The 90s, were an odd time in television history. It was right before the "reality show" craze, but during a time when "political correctness" began inching its way into our daily lives. Back then, the networks were still trying new and original stuff and, for my money, a little show called Due South was one of the best.
Starring Canadian actor Paul Gross and David Marciano, Due South told the tale of RCMP Constable Benton Frasier and how he came down from the Great White North in search of his father's killer. This show fell into the "dramedy" category due to it being, mainly, a cop drama but it also had little bits of comedy sprinkled in the mix.
As evidenced by someone asking Constable Frasier (just "Frasier" to his friends) how he came to be paired with street-wise detective, Ray Vecchio (Marciano) he answers in a "breaking of the fourth wall" sort of way...
"Well, you see, I used to live in the Yukon but I uncovered a plot that involved drowning caribou and then some men who were dressed in white came after me with homicidal intentions. It's a rather long story and it takes exactly two hours to tell, but the upshot of it is I was sent here. I think I embarrassed some people in the government."
Gross and Marciano had great chemistry as two, total, polar opposites who became best of friends as they solved crimes together. Not only were the leads great, they had an awesome supporting cast, as well, including Diefenbaker....Frasier's pet wolf.
Who was deaf.
Yes, he was a deaf wolf.
Who read lips.
That's just the sort of show this was.
While Vecchio was a no nonsense, street detective with the attitude of "Do unto others before they do unto you", Frasier always put others first and embodied the stereotypes of the polite Canadian and the resourceful Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. It's been said that, at first, the RCMP wouldn't endorse the show as they didn't want someone playing the corp as a buffoon but, after seeing the pilot, they did a 180 and became consultants to the show.
The first two season featured Gross and Marciano. The third season, Marciano left and Callum Keith Rennie took the role of "Ray Vecchio". Not as a replacement, but the story was the the "real" Ray Vecchio had to go deep undercover with the mob, so the "fake" Ray Vecchio (the character's real name being Stanley Kowalski) was there to make sure Ray wasn't missed. To be honest, in my opinion, when Marciano left the show it lost a vital party of the dynamic that made it the funny, quirky, well written show it had become in the first two season.
It might be pretty apparent by now, but I could go on and on (and on) about this show. I'll spare you my ramblings, though, and just end this post by saying that, in all my years of watching t.v., I've never quite seen the likes of Due South, before or after it.
It was an amazing show.
Honorable Mentions: The Dukes of Hazard, Darkwing Duck, Dark Shadows.
Tune in tomorrow for a blast from the Saturday morning past. It'll be Dyna-riffic!