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2015’s Best Canadian shows with strong female leads

This time of year, most of us are hiding indoors from the cold, trying to not scream when we burn those Pinterest cookies we made with the expensive bourbon (if only it were handy now!) and dealing with hordes of family members under one roof. Binge-watching your favourite shows may just be our only way of staying sane.

Headlines declaring Canadian TV’s downfall following widespread layoffs and budget cuts to the industry dominate the news right now. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of shows worth watching from the past year. And after working my way through some of the best binge-worthy shows in Canada this year, I was happy to discover that 2015 also seems to be a solid year for strong female characters, whether you’re drawn to an edgy, street-smart heroine like Orphan Black‘s Sarah or an insatiable succubus like Lost Girl‘s Bo. Whatever you’re craving over the holidays, there’s a show that’ll make up for your Pinterest FAILS in the kitchen.

If a fast-paced thriller’s your thing: Orphan Black

Few actresses could have the chops to pull off what Tatiana Maslany does in Orphan Black, as she effortlessly morphs between five different characters — all clones with virtually nothing in common, spare their genetic code. For the uninitiated, Orphan Black tells the story of five female clones who find one another after leading drastically different separate lives, unaware of the others’ existence. In the first three seasons, these “sisters” struggle to overcome their differences — of which there are many given that you’ve got a repressed soccer mom, a deadpan con artist, a dreadlocked granola type, an unhappy cop and a mentally unstable Ukrainian — to fight for their independence and survival. Season 3 is full of new threats for the clones, trippy dream sequences and plenty of intrigue.

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If an edgy Western sounds fun: Strange Empire

A show about the pioneer homesteading days in Canada on CBC? Yawn. But wait, there’s more to Strange Empire than you might first assume. A show about about brothels, bad-ass female gunslingers, girl geniuses, psychics and the Wild Canadian West? Sounds more like it, right? Strange Empire is strangely addictive, as you get caught up in the struggles of a group of women who must band together after their husbands are murdered. And the first season of this fresh, new CBC show is streamable on Netflix.

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If you’re craving pulpy fantasy: Lost Girl

One thing you can say about Lost Girl’s Bo is that she gets hers. Bo’s a modern-day succubus who just wants to find true love, have mind-blowing sex with both genders, save the world and learn the truth about where she came from — oh, and to make time for a pint at her favourite Irish bar in the process. Sure, it’s got one of those tweeny plot lines involving demonic characters whose sexual attraction for one another is matched only by their desire to suck the life out of one another, but it’s a fun, breezy watch for anyone who connects with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Careful — you may get sucked into all five seasons.


If you need a laugh: Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek is a new show shaking things up at CBC. Tune into Netflix to check out the first season, featuring the plight of a rich family with few real-world skills, forced to adapt to small-town life when they lose everything. Watch Eugene Levy try to hold it all together as the patriarch as his wife (Catherine O’Hara) starts to lose it and his pansexual son and cluelessly entitled daughter stumble into their own messy situations with the locals.


So pour yourself a stiff eggnog, and get some popcorn popping, because you’re going to be on the couch for a while.

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