The state of Canadian television has fallen even further behind in terms of on-camera and behind-the-scenes performance. Little space has been made for black characters, narratives, screenwriters, and storylines here. The problem remains structural. As Kathleen Newman-Bremang, editor-in-chief of Refinery29 Unbothered, put it so well, Canadian television certainly does not reflect the 22% of Canadians who are of color.
And that’s exactly what makes some upcoming releases to Canada more galvanizing – they finally offer alternatives. A planned outing, Revenge of the Black Best Friend (CBC Gem), is a comedy about a self-help guru on a mission to destroy the entertainment industry’s addiction to black tropes. Another expected release, The Red, is a fictional investigative series inspired by real-life crimes, revealing layers of systemic racism in Canada’s criminal and social justice systems. These shows also offer something refreshing in their writing and creative teams: both are written by black and native writers and directors, and the creative team of The Red includes cultural advisers, liaisons and translators for the many communities reflected in the show.
We hope that this trend will only manifest itself in an ongoing reality for Canadian television. In the meantime, we’ve rounded up some of the best shows that we look forward to. We will continue to update this list and air dates as more shows are announced.