Not any more

The award for ineptitude goes to … the Geminis – The Globe and Mail

In Canada on September 2, 2010 at 19:30

We produce some excellent television in Canada. But there is one reason to despise the Canadian TV racket as 10th-rate, unsophisticated and utterly mediocre, and that reason is the Gemini Awards.

Sweet mother of God, there is no end to the ineptitude and hypocrisy that are part and parcel of Canada’s TV awards. For a start, what have these people got against Brent Butt?

Last year at this time, I looked through the entire list of shows in the 99 categories for the 24th annual Gemini Awards and failed to find a single nomination for Corner Gas. Not a sausage. The show had wrapped its multi-season run and, although a popular and critical success, it was missing.

On Tuesday, the nominees for the 25th Annual Gemini Awards were announced. Flashpoint leads with 15 nominations, including for best dramatic series. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games coverage got 13 nominations. Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, Guns, Stargate Universe and The Summit are up for prizes in nine categories each. Hiccups, the show created by Butt and starring Butt (with Nancy Robertson), received precisely one nomination: best photography in a comedy program or series. What? One episode had some nice photography? Is Brent Butt Satan because he actually created two hit shows for Canadian TV? You gotta wonder.

Meanwhile, numerous broadcasters are busy sending out triumphant press releases about how many Gemini nominations they’ve accrued – not least among them, the CBC. “CBC Television garners overwhelming recognition with 151 2010 Gemini nominations,” a CBC announcement says. Included in the network’s super-long list of nominations are those in the news category. It takes some gall to trumpet this victory when one of the two main competitors, CTV News, has, for years, simply declined to take part in the Gemini Awards process.

Yes it did. And, by the way, if you’re tempted to take seriously the news and information categories in the Gemini Awards, the Discovery Channel’s Canadian production

unit did not submit and neither did the daily science information program Daily Planet. How crazy is this ridiculous situation? Go to the website for the Gemini Awards and, right there in the middle of the banners representing the many areas of Canadian TV, is “CTV News.” When it comes to CTV News and the Geminis, get this, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television: They. Don’t. Bother.

As for this year’s nominations, the list makes a person seethe in perplexity. I mean congratulations to people who get some recognition for toiling in obscurity making good TV, especially documentaries, but the Geminis are, as usual, a crock. Republic of Doyle got some nominations. A nomination for best performance by an actor in a continuing leading dramatic role goes to Allan Hawco, who plays Jake Doyle. But nothing for Sean McGinley, the extraordinary actor who plays Jake Doyle’s dad and is more pivotal to the show than anyone. Being Erica got five nominations, including technical ones, but failed to be listed as best dramatic series and there was no nomination for actor Erin Karpluk, upon whom the show depends entirely.

Oh yeah, and the five shows nominated for best dramatic series include Stargate Universe and The Tudors, both of which are intricately financed international co-productions, “Canadian” only by the most preposterous of Canadian-content regulations.

It gets even better. This year, for the 25th anniversary of the Gemini Awards, there will be an alleged celebration of a quarter-century of Canadian TV. The academy is boasting about it. “Beginning Wednesday, September 15, TV lovers can make their selection from a list of programs housed on a new, interactive website. Compiled by a group of seasoned television critics, these shows were short listed from all series broadcast during 1985-2010 inclusive. From timeless family classic Anne of Green Gables to quirky comedy Trailer Park Boys, the final list encompasses drama, comedy, reality and lifestyle genres.”

Excuse me? Early in the show’s run, Trailer Park Boys stopped participating in the Gemini process. As for “seasoned television critics” (what’s that?), who with any integrity wants any part of this farce?

The Gemini Awards will be handed out over several nights in Toronto in November, with the itsy-bitsy broadcast gala airing on Nov. 13, on Global and Showcase. Nobody in the general public will care much, and rightly so.

Airing tonight

Rookie Blue (Global, ABC, 9 p.m.) features Andy (Missy Peregrym) facing the possibility that her ex-cop father may have committed a murder during a drunken blackout. And some shenanigans with a masked vigilante dressed like a caped crusader.

The Downside of High (CBC NN, 10 p.m. on The Nature of Things) is a warning about smoking pot – not alarmist, but educational. The upshot is that today’s pot is extraordinarily potent when compared with what people were smoking in the 1960s. We meet three teenagers whose mental illnesses were triggered by smoking pot, it is claimed.

Check local listings.

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