Fair use from Disney+.

Lilly Strathman

Since the release of its first season, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (HSMTMTS) had me hooked with all the songs, dancing, and throwbacks to the most important trilogy of my childhood. The first episode of the second season left me on the edge of my seat excited to see the new takes on these characters. 

The first episode “New Year’s Eve”  takes place shortly after the first season, starting on New Year’s Eve. All the characters are gathering at a party excited to see what their new musical will be for the upcoming year. The first episode was a fantastic setup for the rest of the season because it did not reveal too much, but introduced many potential subplots.

Typically, shows try to parallel their holiday episodes with the real calendar, and watching a winter holiday when the show’s release date is May 15 feels odd. It made it hard to connect with the characters when they are experiencing events at opposite times as the viewer. 

The plot for the second season is very intriguing because it delves deeper into the problems these high school characters are experiencing. Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) and Ricky (Joshua Bassett) are having problems because Nini needs to decide between her future and her relationships. It’s a very similar issue to many seniors this year who are leaving, which makes it interesting to see what she will choose. 

The secondary characters were also given more screen time during the first episode, which I’m hoping is foreshadowing for them to have more screen time. They are all extremely talented and deserve more songs and screen time than they received in season one. 

The new season introduces a new character in this episode, a rival to the East High theater program, Zack Roy (Derek Hough). Hough is such an energetic, talented individual who will bring even more liveliness to the plot. He also has an intense background in dance, so I’m hoping that will be incorporated in later episodes.

Despite being called HSMTMTS, the shows performed in the show will be other Disney classics like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.” This will be a fun, creative way to keep the show going while doing the unexpected. 

The songs in the first episode were very interesting. It was a mix of “High School Musical” numbers and original songs. The placement of the songs were somewhat awkward at times, but the original songs were very intriguing and reminiscing to listen to. 

“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Season 2 Episode 1):” ★★★★☆