A Return to the Small Screen
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(January 3, 2019) What with reruns, regular series on winter hiatus, and the argument over how closeups on 4K sets can be truly frightening, just when you were about to give up on the small screen, the Winter season kicks off in a few days with, thankfully, the return of some favourites and a few new series worth looking at. As I wrote last year (well, just a few days ago), based on the nominations in the various television categories at the upcoming Golden Globes, it would seem like traditional network television is either in trouble, or is surviving nicely by not being as edgy as writers and directors can be on specialty channels where the F-word is so popular you think someone would have started the F Channel by now.
In the hope of being a little uplifted going into the new year, I watched a bit of the annual Rose Bowl Parade. I admit it’s one of those guilty pleasures but I used to like watching it because of the exuberance of the marchers, the creativity that went into building elaborate floats decorated in flower petals and the banal banter of the hosts adding a touch of unintended hilarity to the show. This year the highlight was a flyover by a B-2 Stealth Bomber that lasted less than 60-seconds. I gave up shortly after.
At the CBC, the Winter 2019 season kicks off on January 6 with Heartland and its 12th season. If you think 12 seasons is some sort of record, Heartland is followed by The Nature of Things which continues its remarkable 58th season on CBC.
Murdoch Mysteries continues its 12th season the next night, January 7, but the show I’m looking forward to is Coroner. Inspired by the best-selling books by M.R. Hall, the series costars Serinda Swan (pictured above) and Tamara Podemski. You have to be of a certain age to remember another CBC coroner series, Wojeck. It ran in the mid-1960s and starred John Vernon and was very compelling television for its time. With all of the return series, my hope is Coroner will inject a fresh concept into CBC’s tried and true schedule.
Fans of the hit comedy series Kim’s Convenience will welcome the start of Season 3 on January 8. It’s a night of comedy as Season 26 of This Hour Has 22 Minutes follows Kim’s Convenience and Season 5 of Schitt’s Creek follows This Hour.
Ever heard of Picnicface? Neither had I. The people behind Picnicface have come up with a new 8-part comedy series titled Cavendish that starts on January 8.
On January 9, a new 8 episode drama titled Unspeakable is about Canada’s tainted blood scandal.
On January 10, Workin’ Moms returns for its 3rd season.
You’re going to have to wait a bit for more new stuff, or greatly reworked stuff. A reboot of Street Legal launches on March 4. The new version features many of the original series cast including Cynthia Dale who reprises her role of Olivia Novak on the original series, which ran from 1987 to 1994. Keeping within the tried and trusted legal framework of so many series, another new show is Diggstown. It’s a legal aid drama set in Halifax that premieres March 6. Under New Management is a new factual series hosted by Arlene Dickinson. The first of four 30-minute episodes airs on March 15.
Over at CTV, really good news for fans of Cardinal. Season 3 of the worldwide success story returns January 24 as production on a fourth season will begin on January 30. Season 3 picks up immediately following the Season 2 cliffhanger finale surrounding the death of Detective John Cardinal’s (Billy Campbell) wife and follows the town’s latest gruesome double murder.
CTV will carry The 76th Annual Golden Globes on January 6, SuperBowl 52 on February 3 and The Academy Awards on February 24th. Most of the other news about CTV’s mid-Season shows was about U.S. series.
At Global, there is nothing to report when it comes to Canadian productions, but their lineup of U.S. favourites like The Blacklist, New Amsterdam, MacGyver, Bull and Survivor all return along with a new series titled The Titan, which is billed as “Dwayne Johnson’s Electrifying Athletic Competition.” If you like that sort of thing.
Ralph Lucas is the Founder and Publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.