Degrassi: The Next Generation true to its roots

Degrassi: The Next Generation true to its roots

Antonia Zerbisias

Graydon Carter took it back.

The Vanity Fair editor who last month pronounced irony dead now says he was talking about “ironing.”

Of course. Never mind how Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show With John Stewart are already back to their old pre-9/11 satirical tricks. Anybody tuned into teen-type series such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer knows that, while it was touch and go for the Bufftser, irony is alive and well and living in primetime.

Indeed, it’s hard to think of any high school-based series, or in the case of Buffy and Dawson’s Creek, post-high school series, that’s not ironic.

Which is why Degrassi: The Next Generation, CTV’s resurrection of the 1980s CBC staple, seems even more earnest and obvious than its predecessors The Kids Of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High.

After watching 1990s teen shows such as the trashy (but fun) Beverly Hills 90210 and Popular, Degrassi positively decks the high school halls with lessons-to-be-learned.

Maybe it’s for this very noble reason that Canadian TV seems incapable of producing a mindless sitcom. We just don’t know how to be mindless. Not such a bad thing, believe me.

So rest assured all you former fans: Degrassi: The Next Generation, which premieres Sunday at 7 with a special one-hour reunion, is true to its roots.

Every episode comes with a moral – and it’s about much more than whether the chubby chick will make it on to the cheerleading squad.

Right from the get-go, viewers get a very scary story about what happens to kids who lie to their parents about what they’re doing in cyberspace.

Because the debut mixes Degrassi grads, including Joey (Pat Mastroianni) and Caitlin (Stacie Mistysyn), with the newbies, it’s likely to draw a crowd. Parents who grew up with the series might entice their kids to check it out.

What they’ll see is a slick cover of their old favourite, with fresh-faced young acting pros, including Emma (Miriam McDonald), who was born to the teenaged Spike (Amanda Stepto) on the original series. Her pals are Manny (Cassie Steele), class clown J.T. (Ryan Cooley) and the nerdish Toby (Jake Goldsbie). Stefan Brogren, formerly known as Snake, is back as a teacher while Dan Woods’ Mr. Raditch has graduated to principal.

Even though some new issues work their way into the plots, it all feels very familiar. Which is not bad. Why mess with a quality classic?

But whether today’s youth will watch without rolling their eyes, well, I guess that depends on how much Global’s Super Models sucks this week.

REMOTE PATROL: My favourite new show of the season, Pasadena, is getting bounced off Fox tonight at 9 for a special rushed-to-air edition of America’s Most Wanted. On Wednesday, the White House deputized the true crime show to help in the hunt for terrorists … Put down that clicker: A 10-year Harvard study of nearly 38,000 men aged 40-75 found that those who watched three to five hours of TV a day had twice the risk of diabetes of men who spent an hour or less in front of the tube.


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