Thursday, September 6, 2012

Please, Sir, Where Are The New Canadian Shows?

The other day when I was in the grocery store a Grade Sixer tugged on my arm to say "Please, sir, where are the new Canadian Shows?"
A devout reader of this blog, she wanted to know why the ceaseless news stories about all the new American series?
And why there's virtually nothing being written about the new Canadian season.
And I must plead guilty on that point. Until now.
I want to alert you to one of the first Canadian shows coming back for another season.
It's called By The Rapids and it's unusual on many counts.
First, it's on APTN which most critics prefer to ignore most of the time.
It's an animated Canadian series. And it's about young aboriginals living in a northern town and trying to get along.
It's made by Toronto-based Big Soul Productions which is an Aboriginal production company which also made Mocassin Flats the first Aboriginal made series to garner Gemini nominations.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I popped the preview DVD in but rapidly became enthusiastic by the high production values and the quiet chuckles generated in this fast paced half hour.
The creator is Joseph Lazare, the producer Laura J. Miliken. The intended audience is the same young crowd who might be off watching Disney or MTV channels.
First of all there's the quality of the animation: it's very expertly done. The backgrounds are especially well finished and the lead characters are drawn with zest.
In this first new episode the Littlehorn family gets involved in two different adventures.
First, their  minimalist coffee haunt is subject to competition for the first time as a gigantic new chain outlet called Tammy Ho gets airlifted into a spot right across the station.
And at the same time teenager Cory decides to run for school president against a perpetual over achiever who has the principal on her side.
So there we have two great targets to interest kids: hanging out at the local coffee haunt and obeying the often stupid rules of high school.
The silly principal continues to refer to his charges as "students...and bottom feeders".
The Littlehorns begin thinking thee new coffee hangout might be somehow adding nicotine to the brew.
The contrast between the Littlehorns who have moved back home from their Toronto neighborhood and their actual conditions make for some droll interchanges.
And some of the characters are very well realized: Grandma Hazel with her pony tail, Uncle Regis, Cousin Karen and her boyfriend Derek .
By The Rapids is, well, cool and ironic. It hits most boxes, is very watchable and beginning its four seasons deserves far more attention than it usually gets.

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