The days are getting longer, but they’re still pretty damn short. Spring with its warmer weather feels like a distant mirage. And there’s always something to complain about in Canadian television. But there are some hopeful signs this winter season:
- CBC is out of the gate this winter with fine ratings. Phew. Their newcomers Schitt’s Creek and The Book of Negroes found an audience, while returning favourites like Murdoch Mysteries continue to earn lots of eyeballs.
- Funny ha ha. City has launched two delightfully off-centre comedies in Sunnyside and Young Drunk Punk, and with them and CBC we now have a nice complement of the Canadian comedy old guard on our screens (Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Bruce McCulloch) without simply trying to recreate the good old days.
- Please sir, can we have some more? Global’s got Remedy, the possibly-in-its-last-season Rookie Blue and … ummm … not a lot else coming up for original series. So they must have an announcement coming sometime soon about what else is up their sleeve. Right?
- 101 nights of awards. OK, the Canadian Screen Awards have only four nights of awards, but now that sounds like nothing right? What better than the recently announced nominations to keep us chatting through the winter about who was snubbed, why there’s a separate category for Best International Drama that doesn’t include any international dramas that aren’t Canadian, and why Tatiana Maslany wasn’t just nominated for all five slots under best actress in a drama. The broadcast on March 1 will be hosted by Andrea Martin — another Canadian comedy legend — or at least they will be if she shows up this time.
- Jay Baruchel knows how to fix Canadian comedy. He says give CBC more money (yes!) and get rid of the old boys club who “regardless of the quality” keep getting jobs. It’s an uncomfortable position for me, defending old guys, but I’m not entirely sure who he means, or who we can blame when relative newcomers’ shows tank. Canadian TV executives or marketers? Maybe, but I’m not sure how many of them have successful original programming in their job performance plans, and many of them are not boys. Still, it can only help when a homegrown celebrity is passionate about improving our homegrown industry. I mean, it might be better if he wasn’t getting lauded for starring in an American show while advocating for Canadian content, but baby steps.