Opinion | Don’t ruin ‘High School Musical’ with television series

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Nowadays, instead of picking up a good book or hobby for entertainment, millions of Americans turn to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime to watch all types of movies, television shows and documentaries. The Walt Disney Company saw the popularity of this among consumers as an opportunity to earn an extra source of income by releasing a streaming service of their own.

Launched Nov. 12, the new service called Disney+ offers customers virtually everything Disney has ever made including classic films like “Mary Poppins” and “Dumbo”; every Pixar film and even films in the “Star Wars” franchise. The service also offers original series, too, including one that should have had its plug pulled the second the idea was proposed.

Disney+ added a new series called “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” about a new drama teacher’s direction of a musical based on the original “High School Musical” film. Set in a fictionalized version of East High School, where the original films took place, the show follows a cast of kids working on the musical and their behind the scenes antics.

On Disney’s end, the company’s higher powers probably thought the idea to make a series like this would bring nostalgia to the fans of the original films while gaining a batch of all new fans. It sure didn’t appeal to this fan.

Growing up, all three “High School Musical” films played a huge role in my childhood. With the first two released on Disney Channel in 2006 and 2007 respectively and the third released to the big screen in 2008, the franchise did something only a select few others have done. They grabbed my hand, brought me into their world full of songs, dance and humor and kept me a fan for the long haul. 

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No one can deny the success the three films brought to the Disney franchise. It sparked a live tour, countless items of merchandise and a fan base that has kept strong for the past fourteen years. 

The first film, which started it all, follows Zac Efron as Troy Bolton, a star basketball player who decides to audition for the school’s upcoming musical after singing on New Year’s Eve with Vanessa Hudgens’s character Gabrielle Montez at a ski resort. Throughout the film, Troy and Gabriella have to deal with breaking away from their status quo in high school, he in basketball and she in scholastic decathlon, all while being stopped by the theater snobs, twins Sharpay and Ryan Evans, played by Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel respectively. 

Not only do the storylines appeal to fans but the catchy songs paired with dance moves that cause you to want to dance your heart out are what make the films the “Grease” of our era. The films were a staple of the “Golden Era” of Disney Channel, which at the time also included shows like “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” “Hannah Montana” and “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

Even though this new series features songs from the original film and also brand new hits, that doesn’t mean Disney should have followed through with it. 

This new series kind of stabs a hole right into the childhood of millions of fans who loved the original movies. Why change or add something to films that have already won fans over?

Like the live-action remakes of their classic films, Disney is always searching for a new way to earn money and further build their empire. Adding to the “High School Musical” franchise will diminish the greatness of the original movies.

Maybe Disney+ users will watch the other films and television shows the company has made over the years instead, thus forcing this “High School Musical” based series to end its run once and for all. But sometimes wishful thinking doesn’t take you too far.

Noah is a sophomore in LAS.

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