Until recently, the only people checking on the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation were teen girls and die-hard fans of the original '80s series. But in the last year, all of that's changed.
Between Drake storming the hip-hop scene with his single "Best I Ever Had," Shenae Grimes' starring role on 90210, Nina Dobrev's part in the upcoming series Vampire Diaries and Jake Epstein's lead in the touring company of Spring Awakening, Degrassi has proven to be a potent launching pad for some of the best American pop culture.
Not that the show itself isn't still viable. It's in its ninth season and, on August 15, The-N will air Degrassi Goes Hollywood, a made-for-TV movie starring favorite characters from the series making their way in the world after high school. The movie reunites the Degrassi kids with director Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (who had a multi-episode arc a few seasons back when they were in town filming the fictional Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh?). This time they're shooting Mewes-ical High and both Manny (Cassie Steele) and Paige (Lauren Collins) are vying for the lead role. Along the way, they run into other celebs like Pete Wentz, Perez Hilton and Hey Monday's Cassadee Pope.
When Degrassi isn't filming, many of the other cast members are trying their hand at music as well. Steele, Epstein and Mike Lobel, who plays Jay Hogart, have bands (both Epstein and Steele have songs on Degrassi Goes Hollywood's soundtrack). Miriam McDonald, who plays Emma Nelson, is still acting and Farber's role as a journalist has resulted in real-life magazine gigs.