Ruby Skye P.I. is a detective series, but the show’s success is a Cinderella story. An independent project two seasons old, filmed on a shoestring budget and posted on the Internet garners wide acclaim. A third season is partially funded by the CBC, debuts online and then jumps to the network’s morning television schedule. That’s Ruby Skye‘s story, and it’s one borne out of frustration.
“I wasn’t able to tell the stories that I wanted to in the restricted, narrow focus that children’s television has at this moment,” creator Jill Golick says. “There wasn’t a mystery show on television. Nobody was looking at making show’s with girl leads. It was a way for me to tell the story that I wanted to tell.”
Ruby Skye P.I.‘s tale began in 2010 when the Independent Production Fund started offering funding for web series. Golick–after writing on such series as Sesame Street, Noddy, Shining Time Station and Instant Star–was dabbling in the digital realm and had pitched several ideas to the IPF; they backed seasons 1 and 2 of Ruby Skye. A chance conversation with CBC executives at a conference led to the public broadcaster acquiring the first two seasons–The Spam Scam and The Haunted Library–for their website and commissioning a third season, The Maltese Puppy, along with the IPF, Bell Fund, Shaw Rocket Fund and Canada Media Fund. Now Ruby’s Season 3 adventures are available on CBC television as of Oct. 4.
“CBC’s intention was always to make a web show and we didn’t start Ruby thinking, ‘Oh, this should be a TV series,'” Golick explains. “We started thinking when you’re talking to today’s youth you put it on the screen where they are.”
Golick and Julie Strassman (Full House, Sophie, Metropia) co-write Ruby Skye P.I., and this third instalment, The Maltese Puppy, is a fun one. Ruby (Madison Cheratow, Wingin’ It), the sassy, smart star of the series, takes over the dog-walking route run by her sister Hailey (Marlee Maslove, Hailey Hacks) when she comes upon a crime scene. A local charity has been robbed of precious toys and there are a number of suspects, including the charity’s founder, Colin Cumberbund (Seán Cullen). Plus, Ruby has somehow ended up with one extra dog at the end of her leashes–a Maltese–and she’s doesn’t know where the owner is. Each episode–clocking in around the five-minute mark–is packed with whip-smart dialogue, top-notch performances and a cliffhanger style that keeps you wanting more.
“When people find it on the Internet they blow through all the episodes all at once,” Golick says. “We have that pace that makes you want to keep consuming it like potato chips.”
Episodes of Ruby Skye P.I.: The Maltese Puppy can be seen during the Kids CBC! programming block starting Saturday, Oct. 4, or on the network’s web page.