Kick Ass Can-Content!: True Northern Badasses Part 1

As already illustrated by many of my previous post on this blog I love two things with an intense passion. Visual media and recurring segments. Oh how I love my recurring segments. But believe it or not there are things I love more and one of them is my country. My majestic, immense, sparsely populated country with its inferiority complex and immense dearth of artistic talent. So imagine my joy when I realized I could meld these three loves together! How none of you are asking? Through the magic of Can-Con! Can-Con, short for Canadian Content, is a legal requirement placed on almost all broadcast media within Canada. In my country a government agency, the Canadian Radio-Television And Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) oversees the aforementioned broadcasts. Their primary mission is to ensure the continued survival of Canadian media and arts in the face of the immense entertainment juggernaut south of the 49th parallel. As such they have mandated that all radio or television stations air a certain percentage of programs (25-30% for radio and 50-60% for television) which are identifiably Canadian in content or production. It’s a novel concept though admittedly not unique to Canada. Australia, the UK, the EU, New Zealand, South Africa and a whole host of other countries have similar programs. Some have even suggested that the CRTC mandate be extended to cover movie theatres as well, in order to ensure that Canadian cinema gets a fair shake in its own country. Presently many of the Canadian theatre are subsidiaries of larger American chains and thus have little time for smaller and far less advertised domestic productions. Many of which are actually pretty good. Usually to fulfill the requirements of Can-Content many producers simply pump out current affairs programs or mind numbingly boring knock-offs of American programs (I.E. Canadian Idol, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and Canada’s Next Top Model) but occasionally a Canadian production company will come up with an interesting idea or a foreign company will include Canadian content to satisfy the baying government hounds. For example if you see a character that looks like this:it’s a good guess you’re looking at Can-Content. In the spirit of this nationalistic legislation I’ve decided to create a recurring segment which allows me to fulfill my patriotic needs. This is KICK ASS CAN-CONTENT! Let us lay out some ground rules. In order to qualify as Kick Ass Can-Content a show or character has to fulfill a minimum of two of the following criteria:
1. The story is set or takes place in Canada at least 50% of the time
2. The performer of a character is a Canadian/the majority of the cast is Canadian
3. A Character is Canadian/most of the characters are identifiably Canadian
4. The show is shot in Canada and/or is at least partially produced by a Canadian company
Also fair warning, I may get pretty obscure with my references so if you don’t know about the character or show I’m highlighting, hopefully you’ll check it out and give Canadian media some much needed support and exposure. So without any further delay, let’s get cracking. For the first edition of KACC (huzzah for acronyms!), it’ll be a double dose. We’re going to be listing the top twenty Canadian badasses of the small and silver screens respectively. For too long we Canadians have been seen as a collection of limp wristed, overly polite peacekeepers who are terrified of offending anyone. This is complete and utter horseshit and luckily we have twenty Can-Content badasses to prove the naysayers wrong. First up the Can-Con badasses of the small screen.

10. Sean Kuzak (Michelle Nolden)-ZOS: Zone Of Separation
Imagine trying to keep a village full of heavily armed ancient enemies from unleashing a big can of ethnic cleansing upon each other with only a stern talking to, a UN mandate (ha) and a snazzy blue beret. A monumental task to say the last, made all the more monumental by the fact that half of your co-workers are either crazy, corrupt, totally uninterested, inexperienced or grade-A Albertan assholes (seriously! That last one is actually a plot point). Luckily one woman is up to the soul crushing job. Canadian unarmed UN observer Sean Kuzak smokes like a chimney, flips off trigger happy Bosnian snipers, cusses like a sailor and most important of all, actually cares about what she is doing! All after experiencing a brutal rape no less. That takes balls…er…eggs of steel.
Can-Content Score: 3/4 (Performer, Production, Character)
9. Dinobot (Scott McNeil)-Beast Wars/Beasties
While Mainframe entertainment’s Beast Wars may have begun as a spin-off of the cheesy Transformers series, its interesting plot, cool CGI, constant action and interesting characters allowed it to transcend its origins and surpass its forerunner. Having a steel plated, Shakespeare spouting warrior at the heart of its cast didn’t hurt either. Aside from being the best character in one of the best animated series to come out of Canada, Dinobot, performed by Canuck voice acting legend Scott McNeil, is a legitimate bad-ass. Surrounded by enemies and allies who wield all manner of futuristic missiles, guns and lasers, the fearless Dinobot lumbers into battle wielding only measly eye beams and a SWORD! A sword made of his alternate form’s spine. What is his alternate form you ask? A goddamn giant raptor! So whichever mode he is in, Dinobot would have little trouble ripping you open and showing you your own intestines! Who said anatomy lessons can’t be fun? The spirit of a samurai, the power of a giant robot and the insane blood-lust of a carnivorous dinosaur all rolled into one consummate badass. To top it all off, Dinobot was the central character of what was unquestionably the series’ best episode; “Code Of A Hero”.
Can-Content Score: 2/4 (Performer, Production)
8. Peter Caine (Chris Potter)-Kung Fu The Legend Continues
The descendant of a legendary half Asian Wild West hero and the son of an improbably magical David Carradine, Peter Caine is a badass in his own right. Not only is he a trained martial artist and a tough, no-nonsense big city cop but he sports what can only be described as the most epic early 90s hockey hair, without fear of ridicule or involuntary celibacy. Always ready with a roundhouse, half a clip of 9mm ammunition and a witty remark, Peter is the kind of dedicated cop you want on your side if you are being hassled by gangsters, street hoods or an ancient evil brotherhood bent on achieving a myriad of evil goals. An added bonus: he’ll usually drag his seemingly invincible dad and rag-tag collection of cop buddies along for the ride. So whatever he misses they’ll take care of in a jiffy.
Can-Content Score: 2/4 (Performer, Production)
7. Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Colm Feore)-Trudeau
I hear what you are saying. “Tim, you can’t have Pierre Trudeau, let alone a fictional version of the former Prime Minister, on a list of badasses!” Why not? The man laid the hurting on terrorists (and most of the rest of Quebec), thumbed his nose at the Yanks by chumming around with Castro, banged a drug using hottie not even half his age, pissed off much of Canada with little concern about the impact on his career and fundamentally re-shaped not only the country’s society but our place in the world as well. His fictional counterpart does all of this all the while excellently portrayed by Canadian standard Colm Feore. Don’t think I have the balls to put a fictional version of a real politician on the list? Just watch me!
Can-Content Score: 4/4
6. Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies)-Forever Knight
Imagine this as the premise for a show: an ancient vampire who has spent years doing horrible things has come to regret his past and now only searches for a way to become mortal again. In order to wipe away some of his massive Karmic debt he decides to fight crime by night in a bustling metropolis. If that sounds like the plot to Joss Whedon’s Angel you and he can go do something unpleasant to yourselves with a sharp stick. What I have just described is the long running early 1990s Canadian/German television series Forever Knight. The titular character Nick Knight is a hard-boiled detective working the mean streets of Toronto who just happens to be a motherfucking vampire! To make sure he doesn’t burst into flames his first day on the job, he has a doctor friend come up with the excuse that he is allergic to sunlight. Apparently buying that ludicrous explanation (something which I suspect would have immediately disqualified anyone before they even reached basic police training) he is permanently assigned to the night shift. When he isn’t taking down run of the mill criminals he is forced to deal with the ghosts of his past, mainly in the form of the devious Lucien (played to a villainous tee by Halifax resident Nigel Bennett)
Can-Content Score: 4/4
5. Wolverine/Logan (Cathal J. Dodd)-X Men: The Animated Series
There has been a slew of X-Men related media released in recent years and at their forefront has been everyone’s favourite Canadian death machine, Wolverine. The results have been consistently promising from Hugh Jackman’s turn in the recent films to Steve Blum’s voice work in the badly titled but surprisingly good Wolverine And The X Men. However in my mind one adaption of Logan reigns supreme: Canadian Cathal J. Dodd in FOX’s animated series from the 1990s. Capturing not only Logan’s boundless rage but his sarcastic humour and deep seated mental anguish as well, Dodd’s gruff voice was the first time Wolverine was accurately translated from page to screen (in a preceding attempt he was made inexplicably made Australian) and set the standard for all future adaptations.
Can-Content Score: 2/4 (Performer, Character)
4. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping)-Stargate SG-1/Stargate Atlantis
Aside from being the star of countless nerd fantasies, Samantha Carter was a key character in not one but two long-running Canadian produced science fiction shows. A combat pilot, a high ranking USAF officer, the commander of numerous interstellar expeditions, a veteran of several human-alien wars and a fair hand with a sub-machine gun to boot. Oh did I mention she is a scientific genius responsible for retrofitting numerous pieces of alien technology used in the defence of Earth? Samantha Carter is all things to all people and an unqualified badass.
Can-Content Score: 2/4 (Performer, Production)
3. Kai (Michael McManus)-Lexx
Don’t let the ridiculous beehive hairdo or his lacey jumpsuit fool you, Kai from the Halifax shot Lexx is a stone-cold badass. The last of a colourfully dressed warrior race named the Brunnen-G, Kai was captured by a monolithic evil known as the Divine Shadow during a suicide attack and transformed into an undead assassin capable of regeneration and survival in an airless vacuum. Lacking any emotion, physical sensation or compassion he mows down all comers with a pair of razor sharp blades tethered to his wrist. Originally an agent of oppression, through a series of bizarre circumstances he becomes the unlikely protector of the equally unlikely sole hope for resistance: a hapless security guard and a former sex slave.
Can-Content Score: 2/4 (Performer, Production)
2. Stanley Raymond Kowalski (Callum Keith Rennie)-Due South
The third of four cops to appear on this list, Callum Keith Rennie’s Stanley Kowalski is arguably the most conventional. But that doesn’t make him any less badass. An old school hard boiled detective from Chicago, he was brought in to cover for another detective who had gone deep undercover with the mob. Unfortunately that other officer, Ray Vecchio was partners with the Canadian consular liaison officer and squeaky clean Mountie Benton Fraser. Hilarity and action ensued. A rough and tumble brawler with an itchy trigger finger, his bravado hides the lingering pain of a bitter divorce and deep insecurity over the fact he has to wear grandma sized bifocals when shooting to compensate for poor eyesight. Nonetheless he is always ready for a rumble, a difficult case or an all out battle on the top of an ore tanker.
Can-Content Score: 2/4 (Performer, Production)
1. Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon)-Flashpoint
The top small screen Can-Content badass on our list, Ed Lane by all accounts doesn’t seem that exceptional. The Torontonian police sharpshooter doesn’t have any vampiric powers, alien technology, kung fu, political clout or fancy blades to do battle with the forces of chaos. What he does have is far more down to Earth and reliable. Dedication to the job, mastery of urban combat, a dead eye, unflagging calm under pressure, a myriad of specialized training, years of experience with Toronto’s elite emergency response unit and an abiding belief that what he is doing is right. He’s tangled with vengeful terrorists, mobsters, deranged gunmen and traumatized Croatian snipers all the while trying to remain a good father and cope with the mounting guilt and stress that comes with the job. He does both admirably. A good Canadian lad, he likes his Tim Hortons, is an avid fan of hockey and like us all has a love-hate relationship with Toronto. Top marks for characterization, lack of reliance on special powers or weapons, sheer badassery and Can-Content score.
Can-Content Score: 4/4

New giveaway – win an In-que Diaper Caddy!

Teen Novels: also for adults?