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Degrassi Junior High - season one
cast: Pat Mastroianni, Stefan Brogren, Neil Hope, Dan Woods, and Stacie Mistysyn

producer: Linda Schuyler
456 minutes (PG) 2006
Fabulous DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 2/10
reviewed by Christopher Teague
Twenty years is a long time, especially in televisual terms. I was but a teenager when this series first aired on the BBC, a Canadian import set in a Torontonian high school, and (if I recall correctly) the show plugged the gap between seasons of Grange Hill.

Degrassi Junior High was, for the time, groundbreaking; it tackled 'issues' that affected teenagers (drink, drugs, sex, etc), but in the cold light of day (and through the eyes of a teenager-turned-adult) DJH had not a single iota of subtlety: the issues were bludgeoned into the viewer with all the charisma of Olly Plimsole from The League Of Gentlemen - DJH felt like it was written by what The Daily Mail would call, 'lentil-eating loony lefties'.

By contrast, I've re-watched several episodes of Grange Hill (again through the eyes of a teenager-turned-adult) and DJH plays quite twee; GH gave us the image of Zammo scrabbling on the floor of the gym for his foil of heroin (a scene which even today you'll rarely see in adult programming).

It is, though, the lack of humour that makes DJH a cringe to watch, despite the fact its heart was in the right place, but a drama should, well, contain drama - it was rather boring to watch. In addition, to cite the lack of acting ability from the young cast would be rather churlish - but, sadly, it must be noted; I've seen better performances from the Tracy brothers.

Perhaps I'm being xenophobic in preferring Grange Hill to its Canadian counterpart, but I cannot see a market for anyone wishing to buy a three-disc DVD boxset - even with nostalgia, a one disc 'best of' would have sufficed.

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