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There are many fans of this series that ended a few years ago. A lot of
were upset to find the replacement of Ray Vecchio a younger (ish) man with
hair. Yes, folks... that was Callum Keith Rennie. But you shouldn't let
switcheroo affect you. He didn't replace Vecchio (well to a degree he did)
but he was his own character, did his things differently to the old Ray
Vecchio and was quite obviously Stanley "Ray" Kolwaski living in another
mans shoes to keep old Vecchio's life safe.
I enjoyed the new series and yes, it was different to the previous two seasons, but as many television programmes change and develop you just have to go with the flow.
Paul Gross and Callum Keith Rennie along with a good list of other cast members kept the Due South programme running for all of our enjoyment. It was witty, action packed, funny, had great music, fantastic acting and it still had that "cop" feel to it. It truly was a magnificent drama/comedy programme that will be sadly missed.
I really miss the show and cannot wait for the DVD release! :)
This show has got to be the best made television show ever. Not only has it got great acting, great plots and great characters it has something you very rarely get in other television shows - quirkiness. It's mix of drama and comedy is excellently done, and you can't help but fall in love with all the characters. It is not a show that relies on all the characters being good looking (such as American sitcoms), but relies more on the characters personalities and plots, which are superior to any Yank comedy. Even though it has run its course it will live on forever as a highly underrated show by those who haven't seen it and a show that could do no wrong by those who have.
Some shows proclaim to deliver the earth and do nothing of the sort, whereas Due South even with a slightly different setup from the first series maintains its quirky humour and warm ways of surprising the audience without ever claiming how good it is. A pleasure to watch and it makes a change to some of the programmes on in the uk at the moment.
Due South was a breath of fresh air. I'm talking about all three seasons of it. In the United States everything on TV seems geared to showing the worst of mankind and Due South was able to poke fun at that aspect but yet show how one man can bring out the best in us. I was totally captivated by the force of Benton Fraser to overcome the "cool" aspects of our society and use the ethic of "what is right" to solve crimes and just function in daily life. After watching the show for sometime I was able to think to myself that humanity isn't that bad afterall and even though I knew that the show was fictional, it made an impact on me. It really doesn't matter that the actual actors were " human afterall" with their own set of problems, because I was caught up in the story lines and Ray and Benton were real to me for the hour they were on my TV set. How nice it was to watch a program where someone stood up for their beliefs whether they were popular or not. I, for one , was sad to see the show go off the air and hope that it will be remembered for the groundbreaking success it was. Sadly, it didn't seem to catch on in the United States.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When CBS opted to cancel Due South after less than two seasons, a joint
group of investors (including the BBC) decided to invest in a third
season in the hopes that they could make a profit on the syndication of
all three seasons of Due South.
The resulting third season of Due South is a drastic change from the first two seasons financed by CBS to say the least.
The most obvious difference is the replacement of David Marciano as Detective Ray Vecchio with Canadian actor Callum Keith Rennie as a Ray Vecchio impostor (Stanley Kowolski)after the new investors were unable to meet Marciano's salary requirements. But the change that effected the show the most in its third season was the exclusion of series creator Paul Haggis as a contributor. This is unfortunate because, in excluding the driving force behind the series, Due South lost much of the imagery and symbolism that gave it its devoted cult following and that made it one of the most original, quirky, and satisfying shows on television at the time.
After a few episodes in the first season where Detective Ray Vecchio is pitted as a buffoon to contrast Constable Benton Fraiser's (Paul Gross)stalwart virtue- the show makes a subtle but drastic change in symbolism by allowing Ray Vecchio to evolve into a mirror of humanity. Not the kind of greeting card humanity that television shows often sell, but a genuine, and not too pretty humanity that, at the same time it suffers from its own arrogance, cowardice, greed and victimization complexes, strives to be better and is attracted to symbols of goodness, detachment, and virtue. In the case of Due South, this is epitomized by the now mythological Deus of Fraiser, who believes beyond belief, strives for true justice as opposed to easy justice, and believes in the inherent virtue in all human beings- no matter how outwardly unworthy they might seem of such considerations.
It's no mistake that Ray Vecchio follows Constable Fraiser around on his seemingly pointless crusades- the uncertain devotion of the common man to absolute truth and justice is one of the primary reoccurring themes in seasons one and two of Due South.
This kind of symbolism does not appear in season three of Due South. Instead, Paul Gross (who takes the helm as Executive Producer)opts for a simpler version of the show as a buddy comedy with more of a Saturday morning feel to it (take a look at how Fraiser and Kowolski escape a sinking ship in part two of "Mountie on the Bounty").
Fraiser comes "down to earth" in season three, trading in his myhtological qualities for the more human characteristics of loneliness, social ineptitude (as opposed to the kind of social detachment the character exhibited in the first two seasons), and fear of abandonment.
Stanley Kowolski, who replaces Ray Vecchio (and impersonates Ray Vecchio at the same time) is painted less as a symbol and more as a caricature. He is not just brash and loud, but he is surprisingly violent- even resorting to slugging Fraiser when they have a disagreement (his excuse? Their working relationship was becoming stale). Kowolski's saving grace is that he is played with mesmerizing charm and adroitness by Rennie who dominates the screen much of the time he is on. Also, the personage of Kowolski is much more Chicagoan than Vecchio- equal parts coffeehouse and slaughterhouse.
Also gone from the series is the sense of bureaucracy that permeates the first two seasons. Even Lt. Welsh (Beau Starr), becomes less a grumbling administrator and more of a participant and "crime buster".
The third season of Due South, while certainly not on par with seasons one and two, is certainly worth a look. You may not glean the same insights you did with the first two seasons, but the show is still beautifully filmed (thanks to Director of Photography Malcom Cross), well written, and it's fun to watch this group of well drawn characters interact, no matter how watered down.
I fell quite late into watching the Due South series. Had great laughs!
what a gem Rennie is as an actor. I suspected that the intense unfolding
his character's personal history was deliberate, but he more than faced up
to the challenge. What that man put out was a feat.
As for the first two seasons: yeah, they had more heart and more depth, but the last season was funnier, flowing and markedly tidy. Appreciated that very much.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I adore Due South and am very happy to be getting the chance to see it
again. It needs to be seen again and again. *SPOILERS*
This show has a gorgeous blend of comedy, drama, and comedy. All the characters are funny and witty and a little off but very real and human. The plots can range from a bit formula like to stunning, but it's always the interaction of the characters that'll keep you. Esp. Fraser and Ray(Vecchio). What a team and what a wonderful friendship. They make me happy. The series has such a feel good tone.
The music... people have mentioned the music right? It's fantastic. I think the song choices and the way in which the series was set-up and paced and blended, it made it very special.
Sadly to special for CBS to keep it. I have to admit, I felt the series changed for the worse when it was brought back a third time. Rightfully it was losing focus by the end of season 2, but by season 3 there's a definite tone change. It becomes less magical, more silly. Jokes have an odd and cruel bent to them, making the characters jokes. It descends into farce.
There's a divide on like and it's an issue in Due South fandom. Hardly one to shy viewers away though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although Due South was cancelled more than 6 years ago, it's legacy
lives on DVD, albeit not the best DVD sets ever made.
Now that I have seasons 1 and 2 on DVD, I started watching the episodes all over again. It feels so fresh! It's wonderful to laugh once more at the best jokes, to ponder about some unusual quote delivered by our favourite mountie (OFM), to pay attention and to understand several layers of symbolism in the most "brainy" episodes...
What do we get from Due South? We get several quirky stories, from solving crimes to convincing people to do the right thing. We get wonderful and inspirational music, with some Canadian artists who are now big names, such as Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt. We get heart-felt monologues of Constable Benton Fraser using some Inuit tale to inspire people to do good. We get several early appearances of now household names, such as Melina Kanakaredes and Jane Krakowsky.
Some double length episodes would have been excellent movies in their own right. The Pilot speaks for itself (not included in Season 1, bad Alliance).
"Victoria's Secret" (towards the end of Season 1) is an excellent story of betrayal and lost love. It has two of the most poignant scenes ever on TV (SPOILERS!): 1. Fraser imagines Victoria through a revolving door while snows falls on her, all with McLachlan's Possession playing in the background. 2. After being shot, Fraser recites a poem, over and over again, just as Victoria had done when he had saved her life years back.
"All the Queen's Horses", with Leslie Nielsen, blends a great comedy with a very good action story, including an incredible scene in which OFM and Inspector Thatcher tried to free themselves from ropes using one her hairclips.
There other memorable scenes, such as OFM hypnotizing people to find out what they had seen earlier, scenes from the perspective of OFM's deaf wolf (Diefenbaker) and a 1972 or 71? green Buick Riviera exploding in three different occasions.
In short, bite the bullet, get the DVDs even if there are no extras and the packaging isn't the best and witness what TV should really be like.
PS: Paul Gross (The Mountie) is amazing. He produced Seasons 3 and 4 and also wrote most of the episodes of those seasons. He also played Hamlet in the Canada's Stratford Festival to rave reviews.
I'd watched DS in its CBS incarnation and I'd liked it quite a bit although I was in no wise a fan. Some of the episodes stuck with me: Mask, The Wild Bunch, All the Queen's Horses. It wasn't until TNT began rerunning it that I was able to sit down and watch the whole thing, including the new seasons, and I. Fell. In. Love. It was smart, funny, and it didn't condescend to me. Paul Gross *rocks* in both incarnations, and David does a good workmanlike job, but the new seasons, and Callum, *sparked* from the very first scene in the bullpen in Burning Down the House. With Paul as exec producer and Benton Fraser we got the best of both worlds: a great story arc, episodes that ranged from good to great, subtle and over the top humour, subtle and emotive drama, and character development, even for secondary characters like Welsh, out the wazoo, plus, quite simply, the best fifteen minutes ever in television history: the end of Mountie on the Bounty. My only regret is that Paul couldn't get Callum to commit to a second year. Hey, Alliance: Due South on DVD. Think about it.
Due South was one of the great TV shows, successfully able to blend
and drama, to produce a serious, yet witty show. The acting is of very
quality, with Paul Gross and David Marciano able to depict the "best
type relationship in a very real way.
The show, as far as I am concerned, did take a bit of a dive when Marciano left, however it was still an enjoyable show to watch and I feel that it was a pity that it was only given 4 seasons. It deserved a few more.
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