by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy

Flashpoint: -noun. A critical point or stage at which something or someone suddenly causes or creates some significant action. A critical situation or area having the potential of erupting in sudden violence.

Flashpoint: -noun. A Canadian cop-drama set in Toronto. Concurrently aired on CTV in Canada and CBS in the United States on Friday nights.

The Better Man

People either love Flashpoint, or look like you’re speaking a foreign language when you talk about it. Thankfully, I now live in that strange country, and invite you to join me.

Unlike so many regular shoot-em-up cop dramas, this is the show to watch to see how it’s all done right: well-written, superbly acted, complete stories. The character backgrounds are solid. The guest stars are amazingly talented. The scenes are thoroughly designed, and there is not one wasted second in any episode.

Whether a show focuses on one member or the entire team, there is always a sense of deep camaraderie between the characters, the actors, and those behind the scenes. The blending of so many unique talents is exquisitely performed.

Now in it’s fourth season, Flashpoint continues to attract and surprise its viewers with every scene. Although each episode is a stand-alone work of art, they also build on the last. For those of us who love the show, each Friday night is like coming home to family. Even if, at times, that family is a bit dysfunctional.

Like any real-life workforce, the family changes. Some people leave, some people come. Some people change, some people never do. The show is dependable in that it is never dependable. What started out as eight regulars was quickly dropped down to seven (let’s not forget the short-lived Dr. Amanda Luria), then six, then a small fluctuation of comings and goings, and rumor has it there will soon be another character change. As unsettling as these changes are, most fans are willing to tolerate the intermittent shake up, because in four years, Flashpoint has never disappointed.

The FP family also joins together on the producers’ official facebook page, Flashpoint Team One. It is a fanpage like no other. It was started by the producers to promote the show. It is kept alive daily by their constant interaction with the fans and all others who visit the page. It’s where I keep in touch with those who get it. Who get me. And why I love the show. Kate, Mary, Angelo, Laura, FPTO Katie, and all the others who interact on a regular basis. We work well together.

There isn’t a fan on that site that doesn’t know what it means to “go all coffee shop” on someone or “copy that” to a “Hot Call”. Everyone shares in the joys of the producers’ random acts of kindness (giving out Flashpoint merchandise to various fans just for the heck of it!), the discussion groups, Mary’s constant guard to keep spoilers off the main page for those in different time zones [personal shout out to the Sarge from this west coaster!], the collaborative fanfic efforts, and the overall community feel.

Fans proudly promote their efforts in sending Flashpoint out into the world.
Kate contributes her story ideas to www.fanfiction.net/tv/Flashpoint/
Angelo is the go-to guy for visuals (Kudos for the great pic above!). You can find more of his great stuff here: http://eclectickle.wordpress.com/flashpoint/
Fans become quick friends with each other. There is no pretense of shyness or awkardness. We’re all obsessed with bringing attention to the show, and we all accept the gushing that comes from everyone about each and every episode and producer interaction.

On any given day, you can find postings from a Canadian fan who happened upon cast and crew filming in Toronto; a tweet from the actors, writers, producers. Computer geeks share their wallpapers. Scribes share their ideas. Fans share their appreciation. It all blends very, very well; an overflow of the community that begins on set.

So it comes as a surprise to us fans, and to Flashpoint, that another change is about to happen. Having remained uncommitted to the series, CBS waffled on whether or not to renew. Canadian TV shows run only 15 episodes a year, whereas Americans are used to 22. Rather than stick the US with just as many reruns in a regular year, CBS has used Flashpoint as a filler for the past four summers. No wonder it hasn’t had the opportunity to grow into the market as well as it could. Nonetheless, CBS is well aware that Flashpoint has a die-hard following. They would do well to keep it going. But they moved too slow.

Next month, Flashpoint will be moving from CBS to ION Network. ION is a smaller cable channel, known mostly for its syndication-repeats and midnight infomercials. Not everyone in America has ION, which leads some in want of iTunes downloads. Here’s hoping that Flashpoint will be just the kick in the pants to jump start ION down a new road to aptly compete against the Big Four, and give CBS a “told-you-so” attitude.

Not every show has to have the crass vulgarity of Two and a Half Men or the horrific slaughters of Criminal Minds and CSI. While I’m a huge fan of those crime dramas, Flashpoint brings something more to the table. More realism. More in-depth characters. More honest reactions. More wanting for more.

There’s not a Flashpoint fan in the world who doesn’t hold their breath the last ten minutes of every episode, then share their angst when it’s over, having to wait an entire week to find out what happens next. Then we all go online and hash it out. Together. It’s our own brand of heroin. And it always leaves us wanting ~ no, craving ~ more.

*Check out these and other official links for more community:

Facebook – Flashpoint Team One
Twitter – Flashpoint Team 1

Flashpoint: One Moment Changes Everything. They Have the Solution.

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!

Lessons Learned: August 7, 2011
The Bear Rug ~ a Heritage Story
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