This year Canada celebrates 150 years as a nation. That’s a pretty big deal and it’s being rung in with a new $10 bill, free passes to our national parks, parades, fireworks and parties all year long.
Here at TV, Eh?,Â I’m marking the date in a special way and I want you to help me out. Rather than running a poll of the Top 150 Canadian television shows of all timeâ€”too unwieldy and shows would be left outâ€”I decided to make a list of homegrown projects that are my favourites. Where do you come in? Go to the comments at the bottom of the page and list your favourites. It can be a simple list of two or three titles, or perhaps you want to go more in-depth and tell me why a program made an impact on you.
However you decide to do it, go ahead and have fun. I’ll keep track of the list and will put them all together into a piece to run on July 1.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Yes, it bothered meâ€”even at a young ageâ€”that Casey couldn’t pick anything up with those hands and Finnegan was mute, but Mr. Dressup drew me in all the same. He was friendly, caring and creative, and helped spark the imagination I have today.
It began with Durham County and was cemented by 19-2: Canada could make dark dramas suited for cable television. I’m working my way through the original French series via Netflix, but Bruce M. Smith’s English-language creation is a treasure for its gritty storytelling and wonderfully human characters.
Degrassi Junior High
I haven’t watch Degrassi as faithfully as some, but you can’t deny the series’ importance. It educates viewers without talking down to them and has served as a kicking-off point for a raft of Canadian television writers working in the business today.
It still hurts that Motive was cancelled after four seasons. But rather than dwell on that, I’ll instead think of how great Det. Angie Flynn was at her job. She’s a wisecracking, hard-drinking Vancouver detective who almost always got her woman or man, and had the most enjoyable non-sexual relationship with a co-worker since, well, maybe ever.
Slings & Arrows
The cable comedy has grown better with age. As in my age. Back with it first debuted, I didn’t appreciate the sharp writing and stellar performances from Paul Gross, Martha Burns, Stephen Ouimette, Don McKellar and Mark McKinney. Now I do, thanks to a re-watch on CraveTV.
The Red Green Show
Wonderful and weird, I loved every quirky character at Possum Lodge (though Harold grated on my nerves sometimes) and head oddball Red Green, whose gifts with duct tape are legend.
Emily Andras has done something pretty rare in television: made it fun and dramatic. That opening scene in Season 1, Episode 1, set the tone for a sassy, ass-kickingly fun, spooky, scary and sexy show with a metric tonne of heart.
What are your favourite Canadian television series of all time? Let me know in the comments below.