I just watched the Netflix show “The Good Place” three times. Yes, all 13 episodes, three times. Once by myself, once with my kids, and then we all watched it again when my husband got home from a business trip. I could sing praises from the rooftops: the original script, superb acting, directing, editing, cinematography, the list goes on. But, I have to give pause to the fact that my behaviour is sad, and not in the sad I-have-nothing-better-to-do-with-my-time kind of sad, but the kind of sad that comes from having a lack of good television. I have gone years without finding a show that gets me excited, that makes me think, makes me discuss, and want to share. Another show recently did this, “Atypical”, a fantastic original show as well, that I binged watched and then re-watched it with my husband right after because I wanted so badly to talk to him about its themes.

People say there are no original scripts, women complain there aren’t enough roles for them, others complain because of the lack of diversity. The Good Place provides it all. As a writer myself, this is a positive step forward and yet is melancholy to the fact I may have to wait another few years until another writer is given the green light to provide entertainment at the highest level for me. I truly don’t believe it’s for lack of ideas – I have them every day – it’s the support the entertainment industry is lacking in when it comes to supporting artists, particularly new ones.

Whereas LA is looking for the newest thing, here in Toronto there is a fear of failing. Casting directors, producers, production companies feel their jobs are on the line with each choice and therefore only bring in the tried and true people. Therefore, we see the same actors on TV and we get the same shows re-hashed because everyone wants a hit like Murdoch Mysteries…I don’t watch Murdoch Mysteries. Canada also has an aversion to comedy. They have said this outright to me when I have pitched shows. They want episodic dramas. There appears to be no money to be made in comedies. I guess people have already forgotten about “Seinfeld”, “Friends”, and “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

I don’t watch Canadian television shows, with one exception of “Schits Creek”; I did watch the first two season, but I’m kind of done. Viewers like me are turning more and more to American television because they “get us” and unfortunately any work I end up creating most likely will be in the U.S.A.

I am heartbroken that original ideas don’t see the light of day because there is no creative risk in the Canadian Entertainment Industry and also because I will be waiting that much longer for the next good show to come along to get me excited again. I’ll keep writing, that’s for sure, but until someone discovers me, make sure you binge watch The Good Place. Immediately!

About the Author

Stephanie Herrera is a comedian, writer, producer, teacher, singer, actor, mother of 4, and shallow philosopher. She runs the Durham Improv & Acting Studio in Oshawa, Canada, is a professor at Durham and Fleming Colleges, and is an award winning performer.  www.durhamimprov.com / www.stephanieherrera.com / info@durhamimprov.com / (647) 899-3342  Durham Improv Group and Business pages can be found on Facebook and follow @durhamimprov & @antimommy