Beloved Teen Drama Series Reboot Was Just Canceled, And Fans Aren’t Happy
HBO Max will no longer move forward with a planned revival of the Degrassi series, much to devoted fans' dismay.
HBO Max has decided not to move forward with its Degrassi revival series, a decision that is upsetting fans of the beloved show. The streaming service announced a series order for the reboot in January with an expected 2023 release date and filming was expected to begin in Toronto this past summer. The WildBrain project was to be helmed by showrunners Lara Azzopardi, of The Bold Type fame, and Julia Cohen who previously worked on Riverdale and A Million Little Things.
Consisting of 10-hour-long episodes, the Degrassi reboot was said to be a reprise of the original series. Set in Toronto, the story would have followed a group of teenagers and school faculty living in the shadow of events that bind them together and tear them apart. It was also going to examine the home life of its diverse, complicated characters, as they struggle to find their new normal, reaching for hope, redemption, and love.
The Degrassi revival is a casualty of post-merger cutbacks at Warner Bros. Discovery. However, the 14 seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation which HBO Max acquired remain on the streamer. Along with the teen drama, the studio has made several cuts to programming targeted at kids and families in recent months.
This includes the cancellation of Gordita Chronicles and the animated series Little Ellen at HBO Max. Hundreds of older episodes of Sesame Street have also been from the streamer, The Hollywood Reporter says. Created by Kit Hood and Linda Schuyler in 1979, Degrassi began as a series of short stories about kids living near the eponymous De Grassi Street in Toronto, Canada.
The show debuted on Canada’s CBC in 1980 under the title, The Kids of Degrassi Street. Later, it focused on a group of ethnically and economically diverse teenagers attending schools with the same name as they faced several issues prevalent with teenagers. Due to its popularity, the series spawned six main series from 1979 to 2017.
This includes The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Degrassi: Next Class. There were also television specials and made-for-TV movies featuring characters from the series, along with literary adaptations, soundtracks, and non-fiction documentaries. The now-defunct reboot would have been the seventh season in the flagship show’s continuity.
Since its premiere, Degrassi has had a significant cultural impact on viewers. Over the years, the series received critical acclaim, several accolades, and even a little controversy for its realistic depictions of teenage life. So it’s no surprise that the franchise is considered one of Canada’s greatest television achievements, winning hundreds of awards during its four-decade run.
Adding to its success, actors from the franchise have achieved wider recognition due to their time on the series. The most notable talents are Canadian actor-turned-rapper Drake, who starred in the first seven seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Nina Dobrev who appeared in seasons six through nine.
Speaking (via The Hollywood Reporter) about Warner Bros’ brutal axing of shows, like Degrassi, David Zaslav said the company didn’t scrap a single show that would help them in any way. Going forward, the CEO also vowed to replace those shows with content that has a chance to be more successful, and have a larger audience. But his business-focused sentiment doesn’t give any comfort to disappointed fans.