Six diverse new CBC shows for the post-Kim’s Convenience era
Shows about an Indigenous Task Force, token Black characters and a gender-fluid millennial fill a void at the public broadcaster
Diverse new shows about a task force investigating Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, a token Black character’s revenge, a dramedy about a gender-fluid millennial and Scarborough versus west end shenanigans are coming to CBC.
At an upfront presentation on Wednesday (June 2), the public broadcaster announced a slate of TV shows that will fill air-time after the controversially abrupt ends to Kim’s Convenience and Trickster, and the more intentional conclusions to mega-hit Schitt’s Creek and social media favourite Baroness Von Sketch Show.
The new shows join the likes of Coroner, Diggstown, Pretty Hard Cases, Murdoch Mysteries and Heartland alongside previously announced programs like the slice of Black-Canadian history The Porter, Andrew Phung’s Run The Burbs and Kim’s Convenience spin-off Strays. Here are six highlights.
Sarah Podemski and Sarah Gadon are executive producing a new series set around Winnipeg’s Red River. The Red, which is created and written by Marie Clements, stars Podemski and Gadon as women who are worlds apart joining a task force investigating Missing And Murdered Indigenous Woman (MMIW).
Podemski and Gadon tell NOW that they started thinking about the show approximately four years ago, while following the MMIW inquiry and how it was being discussed in Canada and abroad.
“We wanted to go beyond what was being reported, and get into the nitty gritty of these women, their lives, their family and the broken system and systemic issues that no one was really talking about,” says Podemski.
Gadon says that the series – which just got the greenlight from CBC – will give viewers an honest look into the people who are burnt out within a criminal justice and social system set up to fail. She adds that the series was also an opportunity for the two actors, who are sisters-in-law, to finally work together, something that has alluded them for years.
“We really wanted to shake up what was being made in this country,” Gadon adds. “We have a white and Indigenous producing team trying to really reconcile and understand the storytelling landscape in Canada right now.”
CBC previewed footage from upcoming shows at the upfront presentation, and what we saw from the previously announced new half-hour dramedy created by Bilal Baig and Fab Fillipo stood out, mainly due to Baig’s dryly comical performance. They star as Sabi Mehboob, a gender-fluid 25-year-old in Toronto. The series follows Sabi as they navigate relationships with friends, employers and their South Asian family.
Revenge Of The Black Best Friend
CBC Arts host Amanda Parris packed up her long-running arts series The Exhibitionists before going on maternity leave last fall. And she’ll soon be back with a vengeance.
Parris serves as creator, co-writer and co-producer on an upcoming CBC Gem series about a self-help guru who wants to stop the entertainment industry from relying on token Black characters.
“The idea came out of my obsession with 90s teen movies and teen shows and my desire to always want to be in them and write them,” Parris tells NOW. But, she adds, dreaming about a life in 90s teen movies meant coming to terms with the space Black actors occupied. Do you remember Tamala Jones in Can’t Hardly Wait? Didn’t think so.
“I would get frustrated with the limitations of that Black character,” says Parris, who is planning to remedy that ASAP.
It’s official. The Scarborough natives who hustled together the singular and comical web series capturing the Black experience in Toronto are shooting their second season for CBC Gem. Next Stop, created by Jabbari Weekes, Tichaon Tapambw and Phil Witmer, has the potential to be Canada’s Atlanta. The team have been out and about in the city and they tell NOW to expect some STC action and “Brampton slander.”
Who Do You Think I Am?
In 2015, Toronto’s Madison Tevlin released an inspirational cover of John Legend’s All Of Me. Tevlin, who was 12 at the time, has Down Syndrome, requiring twice the standard vocal energy to produce sound. Her video, which defied what people believes someone living with Down Syndrome could achieve, captured international attention. Now Tevlin has her own unscripted interview series, where she connects with others who are “misinterpreted and misperceived” at first sight.
Kim’s Convenience actor Simu Liu is stepping into a co-creator role alongside Coronor writer and BIPOC TV & Film founder Nathalie Younglai. Their new romantic drama about a couple getting a second chance thanks to some sci-fi interference sounds like it has a certain Eternal Sunshine meets Groundhog Day vibe.