Tag Archives: Tornado Hunters

Comments and queries for the week of December 4

Your Favourite Canadian TV Shows of 2015

Heartland is such a wonderful family show! We’ve enjoyed every episode together since it started, and it’s by far MY all-time favourite. —Rachel

When Calls the Heart is a refreshing change from many of the shows. The actors, directors and crew are extremely talented and provide so much employment to our local economy. Would live to see this series picked up on our local station in Vancouver. The new show The Romeo Section is great too. Love the actors that were in Intelligence. —Wendy

Heartland is the current No. 1 show. Touched by an Angel is probably my all-time favourite, but I guess it’s not Canadian. —Terry


Heartland is the only show that has ever been able to hook me. Usually, shows are take it or leave it with me, but I love, love, love Heartland. =) —DJ

No question about it, Tornado Hunters is my No. 1 choice as the best 2015 Canadian TV show. I’ll give The Fifth Estate a close second place, and for options 3, 4, and 5, I will list The Rick Mercer Report, Dark Matter and This Life, accordingly. —Trina

Love Blackstone. Then my reality shows Amazing Race Canada, Big Brother Canada, Chopped Canada and Masterchef Canada. —Pamela

The Road to Discoverability

With me, word of mouth or I’ll glance through everything when it’s time for a new crop of pilots be it fall or midseason. An ad alone isn’t enough to get me to check out something usually. I’m a big Orphan Black fan but didn’t even know it existed in its first season. How’d I catch on? Commenters going crazy over it on several of the sites I visit, not just the reviewers themselves, and luckily CTV itself was running the same ad about 50 times a day for the Season 1 repeats. (They really overdo it though, the same ad over and over again actually irritates the viewer and could turn them against seeing a show, Comedy Network is especially bad for this).

Same thing happened this year with Mr. Robot. TVLine, The AV Club, Entertainment Weekly, Hitflix, IGN etc. and their readers wouldn’t stop praising it. It took Showcase until the end of the U.S. run to air here but it was great. They need to simulcast it next year for it to be worth anything. A day late equals a dollar short in the new digital world. I don’t usually watch crime shows but everyone is talking about Fargo, Season 2 so I might actually catch up when the season is over.

In terms of Kelly’s point about binge watching and then being a season behind, part of this is the networks themselves. They usually don’t have the current season up for streaming until the next year, and only the last five or so episodes on demand. You finished The Flash, Season 1? Too bad, CTV only has episodes 6-8 online and even then you have to sign in with a cable provider if you want to see them.

They are getting a bit better though. Syfy is premiering a show with a huge buzz and Canadian crew in the middle of December about a week before Christmas. That sounds like a way to kill a show, but they released the first episode online last month, and Space did it at the same time for Canadians with access to YouTube. I watched it because of word of mouth buzz and now fully plan to record both episodes on December 14th & 15th, and the 22nd.

Will TV itself and the broadcasters completely die out? No. This abundance of choice and “golden age of TV” is because of consumer appetite. Can the telecoms act like consumers are restricted to them in the same way we often are for cell phones and internet? No. The broadcasters themselves aren’t who I look to guide me to stuff, other viewers are. They can try and filter shows between them but trying to limit viewers to only what they have when conversations about TV are happening globally is impossible especially as the Internet generations get more buying power. They aren’t competing with just two or three Canadian rivals anymore, they’re competing with everyone.

The Big Four U.S. networks have been in a ratings decline for years now. They’ve only officially canceled one show so far this year (Wicked City) and just let the other weak ones show what they have already made. They know launching a new show in a failed timeslot right away is pointless. Streaming has changed the game and both the U.S. and Canadian broadcasters are going to scramble for a while before catching up. —DanAmazing

For me there is only one answer: word of mouth. In 2015, I don’t see ads really. I listen to podcasts (generally from public broadcasters), I watch Netflix, I PVR, I iTunes, I turn my adblocker off for sites I visit frequently but honestly I hardly notice the ads anyway. The only way I find out about new shows/movies is from sites like this one and from recommendations by people I talk to. Fortunately, my Twitter and Facebook feeds are crowded with actors, directors, producers and writers so I get a lot of recommendations.

Still, there are about 25 shows on my list (yes, I have an actual list) that I try to keep up with. The other problem—equally as large in my opinion—is quality. With so many options, shows have to be consistently excellent to stay on the list. They also have to be reasonable original and not formulaic or repetitive. —Justin

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? greg@tv-eh.com or @tv_eh.


Tornado Hunters spins up wild weather drama on CMT Canada

Hollywood disaster movies never have much in the way of reality in them. Take Twister. Monster tornadoes tear up the American midwest, growling like Godzilla, spinning cows and water towers around while a couple on the verge of divorce alternately chase and outrun them? Outrageous, right?

“The only fake part of that movie is Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt’s love life,” says Greg Johnson. “They actually under-did the tornadoes.” He should know. The former Parliament Hill staffer, former hockey referee and former marketing executive left the rat race behind to race after tornadoes and other extreme weather. With veteran storm chaser Chris Chittick and extreme sport enthusiast Ricky Forbes alongside, the trio are the Tornado Hunters. Debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CMT Canada, Tornado Hunters climbs into a truck alongside the boys on a wild ride across the Canadian and American prairies in search of wild weather and, hopefully, some twisters.

Unlike other funnel-themed programming on the dial, Tornado Hunters showcases all kinds of extreme weather and captures it with video and still cameras, creating stunning works of photographic art. There’s nothing more awe-inspiring and educational than time-lapse images of bruised purple clouds roiling thousands of feet in the air while enrobed in bristles of lightning.


“You’ll watch a tornado once, and then that’s it,” Forbes says. Johnson concurs, explaining tornadoes are extremely rare; if his team captures a half-dozen on-camera in a summer season, it’s been a good year. To fill time in between storms—and to allow viewers to get to know them better—Saloon Media’s cameras follow the boys during various hijinks, from Chittick winning a push-ups bet against his buddies to Forbes’ phobia of snakes revealed in a hilarious way.

Technology has come a long way in the past several years, enabling photographers and camera people to capture images of incredible beauty. Chittick says the Tornado Hunters stand apart from other storm chasers because they use the latest tech to great effect.

Meanwhile, the three are protected by a souped-up Ford, capable of withstanding a violent beating at the hands of Mother Nature.

“People ask about safety, and we’re in an armoured truck that has a roll cage,” Forbes says. “We’re not being cowboys about this; we have radar and we have the training. There are three of us on the team and we have specific responsibilities and watch each other’s back.”

“There’s video of a truck like ours that rolls 15 times down a hill and the cab survives,” Johnson says. “Of course, we don’t want to be in that situation.”

Tornado Hunters airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CMT Canada.