Whether you have already or you haven't yet had the pleasure, now is a pretty good time to watch High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
Why, you ask? No real reason, other than the fact that it's a really good show and it is currently streaming on Disney+.
It may not star Zac Efron or Vanessa Hudgens and it may have a confusingly long title, but we promise you, it is good. Very good. It's so good that everyone's talking about it more than a year after the first season premiered, with a particular spotlight on very talented stars Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett, who essentially are the new Gabriella and Troy. It's big on TikTok right now, and you know if it's big on TikTok, it's big.
Sure, the reason everybody's talking about it is because Olivia released an incredible song that appears to be about how Josh left her for Sabrina Carpenter right when she was about to finally get her drivers license, but that doesn't mean the show itself isn't absolutely worth your time. If you've heard the song "Drivers License," you've heard some of the talent to be found here.
There's a whole lot more where that came from, including another somewhat emotionally devastating song written by Olivia.
Here are a few other reasons why now is a great time to watch High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
It's deliciously meta. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is set at the high school where the original High School Musical movies were filmed, in a world in which the High School Musical movies existed. The (fictional) students who go to the school where the movies were filmed are now putting on their own production of High School Musical: The Musical on the same set where Zac and Vanessa once fell for each other both on screen and off.
The talent! Come for Olivia Rodrigo, stay for literally everyone. These kids, from Olivia and Josh to Sofia Wylie, Larry Saperstein and Julia Lester, are massively talented. It's simply not believable that there would be this many fantastic singers trying out for a high school musical, but we'll forgive the show for this little break from the reality of high school theater departments.
It's funny. Olivia's lyrics may currently be destroying a whole generation emotionally, but the show's got a biting sense of humor to go along with all those angsty teen moments. This is a show that knows it's called High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and it embraces it. It revels in it. It proves there's no need to take yourself seriously if you're not a serious show.
It's filled with High School Musical references. Don't kid yourself thinking this was a show made for teens. This is actually a show made for those of us who loved High School Musical as teens and are now full grown adults who'd still let Troy Bolton fasten a "T" necklace around our necks. It's a manifestation of our obsession, whether we're still obsessed or not (we are), a kind and respectful acknowledgement of how those movies changed our lives. The teens today—even the ones starring in this show—may never know quite what it was like to be a first time viewer in 2006, back when we were on the brink of getting our own drivers license and looking around at our real high school theater department knowing it would never compare to East High. What we would not have given to perform High School Musical: The Musical anywhere, let alone on the actual set.
Our lives still cannot compare to East High and its massive, musical number-ready cafeteria, but our hearts will never stop breakin' free, especially as long as we've got High School Musical: The Musical: The Series to keep the nostalgia alive.
The first season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special are streaming on Disney+.