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October 3, 2015


Pamela Anderson as the Virgin Mary? Only in Canada

by Denette Wilford, posted Nov 14th 2011 3:25PM
pamela anderson, pam anderson, russell peters

Think of actresses who can convincingly play the Virgin Mary. Got it? OK, who made the cut? Emma Watson? Chloe Moretz? Dakota Fanning? Mary was supposed to be about 14 years old when Jesus was born; otherwise, if she were older, names like Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet may have popped up.

But how about Pamela Anderson? Yep, that Pamela Anderson. Well, it's happening in Canada, and for a Christmas special, no less.

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The Battle of the Skating Shows

by Stephanie Earp, posted Nov 22nd 2010 7:10PM
Tonight at 8PM, the second season of 'Battle of the Blades' will conclude on CBC after naming a winner from among the three remaining teams. Mere seconds after Bryan Adams claims in song that there will never be another tonight, ABC and CTV will attempt to prove him wrong, debuting 'Skating with the Stars' at 9PM ET/PT. I have a number of problems with this -- so many in fact, that I'm going to resort to a bulleted list format.

1. Why not franchise 'Battle of the Blades' instead of 'Skating With the Stars'?

If the U.S. had come up with a successful skating competition show, you'd better believe we'd be watching some Canadianized version of it, the rights bought and paid for. Call this hypothetical show 'So You Think You Can Battle with Celebrity Blades of Canada' or whatever, but if the success had been developed south of the border, and if Canucks had decided to go ahead with our own version without buying the rights, there'd be a lawsuit.

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The New Biopics: Undistinguished Canadians

by Stephanie Earp, posted Mar 29th 2010 5:02PM

On Sunday night, I watched 'Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story' on CBC because, as my beloved said, "We kind of have to, don't we?" I think he was thinking of my job as a Canadian TV columnist, our status as hockey fans or maybe he only meant there wasn't much else on.

But watch it we did (the first half anyway - the rest airs Monday March 29, 8 pm, CBC) and frankly, I thought it was pretty good, and I'm a little surprised about it.

CBC miniseries are not usually my cup of tea. The subjects are usually dead white guys who made Important Contributions to Our Country, which I always feel I'm supposed to know about already.

Don Cherry even agrees with me. "I feel like I should be dead," he said at a press conference for the series. "Don't they usually do these kinds of movies about dead people?"

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I'll Say It: Worst. Olympics. Ever.

by Stephanie Earp, posted Feb 19th 2010 1:30PM

Worst Olympics Ever.

Oh I'm sorry, am I not allowed to say that? Because on Day 2 of the Games, I almost got into a Facebook fight with an old friend when he posted a status update that accused those of us with discerning tastes and sharp tongues of not supporting our country. He got an argument from me, but support from pretty much everyone else.

I guess VANOC is like our troops in the PR war. Nelly Furtado's lip synching is the shock and awe of the Olympiad. Isn't this how Bush got elected a second time?

Not only am I not sorry for coming out and saying that The Vancouver Games and the TV coverage of the Games suck, I'm actually kind of enjoying myself.

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Who's the Jerk? TV Tax, Local TV and You

by Stephanie Earp, posted Nov 24th 2009 11:14AM

If you watch TV in Canada, by now you've seen the warring ad campaigns. One claims a TV tax is coming your way, and the other says we should save local television.

Neither of these is exactly true. The real issue here is something called 'fee for carriage' - a debate that's come up several times before now. To put it simply, TV networks (nets) want the CRTC to make the cable and satellite companies (cablesats) pay them a little something for the privilege of airing their shows.

I haven't broached the topic before now because - let's be honest - the only thing more boring than Canadian television is a political argument about Canadian television. I'm kidding! (Sort of). But at this point, I've seen these commercials a lot more often than I have 'Being Erica' or 'Flashpoint' and I'm guessing the same goes for the rest of Canada. So who are the jerks? Is it the nets, asking for cash without saying how they'll spend it? Is it the cablesats, squeezing the customer for higher bills when they already make a fortune? Or is it us, the Canadian people, who always say we want more and better Canadian television, and then never watch it? As is frequently the case in arguments like these, we're all jerks.

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'Flash Forward' May Be Flash in the Pan

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Sep 8th 2009 10:37AM

CTV and ABC are promoting their new apocalyptic drama, 'Flash Forward', as the new 'Lost'. Starring Joseph Fiennes from 'Shakespeare in Love', John Cho ('Harold and Kumar', 'Star Trek') and Brian F. O'Byrne ('Million Dollar Baby'), there is certainly no dearth of star power. And the premise - an unexplained, cataclysmic event causes the Earth's entire population to pass out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds - isn't bad either. But there's something about the show that's lacking.

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Canadian TV legend Les Lye dead at 84

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jul 24th 2009 8:01PM
Les Lye as Barth from Just when it seemed the wrath of the TV celebrity grim reaper finally decided to take his coffee break, the break room runs out of coffee.

Actor and comedian Les Lye passed away on Tuesday from unidentified causes. He was 84.

Of course, here in the States, we know Les as that old guy who played all of the adults on You Can't Do That On Television on Nickelodeon. That was just the tip of the poutine for TV's Ross Ewich.

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Canada's laugh reserves running dangerously low

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 4th 2009 8:14PM
The nation of Canada, as viewed through South ParkAmericans might be running out of money, steady jobs and patience, but Canadians are dealing with an equally depressing depletion.

And no, it's not beer. A shortage of Canadian beer would be a blessing, not a curse.

Variety reports that the land of milk and hockey is low on laughs because the CTV network hasn't produced a new hit sitcom that has won the nation's maple syrup pumping hearts.

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Canadians: where to find your favorite US shows online

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Nov 11th 2008 11:47AM
One of the most frustrating things of blogging about US TV series is the fact that I can't watch episodes or most of the webisodes on the official network sites because I live in Canada. I can't even have access to content on Hulu and the like because of International Internet laws (or lack thereof) and distribution rights issues. I don't know all the legalities behind this but I find it weird that on my basic cable set up I have access to US-based channels for all major networks (except The CW) and yet, I can't access the full content of US-based network websites.

Since I've started blogging here on TV Squad, I've read many comments from international readers saying that they can't watch episodes or videos we embedded in our posts. It's irritating to follow a link to a video and see "This episode is currently only available to viewers living in the United States." Therefore, I researched the web to find websites where Canadians could watch US TV series online and in all legality (of course, people in the US can watch episodes online at AOL TV, Hulu, etc.).

Here is a list of "Canadians welcomed" websites that stream US TV shows. You can thank me later.

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Canadian TV coverage of the US elections

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Nov 4th 2008 8:00AM
CanadaIf you are not a Canadian, you probably didn't know we had federal elections in mid-October. However, Canadians know very well the U.S. election is going on right now and that the vote is today since we are neighbors and because American economy affects Canada's.

This past year, and especially since Obama and McCain really started to campaign a few weeks ago, the news airing on Canadian TV stations have all included some type of coverage and updates about the U.S. elections. Some of the 24-hour news stations even had special shows that lasted hours, for example, during the first presidential debate, to update us on the goings-on of the American election. So it's no surprise if that there is some sort of U.S. election coverage on Canadian TV channels tonight.

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The chances for a Flashpoint pickup are good

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 26th 2008 10:22AM
FlashpointAll right, let me say this up front and without equivocation: if CBS picks up Flashpoint and cancels Swingtown, I'm going to be ticked off. I'm not down on Flashpoint. As Jane wrote, Flashpoint is a good show. No 24, but solid procedural entertainment. However, when I read that Canada's CTV has renewed up north and sources say that CBS is close to doing the same, I immediately got my back up.

Why should Flashpoint get a break while an interesting, quirky and outside-the-box drama like Swingtown may not? It's disheartening to me that CBS is searching for a cable network to take Swingtown, while a "safe" crime show like Flashpoint doesn't have that concern.

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CBS starts to outsource writing

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 29th 2008 12:01PM
CBSWhen the WGA Strike originally started, I recall someone presenting the solution to me that the networks could import shows from other countries. Well, it looks like CBS is doing just that.

CBS has teamed with Canada's CTV to produce a police drama called Flashpoint. Mind you, this is far from the first time an American company has partnered with a production company from another country. HBO and the BBC have several shows they have co-produced, including Extras.

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What I'm watching this summer: Isabelle's list

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jun 8th 2007 12:40PM
Big BrotherSummer is here and so are new TV shows. I haven't watched summer TV for the past 16 years or so because I had a summer job away from home where there was one TV for about 200 persons (yikes!). Okay, I did watch some thanks to two VCRs, tons of tapes, and family members who went to my house a few times during the summer to change tapes and reprogram both VRCs. I know, I'm a TV addict.

Summer 2007 will be kind of special for me because the TV/me ratio will now be 4/1 and I'll be able to watch everything live. Granted that I don't get channels like HBO, Showtime, Sci Fi, and USA, I'm sure I'll still be able to watch a few entertaining series or should I say, reality shows?

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Beat this, Ausiello! All of Canada has Grey's episode 2 spoilers!

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 22nd 2006 11:43AM
Grey's season 3 premiereAfter I posted about the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy, a few of our commenters from the Great White North mentioned that CTV showed episode two by mistake, leaving them in the cold regarding episode one. Indeed, in some parts of Canada, the network did air the wrong episode in its usual Thursday at 8 PM timeslot, due to what they called a "satellite feed error" at the source (what's the source? ABC? CTV headquarters?). Anyway, they apologized and said they'll air the season premiere at a later date. Of course, many Canadians get American networks on their cable systems, so they likely caught episode one at 9 on ABC. But that means they're a week ahead of us now. First they get universal health care, now this. Lucky buggers.

There are rumors going around that episode two was supposed to be the season premiere, with what Americans saw yesterday being episode two. But Shonda Rhimes switched the order after ABC told her viewers would get too confused. Hm. Dunno. Seems pretty clear this was a continuation of last season's finale. Maybe there was some heavy rewriting and re-editing. Not sure.

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Canada, meet MTV

by Anna Johns, posted Mar 21st 2006 9:06AM
mtv canadaMTV is coming to Canada in a very big way. For years, MTV was banned from launching on Canadian Radio-Television by television watchdogs. MTV made a brief appearance from 2002 to 2004, but went off the air after receiving a dismal audience. Beginning today at 6 pm ET, MTV will launch on a number of platforms. First, MTV is launching an analog channel that is tailored to the Canadian audience, with original talk shows and documentary programming. It also launches a broadband channel, called MTV Overdrive, which makes all sorts of MTV content available for viewing on high speed internet. There will also be MTVonCTV blocks of programming six nights a week on CTV, video available for download on iPods and the like, and Video on Demand.

Canada, there's something you should know about MTV. It's called Music Television, but there's rarely any actual music.

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