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
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
(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.
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—–
We pause this thought for a #TrilesRevival…and when that isn’t happening, apparently Tristan is running for office.
Maya chooses music over Zig.
“Ok well this dumb music stuff is my dream, Zig.”
“It’s more important than me?”
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.”
Meanwhile, some angry Zoemund shippers are probably the ones who called the S.W.A.T. team on Zaya…
…how about a little fanservice in the woods? ;)
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.