GRAPHIC BY DENISE THUONG
By COLLEEN GAPUZAN
“This is never going to be as good as the original.”
On Nov. 12, Disney+ released its original web television series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, based on the High School Musical film franchise. Set at East High School where the original movies were filmed, the series revolves around a group of high school theatre students who participate in the staging of High School Musical: The Musical as their school production.
Respectively, the first season consists of 10 episodes and will be renewed for a second season premiering this November.. The show stars newcomer Joshua Bassett as Ricky Bowen, Olivia Rodrigo as Nini Salazar-Roberts, Matt Cornett as E.J Caswell, Sofia Wylie as Gina Porter and many others.
In an unexpected turn of events, the series cancels out all negative assumptions and takes a concept so unique mixed with the iconic nostalgia Disney Channel fans around the world grew up with.
To start off, the show’s unique premise captured the attention of both High School Musical fans and non-musical enthusiasts alike. Fans were quick to applaud the creative diversity of the cast, which elevated the show’s originality. For example, there are multiple characters within the LGBTQ+ community such as Carlos Rodrigo, player by Frankie Rodriguez, the production choreographer who assists Miss Jenn, East High’s new drama teacher. Rodriguez is accompanied by Joe Serafini, cast as Seb Matthew-Smith. Not to mention, protagonist Nini’s lesbian mothers also play a part in Nini’s journey as she discovers her newfound confidence in theatre.
In essence, these characters provide a stepping stone for LGBTQ+ representation, in which the audience were amazed by especially being in a Disney original series. In addition, viewers commended how the cast included a wide range of diverse individuals instead of limiting to your standard white cast. Due to this factor, fans nationwide were able to appreciate the series’ inclusivity and its realistic approach to high school.
Additionally, what really sets the show apart from any ordinary remake is the production’s soundtrack. Throughout the series, a variety of new brilliant songs were introduced to engage the audience, such as “I Think I Kinda You Know,” “All I Want,” “Wondering,” “Just For a Moment” and so many more.
Not only are the songs relatable to viewers individually, but also stand out due to the hidden fact that some songs were written by the cast members themselves.
For instance, actress Olivia Rodrigo who plays Nini wrote an original songs titled “All I Want”, which was a heartfelt love ballad about her past relationships. The audience is not only able to witness her exceptional talent as a singer, but as a budding songwriter as well.
Moreover, actor Joshua Bassett co-wrote the series finale song titled “Just For a Moment” with Rodrigo centering around their “showmance” and their hidden feelings for one another. Fans nationwide are able to appreciate the distinct chemistry between the two leads and anticipated closure to the storyline until the very last “moment.”
Subsequently, the songs only aid to solidify the show’s superiority and is represented through each and every character’s acting. For example, newcomer Bassett portrayed such a charismatic lover boy in which fans were able to root for in his quest to win back the girl of his dreams. Not to mention, the fact that he improvised the final “I love you” scene in the last episode with Rodrigo closed off the season in the best way possible, while exceptionally demonstrating his versatility as an actor.
In summation, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series fully surpasses fans’ expectations by not only producing such a unique and creative spin-off, but by also paying homage to the original films.
Once a wildcat, always a wildcat.