Toronto Life magazine has selected “The 10 best Canadian TV shows of the past 25 years.”, with the choices arranged in “no particular order.” As a commenter on the article has already noted, the list is dominated to a large extent by shows aimed at kids (Today’s Special, Road To Avonlea) and/or teens (Degrassi). I can’t really argue with that, though, even though I might argue with some of the individual choices, since kids’ programming happens to be something Canada has traditionally been very good at not just by our own standards, but international standards. I don’t think Street Legal stands up to the best dramas from the U.S. and around the world, but Road To Avonlea at its best was as good a show of its kind (morally uplifting kids’ drama) as its equivalents from other countries.
The list also reminds me not just that Slings and Arrows was a great show but that it was a pretty brilliant idea for a show. Canadian shows often struggle with the problem of maintaining a Canadian identity without feeling like the dreaded CanCon. By basing a show’s setting on the Stratford Festival, a Canadian institution with genuine international appeal, the show was able to feel Canadian without feeling insular.