Articles - North of 60 (Series) (1992-1998)

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North of 60

From The Evening Telegram TV Scene - Nov 28, 1992

'North of 60' can stand on its own two mukluks

Take one burned-out member of the RCMP, stick him in a small Dene community in the Arctic, add other characters. Simmer 13 weeks: Presto! Out comes a Canadian "Northern Exposure," right?

Wayne Grigsby and Barbara Samuels, the producers of "North of 60," cringe at the comparison. The new CBC series, which debuts Thursday, Dec. 3, may have elements similar to those of the quirky CBS show about a neurotic doctor (played by Rob Morrow) in Alaska, but "North of 60" is no rip-off.

" 'Northern Exposure,' to me, is a whimsical show that is more about the Pacific Northwest than it is about Alaska," says Grigsby. "It's kind of 'Mark Twain meets a northern sensibility.' It's nice -I like the show - but what we are doing is drama."

"North of 60" takes place north of the 60th parallel, which marks the southern boundary of most of the Northwest Territories. It is set in the fictional community of Lynx River, a Dene community struggling to maintain a traditional lifestyle in a modern world John Oliver stars as Eric Olssen, a former undercover cop from Vancouver, who brings urban police methods, a troubled family life and an unfamiliarity with the local culture Tina Keeper plays Olssen's partner, Michelle Kenidi, a Dene RCMP constable at odds with her brother, band council chief Peter Kenidi (played by Tom Jackson), who believes strongly in Dene self-government and policing.

Grigsby, a former story editor on CTV's "E.N.G.," says the series will deal realistically with issues faced in remote northern communities. One such issue is the impact of satellite television on the North, which is explored through the character of a Dene teenager who spends his days glued to the tube and mimicking urban U.S. lifestyles.

"In the middle of this traditional environment, you have people watching Detroit superstates," Grigsby says. "His goal is to get out of here and go South, where be can get into some real trouble."

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For an in-depth look at CBC programs (1952-82),
Blaine Allan's directory