By Barbara Young —
Netflix seems to have a thing for picking up old shows. This year they kick off the trend with Degrassi: Next Class; a Canadian teen drama series that already has 14 seasons. However, this season it’s a little different going straight to Canadian television and Netflix.
The story follows an ensemble cast throughout a year of high school. There are about 15 characters that get introduced and followed throughout the series. The show tackles heavy topics like drugs, assault, consent and the like, but still remains a teen drama by not showing anything graphic on screen.
My quick summary of the show: I’d say pass on Degrassi: Next Class. When I saw this on Netflix I was intrigued because I’d heard about Degrassi when I was a high schooler, but had never bothered to watch it. I thought this new series would be a good place to start. I was wrong. The series doesn’t lend much to introducing characters; you just learn about their past through vague comments that would make sense if you’d watched the other seasons of the show.
Let me say this. Degrassi is a 25-minute show with 10 episodes that follows the lives of about 15 teenagers. The chances of it being good, for this sole reason, are slim. Think of all the drama from Glee, ramp it up by 10, add poor acting and poorer writing, then subtract catchy songs and you’ll have Degrassi. For me, the show was painful to sit through in every aspect.
I have no intention of ever watching a series of Degrassi again. If you want highschool drama watch something else because this was just weird and painful. I’m not sure I can even properly explain the pain I felt watching this series.
The writing is dull with few moments of intense (needlessly extreme) drama. Plus they have lines like “I love Netflix!” in a Netflix show. Don’t think we wouldn’t catch that, Netflix. If it was meant to be ironic it missed the mark.
Despite the short nature of the series, you’d think I’d have grown attached to at least one character in the series, but I didn’t. There wasn’t a single character that I felt any emotions for by the end of the series, which likely has to do with there being over a dozen of them. I want to feel some extreme emotion when I’m watching a drama. Unfortunately, all I felt was embarrassment.
The lack of an overarching story line does not help the lack of care viewers will have for the show. Throughout the 10 episodes little is set-up to happen long term. One storyline could be considered an arc in the terms that each series of events directly relates to each other, but it just seemed strange. I’ve never been a big fan of dramas, but this one is definitely bottom of the list. When I’m looking for a drama I want something that will suck me in from episode to episode. I want to be rooting for certain characters and entirely hate others. Shows like Gossip Girl have this down because it’s just one cliff-hanger after the next and everything eventually relates to each other (I’m not saying Gossip Girl is amazing, but it’s better than this).
Perhaps making this series have longer episodes would have helped flush out the characters, but I’m not sure. It’s just another teen drama, but worse.
Over all I give it an F. Don’t bother watching it.