We’ll take a closer look at the trailer in a moment, but here’s the important information for Next Class:

*Netflix is streaming ALL EPISODES on January 15th.  There’s a reason the Degrassi team was binge watching episodes yesterday.  Initial reports said Netflix would break up the 20-episode order into two seasons, however, Entertainment Weekly is reporting Netflix will release all 20 episodes on the 15th.  That means viewers worldwide will also get to enjoy the 500th episode of Degrassi, which include several former Degrassi characters making a guest appearance.

*Wait, what about Family Channel? ET Canada has also posted the trailer here, but that’s about the extent of any news for Canadian viewers at the moment besides the show returning the 15th.  I was kinda hoping Netflix would follow a weekly format along with Family Channel, but it’s looking like the Canadian fanbase will be catching up from way behind with this series.

************

The New Characters

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The identity of the new cast members hasn’t been very lowkey during the hiatus, but here are the official character names for the newbies of this next class:

*Yael Baron (Played by Jamie Bloch. Original character was named “Maude”)
*Esme Song (Played by Chelsea Clark)
*Vijay Maraj (Played by Dante Scott)
*Goldi Nahir (Played by Soma Bhati. Original character was named “Goldi Nahar”)
*Baaz Nahir (Played by Amir Bageria. Original character was named “Dino)

Breaking Down The Next Class Trailer

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(To Frankie) “You had a sexy dream about Jonah?!?”

Well that’s interesting…my sweet, adorable Frankie is starting to get those carnal urges.  I’m not sure if I’d want to see Jankie happen, but the “sexy dreams” topic is definitely one worth exploring again.

 

Poor Miles.

This kid can’t catch a break.  He also’s involved with new character Esme.  “I’m trying to change,” he says, while Esme tells him “You don’t need to change for me!”

For some more mental angst, check out the Esme audition side:

I’m interested to see how this pl—–

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We pause this thought for a #TrilesRevival…and when that isn’t happening, apparently Tristan is running for office.

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Maya chooses music over Zig.

“Ok well this dumb music stuff is my dream, Zig.”

“It’s more important than me?”

“Yes.”

Oh…a girl on Degrassi choosing her passion over a boy?  And I guess Zig has officially moved on from those days when he was the one center stage singing his heart out.

Jonah is entrenched in the role of resident musician, so with the departure of Becky Baker we see he’s formed a new band with Maya and Grace.  I’m also guessing they’ve taken the opportunity to give it a name other than “Prodigal Spoon.”

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Meanwhile, some angry Zoemund shippers are probably the ones who called the S.W.A.T. team on Zaya…

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…how about a little fanservice in the woods? ;)

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Shay and Tiny

I didn’t think it would happen. The most-prominent black ship in Degrassi’s 35 years of existence was Jimmy and Hazel, and that came across as more of a convenience thing since they were already in the same social group.

Here we have two strangers forming a connection, with the normally-confident Shay Powers showing apprehension as she goes to extreme measures to enhance her appearance.

What’s wrong with Grace?

My whole life has been people telling me to be positive, but no one wants to talk about how I’m going to die.”

Fans have been clamoring for a major Grace plot.  Be careful what you wish for, because the more screentime characters receive, the more they get crapped on.  The extent of Grace’s illness is unknown, and while my gut says an immediate death is off the table (because the idea of them killing off three main characters in four seasons is pure insanity), the thought of watching her deal with this is heartbreaking.

Hunter’s anger is on display

We’ve seen outbursts from Hunter before; combine that anger with gaming and you can guess where this is going.  If you haven’t heard, Arlene won’t be in Next Class because actress Devyn Nekoda secured the lead role in another show, so it would be cool if Yael stepped into the role of Hunter’s companion.  It’s also really cool that three of the five new characters are gamers as well.

(To Lola) “You’re definitely not normal, but because there is no normal.”

Maybe one day people will actually take those words to heart.  Embrace the fact that you’re weird as shit.

*********

Things I’m looking forward to seeing

1) Grace, Hunter and Shiny’s plots.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in all of them, but these are the ones that grab my attention the most.  These are interesting secondary characters who are now transitioning into a larger role.

2) The structure of the season.  Remember how I complained in seasons 10 and 11 that the episodes airing in the weekly format didn’t feel like they were written for a weekly format? That’s because seasons 10-14 were written like they were all a bunch of telenovela blocks, regardless of the slick “we’re going to give every episode its own title” move in s13 and s14.  By the time they got to 14A, they’d improved the flow of the storytelling tremendously to better fit the weekly broadcast schedule.

But where Degrassi shined brightest over the last few years were those wonderful telenovela blocks in s10-s12.  Epitome’s said they were already planning on adapting their show to cater to today’s binge-watching nature, but the thing is they’ve already been practicing for years, molding the show to be consumed in periods shorter than the weekly format.

Now they’re in a position where they have to tighten things up even more because myself and so many others are making specific plans to watch all 20 episodes consecutively.  Episodes from the last five seasons flow better when you watch them together; even the bad episodes don’t seem as bad when you don’t have time for the taste to linger in your mouth.  This moves to Netflix only strengthens the show’s potential.

3) Character hierarchy.  With the likes of Clare and Drew having finally departed, the young ones are now inheriting the crown as Degrassi’s crop of alpha characters.  The Hollingsworths are Degrassi’s top group in my opinion, with Frankie and Miles having been dominant figures in season 14.  You also have another power group in Zoë, Maya and Zig.

The hierachy doesn’t bother me all that much these days, and I actually find it fascinating.  You can’t take this many characters and try to create a universe where everyone is receiving equal screentime and development at the same time, because then nothing gets accomplished.  One way around this is the increased amount of character visibility over the years and shifting characters from primary to secondary and vice versa, so characters are involved in different levels and feel like they’re around more even if they’re not receiving plots.

But ultimately Degrassi has to master balancing telling stories effectively without it FEELING* like one or two characters are dominating everything at an overwhelming rate (*keyword FEELING because “there is no reality, only perception”).

4) Will you, Degrassi fan, fall victim to the Ship Trap (again) in Next Class?  Do not fall into the Ship Trap.  Eclare was such an overwhelmingly powerful force because everyone on every side acted like they’d lost their damn mind for a solid 4 1/2 years, and we’re already seeing this nonsense happening with every combination of Trayazagmundsworth. We can’t have that happen again.  Do not fall into the Ship Trap.  Which reminds me…

5) How will “Tenner Roulette” pan out?  Seeing some Triles and Zoemund teases in the trailer reminded me of something…Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes once made a joke in some commentary on the Jay & Silent Bob Do Degrassi DVD where after the opening credits the show would cut to some massive orgy, and as of right now that’s where it feels like Tenner Roulette is headed.  The lights turn on and you’ve got Trayazagmundsworth looking like a sex centipede while Hunter plays Realm of Doom in the corner. But I seriously wish there was a contest where people try to guess who ends up with who by the end of the season, because I haven’t the slightest clue.

6) Which new characters will step up first?  Sometimes new characters are instantly thrown into the chaos (Miles, Zoë), while others remain in the background until later (Shay, Lola).  When your new characters receive an introduction with giant images in a press article, that tells you they’re probably going to be used quite a bit.  It’s just a matter of which ones they’d decide to feature first, and the trailer leans toward Esme being involved in some of the heaviest stuff.

***********

New year. New format. New characters. New Degrassi. This summer the internet exploded at the mere thought of Degrassi getting canceled.  Our favorite TV show has been given another chance at life when others would’ve been canned in the blink of an eye.

While some of the show’s core elements must remain in place, this is a chance for Degrassi to take risks.  To become edgier, and try new things. I can’t stress to you how amazingly important things are like the fact Degrassi now has the most-diverse cast in the franchise’s history.

Real talk: If Degrassi has become predictable, then Degrassi’s fandom has become just as predictable.  So if the demand is for Degrassi to change…for the show to change networks and formats…for the writers to look at their storytelling and character representations in a different way and adjust accordingly, then as viewers we should probably be willing to make changes as well.  From our mindset toward the show and what it’s trying to accomplish to our attitude towards one another, standards should be higher all around.

Whatever it takes.

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Posted by Kary

23 Comments

  1. I am so hyped for this!! The new characters seem very diverse. There looks to be many dramatic storylines coming which is always great. And the gamer storyline is what I’ve been waiting for so long for! With esports becoming so gigantic and being frankly, kind of a terrible environnement for many people, I’m really curious to see what they’ll do with it. I’m ready for a new era in Degrassi’s history.

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    1. I’m so down with the diversity! Muslim brother and sister, gay Indian boy, Korean girl, and based on her name, I’m assuming Jewish girl.

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  2. “The lights turn on and you’ve got Trayazagmundsworth looking like a sex centipede while Hunter plays Realm of Doom in the corner.” Lmao you’re the best. I can’t wait for Next Class! I don’t care who ends up with you (although I’m excited for Shiny and zoemund) but I can’t wait to meet all the new characters :D

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  3. Your articles are often impossible to read. You act like everyone is a fanatical shipper even when talking about it being a problem. You use ship names so much it makes my brain hurt. I can’t fucking decode them any more and I might have to stop coming here as this is the third article that made me want to have an anyeurism. Tenner?! I’m not getting it. Your finale article was painful to read for that reason alone.

    It’s really sad because you have such good content but it makes it inaccessible to a wider audience. Of course we all get Eclare. Tronnor? Easy. Zaya? Still pretty easy but when you get into minor couples that only a smaller portion of the fandom is concerned about its just jargon.

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    1. If you don’t understand the “jargon” that I see Degrassi fans using on a damn near daily basis, that’s your problem, not mine. It’s really not that hard. Knowing ship names doesn’t mean you’re a fanatical shipper, behaving like a cutthroat asshole toward others who disagree with your shipping views does.

      If you don’t like the content here, you’re more than welcome to leave.

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      1. It makes me sad you didn’t take that as constructive criticism. I realize that with this being the Internet it’s obviously a place where anonymous trolls sling insults and our first reaction is to be defensive. I have always found your site to be the best source of Degrassi information and I’m very sorry if it basically seems like I walked onto your doorstep and shit all over your hard work.

        I really wanted to give positive feedback to try to make it more accessible to viewers like me who really find these articles hard to read. I’ve racked my brain and I still cannot place Tenner. I’m a huge fan and it isn’t clicking! Is it last name based? And when you use these ship names in rapid fire succession that maybe readers like me don’t get it’s impossible to read articles.

        I just wanted you to maybe try to see things from my perspective. But instead you called me an asshole and told me to leave. I wish I would’ve known that sooner because before that I thought you seemed like someone who I’d like.

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      2. I was not calling you an asshole, and I’m sorry if you thought I was. The usage of that word was not directed toward you specifically, it’s in reference to the fans who do behave like assholes when it comes to ships. Also, I didn’t tell you to leave. I said “If you don’t like the content here, you’re more than welcome to leave.” Big, big difference. You either want to read it or you don’t.

        I’m not sure how I was supposed to take that as constructive criticism when the tone of your original comment was very condescending. You made it sound like me using ship names and other fandom lingo inconveniences your existence. Why not just ask what “Tenner” means (short for tenth grader), or say you’re unfamiliar with some of the ship names and it’d be helpful to list the full names in the future? Where exactly is the positive feedback in saying my articles give you an aneurysm?

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    2. They use Tenner in the show numerous of times

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    3. If you’ve been frequenting the site, you should know that it’s aimed towards ardent fans and followers of the show who are interested in more serious discussion and commentary about it. Kary using jargon that’s specific it and its fandom makes sense.

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    4. Considering that the show has used the word “tenner” several times shows that it’s not actually some random ship name Kary made up. Rather than give actual constructive criticism you simply came off like a jerk. Tenner isn’t even the name of a ship lol you either just be fairly new to the show or just thought you could attack Kary without him saying anything back to him. Either way you failed and now look like a troll who’s trying to start drama.

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  4. So it looks like, once again, Maya has ended up underdressed in public based on the last scene of the trailer (That’s Maya’s blonde hair in the shot). But that’s not really here nor there.

    I’m curious how Netflix will handle the seasons going on past S15. Degrassi I think does better with the slightly longer episode runs, and right now they’re doing a very short run with 20 episodes. The cast is much smaller (with only half as many new cast as cast leaving from S14), but it still limits how many plots they can hit.

    My only issue with Shiny (although it has the best ship name since Eclare vs Cake) is that doing another stick the two black kids together plot dodges a chance to show that racial prejudice still exists. Although I suppose Vijay and Goldi both allow for that sort of plot to happen for them. Really I’m just glad Shay, Tiny, and Grace are doing more even if it’ll lead to more terrible things.

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  5. Am I the only one recognizing that the Tristan kiss is with Hunter and not Miles? That’s definitely not Miles and his face looks like Hunter.

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    1. Nah, look again. That’s definitely Miles.

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    2. No that’s Miles.

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  6. It’s pretty interesting that DeGrassi is embracing the release of all 20 episodes at once. Personally, I like it, as I’d rather binge a show that’s a serial rather than wait a week for between episodes. Of course, DeGrassi is uniquely qualified to keep their core viewers engaged for the other 51 weeks till they produce new content. Once Netflix is able to stream the whole catalog they will be able to attract a lot of new viewers, too. Still, it’s going to be a challenge for them to keep it fresh as the months wear on….

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  7. Degrassi Parodies November 26, 2015 at 3:53 am

    In regards to Grace saying she is dying it’s because she has Cystic Fibrosis. The sides for her mother revealed it.

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  8. I can’t wait til Jan 15th now! So I’m interested to see if these are like 20 minute episodes, or if they will be 25-30 minutes, will any be longer? I guess since it’s also on tv in Canada they will still be 20 mins, it would’ve been cool if they were like 30 mins with the no commercials, that would be really an episode and a half per show.

    The main thing is how long will the wait be between seasons, and hopefully it’s announced there will be more seasons really early on. Is it possible in Canada they could run it 20 straight weeks or so and then the next season be ready? I really hope we aren’t actually waiting a full year or close to it for the next season, that would be pretty ridiculous and that would kill a lot of their hopefully new momentum.

    I dunno how much importance the ratings in Canada have up there big I would have to think with the entire season in Netflix that a lot of the audience will watch it right away and then not in tv, unless Netflix isn’t in Canada? But I think it is right. I’m sure degrassi doesn’t wanna lose whatever that Canadian grant money is so they aren’t going to abandon Canadian tv ever.

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  9. I’m guessing that Shay is going to pull a Liberty, here. She’s going to see the crowd Tiny hangs around with, think that she needs to “toughen” herself up to get his attention, and be proven wrong.

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  10. Great recap of the trailer. Now, I get that you intended this part to be in humor(LOL at us Zoemund fans calling the SWAT team on Zaya…good one) but Zoemund is not nearly popular enough to be considered ‘fanservice’. I highly doubt throwing Zoemund in the trash will affect their ratings whatsoever….hell, it may even boost them. So, I’m inclined to believe that Zoemund has something REAL and business remains unfinished. The writers don’t care what we(Zoemund shippers/Anti-Zaya people) want. Perhaps they realized, which is nice to know, that they couldn’t build something so profound and beautiful with Zoemund just to act like it never happened.

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    1. Zoemund’s unfinished business SHOULD be addressed this season, because the way the show acted in 14B like they’d never even interacted before was a travesty. I wouldn’t say I’m a diehard Zoemund shipper, but the way they were built up made me want to see more of them because they obviously fit well together. I felt the romantic tension, unlike with Zaya, who were amazingly supportive of each other yet it felt platonic (on Maya’s end at least).

      I think wanting to deal with Zaya was probably a way bigger factor than the writers not caring what Zoemund shippers want…they were so far ahead in writing season 14 before we’d even seen that pivotal Zoemund moment in “Believe” anyway. Also, they basically had Matlingsworth following the same path as Zoemund in season 14 (Zig supporting Zoe/Maya supporting Miles, both setting up for future romance) only to randomly trash them both for Zaya. I’m confident we’ll see Zoemund reconnect on some level this season, my only concerns are 1) Will it be fleeting? and 2) Will they reconnect the right way? For some reason seeing them in the woods together made me think there could be side action going on while Gracevas and Zaya are on the rocks.

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  11. I always thought that the next character to die should be A.) female and B.) have a disease. Hmmm…

    I was kind of hoping that Jonah and Goldi would be paired together. The different religions would have made things interesting. They’ve never paired two characters who practiced different religions before. Anya wasn’t religious, so that doesn’t really count.

    Speaking of religion, I’m happy to see a(possibly) Jewish character. I hope that she’s observant, especially considering her sexual orientation (is Yael still supposed to be gay?). It would be interesting if the show dealt with a non-Christian religion and sexual orientation.

    I just hope that the characters who get all of the A-plots don’t hog all of the B-plots too. That was a huge problem in previous seasons.

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  12. I really wish this show could go back to the dark look and tone of season 7

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  13. Yael is basically Maude from the audition sides, to my understanding – so unless they’ve changed anything, she’s probably gay. Maude was at least. A lot can change between the initial sides written for nation-wide casting calls, but I suspect that they intentionally added the character with the intention of keeping a certain number of LGBTQAI+ characters. So I’m guessing she and Hunter may develop a kick-ass friendship, but it’s unlikely that relationship will be romantic or sexual in any way

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