Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Ceeb

Tuesday was the big debut for the much-touted ‘Little Mosque on the Prairie’ on CBC, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. Thank the Gods, because if had been a clunker it would have just added ammo to the anti-CanCon camp.

Admittedly, not every joke was a direct hit and the comic timing sometimes seemed a little off (I think in some places it may have been bad editing). Still, the writing is smart, the characters are interesting, and the show is obviously not afraid to go places like having one character interrogated at the airport for ‘Flying While Muslim’. And I laughed out loud.

Following ‘Little Mosque’ is ‘Intelligence’. Now, I was a huge ‘Da Vinci’s Inquest’ fan, so when I heard that Chris Haddock was doing a new Vancouver-based show with Ian Tracey I was all over it. I’ve been watching it religiously since it debuted in the fall, and I think I can now safely say…

I don’t like it.

I know, I KNOW! I’m SORRY!!

I tried to like it. I wanted to like it. This is pretty much the last domestically produced Canadian network hour long drama left on TV (except for ReGenesis but that’s not really network produced), and given that the nearest alternative is CTV’s ‘Whistler’, I really NEEDED to like it.

Maybe it’s just me, but watching ‘Intelligence’ every Tuesday has become like eating my vegetables.

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out exactly what I don’t like about this show that has the same creator, same writers, and some of the same cast as my beloved ‘Da Vinci’, and managed to come up with a few specifics:

1) I’m just not as interested in the subject matter. The organized crime side of it is vaguely interesting, but there’s not much new there except maybe that they’re Canadian, they deal in weed, and they aren’t Italian. And does anyone really believe that CSIS is such a fascinating hotbed of intrigue? I was far more interested in missing prostitutes, safe injection sites, and what the hell ever happened to Emily Perkins’ character anyway?!

2) Nothing happens. All right, stuff happens in the sense that stuff happens in soap operas. But in amongst the ‘continuing story lines’ that are so popular these days, it’d be nice to have the occasional single episode story arc. Like, someone gets killed and they figure out who by the end of the episode. Otherwise, anyone who hasn’t followed every single episode from day one isn’t going to have a clue what’s going on. Hell, I’ve been following it from day one and I get confused sometimes.

3) Too much say, not enough do. Normally I dismiss this particular writing criticism because it tends to be applied to people like Aaron Sorkin and David Milch who could write a grocery list and make it sound like Shakespeare. Sadly, neither of them write for ‘Intelligence’. As it stands, aside from the occasional drawing of blood the only action we see is people driving, walking along hallways, or sitting in offices while they discuss what just happened, what is happening, and what’s going to happen next. And yet, nothing seems to actually happen.

4) No Nicholas Campbell. This show really needs a Nicholas Campbell. Or a Donnelly Rhodes. Matt Frewer’s in it but he isn’t being very Matt Frewerish at all so that’s not much help.

Having said all that, I still don’t think ‘Intelligence’ is a bad show, and I suppose I will continue to watch it every Tuesday just because I subscribe to the kind of magical thinking that makes me believe that my watching a show will somehow help to keep it on the air. But please, let’s have a little meat with the vegetables once in a while!


  1. You know I tried to watch it from Day one. Agin like you I like Davinci, but this show was just boring. The writing wasn't punchy enough and the plot just plodded along. In the end I gave up, i couldn't keep sitting through it. Sad really it would be nice to have a good Canadian drama but what can you do...

  2. Well, Campbell's started working irregularly behind the cameras on Intelligence, or so I've been hearing. And things have been picking up steam as of the 16 January episode...