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Degrassi Junior High: Season 1

Amanda Cook , Niki Kemeny , Clarke Mackey , John Bertram    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 44.99
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Degrassi Junior High: Season 1 + Degrassi Junior High:S2 + Degrassi Junior High: Season 3
Price For All Three: CDN$ 49.72

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Welcome to the Degrassi universe. Popular in Canada and on American public television, the Toronto-set Degrassi Junior High kicked into gear in 1987 as a follow-up to the short-lived The Kids of Degrassi Street, then morphed two years later into Degrassi High. Several specials followed, leading to Degrassi: The Next Generation, still going strong since 2001 and featuring some of the original teen actors from the first series, their characters now parents and teachers. Degrassi Junior High: Season One is the ideal way to begin exploring many years of Degrassi's slice-of-life fare from longtime co-creators Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood, who positioned the early series as a realistic yet entertaining alternative to frothier sitcoms set in schools.

The first thing one notices about the show is that the cast members look like real kids: largely unformed, physically awkward, short, initially indistinguishable from one another. This less-than-idealized picture of flowering youth perfectly suits the dramedy's sometimes unflattering if sympathetic portrait of adolescent experimentation and angst. Degrassi's characters frequently act before they think, leading to embarrassment and dilemmas over values, such as a decision by 8th-grader Steph Kaye (Nicole Stoffman) to run for class president at the same time she's tarting up her wardrobe and allowing every boy around to kiss her. Confusing one type of popularity for another, Steph grows uncomfortable and experiences a loss of esteem. In "The Big Dance," Steph and three friends get drunk before a school hop; in "The Experiment," Yick Yu (Siluck Saysanasy) deals with academic despair by copying another student's old assignments; and in "Smokescreen," Rick Munro (Craig Driscoll) tries to impress a girl by joining an anti-pollution committee despite having little interest in the subject. On the other hand, Degrassi's students often do the right thing for the right reason. In the sweet "Rumor Has It," Caitlin (Stacie Mistysyn) denies that her favorite teacher is gay, only to confide in that same teacher that she dreams, too, that her friends perceive her to be gay as well. Whether the subject is teen pregnancy, child abuse, or body development, Degrassi Junior High has a way of tackling tough material in an enjoyable, family-friendly, and unusually forthright manner. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's finally out Degrassi fans!!! Feb. 8 2005
By A Customer
I just got this gem today!!! I was too excited that it finally came out and on DVD! Why didn't it come out sooner?!? I so far just watched the first three episodes! This is one of the few DVDs I got without any hesitation! I feel the price is great too considering a single DVD can cost just as much! I already have friends and coworkers wanting to borrow this! ^_^ Sorry this isn't much a review it's more a celebration of the release date today!!!
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By A Customer
When I bought this set I was excited about getting the original episodes without commercials and hopefully digitally mastered and cleaned up. Boy was I wrong. The image quality on these DVDs are terrible. I'm not sure if it was the original film stock or just lack of effort on the part of WGBH, the producers of the DVD, but the episodes look dark and grainy. It might have more to do with the former because I've seen the episodes on TV and on VHS and they all look the same.
The biggest problem with the DVDs, though, is the artifacting of the image. Anytime something moves you can see slight pixelation. This is something one sees on low bitrate VCDs. You'd think a DVD with only 4 half hour episodes (5 if you include the bonus Degrassi Talks) would be authored at a high bitrate. I've seen other TV shows with 4-50 minute episodes per disc with better quality images. But then again, they don't put all of the episodes on one side of the disc. If you've seen those budget label DVDs where you get three films on one disc, and you notice how the image fragments slightly when people move, that's what you see on these Degrassi discs.
For the money you have to pay to get these, you'd be better off just taping the episodes off the TV because they would look 10 times better than these discs.
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To check out the old Degrassi Junior High school because It deals
with a other more issues that teenager are facing today and 1987 ! The New Degrassi is like watching 90210 in early 1990's !
Degrassi Junior High school from 1987 was far more better then 90210 was in 1990 ! The old Degrassi Junior high school had more drama right up to their high school years !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Degrassi....it's about time! March 19 2005
By janet
These DVD's are awesome. It's about time they came out on video. The only thing that disappointed me was that it's the PBS version of the episodes...so some of the classic stuff we saw on the CBC versions is cut out. But owell..it's just exciting that they're finally out for all the cult degrassi fans out there!
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