While the Writers Guild of America strike rages on south of the border, new and returning Canadian television productions keep rolling out, covering everything from cross-border issues to techno geeks and puck bunnies. Check out these highlights.
The Border (Mondays at 9 p.m., CBC; from January 7) While they try to deal with a new Homeland Security agent, Canada's elite Immigration and Customs Security (ICS) squad takes on cross-border security crises, terrorist infiltrations, and illegal trafficking in a dramatic series that aims to illuminate the recent conflicts between Canada and the U.S.
Tom Green's House Tonight (Mondays at 11 p.m., the Comedy Network; from January 7) Set in his Hollywood Hills home, Tom Green takes his on-line talk show to broadcast television and chats with fans and guests, including Pamela Anderson, Val Kilmer, Dave Navarro, and Bob Saget.
jPod (Tuesdays at 9 p.m., CBC; from January 8) Based on Douglas Coupland's book of the same name, this one-hour series follows the life of a video-game gore specialist and his techie coworkers, all relegated to an underground office, or "jPod". "There is definitely a technological vibe to the show," executive producer J.B. Sugar tells the Georgia Straight . "While the core jPod members are all in their 20s”¦there's a huge nostalgia factor as well for audiences who grew up in the '80s." With Coupland himself writing and executive producing, Sugar explains that they tried to stay true to Coupland's original work. "The first season does take us through the book, as far as plot lines, although the show evolves into an animal of its own."
Degrassi: The Next Generation (Mondays at 7:30 p.m., CTV; from January 14) Season seven of this Gemini Award–winning series premieres with a two-episode special on Thursday, January 10, at 8 p.m., before returning to its regular time slot.
Sophie (Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m., CBC; from January 9) In this half-hour comedy series, a young and ambitious woman visits a psychic and learns she's about to have the worst year of her life. She'll have to juggle being a single mother with trying to reconnect with her family and regaining professional success.
Who Do You Think You Are? (Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., CBC; from January 10) The opinionated host of "Coach's Corner", Don Cherry, explores his family's military roots by travelling to Vimy Ridge, where he pays homage to his ancestors who served in the First World War.
MVP (Fridays at 9 p.m., CBC; from January 11) Hockey players and puck bunnies abound in this dramatic series that looks at what athletes with instant wealth and impassioned fans do after the game is over.
Curveball: W.P. Kinsella (January 17 at 5 p.m., Bravo!) W.P. Kinsella, the Canadian novelist who penned Shoeless Joe –the story upon which Field of Dreams was based–opens his doors for this documentary special that looks at the highs and lows of his career and personal life.
The Week the Women Went (Mondays at 8 p.m., CBC; from January 21) Based on the BBC series of the same name, this 10-part documentary series looks at what happens when the women of a town leave for seven days. The men of Hardisty, Alberta, are left on their own to care for themselves, children, homes, and community while the women fly to Canmore, Alberta, for a retreat.
Murdoch Mysteries (Tuesdays at 8 p.m., Citytv; from January 22) Set in 1895 Toronto, this dramatic series follows a young detective who solves murders by using radical forensic techniques, eliciting ridicule from his boss and peers.
The Leading Edge: Innovation in B.C. (Mondays at 7 p.m., Knowledge Network; from January 28) Returning for its sixth season, this documentary series profiles researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs across B.C. in episodes ranging from the "Myth of Consumerism" to "Medicines in Our Backyard" and "Orca Table Manners".
Crystal: Living the Dream (Tuesdays at 8 p.m., CMT; from February 12) Born Ojibwa in the Wikwemikong Reserve on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, rising country-music star Crystal Shawanda's life is examined in this six-part miniseries, from her humble beginnings through signing with RCA in Nashville.
The Englishman's Boy (March 2 and 9 at 8 p.m., CBC) Guy Vanderhaeghe's Governor General's Award–winning novel provides the epic story for this two-part miniseries. A Hollywood movie mogul enlists a screenwriter to track down an elusive cowboy actor, uncovering his part in a bloody massacre in Canada's historic Wild West.
H2O II: The Trojan Horse (March 30 and April 6 at 8 p.m., CBC) In this futuristic political thriller, Paul Gross ( Due South ) reprises his role as Tom McLaughlin in a two-part sequel to 2004's H2O . Canada becomes part of the U.S. and a former prime minister runs for president.