Rebelde is a Spanish drama series about students from different socioeconomic backgrounds crossing paths with each other at an elite private school. In season 2, they realise that all the misfortunes and tragedies of their school year lead back to one person, so they band together to expose the truth.
The students come back to school for another semester hoping for a fair and just system only to find that the programme has a new director: Gus Bauman. Not only does Bauman have favourites and plots to pit the students against one another to build an unhealthily competitive environment, he also has a sinister plan brewing.
He wants to transform the school into a talent factory where he finds young artists to make money off of. Bauman shares a secret deal with Okane, the new student, to make him the first star from his new record label on the condition that he deals drugs to the rest of the students.
This ultimately leads to Andi overdosing. Bauman then proceeds to blame the principal, Celina, for mismanagement and takes on the role of Principal of EWS. He discontinues the tradition of the Battle of the Bands at the end of the semester and replaces it with a competition called Trend-Z where everyone participates individually. Rebelde as a band falls apart.
Luka has been disinherited by his father as a punishment for his antics and is told that he will be removed from EWS and sent to a military school in Texas.
But Luca finds out that Gus Bauman has been responsible for the death and downfall of many young musicians and artists. In an attempt to turn the situation around in his favour, Luka, during the finale of Trend-Z, calls Bauman to the terrace and confronts him about it. Bauman pushes him off the terrace and Luka plunges into a coma.
The next day, Bauman announces that Luka attempted suicide and in the same breath, reveals Esteban to be the winner of the competition. On the day of Esteban’s performance, Okane finds out the truth behind Luka’s incident and lets all the others know.
The show has a big ensemble cast of talented singers. While the acting performances pass off as satisfactory, the real glamour of the show lies in the musical performances.
Franco Masini, who plays Luka Colucci, deserves a special mention for playing the fun and snarky character with finesse.
The writing is warm and heartfelt. It captures the emotions that teenagers go through holistically. The side characters like Luka, MJ, and Andi are fleshed-out well.
The story doesn’t focus only on the lead characters and its emphasis on the friend group as a whole brings more life to its otherwise dull plot.
The highlight of the show has to be its musical performances. Covering songs by Britney Spears and Billie Eilish, it boasts a good soundtrack. The way it juxtaposes the action with the musical scenes keeps the audience engaged.
The series doesn’t have much in terms of a believable plot.
Set in a posh school, the events are over-the-top and simply too unrealistic and might set the wrong expectations for high school for its younger audience.
Chemistry between the main characters, Jana and Esteban, seems forced.
Anyone looking for a fun, but not exactly good, high school drama with lots of musical numbers will enjoy watching Rebelde. The series tries too hard to be a thriller by introducing what it thinks are shocking twists at the end of each episode in true Netflix fashion but Rebelde is a cheap drama at best, with some good singing and a banger soundtrack.