Teen Drama TV Shows You Might Not Realize ‘Grand Army’ Borrowed From

Grand Army follows suit from other popular shows like Degrassi, 90210, Gossip Girl, Skins, by recycling plots, characters, and concepts.

Karagan Knowles

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: May 27th, 2021 9:00 pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

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Grand Army premiered its first season on Netflix in Oct. 2020 and it gained both criticism and popularity through its use of raw and real social issues that teenagers could face today. This concept isn’t new though, it can also be seen in other teen drama series in the past. 

Grand Army

Credit: Netflix

High school teen drama tv shows do well for their projected audience because of their ability to be relatable. What that audience may not realize, is there are several shows that reuse the same sense of relatability just with a different story line. 

The nine episode drama follows five main characters navigating through their Brooklyn based high school: Grand Army. Similar to the Canadian Television Drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, the name of the school as the title of the series serves for a bigger purpose than just being catchy.

Degrassi is one of the longest running dramatic television series in Canadian history. The strategy of the show using the name of the high school it portrays as its own allows for the series to appear timeless. Similar to shows like 90210, which uses the zip code of Beverly Hills where the series takes place as its title, the constant setting gives the viewer a sense of familiarity so that the characters and plots themselves do not have to remain the same. Grand Army recycles this strategy as we follow the main characters who have little in common besides the school they go to.

A popular tactic that made Degrassi: The Next Generation a 14 season long series was the introduction of new main characters every season. The characters that viewers fell in love with in season one did not stay around until season 14. They graduate, new characters enter high school, and life goes on. It’s relatable. The UK teen drama series Skins also follows this tactic.

Similar to Degrassi, Skins introduces new characters to replace old ones as seasons continue and the main characters could be constantly changing by episode. Both dramas do this by introducing siblings of past characters entering high school or making the new transfer a love interest of a current character and then keeping them around even after the relationship ends.

Throughout season one of Grand Army, there were multiple scenes where the main characters’ siblings are introduced to the audience in a way that could foreshadow their spotlight in coming seasons. 

This tactic can also be seen in the drama series Gossip Girl, where Serena’s brother Eric and Dan’s sister Jenny were introduced as minor characters in the first season and then grow to have their own full storylines and personal following from viewers.

Grand Army is rumored to expand those who are seen as main characters and not follow their stories once they graduate from high school. This is different from 90’s and early 2000’s teen dramas like 90210 and Gossip Girl, both series’ that follow the main characters as they start and continue their adult lives. The introduction of new characters or minor characters serving more important roles is something viewers can look forward to in season two.

Even though television can recycle certain plots, strategies, and even character development, the genre of teen drama is well-received by the age group it features. Grand Army received positive feedback and anticipation for another season from Gen Z because the portrayal of drama in high school appears to be timeless – a lesson we can learn by watching other teen drama series that came before.

About The Author:

Karagan Knowles is a journalism major at Emerson College in Boston and an intern with Afterbuzz TV. She is pursuing a career in broadcast reporting and production.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

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