Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Stupid, stupid, stupid CBC

After months of everyone pretty much being certain anyways, SPACE has confirmed on its site that it now has the Canadian broadcast rights to Doctor Who. This also confirms to me that the CBC has given up programming anything besides Hockey that people will actually watch.

Back in 2005, when the revamped Doctor Who debuted, CBC was a co-production partner. As such, Canada was the first place in North America to see the new series when it debuted on CBC with much fanfare in only ten days after its UK debut. Even though it garnered critical acclaim and good ratings, each subsequent season seemed less and less important to the CBC. It never even aired Voyage of the Damned, one of the Christmas specials, and the previous special was aired in the middle of summer. It aired the first season of spinoff Torchwood, then abruptly dropped it, allowing SPACE to pick it up and have it become a popular show for them. The network would premept the show for anything, although usually they did so for hockey. Even with each season airing at different times of year and different time slots, the show still had a following.

Cut to 2008, and SPACE picks up the rights for The Next Doctor. They advertised the living hell out of the show, and they seemed genuinely excited and happy to air it. No doubt they'll have as great a success with it as they've had with Torchwood.

This whole story is indicative of what's wrong with the CBC. Their programming gets more and more bland with each passing year. I've watched Little Mosque on the Prairie, which is charming enough. They've got a ton of differing types of news shows and documentary-type shows. I've never enjoyed Just for Laughs Gags or This Hour has 22 Minutes or Rick Mercer, but even if I did do we really need three sketch comedy/news satire shows on one network? They used to have Intelligence, which was a well-done, risky show, but it is gone now. They still put out a Da Vinci TV-movie every so often, which is okay, I suppose. I just feel like the CBC is more interested in being Canadian than in being entertaining. They've aired Coronation Street forever. They just bought Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever, but they obviously have no problem with product from elsewhere.

It just seems like they are completely uninterested in airing anything outside their "box", which may be why I know so few people who watch the CBC. My parents watch hockey, but they don't watch any other show on the network (my dad watched Doctor Who, though, and he doesn't have cable, so he's irritated that he'll miss it). No one I know that is my age regularly watches anything on that network that doesn't involve a hockey stick. Occasionally they'll watch The Hour, but it's not a must-see.

So, those of you in charge of the CBC? Are you saying there's no room for sci-fi in Canada? No room for drama or adventure? Why don't we have a procedural cop show set on the streets of Vancouver? Why don't we have a Lost type show full of mystery? Why hasn't a CBC exec talked to Dick Wolf about a Law & Order show set in Toronto (they're doing it in London soon)? Why isn't there a CSI : Vancouver? You may laugh, but I'd rather watch that than Sophie, and so, I bet would a lot of other people.

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