Craig Ferguson once said, “To be honest, Canadians are just happy to be included. It’s just like, ‘he’s talking about us.’ Truer words have never been spoken. Whenever a Canadian person, place or thing is mentioned on television outside our borders, you can be assured that in Canada there are passers-by pointing at the television with their beerless hand in saying “it’s us! That said, Canadian television shows have never had such a large audience as they do today. Whether it’s the advent of content-starved streaming services or wildly popular shows like Schitt’s Creek or black orphan that draw attention to what else Canada has to offer, Canadian television is expanding beyond its borders. With a new series featuring The children in the room streaming on Amazon Prime, it’s a great chance to see what other Canuck shows are on the global radar.
Heartland (established in 2007)
Heartland is a family drama series based on Heartland series of books by Lauren Brooke. Housed on a family ranch based in Alberta, Heartland follows the trials and tribulations of Amy Fleming (Amber Marshall), her older sister Louise alias ‘Lou’ (Michael Morgan), grandfather Jack Bartlett (Shaun Johnson), and their father, Tim (Christ Potter). The show fills a programming gap that is often overlooked or misunderstood: a show the whole family can watch together. It’s harmless, heartwarming, and displays age-old values of hard work and family, without sounding cheesy or melodramatic.
Moms at work (first in 2017)
working moms is a sitcom about a group of girlfriends who support, challenge, and remain objective with each other as they deal with the ups and downs of being working moms. The series begins with four working mothers: Kate (Catherine Reitman) is a public relations executive fresh from maternity leave and the heart of the series; Anna (Dani Kind), mother of two, is a hip-shooting psychiatrist; Franky (Juno Rinaldi) is a brilliant, charming and eccentric real estate agent; and Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim) is a computer specialist and new mom. To like sex and the cityexcept much funnier and more realistic, tackling issues like postpartum depression and separation anxiety from her child.
Coroner (created in 2019)
Coroner is a procedural crime drama, inspired by the book series of HRM roomabout a widowed Toronto coroner, Dr. Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan), which investigates suspicious, unnatural or sudden deaths. She also suffers from clinical anxiety and deals with her own grief while trying to help her teenage son Ross (Ehren Kassam) with his own mourning over the loss of his father. The diversity of the Toronto area is used effectively in the series, and Cooper’s character is well developed, using intellect, intuition, and hearing to solve crimes.
Transplantation (first in 2020)
A medical drama television series centered on Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq), a Syrian refugee doctor who is rebuilding his wathere return to the practice of medicine as a resident physician. Transplantation is a pretty standard medical show, but what sets it apart is how the series highlights the struggles immigrants face in being accepted by their new country, and the frustration of having to start at the bottom despite years of training and a natural set of skills. Transplantation enjoy not falling into the soap opera moments of shows like Grey’s Anatomywith his adventures in the supply rooms and the competition between doctors.
Kids Ruin Everything (Premiere 2022)
The show follows biracial couple Astrid (Meaghan Rat) and Jack (Aaron Abrams) as they struggle in vain to maintain their pre-child life as they raise their two young children. Children ruin everything is very entertaining and funny, while showing a more realistic portrayal of reality for new parents. The kids are a handful, there are toys everywhere, and the situations they face – trying to have a nice family dinner, craving some alone time, throwing birthday parties – ring true for many people.
Murdoch Mysteries (established in 2008)
Based on Detective Murdoch author’s novels Maureen Jennings, Murdoch Mysteries follows William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), a police detective in Toronto, circa 1890. His approach to solving crimes was progressive and scientific, using methods not readily available at the time, such as creating prototypes of things like sonar and fax machines. A Canadian of yesteryear MacGyverif you will, with a skill set that eludes his conventional superior, Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig). The show also draws on real historical people and events, with the likes of Nicholas Tesla and queen victoria cross paths with the detective.
The Porter (created in 2022)
The show depicts the story of black Canadian and African American men, the Pullman Porters who established the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925, the first black-led union. It shows the challenges the black community faced on both sides of the border at that time, but also celebrates the stories and major accomplishments of black train porters. What really garnered praise for The wearer, however, is the extent to which the black community is involved in the show on both sides of the camera. It’s a black-led show, by black creatives, featuring many talented black actors, a key moment in racial representation in the industry.
Family Law (Premiere 2021)
Family law is a legal drama centered on Abigail Bianchi (Staite Jewel), a recovering alcoholic and probation attorney who cannot find work because of her circumstances. The only company that will give him an opportunity is run by his ex-father Harry Svensson (Victor Garber) and two half-brothers she doesn’t even know, Daniel (Zach Smadu) and Lucia (Genelle Williams). So it’s a dysfunctional family that practices family law, helping dysfunctional families.
Sort of (2021 premiere)
Kind of is an example of Canadian television going where American television is reluctant. Kind of talks about Sabi Mehboob (Bilal Baig), a gender-fluid 25-year-old Pakistani Canadian in Toronto. They work two part-time jobs, one as a bartender at an LGBTQ bar and the other as a nanny for the children of a power couple, while navigating his family life as the child of Pakistani parents who do not understand them. The show has been praised for how it portrays the community with gentleness, humanity, and humor without being preachy, essentially treating their story like no other depiction of society.
‘The Sticky’: the scripted series of Canada’s maple syrup heist