Thursday, May 3, 2018

I Answer My Emails

I used to get letters from readers when I wrote the TV column for The Hamilton Spectator and later The Toronto Star.
Now I get emails and nobody out there seems to read newspapers anymore let alone watch network TV.
Here's a sampling of recent emails enquiries.
+ "Whatever happened to game shows? I used to watch them every morning. Now there are all these similar women themed series?" Mrs. D.F., Ancaster.
ME: I still watch game shows on the Game Show Network. The vintage ones are a hoot. The other night I was watching The Match Game from the 1970s and one of the panelists was the great Ethel Merman and she was having a blast as was I.
+ "I'm deeply disappointed with the new and unimproved CBC National news. What's your estimate?" L.M. R. Ottawa.
ME: Having up to four anchors just doesn't work. the telecasts from Humboldt were very fine, however. Other nights there's a feeling of ennui and ratings are way, way down. Why not a CNN style newscast with bickering panelists you might ask. But CBC doesn't like that kind of partisan wrangling even if it drives ratings.
+ "Why has there never been a hit Canadian TV soap opera?" P.B, Oshawa.
ME: Why there have been enough tries. There was Riverdale on CBC which ran for two years but it should have been every weeknight hammocked right behind Coronation Street and it would have succeeded. There have been weekly attempts like CTV's Montreal based Mount Royal.  And CBC tried with a clone of Dallas set in Calgary but trouble was it had to be filmed in Toronto because of costs. There was a daily soap that ran on Global and was syndicated in the U.S titled High Hopes. And it deserved a better fate than cancellation after two seasons.
+ "There must be TV shows out there in reruns that you have become addicted to, right?" H.B., Halifax.
ME: I never watched CSI but now that it runs nightly on E! I have become an addict. Don't forget that it counts as Canadian content since the Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis manufactured it.  The stories are often over the top but production values make it seem so expensive. Another one I never watched is Bones which strangely reruns  these days on GUSTO.
+"And your biggest beef about  Canadian TV?" E.J., Pickering.
ME: How hard it is to watch some of the great Canadian TV shows of the past.  Like CBC's The Beachcombers which remains locked up in the CBC vaults in Mississauga. I'd love for CBC to revive Front Page Challenge which I think could be a big hit all over again. And CTV should seriously consider reviving Headline Hunters. But I also have a friend who years for the boxed set of Police Surgeon (shot in T.O. so go figure. Another friend wanted to buy a DVD copy of  the TV flick Getting Married in Buffalo Jump starring Wendy Crewson and finally bagged a DVD copy --from an American distributor.
There --that's all the emails I care to answer today.

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