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TV Review: South Of Nowhere

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The N’s new series, South Of Nowhere, is the channel’s first original teen drama that isn’t from Canada. With a diverse cast, a gritty documentary-style look and a willingness to push boundaries, The N may have found the perfect companion series to Degrassi.

Created by Thomas Lynch, South Of Nowhere revolves around the Carlin family. They have just moved from small town Ohio to Los Angeles and are trying to adjust to city life in California. The father, Arthur Carlin (Rob Moran) is a social worker and his wife, Paula (Maeve Quinlan), is a doctor. They are raising three teenagers. Glen (Chris Hunter) is a jock who was a star at his old school and now has to adjust to competing with his new basketball team’s current star Aiden (Matt Cohen). Spencer (Gabrielle Christian) is a cheerleader who is struggling with her sexual orientation. She seems to have a crush on her new friend Ashley (Mandy Musgrave), a girl who is rumored to be a lesbian. Clay (Danso Gordon) is the Carlin’s African-American adopted son. He is very intelligent and doesn’t act “black.” A friendship (sort of) begins to develop between Clay and Sean (Austen Parros), a tough but also intelligent teen who is pretty much the opposite of Clay.

One of the things I like about South Of Nowhere is the realism depicted in the show. Most of the dialogue feels pretty natural and you don’t get the sense that things are being sanitized. Also, there are little things that helped make things seem more real. In one scene, the Carlin family sits down to dinner at the dinner table. They hold hands and say grace before eating. As I watched that, I realized how rare it is to see a family on television actually say grace before they eat.

The one thing this show thrives on, even more than Degrassi, is the clash of different cultures, different ideas and different ways of life. The burgeoning friend/relationship between Spencer and Ashley will have repercussions throughout the series. Aiden got Ashley pregnant, but she lost the baby. Now, Aiden (who is currently with Sherry, the captain of the cheerleading squad) looks to have a crush on Spencer. At the same time, Spencer’s brother Glen has the hots for Ashley. Sherry hates Ashley and all but outs Spencer at the school dance. Aiden is at odds with Glen because he (and more importantly, Sherry) is worried about losing his star status on the basketball team. Meanwhile, Clay comes faces how sheltered his life in Ohio was. He gets beat up for talking with a guy’s girlfriend and when he tries to defend her honor. Clay also experiences his first “driving while black” incident while riding with Sean. Finally, based on the dialogue, it’s clear that the parents have very different philosophies (think Sandy and Kirsten on The OC). If/when Spencer comes out of the closet, there is bound to be fireworks between the two.

The look of South Of Nowhere is another thing that sets it apart from Degrassi. The show is shot documentary-style with handheld cameras. This style, along with the slightly washed-out color palette, gives the show a grittier look compared to the polished Degrassi. Sometimes the shaky camera is a little annoying (especially in scene transitions), but the show is compelling enough that the shakiness doesn’t distract you for long.

Overall, South Of Nowhere is an entertaining, realistic and edgy teen drama. The writing is pretty strong, and the characters are appealing. There are some issues here and there. Spencer’s character development moved a little too fast for me in this first episode. One scene, she’s reserved; the next scene, she’s openly giving Ashley longing looks. Also, this first episode seemed like it was more about setting up the various conflicts than really establishing characters. We don’t even know how Clay became part of the Carlin household yet. I hope that future episodes will have more character development. It remains to be seen if South Of Nowhere will be as revered as Degrassi. However, I’m very glad that it is not a Degrassi clone. Even though the shows are kindred spirits, they are very different. I hope that The N will continue to invest in original, homegrown scripted shows.

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  • Lani

    LOVVEEE LOVE LOVE LOVEEEEE south of nowhere!!

  • Ms Vague

    This show must liiiveeeeee.

    -goes crazy-

  • Eve

    Absolutely love the show!
    I’m from holland so can’t watch it here, hope it will come soon to Europe!

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Well done, Sterfish. You present the show’s interesting points so well, I almost wish I could see it, even though it’s clearly not the sort of thing that would usually be my cup of tea.

    Also I must commend you for correctly using the word “palette,” which so many people these days tend to write as “palate” (a word with an entirely different meaning but also correctly spelled, so spell-checkers fail to catch the error).

    Just one minor possible improvement to suggest. As someone who doesn’t watch much television, I’m not familiar with “The N.” A brief explanation of what that is, or even a link to its own web site, would have been helpful to me.

  • Ali

    i’ve been a huge fan of Degrassi, but now i have another favorite show!
    i LOOOOOOVE South Of Nowhere!!! and i hope it’ll stay for many seasons!!!

  • http://December10,2005 Christina

    Ok I love Degrassi But now that I watch South of Nowhere Degrassi just dont seem as good as it was South of Nowhere just WOW! I cant tell you how much I love the show.

  • http://December10,2005 Christina

    I just seen the show like to days go I’am A huge fan of the show that is so awesome I just love that show. The actress and actar are great that make it so really you know.

  • http://December10,2005 Christina

    South of Nowhere how can I tell you how much I love the show Well for one thing I can watch the show over and over and never get sick of watching that show. The actress and actar are so great the make the show so really and I think that what people like so much about it.I just got done watching that show for second time I know that I never get sick of it.

  • Germana

    I love the show! I’ve been downloading the episodes week after week since in Brazil we still don´t have it on TV.

  • the Used babe

    hey does anyone know if South of nowhere gets played in canada????and what channel????

  • Laura

    I love South of Nowhere.

    But “Sherry” isn’t the captain of the cheerleading squad’s name.. it is Madison.

    Sorry, the name error confused me when I first read it.

  • Sonia

    I love South of Nowhere!!! It is my new favorite show ever! Ashley’s my favorite. lol

  • http://love caligurl

    I do have to agree this show s.o.n rocks to be onest I Looovvvee it.But my luv for degrassi is stiill strong. HaHaHAHA

  • cuty

    I tottly agrre with caligirl this show is amazing LUV cuty hm hm hm hm hm hm

  • Mrs.Cohen

    matthew cohen is sooo hot! hes mine ladies so back off..lol

  • KD

    When will it come out on DVD?

  • Russia

    What channel does this show comes on?

  • http://OHIO angela sesto

    I LOVE SOUTH OF NOWHERE!!!!!! ITS THE NEXT BEST THING NEXT TO MTVS LAGUNA BEACH!!!I LUV ASHLEY AND SPENCER 4EVA I HOPE THERE IS A SEASON 2 LOL!!!!

  • http://OHIO LAGUNACHICA69

    THIS SHOW ROCKS!! ASHLEY IS SOOOOO COOL SHE DOES NOT CARE WUT OTHER PEEPS THINK ABOUT HER!!! AND THAT ROCKS I LOVE ASHLEY AND SPENCER!!!EVERYONE HOPE 4 A SEASON 2!!

  • caitrox_freebird16

    I absolutely lOOOOOOOOOOOOVE South of Nowhere! I am totally obsessed. Ashley is the best. Being straight myself, even I say she is a hottttt chick. LONG LIVE S.O.N.

  • http://ohio lezchick69

    SOUTH OF NOWHERE IS THE HOTTEST SHOW ON TV!! ASHLEY IS THE SEXIEST GIRL ON TV AND SPENCER IS SOOOOOOOOOOO HOT!!

  • Maddy

    Hate this show. Hate. I love Degrassi, but South of Nowhere just didn’t do it for me.

  • basketballer_4evr

    I love that show, escpecially Aiden he’s SOOOOOO HOT!!!!!!!!So is Aubrey Graham off Degrassi!!THEIR BOTH HOT!!!

  • RebelHotti

    MADDY U DON’T NO WAT U R MISSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BUT I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE SOUTH OF NOWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I SO ROCS!!!!!!!!!!! ITS BETTER THAN NE SHOW ON TV!!!! BUT I CAN’T WAIT NE LONGER 4 SEASON 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://2772 cheerios

    I love South of Nowhere spencer and ashley helped me find who I am and spencer your soooooooo hot ashley you to, I wish the show would comes back soon THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • katie hewitt

    hey I love south of nowhere matt cohen is sooooooo hot i hope the show comes back soon bye=)

    love ya ,
    Katie

  • kris

    I hate this show. Absolutely cant stand it. This show depicts how an adult might see adolesence instead of a teenager. The show possesses absolutely nothing of moral substance and is discracefully superficial. The acting is mediocre at best and the issues are fairly middle school based. As someone who actually lives in california, i can tell you that this show really doesnt portray what its actually like living in L.A unless your an upper class white family. The reality is that most people who live up in L.A are mexicans but i have yet to see an actual mexican on that show. I also hate the way they depict religion on the show. I find it incredibly insulting how they show how a “devout” catholic family acts. Its absolutely discraceful and im not even a catholic. A show about teenagers should show the progression of teenagers changing into responsible, moral adults and I think South of Nowhere shows the exact opposite. We see the main character (spencer’s) changing views and attitudes although none of them seem to change for the better. Yes, the discovery of your sexuality during your teenage years is sometimes a challenge for some- but it shouldnt be the emphasis of the show. Stuff like that you should worry about once you reach adulthood because everything as teenagers is confusing enough without having to label yourself. I love degrassi, but i cant stand this show.

  • Eric

    Kris, you are my new hero.
    I agree 150% with what you had to say.
    Good job.

  • Mike

    I love this show is fantastic and very real I realy hope a new season of this show

  • http://lovetheshow nicky

    I love the show how two friend come together.How one is trying to find out who she is.How at the end she liked ashley.Love it.

  • http://ANDWHAT SYLVIA

    THE PEOLPLE THAT DONT LIKE THIS SHOW SHOULDNT WATCH IT BUT DONT CRITICAL ABOUT IT,I THINK THIS SHOW IS LONG OVERDUE,I MYSELF AS AN OLDER 20SOMETHING GIRL WAS SHOCKED THAT I COULD ACTUALLY RELATE TO THE TOPICS,I THINK THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ASHLEY AND SPENSER WAS SO SWEET IT WASNT GRAPHIC OR DISRESPECTFUL IN ANY WAY THEY ARE BEST FRIENDS AND PEOLPLE ALWAYS SAY “FRIENDS ,MAKE THE BEST LOVERS” WEEL IN THIS CASE I AGREE AND BESIDES THE POINT THAT THESE 2 GIRLS ARE SO HOT AND TOGETHER THEY ARE SMOKING,HELL I JUST WISH THEY WERE OLDER LOL GOOD JOB GUYS THIS SHOW IS SICK I LOVE IT

  • LESBIAN LOVER

    I LOVE SOUTH OF NOWHERE IT IS MY FAVORIT SHOW. ASHLY IS SOOOOOO SEXY. I THINK HER AN SPENCER MAKE THE SHOW WORTH WATHING.THERE SHOULD BE MORE GIRL ON GIRL ACTION .

  • jelani

    I LUV THIS SHOW …. HU EVER DONT LYK DIS SHOW IS SOOO WACK…ASLEY ,AIDEN,AN SPENCER,LUV YA!!!!!

  • jelani

    OPPS I MEAN ASHLEY**

  • Taryn-Starr

    It totally sucks the show isn’t played in Canada. Atleast, I haven’t found it yet.

    Has the Season 1 DVD come out yet? Because seriously, I’m addicted to the show and I watched one episode when I was in New York. I should have probably just stayed there.

    So yeah, does anyone know if the Season 1 DVD has come out yet/when it will come out?

  • http://iluvgabbyandmandy stephanie

    I LOVE SOUTH OF NOWHERE SO MUCH I CANT WAIT INTEL OCTOBER 6TH [Personal contact info deleted]

  • Natasha

    Taryn – starr – i think i read somewhere that the DVD wont be released till the series go international. You could always try Limewire though. I downloaded the whole season from there because it’s not being shown in the UK yet either.

    Brilliant show…can’t wait till october although i have no idea how i’m going to see the show!!

  • Kissez 2 S.O.N

    Omg if you dont like south of nowhere you are a little outa this century. yeah im in love it. this is so realittyyyy . although i am not gay i think ash and spense are a reaaaallly cute couple. if there relationship wasnt going on you and i would nevaaaa watch the show. nothing is intresting between clay and his girlfriend or glenn and his. Whats interesting is the relationship btween ash and spencer. Omg get a life because south of nowhere is LIFE

  • L*MacK

    natasha – what did you search for in limewire to download the season?

  • Kissez 2 S.O.N

    does anyone know the link to mandy musgraves myspace???? i need it and i need it fast thanks<33

  • http://www.the-n.com/ntv/shows/index.php?id=531 Clone

    First off, I absolutely LOVE South of Nowhere! Gabrielle Christian is brave to take on such a roll. She is also absolutely beautiful, or if you would rather say hot, she’s that too.
    The thing I don’t really understand, is the reason of the-N or South of Nowhere not being available for Canada in any way (ie cable, dvd, vhs, etc.)!!! That just sucks so much! I’m also confused as to why imbd.com states that there is a 12th episode of S.O.N. called “Play Me or Trade Me”, but there is no eleventh. Do these even exist? At least not according to the-N.com officical website, so far. Anyone have suggestions of how this would be feasable, without using any iTunes, Bear Share or anything like that?

  • S.O>l

    I think south of nowhere is an awsome show i downloaded all the season 1 episodes from ares for free into my ipod

  • fast

    I love this show it is way more realistic than degrassi i luv aiden

  • http://HOT Kryci

    i think south of nowhere is the hottest show on tv. spencer is gorgous and ashley is so cute. and hello you cant forget about aiden. SO HOT!!!
    this is the best show ever. cant wait for the new season. i love spencer and aiden they look so cute together. but ashley and spencer should so get together. i love that this show shows that its ok to open up about your sexualality.
    you shouldnt havet to hide who you are. they are the hottes lesbians ever. SO HOT!!!

  • http://HOT Kryci

    OH YEAH
    FOR ALL U PEOPLE WHO DONT LIKE SOUTH OF NOWHERE YOUVE GOT TO BE ON DRUGS BECAOUSE THIS IS THE BEST SHOW I HAVE EVER SEEEN. AND I CAN TOTALLY RELATE TO IT. SPENCER IS SOOOOOOO HOT!!!!

  • http://HOT Kryci

    IF YOU HAVE SATELLITE THE SHOW IS ON CHANNEL 298.
    BUT IF YOU JUST HAVE REGULAR TV YOU WONT GET IT.

  • zingzing

    is this on canadian television or something? what the hell is “the n?” degrassi? what? maybe it’s on cable or something… meh.

  • ad

    love it, love, i just hope, they come back with a bang and dont disapoint, the two girls are hot together, lovvvvve it, thanks mtv, your the besttttttttt,south of nowhere rocks!!!

  • Amy

    This show is so good. I love it. I have watch ever episode at lease three times.Ashley and spencer are so hott together. I can’t wait until the second season comes out on tv.

  • starlamarla

    you can download the show off of itunes. it’s so good, for people who say that the sexuality issues shouldn’t be the main part of the show….

    get over it!!! i love the lesbian/bi relationship between the two girls and i love how innocent and cute it is. it is the main reason I watch the show! there are 8000000 other shows for teenagers but very few that deal with a lesbian relationship and take it as seriously as south of nowhere does. it’s an amazing show and i can’t wait for october!

  • Aurora

    I LOVE that show. It is so awesome!

  • Chaundra

    hi. acually s.o.n comes out september 29th and so does Degrassi.

  • http://lalanna12 jay

    i luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv aiden!!!!!!!!!

  • jay

    oooooooooh!baby!

  • Jace

    Yeah, the new season, of both Degrassi and SON, premeries at 8:00 on September 29, a friday.
    Love both shows by the way!!

  • Fan

    it is the best show ever aired. It is awesome

  • rosana

    hi, my name is rosana,
    can anyone enter in contact with me?
    i have some questions about the serie.

    please. thank you

    [Personal contact info deleted]

  • cicchettara

    I’M AN IATALIAN GIRL AND I LOVE SON PARTICULARLY
    ASH. KISS

  • iris

    i love south to nowhere but i have a hard time catching all the episodes and even harder of a time trying to find alll the episodes on dvd. i heard they werent going to dvd i realll really hope they do .

  • Jo Jo

    I Love South of Nowhere!!! But i think they make ashley and Spencers life at school seem so easy. Like i know at my New scool and my old one people would always drive me and my friend into lockers and vandilize our stuff. Also They make them seem more Bi then Less. But otherwise its a great show and its realy is like the real world. O and Ash and spence are soooooo HOT!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/mzlancer4u2nv sof

    omg i saw some of it..im addicted…lol…can sum1 plz plz tell me where i can buy the seasons on dvd..or download em or somthing…plzzzzzzzz..ive looked everywhere….
    any1 who knows send me a msg 2 my url…
    thanks
    sofx

  • Mattie

    Yeah, Kris…doesn’t Degrassi do the same thing?

  • lyns

    I’m from the UK and totally gutted i can’t catch up with this show!
    And according to afterellen.com the producer of the show said it wouldnt be released on dvd! I’m gutted… knowing crap english networks they’ll never show it over here!!!

  • HALLIE

    IS THERE ANY WHERE I CAN BUY THE SEASONS OF SOUTH OF NOWHERE?

  • http://myspace.com/u_suk_ spaz

    good job but aiden wasnt with sherry he was with madison lol

  • marissa

    i think south is like the best show on the world but i wish it would go on dvd so i can watch it weneva i want. also that they should hurry up and start showing the 2nd part of season 3 soon.

  • Gris

    Hi, I’m from Mexico and I’d like to know if any of you guys knows some site where I can download the serie…
    I’d be glad if you could answere me

    I love south of nowhere specially Spencer she’s so cute!!!!!!!

  • Traci

    DUDE!!!! WHERE CAN I GET SOUTH OF NOWHERE ON DVD?!?!?!?!?!?! I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR IT FOR A YEAR NOW!!! I MUST HAVE IT!!!!

  • Tish Tash

    love south of nowhere!! only way get to watch it is on youtube, and theres episode missing and parts missing so hope it comes out on dvd so can watch it from start to finish with no missing parts or interuptions!
    love spashley!
    xxx

  • Ritsuka-Chan

    I absolutely love this show! As someone who was struggling with her own sexuality, I think this show covers it nicely. And, despite what some people think, sexual orientation is a HUGE teenage issue. You don’t have to wait until you’re an adult to try and figure yourself out! This show does a great job of showing that. (^^)v

  • jjj

    this sucks i wanna whatch this show but i dont know what’s the channel in canada can u ppl help me ???

  • LG

    This show started out ok but has just gotten worse. The acting is absurdly cliche and just awful. Realism? WHAT? I feel like I’m entering some weird time warp when I watch it. The issues they try to tackle are exciting and fresh, but the storyline is pathetic.