Generation XBox

Douglas Coupland makes his first foray on to the small screen tonight, with the debut of jPod, an adaptation of his novel of the same name.

It’s surprising that it has taken so long for one of his book to be made into a show (or even a movie for that matter), as his work has always been very cinematic and filled with ironic, angst-ridden dialogue. Perhaps jPod just leant itself to a weekly series, with its of-the-moment setting in a Vancouver video game company and a cast of dysfunctional, cube-dwelling 20-somethings.

The book is something of a return to form for Coupland, with the material reading like a kissing cousin of Microserfs, which explored a similar group of young office workers set adrift in the world of technology. Though while Microserfs was set in Seatle, jPod is clearly a creature of Vancouver, delving into the worlds of basement grow-ops, biker gangs, absentee Asian landowners and the thriving film industry.

Will it work? I’ve got high hopes. Two years ago I saw Everything’s Gone Green at the Toronto film festival, a feature that was directed from a Coupland script, and it played like a discarded chapter of jPod. It captured both the atmosphere of Vancouver and the spirit of Coupland’s characters. Which is the best that I can hope for the series.

On paper, it’s a winner — Coupland, video games and the CBC. How did this not happen sooner? The casting of Growing Pain’s Alan Thicke as the main character’s roguish father is either a piece of brilliant counter casting or a sop to those viewers who need name they recognize to tune in. Time will tell.

So far the previews are mixed. The Post’s critic gives it a withering shrug while the Toronto Star is over-the-top enthusiastic. I’m just happy that someone has turned to Coupland as source material and that people are talking about original Canadian TV and are planning on tuning into the CBC.


  1. I tried to get into the show, but something about it left me a little cold.

  2. It played very close to the book, which may be the plan, break up the story line into 13 episodes. Having read it I knew what was coming, but I'll tune in again. I'm interested to hear what someone who hasn't read any Couplamd thinks.

  3. I didn't read Jpod, but I have read a few of his other books, and I enjoyed them. Of course, he always changes his style, so for all I know, if I read Jpod, I might not like it either. Who knows?