The Watchman:Keeping an Eye on Jason Priestley’s Ion Series, And Stashing Souls on Netflix

Private Eyes, a Jason Priestley procedural drama, starts on Ion Feb. 11. Priestley plays Matt Shade, a former professional hockey player — hey, it’s a Canadian show — who partners with an intense private investigator to form “an unlikely investigative powerhouse,” in Ion’s words.

Executive producer Lloyd Segan called it “comfort-food television” — a tidy, closed-ended procedural. “You come home after a busy day and put your feet up, and you don’t have to worry about where the last episode left off,” he said.

Priestley’s Shade is an optimist, Cindy Sampson’s Angie Everett character not so much. “They look at the world with a very different point of view,” said Segan. “He sees the good in people. She sees the not so good.”

There’s a wisp of a romantic spark between them, noted Segan, and “a little bit of the Bickersons,” too.

Private Eyes stands out amidst all the gloomy television, he said: “In a sea of darkness, this is fun. You can see the light.”

While we haven’t seen him on a regular basis in some time, Priestley remains a known, and mostly liked, quantity here in the States. Who can forget Brandon Walsh?

“Jason has a lot of currency with audiences,” Segan said. “I think they’ll respond to him in a huge way.”

And audiences are already responding to Netflix’s Altered Carbon. A sci-fi series set in a future where consciousness can be digitized and stored, it sees a prisoner brought back to life in a new body and tasked with solving a tricky murder. Creator Laeta Kalogridis shared a quote from noted biologist Edward Osborne Wilson to describe the show’s intent: Humanity’s problem, Wilson said, is that “we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and God-like technology.”

Technological advances, Kalogridis said, happen faster than our ability to truly comprehend them.

Kalogridis cited Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Netflix’s Black Mirror as series Altered Carbon hopes to sit with at the cool kids’ table. “I hope, hope, hope we come somewhere close to the brilliance of those shows,” she said.

Some may find it daunting to put out a show in this peak TV era. But Kalogridis said it’s “really inspiring” to pile another program onto the 500-scripted series mound. “It really makes you push yourself to make the show the best you can,” she said.

Kalogridis’s experience with Netflix was “night and day,” she said, compared to working with traditional TV networks. “They encourage you to have a vision, and to make something distinct and unique,” she said.