Degrassi rings the bell for seventh season

Degrassi rings the bell for seventh season

Canwest News Service

Degrassi: The Next Generation (CTV-12 – 7 p.m., CTV-8 – 7:30 p.m.) is one of Canadian TV’s genuine success stories. Not because of ratings, even though they’re decent. Or because of its reviews, which are flattering. It’s not even a success story because it has lasted six seasons – an eternity for a Canadian drama.

No, Degrassi is a success story because it’s good. Good enough to be licensed in more than 100 countries. Good enough to win a Television Critics Association Award from scribes for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post, among others. Good enough to win a 2007 U.S. Teen Choice Award.

Degrassi’s seventh season bows with a timely two-parter about tensions between rival Toronto high schools, coupled with a cautionary tale of teen romance gone awry. Darcy, the idealistic Grade 11 promise-keeper played with understated realism by Gemini winner Shenae Grimes, opts for a private weekend getaway with her bad-boy boyfriend, Peter (Jamie Johnston), against her parents’ wishes.

In recent seasons, Degrassi has toggled between high school and grads from previous seasons, as they venture into life beyond the relative safety and routine of day-to-day classes. In a lesser show – One Tree Hill, for example – that could result in a real mess, but after six years of pushing the boundaries of traditional teen drama, Degrassi’s brain trust has the confidence, and the skill, to pull it off.

– Fabulous designer guys Chris Hyndman and Steven Sabados (of So Chic) return to TV as the hosts of the daytime talk show Steven and Chris (CBC – 2 p.m.).

– Fabulous! T-Bag (Robert Knepper), TV’s most outr villain, is back in the first of five new episodes of Prison Break (Fox, Global – 8 p.m.). The lads are still guests of the Panamanian authorities, and T-Bag is going a little stir crazy. Can a new lunatic escape scheme be far behind?

– Still fabulous! Master thespian Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls) appears in CSI: Miami (CBS, CTV – 10 p.m.) as Horatio Caine’s ex, and shows David Caruso how it’s done. Acting, ladies and gentlemen! Isn’t it fabulous?


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