They gave us meme-spawning heartthrobs. They gave us generations of celebrated funnymen. They gave us our current king of the box office and the prophet/pioneer behind the 3D craze. And then there are all of those other amazing people that you never knew were Canadian. But it’s easy to forget, in the current Golden Age of TV, that our friends up north have also given us some amazing shows.
American series get all the love, but Canada has turned out some classic viewing over the past few decades. What would pop culture be today without the bizarre influence of Degrassi? How would comedy have evolved if The Kids in the Hall hadn’t opened a vortex to another dimension of offbeat humor? Canadian shows have always had an idiosyncratic edge to them, no matter whether comedies or dramas. The flat-out-hilarious and long-running Trailer Park Boys was recently revived by Netflix for a two season victory lap. And last year’s Orphan Black turned out to be one of the most interesting and complex of all the high-concept shows out there (due in large part to Tatiana Maslany’s shape-shifting performance). Not to mention a ton of US co-productions that film up in what the industry has long referred to as “Hollywood North”.
If you’re not familiar with what the Great White North has to offer on the small screen, get ready: we just added a bunch of cool Canadian series and there’s a little something for everyone.
Still in Buffy withdrawal?
Check out Blood Ties. A half-blind femme fatale ex-cop and a swoon-worthy vampire dreamboat team up to solve supernatural crimes:
You like 24 …
… but Jack Bauer is just a little much for you. Not even the Brits can soften his edge! Try The Border—about a team of Canadian border partrol special agents. It’s 24, but with a conscience.
Cake is a hockey-mad recovering addict who runs a goalie rental service out of his family’s coffee shop. Oh, and he has a friend named Sh*t Pants. That just about sums up Café Primo.
Twin Peaks tease
Rumors of a third season of the cult hit have been officially shot down by David Lynch. Looks like you’ll have to go elsewhere for your dose of chilly, small-town mystery and intrigue, and Whistler has plenty of it.
Can’t wait for The Killing?
The most hilarious curling show you’ll see all year
No, it’s not the Canadian version of L.A. Hair. That’s right—we’re talking shuffleboard-on-ice. Men with Brooms starts off slow, but you’ll be won over by its special brand of cringe-humor in no time.
United States of Tara meets CSI
Life as a homicide detective isn’t easy. Having multiple personality disorder doesn’t help. Or does it? Shattered stars Callum Keith Rennie (Californication) and Molly Parker (Deadwood, House of Cards).
Before there was Masters of Sex
The Showtime drama is back next month, and no better way to get in the mood than Show Me Yours—about another pair of hot doctors who’s area of expertise lies between the sheets. Rachel Crawford (The Firm,) and Adam Harrington (Dexter) star.
Spaced meets It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia …
… with a side of Jackass. Testees follows the hilarious misadventures of a couple of lazy roommates who work for, Testico, an unorthodox product-testing facility. Created by Kenny Hotz (of Kenny vs. Spenny fame).
Fans of The Wire
Nothing will ever fill that void. But The Bridge is still a great, gritty police procedural that doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of the job. Like classic cop show NYPD Blue, it’s based on the life of a former officer.