Degrassi (franchise)

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For other uses, see Degrassi (disambiguation).

Degrassi is a Canadian drama that follows the lives of a group of teenagers who lived on or near De Grassi Street in Toronto, Ontario. The four main series are The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation. The early Degrassi series were produced by the small production company owned by Kit Hood and Linda Schuyler, Playing With Time Inc. The current version of Degrassi, produced by Epitome Pictures, airs on MuchMusic (original version) and on VRAK.TV (dubbed in French) in Canada, and is rebroadcast on TeenNick (and in syndication) in the United States. Degrassi TNG's eighth season aired on BBC Switch in the United Kingdom.

The Kids of Degrassi Street[edit]

The Kids of Degrassi Street, created by Linda Schuyler, was the first in the Degrassi franchise. It originally spawned from four short films: Ida Makes a Movie, Cookie Goes to the Hospital, Irene Moves In and Noel Buys a Suit, which aired as after-school specials on CBC Television in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982, respectively.[1] The series continued from 1982 to 1986.

Many actors from The Kids of Degrassi Street, including Neil Hope, Stacie Mistysyn, Anais Granofsky, Sarah Charlesworth would go on to appear in Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. However, their names and families were changed.[2] so one may refer to "Kids" as a precursor and not a prequel.

The show dealt with age-appropriate issues such as bad luck chain letters, honesty, divorce and even death.[3]

Junior High and High[edit]

Degrassi Junior High aired for 42 episodes from 1987 to 1989. Later, much of the cast continued over into the spin-off series, Degrassi High, with some extra cast members and a new high school. Degrassi High aired on CBC and PBS for two years from 1989 until 1991. These series are often compared to Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills, 90210, the latter of which began airing in the United States at the same time, except 90210 used actors who were in their twenties to play teenagers, whereas Degrassi used people who were the same age they were playing.[4] As with Saved by the Bell, Degrassi High follows teenagers going through everyday normal teen social issues, but problems are not solved within the episode; some plot-lines often continue through multiple episodes.

A few months after the end of Degrassi High, a 90-minute made-for-TV film entitled School's Out was produced, which concluded the series. It sparked controversy and anger amongst fans and critics[citation needed] for the unusual characterization of familiar characters and infamous scenes of sexuality and coarse language, which was the first DHX Media to feature the sexuality and coarse language. U.S. viewers saw a toned-down version in 1993, which did not feature the profanity Canadian viewers heard (WGBH released the uncensored version of the film onto video). A six-part documentary series entitled Degrassi Talks aired soon after.

Hood and Schuyler subsequently worked on a similar series, Liberty Street, which applied the Degrassi format to a series about people in their twenties living on their own for the first time. Pat Mastroianni, one of the most famous actors from the Degrassi series, appeared in Liberty Street as well, although playing a different character.

The Next Generation[edit]

In 2001, the Degrassi series was revived by Stephen Stohn as Degrassi: The Next Generation. During the series Degrassi Junior High Christine Nelson gave birth to a baby girl named Emma, who became the lead character of the fourth show. This Degrassi series deals with issues that many teenagers must face in high school. It has had a successful run thus far and has grown its own distinct cult following amongst teenagers and adults alike. This series was broadcast on CTV, MuchMusic, and presently MTV. Outside Canada, it was rebroadcast to the United States on the cable channel TeenNick (The N prior to 2010) and MTV, and to the Netherlands on Z@PP, to Brazil on the cable channel Multishow, to Australia on ABC3 and Nickelodeon, to Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Chile on the cable channel MTV Latin America, and to Poland on the Canal+'s channel ZigZap.

This newer version of Degrassi has thus far dealt with more topics including online predators, suicide, censorship, gangs, self-harm, school shootings, imprisonment, rape, abuse, drugs, drinking and murder, displaying the many challenges teenagers face in high school and the early years of college.

On 15 January 2009, Program Partners, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, announced that they have acquired the syndication rights to the show, which will start showing daily on local stations in the US during the early evening fringe hours (between 5 and 7 pm) beginning in September 2007.[5] One of the reasons of the program's sale in syndication is that its programming content complies with federal E/I programming requirements.

The broadcast company put together the first Degrassi: The Next Generation film, titled "Degrassi Goes Hollywood" in 2009, to end the eighth season. Season 9 finished 16 July 2010 with another two-hour film, titled "Degrassi Takes Manhattan."

Season 10 of Degrassi: The Next Generation premiered 19 July 2010, and marked a change in production style which saw the series switch to a telenovela/soap opera format, and for the first time, episodes airing in Canada and the United States on the same day. Season 10 also dropped the "The Next Generation" tag-line, and is now operating under simply Degrassi. Season 13 premiered 11 July 2013. 355 episodes have aired as of July 22, 2014.

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