It seems like every beloved property is getting a new day in the sun, thanks to the bountiful network TV and streaming options these days. Whether it’s sequel movies or spinoff series or complete revamps, it seems like everything we once loved is coming back in some new form. Now, HBO is getting in on the action; they recently announced a prequel series set in the world of the ’90s witch classic Practical Magic, and today it was revealed that they’re also working on a Grease spinoff series.
HBO Max has ordered a pilot for Grease: Rydell High, a new series based on the 1978 musical classic starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. According to a press release from HBO, the series—which will be a musical, like the original—”reimagines the global smash hit movie with some characters you already know, and a whole lot more you will soon meet.” It’s still set in the 1950s, meaning those characters “you already know” will probably be played by new actors, although we’d be surprised if some of the actors from the original didn’t sneak into new roles, possibly as teachers as the famed California high school where the story is set.
If you’re unfamiliar, the original film told the story of naive Australian teenager Sandy Olsson (Newton-John) who moves to California and falls in love with a leather-clad bad boy Danny Zuko (Travolta), a member of a gang called the T-Birds. Their summer romance fizzles, but is slowly reignited after Sandy immerses herself in the greaser clique the Pink Ladies. The film was based on the 1971 stage musical of the same name, and deals with many themes and topics, from social status to teen pregnancy and more. It’s become a modern classic, and songs like “Hopelessly Devoted” and “You’re the One That I Want” are karaoke staples for more than one generation. Returning to the world in TV form is both exciting, and a little bit concerning. Will they be able to capture the magic again?
There’s no word yet on who will serve as showrunner, or who will direct, write, and star in the series, but we do know that Grease: Rydell High will be produced by Paramount Television and Picturestart, with Picturestart and Temple Hill on to executive produce. Here’s what Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max, had to say about the series, according to Deadline:
“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. 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.”
The series will debut on HBO Max, the network’s direct-to-consumer app set to launch in spring 2020. We don’t have any specific release dates beyond that, but we’ll definitely have our eyes on Grease: Rydell High.
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures