Ahh Canadian TV. I know I shouldn’t generalise but there’s just something about it that is so middle of the road.
Ok let’s put Orphan Black to one side, for the sheer brilliance of Tatiana Maslany. And Degrassi gets a free hall pass for tackling important subjects in high school. Vikings is Canadian-Irish, but I’m happy to include it.
Yet there’s plenty of capable shows: Flashpoint, Between, Rookie Blue, Bitten, Republic of Doyle, Heartland, Saving Hope, Continiuum. Private Eyes looks like joining those ranks.
This comedy-drama, which is never really enough of either, is based on a book, The Code by G.B. Joyce.
Ex-TV heartthrob Jason Priestley stars as former ice hockey player Matt Shade who teams up with private investigator Angie Everett (Cindy Sampson) -cue the unresolved sexual tension.
Much of the inciting incident here, in which a teenager collapses on the ice rink in suspicious circumstances, is really just a device to bring our hero and heroine together.
Shade is convinced the boy didn’t take Performance Enhancing Drugs, especially given his visually-impaired daughter Jules (Jordyn Negri) can vouch for the guy. He makes it his personal mission to get to the bottom of the scandal while the teen lays recovering in hospital.
He meets up with scrappy investigator Angie Everett who has ways of opening locked doors and piecing clues together that complements Shade’s natural inquisition. It doesn’t hurt that the two bicker along the way, whether slammed up against one another whilst hiding on a hotel balcony, or driving in a car as the green-screen traffic goes flashing by.
Various red herring suspects are thrown in for good measure, along with ample shots of Toronto’s CN Tower and more aerial-skyline visuals than Without a Trace could manage in a season. Toronto looks lovely in the Fall.
The dialogue lacks the kind of zingers that would make this fire (a lot of the time people are talking at each other, rather than with), but Priestley’s obvious experience provides some dependable backbone, especially in father-daughter scenes. Even in his late 40s those eyes draw you in.
Perhaps this will find some rhythm to make it worthwhile, but for now the Hall and Oates theme song (yes they actually use it), Toronto streetscapes and Priestley are probably the best this has to offer.
8:30pm Tuesday May 30 on Universal.