November 27, 2009

News: Possible second season for Producing Parker

A second season of Producing Parker is in the pipeline.  This item was mentioned by the Channel 56 blog, and confirmed on Breakthrough Films & Television’s website.

The show, originally set to debut on Canwest’s now-defunct E! network, debuted on TVtropolis this May.  Reruns currently air on Global and TVtropolis.  This entry will be updated as more information becomes available.  As of this writing, news is limited to “Producing Parker 2: until 2011.”

I assume this item has been up since October, as this Google cache mentions Breakthrough’s non-broadcast Gemini Award wins.  Producing Parker 2 was then in production “until 2010.”  I guess no one bothered to notice until this week.  I don’t know.

I’m not sure what to think of this.  Producing Parker is aired on TVtropolis far too much, sometimes in odd timeslots.  ”Twat” references and bare breasts at 6:00 PM on Sundays?  I understand cable channels are lax on censorship, but that’s bizarre scheduling.

The only Canwest specialty channel appropriate enough for Producing Parker is Showcase Diva.  While I’m not a big fan of Producing Parker, it deserves a better home than TVtropolis.  The show’s better than Bob & Doug, but so is colonic irrigation.

I’m surprised Producing Parker is a more-than-single-season wonder.  Are CanCon regulations keeping this show alive, or is there something to Producing Parker that I’m missing?


June 16, 2009

Picking Apart the Fall Schedules 2009-10: Canadian Network Prime-Time

The 2009-10 season, for most specialty stations and the broadcast networks, is weak in the homegrown TV show department.  Although I’ve only seriously talked about Canadian television since the 2008-09 fall season, very few Canadian shows set to debut in 2009-10 draw my interest.

I don’t know if this is due to the sluggish economy, a sea change in broadcasting vs. the Internet, or Canadian television needing to be there regardless of quality.  It has to be the conventional television business model.  It’s broken, you know!  Canwest can only afford to fill one network with American shows instead of two this year!  Also, buy a new GM car or truck!  It’s not going out of business, it’s getting down to business…by wasting money on unconvincing ads!

I don’t think there’s one new piece of CanCon on the Canadian network prime-time schedules that I can get excited about.  There are a few returning programs I can get behind, Less Than Kind leading that pack.  Cable is where the big boys play at this point, so I’ll try to whip up a few articles making fun of SPACE’s and TVtropolis’ schedules in the coming days.  I have to make up for recommending Hotbox somehow.

CityTV | The only worthwhile Canadian shows on CityTV this fall are Less Than Kind and Murdoch Mysteries, both returning shows.  What the hell, CityTV?  My RONA Home?  Ford Models Supermodel of the World Canada?  This is the best the network can do?

I’ll admit Conviction Kitchen has potential.  The show’s high concept is Hell’s Kitchen with criminals.  I’m just not sure the show will be any good.  I’m also not holding out for a third season of Less Than Kind once the second-season episodes have been burnt off.  Jesse Camacho will survive, but I doubt his show will.

There’s been talk about the lack of Canadian film representation on CityTV, but that’s just one of CityTV’s problems.  CityTV’s attempts at Canadian television are depressing enough.  CityTV should at least be able to compete with Canwest and give the greenlight to more than branded reality shows.  I’m not saying CityTV turned shit once Rogers took over, but I sometimes wonder if CityTV knows what it’s doing.  Wait, of course it does.  I mean, Jay Leno!

CTV/‘A’ | If Dan For Mayor is successful, Fred Ewanuick will become more well-known than he is now.  As it is, he’s “that guy from Corner Gas and/or Robson Arms” if he’s known at all.  His face is more recognizable than his name.  Ewanuick’s celebrity could meet Brent Butt’s the way his career trajectory is going.

I know how pithy the last sentence reads.  It’s Canadian television.  Just run with it.

I’m sure one of the two shows following in the wake of Corner Gas will be successful.  If both DFM and Brent Butt’s Hiccups do well, I won’t be surprised.  Corner Gas brought in the ratings, so there will be much interest in the follow-up projects.  That’s a rare quality in Canadian television.  Hey, one of the two shows might be genuinely funny.  Who knows?

As for returning shows, Degrassi: The Next Generation is back for some reason.  There’s a spinoff film attached to the show’s ninth (!!) season, which is weird as the show is dragging its ratings ass.  Flashpoint‘s back, like no one saw that coming.

Basically, CTV and ‘A’ are staying the usual CTVglobemedia television course – tons of hit American programs, with some CanCon to fill the cultural quota.  CTV’s central strategy hasn’t changed for years.  It’s the most-watched Canadian network, a fact CTVglobemedia endlessly trumpets.  I wish a network in this country could air something more exciting than So You Think You Can Dance Canada, but Canada, you know?

Global | Global’s literally coasting this year as Canwest prepares for bankruptcy and/or reorganization.  As such, its new fall shows are all American.  Shows on the immediate fall lineup include what’s left of The Guard, and reruns of The Jane Show.

Seriously, three-year-old reruns of The Jane Show are worthy for a spot on the 2009-10 fall lineup?  Since Saturday night is the graveyard of network television, throw out uncensored episodes of Billable Hours or move 16X9 from Sundays.  No one’s going to notice what Global flings out on Saturday night.  Air The Line, something, anything.  The Jane Show, honest to God…

CBC | Momco should be able to do better with its new programming than Canada’s Super Speller and Battle of the Blades.  CBC is horrible at reality programming – The Week the Women Went, Triple Sensation, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, it’s one big ball of there.  CBC does have Dragon’s Den, but it can hardly take the credit for porting that show over from Japan.

As for new shows, I have to admit a mild interest in The Ron James Show, Republic of Doyle and 18 to Life.  I say mild interest as the show I really want to see, Death Comes to Town, won’t air until after the 2009-10 season.  If any new CBC show can break through the culture of bland until Death Comes to Town, I’ll be happy.  I’m not holding my breath.

Returning shows on CBC are familiar enough – Little Mosque on the Prairie, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Rick Mercer Report, The Border, The Hour etc.  The lineup could be worse, but it could be better.

SUN TV | Argos Access.  That’s it as far as new programs go for SUN TV.  The station technically isn’t network, but what the hell.  Independent television stations in Canada aren’t easy to come by these days.

Here’s an idea, CBC: why not pick up the tab for King Kaboom‘s second season?  Those Toronto-centric criticisms will continue in stead, but that’s going to happen any time an intern drops a pencil at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre.  It’s not like SUN TV knows what to do with King Kaboom.  I pick on SUN TV, but it really should try harder.

E! | Ahhahahaha…


April 19, 2009

TV Review | Bob & Doug 1.1, 1.2 – “Back to School,” “No Country for Old People”

People seem to overlook the forces of CanCon that created the Bob & Doug (Global: starts April 19, 7:30 PM) phenomenon.  As has been exhaustively reiterated, CBC wanted Canadian filler for its version of SCTV Network 90, which was two minutes longer than the American version.

Not fond of the request, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas generally pissed around at the end of a shooting day, talking about various Canadian inanities in the most stereotypical manner ever.  The sketches were meant as throwaways, a collective up-yours to government-mandated culture.

Come 2009, Kanadian Korner/Great White North has spawned two albums, a feature-length film, an anniversary special and this new animated series.  It’s SCTV‘s most enduring cultural legacy, which is a shame as Count Floyd was a better character.  Bob and Doug get Strange Brew while Count Floyd rates a how-to video.  It’s an unfair 3D world…of slavechicks!  Ha ha ha!

I had apprehensions about Bob & Doug before it debuted.  This show had been languishing in development hell since at least 2003.  A preview was released as part of the Strange Brew DVD, but that title debuted on DVD in 2002.  Needless to say, I had visions of Bob & Doug being unwatchable.

Luckily, Bob & Doug isn’t horrible.  It’s not great, but it’s better than I figured it was going to be.  For an almost thirty-year-old franchise, Bob & Doug is surprisingly vital.

Dave Coulier is alright as the voice of Bob McKenzie, although he’s no Rick Moranis.  Dave Thomas is off-model as Doug McKenzie, which isn’t surprising since he’s edging sixty.  Thomas sounds more like himself than he does his principal character.  It doesn’t take away from Bob & Doug‘s quality, but it’s noticeable enough.

The voiceover cast includes Patrick McKenna, Derek McGrath, Neil Crone, Ron Pardo and Michael Dunston.  It’s a given that the voiceover acting is more jarring than in an American series, but casting Maurice LaMarche for an episode was a good move.  The last Canadian adult animated series I heard him in was Tripping the Rift, so Bob & Doug is a step up.  I’m also not surprised to hear Jayne Eastwood on the show, since she’s about one-quarter of all Canadian acting.

Bob & Doug takes the post-modern tack of many cartoons, ignoring the fourth wall and making self-aware references to itself.  There are asides where Bob & Doug cut from the action to explain the episode’s concept to the audience.  The show even parodies popular culture much like The Simpsons.  Bob & Doug is Strange Brew on steroids.

Of course, none of this matters if Bob & Doug isn’t funny, and it isn’t much of the time.  I can see the promise in the show, yet the gags are stitched together and have the subtlety of a jackhammer.  The talent’s there, the writing is sometimes good, but Bob & Doug doesn’t gel the way it should.  Strange Brew at least let the jokes unfold when it wasn’t trying to shoehorn Hamlet into a buddy-comedy format.

Bob & Doug‘s animation style honestly reminds me of John Callahan’s Quads!  Bob & Doug is not as badly-animated as Quads!Quads! didn’t even have backgrounds – but it’s still a typical Flash-animated cartoon.  Bob & Doug deserves better.

Fox helped develop Bob & Doug, yet its animated shows are usually of a higher standard than this.  Bob & Doug seems like a show Fox would air during the summer to burn off.  I’ll be amazed if Fox even airs Bob & Doug despite Bob & Doug McKenzie’s cross-border popularity.

While Bob & Doug McKenzie are true Canadian icons, I honestly can’t see a long future for Bob & Doug based on the cheap production values and uneven writing.  Of course, Chilly Beach looked worse than Bob & Doug yet found its niche, so anything can happen on Canadian television.  At the very least, Bob & Doug ought to earn higher ratings than ‘da Kink in My Hair.


April 17, 2009

TV Review | Sit Down, Shut Up 1.1, 1.2 – “Pilot,” “Miracle’s Are Real”

The main selling point of Sit Down, Shut Up (Fox/Global: starts April 19, 8:30 PM; 7:30 PM Central [Fox]) is that it’s a new series from Mitchell Hurwitz and Two and a Half Men writers/executive producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum.  Most people stop at the mention of the Tannenbaums and go “ew, Two and a Half Men? that show is shit!”  In all fairness, Two and a Half Men is shit, but let’s move on.

Sit Down, Shut Up is similar to Arrested Development in that it features Jason Bateman and Will Arnett in lead roles.  The show is fond of ludicrous character names – Bateman is everyman P.E. teacher Larry Littlejunk, while Arnett is English teacher/womanizer Ennis Hofftard.  Saturday Night Live castmembers also feature, with Will Forte, Cheri Oteri and Kenan Thompson earning some pay.

The pilot takes a while to introduce Sit Down, Shut Up‘s characters, hardly Knob Haven High School’s finest.  Littlejunk, Hofftard, New Agey science teacher Miracle Grohe (Kristin Chenoweth), Acting Principal Sue Sezno (Thompson), happily oblivious Ass. Principal Stuart Proszakian (Forte) and bisexual drama teacher Andrew LeGustambos (Nick Kroll) are the most focused-on.

Tom Kenny is terrorist/custodian Muhannad Sabeeh “Happy” Fa-ach Nuabar.  Oteri plays ugly, gruff librarian Helen Klench, while Henry Winkler rounds out the cast as German teacher Willard Deutschebog.  The pilot even goes so far as to underline key catchphrases, just in case Sit Down, Shut Up becomes popular and Mitchell Hurwitz needs to license some shirts.

Sit Down, Shut Up is ostensibly a remake of the same-named 2001 Australian sitcom, except that it’s a pragmatic adaptation.  The show is similar in style to Bromwell High, a 2005 British/Canadian series that focused mainly on teachers.

Sure, Bromwell High also focused on three students, but the “students second” attitude is similar.  While Sit Down, Shut Up can be funny at times, Bromwell High had Iqbal.  Advantage: Bromwell High.  Next on our list, item 54…

Larry Littlejunk is a fairly boring lead character, as much the straight man as Michael Bluth on Arrested Development.  I’m going by two episodes of a series that will air after I write this review, but I already don’t care for his infatuation with/hatred of Miracle Grohe.  The other Sit Down, Shut Up characters are more interesting, even Deutschebog.

There’s a lot of fourth-wall breaking in Sit Down, Shut Up, which doesn’t seem as odd in an animated show airing before Family Guy.  There isn’t a fundamental difference between Sit Down, Shut Up and AD the way there is with Family Guy and American Dad! or The Simpsons and Futurama.  That’s a problem.

The photographic background gimmick is just that.  It’s not important to the show, although the backgrounds and animation are blended almost seamlessly.  Mo Willems‘ character designs are much more important, giving the show a clean and visually distinctive look.  Stuart Proszakian looks fairly close to real-world Will Forte.  It makes me wonder why Arrested Development wasn’t a cartoon, since that might have earned the show a few more years.

The first two episodes of Sit Down, Shut Up are as uneven as Arrested Development was during its three-season run, which is still funnier than the shows currently on Fox’s Sunday lineup.  Compared to the twentieth season of The Simpsons or Family Guy at its Conway Twittiest, Sit Down, Shut Up isn’t that bad.

Will Arnett is always fun to watch, while Kristin Chenoweth is perfect as Miracle Grohe.  Nick Kroll’s voice is also appropriate for LeGustambos.  Kenan Thompson is in a role where his tendency to overact is muted, which is odd since he’s voicing Sue Sezno.  Thompson playing a woman should lend itself to all sorts of Virginiaca-isms, but he reins himself in for Sit Down, Shut Up.

Cheri Oteri underperforms as Klench, while Forte just plays Forte and gets away with it.  As for Tom Kenny, he could have stayed home since Happy’s not much of a character.  Sit Down, Shut Up wastes Kenny in a role that amounts to barely a minute of screen time per episode.  It’s like hiring Bobcat Goldthwait to yell “ahhhh!” once every twelve minutes.

The show has garnered mainly negative reviews so far.  I’m actually amazed critics are piling on Sit Down, Shut Up.  Either I’m not noticing how bad it really is, Mitchell Hurwitz’s comedy style is no longer in vogue, or the critics expected such a high standard from SD,SU that they’re overreacting to a fairly manky pilot episode.

The real problem with SD,SU is that it comes up short compared to other shows set in a high school.  It’s hard to go up against Daria, Bromwell High, Summer Heights High and Clone High and not expect to be sacked harder than an inept quarterback carrying his team to the ass-end of a 105-0 blowout.

It’s not like Sit Down, Shut Up can’t improve.  Futurama and American Dad! found their niches despite poor starts.  The first season of The Simpsons was absolute shit compared to what it became later.  If Sit Down, Shut Up is going to be all Stuart-is-a-prison-clown jokes, the show won’t last, but I’m not ready to throw it into the Fish Police/Capitol Critters box at this point.


January 10, 2009

TV Reviews | Howie Do It 1.1 vs. Marketplace 36.1

Howie Do It (NBC/Global: Friday, 8:00 PM ET/PT) and Marketplace (CBC: Friday, 8:30 PM ET/PT) are similar in certain ways.  Both Marketplace and Howie Do It use hidden cameras and feature people who don’t necessarily want to be caught on television.  Marketplace directly competes against Howie Do It in Canada on a weak television night.

The age-old question: is a half-hour consumer affairs show funnier than an hour of television pranks?  We’ll find out – right now!

CBC News: Marketplace
Hosts: Wendy Mesley and Erica Johnson
Season: thirty-sixth

Mike Holmes appears on Marketplace, as he does these days whenever Marketplace talks about housing.  The show travels to Hamilton, Ontario, where an estimated one out of six houses are built in violation of building permit regulations.

The story focuses on Hamilton builder Brett Wright and his Londonderry Residential Group.  Eighteen houses on a single street were built by his company before permits were issued.

Needless to say, the houses are badly built.  Hamilton housing officials look like boobs for not enforcing their building codes.  Even Tarion, Ontario’s new home warranty program, comes off badly.

This is a typical Marketplace story, and quite a strong one to start off the season.  House-based episodes generally make for good television and this episode is no exception.

Erica Johnson’s short item is somewhat pointless.  Someone can buy a ticket from Ticketmaster and resell it at TicketsNow, which was bought by Ticketmaster in 2008.  Ticketmaster profits from surcharges and TicketsNow collects a fifteen percent commission.

The piece is two solid minutes of “well, duh.”  Ticketmaster knows there’s money to be made from online scalping.  It’s a no-brainer in the free market.  That doesn’t make Ticketmaster’s double-dipping right, but since when do businesses have to be ethical?

Marketplace bigs itself up a bit too much this episode, but I’m glad the show’s in a timeslot where CBC affiliates can’t preempt it.  Marketplace is a fairly strong show at this point in its history – good hosts, solid reporting, keeps itself current.  Scheduling Marketplace after The Rick Mercer Report is stupid, but at least this show is in better shape than the fifth estate.

Howie Do It
Host: Howie Mandel
Season: first

Wow, I am amazed at the show’s set.  It literally looks like a set from the late 1980s.  The entire show feels like it came from the 1980s.  Wait, that’s not true – the theme song is from the mid-1990s.  There is not one thing on this show that’s new aside from a drummer, and he’s completely unnecessary to Howie Do It.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much from Howie Do It, but I didn’t know it was going to be as bad as it is.  Mandel wears glasses and a David Duchovny wig and that’s supposed to make him a whole different person, but doesn’t bother disguising his voice after the first prank.  Mandel even uses a leaf blower and garden hose in tandem at one point.  Howie Wowie, what a gasser.

I know Howie Do It is short-run programming while NBC “fixes” (ha!) Deal or No Deal, but is NBC this bereft of ideas?  Wait, NBC doesn’t order pilots anymore and ceded weeknights at 10:00-11:00 PM to Jay Leno, so yes.

I’ll be amazed if Howie Do It lasts the full six weeks it’s been slotted for on NBC.  Say hello to reruns of Most Outrageous Moments in a few weeks.  Howie Get Cancelled.

Funnier Show: Marketplace!


January 5, 2009

A Few Shows I’m Looking Forward To In 2009

I haven’t been in the habit of doing best-ofs.  URBMN only went in its “new” direction late last September.  What I can do at this point in URBMN’s history is talk about Canadian shows that I want to see this year.

I’m more receptive to Canadian television than a lot of people.  Sometimes a Canadian show will have a horrible premise, like Life’s a‘s “animals + reality show parody = fun.”  I honestly thought that show would die on its ass, yet Life’s a is actually decent.  It’s a weaker stop-motion Drawn Together, but what the hell, I like Dr. D.

Consequently, I want to like Testees.  I like South Park and Kenny vs. Spenny, two shows Kenny Hotz has had his finger in.  Testees is tepid by comparison.  It’s a well-worn buddy comedy without the Odd Couple-meets-reality-television dynamic that makes Kenny vs. Spenny funny.  The greatest conflict in Testees is between Testico and the human guinea pigs, and that takes up two minutes of a half-hour show.

It’s hard to predict which new and returning shows will keep my interest this year.  Here’s to hoping that one of these shows will meet my personal hype.

Hotbox | The Comedy Network actually teased this show late in 2008, with Pat Thornton in an owl costume wishing viewers a Merry Christmas.  This was followed by random clips of the show and some “eerie” static.

Thornton is the creator of The Owl and the Man, a series of YouTube-ready shorts depicting the differences between a man and an owl.  Hotbox will likely follow that tradition of absurdist humour.  The show seems like Robot Chicken with proper wraparounds.

I don’t know whether or not Hotbox will be good.  Thornton created and writes for the show, yet I find The Owl and the Man just okay.  There have been better and worse things on The Comedy Network.

I hope Hotbox meets TV Funhouse-level standards, but it’s a tall order to be as funny as Robert Smigel.  At the very least, Hotbox must be funnier than Comedy Inc.  Static is funnier and far more highbrow than Comedy Inc.

The Jon Dore Television Show‘s second season | I’ve been watching some YouTube clips of the show’s first season.  The new season premieres January 21, 2009 on The Comedy Network.

I wasn’t impressed by The Jon Dore Television Show at first glance.  After watching this clip, my fears were allayed.  I have no idea why The Comedy Network buries this show in post-South Park timeslots, but at least Jon Dore survived Canadian Idol.  I guess this show did deserve its Gemini nominations last year.  Neat!

Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town | Whether this airs in 2009 or early 2010 doesn’t matter.  It’s Kids in the Hall.  KitH is taking a page from shows like League of Gentlemen with Death Comes to Town, and a job lot of people want to see this.  I want to see it.  You want to see it, even if you hate Kids in the Hall with a passion.  I know you!

I have reservations about Death Comes to Town.  My taste for Bruce McCulloch will never wane, but Scott Thompson has annoyed me with his post-Kids work.  Shows like My Fabulous Gay Wedding have underlined the fact that Thompson is gay, but where is his funny?  He even threatened to ruin The Larry Sanders Show at one point, but no one can make Hank Kingsley unfunny.

Dave Foley has starred in subpar work post-Kids, like his Christmas special and NewsRadio.  I’ll give Mark McKinney credit for producing Less Than Kind, but that doesn’t excuse his two mediocre seasons on Saturday Night Live.  As for Kevin McDonald, he was in Zeroman and the Lilo & Stitch cartoon.  ’Nuff said.

The hype factor also works against Death Comes to Town.  I remember being excited at the announcement of Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon.  I was met with “Ren and Stimpy are gay” subtext and the beatdown of Mr. Horse.  The new Ren & Stimpy‘s awfulness killed my respect for John Kricfalusi.

I don’t want to see Kids in the Hall suffer the same fate as John K.  As soon as Dave Foley says “you’re the pitcher, I’m the catcher” to Scott Thompson, off goes the television.

Simply put, the five Kids in the Hall castmembers need each other.  Together, they are a force for comedic good.  It’s hard to say whether the comeback will be as funny as the original KitH, but CBC’s comedy lineup needs more than uneven political humour, Rick Mercer doing his best Shelagh Rogers impression and Being Erica.

Durham County‘s second season | I actually see this show making inroads on American television, since Flashpoint has introduced Americans to Hugh Dillon.

I’m not saying Durham County will pick up fans disenchanted by Dexter‘s third season, but what the hell.  NBC bought Howie Do It, and that’s just Howie Mandel hosting a Candid Camera derivative.  Slings and Arrows has an American fanbase two-and-a-half years after its death.  Who the hell knows which shows will become popular in the fifteen-thousand-channel world?

Howie Do It | It debuts on Global and NBC this Friday.  It probably won’t be any good, but who knows?  Howie Mandel has the power to survive this show if it stiffs.  This is an age where people have a new appreciation for Bob Saget and David Duchovny.

I haven’t written this show off in my mind like I have The Animated Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie.  Dave Coulier as Bob?  Take off, eh.


July 2, 2005

Eulogy For Train 48

Filed under: URBMN 2005-08 — Tags: , — Cameron Archer @ 2:35 pm
Last night marked the series finale for one of the most notorious shows Canada ever produced.  Some people looking for any easy baby harp seal to club vilified it, calling it the worst show ever produced in Canadian television history.  At least one blog found cheap notoriety in decrying its existence.  What sort of show could evoke such sentiment among certain audiences and yet be so loved by others?  An improvised soap opera about train commuters.  Welcome to Canada.

I’m here to tell people that Train 48 wasn’t actually all that bad.

Was Train 48 a good show?  No, it was mediocre at the best of times.  That it managed to survive for three seasons on Global at 7:00 PM is amazing enough.  Was Train 48 the most visible scourge of the public airwaves in all of Canadian television for eternity as some people accused it of being, though?  Of course not.  In fact, it was the only show Global produced in the last few years that was actually worth half a damn.

One needs to realize the nature of Global’s programming to fully appreciate Train 48.  Global is famous for being amazingly cheap with its programming and/or having a hand in creating some of the worst shows to ever be considered Canadian content.  Most of the network’s indigenous output falls in the “industrial” category – The Adventures of Sinbad, Zoe Busiek: Wild Card, Andromeda and The Outer Limits chief among its half-hearted attempts to both fill CanCon regulations and appeal to the American market (mostly to appeal to the American market, which is why Kevin Sorbo still graces television screens every Saturday night despite most people rightfully not caring about the likes of him.)  Global also loves its time-filling portovers from its cable channels, mostly home and garden/Queer Eye-style shows like Room to Grow and Diva On a Dime that are worse than Train 48 ever was.

I don’t even need to explain the existence of My Fabulous Gay Wedding, as it combines selling to American audiences (Viacom’s new gay/lesbian network Logo bought this for some reason) with managing to make Scott Thompson even more insufferable than he was before, which is extremely hard to do.  To say that Train 48 made people want to gouge their eyes out like seeing Scott Thompson on a television screen does would be lying.  There is no excuse for My Fabulous Gay Wedding.

What was so bad about Train 48 that it received all the negative attention it did, anyway?  It was one of the few shows that Global produced that was legitimately Canadian, and it lasted a year longer than the Australian soap it was based on.  Global gave this show a better push than maybe it really deserved, and the network managed to find a niche for Train 48 besides.  Train 48 was one of the few shows Global ever had a hand in that spelled out new opportunities for the network.  Surely it was successful enough – not successful enough not to be replaced by whatever bog-standard, infuriating entertainment news/home renovation show will eventually take its place, but that Train 48 managed to be the most successful Canadian “soap opera” in the past decade counts for more than the derisive cries of insipidity thrown at it.  The show shouldn’t have lasted six weeks.  A wholly improvised, cheaply-produced show with one set to its name filling thirty minutes of airtime shouldn’t have worked at all – and yet it did.  Train 48 could have been the first of a series of shows that would establish a new, better identity for Global’s Canadian programming while being cheap enough for Global executive sensibilities, but Global executives have always lacked vision.  In the end, the death of Train 48 won’t mean a blessed thing.  It’s lamentable but in the end, not surprising.

So Train 48 wasn’t a “fit” at the end.  Global has gone back to what the network always does – producing terrible reality programs and financing shows that mean more to SciFi and Lifetime than they ever will to Canadian audiences.  Train 48, though, didn’t pander to the American television system.  It didn’t exist just because an American network bought terrestrial broadcast rights to it.  It was what it was, and it never made out like it was anything different.

In the end, Train 48 shall be fondly remembered more than any criticism against it ever will.  It managed to last 319 episodes, enough for Train 48 to last through at least ten years of syndication on Showcase or whatever network bought the rebroadcasting rights to it.  It won the war for the right to exist.  That’s something no one will ever take away from it.

Train 48 is survived by its son, Canadians will never see the likes of this show again. na na na na na na train

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