A week ago, Global TV made a big (and bad, and wrong, and unfair) decision to cancel Remedy after the second season that ended on May 10 with an awesome two-part finale that blew everyone’s minds. It came as a surprise to both the fans of the show and, I believe, everyone involved in making it. Sadly, the production of a TV show is a complicated process. Knowing that, however, does not make accepting the ‘loss’ of an exceptional series any less painful.
I refuse to believe that the viewer ratings dropped THAT low compared to the first season. And come on! The rating system widely used in both Canada and the US, and quite possibly all over the world, to assess the popularity of the TV shows is ridiculous. Based on the preferences of ‘selected’ households (selected how, exactly?), this information is literally pointless. They don’t – although they absolutely must – take into account the DVRed programs and online viewings. TV networks should consider the fact that not everyone is able to watch something live for a number of reasons – from working at this particular hour to living in a different time zone to not having a certain TV channel. None of these factors makes people any less dedicated to certain TV series. Yet, they remain invisible.
So, why should Remedy have been renewed?
1. IT WAS THE BEST! Definitely THE best on Canadian TV and one of the best TV shows in general. I hope I have the right to say that on account of watching if not EVERYTHING everything, but at least enough to tell the good shows from the bad ones. In fact, looking at the renewed vs cancelled lists this year, I can’t help but wonder about how these decisions are made. Cancellation of Remedy makes no sense whatsoever. The second season of the show was just as good as the first one, if not better, what with the artistic approach to the ensemble cast and complex storylines.
2. Economic value. No matter how you look at it, I’m sure that having your own solid TV show is better than simply airing the American ones. The benefits are numerous for both the network (showing its commitment to the Canadian market and audience) and the industry. The Canadian film industry already took a hit when the production tax credit was changed in BC a couple of years back (although thankfully it seems to be getting better these days), and then once again earlier this year when the same thing happened to Nova Scotia. So why on Earth wouldn’t Global want to support one of its best TV series?
3. The writing. I can’t even begin to comprehend the amount of work and research that went into creating each and every single one of the 20 episodes of Remedy that we saw. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The dialogue was brilliant – both succinct and informative and peppered with a healthy amount of humour. And don’t get me started on the downright genius ‘traumas of the week’. This kind of creativity should never be wasted! (And yet, here we are.)
4. The characters. As in, diverse, interesting, memorable, and different characters that never felt like just one person but with different hairdos. The networks don’t always understand what a big deal it is when the TV characters actually have personalities – all of them, and not just 2 or 3 out of 15. The Conners felt like the real family – a family with the backstory and collective memories and the differences that they were all trying to adjust to. And then there was also Zoe, and Frank Kanaskie, and Jerry Gordon, and Sam Guerra, and Peter Cutler, and Bruno (to name a few). I understand that Global must have had serious reasons to do what they did. But have they seen what’s happening on TV right now? Do they know how rare it is for a TV show to be believable and real?
5. The cast. None of the above, however, would have happened if it wasn’t for the chemistry and the personal dynamic between the wonderful cast that went above and beyond themselves to create this world. Enrico Colantoni, Dillon Casey, Sara Canning, Niall Matter, Sarah Allen, Genelle Williams, Brendan Gall, and everyone else deserve not just the recognition but a standing ovation for the truly incredible work they did over the past two years.
6. Unresolved storylines. This totally should have been a #1 reason, to be honest. There really is no worse nightmare for the fans than not having a closure and not knowing what happens next. Granted, the season 2 finale was neat and has managed to tie up most of the loose ends, but still! Will Griff beat his addiction? Will he reconcile with Zoe? Will Sandy meet her ‘the one’? How will the relationship between Mel and Peter go from this moment on? And what about Jerry? (I don’t even know how to live my life until I know for sure that Jerry is happy!) We never found out what happened to Josey the Clown! And Bruno – will he get a chance to become a doctor again? The fandom needs to know all those things.
7. It was unique. Yes, first and foremost, Remedy was a medical drama, and we all know that there’s enough of them out there, but the family angle was new and interesting and really exciting. This show wasn’t just about 15-syllable diseases and the doctors hooking up in the broom closets between their shifts (which long became the most boring cliché). It was about people and the relationships and goals and trying to figure out what the life is about.
8. Because there’s enough bad TV out there. And I mean BAD bad. Just recently, I saw several pilots (let’s not name them) that got full 10-22-episode seasons that made me want to rip my brain out of my skull. That’s not to mention low-quality reality TV shows plaguing every single network known to the humankind that should have stopped being a thing about 5 minutes after they were invented. On top of that, I am currently irrationally angry at every TV show that was renewed for a gazillionth season despite the fact that they started deteriorating a long time ago. Sure, there needs to be a quality-quantity balance, but Remedy could have easily stayed on air for years before running out of steam.
9. Because watching it made me feel like home.*
*I doubt Global would’ve considered this one, but I had to add it.
Sadly, the networks are generally not into opening up about the reasons for their decisions, which means we might never know what caused the cancellation of Remedy. As a fan of the show, I want to believe that there is a way to save it one way or the other. If there’s even the slightest chance for it to be picked up by some other network, I hope it’ll happen. As someone involved with the industry, I hope for the better future of the TV in general and the quality TV in particular. What we can do is watch and support Canadian films and shows to make sure that the wonderful and talented people dedicating their lives to them get all the appreciation they deserve.