While Orphan Black, Big Brother Canada and Bitten have received most of the attention for being the best Canadian programs currently on-air, there is one stalwart performer that is often overlooked for both its stability and its consistent ability to appeal to a young audience.
It’s hard to believe that Degrassi is currently in its 14th season and like a fine wine, the teen drama seems to only get better with age.
Instead of focusing on storylines that aren’t realistic (a tendency of many U.S. primetime soaps), Degrassi has a knack for finding relevant storylines that its entire audience can relate to. While the show has bounced from Much to MTV, that is really the only change as the show still delivers strong acting and great writing each week.
Perhaps what is most impressive about the show, is the way that it flawlessly embeds new characters into each season. Instead of lamenting the loss of fan favourites, Degrassi is able to seamlessly introduce new kids into the cast, making it much more like Friday Night Lights instead of Saved By The Bell.
Last summer, I had the chance to visit Degrassi and was given a tour of the set by Cristine Prosperi. Cristine (who plays Imogen on the series) was one of the first Degrassi stars that I interviewed back in 2011 and since then has easily become one of the most popular actors on the show. She is easily my favourite on Degrassi and I insisted that she be the one to show me around.
Cristine took me everywhere as we walked from the main foyer to the MI Room. She took me behind-the-scenes at Miles’ Mansion and we also stopped for a coffee at The Dot. One of the most fascinating aspects of the tour was when she explained how the show managed to transform its Toronto location into France in the early part of the season. We scoped out the hair & make-up room, tried on some clothes in Wardrobe, and even saw some photos of Shenae Grimes in Clare’s bedroom.
After the tour, I sat down with Cristine to discuss her time on Degrassi, and how the show still manages to retain its relevancy after so many years. She also gave me some tips on how to improve my Instagramming skills.
I also spoke with Lyle Lettau who offered great insight into the transition from being a relative unknown on the show to being one of its foremost faces.
Check out the video above!
Degrassi airs tonight at 9 p.m. on MTV and its season finale airs on April 22. After Degrassi airs at 9:30 PM
Tags: Cristine Prosperi, Degrassi, murtz, Murtz Jaffer