Dead Air: Seeing Things

I’m seeing things, believe me, that I’ve sort of seen before.

By Chris Stewart
July 18, 2002

Raise your hand if you remember this one. If you lived in the States, probably not. If you lived anywhere else in the world, then yes, you probably do (well, and you have to be over 20). This (and don’t hold this against it) is a CBC show. As in Canadian Broadcast Corporation. The Ceeb. The Mother Corp.

Now, we have to face this together. Americans watch a lot of CanCon (that’s Canadian Content to the layman), whether they know it or not. SCTV, Kids in the Hall, etc. Not to mention the volume of actors coming from Canada. In fact, every American born before 1980 is practically an honorary Canadian (no, there are no perks, but there is a nifty secret decoder ring. You can apply for it at the nearest Canadian consulate).

Anyhow, right, Seeing Things. The premise was a time-honored one. Newspaper reporter solves mysteries, though in this case the reporter, one Louis Ciccone (no relation to Madonna that I know of) has the advantage of being psychic. The plots of most episodes could have been a Matlock or a Murder She Wrote. There were the usual episodes of red-herrings and misunderstandings. There’s the must-have episode where the sleuth with the knack for finding death is framed for a murder. Like I said, nothing stand-out.

But he was psychic. That and the goofy, high-energy performance of Louis Del Grande (I’m going to start a Mexican restaurant and I’m going to make that a dish) as – well, Louis – made for an interesting show. Given that it was pre-X-Files, Millenium, Profiler, etc. (but post-Kolchak), you could easily claim it to be a bit of a trend-setter.

As Canadian series go, Seeing Things was pretty successful, running for six seasons (though total numbers of episodes was relatively low, as each season averaged only 8 episodes). As I hinted, the show didn’t go over huge in the US television market, even though there were few channels back then. But the show found a following just about everywhere else.

Now, due to the odd, alien contractual system used by the CBC (almost everyone involved had a pay-per-play clause back then, making reruns super pricey) the show has seen little daylight since it went off the air in ’87, but hope springs eternal that this unique (and yet, not so unique) show will return, and we’ll get to seeing, uh, things… um. Nevermind.

Indelibly burned — I haven’t seen this particular episode since it first aired. It’s been that long, but I still remember it. Louis finds himself following a story at a prep school for boys. He discovers that the boys have been subliminally programmed, something involving video games (I dunno, I still can’t figure it out). I remember very little else about the episode, except that it ended with a bit of children of the corn flair. I do however remember trying to explain to people that I had that exact same joystick Louis bought at the suspicious computer store. Nobody cared.