From D.K. Latta of The Huffington Post:
Is Canadian TV Doing Better Than We Want to Admit?
Half the time you read anything about Canadian TV the columnists are ringing the death knell. “No one’s watching,” they lament, “and the shows are mediocre.”
But there’s never been another time in the history of television when so many Canadian series were boasting such numbers. No other time when you could claim over a million English-Canadians were watching so many different and varied domesticÂ scriptedÂ series in a week (I’m assuming these numbers are mostly reflective of English-speaking viewers).
So why? And how can this be built upon? Continue reading.
4 thoughts on “Link: Is Canadian TV Doing Better Than We Want to Admit?”
If the numbers are up, and Canadian TV is doing find. Why are so many experienced technicians having a hard time finding gigs. This was the worst year ever for myself in over 30 years as a camera operator. No one ever told us we would need a second job.
Book of Negros with 10 minutes about Canada was NOT a Canadian story, neither was Flash Point, can’t remember the last time I saw or heard about a paramilitary unit storming all over Toronto every week in real life. which was NEVER. On the other hand Rookie Blue REALLY spoke to me as a Toronto Canadian, as have other Canadian shows like reGenisis, Intelligence, Border, Street Legal, and Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie. I really hope this year there’s 10 times more of them and ones like them.
Iâ€™ve always felt itâ€™s problematic to try and define â€œCanadianâ€ too much by style or theme. Iâ€™d love it if all Canadian TV shows reflected my perspective, my views â€“ but everyone else would hate that! The goal should be to have different shows that appeal to a myriad of tastes. Besides, the role of the storyteller is to sometimes colour outside the lines, to challenge the established ideology, and defy stereotypes. (That doesnâ€™t mean there shouldnâ€™t be friendly debates about what are Canadian perspectives and values, of course).
Not to mention that entertainment doesnâ€™t always have to adhere to a literal reality. Very few crimes have ever been solved by eccentric amateur detectives â€“ but thatâ€™s been a popular sub-genre since the 19th Century!
One of the reasons Iâ€™ve always emphasized just admitting a story is Canadian (and frequently been derided for that!) is precisely to avoid the subjective argument of what makes something â€œCanadian.â€ I say: admit itâ€™s Canada and then everything else is up to the storyteller, whether a story of unemployed fishermen or a fantasy adventure about a super hero saving the galaxy.
I like both Flashpoint and Rookie Blue, though I consider them both â€œsoftâ€ Canadian. But Iâ€™d argue Flashpoint was the more explicit about actually being set in Canada. And I thought The Book of Negroes was great, compelling television. My only issue with it was simply in the context of the fact that it was the most â€œCanadianâ€ show on offing and only an hour — not ten minutes : ) — was set in Canada. In a TV landscape where most Canadian series admit they are Canadian I wouldnâ€™t have had much issue with it.
Except that the pilot of Flashpoint was a direct ‘based on’ the Union Station sniper case, and through things like the TEMA trust, many Canadian cops have lauded FP for showing a more realistic view of what it’s like being a front line responder in this country.
And Book of Negroes — you spelled it wrong — was one of the best selling Canadian books of the last many years. It was on Canada Reads, for pity’s sake.
You seem to want to be the arbiter of what is Canadian and what isn’t based on your own idiosyncratic criteria. That’s fine. But there are 33 million of us. So are we supposed to manage 33 million visions of what actually, “Canadian” means?
Your pro Rookie Blue is another’s Trailer Park Boys. I worked on The Border and was told many times by people that “Canadians aren’t action heroes.” And I said the same thing to them every time: “tell that to the Dutch.”
TV is subjective. But the tent should be big, not small. And those who want to exclude what they don’t like for whatever cobbled together reasons are arguing from a parochial point of view. It’s the wrong direction for all of us. Fullstop.
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