A new drama on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television network centres on the bush pilots of a small airline in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
The premiere of the one-hour adventure series Arctic Air, on Tuesday, January 10, featured not one but two in-flight emergencies, as well as some sexual tension, an appearance by Battlestar Galactica star (and northern Ontario native) Michael Hogan, a jilted bride and a back-woods birth.
Drama aside, the show is a veritable love letter to the Northwest Territories, with stunning aerial shots of lakes, forests and mountains. (Some of the show, however, is shot in Vancouver.) Many of the actors are native (The show’s star, Adam Beach, is a native actor with Hollywood credits such as Cowboys & Aliens and Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Father), but native culture isn’t a focus of the series; instead, it weaves naturally into the plot lines, which is refreshing. It’s also nice to see glimpses of the diversity and day-to-day of Yellowknife.
Similarities to reality series Ice Pilots NWT are no accident: producers of Arctic Air hope that the success of that program will rub off on this fictional spin on the adventures of northern bush pilots.
It’s not clear whether Arctic Air will be a critical success, but given the longevity of most shows on the publicly funded CBC, we’ll have gorgeous northern landscapes to gaze at for a while to come.
Watch Arctic Air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC, or online at CBC.ca. —Shannon Kelly