When it was originally on: 2015-2020.
Original network: CBC in Canada, Pop Channel in the United States.
Where you can stream it now: Hulu
Had I seen it before: Yes! I’ve seen this show in it’s entirety and it’s pretty great.
What IMDb says: After being a victim of fraud, Johnny Rose and his family go from extremely wealthy to penniless overnight. The only asset left to them is a small, unsophisticated town: Schitt’s Creek. They relocate there. Culture shock ensues.
Why I picked it: Schitt’s Creek is one of those interesting cases where it seemed like almost no one was watching this show, then suddenly around Season 4ish everyone was watching it. Part of that might be that it’s a Canadian show and by the time it made its way onto U.S. Netflix, they already had a few seasons under their belt. Another reason could be that while Schitt’s Creek wasn’t a streaming original, it certainly lends itself well to binging. It’s a show where you can easily watch a lot without realizing just how many episodes you’ve blown through. It certainly wouldn’t be the first show that wasn’t served particularly well by a week-by-week schedule, but once there was enough episodes for people to consume it in bulk, it could take the world by storm.
Because this is an import from Canada, it also means that Schitt’s Creek doesn’t fit neatly into the usual network/cable/streaming paradigm I use to classify television. Schitt’s Creek doesn’t quite feel like an American network sitcom, but it’s not exactly a prestige sitcom either. It’s its own special world, and a refreshing reminder of what sitcoms can be when they don’t have to fit into preconceived notions of what a particular network’s “brand” is.
What I liked: The pilot immediately sets up a seemingly insurmountable conflict: a rich family has lost all their money. It’s a relatively simple premise, but that simplicity is part of the genius. We’re about to watch obnoxious, wealthy people have to rough it with the rest of us, and that sounds entertaining.
What I didn’t like: I was somewhat surprised by how little I loved the pilot given how much I love this show. Part of the problem is that Moira, Alexis, and David are all pretty spoiled brats, and there’s really not much separating their brands of brattiness apart. The jokes aren’t necessarily bad or unfunny, but a lot of them are just some variation of “eww this town is gross and I don’t have my stuff anymore” and even after just 22 minutes, that was starting to get old.
The pilot doesn’t also have a single character who’s just… well… nice? Roland taking the motel doors off the hinges after Johnny snaps at him is a funny joke, but it also makes Roland look dumb and petty in a way that’s hard to root for, but not particularly interesting either. Since the Rose family is so ridiculously obnoxious at this point (and kind of has to be for the show to work) making some of the poorer locals of Schitt’s Creek obnoxious and unreasonable doesn’t serve the show that well. This is also a case where knowing what the show eventually evolves into actually makes it harder to love. I think of Schitt’s Creek as a show that does have a lot of heart and optimism about the human condition, so it was almost jarring to revisit the pilot and not see those qualities I got used to seeing in later seasons.
Do I want to watch Ep. 2: If I hadn’t already seen the show, I’m not sure that this episode would be enough to sell me. That said, I have seen more, and I know it didn’t take much more than an episode or two beyond this to hook me.