Proof that “the college years” aren’t the kiss of death for every TV show, Degrassi: The Next Generation managed to let its characters grow up without going stale. But the teen-oriented series couldn’t follow Paige, Ellie, Manny, Emma, Marco, Jimmy, Craig, and Ashley forever, and we’d seen them through so much. (Seriously: so much!) So Degrassi did what it does — you know, “go there” — and introduced a whole crop of younger, new characters, with new problems to be dealt with in straightforward but often awkward ways. Such is life, you guys.

But as a hardcore D:TNG fan, I missed the old gang. Imagine my delight when word of a two-hour movie surface, my increasing delight to find out it’s awesome, and then the total joy-induced apoplexy when none other than Lauren Collins and Adama Ruggiero — Paige and Marco, OMG — swung by PopWatch HQ. Read on for their PopWatch Duel on what the best TV high school is and for a behind-the-scenes clip of Degrassi Goes Hollywood, which debuts tonight.

For the record, Collins and Ruggiero were incredibly reluctant to “duel” because they both seemed to love 90210 and Saved By The Bell with equal fervor — Collins even teased Ruggiero about being “Screech” because he’s done a guest-star appearance with the newest cast of D:TNG. But when gentle push came to giggly shove, they agreed to battle it out:

What TV high school reigns supreme?

Lauren Collins: Okay. West Beverly High, the original 90210. I was watching that when I was like, five years old and totally should not have been (and my mother was like “oh my god, what is she watching?”). I still have the VHS tape of the two hour first episode. I mean, that’s what I completely identify my childhood with, growing up with that, and I think it’s probably one of the reasons why I wanted to get into acting. I used to play Brenda and Kelly at school with one of my girlfriends; I was always Brenda, which I hated. It was a game. And Jason Priestley was like my first crush — best hair in the world, I loved him.

Adamo Ruggiero: So mine’s Bayside. I mean, Mr. Belding… I spent so much time in that high school on TV that it’s not even funny, and it wasn’t as issue-based as 90210 was or Degrassi was, but they were really campy and fun and awesome. Although, Jessie Spannow did get addicted to caffeine pills. That was a big moment, you know?

LC: Pretty huge.

AG: Then of course they had their summer vacation where they went to the country club — yeah, they were awesome. A.C. Slater. Best body in the entire world. … Zach was such a goofball, but always had the cutest girlfriends, all that stuff. I kind of had a crush on him. [laughs]

Okay, PopWatchers, whose side are you on? And are you going to be watching Degrassi Goes Hollywood tonight?