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Sunday's big caper: Why did the Canadian Screen Awards snub Republic of Doyle?

Last weekend, the Oscars. This weekend, the Canadian Screen Awards (Sunday, CBC, 8 p.m.). The hullabaloo never stops. The drama is ceaseless. Soon, those who suffer from nervous excitement will demand a pause in the ceaseless stimulus.

And that's not all. This weekend also sees the arrival of two huge (huge, huge, I tell you!) sprawling dramas that take us back to time immemorial, when men were men, and women were … well, you'll have to see it for yourself.

First, though, comes the anti-Doyle, anti-Newfoundland, and as they might say in Newfoundland, "crooked" (only joking, of course) Canadian Screen Awards. The old Gemini Awards and the old Genie Awards rolled into one night of prize-giving, at which will be honoured the great and the good and some TV shows that have fewer viewers than this column has readers.

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The host is Martin Short, and it will be interesting to witness his knowledge of Canadian TV gained from the vantage point of a home in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Does he know that the anchor of CBC's The National is always called Pastor Mansbridge? Does he know about Claire Martin and the history of the unnerving way she interacts with the Pastor?

Anyway, big awards for our best movies and TV shows and the performances therein are handed out. There is a passel of talent to present the awards, including Jay Baruchel and Kim Coates (both of Goon), Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint), James Cromwell (Still), Arlene Dickinson (Dragons' Den), Erica Durance (Saving Hope), Catherine O'Hara (Frankenweenie), Brad (Brad) Smith (The Bachelor Canada), Meg Tilly (Bomb Girls), and Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle).

It is exceptionally obliging of Hawco to participate because the really interesting aspect of the first Canadian Screen Awards is that Republic of Doyle, the series he created and stars in, was pretty much shut out of the nominations. It seems that a single nomination, for Gordon Pinsent in a guest role, is the sum total of the show's achievements. Not a word of a lie.

Hence the perception that this whole thing is anti-Doyle, anti-Newfoundland, and as they might say in in those parts, "crooked" (only joking, of course).

One imagines that Hawco will spend the evening going around to everyone he meets and telling them that he has this show, called Republic of Doyle, it's on Sundays on CBC, and darn popular. Even internationally renowned, actually. So internationally renowned that Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe has done a guest spot. Perhaps he'll be handing out DVDs of the show. Perhaps some of the nobs from the Canadian TV racket will reply that they thank him for this new information and it's a great pity the information was not more widely disseminated.

Listen, people of the Canadian film and TV rackets: The bizarre anomaly of shows being shut out of the awards was supposed to end. Now, enjoy the Canadian Screen Awards, savour the parties and shindigs. But get it together for next year on the Doyle front, or else.

Also airing this weekend

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The Bible (Sunday, History Television, 8 p.m.) will be a puzzler for those who have read the book on which it is based. On the evidence of the confusing excerpts sent for review, it seems to be mainly the re-enactment of battles: a sword-and-sandals epic with low-grade special effects and a great many actors talking in British accents through clenched teeth. People named Abraham and Moses walk around looking perplexed by everything, as if they'd wandered in from a Game of Thrones knockoff and were wondering when the sexy stuff was supposed to start.

The main force behind the series is reality-TV maestro Mark Burnett and his wife, Touched by an Angel star Roma Downey (who turns up eventually as the Virgin Mary), and their mission is to deliver major scenes from the Bible, one after the other, until you're perplexed by the speed of it all. It goes on for weeks, giving you time to compare and contrast with the original book.

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About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More


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