There are many stories being told by so many different voices. It’s one of the best things to come out of having so many TV series on our screens over the past year. It means that viewers have many different options available to them to find a story that they can connect with, relate to and that truly speaks to them. It also means that a more diverse pool of voices are now getting the opportunity to create and tell those stories. As we’ve always done here at The TV Junkies, that also means celebrating all the women getting their chance to create television.
The past year was another big year in Canadian television for female creators. While not as large or vast as the U.S. industry, Canadian TV is producing some quality content, and a great amount of the series to come out of the Great White North are created by and led by women. As we reflect back on the year that was, we thought it would be the perfect time to shine the light once again on all these powerful, talented lady bosses out there making Canadian television.
Credits: Showrunner of CBC’s Anne with an E
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: In Season 2 of the “Anne of Green Gables” adaptation, the former Breaking Bad writer went even bolder, and made the world of Avonlea even more inclusive. From introducing the first black character to confirming that there will be multiple queer characters, Walley-Beckett continues to use the series as a vehicle to explore more themes from today, and to trigger important conversations among viewers. Along with her all-female writing room, Walley-Beckett is now eyeing a third season that will undoubtedly continue to expand the world and horizons of its fierce young protagonist.
Aurora Browne / Meredith MacNeill / Carolyn Taylor / Jennifer Whalen
Credits: Creators and stars of CBC’s Baroness Von Sketch Show
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: The four women writers, stars and executive producers are behind the sketch comedy series that returned to both CBC and IFC in the U.S. for Season 3. Already renewed for a Season 4, the series continued to move briskly from sketch to sketch, using everyday life to be more perceptive than ever. Baroness continues to showcase women’s voices in areas we’ve traditionally seen reserved for men only, all while giving us tons of laughs along the way.
Credits: Showrunner of SYFY/Space’s Wynonna Earp
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: From the cold, harsh shoots in Calgary to the hot sun and bright lights of the People’s Choice Awards red carpet, Wynonna Earp continues to defy expectations. The demon hunting superhero show boasts an incredibly passionate fanbase that has helped the series win awards and early renewals, all while Andras and her team continue to throw even more drama and high stakes their way. After giving birth at the end of Season 2, Wynonna returned ready to fight and break the curse once and for all in Season 3. While she may have succeeded, Andras has ensured that Wynonna still has plenty to fight for, and with higher stakes than ever before, when she show returns in 2019 for Season 4.
Tassie Cameron and Tara Armstrong
Credits: Cameron is executive producer and showrunner of Mary Kills People. Armstrong is creator and co-executive producer of Mary Kills People.
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: In dealing with a very serious subject, Cameron and Armstrong again joined forces to deliver another stellar season of Global’s original drama series which also aired on Lifetime in the U.S. The character-driven series follows Dr. Mary Harris (Caroline Dhavernas), as she works as an underground angel of death, and had every episode of Season 2 written by a woman. In Season 2, the world of Mary Kills People became even more intense and with higher stakes, but never lost sight of the characters at its core and heart behind the stories.
Credits: Showrunner of CBC’s Little Dog
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: Not only does White serve as showrunner and executive producer on the CBC comedy series that follows boxer Tommy “Little Dog” Ross (Joel Thomas Hynes) on his quest for redemption, but she has directed several episodes as well. She’s not the only woman taking the reins behind the scenes either, as Season 2 of Little Dog will feature all female directors. Focusing on family and second chances, Little Dog uses White and Hynes’ Newfoundland roots to create a compelling little world with some very unique characters that help make this series much more than your standard comeback story.
Credits: Creator, executive producer, director and star of CBC’s Workin’ Moms.
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: It takes a lot of guts to throw your main character a huge curveball the way Workin’ Moms did to Reitman’s Kate at the end of Season 2. The mom and budding entrepreneur at the center of the CBC comedy series never saw it coming, and we’re betting viewers didn’t either. It was true to Reitman’s bold storytelling on a series that sheds light on the good and bad sides to juggling children and careers. Make no mistake, Workin’ Moms delivers the laughs each week, but it’s the strong emotional ties that we feel to the characters that makes it such an effective and important vehicle for exploring current and sometimes taboo issues.
Credits: Creator of SYFY/Space’s Killjoys
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: Lovretta may have handed over showrunning duties of the sci-fi drama’s last two seasons to executive producer Adam Barken, but it’s clear to anyone that watches that her influence remains. Lovretta also wrote a couple episodes of Season 4 that saw Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and the rest of Team Awesome Force expand even more upon the themes of found family. One of TV’s most diverse shows, Killjoys’ world got even more complex in Season 4, but never lost its sense of fun. While the Killjoys team may have wrapped the final two seasons behind the scenes, thankfully we still have Season 5 to watch before viewers have to say their final goodbyes.
Michelle Ricci / Carol Hay
Credits: Co-creators of CBC’s Frankie Drake Mysteries
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: The fictional female detective returned to 1920s Toronto for a Season 2 that continued to highlight women in all facets. Not only does Frankie Drake feature Lauren Lee Smith in the title role, alongside her partner Trudy (Chantel Riley), but the CBC drama also incorporated expanded stories for both Mary (Rebecca Liddiard) and Flo (Sharron Matthews). From renowned museums and high fashion houses, to dance halls and baseball leagues, no matter where they go, the women of Frankie Drake continue to be some of the smartest and most fearless around.
Credits: Showrunner of CBC’s Heartland
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: Orchestrating Canada’s longest-running family drama is no easy task, even when getting set to premiere an impressive twelfth season come January. A show that the family truly can sit and watch together, Heartland follows the ups and downs of a family who owns a horse ranch. The two sisters at the core of the show, Amy and Lou, along with friends and family, face personal struggles while relying on each other for guidance and support.
Credits: Showrunner of CTV’s Cardinal Season 2
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: Dodd took the reigns from Aubrey Nealon for the second round of the CTV drama series about a detective and his partner who investigate crimes in Algonquin Bay. Based on the novel by Giles Blunt, Dodd oversaw the series’ Blackfly Season, in which Det. John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) investigate the case of a young woman with a gunshot wound to the head and no recollection of how it happened. A solid crime drama that’s wonderful and intriguing to watch from start to finish, especially when the surprises are delivered right up until the very end!
Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan
Credits: Co-creators of OMNI’s Second Jen
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: The comedy series about friends Mo (Joy) and Jen (Wan), two second generation women from Chinese and Filipino families, moved from City to OMNI for Season 2. Highlighting the unique struggles challenging every second generation Canadian, Second Jen also tackles the universally understood challenge of becoming an adult as the women leave home and try to make it on their own. While trying to figure out how to navigate adulthood, the two women see that no matter what relationships or jobs come and go, it’s your friends that will always be there.
Credits: Co-showrunner of CTV’s The Detail
2018 Contributions to Canadian TV: The CTV procedural drama centered around three female homicide detectives working tirelessly to solve crimes, all while dealing with the realities of their lives on and off the job. Lukins helped developed the show for CTV and shared showrunning duties with Adam Pettle. The Detail was a welcome contrast to the predominantly male-driven arena of crime dramas on television, and featured a cast led by Wendy Crewson, Angela Griffin and Shenae Grimes-Beech.
Who are your favorite creators in Canadian television? Sound off about them in the comments below!