Hockey Night Lights: A Canadian Television Dream

This past Sunday was the Emmy awards, the American equivalent of Canada’s Gemini awards (see how I made Canada the primary focus? Huh?), and as any avid television lover would do, I watched the telecast. I don’t say this lightly: I love television. I’d watched ninety percent of the programs nominated for Emmys, including the reality shows and TV movies and miniseries, and I’ll admit my gaps fell squarely in the big four broadcaster’s procedurals. I’m not a Law and Order:SVU kind of lady, what can I say?

A shiny Primetime Emmy Award.

With a trusty glass of wine and trustier cohorts at my side we judged the gowns and tuxes (lovely, tragic, classic), the speeches (funny, long, confusing), the intros (often unbearable) and the host (delightful). And of course, we hemmed and hawed, cheered and booed winners and losers, as though any of this is important. Well it was important enough to warrant a few hours of tipsy evaluation.

And while yes, I also tuned into the Geminis all those weeks ago (I’m not ashamed to admit that I can’t resist awards shows) I was not as well versed. I’d heard of shows, watched an episode or two, but I hadn’t obsessed over them, watched seasons in a marathon weekend. I’d only watched one entire series, a show that is sadly already cancelled and I do find time for Canadian reality shows. After my Emmy devouring, and my excitement at the coming television season, I felt guilty and strange. I read Canadian books, I watch Canadian films, listen to Canadian music, peruse Canadian fashion magazines, but television, my everyday indulgence, doesn’t seem to get that same patriotic love. The last time I obsessed over Canadian television was during the original Degrassi days. Okay, current Degrassi is no slouch either.

One of my favourite moments at the Emmys was the win for best actor in a drama series by forever coach Kyle Chandler. Chandler played coach Eric Taylor for five seasons on NBC’s Friday Night Lights. Yes. A show about high school football, set at a small town in Texas. Do I have an interest in any of these things? Nope. But the show made me care, to an emotional degree that at times, upon further reflection felt over the top. It was all consuming, engaging and surprising. The subject matter, the content became interesting because of the quality and care.

There are a lot of questions that I can’t answer: Am I a bad Canadian for consuming so much American television? Am I a bad Canadian for not tuning in to enough Canadian programming?

A shiny Gemini Award. Our homegrown television trophy.

Where are the Canadian dramas, contemporary stories, not about solving crimes or historical times or teens? How do we find Canadian programming slotted amid the American and British imports that fill our programming schedules and eventually PVRS? Are we just not in the game in the same way? What are our CanCon television options?

And then I thought why can’t we transform our favourite sport into a grainy, gorgeous, beautifully written, puck and stick filled drama that will have the masses of the Great White North cheering for the home team and crying into their Kokanees on Friday nights? Canadians love to watch hockey. Maybe they would love to watch a contemporary hockey drama with complex loveable characters and a heart-shattering theme song. Or maybe I’m just dreaming a CanCon television dream.

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  1. Denise
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