Canadian TV has come a LONG way since the days of The Beachcombers, Danger Bay, Degrassi and The Littlest Hobo. More and more of our Canadian-born talent is staying close to home, and as a result, there are a ton of great Canadian shows out there that are getting world-wide recognition.
This weekend, a friend and I will be visiting the set of one of our favourite TV series. I am SO excited to be able to go! I’ll be posting about it next week (with as many pictures as possible!), but I will give you a hint: the show takes place in Toronto.
In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to recount some of my favourite Canadian series. We don’t have cable, so we watch these on Netflix or on CBC.ca. Keep in mind, Canadian shows can often play fast and loose with language and morals, so our kids don’t watch most of these.
1. Arctic Air – I grew up hearing the stories of my parents working and meeting one another in the North, and watching this show is like seeing those stories play out on the screen. Arctic Air is a primetime drama about a northern airline, based in Yellowknife. It’s like a dramatized version of the reality series Ice Pilots.
2. Flashpoint – This is a dramatic series based on a fictionalized version of the ETF (Emergency Task Force) in Toronto. It’s not completely realistic – my dad had a neighbour in the city that quit the real-life ETF because it was “too boring”! But in the series Flashpoint, a team of skilled police officers deal with hostage negotiations, bomb threats, shootings and more every episode. The unique thing about Canadian cop shows is that they often deal with the internal turmoil that officers deal with when they are required to use their guns, and then the emotional aftermath of taking a life. Flashpoint handles this really well.
3. Heartland – If you like horses, you’ll love this show. If you don’t like horses, you’ll love this show anyway! Heartland is a super family-friendly drama about a teenaged girl and her family coming to grips with the death of her mother. She becomes a bit of horse-whisperer, and helps a number of people in the process. Heartland is totally safe for kids!
4. Republic of Doyle – Doyle is a fun show about a family of P.I.s. It’s funny and light-hearted, and the story lines tend to involve alot of crashes and explosions (with very few guns). And of course, it takes place in Newfoundland, and the accents are great! (Where ya to, b’y?)
5. Rookie Blue – We just started watching this series about a group of rookie police officers in Toronto. The plot lines draw you in, and the characters are relatable. And of course, the constant references to the landmarks, street names and cities that make up the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) help too.
6. Murdoch Mysteries – Murdoch is a turn of the century police procedural that subtly pokes fun at current events and cultural norms, while maintaining a solid storyline and intriguing plots. And it’s mostly safe for kids too!
7. Corner Gas – We had a crazy cold vacation a couple of years back. We spent alot of time huddled in our tent watching old episodes of Corner Gas. It’s a half-hour comedy that has a totally Canadian sense of humour. The premise is based on the experiences of a gas station owner out in the quiet prairies of Saskatchewan. As you can probably imagine, his experiences are pretty tame. But really, really funny! There’s some rough language, but Corner Gas is mostly safe for older kids.
Have you watched any of these shows before? What’s your favourite Canadian TV series?