JPOD created by Douglas Coupland and Michael MacLennan, with Alan Thicke, Sherry Miller, David W. Kopp and Ben Ayres. Airs Tuesdays at 9 pm on CBC. Rating: NN
So the Hollywood writers’ strike has amounted to little more than a bit of media-produced sound and fury signifying not much of anything. A deal with producers is expected by next week, we’re told, and TV and film production gears up shortly thereafter.
The only immediate effect is that the three-hour, 47-minute celebrity snoozathon known as the Oscars will go off as usual on February 24.
The great migration of Canadian content to American networks never materialized. Only three shows – three! – earned export deals. CBS has agreed to carry 13 episodes of Flashpoint, a CTV-produced cop drama set in Toronto and starring Hugh Dillon.
It’ll likely be the first to air, making it the first Canadian series since Paul Gross played a red-serged Dudley Do-Right on Due South to broadcast in prime time on both sides of the border.
NBC has nabbed CTV’s psychic paramedic series, The Listener, for which Clement Virgo (The Wire) has helmed the pilot. And ABC Family ordered 13 episodes of CBC single-mom dramedy Sophie.
Stretching the Cancon quotient a bit, Oscar winner Paul Haggis is developing his race drama Crash as a series for U.S. cable network Starz.
Speaking of Canadian programming, jPod has been getting a lot of undeserved attention. Seems we’re only too quick to applaud anything homegrown.
The series is based on the Douglas Coupland bestseller (Coupland’s one of the producers) about a bunch of software developers, aka World-of-Warcraft-playing, Red Bull-chugging, porn-surfing computer nerds, socially malnourished types who make video games for a living. You know the kind – they converse in a tiresome ironic-for-irony’s-sake form of geekspeak, full of technobabble and pop culture references, that’s only amusing to themselves.
Problem is, unless you’re one of them, you’d probably have no interest in hanging out with them, much less in watching a show about them, especially when that show thinks it’s smarter than it really is.
Even more absurd is how, shoehorned in amongst jPod’s lovelorn smart alecks, are a suburban mom with a basement grow op and – completely out of left field – Alan Thicke as middle-aged construction worker who becomes an actor, landing roles as Hitler’s cat doctor (it’s too atro-ciously unfunny to describe) and cartoon voice-over work.
It’s hard to chalk any of this mess up to growing pains.