Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Despite Flashpoint’s Success, Canadian Dramas Still Have Many Challenges

We noticed a new article today in the news, coming from Jason Anderson of the Canadian general interest magazine, The Walrus. Jason’s article features some insightful comments from Flashpoint co-creators Stephanie Morgenstern and Mark Ellis about the show’s identity and why it took the direction it did. We learned at least one new thing: we’ll have to change our familiar episode summary opener from "We begin in medias res" to "Today’s Cold Open…" The show has had huge international success which has opened the door for quite a few other Canuck dramas (with co-production agreements with the United States). However, Canada still faces challenges supporting home-grown drama in its own country , since we are exposed to media from all over, especially the US. Mary Jane Miller, a Professor Emeritus at Brock University suggests that the best ones didn’t try to “look American” but rather displayed moral tolerance, open-ended narrative structures, and experimented with the medium itself. At the same time, there is a lot of pressure for Canadian shows to be just like American ones since they are hugely popular in the Great White North. It has taken a while for Canadian shows to find the perfect balance between trying to have the same sorts of appeal that the American dramas have, while still staying true to a unique, Canadian, identity. The article also chronicles the plight of other Canadian TV series at home and abroad. It’s a bit of a long read and a few things were omitted, but it’s still nonetheless an interesting read.

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