Neil Jordan, Canadian Hero


And here are the winners of tonight’s Gemini Awards. The big news is that while last year’s award for Best Drama went to The Tudors, an international co-production with very little Canadian involvement, this year’s award went to The Borgias, an international co-production with very little Canadian involvement. Basically, British shows with some Canadian money invested.

You can argue about what even constitutes national artistic identify in a world of big co-productions, and of course, rules are rules: if a show qualifies for the Geminis, it’s hard to argue that someone who thinks it’s the best of the nominees shouldn’t vote for it. But these productions aren’t really relevant to the Canadian TV business, its present or its future. Call Me Fitz, which lost the Best Comedy prize to The Rick Mercer Report, is an example of what Canadian writers and technicians can do; so are Canadian-made dramas that air on U.S. networks, and so are kids’ shows like Mr. Young, whose U.S. rights were just sold to Disney. We can argue that these individual shows are good or bad, and that Canadian shows should be doing more of this or less of that. The Tudors and The Borgias aren’t made in Canada or by Canadians. That doesn’t make them bad, it just means that they’re not really part of that conversation, any more than U.S. shows filmed in Vancouver (which at least showed off and developed the technical standards of Canadian production). At most they’re part of the conversation about big period TV epics and whether they’re good investments.

On the comedy side, having weekly story shows and sitcoms competing against variety/talk shows still seems a bit odd.

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Neil Jordan, Canadian Hero

  1. The tiny size of the homegrown TV indiustry here means either we include all the “made-in” or “coproduction of” shows, or we just don’t bother having Gemini awards. The quality Canadian shows, when they finally air, run for 8 or 10 episodes, switch nights, are regularly pre-empted or are cancelled because of “poor ratings’ (see beginning of sentence). So, “Intelligence’ gets axed, while “Generic Cop Show with either Flash or Blue in the Title’ gets renewed.

  2. It is not just Canadian money that is involved with shows like The Tudors and The Borgias. Both of these productions employ hundreds of key Canadian talent which include actors, directors, producers, editors, directors of photography, costume design, special fx crews, sound crews, mixers and composers to name a few. All of the post production work on both of these shows brought hundreds of jobs in to Canada. 

    • These shows did NOT bring “hundreds of jobs in to Canada”.  There may be hundreds of jobs in the production phase, but certainly not the post-production phase.  While there may have been some Canadians involved in production, these shows brought at best, a few dozen jobs to Canada & Canadians.

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