I have here an academic book about Canadian TV, Programming Reality: Perspectives on English-Canadian Television (hyphen sic; Zoë Druick and Aspa Kotsopoulos, eds.). It’s a bit dry, sort of like Canadian Television Today. Needless to say, the Corpse comes up a lot.
Glen Lowry writes about Da Vinci (and of course I would lead off with that topic):
Shifting focus away from the and onto Da Vinci’s political career, it moves from an unfolding social imaginary and onto the psychological struggles of a powerful individual.
The cancellation of Da Vinci’s City Hall, ultimately the demise of Da Vinci, was the product of more than simple ill will at the CBC.... Figuratively and literally, the that Da Vinci grew to represent has begun to disappear under the forces of gentrification.
Yeah, you knew that word was gonna be in there.
The historical situations that gave the show its edge were no longer current: The “missing women” were found to have been murdered, and the murderer was in police custody; Larry Campbell had left civic politics.... Neither Vancouver nor the are what they were when Da Vinci entered the scene in 1998.
By the way, if you rewatch early episodes of Da Vinci’s Inquest, it’s shocking how quiet, hemmed-in, and conventional they are, with everything taking place on studio sets. Later episodes literally opened everything up – suddenly you saw through the baby-blue walls implied by the opening credits into the cold grey light of Vancouver. (And they got rid of the opening credits. In fact, now I can’t find the article where Haddock talks about doing exactly that.)
Derek Foster has a solid chapter on Making the Cut. Remember Making the Cut? The reality show we ran just as Stursberg was telling Parliament we didn’t do reality shows?
With Making the Cut, the spectacle of hockey competition was intended to be drama enough... without the casting of the slacker, the redneck, the introvert, or other such stereotypes upon which “reality” shows frequently depend. Yet NHL games, the standard of real hockey..., do not feature microphones attached to players or handheld camera operators on the ice who become part of the action. Making the Cut, through the use of such technologies, created on-ice spectacle quite distinct from “real” hockey.
A piece about The Greatest Canadian by Julie Rak (emphasis added):
At the opening of the Tommy Douglas program, Douglas’s advocate, George Stroumboulopoulos, at the time a good-looking host for a MuchMusic alternative music show, is sitting in a ’50s-era convertible at a drive-in.... says that James Dean just looks like a rebel, but Tommy Douglas really was one.... American rebels are part of Hollywood, but “we” Canadians have political rebels.... establishes a nexus between Douglas as an individual and Douglas as representative of Canadian values in its implicit rejection of celebrity as un-Canadian.