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CBC Announces Fall Schedule

Strays, TV series, image,
Promotional photo from the series Strays courtesy of CBC.

CBC Announces Fall Schedule
by Staff Editors

(June 2, 2021 – Toronto, ON) CBC has announced its fall television and streaming schedule using both a slick online video we were invited to watch, along with follow-up media releases. The video began with a brief introduction from Barbara Williams, Executive Vice-President, CBC who said in part, “…we remain focused on serving all Canadians by delivering what no other media company in Canada can offer all in one place: the essential information audiences rely on each and every day, and authentic, engaging entertainment that reflects the diverse, fascinating spirit of our country.” That diversity can be seen in the above promo photo for one of the new series, Strays.

That commitment to diversity was underlined by Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports at CBC when she said “Our new slate of original programming is an embodiment of our promise to better represent and reflect more people, places and perspectives across the country in new ways, and we look forward to sharing this remarkable range of Canadian storytelling.”

The 2021-22 programming schedule for CBC-TV and CBC Gem features over 35 new and returning original series from Canadian creators, producers and storytellers across all genres. Here’s a quick breakdown of some new comedy series coming this fall.

Sort Of (Premieres Tues. Oct. 5 on CBC Gem and Tues. Nov. 9 on CBC TV; eight 30-minute episodes, Sphere Media’s Sienna Films) from creators Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), is a big-hearted dramatic comedy about Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family. Sabi feels like they’re in transition in every aspect of their life, from gender to love to sexuality to family to career. When Sabi’s best friend 7ven (Amanda Cordner) presents them with an opportunity to live and find themself in the “queerest place in the galaxy,” Sabi instead makes the decision to stay and care for the kids they nanny after their mom has a serious bike accident. Do they regret it? Sort of. A coming-of-age story, Sort Of is a show about how each and every one of us is in transition.

Strays (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14 on CBC TV and CBC Gem; ten 30-minute episodes, Thunderbird Entertainment) follows Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) from Kim’s Convenience as the new executive director of the Hamilton East Animal Shelter, where she is boss to an eclectic staff. Now in her 30s, Shannon is ready for a change and new challenges. She’s putting Toronto in the rearview to focus on her new job, new relationships, reuniting with family and learning more about herself. Shannon’s trademark positivity is put to the test as she manages an oddball team, including her apathetic cousin Nikki (Nikki Duval), her over-eager animal care manager Kristian (Frank Cox O’Connell), her overly sheltered office manager Joy (Tina Jung) and the building’s maintenance guy Paul (Tony Nappo), whose straight-faced prison humour keeps everyone on their toes.

Run the Burbs (Winter 2022; thirteen 30-minute episodes, Pier 21 Films) is created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience) and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon). The series follows a young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs, featuring Phung as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids.

Son of a Critch (Winter 2022; thirteen 30-minute episodes, Project 10 Productions) is based on the award-winning, best-selling memoir from Mark Critch (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), created by Critch and Tim McAuliffe (The Office (U.S.), Last Man on Earth) and produced by Andrew Barnsley (Schitt’s Creek). This new original comedy is the hilarious and very real story of 11-year-old Mark coming of age in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the 80s. It’s a heartfelt window into the life of a child – much older inside than his 11 years – using comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and connect with the small collection of people in his limited world.

Returning series include Season 29 of This Hour Has 22 Minutes on Tues. Sept. 14; 24 30-minute episodes IoM Media; Season 3 of TallBoyz premieres Winter 2022 with eight 30-minute episodes, Accent Entertainment); Workin’ Moms starts Season 6 in the Winter of 2022 with thirteen 30-minute episodes; Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment), The Hal!fax Comedy Fest launches Season 25 with six 30-minute episodes; Pilot Light Productions); The New Wave of Standup comes from Just For Laughs TV and Season 2 features four 30-minute episodes. Keeping them laughing at CBC, its Season 19 for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival with five sixty-minute episodes from Frantic Films.

In Drama, audience favourites Murdoch Mysteries, Diggstown, Heartland, Coroner and Pretty Hard Cases are back starting in September. New drama to look for includes:

CBC Announces Fall Schedule, image,
Promotional photo from the drama series Moonshine courtesy of CBC

Moonshine (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14; 8×60; Six Eleven Media and eOne) from creator, showrunner and executive producer Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz), is a raucous, one-hour dramedy that tells the story of the Finley-Cullens, a dysfunctional clan of adult half-siblings battling for control of the ancestral business, The Moonshine, a ramshackle summer resort on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, two stars on a good day — and that day was in 1979. It’s an epic tale of lust, legacy and lobster, set against the backdrop of financial hardship, insane tourists, small-town intrigue and a long-buried secret that threatens to annihilate the Finley-Cullens once and for all. Featuring an ensemble cast including Jennifer Finnigan (Salvation), Anastasia Phillips (Reign), Emma Hunter (Mr. D), Tom Stevens (Wayward Pines), Alexander Nunez (Avocado Toast), Corrine Koslo (Anne with an E), Peter MacNeill (This Life), Erin Darke (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Farid Yazdani (Suits), Allegra Fulton (The Shape of Water) and Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s).

The Porter is a CBC and BET+ original series starting in the Winter of 2022; 8 sixty-minute episodes; Inferno Pictures and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films) is set in the 1920s and inspired by real events. Co-starring Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy), the series follows the true story of railway workers from both Canada and the United States joining together in the fight to give birth to the world’s first Black union. In the midst of the struggle there are loves lives and friendships that suffer and thrive. Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, The Porter focuses on the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal – known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.” They’re young, gifted, and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean and the U.S., and they find themselves thrown together in an era that boasts anything is possible. If change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it. Originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), and led by showrunners and executive producers Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul) and Marsha Greene (Private Eyes, Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People), and directors and executive producers Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape, Ransom, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls).

The Red (New greenlight, one-hour drama; Eagle Vision and Halfire Entertainment) is a fictional investigative series created and written by Canadian Métis director, writer and producer Marie Clements and inspired by real crimes. The Red follows Payton Thiso (Sarah Podemski) and Gia Jonsson (Sarah Gadon), two women from completely different backgrounds, who find themselves thrown together inside the newly formed Indigenous Task Force, looking for answers while unearthing the systemic racism within the criminal and social justice systems. Can these broken systems be fixed? Or do we need to build new systems from scratch?

There is lots more including a new reality show hosted by Shaun Majumder titled Race Against the Tide, where the world’s best sand sculptors try to finish their work before the unstoppable Bay of Fundy tide returns to wipe the beach clean. There are new documentaries, sports programming, a full slate of programs on the GEM streaming service. We’ll look at some of those features later in the year before those shows are set to premiere.