High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Review

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Review

Tori Miranda, Staff Writer

As an elite fan of the original High School Musical movies, I was convinced that the new show, High School Musical: The Musical: the Series, would be a cheesy attempt at following up the incredible films; the series was far from this.

The original films brought an iconic soundtrack and remarkable characters that have remained popular throughout the 12 years since the debut. I was doubtful that a cast of teenagers would be able to do justice to Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens’ famous love story

The show began as the students of East High School auditioned for the school production of High School Musical the Musical. It was explained here that the main characters Ricky (Joshua Bassett) and Nini (Olivia Rodrigo)  were in a relationship prior to the show and Nini has a new boyfriend, EJ (Matt Cornett). The first few episodes were driven by Ricky’s jealousy of EJ and plans to win Nini back by playing Troy when Nini is cast as Gabriella in the production, which are the male and female leads.

After the inevitable breakup between EJ and Nini, EJ turns to his cousin, Ashlyn (Julia Lester), who advises him to work towards self-improvement since his insecurities were what broke him and Nini up in the first place. Meanwhile, Ricky struggles with his own personal issues as his parents separated and he turns to Nini for comfort.

The beginning episodes also included Nini and Ashlyn’s song, “Wondering,” which has reached over six million streams on Spotify since it’s release. “I Think I Kinda, You Know,” sung by Ricky and Nini was another highly praised song from the beginning episodes that now has over three million streams. 

In the fifth episode,“Homecoming”, the show really begins to bring in new relationships. It features a romance between Seb (Joe Serafini) and Carlos (Frankie Rodrigez), being only the second teen gay couple in a Disney TV show. It is also when viewers finally learn more about Gina (Sofia Wylie), the mysterious transfer student. This episode also features another original song, “Born to be Brave,” that has over two million streams.

In episode six, the drama teacher, Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders), faces the loss of her job as her boss discovers that she lies on her resume. Her drama students come together and write a song that they perform for the school to show how they are brought together by Miss Jenn’s theatre program and that firing her would tear them apart; unsurprisingly, the students are able to save her job.

The following two episodes bring several characters closer together as the students enjoy a Thanksgiving party together, however things quickly take a turn for the worse when Miss Jen and another teacher accidentally start a fire in the theatre. The show is forced to move to an old, rundown theatre.

Two new original songs were also featured in these episodes. “Out of the Old,” a solo sung by Nini, has reached almost two million streams. Lucas Grabeel, one of the main actors from the original movies, also comes in for a guest appearance and sings a duet, “Role of a Lifetime,” with Miss Jenn. 

The final two episodes of the season are the opening night show. These episodes bring several surprises, including the show’s most popular song, “All I Want,” which has over 20 million streams and has become a popular audio used on TikTok. The episode ends with several cliffhangers, and Ricky and Nini plan to get back together, but Nini is offered a spot at a boarding school for acting and is forced to choose. It is also discovered that Miss Jenn was the cause of the fire in the theatre, which leaves her job threatened again. 

As a whole, the show was much better than expected. The new songs that the show featured gave the same feeling that many of the songs from the original movies gave; they were catchy, brought you closer to characters and made you feel more connected to the story. The show also brought new ideas that were missing from the original films, such as Nini having lesiban mothers or Seb, a guy, play the fashionista Sharpay.