I admit it. I’m going to miss Kim’s Convenience. Certainly the saddest part about its demise is what happened behind the scenes. I won’t go into that here—search on the site for stories about it—but perhaps the best news to come out of that bad situation was Strays.
Bowing Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on CBC, Strays follows Shannon Ross—Kim’s Convenience‘s Handy car rental manager—as she heads west to become the new executive director of the Hamilton East Animal Shelter. My initial thought surrounding Strays was that it quickly came together as Kim’s Convenience was falling apart. Not so, says star Nicole Power, who reprises Shannon on Strays and serves as consulting producer too.
“At the end of Season 3, I was approached with the opportunity to start developing an idea for a show that would be a companion piece to Kim’s Convenience,” Power says during a conference call. “It would be an expansion of the universe and explore a different side of Shannon and Shannon exploring something new.”
That “something new” is Hamilton, where she is surrounded by new people, clients and fur babies. The new humans in Shannon’s life include her cousin Nikki (Nikki Duval), animal care manager Kristian (Frank Cox-O’Connell), office manager Joy (Tina Jung), landlord Liam (Kevin Vidal) and maintenance guy Paul (Tony Nappo). Nappo, in particular, is a joy to watch on screen, his trademark gruff exterior buffed by Shannon’s cheery countenance.
When Shannon arrives at Hamilton East Animal Shelter, things are in disarray. Nikki is foisted on Shannon, building budgets have been cut and a birthday party for an elderly cat goes horribly awry. But where most would curl up in a corner, Shannon soldiers on, using her unique word choices to get her and others through trying times.
“Shannon always wants to make the best out of a situation and people-please,” Power says, with a laugh. “She is always trying to manage that everyone else is good, so what you’ll see in Strays is just an extension of Shannon’s desire to have the best of the situation be the reality.”
CBC is announcing initial details for two new original half-hour comedy series featuring Kim’s Convenience stars Andrew Phung and Nicole Power – RUN THE BURBS and STRAYS – with both shows set to launch during the upcoming 2021-22 broadcast season.
Created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon), RUN THE BURBS is a new original comedy about a young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs, featuring Phung as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids. The series has been in development since May 2020 and is produced by Pier 21 Films, with additional details to be announced later this spring.
STRAYS follows the upbeat and enthusiastic Kim’s Convenience character Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) as she embarks on a new career in Hamilton, Ontario alongside an ensemble cast including Frank Cox O’Connell (Soulpepper Theatre), Tina Jung (Suits, Second Jen), Nikki Duval (Workin’ Moms), Kevin Vidal (Workin’ Moms), Tony Nappo (Pretty Hard Cases), Paula Boudreau (Workin’ Moms) and Emily Piggford (The Sounds, Warigami). Created by Kevin White (Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek) and produced by Thunderbird Entertainment, the series has been in development since July 2018 and is currently in production. More details will be announced later this spring.
“As our comedy slate continues to evolve, we are thrilled to continue working with Andrew and Nicole and offer audiences two new comedies to look forward to starring these incredible talents they have come to know and love,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. “Both of these series were planned to join Kim’s Convenience on our comedy lineup this upcoming year, to reflect how many young Canadians are forging new lives outside of urban centres in Canada. We look forward to watching Andrew and Nicole as they explore these new stories.”
RUN THE BURBS and STRAYS join original comedy SORT OF as new additions to CBC’s award-winning comedy slate this upcoming broadcast season. Created by Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), SORT OF stars Baig as a gender fluid millennial trying to live their most authentic life.
CBC will confirm series renewals and additional new original series for the 2021/22 broadcast season later this spring.