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Degrassi: The Next Generation

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Degrassi: The Next Generation
Degrassi Season 13 Title
The series' logo since Season 13-present.
Background Information
Also known as

Degrassi (renamed from season 10 onwards)

Genre Teen drama
Created by Yan Moore
Linda Schuyler
Opening theme Whatever It Takes
Composer Jim McGrath
Country of Origin Canada
Language English
No. of seasons 13
No. of episodes 342 (as of March 18, 2014)
Production
Executive producers Linda Schuyler
Stephen Stohn
Brendan Yorke
Locations Toronto, Ontario
Running time

approx. 22 minutes

Prod. Company Epitome Pictures
Distributors Alliance Atlantis
Broadcast
Original channel

CTV (CAN, 2001-2009)
MuchMusic (CAN, 2010-2013)
MTV Canada (CAN, 2013-present)
The N (US, 2001-2009)
TeenNick (US, 2009-present)

Original run October 14, 2001 – present
Picture format 480i (SDTV, season 1-3)
1080i (HDTV, season 4-present)
Status Currently on air
Chronology
Proceeded by Degrassi High
Degrassi Junior High
Related Shows The Kids of Degrassi Street

For the show's current season, go to Season 14.

Degrassi: The Next Generation (later renamed Degrassi from the tenth season and on) is the current series set in the fictional Degrassi universe, which was created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979.

Degrassi: The Next Generation is currently the fourth fictional series in the Degrassi franchise, and succeeds The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, and Degrassi High. Like its predecessors, Degrassi: The Next Generation follows a group of students at Degrassi Community School who face various challenges of teenage life, from personal issues, such as as poor self image and sexual identity, to social issues like peer pressure, bullying, and teen pregnancy.

The series was created by Linda Schuyler and Yan Moore, and is produced by Epitome Pictures in association with CTV. The current executive producers are Schuyler, her husband Stephen Stohn, and Brendon Yorke. The series is filmed at Epitome's studios in Toronto, Ontario, rather than on the real De Grassi Street from which the franchise takes its name.

The series has received critical praise throughout its run from many different outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and AfterElton.com. In its initial years, it was frequently the most-watched domestic drama series in Canada, and it is the highest-rated show on TeenNick in the United States. One example was in 2004, in which one episode received just under a million viewers in Canada, and over half a million viewers in the US.

In recent seasons, however, viewing figures have begun to drop. The series has won numerous awards, from the Geminis, Writers Guild of Canada and Directors Guild of Canada, and internationally from the Teen Choice Awards, Young Artists Awards, and Prix Jeunesse.

The series premiered on CTV on 14 October 2001. In 2010, during the ninth season, the series moved to CTV's youth-oriented sister channel, MuchMusic, and the 10th season marked a change in production style which saw the series become more like a soap opera.

The series has been syndicated on cable television, and episodes are available on DVD and in new media download formats from Puretracks, the iTunes Store, and the Xbox Live Marketplace. Internationally, Degrassi: The Next Generation has been highly successful in the US, where it is broadcasted on channels such as TeenNick, MTV, and ABC Family, as well as being broadcasted in 140 countries.

It was announced on June 2, 2011, that MuchMusic renewed Degrassi for a 12th season to consist of 40 episodes. The twelfth season aired from July 2012 to June 2013. The series' thirteenth season began airing in July 2013. The show will move from MuchMusic to MTV Canada beginning on October 3, 2013.

Production

Premise

The show started off with reintroducing the character Emma Nelson from Degrassi High, where she was born to Christine (Spike) Nelson. In this series, Emma and her friends had entered Junior High and High School. Now that the majority of the original cast/characters have left the series, the series changes views on a number of different students that arrive to Degrassi.

The characters change to follow the real-life transitions in high school. Challenges and issues that the characters face sometimes mirror what the previous series had, but also have new issues that deal with the current times, such as current technology and cyberspace, school shootings and current views on people of Islamic descent.

Episode Format

Each individual episode of Degrassi is written usually following the same formula with two or three storylines featured (Plot A, Plot B and Plot C).  The main storyline, Plot A, opens and closes the episode and is usually driven by a single character. Plot B is usually more comedic in tone and sometimes slightly intertwined with the other stories, often moving story arcs forward. Plot C was usually used sporadically in a season-long arc, but is now used in every episode as comedic relief.

The problems and issues presented in the episode are not always resolved by the end of the episode, and are carried over to the next, or create a mini-arc over several episodes. The three plot format was introduced after Season 4, previously only featuring two.

The majority of episodes are named after songs from the 1980s and since the tenth season, episodes are named after songs from the 2000s. For the first nine seasons, Degrassi: The Next Generation had been produced as a weekly half-hour teen drama series, with each season consisting of between fifteen and twenty-four episodes.

Due to falling viewing figures between seasons six through nine, the series developed a daily soap opera format for the summer run of the tenth season, and increased the number of episodes to forty-eight. The tenth season also dropped the tagline "The Next Generation", with only one original cast member remaining, and due to the young audience unfamiliar with the past generation, referring to the series as "Degrassi".

Opening Sequence

Degrassi TNG Logo

The original Degrassi logo used in season 1-9.

Degrassi Season 10 Title

The Degrassi logo used in seasons 10-12.

Degrassi Season 13 Title

The Degrassi logo currently being used in season 13.

The Degrassi: The Next Generation opening sequence follows a two- to three-minute cold open. During the first five seasons these credits showed the characters on the school premises and followed a mini storyline. Seasons six and seven featured titles with the actors breaking the fourth wall and facing the camera, over a montage of character videos from past seasons, saturated with blue colour and gold outlines.

The montages behind the characters depicting a major event in that character's storyline. For the eighth season, the show abandoned the style of titles used for the previous two seasons and returned to the original form of showing the characters at school while participating in school-related activities.

The theme music, "Whatever It Takes", was written by Austin Russell, Jody Colero and Stephen Stohn. McGrath composed the music, and Colero and Stohn wrote the lyrics which include the lines, "Whatever it takes, I know I can make it through, Be the best, the best I can be," to convey a sense of joy and optimism. Lisa Dalbello performed the lyrics with a children's choir over an 80s pop music style tune during the first three seasons. Dave Ogilvie and Anthony Valcic of Canadian industrial/pop group Jakalope reworked and performed the song with a heavier sound, reflecting the growing maturity of the characters in season four. For seasons six and seven, the theme—still performed by Jakalope—was remixed and stripped of vocals. A fourth version of the theme song, with lyrics sung by Damhnait Doyle, was introduced for the eighth season. A fifth version of the theme, performed by the in-show band "Stüdz" was used for the ninth and tenth seasons. A sixth version of the theme is performed by Alexz Johnson and is currently being used for the eleventh season.

Starting with season 13, the beloved opening sequence was retired, much to dismay from fans. The current opening freezes the image just before the into begins then proceeds to quickly show various characters before the DEGRASSI title card shows.

Soundtrack

Jim McGrath creates the musical score for each episode using an instrumental version of the theme music. He also works with actors such as Jake Epstein, Melissa McIntyre and Jamie Johnston, when writing music for their characters Craig Manning, Ashley Kerwin and Peter Stone to perform in the bands Downtown Sasquatch, Paige Michalchuk and the Sex Kittens (PMS), Hell Hath No Fury, and Studz. In addition to being scored, Degrassi features a mix of original emo, alternative rock and pop music. Popular songs are used sparingly in the series, mainly because of budget constraints. Usually, music supervisor Jody Colero selects songs from little-known, unsigned Canadian artists.

Cast

Main Cast

For the new generation of students, producers auditioned over six hundred school-aged children in an attempt to provide characters to which the teenaged target-audience could relate. The decision to cast age-similar actors was purposeful to contrast the series from other shows during the time period such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson's Creek, which had cast actors in their twenties as teenagers.

Eleven children were given star billing in the first season. Sarah Barrable-Tishauer portrayed the lonely high-achiever Liberty Van Zandt. Daniel Clark played bad-boy Sean Cameron. Lauren Collins was cast as Paige Michalchuk, the school's head cheerleader and queen bee. Ryan Cooley portrayed as class clown J.T. Yorke, with Jake Goldsbie cast as J.T.'s best friend, Toby Isaacs, a computer geek. Aubrey Graham portrayed basketball star Jimmy Brooks, who is from a wealthy family. Shane Kippel played school bully Spinner Mason. Miriam McDonald was cast as Emma Nelson, a passionate environmentalist, with Cassie Steele cast in the role of Emma's best friend, Manny Santos. Melissa McIntyre portrayed Ashley Kerwin, the perfect girl who attracts the popular boys, and who the other girls are jealous of. Christina Schmidt portrayed the overweight and insecure Terri MacGregor.

The Main Cast of the show are considered to be the ones seen in the opening credits. Stefan Brogren is the only one of the original main cast members (out of thirteen) that is currently on the show now. Christina Schmidt was the first original cast member to leave the show, while Miriam McDonald, Cassie Steele, and Shane Kippel were the last. Jamie Johnston was the first cast member from the new generation to leave the show, while Alicia Josipovic is the latest.

Current Main Cast

589 stefan brogren

Stefan Brogren is the longest-running cast member in the series' history.

Former Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Recurring cast members are actors whose characters have been seen in more than one episode, with the exception of two part episodes. Michael Kinney has been a recurring cast member for the entire series.

Current Recurring Cast

Staff

Family Members

Former Recurring Cast

(Note: This list is incomplete)

DJH and DH Guest Cast

Many former cast members from Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High guest starred throughout the first few seasons of the show in various situations.

Broadcast and Distribution

First run broadcast

While Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High aired in Canada on CBC, Degrassi: The Next Generation is broadcast on CTV Globemedia-owned stations. For the first nine-and-a-half seasons, it aired on CTV, but due to a decline in viewing figures since season seven, it moved to CTV's teen-oriented sister channel MuchMusic in 2010. The French language channel VRAK.TV dubs the series into French and airs it under the title Degrassi, la nouvelle génération.

In the United States, where Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High series aired on PBS, Degrassi: The Next Generation airs on the digital cable network, TeenNick (previously known as The N), and is the longest-running program on the channel, having aired since the channel's launch in 2002. Seasons six and seven premiered on The N before they aired on CTV.

Post broadcast distribution

In Canada, repeats of Degrassi: The Next Generation have aired on the television system A, which is owned by CTV Globemedia. Episodes from season 4-7 aired during the afternoon at 12:30pm ET and evenings at 7:30pm ET. However, since July 2010, these episodes ceased to air during the evening and now only air during the day on TV system A, succeeded by All My Children at 1:00pm ET.

In the United States, independent distributor Program Partners and Sony Pictures Television, announced on 24 September 2006 that they acquired the syndication rights to the first 119 episodes of the show in the United States, and any subsequent new episodes. Degrassi: The Next Generation was cleared in 60% of the country including all five of the top five media markets. By March 2007, Program Partners had cleared it in over 70% of the country after stations purchased the syndication rights.

DVD and other media releases

The first nine seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation have been released on DVD. The boxsets are released in Canada by Alliance Atlantis. In the United States, FUNimation Entertainment released the first six seasons and Echo Bridge Entertainment released seasons seven through nine. Each season boxset includes extra features such as pictures, karaoke sessions, audition tapes, bloopers, deleted scenes and more.

Seasons 10-12 of Degrassi have also been released on DVD, with each season being broken up in two parts.

The three-episode story arc from the fourth season in which Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes guest star has also been released as a single disc Region 1 DVD. FUNimation Entertainment released the disc on 8 November 2005, in two versions: the first subtitled as "Uncut, Uncensored and Unrated", and the second, "Rated." Each release has the same DVD extras, including an interview with Kevin Smith, bloopers and a Jay and Silent Bob Photo Album, except the Unrated release also features episode commentaries by Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Stacie Mistysyn, the associate producer Jim Jackman and writer Aaron Martin.

Degrassi: The Next Generation is also available in various new media formats. Episodes are streamed on the websites of MuchMusic and TeenNick to viewers with Canadian or U.S. IP addresses. Registered users of the Canadian and American iTunes Store can purchase episodes for playback on home computers and certain iPods. In Canada, Puretracks also offers episodes for download. They are issued as a Windows Media 10 file, and the purchaser owns them forever, although the episodes can only be burned onto a disc three times and copied to a device three times. In the US, Zune and the Xbox Live Marketplace sell every episode of the series.

Storyline

Season 1

Degrassi Cast Season One

The original core cast of season 1

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 1)

Season 1 introduces the main characters and revolves around their relationships with each other. Toby harbors a crush on Emma, who has a crush on Sean. Ashley and Jimmy experince the pressures of first love. Terri deals with her self-image issues. Jimmy does everything he can to get an edge in basketball, while Emma deals with her first period. And a night of fun ends up ruining Ashley's reputation.

Season 2

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 2)

Characters from the original Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, Christine "Spike" Nelson and Archie Simpson begin dating, much to Emma's dismay. Ashley is desperate to get her friends back, and Marco is desperate to keep his sexuality a secret. Paige deals with being a victim of rape. Hazel struggles to accept her heritage. Meanwhile, we meet Craig Manning, who deals with an abusive home life.

Season 3

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 3)
625x300-degrassi-s3-group

The lead cast of season 3.

Main storylines of this season include Marco Del Rossi coming out to his friends and Ellie Nash's self-destructive actions. This is also the first season where a main character leaves the show. Terri MacGregor is put into a coma by her boyfriend Rick Murray and leaves the school. Another main story line involves Manny Santos, who after changing her personality and beginning an affair with Craig Manning who was dating Ashley Kerwin, sleeps with Craig and gets pregnant, ultimetly getting an abortion.

Season 4

Degrassi Season 4

The lead cast of season 4

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 4)

A main story arc for season 4 is the return of Rick Murray and the resistance put on by the student body against him coming back to Degrassi. The conflict escalates to a point where, because of yellow paint and white feathers being poured on him while on live television, Rick brings a gun to school. He shoots Jimmy Brooks (causing him to be paralyzed from the waist down and be put in a wheelchair), and then tries to shoot Emma Nelson, but Sean defends Emma, resulting in the gun firing at Rick, and causing the end of Rick's life.

Season 5

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 5)

Main character Ashley Kerwin departs for London, but returns in the season finale. Spinner returns to Degrassi but is outcasted by his friends. J.T. and Liberty have to deal with their impending parenthood and the Christian-based Friendship Club begins to cause issues with the rest of the student body. Craig leaves Degrassi to pursue his music career. After a moment of infidelity, Spike kicks Snake out of the house. New boy Peter Stone comes to Degrassi and starts to drive a wedge between Emma and Manny. Paige finds herself enjoying Alex's company, and after some confusion about her sexuality, the two start dating.

Season 6

Degrassi S6

The lead cast of season 6

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 6)

Many of the older main characters graduate and have to deal with college life, except for Jimmy Brooks and Spinner Mason, who have to return for an extra year. Degrassi's long-time feud with rival school Lakehurst reaches new heights. Paige begins to have problems at Banting and with Alex, while Sean and Craig return, causing relationships to be questioned. Clare Edwards is introduced as Darcy's nerdy and un-confident sister, and Degrassi loses one of its own, J.T. Yorke.

Season 7

Degrassi Season 7

The lead cast of season 7

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 7)

In the wake of J.T. Yorke's death, Lakehurst High School has burned down and the students are forced to integrate into Degrassi Community High School. This causes huge problems within the school and many of the stories revolve around these conflicts and how to rectify them. At the same time in this second-semester, the college kids deal with more unexpected issues.

Season 8

Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 8)
4554g

The lead cast of season 8.

Several ongoing conflicts in this season revolve around Mia Jones becoming a model, Holly J. Sinclair attempting to get into a relationship with Blue Chessex, and the tensions that the new principal, The Shep, is causing with the students. In a separate storyline Emma Nelson, Liberty Van Zandt, and Manny Santos have begun their freshmen year at Smithdale University.

Season 9

Degrassi-Season-9-degrassi-8574626-2560-1707

The additional cast-members to Season 9.

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Main article: Degrassi: The Next Generation (Season 9)

A new group of students enter Degrassi in the second semester of the year, most notably Declan Coyne and Jenna Middleton, who cause relationships to be questioned and friendships tested. Declan's sister, Fiona, starts dating Riley Stavros, even though she thinks she knows his secret and Johnny has a secret of his own, which could ruin Alli's life. At the same time, Emma may find true love, but is it Kelly?

Season 10

Main article: Degrassi (Season 10)
Season10-degrassi1

The lead cast of season 10

Changes are awaiting the students at Degrassi. With a new principal, a rebuilt Dot, and new students stepping foot on the campus, the school is pushed to the edge. An on-and-off rivalry between new student Eli against Fitz, a harboring secret from Adam, a scandalous love triangle between Bianca, Drew and Alli, and a pregnancy that could flush Jenna's dream down the toilet, among others. But after a school dance spirals out of control, it brings new rules being enforced. How far will the students go before they crack?

Season 11

Main article: Degrassi (Season 11)
Degrassi115-48

Several members of the current main cast

The students return after spring break, focused on relationships. The seniors close their drama before they graduate, Clare is glad when Jake, an old friend, enrolls at Degrassi, Drew has a new love interest, Eli makes new friends, Bianca faces serious danger, and Alli meets the perfect boyfriend. A new school year begins in the 2nd half of the season with new freshman and more story lines.

Season 12

Main article: Degrassi (Season 12)
As the students return to Degrassi from winter break, the Toronto Ice Hounds are introduced to stir up trouble. Clare faces sexual harassment, Adam finds new love, and Drew and Bianca make huge decisions regarding both  
Degrassi-Season-12-cast

The lead main cast of Season 12

their futures and their relationship. A love square is formed plus depression and anxiety, leads to a suicide of new student, Campbell Saunders. This event affects all students of Degrassi in a different way. Whether they knew Cam or not, they were all traumotized, for a short amount of time, or even the rest of their lives. At Degrassi, anything could happen.

Season 13

Main article: Degrassi (Season 13)
Casthjg

The cast of Season 13.

Later this summer, get ready for the next chapter in Degrassi history.

Season 14

Main article: Degrassi (Season 14)

Pop Culture Reference 

Parodies

  • Youtube
    • Shane Dawson, a major youtuber, made a video with The Fine Bros. and other fellow youtubers created two spoofs Degrassi: The Next Generation
      • Part 1 features new boy, Shane, going to Degrassi and meeting the characters such as: MarcoElliePaigeSpinnerMannyEmmaPeter, and Connor. It parodies storylines from seasons 3-9 like Connor's Asperger's Disease, Emma contracting Gonorrhea, Marco's sexuality, Ellie's self harm and Peter taking meth. The parody also pokes fun at facts ar Shane Kippel has been on Degrassi for 10 years or so, Mia and Darcy who both dated Peter actresses left to do CW shows. You can check this parody out on YouTube.
      • Part 2 features Shane running for student body president aginst Paige. Part 2 spoofs storylines from seasons 3-9, storylines spoofed Terri's coma, Holly J and Declan becoming a couple, J.T. death, Liberty's grief after J.T.'s Death, and Alli's sexting. The parody also spoof's Drake Best I Ever Had as well as characters that left the show with no explaninations such as Kendra. Characters featured: Terri, Alli, Johnny, Paige, Isabella, Marco, Jimmy, Bruce the Moose, Holly J., Clare, Liberty, and Declan.  Lauren Collins guest-starred as the real Paige.
    • Bart Baker
      • Bart Baker mentions Drake's start on Degrassi in his Start From The Bottom parody.
  • TV
    • Kroll Show parodies Degrassi with "Wheels of Ontario a fictional series that revolves around a school in which all the students are in wheelchairs, except the star, Mikey. The sketch was actually inspired by Drake's "Degrassi: The Next Generation" character, Jimmy Brook who, as any "Degrassi" fan knows, was in a wheelchair.

Music

  • Drake mentions Degrassi in his song Ransom.
  • Lemon Demon has done a parody song "Degrassi" which focus on events that happened during seasons 1-4.

TV

  • Big Time Rush, Camile mentions she has a Degrassi audition.
  • The Venture Brothers, Manny, Jay and their relationship is mentioned.

Gallery

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