School of RockSpring 2017 Television
This live-action, music-laden sitcom is based on the 2003 Jack Black film of the same name and since its premiere on Nickelodeon in early 2016, this television show maintains much of the same charm of the feature film.
Life is strict and stuffy for students at a Texas prep school until substitute teacher Dewey Finn comes along. He's a struggling musician who takes up teaching and in the series premiere episode, "Come Together," Finn arrives at the school with the goal of "making this learning thing fun!" He soon discovers it takes more than stealing the donuts from the teachers' lounge to make a true impact on his students. His love of rock music seems to be his ticket to making a real connection with the kids, inspiring them to discover and indulge their own rock-and-roll souls. With Finn's help, middle-schoolers Tomika, Freddy, Summer, Zack and Lawrence form a secret rock band, an interesting element to add to the usual 'tween dynamic of navigating friendships, indulging crushes, and trying to figure out who you are.
In "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" Summer tries to gain ground in her crush on Freddy by asking him to share a locker but a comedy-of-errors of epic proportions has everyone suspecting everyone else of wanting to share a locker - with the full understanding of all the romantic implications such an action would imply. Worst of all, it throws off the mojo of the band and it's up to Mr. Finn to sort out the misunderstanding, reminding them that "you can't be in harmony as a band unless you're in harmony as friends." It turns out that slamming locker doors is the perfect musical inspiration to come back together as friends and the episode concludes with an enjoyable performance of the song Cups (When I'm Gone).
In "We're Not Gonna Take It," Zack's father is so uptight that he freaks out when he notices his son has switched to a half-Windsor knot on his tie ("This isn't a bowling alley!") so imagine his distress when he discovers Zack playing the electric guitar! Zack's father quickly switches his son to another class with "less distractions," sparking a real rebellion among his bandmates and teacher as they consider how to get Zack back where he belongs. Turns out the best way for Zack to get back where he belongs is to be honest with his dad and stand up for what he believes in.
Don't tune into School of Rock expecting a 30-minute imitation of the feature film that inspired it. Some of the acting (particularly Tony Cavalero as Dewey Finn) feels over-the-top even by tween sitcom standards, but distinguishing yourself from a classic Jack Black performance is no easy task so it's fair to cut Cavalero some slack as he tries to make the role his own. On the plus side, the program has reimagined the premise as a television sitcom, relying on a sitcom's traditional pacing, sight-gags, and heartwarming here's-the-moral-of-the-story moments to distinguish itself. It also boasts some pretty entertaining and accomplished musical numbers, making School of Rock satisfying, toe-tapping, escapist entertainment.