It’s time to shrug off that big blockbuster haze and pick up your issue of TV Guide. The new network television season begins, with dozens of new shows in every drama vying for your affection. Did you know that a good portion of those new and returning shows are made right here in Vancouver? Some of your favourites might even be on the list, with a few surprises too!
First, a little Vancouver TV history…
A few years ago, the Vancouver film industry, or Hollywood North as it’s often called was on the decline. Tax credit incentives put in place by Ontario and Quebec drew away several large scale productions from Vancouver, like the sequel to the Vancouver-shot Man of Steel and before that the movie titled Pacific Rim, improbably shot in Toronto instead of Vancouver.
But it was never big budget blockbusters that made Vancouver the third largest production hub after Los Angeles and New York. Rather, production declined because televisions series, the backbone of our local industry, were on the decline. The Killing had been cancelled (for the first time), Fringe was wrapping up and new pilots failed to impress. A pilot is the launch episode made by production companies with the backing of networks looking for next year’s big shows. Pilot season is always busy, but of the hundreds of pilots produced, only the very best and most marketable get a series order.
Fast forward to today, and Vancouver is a very different place. Even with tax credits in Ontario, Vancouver remains competitive, with some of the best crews, most diverse locations and film friendly weather, (cloudy is good for lighting) Vancouver has bounced back. This year a large number of pilots shot in Vancouver made it to series, and several other shows have moved production here after the fact. The result is a film industry renaissance, and chances are someone you know is directly involved with one of these shows.
For maybe the first time in our film industry’s history, you can fill up your entire television watching schedule with Canadian made series, to say nothing of the movies shot here. This fall, why not take the time to check out the great work local artists and technicians do every day and support the continued growth of one of our city’s most important industries.
Premieres: Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 8/7c
Filmed in Burnaby, Vancouver and Vancouver Island
Arrow returns for it’s third season this fall, and it looks to be getting ready for a long run in Vancouver, with improving ratings and a loyal comic-book fan base. Arrow is best described as Batman meets Robin Hood, and if you didn’t know, Billionaire Oliver Queen’s home is the same building used for Lex Luthor in Smallville and the Xavier Institute in X-Men 2 & 3.
The 100 (CW/Netflix)
Premieres: Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 9/8c
Filmed in Maple Ridge, Burnaby and Vancouver
Returning for a second season, The 100 is another fledgling hit for the last place CW network. By partnering with Netflix for next day streaming, the show found a new audience online and received positive reviews to boot. The show is best described as Lord of the Flies in a post-apocalyptic science fiction setting. Many of the same forest locations in The 100 were also shared by Once Upon A time and Planet of the Apes.
Premieres: Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 8/7c
Filmed in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and everywhere else
Supernatural has been filming in Vancouver for over a decade now, and there’s no end in sight for yet another CW show. This one has a loyal fan base, with conventions around the world and just about every actor in town having played one (or more) characters on the show. Supernatural of course follows a pair of brothers who investigate the supernatural. It draws on rich mythology and shares elements with X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel. Supernatural will be launching a spin-off show this year, also filming in Vancouver for premiere next season.
Once Upon A Time (ABC)
Premieres: Sunday, Sept. 28th at 8/7c
Filmed in Burnaby, Vancouver, Steveston and Maple Ridge
Once Upon A Time is a big hit on ABC and it returns for it’s fourth season later this month. A live action spin that combines all of Disney’s fantasyland characters into one mythology, OUAT also spawned a short-lived spin-off Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, which also filmed in Vancouver. This season the show introduces characters from Frozen. Did you know that Storybrook in OUAT is actually our own Steveston?
Brand New Series:
The Flash (CW)
Premieres: Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 8/7c
Filmed in Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby
Comic Book fans and Arrow fans are often one and the same, but it’s safe to say that they’re more excited for the premiere of The Flash than any other new show premiering this fall. The Flash is the first television adaptation of the character to maintain faithfulness to the comic source, and looks to be lighter and more fun than other DC Comics shows or movies. The Flash will cross over with Arrow from time to time too.
Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 2 at 9/8c
Filmed in Vancouver, White Rock and on Vancouver Island
Gracepoint features an all star cast and an intense murder mystery in a small town. It shares some of the same DNA with another popular Vancouver shot show, The Killing. Filmed on Vancouver Island outside Victoria and in White Rock, this one stars Nick Nolte, Dr. Who’s David Tennant and Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn, among others. Gracepoint is actually a remake of a BBC series, Broadchurch.
Intruders (BBC America)
Premieres: Saturday, Aug. 23 at 10/9c
Filmed in North Vancouver and Vancouver
The Intruders is based on a 2007 novel of the same name about a secret society that achieves immortality by highjacking the bodies of others. With an X-Files producer and a great cast to accompany the fine premise, this show has already begun but you can still catch past episodes online and catch up in time for the finale.
Premieres: Wednesday, Sept. 24th at 9/8
Filmed in Port Moody, Vancouver and Burnaby
iZombie is another comic book property on the CW, this one from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas. The show is brand new and features a young cast of up and comers. The lead character is a special kind of zombie who’s managed to maintain her human consciousness, but she still has to eat brains of the recently deceased to keep from turning into a mindless, well, zombie. The catch is she also inherits the memories she eats, and partners with a local detective to solve the crimes, post mortem.
Strange Empire (CBC)
Premieres: Monday, Oct. 6th at 9/8c
Filmed in Langley and Aldergrove
The lone Canadian produced and written show on this list, Strange Empire is a western premiering on CBC in October. Details on the plot remain a bit scarce, but the premise involves a settlement called Janestown where most of the inhabitants are women. The struggle survive and create a community with danger all around them should make for some entertaining drama while drawing comparisons to modern gender relations.
Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce (Bravo)
Premieres: Tuesday, Dec. 2nd at 10/9c
Filmed in Vancouver
An amazing cast and a strong premise make Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce one of cable’s most anticipated premieres, albeit a little later in the season. Combining adult themes with relationship drama and the struggles of the modern woman is nothing new, but it has proved to be successful when it connects with audiences the way The L Word, Sex in the City and others did in the past. And so far, this one looks like it’s going to have staying power, and Vancouver could use a prestigious cable show on the roster!
Coming soon from Vancouver Television Sets Near You in January/February:
These shows (and many more) are also shot in Vancouver and will return in January or February 2015. Stay tuned for more information on these shows from your local cable provider.Wayward Pines
- The Whispers
- The Returned
- Peggy Carter: Agent of Shield
- Bates Motel
- Falling Skies
- Witches of East End
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