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School's back, night comes earlier and thoughts turn to television. That's the way it works at this time of the year.

Soon there will be an avalanche of new programs on networks, cable and all the platforms that have emerged in the last few years. A cornucopia with the usual numbers of duds. People will decide what to watch based on several factors. A favourite actor is involved; the new series has been promoted relentlessly with a clever trailer, a friend recommends it or, heaven help us, critical buzz based on reviews in the newspaper or magazine.

Nobody will watch TV out of patriotism. They might want to see the heavily promoted drama Designated Survivor (coming to ABC and CTV) because Kiefer Sutherland is in it and he's Canadian, but it's not quite that simple. He's a very famous Canadian, and the show sounds like a good thriller. That's the gist. Nobody will watch a TV series to be patriotic and help claim our cultural identity.

That's a point worth remembering in the context of the current contretemps regarding Canadian content rules and changes made by the CRTC. A lot of wild talk about supporting Canadian talent has been thrown about, as if patriotism is involved in making and watching Canadian TV.

The "point system" for what defines the Canadian-ness of a TV project was shifted. Previously, eight points out of 10 – determined by using Canadian writer, actors, and directors – opened up funding in the "independent production funds," and now it's six out of 10. I wrote about it last week and expressed some alarm and astonishment.

Now, it's fair to say that the funding of Canadian TV is an enormously complex business. An army of lawyers and accountants earn a good living interpreting all the rules. I've heard from several experts and the upshot of the feedback is that there has been a false alarm. One expert told me, "The CRTC simply decided to align the funding rules for the CIPFs (Certified Independent Productions Funds) with its "normal" rules for a Canadian program and with CAVCO's (Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office) "normal" rules (which are in the Income Tax Act of Canada) for the Canadian film or video production film tax credit – that is, a minimum of six out of 10 Canadian points."

As to whether the actual culture is diminished by this is a moot point. For sure, the guilds and unions representing actors, writers and directors are upset that there is less mandatory involvement in some productions for their members. The key, I suppose, is "mandatory." You could say there is already a lot of "mandatory" in the creation of Canadian TV. You could also say, according to several lawyers who handle these issues, that what the CRTC did was merely make uniform what qualifies as Canadian content, for access to funding.

Certainly the CRTC has been blunt in its dismissal some of the outrage expressed. CRTC head Jean-Pierre Blais posted a letter to ACTRA, which represents actors, on the CRTC website, and it takes umbrage at assertions the new "points" decision was done without consultation or amounts to anything startlingly new. He points out that a change to the points definition on Canadian content was part of the "Let's Talk TV" consultation by the CRTC, which brought more than 13,000 comments from Canadians. And, he says, "As such, this commission decision was taken following an open and accessible public consultation process during which your organization did not participate."

Ouch. It seems that some of those whose livelihood would be impacted did not engage with the CRTC while the new points system was being hashed out, openly. At this juncture, I get the impression of a tempest in a teapot, not a crisis in the culture.

I also note that while this tempest blew up, CBC made a major announcement about an upcoming drama series. The series is Bellevue, an eight-part drama, a thriller about the disappearance of a transgender teen in a small town. It will air on CBC in late 2017 and will star Oscar and Golden Globe winner Anna Paquin (True Blood, The Piano). Another star will be Irish actor Allen Leech, best known for playing chauffeur Tom Branson on Downton Abbey.

Paquin is Canadian in that she was born in Manitoba and moved to New Zealand with her family when she was four years old. She is considered a New Zealand actress. Whether the chauffeur bloke from Downton has a connection to Canada is anybody's guess. Certainly another lead actor in the series is Canadian – Shawn Doyle.

Me, I'm puzzled by the convoluted intricacy of Canadian content regulation. But I know this – I'm thrilled to hear about Bellevue. According to CBC, the series was created by Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell, with Maggs serving as senior writer, executive producer and co-showrunner. The last time I saw Jane Maggs, whom I don't really know at all, was a few years ago, when she was a waitress and served me a pint in one of local bars on the Queen West strip in Toronto. I'd be interested in Bellevue even if I wasn't a critic obliged to evaluate it.

See, people want to watch TV for all kinds of reasons. How more or less Canadian does the new CRTC regulation make Canadian TV? I don't know. How Canadian is Bellevue? I don't know yet. But I do know this – regulations or not, nobody watches TV out of patriotic fervour.