Grad school and television have gone hand in hand for me. Although I did not have a tv when I was a kid, I have made up for lost time. (Sorry mom! The pop culture that was going to rot my brain as a child has caught up to me!) I have even managed to do this while not owning a tv, and, for a while, not even having an internet connection (thanks past neighbours without a password). This watching tv without paying has been helped in large part by living in Canada. Canadian and US copyright laws are somewhat different, to say the least. If you’re in Canada, you can often watch the entire series, legally, streamed from the network website. One reason is because the Canadian government sponsors its own tv and radio stations (CBC). The other reason is that the federal government and some provincial governments also provide tax credits for creating original Canadian content, and these shows are also available in their entirely online.
Bomb Girls is my new favourite show, now in its second season. It’s about women who work in a factory during World War Two. When Little Italy was a place “nice” girls apparently didn’t visit. Extra Plus: the only show that would pass the Bechdel test. Minuses: None. Except for the actor who plays James was on Being Erica, and I didn’t like him in his role in that show. Global. (correlation: final countdown to thesis defence)
Rookie Blue is one of my most recent obsessions. Entering its fourth season at the end of May, it is about a squad of police officers in downtown Toronto. Minuses: It gets a bit soap-opera-y, and the murders on intersections that I frequent are disconcerting. Global. (Correlation: waiting period between thesis submission and defence)
Murdoch Mysteries is a show that recently migrated to CBC. It’s about a police officer at the turn of the 20th century whose always inventing new things. Adorable. It might also pass the Bechdel test. Also has an interactive element on the website: Nightmare on Queen Street. CBC. (Correlation: final countdown)
Republic of Doyle is always good for a laugh – I fail to believe that that many bank heists take place in St John’s. Minuses: makes me want to visit Newfoundland and there are never ticket sales. CBC. (Correlation: post-comps writing).
Flashpoint is about hostage crises in Toronto. That is the minus. It gets a bit too repetitive. That is the other minus. Not sure which network this is on. (Correlation: Mexico).
The Listener began on some Canadian network, and for a while I was into it, but then it got weird. It’s about a cop who can hear what people are thinking and this helps with crime. (Correlation: time I want to block out my memory, because I can’t remember when I watched this)
Being Erica is classic Canadian tv – it’s didactic and moralistic, and every episode ends on a positive note. It was filmed in Toronto. 4 season. CBC. (Correlation: Summer, always, often).
From the past: Due South (Not the last season), Slings and Arrows, This is Wonderland (if anyone can find seasons 2 or 3, I would be eternally in your debt). (Correlation: moving last summer. Taking down ikea furniture that would never be the same once I reassembled it. We all know this, and yet.)
For information about Heartland you will have to ask others.