Monday, January 14, 2008

This Is Not Your Mother's CBC

Says the latest full-page ad touting the launch of the Mothercorp's Winter Prime-Time Schedule, and they are not kidding. I guess the bad news is CBC 2.0 won't be bringing us anything along the lines of SCTV, The Kids In The Hall or Donald Brittain-calibre documentaries, then.

CBC has recently seemed to me to be about three or four years behind most TV trends. Their biggest ratings hit of late, Little Mosque on the Prairie, bears more than a passing resemblance to Corner Gas, a successful CBC-esque show airing on the private broadcaster for three or four years now.

This season, CBC has:

- their own 24 (The Border, with lots of Kiefer-meets-David Caruso squinting through Raybans, jittery shots of computer monitors, gunmetal grey interrogation rooms, dialogue revolving around the phrases "intel" and "satellite uplink" and gunfights in parking lots with shutter-strobe photography.)

- their own Footballers' Wives (MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives): bare bums in the locker room and flashes of boobies after 9 PM! Here's a telling quote from one of the actresses on the show (italics mine): “I remember my jaw dropping when the script for the pilot had a sex scene that involved double-teaming. It never shows that happening, but I remember going, ‘What? For the CBC, a threesome is pretty risqué!'”

- a Reality Bites-esque Gen-Y comedy called J-Pod billed wincingly as "a full terabyte of dysfunctional" but which at least has Alan Thicke as a sleazy dad. That still won't be enough, though.

- their own wacky one-woman Sex In The City called Sophie (itself a remake of a Quebec sitcom) which seems to have incorporated every Cosmo cliché imaginable without irony: the gay best friend, the domineering mother, etc. The tagline for the show is "And the craziness hasn't even begun!", which I imagine they can use for the entire run of the series.

Well, at least it's writers strike reruns in the States and that will allow these shows a rare chance to be seen. And whether or not it all works out, I guess this means maybe in 2010 the CBC will have an ersatz Desperate Housewives or Entourage to push, perhaps while mocking the kind of shows they are running now.

Hey, and what's wrong with the old CBC anyway? It was awesome! I think the braintrust ignores this at their peril.


Michael said...

But people don't like anything progressive anymore, do they? Is it the CBC or is it Canada? I can't figure it out either but it seems too glaring that everything has to be considered the glory days. I still hold hope. I must!

My friend is the DOP on Border.

Jesse said...

Maybe the culture here is less progressive than it used to be.

My thing with the CBC is I wish they were taking more chances... the chance they take now is if they are going to make the same shows the private broadcaster makes with public money, isn't that sort of a waste of public money? Don't they have a mandate to make shows that are more risky and uncommercial? Or is that too Pollyanna-ish of me? The BBC has MI-5 (Spooks over there) and no one would think they were watching 24 while watching that. And in a way, 24 is more Canadian than anything a Canadian channel could come up with - their rotating cast over the years is littered with ACTRA members.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I miss the Taxi and WKRP re-runs at midnight.