Degrassi Junior High: Season One

The moment that millions of Canadians have waited for has finally arrived, as one of this country's greatest television achievements has finally been released on DVD. The Degrassi series has been a staple for anyone who actually attended high school in the '80s, and the legacy of Joey Jeremiah, Snake and Wheels is so powerful that it's now spreading to the next generation. Though this beloved series began with the Kids of Degrassi Street, it wasn't until Junior High kicked in that pre-teens felt as though they too had homeroom with Spike, or shared all of life's problems with Yick. This first season started quickly out of the gate, tackling everything from shoplifting to drug use to teen pregnancy, as well as countless other issues no other television show would date touch at the time. Even to this day most shows geared towards teenagers would rather deal with absurd and unrealistic scenarios for sensationalistic results than deal with problems their viewers may experience. But instead of it feeling like a stuffy educational show, Degrassi felt warm because its characters were real, awkward and somewhat unattractive, just like real high school! Season one has many classic moments, such as super-hoe Stephanie Kaye downing a glass of Kahlua like a milkshake and getting wasted at the school dance, as well as the repressed Voula getting roped into a clothes nicking scheme with the fashionable Lucy. The real bombshell has to be Shane knocking up everyone's favourite punk rock girl, Spike, leading to the death of the expecting couple's parenting class project, Eggbert. The DVD is definitely aimed towards the educational side of Degrassi, even coming with PDFs for teachers to print out for their students. There's also the infamous Degrassi Talks episodes in which the more elite cast, such as Joey and Caitlin, travel across Canada to address kids about drugs and sexuality. The episodes are definitely on the serious tip, and are informative, but you are going to have a hard time not laughing at the sight of Wheels talking to some dude in prison about crack. It's great to finally have these classic episodes on DVD, but it would have been nice had they pieced this box set together with fans in mind rather than using it as an educational tool. Really, how hard is it to track down one of the dozens of cast members who are spotted on a daily basis busing tables on Yonge Street? (Vid Canada)