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Featured TV on DVD Review: Degrassi: Season 10

October 17th, 2011

Degrassi: Season 10 - Buy from Amazon

This is a bit of a weird review, as I recently reviewed Season Ten, Part Two of Degrassi. How often does one review the second half of a season before reviewing the first half. Since I discuss quite a bit of what happened in the first half, in the first review, this will be a shorter review than it otherwise would be.

The Show

It's the beginning of the new school year and there are new kids coming to Degrassi Community School to replace all those no longer on the show (this includes some characters that have been on the show for the first nine years). There are also quite a few changes in the faculty, with Archibald "Snake" Simpson becoming the new principal and Cory Lee joining the cast as Miss Oh, the new computer lab teacher, who is young and hot. New students includes Bianca DeSousa (Alicia Josipovic), a "bad" girl with a past that she doesn't get into. (It isn't till season 11 that we really learn much about it.) Most of the storylines involving her deal with her getting into trouble for such stuff as selling diet pills or breaking up relationships. Eli Goldsworthy (Munro Chambers) has a goth sensibility and drives a hearse. He has feelings for Claire, but his first serious relationship ended in a way that left him pretty scared. Then there's Drew (Luke Bilyk) and Adam Torres (Jordan Todosey), two brothers who just moved nearby. Drew's a ladies man who starts dating Alli Bhandari, but for the first time starts actually having deeper feelings for a girl and that's messing with his game. As I pointed out in the previous review, Adam is definitely the best addition of the new season. I also discussed a lot of that story in-depth last time, so there is no need to repeat myself.

Early in the season, Holly J., who used to be the Queen Bee, finds out her family's financial situation has deteriorated to the point where her family has to sell the house. She still has the student body presidency to look forward to, until Sav Bhandari decides to run as well. She still has Yale to look forward to, except her college fund was lost. She doesn't even have enough money to pay for SAT prep classes. She has a really rough year and it only gets worse in the second half of the season. It is one of the better storylines introduced early in the season, as she goes from being Queen of the Mean Girls, to a more sympathetic character and this is a welcome change, (although that change doesn't come overnight). While conflict is always important in these shows, having a villain is dangerous, because you can easily get into cartoonish caricatures instead of reach characters. It's always better to just have two sympathetic characters whose goals bring them into conflict. This is also true of Fiona Coyne, who started out as a rich girl but this season has a lot she has to overcome, which makes her more likeable.

The other big storyline of the early part of the season involves Jenna Middleton. She's one of the members of the cheerleading squad, who starts the season dating K.C. Early on she's trying to lose weight because she can no longer fit into her uniform. Diet pills don't work, and she's later finds out why. She's pregnant. Unfortunately, K.C.'s not the most reliable guy and he's dealing with problems of his own. His mom is an ex-con who just got out of jail and tries to reconnect with him.

Most of the rest of the major storylines I touched on previously, like the Boiler Room Scandal and so that's a good place to stop. Season Ten, Part Two was awarded Pick of the Week when it came out in September, and I'm happy to report the first half of the season is just as good. There's a lot more setup work for storylines that don't payoff till the last half of the season, but there are also a lot of absolutely amazing episodes during the first half as well. There's a good reason why My Body is a Cage and All Falls Down won awards.

The Extras

First of all, the two-disc volume one DVD is on flipper discs. I hate flipper discs. The extras on volume one include two music videos and six minutes of outtakes. Plus there's are Webisodes on part two.

The Verdict

As a long, long time fan of the Degrassi franchise, I'm amazed how consistent the show is in terms of quality. Granted, I miss some of the cast that left the show after season nine, but the new cast members blended in with the old and there's a lot of chemistry on the show. If you didn't pick up the two volumes individually, then Season Ten is a must have for fans of the show. And if you haven't seen the show before, it's a great place to jump in, although I would recommend starting at the beginning.

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