When this show started it was meant to fill a specific void - unlike other countries, Canada didn't have a prime-time "national" soap opera (at least not since the Meech Lake era). Rather than make an American-type soap with rich and glamorous characters, or a British-type soap with colourful working-class ones, executive producers Linda Schulyer (of "Degrassi" fame) and Stephen Stohn decided to set this in a middle-class suburb of Toronto. Amazingly, it's less interesting than it sounds.
The producers assembled a large cast of B- through Z- list Canadian actors, with an extremely wide range of talent. Some, like Jayne Eastwood (Gloria) are actually legitimate actors, and are very good. Others are bad, even by Canadian television standards, which is saying something. Stewart Arnott's (Charles) performance is particularly appalling, and he's probably the central character. The series starts with a questionable police shooting, looking at its direct and indirect effects on the people in the neighbourhood, and rapidly deteriorates from there. None of the characters are extremely likeable, and some of the storylines, like the MacKenzie - Wilkes family feud, are simply too silly. Still, the series is definitely addictive (the whole point of soap operas) and there are some genuinely funny moments (let's be charitable and call them intentional).
At the beginning of the second season a couple of new characters were added (with Ben getting a miraculous face-and-body-lift), and it seemed as though the mood music suddenly got a lot louder and more intrusive, which only served to make the bad performances seem even worse. I should probably come clean and admit that I didn't watch more than a few episodes after that point so I don't know how the series was by the end of its run.
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