Friday, November 05, 2010

Best Canadian TV Shows of Ever

On Tuesday November 2nd, I attended one of the Industry Galas that made up the 25th Annual Gemini Awards. If you don't already know, the Geminis are the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy's, honouring achievement in television broadcasting from best visual effects to best documentary series.

And besides giving me a chance to creep around minor Canadian celebrities (are there any other kind!?), it got me thinking about what Canadian TV stands out for me. And I realized quickly, that the shows I think of as my favourites have a few things in common: (1) they're off the air (2) they're mostly comedic (3) they're mostly "for kids".

But without further rationalizing the subjectivity of this subjective list, here are the best Canadian television shows ever...

10) Reboot
This is more of a representative pick because there's just so many great cartoons to pick from. And of course, I couldn't bear giving a shout-out to The Raccoons or The Smoggies. Plus, being the first completely computer animated TV series has to got to count for something.

9) Kenny Vs Spenny
Brilliant both in its simplicity and stupidity, KVP is almost always entertaining. No genre? No problem.

8) The Newsroom
Consistently funny and smart (without being smug) the Newsroom is probably the most pleasantly surprising comedy CBC ever aired.

7) You Can't Do That On Television
This kids sketch comedy show not only gave little Alanis Morissette her first big break, but it was so irreverent and fun that it later bolstered the ratings of the then fledgling Nickelodeon network in the US.

6) The New Music
Canadian TV's answer to Rolling Stone Magazine, the show was ground breaking when it started in 1979 and managed to stay relevant until its cancellation in 2008.

5) The Kids in the Hall
Canadians have this comedy shit on lock. The Brits have punk rock, we have sketch shows.

4) Mr. Dressup
Next to the Simpsons and Seinfeld, I've probably watched more hours of Mr. Dressup than anything else. Please don't confuse it with the creepier, American Mr. Rogers.

3) Degrassi Jr. High
I think being a teenager was a lot easier for me since I got to see it all go down when I was still just a little kid. Teen melodrama never looked this ugly (that's a good thing).

2) Fraggle Rock
Who doesn't love the Fraggles? The music, the characters, the concept - they're all "rock" solid. Add in the fact that the left-field Canadian poet bpNichol wrote on several episodes, and you get an idea of the homespun brilliance that was FR.

Second City Television was unendingly hilarious and innovative. Crap, what else can I say? Pound for pound, funnier than Saturday Night Live.

Honorable Mentions:
Today's Special, Dear Aunt Agnes, The Rick Mercer Report, My Secret Identity, Mantracker, Nanalan, Fashion Television, Kidstreet, The Wedge, Wok with Yan!, King of Kensington, Catwalk

And if I was looking to make a list of dramatic series, I'd probably include stuff like:
Intelligence, Slings & Arrows, Street Legal, Traders, DaVinci's Inquest

What I miss?


  1. Update!

    Funnily enough, the Geminis have since announced their own list of Canada's 25 Favourite TV Shows (as voted online by Canadians):

    1. Degrassi (1980 - Present)
    2. Flashpoint (2008 - Present)
    3. Mr. Dressup (1967 - 1996)
    4. Anne of Green Gables (1985)
    5. Durham County (2007 - Present)
    6. Holmes on Holmes (2001 - Present)
    7. Due South (1994 - 1999)
    8. Being Erica (2008 - Present)
    9. Corner Gas (2004 - 2009)
    10. The Friendly Giant (1958 - 1985)

    the rest of the results are here:



Oh, be nice...