (Jack Wagner), a forensic specialist who has been called to the town to help investigate the mining explosion. As Elizabeth adapts to the frontier lifestyle, she also warms up to handsome Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing).
BANISHED – Premieres Monday, July 27, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
BAFTA-winning writer Jimmy McGovern (creator of Cracker) brings us this period drama set in 1787 when Britain banished its unwanted citizens — orphans, petty thieves, prostitutes and highwaymen — to Sydney, Australia. Among the first convicts to be exiled are close friends Elizabeth Quinn (MyAnna Buring), Tommy Barrett (Julian Rihind-Tutt) and James Freeman (Russell Tovey). In this combustible society, relationships between convicts are illicit, but that doesn’t stop Elizabeth and Tommy from becoming entangled in a romance together. When their relationship is revealed to the soldiers in charge, it sets in motion a series of events that forces the pragmatic, idealistic Governor Phillip (David Wenham) into further opposition with his nemesis, Major Ross, a man who thinks the only chance of survival is to rule with an iron fist.
LOVE CHILD – Premieres Saturday, August 8, 2015 at 10 p.m. (10:30 NT)
It’s set in a Sydney boarding house and hospital in the 1960s, where young, unwed mothers are sent to live for the duration of their pregnancy. The series, written by award-winning writer Sarah Lambert, follows maverick midwife Joan Millar (Jessica Marais), who comes from London to work for the hospital during the throes of a cultural revolution. As rock-and-roll blasts through the streets, hemlines rise and social mores undergo radical change, viewers will follow the optimistic and hedonistic beautiful young things who drove the world out of the dark ages and into the psychedelic new frontier, where anything was possible.
THIS LIFE – Premieres Monday, October 5, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
Based on the original Radio-Canada hit, Nouvelle adresse, is set to begin production in Montreal in summer 2015. Set in contemporary Montreal, This Life is a family saga focusing on Natalie Lawson (Torri Higginson), an accomplished columnist and single mother in her early forties whose terminal cancer diagnosis sends her on a quest to prepare her teenage children for life without her. Her tight-knit family – sister (Lauren Lee Smith), two brothers (Rick Roberts, Kristopher Turner) and parents (Peter MacNeill, Janet Laine Green), do the best they can to help her, while coping with their own responses to this revelation. Produced by Sphere Media and showrun by Joseph Kay, with the involvement of Richard Blaimert, THIS LIFE is a funny, honest, heartfelt series about a regular family whose world turns upside down overnight.
THE ROMEO SECTION – Premieres Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
From acclaimed showrunner Chris Haddock (Da Vinci’s Inquest, Intelligence), the series is an hour-long serialized espionage drama set in Vancouver. It follows spymaster Professor Wolfgang McGee, an academic who secretly manages a roster of espionage assets. These assets, referred to as Romeo or Juliet spies, are informants engaged in intimate relations with intelligence targets. Wolfgang himself is a semi-retired Romeo operator, having worked his way up in an officially deniable “service” under the umbrella of Canada’s Intelligence Community. They operate in a seemingly serene cosmopolitan city whose underside acts as a haven for drug barons, fugitives and covert financiers. The series has Haddock reunited with fellow executive producer Laura Lightbown; director Stephen Surjik; producer Arvi Liimatainen; and writer/co-executive producer Jesse McKeown.
JEKYLL AND HYDE – Premieres winter 2016
Robert Jekyll is a naive, sensitive young man finding his place in the world in London in the 1930’s and moving away from the protection of his loving foster parents. As he begins to feel himself coming under the power of a darkness he cannot control, he realises that all his life his parents were protecting him from his true self. Jekyll has inherited the curse of his grandfather, and when angered or in danger he undertakes a graphic and twisted transformation to become Hyde, a shadowy, brooding figure of incredible strength and agility, confident and fearless. The series stars Tom Bateman (Da Vinci’s Demons), Richard E. Grant (Doctor Who, Downton Abbey) and Natalie Gumede (Doctor Who, Coronation Street).
NEW THIS SEASON — COMEDY
FOOL CANADA – Premieres Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 8:30 p.m. (9 NT)
This series is a fun and witty social experiment that puts Canadians’ notorious politeness to the test. Armed with hidden cameras, Will Sasso (MADtv) and a team of comedians travel across Canada toying with real people on subjects that divide and unite us, and poke fun at what it means to be Canadian. The series works to irreverently poke fun at what it means to be Canadian, stretching our famous sense of humour to new limits, from our propensity for politeness to our acceptance of a multitude of taxes. Produced by Shaftsbury Films, FOOL CANADA showcases a colourful band of characters and comedians who will set out to shock, surprise, and shine a light on the comedic state of the nation.
PLEASE LIKE ME – Premieres Friday, July 31, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
This comedy is stars, and is written by, critically-acclaimed, young Australian comedian Josh Thomas, who has been likened to Lena Dunham and Louis CK. This uniquely honest dramatic comedy follows Josh as he approaches his birthday and his life finally seems to be coming together. The events of one day throw his world into chaos. He’s dumped by his girlfriend, Claire (Caitlin Stasey), and introduced to a decidedly odd but very attractive man, Geoffrey (Wade Briggs) —which leads him to realize he may be gay. And when his divorced mum, Rose (Debra Lawrance), overdoses on pain killers, Josh is forced to move back into the family home to keep an eye on her. If that’s not enough, he has to deal with his dad Alan’s (David Roberts) guilt over his ex-wife, and clumsy attempts to hide his new, younger girlfriend. It’s all a bit more than Josh had planned for.
YOUNG DRUNK PUNK – Premieres Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
A single-camera comedy about the trials and tragedy of growing up on the fringes of society, from the clever and caustic mind of Bruce McCulloch (who also stars), it’s a rough and hilarious look back at simpler times and a complicated age— and at two young rebels determined to stay true to themselves, and fight against conformity.Tim Carlson (Gracepoint) and Atticus Mitchell (Fargo) co-star as two recent high school graduates searching for their destinies in the back alleys of Calgary, circa 1980.
RAISED BY WOLVES – Premieres Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 9:30 p.m. (10 NT)
Loosely based on the Wolverhampton childhood of outspoken U.K. writer and social media darling, Caitlin Moran, the series follows six socially isolated, home-schooled siblings and their acerbic, highly capable mother Della Garry (Rebekah Staton). The Garry siblings, include eldest Germaine (Helen Monks), an eccentric,distressingly oversharing and love-struck teen; Aretha (Alexa Davies), an introverted, sarcastic George Orwell admirer who just wants to be left alone; Yoko (Molly Risker), a dreamy, aspiring paleontologist; and ”the babbies,” Wyatt (Caden Ellis Wall), Mariah (Erin Freeman) and toddler Cher (Violet and Daisy Maple). They also share their small house with Della’s feckless, acid-casualty dad, Grampy (Philip Jackson), who frequently seeks refugee from his ongoing bad romance with ‘Shit Nan’.
DIGITAL PRODUCTIONS – COMEDY
BODY BUDS – Premieres Monday June 1, 2015 on cbc.ca/punchline
The webseries features two former fitness personalities who previously hosted Canada’s most popular 90-second health and fitness segment on TV. They encouraged Canadians to eat sensibly, exercise mildly and occasionally eat doughnuts. Then, the fitness world shifted, it got faster, harder and crazier and Body Buds faded in obscurity. Now, Tyler and Taylor are back and they have only one goal: to reclaim their number one spot and make Body Buds the most popular fitness segment on TV. Lead actors Adam Cawley and Rob Baker are creators of the series and Canadian Comedy Award winners.
RIFTWORLD: CHRONICLES – Premieres summer 2015 on cbc.ca/punchline
This webseries is based on the multiple-award-winning short film The Portal. The series is a unique blend of the sci-fi/fantasy/drama genres, focusing on a dimension travelling wizard who teams up with a struggling journalist in the big city. Hunted by a fantastical foe, they try to solve the mystery of what binds their worlds – and their fates – together. It stars Erin Karpluk (Being Erica) and Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural), and Munro Chambers (Degrassi: The Next Generation).
NEW THIS SEASON — FACTUAL
STILL STANDING – Premieres Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 9:30 p.m. (10 NT)
The show follows comedian Jonny Harris on a hilarious and heart-warming journey across Canada as he ventures to small towns on the ropes and immerses himself in the lives of the locals – all while mining enough material to put on an original stand-up comedy routine for the residents about their community. The series is a quirky and affectionate adventure into small-town Canada, and a celebration of the people who proudly choose to call those towns home and learns what makes these places special.
KEEPING CANADA ALIVE – Premieres Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
A high-profile, six-part series profiling the Canadian health care system, filmed in the spring of 2015 and shot over the course of one 24-hour period, 60 camera crews descended on hospitals, clinics, and trauma centres from coast to coast to coast, capturing intimate stories of patients and health care providers for a bold, breathtaking and dramatic look at a day in the life of health care in Canada. In a unique blend of medical mystery and real-life drama, capturing powerful and poignant moments, the cameras rolled as people sought treatment, and medical professionals did everything they could to provide it.
HELLO GOODBYE – Premieres winter 2016
Hosted by Dale Curd the series draws out touching stories from people in Canada’s busiest airport: Toronto Pearson International Airport. It reveals themes of love, family, bonds, friendships, immigration, grief and joyful reunion, and presents a window into our most emotional moments.
NEW THIS SEASON – DOCS
FIRST HAND – Premieres Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
CBC-TV’s new docs strand, will introduce Canadians to content from some of Canada’s most talented documentary filmmakers. The films showcase unforgettable characters and their untold stories — making viewers think, feel, and see the world in a new way.
NEW THIS SEASON – CBC ARTS
CRASH GALLERY – Premieres Friday, October 2, 2015 at 8:30 p.m. (9 NT)
A high-energy, gritty and immersive television series from Lark Productions that brings art to life through the thrill of competition, as four talented artists will compete against each other in a real-time creative arena, giving the audience a front-row seat to the creative process as it unfolds. The challenges cover everything from traditional paint and canvas to graffiti art, sculpture and any and all creative endeavors in between. The host must manage a boisterous and participatory crowd that gets the responsibility of choosing a winner. This is not an elimination show but a fun, fresh celebration of artists and creativity.
EXHIBITIONISTS – Premieres Sunday, October 4, 2015
A weekly, visually compelling, hosted 30-minute series about people who create and what motivates them to do it. It will feature Canadian artists, from the emerging to the established, and sometimes the most unexpected — everyday citizens making art in surprising places. Each week EXHIBITIONISTS will bring you people, art and images that seek to inspire, provoke and delight the audience.
INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM – Premieres Friday, November 6, 2015 at 8:30 p.m. (9 NT)
This series reveals the surprisingly vital cultural underbellies of global cities that have seen war and political unrest. It documents art with a very sharp purpose: as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage. Featuring cities like Beirut, Sarajevo, Tunis, Port-au-Prince, Kiev and the artists are DJs, street artists, writers, musicians, city bloggers, filmmakers — some of them practicing their art undercover. In every episode, four young locals — and one Canadian ex-pat — take us on an immersive journey into their world, giving us a portrait of their lives, their art and how it contributes to the distinct culture of these less explored parts of the world.
DIGITAL PRODUCTIONS – CBC ARTS
CANADA IN THE FRAME – Premieres fall 2015
This webseries brings viewers inside a pop-up art gallery experience as attendees provide their candid, spontaneous reactions to a wide variety of Canadian art, while being filmed with hidden cameras. This fall Canadians are invited to eavesdrop on this original, surprising social experiment.
THE COLLECTIVE – Premieres fall 2015
CBC teamed up with Emmy® Award winning interactive agency Secret Location to commission videos from artists’ collectives from across the country — from dance to street art to writing — and put the production of the videos in the hands of the artists themselves.
THE RE-EDUCATION OF EDDY ROGO – Premieres fall 2015
The webseries follows successful auctioneer and art collector Eddy Rogo, as he ventures outside his comfort zone – which is currently filled with well-to-do art collector clients – and into the studios of the artists themselves. Taken outside of his comfort zone and immersed in the work of emerging artists, Eddy will meet eight Canadian visual artists, from a sculptor who makes grenade art with a twist, to a taxidermist who makes art out of road kill, to an artist who uses coffee as her paint of choice.
NEW THIS SEASON — SPORTS
TORONTO 2015 PAN AM / PARAPAN AM GAMES – Airing Friday, July 10 to 26, 2015 (PAN AM) and Friday, August 7 to 15, 2015 (PARAPAN AM)
CBC/Radio-Canada is the official broadcaster for the largest multi-sport event ever hosted in Canada. Canadians will have access to more coverage of the Pan/Parapan Am Games than ever before, across multiple platforms, including daily TV coverage in English and French and more than 650 hours of live streaming coverage at cbc.ca/panam, ici.radio-canada.ca/panam and via the CBC Sports app.
In the coming season, CBC Sports continues to connect Canadians to the athletes who represent Canada on the national stage, with coverage of the Calgary Stampede, Spruce Meadows, the IAAF World Track and Field Championships, ISU Figure Skating and Championship Speed Skating, FIS Alpine Skiing, among other sports.
CBC-TV’s primetime lineup is also stacked with new seasons of fan-favourite series. DRAGONS’ DEN shakes things up for its tenth season with three new Dragons joining its panel of multi-millionaire investors: beer baroness Manjit Minhas, brand builder and fashion mogul Joe Mimran and the youngest woman in the history of the den, tech titan Michele Romanow. Jessi Cruickshank is back to help lead the exciting search for CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON when it returns this fall.
CORONATION STREET is back in a multi-year deal with ITV studios, continuing to provide fans with gossip and intrigue and HEARTLAND heads into new terrain now that the two leading characters are married and about to start a new life together. Beloved period drama MURDOCH MYSTERIES returns for an all-new ninth season with a guest star appearance by William Shatner and a special two-hour holiday special.
This winter, instant hit SCHITT’S CREEK will bring Canadians an entertaining look at how the Rose family is coping with life in their new hometown; viewers will be back in the classroom for the fifth season of MR. D; and X COMPANY will transport the audience back in time to the high-stakes world of WWII espionage. With their lifeline to Camp X cut off, the spies of X Company must fight the clock to prepare for an allied invasion.
Canada’s pre-eminent political satirist is back, with an all-new season of the award-winning RICK MERCER REPORT. THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES continues to push boundaries and parody Canadian politics, and JUST FOR LAUGHS comedy specials will also feature on the schedule, along with the WINNIPEG COMEDY FESTIVAL and HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST.
CBC News has a strong tradition of provocative, investigative journalism, bringing the public up to speed on current events and exposing important issues. Canada’s premier investigative documentary program, the fifth estate, marches into its 41st season, hosted by Gillian Findlay, Mark Kelley and Bob McKeown. MARKETPLACE, hosted by Erica Johnson, continues as Canada’s number-one investigative consumer show.
Led by CBC Chief News Correspondent Peter Mansbridge, THE NATIONAL continues to deliver exclusive interviews and stories that define the nightly news program, shedding light on important issues, engaging Canadians where and when they want it.
Hosted by David Suzuki, THE NATURE OF THINGS launches its 55th season in the fall of 2015.
As a facilitator of Canadian culture, CBC brings some of the nation’s premier live cultural events to its audiences, including the SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE, CANADA READS, the CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS and the CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS.