Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Another oddity in the Made/Nous campaign, John Doyle writes, is this – Simu Liu of Kim’s Convenience recommends you watch NBC’s The Good Doctor. Perhaps that’s because it’s made in Vancouver, standing in for a U.S. city. But, really, The Good Doctor is emphatically not Canadian TV.

CBC

As an institution, Canadian television, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, is unfailingly reliable: It will always let you down.

For the umpteenth time, there are campaigns under way to draw your attention to Canadian-made TV. Great. There are some wonderfully special Canadian productions out there to be savoured. Mind you, these campaigns are not the way to go. As lame offerings go, most of these efforts beggar belief. What you get is an insult to the creativity and ingenuity behind the best of Canadian TV.

The most elaborate is Made/Nous. Telefilm got together with the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (which has its own campaign, Where to Watch) to provoke Canadians to find and watch diverse homegrown content. If you read about TV on social media, the Made/Nous thing will probably be promoted at you, as it was to me. Made/Nous also has a separate initiative, Seek More, for “Canadians to search out more content and creators from more backgrounds, cultures, and communities.”

Story continues below advertisement

The 21 best TV series to stream so far in 2021

The gist is curation. Various and diverse Canadians in film and TV suggest titles for you. First, you do a quiz. It says, “Do you want to play or watch?” Now this might be the sort of question that demands advice from your spiritual and ethics adviser, but it actually means, do you want online games or TV and film content?

The TV file is the oddest thing. I looked at Mohawk Girls, which isn’t actually recommended by anybody involved. There’s a synopsis written by a freelance writer called “a review,” but isn’t. It’s a summary, like a press release. No mention is made of the series having multiple Canadian Screen Awards nomination. No mention is made of press reviews that rave about the show.

This latter absence is puzzling to yours truly. When Mohawk Girls arrived in relative obscurity on APTN in 2014, I gave it a deserved rave review and praised it many times over the years. If you want to talk about “curation” and, heaven help us, “discoverability,” that’s my job. Most people in the TV industry, outside of Canada, recognize that. It’s routine for streaming and cable series in the U.S. to ask my permission to quote from a positive review for their marketing. They all do it – AppleTV+, HBO, AMC and on and on. It’s no big deal, it’s just part of how “discoverability” works; I discover and recommend, and the outlet uses that to promote.

Another oddity in the Made/Nous campaign is this – Simu Liu of Kim’s Convenience recommends you watch NBC’s The Good Doctor. Perhaps that’s because it’s made in Vancouver, standing in for a U.S. city. But, really, The Good Doctor is emphatically not Canadian TV. Yes, it was created by Canadian David Shore. That isn’t mentioned in Made/Nous, and even if it were deemed relevant, Shore hasn’t worked in Canadian TV since 1996. With all due respect to Simu Liu, The Good Doctor is a top-five show in Canada and a top-10 show in the United States. It doesn’t need promotion from anybody working in Canadian TV.

The Made/Nous campaign is funded by 13 partners, from broadcasters and producers to government bodies. None of the 13 seem to know the slightest about promoting television. Listen, all 13, I’ll give you advice for free. Hit me up anytime.

The Academy’s Where to Watch campaign is a tad more useful, but incredibly cumbersome. It also ignores press reviews. You start by going to the Academy website, then to “Programming” and then to “Where to Watch.” This will connect you to links to watch nominated productions via the JustWatch app. For that you need to scroll through lists of nominated movies and TV and click on something. It can be done – it took me 35 minutes to find and start watching the miniseries Departure – but boy is it awkward, clunky and ponderous. As a curation and promotion effort, it’s a fail.

Then there’s the I Am Canadian Content campaign, run by the outfit Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. The aim is, I think, to remind people and politicians that Canadians make TV shows. Some prominent Canadians, including Kim’s Convenience star Andrew Phung and singers Jann Arden and Buffy Sainte-Marie, are involved. There are posters on the streets in Toronto with Phung’s face and the phrase, I Am Canadian Content. That’s nice.

Story continues below advertisement

But if you follow through to the relevant website, first you find some hectoring declarations: “Canadian content is who we are,” and such. Mainly the site demands your e-mail address and aims to sell you T-shirts and tote bags. It wants your money and details for the database.

So here we come to roost: Multiple organizations and much money spent to promote Canadian TV, and nothing in the least bit attractive or clever. It’s all well-meaning but lame. That used to be said about Canadian TV – well-meaning but second-rate. Now, much Canadian TV is vital and fabulous. It just needs reliable promotion, not this nonsense.

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Editor’s note: (June 2) This article has been updated to clarify the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is behind the Where to Watch campaign.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies