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This Website Could Help Canadian Television

07/27/2014 10:15 EDT | Updated 09/26/2014 05:59 EDT
Davies and Starr via Getty Images

Not so long ago there was a website/blog called TV, Eh? As that quirky name might imply, it was devoted to Canadian TV. It was primarily a link site -- every day providing links to off-site articles, reviews, interviews, and op-ed pieces related to any and all Canadian-made TV series -- with the occasional editorial or podcast by the site manager.

For someone like myself, who writes a lot about Canadian film and TV, it was both an invaluable resource and just a nice way to keep -- more or less -- abreast of what was going on, what was in production, what was premiering, and what people were saying about shows.

As all too often seems to happen in Canadian entertainment, this invaluable resource was largely a hobby for its creator, Diane Wild. I don't think she got paid for it, or that it was supported by any grants or funding. While "professional" publications were often too busy writing about the Kardashians and the latest short-lived Hollywood sitcom, Wild, I'm assuming, did it simply because she felt it was worth doing. Something with which I, as someone who likewise has spent an inordinate amount of time writing and posting about Canadian film & TV, can sympathize.

You do it 'cause -- dagnabit! -- somebody has to!

But all things come to an end -- particularly things where the person involved is, as I say, putting in more than she's getting out. Near the beginning of 2014 Wild announced the site was shutting down. Officially I think she just suggested it had all become too time consuming and her enthusiasm was waning.

Unofficially I think -- possibly -- she was just getting beaten down by an industry that can be a bit like running a shelter for wolverines. No matter how hard you try to sooth the little beasties, they'll try and bite your hand off if you're not careful. Occasional pieces Wild had posted critical of shows, or pointing out shortcomings in the way broadcasters promoted their Canadian programs, could lead to Wild being vilified and even "harassed" (her word for one such situation) by those who seemed to feel that uncritical adulation is the only legitimate form of commentary.

More recently, and adding further to the blow to Canadian TV promotion, TV Guide (Canada) on-line also recently put its computers into permanent sleep mode -- at least in regards editorial content.

Except now TV, Eh? just may be coming back through the mechanism of that new business model -- crowdfunding. Specifically with a funding drive through Indiegogo.

In some ways, the proposed revival of the name promises to be even bigger n' better -- being a professional site, so suggesting more original material, articles and interviews. Although, admittedly, the old model of linking to other sites (including small town papers and individual blogs) was itself a great resource and meant no single editorial perspective was being presented exclusively.

Now I should point out: I have no horse in this particular race. I don't personally know any of the people involved in TV, Eh? and so far as I know, they don't know me. I think the old TV, Eh? did link to one or two of my HuffPost pieces but given how incessantly I've written about Canadian TV over the years, I'm guessing I was never bookmarked in anyone's "favourites" list.

But I think some sort of Canadian entertainment presence is important to have on the web. That's why I write for Huffington Post. That's why I first started my Great Canadian Guide to the Movies & TV site over 15 years ago (a site which I think did serve a purpose originally, though maybe less so now with Canadian film and TV entries available at the IMDB and Wikipedia). Too many self-described "Canadian" film and TV sites tend to simply mean they are written or maintained by Canadians -- but primarily cover Hollywood productions.

Hopefully the new TV, Eh? -- assuming it gets going -- won't fall into the trap of just being a cheerleader, of seeing its sole purpose to do PR for any and all Canadian productions. That should certainly be part of it, of course. But a healthy industry is one where issues can be discussed, opinions can be traded back and forth, and sacred cows tipped over.

A site like TV, Eh? could be a kind of virtual town hall where both industry professionals and their audience can congregate from sea to sea to sea -- which given Canada is the second largest country in the world, and people working in the biz in one province are sometimes barely aware of what's happening in another province, is invaluable.

A lot of people in Canadian television would probably welcome the idea of a site like TV, Eh? -- but I suspect many would turn on it savagely if it didn't uncritically praise their particular production. But Canadian television (and film) need criticism -- constructive criticism, that is -- as much as it needs cheerleaders. Issues need to be dragged out into the light and argued about.

Not to mention that can generate some interesting buzz, can't it?

As I say: I have no stake in a revived TV, Eh? myself. If you want to chip in and help its Indiegogo fund drive -- great. If you don't, that's fine, too. But I think it's worth knowing it's happening.

The important thing is to get people thinking and talking.

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