The shows – CBC


Above & Beyond

8-10 p.m.

2 x 120 min., Nov. 6 debut

The story: Set in WWII, what’s been called the greatest untold Canadian war story recounts Lord Beaverbrook’s daring plan to deliver North American-built aircraft to Britain’s beleaguered Royal Air Force, ultimately turning the tide of war.

The verdict: Sounds terrific for Canadian history buffs, and is likely to catch the interest of an older, educated demo. Not likely to have mass appeal though.

Canada-Russia ’72

2 x 120 min., April debut

The story: A dramatization of Canada’s historic win over the Russian national hockey team during the 1972 Summit Series, a game that helped shape this country’s identity.

The verdict: A movie about one of the most memorable sports events broadcast to a hockey-deprived nation? With or without the return of the NHL, and with the help of producer Barrie Dunn who is a writer and producer of the popular Trailer Park Boys, this will be fun.

Comedy Gold

2 x 120 min., Jan. 1 debut

The story: This doc celebrates Canadian comedy from Mack Sennett to Mike Myers and features performances by Canada’s beloved comedy stars backed up by classic clips.

The cast: A who’s who of Canadian comedy.

The backing: Insight Productions, producers John Brunton and Barbara Bowlby.

The verdict: Comedy programming tends to produce a strong following on the CBC. Given the track record of Rick Mercer and This Hour has 22 Minutes, this is pretty much guaranteed to be a patriotic laff riot.

Da Vinci’s City Hall

Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m.

13 x 60 min., Oct. 18 debut

The story: A gritty dramatic series featuring Nicholas Campbell as Vancouver coroner-turned-politician Dominic Da Vinci,

who is now Vancouver’s flamboyant, free-speaking mayor.

The cast: Nicholas Campbell

The backing: Chris Haddock Entertainment (Da Vinci’s Inquest)

The verdict: The long-running (it started in 1998) and highly popular series (it’s broadcast in 45 countries) gets a bit of re-branding as hard-nosed Da Vinci goes political. The show’s faithful are bound to follow him through the corridors of city hall.

Dragon Boys

2 x 120 min., March 12 debut

The story: A Chinese-Canadian police detective investigates a major heroin import deal while exploring the dangerous world of Asian organized crime and facing his own unresolved issues of ethnicity and identity.

The verdict: Looks to be an action-packed eye opener. Much will depend, however, on the acting ability of the main characters.

Hotel Metropolitan

6 x 60 min., Jan. 23 debut

The story: Darkly comic tale of a hotel that acts as a crossroads for celebrities and nobodies, artists, tourists and fugitives.

The verdict: Sounds like Canada’s own version of Manhattan’s fabled Chelsea Hotel.

Il Duce Canadese

2 x 120 min., Dec. 4 debut

The story: Two-parter focuses on three generations of an Italian-Canadian family victimized by the anti-Axis hysteria that swept the country circa 1939-40, resulting in brutal internment for many.

The verdict: Bound to be as affecting as it is educational. Likely to strike a chord with Italian-Canadians and history buffs. Once again, this program should appeal to an older demo.


1 x 120 min., Nov. 28

The story: When a briefcase containing surveillance files on two dozen targets of CSIS investigations and their informants is stolen from a supervisor’s car, the entire intelligence agency’s existence is threatened.

The cast: Ian Tracey, others TBA.

The backing: Chris Haddock Entertainment (Da Vinci’s Inquest).

The verdict: With Haddock at the helm and tales ripped from current headlines, it could help CBC garner interest among a broader demo.

Shania: A Life in Eight Albums

1 x 120 min., Oct. 2

The story: An intimate dramatic portrait of Shania Twain from her childhood singing in the bars of northern Ontario to the cusp of international stardom.

The verdict: Canadians love them some Shania. Man, this one feels like a winner. (Sorry, couldn’t resist paraphrasing one of Shania’s many hits.)

The Tommy Douglas Story

2 x 120 min., Jan. 15 debut

The story: Highlights the extraordinary life and achievements of Tommy Douglas – Baptist minister, five-time premier of Saskatchewan and inaugural leader of the NDP.

The backing: Minds Eye Entertainment, producer Kevin DeWalt.

The verdict: The timing couldn’t be better. Based on the number of Canadians who voted to make Douglas the greatest Canadian last winter, this account will probably go over well.

Waking Up Wally: The Walter Gretzky Story

1 x 120 min., Oct. 16

The story: Movie based on Wayne Gretzky’s dad’s best-selling book about struggling to regain his life and memory after a brain aneurysm.

The verdict: More than a rags-to-riches story of country singers and political icons, Canadians love hockey. Should be inspiring and appeal to more than hockey types.

What’s It Like Being Alone

13 x 30 min.

The story: Brad Peyton’s stop-motion animated, half-hour comedy series about an orphanage full of freakish children.

The verdict: Producer Fred Fuchs is no newbie: He has a solid track record in the U.S. executive producing Hollywood fare which includes Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Then again, he’s also responsible for the Godfather III. The outcome is thus questionable.