He Said/She Said: Canadian shows in need of a Netflix rescue

Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week: now that Netflix has helped bring Degrassi and Trailer Park Boys back to life, what are the top five Canadian shows we think they should they revive?

She Said:

I don’t think every show — even every good show — should be revived. There are shows I loved that ran their course, or that petered out until I didn’t love them anymore, or whose time in the zeitgeist has passed. But here are my picks for shows I believe would benefit Netflix and its viewers alike — and in some case, more importantly, benefit me.


  1. Slings and Arrows: Though it’s been off the air for almost a decade, a revival isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. There were recent-ish rumours the creators were talking about a fourth season despite initial reports that it was always intended to be three and done. So good it tops my list of the best Canadian TV of all time, Slings and Arrows is also so good it gave The Wire‘s David Simon “writer-envy.” (The creators are probably a little more impressed with the latter.) Important to Netflix would be the cult followings of many individual cast members — Paul Gross,  Mark McKinney, Don McKellar to name a few — and the uniquely prestigious veneer and kooky humour of the behind-the-scenes of a Shakespeare festival series. It’s like House of Cards meets Arrested Development meets the Bard. Sounds like a keeper for Netflix to me.
  2. Intelligence: Creator Chris Haddock is a little busy with CBC’s upcoming The Romeo Section, but given the short CBC and Netflix seasons, I have faith he could do both. Intelligence‘s second and last season ended on the cliffiest of cliffhangers, meaning there’s a Netflix-sized audience already eager to find out the fate of Jimmy Reardon. It delved into topical conspiracies affecting both Canada and the US, meaning a reboot could work well on both sides of the border.
  3. Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: This is the high school horror show I said at the time really, really isn’t for me, but I’m very, very glad it exists. Like Netflix, it knew its audience well  and delivered appealing content for that specific audience. Since it no longer exists, and would be great fodder for the young male demographic, it’s ripe for a revival.
  4. Endgame: Torrance Coombs might give people whiplash going from Reign heartthrob back to chess geek, but he and Endgame star Shawn Doyle  have some niche star and sex appeal to add to this crime drama with a twist. Don’t tell Netflix the first season aired on Hulu without hitting big enough for a second — Endgame would fit right in to a streaming service that supplies a steady diet of crime dramas with a twist such as Sherlock, Murdoch Mysteries, The Bletchley Circle, Midsomer Murders, and on and on.
  5. Bomb Girls: The World War II series had decent ratings, but not enough to remain in Global’s minuscule stable of original programming. Decent ratings on broadcast should mean great numbers for Netflix, and Bomb Girls would be a natural binge-watch segue from The Bletchley Circle as well as Call The Midwife and Land Girls.

KingHe Said:

  1. King: I know it’s only been a couple of years since King went off the air on Showcase, but I still miss it. Greg Spottiswood and Bernie Zukerman’s cop drama never really got a chance to breathe and expand on the direction (kind of like what happened with their most recent show, Remedy) it was headed in Season 2. Amy Price-Francis was whip-smart, snarky and, yes, sexy as Jessica King, a veteran cop put in charge of a Major Crimes Task Force. The writing was tight, the crimes were interesting and Jessica was flawed (and awkward) enough that you couldn’t help but get in her corner and stay, cheering her on as she battled bad guys on the streets and boorish behaviour in the office. King would fit perfectly in Netflix’s stable of crime dramas like Happy Valley, Wallander and Dicté.
  2. Da Vinci’s Inquest: Diane and I are on the same page with regard to wanting updated projects from Chris Haddock’s past on Netflix. I’d be quite happy to see Intelligence there, but would prefer Da Vinci’s Inquest. Maybe it’s because Inquest — about coroner Dominic Da Vinci solving crimes in Vancouver — introduced me to a style of TV writing that I hadn’t experienced up until then. Conversations were full of stops and starts, just like the real thing. Cops were fallible, Dominic was a bit of a slob … everything was authentic.
  3. Forever Knight: Netflix is the home to the quirky and the offbeat, and that’s where Forever Knight comes in. Rather than stick with the dark, serious premise of the original, the updated project can have a little more fun. It still works to have Nick Knight an 800-year-old vampire working as a cop in modern-day Toronto, but rather than hide who he really is, Nick embraces it. He’s not the only vampire around, in fact, and Nick is equally at home collaring human and supernatural criminals. Pair him with a wise-cracking partner — think Remedy‘s Jahmil French — and you’ve updated the show for the Netflix crowd.
  4. Hammy Hamster/Tales from the Riverbank: I’m going to finish off my list with a couple of kid’s shows — the genre is exploding on Netflix — starting with this classic. The stuff the handlers were able to get their rodent stars to do in the original and YTV update were amazing enough, but can you imagine what can be done now? Remote-controlled vehicles, CGI and drones mean Hammy, G.P., Turtle, Owl and the rest can get into more high-stakes adventures.
  5. The Hilarious House of Frightenstein: Time to update this psychedelic orgy of skits, memorable characters and groovy tunes. As for a Canadian actor to take on the majority of the roles, like Billy Van did? Jim Carrey.

19 thoughts on “He Said/She Said: Canadian shows in need of a Netflix rescue”

  1. Seriously–Hammy Hamster?! Hell no. That guy gave me nightmares back in the day (I have a phobia of mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, etc).

    I love that Degrassi is ending up on Netflix. I also think Netflix would make a good home for Slings and Arrows and Bomb Girls.

    I think too much time has passed for a revival of Da Vinci or Intelligence so I’m not for it. Also I don’t think they’d do well. Both were good but for me, I never missed them when they went off air.

    I know I’m in the minority but I really liked both Wild Roses and MVP. Those are two I would have wanted to see more of.

    More than a revival or a relocation , I’d rather see Netflix produce an original series, something Canadian in nature but good enough for Netflix users in other countries to watch and like. I’d like them to prove to Shaw and Bell that a Canadian setting and story does sell to Americans.

    1. The Wild Roses cancellation got a record number of comments on this site – I believe it was 300+ – so while that’s been a long time now, you probably aren’t alone.

      Netflix is getting in the original Canadian series game but so far as co-productions (and as far as I know, not identifiably Canadian which I think is what you’re asking for.)

      I feel like Da Vinci went on forever anyway but that would be great for Netflix. They should at least have the existing seasons – I wonder if CBC owns the rights?

      1. I would love to see more old Canadian series on Netflix in general. Shows like Madison, The Odyssey, Catwalk, Made In Canada, etc. would be great to rehash.

  2. 1. Traders; a primetime soap opera set in the current world of Canadian high finance. Given the murderers row of talent behind the camera / created the series I’d hope there were still more stories to be told. Plus Marty had an outsized impact on my university major and eventual career and I’m curious to see how he ended up.

    2. The Border; I don’t even want a TV show, just a movie (hell I’ll even take a script outline) to find out the cliffhanger resolution.

    3. The Racoons; Netflix seems to be looking for kids programing and Canadian woodland creatures w/ a pro-environment message seems like a perfect fit.

    1. I wonder if they could entice Hart Hanson and/or David Shore back for Traders. At the time I wasn’t enthralled at the drama of investment banking, but I can see that working for me now.

      1. If we wish hard enough for Netflix to fund a Fargo / True Detective style limited series I’m sure we could convince them to come north for a season. Now I just need to get some leverage over Netflix other than my $8.99 / month.

        If they kept it a soap I think it would work well, however I think something in a slightly more serious tone (mid seasons West Wing) about a Canadian investment bank / hedge fund trying to navigate being a big deal on Bay Street yet barely a minnow in the larger world could be interesting. Plus there seems to be a greater overall awareness of the high finance world, ready made villains (let us all boo a billionaire and the dude bro traders) and continue the Traders tradition of making ethically dubious choices for money.

          1. Sadly this is true; only our parents like us and even then…
            Well I’m heartened to know that it was tried. If I may ask, and apologies if this is offsides, what was the pitch for Traders 2.0? Same characters 20 years later?
            Thank you.

          2. We pitched it both ways. A version that contained some of the characters from the original and one that didn’t. We also focused more on the deal making and investment banking angle and less on the floor. We were very interested in financial manipulationd in an increasingly border less world. Everyone loved it but all thought audiences wouldn’t

    2. I almost added Traders to my list of shows, so I’ll tag that on my Honourable Mention list. I think it could totally work today thanks to the new ways of finance. Can you imagine how a Wall Street collapse-related story arc would have been? Incredible.

  3. I agree with all the choices by everybody.

    Anybody watch “Wonderland” or “Sleeping in My Car”

    they were both scarily hilariously well done

    or how about “reGenesis” ?

    now that show was just damn terrifying – and IMHO the very best show done anywhere by anybody

    except the last bye bye episode which was very much like a bad LSD trip – not that any LSD trip can ever be good

  4. I would also include: This Is Wonderland, Regenesis, Shattered. Great shows.

  5. Another Honourable Mention: Power Play. Michael Riley at the height of his powers, Kari Matchett, Dean McDermott (ahem), Caterina Scorsone, Gordon Pinsent. Shot in Hamilton. ‘Nuff said.

Comments are closed.