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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.