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June 26 2017. Jessica Vandergulik photos.

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Is Canada ready for a new genre of television show?

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The recent 87th Academy Awards served to highlight just how incredible the level of talent is in the current movie industry. Craig Mann was flying the flag for Canada as he collected his award for smash hit Whiplash, but now, with all the focus of awards season over, it’s time to change our focus to something else: television shows.

Online streaming site Netflix Canada has now published a list of what we should be looking forward to in March. Among some gems in the old skool film market, including classic Mean Girls, we’re also told to keep an eye out for season nine of Trailer Park Boys and well as a blast from the past in the form of Third Rock from the Sun.

Indeed, it seems that sitcoms are enduringly popular over in Canada, and with the influence of Canadian characters, it’s no wonder. Would the CBS hit How I Met Your Mother be as popular without one of its most endearing protagonists, Robin, for example?

However, while sitcoms continue to reign supreme, there were a few shows highlighted by Netflix’s list which are worth noting. In particular, the kids’ shows section mentions Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures. For a video game character whose heyday remains firmly in the ’80s, does this say something for the change in viewing trends in Canada?

It seems that gaming, from video gaming to online gaming, is the next big thing in television. Though it may seem obscure, on one end of the scale, we have children’s television shows celebrating Pacman, but on the other end, we have more adult-targeted material, in particular, the live stream of online poker and casino games.

No example is more relevant than that of Twitch, the online video streaming website specifically for gamers. By mixing two genres – gaming and television – the site has managed to pull in 100-million viewers by simply allowing them to view streams such as Grand Theft Auto gameplay.

Now, the site has decided to take a different direction, by broadcasting live online poker and casino games, with companies such as Gaming Club already showing an interest  in the lucrative deals. It’s no secret that broadcasts of the World Series of Poker are watched by millions of viewers every year, so it seems likely that this new development will be just as popular.

While the deal is still fresh, it may take a while for adult Canadian audiences to be as convinced as their anklebiter counterparts, but nonetheless, 2015 could be a big year for gaming in television.

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