There’s a group “on the Facebook” entitled DAMN! I miss “Drop The Beat” & “Straight Up”!!! (sic). Forgive the overenthusiastic spelling. Can we talk about the sentiment?
Maybe this is false-memory syndrome, but I remember Drop the Beat and Straight Up (“Oh-oh-oh!”) as daringly original and almost pitch-perfect “youth” shows. I still remember the Straight Up episode about the young teen physicistrix, who walks along the rail of a fence muttering to herself about Schrödinger’s cat. Her dad didn’t know what to make of her. (The trend is the opposite now – Hugh Dillon, as the dad on Durham County, only really got along with his daughter and vice versa.)
I went and dug up the remaining two of my three tapes of Straight Up. I believe they are now 10 years old. My cherished episode isn’t on there, and it isn’t as great as I remembered, but I understand the approach – slice-of-life and seemingly unstructured. It’s still better than many former CBC shows, including Traders (yes, at one time on CBC) and This Is Wonderland.
Drop the Beat was the sequel – a more orderly and linear serial, but with Michie Mee, so it was cool. And actually it was. (And Merwin Mondesir with a tattoo. Now he’s in Hollywood doing what not many American actors can bring themselves to do – Gaying While Black, as in his role on the execrable Noah’s Arc. He regrets he was too young and underprepared to do a better job in his “early work.”)
They tried to be smart, these shows. Not well-scrubbed like JPod (perverse CBC misspelling: jPod).
I’ve got a whole theme I want to pursue here that, in an age of TiVos (and ass-backwards off-brand “PVRs” that Windoids put up with), CBC could run repeats of interesting shows at off hours, like 1:00 in the morning. It’s a ghetto for B-tier British movies at the moment. And sports reruns. Yes, it costs to re-license old shows, particularly shows with original music. Of course rerunning old shows represents present-day failure. But replacing JPod with nothing is no replacement at all. And they wouldn’t be replacing JPod; they’d be carving out a new programming block.
Can’t we rerun the interesting programs of yesteryear? The ones that were slightly ahead of their time? If Razer (né MTV [à décéder MTV]) can run Drop the Beat (and also Straight Up), can’t the Corpse? (I asked Back Alley Films, who own the program but don’t distribute it: “Back Alley would be delighted if CBC chose to re-air Straight Up and Drop the Beat.” A bit corporate in tone, but again, let’s focus on sentiment.)
I’m not prissy about it. We could run the really old shit too, like This Hour Has Seven Days. (Apparently there are rather thorny rights issues on that one. Could somebody enlighten us on that? It might have to be a greatest-hits show.)
Position the whole thing slightly ironically, but only slightly, and it could work. A Blast from the Past hour late at night is something really only the CBC could do. If CTV tried this, what would they be stuck with running? The Trouble with Tracy? The Star Lost?
The Pig and Whistle? Uncle Bobby? University of the Air?