Tuesday, April 1, 2022
By MICHAEL WALSH
. . . to which I can only say, April Fool! To paraphrase Fox Mulder, the idea that corporate concentration within the military-industrial-entertainment complex is of benefit to anybody is today’s biggest joke.
Last week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave conditional approval to the $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications by the larger Rogers Communications. When complete, the deal will reduce the number of national service providers in this country from four to three. The immediate concern in the business press seems to be what effect, if any, it will have on wireless rates.
Because I’m among the 25 percent of Canadians who don’t have a mobile phone, I wondered what effect fewer gatekeepers would have on the creative content available to information and entertainment consumers who rely upon these corporations for their cable and internet connections. Believing that a private corporation will ever act in the public interest is always an invitation to the cry April Fool!
Will the Rogers/Shaw deal have any impact on the creativity of Canadian program producers? Probably. What we don’t know is whether that impact will be positive or negative. So, in order to have a basis for future comparison, I’ll set down some of the shows I’m currently taking pleasure in (all of them available on cable because, well, I don’t do streaming).
It’s a journey from sea-to-sea, beginning in St John’s, Newfoundland, where CTV Sci-Fi’s comic high-school fantasy Astrid & Lily Save the World is shot. Its first season just ended. I’m now awaiting the fourth season of Diggstown, the CBC legal drama filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Toronto is home base for such current delights as the issues-driven fourth season of Coroner, the second season of the police-partners dramedy Pretty Hard Cases and The Porter, an historical drama in its first season. As well, I’m awaiting the fifth season of CBS-TV’s Star Trek: Discovery.
Vancouver is currently Canada’s comic-book capital, with the CW’s Superman and Lois in its second season and Batwoman in its third. The real delight, though, is Showcase’s second season of Resident Alien. And, yes, I’m look forward to the return of a guilty pleasure, the fourth season of the CW’s Nancy Drew, and hope that Global’s Family Law gets a second season. All of the shows mentioned provide work for our local performing and craft communities.
Confident that our personal video recorder (PVR) will provide entertainment in the evenings, I’ll use the afternoon hours to create content for Reeling Back. Since mid-March began there have been six additions to the archive, including:
OVERBOARD — Real-life couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn co-starred as screen lovers for the second time in this 1987 courtship comedy. Garry Marshall provided the direction. (March 30)
PURE LUCK — Greek-born Australian director Nadia Tass directed this multinational 1991 remake of a French clumsiness comedy. Martin Short and Danny Glover co-starred. (March 26)
THE GODFATHER: PART II — An historic moment in Hollywood filmmaking, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 sequel to 1972’s The Godfather got a rave review from me when it arrived in Vancouver. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro starred in its two separate but interwoven tales. (March 24)
THE GODFATHER: PART III — Director Francis Ford Coppola closed the book on the Corleone family saga in 1990 with this overwrought conclusion. Its operatic plot reunites the surviving cast of Part II. (March 24)
TOKYO COWBOY — A singular achievement, director Kath Garneau’s only feature film reflects a solid Pacific Rim sensibility. A romantic comedy from 1995, it spoofs Hollywood clichés while celebrating British Columbia’s creative diversity. (March 20)
THE FUGITIVE — Inspired by the mid-1960s TV series, director Andrew Davis’s 1993 thriller turned the pursuit drama into a tale with immediate social relevance. Harrison Ford stars as the doctor on the run, with Tommy Lee Jones playing the relentless marshal right behind him. (March 17)