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Genre: TV series, Miniseries, History, Drama
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Sara Botsford, Ron White, Nigel Bennett, Aidan Devine, Robert Haley, Michael Moriarty, Michael Ironside, Christopher Plummer, Colette Stevenson, Art Hindle
Director: Don McBrearty
Run time: 180 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
I must admit, my review of The Arrow is likely coloured by a great deal of nostalgia. I remember the miniseries very well, when it first aired on CBC in 1997. For years afterward, I was obsessive about the Avro Arrow, the greatest fighter plane in history built by Canadian companies, designed by Canadian engineers, and destroyed by the Diefenbaker government. I went to the Aviation museum to see the one nose cone that remained of the one Arrow that was not totally wrecked.
Now, with 14 years of hindsight, I can appreciate the miniseries for a few other reasons. The who’s-who of Canadian actors that populated the cast. Sara Botsford (SO hot!) and Art Hindle of that old Canadian show E.N.G., Colette Stevenson of Mysterious Island, Mutant X and a whole bunch of other Canadian TV programs. And then there are the guest appearances (Michael Moriarty of Law & Order as President Eisenhower, Michael Ironside of X-Men: First Class as the CIA director, Christopher Plummer as a deceitful, sinister Canadian politician). And of course Dan Aykroyd, the biggest star in the show, as the president of Avro Canada Crawford Gordon.
The Arrow is the best miniseries the CBC ever did (and I believe it still holds the record for most-viewed among all CBC miniseries). The incredible history of the Arrow makes great fodder for the program – the incredible engineering feats that helped it come about, the politicking that went into its inception, the Canadian Iroquois engines designed specifically for the plane, and the political gamesmanship that went into the cancellation of the program, the destruction of all the progress made up to that point, and the attempt by the government to cover up the existence of the program entirely afterward.
Not only is it a fascinating story, but it’s full of great actors and the three-hour run time passes by incredibly quickly. When I sat down to watch this DVD, out June 14th from Alliance Films, the whole series flooded back to me, and I remembered everything about it. But I still couldn’t stop watching, and I sat through the three hours nonstop. A fascinating, amazing miniseries, a great slice of Canadian history, and your kids will love it too.