Sunday, 20 December 2015

TV36: Canadian cable serials worth watching: ReGenesis, The Tudors, Durham County, Odyssey 5

Canada hasn’t made a lot of great cable dramas, but these four are definitely worth a look, though only the first (ReGenesis) gets ****. The others get ***+. In order of how much I liked them:

ReGenesis (2004 - 2008)

This original, intriguing and often thought-provoking (especially in terms of ethical questions) series is hard to find but worth watching just to see what a purely Canadian show can accomplish. Created by Avrum Jacobson for The Movie Network and Movie Central, ReGenesis stars Peter Outerbridge, who is very good here, as David Sandström, the head (and chief scientist) of NorBAC (North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission), a fictional organization investigating scientific anomalies related to things like bio-terrorism, diseases and environmental changes. The good ensemble cast includes Ellen Page as Sandström’s teenage daughter.

The Tudors (2007 - 2010)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays King Henry VIII in this historical drama created by Michael Hirst. It’s gorgeously filmed and very entertaining, but the writing and acting are uneven, resulting in some lesser and often shallow storylines. The solid ensemble cast includes Sam Neill as Cardinal Wolsely, Jeremy Northam as Thomas More, James Frain as Thomas Cromwell and Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn. 

Durham County (2007 - 2010)

Hugh Dillon stars as Mike Sweeney, a homicide detective from Toronto who moves his family to suburban Durham County after his partner was killed only to discover that his new neighbour may be a serial killer. This very stylish atmospheric thriller focuses on the psychological trauma left behind after a serial killer’s work and is much more about character development than police work, which is a good thing. While I found the show compelling, the storyline isn’t my thing. Created by Janis Lundman, Adrienne Mitchell and Laurie Finstad Knizhnik for The Movie Network and Movie Central. 

Odyssey 5 (2002)

This time-travel sci-fi series was created by Manny Coto for the Space channel. Five astronauts on a space shuttle observe the complete destruction of Earth but are rescued by an inorganic being who sends them back five years into the past to prevent the disaster from occurring. Time travel is a very tricky and inherently implausible subject, so the show doesn’t always satisfy, but it’s an intriguing premise. Peter Weller leads the ensemble cast as the shuttle’s commander, Chuck Taggart. 

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