A year ago, I abandoned the Great White North for a life of sun and palm trees in Southern California. And while there are many (many) things to love about this new ‘Murican existence, there’s plenty to be homesick about when it comes to kickass Canadian television.
So yes, while U.S. Netflix is the promised land of binge watching, here are 17 reasons why Canadians should be smug about what’s on their TVs.
1. Canadians get Rookie Blue A MONTH earlier
Last summer I was too in awe of the sun to notice, but I most certainly sighed a giant “No faiiiir!” like a six year-old when Global announced Season 6 would premiere on May 21, while ABC set June 25 as its premiere date.
2. Don Cherry’s jackets
Do I care to listen to a single absurd word coming out of Don Cherry’s mouth? No. Do I care if he’s FINALLY run out of outrageous jackets to wear during first period intermission? YEP!
Speaking of Hockey Night in Canada, can I request that more people make GIFs of Ron looking defeated during Don Cherry’s tirades? I miss that man’s weary sighs.
4. Canadian medical dramas that don’t kill off their “Dreamy” doctors
Paging all ex-Grey’s Anatomy fans. You could fill the void with Global’s compelling series Remedy, provided a U.S. network would actually pick it up. It’s got family drama, tense medical emergencies and a wealth of familiar faces, including everyone’s favourite TV dad Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars), the dreamy Dillon Casey (Nikita), and the gorgeous Sarah Allen (SyFy’s Being Human). Seriously, WHY hasn’t this show got an American air date?
5. Canadian medical dramas that do kill off their “Dreamy” doctors
After Daniel Gillies spent more than a year pulling double duty filming The Originals for The CW and this Canadian medical drama, Saving Hope fans bid a tearful goodbye to Gillies in a very dramatic way when he was blown to smithereens. Take that, Shonda. (Just kidding! Please don’t kill me in a car accident.)
6. Canadians behind the camera
Do you know what Gregory Smith directed before he was given an episode of Arrow to helm this year? Saving Hope and Rookie Blue. And not just any episode of Rookie Blue, he was the director behind “Under Fire,” the penultimate episode of Season 4 that had viewers on the edge of their seats.
7. Canadians in front of the camera
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: there is an incredible number of talented Canadian actors who have gone out of their way to do Canadian television. From predominantly Canadian ensemble casts (here’s looking at you again, Remedy) to CBC’s short-lived Cracked starring David Sutcliffe (Gilmore Girls) to the Allan Hawco-led Republic of Doyle, which you could also say starred St. John’s, Nfld. as much as it did the Canadian actor.
8. 19-2’s buzziest episode
The grisly police drama – which comes on the heels of the French Canadian version that premiered in 2011 – is darker and twistier than any cop show in ‘Murica. The Season 2 premiere blew fans and critics’ minds with a 13-minute single shot with no cuts, while dealing with an intense school shooting.
9. The Bachelor Canada
Who did Tim Warmels give a first impression rose to? How many times was “for the right reasons” said? Was there a proposal? What did the “Women Tell All” about? I DON’T KNOW. Because I don’t get CityTV’s The Bachelor Canada as part of my cable package.
10. Hockey Wives
W Network’s answer to the entire Real Housewives franchise is actually incredibly heartwarming and genuine. The women are supportive; they deal with real life issues (husbands retiring, raising children, defining their life outside of their famous significant other’s) and still have fun. Or so I’ve heard … it’s not like a U.S. network has picked it up yet.
11. Canadian reality TV in general
I dare you to find an American Big Brother fan in the world that doesn’t want more Big Brother to watch in the off-season. But can they watch bitchy Canadians backstab each other in the dead of winter? Nope. (Apply this to Amazing Race Canada, MasterChef Canada, Come Dine With Me Canada and Chopped Canada. Hey, we like our food shows!) OK, so SOME of us get Chopped Canada. Still not enough.
12. Context, context, context
Believe it or not Love It or List It AND Love It Or List It: Vancouver have made it south of the border (though the latter is simply titled Love It or List It Too). However, Americans will never understand why Canadians are throwing hissy fits about being shown homes north of the Danforth or on Vancouver’s Eastside. And that’s half the fun!
13. X Company
CBC’s latest World War II-era spy thriller was picked up for a second season in March, with an increase in the episode order. I assume that means it’s captivating new TV (from Flashpoint’s Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern), but I’ll have to take my Canadian compatriots’ word on it.
14. CBC’s original programming in general
In an insane flight of fancy, a U.S. network (POP, to be precise) actually picked up newbie comedy Schitt’s Creek. I’m as surprised as you, really. But there’s still no love for Canada’s longest-running scripted drama Heartland. And I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of Mr. D down here.
CTV’s foray into the daytime talk show realm, The Social has proven women can have differing opinions, discuss them, and not storm off and quit the show over them. (Guys, The View has had some issuessss in recent years.) Bonus: The Jess Files! #JessicaAllenismyhero
16. The Book of Negroes
The CBC miniseries about a woman sold into slavery on a South Carolina plantation caught the attention of 1.7 million Canadians for its first episode, making it the highest-rated original drama for CBC since Road to Avonlea (which, if was still on the air, would also be on this list– call me, Felix King!). Since its Canadian success, Book of Negroes has managed to land on BET in the U.S., but the Great White North gets all the credit for it.
17. Canadian TV that has found success and kickass fans
Even though I’ve listed countless shows the U.S. is depriving me of, I feel compelled to give a shout out to the shows that are killing it internationally (before you lynch me in the comments for not referencing them). Big ups to Orphan Black – specifically Canadian stars Tatiana Maslany and Jordan Gavaris–for winning over audiences around the world. Degrassi boasts generations of fans State-side, who are perhaps more obsessed than any Canadian. Lost Girl takes its final bow this year but it has one of the most dedicated fanbases ever in North America. Rookie Blue fans are a global phenomenon from its home base, Toronto, to Australia and back. High five, Canadian TV!
What do you love about Canadian television? Tell us in the comments below.
A recently transplanted Canadian in La-la Land, Joan is a pop culture Junkie, punctuation enthusiast and unabashed 1D fan. When she's not mixing up a cocktail and binging old episodes of Roswell or Parenthood on Netflix, you'll find her offering unsolicited TV opinions to anyone on the street. In 2014, she rejoiced at the return of Alex Trebek's moustache on Jeopardy!