Segarini: Must-See Canadian Television

by Segarini on October 27, 2010

Originally posted on FEBRUARY 20, 2009

10 Really, really good ideas to put some pep into Canadian television production.

I assume that you all saw the article here at FYI about the CRTC’s desire to limit the ability of Canadian broadcasters to buy American television programs, and spend more money on homegrown content.

Let the rolling of eyes and the chuckles begin.

Actually, this latest Wylie Coyote scheme would be good for the viewers because we would then be able to watch our shows on the American channels complete with the previews of next week’s show. Further, they would be without the annoying local voice overs and hideous posturing that Two and a Half Men, or CSI:Miami are somehow produced or created by the Canadian Networks that buy them.

The bad news is, we would be inundated by shows that would drive us to the American networks to watch their shows, dragging even more viewers away from Blue Murder, The King of Kensington, The Trouble with Tracy and their ilk.

We have lost so many of our comedians, music artists, movie and TV crews and writers to the States already, that if they all came home, the U.S would face having to churn out TV series about drive by shootings, road rage, baseball, and bankruptcy, and release  more country and hip-hop records. The trouble is, none of the Canadian producers and networks would be able to afford the returning talent. Gotta spend money to make money, Skippy.

The CRTC and the Canadian government should worry about Canadian content all right…but it’s the contents of Canadian BANK accounts that matters, not the foisting of our culture on the very people who make UP that culture. Make great Canadian shows that depict Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto as they are – with compelling stories, good actors, great sound and lighting – with an eye on selling the quality work we are more than capable of to America and the rest of the world. Look at Corner Gas, fer chrissake.

Maybe if they’d stop making rules and regulations and let the work speak for itself the great stuff would surface and the crap would disappear.

America, with no regs in place, managed to know the difference between 24 and The Ex-List.

We could have made 24 here…but we didn’t. Why? It never stops to sell its country of origin to it’s viewers. It seems the CRTC doesn’t like that.

Here are some shows I’d like to see…

01.    Flip, Flop, and Fly-Movie
The Downchild Blues Story- it’s got everything. The great music, humour, the tragic losses of Jane Vasey, Hock Walsh, and Tony Flaim, and a lesson in perseverance and working through the tears. Other movies would involve the move from California to Canada by a rock group, The Wackers, in the ’70’s, The Jim Carrey Story, The Jeff Healey Story, and of course, Shat! The story of William Shatner.

02.    Rok Boutique
Fictionalized weekly series about a real place and it’s owner, manager, staff, and clientele. A bar that embraces ’80’s hair band music, the indie scene, the pin-up nation, and the ongoing interaction between the older and newer patrons. The two women that run this place are knock-down gorgeous, by the way.

03.    52 Division
Hard core downtown police precinct. There are a lot of stories in the City Of Big Smoke. Let’s tell them. The Jarvis Street Hooker Murders, The Shoeshine boy murder, the black-out, subway fire, Yonge street busts, you name it.

04.    Gastown
Vancouver’s club district. Set in the ’70’s

05.    The Stand Up Guy
He teaches high school during the day, he hits the comedy club circuit at night and on weekends. Let’s give our comedians a series that doesn’t involve moving to L.A.

06.    The Hail Mary
He’s a disgraced NFL Quarterback from Atlanta, Georgia playing for the Alouettes. “3 downs? You’ve got to be kidding.”!

07.    Queen Street/Yorkville
He’s run a sandwich shop on Queen Street since 1974. Now he reminisces about the changes that have taken place over the last 50 years. Told in flashbacks and current interaction with the locals. Or a deli-shop owner on Cumberland in the Village. Yorkville would flash back to the ’60’s

08.    The International Motel
Comedy series set in a rundown hotel in Sault St. Marie.

09.    The Rock
Dramedy set in Newfoundland. Lots of great characters, music, and stories here. Centered around four  generations of a hard working family of fishermen.

10.    Little Feather
She’s an RCMP crime analyst that travels the country solving crimes using the latest technology, her spirit guide, and ancient indian tracking and problem solving techniques handed down by her grandfather…who is always at the other end of her cell phone.

Universal stories set at home that could entertain anywhere. We have the writers, the actors, the skills, the crews, and the desire. These are all character driven shows set in scenic and involving settings. Shall we dance?

What I’m afraid I’ll see on Canadian TV…

01.    Hey Buddy, Where’s My Toque?
Brian and Doug wonder where their toques are.

02.    Kegger!
Two teams of three players get drunk, then try to drive, light cigarettes, and pick up girls. Winning team gets a two-four, a carton of Players and a stern warning from the Canadian Government.

03.    The Adventures Of Shannon
A 14 year old girl from Flin Flon has a secret life far more interesting than other little girls. Every week she turns into a loon, a zamboni, or a curling broom and solves crimes while her friends attend school or work at Tim Hortons. Is she a special super person…or actually in a coma after being hit in the head by a snowball with a rock in it?

04.    Mountie Steve We Hardly Knew Ye
All about a Mountie named Steve who dies in a snowmobile accident and all the town folk don’t really remember a lot about him.

05.    Gord The Hockey Stick (animated)
An action packed cartoon series featuring Gord and his friends, Lucky Pucky, The Knee-Pad Brothers, and Chloe…the goalie mask he loves.

06.    Le Baguette du Mort
A serial killing stick of bread and the special unit of the Quebec Bakery Council who have sworn to stop him.

07.    Moose Jaw!
The ongoing story of 2 fairly well off families in Moose Jaw and their lives, loves, betrayals, fights, lottery losses, and the small parcel of land they covet and constantly bicker about.

08.    Pretty In Plaid
Lori is the most prettiest girl at Diefenbaker High School. All the other girls hate her because the captain of the school ringette team sort of likes her.
Her best friend is a talking sandwich.

09.    Lard Tunderin’ Jesus
Jesus is back…and he’s a fisherman in Newfoundland! Join him and the 12 O’Reilly Brothers as they fish, bait hooks, drink screech, and smite the local town folk.

10.    Cree’s Company
Join Uncle Snakebite and his niece, Burning Rainbow, as they relocate from the Reservation to Toronto to live with Brad Wealthington The 3rd, who has won them in a raffle.

God help us.

That’s enough for now. Email me at [email protected] with your comments, complaints, and thoughts…and remember…don’t believe a word I say.

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now provides content for with RadioZombie, The Iceage, and PsychShack. Along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop, (who hosts and writes “I’ve Heard That Song Before” on RTDS), continues to write, make music, and record.

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