Netflix tingled the nostalgic bone with its latest Australian drama, Heartbreak High, based on the popular 90s drama of the same name.
Created by Michael Jenkins, the newer version of the popular show has adapted well to the changing times, focusing on a well-curated storyline with a load of interesting characters that makes the show worth much more than one would expect.
Most reboots have failed to work in the past. This is where the show's more modern reimagining worked best, as it was not only entertaining but also technically proficient, with great actors, soothing background music, an excellent emphasis on colors, and a tightly paced script that never faltered.
Heartbreak High premiered its debut season with eight episodes on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.
Read on for a detailed review of Netflix's latest high school drama.
Heartbreak High review: A classy series that should gather a lot of momentum
High school stories are not easy to nail. In recent years, Netflix has arguably had the most success in this genre with Sex Education.
The network appears to have done it again with this Heartbreak High reboot, which resembled Sex Education more than its predecessor. Of course, the show paid homage to the original in numerous ways, but the overall tone remained much closer to Sex Education.
Heartbreak High, for example, effectively embodied the more modern approach to sexuality and gender fluidity, keeping characters from a variety of sexual prefrences at the helm while also normalising it. The romances worked, the complications felt real, and the test of friendship was also compelling.
The story of Heartbreak High was rather simple but provocative. It started with Amerie (Ayesha Madon) having a big beef with her best friend Harper (Asher Yasbincek). The show kept viewers guessing about this schism between friends by creating a mystery around it. The only thing it revealed early on was that Amerie and Harper went to a party, and everything has changed since then.
Amerie's confusion is relatable because of this lack of knowledge. The rest of the series went through a myriad of plotlines and developments while keeping this as the central crisis. The show depicted everything, from acceptance to self-actualization, in near perfect light, owing to some great performances by the lead cast members, especially James Majoos, Chloé Hayden, and Will McDonald.
This is not an easy task for most creators, especially while portraying an array of grey characters (another nod to Sex Education). The ending was more than a fitting conclusion to a near-perfect premise. The only criticism is the sluggish pacing near the middle of the series. However, given the overall experience, most viewers will not be bothered.
Another tiny problem about this series is that it came after Sex Education, leaving viewers with nothing new, per se. But that sense of familiarity should not be a problem for most viewers, given how we like to stay in the comfortable shadow of the known.
All in all, this is an excellent watch, especially for fans of High School drama. It is not like any typical reboot and almost exceeds expectations in all aspects. But it is a worthy binge-watch for any TV show fan.
All the episodes of Heartbreak High are now streaming on Netflix.