REVIEW: ‘Rebelde’ Doesn’t Quite Hit all the High Notes

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Rebelde - But Why Tho

Rebelde, one of Netflix’s newest musical original series, premiered earlier this week. The series is a continuation of the Mexican telenovela of the same name. Rebelde follows a new group of students attending the Elite Way School in order to pursue their dreams of making it big in the music industry. Jana (Azul Guaita Bracamontes) is a former child star who aims to be taken seriously and is determined to show the world that she’s more than a one-hit-wonder. Luka (Franco Masini), an ego-driven influencer and musician, chases the spotlight he thinks he deserves while dealing with a father who doesn’t approve of anything he does. Estebán (Sergio Mayer Mori) won a scholarship to attend EWS but has hidden ulterior motives that don’t have anything to do with music.

Dixon (Jeronimo Cantillo), a Colombian native who has always wanted to be a rapper, hopes that EWS will make his dream come true. Andi (Lizeth Selene), a talented drummer, is often ridiculed by her father and doesn’t get much support from her mother. MJ (Andrea Chaparro) lied to her religious parents in order to attend EWS and pursue her dreams of becoming a pop icon. These 6 students come together to form a group to participate in the Battle of the Bands and win the prize of recording one original song. However, a secret society known as The Lodge threatens their plans to win the event in order to maintain the purity and reputation that EWS is known for.

With this being a continuation of the Mexican telenovela, one of the major factors that could have had a negative impact on the Rebelde is how much it relied on nostalgia to keep viewers interested. The season does include several aspects of the original series, including songs, The Lodge secret society, uniforms, and appearances from original cast members. However, this is as far as the nostalgic factor goes within Rebelde Season 1 as the show goes through great lengths to make its own unique impact. Whether it’s the characters, setting, or dilemmas, this new series does an incredible job of making everything feel different for a new generation of viewers while also not completely isolating its older audience that has a strong connection to the original series. Season 1 taps into what made the telenovela a sensation by introducing new elements in an already established world.

The chemistry between the main cast of Rebelde is the heart of the series. The bond that they all make because of music and the circumstances that they’re thrown into is what carries the season forward. There are various obstacles that they must get through, most of it involving The Lodge, but they find ways to get through them. From the start of the season, it’s clear just how close these students will become when forming the band. This isn’t to say that there isn’t turmoil within the group, whether it be jealousy or possible romantic relationships forming. Whenever these situations arise, their interactions feel genuine given the way they’re written. The dialogue never feels forced or seems as if it was written by people who don’t understand how the show’s demographic would talk.

Unfortunately, there are two main issues with Rebelde that held it back though, especially one that was developed well in the original series. The Lodge has been set up to be this villainous secret society that’s been holding students back that they don’t see as “talented.” Fans of the Mexican telenovela will be familiar with this group and how far they’re willing to take their tactics to make sure that they are successful. However, within the context of this series, it’s difficult to take the group seriously as the season progresses. The first two episodes of the series do an incredible job in showing how dangerous the group can be but by the end of the season, most of their attacks are rather comical. They’re the kind of attacks that would be more common within the world of telenovelas, which makes sense given that this new series is a continuation of one. But with this season being 8 episodes, it would have felt more fitting in this format to find new ways to establish them as a threat.

The other main issue with Rebelde is how predictable the season is, especially as the plot develops more. There are definitely some big surprises, especially with the final two episodes of the season, but everything else plays out in a way that audiences will easily guess. Whether it’s the drama with the band, personal relationships, or even situations revolving around The Lodge, there are enough clues spread throughout the season that audiences can use to predict what happens next. It’s not that Rebelde needed a twist in every episode, but there’s no real surprise when certain events happen. Perhaps if the pacing of the show didn’t feel so rushed or if the number of events that had to take place this season were spread out, more of the show would not have felt as predictable.

Ultimately, Rebelde does an incredible job of establishing and developing several elements with its first season. It does not rely heavily on nostalgia by finding new ways to make this new series stand out in its own way. The chemistry between the main cast is what carries the show for most of the season. Their interactions are genuine and believable. Unfortunately, the show suffers from not fleshing out its main villain group thoroughly and the predictability of the season.

Rebelde is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.


Rebelde
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Rebelde does an incredible job of establishing and developing several elements with its first season. It does not rely heavily on nostalgia by finding new ways to make this new series stand out in its own way. The chemistry between the main cast is what carries the show for most of the season. Their interactions are genuine and believable. Unfortunately, the show suffers from not fleshing out its main villain group thoroughly and the predictability of the season.

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