Even with so many streaming options available at your fingerprints, there’s still something special about the traditional fall launch period for new and returning network shows.
So here’s my guide to all the fun that’s only a remote-click away, beginning with…
Maxime, P.P.C.: This Canadian update of the classic Tom Selleck crime drama features the loveable Maxime Bernier as a free-wheeling rule-breaker determined to shake up federal politics with his new party. However, Bernier’s split from the Conservatives relegates him to a seat in the back of the House of Commons, next to Green Leader Elizabeth May, who lays some Higgins-like discipline on the maverick in the making.
Grey’s Anatomy: The 15th season gets off to a rocky start when government officials shut down Seattle Grace and a neighbouring hospital for austerity measures. Guest-starring Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil in a dual role as “McDreamy” and “McSteamy,” since his dreams of improving health care by closing two CBRM hospitals have already gotten North Sydney and New Waterford residents incredibly steamed.
Sesame Street: After a former show-writer confirms that he always saw Ernie and Bert as a gay couple and based their dialogue on his own relationship, the 50-year-old Muppet duo is forced to come clean and admit that they did indeed wind up in Sesame Street’s Pride Parade – but only because they stumbled into the parade route after storming out of a movie theatre showing The Happytime Murders.
The Amazing Race Port Hawkesbury: Contestants face the ultimate “Road Block” as they swerve their way around road upgrades, water and sewer repairs, and parking-lot repaving projects to buy groceries, get their mail, or visit their next-door neighbours, all within the challenging timeframe of five minutes. Bonus: A sneak preview of next season, where contestants will attempt to manoeuvre their way through the realignment of Reeves Street.
This Hour Has No More Majumders: The long-running CBC comedy series shows one of its veteran cast members the door, announcing that the program is heading in “a new creative direction,” which appears to involve giving Cathy Jones more anchor-desk time and inviting even more MPs and cabinet ministers to awkwardly share their favourite hobbies. (Next week: “Poetry Corner” with Rodger Cuzner!)
Floor-Crossing With The Stars: The latest crop of defecting MPs joins some of the genre’s biggest names in a glitzy dance competition. Highlights include Leona Alleslev doing the Quick-Step-Across-The-Aisle, Belinda Stronach strutting her stuff with the Potato-Patch Paso-Doble, David Emerson boldly launching the Just-Elected-Now-Defected-Tango, and Scott Brison hoofing it to the classic hit “It’s Not My Party Anymore, So I’ll Leave If I Want To.”
Bull: Veteran’s Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan explains how his department left millions of dollars unspent after criticizing Stephen Harper’s Conservatives for doing the exact same thing.
The Rookie: After years of experience at the provincial level, Jagmeet Singh vaults to the federal New Democrat leadership, only to find himself stumbling in his first hostage negotiation as he attempts to get one NDP-run province to release a pipeline being held captive from another NDP-run province. Problems persist as Singh delays in running for his own seat and instead conducts party business via a megaphone in the Parliament Hill parking lot.
Splitting Up Together: Live coverage of negotiations to replace the North America Free Trade Agreement is inadvertently repackaged as a half-hour sitcom, and nobody notices the difference. Starring Jenna Fischer as spunky Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Brad Garrett as grumpy U.S. Trade Negotiator Robert Lighthizer, and Kim Jong-Un as the wacky neighbour who somehow gets forgiven by the Americans at the end of every episode while Canada remains a “security threat.”
The Doug Ford Theory: For their 300th and final season, the team of wacky physicists, PhDs, neurobiologists and microbiologists (oh, and Penny) is given a new challenge when the Ontario government contracts them to oversee the pending reductions on Toronto City Council, days before the municipal elections for Canada’s largest city. Premier Doug Ford also demands that the gang devise a formula to show how being elected by 2.3 million people last spring trumps a legal system that speaks for 14 million people throughout Ontario.
Young Justin: In his latest zany adventure, the son of Pierre Trudeau purchases a pipeline project for $4.5 billion, only to see the courts strike it down. Since it’s not a traditional sitcom, there’s no laugh track on this show, which is appropriate, because no hilarity ensues from this situation.
Will, Grace, Murphy and The Connors: As a time-saving measure, all your favourite sitcom characters of the past are now in one half-hour show, with Murphy Brown and the FYI gang covering the chaos that ensues when Will and Grace move next door to the suddenly-mysteriously-absent Roseanne Connor.
Strap yourselves in, couch potatoes – we’re in for a great year!