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Author Topic: Canadian television - Recommendations?  (Read 1471 times)
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Kyosho
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« on: April 29, 2008, 11:51:23 AM »

About two years ago one of my friends at work was constantly telling me I had to watch a show called Trailer Park Boys. The premise sounded really stupid and not like my kind of show at all. But after a while his constant nagging finally convinced me to watch the first season. He had warned me that it started a bit slow, and it did, but it got really good. I've watched all 7 seasons, the short film that started the show, the Christmas special and the disconnected theatrical release "The Big Dirty." I am so in love with all of it. I can't get enough. The characters in that show are just so.. I don't know, likeable? Even when they're doing really stupid or horrible things. It's just full of awesomeness and hilarity.

About a year ago some one on a forum (perhaps OO?) linked this video. It's the very first scene of the show Corner Gas. I was intrigued so I tracked it down as well. While it is also in the comedy genre, the brand of comedy it has is like the complete opposite end of the spectrum compared to Trailer Park Boys. Trailer Park Boys is wild, crazy, insane on many levels and doesn't really hold anything back (while still being endearing), whereas Corner Gas is extremely family friendly and the humor almost too "nice." The harshest thing you'll hear is Oscar calling everyone a jackass. And yet it really works for me as well. I don't laugh as much while watching it, but I find it amusing, and I love the characters. There is one thing it has in common with Trailer Park Boys though, and that's the setting. Both shows take place in a fairly small community where eventually you get to know just about everyone. I like that. I'm into the third season of it now.

I want more! I'm not necessarily looking for more shows exactly like these, but anything really. Preferably comedy, but I'll look into anything. If you haven't seen the shows I mentioned here, give them a shot.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 11:53:11 AM by Kyosho » Logged
Larraque
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2008, 12:26:11 PM »

This may sound bizarre but Degrassi: The Next Generation is surprisingly good Canadian drama. My wife turned me onto it.

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Kyosho
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2008, 12:42:56 PM »

Uh, no offense but I just have to ask... Was that a joke response? Or are you serious?

 icon_eek
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El-Producto
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2008, 01:22:27 PM »

I can't stand Corner Gas.. or it's counterpart Little Mosque on the Prairie.  In Canada they hype these shows like they are the next Seinfeld.. they just irritate me.

Classics for me, may be able to find these on DVD.

Twitch City
The Tom Green Show
Degrassi, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High.


I've started watching The Border, which is a slick drama about Customs and Immigration authority, it uses stories ripped from the headlines.  It just works.

Finally I know it's not television, but if you like the Trailer Park Boys, do yourself a favor and track down a copy of FUBAR.  It's the funniest movie, nobody has seen.

http://www.fubar-themovie.com/
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 01:24:14 PM by El-Producto » Logged

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Larraque
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2008, 01:28:52 PM »

Quote from: Kyosho on April 29, 2008, 12:42:56 PM

Uh, no offense but I just have to ask... Was that a joke response? Or are you serious?

 icon_eek

I'm serious. I'm also referring to the current one, not the 80s version. As I said - sounds strange, since it is marketed for teenagers, has a cast of teenagers, and is set in a Toronto High School, but it deals with a lot of serious subjects (school shootings, student death, drugs, etc.). Real things that people have to deal with growing up. It's smartly written for the most part. I would suggest that if you can, TiVo the episode "Time Stands Still" (I had to look up the name) which is the episode with the aforementioned the school shooting. That's pretty much what sold me on this show.

It's also difficult to recommend a lot of Canadian television, because a lot of what's filmed in Vancouver and Toronto (Stargate, Andromeda) are considered 'Canadian Television'.

A while ago, G4 started showing Ed's Night Party. I thought this was amazing, but it's very very edited and watered down for the american version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English-language_Canadian_television_series

Fraggle Rock... is canadian?  eek

Edited to add: Holy crap! How did I forget about SCTV!!!!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 01:34:33 PM by DragonFyre » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2008, 01:32:09 PM »

Quote from: El-Producto on April 29, 2008, 01:22:27 PM

Finally I know it's not television, but if you like the Trailer Park Boys, do yourself a favor and track down a copy of FUBAR.  It's the funniest movie, nobody has seen.

http://www.fubar-themovie.com/

+1. Great movie.

Also, don't forget the Canadian Classic Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter!

(THAT was a joke response. But if you do like bad film-school movies, this is one worth checking out.)
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2008, 03:23:25 PM »

I’d have to disagree with El-Producto about “The Border”.  I personally can’t stand the show, they try to make our border agents look like Jack Bauer and the acting is beyond over the top.  If you’re looking for a really good Canadian drama, try Intelligence (made by Chris Haddock of DaVinci's Inquest fame).  The show had a two year run on the CBC.  Beautifully filmed in Vancouver in glorious HD, the show is one you have to stick with for a few episodes.  It dealt with CSIS (Canada’s CIA) and various criminal groups, and how they all interact and play off one another.  It’s hard to go into details without giving away more of the story.  The show has now been cancelled (critics loved it but it never pulled in decent ratings) but apparently has now been picked up by Fox who’ll be making an American based version.
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2008, 11:40:13 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on April 29, 2008, 12:26:11 PM

This may sound bizarre but Degrassi: The Next Generation is surprisingly good Canadian drama. My wife turned me onto it.



I agree. I haven't seen any new 7th season episodes due to my DVR not describing the episodes that air and making it hard to know when new ones are on, but it's surprisingly well written. Every character on the show are well written aren't just pieces of background like a lot of shows.

As for Trailer Park Boys. Bubbles. That's all I have to say biggrin

I recommend Corner Gas,  which is really quite good. Kind of like a Canadian Seinfeld set in a small prairie town.
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2008, 11:48:42 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on April 29, 2008, 01:28:52 PM


Well...that explains a few things with this (awesome for its time) show.
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2008, 12:35:52 AM »

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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2008, 03:15:26 AM »

Oh, and Robson Arms. I also enjoy The Hour.
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2008, 03:32:46 AM »

I know I reposted the first Corner Gas scene at OO a few months ago.  I don't recall who originally posted it.  I've watched all 4 seasons that are out on DVD.  Love it.

I've branched out to Robson Arms, which shares some cast members with Corner Gas, but is a very different show.  It's almost an anthology show, each half-hour focusing on different people living in the same apartment building.  Instead of a close group of friends, you get people who only know each other in passing, and each episode varies in tone, but most are pretty good.  Two seasons of that show are out on DVD now.

And I just started watching Twitch City on DVD yesterday.  I've seen the first 6 episodes of 13 total.  What an odd, surreal and unpredictable show this is.  It's pretty funny sit-com that has hints of Lynch and Cronenberg. 

I guess I'll have to check out Trailer Park Boys next.
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2008, 03:35:47 AM »

I always loved The Red Green Show.
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2008, 05:03:13 AM »

Quote from: Tscott on April 30, 2008, 03:32:46 AM

I know I reposted the first Corner Gas scene at OO a few months ago.  I don't recall who originally posted it.  I've watched all 4 seasons that are out on DVD.  Love it.

I think that was probably me. Anyhow, I don't know if you heard, but the 6th season is the last. It was recently announced that next season is its last, which is sad since it will be hard to think about what would replace it since it's done so well. It's been a landmark in Canadian TV since there isn't really all that much being produced by our networks.

I think that Wikipedia list includes shows that aren't necessarily Canadian, but made in Canada. For example, the Beetlejuice cartoon isn't something you think of as Canadian. I think of that more as contracting work done by a Canadian team rather it being a Canadian cartoon.
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2008, 07:29:19 AM »

I also absolutely love Corner Gas-what a brilliant, brilliant show!  Trailer Park Boys is also comedy gold.  What happened to the show that was about a News station team somewhere in Alberta?  Was that Little Mosque on the Prairie?  I thought it was pretty good as well but I didn't watch it.  Oh no I just saw it-the show I was thinking of was An American in Canada.

My recommendations:

Made in Canada: Possibly otherwise known as The Industry.  Basically a parody of a television and film production company, with most of the characters being corrupt and backstabbing each other to get to the top.  Like all Canadian shows it will probably take a show or two to get into it but this show is just brilliant.  The boss is insensitive and incompetent, his two second-in-command's are constantly trying to one up each other, the next guy down the pole is a big loser who gets blamed for everything.  It was pure comedy gold I thought.  About 5 seasons long.

Here's a youtube video I was able to find (Part 2 of 3) unfortunately the lyp synching is completely screwed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpojGNZN9-U

Due South: Canadian TV show but it takes place in America.  It was actually on US networks for a while.  Story is about a Canadian mountie who is transferred to Chicago and is partnered with an American smart-alec cop. The two characters couldn't be more different from each other  and as a result it makes a great pairing to watch.  Also an excellent comedy (with some action/detective work).  I was absolutely in love with this series when I was in high school.

Here's a documentary about the show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7ygPglKDEI

Well thats all I can think of for now! I second Daehawk's suggestion of The Red Green show!  It's also quite funny but may or may not take a couple of shows to get into.



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Kyosho
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« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2008, 11:35:02 AM »

Thanks for the recommendations guys. I'll check into everything mentioned. I still find it a bit odd that adults, and even men watch Degrassi. I guess that must mean it really is good. My bias comes from the fact that when I was still living with my father, my step sister was obsessed with that show. She's the type who watched all those Disney Channel shows back then like Lizzie Maguire, Even Stevens, etc. Those shows made me want to hurt some one when I was forced to watch them. I did in fact catch an episode or two of Degrassi when she had control of the family tv, and it seemed to me like really over the top teen drama. Perhaps I just went into it thinking it was going to suck, and saw nothing but suckage.

Oh, by the way, anyone who's going to give Trailer Park Boys a try, watch at least the first season before giving up on it. If you still don't like it, then don't bother. The first season is really short anyways. I can see how a lot people wouldn't like the show, but I love it.

Quote from: El-Producto on April 29, 2008, 01:22:27 PM

I can't stand Corner Gas.. or it's counterpart Little Mosque on the Prairie.  In Canada they hype these shows like they are the next Seinfeld.. they just irritate me.

Really? Huh. Being an American I just never heard of it and started watching it on a lark. I've enjoyed it since then.
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« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2008, 02:24:23 PM »

Quote from: Kyosho on April 30, 2008, 11:35:02 AM

Quote from: El-Producto on April 29, 2008, 01:22:27 PM

I can't stand Corner Gas.. or it's counterpart Little Mosque on the Prairie.  In Canada they hype these shows like they are the next Seinfeld.. they just irritate me.

Really? Huh. Being an American I just never heard of it and started watching it on a lark. I've enjoyed it since then.

They're funny, but they're not the second coming of Seinfeld. Mind you, I've only seen one episode of Little Mosque. It was worth a look, but the episode I saw wasn't great.

Then again, when I was in Canada I watched a few episodes of "Are you smarter than a canadian fifth grader". Colin Mocherie is soooooooooo greater than American Redneck Jeff Foxworthy.
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« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2008, 03:24:35 PM »

Quote from: Kyosho on April 30, 2008, 11:35:02 AM

Thanks for the recommendations guys. I'll check into everything mentioned. I still find it a bit odd that adults, and even men watch Degrassi.

I started watching Degrassi: TNG because I was a big fan of the original. I will say, if you are not at least somewhat open to a teen drama, it probably won't change your mind.  But it is much more compact and anti-MTV than anything you'll see on the CW. The thing I have always noticed is that they almost never use music in the background of any scene to pump up the emotion, and if they do, it's original, and not a "band of the week". If you do give it a chance, keep in mind that other than the pure nostalgic awesomeness of the first episode, the first season is pretty weak because the kids are so young, but it gets a lot better. I do classify it as a guilty pleasure no matter what.

With the US obsessed with reality tv and more scandalous shows, Canada seems to have become a source for a ton of teen shows that wind up on various cable channels. My wife is a bit of a sucker for those (Blake Holsey High, Life With Derek, Instant Star, Radio Free Roscoe, Naturally Sadie, etc.), although I wouldn't recommend any of them for you.
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« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2008, 03:37:37 PM »

Quote from: Canuck on April 30, 2008, 07:29:19 AM

Due South: Canadian TV show but it takes place in America.  It was actually on US networks for a while.  Story is about a Canadian mountie who is transferred to Chicago and is partnered with an American smart-alec cop. The two characters couldn't be more different from each other  and as a result it makes a great pairing to watch.  Also an excellent comedy (with some action/detective work).  I was absolutely in love with this series when I was in high school.

*slaps head* How could I forget that show! It's one of the first that made people notice Canadian TV. Loved it. Wish it would come back with new episodes.

For those in the US and liked the show, after it was cancelled, one of our Canadian networks picked it up again to produce a 3rd season, although that season had a far different budget due to the lack of American cooperation and all Chicago scenes were actually filmed in Toronto.

Quote from: Teggy on April 30, 2008, 03:24:35 PM

Quote from: Kyosho on April 30, 2008, 11:35:02 AM

Thanks for the recommendations guys. I'll check into everything mentioned. I still find it a bit odd that adults, and even men watch Degrassi.

I started watching Degrassi: TNG because I was a big fan of the original. I will say, if you are not at least somewhat open to a teen drama, it probably won't change your mind.  But it is much more compact and anti-MTV than anything you'll see on the CW. The thing I have always noticed is that they almost never use music in the background of any scene to pump up the emotion, and if they do, it's original, and not a "band of the week". If you do give it a chance, keep in mind that other than the pure nostalgic awesomeness of the first episode, the first season is pretty weak because the kids are so young, but it gets a lot better. I do classify it as a guilty pleasure no matter what.

Yeah, and here's a little trivia. The episode titles are actually song titles.

Overall, I find Degrassi to be a better than average teen drama, and one that actually deals with issues. Having the now adult characters that were part of the original Degrassi and giving them their own storylines gives the show some depth. The first season is a little rough, but by season 4, or maybe even 3, when the actresses on the show start to be lookers, the storylines get even better. And what's awesome is that each episode is part of a story arc, so things that are done aren't so easily shrugged off and forgotten, and are even referenced sometimes a few seasons later.

Quote from: El-Producto on April 29, 2008, 01:22:27 PM

I can't stand Corner Gas.. or it's counterpart Little Mosque on the Prairie.  In Canada they hype these shows like they are the next Seinfeld.. they just irritate me.

I wouldn't say hyped, no. In fact, Canadian shows hardly get any promotion at all compared to American shows. It's why Canadian shows tend to get cancelled so early. It's because people don't get a chance to see them, and so the networks spend ad dollars buying up American shows.  For example, did you know Kiefer Sutherland showed up on Corner Gas? No? That's because they never promoted that guest appearance. Any American show would be hyped up like crazy to advertise the fact they have such and such a guest star on it for any given week.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 04:43:50 PM by Rumpy » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2008, 05:22:46 PM »

Quote from: Windows95 on April 29, 2008, 03:23:25 PM

I’d have to disagree with El-Producto about “The Border”.  I personally can’t stand the show, they try to make our border agents look like Jack Bauer and the acting is beyond over the top.  If you’re looking for a really good Canadian drama, try Intelligence (made by Chris Haddock of DaVinci's Inquest fame).  The show had a two year run on the CBC.  Beautifully filmed in Vancouver in glorious HD, the show is one you have to stick with for a few episodes.  It dealt with CSIS (Canada’s CIA) and various criminal groups, and how they all interact and play off one another.  It’s hard to go into details without giving away more of the story.  The show has now been cancelled (critics loved it but it never pulled in decent ratings) but apparently has now been picked up by Fox who’ll be making an American based version.

No love for DaVinci's Inquest itself? Or, is it no longer shown anywhere?  I only found it rarely, at bizarre times, never two weeks in a row - but that's for the U.S., not Canada. If you like the original CSI, with less blood and more investigation, I think you'd like DaVinci's Inquest.

I'm a Red Green fan, too, but can only watch it when no one else is around, since I'm the only connoisseur in the house, sigh...   tear
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« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2008, 06:08:15 PM »

I haven't watched Canadian TV in about 10 years since I moved to the U.S.  For years Canadian TV was really bland.  There were gems like The Beachcombers, The Littlest Hobo, Katts & Dog, Wayne & Schuster, The Edison Twins that were good/passable.  It wasn't until the mid to late 90's that we started getting decent series like Due South, North of 60, Black Harbour, This Hour has 22 minutes, and Kids in the Hall.  I'm sure there are more.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 06:14:18 PM by ArmyOfOne » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2008, 06:59:29 PM »

Oh yes, that reminds me. The Royal Canadian Air Farce is ending this year after 15 years of being on TV. I'm not sad though as I felt that ever since they brought in new people after John Morgan retired that it kind of stopped being relevant. The show used to be funny a long time ago, but in time, I felt it lost its edge, which is kind of funny considering the new young people they added were supposed to add contrast to the older people and lend a "hipness" to it. But I haven't watched it in years. I am curious about its live format now though, but I can't seem to find it on the air.
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« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2008, 02:45:03 AM »

Finished Twitch City tonight.  Great show for the first 10 episodes.  Tells a nice surreal story.  Then it falls apart a bit at the end.  The last three episodes, while they have their moments, each serve as vastly different codas to the end of the show.  Still recommended viewing for those interested.  Odd and insightful anti(?)-television show.
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« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2008, 03:16:59 PM »

This is really odd.  I haven't seen DaVinci's Inquest on our cable for at least a year or two.  Then I post about it here, last week - and then on Saturday, I stumble on it while surfing channels.  I didn't watch it, because it started at noon, and it was after 12:30, but there is now hope. If I can only remember to check Fox 6 on Saturdays at noon.   paranoid
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« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2008, 03:36:28 PM »

Quote from: Purge on April 30, 2008, 03:15:26 AM

Oh, and Robson Arms. I also enjoy The Hour.

+1+1+1... to the Hour. If you're interested in interviews with interesting celebs that are done with a personal approach you won't see on US TV, then tune it in. It's hosted by George S. -lastname to long to remember- the man who David Frost has now called the interviewer of his generation.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2008, 03:41:22 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2008, 04:14:10 PM »

Here's a few more gems :
Puppets_Who_Kill - Greg the bunny except funny.
PSI Factor - hosted by Dan Ackroyd
ReBoot - one of (if not the first) fully rendered cartoon. Lots of pop culture and computer / gaming themes.
Earth: Final Conflict - Awesome show
History Bites - what if our tv media was present throught history?
Just for Laughs - Montreal Comedy Festival
Kenny Vs. Spenny - Like the Tom Green show, only funnier (IMO). Two guys compete with each other in ridiculous challenges.
Naked News - 'nuff said.
My Goldfish is Evil saturday morning cartoon
Nikita
Odd Job Jack -was a web thing; got his own show. Funny stuff.

Some other "decent" shows were Train 48 (drama), You Can't Do That on Television (sketch comedy).
PS: Strombolopolous (strawm-ball-aw'-pole-iss)
« Last Edit: May 05, 2008, 04:15:43 PM by Purge » Logged

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