North

Is it time to reboot North of 60? Creator, series star say it's a possibility

With the recent news that CBS is developing a revival of the beloved 1990s comedy-drama Northern Exposure, the minds of many Canadians turned to a different series: what about North of 60?

'It really is remarkable, the loyalty that Canadians have to this show,' says co-creator Barbara Samuels

The title card for North of 60. The popular Northern drama has remained relevant today, with national discourse on Indigenous issues mirroring some of the series' topics in the early 1990s, according to the show's creator. (Alberta Filmworks/CBC)

With the recent news that CBS is developing a revival of beloved 1990s comedy-drama Northern Exposure, the minds of many Canadians turned to a different series: what about North of 60?

The Canadian drama, originally produced by CBC, ran for six seasons in the 1990s. Five made-for-TV movies were also produced, with the last airing in 2005.

Set in the fictional town of Lynx River, Northwest Territories, the show holds a special place in the hearts of many northern residents. Reruns of the show recently returned to national airwaves on APTN.

But would the show ever come back to the air with new episodes? 

"Obviously we've talked about it," said co-creator Barbara Samuels, who says she's discussed a reboot with series star Tina Keeper and producer Tom Cox.

Tina Keeper played Michelle Kenidi in North of 60. Her 'dream scenario' for a reboot would be to hire an entirely Indigenous production team. (CBC)

Samuels said with Indigenous issues at the foreground of conversations today, the political climate could be ripe conditions for a reboot.

"The Truth and Reconciliation Commission brought up a lot of issues that had never been at the forefront," she said.

"[But] we had tackled issues of residential school, and the trauma, and all of that back in '92, '93."

Keeper's "dream scenario" for a reboot would be to do it with an entirely Indigenous production team, something that could be possible as the show's alumni continue to advance in the film industry.

Several members of the North of 60 team have gone on to have successful careers in the field. Well-known actors Adam Beach and Tantoo Cardinal had roles on the show, and accomplished author Richard Van Camp began his career as an intern on the writing staff.

"I'm a producer now," said Keeper. "Many of the writers have gone on to work very successfully in film and television.

"We really feel there's a capacity now, writing, and producing, and directing ... it'd be an interesting concept for a reboot, to have Indigenous people helming it."

North of 60 writer and producer Barbara Samuels, pictured with producer Wayne Grigsby. She says she is grateful for the loyalty Canadians have shown to the series: 'it really is remarkable.' (CBC)

But could the show really make a comeback? Samuels didn't make any commitments, stressing that she hasn't talked to CBC about the possibility of rebooting the series.

However, she said the entire team appreciates the support for the iconic series, over a decade after it was completed.

"It really is remarkable, the loyalty that Canadians have to this show," she said. "It's very moving to see.

"The show had a life of its own, and still does."

With files from Loren McGinnis

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