Disney Has Announced a High School Musical TV Show and We’re Not Sure What to Think

Remember that camp, romantic story of Troy and Gabriella united by their love of singing to break down the dividing walls of the status quo? Well apparently we can relive all of that with an upcoming High School Musical TV series. But hang on, didn’t that already happen?

Image credit: HelloGiggles

Like the other half of the High School Musical viewership, I only ever watched the movies –I admit it, I’ve seen all three- out of curiosity. With that curiosity satiated, I was perfectly happy to move on to cleverer and classier things. But apparently the Disney God in that glittering castle has other plans. According to The Hollywood Reporter, last week the chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger announced that a High School Musical series is part of the company’s plans in setting up a streaming service in 2019. While I would say that a Disney streaming service is something to get excited about, I can’t help but ask “isn’t there already a HSM show called Glee?”

Glee came out a couple of years after HSM, just when everyone was peaking with musical-comedy fever. The show had a fair amount in common with the made-for-TV musical including a mismatched group of singing kids who wanted to overcome the adversity of the quad and cafeteria alongside dealing with average teenage dramas. After six seasons, its final episode went to air only two years ago. Has the musical-comedy timer gone off and caught producers unaware? Of all the Disney property, why High School Musical?

Image credit: Projectcasting

No doubt the success of Pitch Perfect (2012) has reminded people in high places that campus comedies with lots of singing are popular. Obviously there is a large audience that enjoys catchy rearrangements of contemporary hits. And perhaps it’s because there has never been any more than one of this type of film or series out at a time. It’s no secret that HSM blew up because a) it starred a ridiculously adorable young talent named Zac Efron and b) it fused the genres of romantic musical and camp teen comedy together, with unrivalled success. There was nothing like it when it first came out and there really hasn’t been since the third film.

But I still have doubts as to whether a TV series will work. One can assume that the original pack of wide-eyed and fresh-faced misfits won’t be making appearances, which would be a pretty big downer for the majority of the original fans. Not to mention the fact that the original fans have all aged thirteen or so years, maybe developed different tastes, and who knows how much pull a teen musical comedy will have with the younger generation? One thing I have picked up from working in movie retail is that The Descendants (films about the teen offspring of Disney villains) have replaced HSM as the new ‘it’ thing. If anything, surely a teen series about these guys would make a more entertaining sitcom, like Sabrina the Teenage Witch. And there are just too many questions regarding the format! The original movie has a runtime of 93 minutes so there’s no way that they’re dissecting that into 20-minute episodes!

If anything, it will probably have the original story working as a long-reaching series arc with the episodes filled with random and pointless dramas and misdemeanours on the side like Charmed or The Big Bang Theory. And will there be as much singing? I would be impressed if Disney could come up with enough original musical material to bulk out an entire season!

Image credit: The Hollywood Reporter

Having seen the movies and not loved them enough to call myself a fan, I am somewhat dubious about this upcoming series. I have stronger feelings about the Monsters Inc. show that has also been announced. But only time will tell if a High School Musical TV show will “break free” or “stick to the status quo”.

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