2016 Emmys FYC #3 (Degrassi: Next Class)


It’s that time again! That’s right. It’s Emmy season. And ballots for most of the major categories have been released to the public. For the next few weeks, I will be discussing and making pleas for some of the “children,” family, and youth programs from the 2015-2016 season that I believe deserve a shot an Emmy. I’ll also, of course, predict whether these programs even have a chance in the first place. 

Sigh…I was hoping to do more of these posts before Emmy voting closed (feels like voters aren’t given a lot of time). But, hey, at least I did everything I could with Gortimer Gibbon’s, which I think is on the bubble. On the other hand, Degrassi getting a nomination is probably more of a sure thing.

Degrassi is a show I have watched and enjoyed since I was ten years old (I’m 25 now). I cried when Craig freaked out at the school dance at the end of season two. I gasped when JT died in season 6. I rolled my eyes when Claire and Eli had another break up. The show has had its highs (first four seasons) and its lows (c’mon, most fans knew  was season 8 and 9). After season fourteen, the now irrelevant TeenNick decided to cut the chord of its tentpole. Netflix quickly picked Degrassi up and a “new” show, Degrassi: Next Class, was born. And the show, similar to season ten, was renewed with fresh energy and really dramatic, engaging story lines. This season (season 15, season 1 whatever) is the show’s strongest stretch of episodes since the first half of season ten, mostly because of the show’s tackling of gender politics and feminism. In fact, I don’t think another teen drama has done a better job with dealing with the complications of feminism. #NotAllMen is a particularly memorable episode that deals with these issues (particularly because it’s centered on gaming). It feels like Netflix (and Canada’s Family Channel) has given the show more freedom to go back to the show’s roots, when it was about dealing with real, relevant issues. I am so looking forward the next season, which premieres in the US in a few weeks.

What are the chances?

While the show has been popular with Canadian television awards since its inception, Degrassi didn’t receive its first “Children’s Program” Emmy nomination until 2011, for its tenth season. (I don’t know whether the show didn’t become eligible until that yeaor what. It’s Canadian-produced, so that might have been thing that prevented it from competing during its earlier acclaimed years). They were nominated for one of the greatest episodes of television to cover transgenderism “My Body is a Cage.” They won a Peabody for that episode, but criminally lost the Emmy to some HBO special where celebrities read poetry. Besides one year, they’ve been nominated every year since then. So, there’s a very high chance they’ll get a nomination this year, but they’re also capable of being snubbed. This year has been so great for the show. They not only deserve another nomination, but this could be the year they finally win.


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