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The 10 best Canadian TV shows of the past 25 years

To celebrate the big QC, the Gemini Awards (a.k.a. the Emmys without any famous people—oh, come on, you know you were thinking it) has launched an on-line poll to let Canuck couch potatoes determine the most beloved homegrown TV show from the past 25 years. The good news: The Littlest Hobo, Dear Aunt Agnes, The Edison Twins and Just Like Mom all ended in ’85 and ’86, which makes them just eligible. The bad news: you’re old. Here, in no particular order, our top 10 picks and memorable moments from the shows, plus a whole whack of worthy runners-up. View the slide show now >>

  • daph d

    great call on the smoggies!!

  • Mr.OliverQueen

    realize these are all “production” orientated shows, but canada’s best tv export in a long time is no other than Mr. Les Stroud aka Survivorman. even Mantracker has been able to make it in europe along with the states, if its one thing Canucks are doing right, its the fact that we have real men on our shows

  • wcdixon

    An awful lot of childrens shows on list – well they’ve always said we in Canadian TV do kids the best…erm, that came out wrong.

  • RJodoin

    Here again, “Canadian” when applied to cultural products gets re-defined as “Anglo-Canadian”…

  • HIMYM

    They totally left out McElroy & LaFleur, eh. A tale of two mounties, one good, one slighly psychologically damaged, on their quest to foil would-be litter bugs and jay walkers.

  • Kevin

    Hmmm,

    The kids shows were fine; but I’d leave them to a dedicated category for that type of product.

    I would add North of 60; and Godivas to the list, the latter of which I preferred to Being Erica.

    I would also bump something else their in favour of ‘Intelligence’. It may not have caught on, but it was undeniably good.

  • Mike

    What a tragedy… The Newsroom should have made this list!

  • Larry King

    What? No King of Kensington? I know this is a best of the last 25 years list and this was on a bit before that, but this show is timeless. It should be number one in perpetuity.

    I’m crestfallen that Train 48 didn’t make it either. There’s nothing I loved more after a day of taking the train to commute to work than to watch a daily show about people taking the train to commute to work. Oh, what a fantasy world of escapism.

  • Buster B

    Wow. What a pathetically lame list. And this after 25 years?? Despite the hours of crap produced south of the border, I still think most U.S. networks would have a stronger list than this based on a single season.

    One notable, long-running omission. The Friendly Giant must be rolling over in his grave.

  • Jon Jay

    Canadian? You mean anglo-canadian.

  • Elyse

    Looks like all my favs went into the runner-up category. Loved Traders (which a friend taped and sent to me, as I live in the States) and E.N.G.

  • CQ

    I disagree with the inclusion of The Beachcombers only because ‘past 25 years’ would indicate its lingering post-Molly seasons. Nor have I seen any rebroadcasts of the first 13 or 14 seasons since probably around 1985. Chances are they might not even exist any more, otherwise…

  • fiddlesticks

    seriously… how can have Danger Bay/Littlest Hobo listed in the Runners Up yet completely miss “Rick Mercer”/”Corner Gas”. By itself, the Littlest Hobo parody on Corner Gas was arguably some of the best Canadian tv of last 25 years.

  • Nina Keogh

    Thrilled to be part of a series that rated #2 on this list. Hard to believe since Slings and Arrows is a favourite of mine but… still – WOW! N.Keogh aka Muffy Mouse

  • Girlie Girl

    Love…love…love TRAILER PARK BOYS!! Can’t believe it didn’t make the list…

  • Whatevs

    What about The Newsroom? Trailer Park Boys? Traders? Less Than Kind? Intelligence?

    Sounds like my crotchety gramma made your list.

  • TDubs

    You forgot Rick Mercer’s Made in Canada which was a scathing look at TV production.

    Your list? Fail.

  • Bobbo

    Not even an honorable mention for The Red Green Show? Yeah, it was kinda corny at times, but it’s still a damn funny show.

  • Billy MacK

    One day, Cock’d Gunns will be included in these lists. And where’s TPB?

  • gerrard

    what about “la soiree du hockey” and no I don’t mean the one with foster hewitt; or “la petite vie” or the irrepressible “elvis gratton” or juste pour rire….maybe even just for laughts too…oops if it doesn’t get made in Ontario, its tough to make it.

  • Sheldon Wiebe

    I’d include Dark Oracle and Zixx: Level One/Two/Three over Trailer Park Boys and The Beachcomber. Bother were innovative, intelligent fun.

    Dark Oracle combined live-action and traditional animation in a tale of parallel worlds in which the lives if siblings Cally and Lance are mirrored [and influenced] by those of the animated Violet and Blaze – the two realities linked by a comic that writes and illustrates itself as events unfold.

    Zixx: Level One/Two/Three dealt with carious kids, over three seasons, as they met and became allied with Zixx, a kind of policewoman whose beat was the world inside a living computer/video game. One of the first TV series to combine Live action and CG worlds, and one of the smartest.

  • Tara

    What?!?! No Trailer Park Boys?!?!?

  • alberto

    Today’s Special was a fantastic and timeless show that was successful across Canada, the U.S. and around the world. What is more astonishing is that despite such widspread popularity and a massive still loyal following of millions, it has never been released on DVD. What a missed opportunity!!!

  • Derek Bontreger

    Seriously! If “Today’s Special” can make the #2 spot on a best-of list like this … why can we not have DVDs??? Grr!

  • Colin

    Corner Gas?
    Little Mosque on the Praire?
    Rick Mercer Show?
    This Hour?
    Air Farce?

    Any show from the 21st century???

  • Brendan

    twitch city

  • Geoff

    What about Prisoners of Gravity? Where’s the love for commander rick?

  • andrew

    Commander Rick was CLASSIC.

  • Don

    Really? No one?

    TWITCH CITY

  • Moon Shake

    What??!! No “Da Vinci’s Inquest”? I’m still watching re-runs of this gem nightly on Showcase. fantastic acting. great writing, and ‘well shot’ is not a back-handed compliment in this show’s case. Puts 90% of American cop show drivel to shame.

  • PaulSKI

    KING OF KENSINGTON!?

  • JK

    Where’s THE KING OF KENSINGTON!? Best CDN Sitcom ever!

  • justintime

    hello, what about corner gas, robsin arms, little mosc on the prari.

  • sam

    what happened to the red green show?!

  • Jayman83

    Trailer Park Boys all the way… “You know what I’m sayin”
    I wish they made some more TPB though.

    So if your name is Mike Clattenburg give us some more of Lahey and his s**t analogies, Rickyisms, and get the cast back together.

    Kenny V Spenny is awesome too!

  • cashew
  • Dylan

    Made in Canada. It was The Office before The Office (even in the UK) and mixed in a healthy smattering of behind the scenes TV production. It was also Rick Mercer at his finest.

  • Dosslady

    Murdoch Mysteries should make this list, love the 19th Century era shows like this. Road to Avonlea and the like are family favorites, littlest Hobo was my kids fav and still is..A new one this year was Combat Hospital, real good production although not kid friendly .Let’s keep supporting our Canadian TV shows and create family friendly shows.

  • dc

    having spurned Trailer Park Boys, I declare this list to be inaccurate and completely ineffectual.

  • Sandro Bolzan

    hello there \ does anyone remember a Tv show, I think it was called “Fire Rangers” It’s an older show based in northern canada and the fire rangers always had a fire to put out ,,, it was a neat show Thank you

  • coloradoAVS

    no trailer park boys? that show is genius! keep making shows like that and getting them into the u.s.!

    cheers

  • Nicolas Tremblay

    What about some additions from Québec, if I may :

    La Petite Vie
    Passe-Partout
    Virginie

    Canadian, I guess, doesn’t mean Canadien anymore. I have to concede that there were some shows that I didn’t know and that looks very cool!

    I really should think that we out to make a real ”Canadiean” show, that would be hilarious. How many mis-understanding we have between us, shouldn’t it be the best base for major comedy! I mean outrageous comedy! I mean come-on think about it!

    HAHAHAHAHA I laugh about the unlimited possibilities!
    The ‘’Two solitude’’ face to face on TV hahahahahahaha!

    Nicolas
    Nha Trang, Vietnam

  • Haliwood

    I cant believe heartland isn’t even mentioned! Amazing!

  • Splitting Hairs

    Best of the past 25 years? That is slim pickings considering A. it is the “supposed” best of the best, and B. how much money is thrown into the bastion of Canadian culture, the CBC, each year. For some reason Canada has a very poor track record with producing high quality scripted drama. Has all the best Canadian talent left this country for greener pastures? Almost 3 million Canadians live abroad, with about 1 million in California alone.

    The most telling aspect of Canadian scripted television, is that within the first 30 seconds of viewing, it’s Canadian origin is obvious. Dour, boring, amateurish, uncreative, screaming “Made In Canada” long before the first commercial break.

  • W Lad

    Canada can be proud of some of the excellence that we have contributed in TV viewing. FlashPoint is second to none in writing, producing, editing and acting.
    Toronto based, Toronto actors, and top notch. Kudoos FlashPoint, for showing the humanity of police drama that has attracted International audiences. Second to none, in my opinion.

  • HotNoob

    Where is Stargate? Battlestar Galatica?
    this list doesn’t take consideration for the 2000-2010 tv shows…

  • anon

    The Red Green Show,Rick Mercer, Corner Gas, and Daily Planet half of which should have made the list don’t even get a mention. Trailer park boys didnt even make the list and should have been top 5. But random shows I’ve never heard of make the list. I don’t know what criteria this list had but it definitly needs to be improved or totally taken down.

  • NotJewish

    how is Kenny vs. Spenny and the Trailer Park Boys not on this list???

  • Rom

    This is bull shit trailer park boys is the number 1 show in canada
    this list can fuck right off

  • Galloway corner

    @splitting heirs

    know wonder Canadians leave to find work else wear,95% of the time they look for work in America,they learn to speak like the Americans and why because the ones controlling the tv industry in Canada do not support Canada but rather support the Americans,oh and attitudes like your OWN about canadian tv is another reason

  • JACKWINNER

    FLASHPOINT FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!!!!

  • Carol T

    I recently started to watch Da Vincis Inquest, and now I am addicted…La Femme Nikita comes on right after so I HAVE to watch that too…lol..I loved The Commish, Seeing Things, North of 60, Corner Gas,The Edison Twins, I watched the Beachcombers, littlest Hobo, King Of Kensington and Degrassi..fraggle rock, todays special and live it up….miss a lot of those shows..they were good…not filled with sex and drugs and needless cursing…good shows all of them….I have to say that that the Commish and Seeing things were my favorites.

  • phylllis Kehoe

    I think the most funny. Comedy was. Don’t know what its called. A Fort. Nutty British. French. Craziest nativeS. Golf Luiv it.

  • Bruce Armstrong

    Slideshow. Seriously? To list ten items that would fit on one page? Thanks, but this kind of click-baiting crap is not the way to cultivate a readership.

  • Senior V

    I’m with Rom no Trailer Park Boys for number 1 what a joke Toronto Life sucks half of these shows people only watched because there was no satalite and they only got one station living outside of a city Street Legal are you serious my dick has more taste

  • That guy

    The Green Forest was Japanese.

  • forcedToRegister

    North of 60?
    The Peter Hill Show?
    Trailer Park Boys should easily be in the top 10 if not top 5.
    Northern Exposure?
    NFB Animations on saturday morning?

  • Matthew Scott

    What the….no mention of Red Green?

  • TG

    No red green show?

  • SagWriter

    I am not only an American, but I am of the FIRST generation of “kids for whom the television played babysitter” . . . FLASHPOINT is one of THE BEST programs EVER – everything! Actors, scripts, Toronto. . .I LOVE Flashpoint and its entire crew – in front of and behind the cameras!

  • SagWriter

    I’m not sure what programs you’re writing about – I only see the programs we get in the U.S. – - – and I’ve been watching since the days of “Silk Stalkings.” I really think the programs (at least the ones I’ve seen here) are top notch! I LOVE seeing Toronto. . .I am now committed to visiting. I just I didn’t have to go through the whole passport process now. . .but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

    You’ve got good television! Maybe not all of it, but hey – - – have you ever see crap American television? I didn’t even OWN a television for TEN YEARS it had become so incredibly bad…

  • SagWriter

    LOVED IT!! I am SO glad we got that one…
    SagWriter the American

  • Claudia Cuttino

    My favorite show is Davinci’s Inquest. I liked Davinici City hall too, but not as much as Inquest. These shows had great writing and acting and were interesting.

 

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