Arctic Air: The Complete First Season
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has a history of airing low-budget Canadian programming, such as The Beachcombers, The Red Green Show and SCTV. As the marketplace continues to swarm with American television programming with a higher production value (and quality), the CBC has had to up the ante with slightly glossier programs that can attract the attention of Canadians, in the hope of keeping them from changing the channel. The recent addition of Arctic Air to their line-up was intended to be their homerun, featuring a slightly higher production aesthetic and a higher stakes narrative that would hopefully keep people tuning in week-to-week. Most importantly, they recruited Adam Beach in the lead role — a Native-Canadian that had already garnered some television success south of the border in shows such as Law & Order and Big Love. The series is about a Yellowknife-based maverick airline trying to make its mark in the North. Bobby Martin (played by Beach) escaped the North and headed to the "big city of Vancouver" to obtain a business degree, later becoming a bit of a hotshot in the financial world. It isn't until his business brings him back to Yellowknife that he realizes he never should have left, opting to give up high finance in order to focus on the airline his father founded. Teaming up with the grumpy Mel Ivarson (Kevin McNulty), who co-founded the airline, and his daughter, Krista (Pascale Hutton), Beach's character learns to navigate the various interpersonal conflicts that come his way while addressing the needs of his community and fellow Natives. While Arctic Air is certainly more intense and high calibre than some of the CBC's past programming, there's still something overtly "Canadian" about it. Each episode seems to have something to say about the Native Canadians of the North, while the dialogue borders on what Canadians normally feel is stereotypical (seemingly everyone in Canada is unable to pronounce words that end in "ing," regularly saying "frickin'" instead of "fucking"). Arctic Air is a sort of a mediocre blending of The Beachcombers, Grey's Anatomy and Wings. However, those who aren't already hooked on American network shows may find something of interest in this CBC offering. Included with the DVD are some webisodes that were created as an online presence to supplement the show, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how the show is filmed, which are both as standard as they come on the supplemental front.
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