Red Right Hand: CANADIANS ARE GOOD FOR SOMETHING II*
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

CANADIANS ARE GOOD FOR SOMETHING II*

I was just gonna post some lame YouTube something or other, as there are many goings-on here and about and I'm also starting into a new spec and finishing up other paying stuff (like this). Then, I looked at the DVDs laying by the TV after watching a certain NBC program Monday evening and thought better of it.

Allow me to congratulate those involved with the fine Canadian television program, Slings & Arrows on the occasion of their having won several Gemini Awards (Maple-flavored Emmys). I have little-to-no knowledge of their competition, but seeing as I have monstrously enjoyed the DVD sets of seasons one and two, I tend to think it's greatly deserved.

What's the show about, you ask?

From the Ihm Dib:
In the fictional town of New Burbage, legendary theatrical madman Geoffrey Tennant returns to the New Burbage Theatre Festival, the site of his greatest triumph and most humiliating failure, to assume the Artistic Directorship after the sudden death of his mentor, Oliver Welles. When Geoffrey arrives he finds that Oliver is still there, in spirit anyway, and with his guidance (and often in spite of it) Geoffrey attempts to reconcile with his past while wrestling the Festival back from the marketing department. Despite a bitter leading lady, a clueless leading man, and a scheming General Manager, he manages to stage a remarkable production of Hamlet; the play that drove him mad.
That's Paul Gross as the aforementioned Tennant up there to the right. And, hey, Rachel McAdams is in the first season and one episode of the second.

[tangent] It's one of those shows where the some of the audience has to overcome some bizarre hurdle that they don't even realize isn't a problem for them and never has been. TV shows are about people first and foremost. This show is not about Shakespeare. Friday Night Lights is in the smae boat, trying to get over the hump with people thinking it's about football. Alex Epstein put it well in saying "People don't watch Gray's Anatomy for the medicine." They just don't apply that consciously. Cop shows and doctor shows get a pass. I groan audibly everytime I see another medical or law (enforcement) show get greenlit, but it comes down to the people in the show that gets me watching them. [end tangent]

Mark McKinney (that's him and co-star Martha Burns making their little awards dance or something) may not have been the gut-bustingest member of the Kids in the Hall troupe, but the man can write as far as I'm concerned. Especially in a dramedy (and the series award for Slings and Arrows seems to attest to that). He's done it here and he's got a writing credit on the excellent "Sword of Orion" episode of Sports Night. Now, he's working with Sorkin (sorry) again on Studio 60.

Now it's probably too late to save this show, since Fox News canceled it (and it really stuck. You have no idea how many people came up to me to talk about S60 got canceled). and why don't all networks just routinely cancel each others shows in this manner?

NBC doesn't want to seem to stick someplace where it can incubate or be paired with a more appropriate program (other than megahit Heroes, not much can retain those numbers and be up against CSI: Miami).

One step toward that goal, though, is McKinney. He's got actual background in actually funny actual sketch comedy. Useful in the same way that Marlin Fitzwater or Dee Dee Myers were useful on The West Wing. However, where you wouldn't expect either of them to be able to write an episode script, you can expect that from McKinney. Thus, I was pleased to see him get a story by credit on "Nevada Day, Part One" and then disappointed that (and I can't believe I'm typing this) to see that credit followed by "Teleplay by Aaron Sorkin." There really should have been an "& Mark McKinney" on there, because Sorkin just isn't hitting everything he needs to here. I'm with the guy, though. I'll give him all the time in the world to find the groove, but it's not me he has to worry about is it?

The Gemini in the picture up there? That's for acting. Would it hurt to put him on the show too?

And before we get off the subject of Sorkin...look at McSweeney's. S'funny. So much for my Sorkin Writes 24 idea. I really should pursue those things much quicker when I happen to think of them.

Canadian television has annoying me a little bit lately. Largely because of my inability to watch it. Getting foreign cool crap on in American markets seems to be severely lacking, even with built in outlets. Look at BBC America, it's loaded-down with more reality-show crap and old stuff than new material (they're getting better though). while the good stuff filters in here and/or there. I recall that the SciFi Channel even took a pass of Doctor Who initially. It's getting better on the UK side of things, as we've gotten Hu$tle, Spooks, Life on Mars, but there could be more. Though I didn't care for it, I think Patrick Stewart in Eleventh Hour should get some airtime over here, as should the thus far disappointing Torchwood.

Yes, I seek this stuff out though questionable means. However, it seems that either Canadians respect their countrymen's copyrights too much.** I've been wanting to see the recent series Intelligence (mmm...Klea Scott), but let's just say that that particular rainfall hasn't been torrential by any stretch (that I've seen, but maybe I'm not looking in the right clouds). Hopefully someone will see to it that DVD's are produced

In closing, allow me to direct you to several fine Canadians (or Canadian-shaped individuals): John Rogers, Alex Epstein, Denis McGrath, William Shatner

*Not actually having anything to do with Canadians Are Good For Something.

**Because outright internet piracy could stir interest abroad and it could get exported to some U.S. cable channel. There's places it could go. Slings and Arrows aired on Sundance (which my cable company didn't carry when season one premiered) and DaVinci's Inquest has been very successful in national syndication.

44 fucking links. Probably took longer to do that that to write it.
©2016 Michael Patrick Sullivan