Degrassi Junior High: Season 2

This groundbreaking and essential series entered its second season with even bigger problems for the likes of Snake and Wheels to deal with. As the children of Degrassi continued to grow, so did the weight of being a teenager in '80s Toronto, ranging from wet dreams to alcoholism to pregnancy. These topics might not sound like a big deal for today's TV shows, but these issues were a heavy load for a series to tackle back in the day, and Degrassi did it in a convincing fashion that was painfully real. In the second season, the biggest plot line centred on parents-to-be Shane and Spike, bringing down the house at Degrassi Junior High and forcing the large-haired punk beauty to be kicked out of school for setting a bad example. This season also saw the introduction of the underused Liz, a fellow punk rebel that's so dreamy that Joey Jeremiah puts himself through an embarrassing trip to Shopper's Drug Mart in order to score condoms for his study date with the borderline skinhead. Even after almost 20 years, Degrassi is still one of the best attempts at teaching children a lesson in life, and they did it all without the use of overacting rich kids from California. The DVD set is identical to the first season, in the sense that they are pushing the collection as a teacher's aid, complete with printable materials for education purposes, as well as more episodes of Degrassi Talks. Seeing the cast interview kids from back in the day about drinking beer is good for a laugh, but the tune is changed when you see how drinking tears families apart and how one girl became a 17-year-old alcoholic. The greatest thing about finally releasing Degrassi on DVD is reliving the episodes at the press of a button, but when it comes to the extras it really would be nice if they would focus more on the impact of the show in future editions. Maybe when they run out of Degrassi Talks episodes we'll finally get episode commentary from Kevin Smith or the reunion episode of Jonovision. (Vid Canada)