The Imposter podcast held a live version of their show “Canadaland,” which featured a bunch of Degrassi creators, actors and fans as it showcased Degrassi and its nearly four decades of contributions to Canadian culture. You can listen to the entire podcast here.
There’s nothing more entertaining than listening to Stefan Brogren read X-rated fanfiction written about his character, however, there were also three really interesting things that were said during this podcast that I’ll expand upon below.
Why Degrassi Doesn’t Follow The Characters To University Anymore
Writer/Executive Producer Matt Huether recited a monologue he wrote which sums up the show’s decision to not focus on the college years after Season 8 of TNG:
“We thought the audience loved the characters so much that they’d rather follow them beyond the halls of high school than lose them altogether. And we thought there might even be more exciting stories as these characters grew into young adulthood. After these three seasons of experimenting though, we learned we were wrong.
In theory, following beloved characters beyond their high school years sounds like a great idea, but in reality it’s not. The Paige/Marco/Ellie college years were far superior to the Emma/Manny/Liberty college era, but the problem is both lack the most important part of Degrassi: the high school itself. Matty H also said:
High school like prison is so much better for TV storytelling than university because everything is immediate and vital, and feels like like or death.
The longer you’re focusing on things happening away from Degrassi, the less this show feels like Degrassi. It simply doesn’t feel the same when the characters aren’t hanging out in the halls of this school that’s been around for decades. Love him or hate him, Eli Goldsworthy was a great example of them using a college character in a way that makes sense for an extended period of time. When they wanted to expand the story by showing things from his perspective they wisely did so through a series of webisodes, instead of diverting screentime away from other characters currently at Degrassi to do so.
Not only should the show be avoiding dissonance with college characters, but current Degrassi students as well. I’ve always wanted to see Degrassi show what the characters are up to over the summer, but shipping most of the characters off to France and them being there for 5 episodes that were aired over the course of 5 long, real-life weeks is one of the reasons Season 13A it fell flat on its face. Compare that to the 4 summer episodes in Season 14 that were far more enjoyable because they were aired as the 2-hour special Don’t Look Back. And just as we’re seeing with people complaining that Next Class seasons are too short despite the format literally being no different than Season 14 (20-some episodes broken up into two blocks aired throughout a calendar year), how the show is framed is just as important as the content itself.
Degrassi branching out to do things like that is fine, it’s just about making sure they don’t come across as straying too far away from the heart of the show for too long.
Degrassi Will Not End The Show Itself
With this spoiler has come the speculation that Degrassi will decide it’s time to end the series after DNC Season 4. The producers are reading those rumors and howling like:
Not only has Stefan said it before, but now Linda has said multiple times that they (Degrassi) will not end the show, and they have no plans to stop the series anytime soon. Linda once said she may personally slow down in a few years, but the only way Degrassi ends is if broadcasters and DHX Media take an axe to it.
They’re Already Working on Next Class Seasons 5 and 6
During her interview, Linda Schuyler mentioned they were starting their brainstorming sessions for DNC Seasons 5 and 6. This is standard protocol for the show; every year around this time they start throwing out ideas for the next season and then they write the scripts over the winter. In previous years, Stephen Stohn would sometimes even ask fans to submit their suggestions for storylines.
Degrassi always works ahead as if the show is going to be renewed, so you should always assume new episodes are happening…even if there is no word about renewal.