Online Video | Train 48

Train 48 is Global’s 2003-05 attempt at mounting relatively cheap Canadian scripted content on a three-to-four-episode-a-week basis. While Gloryosky can’t claim the series is good – the improvised comedy about train commuters, adapted from Australian network SBSGoing Home (2000-01), has a great concept badly executed – Train 48 uses a localized model of storytelling with interactive elements. It’s an idea which can still work, though it requires an episode to be fleshed out/improvised, shot, and edited before the same-day airdate. Global is currently more comfortable with a traditional news format like ET Canada, the show that supplanted Train 48 in 2005.

The first twenty-one episodes of Train 48’s 318-episode run appear on YouTube and (for US viewers) Amazon Instant Video through Syndicado Digital Distribution. The immediacy to Train 48 is gone, so it makes the episodes dated. Keep that in mind while watching. As of the date this article is posted (June 22, 2016), there are five episodes currently on YouTube.

Gloryosky isn’t sure if this is a test run for a new version of Train 48, or just an attempt to monetize old content through online video. I personally wasn’t a fan of Train 48 when it first aired on Global. In the end, I was more upset at Train 48’s pre-launch hype creating unrealistic expectations for a low-key early primetime show. Train 48 is a child of Canwest’s convergence era, a reasonably successful experiment oversold by a now-defunct media conglomerate.

If Train 48 comes back with new episodes, perhaps it can better sell itself in the OTT/online video era. At least in 2016, Train 48 won’t need to work in forced jokes about Mike Bullard and have its characters read the National Post. Train 48’s theme is still as durable as the seven deadly sins.

C. Archer
Le Social