I don’t write much about television here, which is silly since we sure do watch enough of it. I joke with Carrie that we are “power users of the television set” — we are all about the PVR (DVR for those of you south of the border) and during the fall have at least one show most nights — which we then watch whenever we want thanks to the digital recorder. The recorder has the added benefit of allowing fast skipping of commercials, so that an hour show gets digested in 40 minutes. When you’re relaxing for two hours at the end of the night, that’s an extra show. We also get the NFL Sunday Ticket, which allows us to follow our favorite teams. Alas, today it will mostly be background noise as I’m way behind on a number of essential things I need to do.
I dream of someday making the time to write for Flow but right now I can’t even find time to go to their first-ever conference. So this entry will have to do.
Like many Canadians (I imagine), a good deal of what we watch originates from the United States, but there are a few Canadian shows that we also like.
Of particular note in the new season is Intelligence, a post-Wire cops-and-bad-guys procedural (yes Steven, you heard me right). After viewing the pilot, I’m ready to say that it promises to be one of the best shows on television this season. It is well written and performed, and has the edge of DaVinci’s City Hall (which may have been the best show on television during its very short run). As seems pretty common with CBC drama, this short reshuffles a small set of actors we’ve seen in a variety of other configurations. Most immediately recognizable to me are the people who were on DaVinci’s City Hall and Robeson Arms. But the characters are, interestingly, made to look a little older. And it’s not because I was watching reruns.
I won’t speak for all Canadian TV, but Chris Haddock’s shows definitely do things not possible on U.S. networks. Something like the Vancouver red light district in City Hall have a certain edge and lack of moralizing that one can’t escape in U.S. shows, even The Wire “hamsterdam.” For both, the district becomes an administrative nightmare, but in The Wire, it brings down careers — and we are treated to the left-over pathos at the start of this season. Haddock’s characters are slightly understated rather than “larger than life” and his shows have all taken on a sort of dark look to them that makes them immediately recognizeable. When I land in Vancouver in a little over a month, I half-expect to see it through a blue filter. I hear that Intelligence is being picked up in the U.S.