Following the network’s 29th annual Kids Choice Awards Saturday night, Nickelodeon premiered it’s newest series “School of Rock”. The popular 2003 movie of the same name which featured Jack Black was obviously an influence when it came to casting the role of the teacher for the TV series version.
The new series actually has the ability to grow on viewers. Watching the debut episode was fun and had something for everyone. The series is obviously designed to focus on the students (this is Nickelodeon) so if you are a fan of the film you have to take that into consideration.
As tween series go, School of Rock is one parents won’t have to battle over their kids watching. – Hollywood Reporter
Dewey Finn (played by Tony Cavalero), a wannabe rocker with no teaching experience, takes a substitute-teaching gig. The movie’s Mr. Finn did it because his band fired him and he needed money; the show’s Mr. Finn does it because “I’m at that stage of my life where I want something real.” Welcome to the kinder, gentler School of Rock.
And since this is a series aimed at the tween set, the show is much more from the perspective of the students. The movie opened with Black rocking out. The series begins with resident heartthrob Freddy (Ricardo Hurtado) skateboarding through school without messing up his Justin Bieber hair. There are also best friends Summer (Jade Pettyjohn) and Tomika (Breanna Yde). Tomika is a no-nonsense tomboy who is fiercely loyal to her friends. Summer has a crush on Freddy, who is oblivious to Summer’s affection. Lawrence (Aidan Miner) is the technology wizard prone to inadvertently setting off rockets, and Zack (Lance Lim) is an overachiever whose parents want him to go to Yale. They’re actually all overachievers, but none of them are the social outcasts they were in the movie.
While not trained to be a teacher, this Mr. Finn is an all-around nice guy. “Being your teacher is way cooler than playing any club,” he tells the kids. He even steals doughnuts from the teacher’s lounge to give to the kids. “We just won the substitute-teacher lottery,” exclaims Freddy.
But the kids quickly realize how utterly clueless Mr. Finn is. He doesn’t know Shakespeare or math, and he keeps thinking the school day is over. “I knew there was a catch: This teacher can’t teach,” says Tomika. But Mr. Finn realizes he can turn his gifted middle-school students into a rock band and compete in the upcoming Battle of the Bands. It’s a preadolescent fantasy, as they all decide to keep the band a secret from the principal. Best not to overthink the logic on that one.
Cavalero, who sounds and acts a little like Black, has a great lackadaisical charm. A fun game to play might be to count how many times a character says the word “awesome” because in School of Rock, almost everything is awesome.
Breanna Yde as Tomika
Ricardo Hurtado as Freddy Jones
Jade Pettyjohn as Summer Hathaway
Lance Lim as Zack Mooneyham
Aidan Miner as Lawrence
Tony Cavalero as Dewey Finn