Netflix premiered their version of the Rebelde series two decades after the debut of the iconic Mexican telenovela Rebelde 2004, which was inspired by Argentina’s opera Rebelde Way. Rebelde the Mexican telenovela aired in 2004 and was a huge hit. Its band RBD won many music awards, earning them a huge following. Their legacy lives on today, with fans listening to their music and rewatching the novela, as I did. Unlike the Mexican telenovela, which has over 400 episodes, the new Rebelde series, directed by Santiago Limon, has only one season and eight episodes, each lasting around 45 minutes. Despite having fewer episodes, the Netflix Rebelde series was able to include important themes and a few casts from the original telenovela while also adding its own twist to appeal to Genz youth.
The classical forbidden love between two persons of different socioeconomic positions is a frequent theme in both the novela and the Netflix drama. This is demonstrated between Jana’s and Esteban relationship. For example, Jana comes from a wealthy privileged background while Estaban does not. This relationship mirrors Mia Colucci and Miguel Arango’s story from the novela Rebelede. The Colucci family is also reintroduced in the film, but in a male form known as Lucas. Lucas continues the Colucci legacy of being a privileged affluent child who has been abandoned by his parents. Many more characters resemble previous Rebelde personalities and lives.
As previously mentioned, the Netflix Rebelde series targets GenZ youth. Beside the new uniforms and modern look, the film includes themes centered on LGBTQ and Homophonia. This is portrayed through Andi and Emilia’s relationship and Lukas struggle to come out and be accepted by family and friends.
Many people are asking if this version does justice to the original novela Rebelde from 2004. Throughout the film they pay tribute to the original members of RBD that paved the way for future musicians. The film has an entire wall dedicated to RBD’s success, and during the Battle of Bands finals, groups are required to sing and create a video based on RBD’s greatest hits. Netflix also brings back former Rebelde 2004 stars Karla Cossio, also known as Pilar Gandia who is Jana’s mom and Estefania Villeral, most known as Cecilia Ferrer who is the principal in the sequel. As a OG Rebelde fan, I was thrilled to have La Logia back. However, this new generation of Lojia members have gone soft. In the novela, La Logia is responsible for expelling students on scholarships and from low income backgrounds. They achieved this by making life-threatening threats against their targets while remaining anonymous, instilling dread in the whole student body. In the Netflix version, La Logia is more concerned with the music program than with maintaining the school’s purity. Therefore, I was underwhelmed by this new representation of La Logia, as I had hoped for more suspense and daring exploits from their dreaded clique.
Overall, I would rate this series a 7 out of 10. Towards the end, I was left with many questions about certain characters like Anita the mastermind behind La Logia and the principal assistance. Season 2 has been announced by Netflix and I’m looking forward to getting some answers. I grew up watching the original Rebelde and I am a huge fan of RBD. This remake film had its twist which made it interesting. I binge watched it in one day and I might rewatch it. Over the years, production teams have had to replicate music bands and novelas like Rebelde with the purpose to gain the same success and profit from it. However, none had made it close but the recent Netflix series. This is because the Netflix Redelde included multiple themes, songs, and storylines from the original telenovela. I look forward to watching Season 2 and hope Netflix brings more spice to the show.