I recall that several decades ago - probably at some point in the late 1980s, I came across one of the Degrassi series' on PBS and found it to be an interesting look into a world that I was not yet familiar with. It was a "teen" thing, albeit with a serious tone when compared to what I was used to seeing, I being on the cusp of my own teen years at the time. Distinctly Canadian in its look, it felt like peering into an alternate world, and perhaps that's part of the appeal that's kept the franchise going since 1979. It is an alternate world - one that real kids are living in, and one that grown-ups often become detached from - a mirror reflection of society at the time, with each iteration of Degrassi tackling some tough topics that other series' and networks would be afraid to approach, doing so in a frank, and sometimes unsettling manner. For the latest evolution of the franchise, DEGRASSI: NEXT CLASS has come to Netflix, the first class to truly address what's being called "Generation Z" - the always-connected, social media-obsessed teens that are navigating life in 2016. As a parent, some of the content is terrifying - particularly because we have daughters that are less than a decade from their own teen years, and... things just seem different now, and who knows what they'll be then?
My friends over at PBS KIDS just made a big announcement about a brand-new series from Sinking Ship Entertainment and The Fred Rogers Company. Created by Tim McKeon (Fosterʼs Home for Imaginary Friends, Adventure Time, The Electric Company) and Adam Peltzman (The Electric Company, The Backyardigans, Wallykazam!), ODD SQUAD is a live-action transmedia property geared toward helping kids ages 5-8 learn math. The series will focus on two young agents, Olive and Otto, who serve as part of the ODD SQUAD, solving cases that rank among the unusual. Within each case, a math concept will be presented.