More than 20 years after it aired its final episode, Australian series Heartbreak High is set for a comeback – with new storyline and characters that audiences will love the same way they adored the original series.
The 1990s teen drama was one of Australia’s most iconic television series. It ran for six years through seven seasons from 1994 to 1999 on both Network Ten and ABC.
The series centered on the students of the fictional Hartley High (replaced by Hartley Heights fro season 6 onwards) set in a multiracial area of Sydney. It tackled everything from sex, drugs and crime, to multiculturalism, racism and the joys and pains of growing up.
All 210 episodes of the original series are streaming now on Netflix.
Since it launched on Netflix in November, the original series has also shot into the top 25 most popular shows in the Netherlands and top 10 in Serbia.
Fremantle and NewBe, a Dutch production company that owns the rights to Heartbreak High, brought the idea of the reboot to Netflix’s director of originals in Australia, Que Minh Luu, last year.
“It’s not just that Heartbreak High was popular, it’s that it meant something. And for me, being a kid of the 90s, loving the show, I think it was the first time you felt like a show understood you,” Luu told Guardian Australia.
“We wanted to tap into that feeling.”
Netflix said the Heartbreak High reboot, scheduled to air in 2022, will be “inspired by” the original series “but totally re-imagined for a new generation”. There will be new characters, actors and storylines.
The new series will be set and shot in a Sydney high school, and will tackle young adult issues of modern times. The reboot, which will have eight episodes, will be produced by Fremantle Australia.
Chris Oliver-Taylor, the series’ executive producer, said they won’t shy away from difficult storylines, given how the original Heartbreak High had to follow limitations set by the television network where it was aired.
This time around, he said, “let’s talk about partying, let’s talk about relationships, let’s talk about drugs, and let’s really tell it. Let’s get under the skin. And we can take it into an MA rating and go as far as we want to go.”
The show is currently in the scripting stage, with casting set to begin soon.
Some “beloved characters” and original actors may make appearances but it is still too early to determine who.
While 90s kids in Australia will surely be taking a trip down memory lane as they watch the new Heartbreak High, the main target of the series is the teenagers of today.