Degrassi Daily Digest

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I am JUST about at the end of the road when it comes to rewatching all of the original Degrassi episodes with my two best friends. We started this journey in the fall and it’s taken us about six months to get through about 60 episodes of the show – we’re just two away plus the crazy ‘Schools Out’ movie from being finis!

I have to say, I’m super keen on rewatching the new series now as well, as even that’s a decade (!) old. I watched the first six seasons as they aired, although CTV has been so thankless with scheduling it I lost track of it for seasons 7 and 8…until I watched the Degrassi goes to Hollywood movie last summer which inspired me to pick up said ‘lost seasons’ and watch them in time for S9, which is on hiatus right now till…sometime soon.

Anyway there are a handful of episodes left for this year. It’s been a decent season, although some of the storylines were pretty nonsensical (I’m looking at you KC) and the four new characters are probably some of the worst new ones ever introduced on the show. Declan is sort of the classy version of Peter that was supposed to exist but never did (as evidenced by the premiere). Fiona was accurately cast as a beard for Riley – as her character is nothing more than a beard for an actual character…they have yet to make me care about her. Jenna is hyper-annoying, although she provided a good, realistic foil to KC & Clare’s blah relationship. And new guy / random cousin of Chantay, Dave, is supposed to be the new comic relief a la Toby & JT, but he’s just random right now.

Anyway now they’ve announced the Degrassi NYC movie and the crazy giant S10 of the series will be airing on MuchMusic this summer as a daily ‘soap opera’ of sorts. I’m not sure how I feel about that. In my opinion, based on watching the last 3 seasons in rapid succession, CTV should have moved to doing an hour-long program on a weekly basis, since most episodes were two-parters anyway. I imagine the format of the show (A storyline, B storyline, and C storyline for comic relief / continuity if it’s a two-parter) will change dramatically if they’re moving to a daily show.

I also worry that they’ll expand the cast that much more and bring on more thankless characters and pollute the story. One of the strengths of the show is the natural evolution of shifting lead characters as the core original cast grew up and moved on, and I’d hate for them to lose that by opening up the cast.

I recently read several interviews from the original, ORIGINAL Degrassi saying they did indeed opt to stop the series after 5 seasons because they felt like they’d done every serious issue they wanted to cover. If Degrassi moves to a daily soap opera digest, that focus on a specific issue per episode will likely devolve. On the flip side, it will also lead to less ambiguity at the end of each episode – a hallmark of the show is to put their characters through insaneeeee trials only to end things without much follow-up (although they’ve made an effort to improve things in that regard during recent seasons).

Overall I think it was perhaps a wise move to do a soap opera style for the summer, perhaps to catch some bored teenage minds and entice them to watch during the rest of the year. Plus I myself can’t get enough of the show – I grew up with the original series (in reruns granted) and was a few years older than the kids when they started the new series, but loved it all the same. I just hope this move to MuchMusic / shift to daily drama (for six weeks anyway) doesn’t bust up the series in a bad, bad way.

- Britt’s On

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