Picking Apart the Fall Schedules: Selected Canadian Cable Part 1

I don’t plan to do posts for each Canadian cable channel.  It isn’t worth it and there are a handful of channels I actually watch.  Some channels, like Teletoon, haven’t finalized their fall schedules.  Since I’m not of the target market for HGTV Canada or the Food Network, those channels will not be talked about.

If the show’s on a Canwest property, it will be rerun on seven different channels within three months regardless of the channel’s target market.  Expect to see Beastmaster on History Television within a year.

I will mainly focus on channels I have an interest in which contain adult-oriented programming.  It’s a bonus if the channels show more than one new Canadian series a year.  I refuse to believe anyone actually watches MovieTime.


The Movie Network/Movie Central | The Movie Network/Movie Central’s 2009-10 original show slate doesn’t read as good as 2008-09’s.  An announced third season of Durham County is a little weird given that the second season debuts July 13.  As for The Phantom, it doesn’t seem TMN/MC quality somehow.  It’s a four-hour miniseries featuring an underrated comics character, but I doubt The Phantom would be on TMN/MC if the company producing it (Muse Entertainment) hadn’t produced Durham County.

The show that appeals to me the most is Living in Your Car.  A former corporate executive/ex-con teaches ethics courses under a court order.  It’s the sort of show that, with good writing, should allow for great comedy.  Meet Phil Fitz reads like a belated Canadian version of Minder.  Bloodletting and The Pillars of the Earth do nothing for me.

Mind you, I’m talking about shows that don’t air until later this year or in 2010.  I can see TMN/MC continuing its quality streak, as it has a history of successful launches and shows with strong fanbases.  TMN/MC’s premium cable duopoly helps.  Super Channel’s flailing in the wind right now, so the duopoly isn’t much threatened.


Showcase | The Foundation was meant to debut in 2008-09 but was pushed back.  This show is the brainchild of FUBAR and It’s All Gone Pete Tong director Michael Dowse.  FUBAR/It’s All Gone Pete Tong‘s Mike Wilmot is Michael Valmont-Selkirk, the corrupt “Executive Director for Life” of a charitable organization.

The Foundation reads like an interesting show.  It has the talent, a solid premise and a…five-episode first season.  Ah well, at least it’s out, provided Canwest executives don’t see a bunny hop along a coffee table and decide to give it a development deal.

I’m not too worked up about Crash & Burn and Shattered.  Crash & Burn (formerly Lawyers, Guns and Money) has ZOS: Zone of Separation showrunner Malcolm MacRury behind it and Shattered stars Callum Keith Rennie, but I’m reserving judgment on the three shows until they debut.  I’m baffled by Showcase’s heavier dramatic focus this year.

I’m also not fond of Showcase’s new logo and mission statement.  The Canwest press bumf says “an unprecedented number of off-pay movie premieres, the best collection of popular network series and breakout cable dramas.”  I hope that doesn’t mean Showcase will become TVtropolis’ dramatic big sister, full of Bones, House M.D. and assorted CanCon filler.

Showcase has its share of CanCon filler nowBeastmaster reruns, oh boy! – but it has served Canadian comedy relatively well.  Showcase has always been one of Alliance Atlantis’/Canwest’s better cable channels.  I hope the channel doesn’t turn crap due to the rebranding, but I’m unconvinced based on Canwest’s track record.


TVtropolis | Jonathan Torrens’ show, TV with TV’s Jonathan Torrens, could be good – he’s had success with Trailer Park Boys and Jonovision, so his ultra-generic “make fun of television for 22 minutes” show concept could amount to something.  E! managed to make a brand out of The Soup, so precedent is on Torrens’ side.

As for Switch (a pop culture panel show) and Killer Comebacks (Hollywood stars making comebacks), TVtropolis’ filler show traditions are maintained.  Mind you, shows like Once a Thief are creeping into TVtropolis’ schedules, so TVtropolis is becoming more watchable.

It’s a far cry from the days when TVtropolis was called Prime and appealed to seniors, but North of 60 reruns > Naked Fashion.  Remember the days when MovieTime was called Lonestar and aired westerns?  Those wacky Canwest properties, you never know what they’ll become next.  They’re like Pokémon.  Gotta rebrand’em all!

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer