Do you like Shakespeare? Do you like to laugh? Then the Canadian sitcom Slings & Arrows is for you. Winner of many top Gemini awards, Canada's prestigious prize for English language television, Slings & Arrows follows a theatre troupe as they perform some of the Bard's greatest works at the New Burbage Festival, a fictional event similar to the Stratford Festival. Over three seasons, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear are all dealt with in humorous fashion. The series focuses mainly on backstage antics, a la The West Wing, but with a much darker humor that should tickle any funny bone.
Geoffrey (Paul Gross, Due South, Men With Brooms) is the director at the center of the chaos, not that he isn't responsible for much of it. His passion mixes with an unpredictable eccentricity that will keep viewers engaged. Gross does a fantastic job with the central role. Geoffrey's behavior is not made any more stable by the haunting of his predecessor and mentor, Oliver (voice talent Stephen Ouimette), who is killed very early in the series, spurring the theatre to hire Geoffrey as his replacement. Not many shows are brave enough to have a ghost in the cast, but this one does, and it works splendidly.
Geoffrey has a real vision for what he'd like to see on stage. Unfortunately, not everyone shares his exact dream. General manager Richard Smith-Jones (Mark McKinney, The Kids in the Hall, Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip) is an obstacle, as he would rather listen to the allure of advertising money in the form of first Holly (Jennifer Irwin, Eastbound & Down), then Sanjay (Colm Feore, The Borgias, 24), than maintain quality, at least sometimes. It also doesn't help Geoffrey that his first lead is an American movie star (Luke Kirby, Cra$h & Burn), rather than a trained stage thespian. Both are signs of a declining theatre world, but an industry that will Geoffrey will be lost without.