Remember how September came and went and there were hardly any new Canadian TV shows in the mix? Global decided long ago not to throw a raw Canadian series into the wood chipper that is the fall TV season. Other broadcasters now also hold their Canadian brownie points until the beginning of a new calendar year.
That time is now and several very promising Canadian shows are in the mix, including The Book of Negroes (launching Jan. 7, CBC), Sunnyside (Jan. 8, City), Schitt’s Creek (Jan. 13, CBC), Man Seeking Woman (Jan. 14, FXX Canada), Young Drunk Punk (Jan. 21, City), Ascension (Feb. 9, CBC) and X Company (Feb. 18, CBC). I wrote summaries of each of them in an article for The Canadian Press. You can read that full story here.
I already got one response back on Twitter pointing out that Man Seeking Woman was “as Canadian as, say, Suits.” To which I say, may there be more shows as Canadian as Man Seeking Women and Suits shot in Canada in 2015. True, these shows are not created here and the showrunners are foreign and so are some of the actors and writers. Still, they each employ about a hundred Canadian crew members. Fargo is as Canadian as Suits, as is The Strain. Those two shows, plus Man Seeking Women, represent a $100 million investment in the Canadian television industry in 2014 (mainly in Calgary and Toronto). These location series also showcase Canadian talent to American audiences.
One of the new Canadian shows on the 2015 list, one could argue, is as Canadian as Vikings or The Borgias. That would be X Company, formerly known as Camp X. The WWII-era spy drama hails from Flashpoint showrunners Mark Ellis & Stephanie Morgenstern. This was, in fact, the series these two wanted to do before Flashpoint, a passion project that dates back to a short film they made together.
Even though X Company is based on a true story about a secret, spy training centre that existed on the shores of Lake Ontario in the ’40s, the series is being shot in Budapest, Hungary. The crews, therefore, are largely Hungarian, folks who previously worked on historical epics like The Borgias.
So it’s a Canada-Hungary co-production. That’s okay too, in fact, celebrate it, because the show is getting made. The Book of Negroes was shot in Nova Scotia and South Africa and has investment from at least three nations. The Vikings is shot in Ireland and has Irish crews but boasts many Canadian actors and directors and all the post work is done in Toronto. Television is a worldwide business and Canada is a major player in that mix. If you’re only going to slap that “Canadian” sticker on shows shot here and created here, you’re soon going to need a time machine.