It’s no secret that Degrassi was limited in what it could do while the show aired on TeenNick, especially in its final years on the network.
The taglines “100% Intense” and “It Goes There” might’ve applied back during the TNG days, but even then there were fairly strict limitations on what they could do. The-N itself went through a drastic change upon being rebranded as TeenNick, abandoning the upper end of the teen demo to target the younger end with a wasteland of reruns featuring Nickelodeon’s former behemoths. I’ve said for years that Degrassi was a fish out of water on a network the Nick Gods have never given a shit about, and honestly they might as well transform TeenNick into something my generation has been demanding half of our lives.
As soon as Degrassi’s move to Netflix was announced, we kept hearing about how Degrassi will have more flexibility in its storytelling. “Netflix will allow us to go there,” Stephen Stohn said. I understand there’s been some skepticism, especially with the show also airing on Family Channel in Canada, but now we’re reaching the point where nearly every interview mentions this same theme of the show “getting back to its roots” and being edgier than it has been these last few years. Just over the past few days alone:
Cast Member: Ana Golja
Article: Ana Golja talks Zoe and Grace on “Degrassi” and working with Jennifer Beals
I can tell you that this new season on Netflix will be–it’ll be going back to original Degrassi. It’ll be more explicit language. It’ll test limits a little more. It’s a little edgier than what it’s been these past few years
Site: Talk Nerdy With Us
Cast Member: Lyle Lettau
Article: Exclusive Interview With Degrassi’s Lyle Lettau
I think Netflix, there’s that general feeling that we’re able to do more of what we want. In my opinion Nickelodeon is a great network but I think Degrassi definitely wants to deal with teen issues and it doesn’t just want to be a family show that’s always happy. I don’t think it’s for children necessarily, I think it’s supposed to be for teens. I think that’s the whole point of Degrassi and what makes it so cool. It’s why I liked it. It’s dealing with real issues.
Yeah, sometimes the story lines might be a bit uncomfortable or people might think they’re inappropriate, but if we’re being realistic, that’s exactly what high school is like! These were things that were happening when I was in high school. I knew people getting pregnant. I knew people trying drugs, skipping class, having sex, etc. I knew all of these things were going on.
I think to try and shield that or try and hide it to make it a happy show for kids, I don’t think that’s realistic. I don’t agree with that. I like that we moved to Netflix and we’re able to express those issues more.
Cast Member: Ana Golja
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Everyone is beyond thrilled about the move to Netflix internationally, and the move to Family Channel. We’re just – we’re really going back to the roots of the show; it’s a little more scandalous, we’re using harsher language and some scenes may be a little more explicit than they would have been [on network television]. So we’re really excited for everybody to see Degrassi: Next Class.
In case you weren’t aware, Degrassi was the first show in Canadian television history to drop the f-bomb.