5 Canadian TV shows That Are Almost Like American Ones

Friday, February 10 by Steve Silverman

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There's a subtle difference in American culture and Canadian culture. Actually, in some cases the differences are quite significant. Those differences are reflected in the television shows that are broadcast north of the border. Many of the most successful Canadian TV shows have been similar to the top shows broadcast in the United States. They're a touch different, though. A touch…Canadian. Here are five Canadian TV shows that are almost like American programs.

"SCTV"

If you like sketch comedy shows, you will love "Second City TV." This is the show that featured the performances of many great Canadian comedians, including John Candy, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, and Dave Thomas, as well as many others. The show was quite similar to NBC's Saturday Night Live, because it gave the best Canadians to demonstrate their talents. Their ability to tell jokes and get laughs with great physical comedy allowed many of the performers to become quite successful on the big screen.

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While this show became popular in the United States, it started with the Canadian version. The show followed the lives of many young students as they started growing up and faced all the issues that approaching adulthood has to offer. The show did not avoid controversial issues. Some of those issues included racism, teen pregnancy and homosexuality. Sort of like "Freaks and Geeks," only with a more maple-syrup vibe to it.

"The Kids In The Hall"


Another great Canadian sketch comedy program. "The Kids in the Hall" regularly mocked white, middle-class society. It often used men to play the role of women. It wasn't about performing in drag, it was merely about expanding each performer's role. Some of the great routines on this show that Lorne Michaels helped produce include "The Axe Murderer" with Dave Foley, "Nobody Likes Us" with Foley and Kevin McDonald and "Tammy" with Bruce McCulloch. The closest American analog would probably be MTV's "The State," another sketch comedy show.

"Due South"

This show was a combination of a detective cop show with quite a bit of comedy mixed in. The hero of the show was Benton Fraser, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who goes to Chicago to solve the murder of his father. When he starts investigating his father's murder, he comes across a corrupt company  that is building a dam in Canada and polluting the environment. The evidence he uncovers forces the building to come to a stop and many people lose their job. As a result, he is no longer welcome back in his home country because so many people are out of work as a result of his actions. It had many of the same elements as police shows like "NYPD Blue."

"Road to Avonlea"


This program is set in the fictional town of Avonlea, located on Prince Edward Island in the early part of the 20th century. A 10-year-old girl from Montreal named Sara Stanley is sent to live with her two aunts so she can get to know her mother's side of the family. The show is all about Sara's interactions with her family and the other town members. This show was seen in both Canada and the United States. This plot device has been used in any number of American shows, but there was something endearing about Sara's sweet demeanor that made it resonate with audiences.