Monday, March 3, 2014

Canadian TV Does Have A Future

This column took a full mon th off so I could contemplate the future of Canadian TV.
And I'm surprised by my own conclusions namely that Canadian TV does have a future.
I'm now convinced all networks up here should devote two orthree nights a weeek solely to Canadian shows and leave the other nights to the American imports.
It can be done and to prove it I previewed all the Canadian shows on CBC-TV Monday night. I liked what I saw --all shows are resolutely Canadian and all are basking in fairly strong ratings.
The episode of Murdoch Mysteries (Monday at 8) is titled Friday the 13 1901 and the title tells all.
This one is a sort of Victrian slasher as Julia and Emily go off with gal pals to a secluded island for a weekend with a mad  slasher out there in the woods.
The secondary story has Constable Crabtree drunkenly challenging a local team of curling enthusiasts to a game with Murdoch dryly contemplating theensuing chaos.
Fine directing by Michael DeCarlo helps and sharp editing which keeps jumping back between the two very different story lines.
Murdoch Mysteries keeps building in the ratings because old episodes are constantly rerun by Citytv and are also available in DVD collections.
A lot of fine Canadian series of the past --think ENG, A Gift To Last, The City--never even got to DVD.
CBC picked up Murdoch Mysteries when Citytv faltered and the series now in its seventh season is still growng in ratings, an indication some Canadian hits of the past were cancelled too quickly.
At 9 CBC-TV brings back Mr. D for another season. The show is very comical, that I grant, but I hated public school as much as high school and the teachers here are eerily similar to the ones I had at that time.
However the episode titled Old School involves a horrible fashion show featuring Gerry and the usual accumulation of sad sack students trying to impress the always bored teachers.
At 9:30 there's a new episode of Ron James. Whatever did Ron do to inherit such a bad time slot. Mr. D. is an 8 p.m. show and Ron would work far better at 8:30.
However, changes have been made in the show --Ron now performs directly in front of the enthusiastic audience --almost in the round.
And some of the skits are very smart including one called Scared Apostles as the twelve watch Jesus walk on water and wonder how that was done. Also back is L'il Ronnie, always my favorite part.
The thing is if CBC can successfully program an entire night of Canadian hits why not the others? Why not indeed.

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