Ahhhh well since you asked, here’s a bunch of random thoughts about Season 10 as a whole…
I’ve been asked before what Season 10’s rank is compared to the other seasons of Degrassi, and here’s how it goes (from best to worst):
1) Season 3
2) Season 2
3) Season 1
4) Season 4
5) Season 10
6) Season 5
7) Season 6
8) Season 9
9) Season 7
10) Season 8
There’s two ways to interpret this list: you can see it as “WTF you think it’s only the 5th best season of all time?” or “It’s the best season of Degrassi from the last 5-6 years.” Season 10 was a behemoth. Seasons 5, 6 and 7 have what I consider some of the best storylines in TNG’s history (Palex in Lexicon of Love, Darcy’s entire rape storyline in Season 7, just to name a couple), but as a whole Season 10 provided better quality storylines…for the most part.
The Boiling Point was a BRILLIANT idea. It’s not the fact that we were simply getting 4 NEW episodes per week, it’s that these episodes flowed together nicely. TBP as a whole was an exhilarating event, and it convinced me the telenovela format works. Unfortunately, jumping back to the one-episode-per week format left something to be desired. They continue to hang onto the idea that each 30-minute episode is an individual episode, but I’m not buying it. It’s just not true anymore. These part 1’s and 2’s are meant to be broadcast as hour-long episodes, because they’re written as such.
And don’t even get me started on how Drop The World should’ve been a one-hour finale…I don’t even wanna know why the networks decided otherwise.
Degrassi could easily be transformed into an hour-long program, and would need to if they ever had to move from TeenNick. The episodes were written and felt like hour-long eps. The reason it wasn’t bothersome during The Boiling Point is because there’s no need for there to be some sort of “OMG” cliffhanger at the end of every episode in telenovela style; like a soap opera, we only had to wait until tomorrow to find out what happened next.
But when Degrassi switched back to one 30-minute episode per week for 1025-1044 while maintaining that writing style, it didn’t work AT ALL. Almost all of the Part 1 episodes ended in disappointing fashion. There would end up being no cliffhanger at all (because there’s no need to create one halfway through an hour-long episode, right?). Nothing insane needed to happen, but there needs to be something that makes me excited to tune into see Part 2 the following week…and that never really happened.
The bottom line is the final 17 or 18 episodes of the upcoming Season 11 need to be written like the Part 1 and Part 2 episodes from the earlier seasons of TNG, back when two parters were considered special.
From my perspective, it’s impossible to not see that Degrassi’s writing was MUCH improved in Season 10. Yes, there were storylines you’ve seen before, but frankly I’m bored of hearing the old “I’m tired of Degrassi recycling plots” argument…it’s irrelevant. Throughout this show’s history there have been times where they recycle a plot and it sucks, but there’s also plenty of times where they’ve done it and it was actually good. It goes either way. And do you really need me to point out how many of the older TNG episodes were recycled plots/spinoffs of plots from the original 80’s Degrassi series?
Honestly what impressed me about Season 10’s writing were the little things…things that showed the writers were putting forth an effort to craft continuity into the scripts. Referencing things that happened in previous episodes, and even in previous seasons???? I was shocked to realize that the writers acknowledge anything that isn’t happening in the now.
Another impressive thing about the writing was the technique of setting up storylines. Degrassi switched from a 2-plot to a 3-plot format for episodes. This allowed for them use the B or C plot to setup a storyline that would become a main plot in a future episode. The Three Tenners song (that Connor wrote about his dearest LoveQueen16) is, without a doubt, the most clever use of foreshadowing by Degrassi EVER:
I thought the 3-plot system worked very well in The Boiling Point, but once again, this concept hurt 1225-1044 because they were aired in the weekly format. Some of the C plots were completely pointless because of their brevity, and took away time that could’ve been dedicated to the two main plots. Degrassi was very successful at doing 3 plots per episode in the 80’s with Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High, because all three plots normally had a central theme that tied them together. However, in Season 10 there was no common thread, so having 3 different plots running together made episodes feel crowded at times.
From a technical standpoint, Season 10 blows all other seasons away. The biggest change was was Degrassi’s switching to filming with RED cameras:
In short, the RED camera is a very professional digital camera. Combined with fantastic lighting it made the characters stand out even more from the background. Even if a plot or an episode sucked, Season 10 was slick looking and visually pleasing.
Something phenomenal that they did in Season 10 that I absolutely demand they do more of in Season 11 are fluid transitions between scenes. Instead of using an edit and cutting to the next scene, the camera would move around and stop on the characters for the next scene (the trick being they’re in the same general area as the characters from the previous scene), and a musical cue lets the viewer know that it’s a new scene. I nearly fell out of my chair when I first saw this transition below:
And below is another that’s equally as great. Pay attention to the background as Clare, Adam and Eli are walking and you can see Wesley just standing there, waiting for Anya to reach her locker:
I hope that people understand how fantastic and important seamless transitions like these are. One of the biggest complaints about Degrassi is how little characters from interact with people outside of their cliques. Yes, technically Anya didn’t interact with Adam, Eli or Clare as they walked by. There’s many times I’ll watch a scene between two people (ex: Sav and Holly J), and wonder “I wonder what Riley’s up to…”
We may never again have the awesomeness that existed in Degrassi Junior High where ALL Degrassi characters served as background characters in episodes…even if they didn’t have a speaking role in that episode, we were guaranteed to see them walking around or hanging out in the hallways. The closest we can get to that these days is having the visual knowledge (like in the video clips above) that characters co-exist in the same realm, even if they’re complete strangers to each other.