Nfld. & Labrador

Little Dog is a series about boxing that's really about family

The main character is a failed fighter, but boxing is also a metaphor in a new CBC-TV show.

Everyone wants to be 'top dog', say creators of new CBC-TV show

Joel Thomas Hynes stars as Tommy (Little Dog) Ross in a series about a failed boxer. He also wrote many of the episodes. (CBC/@Littledogtv)

Little Dog, a new series that premiered Thursday on CBC Television, is about a boxer — but it's also about family, according to the creative forces behind the show.

Set in St. John's, the series focuses on the character of Tommy (Little Dog) Ross, who walked out of a boxing match five years ago bringing disgrace to himself and his family. He then gets a chance of redemption through a rematch.

Joel Thomas Hynes wrote much of the show and stars as Little Dog. Sherry White is the show runner, or producer.

Showrunner Sherry White on set during shooting in St. John's. (Twitter:@Littledogtv)

Hynes said the premise of the show asks: "What would make a man walk away when he was relatively on top?"

"He walks out for reasons unknown and that question looms large over the series," he said. "Maybe in some bizarre form, he takes control of his life by walking out of the ring."

The series also features a large, dysfunctional Ross family, including a martyr of a mother who is "happy to ride the wave if he's doing well," White said.

"But she's the first to turn her head if he's not."

White and Hynes, who were once married, had fun putting the fictional family together. It also includes a brother and sister who snipe at Tommy and a father in jail at Her Majesty's Penitentiary.

"A lot of the writing fell into place during casting," said Hynes, describing the characters as a "whole family of alpha dogs who are trying to be top dog."

White said they referenced boxing classics such as Rocky, but didn't set out to tell a typical boxing story.

"It's much more of a family story," she said.

"When you step back, it works as a metaphor for the lives that they're living. But you don't have to be a boxing fan," Hynes said.

Little Dog airs Thursday nights at 9:30 NT.

With files from St. John's Morning Show