We all keep memories of shows that rocked our childhood or forged our personality. Shows that we watched as a family. Who moved us, who made us burst into tears because they were too attached to his characters or because his issues came to stir up ours. Or that made us laugh and that we would watch over and over again without getting tired of it. TV is part of our daily lives, our memories.
Several general-interest foreign channels have a specialized channel that runs on nostalgia. On the platforms, old series abound. In Quebec, three channels are currently broadcasting a good number of series from another era: ICI Artv, Unis TV and Prize 2, which is exclusively dedicated to nostalgia.
“Prise 2 ranks in the top 5 specialty channels, excluding those of news or sports, the most watched, says Nathalie Fabien, senior director, channels and programming, Groupe TVA. Market shares are up. We reach more than a million viewers every week. Although it has always existed, nostalgia is really trendy.”
Each chain has its DNA. On Unis TV, which is aimed at the French-speaking community from one end of the country to the other, there is a strong offer for children's series that have marked the last decades without being outdated. Think of Tactik, Watatatow or Radio Enfer. You can also see series that rally generations, including Rooms in town, Les Parents or In a galaxy near you.  ;
In a galaxy near you
AT HERE Artv, we regularly poll the public to find out their choices .
“We test viewers on our social networks, confirms Dario Leblanc, director, planning and management of the schedule and programming of specialty channels at Radio-Canada. There are series like Le temps d'une paix > which people never get tired of and that we are asked for more as soon as the episodes end. Series whose action takes place in another era arouse a lot of interest. Lovely stories from the pays d’en haut, for example, still occupy 10 hours on the grid each week. And people are asking for more.” We are talking about a series shot in the 1960s.
Time for Peace
“In the DNA of Prize 2, we make room for the classics of humor. We bet on joyful series, feel good, comforting, continues Nathalie Fabien. Km/h, Catherine, 450, chemin du Golf, Les Boys and more recently Les beaux malaises are still experiencing success.
450, chemin du Golf
These are series that have been running for decades, which provoke laughter again and again. We need it in the gloomy universe in which we currently live.”
Remedy for uncertainty
Katharina Niemeyer is a professor at the School of Media at UQAM. She has long studied issues related to nostalgia in the media. She notably co-edited and co-wrote the book Nostalgies contemporaines at the Presses Universitaires du Septentrion.
“Nostalgia is cyclical although it has always existed. But we notice that the pandemic has intensified our interest in nostalgia because time was suspended. In times of crisis, she helps us. It can also be a reaction to progress. Nostalgia sweetens the present by reminding us of times spent with family or friends. Nostalgia is also very individual. It does not affect everyone and does not affect anyone in the same way.”
In this sense, Ms. Niemeyer points out that during the pandemic even sporting events were turned towards nostalgia since there were no matches in real time. A phenomenon that has gone far beyond our borders, which was common to the whole planet.
The emissions of yesterday provide a feeling of security, of comfort. Beyond the show, it is also the circumstances of its listening that we relate to. It is associated with beautiful family moments, jokes or common references. This explains why even 30 years after its creation, La petite vie is still a hit on Saturday evenings, attracting an average of 655,000 viewers on Radio-Canada.
“Similar phenomena are observed abroad. Each country has its Little life which unites the generations, observed Katharina Niemeyer.”
Generation and evolution
If shows from the 1980s and 1990s are among the most popular titles, it's because 40-year-old adults who have children, teenagers or young adults, are in turn perpetuating a tradition by sharing series that have marked them. . This explains the renewed popularity of sitcoms like Friends or The Office.
And what to do when these series refer to a socially outdated era? Recently, Netflix censored an episode of Caleb's Daughtersin which Ovila Pronovost, played by Roy Dupuis, embodied a mage king. Episode relayed on the platforms of the state company.
Les filles de Caleb
“Before putting a series on the air, we make sure that it does not contain anything compromising, explains Dario Leblanc . In certain sensitive cases, we put up a sign explaining that it is a social and cultural representation that is no longer current.
“You have to be sensitive because we live in a new era,” says Nathalie Fabien. We have to pay attention to what is conveyed in our series. But where it stands out compared to Netflix or even TVA is that Prize 2 is a channel that sells shows from the past. Viewers know 100% what they are buying.”
However, Katharina Niemeyer mentions that the past should not be idealized and that the notions of diversity and inclusion must be part of the reflection when putting a production back on the air. Everyone agrees that nostalgia has no age. Thus, 18-34 year olds outperform on Prize 2 and are also present on ICI Artv. Proof that the past, even when you haven't experienced it, always arouses curiosity. And if a show brings back memories, they are sure to come with a dose of emotion and comfort.
THE LITTLE LIFE
La petite vie
Created in 1993 by Claude Meunier, La petite vieis a satire of the series telling the daily life of a middle-class working family. Les Paré only had four seasons and yet, 30 years later, they continue to attract an average of 655,000 viewers each week. The small life is part of our popular culture. Who doesn't know the famous Indian wheat-steak-potato?
Rob Wilson has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Times, Rob wilson worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128