Every week, we break down some of the most notable new shows and movies to hit Canadian streaming services. In these ‘Streaming in Canada’ columns, we also highlight either wholly Canadian content or American/foreign content that has significant Canadian connections.
However, with so much new content releasing every week, you’d be forgiven for not even being aware of most of what comes out in general, let alone Canadian-specific programming.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the most prominent shows and movies with major Canadian connections. This means titles that feature Canadians in prominent roles, be it in front of or behind the camera. While the goal is to focus on streaming-exclusive content, we’re also considering movies that had either short theatrical runs or hybrid theatrical-digital releases, given this weird period that we’re in. The same goes for shows that were released on both cable TV and digital platforms simultaneously.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
All Or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs
This five-part docuseries follows the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2020-2021 NHL season and gives unprecedented on-the-ice and locker room access to the players, coaches and fans. The team’s match against its Original Six rival, the Montreal Canadiens, is also featured.
Notably, All or Nothing was narrated by Toronto’s own Will Arnett (Arrested Development).
Genre: Sports documentary
Runtime: Five episodes (42 to 49 minutes each)
Stream All or Nothing on Amazon Prime Video.
After a vintage doll turns up at a garage sale, an idyllic American town becomes plagued by horrifying murders.
Based on the Child’s Play franchise, Chucky was created by Don Mancini (Child’s Play series) and stars Zackary Arthur (Transparent), Björgvin Arnarson (The Seventh Day), Alyvia Alyn Lind (The Young and the Restless), Vancouver’s Devon Sawa (Final Destination), B.C.-raised Jennifer Tilly (Bullets Over Broadway) and Brad Dourif (Child’s Play franchise) as the voice of Chucky.
It’s worth noting that the series was filmed in and around Toronto.
Runtime: Eight episodes (around 41 to 55 minutes each)
Stream Chucky on Amazon Prime Video. Note that a $12.99 CAD/month StackTV subscription is required on top of an Amazon Prime membership.
Kim’s Convenience (Season 5)
In the fifth and final season of the hit Canadian series, Appa and Umma grapple with a medical diagnosis while Janet moves home and Jung and Shannon’s long-distance romance becomes strained.
Meanwhile, Janet moves home and Jung and Shannon find their long-distance romance tested.
Based on Toronto-raised Ins Choi’s play of the same name, Kim’s Convenience stars Calgary-raised Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Train 48), Toronto-raised Jean Yoon (Orphan Black), Burnaby, B.C.-born Andrea Bang (Playdate) and Mississauga-raised Simu Liu (Blood and Water). Further, the show is shot in various parts of Toronto.
Liu, of course, also garnered significant international attention this year thanks to his lead role in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is now streaming on Disney+.
Runtime: Eight episodes (around 41 to 55 minutes each)
Letterkenny (Season 10)
In the latest season of the Crave original comedy, the men of Letterkenny find themselves going through full-body physicals, a new energy drink launches and a video game battle ensues.
Letterkenny was created by Listowell, Ontario’s Jared Keeso (19-2) and stars Keeso, Calgary’s Nathan Dales (Supernatural), Vancouver’s Michelle Mylett (The Drownsmen) and Toronto’s Trevor K. Wilson (Goosebumps).
Beyond the all-Canadian cast, the series is also filmed in Sudbury, Ontario.
Runtime: Seven episodes (around 30 minutes each)
Stream Letterkenny on Crave.
Lost in Space (Season 3)
In the series’ final season, the Robinsons race to reunite and protect Alpha Centauri from a robot invasion.
Lost in Space is based on Irwin Allen’s 1965 series of the same name and stars Maple Ridge, B.C.’s Molly Parker (House of Cards), Toby Stephens (Black Sails), Maxwell Jenkins (Sense8) and Vancouver’s Taylor Russell (Waves).
It’s also worth noting that the series was filmed in Vancouver.
Runtime: Eight episodes (39 to 58 minutes each)
Stream Lost in Space on Netflix.
In dystopian 2044 North America, a Cree woman joins a resistance movement fighting against the military government in an effort to save her daughter.
Written and directed by La Ronge, Saskatchewan’s Danis Goulet (Wakening) in her feature directorial debut, Night Raiders stars Cardston, Alberta’s Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open), Surrey, B.C.’s Brooklyn Letexier-Hart (Burden of Truth) and Alex Tarrant (NCIS: Hawai’i).
In addition to the mostly Canadian cast and crew, it’s worth noting that the film was shot in and around Toronto.
Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes
In rural Oklahoma, four Indigenous teens spend their days committing crime in an effort to move to California.
Reservation Dogs was created by Sterlin Harjo (Mekko) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) and stars Kahnawake, Quebec’s Devery Jacobs (American Gods), Toronto’s D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai (Murdoch Mysteries), Edmonton’s Paulina Alexis (Ghostbusters: Afterlife) and Lane Factor (debut role).
Runtime: Eight episodes (25 to 31 minutes each)
Stream Reservation Dogs on Disney+.
This U.S./Canada co-production follows a young, bisexual Jewish woman as she attends a shiva with her family while struggling to juggle her romantic and career prospects.
Written and directed by Toronto’s Emma Seligman and based on her semi-autobiographical 2018 short of the same name, Shiva Baby stars Rachel Sennott (Ayo and Rachel Are Single), Molly Gordon (Booksmart), Danny Deferrari (Madoff), Polly Draper (Thirtysomething) and Fred Melamed (Lady Dynamite).
Runtime: 1 hour, 18 minutes
Stream Shiva Baby on Crave.
After a deadly flu ravages society, humanity’s survivors attempt to build a new world.
Based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Comox, B.C.’s Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven features an ensemble cast that includes Vancouver’s own Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire), Himesh Patel (EastEnders), Matilda Lawler (Flora & Ulysses) and David Wilmot (Ripper Street).
It’s also worth noting that the show was filmed in Mississauga, Ontario and the story actually begins in Toronto.
(Keep in mind that the series premiered on December 16th with three episodes and a subsequent weekly new episode rollout).
Genre: Sci-fi, drama
Runtime: 10 episodes (45 to 49 minutes each)
Stream Station Eleven on Crave.
Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first foray into the world of animation offers alternate takes on classic franchise moments, like what would happen if T’Challa became Star-Lord, Doctor Strange turned evil following a tragic loss or Peggy Carter took the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers.
What If? was created by A.C. Bradley (Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia) and features most of the MCU actors reprising their respective roles, including the late Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man) and Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter). Westworld‘s Jeffrey Wright also voices MCU newcomer The Watcher, who narrates the series.
It’s worth noting that Quebec City-based animation studio Squeeze worked on several episodes of What If…?. And if that weren’t enough, several Canadian actors reprise their MCU roles in the series: Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta’s Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne/The Wasp), London, Ontario’s Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Port Perry, Ontario’s Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), and Vancouver’s Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill).
Genre: Animated superhero
Runtime: Nine episodes (around 31 to 36 minutes each)
Stream What If…? on Disney+.
Of course, there are other streaming 2021 titles with notable Canadian ties, including:
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ — directed by Ottawa’s Kari Skogland, co-stars Port Perry, Ontario’s Emily VanCamp and Montreal’s Georges St-Pierre
- Midnight Mass on Netflix — filmed in Vancouver
- Never Have I Ever (Season 2) on Netflix — starring Mississauga’s own Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
- See (Season 2) on Apple TV+ — filmed in various parts of Ontario
What are your favourite Canadian movies or shows from 2021? Let us know in the comments.
Header image credit: Elevation/CBC/HBO