Nickelodeon's Adaptation of 'School of Rock' Could Be Good if They Avoid These Mistakes
In 2003, an underrated Jack Black film hit the theaters. School of Rock was critically acclaimed and made a ton of money, but Black's performance in it was later overshadowed by the more widely popular 2008 film Tropic Thunder. School of Rock remains one of Black's more popular films, but it's also a pretty forgettable film — at least, it was until now. Jack Black might not be appearing in it, but Nickelodeon is turning School of Rock into a TV show that has already secured 13 episodes to start the series off with.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the television series has the exact same premise as the movie and "[revolves] around the adventures and misadventures of Dewey Finn, a down-on-his-luck rocker who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school as he teaches his eccentric, unconventional and overachieving students to play and love rock 'n' roll." Dewey Finn was played by Jack Black in the film, but there has been no word on casting yet. However, the original director and producer of School of Rock will be returning to executive produce the series.
The movie also starred Miranda Cosgrove, a former Nickelodeon star best known for her roles as Megan Parker in Drake & Josh and Carly Shay in iCarly, so the anticipation is really on to see if Miranda Cosgrove will return to Nickelodeon in order to reprise her role as Summer "Tinkerbell" Hathaway. Even if she doesn't, Nickelodeon has to be careful not to let School of Rock fall into certain dangers that would get it cancelled like so many other Nickeldeon shows before it. Here are the three main things they need to avoid:
1. School of Rock is not Glee.
Considering the general summary of the new show, Nickelodeon will have to be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to make School of Rock comparable to Fox's Glee. Both shows feature a down-on-his-luck teacher (or "teacher" in Dewey Finn's case) and his eccentric, musically-gifted students. Although Glee was initially wildly popular for being new and different and hilarious, the show is now a mere shell of its former self that is a labor of love to watch for longtime fans. At best, School of Rock will receive a lot of unfavorable Glee comparisons even though the two have nothing to do with each other at all. At worst, School of Rock will be ignored by those who consider it less entertaining than Glee and those who hate Glee and don't want to watch a bargain basement version of it.
2. School of Rock is also not Victorious.
Already, the School of Rock series sounds like it's going to be the spiritual successor to the Nickelodeon show Victorious, which was cancelled in order to make room for the spin-off show Sam & Cat. (Ironically, Sam & Cat was canceled as well.) Victorious followed the lives of aspiring musicians and actors at a California school called Hollywood Arts after the main character, played by Victoria Justice, lucked her way into an acceptance to the school. Victorious featured original songs largely sung by Victoria Justice, though her co-stars including Ariana Grande sometimes got in on the action, and fans often complained that too much musical focus was given to Justice over her more talented co-stars. The School of Rock show needs to make sure everyone gets a chance to shine.
3. Let it breathe.
A common failing with Nickelodeon shows is that the characters never really get the chance to grow and develop naturally. Instead, many characters tend to become whatever they need to be in order to set up for the next joke or get pulled into the next plot. Consistency isn't Nickelodeon's finest trait on its shows and, contrary to popular belief, kids of the world aren't too young to notice. Instead of trying too hard to be School of Rock the film, or focusing too much on the eccentricities of the children and not the depth, Nickelodeon should let the show grow and breathe as the actors become comfortable with their characters.