Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Fond Farewell To Flashpoint

CTV can be forgiven its torrent of publicity announcing this is it for the Canadian series Flashpoint.
The final episode revs up Thursday Dec. 13 at 10 p.m. on CTV.
But let's not go overboard.
The Toronto based series was always well directed and edited and the episodes fast paced and watchable.
But it's not a compulsively viewable show, it was never intended to be that.
Instead CTV craftily made it to break into the U.S. market and for a few years Flashpoint ran on the CBS prime time schedule.
As opposed to those other CTV staples from way back when Night Heat (1985-89)  and Adderly (1986-89) which ran on The CBS Late Night Movies.
What is different this time out is that CTV kept the series running after CBS cancelled the series.
When CBS previously cancelled Due South (1994-99)  CTV requested one final order of 26 episodes which it sold in syndication to the U.S. market and then split into two more series for Canadian TV consumption.
Other CTV efforts including E.N.G.(1989-94) and Counterstrike (1990-94) point never got that all important U.S. network release and suffered from CTV indifference.
A total of 75 episodes of Flashpoint have been made guaranteeing the series visibility in the rerun market for years to come.
And I checked with my local DVD buyer last week and he reports boxed sets are selling briskly for the Christmas trade.
Some CTV shows from E.N.G. to Power Play never even made it to the DVD market which is most important in securing profits for a series.
It's the way CTV treated Flashpoint that deserves mention.
When that fine Global series Combat Hospital was cancelled by ABC after one season Global quickly pulled the plug.
Global also cancelled King, a pretty good police saga after two seasons because it couldn't find an American outlet.
As some CTV veterans told me at last September's fall launch having CBS run Flashpoint was a double edged sword.
One the one hand revenues flowed it. But CBSroutinely  moved the show around the schedule without informing CTV which had to move accordingly to keep that all important simulcast.
But was Flashpoint  ever in the "must see" category like Mad Men or Boardwalk Empire? Hardly.
It was conceived as a broad based cop show with a high action quota and it delivered.
We still haven't seen a Canadian TV series as greatish as Homeland or Mad Men.
And CTV has come a long way from Night Heat which disguised its location --Flashpoint never did.
Flashpoint also benefited from strong executive producers Anne Marie la Traverse and CTV veteran Bill Mustos who was in charge of CTV's TV movies for years.
The last show titled The Long Goodbye is capably photographed by Mathias Herndl with production design by John Dondertman, a taut script by Stephanie Morgenstern and direction by David Frazee. A model of tight editing, it uses Toronto locations superbly.
And let's not forget the Canadian stars: Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon, Amy Jo Johnson, David Paekau and Sergio Di Zio.
Other fine Canadian hour dramas from CTV including The City and Power Play were not quite so lucky in getting the network behind them.
And maybe with this positive change in CTV's attitude to home grown series, just maybe we'll soon get a Canadian series that's on the must see list. That surely would not be asking for too much?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I happen to think Flashpoint was one of the best TV series to come along in ages, (including american ones) Awesome cast, awesome story lines, it's sad to see it ended. Another great one, "The Rookies" should be on Canadian TV stations, as well. Canadians will never begin to believe we have top notch tv shows, if CTV and Global and CBC continually look for american stations to give approval. Cold Squad was another good one. Sorry to see these shows dropped.