A curious phenomenon that I’ve noticed on more than a few occasions is that I’ll mull over a topic to write about, chewing it over in my brain for weeks, even months, before finally putting fingers to key board. And then, shortly after I post it — something will occur out there in the real world that seems almost as though in response. Sometimes almost negating my post — which can sort of leave me chagrinned, even as, alternately (since I am complaining about a situation), it’s gratifying to see movement in the direction I encouraged.
So what can we conclude from that?
Well, obviously that my blog is must reading among all the movers and shakers of the Canadian entertainment industry, and that when I speak (or rather write) people listen (or rather read). That I am the conscience that pricks their souls and galvanizes them to action…and…and…
You find that hard to believe, huh?
Wouldja believe my blog is must reading by one mover and half a shaker?
How about a janitor who cleans out the wastepaper basket in the office next door to a mover and shaker?
Maybe it’s just a coincidence.
Still…it’s a telling coincidence. Because I daresay it might indicate that what I’m writing, as just an expression of my own thoughts and ideas, may be shared by a lot of other people, and what I post publicly on my blog, others are saying privately.
Consider that I wrote a piece about the Canadian SF TV series, Continuum, and I commented that although it was ostensibly set in Vancouver, B.C….it was a Vancouver that seemed suspiciously like it was in the United States, with the actors incongruously using American terms and pronunciations. I pointed out that in the first episode, a character referred to the Canadian spy agency, CSIS, by its initials…when, in Canada, it’s usually referred to as an acronym, and pronounced Seesus (I said it was a cultural faux pas equivalent to having a character in an American movie refer to the CIA as “chia”). Yet then in (I think it was) the final episode of the season, a character once more referred to CSIS…and this time pronouncing it as “Seesus” (and I think it was even the same actor who had said C-S-I-S in the first episode). So, sure, I can believe that it was my particular blog posting that precipitated the grammatical change between the two episodes…but it’s more likely that I just wasn’t the only one who picked up on it, so that by the time the second reference came about, the filmmakers had felt suitably chastised for their error and sought to rectify it.
A while back I wrote an essay (here) talking about — well, bad movies, and pointing the finger at Global’s regular Saturday evening thrillers, which had been a mainstay of Saturdays for months and I suggested were of a consistently mediocre quality. Literally a few weeks after I posted that…Global stopped showing its Saturday Night thrillers (well, temporarily…they started up again a few months later).
When it was announced that CITY TV was cancelling The Murdoch Mysteries, despite solid ratings, and despite having no Canadian series waiting in the wings to replace it (supposedly because the old school whodunit didn’t fit their young, MuchMusic image) I thought maybe the CBC should pick it up. After all, it was an archly Canadian series with an existing fandom without a network…and the CBC was a network in search of archly Canadian programs that could bring in audiences. And then it was announced that’s just what the CBC was going to do. What makes this a more intriguing coincidence is that Canadian series jumping from one network to another aren’t all that common in Canada (occasionally they’ll jump from a major network to a smaller cable station…usually one owned by the same parent company). So it’s not like it happens every day in Canadian TV.
I recently wrote a series of posts suggesting there should be a greater crossover between English and French programs in Canada. Literally just a few weeks after that, Global broadcast the movie The Barbarian Invasions (Les invasions barbares) in the middle of primetime — and a sub-titled version, to boot! Now to put that in perspective — I’m not sure Global has ever before aired a sub-titled movie in prime time! And I think the last time they aired a French-language program (dubbed into English) was Jalna almost 20 years ago! So it’s kind of bizarre that after my writing a post suggesting there should be more crossing over, within weeks a Canadian network that may never before have aired a sub-titled French-Canadian movie…would do so!
Yet the lag time between acquiring broadcast rights and then programming a show on a specific night is such that surely the movie must’ve been in the queue long before I posted my comments.
So, maybe I wasn’t shaping the thinking…but clearly my mind was moving in the same direction as the programmer’s.
In that same vein, the CBC has recently announced an up coming TV mystery movie, Still Life, about a Francophone detective in small town Quebec. Now — this isn’t quite as unprecedented for the CBC as the airing of Les invasions barbares was for Global, but it’s still an intriguing bit of synchroneity, that just weeks after my lamenting a lack of a Francophone presence on English TV, the CBC announces a movie set in French Quebec. And not one earnestly based on real events or personalities…but as just a fun murder mystery. That becomes additionally weird because I’d just recently been watching a lot of British-made TV mystery movie/series (like Inspector Lewis, Wallander, etc.), and thinking Canada really needs to try and get into that market. Granted, I didn’t write anything about that…but my thoughts were leaning that way (and Canada has tried it before…albeit with limited success, with the Joanne Kilbourn movies, the Jinnah on Crime movies, the Chasing Cain movies, and others).
(Still Life may be coming at an unpropitious time, though. Quebecers have just elected a rabidly separatist premiere — ironically, more out of dissatisfaction with the alternatives than the Quebec public necessarily experiencing any burning resurgence in separatist sentiment. But don’t expect that to stop the Parti Québécois from seeing their election as a “mandate” to push for separation. So I could well imagine by the time Still Life airs, it might find a rather acrimonious climate between the Two Solitudes!)
Also I had suggested some Quebec films that could be remade into English…only to then discover they were already slatted for such. Now in that case, the production wheels were in motion long before I wrote anything. So again, it’s more just interesting (from my point of view) to realize that clearly my random musings…aren’t quite as off the beaten path as you might assume.
I mean, obviously: I’m being a bit facetious. I’m egotistical enough to entertain the notion that my blog is being read by some of those in the biz — some of the names of people who have kindly posted comments on my blog are surprisingly familiar. And people — including a TV programmer (years ago) — have suggested to me they consult my Great Canadian Guide to the Movies & TV for reference.
But despite my monstrous ego, even I find it unlikely that I post an essay and immediately it sends repercussions through the biz, and programmers reorganize their schedules, or producers option properties, in line with my comments. As I say, in some cases, the timeline alone would mean the behind-the-scenes decisions were being made long before I posted anything! (Though I can fantasize, can’t I?) Still, I’d like to think that at least it indicates that what I’m writing is maybe just the tip of the iceberg that you see, and my thoughts and opinions are shared by quite a few others.
Still, who knows? Maybe I have a magic blog. Maybe what I write (or muse about) will then magically come true a few weeks down the line.
Maybe I should write about having $300 million!
I’ll let ya know if that prediction works out.