That we still speak of TV seasons testifies to the ongoing preeminence of broadcast television, however little it’s covered in the press or memed in the socials. With actors and writers on strike and no end in sight, it’s hard to say exactly what the fall may bring, outside of confusion, but it is only summer now, and in the broadcast cosmos summer means summer replacements.

It’s a time of year when networks have traditionally looked abroad for content, and whether Canada counts as abroad exactly — sharing a language and a border and artists we are happy to think of as American, from Joni Mitchell to Catherine O’Hara, Neil Young to Michael J. Fox — it is at least marginally another sort of place, with its own show business, actors and writers and networks and so forth.

From a chauvinistic perspective, it would be convenient to believe that they make an inferior product up there, but series from “SCTV” to “Schitt’s Creek,” from “Degrassi Junior High” to Tegan and Sara‘s “High School,” from “Slings & Arrows” to “Orphan Black” prove that wrong. One might say, at least, that Canadian series share a certain modesty, a naturalism, a simplicity, an amiability perhaps not unrelated to being produced outside the walls of Hollywood.

The CW, already running the second season of the Canadian legal drama “Family Law,” with Jewel Staite (from “Firefly,” Canadian) and Victor Garber (also Canadian, though you might not guess it from his numerous Broadway and Hollywood credits), is turning over an hour and a half of its Monday schedule to three Canadian family comedies; each has aired two seasons at home, with a third on order — which is to say, a substantial resource, should resource be needed. If not typical for the CW brand, more often associated with superheroes and the supernatural, these series are very much the stuff of broadcast TV, historically speaking: good-natured, comparatively wholesome and easy to consume as a block, one, two, three.

Only a pilot episode was available for each, so I can’t address issues of plot or character development, but, as episodic comedies, they will likely be more about things that sustain than things that change. I like some more than others, as a matter of taste, but I have nothing bad to say about any of them. Each in its own way has the capacity to improve your life for half an hour.

Created by comedian Mark Critch, with Tim McAuliffe, “Son of a Critch” (whose next season the CW will reportedly co-produce) is most easily described as “The Wonder Years” in 1980s Newfoundland. Yet with a nerdy, naive central character in the bosom of a slightly eccentric family, I’m reminded more of other narrated-from-the-future, semi-autobiographical period pieces like “The Kids Are Alright,” “Moone Boy” and “Everybody Hates Chris” — which you can consider very much a recommendation. (Critch narrates and also plays his own father, who reports local news.)

The pilot finds young Mark (an excellent Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) pleading illness to avoid his first day of junior high, a Catholic school run by severe nuns, where he knows no one and, as anyone can tell, will not easily fit in.

“I know you’re worried about getting picked on, and beaten up, and made fun of,” says mother Mary (Claire Rankin), not quite helpfully. “Everyone might think you’re strange, but you are the sweetest boy I know. And nervous or not, if you don’t get on that bloody bus I’m going to pick you up like a bloody baby and carry you onto it and then they’re going to make fun of you even worse than they already will.”

With his unchildlike formality; his fondness for Dean Martin in the age of Van Halen; his “Wayne & Shuster Show” lunchbox; his asthma and his orthopedic footwear (“I didn’t think I needed orthopedic shoes, but I stand corrected,” he jokes gamely, a line he has clearly used before), Mark is a ready target. But he’s indomitable in his way, and apt to learn. An affecting Sophia Powers plays Fox (from a family of bullies, all nicknamed Fox), who attacks him almost immediately, though something more complicated may be in the cards for them, while Mark Rivera plays new, first and only friend Ritche, “the only kid of color in a school that had the sum diversity of a snowbank.” Colton Gobbo is sympathetic older brother Mike Jr.; and Malcolm McDowell, the most famous person in any of these series, the 80-year-old grandfather with whom Mark shares a room.

Rush is on the soundtrack, of course.

A child lays across the pillows of a bed with her feet on her dad's face.

James (Aaron Abrams), Viv (Mikayla SwamiNathan) and Astrid (Meaghan Rath) in “Children Ruin Everything.”

(New Metric Media)

The nub of “Children Ruin Everything” — parents trying to recapture a little of what it was like to be a couple before the kids came along — is no more novel than that of “Son of a Critch,” but there are new generations of parents arriving all the time, and why should they not have a show that understands their yearnings.

In a charming cast, Meaghan Rath is especially charming as Astrid, married to James (Aaron Abrams), and the mother of 7-year-old Felix (Logan Nicholson) and 4-year-old Viv (Mikayla SwamiNathan), both of whom are funny without being cute; they get out of hand with great conviction and authenticity. Astrid had been a data analyst before becoming a mother, and so the screen fills with charts and figures to illustrate the “scientific” notion — you’ve read about it in the paper from time to time, I’m sure — that people without children are happier than those with them.

Astrid and James are surrounded by the usual blend of friends and relatives, including Ennis Esmer as James’ unmarried friend and co-worker in the headquarters of a grocery chain; Nazneen Contractor as Astrid’s well-off sister, whose woolly-headed husband (Dmitry Chepovetsky) is on the far side of a nervous breakdown; and Veena Sood as Astrid’s mother, who lets Astrid’s kids watch age-inappropriate films when she baby-sits, criticizes Astrid reflexively, and says to James out of nowhere, “You ruined my daughter’s life, you sack of crap… [turning to Astrid] We’re just having fun.” The series’ central dilemma is that just as Astrid has decided to go back to work, she begins to fixate dreamily upon other people’s babies, as the Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes for You” swells on the soundtrack. The title of the show is, to be sure, more ironic than not.

I will say that these characters do speak remarkably fast — they can be hard to understand — but they are, after all, almost always pressed for time.

Kardinal Offishall, Andrew Phung and Rakhee Morzaria in "Run the Burbs."

Kardinal Offishall, left, with Andrew Pham (Andrew Phung) and Camille (Rakhee Morzaria) in “Run the Burbs.”

(Ian Watson)

Set in a friendly cul de sac, “Run the Burbs” stars co-creator Andrew Phung, of “Kim’s Convenience” (streaming on Netflix) as Andrew Pham, an enthusiastic family man and a person “unable to chill.” The business of the opening episode is a block party, which, Andrew insists, must be the biggest ever: “We’ve got to burn these memories into our kids’ brains,” he declares to wife Camille (Rakhee Morzaria). Of those kids, Khia (Zoriah Wong) is a young teen who may be into the girl next door, Mannix (Simone Miller), an old friend coming back to live with her dad, Hudson (Jonathan Langdon). Little brother Leo (Roman Pesino) is a bit of a pest. They hang out at a bubble tea shop, whose proprietor (Samantha Wan) functions as a sort of bartender for the young.

The party runs into trouble even before it starts for lack of a permit. While Camille goes head to head with a car club, proposing to race for the permit the club happens to have — Morzaria is wonderfully sassy in these scenes — Andrew and Hudson attempt to coax their neighbor, real-life Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall out of retirement to entertain. (Another neighbor’s supposed connection to Drake has proved a dud. But, he notes, irrelevantly, “I was Joey Jeremiah’s stand-in on ‘Degrassi.’ He’s a great guy.”)

“I’m a dad now,” says Kardinal. “I can’t go around chasing dimes/slinging rhymes/selling out shows from here to the Maritimes.”) That the episode ends with everybody dancing tells you everything you need to know about the series’ cheerful spirit.

Whether such imports will be called upon to fill the yawning abyss of the strike-addled fall season, I can’t predict. But should that come to pass, don’t blame Canada; they didn’t cause this thing. They’re only making the television they’d make anyway, and we’re the better for it.


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