Life with Derek is a Canadian sitcom that aired on Family Channel (English) and VRAK.TV (French) in Canada. It aired on different networks internationally, such as Nickelodeon in Australia and Asia, Boomerang in the United Kingdom, and Disney Channel in Asia, Central America, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, South America, Spain, and the United States. It premiered on September 25, 2005 and ended on March 25, 2009 spanning 4 seasons, 70 episodes. The show is about a lawyer named George with three kids named Derek, Edwin and Marti. George then marries a divorced woman named Nora who has two children named Casey and Lizzie.
Up until that point, Casey McDonald was perfectly content with her life. Growing up as the oldest child in a household in Toronto with only her mother and sister had suited her well and brought her up as a self-sufficient and independent young woman.
With the addition of a stepfather, two stepbrothers, a stepsister, new school, new house and overall a whole new life, Casey struggles to find her place within the new family. The series is also based on Casey and Derek's rivalry.
The family is revealed to live in London, Ontario, Canada, when George is reading a newspaper titled London Chronicle in episode "Don't Take a Tip From Me." Also, in another episode, "All Systems No Go," he refers to himself as "George from London," and in "Dinner Guest," when Lizzie explains how her dad's been to London and Paris, George remarks, "I've been to London and Paris...Ontario."
Season 1 episodes of Life with Derek were filmed in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Prior to becoming members of a blended family, Casey and Derek were firmly comfortable in their roles as first-born children, including having a major influence on how family decisions were made. When their families blend, each strives for dominance: Casey by "sticking to the rules" and Derek by asserting himself with both force and manipulation. This is further complicated because Derek and Casey are in the same grade in high school; the situation is harder for Casey, who's trying to make new friends and fit in at her new school, where things are much different than her previous all-girls school. Both teens aren't afraid to speak their minds, especially when trying to recruit their respective parents and/or brothers and sisters to be on their side.
The sibling rivalry grows intense at times, and it causes them to constantly try to one up the other in order to get their way. It often involves getting really sneaky and having to risk being grounded by the adults. They are persistent, no matter who gets in the way, whether it's friends or family. In their struggle to find their place, both at home and at school, Casey learns to "loosen up" and break a rule or two, while Derek learns to occasionally "walk the straight and narrow" and put family interests ahead of his own gain, even if it means that Casey benefits. Sometimes, this resolution comes only after Lizzie and Edwin negotiate as (sometimes unauthorized) agents for their respective biological siblings to overcome some impasse or communications breakdown between Casey and Derek.
The show includes several cut-scenes, where various members of the family (usually the ones involved in a problem) interact with one another in a way that is symbolic of their current issue, performed in a nondescript setting with no background.
Despite Casey and Derek's constant bickering and disagreements, they have been known to come together to cooperate toward a common goal, or to use one another to further their own selfish agendas. Although the rivalry continues, they sometimes try to help each other in the series. This not only benefits their relationship, but their parent's relationship, as well. It also shows that even though they argue and fight, they grow to accept each other.
Cast of characters
- Michael Seater as Derek Venturi
- Daniel Magder as Edwin Venturi
- Ariel Waller as Marti Venturi
- John Ralston as George Venturi
- Sarah Gadon/Paula Brancati as Cousin Victoria "Vicki"
- Tara Manuel Rigal as Aunt Fiona
- Rick Roberts as Dennis McDonald (Nora's ex-husband / father of Casey and Lizzie)
- Jennifer Wigmore as Abby Venturi (George's ex-wife / mother of Derek, Edwin and Marti)
- Barbara Gordon as Aunt Madge
- Shadia Simmons as Emily, Casey's best friend & next door neighbor who had a crush on Derek. She is now dating Sheldon Shlepper who then moves 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.
- Arnold Pinnock as Paul, Casey's guidance counselor who never actually "gives" Casey advice.
- Kit Weyman as Sam, Derek's best friend and Casey's first crush since she moved in with the Venturi's. After receiving Derek's permission, they begin dating in "Male Code Blue". After breaking up numerous times, they call it quits in "Middle Manic", but decide to stay friends in "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 "Misadventures in Babysitting". She's in the grade ahead of Casey and Derek.
- Robbie Amell as Max, the school's quarterback and Casey's boyfriend beginning in "Misadventures in Babysitting". He dated the head cheerleader Amy before asking Casey out. They break up in "Allergy Season". Casey wanted to get back together with him in "Two Kisses, One Party", but Max had already moved on.
- Shane Kippel as Ralph, one of Derek's friends and band member.
- William Greenblatt as Sheldon Shlepper. He is now dating Emily. He is very quirky, and all his other siblings won the election for school president. But, during the election, Emily won.
- Keir Gilchrist as Jamie, one of Lizzie's friends 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. They finally begin to date after Casey and Nora interfere and set up a plan.
- 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 she finds out Trevor was only hanging out with her because he had a crush on Emily.
- 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, and is probably the target for Casey's new boyfriend after she broke up with Max.
- Ryan Cooley as Frank, Derek's business partner who betrays him.
- Hannah Lochner as Michelle, a girl who harbors a crush on Edwin, who returns her feelings.
- Megan Park as Amy, Max's ex-girlfriend, and the captain of the cheerleading team.
- Lara Amersey as Lucy, Casey's friend. She does ballet with Casey.
- Cameron Ansell as Teddy, one of Edwin and Lizzie's friends.
- Cyrus Aazam as Clink, Max's friend.
- Robert Clark as Patrick, Sally's ex.
- Michael Kanev as Tinker, a "teacher's pet" who has a crush on Casey.
- Sarah Slywchuk as Crystal, co-captain of the cheerleading team.
Life with Derek and another Canadian sitcom, Naturally, Sadie (also aimed at the 10-15 age group), were introduced together on Disney Channel. However in May of 2007, Naturally, Sadie was pulled off of the air, but Life with Derek was left on. In India, Disney Channel India premiered the show along with Wizards of Waverly Place as a part of the May-hem summer special. Naturally, Sadie was taken off air and replaced by Life With Derek.
- Season One was released on DVD on October 1, 2008.
- Season Two was released on DVD on August 11, 2009.
- Season Three was released on DVD on March 23, 2010.