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Life with Derek

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Life with Derek is a Canadian television sitcom that aired on Family (English) and VRAK.TV (French) in Canada and on Disney Channel in the United States. The series premiered on Family on September 18, 2005, and ran for four seasons, ending its run on March 25, 2009. The series starred Michael Seater and Ashley Leggat as the two oldest children in a stepfamily. It ended with 70 episodes and one spin-off television film, entitled Vacation with Derek.

Premise

George Venturi (John Ralston), a divorced man from London, Ontario who had custody of his three children from a previous marriage: sons Derek (Michael Seater) and Edwin (Daniel Magder) and daughter Marti (Ariel Waller), marries a divorced woman named Nora McDonald (Joy Tanner), who has two daughters of her own from a previous marriage: Casey (Ashley Leggat) and Lizzie (Jordan Todosey). Up until that point, Casey was perfectly content with her life. Growing up as the oldest child in a household in Toronto, Ontario with only her mother and sister had suited her well and brought her up as a self-sufficient and independent young woman.

After George and Nora's marriage, the McDonalds moved in with the Venturis in London, Ontario. Casey was originally upset about having to move to London, Ontario from Toronto, a much bigger city (as shown in the episode "How I Met Your Stepbrother"), for many reasons including Derek, but she eventually got over her own problems and agreed to move there for Nora and George's sake once she saw how much they cared for each other.

Main cast

The McDonald-Venturi family

  • Michael Seater as Derek Venturi, the oldest child and the titular "Derek" of the series. Unlike Casey, he is lax-mannered and somewhat underhanded about achieving his goals and excelling in his academics, though is not entirely unkind. It is shown that he has a bond with Marti because he calls her "Smarti" and she calls him "Smerek". However, he enjoys competing with and irritating Casey. He loves to play pranks and has his own band called D-Rock in which he plays guitar. He got into Queen's University, along with Casey.
  • Ashley Leggat as Casey McDonald, the oldest daughter. She is idealistic and independent, as well as academically ambitious. She has a Type A personality, being very particular about her academics and frequently studies in advance and does not accept poor grades. She frequently clashes with Derek because of their conflicting personalities and because of their roles as the oldest children in the household. She loves to dance to jazz, hip-hop, and other types of music. She is also a cheerleader at some point in the show. She eventually obtains straight A's for her examinations, and got into Queen's University. In Vacation with Derek, it is revealed that Casey will double-major in English and Economics.
  • Jordan Todosey as Lizzie McDonald, Casey's younger sister and her "sidekick". She usually sides with Casey, though as a middle child, finds common ground with Edwin. She is very patient and gives in to things her sister says very easily. She also likes to do sports such as soccer and Taekwondo.
  • Daniel Magder as Edwin Venturi, Derek's younger brother. He looks up to Derek and is Derek's frequent accomplice in various schemes. He sometimes likes to stand up to Derek but then eventually backs down feeling weak.
  • Ariel Waller as Martina "Marti" Venturi, the youngest of the Venturi children. As the youngest child, she enjoys attention from everyone in the family and can be swayed both ways in McDonald-Venturi conflicts, but can easily and stubbornly refuse to agree with anyone as well.
  • Simon McDonald-Venturi, the newest addition to the family. He had his debut in "Vacation with Derek." He is only shown in the movie, so he does not have a role in the show as the movie was where we last saw the McDonald-Venturi family
  • Joy Tanner as Nora McDonald-Venturi, the mother of Casey, Lizzie and Simon. She works as a window treatment specialist.
  • John Ralston as George Venturi, the father of Derek, Edwin, Marti and Simon. He works as a lawyer and was previously married to a woman named Abby.

Recurring cast

  • Shadia Simmons as Emily Davis, Casey's best friend and next door neighbor who had a crush on Derek. She dated Sheldon Shlepper who moved to Newfoundland. She and Derek went on a date once, but decided it wouldn't work out when Derek admits he only asked her out to bother Casey. However, they began to date again after Derek realized he did like her and asks her to the prom. She often tries to help Casey become more popular at school, helps her fit in and helps her figure out boys along the way. According to Casey, she has a "lighthearted way of dealing with Casey's many problems". She started dating Derek in the episode "Surprise", but they broke-up before "Vacation with Derek" since Derek took interest in Roxy.
  • Arnold Pinnock as Paul Greebie, Casey's guidance counselor. She constantly goes to him for advice when she gets stressed; however he usually asks questions so that Casey can figure out her problem on her own. She will ask him questions and then immediately answer them herself. His last appearance is in Futuritis.
  • Kit Weyman as Samuel "Sam" Richards, Derek's best friend and Casey's first crush since she moved in with the Venturis. After receiving Derek's permission, they begin dating in the episode "Male Code Blue". After breaking up numerous times, they call it quits in the episode "Middle Manic", but decide to stay friends in the episode "Battle of the Bands" when Casey becomes the lead singer of Derek's band.
  • Lauren Collins as Kendra, popular girl, friend of Casey's and Derek's ex after the episode "Misadventures in Babysitting". She still has a major crush on Derek, and she tries to get back together with him in "Just Friends".
  • Robbie Amell as Max Miller, the school's quarterback and Casey's boyfriend beginning in "Misadventures in Babysitting". He dated the head cheerleader Amy before asking Casey out. They broke up in the episode "Allergy Season". Casey wanted to get back together with him in the episode "Two Kisses, One Party", but he had already moved on.
  • Shane Kippel as Ralph Papadapolis, one of Derek's friends and fellow band member. In season 4, Ralph harbors a crush on Casey.
  • William Greenblatt as Sheldon Schlepper. He dated Emily. He is currently living in Newfoundland. All of his siblings have once been class president except him.
  • Keir Gilchrist as Jamie, Lizzie's best friend who harbors a crush on her.
  • Kate Todd as Sally, Derek's co-worker who starts to like him after breaking up with ex-boyfriend, Patrick. With some interference and planning from Casey and Nora, they finally begin to date. Sally and Derek break up after Sally decides to go to UBC get back together soon afterward, then break up for good when Sally actually goes to Vancouver.
  • Joe Dinicol as Truman French, a new boy in school that Casey has recurring dreams about. Casey denies her feelings for him, but in the end, finally agrees to date him. Truman first appeared in "6½". They agree to go with each other in "No More Games" and they start going out in "Teddy's Back." They break up in the episode "Truman's Last Chance" because Casey sees Truman being kissed by Vicki and think it's vice versa. Casey was upset, but she reunites with Truman at the prom, and they reconciled in "Surprise;" however, they broke up before "Vacation with Derek."
  • Alex House as Trevor, a "punk" boy who goes to Casey's school. Derek bets Casey she can't get him to ask her out, and Casey takes the bet, soon developing a crush on him. She loses the bet after telling him about it due to Derek interfering and making her feel guilty for lying to him. She finds out Trevor was only hanging out with her because he had a crush on Emily, but the two stay friends.
  • Adam Butcher as Noel Covington, an "artistic" boy who Casey befriends when he auditions for the lead role in a play on a dare, and, surprisingly, gets it, which leads him to co-star with Casey. He develops a crush on her. In the episode "Just Friends", Casey begins hanging out with him to prove to Derek that a guy and a girl can be friends, but it backfires when Noel thinks Casey asked him out on a date. He returns for his role in the episode "Just Friends" one last time before the end of the series.
  • Hannah Lochner as Michelle, who first appears at Lizzie and Edwin's birthday party and becomes Edwin's girlfriend after kissing him there. Although she only appears in three episodes, she is often mentioned[citation needed].
  • Sarah Gadon/Paula Brancati as Vicki, Casey's cousin from Toronto. She and Casey appear to be friendly but tense terms when Casey and Derek volunteer to organize the wedding reception of Vicki's mother and Casey later finds out that Derek and Vicki made out when nobody else was aware.

Episodes

SeasonEp #First airdateLast airdate
Season 1 13 September 18, 2005 January 22, 2006
Season 2 13 July 1, 2006 December 15, 2006
Season 3 26 May 11, 2007 July 5, 2008
Season 4 18 July 19, 2008 March 25, 2009
Film June 25, 2010

Production

Filming locations

The first season of Life with Derek was taped in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. Seasons two through four were taped in Toronto, Ontario.

Awards

  • Best Children's or Youth Fiction Program or Series for 2009 Gemini Award: Winner.
  • Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series for 2009 Gemini Award for Michael Seater: Winner.
  • Awesome Sauce TV Show.

Syndication

Life with Derek and another Canadian sitcom, Naturally, Sadie, were both added to Disney Channel in the United States in 2005. In May 2007, Naturally, Sadie was pulled from the channel, but Life with Derek was left on. Though many episodes were originally broadcast on Family in Canada, Disney often advertised the episodes as being new episodes (though they were only first-run broadcasts in the United States). Life with Derek has not aired on the Disney Channel since January 2, 2010, but reruns continue to air on Family and VRAK.TV in Canada.

DVD releases (United States and Canada, United Kingdom)

Season releases

Season Release date Ep # Additional information Bonus Features
Season 1USA/CAN: October 1, 2008[1]13 This two disc box set includes all 13 episodes from Season 1.
  • Interviews with cast and crew
  • Behind-the-scenes photo shoot
  • Studio tours with Derek and Casey
  • 8×20 inch full-color locker poster
Season 2USA/CAN: August 11, 2009[2]13 This two disc box set includes all 13 episodes from Season 2.
  • Interviews with Ashley Leggat, Michael Seater, Jordan Todosey, Daniel Magder, Ariel Waller, John Ralston, and Joy Tanner
  • Interview with creator/writer Daphne Ballon and producer/writer Jeff Biederman
  • On-set tour with Michael Seater, behind-the-scenes footage
Season 3USA/CAN: March 23, 2010[3]26 This three disc box set includes all 26 episodes from Season 3.
  • Interview with Ashley Leggat and Michael Seater

Volume releases

DVD TitleRelease dateEpisodes featuredBonus features
Life with Derek: Let the Games Begin! United States\CAN: February 17, 2009[4]
  • "The Room"
  • "House of Games"
  • "Babe Raider"
  • "Prank Wars"
  • "House of Games" interactive challenge
    • Play as either Casey or Derek
  • 8×20 inch full-color locker poster

Books

A series of Life With Derek books has been released in Canada, U.S and the U.K.[citation needed].

Awards and Nominations

  • Directors Guild of Canada
2007 - Television Series - Family (Nominated)
2006 - Outstanding Television Series - Family (Nominated)
  • Gemini Awards
2009 - Best Children's or Youth Fiction Program or Series (Won)
2009 - Best Writing in a Children's or Youth Program or Series - Jeff Biederman for episode "Just Friends" (Nominated)
2008 - Best Original Music Score for a Program or Series - Gary Koftinoff for episode "Fright Night" (Nominated)
2008 - Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series - Ashley Leggat
2007 - Most Popular Website
2007 - Best Cross-Platform Project (Nominated)
2006 - Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series (Nominated)
2006 - Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series (Nominated)
  • Writers Guild of Canada
2006 - Youth (Won)
  • Young Artist Awards
2008 - Best Performance in a TV Series: Supporting Young Actor - Daniel Magder (Nominated)
2006 - Best Young Ensemble Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Ashley Leggat, Daniel Magder, Michael Seater, Jordan Todosey, Ariel Waller (Nominated)

References

External links

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