Canadian television is an interesting blend of homegrown material and foreign shows. Like anywhere else, some of these shows have managed to have a profound effect on pop culture here, and have proven to stand the test of time. These are some shows and series that have had a lasting effect in Canada.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
The Degrassi series was a smash hit in Canada and was picked up by Teen Nick in the states. Even after 20 years, the legacy and impact of Degrassi is still felt. Degrassi Junior High was one of the first drama series in Canada that was directed with the teenage market in mind, and Degrassi: The Next Generation expanded on the concept in the early 2000s. This was the groundwork for many different shows that came later, and it is credited with launching the careers of many actors and performers, notably the incredibly successful musician Drake.
Degrassi didn’t shy away from controversial topics, and in fact it was one of the first televised series to shine a light on these issues that would later become widely discussed. It has a way of teaching empathy, and helping people understand different walks of life. In another light, this series has also become a blueprint for other drama series as it illustrates how to grow and build characters, and keep a series going through cast changes over years while fighting to stay relevant. Degrassi has proven to be an impactful and important series in Canada that is likely to live on for generations.
Ed, Edd n Eddy
Ed, Edd n Eddy is the brainchild of Canadian cartoonist Danny Antonucci who is responsible for numerous animated series. The show was a massive success in Canada and globally, and became one of Cartoon Network’s most successful properties. Over a 10-year span, it had 70 episodes and won several awards like a Reuben Award, Leo Awards and a SOCAN Award.
If you ask people who grew up during the early 2000s, many remember this show fondly. It had a certain charm and an endearing structure that revolved around the main character’s whacky schemes to fund their love of Jawbreaker candies. There is something about this show that resonates deeply in Canada and if it were not for the success of Ed, Edd n Eddy, many later Canadian cartoons like Total Drama Island would never have had their chance to shine.
World Poker Tour
While it may not be specifically Canadian, the live World Poker Tour series certainly was a massive inspiration for people across the country. Canada is known globally as a massive hotbed for poker talent, and the boom can be traced back to this live series that brought the game into the households of millions of Canadians.
The World Poker Tour was very enthralling and found a way to keep the audience engaged, even during the tedious segments. One of the big reasons for this has been contributed to the entertaining chemistry between co-hosts Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten who kept things lively throughout the program. This series really managed to capture the intensity and suspense of high-stakes poker games and the long term effects of the WPT cannot be ignored.
Trailer Park Boys
Whether you love it or hate it, you cannot deny that TPB has had a lasting effect in Canadian culture. The long-running series has become a phenomenon at home and abroad, and there are legions of fans around the world supporting the many reboots, specials and spinoffs the comedy trio have produced. Somehow, even amongst claims of being stale and past its prime, TPB lives on.
Trailer Park Boys certainly does not represent all of the country, but it does have a specific Canadian charm that comes across in many of the jokes and dialogue that the series has become known for. Pop culture is rife with running jokes and references to characters that have appeared on the show and many millennials of today can say they grew up watching the TPB hijinks. The chemistry between the main trio of Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles and the oftentimes improvised script that plays out between the characters can only have proven to be a formula for comedy excellence that has managed to preserve over 20 years.