Read: How Corner Gas Ruined Everything
A fantastic post on DeadThingsOnSticks describes how the Canadian TV Industry misses its own point. I am constantly perplexed about how to deal with issues such as these, because I'm at least partly involved in such an industry, and I don't want to close any doors on myself by insulting the people I may or may not work with one day. But hey, I didn't write it, so...
A lot of Canadian TV creative types are snobs. They are out of touch with the Canadian viewing audience. And that's why they make bad shows.
I can't say that's necessarily the truth all across the spectrum, but it feels damn close. The shows you see pushed aren't the ones that are soulless marketing fodder, they're the ones with so much substance you actually feel burdened watching them. That's not to say there isn't a value to feeling tormented after watching a drama (I personally like to feel messed up at the end of an hour of entertainment), but there's only so many times you can watch El Maquinista in a row before you have to take happy pills to survive.
The stupid part about this is that Canadians have a great track record at silly irreverent entertainment... we have Air Farce, 22 Minutes, Corner Gas, Trailer Park Boys and some of the better minds of SNL on our national credit list, and yet we seem to look down on that kind of light fluff. Light fluff is something we CAN excel at. Grey's Anatomy isn't art, and if you tried to MAKE it art you'd be missing the point. The goal isn't to broaden horizons, it's to re-tread the old horizon in entertaining ways.
Of course the big problem is that the broadcasters don't care to fix the problem, so the producers won't feel pressure to fix their outlook, so any of the great Fluffers in Canada will ultimately go south where they can be silly without restraint. Hopefully the vidcasting movement will help that somewhat, and it won't be nearly as hard to convince artists to bypass the networks as I initially thought.