I love Degrassi: The Next Generation. Not only is it a great show, it also reminds me of the differences between Canada and the US, the differences that I love and celebrate.
Degrassi addresses the problems teenagers encounter in real life with a lot of common sense and with a profound understanding of today's realities. The show is supported by the government of Ontario and this tells us a lot about Canada.
Degrassi addresses the issues of teen sexuality with a lot of honesty. There is no attempt to demonize adolescent sexuality or to condemn it outright. The show doesn't have the boring preachings about the evils of having sex for young women that plague similar US teen dramas. The kids on Degrassi experiment with sex, have numerous partners, and explore their sexuality in a variety of ways. Several characters are openly gay and the show promotes the idea that this is perfectly normal and anybody who fails to accept this is wrong and unenlightened.
Unlike its American counterparts, the show doesn't condescend to its young viewers. It doesn't treat teenagers as little idiots who need to be preached to and admonished on a regular basis.
I love watching Degrassi because it shows the teenage experience the way it should be. Everybody in the show is kind, tolerant, and understanding. People make mistakes but always repent and come back to a message of kindness and acceptance of difference.