Episode available within Canada only. Video help?
Photo: Michael Tompkins

From man's first steps on the moon to The Beatles' first steps in America, and from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the fall of the Twin Towers, television has changed the way we look at the world — and each other — more than any other medium in history

Canadian TV production is a 6.5 billion-dollar industry. It has doubled in size in just six years.

TV has changed our dating habits, what we eat for dinner, our bedtime rituals, where we live, and the names we give our children. It's influenced the clothes we wear, how we talk, the furniture we buy, the music we listen to, what we find funny, and where we go on vacation. It can topple governments, make someone a millionaire overnight, and turn anyone into a hero.

When the first Canadian television broadcasts started in 1952, nobody could have imagined the massive impact the flickering box in the corner of the room would eventually have on our daily lives. The average Canadian will tune into more than 100,000 hours of television in their lifetime. That equates to watching TV non-stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 12 years.

And yet, for something we spend such a large part of our lives doing, most people don't know how the TV they watch gets made and who decides which TV series will get broadcast.

A TV Renaissance is a one-hour documentary that explores the rise of TV as the most influential medium of the 20th century and how it's helped to shape our national identity. We'll reveal the behind-the-scenes process for creating hit TV shows and explore the challenges that lie ahead as the TV business goes head-to-head with online competitors like Netflix.

We'll reveal how risky the TV business has become and how some of the most successful shows on TV almost didn't get made. Viewers will go behind the scenes at TV industry events in Cannes and Los Angeles for an up-close look at the highly competitive business of buying American TV shows and the huge gamble involved with trying to pick the next hit series.

A TV Renaissance will also explore how Canadian-produced TV series are doing in the international and online worlds, and we'll hear from the creators of successful shows including The Republic of Doyle and Trailer Park Boys.

The documentary was written and directed by award-winning Halifax filmmaker Lorna Kirk and created and produced by Edward Peill from award-winning Halifax-based Tell Tale Productions Inc., in association with CBC Television.

Also on CBC