“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”: The Review


The first season of the Disney+ original series, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” finished Jan. 10, 2020, and over the spam of three months, it accumulated 2.8 million viewers. The series takes place in a fictional version of Salt Lake City’s East High School, where the “High School Musical” franchise was filmed. The series follows Ricky Bowen (Joshua Bassett), who plays Troy and Nini Salazar-Roberts (Olivia Rodrigo), who plays Gabriella, as the new drama teacher, Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) introduces the first production of “High School Musical” to East High. The show manages to portray the common struggles teenagers face, such as divorce, anxiety and the difficulty of coming out in a realistic way.

The series showcases the main characters singing many songs that were featured in the original Disney “High School Musical” series, but it also features many original songs. The original soundtrack has already amassed over 60 million streams, and one of the most prominent songs, “All I Want,” has landed in the top 40 on iTunes. The song, written by Olivia Rodrigo and performed by her respective character, Nini, even gained popularity on the popular social media outlet, TikTok.

Many speculated that the series was simply a reboot to profit off of the success of the original film series. However, it was quickly realized that the series was a brand new show that cleverly utilized the films’ nostalgia factor to inspire viewers to watch the show. “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” is unsurprisingly cliche and embraces all the best elements of cheesiness and pep talks, yet it seems to be one of the most realistic representations of high school to date.

It portrays the joys and innocence that comes with adolescence and emphasizes how young these characters really are, while still tackling real-life issues that teenagers everywhere have to face. It finally seems to have found the balance between showing how juvenile and naive teenagers can really be without disregarding their issues because of their age.
With teenagers finally being played by teenagers, their young faces strike a chord of familiarity and relatability within all audiences. Rodrigo’s delicate charm and soft vocals bring her character to life and are perfectly balanced by her heartfelt and sensitive love interest, Ricky, played by Joshua Bassett.

The show certainly set high expectations for itself with the intimidating reputation of the iconic movies in its title, but it appears that it was able to live up to them completely. Audiences are desperately waiting for another season, and it seems as though this may be an entirely new, profound experience for this generation.