3 out of 5
Developed by: Clara Altimas, Anita Kapila, Kevin White
covers season 1
An absolutely 100% harmless sitcom, set in an animal shelter. Strays is actually a spin-off of Kim’s Convenience, bringing over Nicole Power as the nervy, cringe-humored Shannon from that show, but I promise it doesn’t matter – I haven’t seen single episode of Kim’s Convenience, and I never felt like there was any reliance on jokes carrying over from that show. (But hey, maybe they exist, and that’s a bonus.)
Most of the yuks in strays are of a typical format, with some kind of miscommunication in the shelter resulting in an episode-of-the-week problem to solve, often through further miscommunications, but it’s a successful take on this setup thanks to its generous and talented cast – all of them have good timing for their particular personality types, and all of them get their moments – as well as the writers keeping enough threads going on subplotty elements, like work crushes and family clashes and whatnot. Nothing is ever stressed or moralized too hard, but neither is anything outright ridiculous; that may make the show non-unique on the whole, but it’s also what makes it very watchable. Similarly, by making none of the characters into the straight person – all of them are goofballs – you can spread the focus around at will, and always find some entertainment.
Plus: the shelter setting gives us the option to include cute animals now and then.