CBC announced their 2016-17 schedule this morning, bringing back this fall long-standing favourites such as Murdoch Mysteries, Dragons’ Den, Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, as well as the second seasons of low-ish-ly rated Romeo Section, This Life and Crash Gallery.
Fall is a difficult time to launch new series, though this year CBC has Olympics-watching eyeballs over the summer to endlessly promote their wares. Will it be enough to successfully launch Shoot the Messenger, Kim’s Convenience and This is High School, the three new series for fall?
Originally announced for summer season, Shoot the Messenger is the Jennifer Holness/Sudz Sutherland creation described as “a gritty political thriller that centres on the complex relationships between crime reporters and the police.” Starring Elyse Levesque, Lucas Bryant, Lyriq Bent and Alex Kingston, the eight-episode series centres on “a sharp and ambitious j-school grad trying to balance a messy personal life while working at a big city newspaper. Things begin to go sideways for Daisy when she witnesses a murder she thinks is gang related, only to find herself slowly drawn into an interconnected web of criminal activity that reaches into the corridors of corporate and political power.” The show should benefit from a big Murdoch Mysteries lead-in on Mondays, though the tonal differences might not work in its favour: “gritty” Murdoch is not.
Kim’s Convenience is based on the hit play by Ins Choi, who also adapted it for television. It’s “the funny, heartfelt story of The Kims, a Korean-Canadian family, running a convenience store in downtown Toronto. Mr. and Mrs. Kim (‘Appa’ and ‘Umma’) immigrated to Toronto in the 80’s to set up shop near Regent Park and had two kids, Jung and Janet who are now young adults. However, when Jung was 16, he and Appa had a major falling out involving a physical fight, stolen money and Jung leaving home. Father and son have been estranged since.” It lands in the middle of CBC’s comedy block on Tuesdays.
This is High School is a factual series airing Sundays this fall and described as “a love letter to teachers.” It’s a six-part series “set in an extraordinary, ordinary school — where teachers, led by a passionate principal, go the distance to prepare their students for adult life. But when you’re dealing with teenagers, nothing is ever straightforward.”
Today’s announcement was the first I’ve heard of Pure, which is not on the fall schedule so likely airing in winter 2017. It’s a six-episode dramatic series that sounds ripped from CBC’s own headlines. From CBC:
“PURE, from Big Motion Pictures, tells the story of Noah Funk, a newly-elected Mennonite pastor, who is determined to rid his community of drug traffickers by betraying a fellow Mennonite to the police. But instead of solving the problem, Noah’s actions trigger an ultimatum from Menno mob leader Eli Voss: in order to protect his family he must get involved in the illegal operation. Noah decides that if he must work for the mob, he will secretly gather enough evidence to dismantle the organization.
Hidden from view, Old Order Mennonites exist in a world all their own, dedicated to living the same plain lifestyle as their ancestors. However, a tiny percentage of outlaw Mennonites controls one of the most efficient drug trafficking operations in North America. Supplied by an unholy alliance with the Juarez Cartel, their pipeline extends from Mexico, through the U.S. and into Canada.
Noah finds his beliefs and principles challenged every step of the way. Struggling to save his soul and complete his mission, Noah receives help from an unlikely source: his high school nemesis, local cop Bronco Novak. With his law-enforcement career hanging by a thread, Bronco sees the Menno mob case as his ticket to redemption. Created by David Macleod and Michael Amo, the series will be filmed on location in Nova Scotia and Alberta.”