Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Bridge - Anytown North America

There's an article in the New York Times today about Canadian TV shows in the US and about "The Bridge" it says, While members of the Strategic Response Unit on “Flashpoint” sport Canadian flags on their jackets, “The Bridge” seems to be moving toward a more generic sense of place. “Cops are the same in Italy, Canada, Spain,” said the show’s star, Aaron Douglas, best known as Galen Tyrol in “Battlestar Galactica.” “I’m playing it like Anytown, U.S.A.”

The article is here.

In my novels the Toronto setting is very important. The way the city has emerged over the last twenty years as the biggest in the country and the financial centre affects the way the people interact. Those changes to Toronto's character (and the change to my hometown of Montreal over the same time - all those head offices and people moving from Montreal to Toronto, "Bill 101 or the 401" and all that, not to mention the move of organized crime from Montreal to Toronto) are, I hope, deeply ingrained in the novels.

But "The Bridge" has different themes that aren't as dependent on setting. The stories that inspire the show are from all over North America, the challenges for the citizens and the police are, as Aaron Douglas says, pretty much the same all over the world.

Setting is an important consideration in a novel or a TV show and it's more than just a patriotic stance. If you look closely, "The Bridge" takes place in Toronto, but it could take place in any big city in 2009.

My novels could only take place the way they do in Toronto.

I think these are the right choices for both "The Bridge" and my novels.


Mike Knowles said...

Good to have you back on the blog, John. I like setting my stuff locally too so I can put my enemies names in print and make them do whatever I want. Plus, like you said, setting is important to story too. But I do it mostly for revenge purposes.

Dana King said...

From what I've read about THE BRIDGE, it seems the "setting" is less Toronot and more "the police force." If that's the case, then the Anytown approach should work well.

This should also make the show more palatable for audiences in the States, who tend to be somewhat parochial in their views and interests, and may think "Toronto" is The Lone Ranger's faithful sidekick.

Gary Butler said...

@ Dana's comment:

Here's a wonderfully apropos typo: "Toronot"! After all, it's a term that represents a setting that's less Toronto...

Offered with sincere camaraderie -- I've been guiltier of much worse errors in comments posts.