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May 24, 2024 5:04 pm  #1


What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

You probably wouldn't think this is a question that would come from a guy who dislikes CanCon rules and CBC-TV so much. But despite that, I will admit Canada can occasionally turn out not only quality shows but in fact amazingly great ones. 

If you had to pick just one, spanning decades of Canadian television since the 1950s, which one would it be? A case can be made for Schitt's Creek, which swept the Emmy Awards for comedy in 2020. Perhaps you might nominate "Murdoch Mysteries," which seems to have been on the air since the early 1900s. Or how about Wayne & Shuster? Or maybe "This Hour Has Seven Days," an award winning public affairs show in the 60s? Or could it even be relatively mindless entertainment like "Hudson & Rex?

I know what my choice is and as far as I'm concerned nothing will ever beat it. It's SCTV, which was not only a great satire about television itself, but had a brilliant cast that became stars themselves. It even migrated to NBC, which is another incredible accomplishment for a Canadian-originated show. And it was hilarious just to add to its greatness! (I think the sample below may be my all time favourite. I know every line, but all these years later, it still makes me howl with laughter.)

I can't think of a show that could beat it for best Canadian program of all time. But maybe you can.

 

May 24, 2024 5:11 pm  #2


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

I'm not going to say "greatest" as that's subjective and depends on our age, but as for favourite, I'll vote Kids in the Hall.

 

May 24, 2024 6:13 pm  #3


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Well, in no particular order...   "King of Kensington", "Kids in the Hall" (The Chicken Lady), "SCTV" (all runs, Mrs. Falbo's Tiny Town), "The Galloping Gourmet", "The Trouble with Tracy"...  oh ya,  "The 20 Minute Workout"



 

 

May 24, 2024 6:18 pm  #4


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

I agree greatest is a bit much.  I always liked Corner Gas and still will watch it.  Some didn't see the humour but the word play and subtly of the writing was really funny.  Not into cop shows usually but Flashpoint was another of my favourites.  And of course SCTV which could be one of the greatest anywhere, and still influences comedy today.

 

May 24, 2024 6:19 pm  #5


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

I would vote for Street Legal. It educated viewers of the difference between the Canadian and American legal systems.

 

May 24, 2024 6:31 pm  #6


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

paterson1 wrote:

I always liked Corner Gas and still will watch it.  Some didn't see the humour but the word play and subtly of the writing was really funny.

100%. And probably could never have been exported elsewhere.
 

 

May 24, 2024 6:32 pm  #7


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Finkleman's "The Newsroom", Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Today's Special, Sidestreet and Littlest Hobo would get my vote(s)
 

 

May 24, 2024 6:40 pm  #8


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

SCTV is definitely my pick.

Have to agree with the writing on Corner Gas - and the cast was really well...um, cast.

And while it's a newer entry - I'll mention Letterkenny just for it's pure Canadian-ness. It probably had 2-3 too many seasons but was still enjoyable right to the end - and the writing was rather memorable.

Ken Finkleman's The Newsroom is still on my "to watch" list - it appears to be available on Prime. Thanks for the reminder Retrontario!
 

 

May 24, 2024 6:57 pm  #9


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

You've got to separate scripted TV shows like comedies and dramas from variety, or sketch shows.
Among the sketch shows SCTV is think is the GOAT.
Its humour and acting talent spilled over into the US and beyond.
As for scripted TV comedy tinged with drama it has to be The Beach Combers.
That show went worldwide and had classic acting from Bruno Gerussi and Robert Clothier.
As far as pure drama goes I have to stick with Degrassi High.
It was also watched around the world... and of course introduced future rap superstar Drake.
For panel/game show fare I have to say Reach For The Top.
It united the entire country as audiences cheered for their high school students from every corner of Canada.
(I'm kind of surprised it has never been revived -- maybe it's too expensive to mount nowadays).
There is also one other category, but in a more specialized area -- cartoon shows.
The original Spiderman cartoon series was superb for the time, even spawning a theme song that became internationally famous "Spider Man, Spider Man, does whatever a spider can..."
In a smaller way and more confined to Canada, who can forget "Rocket Robin Hood"
Incredibly low budget animation, and terribly corny, but boy what kid who saw it can ever forget it?
Oh, and to make a long post even longer, in the childrens' category you gotta love "The Friendly Giant."
"Look up..... waaaay up."
.



 

 

May 24, 2024 7:14 pm  #10


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Corner Gas

Kids in The Hall

This is the Law.

Front Page Challenge


I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
 

May 24, 2024 7:31 pm  #11


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Oh, yeas I forgot about This Is The Law.
and one piece of trivia -- it starred Paul Soles who played the fictitious "lawbreaker" character.
Soles was also the voice for the animated Spiderman series.  He played Peter Parker /
Spider Man.

 

 

May 24, 2024 8:19 pm  #12


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Far from being great but important to me... in the early sixties, a long way from the border and well before cable TV, CBC's "Music Hop" each Thursday with Alex Trebek.

 

May 24, 2024 8:33 pm  #13


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

My vote is for Due South. This quirky dramedy was the first Canadian-produced TV show to secure a prime time slot on a major U.S. network (CBS for almost two seasons). In addition to its unique blend of drama and off-kilter humor, it also showcased a good number of Canadian musicians with its soundtrack, many of which that had limited exposure south of the border.



PJ


ClassicHitsOnline.com...The place where all the cool tunes hang out!
 

May 24, 2024 9:24 pm  #14


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

newsguy1 wrote:

You've got to separate scripted TV shows like comedies and dramas from variety, or sketch shows.

I think all suggestions thus far have been great, regardless of genre.

newsguy1 wrote:

As far as pure drama goes I have to stick with Degrassi High.
It was also watched around the world... and of course introduced future rap superstar Drake.

Agreed - Degrassi (in its various incarnations up until the TV movie School's Out) was huge for me as the kids on the show were the same age as I was - they could've been my classmates.

Minor correction: Drake appeared on "Degrassi: The Next Generation", which debuted in 2001.

Last edited by Binson Echorec (May 24, 2024 9:26 pm)

 

May 24, 2024 9:38 pm  #15


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Hockey Night In Canada

maybe not as much now but if I could only get one 🇨🇦 tv show if stranded on a deserted island, it'd be HNIC

 

May 25, 2024 11:14 am  #16


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Orphan Black.


- Not an industry person.  Just a guy with a love of Toronto radio. 
 

May 25, 2024 11:20 am  #17


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

betaylored wrote:

Hockey Night In Canada

maybe not as much now but if I could only get one 🇨🇦 tv show if stranded on a deserted island, it'd be HNIC

Who wouldn't want to be stranded on a deserted island with Ron McLean?  Just don't turn your back if it comes down to the last coconut.
 

Last edited by Walter (May 25, 2024 11:21 am)

 

May 25, 2024 11:33 am  #18


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

One show that was hugely popular and was first only on a cable channel was Trailer Park Boys.  Showcase ran the series in Canada for 12 seasons and it was later picked up on Netflix. 
 
The mockumentary sitcom was very popular all through Europe but not initially in the US.  BBC America who had the rights to the show ran the edited version without the swearing.  All the profanity made the series much more realistic and funny.  Ricky, Julian and Bubbles all had potty mouths as did most of the cast.

This series influenced two other successful Canadian sitcoms with Craves Letterkenny and Shoresy.  But to a certain extent all of these and The Red Green Show can be traced back to SCTV with Bob and Doug and The Great White North in my opinion.  

 

 

May 25, 2024 1:58 pm  #19


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

I had forgotten about the Red Green show.
I simply don't understand how it became a hit, and even a movie.
I could not believe it when Steve Smith got the chance to make it after the execrable show he and his (ex?) wife had on CHCH.
It was called the Comedy Mill and it was utterly terrible.
He and his wife, I believe it was Morag, were like that supposedly "funny" couple you would meet at a friend's dinner party... only they were not funny, but tedious bores who you hoped you would never run across at another party.
 

 

May 25, 2024 6:27 pm  #20


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

I'd definitely cast my votes for Trailer Park Boys, The Red Green Show, Corner Gas and the Degrassi franchise. Trailer Park Boys was so ahead of its time when it first aired in 2001 that I think most people didn't realize just how unique and incredible it was even when I started watching it in 2007. A partially scripted pseudo-reality mockumentary series with an abundance of uncensored profanity, on a basic cable channel (Showcase) in the 2000s! It's nothing short of a miracle that it ever came to be, especially considering that The Comedy Network had turned it down. However, this is also the country where The Sopranos was broadcast for years uncensored on CTV; an over-the-air broadcast network.
It seems to me that we've traditionally been noticeably more liberal and edgy when it comes to both what broadcasters and regulators (concerning over-the-air TV) consider appropriate for public consumption.

 

May 25, 2024 8:28 pm  #21


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

When I was  kid I thought Cannonball was pretty great.


I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
 

May 26, 2024 9:32 am  #22


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

The NewMusic, great rock journalism, and an hour’s worth every week!

 

May 26, 2024 10:26 am  #23


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Hands down - The Trouble With Tracy!

 

May 26, 2024 1:25 pm  #24


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

The Littlest Hobo. 

 

May 26, 2024 1:42 pm  #25


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

jughead jones wrote:

Hands down - The Trouble With Tracy!

Steve Weston was a national treasure.  Too bad he fell from that roof.  Maybe he jumped after reading 'The Trouble With Tracy' reviews.
 

 

May 26, 2024 4:40 pm  #26


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Walter wrote:

jughead jones wrote:

Hands down - The Trouble With Tracy!

Steve Weston was a national treasure.  Too bad he fell from that roof.  Maybe he jumped after reading 'The Trouble With Tracy' reviews.
 

Steve Weston was a regular member of a rotating cast on the sketch series "Bizzare" in the 80s,  along with Billy Van, Tom Harvey and a few other Toronto area actors.
 

 

May 27, 2024 9:34 am  #27


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Walter wrote:

jughead jones wrote:

Hands down - The Trouble With Tracy!

Steve Weston was a national treasure.  Too bad he fell from that roof.  Maybe he jumped after reading 'The Trouble With Tracy' reviews.
 

 
"Isn't that awful?..."

 

May 27, 2024 9:47 am  #28


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Tq345 wrote:

Walter wrote:

jughead jones wrote:

Hands down - The Trouble With Tracy!

Steve Weston was a national treasure.  Too bad he fell from that roof.  Maybe he jumped after reading 'The Trouble With Tracy' reviews.
 

 
"Isn't that awful?..."

It certainly was!

     Thread Starter
 

May 27, 2024 11:03 am  #29


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

adding red green to the mix

Uncle Red is an excellent role model to engineering departments everywhere!
and we all have a little Harold in all of us! 

 

May 27, 2024 1:28 pm  #30


Re: What Is The Greatest Canadian TV Show Ever Made?

Glen Warren wrote:

Walter wrote:

jughead jones wrote:

Hands down - The Trouble With Tracy!

Steve Weston was a national treasure.  Too bad he fell from that roof.  Maybe he jumped after reading 'The Trouble With Tracy' reviews.
 

Steve Weston was a regular member of a rotating cast on the sketch series "Bizzare" in the 80s,  along with Billy Van, Tom Harvey and a few other Toronto area actors.
 

WUTV aired that show for YEARS in the late evening(of course, it was the censored version).