I think we’ve hit the golden age of Canadian television. MasterChef Canada, Saving Hope and The Listener are really holding their own against the American competition in Canada. Canadian network shows Flashpoint, Rookie Blue and Motive have done really well stateside on US broadcast networks. Even Canadian cables shows such as Being Human, Orphan Black and Lost Girl have done well on the US cable front, and that’s not to mention the slew of Canadian kids shows that are broadcast all over the world. Global’s new medical drama Remedy could very well join the ranks of those shows to become Canada’s next television crown jewel.
Remedy has a lot going for it. First of all it’s eye-wateringly gorgeous, and that’s right from the first scene. The cinematography is top-notch, and that’s without the lens flares that Saving Hope is notorious for over on CTV.
The acting and writing are equally as good with the exception of a few scenes like that dreadful catfight. I’ve always felt that Canadian shows often stumbled in the writing and acting departments in the past, but you’d be hard pressed to distinguish Remedy from a US import here.
Remedy’s story is compelling, and there’s quite a few moments that draw your attention. Without giving away too much, in the pilot, there’s a machete incident, fecal matter sprayed everywhere, an accidental HIV infection and a biker getting doored.
The characters are quite a joy to watch on-screen and meld well with each other. To explain how they’re all related to each other though, you hit Modern Family type complexity, but I’ll give it a shot.
It all takes place at Bethune General Hospital and there you have two sisters, one’s a nurse (Sandy Conner) and one’s a doctor (Melissa Conner). Their father, Allen Conner, is the acting Chief of Staff at Bethune, and he gives his troublesome son, Griffin Conner, a med-school drop out, a job at the hospital after he was a patient at Bethune due to an altercation. The guy who treated Griffin, Brian Decker, is engaged to his sister, Sandy, the nurse. Zoe Rivera isn’t really part of the Conner clan, but she’s pretty notable. She has seemingly had nothing but trouble with them as they constantly and unwittingly make her life miserable. Got all that? Good.
With the show jumping from character to character, the pacing of Remedy does seem to be manic at times but I think that’s fairly common these days. We live in a 500 channel, constantly connected, universe at the click of your mouse world, and Remedy’s pacing really reflects that. If you’re worried that moving from character to character with hasty pacing might be a problem, it isn’t. It’s still rather smooth, and the stories and characters often interlink, but not in a way that’s overly complicated.
Remedy isn’t the most original show on TV. You’re likely to compare it to Saving Hope, ER, House, and possibly St. Elsewhere and Chicago Hope, but it fine tunes everything you’ve seen before in one neat shiny package.
Still considering that the show isn’t that original I’m worried it might take a page from the playbook of other successful series and will turn itself into one of those, who is banging who soap operas that a lot of modern dramas have fallen prey to. After watching the entire pilot, and seeing all the storylines it introduced, there’s hope that it’ll avoid that pitfall and wind up in an entirely unique direction. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
It may take me a few episodes in to determine if this is appointment television but the pilot was remarkably strong, and I have a lot of faith in the series. I’m willing to bet that it will do well, perhaps not just here but abroad. I could see this on NBC or even more so Fox, (but Fox hasn’t picked up any Canadian shows lately that I know of).
My only concern for Remedy is its time slot. Monday nights are crazy competitive in Canada, and if you follow the ratings, you’ll notice that a lot of the top 30 shows in the nation air on Monday night. The Following, Mike & Molly, The Voice, The Bachelor, Mr. D, Dallas, Being Human and Myth Busters are all blockbuster series that share Remedy’s Monday at 9 p.m. time-slot. So, you’re really going to have to hope that it doesn’t get eaten alive by all of those.
For viewers who do give Remedy a try though, they’ll find that it’s quite impressive and will leave them wanting more. It will probably also make them think that we sure have come a long way since Train 48.
Episode reviewed: Bad Blood [Pilot]
Remedy airs Mondays at 9 PM on Global