This spring’s crop of Canadian TV shows and specials offers a lively mix of familiar faces and new titles, and boasts everything from home renovation rescues and gay weddings to vampiric babysitters and”¦big balls?
Audience favourites such as the telepathic crime drama The Listener (already underway); the sitcom Dan for Mayor, starring Vancouver actor Fred Ewanuick; and the Vancouver-shot comedy series Hiccups are all back for a second season on CTV (premiere dates for the latter two are still to be announced). Those with a sweet tooth can satisfy their cravings without the calories with season two of the locally shot reality TV series The Cupcake Girls (starting April 6 at 9 p.m., W Network).
Monsters and mysterious beings are alive and well on Space with two local productions. Sci-fi series Sanctuary (April 15 at 10 p.m.) continues with season 3.5, roaming the world in pursuit of creatures both fearsome and fascinating. Meanwhile, the popular ten-part steampunk web series Riese: Kingdom Falling finally gets its first Canadian TV broadcast (April 9 at 6 p.m.).
Two upcoming specials will surely please music fans. Up first is the three-part documentary series Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll Stories (March 21 to 23, 7 p.m., Bravo!) by director Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo), about the vibrant music scene in Toronto during the 1950s and ’60s. A week later is the 2011 Juno Awards (March 27, 8 p.m., CTV), hosted by Canadian hip-hop star and Degrassi alum Drake. There’s also Knowledge Network’s Route 66 Music Festival, a music-focused documentary series that will start with Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound (May 5, 9 p.m.), and include Soundtrack for a Revolution (June 2) and The Real World of Peter Gabriel (June 16).
OUTtv will dedicate matrimonially-themed specials through April, including Married in Canada (April 30 at 9 p.m.), a documentary about seven American gay couples who tie the knot in Toronto. Also in April, Knowledge Network’s Storyville premieres seven documentaries on topics ranging from cancer patients in Chemo (April 12, 9 p.m.), to families coping with bipolar disorder in Family Matters: Surviving the Bipolar Journey (May 3, 9 p.m.), to a homeless Nicaraguan teen mother in Karla’s Arrival (June 14, 9 p.m.).
Here’s also a rundown of new series to check out:
Endgame (starts March 14, 10 p.m., Showcase)
In this locally shot psychological crime drama, former chess grandmaster Arkady Balagan (Big Love’s Shawn Doyle) develops agoraphobia after his fiancé is murdered, and cannot leave his Vancouver hotel room. Strapped for cash, Balagan uses his strategic thinking skills to help solve crime, getting his friends and hotel staff to help do the legwork. Patrick Gallagher (Glee) and Torrance Coombs (The Tudors) also star.
Health Nutz (starts March 22, 4:30 p.m., APTN)
Kevin Loring (Pathfinder) stars as Buzz Riel Jr. in this six-episode comedy about a has-been, trouble-ridden hockey player who inherits a juice bar and a patented energy drink from his estranged father. Made in Vancouver, Health Nutz takes an amusing look at the world of healthy living from the point of view of a recovering alcoholic. Ali Liebert (Year of the Carnivore), Brian George (Seinfeld), and Lexa Doig (Andromeda) also star.
Homewreckers (starts March 22, 8:30 p.m., W Network)
The owner of Vancouver-based plumbing and renovation company Pretty Plumbing Co., Kristi Hansen, comes to the rescue of homeowners in this half-hour reality series. Homewreckers looks at homes that are on the verge of disaster due to neglect and lack of upkeep, and Hansen brings her 19 years of experience and no-nonsense approach to try and save these homes before they are beyond repair.
Mr. Young (already underway, YTV)
From the creator of Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody comes this Vancouver-made children’s comedy series about 14-year-old high school science teacher Adam Young (up-and-comer Brendan Meyer). After finishing university at the age of nine, Adam finds himself learning to balance two worlds—as a teen and as an adult—at high school.
My Babysitter’s a Vampire (preview March 14 to 17, 8:30 p.m., Teletoon)
During Teletoon’s March Break programming, viewers can watch a sneak peak of My Babysitter’s a Vampire. Based on the same-named movie, the series follows three geeky guys and their babysitter, who happens to be vampire, as they try and save their town from the supernatural.
She’s the Mayor (already underway, VisionTV)
This comedy finds Iris Peters (MVP’s Janet-Laine Green), a former school principal, as the new mayor of Fairfax. However, her lack of experience in municipal politics is just the tip of the iceberg. To top it off, her outspokenness has her staff spinning in the wake of her gaffes.
Wipeout Canada (starts April 3, 8 p.m., TVtropolis)
This popular obstacle course–based game show comes to the Great White North as 20 Canadian contestants compete against each week for the grand prize of $50,000 and the title of “Wipeout Canada Champion”. Watch contestants take on big, red balls, the sucker-punch wall, and, of course, the wipeout zone.