HBO Max, trying to compete in the streaming wars with juggernauts like Netflix and Amazon, has ordered a full season of Rydell High, a musical series inspired by the 1978 hit Grease. The project is in partnership with Paramount Television, but confusingly, has nothing to do with the Grease prequel Summer Loving, also in development at Paramount.
The show will be set in the same high school as the original movie during the 1950s, and will reportedly feature some familiar characters. That’s pretty much all we know now. It isn’t exactly clear where the sudden Grease nostalgia came from – outside of just general nostalgia – but the slight musical revival thanks to La La Land and The Greatest Showman probably helped things along.
Also, the high school setting is probably pretty appealing for HBO. That’s a tried and tested formula. In fact they just recently had success with the high school-set Euphoria. Obviously Rydell High will be a far different show to that, but there’s probably crossover appeal.
“Grease is an iconic pop-culture phenomenon that works for every generation, and I’m thrilled that our friends at Paramount were excited about the idea of opening up the show and putting it on a larger canvas for a weekly series”, said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max. She continued:
“This is high school and life in small-town USA told on the scale of a big rock ‘n’ roll musical. It’s Grease 2.0 but with the same spirit, energy, and excitement you immediately think of when you hear any of these iconic songs”.
HBO have always marketed and prided themselves on making consistently excellent content. As they enter the streaming wars and need more content to appeal to subscribers, that idea is going to be stretched. Hopefully there’s something more to Rydell High than just Grease 2.0, as Aubrey put it. We’ll wait and see.