NBC is touting what they hope will become a new headliner for their Tuesday night programming with the premiere of Rise. Rise is a highly anticipated drama that is being produced by Jeffrey Seller of Hamilton in cooperation with the former showrunner of the hit sports-drama, Friday Night Lights. Rise has been making headlines ever since their heavy marketing campaign during the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and anticipation for the show is at an all-time high. Fans who have been looking for a replacement to scratch their Friday Night Lights and Glee itch may have something finally worth tuning in for. Rise will premier with a one-hour special on March 12th at 10PM EST with a total of ten episodes slated for the first season of the show. It will change to 9PM EST the following week. For those that haven’t been tuned in to all of the latest Rise rumors, let’s take a closer look at what the show will be about.
What is the story behind Rise?
As we noted above, Rise is being produced by the creators of Hamilton and it will also have above-the-line talent from the hit sitcom Parenthood involved. Rise isn’t a straight-up comedy and it isn’t a full-on drama and it appears that the writers will be deftly mixing the two genres, jumping from Glee to Friday Night Lights as the setting sees fit.
The actual plot of Rise is based on the true story of Lou Volpe (changed to Lou Mazzucchelli), a dispirited high school teacher who inspires a community by reinvigorating its drama department. Mr. Mazzucchelli brings a passion for theater to a school and community that had long since given up on drama as an outlet. In fact, the working-class community featured in Rise will likely be the major point of drama in the show as Mr. Mazzucchelli must contend with enraged parents, skeptical co-workers, and locals who find his flair for theater to be problematic After all, the show is set in the fictional town of Stanton, PA and it features all of the hallmarks that you’d expect from a dead end, former steel milling town. We can already picture some of the angles that the writing team will attack with this as a backdrop for the theatrical and musical performances.
The show won’t just be about Mr. Mazzucchelli’s struggles and eventual successes, but it will also look at the school system, and corresponding lives, of young American teens. While the show will use music as a microphone to tell the story, Rise won’t be afraid to slow the pace down to let the drama unfold.
Who are the stars of Rise?
Mr. Mazzucchelli is going to be played by Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and he’ll likely be the dramatic anchor for a largely young-adult cast. Before we look at some of the young talents in the show, we’d be remiss not to mention Rosie Perez who will have a co-starring role in the show as Tracy. Perez was reportedly brought to tears from the strength of the script and the intimate and humane way it examined the lives of the characters, based on real people, who are involved.
Rise is an ensemble show with a variety of young up-and-comers set to share the stage. Early reviews paint Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and Damon J. Gillespie (Debut role) as early season standouts. With, 11 young actors are billed for every episode of the first season so the expectation is that screen time will be shared among a variety of different plotlines. The fact that a former Friday Night Lights showrunner is involved should give everyone hope that the various storylines will be handled appropriately and with a respectful measure.
Airs Tuesday Nights at 9PM EST on NBC