I think it’s fair tothat we can say that the High School Musical trilogy shaped an entire generation. It is iconic. And we love it. But, believe me, when I say this, this show is just as great and it honours the amazing movies. It came out on Disney+ in November 2019 and a second season is on the way. Here are some of the reasons why you should be watching High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (or HSMTMTS, if you want to shorten it).
High School Musical
As I said, the show honours the movies. It is set in a universe where the movies actually existed and these teenagers all go to the school where High School Musical was shot. Some of them are even as obsessed with Troy and Gabriella’s story as we were. Then, the school hires a new drama teacher whose main goal is to put on a High School Musical play in the school. Miss Jen, the new drama teacher, was a background in the original HSM movie, so she cares a lot about them and is very excited to stage a production of this story. In the first few episodes, we see the characters auditioning for the parts and as the show moves forward we also see them getting to know each other and their journey to opening night.
HSMTMTS brings back some of the songs off the original soundtrack of the first movie. The cast performs some beautiful versions of the songs we love so much. Most of them are played during the students’ rehearsals for the HSM musical. Even though it seems weird to think of someone other than Vanessa Hudgens or Ashely Tisdale performing these songs, it is refreshing to see these talented actors and musicians do their own versions. In season 1, they only do HSM 1 songs, but we can expect HSM 2 ones to be sung in the second season. My personal favourite is Ricky’s (Joshua Bassett) version of Gabriella’s When There Was Me and You.
New original songs
Honestly, the best part of this show is the original songs. They are amazing. There’s even an awesome ballad for Ms. Darbus! Isn’t that so cool? She deserved more. These new songs tell the stories of the new characters and some of them were even written by the actors that play them. Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett, who play Nini and Ricky respectively, are both great actors and musicians, and together they wrote the incredible Just For a Moment. Rodrigo also wrote All I Want for her character. The entire soundtrack is available for streaming!
Actual teenagers playing other teenagers
Yes, they cast real teenagers to play the students of the fictional East High school! Most of the actors in the show are around the same age as their characters. Some of them are even younger. Olivia Rodrigo, who plays Nini, actually turned 16 on the set of the show. Sofia Wylie, who plays the talented Gina, is actually one of the youngest in the cast: she was 15 when they shot the show, now she’s 16. It is refreshing to watch people that actually look like high schoolers play these characters. And bonus points because they are all so freaking talented.
Representation and diversity
HSMTMTS has one of Disney’s first gay romantic storylines. In the show, Seb (Joe Serafini) and Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez) develop a very cute relationship. Seb also plays the character of Sharpay in the school’s HSM play and he is great at it! Additionally, Nini has two moms, played by Nicole Sullivan and Michelle Noh. Their relationship isn’t very developed in the first season, but we do get to see some glimpses into it and a couple of very cute pictures. They also give great advice to both Nini and Ricky. As I’ve said before, this show is made for our time and generation and touches on subjects that the original HSM movies couldn’t have. It is very refreshing to see such a good representation of some aspects of real life in a Disney show. The show even earned a GLAAD award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming.
It’s so much more than just a homage to High School Musical
Yes, everything here adds up to how amazing the show is, but I’ve missed some other points. HSMTMTS is shot in a mockumentary style, like The Office, so sometimes the characters break the fourth wall in an interview-like way and share their thoughts with the audience. The show’s humour is also *chefs kiss* and some people even say it reaches Glee levels of chaos. What all of this means is that the show is extra funny and sometimes completely nonsensical, with some musical performances to add, an awesome cast and really important storylines.
My last reason why you should watch HSMTMTS is that they’re coming out with a holiday special where the incredible cast will sing some of their favourite holiday songs! It will come out on December 11th on Disney+.
So, if you’re a theatre geek, an appreciator of the High School Musical original movies or just looking for some laughs, you should definitely check out High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney+.