NEWS: Canwest’s New Scripted Shows

Last Friday Roundup, I gave a breakdown of a handful of new scripted pickups from Canwest Global (Global and Showcase channels). The original article was very sparse in its details about the shows, but the wonderful TV, Eh? has gotten a full breakdown press release. If you’re looking for my commentary, scroll down below the press release info.

Here’s the highlights:

Blackstone: Intense, compelling and confrontational, Blackstone is an unmuted exploration of power and politics on an Indian reserve. A newly elected female Chief struggles to lead a broken community against the betrayal and corruption of the old regime. The series stars Carmen Moore, Eric Schweig, Michelle Thrush and Nathaniel Arcand. 8 episodes, 1 hour drama.

Endgame: Endgame introduces viewers to Arkady Balagan, a brilliant chess master. Traumatized by the murder of his fiancée, Balagan has become a prisoner in his luxury Vancouver hotel, terrified to step outside. To pay his bill, Balagan starts solving mysteries – using an unlikely band of hotel employees and chess fanatics to do his legwork. Using the skills that made him an international chess champion, Balagan solves the crimes that mystify others. 13 episodes, 1 hour drama.

XIII: Based on the popular graphic novel of the same name, XIII is an action-packed and intriguing series following a skilled and lethal secret agent as he desperately searches for his true identity. The closer he gets to uncovering the riddle of his past life, the more complex and deadly the mission becomes. 13 episodes, 1 hour drama.

King: King is a sexy character-driven cop drama about Jessica King, a charismatic but flawed female detective. 8 episodes, 1 hour drama.

Combat Hospital: A Canadian/UK co-production set in a military-medical hospital in Afghanistan, the drama focuses on the doctors and nurses who often have to put their own lives at risk to help save the lives of others. 13 episodes, 1 hour drama.

The Kenny Hotz Television Program (Working Title):  Kenny vs. Spenny’s cult icon Kenny Hotz goes solo in a new series. Each week, Kenny is saddled with an insane Herculean task he must accomplish. 6 episodes, half-hour comedy.

Single White Spenny: Poor Spenny can’t catch a break. After being tossed out of his marriage, he sets out to prove to the world that he’s not an, “emotionally inept lovetard incapable of having a functional relationship”. Good luck. He’ll need it. 8 episodes, half-hour comedy.

Untitled Belleville Brothers Project: When the seemingly slick go-getter Terry inherits the comic book store he spent his life trying to escape, he has to return to the quirky strip mall where he spent his youth and team up with his socially awkward head-in-the-clouds brother Peter. Together they must put the past behind them, keep dad’s dream alive, and try not to kill each other along the way. 8 episodes, 30 minutes.

Shattered (previously announced): Shattered stars acclaimed actor Callum Keith Rennie (Californication, 24) as an unconventional homicide detective harbouring the secret of his battle with Multiple Personality Disorder. 13 episodes, 1 hour drama.

Lost Girl (previously announced): Lost Girl follows supernatural seductress Bo, a succubus raised by humans, who just discovered she was born of a secret line of inhuman beings called Fae. Making her living as a Private Investigator, each week she must solve a new mystery while trying to remain neutral in the ancient battle between the Light and the Dark Fae and searching for the mother who abandoned her.

The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (previously announced): Chaos ensues for Mike, Robb and JP when the entire cast of their new comedy series, The Happy Funtime Hour, ingest an addictive hallucinogen and begin to believe they really are the characters they portray on the show – including deranged pirates, drug-addled playboys from an 80’s television show and a group of not-so-super superheroes. 6 episodes, half-hour comedy.

And three two-hour backdoor pilots

Befriend & Betray: Based on a true story, Befriend and Betray tells the story of Alex Caine, a civilian infiltrator-for-hire who helps law enforcement agencies battle some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. His private life is no less complicated.

Jack of Diamonds:  Jack of Diamonds is a comedic drama in the vein of Ocean’s Eleven about a career thief and his young protégé who plan a series of heists against some of the wealthiest people in world – for all the right reasons.

Rave Squad: A young international law enforcement team is recruited to investigate crime found in the most alluring global locales.

Now, for my thoughts…

I’m very intrigued by these new additions. There’s been a massive burst in Canadian scripted series these past few years, and seem to be getting more original this year, at least at the premise level.

Which am I genuinely interested in watching?

  • Shattered, of course, has the excellent Callum Keith Rennie and looks very enjoyable. Here’s hoping their use of outdated term ‘Multiple Personality Disorder’, as opposed to United States of Tara‘s adherence to the proper Disassociative Idendity Disorder, just implies a willingness to tap into public recognition of the term MPD, and not a sign of subpar research or cliched writing.
  • Lost Girl looks very intriguing, a procedural crimefighting story that’s also within the fantasy genre. The lead character definitely sounds promising for those looking for something new and complex.
  • Blackstone: Not only is this a story that doesn’t get a chance to be told well, it feels very Canadian. The American stories of racial oppression usually focus on black or Hispanic people, while Natives are less than an afterthought; meanwhile, for Canadians it is often how we’ve mistreated, and still mistreat, the Native population we displaced. Seeing a reserve firsthand will be a very nice way to tell some stories Canadians are often too uncomfortable to seek out, and hopefully challenge some people for whom Native reserves are a complete afterthought. Again, giving the show some credit that they know Indian is an insensitive term for Native Canadians, and attributing the flaw to the Canwest Global press machine.
  • Endgame: This one feels very Monk, in the sense of a damaged hero who uses his unique mental abilities to solve crimes. This could end up being terribly awkward, but its so out there it feels like the pilot would have to be assured and confident in order to secure a pickup, which makes me very intrigued.
  • King: Just to see how Canada does the ‘antiheroine’ story, a theme that has been touched on plenty south of the border iun shows such as Saving Grace, United States of Tara, Weeds and Nurse Jackie. Not a fan of cop shows, but this one feels like a character piece, so I’ll check it out.
  • Combat Hospital: It sounds a bit similar to Jozi-H from a few years back, which I’ve been seeking out ever since being intriged by it. It could be not very good, or it could be excellent, so I’ll at least watch the pilot.
  • Befriend & Betray: It sounds interesting, and I think they could do some fun things with it, especially if they push the darker, dramatic angle.

What do you think?

3 Responses to “NEWS: Canwest’s New Scripted Shows”
  1. R. Lackie says:

    A year and a half later, all of these have premiered. Lost Girl has aired 1.5 seasons and looks good for a third; Blackstone, King and XII also secured multiple seasons. Meanwhile, Combat Hospital, Almost Heroes (the Belleville Brothers project), Endgame and Shattered are dead. Not sure about the others, though I assume we’d have heard if any of the backdoor pilots had been ordered to series. Hm. 4 is actually a much better number than I’d expected for multiple seasons from this batch. Almost Heroes cancellation is still gutting, though,

Check out what others are saying...
  1. NEWS: Canwest's New Scripted Shows « The Signal…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. […] executive-produce the new Hotz series for E1 Entertainment.  The show may or may not be called Prize or Punishment.  Spenny’s trying to be Larry David, while Hotz is being his usual tasteless self. […]

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