Last year the Netherlands was chosen to be the first country to enjoy the new Disney+ streaming service. While you might not want to admit it, we immediately got overexcited when we heard the news. Not only were we able to binge-watch the films of our childhood, we also got the opportunity to go back to East High when Disney announced their new original series. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Try saying that five times fast!
The mockumentary style of filmmaking is not one of my favourites. The Series is not a sequel, nor a reboot of the 2006 original High School Musical. Instead, the filmmakers decided to film it like a documentary, but everything is scripted. We follow the lives of Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) her boyfriend EJ (Matt Cornett) and ex-boyfriend Ricky (Joshua Bassett). They are typical high school students at East High, the famous school in Salt Lake City where filming the original HSM took place. The journey is a countdown until opening night of the school performance of High School Musical. When both Nini and ex-boyfriend Ricky are cast in the leading roles, drama is ready and tea is about to get spilled. Go Wildcats!
There are a lot of characters in the series. Yet it’s a modern adaption of the original movie and all characters have their own personalities. Therefore, it’s a satisfying bunch to watch. While the typical jocks and geeks are still attending high school, Disney tried to be modern this time. It’s fair to say they even tried too hard. For example, Seb (Joe Serafini) is the male version of Ashley Tisdale’s Sharpay from HSM, Nini has two moms with different ethical backgrounds, Ricky’s parents are in the middle of a divorce, and a lot more. I actually had a laugh about it once or twice. It’s a proper attempt, yet a bit less stereotyping would be the right choice here.
The acting is – like any other Disney Channel production – badly overacted. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t forget their target audience is tweens (age 9 to 12), not us who are in our twenties, lurking for nostalgia. Once you get through the first episode you might even get used to it. Once you’re over the shock that this iconic movie of our generation now is a mix between Glee, The Office, HSM and a modern Disney Channel show, it is a relaxing watch. You are most definitely able to sing your favourite HSM songs you still know the lyrics of, but Disney also treats you with some new music, surprisingly well performed by its new stars.
In conclusion, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is, funny enough, exactly what the title says. New social aspects mixed up with a familiar concept. The Series has its clichés, but decent writing, colourful characters and the right amount of nostalgia makes it worth taking another membership of another streaming service. After all, we’re all in this together.