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Tag Archives: Canada

Ed The Sock Explains What Happened To Good Canadian Television

Ed The Sock CRTC

Remember the days of Kids In The Hall? The days when MuchMusic was your favourite thing on TV because they actually played music? And for my parents generation, maybe you even remember SCTV and the original Degrassi?

There was a time when Canadian TV was all about innovation, despite the tiny budget. No – because of the tiny budget. But that tiny budget also meant we could never compete with American broadcasters in primetime.

If you’ve been following the CRTC rulings lately, you’ll know some great things have been put into action – for example, them forcing the big name providers to offer a basic TV package for $25, and then allowing you to pick and choose the extra channels you want.

As a self professed TV nerd, I am all for this. Rogers and Bell have been ripping off cable users for a damn long time, and this kind of ruling was absolutely necessary.

But the ruling Ed the Sock is talking about is different. CRTC also passed a rule to loosen the daytime CanCon requirements for TV producers, and there will no longer be genre protection for specialty channels – meaning MuchMusic doesn’t have to play any music (though that stopped happening ages ago), and History Channel doesn’t have to show any history – as Ed puts it.

For the most part, I agree with what Ed is saying – equating money with innovation is always wrong. That’s exactly why I think the best art is always the first thing the artist releases, when they are poor and struggling and full of innovation and passion and desire. The first album, the first novel, the first film or TV show, that’s the stuff that sticks in the cannon throughout an artists life for a reason.

Having no budget means you have no choice but to be your most creative self.

On the other hand, I don’t think it’s wrong for the CRTC to want Canadian productions to be able to increase production values so that our industry can at least try to compete with what the American networks produce.

There’s a reason we watch more American television than Canadian, and it’s not because we don’t have the talent and skill to make shows as great as our Southern friends – it’s because the budgets up here are nothing compared to what they are down there.

Tons of American shows are shot and produced up here (Hannibal being my absolute favourite) – the difference between that show and the Canadian made shows we ignore on CBC is the budget – which trickles into the actors they can hire, the ability to have one consistent showrunner onboard from the pilot to the finale, the directors they can afford, the writers, the production design, the shooting locations, and so on and so on.

Maybe Canadians like keeping our TV in a specialized “Canadiana” stereotype world of Trailer Park Boys and Corner Gas, but if that were true, Canadians wouldn’t spend the majority of their TV time watching American and British produced shows.

That said, more money does not equal more innovation, but it does allow the innovators to translate the vision they have in their head into the one we see on the screen – rather than shooting a version they end up ashamed of because the budget didn’t leave any room for that vision to be realistically created.

Hear his thoughts below, and let me know what you think about the new changes.

Lisa

Want to Access American Netflix, Spotify and More? Use Tunnelbear

tunnelbear

 

Many of you reading this are, like me, Canadian. And if you’re like me, you’ve often encountered things you want to watch or access that are blocked, simply because you are located in Canada. What a bunch of jerks!

Anyhow, I’ve recently been using this great program called TunnelBear (cute advertising ftw) to get around the ohh so annoying blocks that living in the great white north provides.

I know a few tech nerds who jump through hoops doing all kinds of complicated nerd tricks in order to access American Netflix. I once watched one of them do it and it nearly made my head explode. And that is why I love Tunnelbear. No more of that. Just download the program, turn it on, set it to USA and you are officially seen as an American – the internet walls come down! No more crappy Canadian Netflix!

As many of you are music fans, you’re probably as annoyed as I am that Spotify still isn’t available in Canada. It’s a shameful fact, but Tunnelbear can quickly and easily help you get around it.

The most annoying thing for me has always been with Hulu – so many great shows and clips are made available on Hulu – and if you read American websites, they post these videos ALL the time. It drives me insane. But now that I have Tunnelbear always turned on, I see the proper video every time without doing anything. It’s awesome.

The cool thing about this program is that it was created by Canadians! These people know what it’s like to be stuck here, so close, yet so far away from all that American content. That’s why they invented it back in 2011.

Currently, over 2.3 million people use it in 154 countries, so clearly they have tapped into a need people were desperately seeking.

Another great perk is that it increases your privacy big time, by acting as a middleman and encrypting your connection. Let me tell you, keeping your identity private in these creepy, hacker friendly, stalker-y internet times is very, VERY important.

The nice thing is that you automatically get 500MB of free tunneling each month, and if you want to increase that by an extra GB all you have to do is tweet at @TheTunnelBear and you’ll be bumped up.

What are you waiting for? Go tunnel your way into Spotify, now that you finally can!

 Lisa

Lindi Ortega – Lived and Died Alone

song of the week!

Last night I had the true pleasure of seeing this lovely lady live for the first time. Sad to admit she’s one of those names I had always heard but never paid attention to, placing her in the ‘probably too CanRock for me’ category just by way of associated acts. The Rootstock show I was reviewing last night only reaffirmed that unfair categorization, placing her in between Steven Page, formerly of Barenaked Ladies fame, and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea (someone I would normally avoid ever seeing).

Of course, as soon as she opened her mouth to start singing, I realized how far off I was. I was immediately blown away by the sheer tone and beauty of her voice. The most famous pop stars of today only wish they had a vocal as captivating and original as hers.

Making the night even better was how she described her songwriting process, and how she came to write the beautiful songs she sang. This one particularly struck a chord with me as I tried to hold back tears, making it the perfect choice for song of the week.

Give it a listen:

Lisa

Mas Ysa – Why

song of the week!

Gotta thank a friend for tipping me off on this one. I’m not normally a fan of this electronic singer songwriter (aka indietronica) domination that’s the new cool in music, but this song is legitimately great. The electronic elements are interesting yet not so overpowering that they take away from the sadness of the vocals and the contradiction of the lyrics. Everything about the song reeks of longing and urge and desperate love. And that intro is so creepy. It’s pretty brilliant.

The only part I don’t like is the “drum” solo in the middle, which is actually overpowering and sort of cuts up the beauty of the song for me.

Video wise, I think the choice to show a guy and a girl playing hockey is interesting. At first I was like, wow, this guy really wants to show off his Canadianness – but it’s actually a smart way to depict the chase and the games guys and girls play when trying to navigate relationships, as the song describes.

Montreal born Thomas Arsenault (aka Mas Ysa) is one to watch. If you’re a James Blake fan, keep your eye on this guy.

Lisa

TGIF – Materialism, Sexism And All The Other Isms

peanuts_records

Hey! Okay, I know TGIF hasn’t seen the light of day in a very long time – I was spending all my time building someone else’s dream which meant ignoring mine – but the universe was like – no girl, stop that shit right now – forcing me to smarten up, so I am excited to say that, yes, we’re back!

That means this post is gigantic because even though I didn’t have time to blog it – I was still keeping up with the times. So here is many weeks worth of TGIF rolled into one epic post.

Enjoy!

 Lisa