Good news, Degrassi fans. It looks like there’s a new documentary in the works that will focus on one of Canada’s most beloved and long-running television franchises.
A three-part docuseries will be produced by WildBrain, the family entertainment producer which owns the Degrassi franchise, and fellow Canadian production company Peacock Alley, WildBrain announced Wednesday.
The as-of-yet unnamed series will feature an in-depth exploration of Degrassi lore, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, as well as conversations with creatives inspired by the show’s 40-year legacy.
Josh Scherba, WildBrain’s president and CEO, stated: “Degrassi continues to be enormously popular, resonating with fans across generations, from adults who grew up watching the show to today’s teens who are discovering it for the first time.”
In fact, he says, Degrassi’s audience is bigger than ever, and more people worldwide watch Degrassi than ever before.
“Its enduring popularity is driven by its unflinching honesty and authenticity, tackling topics and issues that teenagers everywhere face.”
Degrassi was originally created in 1979 by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood and has always served as a touchstone for serious and topical teen issues that other shows were often too scared to explore.
In the dramatic Degrassi High spinoff, characters at the fictional high school struggled with very real issues like racism, AIDS, teen pregnancy, homophobia and suicide.
By time Degrassi: The Next Generation came along in the early 2000s, the show took even bigger plot risks. That, combined with some up-and-coming actors on the cast, like Nina Dobrev, Shenae Grimes and rapper Drake, propelled the series into international markets and the show ran for another 14 years.
Lisa Rideout, the director behind the Sex with Sue documentary, will direct the Degrassi doc and acknowledges that her first-hand experience with the show in her teens will be an asset to the project.
“Adolescence is a period of firsts. First time wearing a bra, first time shaving, first dance with a crush, first awkward kiss at a party. Teens fumble their way through these experiences, trying their best to come out on the other side unscathed. Degrassi has brought these awkward, embarrassing, and unspoken truths of youth to the screen for over four decades,” she said in a statement.
“As someone who came of age watching Degrassi, I remember the much-needed reassurance I got from the show as a teen. Degrassi not only helped teens feel less alone, it also didn’t shy away from what we wanted to know about puberty, sex, relationships and so much more.”
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