One of the more interesting parts of my job is getting to work on a Canadian edition of our magazine, which requires us here in the office to keep tabs on what the good folks to our north are watching (and how they often “favour” the British spelling of words). Since our countries are so close to each other, and the cultures don’t seem drastically different, I once thought — naively and solipsistically — that the TV landscape up there was pretty much the same. Surely it couldn’t be that while the people in Detroit know all about ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, the people just across the bridge in Windsor have no idea?
Well, it isn’t that different, but I was surprised — and I imagine many of you would be too — at just how distinct Canadian television is. Sure, there are quite a few U.S. networks available as-is in Canada, and others that don’t do much more besides slap a “Canada” onto the end of their name. But there is a whole host of networks up there that, yes, carry U.S. shows and also produce gobs of original programming, much of which rivals what American audiences see.
There is a rich history, in fact, of Canadian shows being imported to the U.S. (SCTV, Kids in the Hall, Due South), and it continues today with shows such as CBS’ Flashpoint, ION’s The Border, TeenNick’s DeGrassi, and ABC’s Rookie Blue (pictured above) and Combat Hospital. Then there’s the matter of U.S. shows that are shot in Canada (i.e., Vancouver), which are too numerous to count, along with the staggering amount of Canadian-born actors who populate them.
So on this, the day when Canada celebrates its birthday, I’d like to just share my appreciation for all that Canadian television is, and all that it gives us. Who knows how different TV would be without the likes of CTV, CBC, The Comedy Network, Global, Showcase, Space, W Network, and many others doing what they do best? Here’s hoping that other great shows make the journey south. I’m thinking mainly of Jason Priestley’s delightfully misanthropic Call Me Fitz. But also, it’s to my great regret that I don’t get to regularly write the name Brent Butt in my stories. Get with it, America!
And thank you, hosers. (No offence.)
Rookie Blue photo: © 2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. Credit: Annabel Reyes