May 30, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 80°F


The N delivers a soap opera for the younger crowd

Canadians have been known to come up with a lot of cool things: Mounties, free health care and that cute little word “a-boot.” Staff Writer Chelsea Theis argues that perhaps the coolest thing Canada has ever produced is the teen melodrama, “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

The show continues the storyline that began in the late ’80s on “Degrassi Junior High” and then “Degrassi High.” To sum up what happened between then and now: The characters did some drugs, tasted some alcohol, and Spike ( Amanda Stepto) had a baby. Now she’s the mom of sassy, environmentally friendly Emma ( Miriam McDonald) on “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

The cast is big, but the issues are even bigger, and no reeling twist is left unexplored. In only six seasons, the kids have dated, experimented with sex, tried ecstasy and coke, and survived a school shooting that paralyzed one of their own. They’ve done more dating, shared screen time with actor/director Kevin Smith (pictured below), had babies and most recently dealt with the death of JT ( Ryan Cooley), who was stabbed in the back — this time in a quite literal sense.

The show is amazing because, as it insists, it’s intense. Each episode contains one racy main plot and multiple subplots, some of which are never fully resolved. And that works because it’s just how life is. Some episodes are too racy to even be aired in the U.S., like the time Manny ( Cassie Steele) got an abortion. Never fear, though, commercial-free episodes can be streamed at

Plus, it’s impossible to ignore that the awkward kids who began the original series in the late ’80s are kind of hot by now.

For those missing “Beverly Hills: 90210,” “Degrassi: The Next Generation” is a suitable fix, and, best of all, it’s delivered with an accent. With a tagline of “It Goes There,” no viewer will be “sore-y” they tuned in.

Reruns of “Degrassi: The Next Generation” air sporadically on The N. For airdates and times, visit