Whenever I find a good show that’s made in Canada, I get extremely excited, both as an aspiring Canadian filmmaker and as an avid TV watcher. While it may seem that the U.S. has a monopoly on the “Golden Age of Television,” I have come to find that some of the best TV shows are Canadian. This article highlights seven Canadian gems, in case you wanted to support some quality Canadian content, or just watch some really good TV.
Schitt’s Creek (2015-Present)
I will admit that instead of doing schoolwork during the strike, I binge-watched the entirety of Schitt’s Creek — and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Schitt’s Creek is about the Roses, a rich family who loses everything and has to move to a small, Ontario-coded town, which happens to be their last remaining asset. This show was created by Canadian comedy legend, Eugene Levy, and his son, Dan Levy, who also happen to play Johnny Rose and David Rose, respectively. Moira Rose, Johnny’s wife and David’s mother, is played by none other than Catherine O’Hara (of Home Alone and Beetlejuice fame), another Canadian icon, and longtime friend of the Levys’. This show is an absolutely hilarious and unapologetically Canadian half-hour series on CBC. You can watch the first three seasons on Netflix or the entire series on the CBC website. Season 4 is still on air, so if you hurry you might even be able to get caught up before the season ends. And, don’t worry, it got picked up for a fifth season as well, so there will be lots more to come!
Orphan Black (2013-2017)
Orphan Black was the first Canadian TV show to open my eyes to the possibilities of making a successful series in Canada. The show begins when the protagonist, Sarah, sees a girl who looks exactly like her commit suicide. She is soon pulled into a dark and dangerous world when she learns that she is one of many clones, all of whom are played by Tatiana Maslany. Maslany plays each clone so distinctly that it is often hard to believe that she is only one actress. She even won an Emmy for these roles in 2016. Orphan Black is a TV show with intense and smart writing, elevated by amazing performances and great visual effects. You can watch all five seasons on Space GO or iTunes.
Corner Gas (2004-2009)
To me, Corner Gas is the epitome of classic Canadian TV. A lot of Canadian millennials and Gen Z kids have memories of watching Corner Gas after getting home from school. Brent Butt became a Canadian legend, and the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan became a dream road trip destination for young generations of Canadians. Corner Gas is about the lives of the residents of Dog River, and focuses on the only gas station in 60 kilometers and its adjoining cafe, The Ruby. In 2014, Corner Gas: The Movie was released, and on April 2nd of this year, Corner Gas Animated is slated to premiere on The Comedy Network. You can watch the original series on iTunes.
Mr. D (2012-Present)
Mr. D is another classic Canadian sitcom. With an Office-like vibe, Mr. D is about an under-qualified, sometimes cringeworthy, social science teacher who knows nothing about social science. Mr. D was created by Canadian comedian Gerry Dee, who also writes and stars in the show, which is shot on-location in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mr. D is one of those shows that everyone can enjoy, from children and teenagers, to parents and grandparents. Last week, Gerry Dee announced that Mr. D was renewed for an eighth and final season. You can watch the first six seasons on Netflix, or the whole series on CBC’s website.
Trailer Park Boys (2001-2018)
Trailer Park Boys holds a special place in every Canadian’s heart, as we have become acquainted with these ridiculous characters for almost two decades. Trailer Park Boys is a mockumentary-style show about three felons who live in a Nova Scotia trailer park. Julian, Ricky and Bubbles have found their way into many countries’ television sets, and even toured with Our Lady Peace. You can watch the first eleven seasons as well as the series’ three movies, The Movie, Countdown to Liquor Day, and Don’t Legalize It, as well as a couple of specials and two eight-part series called Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park on Netflix or iTunes. The 12th and final season is going to premiere on March 30th.
Série Noire (2014-Present)
Out of all the provinces, Quebéc is particularly known for creating a distinct entertainment industry, and Série Noire is one of the amazing pieces of media to come from said industry. This show is a comedy-drama thriller about writing partners Denis and Patrick who, after the successful first season of their crime drama series, decide to gain some real-life experience by going on a crime spree. You can watch the first two seasons on iTunes.
Letterkenny is a current Canadian sitcom that uses the dialect of rural Ontario in satirically hilarious ways. Created by Jared Keeso, Letterkenny is about two friends who live in the fictional community of Letterkenny, Ontario, loosely based on Keeso’s hometown. Anyone who grew up in or around rural parts of Ontario are sure to recognize characters from their own lives in this show. It was first released on Crave, where it is said to have had the biggest debut of any series on their platform, and, by 2016, 1 in 3 subscribers had watched the series. You can watch all 4 seasons on CraveTV or on iTunes.
I am sure that there are a bunch of TV shows missing from this list, but this is a good starting place if you’re looking to watch good Canadian TV. As someone who would one day like to break into the Canadian entertainment business, these shows give me hope of what I can achieve in the years to come, and are just really fun to watch.