Canadian teen drama Degrassi is returning to TV yet again. This will be the fifth-ish incarnation of the franchise which started with Degrassi Junior High, but continued on with Degrassi High, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Degrassi: Next Class, and now: 'Degrassi'.
Purists will also note Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Talks, and Degrassi: School's Out. But let's stay focused on what this news story is aboot.
The new version of the show has been picked up for 10 episodes by HBO Max, with the show set to debut in the US Spring of this year (so, just a few months away). Like the Degrassi franchise, the show will focus on the grounded and realistic experiences of a group of teens in Toronto.
I like that every generation of kids has its own Degrassi, with characters and experiences that reflect the modern era. Interestingly, Linda Schuyler, who created the show alongside her then-husband Kit Hood, is not connected with the new series. Schuyler (who has now likely retired) had been involved with every incarnation of the show. It was when Kit Hood was no longer involved that the show lost what I thought was great about the format, which was the faux-documentary plain look about the show. It will be interesting to see if the new version embraces Hood's original aesthetic, or if it embraces the slightly glossier Schuyler-controlled Next Generation look.
I'll be interested to see what the show looks like. But, let's be real: whatever I think about the new version is irrelevant - I am well aged-out of the Degrassi audience and likely won't even be able to identify what pro-nouns the kids are using now.
Reviews are in for How I Met Your Father
The original show was fun at first, but got increasingly spotty. This series revamp starring Hillary Duff... things don't look hugely promising. The trailer was a dud. And now reviews are, well, not glowing.
Here's Caroline Framke at Variety:
“How I Met Your Father” is just a bizarre exercise in recycling nostalgia for modern times without finding a way to be modern at all.
Dave Nemetz at TV Line:
The cast is plenty likable, but the punchlines they’re given are lame, with lots of tired Tinder jokes, and the laugh track is loud and distracting. (That’s one aspect of HIMYM they could’ve left in the past.) How I Met Your Father has a real CBS sitcom feel to it, somehow, despite being on a streaming service. It does get a lot racier than HIMYM, though, with a sex toy mishap that would never play on CBS.
The sitcom faces one major hurdle in the streaming era. Quite often the first few episodes of a sitcom don't play entirely well as the show settles in with its characters and finds what does and doesn't work with them and how they sit within the show premise. In the olden days of broadcast, it was okay - audiences could still find a show after it got better. But in streaming viewers begin with episode one and never midway through a series run. So, if this show clunks with its debut, good luck finding an audience who stick around.
Will Arnett improvises his way through a murder
This sounds like it has the potential to be fun, but... well, we'll get to that in a moment.
The new Will Arnett comedy series Murderville debuts on Netflix Feb 3. It has Arnett playing Snr Detective Terry Seattle, a homicide detective. Every episode has him teaming up with a celebrity guest star as his partner. The gimmick of the show is that the guest star isn't given the script - they must improvise their way through the murder mystery investigation alongside Arnett, who I assume doesn't make it easy for them.
Celebrity investigators include Annie Murphy, Conan O'Brien, Ken Jeong, Kumail Nanjiani, Marshawn Lynch, and Sharon Stone.
The premise sounds like a fun idea, but I'm curious about how well the improvised nature of it will play out on screen. Think about this vs the Aussie comedy format (adapted in multiple countries internationally) Thank God You're Here. That show had a similar hook with a celebrity player walking into a scene and having to figure out what is taking place. The reason that show worked so well is it plays out in front of a live audience. Without that element of heightened engagement, I fear this may come off as a little flat. We'll see how it goes when Murderville launches.
New Girl stars reunite for New Girl podcast
Three stars of New Girl are set to rewatch the show episode by episode for a new podcast. Zooey Deschanel, Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris will take to the microphones and play games of True American and reminisce about making the show.
I remember a time where actors used to try to distance themselves from a popular show ASAP once production finished. But there's some not unreasonable money to be made from doing this kind of thing. Just look at the success of the multiple The Office and The Sopranos podcasts featuring stars from their shows recapping.
- Paramount+ has cancelled 60 Minutes+. Perhaps two versions of 60 Minutes each week is too many? Read: Deadline
- UK prison drama Screw has been sold to BritBox in Australia and TVNZ in New Zealand. Read: Deadline
- The Godfather of Harlem has been renewed for season 3. Read: thefutoncritic
- Chicago PD has paused production thanks to COVID. Read: Deadline
Super Pumped debuts its first season, focused on Travis Kalanick at Uber, Feb 27 on Showtime.
Against The Ice debuts March 2 on Netflix.
State of The Union season 2 debuts Feb 14 on SundanceTV, Sundance Now and AMC+. Brendan Gleeson and Patricia Clarkson star this season.
Supernatural Academy debuts Jan 20 on Peacock.
Raised By Wolves returns Feb 3 for season 2.
BigBug debuts Feb 11 on Netflix. This is Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s first feature film in a decade.
Anne+ The Film is coming to Netflix Feb 11.
That's it for the newsletter today - stick around later today for the weekly Always Be Streaming newsletter which lists the new and returning shows from the US, UK, and Australia with a few additional thoughts.