You’ll have to forgive me if I say Forgive Me is an unusual show.
The new 12-episode Canadian TV series, which debuts Wednesday, Sept. 4 on Super Channel, often comes across more like a play. Whether that appeals to you or not is a personal thing. But in a world of short attention spans, Forgive Me essentially is going in the exact opposite direction.
Forgive Me is a half-hour drama, which on its own is something you don’t see very often.
The story follows a young Catholic priest played by Mike McLeod. He lives in a rectory with three older priests, played by John Dunsworth (yes, that’s right, it’s Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys), Jeremy Akerman and Rob Joseph Leonard.
Written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald, each episode of Forgive Me largely is based upon the young priest listening to a lengthy confession from one person. In the first episode, the confessor is a character nicknamed Bookie, played by four-time Academy Award nominee Jane Alexander.
The confession goes on for a very long time. Helps keep production costs low, I would imagine. It’s an intimate setting. But I have to admit, I found myself drifting away a little bit.
One of the issues was that the dialogue was so tight, so perfect, that it didn’t sound like a real conversation. At least tonally, most dramatic TV these days tries to be as realistic as possible. But this felt like a stage play.
Now, there are other aspects to Forgive Me. The young priest is an insomniac, and his nightmares are becoming more vivid. Some indiscretions from his own past are resurfacing and may cause complications for his job. And he has to deal with both the grandmother who raised him, played by Olympia Dukakis, and his bad-news brother, played by Craig Layton.
Personally, I have more interest in the nightmares and the young priest’s shady past and even his extended family than the confessions. But the makers of Forgive Me clearly want the confessions to be front and centre.
Let’s hope that as it moves forward, confession-heavy Forgive Me doesn’t feel as if it’s, um, a bigger story trapped in a small box.
Also on Wednesday, Sept. 4, a new Canadian channel is launching, called Cottage Life (check with your local cable or satellite provider for availability in your area, you know the drill). Philosophically it’s an extension of Cottage Life magazine, which has been around for 25 years. Technically speaking, the new channel is a re-branding of the channel that previously was known as bold. Cottage Life will feature shows such as Epic (beginning Sept. 4), Selling Big (Sept. 4), My Retreat (Sept. 5), Compete to Eat (Sept. 5) and The Fabulous Beekman Boys (Sept. 10).