Slings and Arrows

Canadian TV is a mystery to me. I know that while they show a lot of US shows, they also do their own production… but few of those shows bop up into my visibility. Most that come to mind are a decade or more old.

Bobbing into visibility recently is Slings and Arrows, a humorous tale set backstage at a major theater company, a light hour-long starring Paul Gross, the handsomely clean star of Due South. With my light theater background and my enjoying Due South, I reckon it was worth a try. The first episode didn’t quite gel, but sticking with it, the show got its characters into place, and it kept attention and entertained.  Gross plays a former big-time stage actor who turned to being a passionate head of a small theater company after a notorious incident which gets explained along the way. The only other recognizable face is former Kid In The Hall Mark McKinney as the theater-passion-clueless business head of the big theater which needs Gross’s services.

This show is not for everyone. For one thing, it relies on some sense of what it’s like to be in theater. The humor often relies on understanding that passion. The other risk is that it’s quite snobbish; you are expected to go along with their vision of pure, classic theater and look down on anything that smacks of commerciality (or, for that matter, any form of entertainment other than the rapture of being transported by the purity of the performance.) For those of us who don’t agree with that view, well, it was worth it to me to accept the snobishness and move on, but I can see where it wouldn’t be worth it for others.

The series is on its third (and apparently last) season, but only the first season is out on DVD so far. These half dozen episodes tell the story, and feel complete; it actually seems a bit odd to know there is more to come. There’s a chance that the further seasons will seem superfluous when watching them, but having enjoyed this, I’ll certainly give season 2 a try when I can.
And if anyone’s wondering whether Paul Gross is still good looking around a decade after Due South, the answer is absolutely. The look here isn’t as clean as his cartoonishly-drawn mountie, but the rugged wear just makes him all the more handsome. I mean… damn.

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Published in: on September 3, 2006 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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