H20 Charles Binamé

In any other nation, a three-hour miniseries broadcast on a national network decrying globalisation and power politics would be seen as brave, if not miraculous. Unfortunately, living in Canada means that such an effort will be so ill-conceived as to cancel itself out. Thus, H20, in which Paul Gross becomes Prime Minister so as to sell Canada's water to the Americans. Part one begins with Gross's father (the sitting PM) dying in an apparent boating accident, leaving a vacuum that's easy to fill; by the end, it becomes clear that papa was assassinated and that baby will use that fact to call a state of emergency to ease in his unilateralist policy. But though part two can be rather ingenious in its playing of Quebec and the First Nations off each other, any claims to boldness are blown by its taking place in a Martian Canada where no political parties are mentioned by name and everyone seems to be amorphously "Canadian." Politics don't take place in this kind of an ideological vacuum (as current events have made alarmingly clear), but as this is the CBC, care has to be taken not to offend anyone, even though that means removing the one thing that could give the machinations any meaning. Thus the plodding action veers between standard inept CanCon (a thrill-less thriller that talks big but thinks small) and upsettingly manipulative bull that would embarrass Oliver Stone if it hadn't embarrassed the taxpayers who bankrolled it first. It's less interested in alerting us to danger than in protesting that Canada can be an entertaining semi-dictatorship just like America. As if a country with Paul Martin and Stephen Harper in it could ever be anything but non-stop excitement. (CBC/Morningstar)