Category Archives: CTV

Series Premieres: CTV’s Hiccups and Dan for Mayor

Personally, Corner Gas had overstayed its welcome when Brent Butt chose to end its run after its sixth season, but the Canadian public didn’t feel the same way: the show was still a success to the point where CTV would have gladly rode the train to Dog River for as long as possible even if it meant diminished returns (or, for me, more diminished returns). I understood Butt’s decision at the time, in terms of being able to end the show on his terms, but I didn’t particularly care about his decision since I wasn’t, after all, watching the show.

But with the arrival of Hiccups and Dan for Mayor, two new CTV comedies that debuted to impressive numbers on Monday, I have come to see the logic behind his decision. CTV has effectively gotten two shows out of one, with Butt creating (and starring in) Hiccups featuring fellow Corner Gas alum (and wife) Nancy Robertson, and Fred Ewanuick taking on the title role in Dan for Mayor as a follow-up to his role as Hank on Butt’s former show. And as someone who had lost my taste for Corner Gas (while maintaining my respect for the show’s starting point, considering I wrote a thesis chapter about it), it’s nice to see the talented people involved bringing two new series to the table. Butt’s decision kept CTV from leaning on a crutch for too long, and instead pushed them to introduce two new series that can only help the state of original Canadian programming.

I don’t necessarily want to pit the shows against each other, but I don’t know if I have enough to say about either to justify separate posts, so I’ll say this much: I really like Dan for Mayor, and I think that Hiccups is pleasant enough.

Continue reading


Filed under CTV

The Challenge of Streaming Video in Canada

With a flick of a switch, and the power of a battery company, streaming video of shows people actually want to watch (legally) comes to Canada. CTV announced today (Friday) that starting immediately episodes of three of the top-rated shows on television will be available to Canadians on – Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives will see their new episodes available for four weeks after their first airing, allowing those who miss out to catch up.

This is triumphant for CTV, who has oft-struggled to keep their sagging broadband audience at bay after a disappointing lack of continued support beyond certain series, as they can lay claim to the only major Canadian network offering multiple high-tier series in a legal and well-supported platform (All of BellGlobeMedia’s online presences have integrated a new online streaming system far superior to their old one).

This could also be triumphant for people in Canada who have seen “This Video is Not Available in your region” one too many times – with all of the major American streaming sites, whether CBS’ Innertube or’s episode viewer, locked out to eyes North of the border due to CRTC regulations, this could be the Great White Hope: a light at the end of the tunnel for an emergence of a broad and all-encompassing broadband presence.

Unfortunately, that just isn’t going to work.

Continue reading


Filed under CTV

Cultural Learnings’ Fall 2007 Lineup: Tuesdays

[The above/below is really quite tentative, if only because of CTV’s lack of a consistent Fall Schedule. Right now, Gossip Girl is airing a day before its U.S. airings on CTV in Canada, so I’m covering it a day early. However, Pushing Daisies is debuting in the same timeslot two weeks from now. I expect Pushing Daisies to get moved, but this could all change]

Tuesdays are a perfect day for television at Cultural Learnings thanks to a relatively light schedule on Wednesdays. Of course, spiting me once again, the TV deities weren’t kind enough to offer a plethora of shows on this particular evening. As a result, let’s look at the three shows that (for now) have made the cut into the rotation.


FOX’s biggest drama series has never quite had itself in a state of upheaval like this one: with Chase, Foreman and Cameron unemployed and a new set of residents incoming (Including Kal Penn (Kumar) and Olivia Wilde (The O.C.’s resident lesbian)), it seems like a good time to start paying closer attention to Hugh Laurie and company. I’m hoping this new element might cut down on the procedural predictability, but we’ll see.

Cultural Learnings’ House Coverage


Faced with the enormous task of battling off with House, a show that controls all sectors of the viewing audience, Reaper might struggle to gain traction. However, its pilot is quite sharp, and I think that there is a lot of potential in its concept that is worth investigating further. A few weeks in, I might be begging people to stop watching House to switch over to The CW for a change, but we’ll see if it even lasts that long. Fingers crossed.

Cultural Learnings’ Reaper Coverage

Gossip Girl

Earlier this evening, I already started covering this new drama from O.C. creator Josh Schwartz; it’s one of those shows where slick production values and adequate writing elevate what may otherwise be tossed aside as teen fare. My cynicism may grow too large to be contained within shorter articles, but for now we’re going to follow the Serena/Blair battle until the bitter end.

Cultural Learnings’ Review: Gossip Girl


Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, CTV, FOX, Gossip Girl, House, Reaper, Television, The CW

Review: ‘Gossip Girl’

From the moment that Gossip Girl opened with Peter, Bjorn & John, I felt a wash of Orange County air sweep through my window. Where else but Josh Schwartz’s former flame, ‘The O.C.’, would you find such attempts at musical relevance (a bit late due to the pilot delay)? After a month of endless promotion from CTV in Canada (Including a series of hideous testimonial-based commercials touting ‘Team Serena’ and ‘Team Blair’), it was almost a relief to know that young viewers would worry no longer: the next big teen drama has arrived.

I was most shocked by those elements of the series that the show’s endless commercials didn’t quite show us: Serena’s post-suicide attempt brother that brought her home, specifically, was definitely not in the teen debauchery commercials. Instead, we got the love triangles, the drinking and the debauchery. It’s just like how the commercials for The O.C. didn’t so much foreshadow the parental drama inherent to the show’s plot; said drama exists here as well, with two fathers and two mothers getting recurring story points within the episode.

If I were to put myself in the shoes of one of the show’s target viewers, those who would “pick a side” in the show’s central Serena vs. Blair showdown, I’d say that it was a successful first outing for the series. It delivers just the right amount of sexual content, underage drinking and upper class debauchery, and establishes the novel’s back story well; by the time the show intercut Chuck forcing himself on Serena and Serena’s past-fling with Nate, I could hear the sides being taken and the arguments forming.

Continue reading


Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, CTV, Gossip Girl, Television, The CW

Canadian Idol – Finale – And the Winner is…

After Avril Lagine.

After Eva Avila.

After Bon Jovi.

After the Clip Packages.

After the Repeat Performances.

There was two Idols.

Brian Melo.

Jaydee Bixby.

Only one could become.

A Canadian Idol.

The Canadian Idol is…

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Canadian Idol, CTV, Reality TV, Television

Canadian Idol – The Final Two – Why Jaydee Will Win Canadian Idol

Last week, I didn’t bother blogging about the results show, and I apologize to anyone who might have been using my recaps to gain such information. My reason is simple: with the departure of Carly Rae, I became disillusioned with Canadian Idol. She was my last hope, the last shining hope in a season filled with a host of mediocre singers. She epitomized everything an “Idol” should be: charming, original, and capable of musicianship. When she left, part of me left as well.

And it’s not because of dislike for the remaining candidates. Brian Melo is someone who has performed admirably, been fairly consistent, and surely isn’t someone that I would dislike hearing on the radio. And even if I can’t stand him personally, Jaydee Bixby does Jaydee-style very well.

No, my problem with Carly Rae leaving is that it essentially crowned Jaydee Bixby the Canadian Idol by default. And even though the judges did their finest to handicap the competition in Brian’s favour, I don’t think it will be enough to overcome an important fact:

No matter how good Brian might be, and how bad Jaydee might bomb, Brian Melo is still just an adequate performer who wears hats while Jaydee is the smiling honky tonk kid from Alberta.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Idol, CTV, Reality TV, Television

Canadian Idol – September 3rd – The Top 3 Perform

So it’s been awhile since I’ve actually been able to watch Canadian Idol live, and this week was to be no different. However, after a long day during Frosh Week, I’m in need of a break, and Canadian Idol should do just fine.

This week is a bit odd, to be honest, since we’re at the semi-finals and Sass Jordan is providing our tutelage. Were they unable to get someone, or was there a cancellation? Regardless, we’re here to listen to these three sing full songs, both from the judges and from us, the audience.

Jaydee Bixby – “Break it to them Gently” by Burton Cummings

The Good: His voice didn’t sound terrible, countrifying the song actually worked.

The Bad: Still warbly, to be honest, and I still felt not a bit of natural stage presence when he isn’t getting into his honky tonk groove.

Brian Melo – “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procul Harem

The Good: Sounds good on the major parts of the song, good choice for his voice.
The Bad: They left in the organ solo, which felt really unnecessary. And, Zack was right, certain parts of the song were sketchy.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Idol, CTV, Reality TV, Television

Canadian Idol – August 28th – The Top 4 Results Show

After three straight missed shows thanks to job training, I’m finally back to being able to watch tonight’s episode of Canadian Idol. However, thanks to said training, I got back only to find that the recap was already done, so I’m still fairly in the dark regarding what occurred on last night’s show except for Jaydee and Carly Rae’s performances which are on YouTube.

As a result, while I know the four songs that those two sang, I’m entirely in the dark as to whether Brian continued his upward trend, or whether Dwight did enough to be able to keep Jaydee from taking his spot in the semi-finals.

I do know, however, that Paul Anka is both extremely short and oddly worshipped by the Canadian Idol audience. I don’t really understand it: he might be Canadian, and he might still have a voice, but it just doesn’t click with me.

The show also featured a really awkward conversation at the mansion where Brian, Dwight and Carly Rae are talking about songwriting, and Jaydee just sits there staring at them. It really emphasizes the divide at this point in the conversation: we have three guitar-playing singer-songwriters and basically a Grand Ole Opry act gone bad.

The Results

The four stand in almost all black, looking really quite classy if you don’t mind me saying. The judges offer their words of advice: Sass speaks to Carly Rae touching people, Jake tells Jaydee that (in two years) he’ll be a huge success, Zack commends Brian on his growth, and Farley tells Dwight to keep growing his artistic side. And then we immediately, like two seconds after a commercial, go to another one.

However, when we return we learn that the Idol who received the fewest votes is…

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Idol, CTV, Reality TV, Television

2007-2008 Fall Premiere News – Oh Canada, Early Airings of New Shows

According to CTV’s Fall Schedule, revealed recently, Canada will get day early airings of two drama premieres that are highly anticipated.

The CW’s Gossip Girl will be airing at 8pm on Tuesday, September 18th. This is a day earlier than its September 19th premiere on The CW.

Also, Pushing Daisies (The critic’s darling making its way on the hype train to hopefully success, pictured) will also debut at 8pm on Tuesday, October 2nd. This is also a day earlier than its ABC premiere on October 3rd.

Now, which show will actually be staying in the time slot? Well, that question doesn’t appear to be entirely clear. Either way, this news means that Canadian fans might be able to watch these shows a night early…or, if the schedule shifts around, they might only ever air once.

For all of the U.S. Premiere dates to compare, you can check out Cultural Learnings’ Fall Premiere Database.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, ABC, CTV, Gossip Girl, Television, The CW

Canadian Idol Catchup – The Top 5 w/ Kelly Clarkson

Okay, so I’ll admit it: I had a rough week when it comes to Canadian Idol. First, during the performance show, I was moving into my residence room, and had no access to it. And then, since I didn’t see the performance show, I was unfortunately unaware it had switched times, so I missed it. And so, I’m going to play some catchup.

Kelly Clarkson: Mentor

She was as charming as ever, and more importantly seemed to make a personal connection with the Idols unlike Maroon 5 last week. I don’t know how her performance was, but she was great as a mentor. Thumbs up.


Jaydee Bixby – Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You”

My Thoughts: Ummm…yeah? I’m with Zack: let him keep doing that, but I really would rather not have to be a major radio station if he wins this thing and releases something. Because I do not seeing this going over well with mainstream Top 40 Radio.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Rickie Lee Jones’ “Chuck E’s In Love”

My Thoughts: She’s charming, she’s engaging, and she really is the most memorable contestant right now in a non-Sanjaya/Jaydee fashion. It was a cute song, performed well…can I argue with that? I really can’t. Plus, I love Kelly Clarkson’s reaction: how do you KNOW this song? Heh.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canadian Idol, CTV, Reality TV, Television