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How “Senior High” defied the ordinary

Throughout its run, “Senior High” made a splash as it transcended typical high school drama boundaries in more ways than one, going beyond just the standard teleserye.

From more progressive storytelling to unorthodox cinematic language (music, cinematography, etc.), quality acting of Gen Z stars, and more, “Senior High” truly hit differently.

As the much-anticipated “Ender To Remember” is almost here, let us dive deep into the many ways “Senior High” went out of the box to give the teen soap genre fresher flavors and totally mind-blowing twists.

 

Never-ending mind games

How do you make sure viewers would be seated? The “Senior High” creatives were experts at weaving seamless twists and turns into every episode, so much so the audience was totally invested.

Building up from Luna (Andrea Brillantes)’s puzzling death, the series didn't slow down in crafting mind-bending arcs and revelations that viewers racked their brains every night trying to solve the mystery or come up with new theories.

The story was unravelled in such a way that when we think we’ve uncovered an important clue, something happens to mislead and keep us overthinking again – until its finale week. “Mas mahirap pa ‘to sa midterm exams,” some netizens would wittily comment, taking it from one of the character’s dialogue.

 

No-holds-barred narrative

Senior High” has opened the doors to a proper depiction of teenage troubles through its aggressive storytelling hammered by harsh realities. Unlike most shows for the youth that only rest on the easy, ordinary, and cheesy, “Senior High” boldly tackled mental health, suicide, drugs, bullying, social classes, abuse of power, and even parental errors, stepping up as a catalyst in opening our eyes to real youth issues that are often talked about in hushed voices. Exploring such sensitive topics on primetime was certainly a brave move.

One of the most commendable aspects of the show was its unmatched representation of the LGBTQ community and people with mental health issues.

It also wasn’t scared to get real about toxic parenting culture and its negative impact. There’s a mom who insists on ‘curing’ his son’s sexual orientation, one who shapes her daughter into a certain image, and a physically abusive dad. Through these characters, it educated not only young people, but more importantly, the adults around them.

 

Edgy cinematic elements

Veering away from all things mushy, “Senior High” brought fresh, unconventional flavors to a teleserye production – a “sui generis” art itself. One of the audience’s favorite cinematic assets was the musical scoring which was like a whole character itself that suits the mood of the story. “Senior High” picked the right theme songs that sounded less cheesy, leaning on the edgier tone fit for the cool Gen Z playlist.

The cinematography likewise was able to communicate the story’s emotional rhythm through aesthetic color schemes, subtle lighting,  strategic frames, and camera techniques.

 

Redefining Gen Z acting  

It has been an amazing experience to watch the show’s phenomenal ensemble of young stars – Andrea Brillantes, Kyle Echarri, Zaijian Jaranilla, Xyriel Manabat, Juan Karlos Labajo, Daniela Stranner, Elijah Canlas, Miggy Jimenez, Tommy Alejandrino, and Gela Atayde – showcase their full thespic prowess. Gone were the “pabebe” ways of acting, as this bunch served ‘high’ levels of on-screen maturity and brilliance. In the Gen Z lexicon, they ate and left no crumbs.

Don’t miss the Senior High “Ender To Remember” this Friday on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, TV5, and A2Z.