A re-examination of Canadian documentary television and how it has evolved over time.
Since the inception of Canadian television in the early 1950s, documentary television, consistently a favourite among viewers, has been misunderstood and often maligned by its critics. More popular, and arguably more innovative, than its cinematic counterpart or than dramatic Canadian television, Canadian documentary television has decisively shaped the form and function of public service television in this country. David Hogarth traces its history back to its roots in radio in the 1930s and 1940s and examines the variety of forms of documentary television that developed in the decades that followed, focusing on newsmagazines, science programs, historical essays, docudramas, and verité investigations.
He concludes with a discussion of the recent international success of documentary television as one of Canada's leading cultural exports, examining the effects of globalization and looking forward to the future of this genre. While principally an overview of the last half century and an analysis of current conditions, Documentary Television in Canada also includes detailed analysis of selected programs, such as the For the Record series on schizophrenia, "Warrendale" (by Allan King), "Images of Canada" (by Vincent Tovell), "The Valour and The Horror" episode, "Death by Moonlight" and "Shooting Indians" (by Ali Kazimi) among others.