Degrassi: Next Class
DegrassiNextClassLogo2.png
Degrassi: Next Class 2nd current official logo
GenreTeen drama
Created byLinda Schuyler
Yan Moore
Stephen Stohn
Sarah Glinski
Matt Huether
StarringSee cast
Theme music composerJody Colero
Jim McGrath
Shobha
Stephen Stohn
Rob Wells
Opening theme"Whatever It Takes"
ComposersJim McGrath
Tim Welch
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersLinda Schuyler
Stephen Stohn
Sarah Glinski
Matt Huether
ProducersStefan Brogren
Courtney Jane Walker
Stephanie Williams
Production locationsToronto, Ontario
CinematographyMitchell T. Ness
EditorsJason B. Irvine
Nicholas Wong
Running time24 minutes
Production companiesDHX Media
DHX Studios Toronto
DistributorEntertainment One
(Canada)
DHX Distribution
(International)
Release
Original networkFamily (F2N)/Family Channel App (Canada)
Netflix (United States/International)
Picture formatHDTV
Original releaseJanuary 4, 2016 (2016-01-04) –
July 7, 2017 (2017-07-07)
Chronology
Preceded byThe Kids of Degrassi Street
Degrassi Junior High
Degrassi High
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Followed byDegrassi
RelatedDegrassi Talks
School's Out

Degrassi: Next Class is a Canadian teen drama television series and the fifth series in the Degrassi franchise created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979. A direct sequel to Degrassi: The Next Generation, it premiered on Family's new teen programming block F2N in Canada on January 4, 2016.and on Netflix internationally on January 25, 2016.

The series follows most of the same characters that had debuted in the final seasons of the previous series, as well as introducing new characters. Originally intended as a new season of Degrassi: The Next Generation, it was later retooled to be a reboot that would appeal to the emerging Generation Z. Like its predecessor, the series was filmed at the Epitome Pictures studios in Toronto, Ontario.

The fourth season, released to Netflix in July 2017, was the last; in March 2019, show producer and frequent director Stefan Brogren alluded to the show's cancellation in a tweet.[1]

Development

Concept

Degrassi: Next Class was originally intended to be the fifteenth season of Degrassi: The Next Generation.[2] In an interview with Vice, Linda Schuyler, one of the co-creators of the Degrassi franchise and a co-founder of Epitome Pictures, stated: "We realized that the kids we're talking to today are a new generation from the kids we talked to in 2001 when we came out with Degrassi: The Next Generation. Then, we were very much talking to millennials. There's a new generation, Generation Z, who weren't even born when we started that show. That was a very sobering fact...We've done a lot of research into Generation Z and decided we need a reboot."[2]

When Degrassi: The Next Generation ended its run on TeenNick in the United States, the producers sought out other means to distribute the Next Class series and later made a deal with Netflix.[3]

Crew

The series was created and executive produced by Linda Schuyler, Stephen Stohn, Sarah Glinski, and Matt Huether and produced by DHX Studios Toronto (a subsidiary of DHX Media).[4] Epitome Pictures, DHX Media, and Netflix jointly produced the series with funding from the Shaw Rocket Fund, Royal Bank of Canada and the Cogeco Program Development Fund.

Continuing with Next Class, Sarah Glinski and Matt Huether served as head story editors for the show. Other writers included Courtney Jane Walker, Alejandro Alcoba, Cole Bastedo. Jennifer Kassabian and Ian MacIntyre. Other directors for the series included cast member and producer Stefan Brogren, Eleanor Lindo, Phil Earnshaw, and Rt!.

Episode format

Each episode of Degrassi: Next Class is written following the same formula with three storylines (Plot A, Plot B and Plot C). The problems and issues presented in the episode are not always resolved by the end of the episode, and are carried over throughout the season, creating a mini-arc. With "Next Class", some episodes have the plots follow a common theme. This concept originated in Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. Episode titles feature a "#" in the front of each episode title and occasionally refer to social media trends of the time.

Opening sequence

The opening sequence of Next Class adopted a 30-second format, in contrast to the heavily abridged sequence in the later seasons of The Next Generation. Stephen Stohn explained to TV Insider that while they wouldn't be necessarily returning to the "little vignettes of the characters" from earlier seasons, the new opening sequence would be "very reflective of Generation Z and how tuned-in they are to technology." The opening comes after a two-to three-minute cold open but does not follow the characters around the school. Instead, a montage of videos and pictures from the characters social media accounts cycle across the screen. Like the final two seasons of Degrassi, instead of listing every ensemble actor in the opening, episodes only credit the regular actors appearing in that episode.

The opening sequence features a "more amped up, more electronic"[5] update of "Whatever It Takes", the theme music written for Degrassi: The Next Generation, this time produced by Rob Wells and Shobha, with the latter on vocals.[4]

Filming locations

Degrassi: Next Class was filmed at Epitome Pictures' then-four soundstages and backlot located at the company's 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) production studios in Toronto, the same studio where Degrassi: The Next Generation was filmed. The facade of Degrassi Community School was the exterior of Studio C, and used the same colours and glass pattern as Centennial College, which was used to depict the school during Degrassi High.

The area in front of this facade featured a "hoarding area" where students would gather, a street, and a bus stop across the road.[6] The studio's backlot was used for exterior shots of the characters' houses, which was one unit dressed differently for each house, and The Dot Grill.[7] The building for The Dot was the only one on the backlot large enough to allow filming inside; scenes taking places inside the school and house interiors were filmed on one of four sound stages.[6]

Studio A contained sets for the school's hallways, washrooms, cafeteria and classrooms.[6] The hallways were stenciled with phrases such as "the perfect human being is all human", which were found at the Etobicoke School for the Arts, one of the many schools that set designers used during their original research. The washroom set was used for the girls' and boys' room; urinals were installed and removed as needed."[8] It was also used as the studio's cafeteria where the cast and crew eat.[8]

In addition to being used as the exterior of the school, Studio C held sets for the school's entrance foyer, the gymnasium, the media lab and a hallway with lockers.[6] As the franchise progressed and the budget increased, a stairway and balcony was installed in the foyer in an attempt to get characters off the floor and not all appear in the same geometric plane. For the first few seasons of The Next Generation, the gym floor was made of real wooden floorboards; due to warping, it was replaced by concrete painted to look like wood.[9]

Studio B contained the sets for the characters' houses. The fourth studio, Studio D, housed all the production offices, dressing rooms, and make-up and hair departments.

For the new series, Next Class, the interior of the school set saw a major facelift. New doors were added for all classrooms, room numbers were placed on doors, classrooms were remodeled to be more modern which included new "smart-boards" and high-definition television sets (also placed throughout the hallways, cafeteria and gym), and the lockers were repainted for a more "retro" look. Several new sets were also added which include: a new student lounge room, an area called the "conversation pit", a remodeled classroom for Digital arts, and a restaurant called "Lola's Cantina".[10][11]

Cancellation

In March 2019, Stefan Brogren alluded to the show's cancellation in a tweet.[1] Sara Waisglass, who played Frankie Hollingsworth, recalled to the Toronto Star in 2022 that she was disappointed at the cancellation and revealed: "They never told us anything. We had our contracts and the way it worked was they had to tell you by a certain date if we were picked up or not. We just never heard from them again."[12] It was announced on January 14th, 2022 that HBO Max had acquired the rights for Degrassi, but kept Next class on Netflix as it was their property. On November 4th, 2022 after months of silence, it was reported that HBO Max had scrapped their Degrassi project as part of a mass of cancellations following the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger in April.

Premise

Like its predecessors, the series follows an ensemble cast of students at Degrassi Community School, most of whom face different challenges once seen as taboo such as discrimination, sex, teen pregnancy, bullying, date rape, drug abuse, mental health, self-image, sexuality, self-injury, suicide, abortion, domestic violence, death, racism and many other issues.

Cast

Main article: List of Degrassi: Next Class characters

Main

Starting with season 1 of Next Class, none of the characters who debuted during the changes happening in seasons eight and nine of The Next Generation remain. The first and second seasons featured 19 regular roles, with 14 cast members returning from season 14 of Degrassi and 5 new regulars: Amir Bageria (Baaz Nahir), Soma Bhatia (Goldi Nahir), Jamie Bloch (Yael Baron), Chelsea Clark (Esme Song), and Dante Scott (Vijay Maraj).[13] Keeping ties to the early seasons of the previous incarnation and the franchise as a whole, Stefan Brogren's character Archie Simpson remains the Principal of Degrassi Community School. Seasons three and four added two regulars to the cast, as casting calls were made public through Larissa Mair Casting.[14]

On October 21, 2016, it was confirmed that the cast members in a photo executive producer Stephen Stohn posted were the ones leaving the cast at the end of season four. This includes: Eric Osborne (Miles Hollingsworth III), Ricardo Hoyos (Zig Novak), André Dae Kim (Winston Chu), Ehren Kassam (Jonah Haak), Ana Golja (Zoe Rivas), Lyle Lettau (Tristan Milligan), Nikki Gould (Grace Cardinal), Olivia Scriven (Maya Matlin), Richard Walters (Tiny Bell) and Bhatia.[15][16]

Guest appearances

Several recurring cast members from the previous incarnation continued their roles in Degrassi: Next Class, a majority being the parents and teachers of the students at Degrassi Community School. David Sutcliffe of Gilmore Girls fame appeared in a season one episode as himself. In season two, several original Degrassi: The Next Generation cast members made guest appearances for the 500th episode of the Degrassi franchise. These cast members include Adamo Ruggiero as Marco Del Rossi, Miriam McDonald as Emma Nelson, Lauren Collins as Paige Michalchuk, Shane Kippel as Gavin "Spinner" Mason, and Sarah Barrable-Tishauer as Liberty Van Zandt.[17] Jamie Johnston, who portrayed Peter Stone in seasons five through ten of Degrassi: The Next Generation, also made his return for the second season, appearing in several episodes. Other previous cast members that appeared include Raymond Ablack as Sav Bhandari, Charlotte Arnold as Holly J. Sinclair, Jake Epstein as Craig Manning, and Jacob Neayem as Mo Mashkour.[18] In season 3 and 4, Chloe Rose reprised her role for three episodes as Katie Matlin. Epstein also made a return guest appearance in season 4.

Episodes

Main article: List of Degrassi: Next Class episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired (Canada)Netflix release dates (U.S.)
First airedLast aired
110January 4, 2016 (2016-01-04)[19][20]January 15, 2016 (2016-01-15)January 15, 2016 (2016-01-15)[21][22]
210July 19, 2016 (2016-07-19)September 20, 2016 (2016-09-20)July 22, 2016 (2016-07-22)[23]
310January 9, 2017 (2017-01-09)[24]January 20, 2017 (2017-01-20)January 6, 2017 (2017-01-06)[25]
410July 3, 2017 (2017-07-03)[a][26]July 14, 2017 (2017-07-14)July 7, 2017 (2017-07-07)[26]
  1. ^ The fourth season was released on the Family Channel app to stream on June 30, 2017, four days before its debut on the channel.

Release

In Canada, the series premiered on January 4, 2016, on Family's new teen programing block, F2N. In the United States (and internationally), first-run episodes began streaming internationally on Netflix on January 15, 2016 (excluding Canada, Australia and France). Episodes will be available on Netflix in Canada, Australia and France following the conclusion of the first season.[27][28] Season two premiered on the Family Channel on July 19, 2016 and on Netflix on July 22, 2016.

In Australia, the series premiered on ABC3 on May 16, 2016.[29] The second season immediately followed the first season on ABC3 in Australia on May 30.[30] On January 6, 2017, Netflix added seasons 1–3 to the Australian catalogue. Season 3 began streaming online on Netflix before its debut on ABC3, starting April 22, 2017.

In South Africa, the series premiered on SABC 1 (South African Broadcasting Corporation), on 6 April 2020, airing 15:00 Monday to Thursday.

References

  1. ^ a b Pena, Jessica (March 7, 2019). "Degrassi: Next Class: Cancelled; Producer Confirms Netflix Series Has Ended". TV Series Finale. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Peltz, Jonathan (August 3, 2015). "High School Never Ends: An Interview with the Creators of 'Degrassi' | VICE | United States". VICE. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  3. ^ Chan, Melissa. "Watch the New Trailer for 'Degrassi: Next Class'". Time. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Family Channel's new teen block F2N launches January 4 with the premiere of Degrassi: Next... - TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2015". Newswire.ca. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  5. ^ LaScala, Marisa. "The 'Degrassi: Next Class' Theme Song Updates The Classic "Whatever It Takes" For A New Generation". Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Epitome Pictures" (Flash (User must select the "Studios" link)). Epitome Pictures. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  7. ^ Ellis 2005, pp. 116–117
  8. ^ a b Ellis 2005, p. 115
  9. ^ Ellis 2005, pp. 112–114
  10. ^ "Inside The Studio with Ana Golja and Dante Scott - Degrassi: Next Class". YouTube. January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  11. ^ "Behind-The-Scenes Of Degrassi: Next Class With Ana Golja & Sara Waisglass". YouTube. January 8, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  12. ^ "After Degrassi: Where are they now?". Toronto Star. August 20, 2022. pp. C12. ProQuest 2704196087
  13. ^ Freeman, Molly (January 14, 2016). "'Degrassi: Next Class' Features 5 All-New Stars". Bustle. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  14. ^ "Audition Info For Degrassi: Next Class Season 3". Degrassiblog.com. March 21, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  15. ^ "Exclusive Tour of the Degrassi Set, (Epitome Picture) At DHX Media". YouTube. October 21, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  16. ^ "Instagram". Instagram. August 19, 2016. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  17. ^ "'Degrassi: Next Class': Get a first look at the big reunion". Ew.com. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  18. ^ "Degrassi on Twitter: "They're back. Feel free to fan out. And Keenan Neal as Kizzie #DegrassiReunion "". Twitter. July 15, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  19. ^ "F2N". F2n.ca. Archived from the original on June 15, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  20. ^ "Family Channel's new teen block F2N launches January 4 with the premiere of Degrassi: Next... - TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2015". Newswire.ca. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  21. ^ Peltz, Jonathan (August 3, 2015). "High School Never Ends: An Interview with the Creators of 'Degrassi' | VICE | United States". VICE. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  22. ^ "REPORT: Degrassi Next Class Debuts January 15th | Kary's Degrassi Blog". Degrassiblog.com. November 22, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  23. ^ Swift, Andy (April 11, 2016). "'Degrassi: Next Class' Season 2 Premiere Date — Renewed By Netflix". TVLine.com. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  24. ^ "TV Listings Grid, TV Guide and TV Schedule, Where to Watch TV Shows - Screener". tvschedule.zap2it.com. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  25. ^ Yan Moore; Linda Schuyler; Kit Hood (January 15, 2016). "Watch Degrassi: Next Class Online". Netflix.com. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Degrassi: Next Class Season 4 Release Date and Trailers". denofgeek.com. June 30, 2017. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  27. ^ "DHX Media buys Degrassi TV studio". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  28. ^ "Degrassi: Next Class to debut on Family Channel, Netflix". CBC News. June 9, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  29. ^ Knox, David (May 16, 2016). "Airdate: Degrassi: Next Class". TV Tonight. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  30. ^ "Degrassi: Next Class". Abc.net.au. Retrieved May 30, 2016.