In an election campaign that is extraordinary in so many ways, one of the more noteworthy changes is that there could be as many as five English-language leadership debates. More surprising and perplexing still is the way the CBC has abdicated its obligation as our public broadcaster to provide coverage of these events. The CBC, with its unparalleled household penetration, was not among the motley assemblage of television and web outlets that carried the initial Rogers-produced debate last week, nor will it be involved in the Globe and Mail/Google/YouTube effort next month.
Given the parliamentary majority that the Harper government currently enjoys, official effective opposition to its typically extreme legislative proposal lies squarely in the hands of the Supreme Court. Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau's respective decisions to stand aside the bill as it makes its way in the House of Commons, preferring instead to pitch oversight-related amendments as part of their prospective federal electoral platforms, reinforces this reality.
Political speech is seemingly under attack from the last place we might expect: Canadian media broadcasters, that say parties can't use broadcasters' content in ads. Protecting copyright is not an illegitimate purpose, but this approach is less than ideal for political advertisements. Political parties rely on election advertising to persuade the electorate to vote for them. This political expression is a significantly important aspect of public discourse and should be accorded the highest priority and protection.
Well, cross another one off the bucket list, as last Monday I made my debut as a TV political commentator. Given my career path and my reputation, the aforementioned gig seems strange and incongruous. But those who know me know my political passion, especially these days as Quebec and Montreal try to redefine their places in a rapidly-changing world.
A "crossover" is when characters from one series/property appear in an unrelated series/property. In comic books, the "shared universe" idea is so intrinsic, characters regularly guest star in each other's magazines. There are different reasons for doing a TV crossover. The first is just for the fun of it.
There was a time when you could declare a Canadian TV season if two series were airing around the same time. And a "hit" season if people had actually heard of one of them. And then along comes Played -- CTV's crime-drama about undercover cops that premieres Thursday, Oct. 3rd. Here's the best part: it's actually quite good.
I first started following Darcy Micahel's career in his early days doing stand-up in dingy cafes and half-empty bars. Today, Darcy is headlining comedy festivals across Canada, is a regular on CBC Radio's "The Debaters" and is about to start filming his first supporting role in a sitcom. I had the opportunity to sit down with the self-proclaimed skinny bitch as he packed his bags for Toronto, to discuss his role and thoughts around this next phase of his career in comedy.
When a reporter approaches me about a column I wrote on the lack of storytelling in T.V. journalism, I have some explaining to do. "Want to know why broadcast news still starts so many stories at the end ... tells you effect before cause ... is so hard to understand ... to remember?" "Sure," she says. "Let me tell you a story ..."
Recently, I was invited to a happening, an evening "of celebration, comedy, music, and discussion with expert panellists" organized by an obviously worthy volunteer group called Reimagine CBC. Seems Reimagine CBC and another volunteer group have just finished a survey of some 11,000 Canadians aimed at finding out what we, the citizens, want of our CBC.
Even before the Games began, it seemed Bell and Rogers decided to stick with selling cellphones and they aren't interested in the next Olympics (which have gone to CBC). Now, the viewing numbers are excellent of course. But they're no more than a rather dubious measurement of eyes in front of TV sets, computers and various gadgets. They're not indications of satisfaction. Or dissatisfaction. For the record though, here are some things in CTV's evening prime time coverage that certainly could have been done better...