Degrassi: The Next Generation (season 1)
|Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 1)|
Degrassi: The Next Generation Season 1 DVD
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of episodes||15|
|Original channel||CTV (Canada)
Minimax (Central Europe)
The N (United States)
|Original run||14 October 2001– 3 March 2002|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||19 October 2004
28 September 2004 (United States)
|Region 4||3 March 2007
(without bonus features)|
8 September 2010 (re-release)
The first season of Degrassi: The Next Generation commenced airing in Canada on 14 October 2001, concluded on 3 March 2002, and contains fifteen episodes. Degrassi: The Next Generation is a Canadian serial teen drama television series. The series introduces a group of seventh and eighth grade school children, and follows their lives as they deal with some of the challenges and issues teenagers face such as online predators, relationships, dysfunctional families, peer pressure, puberty, sex, rumours, stress, self image and drug use.
The first season was broadcast on the Canadian terrestrial television network CTV, on Sundays at 7:00 p.m. It debuted with a one hour movie of the week special, "Mother and Child Reunion", which form the first two episodes of season one. In the United States, it was broadcast on The N, a digital cable network aimed at teenagers and young adults. The season was released domestically on DVD as a three disc boxed set on 19 October 2004 by Alliance Atlantis Home Entertainment, although it was released to the US market almost a month earlier, on 28 September 2004. Registered users of the Canadian and US iTunes Stores are also able purchase and download the season for playback on home computers and certain iPods.
The reception for Degrassi: The Next Generation's first season was mixed. It had earned itself 365,000 Canadian viewers aged 18 to 49, while its accompanying website was attracting 28 million hits per month, but press reviews were not as complimentary. The season picked up nominations at the Directors Guild of Canada Awards, the Gemini Awards and the Young Artist Awards.
The opening season of the show features 13 actors in starring roles. Providing ties to the previous series in the Degrassi universe, Stefan Brogren was hired to play his old character Archie "Snake" Simpson, now working at the school as the Media Immersion teacher. Dan Woods reprised his role as Mr. Raditch, now promoted to the school principal.
For the new generation of students, the producers chose 11 children from 600 auditionees, hoping to provide a group of characters the target audience of teenagers could relate to, rather than actors in their twenties pretending to be teenagers, something other shows of the same period, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson's Creek which were targeting the same audience, were doing. The seventh graders are portrayed by Sarah Barrable-Tishauer as high-achiever yet lonely Liberty Van Zandt, Daniel Clark as bad-boy Sean Cameron, Ryan Cooley as class clown James Tiberius "J.T." Yorke, Jake Goldsbie as Toby Isaacs, a computer geek, Miriam McDonald as environmentalist Emma Nelson, Cassie Steele as Emma's sidekick, the sweet and innocent Manuela "Manny" Santos.
The eighth graders are portrayed by Lauren Collins as cool cheerleader Paige Michalchuk, Aubrey Graham as rich and athletic Jimmy Brooks, Shane Kippel as Gavin "Spinner" Mason, a slacker and the school bully, Melissa McIntyre as Ashley Kerwin, the perfectionist who attracts the boys, and the other girls are jealous of and Christina Schmidt as chubby and insecure Terri McGreggor.
Former Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High actors Danah Jean Brown (Trish Skye), Darrin Brown (Dwayne Myers), Michael Carry (Simon Dexter), Irene Courakos (Alexa Pappadopoulos), Chrissa Erodotou (Diana Economopoulos), Anais Granofsky (Lucy Fernandez), Rebecca Haines (Kathleen Mead), Sara Holmes (Alison Hunter), Neil Hope (Derek "Wheels" Wheeler), Kyra Levy (Maya Goldberg), Cathy Keenan (Liz O'Rourke), Pat Mastroianni (Joey Jeremiah), Stacie Mistysyn (Caitlin Ryan), and Siluck Saysanasy (Yick Yu) reprised their roles to guest in the first episode.
The season was produced by Epitome Pictures and CTV. The executive producers are Epitome Pictures' CEO and Degrassi: The Next Generation co-creator Linda Schuyler, and her husband, Epitome president Stephen Stohn. Degrassi: The Next Generation co-creator Yan Moore served as the creative consultant and David Lowe was the line producer. Aaron Martin was hired as the story editor and was promoted to senior story editor mid-season. James Hurst then became the story editor. The season's writers are Tassie Cameron, Myra Fried, James Hurst, Aaron Martin, Yan Moore, and Susin Nielsen. The directors throughout the season are James Allodi, Anthony Browne, Paul Fox, Laurie Lynd, Bruce McDonald, Eleanor Lindo, and Stefan Scaini.
Degrassi: The Next Generation received mixed reviews about its first season. Based on the pilot episode, Stephanie McGrath of Canoe.ca's AllPop acknowledged Miriam McDonald's portrayal of Emma Nelson as "stellar acting abilities in a super creepy storyline ... high on tension, low on cheese [and] top-notch". She criticized the reunion sub-plot, though, saying it was marred by "wooden, stilted and over-rehearsed acting; the young actors actually showed up their classic Degrassi counter-parts in the pilot episode. Their acting was solid, believable and age-appropriate [in a story-line which] demonstrates that the creative forces behind The Next Generation haven't lost touch with teens yet ... One installment of Degrassi: The Next Generation is worth 20 episodes of Dawson's Creek". Towards the end of the season, the Canadian issue of TV Guide summed up the run as "Not just Canadian TV - It's great Canadian TV! Degrassi offers a gritty look into the lives of real teens complete with acne and bad dye jobs. It has something for everyone because we've all been there."
Other critics were less enthusiastic about the season, though. The Seattle Times' Melanie McFarland was unsure whether the series' success in Canada would follow when it began airing in the US. "As popular as 'Degrassi' was, it was still a mere cult hit in the United States; the crowd that had access to it initially on PBS might not be able to tune into [The N]. Soft-pedaling through the issues might work for today's family of viewers, but what's gentle enough for Mom and Dad's peace of mind might not be enough to hook Junior or the original Degrassi's older fans". She was, however, "happy [The N] chose Degrassi students to navigate teen perils instead of digging up Screech and the gang for another nauseating go-round". Tony Atherton of the Ottawa Citizen had mixed feelings of the new incarnation, saying it "has a cleaner, more polished look, has lost its edge [and offers] nothing new to viewers familiar with the groundbreaking preceding series, nor to anyone else who has watched the deluge of teen dramas since", adding that because there is "little ground left to break in teen drama there is a sense of déjà vu with regards to the plots and characters". He did, however, praise the show for having "the same simple narrative told from a kid's viewpoint, and the same regard for unvarnished reality [as Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, making it] light years from far-fetched high-school melodramas like Boston Public and Dawson's Creek [and for that] is every bit as good as its beloved predecessor. In fact, in some respects it is even better". After watching nearly seventy hours of twenty-one Canadian-produced programs, the Simon Fraser University cited Degrassi: The Next Generation in their report as one of the Canadian television programmes that is "too Caucasian".
Despite the mixed reviews and controversy over the storylines, the first season was still watched by 365,000 18 to 49 year-old Canadians, making it Canada's top-rated domestic drama at the time, while its accompanying website was attracting 28 million hits per month. 
The pilot was nominated for two Directors Guild of Canada Awards, winning in the "Outstanding Achievement in a Television Series - Children's" category, and picked up Gemini Award nominations in the categories for "Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series" and "Best Short Dramatic Program". Actors Jake Goldsbie and Ryan Cooley were nominated for their portrayals of Toby Isaacs and J.T. Yorke respectively at the Young Artist Awards. Five episodes were given a total of six awards by The National Council on Family Relations at its 34th Annual Awards ceremony.
In the US the series' broadcaster, The N, aired episode three, "Family Politics", as the series premiere; "Mother and Child Reunion" was held back and aired as the season finale. This caused continuity problems for viewers as the episode depicted Toby being introduced to Manny and Emma for the first time, and was set before the school year began. The final episode of the season, "Jagged Little Pill", was also held back while The N decided whether its subject about ecstasy abuse was too controversial. When an edited version was made available, The N aired it as part of season two. In reruns however, the episodes have aired in the original order intended by the show's producers.
This list is by order of production, as they appear on the DVD.
|Title||Canadian airdate||US airdate||Production code|
|1–2||1–2||"Mother and Child Reunion"||14 October 2001||1 July 2002||101 & 102|
|Degrassi High's classes of 1991 and 1992 reunite for their high school reunion. Joey, recently widowed, is unsure if he even wants to go, especially when he discovers his ex-girlfriend Caitlin is bringing her fiancé, Keith to the event. Spike's daughter, Emma prepares for her first year at Degrassi Community School and plans on meeting Jordan, her internet boyfriend, even though her friends warn her of the potential dangers of meeting someone off the internet.|
|3||3||"Family Politics"||4 November 2001||1 April 2002||103|
|On the first day of school, Ashley decides to run for Student Council President. Toby, her stepbrother, is annoyed by her unchallenged status and in order to annoy her, he convinces his best friend J.T. to run against her. Ashley scoffs at first, but when J.T. starts to receive more attention than she thought he would get, she takes drastic measures to ensure her victory. Meanwhile, Emma and Manny deal with Spinner and Jimmy's bullying and teasing.|
|4||4||"Eye of the Beholder"||11 November 2001||8 April 2002||104|
Terri doesn't want to attend Degrassi's first nighttime dance because she thinks she's too fat for any guy to be interested in her. Spinner likes her, but Paige wants him for herself and by playing on her insecurities, gets Terri drunk. Meanwhile, J.T. and Toby skip the dance to look at adult sites on the internet while Toby's parents go out for the evening. Also, Emma meets Sean Cameron at the dance.Note: This is the 100th episode in the Degrassi franchise.
|5||5||"Parents' Day"||18 November 2001||15 April 2002||105|
|With Parents' Day fast approaching, Toby tries to convince his divorced parents that the event is canceled in order to avoid an ugly public spat between them. Meanwhile, Ashley and Paige vie for the attention of Toby's mom, who happens to be a casting agent. Emma is annoyed by the morning announcements program because she thinks it's biased and writes an opinionated paper about it.|
|6||6||"The Mating Game"||25 November 2001||22 April 2002||106|
|Jimmy and Ashley's eight month anniversary comes up but with Paige playing Juliet to Jimmy's Romeo for their English class assignment, Ashley wonders if she will have to have sex with Jimmy to keep him interested. Toby attempts to get closer to Emma when the seventh graders are assigned a media immersions assignment on endangered animals.|
|7||7||"Basketball Diaries"||2 December 2001||29 April 2002||107|
|Jimmy is desperate to make the basketball team, but with all the practicing, his schoolwork begins to suffer. To get an energy boost, he convinces Spinner to skip a Ritalin pill and give it to him with disastrous consequences for both. Liberty is tired of writing Ashley's video announcement speeches for her all the time and not getting any credit for it.|
|8||8||"Secrets & Lies"||9 December 2001||6 May 2002||108|
|Ashley's dad is coming home from Europe and she's happy until she finds out he's gay and cuts him out of her life. Meanwhile, Liberty has the biggest crush on J.T., but he's not interested. When he hears about Ashley's father he tells Liberty he too is a homosexual.|
|9||9||"Coming of Age"||16 December 2001||13 May 2002||109|
|With his parents working all the time, Jimmy starts to spend all his time at Ashley's. Feeling smothered, she decides to break up with him. When he is left home alone on his birthday and confesses Ashley's family is all he has, she stays with him. Meanwhile, Emma learns her mood swings are not just because of stress when she gets her first period.|
|10||10||"Rumours and Reputations"||6 January 2002||20 May 2002||110|
|Liberty is getting extra tutoring from Mr. Armstrong for her dyscalculia, and Emma accidentally starts a rumor that they might be dating which embarrasses Liberty. Meanwhile, Spinner finds a bug in his school lunch but the cranky old lunch lady won't listen to his complaints.|
|11||11||"Friday Night"||27 January 2002||3 June 2002||111|
|Sean asks Emma out on a date, but the night turns into one disaster after another. When Jimmy and Spinner are given detention by a stressed Ms. Kwan, they vow revenge by pulling pranks. They realize they may have gone too far when Ms. Kwan breaks down and takes a leave of absence.|
|12||12||"Wannabe"||3 February 2002||10 June 2002||112|
|Paige starts a Spirit Squad at school, and Manny, with gymnast training, wants to become a cheerleader. Manny starts to hang out with the "in crowd" and soon realizes who her real friends are when Emma publishes a critique of cheerleading in the school newspaper. Spinner, Liberty, J.T. and Toby team up in hopes of winning a million dollar prize offered through a Pringles chip can contest.|
|13||13||"Cabaret"||17 February 2002||17 June 2002||113|
|Ashley writes a piano ballad she plans to perform with Terri at The Degrassi Lunchtime Cabaret, but Terri suggests they add Paige to the band. Ashley starts to get annoyed when Paige changes the name, the outfits, and even the song. Meanwhile, Emma performs a interpretive dance to advocate anti-poaching and when Sean refuses to join, Toby steps up.|
|14||14||"Under Pressure"||24 February 2002||24 June 2002||114|
|The last thing Sean wants is to repeat Grade 7 for a second time, but when he does not finish his exam, he is convinced that is what will happen. Stressed to boiling point, he picks a fight with Jimmy, but when Emma tries to intervene, Sean lashes out at her as well. Spinner attempts to get sick in order to avoid taking his English exam.|
|15||15||"Jagged Little Pill"||3 March 2002||21 October 2002||115|
|Ashley and Toby invite too many friends over after their parents leave for a weekend. While the evening starts out quiet, things begin to go awry after J.T. brings an ecstasy pill for Toby, Sean and himself, which Ashley ultimately consumes. High on ecstasy, Ashley then proceeds to insult and alienate everyone at the party, particularly Jimmy and Paige, leaving her on the outs with nearly everyone except Terri.|
The DVD release of season one was released by FUNimation Entertainment in the U.S. on 28 September 2004, and by Alliance Atlantis Home Entertainment in Canada on 19 October 2004 after it had completed broadcast on television. As well as every episode from the season, the DVD release features bonus material including deleted scenes, bloopers and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
The DVD was first released in Australia on May 3, 2007 by Roadshow Entertainment, without any bonus features. On September 8, 2010, the DVD was re-released along with season two by Shock Entertainment with all of the bonus features intact.
|The Complete First Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|Canada||United States||Region 4|
|19 October 2004||28 September 2004||3 May 2007
8 September 2010 (re-release)
- Epitome Pictures. "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (Note: Requires iTunes software to access). The N. iTunes Store. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Brown, Dan (2001-06-07). "The Sopranos, Degrassi highlights of CTV lineup Jason Alexander's new show also gets a look-in". National Post (CanWest).
- Palmer, Karen (2001-10-11). "Kids of Degrassi Street grow up: Next Generation, debuting Sunday, slicker than beloved original". The Canadian Press.
- Atherton, Tony (2001-06-07). "Degrassi High Cast Set To Return This Fall". Ottawa Citizen (CanWest). "Some of the original teen cast, now in their late 20s, were on hand yesterday to offer advice to the 11 youngsters chosen from among 600 who auditioned for the series of half-hour shows."
- McGrath, Stephanie (2001-09-21). "'Degrassi's' got a whole new student body". AllPop. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2007-12-12. "Yan Moore: "When teens tune in, they're more likely to see actors who resemble their lab partner than the Holmes, Jacksons, and Van Der Beeks that people Dawson's Creek. They're going to see much more real kids. Remember the first season of Dawson's Creek? Where they were all saying, 'I may be 15', but in fact they were 18, 19, 20? But our kids are within a couple years of the characters they're playing." Degrassi is more of a reflection of what it's like to be a teen than Dawson's Creek, which have their place and everything, but you know, the kids on Dawson's Creek speak like they're PhD students compared to what normal kids speak.""
- McGrath, Stephanie (2001-09-21). "'Degrassi's' got a whole new student body". AllPop. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- Baldwin, Carol (2001-10-14). "Local actor's role links new and old Degrassi". Beaver Entertainment.
- Honey, Kim (2001-06-07). "CTV's high-school reunion". The Globe and Mail. "Yesterday morning was devoted to Degrassi, with appearances by ... Miriam Mcdonald, who plays Spike's daughter, Emma, as well as Ryan Cooley, Jake Goldsbie and Cassie Steele, all of whom were just signed last week."
- Scapillato, Joan (2001-10-14). "Port teen wins lead role in Degrassi's next generation". Welland Tribune (Osprey Media).
- "Degrassi sequel is big break for K-W's Chrissy Schmidt". Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Torstar). 2001-10-14.
- Ellis 2005, pp. 52–9, 66–71, 74–7, 80–2
- Ellis 2005, pp. 46–51
- Ellis 2005, pp. 72–73, 90
- "CTV Press Release" (Reprint) (Press release). CTV. 2001-08-04. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Ellis 2005, p. 96
- Linda Schuyler (co-creator, executive producer); Yan Moore (co-creator); Stephen Stohn (executive producer) (2004-10-19). Degrassi: The Next Generation - Season 1 DVD Boxset (DVD). Alliance Atlantis Home Entertainment.
- McGrath, Stephanie (2001-09-21). "'Degrassi's' got a whole new student body". AllPop. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- "Degrassi: The Next Generation". TV Guide (Canadian Issue). 2002-02-02.
- McFarland, Melanie (2002-03-30). "'Degrassi' back in a new generation". The Seattle Times.
- Atherton, Tony (2001-10-14). "Degrassi returns with new, old faces: Unfortunately, the stories are stuck in the old ruts". Ottawa Citizen (CanWest). p. A12.
- "Caucasian TV drama". Canadian Press. Simon Fraser University. 2002-09-05. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- "Visible Minorities missing from Cdn TV: Study". Canadian Press. CTVglobemedia. 2002-08-25. Retrieved 2002-02-01.
- "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (Press release). ABC. 2002-11-01.
• Gayle, MacDonald (2002-10-31). "For a few bucks, we'll launder your movie for you" (Note: Fee required). The Globe and Mail (CTVglobemedia). p. R1. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
• Neihart, Ben (2005-03-20). "DGrassi Is tha Best Teen TV N da WRLD!". The New York Times. pp. page 5. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- Williamson, Kevin (2001-12-07). "Degrassi keeps on growing". Calgary Sun (Sun Media).
- "Snap Media's Syndication Engine tunes viewers in to the web" (Press release). Canada NewsWire. 2001-12-06. "In a single month www.degrassi.tv has secured more than 26,000 full registrations and attracted over 28,000,000 hits. Driven by over 2,000,000 unique page impressions a month, users have logged a total of over 145,000 unique sessions per month each lasting an average of more than 18 minutes."
- "2002 Directors Guild of Canada Awards" (Flash). Directors Guild of Canada. 2002. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
- "Canadian Awards Database History Search" (Search for "Degrassi"). Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
- "23rd Annual Young Artist Awards". Youngartistawards.org. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "Degrassi Wins Big at the 34th Annual Media Awards". Epitome Virtual Reality. CTV. 2002-09-18. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- "Noggin's New Programming Block 'The N' Takes on Tween Issues With 'Degrassi: The Next Generation'" (Press release). Epitome Virtual Reality. 2002-03-25. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- "Season 2". DegrassiTNGHO.com. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
- "Degrassi: The Next Generation - Season 1". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Degrassi: The Next Generation - Season 1 (Canadian)". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- "Degrassi - The Next Generation: Season 1". EzyDVD. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- Ellis, Kathryn (September 2005). Degrassi: Generations - The Official 411. New York, New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1-4165-1680-4
- Season 1 episode synopses at CTV Television Network
- List of Degrassi: The Next Generation episodes at IMDB.
- Season 1 at TV.com.