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.”