Friday, August 17, 2007

Going Back To 'High School'

As much as I criticize ABC's programming department (and I do so quite a lot), it seems that most of the boardroom talent works for the network's family-oriented cable arms.

Witness the phenomenon that is "High School Musical 2" (Disney Channel, 8 p.m.) arguably one of the most anticipated programs of the season among the teen audience.

With the original "HSM" and shows like "Hannah Montana," ABC/Disney has tapped into a lucrative teen market and has done a brilliant job in developing it. Ditto for ABC Family, which is appealing to a slightly older market with shows like "Kyle XY" and "Greek."

The original, Emmy-award winning "HSM" drew 7.7 million viewers and was the most-watched show on the UK Disney Channel last year. But it's grown far beyond that, as the soundtrack from the series hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts twice and the DVD broke records for a TV movie. Also springing from the original movie are a stage show and a nationwide tour featuring nearly all of the original cast. It's also made lead Zac Efron the newest teen heartthrob.

There's even a Disney On Ice version, as well as books, toys and a video game.

So, it stands to reason that tonight's debut of the sequel should be among the biggest TV events of the summer, so much so that "HSM 3" is already in development.

Tonight's movie revolves around scheming Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and her efforts to have Efron's Troy all to herself.

"HSM" is a force of nature that isn't going away any time soon, but if you have teenagers in your household, you are pretty much aware of this.

WR LITTLE LEAGUE: As promised, we're keeping track of the local kids. The Warner Robins All-Stars face a squad from Oregon tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN in their first contest in Williamsport, Pa.

AROUND THE DIAL: I often criticize David E. Kelley for being the bane of my existence as the world's most overrated writer, but I do have to praise the news that he's casting Colm Meaney (Star Trek: DS9) in the Philip Glenister role in the American version of "Life On Mars." I have no doubt Kelley will butcher this version for ABC, but Meaney is a great choice for the role. ...

Speaking of actors from "Star Trek," Nichelle Nichols will have a recurring role on "Heroes" this season, joining pretty much every actor in the known universe in what appears to be a cast of thousands for Season 2. ...

HBO has cancelled "John From Cincinnati" and Sci-Fi axed "Painkiller Jane," though it will air the remaining episodes, including tonight's at 10 p.m. ...

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: "Doctor Who" (Sci-Fi, 8 p.m.) meets "24" in an episode set in real time as the Doctor and Martha have exactly 43 minutes to save a sabotaged spaceship. Hopefully, there isn't a mole among the spaceship's crew. It is followed by a new "Flash Gordon" at 9 p.m. Episodes 2 and 3 are slightly better than the pilot, as the actors appear much more comfortable in their roles. But this series really could have used the Queen theme song.

"Monk" (USA, 9 p.m.) searches for buried treasure and gets buried himself, while John Amos guest stars on "Psych" (USA, 10 p.m.)

On Saturday, the miniseries "Jekyll" (BBC America, Sat., 8 p.m.) continues, joining a summer that has been full of terrific miniseries such as "The Bronx Is Burning" and "The Company" (TNT, Sun., 8 p.m.) which wraps up this weekend.


Jonathan said...

My wife and I went to Disney this past Christmas, and "HSM" was just freaking everywhere. I was trying to think back to my childhood in the eighties and wanting to find some kind of comparison to this kind of phenomenon, and I couldn't think of anything. At least nothing that has dove in to so many different media outlets. Craziness. I'm waiting for "HSM: The Opera."

Phillip Ramati said...

I think "Star Wars" was a similar phenom, but you'd have to go back to the '70s (if you are old like me).

Jonathan said...

31; so I was a year old when the first one came out. But my mom swears up and down they took me to it instead of getting a babysitter, so I guess technically I was there. I do remember "Empire" and "Return" in the theater, so yeah. Different type of fan group, but very similar. Haven't seen "HSM," but I'll go on a limb and say the original trilogy is a tad better.